Breckenridge Texan

Moore looks back on his career, forward to Breckenridge’s future as he prepares to retire

Moore looks back on his career, forward to Breckenridge’s future as he prepares to retire
March 28
18:27 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Even in the last days of his current job with the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, Virgil Moore’s office décor includes reminders of his life, family and careers. The walls and surfaces display photos of family, as well as variety of Breckenridge projects. There are mementos from his alma mater, the University of Texas. A shadow box on top of a file cabinet features a detailed rendition of the Breckenridge American building, and on his desk is a nameplate that had been on his father’s desks since 1953, the year after Moore was born.

Virgil Moore III has kept reminders of his family and their previous business in his BEDC office. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

In his quiet, unassuming way, Moore has been involved in the Breckenridge business world for most of his adult life, starting out in the newspaper business before moving on to the economic development part of his career.

Although Moore’s tenure as the CEO and Executive Director of the BEDC comes to an end this week, he’s not quite ready for a sedentary life of retirement.

“I can’t make myself just walk away,” he said, explaining that he’ll be taking over the volunteer role of President of the Breckenridge Industrial Foundation, which has a similar mission as the BEDC, to maintain and improve the quality of the community by recruiting business and industry to Breckenridge.

“I still have this interest and love in wanting to accomplish some things,” Moore said. “And I feel like maybe there’s some opportunity for the industrial foundation and EDC to work closer together than we have in the past. And I think that can help open some doors for us to do things we haven’t done before. So I’m looking forward to that.”

The Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce and the BEDC will host a retirement reception for Moore from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at the Chamber, 100 E. Elm. It will be a come-and-go event.

Moore’s BEDC replacement, Colton Buckley, will start his new job on April 1.

Moore’s Career

When he moved to Breckenridge in the fifth grade, Moore probably didn’t expect to be here too long. By that time, he had already lived in seven different towns as his dad, Virgil Moore Jr.,  moved the family around the state for his newspaper career. But, something about Breckenridge kept the family here. The older Moore purchased the newspaper and later became a five-term mayor in his retirement; he passed away in 2010.

Virgil Moore Jr. labeled the back of his nameplate (also pictured below) with a note that says it had been on every desk he had since 1953, the year after his son, Virgil Moore III, was born. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

The younger Moore finished school here, went off to college and then started his own newspaper career in the Austin area. In 1977, when his dad bought out his business partner in the newspaper business, Moore and his wife, Breckenridge native Elaine, moved back to Breckenridge. He took over the advertising side of the business and eventually bought the company from his dad.

Moore expanded the business, buying the local radio stations, before selling it to Graham native Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group in 2000. He took about a year off and then went to work for a phone company, handling all their sales and the call center.

When the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation asked him to be the CEO and Executive Director, he accepted the position. One of his first duties was to transition the BEDC from a Type A corporation to a Type B, allowing the organization to not only help bring new jobs to the community but also to assist with quality of life improvements for the community.

Additionally, within Moore’s first six months on the job, the BEDC, along with the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, moved into their current location at 100 E. Elm St. The two entities had previously had an office on West Walker Street.

Once the BEDC was settled into the new office, Moore began his work attracting new businesses to Breckenridge.

Additionally, he and his wife continued to be active in various community organizations. In 2016, Virgil and Elaine were named Citizens of the Year by the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce. Through the years, they raised their two sons, Van and Vince, here. Their sons, along with their families, and Moore’s mother still live in Breckenridge.

Looking back and forward

In Moore’s past 44 years as a businessman in Breckenridge, he’s seen a lot of changes in the community, but even when he makes a conscious effort to look back over the years, he can’t help but turn the conversation around and focus on the future.

Some of the biggest changes to the community have come from the outside, including the Internet, social media and social opportunities, he said.

“And the most change that happened has been in the last year because of COVID,” Moore said. “Because of COVID, two things happened. One, people were forced to stay and shop in Breckenridge. Our sales tax revenues have been up an average of 10 percent a month since then, all because people have been shopping and home.

“But the other thing is that we’re seeing a lot of interest from people that live in the city,” he continued. “You’ve heard talk of that, but we’re seeing that. I met with a guy yesterday who just moved here from California…He’s already bought two lots, going to build a couple of homes here, invest in Breckenridge; he loves Breckenridge. We’re having several things like that happen, where people outside of Breckenridge, from larger cities, and particularly from out of state, are looking at us.”

One of the things that is allowing Breckenridge to attract people from outside the community is the fact that the Internet and social media have made it easier to conduct nationwide or worldwide business from here, he said.

However, one change that would greatly improve Breckenridge for residents and businesses would be more readily available broadband/high-speed internet.

“If we had that, we could have data centers here; we could have all kinds of things here and really promote Breckenridge and more as an alternative place for you to live and have your career here,” Moore said. “We have a lot of great things going for us that I wouldn’t trade for any big city.”

Gov. Greg Abbott is working on expanding broadband access throughout the state, he said, and that, combined with more housing in Breckenridge, could contribute to a diversification of business opportunities for the community.

Labor of love

Moore is looking forward to retirement while still being able to be involved in the business side of the community.

“I would just really like to thank the community for the opportunity to do this, what I’ve described several times as a real labor of love,” he said. “Since I have four generations in my family here, and through the newspaper, I was always in tune with what’s going on in the community. And it’s just been a real gratifying opportunity for me to give back to my community. I get paid for it, but it’s not one of those jobs you take to get rich; it’s one that you very much have to have the community at heart or you’re not going to be successful. I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement along the way.”

Virgil Moore III inherited this nameplate from his father. According to the note on the back of it, it had been on Virgil Moore Jr.’s desk since 1953. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Virgil Moore III, pictured here in Foundation Park on the corner of Walker Street and Breckenridge Avenue, will retire this week from his job as CEO and Executive Director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation. There will be a retirement reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 


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