In our Meet Your Leaders series, Patch introduces you to Kennesaw's movers and shakers in local government, business, education and more. Today, Patch sits down for a chat with Councilman Jeff Duckett.
In 1983, Kennesaw Councilman Jeff Duckett came within inches of taking part in the Invasion of Grenada.
“We actually were on the tarmac ready to board a plane,” says Duckett. “We had all our stuff there. All our pallets were packed. We were waiting on the plane to come pick us up and take us over there.”
Duckett says the mission was called off that day, just before he was about to fly over.
“We were like, ‘cool!’” he says, chuckling.
Duckett, who was born in Smyrna in 1963 and attended high school in Douglas County, went on to serve 13 years in the Air Force. He served four years of active duty, then nine years of inactive duty with the National Guard and worked in supply and services.
During his time on active duty, he also participated in local relief efforts, including rebuilding schools after the Macon flood of 1994.
Business and Politics
In 1993, Duckett married his wife, Aundie, then founded his business, Handy Electric, Inc. four years later.
“It scared my wife to death,” he says, while talking about the decision to start his own business after spending the previous 10 years working for Marietta Power.
“I just decided one day that I’d go out and try it on my own,” he says. "It worked out."
Duckett is a registered Republican and describes himself as a devout Christian.
He was elected to Post 5 of the Kennesaw City Council in 2009 and says he went into local government because he wanted to get more involved in the community and help it grow.
“I’ve always been involved in local things in my church and all that,” he says. “I just wanted to get more involved in the city and hopefully do some good things for the city. I just decided to run and see if I could make a difference.”
Duckett believes the most important area for the City Council of Kennesaw to focus on right now is development for the purpose of attracting business to the city.
“Give the businesses the initiative to want to come to Kennesaw,” he says. “We’ve got to have something for people to want to come to.”
The way to attract business, he says, is to develop the Kennesaw area in a way that brings in more residents, which means more consumers and more opportunities for businesses to thrive.
Duckett says developments like the are exactly what the city needs.
“Jiles Road was a total disaster,” he says, referencing the notorious congestion of the road. “(The expansion) needed to be done. It needed to be done a long time ago.”
Duckett also stresses that it is equally important that the city maintain financial stability while working on economic development.
For decades now, the Atlanta Regional Commission has held an annual Regional Leadership Institute, a week-long immersion course in leadership skills. Duckett was among the 56 applicants selected to participate this year.
The course is held every year at St. Simon’s Island and consists of constant, intense training. Duckett says participants from past years have warned him that he will be doing nothing but training for the entire week, and that he won't have time for leisure, despite the area being one of Georgia’s more popular vacation spots.
“(My friend) said, ‘Don’t take your clubs, don’t take your wife, don’t take your kids, don’t take anything, because they’re going to have you going all day long, and then when you’re done with class, they’ll have you going all night long, networking and things,’” says Duckett.
Despite the hard work ahead, Duckett says he is looking forward to the event and that he’s excited about the future opportunities that will come of it.
As of now, he plans to run for reelection to City Council. His current term expires in 2013.
As for the possibility of running for higher office, Duckett says, “I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m pretty comfortable here.”
After pausing for a moment, he speaks again.
“It’s a possibility,” he says, smiling. “I don’t know if my wife would let me.”