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Head of Downtown Guelph Business Association resigns

After 11 years, executive director Marty Williams has stepped down
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Downtown Guelph Business Association executive director Marty Williams addresses city council in 2017. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

After more than 11 years as head of the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA), Marty Williams is set to leave the organization. 

His last day will be Jan. 20.

“I’ve given it my all over the past 11-plus years,” Williams said of his role as executive director. “Downtown is an integral part of our civic identity. We are blessed to have an historic core.

“I’ve been proud to defend that and try to make it better.”

Williams said he put his resignation forward to the board last week, which it accepted, because it’s time for a change in leadership at the DGBA. His resignation was announced through a Monday afternoon news release – a day before the new board of directors is appointed.

“It seems like they have a different agenda,” Williams said. “I think the organization would be better-served at this juncture with somebody else at the helm.”

His resignation comes after what’s described in the release as “considerable discussion” with the board.

“Marty is going to be missed,” board chair Kevin Polach told GuelphToday, stating Williams has gone “above and beyond” with his service to the downtown. “He’s been such a strong advocate and proponent of everything that downtown is.”

The soon-to-be-former executive director isn’t sure what will come next for him career-wise.

“I have not figured that part out yet,” Williams said. “I’ve got some irons in the fire, but nothing to announce officially.”

The only firm plan is that it doesn’t involve moving out of Guelph.

“I’m never leaving except when they card me off in a pine box,” Williams said. “I’ll see you around.”

As for finding a new executive director, Polach explained it’ll be up to the next board of directors to decide how that’s done. City council is expected to make appointments to the DGBA and other boards during its meeting on Tuesday.

“They’re big shoes to fill,” he said of finding a replacement.