GCSU grad to take helm in Upson County

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Union Recorder
Aug 6, 2008

GCSU grad to take helm in Upson County

By DANIEL McDONALD

Stepping out of grad school and straight into one of the top seats in county government may sound like quite a leap, but for one GeorgiaCollege & State University grad, it is simply follow through.

Kyle Hood graduated from GCSU in May with a master's degree in public administration concentrating on state and local government, and now he will put that education to work as the new county manager of Upson County in western Middle Georgia.

Hood describes the opportunity awaiting him in Upson County as the ideal jump into I profession he has worked toward all his life.

“In everything I do, I strive to be a public servant," he said. I want to spend my life working in state and local government."

Hood described Upson County and its county seat, Thomaston, as a place where the city and county work together to facilitate the community's vision for a progressive future. He said the community, with its population of around 27,500, offers the right mix of growth opportunity while remaining manageable, which will be a plus for Hood as he takes his first professional step into public administration.

At 24, Hood said he does not think his lack of experience will be a negative factor in his new position.

"While some may see my age or lack of experience as a weakness, I see it as a strength," Hood said. "I won't be going into the experience with tainted relationships, or negative perceptions."

Hood said he is ready to take the things he learned while earning his master's of public administration and putting them to the best use in Upson.

"I'm not going to go, in and buck the system or do the same thing as the last 20 years," Hood said. "I want to take what they've been doing and make it better."

Milledgeville City Manager Scott Wood taught Hood in an MPA class at GCSU last fall. Wood said Hood is one member in a trend of public administration students who are turning to local government for the opportunity to make a difference in the way America works.

Students are finding out that local government is where the action is, and that as managers, local government provides the chance to have an influence and increased pertinence, Wood said.

Wood described Hood as a bright, energetic young man who is genuinely committed to local government.

Hood said that commitment to local government has been strengthened by the opportunity to learn from his professors and dedicated professionals in the field, such as Wood and Wilkinson County Commission Chairman Dennis Holder, with whom Hood completed his internship.

"I've further developed my love of government and public service from their work experience,"' Hood said. "Between my professors, [GCSU] staff members and people like Wood and Holder, I have a wealth of knowledge to fall back on."

Although Hood's hiring is a certainty, the Upson County Commission must make a public vote on the personnel decision. The Upson County Commissioners are expected -to take up the matter in their meeting Aug. 12.

"This will be a life-changing event, but I'm excited about the opportunity to start my professional career in such a lovely place. Everyone there has been warm and welcoming," Hood said. "I know [Upson County] is taking a leap of faith in making me their next county manager, but I look forward to putting forth the effort to prove to them that even 24-year olds can make a difference in what people are, accustomed to."

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