In presenting the award to Gonzalez, ENMU Alumni Association President Sandi Black recognized Gonzalez’s service as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and lauded him as a trailblazer in city management. Since assuming the city manager post in May 2006, Gonzalez is credited for introducing the City of Irving to Lean Six Sigma—a methodology for reducing expenses and optimizing resources—and helping the North Texas municipality with a population of more than 215,000 save more than $43 million despite the recession without resorting to furloughs or layoffs. “It seems like yesterday when I left for college and first set foot on Eastern’s campus, so to come back almost 30 years later and to be recognized as an outstanding alum is a tremendous honor … I’m grateful, I’m humbled,” said Gonzalez.
Under Gonzalez’s leadership at the City of Irving, resident satisfaction has increased significantly and the municipality earned the prestigious Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the Quality Texas Foundation. “Eastern New Mexico University is proud to recognize Mr. Gonzalez for his innovative leadership,” said ENMU Alumni Affairs Coordinator Robert Graham. “The City of Irving has blossomed under his direction; it became the first municipality in Texas to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the Texas Quality Foundation. Mr. Gonzalez was a great leader at Eastern and is a great leader today.”