LaFayette, GA – Robert Wardlaw, who has led Walker County Government’s economic and community development efforts over the past four years, formally announced today he will retire at the end of the year.
“As our Economic and Community Development Director, Robert brought a level of professionalism and credibility to the position that elevated our ability to compete with other communities for projects without relying heavily on incentives,” said Chairman Shannon Whitfield. “Since he’s currently engaged in several projects that may bring about measurable job growth in the near future, the Board is grateful Robert has agreed to make himself available when needed in the coming year.”
During his tenure, Wardlaw coordinated the county’s economic development efforts on the McLemore Resort on Lookout Mountain, retention of jobs at Shaw Industries in Chickamauga and expansion of new housing opportunities in Walker County.
In terms of community development, Wardlaw helped coordinate an agreement with EPB to extend streetlights to Wilson and Happy Valley Roads, assisted with expanding Ironman’s presence in Walker County and secured a location for the Walker County African American Museum and Cultural Center.
Wardlaw was also instrumental in the development of the “Walker Rocks” tourism initiative and played an essential role in the county’s smooth transition from a Sole Commissioner to a Board of Commissioners form of government.
“It has been an honor to serve our community in this capacity,” said Wardlaw. “I especially want to thank the leadership teams in Chickamauga, LaFayette, Lookout Mountain and Rossville for their steadfast partnership and cooperation on efforts to benefit all citizens of Walker County.”
Wardlaw, a former Coca-Cola executive, plans to stay busy in retirement. Earlier this year, he and his wife Stephanie, along with his cousin Robert “Buzz” Law, purchased the Mars Theater District in LaFayette. They hope to turn the area into a regional destination for dining, entertainment, arts and commerce.
Wardlaw also plans to step down from his role as Executive Director of the Walker County Development Authority. An announcement about his successor will be made public later this week.