Meet Ron Winders, Candidate for Athens Clarke County Commission District 6
Ron says "Economic Development and Business Development" are the biggest issues for District 6 and Athens.
1. Where did you grow up? Savannah, Georgia – Chatham County
2. Where did you finish high school? Benedictine Military High School
College? University of Georgia
Graduate School? Georgia Southern University – MBA program (did not complete)
Professional School? NA
College major or area of concentration - Bachelor of Social Work / Psychology minor
3. Are you married? Yes (Tanya Shaw Winders)
4. Do you have children? Yes (Bailey – 14)
If so, where do they go to school? (Monsignor Donovan – 9th grade)
5. Have you ever held any elected office?
Executive Board – Sigma Phi Epsilon – University of Georgia
Armature Vice-Chair 1 – Louisiana Soccer Association
Treasurer – Coastal Conservation Association – Athens Chapter
President - Coastal Conservation Association – Athens Chapter
5. Why are you running for your commission seat?
I am running for Athens Clarke County Commission to bring a common sense approach to government and to make sure that all of the voices of the people of District 6 are heard. District 6 needs a strong leader and I am the man for that role.
6. Why should those in your district vote for you?
I am a proven leader with a unique blend of real world business experience, a firm understanding of social issues like poverty, child abuse and mental illness and I understand that we need to protect our environment and our citizens.
7. What is the most important issue facing your district? Facing Athens?
The Issues are the same, Economic Development and Business Development should to be the primary focus of the commission. In talking to many business owners in Athens, they will be the first to tell you that Athens is NOT business friendly and the primary culprit are some members of the Planning Commission. There are too many rules, regulations and bureaucratic red tape for businesses to have to navigate to conduct business in Athens. The same can be said for companies that want to locate to Athens. Many find it too difficult to work with the Planning Commission and they locate in nearby counties. Others that decide to stick it out find themselves with expensive construction delays and a lack of cooperation from the Planning Commission.
We need to do a better job of working with business owners and making it easier to conduct business in Athens / Clarke. We need to encourage companies and industry to locate here in Athens and take advantage of our educated and talented workforce. We need to attract Life Sciences companies to fill the vacancies that will exist as tenants leave District 6 for the new outdoor Mall in Oconee County.
8. How would you address this issue?
I would address this issue by removing restrictive ordinances that keep business from expanding or locating in Athens Clarke County. I would revamp the planning commission to make it more business friendly or eliminate the commission all together. I would work with the state and the EDF to help attract businesses to Athens and help us retain the talent that graduates from our local colleges and universities.
9. Please describe your work history and where you work—do you commute? Or do you work in Athens Clarke County?
I commuted to Atlanta for approximately 14 years and worked in the Athens / Atlanta area. I was a sales manager and national account representative in the office equipment industry primarily with Canon USA. I worked with fortune 500 companies like Coca Cola, NCR, Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner just to name a few and I also worked with small family run businesses who struggled every day to make ends meet while dealing with government regulations and ordinances. I worked with companies to help solve complex issues and improve business processes.
I now work in Athens as an executive recruiter. I help companies find candidates for very specialized and complex positions for projects around the globe.
10. What distinguishes you from your opponent?
I know what companies are looking for from a partner. I understand their business issues and what it takes for them to invest their money into a community. I don’t want to tie them down with a bunch of nonsensical ordinances and regulations. I am not an activist; I am a leader who listens to all of the people, not a select few. I have the experience this community needs to lead it.