By Morgan Bryce
Lisa Sandt was introduced as the new executive director of the Lee-Russell Council of Governments during an introduction ceremony on Friday afternoon.
Sandt, who has spent the last 21 years as the agency’s director of planning and economic development, replaces replaces Suzanne Burdette, who retired on May 1 after 25 years of service.
Only 11 days removed from taking over as the agency’s executive director, Sandt said she is ready to face the challenge of filling Burdette’s shoes.
“There is a lot of personal excitement for me, but it’s sobering knowing that I am in charge of the agency, the staff and the programs and making sure that we are responsive to our member governments,” Sandt said.
Originally from Fairhope, Sandt has a political science degree from the University of Montevallo and a master’s degree in sociology from Auburn University. Her masters thesis involved collaboration with members of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, relationships that helped her land a job with the organization in 1992.
Sandt spent the next six years working with members of the system’s health council and community resource unit. In 1998, she received an offer to come on board with the LRCOG, and immediately formed a close bond with Burdette.
“From day one, she provided me with quality mentorship, opportunities to grow and really develop me as a professional. That, along with this area’s small-town feel, is what’s kept me here the last 21 years,” Sandt said.
Following a recent rebranding of the agency, Sandt said her initial goals as executive director are to further Burdette’s successful policies, increase the efficiency and output of the agency’s services and enhance the agency’s local name recognition.
“I want to meet with our board members on a continual basis and make sure that we are truly serving the needs of our member governments. Then, I’d like to identify unmet needs in our jurisdiction and take those on, possibly through finding additional funding and better manage that for them,” Sandt said. “And lastly, we really want to do even more to let people know what we do. I personally think that we’re the best-kept secret in town … we serve children all the way to seniors and I don’t think that people realize the breadth and variety of the programs that we offer here at the agency.”
For more information about the LRCOG or its services, visit www.lrcog.com. The agency is located at 2207 Gateway Drive.