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!

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.

Aisha Johnson – Economic Development Specialist

  • Enterprise Zone Administrator, administering the Enterprise Zone incentives for business development
  • Coordinates Tourism Zone activities, designed to encourage the development of hospitality related businesses
  • Roanoke Innovates Steering Committee member
  • Responsible for City-Wide Workforce Initiatives

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.

Lisa Soltis – Economic Development Specialist

  • 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

  • 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.

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.