VIRGINIA BEACH – Rocky Mount’s Matt Hankins is Virginia’s local government Assistant Manager of the Year. The Virginia Local Government Managers Association presented the award to Hankins Thursday morning at its annual summer conference in Virginia Beach. VLGMA represents local government managers throughout the Commonwealth, connecting managers to improve professional skills and networking for county, city and town administrators. VLGMA selected Hankins from a pool of nominees comprised of assistant managers from localities of all sizes.
Hankins has served Rocky Mount as assistant manager since 2007. He is also the Town’s community and economic development director, planning & zoning administrator, subdivision agent and spokesperson. Outgoing VLGMA president Brenda Garton, awards committee chair Cindy Mester and Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin presented the award.
“I thank VLGMA for this honor,” said Hankins. “I don’t do what I do for personal recognition, but this selection by Virginia’s local government managers is an uplifting affirmation that what I do, what we as local government employees do, creates lasting, real-life, positive impacts that matter to Virginia’s communities.”
“Local government employees are in this business for what they can do for others, and I’m grateful to work on improving lives and opportunity for people in Rocky Mount and throughout the region,” Hankins said. “This is truly a career highlight, and I thank VLGMA for recognizing the value of my contributions to Rocky Mount.”
Hankins served as the lead developer for the town’s Harvester Performance Center, which played a key role in his nomination and selection.
“No one is successful in this type of job without the help of lots of other people,” said Hankins, who also serves as chief executive of the Harvester. “My fellow department heads, our council members, our town employees and my staff, our Harvester volunteers, business owners and local industry leaders all deserve to share in the honor of this award.”
Ervin nominated Hankins for the award.
“I nominated Mr. Hankins for a body of work that has ranged from drafting a community drought plan to finding a way to build a new house for someone in need to building and operating Southwest Virginia’s best new music venue, one of the most amazing economic development projects I’ve ever been a part of,” said Ervin. “Mr. Hankins has all the tools of great leaders in local government: perseverance, creativity, communication skills, a passion for innovation, an ability to work with the community and with elected and appointed boards.”
“Mr. Hankins doesn’t treat this work like governance,” Ervin said. “He treats it as public service, carrying out our higher moral purpose to further democracy by executing the agreed-upon direction of elected representatives. I can think of no one more deserving of this award, and I’m very happy that the awards committee agreed.”
Hankins previously served six years as communications director for the City of Martinsville, as a newspaper editor, hospital public relations director and as a legislative aide in the Virginia House of Delegates. He is a graduate of Emory & Henry College, Virginia Tech’s Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management and the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center. Professionally, Hankins is a member of VLGMA, the International City-County Managers Association (ICMA), the Virginia Economic Developers Association and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He also serves as secretary and executive board member of the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. He is married to Dulcie Webster Hankins, a furniture store owner in Rocky Mount. He is a father of three and attends Fairmont Baptist Church in Boones Mill, where he serves as Sunday School superintendent and on the media and finance committees. Hankins’ award follows on the heels of the Virginia Municipal League President’s Award, the league’s highest award, presented to Rocky Mount in October, and the Harvester’s recent selection as Southwest Virginia’s Best Music Venue by Virginia Living Magazine.
“We are pleased that Rocky Mount and its staff were able to win these amazing awards as we continue to make Rocky Mount a destination,” said Mayor Steve Angle. “We’re particularly proud of Matt Hankins because his dedication to Rocky Mount shines through in his hard work and his concern for the community. Over the past eight years, he has worked continually to make Rocky Mount better every day, and we’re thankful that the professionals of VLGMA have rewarded that effort.”