On June 1, Regina Williams-Gates officially became Doraville’s Interim City Manager, assuming the duties of Dr. Shawn Gillen who recently became city manager for Tybee Island, Georgia. Williams-Gates brings to the position a wealth of experience gleaned from an extensive 40-year career in executive positions at both local and state government levels.
Williams-Gates served 12 years as city manager for Norfolk, Virginia and was Norfolk’s longest tenured city manager and the only female and the first African-American in that position in Norfolk’s history. She managed a budget in excess of 1 billion dollars and during her time with Norfolk, the city saw tremendous growth and redevelopment as she spearheaded the development of new libraries, recreation centers, office and other commercial buildings, while reducing the city’s property tax rate.
Prior to moving to Norfolk, Williams-Gates was city manager for the City of San José, California, the capital of Silicon Valley and a large international high tech area. Again, she was the first female and remains the only African-American to manage San José’s multi-faceted local government with over 20 departments, approximately 6,000 employees, and a total city budget in excess of $1.7 billion.
Prior to serving in San José, Williams-Gates was deputy city manager and chief-of-staff for the City of Richmond, Virginia. In addition to her deputy city manager duties in Richmond, for a time she served as the director of public safety. She first began in Richmond as the director of personnel.
Williams-Gates was appointed to numerous boards and commissions by several Virginia governors. Under Governor Tim Kaine, she served on his State Economic Development Advisory Steering Committee. Under Governor Mark Warner, she served on his Governor-Elect “Put Virginia First” Transition Committee which provided the governor-elect advice and consultation on putting his administration together. She also served on Governor Warner’s “Secure Virginia Initiative” which was responsible for developing the state’s domestic security plan. Earlier she served under Governor Gerald Bailies on the state’s Technology Procurement Advisory Committee and the Workforce Development Policy Board.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, and educated in Detroit’s public school system, Williams-Gates graduated from high school at age 16, attended Eastern Michigan University, and received a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in English and sociology, with a minor in psychology. She later received a Master's degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Williams-Gates was honored in September 2002 as International City-County Management Association (ICMA)’s first Outstanding Manager of the Year and in 2003 was recognized by Governing magazine as one of their Public Officials of the Year. She was the recipient of the T. Edward Temple Public Executive-in-Residence honor awarded by Virginia Commonwealth University, Public Administration Program and also received the Marks of Excellence Award from the National Forum of Black Public Administrators. In addition, Williams-Gates has received numerous other national and local awards in recognition of professional achievements and community involvement.
She has also provided her management skills internationally with management consultant engagements in South Africa. Sponsored by the United States Aid to Developing Countries (US-AID), Williams-Gates provided management training and public administration consultant services in Capetown, Johannesburg, and other South Africa cities and in Central America in Quito, Ecuador. She has also served as guest lecturer at Harvard and Stanford Universities and has been an adjunct faculty member at several universities.
Welcome Ms. Williams-Gates to Doraville!