Alumni Testimonials

Mike Gent

, Class of 2013
The quality and legacy of the university by itself is remarkable enough, but the support, encouragement, and challenge really made it all possible and worthwhile.
Mike Gent, Class of 2013

Q: “Tell us a bit about your life, Mike.”
A: “I live in Tacoma, Washington with my wife of 16 years and two beautiful children. We are very involved in our church and community; otherwise, our world mostly revolves around our children and their activities.” 

Q: “What is your current employer?”
A: “I work for the City of Tacoma as the solid waste management fleet operations manager. I am responsible for the procurement and operation of more than 80 garbage and recycling trucks, assorted heavy machinery, and a small fleet of about 30 trucks and cars. I am also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.” 

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “I love to learn and want to become as knowledgeable and qualified as possible to lead within my organization and fulfill my responsibilities to the best of my ability.”

Q: “How did you come to choose Norwich?”
A: “Norwich is one of only two universities in the country to offer an MPA degree with a concentration in public works. The current APWA national president at that time is a member of the faculty of Norwich and a former APWA state chapter president that I visited with had just received his MPA from Norwich and spoke passionately about his experience. The online program was rated very highly by many reputable sources and fit my needs as a professional, father and husband. The admissions advisor, Kinshire King, who assisted me, was extremely helpful and encouraging. I felt ‘wanted’ by Norwich in a very positive way.” 

Q: “What makes Norwich unique?”
A: “The quality and legacy of the university by itself is remarkable enough, but the support, encouragement, and challenge really made it all possible and worthwhile.” 

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “This program helped me focus my time and resources on acquiring the knowledge and experience necessary to move forward professionally. Achieving the degree has provided a sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence that benefits me personally and professionally. My experience with Norwich has helped me to be more aware of my own ability and competence and the value I provide to my organization.”

Q: “Please tell us about any examples where you were able to put your knowledge to work immediately at your job.”
A: “I regularly used my classwork, including readings, discussions, and papers to help augment and improve my efforts at work. I used my capstone studies to increase my background knowledge and gain expertise in converting our garbage truck fleet from diesel trucks to CNG powered trucks, which will have significant economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits for our community. This conversion will decrease air and noise pollution on literally every street in our city each week. My studies have helped me become a key manager in the conversion process. The capstone project also served as the basis of a grant application to the EPA, through their Diesel Emissions Reduction Act which could award up to $350,000 to our agency to accelerate this transition.”

Q: “What aspects of Norwich will you carry most strongly with you?”
A: “The knowledge gained, the camaraderie of my classmates and professors, and the major life accomplishment of earning a graduate degree will be a great source of comfort and confidence as I move forward in life.”

Q: “Is there anything else you wish to share about your Norwich experience?”
A: “I did not know what to expect from my residency experience and was even a little apprehensive about it, but it was incredible. Norwich University has a special formula for its students that helped really cement how special my achievement was and how connected I can be to the greater Norwich family. Prior to the residency, I was grateful to Norwich for providing a path to my degree, but did not feel a strong connection to the university itself. After the deep and meaningful residency experience, I consider myself a proud Norwich alumnus and a very vocal advocate for others considering these programs as they seek ways to turn their personal vision into reality.”