Danville’s Telly Tucker will lead Arlington Economic Development
Tucker starts his new job on Jan. 13.
Telly Tucker, director of economic development in Danville, is leaving next month to lead Arlington County’s economic development department, the city of Danville announced Thursday.
“It was a tremendous opportunity,” Tucker said Thursday in a phone interview. “My heart will always be in Danville for the opportunity they gave me. It’s bittersweet in a sense, because I’ll miss the relationships I’ve built in Danville, but I’m very much looking forward to working in Arlington.”
In January, Tucker will replace Alex Iams, the current acting head of Arlington Economic Development, who is moving to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority as its new executive vice president. Victor Hoskins, his predecessor, departed Arlington to head FCEDA in July.
“Mr. Tucker brings a wealth of experience in economic development across a diverse of communities throughout the commonwealth,” Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “I am thrilled that he will be bringing his talents to Arlington County at an important time in our history, and I look forward to working together to continue to strengthen our community and regional collaboration.”
Danville has not yet named an interim director to replace Tucker, who leaves his post Jan. 10 and starts Jan. 13 in Arlington. City Manager Ken Larking said in his announcement that he would conduct a comprehensive search using a process similar to the hiring of recent department directors.
Tucker has served as Danville’s economic development chief since July 2014, and the city gained 1,645 jobs and more than $448 million in capital investment under his tenure, according to Larking’s announcement.
Tucker doesn’t think landing Arlington’s top economic development post comes down to just one factor, but he does believe his experience in regional collaboration helped. Over the past five years, Tucker has built relationships with Pittsylvania County, regional economic development groups, the Danville school system and local colleges.
Ten of the projects he oversaw were regional partnerships with Pittsylvania, and he also collaborated with Danville Community College, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and other organizations to bring in new and expanded businesses, including Morgan Olson LLC, which is set to replace Ikea next year, creating 703 manufacturing jobs.
“Those things, I think, resonate [in Arlington],” where he expects to work closely with economic development counterparts in Fairfax and Prince William counties and Alexandria, as well as with major businesses, including Amazon.com Inc., which is building its $2.5 billion East Coast HQ2 headquarters in Crystal City, and Nestlé USA, which is headquartered in Rosslyn. Tucker also looks forward to collaborating with Virginia Tech, which is building its $1 billion Innovation Campus near Amazon’s HQ2.
Before coming to Danville, Tucker, who started out working as a public school teacher, served as assistant director of economic development for James City County. He also worked as enterprise zone program administrator for the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development and as an economic development specialist in Lynchburg, where he grew up. A James Madison University graduate, Tucker is also an accomplished pianist who has performed worldwide and played for then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton while studying music at Morgan State University.