Work Life of Hyong Yi, Assistant City Manager of Charlotte

Work Life of Hyong Yi, Assistant City Manager of Charlotte
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This is part of an ongoing series titled How I Work, a look into how Charlotte gets things done at work. Learn how Hyong Yi works. 

I grabbed breakfast at Toast with Hyong last Monday morning at 8am. I only did light online stalking beforehand, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I thought he might yell at me for something we covered about the city. He walked in looking sharp – suit, tie and perfect hair (later found out that this was a rare tie instead of bowtie day). I had on shorts, golf shirt and my new Shoe Carnival Nike sneakers. The first 3 minutes there was some light, awkward chit chat as we were trying to figure each other out.

Ninety minutes later, I can honestly say that I love Hyong. Although, I still don’t know how to pronounce his name. Oh well.

Hyong is a guy that you want to follow. He has effortless mastery over the topics he discusses, raw mental horsepower and a candid/approachable way about him that makes you comfortable.


Below are Hyong’s responses, paraphrased (I didn’t record our conversation). 

Office Location

Charlotte’s Government Center.




Assistant City Manager.

Fancy bio: “​Hyong Yi has joined the City of Charlotte as an Assistant City Manager. Since 2004, he has been Mecklenburg County’s Management and Budget Director, responsible for strategic planning, developing the County’s annual $1.4 billion operating budget, and the capital budget. The department also helps the County develop its long-range plans and evaluates the performance of County programs and services.”


13 miles, about 25 minutes. I normally listen to NPR, but recently I’ve been listening to electronic dance music.

Phone Type:

iPhone 6 Plus for personal use. iPhone 5  for work. Since anything on my work phone is discoverable (viewable to public), I keep my personal and work very separate.



15″ Macbook. It’s one of only a handful of city employee Macs.


Music at work?

All the time. I typically listen to Broadway music via Spotify.

Software you use the most?


Go-to business lunch spot? Order?

I do a lot of breakfast meetings. My go-to spot is Toast in Dilworth. I used to get an omelet, then I realized that was too much food. Then I order an egg and cheese bagel, which I also realized was too much food. Now, I get 2 eggs with fruit and toast.

Morning breakfast meeting @toast_cafe. Coffee is strong, we like it. Need Monday fuel.

A photo posted by Axios Charlotte (@charlotteagenda) on

Social media habits:

I use twitter for work (@budgetbadger). I use my Facebook primarily in two ways.

My wife passed away from ovarian cancer less than a year ago. I use Facebook to reflect on what my family and I are going through (Hyong has two children).


I also use Facebook to send out “bids” – these are invitations to meetup and just connect as a community. (Note: I love this idea).


To-do list tool:

I use a Word document. Right now it’s four pages long.

Everyday thing you’re really good at:

Finding humor in everything I do.


Sleep routine:

Sleep is hard right now because I think of my wife. I typically go to sleep around midnight and wake up at 5:30am.

Where do you go to get away from the office:

Whitewater Center or Fahrenheit.



Last book you read:

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.


Last movie you watched:

Unstoppable with Denzel Washington.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you do?

I’d love to be a stand up comedian, lounge singer or the front man for a rock band.

What do you love about Charlotte?

I love that Charlotte accepts everybody, loves everybody and wants everyone to do well. We have the ability to build community here in Charlotte.


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