After 18 months as the county’s Economic Development Director, Sean Adkins will leave to become the town manager of St. Albans, Vermont.
Adkins, who started in the role on Oct. 12, 2021, said his last day with the county is April 28, but “I might stay an extra week to help with the process a little bit.”
Adkins said he decided to leave the position to be closer to family.
“I’m from New England, and I have a three-month-old nephew. His parents are about half an hour from where I’ll be, and I’ve been away now for over a decade,” he said.
In addition to the family, Adkins said the new position also allows him to take the next step in his career.
“It was always the career goal to be a city manager or a town manager,” he said.
Adkins believes his proudest achievement with Patrick County was raising and getting $2.6 million in grants for the Business Development Center that will be situated at the corner of Rye Cover Road and Wood Brothers Drive.
He is also proud of working to get Freehouse Brewery to locate in Patrick County as the Freehouse Meadows of Dan Brewery. The brewery will be located at the old Cockrams Mill, and renovations are expected to begin by the end of spring.
For the expansion, Adkins worked to get $850,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development’s (DHCD) Industrial Revitalization fund to help assist with the renovation costs of the brewery.
“And it seems little to everybody, but getting the first façade grant program passed, that’s the stuff that I love. It’s a small program, but that’s something I think the county will continue to reap the benefits of that after I’m gone,” he said.
In a partnership with Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, he facilitated Foresight Healthcare’s $2.1 million purchase of the former Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County building and secured more than $100,000 Brownfield grant for remediation work in the building.
During his tenure, Adkins also worked to revamp the county’s Enterprise Zone (EZ) and saw an overall increase in EZ investment/spending of more than 2,000 percent, received $50,000 in grant funding from the DHCD to kick-start the Downtown Stuart Revitalization project, and subsequently received another $40,000 for the Commerce Street planning.
Adkins was also appointed to the Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) Board of Directors and was a member of the P&HCC Educational Foundation Board. He also served on the Southwest Virginia Vision Plan & Bridge Builder Advisory Committee and the Agritourism/Agribusiness Steering Committee.
Adkins said his grandmother raised him to leave a place better than he found it. He would like to think he did that. In Patrick County.
“I can’t point to any one thing that I’m happy about because it’s not ‘oh like you can point to that win or that success,’” he said. Rather, “I think over the last 18 months it’s been pretty consistent and a positive experience.”
While he accomplished much during his tenure, Adkins said he wishes he could have found a tenant to locate in the Rich Creek site behind the former Stuart Results building.
“When somebody comes in here and does it, it’s going to be really big,” he said.