Dan Rich, who had been with the city of Campbell since 2005, began his job in Mountain View on July 25 where he will now be responsible for the provision of services to a city of 74,066 people compared with Campbell's 39,349.
Mountain View Patch sat down with Dan Rich for 30 minutes on the morning of Monday, Aug. 8 at the to talk about his transition from Campbell. Rich ordered a pomegranate raspberry tea–he doesn't drink coffee, he explained–and a buttered croissant, which he broke off into pieces and ate between questions.
Mountain View Patch: (Before we had a chance to ask whether he preferred an iPhone, Android phone or Blackberry, he began to buzz and pulled a Blackberry out of his pocket). Is that a personal phone or work phone?
Dan Rich: Both.
Patch: So you are a Blackberry, not an iPhone or Android user?
Rich: I'm Blackberry as of now. I've had this one for a few years. I actually avoided having a smart phone for a long time. I know that being a City Manager is a 24/7 job and you need to be available nights and weekends. I didn't want to be checking my emails 24/7, so I avoided it for a very long time, but it's a helpful tool.
As part of the details of my contract, I have a phone allowance. So, it's my personal phone and I get reimbursed by the city for a portion to compensate me for the business use of it.
Patch: Mac or PC?
Rich: I'm a PC guy at home, although I'm becoming more Mac. I just got an iPad. My wife has a Mac and my daughter just got a Mac. I'm in both worlds.
Patch: In the Bay Area, where are some of your favorite day trips to go on?
Rich: I like to go over to the coast, Half Moon Bay. Go hiking. My wife and I just Saturday, just went–there are so many parks in the area and I've lived here almost my entire life and I still don't know most of them–we went to this small preserve outside of Woodside, part of the Peninsula Open Space Trust. I'd never heard of it. We were going to be in that general area and I looked it up on the map and it was great.
There are so many resources in the Bay Area, the beach. I grew up in San Francisco and I go up there. We've got it all. There's no place better than the Bay Area.
Patch: Did you grow up a sci-fi fan?
Rich: Nah, not really.
Patch: So you don't have a preference between Star Trek or Star Wars?
Rich: I grew up with the real Star Trek, with William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The others aren't real to me. But I also grew up in San Francisco near the theatre where Star Wars played in. It was probably the first time ever, I remember the line going, literally, around three blocks.
Patch: If you had a superhero power, what would it be?
Rich: (laugh) Oh, that's a tough one. (repeats questions to self) Funny we were just watching some kid's movie recently, where all these kids had different superhero powers and I'm trying to remember the different once they had.
My gut is saying vision, to be able to see anything, but I'm not sure I would want that actually.
I'd want the ability to create a protective sphere. To protect people from danger, injury. Sort of like the papa bear, thinking of my kids. If I could create a cacoon around them.
Patch: Do you play video games?
Rich: My kids play...we do have a Wii and we'll do the basic Wii with them...I'm not a big gamer. I'm just beyond that generation. I remember Pong, Atari. The only thing you did was go back and forth, and back and forth, and that was amazingly cool. I'm still stuck in that ancient generation.
Patch: What's the longest time you've been awake working?
Rich: I never did an all-nighter in college. That's probably why I never started drinking coffee. I'm very proud of the fact that I never stayed up all night. I stayed up all night once in grad school, but because I needed to—it was one of those group projects. Everyone was staying up, even though there was nothing to do.
In Campbell, we never had a meeting during my tenure that went past 10 o'clock. I came to visit one of the meeting here, it was about the San Antonio Development, and finally around 11:15 p.m. I said, 'I gotta go home.' I'm not used to this. I have to build up my tolerance level.
Knock on wood, I've never had to activate an EOC (emergency operations center) for an earthquake or flood. I've been pretty lucky.