Randy Hemann to leave Downtown Salisbury Inc.
SALISBURY — Randy Hemann, the longtime leader of Downtown Salisbury Inc., will leave his job April 30 to become the new city manager in Oxford.
“Randy has led our downtown and our city through both good and bad economic times,” Mark Lewis, president of Downtown Salisbury, said in a press release. “He was relentless in his passion for our downtown, recognizing it as the heart of the Salisbury-Rowan community.
“While we will definitely miss him, our board recognizes that this is the next step in Randy’s career and we wish him well in this new opportunity.”
In 2011, Hemann turned down an offer to become the city manager of Red Bank, Tenn.
Oxford is a Granville County town of about 8,500 people.
Greg Anderson, publisher of the Salisbury Post and a member of the Downtown Salisbury Board of Directors, said Hemann leaves the group with big shoes to fill.
“He’s really good at his job,” Anderson said. “Randy is a growth catalyst, a collaborator and no job is too small either. I think he will make an excellent city manager.”
Lewis said Downtown Salisbury will seek a new executive director to play a vital role in economic development efforts in Salisbury in partnership with the city and county tourism development authorities, RowanWorks Economic Development Commission and Rowan County Chamber of Commerce.
“Words alone cannot express the admiration we have for Randy and appreciation for his work with our downtown,” Lewis said. “He has clearly left us our community in a great position to continue the collaborative efforts in process to further position Salisbury as a leader in the creative economy.”
Downtown Salisbury and Hemann have been considering moving the executive director’s office to the Gateway Building, formerly owned by the chamber and now owned by the Rowan County Tourism Development Authority.
Tourism, the EDC and the chamber are all located in the building, which they are preparing to renovate to increase collaboration.
Hemann is Downtown Salisbury’s only full-time employee. He has a part-time assistant.
Hemann said it has been a blessing for him to be in Salisbury as part of “something much bigger than one person or one organization.”
In a statement given to the Downtown Salisbury board, Hemann said, “Sixteen years ago, I was given the opportunity to join a team and help change a community. Together at DSI we created and implemented two master plans, completed numerous development projects, recruited great businesses and built a successful series of events and promotions.
“What we have achieved as a team has been wonderful; even more wonderful have been the friendships and the fun we had along the way.”
Since 1997, Hemann has led efforts that created more than $70 million of the $120 million that has been invested in the downtown.
He was part of a leadership group that recognized Salisbury’s future economy should be centered on the “creative economy,” focused on arts and culture, tourism, high-tech industry and diversity.
“While I tender my resignation with sadness,” Hemann said, “I move on with excitement regarding a new challenge and the opportunity to take what I have learned and help another great North Carolina city.”
Hemann said working with board members, city staff and Downtown Salisbury staff, “as well as so many great committee members and volunteers, has been an incredible experience that I know God has used to prepare me for the next chapter in my life.”
He singled out board members Mike Fuller, Paul Fisher, Lewis and Bill Burgin, former city staff members David Treme and Joe Morris and former Downtown Salisbury employees Betz McKeown and Shuntale Smith.
“Thank you for your commitment to Salisbury and for the privilege of working alongside you in service to the city,” Hemann said to the board. “I appreciate your continued prayers as my family moves on to a new calling and a new home.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.