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River City’s deputy city manager plans for life after public service

By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press

jim shaw waynesboro
Waynesboro Deputy City Manager Jim Shaw. Photo by Chris Graham.

WAYNESBORO — After more than 25 years serving the city of Waynesboro, Deputy City Manager Jim Shaw is finishing up projects and starting a new plan.

His new plan is retirement. His last day with the city will be Oct. 15.

He said as a planner “by inclination and trade,” he has prepared for some time and looked forward to retiring early. Once he was able to financially retire, he said he thought of what else he would like to do in life. His wife, Jayne, is already retired from Waynesboro Public Schools.

Shaw will be 63 in November. He was raised in Augusta County and graduated from Wilson Memorial High School.

“I got into planning as a career change,” he said.

He was working at Wintergreen when someone suggested he might enjoy a career in urban planning because he had a wide variety of interests: geography, architecture, sociology and political planning.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in city planning from UVA and then a master’s in urban and environmental planning from UVA.

He worked for the Central Shenandoah Valley Planning District before coming to the River City in the 1980s. He worked his way from Public Works, city planner and then, in 2008, to his current position.

“I think probably as a lot of retirees would say — the people I work with,” Shaw said of what he will miss about working for the city of Waynesboro. He said his staff is a great group of individuals engaged in their work for the city.

Shaw will also miss that he was fortunate to work on a variety of tasks and projects, from providing oversight of daily operations to improvements of the South River Greenway and renovations at Waynesboro Public Library.

Shaw has had a front seat view of the city’s growth. A few years ago, Shaw oversaw the replacement of computers and software over a two-year period for 200 city staff members. In the 1990s, a similar upgrade of technology was for only 18 staff members.

“Over my tenure, technology has really made its way into every area,” Shaw said.

Shaw worked on long range and strategic planning projects for the city.

“I can drive around town and say: ‘well, I had a hand in that,’” Shaw said. But everything he has done with the city he considers to have been a team effort to accomplish.

Shaw said that when he thinks about what he is most proud of from his career with the River City, he thinks of the South River Greenway and infrastructure improvements, but he is most proud of the ordinary day-to-day of his position.

“I certainly strived to be a hard-working and an industrious person, and an honest administrator who cared for the community I worked for,” Shaw said.

He added that he got into his career to serve the public, and public service happens every day, while he worked on big projects that lasted over periods of time.

“The only way you get things done is through perseverance. You just have to show up every day and chip away,” Shaw said.

He does not consider retirement as an end.

“I think of it as a new chapter. A time for an encore,” Shaw said.