Our Team

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!

Robert Ledger
Economic Development Director

(540) 853-1698


  • Develops and oversees Economic Development Specialist activities related to business creation, retention, expansion and attraction.
  • Works with staff to ensure all activities are completed in a timely, effective and efficiently manner ensuring excellent customer service and project management practices.
  • Supports the department Director in reporting departmental activities and identifying new opportunities for economic development.
  • Manages departmental activities such as staff recruitment and training, performance evaluations to ensure continuous improvement, and design and implementation of the department budget.

Marc Nelson
Economic Development Manager

(540) 853-2717


  • Manages development efforts on public-private partnership projects.
  • Works closely with City Management on development-related issues, including development of contracts and performance agreements, construction and community relations.
  • Manages performance agreements between the City, the City’s Economic Development Authority and various private entities.
  • Serves as liaison to various entrepreneurial and technology-based entities, including Virginia Tech-Carilion and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.
  • Serves as City Representative for RAMP – Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program

Lisa B. Soltis
Economic Development Specialist

(540) 853-1694


  • Responsible for business retention, expansion and development strategies, particularly focusing on the retail and service sectors.
  • 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 classes for the business community covering pertinent subjects for business enhancement.
  • Charged with two Career, Lifestyle and Financial Fitness Fairs annually.

Cassandra (Sandra) Turner
Economic Development Specialist

(540) 853-6439

  • 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.

Sean Adkins
Economic Development Specialist


  • Specializes in the attraction, expansion, and retention of Roanoke’s distribution and manufacturing sectors
  • Economic Development Authority (EDA) Coordinator
  • Manager of the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology (RCIT) park
  • Co-Administrator of Roanoke’s Enterprise Zone and Facade Grant programs

Aisha Johnson
Economic Development Specialist


  • Enterprise Zone Administrator (Fire/Water/Sewer, Security, Building Permit Rebate, Fire Suppression Retrofit & Hookup, etc.)
  • Responsible for City-Wide Workforce Initiatives

Melissa C. Murray
Administrative Assistant

(540) 853-6068

  • 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.