From Greenville to TR: Get to Know Shannon Herman, TR’s New City Administrator

At the front desk Beth buzzed me in at City Hall and I headed back to meet Shannon for the first time.

She’s been in her new position since the end of February and I met her in her office – the office of the new City Administrator of Travelers Rest.

When she was just out of college, Shannon spent a few years teaching and coaching at Christ Church and at St. Joseph’s, but her goal since college was to get involved in local government. Her move toward that direction found in working in Greenville County government offices.

For the last seventeen years, Shannon Herman has been working for Greenville County in public safety, on the budget team and in her role as Assistant Administrator Over Strategic Operations for Greenville County. (This last position, which Shanon held for seven years, includes emergency management and real estate development such as the recent University Ridge development and moving EMS into their new facility.)

All of this multifaceted exposure has set Shannon up for success in her new role in Travelers Rest.

In her former job Shannon worked with Eric Vinson, our recently retired City Administrator. Raised in Greenville, Shannon was excited when a few people reached out to her to see if she’d be interested in the TR City Admin position made available by Eric’s retirement.

“It was a great interview process,” Shannon says. “I really got to understand the council members’ hopes and dreams and their expectations for the future and the opportunities on board here. Obviously it’s been run really well and the vision has been excellent so it’s just an exciting and healthy environment to come to.”

Shannon has jumped right in and the city held a meet and greet last week for folks to come out and get to know her better.

Shannon and her husband have been married for nearly twenty years and they have two sons who love to play soccer, just like their mom did during her undergrad years at Presbyterian College. With a laugh, she promises the boys tried lots of sports, but soccer was the one that stuck. In fact, soccer is still a part of Shannon’s daily life – she coaches her son’s CESA team.

Granted, this is a full life and a busy season for Shannon and her family but she says balance is the goal and it’s easy to be excited about the work in Travelers Rest. “The vibrancy reflects in the halls for sure,” she says, motioning to the space outside her office and also encompassing all of TR too.

“First of all – this is an extremely exciting opportunity so I think there’s an adrenaline and excitement that comes with stepping into something new,” Shannon says. She leans back and is comfortable – in her office, in her new role and in the space around her. She’s accustomed to fast-paced, Greenville County runs at that rate too.

She speaks of her family’s efforts to reserve weekends for being together. “We tend to travel in a small pack of four,” she laughs. “We’re making it to both games for the boys and we have a healthy group of friends.” The Herman family loves traveling and has a family goal to reach all fifty states before the boys graduate from high school. They’ve almost reached the half way mark – and one of the boys is still in elementary school so projections look good to reach their prize. A trip to Wyoming for skiing was this spring break’s adventure. “It’s the one activity I have with the boys where I get to be the cool athlete,” Shannon grins. “It’s so fun to do mom/boy ski trips.”

And fun here locally is also something the Herman family is all about. They’ve spent a lot of time in TR as a family dining out and shopping but the family is eager to experience the summer farmers markets and the festivals throughout the year – Music in the Park and more.

We talked about the glory of TR and its prime Upstate location. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship. If you’re looking for the urban vibe, it’s very close by. If you’re looking for more of the local feel and a tighter community of neighbors, you’re here in TR.” Of course, we’re already both fans so it’s easy to praise our favorite town.

“My role as administrator is really to enact the business side of council’s policy,” Shannon explains. “The elected officials set a vision and they set a policy of what they want to accomplish and my job is to make sure we do that in a fiscally responsible way and to maintain the safety of the community vibe in the decisions that are made. I want to continue to help this council explore opportunities that are fiscally sound and productive for the community but within their vision.”

Of course we discussed growth, this is Travelers Rest of all. “Growth is coming,” Shannon comments. “And there’s always two sides to that coin – the opportunity to grow well and in a way that maintains the character and the vibrancy of the community without flooding it is really what we want.”

Shannon emphasized her desire to continue to preserve the character and the feel of TR. “A healthy community is going to have an ecosystem – commercial and residential, of green space and growth,” Shannon says. “Of course we need the products and the jobs but we don’t want to lose the quaint residential side. It can all change the flavor – and everyone is pretty happy with the flavor of TR so we want to maintain that.”

Shannon speaks to the unusual nature of the Travelers Rest council members. “It’s a unique dynamic here in TR,” she says. “All of the members are at large members. That is a different recipe than members who are single district members. All of our TR council members are at large so everyone is here to speak for the entire community, to be on the look out for everyone. That’s a pretty cool recipe.”

She’s right. It is.

Story by Lacey Eibert Keigley

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