Geneva BID Hires New Executive Director

Michael Mills Takes Reigns During Coronavirus, Ready to Support Small Businesses

April, 1, 2020 (Geneva, NY) – The Geneva Business Improvement District (BID) today announces the hiring of Michael P. Mills as its new Executive Director. Michael replaces Mark Palmieri who served as the organization’s leader since 2017. Mills started as the Geneva BID’s Executive Director on March 30th and is getting up to speed while leading the BID’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

“We had many qualified candidates who applied for the Executive Director position, said David Linger, Chairman of the Geneva BID Board of Directors. “The BID Executive Director Search Committee’s recommendation to hire Michael was unanimously approved by the full Board, and everyone is excited for him to settle in and lead our downtown business community.”    

Linger added that “these are challenging times for everyone nationwide. We look forward to Michael helping downtown Geneva businesses navigate the current challenges and find a path forward once the current restrictions are loosened and ultimately removed. Downtown Geneva will come back even stronger than before.”

Mills brings more than 20 years of agency and corporate communications experience to the role, including running southeast public affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He’s led environmental nonprofit and technology trade associations with an extensive focus on economic development. Mills also understands the needs of small business owners because he is one, having founded VALEO Public Relations almost six years ago.

“This is a critical moment for small businesses in our community and I am ready to put my years of economic development and PR experience to work for BID members,” said new Geneva BID Executive Director Michael Mills. “Previously attending college and living in Geneva fostered a special affinity for the community as the gateway to the Finger Lakes and I am ready to build upon Mark Palmieri’s leadership to help tell our story during this challenging time.”

Mills was born and raised in Rochester, New York and graduated from Hobart College (where he played hockey) before moving to Atlanta for almost 20 years. He moved home to the area in 2015 and quickly built deep relationships with the Finger Lakes business community as founder of DestinationFLX (, a company promoting regional economic development through an online portal and real-world events. The DestinationFLX website garners more than 20,000 monthly visitors who learn about Finger Lakes hospitality businesses and activities like hiking, boating and the arts.   

Mills lives in Canandaigua with his wife Audrey Roberson, who is a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is an active community member, serving on the Pittsford Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, chairing the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee, and is a Town of Canandaigua Economic Development Committee member.

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