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MPA grad McIntyre says work at State Department is like running mini-city overseas

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When Matthew Roth (MPA 2016) contacted the School to let us know that both he and John McIntyre (MPA 1996) are assigned as Deputy Chiefs of Missions in U.S. embassies overseas, we knew we needed to hear more. This position is one of great responsibility and has fascinating parallels to local government management.

In this particular alumni spotlight, we’ll focus on John McIntyre.

On a whim, John took the Foreign Service exam for the U.S. State Department (joining it in September, 1999), and now almost 18 years later he is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the post he first served at, Trinidad and Tobago. John assumed his current position in July, 2016.

Prior to joining the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs office of Policy, Planning and Resources as the Managing Director for Resources, John was the Management Counselor for U.S. Embassy Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

John’s other tours include: Kabul (Program Manager, Strategic Communications), Brunei (Deputy Chief of Mission), Under Secretary for Management (Special Assistant), EUR-IO/EX (Post Management Officer), Kosovo (Management Officer), Panama (Political/Counselor Officer) and Trinidad and Tobago (General Services Officer).

Prior to joining the Department, John worked for the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. He also worked for the Kansas Legislature as a Performance Auditor.

We were happy to catch up with John despite his busy travel schedule and interview him.
Q. How did you hear about the School’s MPA program as a prospective student?
A: I was thinking about going to law school but then thought, “Why do I want to do that?” I liked the idea of working with the government and started looking at grad schools and the MPA program at KU seemed like an amazing program. Highly rated and they helped you get a real job with practical experience in government while you were in school.

Q: What were your hopes for your time at KU?
A: I wanted to learn how to be a good practitioner and leader in government service.

Q: What is something that you learned while in the program that assists you to this day?
A: I learned that, while there is overlap between the public and private sector, they are NOT the same.

Q: What is your favorite memory of being in the program?
A: All of my fellow full time student classmates were and are amazing people. Also, I am thankful for all the professors and staff in the program but especially Joe Harkins and Bev Vogel. They were really helpful to me while I was working in Topeka and finishing up the program.

Q: What would you tell a prospective student about this program?
A: Uh, apply right now. [Editor’s note: The application deadline for the career-option MPA is May 1 for early admission and June 15 for regular admission.]

I still think about KU and living in Lawrence all the time. I have seen and lived in some amazing places but the KU campus and Lawrence is still easily in the very top of my list of places I have and would want to study, work, and live, in the entire world. Without hesitation or qualification. Also, city management is great but consider the State Department if you want to run a mini-city overseas (i.e. an Embassy management operation).

Q: Finish this sentence: “I’m most proud of…”
A: Goes without saying, my wife and my children… and then the Denver Broncos.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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