Alumni in the News

Mr. Seth E. Atkinson – B.S., Economics, 2003; B.S., Finance, 2003; M.S., Applied Economics, 2005

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When Seth Atkinson studied finance and economics at Utah State University, he envisioned himself finding work in the private sector. But after he earned his master’s degree in applied economics from the same school, he took a job as a budget analyst for the city of Park City, Utah, where he enjoyed the chance to see his work turn into positive results for the community. “I guess I was kind of bitten by the bug. I just really enjoyed it,” Atkinson said. “It was really exciting for me to be involved in policy making, influencing through recommendations.” Now, he will take the reins as Sandy’s City Manager, ascending to the position after more than five years as the city’s finance director and assistant to the city manager. Atkinson will take over for Scott Lazenby, who took the same position for the city of Lake Oswego earlier this year. Atkinson noted that Lazenby helped groom him for a future as a city manager, although it was never assumed he would end up being Lazeby’s successor. “I could not have asked for a better mentor,” said Atkinson, who enjoys spending time in the outdoors, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing and camping. “He is just such a great manager, he is so well respected among his peers and in the community.” Lazenby described Atkinson as “bright, a hard worker, energetic and productive,” while noting the scenario of Atkinson taking over had crossed his mind in the past. “I was hoping this was the outcome when I would move on,” Lazenby said. “I’m just so pleased that it would work out. I think the city can’t go wrong.” The council considered using a search firm for the hiring process, but in notes prepared by Lazenby for a July 1 council meeting it was estimated the search could take up to six months and cost the city as much as $15,000. By offering the position to Atkinson, the city saved the expenses involved in the search and will not have to find an interim city manager. Sandy Mayor Bill King noted that the city council met with all the department heads to ask for input on the next city manager, with everyone voicing their support for Atkinson. In the end, the council offered Atkinson the position, who will officially take over on Aug. 1. “His honesty, integrity and just the qualities he has as a person gave the council as a whole a lot of confidence in him,” King said. “It was a no-brainer for us.” Jeremy Pietzold, Sandy City Council President, added that Atkinson understands the city’s culture and its unique programs that have been developed under Lazenby and that Atkinson has already developed relationships with the city staff, all of which should help make the transition an easy one. “We didn’t believe that we could find another person out there that could do a better job than Seth could do for the City of Sandy,” Pietzold said. “I think it will be very seamless. I think the community, in the short run, won’t know the difference.” Atkinson noted one of his first tasks will be to find a new finance director for the city, to assume his old duties. But he’s now looking forward to putting in the time and effort to help Sandy City Council make the best decisions they can. “I loved it in Park City, I think I’m going to love it even more as the city manager here in Sandy,” he said.