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DSL Program Provided Practical Knowledge for Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager

Dr. Ken Chandler. Image courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach.
Dr. Ken Chandler. Image courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach.

When Dr. Kenneth Chandler ’15 (School of Business & Leadership) was searching for a program beyond his master’s degree, he knew he wanted something different — he wanted answers. After a preview event at Regent University where he learned about the hands-on experience the Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) offers, Chandler was sold. The knowledge he gained now helps him in his role as a deputy city manager of Virginia Beach.

“I wanted something that would have me roll up my sleeves to work with tools, techniques and connectivity that would help me move the mountain forward, and it did every bit of that,” Chandler said. “They said the DSL was going to be hands-on with practical knowledge you could use every day, and it has been truthful in every sense of the word.”

While earning his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in 1987, Chandler began in Urban Studies but then changed to Public Relations & Mass Communications. He then went on to work in local government and earned a Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University in 1996.

With the desire for practical knowledge and experience that goes beyond theory, the DSL met Chandler’s expectations. One of his first assignments was to create a mock business. That project is now Quest Strategic Solutions LLC, a consulting firm that has been active for over four years.

“When I sit in a room, it’s not so much about being Dr. Chandler as it is feeling that I am very equipped to be poised and listen to the situation and circumstances I am dealing with,” Chandler said.

Chandler stated that working collectively with colleagues to deal with societal issues can be a challenge, but the DSL taught him to have strategic foresight and an understanding of the impact his decisions will make.

“Community sustainability has a long-term lens, and the DSL teaches us to look out 20, 30 or 40 plus years from now,” Chandler said. “The principles taught in the DSL enable you to figure out what you are dealing with, what the possible remedies might be, and what the impact of those remedies are.”

The program also prepared him spiritually. As a person of strong faith, Chandler appreciated the religious platform that set a course for a true walk in Christ. Furthermore, the DSL made him recognize his true ministry.

“We all have a ministry of some sort and mine is public service, which means meeting people where they are and helping them envision where they want to be,” Chandler said. “Regent does a really good job of helping you realize that you are supposed to do something, and I’m appreciative for that exposure and experience.”

With over 28 years of experience in local government, Chandler became a deputy city manager of Virginia Beach in July 2016. He oversees the department of human services, libraries, parks and recreation, human resources, public health, organizational development and volunteer resources.