Austin, TX - TMLIRP


Meet a Trustee

June 22, 2021

randyTMLTMLIRP is committed to providing risk management services and a full suite of liability, property, and workers’ compensation coverages to Texas cities and other public entities.  The Pool’s Board of Trustees is comprised of municipal officials from across the state of Texas.

For the latest installment of “Meet a Trustee”, the Pool interviewed Board Chair and Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell. 

Randy has been with the Board for six years, and he became Chair in October, 2020 after Mayor (of Henderson) John “Buzz” Fullen’s two-year term came to an end. Randy is from West Texas, growing up in Dumas and graduating from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Before graduating from Tech, Randy had no idea what he wanted to do for a living. Like so many college graduates, he just wanted to find a job in his field of study. His career path ultimately led him into city government through a position as a public works director.

Randy explained that he knew he had found his calling once he got the taste for public service. In fact, he reminisced about Glen Metcalf, former city manager of Canyon, interviewing him for the public works director job:

“I remember when he interviewed me. I was trying to get the job as public works director in Canyon, Texas. He looked at me and said, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ And I said, ‘Right there where you're sitting.’ That was probably me popping off a little bit. But I have always kind of been ambitious and wanting to be more if I could.“

That statement would come to fruition because Randy became the City Manager of Canyon, where he served for 11 years. Serving the public became his passion. Although he never envisioned this path as a high schooler, Randy believes God led him to what he was meant to do in life. “It's a passion, and it means something, and I'm proud to do it. I like it,” Randy says.

Randy is not only passionate about serving as city manager of Mineral Wells; he’s also passionate about his role as a Trustee for the Risk Pool. When Randy first joined the Pool’s Board of Trustees, he felt that the Pool could benefit from his background and experience. He also knew and respected several Board Members and felt like he would be a good fit. 

He didn’t realize the knowledge he would gain and the cherished relationships he would develop by being on the Board. As a Trustee, Randy gained an intimate understanding of the Pool's inner workings, and he believes that experience has made him a better trustee, and a better city manager. The experience as a trustee has positively impacted the other organizations, co-workers, and the City Council he serves. As Randy puts it, “it’s really something that I think benefited me probably way more than…I benefited it.”

There is no doubt Randy is passionate about the Pool, but what makes the Pool’s mission so important to him? Since Randy joined the Board, he has gained a much greater understanding of what makes public entity pooling so special.  He appreciates the coverages and services provided to the Pool’s Members, and he notes the difference between the Pool and anyone else – its philosophy of wanting to help and partner with its members. 

Randy acknowledges that many people consider the Risk Pool to function like an insurance company. They assume that the Pool is going to look for ways to exclude coverage. As Randy stated, “with the term ‘insurance,’ there is the expectation that they’re gonna say no, and it’s going to be bad if you forget to dot an “I” or cross a “T”. And that’s just not the way this Pool operates at all. That’s not the philosophy of this Pool.” Randy embraces his role as part of a partnership with governmental entities because that is his passion. For Randy, being a part of the Pool is special because he finds the Pool profoundly unique, even from how other pools operate.  He knows that insurance companies conduct business in a much different manner and is passionate about spreading the message of partnership, and touting the Pool’s core values.

As the discussion moved from partnership to core values, Randy was asked if any one core value stood out in his mind.  Randy did not hesitate with his response to the Pool’s four core values - fiscal responsibility, operational excellence, integrity, and public service.  Of the four, Randy says integrity is the most important. It is the only one that “defines the person, defines the soul, and the heart of an individual. Everything else is a function or a responsibility or a level or a measurement of dedication, but integrity defines each of us as a human being, and when a person acts with integrity, everything else should fall into place.” Randy reflected on a conversation he had with his dad many times during his life, beginning as a child growing up:

“My dad would always tell me, Randy, there's no substitute for personal integrity. He told me that my whole life. I'll never forget that. And I understood that. The older I've gotten and the more experienced that I have become, I understand that more every day.”

He further states that an organization can try to emphasize good customer service, but it will fail without integrity. “There's simply no greater measure of character than integrity.”

When Randy’s not serving the public, he loves to travel, especially on his Harley. He has traveled the whole state, but Texas beaches hold a special place in his heart.  He and his wife, Janie, enjoying trips to Galveston or South Padre Island and would put Texas beaches up against any other ocean destination. Another favorite of Randy’s?  San Antonio – because it’s just the perfect tourist destination. Randy has covered the entire state on a motorcycle; everything from the windy western plains through the pines of East Texas and all the way down to South Padre Island. One of his more memorable trips on his Harley was  his first ride across Texas, covering the highways from Amarillo to Texarkana to El Paso.

Randy’s other hobbies aside from traveling include golf and watching the Dallas Cowboys. Randy grew up a Cowboys fan, like so many of his fellow Texans, enjoying the glory days of the 70s and the 90s. Being a dedicated Cowboys fan, he continues to watch and support them, hoping for a return to those glory days. He and Janie are empty nesters and take advantage of the freedom that brings.  They enjoy attending concerts and saw the Eagles perform at the American Airline Center in Dallas right before the pandemic. 

When Randy steps away from public service, he and Janie will continue to enjoy golfing, traveling, going to concerts, and “just hanging out.”  But Randy will also have time to reflect on a long and storied career in public service.  He doesn’t think any moment in time will stand out, but rather just how his life affected others as a whole. It is gratifying for Randy to know that he has done things that have improved peoples’ lives, whether that be quality of life or making sure that the responsibilities that city officials have, concerning the provision of things that people need for life, are carried out. “At whatever point my career ends - to have spent that career with that dedication.” The other gratification would come in the relationships he has formed – whether it be within the organizations and communities he has been a part of or even the relationships developed with the Board and with Pool staff.

The interview wrapped up with one of the most common questions asked if trying to give the reader real insight – who would Randy dine with if he had the choice?  His answer – simple and heartfelt – his grandparents. As Randy explained it, his grandparents passed when he was young, so he never knew them as an adult. While he was extremely fond of them as a child, he would love to sit down with both over lunch and just talk about life.

The Risk Pool’s Board is comprised of trustees who work in local government, are dedicated to public service, and understand the day-to-day challenges that are being faced. To learn more about your Board Members, visit the Risk Pool website. Other editions of Meet a Trustee can be found on the blog located in the news dropdown at the top of the page.

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