BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, August 30, 2021: Residents qualified as candidates for the Johns Creek City Council 2021 are gearing up for the General and Special Elections set for Tuesday, Nov. 2. The election is for the Council Seats of Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 5, and the Mayoral Post.
Dilip Tunki will be competing against a second contestant who has qualified for Post 1. There is no incumbent for this seat as current Post 1 Council Member Lenny Zaprowski is not seeking re-election.
Tunki holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, an MBA in Finance from GSU and has been in the management role for over twenty-three years overseeing operations and finance. He is also a real estate investor with experience in real estate investment analysis. An avid hiker, Tunki has completed several big hikes, summitted Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal, Mount Elbert in Colorado and hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim. He plays recreational tennis and has competed in a few half marathons. Tunki serves on various Johns Creek city-based committees including Johns Creek Town Center Advisory Committee, Recreation & Parks Advisory Committee, and Johns Creek Arts Center and Autery Mill Nature Preserve Park.
Tunki, his wife of 25 years, Padma, and their daughter Sindhu have been residents of Johns Creek for twenty-one years.
In his exclusive with NRI Pulse, Tunki discussed his decision to run for office, priorities for the city, challenges the city faces and solutions he proposes to address them.
“John’s Creek is family to me. Safety, some of the best schools in their country, the best parks and trails,” said Tunki about his favorite part of living in the city.
“I’ve got so much from this country– excellent education, experience and a successful business. This is the time to give back,” said Tunki about why he chose to run for office. Summarizing his US academic, professional and personal journey since 1991, Tunki said serving on various boards in the city and his community involvement serve him well in decision-making for the city based on a combination of strong strategic, analytical and people skills.
“My community involvement began with serving as a board member for an organization called the Shelter of Love in 2017, a nonprofit organization established to serve as an advocate against domestic violence.”
He has also volunteered for mentoring Small Business owners through SCORE, a nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tunki has been a member of Johns Creek Construction Board of Appeals for over two years, served on the School Governance Council for Chattahoochee High School for three years, where he was instrumental in building a commercial-grade greenhouse to enhance students educational experience through practical application.
“I am also a graduate of Leadership Johns Creek, Citizens Police Academy and Citizens Fire Academy,” Tunki said, adding, “once you go through those programs, you look at the other side and we really start appreciating the kind of work they do on a daily basis.”
Tunki is an Executive Board Member and Treasurer for Johns Creek Cricket Association. Elaborating on his roles on the various boards he serves on the city, Tunki said, he is part of the team that reviews and provides feedback to city staff during the development of a Town Center Master Plan, provides input and recommendations to Johns Creek City Council in matters of policy of city-owned parks and the recreation programs and serves as Executive Board Member and Treasurer for Johns Creek Arts Center.
“I’m not a politician I’m just more focused on my satisfaction of how I can share my knowledge and experience– and that’s my main reason for running for office.”
What are his priorities for the city? Enhancing “quality of life, supporting small businesses and building an environment friendly city” top his priorities for the city.
Tunki said he would achieve quality of life through a vibrant Town Center, increasing green space areas and expediting the work in the Stormwater area. “The initial focus should be to build a good framework that we could use to build on.” With his background his environmental engineering, Tunki said he “understands the complexity of Stormwater” and its impacts.” Supplemental funding is what I’m going to work on to expedite the process.”
Recognizing the demand for Arts, Tunki he said he is working on adding legacies to the center. Public Safety, Tunki said was key to quality of life and he would focus on providing them the support they need and any training they may require.
“Being a small business owner and mentoring small business owners for so many years, I understand the difficulties they’re going through, and what they expect from the city. So, I’m going to work with the city staff on streamlining permitting, registration, and compliance process.”
Traditional renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, Tunki said, was his focus towards an environment friendly city. “We can incorporate the concept in the parks, town center and in the parking lot we can install some of those charging stations.”
What, according to Tunki are some of the major challenges that the city is facing right now and how would he address them?
“Right now, Johns Creek is the safest and richest city. So, we need to protect these things, and prepare for the future. We need to give the millennials a reason to come back,” observed Tunki, adding that while kids graduate from top schools and universities, they choose different cities to settle down and that is something that Tunki said he would like to address.
“I am the best example of how diversity is embraced in Johns Creek,” said Tunki, who serves on several city boards, about the diverse population in the city. Citing the International Festival, Tunki said they expect a crowd of 19,000 to attend the event. Diwali and Chinese New Year, he said were celebrated by the city. “I want more people to come forward, engage in the community and get involved.”
Having experienced personal losses in the family, Tunki is well aware of the devastating effects of the pandemic. Urging people to get the vaccine, Tunki said he believes in educating the people about the advantages of the vaccine rather than mandating it.
“I have the education experience, knowledge, leadership skills, and community-based information. I serve on various committees that help me fulfill the role and responsibilities of a council member to make informed decisions that will help the city. I have a two-part approach – first we need to preserve the character of Johns Creek which includes safety, the schools and environment and prepare for the future,” said Tunki listing reasons citizens should vote for him. He also added that in developing the town center and the parks, among other initiatives, he will strive towards giving millennials a reason to come back and settle down in Johns Creek with his years of “experience, knowledge and understanding.”