Shawn Gillen

City Manager
Title: City Manager
Phone: 912-472-5070
Shawn Gillen

Shawn is a veteran city manager with diverse experience with municipalities of about the same size as Tybee Island.

Shawn grew up in western Illinois, attending college, not far away, at the University of Iowa.  While at Iowa, Shawn was a member of the storied Iowa Hawkeye football team under legendary head coach Hayden Fry.

After earning a BS Degree, intending to become certified as an English teacher and coach, Shawn decided to run for mayor of Monmouth. 

As his term as mayor came to an end, Shawn helped the city transition to a full-time City Administrator. For the next two years, he served as Council Administrator for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, in Kentucky.  As Shawn became more and more interested in government management, he decided to pursue it as a career and enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Kentucky. The University offered him a fellowship to continue. Shawn received a PhD in Public Administration. He completed both degrees in just four short years.       

Following a brief stint as the professor of public finance at Eastern Kentucky University, he became the City Administrator in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.    After six years in the Northern Minnesota cold, Shawn and his family decided to move south to Doraville, Georgia, where he became Doraville’s first City Manager, as they transitioned from a strong mayor form of government.  

One of the major projects, while serving as Doraville City Manager, has been the redevelopment of the former General Motors manufacturing site, one of the largest economic development sites in the Southeast

During his career, Shawn has worked in large and small cities in both rural and urban environments. 

One of his favorite parts of his job is getting involved and circulating throughout the community.  This may be, in part, because of his small town upbringing.  He, his wife Katie, and their three daughters have vacationed at Tybee Island for several years, absolutely loving it, and would like to retire on Tybee someday. 


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