No one was more surprised or more delighted than Conway city planner Adam Emrick when he learned this morning that he had been selected to serve as the rivertown's interim administrator.
"I love Conway. I love living here. I love working here," he said, adding that he enjoys working with all of the city's department heads and finds them all capable.
"It makes sense to me to at least give it a shot, see what shakes out," said the husband of Conway Downtown Alive's executive director Hillary Howard. "I think for the near future a lot of what's going on in Conway is planning related anyway."
He mentions the FEMA buyout for flood victims, a new comprehensive plan, a downtown master plan, development of the downtown Burroughs Company property and the future of the old Grainger steam plant.
Emrick said he applied for the city administrator's position when it was first advertised, even though he knew he didn't meet the listed qualifications.
However, he said, he thought he at least needed to let council know he was interested.
After receiving and interviewing the first round of applications, council offered the job to the Clinton administrator, but he accepted a better job with the state of Virginia before he started the job in Conway.
"The second opening for the position failed to produce an applicant who met not only the fundamental requirements as set forth, but also seemed to be a good fit for this important position in our city," Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said in a written statement.
As time was running out, council decided instead of rushing the process of finding a new administrator to find an interim administrator, but council did not decide exactly how long an interim might serve or what the benefits of the job would be.
In an executive session Monday night, council turned its attention to Emrick, but he didn't know that until Tuesday morning.
"Mr. Emrick's unique grasp of the city's services and goals, his prior involvement in activities towards goal attainment, his relationships with people who are key to the progress we seek, and his proven ability to produce positive results make up the rationale for this decision," Blain-Bellamy wrote. "We are confident that Adam Emrick will help us to continue our progress as we also work towards naming a permanent city administrator."
When Blain-Bellamy asked Emrick if he might be interested, he said his response was "absolutely".
"I'm up for the job; we'll make it work," he said.
He expected to iron out some of the details Wednesday morning.
Emrick was named Conway's planning director in February of 2015. Before that he worked as senior planner with Horry County for eight years. Before that he was the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority of Stone Mountain, Ga., the Main Street director and owner and partner of Emrick and Sanders, LLP, legal firm, all at the same time.
He graduated from Penn State and earned his law degree from Georgia State.
Emrick said before he and Hillary moved to Conway they knew they wanted to live in an historic town. His mother-in-law lived in North Myrtle Beach and she suggested that they take a look at Conway, not just the 501 bypass.
That's one of the reasons that he says he now wants to entice people to actually come into the city and look around.
Emrick and Howard have been married for 21 years. They have three children, a daughter at Conway High School and two boys who will begin their studies at Conway Middle School in the fall.
Council's original schedule called for a new administrator to be onboard by April giving him or her about 90 days to work alongside Graham, who had planned to leave his post at the end of June.
However, health problems have caused him to miss the past three council meetings and Blain-Bellamy said today that Graham has already started his retirement.