New City Manager wants to make Abingdon his forever home | Latest titles

Mike Cochran, Abingdon’s new city manager, is head over heels in love with a town steeped in history and centered on Virginia’s state theater.

Though he’s only been working for a few months, Cochran, a quick-witted ex-Florida, already knows he wants to stay within the city limits as long as possible.

“It’s just an amazing community,” Cochran said.

Cochran took the reins as Abingdon City Manager following the resignation earlier this year of City Manager Jimmy Morani who served less than three years in the role.

Cochran comes from a long career in law enforcement with experience running municipal government. He moved to Abingdon from South Carolina, where he lived on the outskirts of Charleston.

Now he’s wandering around at festivals and events like the Virginia Highlands Festival earlier this summer and Plumb Alley Day earlier this year.

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“We have great city staff,” Cochran said. “We have staff that can do all sorts of things.”

He praises Katy Brown, the Artistic Director Producer of the Barter Theater, and Betsy White, the Executive Director of the William King Museum of Art.

He was also busy exploring the legends and lore of the Civil War and famous pioneer Daniel Boone – and their connection to the city.

“I’m a big history buff,” he said.

Cochran loves the wooden playground at Coomes Recreation Center and the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Growing up, Cochran visited Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, which instilled in him a love of the mountains. He longed to satisfy love by taking trips to Fontana Dam in North Carolina.

Yet he couldn’t find the kind of job he wanted in the mountains – until earlier this year when the post of town manager opened up in Abingdon.

Now, he says, he is delighted and will stay as long as he can.

And, yet, don’t look for Cochran to push his own agenda on Abingdon.

“What I do as a manager: I help implement the board’s vision,” he said. “I help them achieve their goals. My goal is to help realize their vision and continue to make this a great place. Part of the interesting part of the job is watching people enjoy it.