Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP) is pleased to announce the newest member of its leadership team. John Burton, a Lebanon, Virginia, native and Longwood University graduate, is slated to begin his duties on Oct. 19 as FDP program manager.
The goal of FDP is to bring together the residents, merchants, and students of Farmville to preserve downtown’s role as the center of a historic community and to plan for the future. Their mission is to present Farmville as an exciting and profitable place to live, learn, open a business, and visit.
The downtown partnership believes Burton embodies their goals. “John will be a terrific asset to downtown and to the community as a whole,” says FDP president John Miller. “He’s from a small town in Virginia, knows Farmville from his years at Longwood, and has experience in retail management and volunteer leadership.”
Burton, who graduated from Longwood University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics, also worked at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, first as a counsellor for a summer program and later as a curriculum developer. Burton will be leaving his current position as the visual manager of the Pottery Barn in Huntsville.
“Since graduating from Longwood, Farmville has had a special place in my heart,” says Burton. “I’m thrilled to be coming back and getting to work with the downtown partnership. I can’t wait to be a part of such an amazing community.”
While in Alabama, Burton also coordinated volunteers and events for the non-profit Moonshot, Inc. Moonshot works to fund north Alabama organizations that support those who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, as well as implementing educational initiatives about HIV/AIDS in that community.
The FDP received applications from around the country for the position, and after narrowing their search to two finalists, selected Burton based on a number of factors, particularly his previous management and volunteer coordination experience.
According to Sheri McGuire, chairman of the FDP’s Economic Restructuring committee and the search committee co-chairperson, “Burton’s nine years of retail management experience with Pottery Barn demonstrated his ability to manage people and complex situations.”
McGuire also said the search committee noted Burton’s use of his Longwood degree. “Burton related his background and skills in mathematics and management to a desire for order and for measurable accomplishments.”
Fellow search committee member, FDP Treasurer, and downtown merchant Jimmy Johnson likewise expressed his enthusiasm about bringing Burton on board: “I am very pleased and excited with the attitude and excitement he has shown towards this opportunity. I feel he will do an awesome job.”
Burton‘s predecessor, Helen Person, stepped down from the position in May 2015 to begin serving as the community revitalization manager for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in Richmond. Person was FDP’s first full-time staff person and had served as manager since Oct. 2012.