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Native takes lead at Hall extension
Wheeler comes home to Gainesville after stint at Gilmer County Extension
Michael Wheeler
Michael Wheeler, new director of Hall County Extension

A new coordinator has been named at the Hall County Extension.

Michael Wheeler, a 10-year veteran of the Extension and a Gainesville native will take the post on April 1, according Northeast District Extension Director John Parks.

Wheeler is currently the extension agent in Gilmer County, where he has worked since 2002.

A Gainesville High School graduate, Wheeler said he saw the position as an opportunity to come home and be part of the agricultural industry in a thriving county.

"Between the green industry and the nursery industry (in Hall County) and then working with all of the poultry, and even the homeowners industry ... it's just a great community," he said. "And it's home. I thought it would be nice. It's nice coming home and it's even better to be able to serve in this capacity, to give back to the community."

Parks said Wheeler has experience in many programs and industries that overlap with the Hall County Extension office such as the Master Gardeners and the poultry industry.

"The experience will make the transition easier," Parks said. "Of course, any time you swap counties there is a transition process. They've got some similarities but every county is different.

But having that background and those experiences will make the transition much smoother for him."

Gene Anderson, a former Hall County extension coordinator who is serving as the interim director, said he was Wheeler's mentor when he first joined the Extension.

He said Wheeler has proven himself to be a skilled leader who works well in groups.

"He seems to be very much in tune with people and meeting their needs and that is one of the truly big ingredients or big qualifications for any extension agent job," he said.

The position was vacated in January when former director Billy Skaggs resigned to become the chief operating officer at the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Wheeler said the Hall County office, under Skaggs' and Anderson's leadership, was known to have a public-friendly approach and he wants to see that continue under his watch.

"I want folks to want to come to us and ask for our advice and know that they're going to get a friendly staff and get good information that they can use," he said.

 

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