After interviewing a number of candidates, D.J. Miller emerged as the top choice to fill the newly created position, which is supported by a collaboration between the City of Monett, the Monett Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchants.
Miller's first day on the job will be Monday, July 26.
"D.J. is young and ethusiastic and that's what we need," said Sharon Garrett, president of the Main Street Board, which conducted the candidate interviews. "He has fresh ideas and being from Barry County was a plus.
"One thing that impressed me about D.J. was that he had read the whole Vision 2030 document and was aware of what we are trying to do downtown," added Garrett.
Miller is a 1995 graduate of Cassville High School who has earned three postsecondary degrees. He has an associate of arts degree from Crowder College and a bachelor of arts degree in history and a masters degree in public administration from Missouri State University. He recently completed a five-month internship at the City of Strafford where he worked directly under City Administrator Tom Vicat.
"Tom said D.J. was thorough . . . that he takes something from the beginning and takes it all the way to the end," said Suzy McElmurry, chamber executive director who also serves on the Main Street Board.
While at Strafford, Miller assisted with the city's DREAM Initiative effort. The DREAM Initiative is a partnership between the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission to provide communities across the state with access to technical and financial assistance for downtown revitalization. Cities go through a competitive application process to be selected as a DREAM community.
"I organized the (DREAM) meetings and worked with engineers and handled a lot of the correspondence," said Miller. "Tom let me present to council about the status of DREAM, and I also attended a lot of chamber and community meetings to discuss DREAM, which was a good learning experience."
When asked what qualities he possesses that will help him succeed as Monett's Main Street coordinator, Miller listed his degree in public administration, his honesty and his ability to listen.
"I think a lot of this job will involve listening and trying to analyze what people are telling me and coming up with a plan," said Miller. "I'm also honest and straight forward."
Miller will be working out of an office in the chamber building on Broadway. He will have a dedicated phone line and his own e-mail address.
"DJ will not be working on chamber projects," said McElmurry. "The chamber's contribution to the position was to supply office space. We also thought it would be good for the Main Street coordinator to have an office downtown.
"This is a dedicated job to a specific purpose," added McElmurry. "It is a 24-hour-a-week position supported by the city, the chamber and downtown merchants."
One of Miller's first tasks as Main Street coordinator will be to go out and personally meet the downtown business owners, according to Garrett.
"His next priority will be trying to get occupants in the empty buildings and getting the old buildings fixed up," said Garrett.
Specifically, Miller will be focusing his efforts on revitalizing Monett's downtown district through the implementation of recommendations made by the Vision 2030 Committee. In addition, Miller will also be working with the City of Monett as it applies again for the DREAM Initiative.
"Being part of the (DREAM Initiative) application process and following through with that will be a big part of D.J.'s job," McElmurry said.
"I'm excited to get this job, and I'm proud to be here," said Miller. "By creating this position, it shows Monett is trying to improve their city, and I'm honored to be part of that."
In the upcoming weeks, the Main Street Board plans to hold a reception in Miller's honor. Once a date for the event has been set, it will be announced in the newspaper.
Miller and his wife, Jordi, will be relocating to Monett from Springfield. Jordi works as a middle school counselor in the Seymour School District.