Young Professional 2019: Angela Pashon

Angela Pashon, Policy analyst and interim city clerk for the City of Pasco

Angela Pashon (Photo courtesy Rich Breshears of Breshears Photography)

Age and hometown: 29, Puyallup

How long have you worked for the City of Pasco? 3 years

Describe your company: The city of Pasco is a municipality providing services to nearly 74,000 residents. As a council-manager form of government, residents elect seven council governing body (city council) who serve as the legislative body and the community’s policy makers. The council appoints a professional manager (city manager) to implement city council policies and establishment of operating policies and processes. The city has 380 full-time staff providing services from utilities, road maintenance and parks to public safety (ambulance, fire and police). Pasco’s population grew to nearly 74,000 in 2018 and is expected to grow by 50,000 more in the next 20 years. As one of the fastest growing communities in the state, the city is challenged to provide superior service levels and maintain and implement essential infrastructure, while meeting the demands of its growing public while valuing its community history.

Education: Master’s in public administration, Eastern Washington University and bachelor’s in business administration, Washington State University

Family? Pets? Boyfriend (Jake) and a black lab (Roscoe) and German Shepherd (Nash) that keep us very busy.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 3 years

What word describes you? Determined

Biggest flaw? Wanting to do everything

Biggest pet peeve? Not following through

Dream vacation? European adventure

Favorite book? “The Power of Noticing” by Max H. Bazerman

Favorite movie? “Elf” or “The Holiday”

Favorite musician? Miranda Lambert

Favorite sports team? Football

Favorite website or app? Instagram

Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Frost Me Sweet

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Walk along the river with the dogs.

What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I didn’t enjoy reading until about a year ago.

Describe your job and how you got into it: When I graduated from Washington State University, I was determined to work in human resources. I applied for several positions, interviewed and came in as the runner-up for the jobs. At the time, of course, it was discouraging, but I seemed to be someone people saw something in and while I did not land my “dream job,” I was offered positions in other areas of the organizations. Working in other areas helped me see there were other fields I had not explored.

My first experience in municipal government was as the staff assistant in the mayor’s office at the city of Spokane. The experience opened my eyes to what a local government can provide and what the public expects from it. The climate in Spokane was different from what I grew up knowing local government to be, but the experience solidified my desire to establish a career in local government.

When I applied at the city of Pasco, I went for a position in human resources, but again, I ended up somewhere else in the organization. Being a smaller municipality, I engaged in areas that I was not able to in Spokane – budgeting, policy and planning. I pushed the scope of my position, stumbling and learning along the way. As I became more involved, a new position as a policy analyst opened and I was selected. Since beginning in the position in November 2017, I have helped the police department become nationally accredited, assisted finance in developing the city’s first biennial budget and conducted research for projects, programs and policies. One of the projects I am working on is implementing policy management software throughout the city. The system will provide greater access to city policies for the community and improve internal efficiencies to respond to public record requests, maintain training records and be an online repository for current and previous city standards. Another project is implementing a citizen engagement platform for the community. This project will allow the community to report items such as potholes and traffic concerns, or request information on city services, while also providing updates to the requester as the item is processed and resolved. Having a system to track these requests will help the city improve its processes and communicate more effectively with the community. In the beginning of 2019, the city clerk position was vacated, and I was selected to serve as the interim city clerk to evaluate current practices and assist in the reshaping the position. I had never considered this role, but it has taught me a great deal. As an aspiring city manager, each experience is a learning opportunity, and as I continue to advance, I cannot see myself working in another field.

Who are your mentors? I consider my first mentor my director at University of Washington Medicine, Lauren Gums. Being outside my industry, her perspective and experience challenge me to see things differently than those in the industry might. Being able to turn to someone not involved in the industry provides objective advice that can be used to continue my development.

Richa Sigdel, finance director at city of Pasco, is someone I highly respect. Having a mentor who pushes you to look at opportunities that challenge you or even make you question if they are the right choice for you is something I think everyone should have. Being uncomfortable is where you learn the most about your abilities and you will accomplish things you didn’t know were possible.

Toughest career decision? The decision to step into a role that I was not sure I wanted and was unsure if it would be the right career move. This has occurred several times, and what I have learned is that each position has lessons that come with it. Instead of looking at whether the job is the right one, I have started looking at whether the opportunity is the right one. While a job can be great to help advance a career, the intangibles such as whether the position will challenge my abilities, if it will allow work-life balance, and if I can continue with activities outside of the position (such as development opportunities and community involvement) are vital to my decision-making now.

What do you like most/least about your job? I love that there is always something to learn. From the countless plans to the emerging issues that come from a changing community, I am able to continue being a lifelong learner and it keeps me grounded and eager to come back every day.

What I like least is that there is always more to learn. No matter how much we know, there are always factors we cannot anticipate. In this field, we are making the best choices with the information we have at a specific moment. We can never make everyone happy, and, even with extensive research and due diligence, decisions will affect the lives in our community in different ways.

What was your first job? I worked at McDonald’s in high school. I learned a lot that I still bring with me every day.

  • Routine in work tasks is hard for me, even though I need routine in everyday life. It took me a long time to realize that knowing a little about a lot was a blessing. I could be put anywhere and still make a positive impact on the team’s success.
  • Respect everyone. Being on the other end of the counter teaches you humility and to treat everyone the way you want to be treated even if you do not get your way.
  • Emulate managers’ qualities you admire; remember those you do not. If you are looking at the qualities of those around you, you are dedicating yourself to learning. When you apply those admirable qualities, you are committed to growing.
  • Working hard is fun. If you enjoy what you are doing, life is a lot more fun.

How do you achieve work-life balance? By setting priorities and remembering that work will always be there. I am fortunate to have understanding family and friends who provide space for my work to expand. This support allows me to participate in development opportunities and further advance my career. I continue to work on being present in whatever I am doing, which requires dedicated time away from work. I am also routine-oriented as I find structure is the best way for me to stay productive and efficient. I am the person who schedules time with friends and family, usually in advance, so I can get everything I need to do done, which enables me to show up for them.

Community involvement and service: I have been involved in the community since I was a kid. Both my parents work in the public sector and growing up I enjoyed working in the community with them. At the age of 13, I filled out an application to volunteer at our animal shelter. I spent nearly every Saturday volunteering until I was 16, when I started working. Throughout college, I volunteered at different events and when I moved home from college, I realized a big part of my life was missing—giving back to my community. I began volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation when I lived in Tacoma and continued when I relocated to Spokane for graduate school. At the city of Spokane, I managed the Spokane Gives initiative and was able to work with community entities, nonprofits and volunteers to help implement a month of volunteering.

When I moved to the Tri-Cities to work at the city of Pasco, I had two goals my first year:

  1. Get involved in the United Way Young Leaders Society.
  2. Get into Leadership Tri-Cities.

I achieved both. More recently, my involvement with United Way has opened my eyes to the needs in our community and why it is important to have advocates in our community. Leadership Tri-Cities was an incredible learning opportunity for a newcomer to the region. Going through the program made me cognizant of the needs and opportunities here.

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