Career Encounters: Bill Koetzle

Bill Koetzle was the Legislative Director for Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-IL). He currently is the Manager of Legislative, Regulatory and Political Affairs for Chevron Corporation where he oversees the process of identifying, prioritizing, analyzing, and developing company positions on public policy issues.

Bill KoetzleI became a political science major, I think, for a very common reason and that is I really love politics. I cannot underestimate how poor a high school student I was, but I was always a tremendous reader and very interested in the politics and history and my, sort of, political awakening came along with probably Reagan, although you know, certainly [I was] conscious of politics a little bit earlier. I started off in graduate school sort of focusing on political theory, really, because I didn’t want to do the math and, at UC Irvine, I got a lot of support from, sort of, empirical political scientists and, sort of, changed my interest, came back to American politics and realized that to do American politics like the people I knew do it, I needed to improve my statistical background and become an empirical. So after about two years I really transitioned. The staff assistance we have — those are the entry level positions up here — almost all of them tend to be political science majors. They were hooked on politics at an early age, went to college, followed their interest and then came up here as an intern or something like that and then now have gotten on here. Interns are really valuable. When they come up here, they gets lots of work to do and you can turn that into a great opportunity. And this could be, by the way, also at your local district office. It doesn’t mean you have to come out to Washington, D.C. It’s an exciting job in that the demands are high. There’s lots of demands. This is really a place where output matters. We have a saying up here, you know, “You’re an expert by COB.” That means you know everything there is to know by close of business or forget about it because tomorrow is a new day. It’s over. We’re moving on. You might have been a gun expert last week. This is this week. We’re doing something else. It’s over and I find that really stimulating. The gratification is almost instantaneous, which is nice.

Image courtesy of the Milken Institute.

The video clip above was taken from Career Encounters: Political Science which APSA released in 2000. The documentary-style video features people from across the US who studied political science and discuss how their political science backgrounds have been critical to their vocations, their avocations, and their general lives. Career Encounters feature careers that can be launched with undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees.