For more than 22 years, Grier Todd has been a familiar sight at Lanier Islands, and he will be missed as a full-time part of the management team. However, he won’t be too far away from the action, because Lake Lanier Islands Management Company has brought him back as a consultant.
“I don’t have a title, but I will be able to continue to work with the Williams family; I just won’t be full-time,” said Todd, who most recently was vice president of Lake Lanier Islands Management Company and the Lanier Islands resort’s Chief Operating Officer.
He came to the resort in 2001, following a 10-year career with the Atlanta Falcons, managing the Falcon Inn in Suwanee, working with training camp and doing advance work for team travel. When the team moved to Flowery Branch, he took a job at Lanier Islands as harbor manager.
“At that time, I didn’t know very much about boats, but I learned,” he said with a smile. “After about a year Ray Williams, who was general manager at the time with KSL Management, who operated the Islands, moved me up to the hotel.”
That move would solidify Todd’s future, because when both the hotel’s general manager and the operations manager resigned at the same time, he became the No. 2 manager at the resort, working directly for Williams.
Several years later in 2005 Virgil Williams and his family took over as the management company for the resort, under a new company called Lake Lanier Islands Management. Williams kept Todd on board, and it was the beginning of a long-term professional relationship until Todd retired June 2.
Over the years, Todd has seen many changes at the resort, including numerous upgrades and enhancements under the Williams family leadership. He has been involved with infrastructure improvements to completely renovating what is now Legacy Lodge, building Legacy Villas and remodeling the Lakehouses at Legacy. His latest involvement has been with this season’s newest attraction, Game Changer, the 15,000-square-foot indoor recreation destination that includes virtual sports suites, a hole putting green, arcade games and an escape room.
In 2018, Lake Lanier Islands Management entered an agreement with Safe Harbor Development to take over management of the resort’s beach and waterpark. Under the name Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, Safe Harbor made substantial investments, including adding new restaurants and food outlets, building a marina and covered indoor boat storage as well as opening Margaritaville RV Park and creating an active schedule of seasonal events and entertainment.
“When Virgil and his family took over operations here, he had great faith in me,” he said. “He gave me the opportunity to work with him and learn from his excellent business experience. He had a vision when his company came to Lanier Islands and the resources to make it happen.”
He also praised the staff and associates. “These people have all made my job easier because they’ve done all the work,” Todd said. “It has been my pleasure to be part of Lanier Islands.”
A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Todd is from Saluda, S.C. He and his wife Lillian have two daughters, a stepdaughter, six granddaughters and one great-grandson.
“Grier is the heart and soul of Lanier Islands,” said Missy Burgess, director of marketing and public relations for the resort. She’s one of about 20 to 30 employees who have worked with Todd over his 22-year career at Lanier Islands. “He always has an open-door policy and has done an amazing job in helping all of us feel like family. And because of Grier, we can all be part of Mr. Williams’ dream and legacy of Lanier Islands.”