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Milton employee motivated to write science fiction


City manager inspires staff to reach goals



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David Frizzell, city of Milton’s IT manager, in his workspace. BETSY RHAME-MINOR. (click for larger version)
January 15, 2013
MILTON, Ga. — A couple of years ago, David Frizzell and his coworkers were in a staff meeting led by Milton City Manager Chris Lagerbloom where they wrote down the goals, both personal and professional, that they would like to achieve in their lifetime.

"He was helping us refine what our dreams are," said Frizzell, the city's information technology manager. "The motivation to get started happened here. A lot of the IT life is reaction. [Lagerbloom] really encouraged [us] to think forward…to think of the possibilities."

When the Milton employees had their short list of goals, each person was given an accountability partner to help keep track of those goals.

Team-building activities such as the goal setting exercise are what Lagerbloom said helps his employees achieve work-life balance and become a tighter-knit group.

"People care about you," said Lagerbloom. "[That's a] healthy work environment."

Frizzell, who has had writing as a hobby since he was a child, has gotten the motivation to write with a purpose from his work at Milton's city hall.

Frizzell realized then that he'd always wanted to write a novel, so in the meeting he made the decision to do just that.

He's in the process of writing a science fiction series of novels. The first book of the series is in the editing stage, and he is writing parts of the second and third books.

Lagerbloom isn't the only Milton city employee who has encouraged Frizzell in his writing.

After he finished a draft of the first book, Frizzell asked several friends both at work and outside of work to read the novel and give him feedback.

"They've given me more ideas on ways to branch out I hadn't thought of before," Frizzell said.

Each day after he gets home from work, Frizzell says he immediately sits down to start writing. Last year, he even took two weeks of vacation just to work on the book.

It's been a fun process for Frizzell.

"Being able to put new ideas down is always rewarding," Frizzell said.

Frizzell makes sure his new ideas are understandable.

"If you can relate it in a way that makes sense to people," he said. "I explain IT in the same way."

He's responsible for computers, printers, servers, security codes and virus protection for Milton's 150 employees, most of whom have a computer. He runs audio/visual equipment for town council meetings and creates the city's IT budget. He stays on top of the latest technology and knows when something would work well for Milton employees.

For example, Milton's council members will soon have iPads, saving paper and ink during their meetings.

A large part of his job is educating city employees about their machines and how they work. The best way he's found to explain new information is to use an analogy that will make sense to his listener.

"You take something that's foreign and make it relatable," Frizzell said. "That helps me in my writing too."

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