Roanoke is getting ready to lose a guy who has had an almost thunderous impact in the last couple of years since City Manager Darlene Burcham created a job for him. Stuart Mease, who has been Special Projects Director and has made the city safe for young people in suits, is leaving the job to become recruiting manager for Rackspace E-mail and Apps in Blacksburg.
Stuart, the father of a baby girl, never moved from Blacksburg to Roanoke and the daily 40-miles each way commute--with a young family--has become a bit much for the entire family, he said. His loss comes as the city is still trying to replace his immediate supervisor, Brian Brown, who left as economic development director a few months ago to go with a security firm in Botetourt County. The department has seven employees.
One of Mease's primary charges was to recruit and retain young workers, something cities across the country have targeted as a priority. He approached his job like a sports promoter (he has been a sports executive in the past). Mease often worked with NewVa Corridor Technology Council Director Cory Donovan in creating a kind of excitement about working in this area few had seen before.