Visalia’s newly formed Evolution Team presented its progress during the city council work session on September 4. Spokesperson Laurissa Roggenkamp told the council that when it initially got together the goal was to develop an outreach plan for recruiting and economic development.
But it soon realized it first needed a new vision for a growing city. All this while preserving Visalia’s small town feel where people want to live, work, and play.
Visalia City Manager Randy Groom, a recent transplant from Exeter, introduced the idea of freshening up the city’s image and brand.
“Having gone through something of a “re-branding” in Exeter, I knew that it could bring a new vitality and enthusiasm to both the organization and the community.”
Groom and Assistant City Manager Leslie Caviglia identified a number of people at various levels and different departments within the city “that we felt had the enthusiasm, creativity, and gumption to take a project like this and run with it.”
The team is comprised of a group from police, code enforcement, parks & recreation, human resources, the convention center, and the chamber of commerce.
Members of the team include: Jason Salazar, Visalia Police Chief; Vanessa Shearer, Management Analyst; Shelly Ellis, Convention Center General Manager; Laurissa Roggenkamp, Recreation Manager; Dante Rosh, Visalia Chamber of Commerce; Tommy Contreras, code enforcement technician.
When the Evolution team went to work it discovered that Visalia’s Mission Statement hadn’t been updated since 1980. Much had changed in Visalia since that time, so before it could develop a corporate image, it needed to work on a new vision for the large vibrant city that Visalia had become.
The Evolution Team worked on a version of the City’s Mission Statement that could be easily embraced by city employees and the community as a whole. Another goal was to make it short and sweet.
“The City of Visalia strives to partner with our community to deliver service excellence. We plan for the future, while preserving, protecting, and enhancing the quality of life.”
The team also looked at similar cities around the country for more ideas to incorporate to the drafted mission statement. Austin, Texas’ use of their city as an anagram caught their eye.
The team used VISALIA as an acronym to identify core values.
Vibrant- We strive to be a vibrant community that maximizes opportunities for social,
cultural, and economic development.
Innovative- We actively seek out progressive and achievable ideas that have a lasting
positive impact on our work, community, and environment.
Service- We are committed to working as a team to deliver quality services, always
striving to improve.
Accountable- We are dedicated to operating with transparency and accountability to achieve
results in a fiscally responsible manner.
Leadership- We value our employees, foster engagement and innovation at all levels, and
cultivate strong leadership to meet the evolving needs of our growing City.
Integrity- We are honest, ethical, and our actions will maintain the trust and confidence of
the public and organization.
Accessible- We will actively engage the community through proactive communication and
encourage participation towards achieving a better Visalia.
Future goals of the team are to develop a new city logo and slogan, marketing materials that incorporate the city mission and values, training and adoption of values through the Managers/ Supervisors group, citywide emails that highlight those values and examples of the values in practice within the organization, and a periodic city newsletter.
Groom said, “In most cities, this type of work is done by the city council, typically at a one-day planning workshop or retreat. Mission statements are often crafted in a short period of time, as a small part of a large agenda, and can feel obligatory and perfunctory.”
Councilmember Phil Cox thanked Groom and Caviglia for not making the city council deal with rebranding Visaalia at their retreat and appreciated the diversity and work of the Evolution Team.
Vice Mayor Bob Link appreciated the team’s enthusiasm and was looking forward to having a new city logo.
The Evolution Team will be coming in front of the city council periodically as it makes progress on its plan to get feedback and direction from the council.