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Mike Beatty Receives 2011 John D. Whisman Vision Award

March 2011


WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011—Mike Beatty, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, has been named the recipient of the 2011 John D. Whisman Vision Award by the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA).

The DDAA presents the John D. Whisman Vision Award each year to an individual who has provided exemplary service and leadership in Appalachia and demonstrated a commitment to the ideals of state and federal cooperation.

Beatty was cited for the "significant and valuable contributions" he made as a champion for regional planning and development and the dedicated service, leadership, and hard work that he has provided to the State of Georgia and the people of its 37-county Appalachian region. Beatty's work demonstrated "steadfast commitment to and ongoing support of community development efforts and the role local development districts play in improving the quality of life for the people of Appalachia."

Beatty has a long and distinguished career in public service. He began his career as a teacher in the City of Jefferson and the counties of Banks and Jackson, where he also helped mold the leadership skills of young athletes as a championship football coach. In 1990, he was elected to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives, and in 2000 he was elected to the State Senate, serving northwest Georgia's 47th District. In the course of his service as a state senator, he received the annual public policy award from the Georgia Family Council and a medal from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

In 2003, Beatty was appointed to serve as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, where he developed legislation to streamline the state's regional commissions to reflect not only a majority of publicly elected officials but also a strong cadre of private citizens.

In its nominating letter, the DDAA noted that, as a result, Beatty "elevated the regional commission concept in Georgia and has recognized and strengthened the role of regional commissions in concert with the original vision of John Whisman in the early days of the Appalachian Regional Commission."

His work represented a "leadership model" for his peers, the letter concluded.

Established in 1976 by the executive directors of Appalachia's local development districts, the DDAA provides professional and technical training opportunities for local economic development officials and community leaders; directs an annual best-practices conference; and promotes improved communication and quality of service throughout the Appalachian Region.