City Manager

Robert Cowell Roanoke City Manager HeadshotThe City Manager's Office develops strategies that implement City Council's vision for the future, prepares staff reports and makes recommendations to City Council, oversees the operation of city departments to ensure objectives are met and departmental efficiency is maintained and provides ongoing community relations programs.

About the City Manager

Robert S. Cowell, Jr. was appointed City Manager on September 5, 2017. Mr. Cowell came to Roanoke from the City of Amarillo, Texas, where he served as Deputy City Manager.

Mr. Cowell also served in a variety of leadership roles elsewhere in Texas and in communities in the Midwest. He received a B.S. from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. and an M.S. in urban planning from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Mr. Cowell is a Credential Manager with the International City/County Management Association; a Certified Urban Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners; and an Accredited Member with the Congress for the New Urbanism.

His professional activities include service on ICMA Boards and Committees and the Site Visit Team of the Planning Accreditation Board.  In addition to membership in ICMA, he maintains membership in the American Planning Association, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Urban Land Institute, and the Society of American City and Regional Planning History.

In addition, Mr. Cowell served as a team leader for volunteer professional assistance teams along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Katrina, helping local governmental agencies to develop community plans and ordinances for several impacted communities. He has also presented professional education sessions at annual conferences for the American Planning Association, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Mr. Cowell and his wife, Ellen, live in the City of Roanoke.