Accepted the Challenge to Guide a CityIn November 2014, Dr. Qiong X. Liu became city manager for the city of North Las Vegas during a very troubled time in the city’s history. The city was under the threat of being taken over by the state due to the severe financial conditions associated with the long-lasting impact of the recession on the local economy.
Today, the city of North Las Vegas is being praised for its business-friendly culture and exceptional customer service, as well as its creative approach to problem solving at various levels of the city government.
To meet the unprecedented financial and organizational challenges, Dr. Liu quickly identified problems and developed a comprehensive plan to address both the financial crisis at-hand and the long-term outlook. She implemented many extremely challenging yet necessary organizational and operational changes. With the support of the city council, as well as collaboration and partnership with department directors and labor groups, she was able to successfully lead the organization to achieve a large-scale reorganization plan as well as resource allocation, and streamlined processes in many areas. Through her efforts, she has helped to transform the city into a progressive and cost-effective organization. She also led the effort to consolidate functions and resources, and eliminated duplicate functions and service contracts based on thorough cost-benefit analyses, which have resulted in millions of dollars of savings.
Born and raised in China, Dr. Liu originally wanted to be an astronaut. But she was urged by her parents to become an engineer. “My father worked in aerospace and was the top graduate in his university in Beijing,” she explained. She was inspired by her father’s work and wanted to follow his career. “He was a big influence for me with his work ethic and determination,” she said.
She obtained her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in transportation economics. In 1990, she came to the United States to pursue her doctoral degree in civil/systems engineering. She is a longtime member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the American Public Works Association and International City Manager Association.
While living and working in Florida, Dr. Liu was attending a conference in Las Vegas in 1999 when she was approached about working for the city of Las Vegas. “I was very impressed by the tremendous growth in the Las Vegas Valley and the unique opportunities induced by the growth. This gave me the opportunity to implement my plans and see them become a reality,” she said. “As an engineer, you want to solve problems and put those solutions to work and [the city of] Las Vegas was ready to implement solutions. I also thought this would be a great place to be creative, be part of the growth and make a difference.”
It was for the same reasons that Dr. Liu joined the North Las Vegas executive team in May 2005 as deputy public works director/city engineer after serving the city of Las Vegas as the transportation planning manager. She was appointed as the deputy city manager in the fall of 2013 and served as the acting city manager for six months before becoming city manager.
Dr. Liu oversees the day-to-day operations and overall budget of the organization that provides full municipal services, including police, fire, public works, water, sewer, library, parks and recreation, economic development, neighborhood and court services to about 240,000 residents. She also serves as the executive director of the North Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency, charged with the economic revitalization of the two redevelopment districts in the mature neighborhoods of the city.
Her leadership and organizational skills enabled the city of North Las Vegas to build the city’s economic development team to implement the city council’s priority and commitment to both development and redevelopment efforts throughout the city. Dr. Qiong X. Liu continues to serve and live as a Fearless Female.