By keeping the office of Town Manager in the family, Retta Jackson said Hillsville will be getting the closest thing it could have to Travis Jackson.
Retta Jackson was announced as Hillsville’s new Town Manager on April 28. She will take over the position May 16, the same day the resignation of her father and Hillsville’s Acting Town Manager Travis Jackson takes effect. She said she has always tried to follow her father’s example, and she will continue to do so as Town Manager of Hillsville.
“I suppose I have been following in my father’s footsteps for many years. If the Town wanted the closest thing to my father, then they made the right decision in hiring me. Anyone who knows both him and me states I am my father made over, only better looking,” Retta Jackson said. “I do plan on continuing the projects that he has started, and I have some new ideas of my own. We share the philosophy, ‘Everyday, trying to leave things better than you found them.’”
After graduating from Virginia Tech in the Fall of 2013, Jackson was hired by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) to open a surgical satellite clinic at Henrico Doctor’s Hospital. There, she was employed through Richmond Surgical Specialists. But now she is thrilled to start a new chapter in her life.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity I have been granted. I look forward to continuing the path of progress and revitalization that the previous Town Manager had planned,” she said. “I am also excited to introduce to Council some ideas of my own. I am thrilled to be returning to Southwest Virginia and establishing my new home in Hillsville.”
Jackson said she wrote a grant while attending Virginia Tech, coordinating the youth component of a collaborative grant through a private foundation, Virginia Department of Health, the Town of Wytheville, and Federal Rural Health Clinic.
“I also volunteered for an adult obesity prevention project for two grant cycles and provided coordination support while coordinator was on vacation. I assisted with preparing data for reporting requirements to the funding source,” she said. “I have never been a Town Manager, yet I have had government management exposure all of my life. You might say it has been the ‘family business.’ My parents have both been career state and federal government supervisors and directors.”
Jackson said her studies at Virginia Tech prepared her for positions geared toward management, supervision, and human development. She said her coursework included grant writing, accounting, law, public health, and economics. While attending Virginia Tech, she was also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the oldest co-ed business fraternity in the country. Jackson also participated in activities that included public speaking, networking, and conducting business meetings. She said she is currently obtaining her Master’s in Business Administration from Western Governors University.
“The coursework thus far has strengthened my management skills in personnel supervision, interpretation and application of regulations, and auditing for compliance. My professional career has prepared me for the position of Town Manager by strengthening my leadership skills, and the development of strong communication skills,” Jackson said. “It has formed the basis for my management style, which includes organization, passion for the job, dependability, honesty, fairness, teambuilding, strong work ethic, goal oriented, fiscally conservative and customer-service focused. For as long as I have pictured a dream job, I have envisioned being able to help people and to be a public servant. In my eyes this job is what I have been preparing for. With health care in mind, the basis for health is the community and creating a healthy environment.”
As for her interest in working for Hillsville, Jackson said she grew up in rural Southwest Virginia and has been coming to the town for many years. For the past year during her father’s tenure as Town Manager, she said she has shared in his vision and excitement for Hillsville’s potential to be a great place to visit and an even better place to live.
“I will work every day to earn the respect and trust of the citizens of Hillsville and represent them to the best of my ability,” she said.