princeton — A former member of Rep. Carol Miller’s staff is bringing his political connections to help with economic development in Princeton.
Samuel Lusk is the city’s first director of the newly formed Princeton Economic Development Authority (PEDA).
A Mercer County native and graduate of Bluefield High School and Concord University (2020), Lusk said his job has three prongs.
“The first is to form a relationship with all business owners in the city,” he said.
That will be followed by not only helping them to retain the business but possibly expand.
“We will do anything we can do to utilize state and federal funds if they need to expand,” he said.
The third focus will be to assess the available parcels in the city and try to recruit new businesses.
Lusk said he will be working in conjunction with the economic development authorities in both Mercer County and Bluefield.
He will also work closely with the PEDA Board of Directors.
Lusk said creating the PEDA was part of the city’s vision on moving forward to concentrate on the growth in the city, which has taken off in recent years.
“There has been a lot of growth in the last five to 10 years, and Princeton wants to build on the amazing things that have already happened,” he said.
Lusk said his experience with Miller for two years out of her Bluefield office as well as his quest now for a master’s degree in public administration help him with his job.
“That (working in government) was part of the appeal in coming into this role,” he said, adding that he has contacts on the local, state and federal levels.
All of this fits in with his position.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be able to work for the City of Princeton and be on board to further the vision of the mayor (David Graham) and city manager (Mike Webb).” he said.
Graham said he is happy to have Lusk on board.
“Sam is a local guy and he really wants to stay in this area,” he said. “It was a good opportunity for him and a good catch for us.”
Graham said the city has needed an EDA for a long time and that organization has more latitude than the city does in handling properties, applying for grants and other functions.
“We have roughly 200 properties the city either owns or has liens on,” he said. “We are going to put them in the court of the EDA.”
Graham said he is very optimistic about having Lusk leading the EDA and the city has a good EDA board with sequenced terms.
“It seems like a good opportunity for all of us,” he said. “I am very optimistic of what we have ahead for our EDA.”