Soaring Above: A Review of the State of the County

by Christy Nealey, Technology Specialist II, Department of Human Resources

Last month County Manager John Vithoulkas, presented the “State of the County” to address area business leaders. He likened his review of 2019 to the speech President Kennedy gave announcing the moon landing mission: “We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.” In the County Manager’s words, “We reached for something, might have seemed a bit risky, a little beyond our grasp, but we did it and history was made.” He went on to say how the County did the same; we took risks over the past year by utilizing the “Henrico Way” and a desire to soar above. Together, embraced by a workforce of 4,000 people, the County was able to achieve great things. This is good news for business owners and residents, but what does it mean for employees? We asked a few to share their thoughts on this year’s State of the County accomplishments:  


What are your overall thoughts on the State of the County information shared?  

“WOWWW!!! were my overall thoughts.  It is very easy to forget accomplishments as we go about our day to day lives at work.  I believe the State of the County information helps every associate, citizen, business owner etc. understand the impact of what we do and how it affects Henrico and Virginia.  There is a correlation to providing good customer service, for example as it allows for vendors to feel confident in doing business in the County.  Internal deadlines that we meet and exceed allow decisions to be made and executed that provide clarity in the process of local government (which could be cumbersome) but our efforts exceed other localities which makes us great.” – Jeff Conley, Supplier Relations Manager, Finance – Purchasing Division 

“The County is transparent in their efforts to manage, build, grow and partner with others for the best possible place to live, work and grow your family or business. The staff and administrators have heart in all things being considered and challenge stakeholders to work together to achieve and do difficult things to make our County the best it can be for everyone while being fiscally conservative and mindful of the past, present, history and future.”– Debbie Lumpkin- HR Analyst 


How do you see this impacting the employees of Henrico?     

“As an employee I take great pride in the accomplishments and the goals that our County has set.  I think that the information shared gives additional tools and resources to share with our community as “ambassadors” for the County.” – Jeff Conley   

The impact to employees is that we are challenged to get the job done, thinking outside the box and partnering with others in ways that we might not done in the past.The more we reach for the moon, the more we will achieve together.” – Debbie Lumpkin 

What are you excited about?     

“I am excited about the energy and motivation of County leaders, it is contagious and is multiplied as we spread the message in each of our work areas.  I am further excited when friends and colleagues outside of the County ask about my experiences and successes and I am able to share with great enthusiasm and zeal that not only is Henrico a great place to live it is a great place to work!” – Jeff Conley   

“I am excited by partnership opportunities and the revitalization of residential and businesses and new growth of each. By creating inviting facilities and recreational venues with transportation for all to enjoy only helps the community live, learn, prosper and engage with one another, and is that not what life is all about? “– Debbie Lumpkin 


Is there one thing in particular that stood out to you?     

“The growth of our County stood out the most and how we as a local body are finding innovative ways of keeping not only our County competitive but our associates also through leadership opportunities on major initiatives impacting our community.” – Jeff Conley 

“These quotes from the presentation, “With heart the impossible is possible” and “We reach for things not because they are easy but because they are hard” sum up the mission for County employees as we conduct business and interact with one another because what we do is bigger than ourselves and has great impact to many for years beyond us. “– Debbie Lumpkin 


What do you think employees who didn’t attend the State of the County should know?     

“I like that there is a link that can be shared that provides an additional opportunity to tell the Henrico story and highlight the ‘Henrico Way’. I also think associates benefit from knowing how the community supports the State of the County address and who is in the room, partnering for the success of our County.” – Jeff Conley   

“For employees who have ever wondered their purpose, the presentation will bring to light the purpose and the “why” we do what we do each day and should feel the pride and appreciation for the ways that they contribute to the success of our County and its future for everyone. “– Debbie Lumpkin 


Anything else you would like to add? 

“I REALLY liked the references to not doing the easy stuff, but the hard stuff is what makes this County epic.  I cannot get the picture of the moon landing and the Henrico flag out of my head. It made me proud to be counted in the number of associates and citizens. The graphic for Facebook and the H formation of the current buildings and how growth could impact our region was memorable as well.”– Jeff Conley 

To watch the State of the County, please visit  the Henrico County YouTube channel.