Assistant City Manager Bradley Ford


Waco’s newest assistant city manager says he will waste no time getting started as the city’s point person on major development projects.

Bradley Ford, who started the Waco job Monday, said he’s looking forward to shepherd public-private projects such as the Brazos Promenade, the Brazos Commons and the proposed office development at Heritage Square known as Civic Center Waco.

Ford, 35, comes here from fast-growing Burleson in the Fort Worth area, where he served as deputy city manager. He said he jumped at the chance to come to Waco, given its downtown momentum and its position as a regional hub city.

“Its best years are coming up real quick,” Ford said.

Ford’s background is in city planning as well as economic and community development. As a planner and then as an administrator in Burleson, he was responsible for helping develop that city’s downtown as a center for leisure.

“We brought in a lot of destination restaurants,” he said. “That’s a fun thing to learn about. … I’m real excited about the riverfront development here. There’s not a better site than Interstate 35 and the Brazos River for a destination restaurant.”

In Waco, Ford will also oversee housing, planning, inspections and code enforcement, animal services, libraries, parks and recreation and Cameron Park Zoo. Ford will work alongside fellow assistant city managers Deidra Emerson and Jack Harper as well as Deputy City Manager Wiley Stem.

City Manager Dale Fisseler, who is set to retire in six months, said he was impressed with Bradley’s accomplishments.

“I think his background in economic development is exactly what we need,” Fisseler said. “He will really fill out our executive team.”

Ford, an Odessa native, started his career in Fort Worth as a police department planner. He remembers attending a meeting with Fisseler, who was city manager there.

“I was always impressed that he could be the city manager of such a big organization and still have a personality and have a good time while getting the work done,” Ford said.

Ford, who is married with three elementary school-age children, said he closed this week on a house in Castle Heights.

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J.B. Smith is the the Tribune-Herald managing editor. A native of Sulphur Springs, he attended Southwestern University and joined the Tribune-Herald in 1997. He and his wife, Bethany, live in Waco and have two children.

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