Rocky Mount, Va. — Rocky Mount Assistant Town Manager and Harvester CEO Matthew Hankins is leaving the Town after 13 years.
“Building, creating and sustaining the Harvester Performance Center is the highlight of my professional career. I love the venue, the staff, the volunteers and the fans, but the Covid-19 outbreak has provided me with the opportunity to assess my professional ambitions and my time spent away from my family,” Hankins said. “When I first came to Rocky Mount in 2007, I intended to learn, grow and become a town manager. I still intend to complete my career in municipal management, so I am actively seeking other employment in local government administration.”
Hankins said the grind of many long hours has taken its toll.
“Over the past three months, I’ve come to see how many hours I’ve spent away from my family, my home, my church and my responsibilities to home and my God during the nearly nine years since starting the Harvester project,” Hankins said. “As I pursue new opportunities, I hope this clean break helps me achieve more work-life balance, striving to improve another community while I renew my purpose.”
Hankins came to Rocky Mount in October 2007, leading successful economic development efforts and a Town revitalization project before conceiving of the Harvester in 2011. Hankins led the award-winning venue from conception through construction and opening. The venue has hosted over 1,000 shows under his guidance, winning the highest awards given by the Southern Economic Development Council, Virginia Economic Developers Association, Virginia Municipal League and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. For his efforts leading the venue, Hankins was awarded the 2015 award as Virginia’s top local government assistant manager from the Virginia Local Government Management Association.
“Mr. Hankins has been the epitome of an entrepreneurial local government employee, taking initiative, providing leadership and engaging the community,” said Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin. “I could not have asked for a better partner in helping Rocky Mount grow and thrive for the past 15 years.”
“Town Council and staff will sorely miss Matt Hankins’ continual dedicated efforts to make our community better,” said Rocky Mount Mayor Steve Angle. “I have especially enjoyed his candor, friendship and constant efforts at improving our staff, facilities and neighborhoods.”
Hankins is responsible for attracting over $30 million in economic development to Rocky Mount, working with local, regional and state partners to bring Empire Foods to Rocky Mount, along with expansions from PlyGem Windows, Trinity Packaging/ProAmPac, Cavco-Fleetwood and Great Southern Wood, along with retail, restaurant and lodging.
Hankins has 20 years of government service, including 13 years in Rocky Mount, six as Martinsville’s communications director and one year as a legislative aide in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“All my work has been a team effort, and I want to make sure I recognize the teams who have made Rocky Mount’s success possible,” Hankins said. “The foundation has been laid for Rocky Mount’s future success, and I look forward to observing what the community does with its opportunities.”