My Story with Brandon Turner, City of Roanoke, VA

Posted on February 9, 2015

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207b843ELGL’s mission is to connect, communicate, and educate. In this ongoing series, ELGL members tell the story of why they chose a local government career.

Brandon Turner (LinkedIn) is an economic development specialist for the City of Roanoke, VA. He oversee administration of the city’s two Enterprise Zones and works closely with the City’s Economic Development Authority while dealing with incentive and policy issues.

Brandon has an undergraduate degree from Radford University and an MBA from Lynchburg College.

My most frustrating experience in local government was….
…when a company located in our community requested a job creation grant, which was substantial.  They were awarded the grant, but shortly after hitting their performance measures it was discovered they were sending all of the jobs receiving grants to another state.  However, because they had complied with all regulations and stipulations outlined in the contract, I had to process and award the grant.  I remember, in business school, learning the difference between legal and ethical decisions; what I did was perfectly legal as they fulfilled the contact, but it made me sick on the stomach because we knew we had been played.  Lesson learned…more ironclad contracts!
My top three career accomplishments are

  • when I assisted in bringing a company and its 250 jobs to a community close to my home town;
  • working with a local brewer as he moved from the “dream” phase of his business to the actual ribbon cutting;
  • creating a tourism strategy/master plan, which was approved by the State, for a former county in which I was employed.

When no one else is in the car, I….
…sing at the top of my lungs, mainly to Macklemore, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West.
I aspire to….
…climb as far up the career ladder as possible, all the while enjoying life to the fullest.
I am afraid of….download
…failure and loneliness.  And spiders…definitely spiders!
Right now, I am working on….
…becoming a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council.
Here are three tips for interviewing……
…be polite and respectful, be honest, and be confident.  Humor and a big smile also help.
In terms of telling the local government story, I think local government….
…is an environment in which exists numerous challenges, yet is very rewarding.  I beam with pride when I show friends around town and point out big projects, knowing in my heart that I assist in making them happen.
If I could start a non-profit to assist local government, I would focus on….179644_386054281446852_1153627402_n
…Economic Development, largely infrastructure and site development.
And, one thing that you should know about me is…..
…food is my life.  From cooking to hitting up a local restaurant to planning vacations based on food, it’s one of my strongest passions.
For the next person that you interview, I would ask….
…in your life, what is the biggest professional opportunity that you passed on and later regretted?
You should have asked me….
…where do you see yourself in five years?

Supplemental Reading


City of Roanoke holding grant and tax credit workshop

Guidepost #10 – Marc Nelson

New Sensation: Marc Nelson, City of Roanoke (VA)

VA: Chris Morrill, City of Roanoke, City Manager

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