Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson was selected as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2017 Notable Georgians. Hanson will be honored at a luncheon on Jan. 26 at the Georgia Aquarium, along with other Notable Georgians, the Georgian of the Year, the 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees and the 100 Most Influential Georgians.
The Notable Georgians list includes 50 influential leaders in the state who have a remarkable impact on the daily lives of Georgians. Hanson is the only person selected for the award from southwest Georgia.
“Larry’s positive influence goes beyond the city limits, as he is respected as the ‘go-to person’ for community and state leaders across Georgia for his expertise and willingness to do whatever is needed for the benefit of citizens,” said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. “Most people are unaware of the significant impact that he continues to have locally, regionally, and statewide and the countless number of governmental and non-governmental professionals who seek his valuable input. He is certainly deserving of this noteworthy recognition, and we are extremely proud of him.”
Among an extensive list of contributions and accomplishments that span nearly four decades of public service, Hanson has been effective in serving in several different capacities at the local and state levels. Hanson was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Board of Directors in 2014. In his second year on the board, he was elected by his peers to serve as the secretary for the board. DCA is one of the most influential governmental bodies in the state.
“Larry is one of those out-of-the-box thinkers who is willing to look at situations with an open mind and try a fresh approach; but even more important, he brings a very practical perspective to the DCA Board because of his real-world, day-to-day experience in municipal operations,” said DCA Commissioner Camila Knowles, who was also recognized as a 2017 Notable Georgian. “During board meetings, he can be counted on to ask the probing questions that cut through the noise and really get to the crux of an issue.”
Hanson’s involvement with the Georgia Municipal Association over the years has been instrumental in positively impacting municipal issues across the state. He currently serves on the GMA Board of Directors, Legislative Policy Council, and previously served as the Chairman of the Georgia Municipal Association’s Revenue and Finance Committee. He served on several joint GMA-ACCG Task Force committees that helped resolve long-standing areas of conflict between Georgia’s cities and counties.
“Larry has provided expert help to city leaders around the state on issues such as taxation, annexation and service delivery,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton, who was named one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians for 2017. “He’s a city manager GMA knows it can count on to help explain some of the more complex issues facing cities, and he’s highly regarded by other city officials statewide.”
Hanson has long been an active supporter for Moody Air Force Base, its missions and its continued presence and economic impact on the surrounding communities. He has worked closely with longtime Moody advocate, mentor and friend W. Parker Greene with the Moody Support Committee, promoting base and community relations and making productive visits to The Pentagon over the years in support of Moody AFB. Hanson was also appointed in 2015 by the United States Air Force to serve with Greene on the Air Combat Command (ACC) Commander’s Group.
His perspective is often sought by state leaders who value his input on matters of city, county, regional and state significance. In recent months, Hanson was invited to testify before two Georgia General Assembly committees: the Joint House-Senate High-Speed Broadband Access for All Georgians Study Committee and the House Study Committee on Military Affairs regarding the outlook of military installations and broadband deficiencies in rural South Georgia.
Hanson also invests his time in local charities, his church and family. He has been an active member of United Way for over 20 years, previously serving as Campaign Chairman and Board Chairman, and has proudly served as Chairman of the Leadership Giver’s Club since 2001, raising over $200,000 each year for local charitable organizations. He also serves as an Elder at First Christian Church and is a past chair of the church board. His most noteworthy accomplishment is in the lives of his son and daughter.
Hanson has served as the City Manager for the City of Valdosta since July 1995. Prior to that, he served as Assistant City Manager, Director of Community Affairs, and Director of Parks and Recreation. As City Manager, he oversees 10 departments, 600 employees, and an $85 million budget.
According to the Georgia Trend, the task of selecting the most influential people in the state is a year-round process that results in an appreciation of the people who are making the most impact in Georgia.