Ready to focus his energy on Garfield County governance where his experience, education, and initiative will Move Garfield County Forward
A native of North Carolina, Byron grew up working in his family’s heating and air conditioning business. He learned the meaning of hard work and what it takes to make it as a small-business owner. Following his father’s death, Byron enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated in 1987 with a BA in History. He paid 100 percent of his university expenses working part-time jobs even while carrying a full college load.
Following graduation, Byron worked briefly as an insurance adjuster before being hired as the manager of a powersports dealership in Winston-Salem. During his eight-year tenure as manager, the dealership’s sales tripled and profits increased fivefold. Byron offered health insurance and paid vacation to the dealership’s employees - unheard-of benefits in the industry at that time.
Moving Up in the Business World
While managing the dealership, Byron enrolled in graduate business school at Wake Forest University, earning an MBA in 1998. He was recruited by an automotive group where he served as the Director of Marketing for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick, Saturn, BMW, and AutoNation USA dealerships throughout North Carolina. Then he was recruited by BMW of North America, serving as a district manager in Chicago and Orlando and as the national training manager based in New York. Byron met Sheridan while living in Florida, and they’ve been together ever since.
Becoming a Municipal Administrator
After a corporate reorganization, Byron and Sheridan relocated to North Carolina and, by themselves, built their first house together from the ground up near the small, rural community of Danbury. Byron was appointed by Danbury’s mayor to serve as the Town’s first town administrator. Byron put his corporate experience to work: He obtained funding to construct a streetscape/public area along Main Street, procured a historic structure which became the County’s performing arts center, and negotiated transfer of the Town’s small water system to County ownership.
Managing Two Towns
While serving in Danbury, the nearby Town of Walnut Cove (population 1,800), asked Byron to become its interim Town Manager. While working for both towns, he again returned to school and obtained the equivalent of an additional BA in accounting He managed both towns for six months before being appointed permanent Manager in Walnut Cove. There he streamlined the Town’s operations, more than doubling the Town’s reserves; obtained funding for a mile-long walkway project; and restructured the Town’s debt (resulting in a savings of $1.1M). He improved the town’s law enforcement efficiency and capability by negotiating with the County Sheriff’s department for providing their services to the town (a savings of some $400K/year).
Combining Business Know-How with Government Management
Following his tenure in Walnut Cove, Byron was asked by the State of North Carolina to serve as Town Manager in Princeville, (population 2,200), a town that had been put under state control following its near bankruptcy. Byron’s main task was to guide Princeville back to autonomy. His efforts were successful: during his management of Princeville, the Town was released from State control, its reserves grew from near zero to $500K, its operations were reorganized, its historic museum was reopened, its water/sewer services were transferred to the County, all debt was retired, and its police department merged with the county sheriff’s department. In addition, with the town being susceptible to flooding, Byron and his team testified at a Congressional budget hearing in Washington, D.C. and helped obtain a $20M upgrade to the Town’s levee system.
Garfield County is now Home
Byron and Sheridan have both traveled extensively all over the world and are experienced hikers and backpackers. They first visited Southern Utah nearly 10 years ago and returned year after year. Both wanted to live in a small, rural ranching community, so in 2015 they purchased property near Escalante and, once again, constructed their own home. Since becoming residents, Byron and Sheridan both actively serve their community: Byron has volunteered as a BLM site steward, at Escalante Canyons Arts Festival, and for SkyHoopi Thrift Shop. He’s a volunteer researcher for Garfield County Taxpayers Alliance, and worked on Marsha Holland’s 2018 State House campaign. He and Sheridan make a good team, with her own involvement on the Envision Escalante board and other volunteer roles within the community.
Byron could content himself with his volunteer activities and hiking, camping, backpacking, horseback riding, or hunting. But he’s ready to focus his energy on Garfield County governance where his experience, education, and initiative will Move Garfield County Forward.
Vote for Byron Ellis, Garfield County Commission!