Paige Dowling, 32
Town of Sylva, Sylva
Dowling is credited as the state’s youngest female town manager after being appointed to the position at age 25. She’s one of North Carolina’s two town managers who also serve as Main Street Economic Development directors. Sylva’s Main Street program aims to revitalize downtown by promoting local businesses and preserving historic properties. Under her leadership, the program received national accreditation from Main Street America, and Sylva won the 2018 N.C. American Planning Association Great Places Award in the great downtown category. During her time as town manager, Dowling has implemented a pay and classification plan that reduced city employee turnover by almost 25%; initiated a grant for electric vehicle-charging stations downtown; overseen completion of a new police building; and helped get downtown Sylva added to the National Register of Historic Places. She has a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University and a master’s in public administration from Western Carolina University.