Patterson spoke to a class of 24 students taught by OCC adjunct faculty Cynthia Peterson at the Highland Lakes campus. Peterson is also a county employee—she trains and supports police officers in the technology they use in their jobs.
Brooks, who has been County Executive since 1992, says his team is well recognized and sought after by others around the state and credits them for his continued success.
A good leader is born to lead but is also good at applying life lessons to their work, Patterson told students. Leaders will express their vision, set expectations and “get out of the way” so others can do their job, he said.
“As long as everyone is rowing in the same direction, goals will be reached,” he added.
Patterson spoke about some of his team’s top accomplishments, saying he is most proud of the county’s Emerging Sectors program, whose goal was to bring high-tech, knowledge-based sector jobs to Oakland County. These emerging sectors include healthcare, automotive, robotics and automation, and communications and information technology.
In one example, the initiative predicted job growth in healthcare and programs were created to fit this prediction. One in five employees in Oakland County currently has a healthcare-related job. More than 60% of new jobs in Oakland County are in economic sectors identified in Patterson’s Emerging Sectors program.
He concluded by saying that good leaders need to be willing to “plant seeds and let them grow.”
Praising staff is important, he added. “I always credit my staff when it’s time to recognize good work.”