Pallone's service as mayor a 'natural transition'
by Mark Andrews
Jan 27, 2014 | 1706 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Al Pallone is the mayor of Emerson. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Al Pallone is the mayor of Emerson. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Emerson Mayor Al Pallone began serving the city in 2008 after spending seven years as a city council member from 1994 to 2001. He describes his role as a public servant as a “natural transition” from working at his church.

“Although I may have a title as mayor which may sound like the highest role, I in fact serve the people not the other way around,” Pallone said. “Many people have asked me if I planned to seek a higher office but I have never really had that desire.

“I enjoy local politics as there is an ability to have an immediate and direct impact on the people you represent. It is indeed a very rewarding job and I am glad that I chose this role.”

Age: 56

Occupation(s): Mayor for the city of Emerson (volunteer job); technical lead/senior manager for Lockheed Martin (paying job) where I have worked for 33 years.

Family: I have been married to my wife Millie for 32 years. We have two daughters, one son and five grandchildren.

Education: I received my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1980. I then obtained my Masters of Business Administration from Georgia State University in 1987 as a night student during my early years at Lockheed Martin.

City of residence: We have lived in Emerson for nearly 32 years.

Can you explain your role at Lockheed Martin?

A: As technical lead on the C-130J program I am responsible for leading design development efforts for our U.S. government customer. In this role I am responsible for coordination of multi-disciplined engineering organizations along with other organizations within Lockheed Martin. I also work directly with the customer and key C-130J suppliers to assure the technical performance of the modified aircraft. I believe that working on such a large project has prepared me well for the challenges we face as we look at a very large development such as LakePoint [Sporting Community]. I have seen many parallels in working local government and my role as an engineering lead in aerospace.

What was the process like bringing in businesses like Love’s and LakePoint to Emerson?

A: Love’s and LakePoint involved two very different approaches in bringing businesses to the city. Love’s arrived in Emerson without much fanfare and little work on our part to get them to come to Emerson. I believe they were drawn primarily by our excellent location on the interstate. Despite the lack of fanfare, Love’s success is apparent to anyone that drives by that location. LakePoint on the other hand involved a much more complex approach. LP did share a common [trait] with Love’s and that is Emerson’s excellent location with two exits off I-75, Lake Allatoona, and its strategic location for access from a large portion of the east coast. Another key factor included the availability of a large tract of land held by a single group.

I think a big factor in this development landing in Emerson was the ability for municipalities to work together to achieve this goal. There was much cooperation required to bring this to closure. There was much negotiation along the way that lead us to where we are today. Emerson worked with Bartow County and supported by the city of Cartersville in a collaborative effort to present what this area had to offer. On June 22, 2010 I made the presentation developed by Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development to Jerry Ford of Perfect Game. We also had to work together with Bartow County in agreements with LakePoint. Almost four years to the day after our presentation, the first pitch is expected to be thrown at the Perfect Game first tournament. I am not a patient person but I have learned with something like this, patience is a very important virtue.

What is greatest challenge facing Emerson with development such as LakePoint?

A: I would say the greatest challenge will be being responsive to the needs of our citizens while also supporting the needs of a major development. We need to do this while not having the ability to quickly grow our staff due to current budget constraints. We will ultimately be able to grow our staff once we start getting the benefit of revenues derived from hotel/motel taxes and other revenue sources expected to result from this development. We will need to be smart in how we grow our staff, assuring that additional staffing addresses the greatest needs while maintaining budget constraints. A key consideration for how we spend our resources will be to maintain the safety of both our citizens as well as our many visitors. We look forward to such challenges, as it will come with a variety of jobs that will help many people seeking good jobs in our region.

What is your greatest personal or professional achievement?

A: I truly believe the most important job that I have had in my life has been that of a husband and father. I am most proud of the example that I have given to my children as a leader in the local church when they were young and the local community as a whole as they gotten older and now have children of their own. I recently had an opportunity to go to Cloverleaf, my grandson’s elementary school, to talk to him and his classmates. I was thrilled to have this type of opportunity.

What is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?

A: I would have to say that my favorite place to be is on top of Pine Mountain. It provides a spectacular view looking over the beauty of our county from an incredible vantage point. We are a very blessed county with beauty and natural resources in abundance. As we look forward to the growth of Emerson, Pine Mountain will provide a great viewpoint of the city. Current and future city leaders will need to be diligent to work to maintain the beauty of the city even if it takes a slightly different form.

Do you have a personal philosophy?

A: I found a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I think embodies my personal philosophy: “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” This quote is something that I try to take to heart. I try to never take myself too seriously in what I do for a living. My jobs as technical lead and mayor keep me humble. No matter how many successes you have, one mistake can quickly bring you back to earth. I strive to be the same person whether I am playing with my grandchildren, giving a speech at a local elementary school or following Gov. Deal giving a speech to hundreds of people at a major groundbreaking for LakePoint.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

A: Although this is not a surprise to the people close to me, many people do not know that I am of the first generation in my family born in the United States. My parents were both born in southern Italy and immigrated to the United States. In 2001 I was lucky enough to be put on special assignment in Italy for nine months for Lockheed Martin. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting long-lost relatives in Italy and we even had the opportunity to attend a cousin’s wedding near my parent’s hometown.