Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is excited to announce two new members to his administration, as the county pivots from debt management as a primary focus to laying the foundation for sustainable growth.
Robert Wardlaw has been named economic and community development director and Matt Williamson has been named legal and policy director for Walker County government.
Wardlaw, a former Coca-Cola executive, built a successful business career founded on strong relationships, ethical behavior and a commitment to others. In recent years, as a member of the Walker County Development Authority, Wardlaw gained expertise in economic development, site selection, state and federal tax incentives and helping businesses with development plans.
"We have the potential to close a number of active business deals that could lead to the creation of a significant number of jobs in Walker County," said Commissioner Whitfield. "Wardlaw's knowledge and proven track record in the business world gives us a competitive edge over other communities to turn these and other opportunities into winning outcomes for Walker County."
In addition to recruiting new business and servicing existing industry, Wardlaw will work to anticipate and address current and future infrastructure needs to facilitate a thriving community.
Williamson, who served four years as an associate attorney at the highly respected law firm of Womack, Gottlieb & Rodham, will be tasked with helping Walker County keep pace with the needs of its growing citizenry. Along with updating the county's codes and policies, he'll handle day-to-day legal issues that arise. Williamson's first assignment will be to oversee the update to the county's antiquated animal control ordinance.
"I look forward to helping make ordinances clear and concise, reviewing and revising our contract management system, keeping the government in compliance with all federal and state laws and helping the commissioner carry out his vision of making Walker County a better place for all of us," said Williamson.
The new additions come at no incremental cost to Walker County. Wardlaw's compensation will be in line with the county's previous economic development director. Williamson, who will be restricted from receiving incentives for working on any future bond issues, will make less than what the county spent in hourly attorney's fees last year.