July Northside Man: Joe Lockwood


July Northside Man: Joe Lockwood, Mayor of Milton; Owner of JK Lockwood Construction in Alpharetta
City of residence: Milton (25 years)
Hometown: Huntington, W.Va.
Education: Georgia Southern University / Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Family: Wife, Dawn; daughter Morgan (25); sons Evans (22), and Charlie (17)

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood has shepherded the city of Milton from its founding in 2006 to a vibrant, successful community that routinely lands on the list of best places to live. He has seen the city rise politically and civically in it's 11-year history, and takes tremendous pride in the progress the city has made.

Did you ever imagine your role as mayor would be a long-term one?

I don’t remember ever having a preconceived notion of how long, if elected, I would serve our city. sure has gone by fast! Before I ran for mayor, I had never considered running for political office, but I realized that everything that was important to me, my family, friends, our church, my children's school, our home and farm, as well as my professional career, all were connected to Milton. That gave me all the motivation and reason I needed to try to make Milton a better place to live.

What makes the hours, time and hard work worth it after all these years?

Let me share a story of why I love this job. Early in our cityhood, I received a letter from a woman - a senior citizen - living on a fixed income with her disabled husband. She had received her first Milton tax bill and wrote that she saw no value to her family in Milton becoming a city. At the bottom in a handwritten note it said "no one probably even cares." I looked up her address, drove over and knocked on her door. I told her I was the mayor and I wanted to come by and see if there was anything I could do to help. She seemed taken back and said "even if you can't do anything it means so much to me that you actually came by."  I went back to my office, researched senior exemptions, helped her with the paperwork, and two weeks later I went back to her house with a new tax bill showing she owed nothing. She gave me a huge hug. There have been many moments like this...and this is where I get the most satisfaction from being mayor.

Is the Milton today what you had envisioned for it in 2006?

I can go on and on about all the accomplishments that have been achieved in our 11-year history.  But what I am most proud of is the sense of community and pride I see from our citizens about where they live, and I see it getting stronger and stronger every year.  Milton has exceeded my expectations from what I envisioned 11 years ago, and I realize it's not just because of my leadership, but our city council, our professional and committed city staff, our boards and committees, the hundreds of committed and caring volunteers, and our citizens.

Are you ever amazed at the “fingerprints” you are leaving throughout the community?

Being the first mayor of our city, and also a private business owner, it is very rewarding to be able to look around and see things that I have been a part of, or touched, that will be here for future generations to benefit from and enjoy. It's also very rewarding for Dawn (co-owner of Henry and Pearl in downtown Milton) to be a part of our business community in Downtown Milton.

So, what’s next for the city of Milton...and what can we expect from you in the coming years?

I am confident in the next 10 years Milton will continue to get even better, not just through the work of people involved now, but with future generations of leaders. As far as my future politically, I have one more term that I can serve (assuming I am re-elected in November). Just 11 years ago I was not a politician, had never considered or run for public office, and ran for Milton mayor solely in the hope that I could improve our city and our citizens’ quality of life. I would like to think I have played a role in making that happen. Looking ahead, I have no desire to serve in higher public office just to be a politician. But I certainly would consider a future opportunity if there is a need to serve, and I genuinely believed I could make a positive difference. ■


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