Known for his work in local government and building strong civic, business and federal relationships, Larry Hanson currently serves as the CEO and Executive Director of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). Founded in 1933, GMA represents all 537 Georgia cities through its lobbying, training and technical consulting services.
Larry also serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for several city-focused nonprofit groups, including the Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System, the Georgia Cities Foundation, Georgia City Solutions and the Georgia Forward-Young Gamechangers. Prior to his employment with GMA, Larry served as City Manager for the city of Valdosta for over 22 years.
Larry is a graduate of Valdosta State University and Valdosta High School. He is a Past President of the Valdosta State University Alumni Board and a past member of the VSU Foundation. 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 in 2017. He previously served as the Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and served on the Board of Directors 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 (FHLBank) of Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council. Through this appointment, he works closely with the FHLBank Atlanta Board of Directors to ensure the affordable 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 literacy 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 of the National League of Cities (NLC) and was recently appointed to serve on its Executive Committee. In addition, he serves NLC as Chairman of the State Leagues Steering Committee, which serves all of the nation’s 49 municipal leagues and associations. Larry also serves on the Board of Directors of the Fox Theatre.
Throughout his career, Larry has received numerous awards for his leadership and public service. Some of these include 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 2017, Georgia Trend Magazine recognized him as a Notable Georgian and in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Larry was also named by James Magazine as one of the Most Influential Georgians in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Larry is the proud father of two children, a son and a daughter. He is a long-time member of and served 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.