Meyerhoeffer points to diverse experience, perspective
By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector
Friday, October 20, 2017
Brian Meyerhoeffer said his enthusiasm for Greenville and his personal and professional background, including corporate legal work with a diverse list of clients, makes him the perfect candidate for the At-Large seat on the Greenville City Council.
“I believe that arguably, not withstanding the experience that those on City Council already have, I have the most unique background both personally and professionally,” he said during an endorsement interview with The Daily Reflector Oct. 12. “I think that I have the expertise legally, I’m within the community, being an ECU employee, being fully immersed in the public side of what happens in Greenville. I’m ready to jump in and provide a service to the community. I think this election is going to have an impact for the next decade.”
Meyerhoeffer, 40, was born in Tampa, Fla., to a military family. He moved many times growing up but ultimately graduated high school in High Point and attended East Carolina for a degree in political science. After graduating in 1999, he enrolled in law school in Baltimore, with intentions of joining big corporate law.
Following graduation he began working in Atlanta for large corporate firms. He said the long hours and high-stress environment affected his health and happiness, so he decided “return home,” and moved back to Greenville in 2012. After returning, he heard about a job opening at the university and now works a director in ECU’s office of institutional integrity.
He said his wife and friends urged him to run for City Council because they he is a self-described “Greenville nerd.” He said he wants to help continue the work led by former Mayor Allen Thomas, who is not seeking re-election.
“I just want to see us continue move and build on the momentum that we created,” he said. “I’d hate to see that everything that we reached up to this point — I wouldn’t say it would come to a screeching halt, because I don’t see that happening — but I’d hate for people to come in that don’t have the same vision that Allen had. I think that I do and want to keep that momentum going.”
He said his top priority is bringing bigger, better jobs to Greenville. He said the city needs to be more welcoming and suggested setting up a liaison for prospective business owners. A one-stop office would increase the perception that Greenville is business friendly and simplify the process of locating here, he said.
He said his own experience working with large corporations and recruiting talent would be a valuable asset in the process of attracting a large business, as well as working across the community.
“I have a perspective that’s unique about living in different areas, working with people in different organizations, working with people that are from different cultures, working with people across different levels of an organizational work chart,” he said. “I’ve represented big companies and people from all around the world. I think someone running for At-Large should be a uniter, not a divider, and I think I have the background that shows I’ve worked with people from all cultures.”
He said the city has made drastic strides in becoming a safer community in the last several years, but it has not done a good job getting away from a reputation as a high-crime city.
“I mean this sort of serious, sort of joking, that the chancellor (ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton) kind of took my tag line for Greenville when he said that ECU was going to be America's next great national university, because I was going to say Greenville is going to be the next great American city,” he said. “But he makes a good point. ECU has done a poor job of getting the message out, and I think Greenville has done the same thing.”
He said Greenville should be doing its best to leverage the assets like the Uptown District to improve quality of life for current residents as well as provide a more enticing city for businesses.
“I think the argument could be that Uptown can be a selling point for our city that ultimately helps us with the recruitment and retainment of professionals in business that can then increase our tax base whereby we can use that increase in taxes and funds to disperse throughout our five districts. I think Uptown is one of our most important areas of the city. I think my argument to people is that we need that area to be vibrant, it’s going to help your area of the city in the long run.“
He said of the many cities he has called home, he thought Greenville stood out for its close-knit community. He said emphasizing this culture, in conjunction with smart fiscal planning and development, will help Greenville continue to be the economic hub of Eastern North Carolina.
“I think this is a really vibrant community, and I have friends in High Point that say, well why don't you move back to High Point? Well High Point is boring,” he said. “Greenville is a way better town. High Point has more infrastructure, and it has more money … but it’s extremely boring, it’s a dead town, the people in the town don’t have any pride in the town and the people in the town don’t support it. It’s the exact opposite here in Greenville.”
Infrastructure, improving roads and stormwater drainage will continue to be concerns as the city grows, Meyerhoeffer said. As an active person himself, he understands the importance of sidewalks and bike lanes to improve life, especially for young professionals. He said understand the character of Greenville and what kind of city it will develop into today, could alleviate a lot of the problems in the future.
“It’s hard to place blame on past leaders, because who could have foreseen the growth that Greenville would see so rapidly,” he said. “So it’s difficult to blame them for not thinking ahead or not thinking about our future — but they didn’t,” he said. “So one of the biggest problems for Greenville is that we’ve grown so fast, we’ve grown too fast, we’ve outgrown ourselves, we’ve outgrown our infrastructure, so I think the No. 1 thing we need to do it play catchup in terms of our infrastructure, and then we need to prepare for growth. I foresee Greenville as being a city that’s going to be 200,000 people, I really do.”
Contact Seth Gulledge at email@example.com and 329-957.
Early voting in Pitt County municipal races, including contests for the Greenville City Council and mayor, continues through Nov. 4. The Daily Reflector today concludes a series of reports on interviews held with Greenville candidates as part of its endorsement process. Today’s report focuses the candidates for the At-Large District. Visit these stories on reflector.com for previous reports.