William E. Gentner, III, moved to Columbia, Tennessee in 1988 to become City Manager and served in that position until 1999. During his 11-year tenure with the City of Columbia, he was responsible for managing more than 400 full- and part-time employees and an annual budget of nearly $24 million. While serving as Columbia’s City Manager, Mr. Gentner supervised $12 million of sewer-related improvement projects; implemented the first recycling drop-off program for the city; edited and published the city’s first annual report to its citizens; developed the city’s first annual performance appraisal process; drafted legislation for the city’s first historical landmarks and zoning district ordinances; and was responsible for a number of Main Street projects.
After leaving the City, Mr. Gentner was a successful investment representative with Edward Jones Investments in Columbia and Spring Hill. In 2003, he retired to devote his time to representing the residents and businesses in the Fifth Ward on the Columbia City Council. In 2005, Mr. Gentner ran for the office of Mayor of Columbia and was successful in that race. As Mayor of Columbia he served on the Board of Directors of the Maury County Senior Center and Maury Alliance.
Prior to moving to Columbia, Mr. Gentner was city manager of Reidsville, N.C. from May 1982 to February 1988. He had been assistant city manager from July 1974 to May 1982 in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and director of urban affairs for the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana from June 1970 to June 1974.
As a commissioned officer in the United States Army, Mr. Gentner served with the 2nd Armor Division in Fort Hood, Texas and the 1st Infantry Division in South Vietnam. Mr. Gentner, who had been promoted to Captain before leaving the military, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in public administration/business administration from Virginia Tech. He has also been active in several local service organizations, including the Kiwanis Club, Maury County Lions Club, Keep Maury Beautiful, American Legion Post 19, and the Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
Mr. Gentner and his wife, Hazel, who is retired from Tennessee Farm Bureau, have two sons and five grandchildren.