The City of Roanoke’s Department of Economic Development is staffed with some of the most qualified experts in the industry. Whether you are a new business in the City, expanding an existing business, or need assistance with ribbon cuttings or property searches, our experts are trained to assist you in any way possible. Please scroll below to learn more about our outstanding team!
Marc Nelson – Director
- Performs professional and administrative functions managing and directing all activities involving economic development.
- Responsibilities entail accountability based on measurable cost effective results for the growth of the City’s tax base through business expansion and retention programs, entrepreneurial development, labor force development, and related quality of life initiatives.
- Promotes development through relationships between the City and business community, economic development agencies, state and regional agencies, and regional institutions of higher education.
- Serves as liaison between the City and private sector development in the negotiation and development of performance agreements, evaluation of fiscal impacts, and developing recommendations to the City Manager and City Council.
Lisa Soltis – Senior Economic Development Specialist
- Supervises 4 Economic Development Specialists
- Responsible for business retention, expansion and development strategies
- Formulates and manages departmental budget
- Works to foster the City’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem
- Coordinates marketing strategies to create awareness of the department through the monthly BizNews electronic distribution, via social and traditional media outlets.
- Works closely with local and State officials to organize events for the business community covering pertinent subjects for business enhancement.
Mandy Folman – Economic Development Specialist
• Serves as the department’s liaison for various organizations and initiatives, including the Western Virginia Workforce Board, Go Virginia, Goodwill Industries, and the National League of Cities
• Conducts business visits with startup and emerging minority-owned businesses
• Works to further the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts within the context of the City’s larger outreach efforts
• Collaborates with stakeholders on development in the Gainsboro area
• Works to advance neighborhood centers throughout the City
• Works closely with the department’s Financial Stability Specialist on various financial empowerment efforts
• Seeks grant funding to further the City’s community development initiatives
Cassandra (Sandra) Turner – Economic Development Specialist
- Responsible for a broad range of property management matters including assistance in the marketing and disposition, facilitation/negotiation of the leasing and sale of city-owned properties and the administration of various leases, contracts and licenses.
- Performs property research and data gathering, maintains an available property database and performs website property searches in support of business attraction, expansion and retention efforts.
- Other duties include processing and documentation of various easements and encroachments in City right-of-way.
Brady Woolwine – Economic Development Specialist
• Responsible for business retention, expansion and development strategies within the retail and commercial sectors.
• Coordinates marketing strategies to create awareness of the department through monthly e-newsletter, BizNews.
• Generates awareness of the department and City of Roanoke businesses and initiatives through departmental social media channels.
Economic Development Specialist
- Enterprise Zone Administrator, administering the Enterprise Zone incentives for business development
- Business development focusing on the manufacturing sector
- Liaison to the Economic Development Authority
- Responsible for performance agreements and grant processing related to various key projects
Brandon Meginley – Financial Stability Specialist
- Coordinates the City of Roanoke’s financial stability strategies spanning the full continuum from entry into mainstream financial systems to financial empowerment.
- Leads the City’s efforts in the development of goals, strategies and actions regarding financial stability.
- Coordinates the Financial Empowerment Center initiative.
- Coordinates all aspects of the conduct of the Bank On initiative.
- Supports the Economic Development Department’s Economic Inclusion initiatives.
Melissa Murray – Administrative Assistant
- Responsible for the administrative functions of the Department of Economic Development including receptionist duties, payment processing, monitoring of the budget and assistance to staff members.
- Assists with development and maintenance of the Economic Development Department’s website.
- Assists with maintenance of the City of Roanoke Arts and Culture website.
- Recording Secretary for the Roanoke Arts Commission.