January 2, 2008
Suwanee’s new mayor has taken office and is looking forward to continuing the strong leadership of outgoing mayor Nick Masino. After being sworn in during a ceremony Dec. 16, Dave Williams took over Jan. 1 as Mayor of Suwanee, one of Money Magazine’s 2007 Top 10 Best Communities to Live.
Williams said he likes local government and is looking forward to serving close to his constituents.
“Right now I’m looking forward to serving the City of Suwanee for the next four years,” said Williams. “I’m happy and thrilled to be Suwanee’s mayor.”
And the timing for Williams was impeccable.
Since 2002, Williams served on the Board at the Atlanta Regional Commission, where he completed his second term Dec. 31. During his time with the ARC, he served on several committees, chaired the Budget and Audit Committee, served as trustee of the ARC Pension Fund and as treasurer.
But he felt it was time for a change.
“I had made the decision I would be looking for another opportunity,” said Williams. “So when Nick made the announcement he would not seek re-election, it was a natural for me to consider that.”
And since the election, Williams has made good use of his time.
He said the time between the election to when he took office gave him a chance to catch his breath, spend some time with his family, catch up on work, and it helped to make for a smooth transition.
“It’s been a tremendous situation to be able to have two months to really get my feet under me and make some plans,” said Williams. “Since the election, I’ve had a series of meetings with the City Manager and key staff, what we call transition meetings, to get up to speed on some of the specifics. Once we go on our retreat in February, it will be the first opportunity for all of us to put on the table the really big issues that we want to tackle.”
The Georgia Tech graduate made the move from Cobb County to Suwanee in the fall of 1996 with his wife, Debbie.
He said they didn’t intentionally move to Suwanee, but he added, “In retrospect, we’re awfully glad we did.”
They settled in and started a family.
Williams has a 10 year-old daughter, Ramsey, and a 7 year-old son, Max, and is President of Southtrac, a promotions company that specializes in VIP corporate hospitality and branded merchandise.
Williams, who is an avid sports fan, played soccer, baseball and basketball in high school and college, and he said he still likes to stay active.
He has at least three marathons under his belt, and just last year he ran in the Chicago Marathon with a group from Suwanee and about 30,000 other runners.
In his spare time, he likes to play tennis and golf, likes to read and is a supporter of the performing arts.
Williams is not new to Suwanee’s government.
Within a year of moving to the city, he became involved with local government when a rezoning sign went up across the street from his neighborhood.
He said the rezoning was for something that he didn’t feel was appropriate for that land and that area, and he and some of his neighbors went and voiced concerns at a Suwanee City Council meeting.
The vote ended in a tie so the property was not rezoned. But afterwards, a council member told Williams that what they said had changed his mind and his vote.
“It was at that point I realized, at least in the City of Suwanee, citizen input makes a difference.” said Williams. “I decided I was going to keep a close eye on things that were going on in the community.”
Williams was elected to Suwanee’s City Council in 1997 and served a four-year term.
“We did a tremendous amount of planning in those days,” said Williams. “A lot of what we see now emerged from some of those plans and the vision that the community established.”
And even though his name wasn’t on the ballot in 2001, Williams said, “The stakes were incredibly high.”
That’s when the bond referendum for Suwanee’s greenspace initiative was passed that so much of Williams’ time and energy had gone into planning.
“It’s been one of the defining moments for Suwanee in terms of providing the funding to secure all the parkland, trail connections and Town Center Park,” he said.
Williams is glad to follow in the footsteps of his friend and neighbor, Nick Masino
“There’s a lot to be said for continuity,” he said. “Nick really raised the bar in terms of Mayors in metro Atlanta, and I want to thank him for his strong leadership.”
Williams said he hopes to follow the tradition.