Director of Operations
As Director of Operations, Charles Whatley is responsible for developing and maintaining the organizational infrastructure and processes that maximize the impact of all URU’s programs and initiatives. His work ensures that URU’s activities are sustainable for the long-term, yielding the persistence necessary to drive lasting change.
Charles brings URU a wealth of experience with other non-profits, including serving on the boards of Southface Energy Institute, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Truly Living Well Urban Farms (TLW), and Georgia Organics.
Outside of his work with URU, Charles is an independent economic development professional. He provides economic development, incentive finance, site selection, and real estate advisory services for public and private entities. His past positions include Director of Economic Development for DeKalb County and Director of Commerce and Entrepreneurship and Manager of Business Development for the Atlanta Development Authority (now Invest Atlanta). He also spent 15 years as an independent consultant specializing in business models, strategic planning, and opportunity/economic feasibility studies for clients in the U.S., Malaysia, India, and Canada.
Charles earned a B.A. in economics from Yale College and has completed course work for a M.S. in economics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Charles is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Urban Land Institute, International Economic Development Council, Council for Development Finance Agencies, and International Council of Shopping Centers. He was a founding member of the Atlanta Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, the Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics, and the Georgia Brownfield Association.