City’s new PR guru no stranger to Chandler or his chosen profession

By Diana Whittle

diana matt burdick picThe city of Chandler has announced that Matt Burdick
is its new communications and public affairs
director. Burdick assumes the high-profile position
from Nachie Marquez, who recently was promoted to serve
as the city’s assistant city manager.
Burdick’s broad-ranging responsibilities will include
directing communications for all city departments, along
with video production, oversight of the city’s website,
publications and other initiatives designed to enhance the
Chandler’s image locally, statewide and nationally.
Burdick has worked for the Arizona Department of
Transportation since 1996 and became a Chandler resident
the same year.
His educational background includes both bachelor’s
and master’s degrees from ASU. Burdick was born in Iowa,
but moved to the Valley as a teenager and graduated from
Mesa’s Mountain View High School.
His immediate family includes wife, Laura, daughter
Olivia, and son Quinn.
Following is a Q&A examining the plans and hopes of
Chandler’s new communications leader:

What interested you about moving into city
government after such a long tenure at a state
“I had the opportunity to work with the city of
Chandler, its residents and businesses during the
development of the Price and Santan freeways.
Those experiences provided me direct insight into the
way in which Chandler city government is run, the quality
of its employees, and the policy direction set by the mayor
and council.
I know that I live in a great community and that I’m
joining a quality organization that serves its residents,
businesses and employees with pride.
This opportunity allows me to bring my skills and
experiences to the City of Chandler to keep residents,
businesses and stakeholders informed through timely
communication and useful information that benefits the
I’ll have the opportunity to develop communication
programs that will help build upon the efforts of the mayor
and council, all city departments and employees along with
Chandler businesses, residents and stakeholders, as well as
shaping the image and direction of this community.”

What similar experiences will you bring to the
“I am accustomed to working with people of diverse
professional backgrounds – public safety, engineering,
finance, legal, technology and administrative – to
communicate on behalf of an organization.
I also am experienced in communicating with elected
officials, journalists, business officials and residents using a
variety of communication methods and tools.
I have experience in all facets of communication
and the responsibilities of directing a department-level
communication organization for a government agency.
I’ll use my skills and experiences to lead the high
performing communication team already established
at the city of Chandler. So, in that respect, there will be
I understand the proximity of city staff to its elected
officials, businesses and residents. In my prior job,
decisions and communications had to be balanced to serve
a statewide audience.
My new position will require me to be highly
knowledgeable about Chandler, establish relationships in
the community and understand how best to share news and
The breadth of topics that I’ll be involved with, from a
communication standpoint, also will be broader to cover
all city services, economic development issues and tourism,
rather than focused on transportation and its related
programs exclusively.”

ADOT has a strong track record in public
participation and community outreach. What
lessons did you learn from working directly with
residents that will be valuable in Chandler?
“Public involvement and community outreach has
been a significant part of my career. No one likes to be
surprised by a project and its impacts. It’s vital to establish
relationships and communication channels beyond the life
of a specific plan or project.
The key is to communicate with people before, during
and after a project. Doing so helps to understand the
impact of decisions on a project, how best to communicate
with them and then obtain the lessons learned to apply on
future projects.
Visual and in-person communication is important to
help people understand an issue, communicate how their
input will be used to make decisions and to keep people
informed as the project progresses.”

What do you see as your role in working with
city leaders and will that differ in any way from
your contact with elected officials?
“My role is to lead a communications department
that provides assistance to the City Council, city manager
and city departments to disseminate public information,
manage issues that arise, and provide communications
services that help the city fulfill its mission, achieve goals
and support day-to-day operations.
The development and production of city
communication materials, ranging from news materials
and video productions to publications and web content,
will continue to be a primary area of focus.
Doing so effectively contributes to a high-performing
organization and creates a positive image of Chandler
among employees, residents, businesses, visitors, civic
groups and other governments.
I understand the importance of communicating with
the mayor and councilmembers. As a communication
staff, we’ll continue to provide information and assistance
to the City Council to communicate information, answer
questions from residents and work to research and resolve
Our assistance also will extend to the development of
a variety of written correspondence and the production of
Cable Channel 11 shows.”

What is your philosophy on releasing public
records and replying to media inquiries?
“Chandler is recognized for providing open, honest and
timely communication.
Using technology and communication tools, like its
website, Chandler makes information easily accessible
to the public. Staff members actively seek to provide
assistance to residents and answer inquiries received
in-person, by phone or via the web site, email and mail.
Chandler communication staff has developed and
maintained strong working relationships with the media
to effectively disseminate newsworthy information to
residents and businesses.
It also uses a variety of city-managed communication
tools to provide useful municipal information to residents,
businesses and visitors.
This organizational commitment to communication
and proactive efforts to make information accessible is
one of the reasons I was attracted to work for the city of
I’ve experienced the benefits of this approach as a
resident and I’m committed to sustain this philosophy.
I’ll also listen to suggestions and explore opportunities to
improve upon this philosophy.”