For Marietta lawyer and Georgian lawmaker Bert Reeves, it was about quitting a dream job for someone else.
Reeves’ alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology, announced Thursday morning that the seven-year-old state official who serves as Governor Brian Kemp’s chairman will become vice president of the University for University Relations, a cabinet-level position that reports directly to President Engel Cabrera.
The appointment takes effect on May 1st. Reeves, 44, is stepping down from his seat at Georgia House in District 34, which represents parts of Marietta and Kennesaw, effective April 30. In order to fill the position, a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 60 special elections will be held, days in which Kemp requested the election.
Reeves takes over the university role following the resignation of Lynn Durham, who announced in December that she had been appointed as the new President and CEO of Georgia CORE (Center for Oncology Research and Education).
He described his career change as “a once in a lifetime opportunity that is hard to turn down”.
“Everyone in this community knows my connection and love for Georgia Tech and how rich Georgia Tech is in my family history.”
Reeves’ ties to technology are deeply ingrained indeed. Several family members graduated from the school, including his grandfather Kerby Calloway, class from 1938. From 1997 to 2000 he also served as “Buzz”, the mascot of the yellow jacket, and was named All-American Mascot during his time there.
His duties at Georgia Tech include federal, state, and local government relations, corporate relations, and economic development. It will employ around 16 people.
“In many ways, they are more or less external matters. While most of the people in the Georgia Tech cabinet are internally focused, my eyes will be a group of eyes that are externally focused.
“This job is the perfect intersection of two things that I love as much as anything else – one is Georgia Tech and the other is Georgia Public Policy. And so I’ll be right at the epicenter of the intersection of those two things. It really is a perfect job for me. And I think I have the perfect experience to get involved with. “
Still, the move is bittersweet; He said he valued his seven years as a lawmaker – something he knew he wanted to do at a young age.
“It was Ms. (Linda) Morrisson, one of my teachers (at North Cobb High School), and she was a government teacher, current affairs teacher, and Model UN trainer. And I really got into all of that. Your mentorship inspired me to want to become a legislator, ”Reeves said.
Serving as lawmaker “was an amazing experience,” he said. “I was very careful not to take any of this for granted and work on it every day as if it was my last, every session as if it was my last session.
“While I was there, I wanted to be consistent … it’s amazing to have had the opportunity. Very few Georgians have the opportunity to sit in this room, sit down and vote, and submit and drive laws. It is a very rare, unique opportunity to be a little piece of Georgian history. “
Reeves admits that practicing law and politics can be physically and emotionally stressful.
“There’s a sacrifice in everything, and being a lawyer is a very stressful job … It’s just a very stressful career. And that in connection with politics, which is also very stressful, has certainly taken a toll. It takes a huge amount of focus and time and I can see how that affects my family. With the distraction, I almost feel like I’m never quite right. I always am, I always have so much on my mind between these two things. “
Family remains top priority. Bert and his wife Amy, a medical assistant at Wellstar Health System, have two boys, Charlie, 12 and Albert, 5. The Reeves live in Marietta and attend Metro Church in Marietta.
If Reeves had to choose a legacy topic during his time in the General Assembly, it would be that of the best interests of the child, particularly a revision of the foster and adoption processes in Georgia. After two years of researching the legislation, Reeves led to a complete reform of the state’s outdated adoption code, which made adoptive parents much easier and reduced the foster population by thousands.
When signing the bill in 2018, Governor Nathan Deal said, “We last updated these laws … a generation ago. By signing this law, we give new hope for an eternal family to children, including the 13,500 foster children. “
Adoption and foster care reform, Reeves said, “wasn’t the issue I was fighting for down there. The problem found me. … what it really did in the end was that it gave the subject a tremendous amount of focus and attention. And what’s wonderful is that right now … It’s a priority for all three parts of the state government, the House, the Senate and the Governor’s Office, all of their initiatives and synergies working together. We don’t work together on many things, but this is a topic that has become such a focus. And I’m so proud of that. … I think this is probably my legacy problem with the General Assembly. “
That year he was also actively involved in leading a proposed new town in West Cobb, the town of Lost Mountain, and personally donated $ 10,000 to the cost of a study to determine whether such a town is financially feasible .
Reeves began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Cobb County. After leaving the attorney’s office, he joined the Garrett McNatt-Hennessey Carpenter 360 law firm where he was a partner. In 2014, Bert opened his own law firm, Bert Reeves’ law firm, before moving to Smith, Schnatmeier, Dettmering, Collins & Reeves, LLP in 2017. His main areas of practice were general and civil law proceedings, inheritance law and criminal defense.
He was first elected to Georgia House in 2014 after ousting Republican Charles Gregory, and has served as chairman for Governor Brian Kemp for the last two sessions.
North Cobb teacher Morrisson, who brought Reeves’ passion for politics to light, saw that Bert was an excellent student.
“Bert was very popular in high school. He was very kind to everyone. And I’m not at all surprised where it ended up. “