Jim Thomas Retires as Executive Director
After almost six years with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), Executive Director Jim Thomas will be stepping away from his public service career at the end of June.
Thomas came to MTAS in 2011 as assistant director and took over as director in July 2012, this after an 18-year career with the city of Goodlettsville. He served as city manager of the city from 2004 to 2011 and held other roles with the city including assistant city manager and city commissioner.
A Chattanooga native, Thomas graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with both his bachelor’s and master’s degree. He’s an active member of the UT National Alumni Association, most recently serving on the public affairs committee. He was president of the alumni association in 1991.
In his final month on the job, Thomas answered a few questions about his life after MTAS.
What do you plan to do after you retire?
For a short while, I’m planning on not planning anything…just letting each day unfold on its own and enjoying what that brings. That is some unsolicited advice I’ve gotten from several friends who seem to have retired successfully.
Sissy and I have some definite travel adventures we intend to make and we’re starting to put a timeline on them. In the near term, I’m looking forward to helping the Tennessee City Managers Association (TCMA) prepare for its hosting role for the 2019 International City/County Management Association conference in Nashville.
When I joined MTAS, I had to call timeout on some of my church’s community service activities in the Goodlettsville area due to my travel schedule. I’m looking forward to picking those back up again and contributing more time in that regard. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will be getting more frequent and longer visits. You won’t be surprised that a few more rounds of golf will get played than what has over the past several years. And, very importantly, I look forward to continuing to advocate for my university and enjoy doing so in a more open way that this new freedom allows.
What will you miss most about working with MTAS?
The people. Without question, the people.
Over the past four-plus decades, I’ve been blessed by having fellow workers positively impact both my professional and personal lives. To have had the opportunity of finishing my career working for my university and with the people it has put in my path…well, words can’t adequately express my appreciation and gratitude. The staffs I worked for at IPS and MTAS are incredible. Smart. Perceptive. Inquisitive. Understanding. Caring. Committed. Pick any qualifier you want. Simply put, they’re just good folks and I’ll be forever grateful for my relationship with them.
What was your proudest accomplishment during your tenure with MTAS?
Relationships are important to any success MTAS enjoys…and they will always be. We’ve established some new ones. We’ve fixed some broken ones. We’ve made some really good ones a little stronger.
What piece of advice do you have for the next executive director?
Keep a high level of interest in what each MTASer is doing and stay out of their way.
See more of this story in the Spring 2017 IPSConnect