The Town of Middleburg has hired Jamie O. Gaucher, a specialist with more than 17 years of economic development experience, mostly in rural settings, to fulfill the new position of Director of Business and Economic Development.

“Jamie’s expertise and experience will be extremely valuable for Middleburg,” said Mayor Betsy Allen Davis. “We are excited to have him join the team and lead the Town’s business and economic development initiatives that will have positive impacts on our community.”

Gaucher (pronounced Go-Shay) served as the executive director of the Middlebury Business Development Fund in Middlebury, Vermont, where he was responsible for overseeing the Development Fund’s objectives, identifying new business opportunities, branding, facilitating infrastructural improvements, and fostering new small businesses within the community.

Prior to that, Gaucher spent more than 13 years with the West Virginia Development Office in various capacities, including being responsible for Technology Based Business Development, as a Business Coach – Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and as Deputy State Director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center Network.

“I appreciate the creative approaches to infrastructure that are often required in smaller or rural communities,” said Gaucher. “I also recognize the value of small businesses and entrepreneurs to a rural economy, and I’m a proponent of economic diversity. The ability to have a greater impact in a small town is also attractive to me.”

Gaucher may not have a background in horses, but he’s quite aware that the horse industry is vital to the community. “I understand that across Loudoun County horses account for approximately $300,000,000 annually in commerce,” he said. “Given that Middleburg is the de facto capital of Virginia horse country, much of that economic activity happens here. Additionally, the industry provides employment via a wide range of businesses. The hospitality industry, the agricultural industry, the retail industry as well as professional and scientific services are all connected to horses. The equestrian side of life is a primary driver of economic activity here, and I think my work will focus on only increasing its impact.”

Born in New York, he grew up in New Jersey. He worked on Wall Street in lower Manhattan after earning his B.A. in politics at Washington & Lee University. In retrospect, however, the years he spent in Lexington, Virginia didn’t really influence his decision to work in smaller communities in Vermont and West Virginia.

“My time at Washington & Lee did help to frame my perspective around the value of a career in public service,” said Gaucher. “The community of Lexington also allowed me to appreciate the degree of interconnectedness that is common to all small towns, and that has been professionally beneficial to me.”

Gaucher is Middleburg’s first full-time economic development professional. He holds certifications as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council and as a Technology Counselor by the Association of Small Business Development Centers.

“The Town talked about being more proactive in terms of business assistance and recruitment to bring in new businesses to complement what we already have here,” said Martha Semmes, Middleburg Town Manager.

In addition to working with businesses and helping with their needs, Gaucher will reach out to other economic development committees, Loudoun tourism, and various departments in the state government. The goal is an established economic development program that supports the Town of Middleburg and helps businesses, both existing and new.

“In the short term, I will be working to bring a brewing operation and some additional retail entities to Middleburg,” said Gaucher. “Additionally, I will be drafting an economic development strategy and a marketing and communications plan for the town. My work in Middleburg will be focused on building a dynamic economic growth strategy to help the community move forward while maintaining the historic, charming, and authentic nature of this place. “Progress” and “value” will and should be defined differently here in Middleburg. I think this is a special place that’s only going to get better and that is why I’m excited to have a role in Middleburg’s future.”