A native of Oconee County, Georgia, Commissioner Harden and his wife, Debra, have one son, Trey. Mr. Harden attended the Watkinsville Elementary School and graduated High School from Woodward Academy. He obtained his business degree from the University of Georgia with a major in marketing. In addition, Mr. Harden graduated from LSU’s Banking School of the South and is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Georgia.
While at the University of Georgia, Mr. Harden began his career in banking with Oconee State Bank in Watkinsville. He started out as a part-time teller and proudly spent the last twenty-two years of his forty-three-year career as its President and CEO. During his time at the University of Georgia, Mr. Harden was elected Mayor of Watkinsville and served three terms from 1976 through 1981.
Mr. Harden has served on numerous non-profit and quasi-government boards. He served as Oconee County’s Private Sector Representative on the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission; the At-Large Member of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority; and, Chair of the Oconee County Development Authority for many years.
In addition to being a founding member of the Oconee Chamber of Commerce, he served a term as its Chair. Mr. Harden also served as the Chair of the Northeast Georgia Workforce Board; Chair of the Georgia’s Workforce Leadership Association; and, was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue to the State’s Workforce Board.
Mr. Harden served on the Board of Trustees for the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation; Board of Trustees of Athens Regional Medical Center; and, the Board of Trustees for Athens Academy. He was a volunteer firefighter for Oconee County and, in 2003, he was honored by being named the Distinguished Citizen of Northeast Georgia.