Guilford County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Alan Branson has already served one year as chairman, but some county residents may still not know much about the man who is now, for the second year in a row, the most powerful elected official in Guilford County government.

Branson, 52, is a Republican who lives in Julian and runs a family business, Stout Trucking Inc. He represents District 4 – a very rural district that covers a wide swath of eastern Guilford County, including the now-closed Guilford County Prison Farm.

He was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2012 when the board turned into a Republican-majority board for the first time this century. Branson served as vice chairman of the board under former Chairman Jeff Phillips in 2016 before being elected chairman by his fellow commissioners in December of 2017.

Branson, like other commissioners, only gets one vote, but as chairman he has a lot more responsibility than the others. The chairman – who’s sometimes referred to as “the mayor of the county” – runs the commissioners meetings and work sessions, sets the board’s agendas, appoints board committees, attends ribbon cuttings and makes a lot of speeches. For instance, the chairman of the board speaks in front 800 or more people at the annual Greensboro Chamber of Commerce State of the Community luncheon held each August.

When Branson took over the board last December, he was a little lost when it came to Robert’s Rules of Order and that showed in the first few meetings; however now, one year in, the chairman seems to have the book’s rules down pretty well.

Over the years, Branson has been a big advocate for Guilford County’s parks and open space projects. He’s been very interested in wildlife preservation and is a member of the NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation as well as a previous vice president of the McLeansville Wildlife Club.

The new chairman has been an outspoken member of the Guilford County Parks and Recreation Commission during his time as a commissioner.

Branson is also the county’s appointee to the Board of Transportation for the National Association of County Commissioners and he has served on the Greensboro/Burlington Transportation Advisory Board, the Guilford County Volunteer Agriculture Board and the board of the NC Association of County Commissioners.

As the new chairman, he will continue to earn a little extra taxpayer money compared to his fellow commissioners; regular Guilford County commissioners make $20,700 a year, while the chairman pulls in $24,300 annually.