GSU staff member appointed to City Council

Devin Conway

Jeffrey Yawn, the Executive Director of Eagle Dining Services (E.D.S.) at Georgia Southern University, has been appointed to the Statesboro City Council as of January, 2016 after running unopposed. He will be representing the third district.

Yawn, a Statesboro native with a personal and familial history of restaurant ownership and operation, has been in dining services for a decade and has held the position of executive director for eight of those years.

During his tenure as executive director of E.D.S., Yawn has seen student participation rates in dining plans increase significantly, and revenue for the program has increased by approximately $20 million dollars.

He recently met with The George-Anne staff to discuss his transition into local politics and his aspirations for the city of Statesboro as a city council member.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

“I grew up in Statesboro, and with the exception of a few excursions, I’ve lived here for my entire life. I graduated from Georgia Southern with a degree in finance. I have a wife, Megan, and we have three kids, Hannah, Bruce and Luke, who are 10, 8 and 6. I believe that having grown up with a family-owned business and having owned my own business, as well as working at Georgia Southern, has offered me a variety of experiences and perspectives that will be truly valuable to our community as I serve in this new capacity.”

After all of your success in the dining industry, what made you interested in pursuing politics?

“Public service. I was always taught to give back to the community. Statesboro has given me so much, and now it has given to my family as well. I think that when you recognize how much a community has given to you and see how fortunate you are to have children growing up in the same community and benefiting from it much like you did, you feel even more obligated to give back to it.”

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Statesboro right now?

“Statesboro has grown so much since I was young, and I know that’s a lot of years, but we certainly need to consider the next step. We need to maintain a balance between this growth in business and education and that sense of community and togetherness that has always been an essential part of Statesboro.”

How do you think Michael’s Law will change the landscape of Georgia Southern?

“I’m really not sure. I don’t know that I’m versed enough in regard to the bill itself to make any claims on how it will affect the community going forward. But I will say this, in any form of leadership you certainly have a responsibility to protect those who you serve.”

What particular goals do you have in mind for the city of Statesboro?

“With this growth that I already mentioned, there are always more challenges. I certainly want prospective students and their parents to know that they’re going to be in a safe environment. I also think it’s important for local businesses and our school system to be supportive of one another. I don’t want one facet of our community to outshine the others.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

“I would be remised if I didn’t say this: in any form of leadership, you’re only as good as the people around you. It’s difficult to reach your goals without a strong foundation of love and support. Without the support of my wife, family and coworkers, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”