Nansi Clark has only been working as the mayor’s assistant for two weeks, but she already looks comfortable behind the desk in her office.
“It’s very exciting,” she says of her new position, “a lot of new information but a lot of stuff that I did know…The challenge right now is that I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hydrant of information. I’m sorting it and filing it all.”
Mayor Paul Finley certainly had no concerns about throwing his new assistant into the thick of things right from the start. After just her first week on the job, Finley was out of the country on a mission trip leaving Clark to learn the ropes on the go from department heads and councilmen alike.
There was plenty of work to do in that time. Aside from introducing herself to department heads and getting a sense for their needs and goals there was the Huntsville-Madison County Cyber Initiative at Adtran, during which the power ironically cut out.
“They started that prior to the tornadoes but this was an important follow-up after the tornadoes and the devastation that hit our area, being out of power and being out of communication. We have got to have that for our residents,” Clark said.
Certainly no shortage of work to be done in her first weeks. But for Clark, the mother of six boys and one girl, the job has come naturally. Since moving to Alabama in 1994 then Madison in 2000,
Clark has served the community in many volunteer capacities.
“My background has been in leadership and sales and project development, so I’ve done that for years,” she says. “Knowing Paul, over the past year we’ve thought about where I can fit into Madison to serve in a better and bigger capacity. We’ve looked at some other positions and when Taylor [Edge] had to leave, that was hard, but Paul knew that he could have a list of people that could take this position and I was one of them.”
That being said, Clark is very aware of the legacy left by Edge’s time behind that desk.
“Taylor Edge was a phenomenal guy…the city loved him and he was just so good at what he did. So to see the things that he was in charge of with fresh eyes and continue those with success, for his legacy as well, is something that’s very important to me.”
Again, though, there was no time wasted getting Clark to work on her own projects, work that she hopes will soon get her beyond the label of ‘the new Taylor Edge’.
She is particularly excited to begin work on getting signs put up around the city to help direct residents to the hospital, library and the downtown historical district.
“I’m hitting that hard and talking to people in Montgomery about where the money is and how we can get it. I’m excited about that because I know it’s going to be productive.”
Perhaps the greatest challenge for her, she says, will be remaining patient while projects move toward completion.
“I want to be in the midst of all the projects,” she says, “I just want to dive in. That’s probably going to be the hardest thing is that I want to make it happen now, that’s just my personality.”
Overall, Clark is proud to be in a position where she can help improve her city.
“It is my home. I want it to be my home when I’m 90. I want my kids to come here and I want my grand kids to come here. I think the majority of our residents feel that same way. They love Madison. So for my sake as well as theirs I just want to make it better, to improve our quality of life.”
It is a quality that she carries over from her family life to her new job, and one she hopes can push her to do great things for the city of Madison.
“We’ve taught our kids since they were young to put others first and give to your community..so it just fits to be able to serve, to do this full time. It’s my dream job because I did it so much anyway.”
By Drew Woolley