Radford’s economic development director is leaving the city after less than a year on the job.
Blair Hoke, 31, said that she was not looking elsewhere, but an offer was presented to her that “she couldn’t pass up.”
“I was approached by the company when the position was open and they thought my skill set was a good match,” she said.
Hoke said that she couldn’t talk about her new job, because that employer isn’t ready to announce the hire.
City Manager David Ridpath said that he always hopes for long-term hires but had no expectations on the duration of her stay.
“A great opportunity came her way, so no one can ever plan for that, neither her nor I in this case. I am very proud of Blair, she has made many long-term accomplishments in her ten months with us that many do not make in a career,” he wrote in an email.
One accomplishment Ridpath pointed to is the Radford Economic Development Incentive that the city unveiled in late October.
The program offers real estate tax reimbursements to companies building in the city. It focuses on larger projects, where developers can often spend millions on new construction or renovating existing buildings. The hope is to lure big-time employers to Radford, according to a previous Roanoke Times article.
Hoke also played a major role in Radford’s re-branding efforts this year. The city plans to unveil its concept logos and slogan in the coming weeks, she said.
Hoke likely will not be there for the unveiling as her last day is March 22.
Ridpath said that until the position is filled, Hoke’s duties will be split between himself, Director of Planning and Zoning Melissa Skelton and Planning Director Basil Edwards.
Edwards was the director before Hoke was hired, and Ridpath said there have only been five people — the first being himself — to hold the position since 1985.
He said the city will begin advertising the job next week and hopefully have the position filled by early May. Hoke’s salary is $65,000, according to city spokesperson Jenni Wilder.
Mayor David Horton echoed Ridpath’s comments about the Radford native.
“We were lucky to have her and I really hate to lose her … It would have been great if we could have kept her because she was a difference maker from day one,” he said.
Before coming to work for the city, Hoke was the general manager of the Pulaski Yankees where she led a marketing campaign that increased ticket revenue and secured the team’s financial future, team owner David Hagan previously told The Roanoke Times.
Hoke said that she’d anticipated being with the city for a long time when she took the job last May.
“I planned on being here forever … There were no intentions of leaving,” she said.