Lots of people in Suwanee know Dave Williams. After all, with his high energy and great ideas, he’s not easily forgotten. As someone who has been deeply involved with Suwanee over the past two decades, he understands business and what makes it all come together.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
After graduating from Georgia Tech, I worked for sports marketing agencies for a decade, with sponsors of major sports events, including the Olympic Games, World Cup, NCAA and pro sports, among many others. After the 2002 Games in Salt Lake, I started my own marketing company in Suwanee, which I sold in 2010. During those years, I was elected to and served on Suwanee’s City Council (1998-2001) and as Mayor (2008-2011). In 2011, I joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s public policy team working on transportation, transit, water, air quality, energy, communications and cybersecurity, among other issues — the core things that businesses need to grow and thrive in metro Atlanta. It’s been a great fit and I love every day at my job.
What is your favorite restaurant in Suwanee?
We really enjoy the food and vibe Tequila Mama Taqueria in Suwanee Town Center. They have some great regulars who live in the new Solis development and walk over, which is exactly what we were going for when we changed our planning philosophy in the early 2000’s. Monterrey and Cheeky are also some of our favorites.
How long have you worked or lived in Suwanee?
23 years, we moved here in 1996.
What has kept you here?
We are firmly rooted in Suwanee. Even though my office is in downtown Atlanta, my wife Debbie is an interior designer and has a lot of clients on this side of town. Our civic and social networks are here and we really love our house and neighbors.
How big is your family?
My wife and I and our two kids, who are both in college and doing very well. We also have a schnoodle named Fozzie Bear.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Suwanee?
Wayne Hill. I’ve learned a lot about leadership and vision from him. A close second would be Wayne Shackelford.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I’d say Africa on a photo safari, or Alaska.
What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
Beverly Hills Cop
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Swim upstream. Zig when everyone else zags. Most of all, be remarkable.
What is something on your bucket list?
A ride-along with the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels.
If you could take anyone to lunch (dead or alive) who would that be and where would you go?
I really admire Theodore Roosevelt, that guy was crazy. I would have him take me to one of our national parks out West.
What is your favorite music? Name three bands you would like to see.
I enjoy musical theatre, Broadway stuff, ’80s rock and Dear Evan Hansen, lately. Instead of three bands, I could see Rock of Ages a few more times. I don’t particularly care for jazz, sorry.
What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Suwanee?
The people that show up at Suwanee Town Center for the farmers market. I love to see the interaction between the farmers and the community. It’s real, authentic and it is great commerce. Also, I’m fans of Jeff and Christina at Postal Plus. They are great folks and they always do great work.
What is your favorite thing about Suwanee?
Suwanee continues to reinvent itself, acknowledging its past and discovering how to move forward with good plans and great developers. We are not afraid to lead, rather than follow. However, we still need more density to support quality new restaurants and businesses.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still working for the Metro Atlanta Chamber and continuing to be involved in the Suwanee community.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’ve worked at four Olympic Games, two summer and two winter. I‘ve also had the privilege to play the Augusta National golf course once – it was my best round ever, but not my lowest score.