The City of Beckley is administered by the mayor and common council. Beckley utilizes a strong mayor form of government, with the mayor serving as the chief administrative officer, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city. The mayor’s total annual salary is $70,000.
● Tell our readers about yourself. I am a native of Beckley. I graduated from Liberty High School and joined the US Army as a junior and shipped to basic right after graduation in 1985. I served in the US Army on active duty for three years and then went into the US Army Reserve where I worked as a dual-status technician. In 2018 I retired with 33 years as an E9, Command Sergeant Major and as a GS employee with 25 years of federal service as a Senior Civilian/GS-13. During my service I performed as a Budget and Resource Program Manager of Training and Operations with an annual budget of $64 million. In my final military assignment, I served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor at the 3-star General Officer level serving over 198,000 Soldiers and 16,000 Department of the Army Civilians.
I’m currently the CEO of AP&E Properties, LLC and Global Leadership 360. I’m married to Lisa (Gray) Wills with four children and two grandchildren.
● What are the top three reasons you are seeking office? While I dealt with 33 years of politics in the Army, I am not a politician. I am on the other hand passionate about my family, my neighbors and my community and opportunities for all. My reasons for running for office are that I am more than qualified for the job and feel that I can bring needed changed to Beckley. I am focused on the people of the community, wanting to bring a sense of safety and security back to them whether in their homes or if they are shopping downtown.
Secondly, in comparing my background and experience to those also seeking the same office, I believe that hands down I have the needed experience to make the needed changes in Beckley. It is critical to bring wholesome family entertainment and activities to Beckley. New home construction is happening in cities all around the area within 150-miles and Beckley hasn’t had a new housing subdivision in years. I want to stop the population decline, giving people a reason to love Beckley as their home.
Lastly, my plans to bring economic growth and development are unlike that of the other candidates. My effort to establish business incubation processes which would drive affordable business opportunities for starting entrepreneurs, a tech park that would bring long-term jobs paying great pay and benefits through partnering between Department of Defense and local colleges and universities. Partnering with county and state to ensure that Raleigh County gains pad-ready certified sites for large corporate industry, warehouses, distribution centers, etc. Leveraging from the approved solar panel initiative that has been approved for Raleigh County has to be a priority. I feel my plan is guaranteed to brand Beckley as the “Gateway of the East” hence establishing it as a destination rather than a gas station stop.
● What is the single thing you regret most in your life? My greatest regret in life, although an educator by degree, is not pursuing my teacher’s certification and seeking a Ph.D. in education. Most of us don’t learn to value the love for mankind until it is too late in life if even then. In my lifetime I feel that I have touched the hearts and minds of many soldiers’ lives, always striving to be a positive mentor for them. I wish that I could have taught in the public school system and spent my senior years as a college or university professor sharing my many wonderful military experiences and lessons.
● What is the single thing you are most proud of? I am most proud of my family. My greatest joy in life is my spouse and my children and grandchildren. Spending time with them and helping them to grow and develop is a daily treasure. I strive in all that I do to ensure that my children have opportunities that I wasn’t so blessed to have as a child. I feel that this passion and love for the youth is what drives me to want to strive to make our community a better place for our youth to grow up and call home.