Mayor's assistant shares vision for city

  • Follow Metro

Karyn Nixon, executive assistant to Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver calls her boss a visionary and herself a detail person, but that's not the whole story. She's a visionary, too.

Nixon  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Nixon

Shortly after the mayor took office, Mrs. Nixon got a photographer to take a photo of downtown Augusta from the mayor's eighth-floor office in the Municipal Building to compare with one she'll have made when he leaves.

"I want to show the difference of what was there and what wasn't," she said.

She's convinced the comparison will be striking.

"We are going to bring downtown back," she said. "You can see baby steps of it happening. When they start breaking ground on the TEE Center, and hopefully, we'll get the baseball stadium up and running. We're working on the feasibility study with that right now. And then what's going on with Watermark. That whole landscape is going to change."

She envisions cranes, development and people in the photo that will be taken when the mayor's last term ends.

"I want the 6,500 people we need to get a grocery store because I think, honestly, when our downtown is thriving, the whole Richmond County, North Augusta, Columbia County, we all thrive," she said. "We all benefit from it. That's why I do what I do."

She calls what she does "the matrix work" for the mayor, which includes many phone calls and making the right connections.

"It's being able to know who to call, who to connect a caller to, how to make sure Augusta does not get left out of the mix," she said.

Although Mrs. Nixon gives the mayor all the credit, she's been involved in the success of his initiatives, such as the mayor's prayer breakfasts and the mayor's Masters reception, which brings 10,000 people downtown each spring, and the Christmas Lights Spectacular.

As upbeat as she is about Augusta these days, before she met Mr. Copenhaver and became a believer in his ability to bring change to the city, she and her husband were ready to pull up stakes and move to Columbia County.

They had come back to Richmond County from New York City where they lived for 16 years, 12 in the city and four at East Hampton at the end of Long Island.

She worked for Chase Manhattan Bank in the private banking section, and Mr. Nixon worked as a government bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center until he quit in 1998. They moved into their second home in East Hampton.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001, and the loss of dozens of their friends and Mr. Nixon's co-workers in the World Trade Center attacks.

"I can't tell you how many friends we lost," she said. "We made the decision to move back down South, move home where everything was good and wonderful. It was a good thing. It was time for us to come home. We had had a second child by then, and this is a much better place to bring up kids. The Hamptons are fun. It's an adult playground. It's not a place to raise your children. So I was a stay-at-home mom. Raising my kids. Loving life."

After buying a home in Augusta, they saw problems here and considered moving.

Then Mrs. Nixon met Mr. Copenhaver and started talking to him about those problems.

"And he says, 'You know, I agree with you. There are problems here. I want to do something to change them. I'm going to run for mayor,'" she recalled. "So I said, 'Well, if you're going to run for mayor, I'm going to work for you. I'm going to work on your campaign.'"

"And from day one, I started working with him on his campaign and just totally believed," she added.

After he was elected, he asked Mrs. Nixon to work for him, and although she'd never considered doing anything like her current job, she said she loves it.

"We work very well together," she said. "He's marvelous. He's a generous man. He's ruled by faith. You just respect everything that's coming out of him ...I feel very blessed to be in the position I'm in."

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

KARYN NIXON

AGE: 44


OCCUPATION: Executive assistant, Office of the Mayor of Augusta


ORGANIZATIONS: Member Central Savannah River Land Trust Board and YMCA Metro Board; 2007 graduate of Leadership Georgia and 2008 Leadership Georgia Alumni Relations liaison


FAMILY: Husband, John Nixon; daughter, Caroline, 10; son, Jack, 9


QUOTE: "We work very well together. Deke's a visionary. He sees the big picture. He can see how this is going to work here, and this is going to work here, and where we need to go. I'm a detail person. I follow behind him and I connect the dots."

Comments (26) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justus4
103
Points
justus4 01/14/08 - 08:05 am
0
0
Whats the point of this
Unpublished

Whats the point of this story? Is it an uplifting example of the human spirit or how to get a job without being qualified? It appears that some people can waltz into any positon on the planet without direct experience, while others scratch, kick, push to get A job. Obviously U can change requirements to fit anyone's background, but my reports states that employers want only the best and brightest. Are there two standards in this game? And oh, where is education in this puff piece, because we already know that the entire state values a college degree. In fact, we're told you can't drive a bus without a degree. Whats going on in GA.....?

happythoughts
25
Points
happythoughts 01/14/08 - 08:41 am
0
0
justus, you seem like someone

justus, you seem like someone down on their luck. Degrees don't ensure TEAM WORK. I have heard nothing but gratifying things of Deke and he happens to have someone who can help make things happen. She's qualified.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 01/14/08 - 09:24 am
0
0
justus you are a sad little

justus you are a sad little person....and just what reports would that be that you have...or are you talking out of your a@@ again?

ibade
1
Points
ibade 01/14/08 - 09:42 am
0
0
Misery loves company.they

Misery loves company.they only see the negative side of things, not postive.Change your life.First of all get a life.A postive life.You are what you speak.The power is in the tongue.That's in the Bible, Proverbs 18:21.You speak negative things, you're going to have negative.You speak postive things, watch how your life and circustances will change.Why I know this, I've been there, done that.Why is so hard for people to believe that God can someone into office and make a difference.God has great plans for the City of Augusta.Get on board and help if you want a job.

ibade
1
Points
ibade 01/14/08 - 09:42 am
0
0
Misery loves company.they

Misery loves company.they only see the negative side of things, not postive.Change your life.First of all get a life.A postive life.You are what you speak.The power is in the tongue.That's in the Bible, Proverbs 18:21.You speak negative things, you're going to have negative.You speak postive things, watch how your life and circustances will change.Why I know this, I've been there, done that.Why is so hard for people to believe that God can someone into office and make a difference.God has great plans for the City of Augusta.Get on board and help if you want a job.

Edward B. Turner
69
Points
Edward B. Turner 01/14/08 - 09:53 am
0
0
Some people, like Ms. Nixon,

Some people, like Ms. Nixon, obviously are the types that GET THINGS done...reach conclusions...connect dots. This is what any good team requires, justus4.

a crazy old man
30
Points
a crazy old man 01/14/08 - 10:21 am
0
0
She's rite nice lookin, Is

She's rite nice lookin, Is her husband, John Nixon the lawyer?

deekster
24
Points
deekster 01/14/08 - 10:31 am
0
0
From the Hamptons to Augusta,

From the Hamptons to Augusta, what a bummer. No wonder Mrs. Nixon is on "uppers". If I didn't know better, I would think she is in love with the Duke Deke. I bet they met at 1st Baptist. They agreed "to light one candle instead of curse the darkness". A politician can not serve two masters, God and Money(Power). He will either love the one and hate the other. Woe to the "pious" who believe "they" can create a "heaven on earth", and those that blindly follow these people.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 01/14/08 - 10:47 am
0
0
What does "ruled by faith"

What does "ruled by faith" mean anymore?

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 01/14/08 - 11:08 am
0
0
ruled by faith seems to mean,

ruled by faith seems to mean, death to the christians, death to the jews, and death to the muslims.

greenhulk1980
0
Points
greenhulk1980 01/14/08 - 11:22 am
0
0
yeah I think shes kind of

yeah I think shes kind of hot.

mojo
0
Points
mojo 01/14/08 - 11:47 am
0
0
wow someone makes the

wow someone makes the sacrifice to make our local government better and some knuckle heads have to chime in - justus4 reread the article she's way over qualified for the job.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 01/14/08 - 12:04 pm
0
0
It amazes me how ignorant

It amazes me how ignorant some people can be. Ruled by faith simply means that you put your faith and trust in Almighty God and let him lead your decisions. If more people would take the time to visit a church and get a little spiritual direction in their life maybe Augusta wouldn't have the problems it has. Deekster your comment about a politician can not serve two masters - you are correct - but it seems if Mayor Copenhaver is living his life by faith then he's serving his master - God! That's like saying no one serving in local or national governement can serve God - maybe if we had a few more God fearing men to take a stand for our nation we wouldn't be in evil, destructive state it's in now.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 01/14/08 - 12:09 pm
0
0
Deekster - on the other

Deekster - on the other comment about Mrs. Nixon being in love with Deke. Why is it that when a man or women speaks in high regard of someone from the opposite sex, the automatic opinion of a few warped minds insinuate that something is going on. Maybe Ms. Nixon admires his dedication to his job, his character as a man, and his faithfulness to God. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 01/14/08 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Mrs. Nixon is a wonderful

Mrs. Nixon is a wonderful person. She is smart and uber dedicated to making Augusta a better place. She doesn't deserve lewd innuendo concerning her obvious affection towards a community leader that she works for. It is sexist and just foul. Besides, the Mayor gets to hire whomever the mayor chooses to be the assistant. I will agree that this is a puff peice but so what? I for one would rather see one of these every now and then than the constant drum beat of negativity. There is a time and place for critical commenbts and pointing out the problems of our city. BUT Mrs. Nixon is the WRONG target, she is part of what's right in our town NOT what is wrong. And leave the Holy Roller tirades out of your arguments, its a turn off to quote the Bible in this context. AMEN.

Rozzie2003
5
Points
Rozzie2003 01/14/08 - 12:59 pm
0
0
Many of slavemasters went to

Many of slavemasters went to church but came home and beat the stuffing out of their slaves. I recalled reading a story about one slavemaster who would pray before beating his slave.Another one would have sex with two women slaves and ask God to forgive him.I believe that God got tired of forgiving him because he died at an early age.I haven'y attended any of the mayor's prayer breakfasts and don't plan to attend --I will evaluate him on his record,not his prayers.We want to keep religion out ofthe government.
Mrs.Nixon sounds like a very up beat person and the mayor needs a person like her to get things done.

devilishlymad67
0
Points
devilishlymad67 01/14/08 - 02:20 pm
0
0
who cares about all that in

who cares about all that in connection with this story?

twilahzone
0
Points
twilahzone 01/14/08 - 03:37 pm
0
0
Justus4 does have a point. .

Justus4 does have a point. . can't say if Ms. Nixon should be the target of the comments, though. .. I do not know her. But I feel what Justus4 is talking about. The "being connected to those in the know" can be a good thing--but not all of the time. I agree with Justus4 that some folks ARE in positions they are NOT qualified to be in. . . be it due to a lack of education, or just a lack of dealing with other humans in general (that are NOT like them) .Just like having a college education is NOT the end-all and be-all. Augusta is just SO notorious for 'getting ahead' based on whom you know. Deep down inside--take a look at your own employment status here. Whom do you have to thank for your good fortune??? And PLEASE don't tell me Jesus or any other higher power. I am already aware of what the spiritual side can do. And what about the folks (low-level workers, customers, etc.) whose backs you have inadvertently stepped on while you were building your career?

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 01/14/08 - 03:39 pm
0
0
Justus4, Compared to her

Justus4,
Compared to her predecessors Karen isn't qualified: She graduated from UGA with an Economics Degree and worked with Chase as a Private banker.
What are your qualifications for this position or do you just criticize what you can't understand??

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 01/14/08 - 04:07 pm
0
0
It seems most of you do not

It seems most of you do not understand the meaning of a great executive asst. In the truest sense they are not secretaries any more but rather like Radar on MASH ( but better looking). My E.A. was very well compensated and as a last reward I introduced her to her husband-to-be. They now have two beautiful children and very happy.

justthefacts
22198
Points
justthefacts 01/14/08 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Hey Twilight, please tell us

Hey Twilight, please tell us to whom you owe your present status. I mean, since you brought it up.

derekdugan
4
Points
derekdugan 01/14/08 - 05:01 pm
0
0
I've gotten to know Karyn

I've gotten to know Karyn over the last couple of years and I can say that she is a major reason for the change in attitude and the recent successes in Augusta. She does everything that needs to be done for someone in her position - she's informed, interested and if she doesn't know the answer, she'll find out immediately.

With regards to previous comments, Karyn is infinitely qualified in many ways: she knows how to get things done, she knows how to work with people and she has a very positive outlook and a strong moral compass. All three have been rare in our city's leadership and we seem to have them in Karyn and our Mayor.

This is a very good profile of one of those classic unnoticed heroes in our community that never gets the credit they deserve. Everyone here should look into what Karyn gets done around Augusta and you will understand why giving her credit here is important.

Told ya
1
Points
Told ya 01/14/08 - 05:01 pm
0
0
Standing on the dock at South

Standing on the dock at South Augusta trying to get to Hephizbah or Frence The man in the mac said you've got to go back You know they didn't even give us a chance Christ you know it ain't easy You know how hard it can be The way things are going They're going to crucify me Finally made the plane into Daniel Honeymooning down by the canal Austin just call to say you can make it O.K. You can get married in Gilbert manor near Spain Christ you know it ain't easy You know how hard it can be The way things are going They're going to crucify me Drove from Daniel to the Augusta Hilton Talking in our beds for a week The newspapers said say what're you doing in bed I said we're only trying to get us some peace Christ you know it ain't easy You know how hard it can be The way things are going They're going to crucify me Saving up your money for a rainy day giving all your clothes to charity Last night the wife said Oh boy when you're dead you don't take nothing with you but your soul, think Made a lightning trip to Harrisburg Eating chocolate cake in a bag The newspapers said she's gone to his head. Christ you know it ain't easy

twilahzone
0
Points
twilahzone 01/14/08 - 06:34 pm
0
0
Justthefacts: I have

Justthefacts: I have absolutely zero problem with bringing up my gratitude to those who have had a hand in my professional life: Family, friends, instructors, past and present co-workers--even the ones with clashing personalities. And yes, they are from this area and beyond. And why is that? Because all of the above helped me to see what direction I was going in--and still am heading, I might add. It is what you do with the hand you are dealt with in life that either makes you or can break you. I have had my back stepped on many times and yes, I have stepped on a few myself. It's called LIFE. Justus4 brought up a point that many do not like to face.

aboveaverage
0
Points
aboveaverage 01/14/08 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Karen Nixon is a smart and

Karen Nixon is a smart and hard working woman. She does have our cities best interest at heart. The point of this story is to get people excited about our county government. If there were more people like her working for our county this would be an awesome place to live. She loves her family and her job in that order. You naysayers need to grow up and get a posotive attitude like hers!

owensjef
13
Points
owensjef 01/14/08 - 08:29 pm
0
0
What?

What?

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 01/15/08 - 01:06 am
0
0
Justus4 you must really live

Justus4 you must really live a sad existence of a life. Your rants without knowledge, constant hatred spewed along with racism and prejudice in almost every breath has got to be a terrivle way to live. My biggest hope is that you aren't actually influencing anyone - I mean I know you certainly aren't here because everyone of any race with any common sence can see what you are doing but hopefully you are reaching any youth around you.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs