After more than three decades working for the City of Montrose, Virgil Turner, the director of innovation and citizen engagement, recently announced he’s leaving the city to work for Region 10.
Turner leaves behind 31 years of service in the city, dating back to Sept. 16, 1988, as a Montrose Police Department patrol officer.
He moved his way up to the system administrator for the MPD’s public safety software. He later worked as an IT manager and administration services director before taking his current position in 2012.
“Technology has been the common thread that has run throughout my whole career,” Turner said.
That “thread” will continue at Region 10.
Turner, who’ll start his new job next week, said his new role will be as regional broadband director, which will allow him to solely focus on improving such services locally.
Turner isn’t a stranger to broadband — he tackled it during his tenure with the city.
“I’m looking forward to digging into that for a while,” he said.
Turner’s last day is today. He was honored during Tuesday’s city council meeting, when Mayor Dave Bowman proclaimed today would be “Virgil Turner Day.”
“We thank Virgil for his years of service to the citizens of Montrose,” Bowman said while reciting the proclamation. “We wish him well in all of his future endeavors.”
City Councilor Doug Glaspell and City Manager Bill Bell voiced their appreciation for Turner during Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Virgil,” Bell said. “... Great things would not have happened as they did at the City of Montrose if not for Virgil being apart of the team.”
Bowman also praised Turner’s accomplishments with the city, saying he “spearheaded” efforts to maintain structures around town including City Hall and its annex, the Elks Civic Building and railroad depot.
Turner was also crucial in securing the $2 million Great Outdoors Colorado grant for the connecting trails project near the river corridor, Bowman said. For his efforts, Turner received the Key Citizen Award from the city in 2018.
But his most notable work may be expanding broadband services around Montrose.
Bowman said Turner helped accomplish that not only in town, but also throughout the region and state.
Turner said broadband services have been the biggest achievement during his time with the city. This resource has been in “ample” supply as well as “affordable” for residents, he added.
Turner said he wasn’t the only one responsible for this success, because the community’s involvement helped attract statewide notice of Montrose’s broadband.
“I think we’re well on our way,” he said. “We’re the envy of a lot of communities.”
Turner also said he believes “quality of life” has improved, in part due to renovations to the city’s trail and parks systems, as well as the construction of the Montrose Community Recreation Center.
As he prepares for a new chapter in his life, Turner said he’s leaving the city at a moment when its leadership is at an all-time high. From the city council to other staff members, they’re in a place to spur future growth and they “won’t skip a beat” when he leaves, he said.
“They’re going to do a great job and I’m looking forward to seeing continuing progress in the city,” Turner said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.