By Joe Johnson
The Athens Housing Authority board of directors announced on Wednesday that longtime CEO Rick Parker will step down in mid-February, and they have selected Virginia housing official Connie Staudinger to succeed him.
“Rick Parker has been a tremendous leader for the Athens Housing Authority,” said board Chairman Valdon Daniel. “His leadership has taken us further than we ever imagined, including the vision for the new North Downtown Athens Redevelopment, collaborations with the University of Georgia, as well as many other projects too numerous to name. I want to acknowledge all of the great work he has done for the housing authority for more than three decades. His leadership will be greatly missed.”
An honors graduate of the University of Memphis, where he obtained an MBA, Rick Parker has served as the CEO of the Athens Housing Authority since 1989. He came to Athens after having served as the director of the Housing Authority in Jackson TN.
Recent highlights under his leadership include the redevelopment of Jack R. Wells public housing into the national award-winning $60 million Columbia Brookside neighborhood; the partnership with Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and Clarke County School District to transform a local historic gym into the Elizabeth G. King Boys & Girls Club; and the ongoing North Downtown Athens project to transform an old Section 8 project-based apartment complex into a mixed-income, mixed-finance neighborhood in partnership with the Athens-Clarke County Government.
“I have been privileged to work alongside some of the best professionals and staff anywhere,” Parker said. “Our Board members have been supportive and courageous in their leadership. The trust and participation of our residents has been both personally rewarding and another key element to our success. Finally, no leader succeeds without family support. There has been no one more supportive of our community and affordable housing than my wife, Martha, for whom I am eternally grateful.”
Beginning on Feb. 20, Connie Staudinger will assume her duties as the new CEO of the Athens Housing Authority.
Staudinger has held executive level positions at the Alexandria (VA) Redevelopment & Housing Authority and INLIVIAN (formerly Charlotte Housing Authority).
“In Connie Staudinger, we believe we have found the person that will fit in well with the organization, while also leading us to even greater heights as our CEO,” AHA board Chairman Valdon Daniel said. “She has the ability to enhance what Rick Parker and his incredible team have built over three decades – expanding on the vision of the housing authority to provide secure, affordable, quality housing for our community.”
With over 25 years in both the public and private sectors, Ms. Staudinger has a diversified background that includes exposure to the disciplines needed to work through complicated mixed-use, mixed-income multi-family housing development projects. She has developed more than $350 million in real estate projects throughout the Eastern US, and was a pioneer in the first generation of affordable housing mixed-finance deals and successfully orchestrated one of the first tax credit funded community buyouts in the nation. The projects developed under her leadership have received multiple national, state, and industry awards.
“I look forward to working with the Board of Commissioners and the staff of the Athens Housing Authority in continuing our efforts to improve the quality of life for our customers.” Staudinger said.