Walter Robert Huntley, Jr. was born on October 13, 1948, in San Antonio, Texas to Walter Huntley, Sr. and Elnora Huntley. Huntley attended Cambridge Elementary School, St. Peter Claver Catholic School, and Alamo Heights and Highlands High School. He enrolled at Trinity University in the fall of 1966, completing his degree in Biology in 1971, and a Masters in Urban Studies in 1973 under the tutelage of Dr. Earl Lewis. In 1977, he completed post-graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University and received a Certificate of Advanced Study from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. In 1999, he completed the Executive Leadership Seminar at the Aspen Institute.
In 1972, Huntley was granted a research internship opportunity at Research Atlanta, Inc. to focus on taxation and municipal finance issues in Atlanta and the metropolitan area. This opportunity enabled Huntley to perform policy work where he first entered politics as a volunteer in the 1973 mayoral campaign of Maynard Jackson, who became the first Black mayor of Atlanta. Following Jackson’s election, Huntley served from 1974 to 1982 as special assistant to Mayor Jackson, and was later appointed Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Atlanta and then Chief of Staff for the Mayor. As Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, he helped plan such projects as the expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and other major projects in the City.
Huntley worked as a consultant during the administration of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American mayor. He also held cabinet positions within the administrations of two other Atlanta mayors: Andrew Young, and William Campbell. In 1986, Mayor Young appointed Huntley to serve as President of the Atlanta Economic Development Corporation (now Invest Atlanta) where he served from 1986 to 1997. Huntley also served on the Bid Preparation Committee for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and he was a board member for the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta.
In 1997, Huntley founded and served as President of Huntley Partners, Inc. a development advisory firm that specialized in providing market analysis and implementation plans for public/private development. Huntley Partners, Inc. was later acquired by CHA Consulting, an international engineering consulting firm in New York. Huntley was a partner in the firm and served as CHA’s Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Client Development from 2013 to 2015. Huntley continues to provide economic development consulting services as President of Huntley & Associates.
In 1996, Trinity University honored Huntley as the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Huntley has also been recognized for his athletic achievement. He is a former member of the UPI All-Texas Football Team, an Associated Press Small College Football All-American, a draftee of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a member of the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1997, at the request of former President Ron Calgaard, Huntley became the first African-American Trustee of Trinity University. For more than two decades, Huntley has served on the Board of Trustees, including serving as Chairman of the Board for two years from 2010 to 2012. Additionally, Huntley has served on boards for a number of organizations. including The Fox Theater, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Cities Foundation.
Huntley resides with his wife, Joanne Doddy Fort, in Atlanta. Huntley has one daughter, Tyeise Huntley Jones, who works for the Chicago Public Schools and is married to the Honorable Daryl Jones, a judge on the Chicago Circuit Court; they are the parents of two boys – Justice and Chancellor.