Public Service Innovators -- Paddling and Politics - Bill Endicott MPA 1976

September 7, 2001
Mary Tamer

For Bill Endicott, (MPA '76) paddling and politics have gone hand-in-hand for the past 30 years. A champion kayaker and canoer who has coached more than 20 world champions in his sport - including Olympic athletes - Endicott is now writing a book about his other passion: American politics.
Tentatively titled "Political Jobs in Washington: What They Entail, How You Get Them, Where They Lead," Endicott hopes his work-in-progress will serve as a guide to help motivated young people find jobs in federal government. He also hopes that some of his readers choose to follow the same path he has, leading a life of public service for more than 30 years.
"There is still plenty of work to do for people of good will," said Endicott, a political veteran whose career began as a congressional aide and ultimately led him to the White House Office of Political Affairs. Endicott hopes the book might help young people navigate a sometimes complex system, as well as offering career track advice to stay in the game.
Endicott's own desire to serve began while an undergraduate at Harvard. He was introduced to kayaking and made the Olympics his goal, participating in the 1971 World Championships before being selected as a "spare" for the 1972 Olympic team. Paddling intermingled with the start of his political life in 1970, when he accepted a post as aide to U.S. Rep. Jonathan Bingham (D-NY), first working on the congressman's reelection campaign, and later as his point person on housing issues.
Other exciting jobs followed, including one stint in 1993-94 when his two passions merged. In preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games, Endicott took the task of organizing the kayaking event on Tennessee's Ocoee River, right down to helping to obtain the $12 million Congressional appropriation to make it all possible.
"There are key carryovers between sports and politics," said Endicott, who had written and published five books on sports before deciding to shift topics to politics.
In his latest work, Endicott - the former Director of Research and Analysis for the White House Office of Political Affairs in the Clinton Administration - plans to share his expertise to help young people better understand the process of federal government. Ultimately, he hopes it will inspire others to look toward a public sector career.
"I've traveled all over the world," said Endicott, who has visited 40 countries on six continents, "and I've realized that this is the best system in the world. It is fraught with problems, but we have to continue to work on it."
If you have a story for Bill Endicott's book on finding jobs in the federal government, contact him via e-mail at
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Top Photo: Bill Endicott with President Bill Clinton in 2000. In 1992, Endicott missed a photograph with the President as a member of the U.S. Olympic Team. It took another eight years to have another chance.
Bottom Photo: Endicott shows Vice President Al Gore around the 1996 Olympic kayaking venue in Tennessee, which Bill helped to create with federal involvement.

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