If you’re looking for Richmond Hill Assistant City Manager Scott Allison this college football season, you’d do well to check Sanford Field in Athens, or his living room in front of the television.
When the self-described Bulldog fanatic isn’t enjoying family activities with his wife Robin, daughter Liliana, 8, and son Jake, 5, he likes to watch college football, either at the game or from the comfort of his home.
Allison graduated from the University of Georgia in 2003 with a degree in landscape architecture, a degree that set him on the path for several city management positions. The Atlanta native started with Richmond Hill in July 2013 and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2016.
"Richmond Hill is quite a change from metro Atlanta. It’s a slower pace. The job isn’t a slower pace but the community is. Robin and I love the coastal area," he said.
As assistant city manager, Allison fills in for City Manager Chris Lovell when needed, while still maintaining the reins of the planning and zoning department, the position he was hired to fill when the previous planning and zoning director retired. His day is never dull, he said, and that is something he likes. For example, one day he might be dealing with the ongoing challenges of managing city growth patterns, while the next he might be dealing with personnel issues in any of the city’s many departments.
After graduating from UGA in 2003, Allison found himself working in the private sector.
"I was involved in large scale master planning, land use planning and program management," he said.
Even though he was employed by a private company, much of the work he did, he said, was for local metro municipalities in a consultant capacity. He found himself involved with grant management for downtown development, redoing code of ordinances and other other aspects of consulting and helping manage municipal programs.
That consulting ultimately brought him into contact with officials at Garden City, which led to him accepting a position as planning and economic development director with the city.
"Robin and I had always wanted to live in coastal Georgia and this was a good opportunity to make that happen.
"There was a draw to Richmond Hill for me, when I saw the position open here. I researched some of the things Richmond Hill had been doing and what needed to continue to be done. The job really interested me."
Allison fills a dual role in managing the planning and zoning department with a staff of seven, and acting as assistant city manager.
"I’m fortunate to have a great staff and the planning department runs smoothly when I’m dealing with other city issues. Business just goes on."
He said he is a firm believer in letting people "grow" into various jobs and believes on a promote from within mentality.
Allison said the job is challenging - something he likes - and he knows that it is impossible to please everyone all the time, but he is committed to trying to achieve that.
An example of that might be the recent concern about the ongoing growth in the city and south Bryan County. Allison said that takes a great deal of his time and that he is an advocate of "responsible growth" and continual planning to meet the developmental challenges of the future.
He said certain developmental controls from an aesthetic point of view are in place now and future commercial development will be required to adhere to those and he hopes the new controls lead to a more cohesive looking city.
The assistant city manager did say that the city will continue to promote the Ford architectural history of the city as Richmond Hill grows and expands.
"What I like about Richmond Hill is the sense of community it has and that people seem to take care of each other. It’s also a place with good schools and low crime. It’s a good place to raise a family. The draw for Robin and I are the schools and that neighbors and friends really seem to take care of each other."
The Allisons live in the Cottenham development in the Richmond Hill Plantation subdivision. Although his job is time consuming, he does manage to find family time and time for sports.
"Robin and I and the kids will often times hop in the car on the weekends and go to St. Simons or Savannah. Or maybe go out with friend on their boat. I try to my hardest on my offtime to spend it with Robin and my kids."
Having said that, it is difficult to separate Allison from his ties to the Georgia Bulldogs.
"A major hobby of mine in the Fall is that I’m a huge football fan. Huge Georgia football fan. I’m not able to go as many Georgia games as I used to. We may not go to every Bulldog game but we plan a lot of our family activities so we can all watch them."
He hopes to see at least two Georgia games this year from the stands.
"I always like to go to Jacksonville for the Georgia-Florida game and I’ll see the Georgia-Notre Dame game. I’m also a big Braves fan.
Allison credits multiple people with being his mentors.
"I had a good family structure growing up. My drive and work ethic comes from my family. I’ve had a lot of good influences along the way from teachers, friends and professors. I’ve been lucky."