For the first time in eight years, and following a four-month recruitment process, Middleburg has a new town administrator.
The town on Wednesday announced that it had hired Danny Davis, Purcellville’s former assistant town manager, for the job. He will replace Martha Semmes, who announced in late June that she would retire on Dec. 31 after eight years on the job. Davis, 37, was selected from a pool of 51 candidates and will be paid $127,000 annually—$19,131 more than Semmes was paid in 2018. His first day on the job will be Nov. 5.
“We are delighted to welcome Danny, who has extensive experience in local government and will be a huge asset to the town,” said Mayor Bridge Littleton. “We thank [Semmes] for her many years of service—her leadership and dedication have made a significant difference to the Town of Middleburg.”
According to a town statement, “Davis has broad experience in local government issues, including community and economic development, citizen engagement, fiscal management, organizational development and public information and communications.”
Davis said that his first course of action would be to familiarize himself with the town’s history and issues and to help Semmes and the town staff prepare for the Christmas in Middleburg event, which will be held Dec. 1 and should attract thousands of visitors to the town.
In the long-term he’ll be looking to come up with creative revenue solutions and will be working with the Town Council in its drive to get a new town hall. “That’s a big deal for the town, so that’s going to be a lasting project,” he said.
Davis will become the town’s ninth town administrator with 15 years of experience working in the public and private sectors. Most recently, he worked as the president of Tribute Assisted Living in Ashburn from September 2017 until June this year, when he stepped down to manage his late father’s estate.
Davis’ job there followed his departure from Purcellville as its assistant town manager—a position he held for three years until he resigned in September 2017, four months after the Town Council unanimously appointed then-public works director Alex Vanegas as interim town manager.
Because Purcellville experiences some of the same issues as Middleburg, Davis said that his time working as assistant town manager there would help him succeed in his new role.
Before working in Purcellville, Davis worked with the Loudoun County government beginning in 2004, most recently as the chief of staff to Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet from 2010-2015.
Davis is an 18-year county resident, serving on Visit Loudoun’s board of directors from 2007-2010 and on Leadership Loudoun’s board of directors from 2016-2017. He graduated from George Mason University in 2013 with a master’s degree in public administration.
Davis said that while his time at Tribute was “incredible,” he’s excited to get back into local government, where he feels he belongs.
“I just love that idea of being a part of community building,” he said. “[Middleburg is] a great town—they have a great council who have a lot of ideas on helping enhance the town.”
The decision to hire Davis in Middleburg follows a pattern of movement among top executives in multiple western Loudoun towns.
In Round Hill, Town Administrator Buster Nicholson resigned on Oct. 19 to become Purcellville’s public works director. In his place, the Town Council appointed Town Planner Melissa Hynes on Sept. 27.
The Lovettsville Town Council on Nov. 1 also appointed Robert Ritter, the former town manager for the Towns of Chincoteague and Dumfries, VA, as its fifth-ever town manager, following Sam Finz’s July 6 retirement.