Strategy specialist aims for innovation

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published February 27, 2018

 Tom Talbert

Tom Talbert

ROCHESTER HILLS — City officials said they can’t emphasize enough the importance of the word “innovation.”  

It is in the name of the city’s newest park, Innovation Hills. The motto “innovative by nature” is at the top of the city’s website. And it is in the title of the city’s new employee, Strategic Innovations Specialist Tom Talbert.

After a few weeks on the job, Talbert said he has been busy meeting with city directors and the mayor, listening to them and their ideas.

“We are focusing on ways to become even more innovative,” Talbert said. “With efficiency, finding easier ways to get projects done with technology and providing services to residents.”

The first round of meetings left Talbert looking at proposals that make the most sense.

 “The first role is discovery and understanding,” he said. “Then prioritizing. There is no shortage of ideas.”

In-house strategy plans and those from outside will be reviewed.

“There are a lot of great ideas here and from other places as well, including the private sector,” Talbert said.  

Talbert said he aims to provide leadership for new initiatives and special projects. He will assist departments with the creation and implementation of new programs and technologies, will develop strategic partnerships with businesses and nonprofits, and will develop data analytics to improve operations.

A graduate of Albion College, Talbert served as managing director and executive vice president of the Campbell Ewald advertising agency for 29 years and has been a Rochester Hills resident for 30 years.

“We look forward to having Tom bring his private-sector perspective to local government and strengthen our efforts,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a statement. “Whether it’s implementing a best practice or taking on new technologies, our team has always looked to be innovative by nature.”

According to city officials, Talbert’s annual salary is $81,234.

“It is an honor for me to take on this new position, Talbert, 58, said. “I’ve spent my career working within innovative environments and creating changes and business success for clients. Now I get to do that for the city I love.”