Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mayor Jones Announces Several City Appointments

~Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Finance and Administration, Director of Economic Development, and Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Named~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced the following city appointments; Eric M. Tucker to the position of deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration; Lee Downey to the position of director of economic development; and Dr. Norman Merrifield to the position of director of parks, recreation and community facilities. Tucker begins city service on April 25, Downey begins work on May 2, and Merrifield will start on May 21.

During today’s announcement Mayor Dwight C. Jones stated that, “Eric Tucker’s accomplishments and comprehension of government finance and management reforms will prove to be a tremendous resource for the city of Richmond as we continue to position ourselves for future growth. Lee Downey and Norman Merrifield both possess a wealth of knowledge and experience as indicated in their many undertakings and advancements in their chosen fields. We look forward to utilizing all of their unique talents as we work to enhance resident services and enrich our quality of life.”

Tucker has served as director of finance for the localities of Prince George’s County, MD and Detroit, MI, where he coordinated rating efforts leading to upgrades for both jurisdictions’ bond ratings. During his tenure in Detroit, he managed a turnaround of a $63 million deficit into an $18 million surplus. He most recently served as principal of Professional Financial Management, based in Bozeman, MT, where he helped several local governments as well as the South African government with finance and management reforms.

Tucker holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a Master of Management from Northwestern University, and a Master of Taxation from DePaul University.

Since 2008, Downey served as the vice president of business development for McKinney and Company in Ashland, where he developed and monitored all marketing and business development plans and strategies for the full-service, multi-disciplined architectural and engineering firm. He previously held positions of Marketing Manager for McGuireWoods, LLP, and business development project manager for Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). During his tenure at VEDP, he managed a variety of business development projects throughout the Commonwealth, creating over 4,000 new jobs and $375 million in new investment for the state, while saving 2,290 jobs from relocating outside Virginia.

Downey holds a Bachelor and Master of City Planning from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia Economic Development Association, the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate, and the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate.

Dr. Merrifield most recently served as the administrative executive officer and director of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, and is credited with coordinating the commission’s first Comprehensive Strategic Program Business Plan. He also served as director of parks and recreation for the city of El Paso, TX, and completed the first Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan in department history. He gained additional experience serving as the assistant superintendent for administration for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, deputy director for the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department in Fort Wayne, IN, and administrator for Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department in Bloomington, IN.

Dr. Merrifield obtained his Bachelor and Master of Recreation and Park Administration and his Doctorate in Adult Education from Indiana University. He is a member of the National Urban Park and Recreation Alliance and the National Recreation and Park Association.

Monday, April 11, 2011

City of Richmond Named Best Small City of the Future

The city of Richmond has been named the Best Small American City of the Future by Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) magazine. Richmond was also ranked as the third Top Small Cities FDI Strategy, and fifth overall for Small Cities Business Friendliness. According to the judging panel, the city of Richmond and Huntsville (Alabama) had the best FDI strategy amongst the small cities. The rankings are based on each city’s population range, with that of small cities being from 100,000 to 250,000 residents.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones said, “Rankings such as this provide reassurance that we are moving in the right direction. As a location of the future and one that reaches full FDI potential, we have embraced economic development as a core foundational service and we are committed to maintaining an international focus. Our plan for success includes making strategic investments to develop tomorrow’s workforce; partnering with our nationally renowned universities; developing innovative business programs that enhance our competitive position; and investing in infrastructure to support initiatives including a multi-modal transportation plan.”

Gregory H. Wingfield, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc., said, “Richmond receiving the number one spot as ‘City of the Future’ is an important accolade. It gives global companies another reason to consider joining our region’s community of more than 140 internationally-owned businesses who are experiencing success.” International marketing is a significant component of the Partnership’s business attraction strategies.

“Richmond is the state capital, urban core of a dynamic region, and is home to Fortune 1000 companies that include MeadWestvaco, Dominion Resources, Universal Corporation, and Massey Energy,” said the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Economic and Community Development Peter Chapman. “Recent successes include Altria’s Center for Research and Technology, Health Diagnostics Lab, and the retention of Pfizer’s Consumer Healthcare Research and Development facility.”

fDi Cities of the Future shortlists are created by in independent collection of data by fDi Intelligence division across 405 cities across North and South America. This information was set under six categories: Economic Potential, Human Resources, Cost Effectiveness, Quality of Life, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness. A seventh category was added to the scoring – FDI promotion strategy. In this category, 100 cities submitted details about their promotion strategy and this was judged and scored by their independent judging panel. Cities scored up to a maximum of 10 points under each individual criteria which were weighted by importance to give the overall scores.