Travis Jackson, area director for USDA, Rural Development for the past 32 years, has been named the new town manager for Hillsville. Jackson’s hiring was approved during the Hillsville Town Council meeting on Jan. 14 by unanimous vote.
“We’ve been in the process of interviewing for a long time, but I’m glad to announce we have reached an agreement with Mr. Travis Jackson,” said Councilman Ed Terry, who then made the motion to approve Jackson as the town manager, effective Feb. 1.
“We’re so lucky,” said Mayor Greg Crowder. “We had some good town managers to apply, but I think we got the best. I couldn’t ask for a better one.”
Although this will be first time Jackson has served in the role of town manager, he said the issues facing a rural town in Southwest Virginia aren’t new to him.
“I have worked with every town and county in Southwest Virginia. I won’t find anything here I haven’t seen before,” he said.
Jackson added that he welcomed the chance to serve in a new capacity.
“I’ve enjoyed 32 years in the federal government and, now, I’m ready for something new and exciting. I’m very familiar with the area, and I’m happy to be here,” he said.
As area director for USDA, Rural Development, Jackson, 55, managed 20 employees serving 19 counties and five cities in Virginia. During his career, Jackson has supervised field staffs in all areas of the state. He was also responsible for administering USDA Loan and Grant Programs for single-family housing, multi-family housing, community facilities, rural utilities, and business and industry.
During the past five years alone, Jackson has been responsible for the management and administration of a budget of over $613,000,000 program dollars. He maintained a zero percent delinquency rate for loans in group programs and was recognized by the USDA Administrator for consistently having one of the highest producing offices in the nation. In addition, Jackson was appointed by the Rural Development Administrator to assist in the development of a training program for the nation’s staff.
“Our office was one of the most productive in the state,” noted Jackson.
As a self-employed consultant, Jackson has provided services to industries for training employees in management, communication and sales, and for health care management related companies. Jackson developed a tele-marketing training model for a national pharmaceutical company, and developed a guide for a 50-member hospital health care system to be used for board and medical staff.
Jackson, a recipient of 34 USDA Distinguished Service Awards, was named the 1993 National USDA Employee of the Year. He was named a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow in 1998, and received the Duke LifePoint Healthcare Board Leadership Award in 2008. In 2009, he was honored by Duke LifePoint Healthcare WCCH Emergency Department’s dedication of the Travis Jackson Wing in 2009.
Among Jackson’s other activities and achievements are: past member and president of Hospice of Wythe-Bland, Inc.; past board member, president and campaign chairman of the Wythe County United Way; past drive chairman of the Wytheville Community College Foundation; past board member and chairman of the Housing Committee of H.O.P.E., Inc.; past advisory board member of Southwest Virginia Governor’s School; chairman of the board of the Wythe County Community Hospital Foundation; board member of Wythe County Community College board of trustees; member of the Virginia Rural Health Association; and member of the Appalachian Funders Network. Jackson also brokered a lease of Wythe County Community Hospital and established a community foundation with the proceeds of the pre-paid lease for health education and welfare of Wythe and Bland County citizens.