Marty Nix's roots run deep in Hall County.
He was born here, raised by a Baptist minister on a steady diet of gospel music that would later inspire him to play guitar for bluegrass and folk bands.
He went to school at North Hall High, where his sister, Marlena, is now a teacher.
And since college, he has served Hall County in a range of careers that have made him one of the most experienced officials around.
In addition to his duties as new assistant county administrator, he also heads the Public Safety Department and Parks and Leisure Services.
"It's quite the task," he said.
But if anyone has the experience for it, Nix does.
In fact, he's spent his career assessing difficult situations and making them run better, faster and smarter.
"That's where I guess one of my strong points is — going into a situation or organization, seeing what can be done better and streamlining it," he said.
As soon as County Administrator Randy Knighton was hired, he began looking for an assistant administrator. Marty was "the perfect choice," he said.
"Marty, I know, has the skills, the knowledge, the experience to serve Hall County citizens very well in this capacity. Obviously his law enforcement safety background will provide a strong balance with the administrative staff," Knighton said
In 1984, Nix graduated from North Georgia College with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
Just after graduation, he applied to a job as a booking officer in the Hall County Detention Center. He was hired on the spot.
"I had it made," Nix said with a laugh.
"I was very impressed with him in the beginning," said Dick Mecum, then Hall County's sheriff.
"Marty was a go-getter, he always has been. He's an easy learner; he's one of those that's not comfortable standing still. He's always looking, always thinking, always trying to make something better."
From there, Nix moved on to the Crimes against Persons Unit.
"We worked all of the homicides and all the major cases in the Sheriff's Office," he said.
In 2001, he took a position in the District Attorney's office as an investigator. Then in 2003, he became head of Hall County's 911 center.
In 2005 he organized a $16-million public safety communications project for the county, his first taste of large-scale project management. After that he headed up animal control and the animal shelter.
Somewhere in the mix, Nix earned his executive certification in law enforcement from the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and a master's degree in public administration from Columbus State University.
Nix still checks in with the 911 center and talks to Andre Niles, captain of the county marshal's office, every day. After almost three years at the marshal's office, Niles sees Nix as both a mentor and friend.
"People think he's just somebody who smiles a lot, but when you get to know him, you'll see the vast knowledge that he has and his compassion for Hall County, because he's a local boy," Niles said.
Niles added he thought Hall County made an excellent choice in Nix.
"He leads out front. He will go and do anything that he asks anybody else to do," he said.
After work, Nix is a family man, gardener, musician and enthusiast of all things outdoors. Nix married his wife, Jan, in 1988, and they have two children, Matthew, 16 and Jessica, 12.
Nix, his sister, Melody Marlowe, Gainesville's Administrative Services Department Director, and the rest of the family share more than 20 acres of a farm bought by their grandfather.
There's a joke in the family that Nix and Marlowe are running a little sibling rivalry as top officials in city and county government.
"It's all in jest," Marlowe said with a laugh.
Nix loves organic gardening, and lately he's enjoyed caring for the family's mini-mule, a cross between a miniature horse and a donkey, Marlowe said.
Nix also likes to bike and run with his daughter, plays in several bluegrass, folk and jazz bands when he has time, and takes his family to music festivals in Colorado, North Carolina and Kansas whenever he can.
"I like traditional-type music and that's what I gravitate toward — the more purist-type music," Nix said.