Mike Shirey is almost a year into his role as the general manager of Fort Payne Improvement Authority and really enjoying working in the town he has always called home.
Mike’s mother, Shirley Shirey, retired from FPIA after 34 years, and Mike was a mere 4 years old when she began her career at FPIA. So, he already felt like FPIA was a part of his extended family.
Mike’s dad, Don Shirey, was a businessman in Fort Payne for years, owning his own businesses and ending his career at Westmoreland Tires.
Other than his stint playing football at Auburn University, Mike has lived in Fort Payne. He said that after graduating from Auburn University in 1981 with a degree in civil engineering, he moved into the house he and his wife of 36 years, Amanda, still live in today. He also had the same job for 35 years with TVA before retiring and joining FPIA. Not many people can say they have had one house, one wife and one job for over 35 years. Make that two jobs now.
When talking to Mike, you get a real sense of pride in being a part of a broad community effort to make Fort Payne even better than it already is.
FPIA has been around since 1940, starting with only five employees, and now they have 26 employees on staff. Mike has placed a real emphasis on safety, saying, “We will be intentional about our safety, it will not be our second thought, but our first.” FPIA is also placing an emphasis on technology and customer service. The service provided by FPIA is fundamental to the well-being of the citizens in the community, and the growth of Fort Payne businesses and industries. Mike is off to a great start and ready to help move his hometown forward.
On a personal note, Mike and Amanda have two children—Hannah Burton, married to David; and Jake, married to Annie. Mike and Amanda have three grandchildren and one on the way.
Oh yeah, did you know Mike officiates SEC football? He completed his 19th season this year. He started out officiating high school football games soon after college and really enjoyed the comradery he found with the other officials. Officiating has been a great way for Mike to stay connected to football and has helped keep him in shape and living a healthy lifestyle.
Thank you, Mike, and FPIA for all you do for the city of Fort Payne. We look forward to working together to help move Fort Payne Forward.
— Jennifer McCurdy is director of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce. Her column appears in the Times-Journal on Thursdays. You can email her through the chamber’s website at fortpaynechamber.com.