ROCHESTER — Katie Ambrose will become the first woman to serve as city manager when Blaine Cox retires in July.
Ambrose, 36, the deputy city manager and finance director for four years, was approved for the promotion by the City Council Tuesday night after the council accepted Cox’s plan to retire.
“I am honored to serve as the next city manager and to lead such a dedicated team,” Ambrose said. “The mayor and City Council have generated such positive outcomes throughout the city, and I think this is an exciting time to work together for this community.”
“She is certainly a trail blazer in that regard not just in Rochester, but also New Hampshire,” said Mayor Paul Callaghan. “She has shown that she is ready to step into the role, and as we have worked with her, we’ve seen and experienced her excellent qualifications first-hand, so no need to look further. She has Blaine’s confidence, as well as mine, and you can see by the vote at the council meeting, has their confidence as well.”
Ambrose had special thanks for Cox.
“I thank Blaine for his mentorship,” she said. “I am filled with gratitude for leaders like Blaine and all the champions in my corner in supporting my professional development. Blaine fostered a collaborative team, and I am committed to maintaining this culture and quality services as we continue to grow and face new challenges.”
Ambrose served as the town administrator for Sanbornton and project coordinator for Hooksett prior to being hired in Rochester.
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Mentoring Ambrose for city manager job was intentional
Cox said he had Ambrose in mind to replace him when he retired ever since he hired her.
“Personally, I am thrilled that Rochester will have a female city manager,” Cox said. “As far as qualities to be city manager, Katie has them all. She is experienced in municipal management, having served in smaller communities as a town administrator. In addition, Katie has served as Rochester’s deputy city manager and finance director now for four years and has done an outstanding job in this role.”
Cox said Ambrose is very patient, reserved and a skilled listener, which are qualities of a great leader.
“Katie is also very humble and has a great sense of humor, which has fostered respect and loyalty with Rochester’s staff,” he said. “As for succession planning, when I became city manager five years ago, I interviewed many qualified candidates for the position of deputy manager, several in-house candidates as well as several external candidates. I was willing to pass on these otherwise qualified candidates as I was looking for a deputy I felt could be my successor. It took me a year to find the right candidate, which was Katie. Since her hiring, Katie and I have focused upon preparing her for this role.”
“Katie will hit the ground running,” Callaghan said. “She has proven strong people skills and superb communication skills. She has demonstrated she can work with all people across the board. During my time as Mayor I have worked closely not just with Blaine, but also with Katie. Katie has shown that she is very smart, a great listener, able to communicate with city staff, mayor, council at all levels. She is trustworthy, respectful, ethical and approachable. I have found her particularly useful in working on complex financial issues. She has shown skill in addressing citizen concerns.”
Ambrose says she has model to follow
Ambrose said she wants to continue advancing the vision put forth by Cox at the last state of the city event.
“He said the growth of the city should be based on four pillars, the city’s regional economic development, its financial health, the expertise of city staff and the investment in our infrastructure and economic development,” Ambrose said. “My goal is to reinforce and expand those through the growth of city services, our fiscal strength and public engagement. I am ready to take a look at where we’re going next and how we can support our community.”
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As city manager, Ambrose said she plans to focus on reinforcing and building upon Rochester’s strength and success through the integration of supporting growth and services, employee retention, public engagement and fiscal strength.
As she transitions to her new role, Ambrose said she looks forward to fostering the relationships she’s established as deputy city manager.
A New Hampshire native, Ambrose received her bachelor of arts degree in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, and went on to earn a master of science from the University of New Hampshire in integrated coastal ecosystem science, policy and management.