Meet the Staff: Ruth Emerick

One of the newer staff added to the TJPDC is Ruth Emerick. Ruth joined in March of 2022 as Chief Operating Officer/Program Director, and currently oversees the Housing Program. Additionally, Ruth is transitioning into oversight of the Blue Ridge Cigarette Tax Program.

Q: What brought you to your current position at the TJPDC?

A: I’ve always been interested in how things work, and I love getting down in the weeds as well as visioning for the future. My path here has been a bit meandering: my first introduction to local government was as an unpaid GIS intern during the Great Recession, where I spent many hours in the weeds (quite literally–doing fieldwork!). Since then, I’ve had a variety of opportunities to hone my technical and management skills, shape the direction of small- and large-scale projects and policies, and have been influenced by some fantastic local government practitioners along the way. I’m thrilled to be in a role which allows me to use a wide variety of skills to help the organization fulfill its mission to meet the region’s needs.

 Ruth has a Bachelor’s in Mathematics, Master’s in Geospatial Information Science, and Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management, all from different universities ranging from Maryland to California! She also has worked in retail in a variety of capacities, including customer service, program management, product knowledge trainer, and professional ice cream scooper.


I grew up in a rural area of California and one of my first jobs was taking care of the animals on a neighbor’s hobby farm. There’s nothing quite like trying to herd a group of escaped emus!