DULUTH -- Gwinnett leaders aren't just needed to keep the county great, Atlanta Regional Commission Executive Director Douglas Hooker said Wednesday, calling on them to help in gaining success for the entire Atlanta region.
"Gwinnett has a key role in how this region is going to grow into the future," said Hooker, who took over the role last year, in an introductory speech to the membership of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
"It is no secret that Gwinnett County has lead our region and our nation in growth and progress the last few decades," Hooker said of a population surge that took the once rural county to become Georgia's second largest. "That kind of success doesn't happen without leadership, vision, planning and determination, traits we must apply going forward."
The county has played a prominent role in the regional agency, which guides issues such as transportation. Former Chairman Wayne Hill lead the organization for two terms, and recently Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson headed a regional roundtable preparing for the upcoming Transportation Investment Act vote in July.
That partnership, Hooker said, is key, since Gwinnett's stake in regional issues like water is huge.
ARC grants have also given $26 million in 14 local communities attempting to create live, work, play areas, which are important for the growing aging population.
"We are doing groundbreaking work here, and you all are at the forefront," he said, adding that the ARC predicts will have a popultion of more than 1.2 million by 2040.
Last fall, Hooker joined the ARC, replacing the retiring Chick Krautler. He has extensive public and private experience in Atlanta, including working as public service commissioner for the city of Atlanta, director of the State Road and Tollway Authority and as an inaugural board member of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
In introducing him at Wednesday's event, Nash said Hooker's experience and familiarity with Atlanta would serve him well.