She has the distinction of being the City of Peachtree Corners first employee.
Introduced at an August City Council meeting, Diana Wheeler officially took on the duties of Community Development Director on Aug. 27. It's been a whirlwind since her first day on the job.
Of course, there are a lot of "firsts" when building a new city and it was an opportunity Wheeler said she could not pass up.
"There is so much ownership in this community," observed Wheeler who had worked in the same capacity for the City of Alpharetta for 18 years before accepting the Peachtree Corners position.
Wheeler said she was impressed by the keen community interest of so many of the city's citizens. "I'm so excited that people wanted to have a voice in their future (by pursuing cityhood), she added.
Wheeler has had to jump into the fray of not only taking on her duties as Community Development Director for the county's largest city, but she is also helping to get the new City Hall ready for occupancy. In the interim, she's been working in a temporary office (as has the City Manger, Julian Jackson).
She's also involved in the plans for the open house of City Hall which should be sometime in early December. Another "first" she said she's delighted to be involved in. The furniture should be arriving withing the next week or so she said.
You may wonder just what does a Community Development Director do? Plenty. Wheeler will be overseeing two of the city's key services, planning and zoning and code enforcement.
And that takes in permitting, plans processing (such as building or development plans), which must be reviewed, business licenses and economic development.
For a city of some 38,000 residents, over 2,000 businesses and 18.5 square miles, that's a lot to keep up with.
Wheeler will also be instrumental in creating the city's comprehensive plan which will be used to guide the city for the next 20 years. The complex process will involve not only city leaders but its citizens as well.
And in her spare time, which she admits isn't much, she's assisting her son, John, who has just graduated college, in publishing a book.
"I'm helping my son, John, with the process of getting his first novel published," said Wheeler. "He wrote a young adult fiction novel and is now searching for a literary agent who'll be the right fit for his book. It has been an exciting and educational process so far."
A little background on the new Community Development Director:
- Wheeler, 54, originally from Boston, Massuchussets, says she's spent more years in the south than in the north. (which may at the very least provide her honorary Southerner status).
- She lives in Milton with her husband to Robert, who is an architect
- They have one son, John, who has just graduated from Vanderbilt
- Education: Bachelor of Architecture, and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia
- Work background: Prior to working in Alpharetta, she was a Community Development Director in Coral Gables, Florida and South Miami, Florida and got her start in municipal government in South Florida.