No matter the organization, project or task, Will Fowlkes has always seemed to bubble up from volunteer to leader in short order. Hard work and a “just get it done” attitude are two cornerstones of his philosophy.
Will was the first of three born to a tool-and-dye maker and a radiology lab assistant in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas – just across the mighty Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee. For the first six years of his life in the upper delta region of Arkansas, the lower middle class family of five was chasing the American Dream with his father’s promotion to machinist manager and also with the purchase of their first home when a simple lifting accident disabled Will’s father, leaving him with two ruptured discs and intense back pain until he passed away in early 2006. With his father’s career over, Will’s mother worked two jobs (as an elementary school cafeteria worker during the day and as a concessioner at night) just to put food on the table and to pay the mortgage. Will grew up helping to look after his family while his mother worked day and night. Throughout his youth, Will often visited close family members in Hazard, Kentucky, where a vast majority in that region worked in the coal mines. Will experienced first-hand the trials and tribulations of growing up less fortunate than others.
Developing Leadership in Community and Politics
Will graduated in the top ten percent of his high school class and served as his class vice-president. He also attended Arkansas Boy’s State, was nominated for Arkansas Governor’s School, and attended the University of Arkansas on an academic scholarship in computer science, mathematics and political science. Will held an office in almost every high school and collegiate club / organization in which he was involved. He met Governor Bill Clinton between his sophomore and junior year of high school while attending Arkansas Boy’s State – the time in which Will developed a deep interest in politics. While at the University of Arkansas, Will was an officer in the Resident’s Interhall Congress and served as a regional executive officer for the Southwest Association of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH). Will was provided several more opportunities to meet with Governor Bill Clinton while in college and upon returning back to West Memphis when he became very active in the community serving several positions with the West Memphis Junior Chamber of Commerce (Management Development Vice-President, President and Chairman of the Board), the John Gammon Scholarship Foundation (Secretary and Executive Board member), the Northside Redevelopment Organization (board member), and Holy Cross Church (vestry member), to name a few. Nominated one of the Ten Outstanding Young Arkansans in 1992 along with Governor Bill Clinton, Will served with the Arkansas Jaycees in various capacities. But his interest in politics never subsided, working on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, Vice-President Al Gore’s presidential bid in 2000, and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in 2008 and 2016.
In addition to working on political campaigns, Will also devoted time and energy into the local and state Democratic parties, serving as a House District Captain in his home of Cobb County, Georgia, and County Party Treasurer of the Cobb County Democratic Party. He received the Democrat of the Year Award in 2008 and was later elected that year as Chairman of the Cobb County Democratic Party, one of the most powerful Democratic parties in the state. He has served multiple terms on the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) State Committee and appointed to several committees, including the State By-Laws Committee.
While working on the presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton in 2008, Will served as the Congressional District Captain (Georgia 11th CD) for her campaign. Will was also blessed to have been elected by the general public as a pledged delegate representing Georgia’s 11th Congressional District at both the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions, where Will served as the Chief Georgia Whip. Will was also elected as a delegate to the 2010 Georgia State Democatic Convention. He has also served as a Congressional Director for the Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs (GADCC), and in 2010 was one of three honored as County Chairman of the Year.
Every year since 2008 until present, Will has been the “Voice of God” at every DPG State Dinner, the primary fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders in Sports, Scouting and the Arts
Will Fowlkes has always enjoyed working with youth of all ages, and has a long list of notable accomplishments in areas where he has made a very positive impact in their lives.
Will has coached several youth sports activities, including competitive football (Blackwell Bears, Acworth Warriors, Kell Longhorns), recreational (Upward, Optimist Club) and competitive (AAU and YBOA) basketball, recreational baseball, and competition air rifle (US Jaycees / Daisy Shooting Education Program). Will has also served as Webmaster, Secretary, Vice-President and President to the Blackwell Bears Athletic Association, as well as Vice-President, Communications, of the Kell Touchdown Club at Kell High School in Marietta, Georgia. Sports has always been an easy outlet by which Will can mentor youth and better prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.
Will has mentored youth in the arts, directing as many as 75 young aspiring actors and actresses at one time in such successful performances of “Oliver” and “Wizard of Oz”. Will understands that theatre provides a mechanism and an outlet for youth to express themselves in a bold, positive way. Will has judged theatrical productions with the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre (MAT) Awards and also served for several years as the Vice-President. Will became involved with his oldest daughter’s interest in the performing arts, and was a community and professional stage actor and director in the metro Atlanta area for six years, performing in over twenty-five theatrical productions – over half as a lead actor. He has been blessed with securing roles such as Daddy Warbucks (“Annie Warbucks”), Frank Gilbreth (“Cheaper by the Dozen”), Matthew Harrison Brady (“Inherit the Wind”), Juror #7 (“Twelve Angry Men”), Gary Lejeune (“Noises Off”) and Billy Ray (“On Golden Pond”), just to name a few. He also directed the southern comedy “Divorce Southern Style” which was sold out during every performance of its four week run.
Will has led groups of tomorrow’s leaders through the scouts. Being an assistant Webelos Den Leader in the Cub Scouts and an Assistant Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts, Will has been trained in numerous areas including Scoutmaster, Back Country Outdoor Leader Training, BALOO, Wilderness First Aid, and Youth Protection. He has planned numerous camping and hiking opportunities for the scouts in Pack and Troop 75 at Transfiguration Catholic Church and believes that scouting provides today’s youth a rich educational experience both physically and mentally that prepares them for what lies ahead. He has encouraged and worked with Webelos Super Achievers – those that finish ALL Webelos requirements – and Arrows of Light recipients. All twelve of the Webelos he worked with had hiked approximately 72 miles individually in 2010 alone.
Now, residing in Kennesaw, Georgia, Will is an active member of Transfiguration Catholic Church. His career by day is a Sr. Global Infrastructure and Security Program Manager with ITIL certifications for Worldpay, a global leader in the financial technology (FinTech) space. Will coaches youth football with the Kell Longhorns as a part of the Cobb Football League, and was just re-elected to serve as a member of the Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee representing Cobb County. He enjoys photography (Team Game Photographer for the Kell Varsity Longhorns football team), videography, and flying his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV) throughout Georgia.