By day, Bret Brodersen is a senior financial accountant for the state of Washington, setting policies for state employees’ travel rules and solving problems about financial processes. He’s also the Mayor of Tenino, working to get the city of 1700 people back on a firm financial footing.
By night, Brodersen turns into a full-time student, working on his MBA at Brandman University’s Lacey campus. “It’s been quite a change to go back to school, but I’ve enjoyed it,” says Brodersen. “I had class one night a week and everything else is online. It’s a great thing for a full-time employee, an elected official, and a father to be able to do.”
Brodersen jumped into his state job right after graduation from Central Washington University with a BS in Accounting in 1999. “Every day, there’s something different since I’m a contact person for state agencies when there are questions about how to process something (related to accounting),” says Brodersen. “I’m someone willing to do the research to figure out how to solve a problem.”
That ability to ‘problem solve’ serves him well in his role as Tenino’s mayor. Brodersen first entered politics on the Tenino City Council in 2010 to serve an unexpired term. He ran to complete the term in 2012, and in June of 2013, Brodersen was appointed mayor after the previous mayor resigned. He’ll serve in that role until the fall of 2015, and has clear goals he wants to achieve. “I want to return the city to a better financial position,” he says. “The economic downturn hit this city hard and we had to cut back services. We’re working to restore some things, like the city’s Quarry Pool.”
Tenino’s unique Quarry Pool draws people from all over the region during the summer months. A former sandstone quarry converted to a swimming pool, Brodersen says it’s one of the key outdoor activities for families and kids in Tenino. And here’s where Brodersen’s Brandman University MBA course is helping out. In one of his marketing classes, a student group put together a marketing plan for the Quarry Pool in hopes of increasing awareness and donations to keep the pool open. “I hope we can get a marketing plan in place,” says Brodersen.
It’s that application to real life that Brodersen says he appreciates about his Brandman professors. “My professors have real world experience, and they provide real world examples,” he says. “Having someone who works outside of academia helps add to the experience of learning.”
Brodersen expects to receive his MBA June 2015. He hopes the advanced degree will help advance his career with the state, and he’s considering an additional role down the road - that of part-time teacher.
For now, Brodersen is doing a masterful job of juggling his roles as mayor, accountant, father, husband and student. “I want to keep moving forward in 2014.”