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The Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, a department of University Outreach, is wishing a fond farewell to two long time staff members. Both Leslie Hamby and Maria Tamblyn retire effective Feb. 1, 2021.

Hamby joined the Center of Governmental Services, or CGS, in July of 2010. In 2015, CGS merged with the Economic and Community Development Institute to become GEDI. Hamby has served as Training Program Coordinator for GEDI, coordinating classes, workshops and conferences, handling course registrations and customer service for participants and the government agencies served by GEDI. In 2016, Hamby was a recipient of the Auburn University Spirit of Excellence Award.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with this department and all the persons I have engaged with throughout the State of Alabama in this position. It has been a tremendous opportunity to serve government employees and elected officials as they participated in their professional education and certification courses offered through GEDI”, Hamby said. She is looking forward to pursuing personal goals and caring for family.

Julia Heflin, Hamby’s supervisor, has worked closely with her for her entire tenure and has gained much respect for her. She praises Hamby for her previous work as a missionary, for her devotion to and care of her family members, and for her excellent work ethic and skills. “Leslie developed processes for the training unit that are unsurpassed. She established streamlining in accounts receivables and payables, established unprecedented customer service, established logistics that assure quality in training and many more processes too numerous to list. She has been a blessing to the training unit and is the epitome of a servant leader”, Heflin explained.

Maria Tamblyn came to Auburn Outreach in 2000 and joined GEDI through the CGS merger as well. She has served as Manager of Human Resources Consulting, a unit that assists counties, cities, government agencies and municipalities with human resource policies, procedures and regulatory compliance. Tamblyn also engaged in governance at the university level and as a course instructor.

Tamblyn is a fifth-generation Auburn graduate in her family and both her parents were university faculty, so a love for Auburn is deeply rooted within her. Tamblyn is a strong proponent of land grant institutions and their role in empowering citizens and improving communities, which is evident in the work she has done throughout her career, first in healthcare and then in outreach.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Joe Sumners, former Executive Director of GEDI, praised Tamblyn’s dedication and performance. “Maria had a huge impact on cities and counties throughout the state, helping them to modernize their local personnel systems and practices. She has been largely responsible for professionalization of the personnel function at the local government level in Alabama. Her work has helped local governments create policies and procedures, pay and classification plans, and performance systems that brought them into compliance with the law and protected both local governments and their employees. She is undoubtably the most knowledgeable and experienced person in Alabama when it comes to local government personnel administration. She has also been a great mentor in developing her staff to carry on the work. Everything she has done has been accomplished with great professionalism and integrity. Many Alabama cities and counties owe her a debt of gratitude,” Sumners said.

Katrina Washington, who has worked for Tamblyn, knows that she is always client focused. “Maria would make herself available any time of day and night to speak to, engage with and address any inquiries or requests of clients. It was not uncommon for her to spend hours talking to clients to ensure understanding and to put them at ease. She went above and beyond to establish and ensure a wonderful relationship and partnership with all of our clients,” Washington explained.

Tamblyn is more modest, believing the work done by her unit should receive more focus than its leader. “I’m proud of the work we have done and will continue to do. There is no other organization doing the type of work we do on this level. There is so much need out there, and I’m proud of the service our HR Consulting unit has been able to provide for local governments to enable their municipalities and communities to grow and thrive,” Tamblyn stated.

GEDI thanks Hamby and Tamblyn for their years of dedicated service and wishes them well in their retirements. They both leave behind outstanding legacies of service to Auburn University, University Outreach, and the state of Alabama.

GEDI is a department of University Outreach which specializes in providing training and consulting to government agencies and employees, workers in private and non-profit businesses, elected officials and economic development professionals. Having over 35 years of experience, GEDI has established itself as a leading provider of economic development education and training in Alabama. Auburn University is also proud to serve as a Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration University Center. EDA supports universities in their mission to assist states and their economic development community through the EDA University Center program. For more information on GEDI and its programs, visit

Leslie Hamby and Maria Tamblyn