Known for his work in local government and building strong civic, business and federal relationships, Larry Hanson currently serves as the executive director of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). Founded in 1933, GMA represents all of Georgia’s 537 cities through its lobbying, training and technical consulting services. Larry also serves as the secretary-treasurer for both the Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System and the Georgia Cities Foundation. Prior to his employment with GMA, Larry served as city manager for the city of Valdosta for over 22 years.
In addition to his daily responsibilities, Larry is spearheading the association’s new headquarters project and the creation of Georgia City Solutions, a 501 (c)(3) subsidiary of GMA which has been created to fund initiatives to build vibrant, economically prosperous and well-managed cities.
Larry is a graduate of Valdosta State University and Valdosta High School. He currently serves on the Valdosta State University Alumni Association Board. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia and a charter member of Leadership Lowndes, serving twice as its president.
Larry currently serves on several national and state committees. He was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) in 2017. He also served on the Model Code for Municipalities Working Group as Vice Chairman and on the Rates and Fees subcommittee. Larry previously served on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Board as Vice Chairman and currently serves on the Board of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He is also a past president of the Georgia City-County Management Association.
In December 2019, Larry was appointed to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council. Through this appointment, Larry assists FHLBank Atlanta in fulfilling its affordable housing mission and works closely with the FHLBank Atlanta board of directors to ensure the housing needs of communities within the Bank’s district are met.
Larry also serves on the Board of Directors of the Share the Magic Foundation, which supports literary and reading to young people, particularly in underserved populations. In December 2020, he was appointed to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors for the National League of Cities and for the Fox Theatre.
Larry supports the United States military and frequently interacts with Air Force leaders and Georgia’s congressional delegation on various military matters. He was appointed by the Air Force to the Air Combat Command Commander’s Group. He serves on U.S. Senator David Perdue’s Military Community Group and on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Military Advisory Committee.
Throughout his career, Larry has received numerous awards for his leadership and public service, including the 2003 Outstanding Public Official Award from Valdosta State University, the 2004 Carl Vinson Institute of Government/Georgia Trend Magazine Excellence in Public Service Award and the 2010 Georgia City-County Management Association Pillar of Professional Management Award for outstanding leadership and professional service to the local government profession. In 2011, Larry was inducted into GMA’s Municipal Government Hall of Fame. In addition, Georgia Trend magazine recognized him in 2017 as a Notable Georgian and in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Larry was also named by James Magazine as one of the 2020 Most Influential Georgians.
Larry is the proud father of two children, a son and a daughter. He is a long-time member and serves as an Elder at First Christian Church in Valdosta, is a past chairman of the church board and holds joint membership at Peachtree Christian Church in midtown Atlanta.