Marshall Taggart Spotlight

By Veronique Nguyen posted 08-27-2019 10:06 PM


  1. How did you become interested in being a public servant?

It started primarily as a young child to be honest. Just seeing my parents giving back to others through church and seeing neighbors helping one another. Professionally, I came to understand while working in the private sector, that opportunities to address and combat issues such as homeless, etc. are few and far between. I found that being a servant, particularly a public servant, was something that in turn could be both rewarding and lucrative and give me personal satisfaction in my career.

  1. What is your professional background?

I serve as the Executive Airport Director for Montgomery Regional Airport. I’ve been in airport buisness for 20 years. I’ve worked at six airports, two large hubs, two medium hubs, one small hub, and one general aviation airport.

  1. How did you first get involved with the NFBPA?

Well that’s a funny story! NFBPA is a great organization. I started out as a graduate student and I’ve been a member since 1995. I attended my first conference in Tampa, Florida in 1995 and had a chance to meet some other students, and one of those students is now running the organization, Mr. Anthony Snipes, our new  president. Some of my other classmates that have served as president and board members of NFBPA are Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, and Johnathan Allen. We were all young eager upstarts. We were considered the “Rat pack of NFBPA”. Now we are flourishing in our careers and our  personal lives. Our kids are either in college or graduated from high school. Overall, it’s been a great organization both for me professionally, as well as personally.

  1. How has being an ELI graduate helped further your career?

The Executive Leadership Institute Program, (ELI)  was probably one of the best experiences that I have engaged in terms of professional development. To go to seven schools and seven destinations to learn about how to become an efficient public administrator and also, to within that space, recognize your blackness, your uniqueness, the diversity. To me that was probably, well definitely a great opportunity. I’m a class of 2009 alum and I really do believe that it helped to propel me to where I am today in this role.

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?

Well I’ll tell you what, there are 24 hours in the day and sometimes you niche each one of those hours to get things done. I’m an early riser, I get up roughly around 4:30 to 5:00 in the morning. I try to meditate and then I in turn think about what I want to achieve in that particular day. Strategically, how you move forward in your career is to really set goals for the organization and understand that you touch people’s lives. One thing that you say to someone can ruin their weekend or can ruin their lives. But, if you in turn, put people first, make sure that they have the right tools to do their jobs and you’re there to promote them, move them forward to the next level, then you are considered a public servant and you have done your job.  

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Public Administration profession?

In my opinion, the biggest issue has to do with two things. One, ethics. People aren’t serving in roles and being ethical. Understanding that they have to have the public’s trust when you’re in these roles and sometimes you’re going to make an error. The key is to just be transparent and say hey, this the process on how I came up with that and how I made that decision, I apologize and you move forward. The other piece is the whole aspect of transparency. I think people clearly need to understand that if you’re going to get in this profession you got to be willing to be transparent, in other words, be in a fish bowl. Every move you make is being scrutinized, analyzed and people are going to be critical, but if you stand your ground, and clearly understand and say to them that your trying to make the best decision that I think based on the information that I have, then you ensure your integrity.

  1. What are you looking forward to most in the next 5 to 10 years?

Well my son graduating from college, getting his two bachelor’s degrees, my wife getting her master’s degree, my daughter graduating from high school and me getting my Ph. D all in the same year, 2021. Those are my educational goals. From a spiritual standpoint, definitely getting closer to God and finding a church home in Montgomery, AL. From an entrepreneur standpoint, becoming an entrepreneur and potentially owning my own business in the next five years.

  1. What is the most rewarding thing about your work?

I think moving something from x to y, and let me explain that. Having this perspective that you are here as a change agent and that you’re moving an organization from being good to great. Jim Collins, the author, talks about going from good to great in his book. I think when you in turn can see that you have an impact on people in terms of how they approach things or how they view things, you can in turn influence and even change the culture. I think that’s critically key in your career.

  1. What do you do when you’re not working?

When I’m not working, I love black college marching bands. I love to spend time with family. I love to travel and more importantly I look forward to coming to the NFBPA conference in 2020 in Austin, Texas because I love to kick it.

  1. What’s your favorite tip for someone in the industry?

Well it depends on where you are in your career. If you are a person who is anywhere from 3-5 years, take those assignments that you may find challenging and that you don’t like. If you don’t like to spend long nights, work hard, to read, study, be astute, or understand how to be savvy, then the public sector is not for you. You’ve got to understand that you’re making a personal sacrifice to give back and hopefully give back to others who look like you and that’s one thing NFBPA has shown me. It’s a pay it forward organization and every position that I have ever applied for, with the exception of this one that I am in now, has been linked to NFBPA in some way. I owe my existence and my career to being in the right place at the right time and having the NFBPA member, particularly a seasoned member, moving me forward.