If you have been in Suwanee long, then you’ll recognize Elvira Rogers as a familiar face at City Hall. This ageless beauty has lived here for 32 years in the beloved Old Town District, the historic heart of our town.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
I worked for Buford City Schools and then became the first African American hired in Gwinnett County for my position. Later I transferred to Gwinnett County Department of Transportation. I was chosen to join the GwDOT team for my ability to stay organized, and I worked for the County for 12 years. In 1998, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and quickly realized that I needed to be around people. From there, I decided to look for a part-time job and on the same day, found a job as Assistant Development Coordinator with the City of Suwanee. In 2001, I became the Administrative Services Director. Currently, I am one of seven department heads here at City Hall in Suwanee. My title as Administrative Services Director includes all aspects of Human Resources. I am City Clerk as well as Records Custodian, Records Request, Election Superintendent, and Title Six Coordinator.
What is your favorite restaurant in Suwanee and what do you love there?
My favorite restaurant is Ippolitos for a number of reasons, including their food, the atmosphere, their professional yet personable servers, and their efficiency during lunch hour. The owners, Dick and Tim, have worked hard to make Ippolitos a special place.
How long have you worked or lived in Suwanee?
I currently live in Old Town Suwanee and have resided here for 32 years. However, I am originally from Buford.
What has kept you here?
Seeing the new development in the area and being a part of it has been really exciting. Thirty years ago, there wasn’t much in Suwanee, to the point that my friends and I joked while traveling through Suwanee that we if blinked, we would miss it! For that reason, I find the transformation to be truly fascinating. However, the biggest thing that has kept me in Suwanee is the people. The people here love one another. I love running into people I know in Kroger — it really makes it feel like a hometown store. I have always been impressed that even in the downturn of 2008-09, Suwanee was still progressive and moving forward. We have great visionaries and everyone in the city loves their job and their contribution to the community.
How big is your family?
I have a husband, 8 siblings, 2 grown children and 4 grandkids.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Suwanee?
I have several! I once worked with the Atlanta Falcons so I knew all of the players in the late ’70s, including Jeff Van Note, Dewey McClain, and William Andrews. I met basketball star Ralph Sampson. I met Michael Douglas from the Harlem GlobeTrotters in the City Hall lobby. I had breakfast with Judge Glenda Hatchett at a Chamber event for women. I met the brother-in-law of the The Oakridge Boys (who sang “Elvira”) and have a photograph of them with authentic signatures. Basketball Olympian Cindy Brogdon is a Buford City School alumna.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I would travel to Alaska. I know someone who recently traveled there and the photos were beautiful! I had always pictured Alaska as just cold and completely frozen, but the photos showed lush green areas.
What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
Shaft, with my father.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Be kind and get to know one another. We’re so quick to judge each other by our outer appearances. We all have our differences and biases and need to remember to get to know people before passing judgment on them.
What is something on your bucket list?
I would love to parachute out of an airplane. However, I don’t know if I would have the nerve to do it since I have a fear of heights.
If you could take anyone to lunch (dead or alive) who would that be and where would you go?
Wilma Rudolph, a track star, basketball player and former Olympian [who as a child contracted infantile paralysis that weakened her left leg] and overcame many obstacles. I admire her a great deal and almost got to meet her when I was in college. I would take her to my favorite restaurant, Ippolitos!
What is your favorite music? Name three bands you would like to see.
I enjoy all types of music, but Gospel is my favorite. I would like to see Donnie McClurkin, Earth Wind & Fire, and the Bar-Kays. I once rode in an elevator with Maurice White of EW&F in Savannah.
What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Suwanee?
Pierces Corner when it was an antique store, and Hill & Son Tires on Buford Highway. Also, the old Rhodes Hotel on Russell Street. Also, Stuckey’s Truck Stop at I-85 and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. My dad used to bring me pecan logs from there.
What is your favorite thing about Suwanee?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Resting on a bench with my feet up, I hope!
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I am a minister and local pastor at the Suwanee Worship Center, United Methodist Church. I perform all pastoral duties there (weddings, funerals, visitation, etc.).