Economic Development Director Recruitment
ROANOKE COUNTY, VIRGINIA SEEKS A HIGHLY-SKILLED DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The ideal candidate will have extensive background and experience in all facets of Economic Development within the public sector and be an individual up to the challenge of leading a Department. The County is looking for someone who will lead the implementation of a new vision and detailed strategic plan for Economic Development so that Roanoke County can flourish in the Innovation / Entrepreneurial economy that is emerging within our region. The successful candidate will also recognize the importance of providing a desirable quality of life in order to attract talented and diverse professionals and entrepreneurs to the County. The Director must be able to collaborate effectively with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders including elected officials, prospective developers / investors, technical and non-technical staff, and the general public. While the ideal candidate does not have to be a technical expert, he / she must be able to understand the complex technical issues that often surround development projects and be able to communicate these issues clearly and concisely to a non-technical audience.
About This Position
The position of Director of Economic Development for Roanoke County, which works closely with County Administration and regional partners, presents an opportunity for the right individual to help move the County into the future. The Director will work to establish the County as a regional player in community development with other local governments, state agencies, private sector partners, colleges and universities. The County is primed to see major improvements in transportation infrastructure over the next several years and the Director will help guide the implementation of these projects. The Director supervises a diverse staff of 4-6 professionals.
>> Learn more about Roanoke County's Economic Development Department.
Application and Selection Process
Candidates should submit an application through the County’s online application process at www.roanokecountyva.gov/jobs.
The position is open until filled.
Reference checks, background checks and academic verifications will be conducted after receiving candidates’ permission. For more information, please contact (540) 772-2004.
The Director of Economic Development will need a strong background in leading local, regional and national positioning for Roanoke County. This also represents a unique opportunity for the successful candidate to help shape the future in Economic Development for Roanoke County. Knowledge and expertise are required in the areas of economic development which include business attraction / retention and incentives, growing businesses in the innovation economy, planning and zoning, grant funding, and engineering project delivery.
In particular, the Director of Economic Development must have the following qualities:
- Commitment to communication with employees at all levels of the organization in a trustworthy and effective manner.
- Ability to be part of a team of senior-level staff members and contribute meaningful and consistent insight into resolving issues and problems in the economic development area and beyond.
- Experience in working with elected officials, and the capability of demonstrating tact and diplomacy in dealing with those officials and their employees.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills, which must include the ability to interact and explain information to all levels of staff as well as external stakeholders.
- Effective presentation skills which enable articulation of project issues, goals and objectives to the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrator, County staff, citizens and the media.
- The highest level of personal and professional integrity demonstrated in both the candidate’s public and private life.
- Ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality and build trust with management, supervisory and front-line employees.
- Possess a management style which is unbiased, open, friendly and approachable.
- Maintain an active level of involvement in relevant professional organizations and professional networking and encourage the department staff in doing the same.
Education and Experience
Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in public administration, planning, engineering or a related field and five years of progressively responsible experience in economic development, community development, planning, engineering or equivalent. A graduate degree in public administration, business, engineering, planning or a similar program is preferred, along with certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and/or Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council.
Current Challenges and Issues
Some of the key issues and challenges that the Director will face in the first six to twelve months on the job include:
- Leading the implementation of a strategy for the development of the community through formulation of a Strategic Plan created by the Board of Supervisors.
- Stabilization and growth of the County’s population through business attraction and housing development.
- Working with the Public Information Officer, County Administration and the Board of Supervisors to create new opportunities for engagement with the business community and other external stakeholders.
The anticipated hiring range is $120,000 to $140,000 based on background and qualifications of the successful candidate. Roanoke County participates in the Virginia Retirement System, and also provides excellent health and dental insurance, short and long term disability, life insurance, a generous flexible leave policy, and a wellness program.
Roanoke County is a full-service local government that employs 1,048 full-time employees, spread across 20 departments and five Constitutional offices. The departments provide a wide array of services to residents, including curbside trash pickup, an accredited police department, paid fire and rescue service, planning, zoning, parks and recreation, and social services as well as an excellent Library system. The County also has budget approval authority and a close working relationship with Roanoke County Schools. The Director of Economic Development will play a major role in the management team and partner with other key staff in furthering the County’s Economic Development strategic plan. The position of Director of Economic Development will report to the Assistant County Administrator.
Roanoke County is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia and serves 94,000 residents over 250 square miles. The region includes the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the Town of Vinton, and is known for its natural beauty and great blend of culture, entertainment and outdoor activities.
More than 313,000 citizens of the Roanoke region are served by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional airport, award-winning school systems, modern libraries, museums and recreation centers, along with varied entertainment and dining options. There are over 23 colleges and universities located nearby, providing extensive opportunities for life-long learning and employee development. While the atmosphere is vibrant, the residents are relaxed and friendly, and commute times are short, leaving plenty of time to take advantage of the large range of outdoor activities.
Both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail run for miles through the County, while the Roanoke River provides a framework for an extensive greenway system and the perfect place for fishing and kayaking. Roanoke County’s 1,100 acre Explore Park offers a wide variety of outdoor adventure activities including mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing and kayaking, just to name a few.
Family-friendly activities, such as recreation club sports, festivals and parades, make it an ideal place to raise children.
At the same time, the increasingly exciting pace of the downtown Roanoke restaurant scene and nightlife provide options for evenings and weekends. There are many opportunities for spectator sports, too – from Virginia Tech football and basketball to the minor league Red Sox baseball franchise and minor league Rail Yard Dawgs ice hockey team, there is something for everyone. Roanoke County Public Library (RCPL) is an integral part of the Roanoke Valley community, providing a wide range of information, and spaces where everyone feels welcome. Most notably, RCPL became the first library in the nation to make available an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-capable robot, and since has been recognized as uniquely and capably suited to offer resources and instruction on AI, coding, robotics, and digital citizenship. RCPL is one of a handful of libraries leading the national conversation in this arena.
Roanoke is home to many high-profile companies including Carilion and LewisGale Health Systems, Allstate Insurance, Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation (TMEIC), and Wells Fargo. Recently, Virginia Tech and Carilion have created a Roanoke health sciences and technology campus centered around the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, which is rapidly transforming the region’s economy. This dynamic initiative is expanding research and innovation, and will add to the growing medical services cluster taking shape in the region. Talent development solutions are provided through Hollins University, Virginia Western Community College and the Roanoke Higher Education Center, with resources and customized training from entry-level to top management. The region’s local governments partner with a regional economic development agency to attract new businesses to the area.