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Community Connection: Bill McCargo

This fall, Bill McCargo was looking forward to retirement after spending a career at Scientific Atlanta, now a part of Cisco. The former vice president of community relations for global site strategies wanted to travel, play tennis and help his wife Kathy as she kept their 5-and-a-half-month-old grandson Pierson during the day. But after successfully leading the Chamber of Commerce's Partnership Gwinnett program, McCargo was tapped to co-chair the county's new Engage Gwinnett Committee, which is studying services and revenues to steer the government through the economic climate. In this edition of Community Connection, McCargo talks about growing up in Anniston, Ala., creating a new function at work and his interest in the Engage Gwinnett process.

On his dream car:

My dad and granddad and great uncle owned a Chevrolet dealership. Back in '67, about the time I was turning 16, I had visions of driving a Corvette all my life ... (they) were dashed when they decided to sell the business.

I still haven't gotten a Corvette, but I will someday, somehow.

On his homestead:

We have a country place in Alabama that we get back to, which was my grandparents' place, a place called Sugar Falls right by a big waterfall.

That's where I got married and my daughter got married and my grandchild got christened. It's a very special place for us.

On co-chairing the Partnership Gwinnett program:

Most communities would like to say through a recession that they held there own. Well, we've attracted two Fortune 500 companies during a recession. If we hadn't had Partnership Gwinnett ... we probably wouldn't have seen that success.

... Of all the things I've been involved in, I'm probably as proud of that as anything.

They asked me to chair it and I saw a need to bring on somebody else. I like partnering because we all have our strengths and our weaknesses.

I chose Sharon Rigsby (Bartels) to be my co-chair, because I think I have the organizational skills and she had a lot of those skills in relationships that maybe I didn't have.

Together, I think we put together a very effective team.

On Engage Gwinnett:

We're at the fork in the road, and if we take the wrong fork, we can take the path of other counties we know of that probably didn't take the right fork.

We have a lot of great things going for this community, starting with schools, all the way to infrastructure, great leadership that comes together when an issue develops.

If we make the wrong decisions, we could end up going down the wrong path.

- As told to senior writer Camie Young