Adie Shimandle has lived on the south side of Snellville for 33 years. She has seen the dirt roads become four-lane highways and the wide fields fill with houses, and her five children grow from a loving brood to nearly half a dozen still-loving adults.
Originally from Norfolk, Va., Shimandle worked in the telecommunications industry for many years. She was with Northern Telecom (Nortel) for over 20 years, where she worked as marketing and project manager.
Their technology helped to create a lot of platforms that we have today for wireless, according to Shimandle. The company was 104 years old before they went bankrupt.
When she and her family moved here in 1979 they were excited about the area. All her children attended schools in the Shiloh cluster, and Shimandle and her husband were very involved. Her youngest son just graduated from .
“I think Shiloh gets a bad reputation because people put out bad information,” she said.
That includes the kids themselves. Recently, however, the kids are beginning to take a lot of pride in their school, particularly after the most recent authorization to provide an .
Shimandle worked full-time the entire time her children were growing up.
"We can't do it all, but when you think about it, neither can the guys - nor does anyone expect them to," she said. "Do your best and leave the worries behind."
She has had a lot of success in her professional life. These days she serves as the Executive Director of the Technical College Directors Association, where she trains and directs the Boards of Directors for Georgia's technical colleges.
Her claim to fame in our area of the world, however, is her work with the Shiloh Community Foundation where she serves as Director. Are you familiar with the Taste of Shiloh? That was her initiative.
“The foundation started fourteen or fifteen years ago,” she said.
Then, around four years ago, she realized that Shiloh High was one of the few in town that did not offer a “taste of” festival. So, after much convincing, she organized their first one.
Her motivation came from the fact that people considered the south side of town “run down” and not very desirable.
“I said, 'we're going to fix this,'” she said.
Within three years, has become one of the largest “taste of” festivals in Gwinnett County. This past year they had 92 vendors and around 3,000 attendants.
“I just wanted to bring back a sense of community,” Shimandle said.
It takes around six months of planning to pull off the festival from the planning stage through the finished result.
“People give up too easily,” she said as she discussed people moving away from the area. “We are living at a time where bashing others and being negative seems to be in vogue.
Failure is not an option; fix it. There's enough talent in that community that we can overcome any problem. We just need to get together.”
Along with all her other accomplishments, she has also helped build seven houses for Habitat for Humanity. She sat on the Board of Directors for Habitat of North Fulton.
Her specialty is roofing.
The best advice she has to offer is something her mother always told her:
"Anything you set your mind to you can do. Sometimes you just need a little help."