Telly Tucker named IALR’s first president
Tucker leaves Arlington to return to Danville
Telly Tucker, Arlington County’s economic development director since 2020, will become the first president of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) on May 31, the Danville-based institute announced Tuesday.
Tucker’s return to Danville is a return to his past. The Lynchburg native served as the city’s economic development director before heading to Arlington in January 2020. He spent five years in Danville and helped turn around the former textile hub after many big employers left town in the 1990s and 2000s. The Caesars Virginia casino, with an expected opening date in late 2023, is driving more economic opportunity and development to the region.
In Arlington, Tucker led an economic development team of more than 50 staff members to attract and retain businesses in Arlington after Amazon.com Inc. announced its East Coast headquarters plans, which will ultimately employ about 25,000 people in the county.
“On behalf of the search committee and the board of trustees, I want to share our excitement with the selection of Telly Tucker as the first president of IALR,” Roy Ford Jr., chair of the IALR board of trustees, said in a statement. “We have full confidence in Telly’s ability to successfully steer IALR to help realize Southern Virginia as home to a dynamic economy where all can live and thrive. His collaborative approach and strategic insight, combined with his significant experience and deep knowledge of our region, positions him as a perfect champion of our vision for the next chapter of IALR.”
In December 2020, the institute broke ground on a $25.5 million, 51,250-square-foot manufacturing center on its Danville campus. It is under construction and will open by the end of the year. IALR, which opened in 2004, focuses on economic development in the areas of manufacturing, research and conference services, serving the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg and the cities of Danville and Martinsville.
The seven-member search committee worked with Washington, D.C.-based management consulting firm Korn Ferry to conduct a national search for the institute’s first president. The committee narrowed the candidates to five before selecting Tucker. The new role of president was created after a seven-month strategic planning process indicated a need for expanded executive leadership, according to a news release from the institute.
“I am honored to have been selected as the first president of IALR,” Tucker said in a statement. “The opportunity to lead a premier institution engaged in meaningful and impactful economic development, applied research, advanced learning, conference services and advanced manufacturing is truly a privilege. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge and opportunity to work collaboratively in support of the larger mission of economic transformation within Southern Virginia.”
Before his first stint in Danville, Tucker was assistant director of development for James City County, program administrator for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, an economic development specialist in Lynchburg, and started his career as a math and Spanish teacher in Lynchburg city schools.
Tucker has also been named to several statewide boards and earned a Certified Economic Development designation granted by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington, D.C., serving on its Racism and Economic Development Committee.
Tucker earned a bachelor’s in business administration in international business and Spanish from James Madison University.