In what felt mostly like a foregone conclusion to us after the effusive praise the board heaped on the interim managing director of the 2012 Atlanta Pride Festival, the Pride committee hires Buck Cooke as its executive director.

The committee made the announcement on Wednesday. As the festival’s former entertainment co-chair, Cooke (top photo, right) took the reigns of the festival from former Executive Director James Sheffield in February. Making good on its promise to do an “extensive” search for a permanent executive after the October festival was complete, Pride opened a two-week window for possible candidates. When it did, board chair Glen Paul Freedman (left) told Project Q that Cooke not only did a great job but was “certainly” eligible to apply.

He did, he interviewed, and he got the job.

“It feels fantastic,” Cooke says. “I’m honored that the board has trusted me with this responsibility. I’m delighted with the work of our talented volunteers this year when i was managing director and look forward to building toward the future.”

He certainly did something right, or those discerning Project Q readers wouldn’t have named Pride among the Bestest of the Best of Gay Atlanta. Here’s the full announcement from the Atlanta Pride Committee:

The Atlanta Pride Committee Board of Directors & Festival Committee Liaison met yesterday evening, November 20.  After having reviewed all of the applications received and interviewing qualified finalists, the board voted to hire Buck Cooke as the full-time Executive Director for the Atlanta Pride Committee.

We are thrilled and excited to promote and hire Buck Cooke as the Executive Director for the Atlanta Pride Committee effective December 1, 2012.  Buck continues to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organization for operations and event planning from his current work experiences as the Atlanta Pride Committee Managing Director this past year as well as his previous work at Georgia Tech and Emory University. 

Buck will directly report to the board chair and work with the board, festival committee members, staff members, volunteers, managing vendors and contractors to continue our current and future fundraising efforts, and programming and of course, the 2013 and future Atlanta Pride Festivals, Stonewall events and additional Atlanta Pride Committee events and projects.

Please join us in welcoming Buck as our new Executive Director for the Atlanta Pride Committee.