Ryan T. Eggleston is the township manager for South Fayette, one of the fastest growing suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Despite its rapid growth and its close proximity to downtown (about a 15 minute drive in good traffic), the area still has the genuine feeling that residents are nestled in a quiet world with the convenience of a major highway (Interstate 79) nearby.” Eggleston noted, “South Fayette is working hard to be one of the premier places to live in Pennsylvania; the township blends a bit of paradise for all ages.” The community is especially proud of the South Fayette School District and its Blue Ribbon recognition.
New development projects for the township include:
- UPMC Children’s: A portion of the former Star City Cinema site (owned by the township) has been sold to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which plans to build a new multimillion dollar, four-story, 60,000 square foot building. Under a unique agreement, the nonprofit has agreed to pay 50% of the tax-assessed value to both South Fayette Township and the South Fayette School District annually. This state-of-the-art project, which will create a new Children’s South Facility for the South Hills region will be a LEED-certified building. Construction is underway; the facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
- Newbury: The first commercial shops related to the Newbury development are set to be built soon. These Gateway Shops will be the welcoming stores to the overall development of Newbury and should be the start of a roughly $150,000,000 overall investment in South Fayette.
- Walnut Ridge: Beginning this fall, a brand new development will offer almost 100 new residential homes with expansive lots and beautiful views.
- New South Fayette Intermediate School: Construction of this facility is now complete, and students in third to fifth grade have started the 2013 school year in the newly constructed building.
Encouraged about the future for South Fayette, Eggleston commented, “There is open space land for residential and economic development; the sky truly is the limit!”
Along with managing the township's expansion, Eggleston shared, “The biggest challenges facing local government and our profession today are two-fold: funding infrastructure repairs and staying relevant to our citizens.”
“First, how do we deal with the massive issue of funding for infrastructure repairs? This crippling problem affects many communities in Pennsylvania. Roads are falling apart, and storm and sanitary sewers as well as bridges are definitely in need of repair. This is a local, state, and federal issue, and one that will not disappear. A few years ago, the president/CEO of a utility water company in Pennsylvania shared that local governments are repairing water lines at a rate of a 300-year cycle, and their company was on a 100-year cycle. Now imagine your city or town is on a 300-year full line replacement cycle. Your municipality’s ground pipes are already 100 years old. In some places, the pipes are caving in. How will the pipes wait another 100 or 200 years? ”
"The second issue facing us as managers is how to stay relevant in an ever changing world,” stated Eggleston. “Citizens are dealing with their own real world issues: health, financial, personal, etc., and at the end of the day, there is little time for local government matters. One of our most important roles is front line customer service. When residents have an issue, they want to feel like they matter.”
Prior to his tenure in South Fayette, Eggleston served as the city manager of Oil City, Pennsylvania, and borough manager of Greenville, Pennsylvania. “It has been seven years since I started my career in local government, and it has been quite an exciting adventure! I have gone from managing a city of roughly 6,500 people in an Act 47 distressed community with major financial issues and no room to expand to South Fayette Township with 14,000 residents who are building homes at a rate of about 100 new dwellings a year,” shared Eggleston.
“Furthermore, I have been blessed with very supportive boards of elected officials from Greenville to Oil City to South Fayette.” Eggleston added, “I could not ask for a better board in South Fayette. The commissioners have supported me 100% in my professional development, including my involvement with ICMA. They are all innovative thinkers who support the growth of the South Fayette area.”
Eggleston is a vice president at large for the Association of Pennsylvania Municipal Managers. He is a member of the Leadership ICMA Class of 2013, and he volunteers on the ICMA International Committee, acting as a liaison to ICMA members in Germany and Ireland. In the spring of 2013, Eggleston attended the ICMA International Committee meeting in Denmark with other colleagues from the United States and foreign countries.
Eggleston encourages those considering a career in municipal management as well as those starting their career to get involved with ICMA and their state ICMA affiliate, as he has. He also shares the following advice with next generation leaders:
- Work hard and treat every person the way you want to be treated
- Network, network, network!
- Find a mentor (or two or three...)
- Attend an ICMA Annual Conference
- Apply for the Leadership ICMA Program
- Have some fun each day!
"I have met many superb professional mentors along the way, and I acknowledge that without their help and guidance I would never be where I am today. Iconic ICMA and Pennsylvania managers like Jerry Andree, Kevin Flannery, Chris Lochner, Greg Primm, Greg Smith, and many others advised me as a young manager to get involved with my state association and ICMA. Retired managers and current ICMA Range Riders like Bill Baldwin and Peter Marshall were instrumental with incredible ideas. In fact, Peter Marshall first introduced me to the concept of volunteering for the international committee.” Furthermore, Eggleston is grateful for the professional collaboration with his fellow 2013 Leadership ICMA classmates and ICMA staff. “The International City/County Management Association is without a doubt the most valuable learning experience for every municipal manager or management -level employee and a true resource for all its members,” concluded Eggleston.
A proud alumnus of Syracuse University, Eggleston received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science with a minor in information systems management in 2003. Eggleston is a founding father of the NWPA Chapter of Syracuse Alumni where he held the position of vice president until his relocation to Pittsburgh. In 2005, Eggleston received his master’s in public administration from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. Eggleston resides in South Fayette with his wife, Julia, and his children Connor, Charlotte, and Cayleigh.