Jim Walters, 2017

Jim Walters
The Georgia Cities Foundation has selected Jim Walters, a business owner, developer and investor in the city of Dublin as the recipient of its 2017 Renaissance Award. Walters accepted the award during the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Annual Convention in Savannah on Saturday, June 24.
The Renaissance Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the revitalization of one or more of Georgia’s cities.
Walters is credited for his purchase and restoration of the Old First National Bank building. Affectionately known as “the Skyscraper,” the building is the most historic landmark in the city and the tallest building between Macon and Savannah.
Walters utilized his business acumen and vision to not only recognize the economic potential of the landmark, but to also form a partnership with public and private entities including city officials, the Dublin Downtown Development Authority, Garbutt Construction and Georgia Military College. Together these groups invested more than $200,000 in utility and infrastructure upgrades. And in just over seven months, the $4 million restoration of the Skyscraper was complete.
Today, the Skyscraper houses the Georgia Military College. The public also has access to restaurants, a bookstore and study areas located in the building. According to Dublin Mayor Phil Best, the Skyscraper Project not only created jobs and enhanced economic development in the downtown district, it expanded access to higher education for the surrounding region.
The investment into the Skyscraper isn’t the only contribution Walters made to the community.
“Over the last 10 years, Jim Walters has invested more than $5 million dollars, created more than 100 jobs, established five new residential units and revitalized more than 25 percent of the buildings in Dublin's downtown historic business district,” said Best.
Walters is the President and CEO of Walters Management Company. He is also actively engaged on the local and state levels. He’s a member of the Dublin Downtown Development Authority and the Historic Preservation Commission. In 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Walters the Chairman Emeritus of the Georgia Ports Authority Board. He previously served 10 years as a member and chairman of the Board of Natural Resources.
Over the years, Walters has received more than 20 awards for his service to his local community and the state of Georgia including the Helping Hands Award from the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County, a Hall County Heart Ball Honoree and several service awards from the Georgia Industrial Loan Association Award. He was also the first recipient of the Philanthropist of the Year Award presented by Northeast Georgia Community Foundation. Walters received an Honorary Doctorate of Law and the Distinguished Service Award from Brenau University.