Two-term former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield left office in April, having been at City Hall for eight years.
He quickly started taking orders instead of giving them.
"I promised my wife for all the eight years I was mayor I would build her a potting shed," Littlefield said in a recent interview.
He spent most of the latter part of the summer fixing up a small former maid's quarters building that had fallen into disrepair.
"I let the roof go bad while I was playing politics," Littlefield joked.
But the personal project wasn't the only effort of manual labor the former mayor worked. He traveled with fellow Calvary Chapel church members to Moore, Okla., to help rebuild homes after the devastating May tornado.
"There were some wrenching scenes," Littlefield said. "We were working in areas where not much aid had reached."
As mayor, Littlefield saw strong resistance when he pushed for a metro-style government that would have merged county and city services, similar to the structure of Nashville-Davidson County's government.
He was successful with commercial and residential annexations of land beginning in 2009 in Hixson, Lookout Valley, East Brainerd, Apison and Ooltewah, despite lawsuits by Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation.
But Littlefield said he was most proud of economic developments such as the recruitment of Volkswagen, Amazon and Alstom to create businesses here, a result of teamwork between the city, Hamilton County and other agencies.
Those and EPB's fiber optic network stand out, he said.
"[The network] has really put Chattanooga on a very different map, a technology map," he said.
Now, after decades in public service, he's moving back to the private sector.
This fall he begins work on his own company, Littlefield Associates. The limited liability company is his new planning consulting business. He's booked appearances in New York and Pennsylvania and intends to help planning consultation for other cities.
"I did enjoy my time as mayor," he said. "I came to office with a list and we got the list accomplished. I'm really just enjoying life."
Contact staff writer Todd South at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...