The Town of Hopkinton announces that Town Manager Norman Khumalo will retire from municipal service after more than 30 years.
Khumalo has served as Town Manager of Hopkinton for nearly 15 years, starting in the role in 2009 and helping usher in a number of new initiatives. He successfully led a reorganization of town departments including the successful consolidation of land use, planning and permitting into a one-stop-shop. He also consolidated legacy treasurer, accounting and assessing offices into the Hopkinton Finance Department, further enhancing the efficiency of Town Government.
"I am extraordinarily proud to have spent such a significant portion of my career in the wonderful Town of Hopkinton," Khumalo said. "It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve such a vibrant, growing town. I am grateful to all the great civic leaders, board and commission members and volunteers. Together we have worked to make Hopkinton the community it is today."
Under his leadership and collaboration with the Select Board, Appropriations Committee, Department Heads and town boards, Hopkinton saw its bond rating rise from AA to AAA, saving money for every taxpayer in town. Hopkinton also became a certified Green City under Khumalo's watch.
Khumalo also created the first engineering and facilities department to support the town’s sustainability goals and secured millions of dollars in grant funding for the town's sewer system.
Khumalo was town manager when Hopkinton welcomed runners back to the starting line in 2014, one year after the Boston Marathon attacks, and he was on-hand to welcome the runners in late 2021, during the first autumn Boston Marathon, some 18 months delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He previously served as Assistant Town Manager in Westford from 2002-2009 and worked in various roles in Wellesley, Walpole and Lawrence.
A native of Zimbabwe, he also worked as Town Planner and later Senior Town Planner for the City of Bulawayo in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. He holds two master's degrees, one in Regional and Urban Planning and a Master of Public Administration degree from Carlton University in Ottawa.
"Norman Khumalo leaves us having securely positioned Hopkinton with durable and sustainable structures and processes firmly in place that we will use to continue to build for the future," said Hopkinton Select Board Chair Muriel Kramer. "He has served Hopkinton with dedication and unwavering professionalism, and I know I speak for the Board and the Town as a whole when I thank him for his years of exceptional service and wish him and his family blessings for their future."
Khumalo plans to depart Hopkinton in early 2024, with an end date to be finalized in collaboration with the Select Board and all Senior Leaders in town to ensure a sure and smooth transition for the town of Hopkinton. He has accepted a job as Vice President of Government Relations and Growth with Pattern Energy, a multi-national sustainable energy company. He will remain local, living and working in Massachusetts.
Khumalo worked in various capacities for Oxfam earlier in his career, an experience that he credits with his eventually moving into his chosen profession in public service as well as his next chapter in the private sector.
"I have always believed in giving back, and I have long felt a calling to give something back to Zimbabwe and to Africa," Khumalo said. "Solar and renewable energy present a unique opportunity to bring advancement and opportunity to the people of Africa. With the skills I have developed and opportunities I have been given here in North America, I hope to fulfill this lifelong dream to help those in my native country and the continent of Africa."