After 27 years of experience in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Paul Cain started a new role Tuesday as an assistant city manager in Waco.
The city of Waco filled the open spot on its roster for a third assistant city manager, hiring Cain to oversee general services, Waco-McLennan County Library, public works, solid waste, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, capital projects and water utilities. City Manager Wiley Stem III introduced Cain during a city council meeting Tuesday.
“In Burleson, he’s been fortunate to serve at a time of rapid growth and has seen the population more than double and the tax base more than triple,” Stem said. “During his tenure, he’s had the opportunity to manage every operational department.”
Cain attended Abilene Christian University before earning an MBA from the University of North Texas in 1991. He served as a budget analyst and worked in economic development, then in public works with the city of Fort Worth.
“That was a great time to be in economic development,” Cain said. “That was back when Texas Motor Speedway was built and the FedEx hub, things like that. I was really fortunate to be part of those teams. I was certainly a junior member of the team back then, but I was fortunate to be working with that team.”
After Fort Worth, Cain worked in economic development for the city of Grand Prairie, then started at the city of Burleson as deputy city manager in 2002, where he remained until his move to Waco.
“For about 17 years, I think I worked just about every department with the city,” Cain said.
Cain said he decided to come to Waco in part because he worked with Assistant City Manager Bradley Ford in Burleson. He also said former City Manager Dale Fisseler, who held the same position in Fort Worth, is a friend from his time there.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity,” Cain said. “Essentially, Waco is what I like to call the central city in the region. It leads Central Texas in terms of city government, amenities and tourism, those kinds of things. It’s just an attractive central city for me.”
At 134,436, Waco’s population is much higher than Burleson’s, 46,145, and much lower than Fort Worth’s, 874,168. But Cain said he sees similarities between the three cities in the rapid growth they have each experienced and the strain on infrastructure that follows.
Waco is an older city dealing with new growth, he said.
“But it also has what Fort Worth had, which is the challenges dealing with older infrastructure in the city and how to keep improving it and maintaining it properly,” he said.
Waco, like Fort Worth, is a regional leader in government and politics, its policies and services influencing surrounding municipalities. The city’s management of the Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System, with surrounding cities now becoming customers of Waco rather than ownership partners, is a prime example, he said.
“I’ve been on both sides of that, in Burleson and Fort Worth,” Cain said. “Burleson was kind of a customer city of Fort Worth. So I’m interested in being a part of that change, it’s going to be a good, positive change for Waco and the surrounding communities.”