After a year-long search, the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center Board of Directors announced they have named Allen A. Burns III as the new executive director of the CGRDC at their Jan. 9 board meeting.
A native of St. Simons Island with more than 27 years of local government experience, Burns has spent most of his career in South Carolina, including the state’s Grand Strand coastal region.
His background includes planning, economic and community development, public visioning, strategic planning, grant writing, resource development and public-private partnership development. Currently, Burns serves as the director of economic development for Lexington County, South Carolina.
Attending the CGRDC board meeting, Burns thanked the Board of Directors for their faith in his abilities.
Acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead in filling the position that will be vacated by long-time Executive Director Vernon Martin, he commented, “I look forward to continuing the leadership you’ve had over the last 39 years and to continue this transition smoothly for our cities and counties.”
Beginning his career as a participant in the Georgia Governor’s Internship program, interning at the then Coastal Area Planning and Economic Commission in 1980, Burns expressed his excitement at the opportunity to work in the place he calls home. With eight years of experience in South Carolina’s fast-growing coastal region, Burns said he looks forward to working with the board of directors and staff to make a positive impact at the CGRDC, serving the region’s 10 counties and 35 municipalities.
“Allen is going to do a great job,” said Dan Coty president of the CGRDC Board of Directors. Adding that he believes Burns has a passion for his work, he continued, “He is fired up and sees it as a great challenge.”
Burns holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Clemson University’s College of Architecture. Burns’ Bachelor of Science in sociology was earned in 1980 from Georgia Southern University. His professional certifications include recognition as a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer and a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Burns will take on the role of the new executive director for the CGRDC on March 3.
The CGRDC provides a wide variety of services and programs to the 35 municipalities and 10 counties within the coastal Georgia region — Bulloch, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties. Local assistance includes planning and government services, coordinated transportation planning, and the region’s Area Agency on Aging.