Smith hired

Smith’s first goal for his new position is to go into the community and meet local business owners to assess what’s going well in the Fluvanna business climate and what changes are needed. “I’d like to meet the needs of our current clients and then develop a plan on how to get there,” he said. “It’ll be a lot of boots on the ground, getting out, walking around, talking to folks, building relationships.”

The county is holding a business forum in May to gather feedback from local businesses about how to make the county more business-friendly. “In thinking about how to retain businesses, we’ll ask what we’re doing well and what we can improve on,” Smith said.

Lack of infrastructure is the biggest challenge facing Fluvanna’s economic development, said Smith. But Smith pointed hopefully to the “strong base” of businesses in the county, which he said is a “huge attraction” to bringing in small or large corporations.

County Administrator Steve Nichols spoke well of Smith as he announced the transition. “Over the past four years at parks and recreation, Jason has proven himself as an exceptional leader, growing the skills of his staff, expanding our recreational offerings, and working closely with our local businesses and organizations,” said Nichols. “He has been very proactive in promoting tourism and marketing our county, and he has program and business contacts across the Commonwealth. His enhanced skills and a strong drive for excellence in every role and task will serve Fluvanna well as we work to visibly improve support for existing businesses, continue our infrastructure development and business attraction efforts, and market Fluvanna.”

Smith lives in Richmond with his wife, Jana, who works for the YMCA of Greater Richmond. They have a 1-year-old daughter, Lola Mae.

After graduating from James Madison University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Science in kinesiology and recreation studies with a concentration in therapeutic recreation, Smith went to work with YMCA in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Baltimore.

Smith earned his Master’s in sports administration from JMU in 2005, then went to work in Fredericksburg as a sports and fitness supervisor. He came to Fluvanna four years ago as the director of parks and recreation.

County staff hasn’t yet decided who Smith’s replacement will be in parks and recreation. “We’re in the middle of discussing how to move forward with bringing someone in,” Smith said.

In the filling of Smith’s old position and in his new role, Smith sees something to look forward to. “Both departments will get a new set of eyes,” he said. “It’s exciting to go through those transitions, to bring a fresh set of eyes and high energy.”

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