Cultivating His Own Future
PROVO, Utah – Nov 26, 2021 – BYU Marriott School of Business alum Ed Thatcher grew up on a farm, and he learned that farming was long, hard work that lasted from early in the morning to late in the evening. Thatcher worked six days a week and even had a few chores that had to be done on Sunday. There wasn’t even time for summer vacation. Though many enjoy the farming lifestyle, Thatcher decided living on a farm wasn’t for him.
That decision was made while Thatcher was standing in the middle of a field in in Idaho. “I’m going to get a college degree,” he remembers telling himself. “I’ll get a job where I only have to work from eight to five o’clock, with my weekends off.”
Following that moment, Thatcher’s life became full of one change after another. After graduating in 1977 from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a sociology minor, he earned his MPA from BYU Marriott in 1979. “I’m so proud to be a graduate of BYU that I wear that pride on my sleeve, jacket, and bumper sticker,” says Thatcher.
The education and guidance he received from professors at BYU Marriott helped him jump into working as an assistant city manager in Abilene, Texas, where he was mentored by Ed Seegmiller, who was city manager. After working for the city of Abilene and then in his first official city manager position in Navasota, Texas, Thatcher’s next job would prove to be one of the biggest challenges he faced in city management.
Upon moving to Rosenberg, Texas, in 1986, Thatcher realized a lot of work had to be done to rebuild the city’s management structure. For example, when he was heading to a meeting in the city’s boardroom, his secretary stopped him, saying that the room was too small. After relocating to a larger council chamber “there seemed to be two hundred employees and about forty-five directors,” Thatcher remembers. Instead of one director being appointed to every department, there was a director in every office within each department. Thatcher had to divide everyone into different offices, which required a lot of change.
Throughout the rest of his career, Thatcher continued to be known as a "change agent.” He helped rebuild and strengthen city management throughout Texas, from Greenville to Garland to Mount Pleasant.
Although he’s officially retired, Thatcher is currently working as a city manager for Mount Pleasant. He and his wife, Debbie, have six sons, five of whom are continuing his legacy as they serve the community by working in municipal government. A sixth son is serving the medical community as a neurointerventional surgeon.
Whether he’s moving from city to city or watching his sons make a difference in the world, Thatcher continues to be an advocate for change. “You know what they say. ‘There’s only one thing that’s constant, and that’s change,’” Thatcher says. “If you see things that are good, leave them be. If you find things that can be improved, improve upon them. You want to be able to say, ‘Things are better now because I was here—not because of what I did but because of what I enabled others to do.’”
Thatcher has certainly accomplished that throughout his career as a city manager and his roles as a student, husband, and father—a life that he couldn’t have imagined as he stood in a vast farm field as a boy, wishing for change.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Rebecca Nissen