Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Gadow earns public manager certificate, gives graduation speech

Bryan Gadow (MPA '05) Bryan Gadow (MPA '05) Sharon Vanorny

May was a busy month for Bryan Gadow (’05 MPA). On May 3, he graduated from the Wisconsin Certified Public Manager (CPM) Program. A week later, he was the Graduation Ceremony Keynote speaker for the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture (DPLA) master’s degree program in urban and regional planning at UW–Madison.

The Wisconsin CPM program is a 300-hour, nationally accredited program through UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies that prepares government, tribal, and nonprofit employees for the unique challenges and demands of public management. As part of the curriculum, the 13-member cohort completed a team-based application of managerial skills and knowledge with the statewide Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) organization.

Gadow and his colleagues organized a Day at the Capitol advocacy event in Madison to raise awareness of BBBS’s impact and importance among the Wisconsin legislature, identify funding opportunities and grant-writing training, and help launch the new Bigs & Badges program to increase the number of “bigs” (adult volunteers) matched with “littles” (children participants). The Bigs & Badges program focused on public safety professionals in the Racine-Kenosha area.  

“The CPM program was an exceptional way to hone my skills on diverse topics such as performance management and public finance, while being able to give back to the nonprofit community through our cohort’s multifaceted backgrounds and talents,” Gadow said.

Graduating students in the DPLA master’s degree program selected Gadow as their keynote speaker after he taught URPL 590 and 912 as an adjunct lecturer during the 2018–19 academic year. Gadow told graduates that it was a privilege to be a part of their celebration but joked that he could not extoll the virtues of the 3-4 defense vs the “Tampa Two,” like J.J. Watt, a UW–Madison alumnus, National Football League player, and UW–Madison’s 2019 Commencement speaker.

Instead, Gadow instilled some hard-earned wisdom for a career in the urban planning field: seek out mentors who share the same interests as you, mentally prepare yourself for the unexpected, and be your own advocate and owner of your potential.

Earlier this year, Gadow began his duties as city administrator and economic development director in Monona, Wisconsin, after serving as village administrator for New Glarus since September 2015.

Prior to his role in New Glarus, Gadow spent eight years with the City of Wayzata in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, where he served as city planner, assistant to the city manager, and the director of planning and building. He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota after his graduation from La Follette in 2005.

- written by Jackson Parr