My Home and My Foundation for Leadership
Growing up in Haralson County afforded me the opportunity to observe its transition from a textile community to one of technology. Up until the early 1980s, Haralson County was considered the apparel capital of the south. We were the home of Arrow Shirts, Sewell Suites, and Hubbard Slacks. We were the home of the cotton gin and a large rubber manufacturing plant. These companies were the bread and butter of our community – providing jobs and driving the economy while keeping unemployment at all-time lows during that time.
In the mid-1980s there was an insurgence of manufacturers migrating to foreign lands. That change forced Haralson County to rethink its economy and find a replacement for the textile industry. The replacement came in the form of technology led by the relocation of Honda Lock, Honda Precision, Suzukaku US, Southeastern Horse, and Lee Fabricators. These companies fueled the transformation from textiles to technology. The construction of the West Georgia Technical College campus in Waco was vital in providing the educational component for this change – allowing Haralson County natives to obtain the necessary education and training for the various job opportunities that were available in their home county. The community benefited greatly from the increased graduation rate thanks to the dual school system of city and county schools – the school system from which students matriculate to West Georgia Technical College.
The county continues its transition into a global community by laying fibers in strategic locations throughout the county in an effort to make affordable internet available for all citizens. Increasing our internet infrastructure will also help to attract new citizens and businesses to our county. “Grow Haralson” is a local group of investors who work together to bring new industries to Haralson County.
With the transition from textiles to technology, Haralson County continues to be a thriving county. However, our greatest transition has been that of a sole commissioner to a board of commissioners with the election of a chairman and district commissioners. The board of commissioners along with each city work together to make Haralson County a great place to live and work.
As I pride myself in my home of Haralson County, a great place to live and work, I pride myself in all of the core values it has instilled in me to help me become the leader that I am today. Those core values will help me lead my fellow county officials during the next year in which I will serve as the ACCG president. I will be sure to focus on the critical issues that all Georgia counties face. That includes focusing on the immediate issues that must be addressed to ensure that no county – no matter how big, small, urban, or rural – is not without the infrastructure needed to make them the ideal places to live and work.