A strong sense of public duty

In today’s world it seems we need to scrutinize the background of folks running for elected offices more carefully than we’ve ever done before. In this letter I’d offer my brief sketch of a lifetime watching Patrick Goodwin grow and mature into a professional civil engineer, a successful businessman, and now a Terre Haute mayoral candidate.

I first met Patrick many years ago when his family generally sat in the church pew in front of us so, at least once a week, I had a close-up view of Patrick. He and his sibs were the same age range as my kids, and they overlapped schools, so it was easy to keep in touch with him. As Pat grew and worked his way through grade school and high school, he always seemed a bright, caring person anxious to help those around him. In those days I always found Patrick to be even tempered, cheerful, honest and with a good sense of the limits of acceptable social boundaries. In short, Patrick always seemed like your ideal, normal, “All American” youngster. In his teens his entrepreneurial bent began to become apparent as he organized and led a local rock band.

Then came Patrick’s college years at Rose-Hulman where he obtained his degree in civil engineering which has defined his life since then. During his college years Patrick remained an even-tempered, likable person but with a more serious purposeful mien that college and maturity bring on. After graduation Patrick worked as engineer for the city of Terre Haute where, as city engineer under three mayors, he was instrumental in conceiving and planning many projects which are still ongoing in the city. I think it can safely be said that Patrick modernized the city’s Engineering Department and his tenure was one of outstanding achievements. With that background we can all be sure that Patrick knows Terre Haute’s pluses and minuses in a way that most of candidates for office never will.

In 2007 Patrick left government and his entrepreneurial skills took over. In private practice as a professional engineer he was consultant to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, eventually becoming their chief operating officer. In 2013 he founded an e-commerce company, Tractor Tools, that sells small agricultural equipment nationwide and has grown into one of the largest and most successful such companies in the country.

I often wonder why busy, successful professionals like Patrick put their professions, careers and practices on hold to enter government service. In Patrick’s case I can tell you it is because he sees a need for aggressive improvements in city services, governance and infrastructure aimed at making Terre Haute an outstanding place to live. 

During his journey, Patrick married Marti Livengood. They are great parents who are in the midst of raising four children. I know that like me Pat wants to see his children have the opportunity to live and work in Terre Haute, but he knows that will only happen if today’s leaders make it a possibility and Patrick has determined to work toward that end.

I end by noting that of all the many youngsters that I have seen grow and mature Patrick Goodwin is an outstanding individual. Politically he seems neither left nor right of center, but he has a strong sense of public duty. He is insightful, forthright and honest. I know of no reason why he should not be mayor and every reason he should. I commend him to you.

— Walt Balcavage, Terre Haute


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