Tommy Miller has been named Director of Economic Development for the City of Salem, effective April 18. Miller was selected after a nationwide search identified him as a top candidate for the vacant post.
“We are excited to attract a candidate of Tommy’s caliber to Salem,” says Jay Taliaferro, Salem City Manager. “He has a great skill set and work-related experiences on many different levels. Plus, he has the enthusiasm needed to enhance Salem’s business and industry-friendly reputation.”
Miller comes to Salem after spending the past five years as a Senior Business Investment Manager for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. In this position, he was able to manage and lead various projects while cultivating relationships with individuals in state agencies, educational settings, existing businesses, and local communities.
“I have a strong appreciation for the presence of manufacturers in the City of Salem and the resilient work ethic of the community,” says Miller. “I am very aware of the growing and evolving high tech and service sectors in the region, and I am continually impressed with the thriving vibrancy throughout Salem and the Roanoke Valley.”
“Tommy has been a key economic development ally to the Roanoke Region in his roles with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and I am excited to have him join the team of local economic developers in our region,” says John Hull, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “Tommy has a commanding knowledge in the field of economic development and a familiarity with the region that will be a tremendous asset in his service to the City of Salem.”
Before joining VDEP in the summer of 2017, Miller served as the Economic Development Director in Orange County. During that time, he managed 10 existing and new business development projects that resulted in nearly 600 jobs and over $37 million in new capital investment in Orange County.
“I've intentionally guided my career for new experiences related to all levels of economic development ranging from rural to suburban, local to state, existing business outreach to business attraction,” says Miller. “All of these experiences have helped open my network and expand my knowledge of how to provide the best resources and services.”
Miller earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. His undergraduate degree is in Real Estate and Urban Land Development while his advanced degree is in Urban and Regional Planning. He also has his Certified Economic Development credential. He has worked as both a Marketing Analyst and Existing Business Manager in Hanover County and he spent three years developing new business in the Franklin Southampton County area.
“I have been given the opportunity to work with firms ranging from one person startups to global Fortune 500 companies and industries ranging from life sciences to automotive,” he says. “Now, I really look forward to engaging with my new team members in Salem to see how we can work together to support the health and livelihood of the community.”
Perhaps his most unique business venture was the establishment of the Richmond Brewery Tours. In 2012, he developed a business and marketing plan to highlight Richmond blossoming craft beer industry and spearheaded the venture from 2012-2020.
“Any entrepreneurial venture should be both calculated and gut driven,” he says. “I certainly have an entrepreneurial gene in my DNA, and I am always interested in seeing what the next best venture is in the market.”
Miller and his wife, Julie, have two children. The couple also has family members in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and they look forward to enjoying everything this region has to offer.
“I've been visiting friends and family in the area for a number of years, and I am continually impressed with the region’s natural resources,” says Miller. “My family and I enjoy the outdoors and you can't live in this part of the state without an appreciation of the mountains and streams that are visible throughout the countryside.”