Breckenridge Texan

Miller brings experience, ideas to BEDC director position

Miller brings experience, ideas to BEDC director position
February 06
11:38 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

David Miller has spent the few weeks he’s been the executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp. getting to know the community better and making plans for the future.

The leadership position at the BEDC had been open since June 2022 when the organization’s former director, Colton Buckley, left to take a job with the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. He had been in the job for a little over a year, after being hired to replace Virgil Moore, who had held the position for more than 14 years. Moore returned to fill in while the BEDC board sought a new director.

Miller said he initially met Moore shortly before he retired in 2021 and was surprised to find him back behind the desk last year. At the time, he was working for Mercer Company, a commercial real estate company. He stopped in at the BEDC office to discuss the potential for some property in Breckenridge. After talking with Moore about the BEDC director position, he applied and was hired in December. In addition to having real estate experience, Miller has had a variety of jobs in the past that he’ll draw on at the BEDC, including serving as the assistant director of the Graham EDC, owning his own business, working in oil refineries when he was in college, overseeing a relief organization in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and more.

After having some time to look around Breckenridge, and relying on his personal experience, Miller has a few ideas for the community. “The things I see here that have some of the highest possibilities for growth are going to be industrial,” he said. “There is a lot of industrial business in DFW that has run out of space. And so they’re looking for places outside DFW. I would love to get a couple more big buildings in the next few years and get those filled up.”

He said he plans to work with the appraisal district to generate some reports on vacant property — both commercial and residential — and with local real estate agents to help market the properties.

“In rural towns, you end up with a lot of property that goes to heirs that don’t live here,” he said. “They don’t really care about it, and it just sits there. And it gives the impression to people coming into town that people don’t want to be here. When, really, it’s the fact that people hold on the property, and they sit there and deteriorate, or the owners don’t live here, and it’s hard to get in touch with them.”

Miller acknowledged a well-discussed issue in Breckenridge — housing. “One of the inventory reports I’m trying to come up with is to find distressed housing and landlots that can be turned around and put into the hands of builders,” he said. “The crux of what’s going to happen with Breckenridge is getting more housing. Our unemployment is like 3.4 or 3.1 or something; it’s incredibly low. If we want to bring in another business, we’ve got to bring in more workers. So you need more housing for that. For some communities it’s that chicken or egg question — do you get more housing or do you get a business first? It’s 100 percent that you need more housing here.”

The Downtown Development Board and the City of Breckenridge are making strides to improve the downtown area and other parts of the community, making it more attractive to potential residents, businesses and tourists, he said. One idea he said they are pursuing is expanding the Downtown Development Board’s efforts to include streets other than Walker Street to create “wayfinding,” letting visitors know what’s beyond the main street.

“It signals to people that there’s more, that it’s not just these on the front side,” Miller said. “There’s more on the backside; there’s restaurants or gyms and stuff like that, to get people to venture off of the street. So beautification, creating an experience on the downtown, I think is going to be pretty high on the list (of things to do) just because that’s the kind of stuff that people get excited about.”

Another important aspect to attracting and retaining new business and residents is the city’s infrastructure, and the City is working on improving that.

“I get emails every week of people looking to move businesses to Texas, big businesses,” Miller said. “And it’s always based off of infrastructure. ‘Can you provide enough water? Do you have enough roads? Are you close enough to a major airport?’ It’s all about infrastructure. When it comes to most industrial stuff, it’s not ‘How good is your school? How pretty are things?’ When I was in industrial real estate, these business owners are coming into an ugly industrial building saying, ‘It’s high enough. I got enough doors, there’s enough parking outside, the column spacing is good. Yeah, this works. I can do business here.’ And so when it comes to recruiting businesses, industrial businesses, infrastructures that’s the first thing they’re going to ask about.”

Although economic development corporations are generally focused on brining business to communities, Miller said the lake and local events also bring visitors to town and he’s working on some ideas on those topics.

As he gets more settled into the job, Miller said, he will continue to get out into the community, meet people and get input on how the BEDC can best benefit Breckenridge.


Cutline, top photo: As the new director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, David Miller has spent the past few weeks getting to know the community. And, he already has many ideas for his new job. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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