Brian Wheeler was hired as Charlottesville Tomorrow's first Executive Director in July 2005. Mr. Wheeler has lived in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region since 1984.
Mr. Wheeler helped launch a unique partnership with The Daily Progress, the first of its kind in the nation, which placed Charlottesville Tomorrow’s reporting in the pages of the local newspaper of record. Since 2009 over 2,300 news stories have been published in the newspaper and today Charlottesville Tomorrow produces more than 50 percent of the newspaper's content related to growth, development, education and local politics. A similar partnership was piloted in 2013-14 with Charlottesville’s two alt-weekly newspapers and focused on education coverage.
Mr. Wheeler has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association with 19 awards for news reporting, multimedia reporting and photography, including:
- A first place award in 2016 for multimedia reporting
- Three first place awards in 2015 -- two for education reporting with Tim Shea (Feature series or continuing story and Multimedia news report) and one for an online slideshow
- A first place and best of show award in 2014 for photography
- Three first place awards in 2013 for in-depth or investigative reporting, multimedia reporting and photography
- Four first place awards in 2012 for in-depth or investigative reporting, feature reporting, and general news writing
In the hyperlocal community news sector, Mr. Wheeler has been a participant in the Block by Block conferences, the Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers association, a Knight Community Information Challenge grantee, and the 2012 Community Journalism Executive Training program. He was named to the Board of Directors of LION Publishers in September 2015.
Mr. Wheeler represented the community as an elected member of the Albemarle County School Board from 2004-2010. On the school board he also served as a board member of the Piedmont Regional Education Program and the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center.
From 1998-2005, Mr. Wheeler served as Chief Information Officer at SNL Financial (now S&P Global Market Intelligence), a leading provider of data to Wall Street. While at SNL, Mr. Wheeler served from 1999-2001 on the board of directors of the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council (now Charlottesville Business Innovation Council). Prior to his work at SNL, Mr. Wheeler was employed at the W. Alton Jones Foundation, a private family foundation that focused on grantmaking supporting environmental and international security projects.
Mr. Wheeler received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in May 1990. Mr. Wheeler and his wife Jean have two children and currently live in Ivy, Virginia. His favorite activities when not in Charlottesville are sailing his Hobie catamaran and working a family farm in Pittsylvania County outside of Danville, VA.
What makes Charlottesville-Albemarle special to you?
Perfect blend of town and country
Best part of working at Charlottesville Tomorrow?
Telling stories, getting people involved in local government, and working on the Downtown Mall
Ultimate Charlottesville Saturday?
Relax with coffee, newspaper, iPad--then an adventure with my wife and kids followed by dining out!
Favorite arts and culture venue in Charlottesville and away from Charlottesville?
This question makes me think about where I like to listen to live music. In the 1980s in Charlottesville we saw big acts perform at University Hall and the Charlottesville High School MLK Auditorium. Now we have so many other venues. My favorites today are the Jefferson and the Paramount. Away from Charlottesville, small singer-songwriter venues in Nashville are my favorite (Blue Bird, Listening Room, Station Inn).
Most interesting trip away from Charlottesville?
In college I had the opportunity to take a mountaineering class with the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. It was my first cross country drive and I have great memories not only of the parks I visited (Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Badlands) but also of the mountain landscapes and glaciers in Wyoming.
What's still on your bucket list?
My list includes flying in a bi-plane and a hot air balloon, walking the NYC High Line, seeing a show in the Ryman in Nashville and visiting my grandfather's hometown in Italy!