Todd Leopold Recounts His Experiences Working in the Public Service

Todd Leopold was born and raised in Thornton, Colorado. His family played an active role in their local community and it was his father’s twelve year run on City Council that fueled his early interest in the public sector.

Todd obtained an Associate’s Degree from Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska before graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Eastern New Mexico University. By 1999, Todd had earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver and had his sights set on a career in public service focused on local government.

Todd Leopold has worked for various city, county and regional organizations. He spent thirteen years working for Jefferson County in a variety of administrative roles  and serving as the Administrative Services  director before he was recruited to Adams County to serve in an executive leadership capacity. During this time there he served as both the deputy county manager and county manager and played an instrumental role in the growth of the northern Denver region.

Todd brings more than two decades of professional experience to his current position. Beginning September 2022, he will be returning to his roots working for the State of Colorado where he will be collaborating on a variety of projects with the various counties, cities, special districts, and regional government organizations around the State.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

When I was growing up, I was exposed to the local government profession, with my dad serving as a city council member for a number of years. That public service I saw  inspired me to pursue a career in public service that would give back to the community in which I lived and worked. I’ve been fortunate to have been in a number of different local government organizations over the past 25 years, but I’ve always loved being involved in the “boots on the ground” work because you see the direct impact you’re making in the community where you live and work. That’s what has always driven me and the reason I’ve stayed in the public sector for the length of time that I have.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

I love leading organizations, so I’d love to stay in roles where I get to lead within a city or county or other governmental entity. I think I’m going to love what I’m doing now where I will be helping and consulting with a variety of local government entities to meet their funding and operational challenges. The state can be an integral player in that effort and having the background and expertise of having direct experience in a local government leadership role as long as I have, it gives a good perspective on how the state can serve as effective partner with our cities and counties and making a difference in the community.

How do you measure success?

Personally, I think success is feeling like I’m making a difference and adding value. Professionally, it is that as well as seeing tangible benefits where people’s lives are changed and leaving them better off than they were before. What I’ve done has made a difference directly and indirectly in improving the lives of those I’ve come in contact with during my career. I gauge success by seeing how improvements have been made in the lives of people who live in my neighborhood and my community.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

For me, it’s about understanding true friendships and recognizing areas where you haven’t been successful. You’re going to learn more from those failures or those things that you could do better going forward than any of the successes you might have experienced previously. The other piece for me is the understanding that life is short and I want to make sure that what I’m doing is good, honorable, makes a difference, has integrity, and leaves a legacy. Those are the things I’ve learned over the years. Success is great, but I think that you learn more from failures or things that could have been done differently that the short-term satisfaction from those

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my wife and family. We enjoy getting into the outdoors, hiking and things like that, so where we’re at in California and where we’re at in Colorado lend themselves to that. I enjoy golfing, all sorts of different sports. Basketball’s obviously been a passion and something I’ve grown up with. 

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I think it’s really about prioritizing what’s important because we live in this instantaneous society where there are these expectations that employees and employers should be accessible 24/7. One of the things I’ve tried to do and that I continue to work on is time management and setting balance to make sure that, unless there are critically important issues, most things can wait. There are some things I’ll address and get taken care of, but I think society in general pushes us to be active and alert and responding 24/7, so we need to consciously focus on taking time for ourselves and setting boundaries around that. That is one of the things that I want to continue to focus on improving for myself.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

I utilize my cell phone for different functions and purposes, so it’s been a lifeline for me. I also use a number of enterprise resource planning systems like Workday, Oracle, and JD Edwards. I use those quite a bit and feel comfortable in the technology space, but my phone seems to be the main thing since it has the dual purpose of calendaring and staying connected with folks.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

I was involved in a tragic car accident, so the hardest thing for me was dealing with the grief and pain of that. It was very tragic, but it was also unavoidable, so I think it’s been really hard to get past that and move on. It has also profoundly impacted me to the point where I’m really focused on what’s important in life and friends, family, and those that care about you.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

The county manager that I worked for in Jefferson County, Jim Moore, was an individual who believed in me. He saw potential and growth and believed in you when you didn’t feel like you could do it. Jim and I stay in contact to this day and he has been such an amazing person, but he also gives great perspective. I’d say he’s the one that has really had a significant impact on me, not only starting out my career, but up to this point, he’s been such an inspiration and an amazing person in general.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

I think it’s honestly been to focus on what is important. Your family is the most important thing. If you don’t have a strong foundation of your family and your family structure, you’re not going to be as successful as if you have a supporting and loving family that surrounds you and embraces you in times when it’s going well and when it’s going tough.