Va. Beach economic development director is finalist for Oregon job
Taylor Adams among three contenders
Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager and Director of Economic Development Taylor Adams is one of three finalists to be the next city manager in Salem, Oregon.
Adams has worked for the city of Virginia Beach since 2015 and became deputy city manager in 2021. He heads up the city’s economic development department, and also has responsibility for the city’s convention and visitors bureau and community development. He has been instrumental in several expansion announcements in Virginia Beach, including a $15.8 million investment from Acoustical Sheetmetal Co. to expand its Virginia Beach complex and create 200 jobs and Premium PPE’s $5.3 million expansion creating 180 jobs.
Adams and the two other candidates — Keith Stahley, assistant city manager for Olympia, Washington, and Eric Zimmerman, who served in the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh and is a previous deputy manager in Medford, Oregon — are the three finalists and are being interviewed all day Wednesday by Salem’s mayor and city council members, as well as the city’s executive leadership team and labor leadership. In the evening, the public will have the chance to ask the candidates questions during a virtual community forum.
Salem began searching for a new city manager in February. Following Wednesday’s interviews, Salem City Council members may visit the candidates’ communities prior to making a hire.
Adams started in Virginia Beach as the city’s purchasing agent in 2015, moving up as finance operations administrator in early 2017, then unexpectedly became the director of economic development in 2018 after his predecessor, Warren Harris, resigned during an audit and was later indicted on 14 counts of felony embezzlement. Harris pleaded guilty to four of those counts and said he would pay back a significant portion of the funds. In 2021, Adams was promoted to deputy city manager.
Before he came to Virginia Beach, Adams served as chief administrative officer and director of finance for the city of Starkville, Mississippi. He was also a purchasing manager for Mississippi State University and a partner and operations officer for Benefits Concepts PA, in Columbus, Mississippi, as well as business development officer and commercial credit analyst for the National Bank of Commerce.
Adams earned his MBA from Hult International Business School and a bachelor’s in business administration in marketing from Mississippi State University.
Virginia Beach is the largest city in the commonwealth, with a population of about 450,000 and an annual operating budget of nearly $2.5 billion. Salem has a population of about 175,000 and is the county seat of Marion County in the Willamette Valley, and the city’s operating budget is $736 million.
Adams could not be reached immediately for comment.