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Meet Our Fellows: Dale Bertsch (‘79)

Dale Bertsch, elected in 1979, reflects on his greatest accomplishments from a wide-ranging career in public service and Grand Challenges.

  1. Reflecting on your career, is there a highlight, a greatest accomplishment or a funny story you’d like to share?

There have been many highs.  Most were the result of being privileged to work with or being associated with dedicated professionals.  When looking back most other professionals would probably conclude that my personal high would be the development of the "Dayton Plan" (the first Fair Share Housing Plan) as an obvious choice.  After all it resulted in my being selected as a prescient of the "Rockefeller Award for Outstanding Contribution to a National Concern" in 1976.  That was an honor and received great visibility professionally and nationally. Most of the credit for this achievement actually was the result of associates within my staff and a group of very dedicated public officials.   

However, I consider my appointment to the faculty at The Ohio State University (which was a side result of the previous award) as a greater achievement for a number of reasons.  First it set in motion a different, although compatible, career direction. It permitted me to do research and writing where I had not had time for before.  I allowed me to select the direction of my research and work with a wide variety of professional and elected officials across the state of Ohio and Nationally.  Also, it allowed me to be in a position to work with dedicated young people in their pursuit of graduate studies in Public Policy and Regional Planning from around the globe and possibly influence their contributions to public and growth policy.  This opportunity, afforded to me, had a more lasting impact.  I continue to follow many of their careers.

  1. Looking at the present and into the future, what do you think a public administration “Grand Challenge” is or might be? (Learn more about the Academy’s Grand Challenges initiative on our website!)

Considering the state of our nation today I would say that my choice of a "Grand Challenge" would be to undertake a process which would  "Reestablish Public Service as a Noble Career".   When I began my career it was with great pride and honor that I could be working in the public sector and possibly be a contributor to bettering people’s lives.  Too often today the choice I made would be considered a waste of time.  In talking to a number of high school advisers the choice of public service is seldom considered. 

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