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Wright Township (Ottawa Co.) Supervisor Josh Westgate has taken the next step to enhance the effectiveness of his township. With his completion of the Michigan Townships Association’s (MTA) intensive Township Governance Academy (TGA), Westgate now has access to enhanced tools and decision-making processes that will help shape his community for years to come.

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Westgate, who also serves on the MTA Board of Directors, has earned MTA’s coveted TGA credential and hopes to use his newfound knowledge to serve his community’s residents in the best way possible.

“Going through the TGA program was a great experience,” Westgate said. “It took a lot of time and effort, but the end result was worth it. I gained a lot of knowledge that I can put to use in my community.”

TGA is a voluntary credentialing program intended to provide township board members and other local leaders with cutting-edge knowledge and expanded skills needed to assist in making more effective decisions for the benefit of their township. The Academy, which challenges candidates to tie together learning and practical experience, consists of 11 courses and includes a requirement for elective credits.

Created and administered by the MTA Knowledge Center, this program is designed to professionally challenge township officials by offering new ideas, sharing best practices and providing a hands-on approach to dealing more effectively with everyday issues that the board may face.

Westgate was just 19 years old when he was first elected as township trustee in 2008. He served in this role, as well as on the township planning commission, until 2011, when he was appointed township supervisor. He also earned his certification as a Michigan Certified Assessing Officer. Westgate became president of the Ottawa County MTA Chapter in 2017 and was elected to serve on the MTA Board as District 15 Director in 2018, representing Ottawa, Kent and Muskegon counties. In his community, he serves as president of the Berlin Fair Association and volunteers for Junior Achievement.