Veteran Purcellville Town Manager Robert W. Lohr Jr. has been tapped to serve as an adjunct instructor at Virginia Tech to teach a graduate certificate course in local government management.
The Local Government and Professional Administrator course will be offered at the Fairfax Government Center through the Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy in partnership with the Virginia Local Government Management Association. It is intended “to provide the next generation of local government managers with the tools to advance their careers and provide exceptional leaderships within the communities where they work.”
Leadership development has been identified by the International City/County Management Association as one of the most important issues that local governments will face in the coming decade.
Lohr is excited for both himself and his profession, saying the mentoring program for up and coming managers will allow him to “give back to the profession that I have been doing for 30 years and love so much.”
Those attending will be from departments as diverse as public safety, police, admin, parks and recreation, or finance, and will include a mix of middle level managers and younger professionals. Cindy Mester, Loudoun County’s former housing director who now serves as assistant town manager in Falls Church, also will be teaching.
Lohr has been town manager of Purcellville for 23 years. He got the call to teach after Stafford’s county administrator, who had been on the roster, took a job in Henrico County.
“I’m very, very proud of Loudoun and Northern Virginia and Purcellville,” Lohr said last week, noting the teaching stint gives him an opportunity to “reach out and talk about the challenges we’ve had and our achievements.”
The course will allow him to share his expertise, “but it also provides more professional development for me,” Lohr said. He noted that others in Loudoun have taken the course, including Purcellville Assistant Town Manager Danny Davis at George Mason, getting first his certificate then a master’s degree. Lovettsville Town Manager Laszlo also completed the course.
Lohr said he is looking forward to the new venture, which has about 80 students in the program. He will have between five and 15 students in his class when he starts teaching on Wednesday afternoons and evenings for the fall semester.
He is appreciative of the Town Council’s support for the venture. “They have been really great and supportive,” he said.
Lohr, who has a master’s degree in public administration from James Madison University, said he welcomed the chance to work with younger professionals.
“It’ll be another chapter in my life,” he said.