Founder and Director of
Tom Tom Founders Festival
|Date of birth||April 13, 1982
|Place of birth||Charlottesville|
|Alma mater||New York University, B.A. Film, Writing, & History|
|Profession||Founder and Director of Tom Tom Founders Festival|
|Website||Tom Tom Founders Festival|
Paul Beyer is founder and director of the Tom Tom Founders Festival, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that hosts a week of concerts, talks, and public art each April in Downtown Charlottesville, as well as several satellite events.  He is the Vice President of R.L. Beyer Custom Homes, his family's home building business.
He ran in the Democratic primary for City Council in 2011.
Tom Tom Founders Festival
Paul Beyer is the Founder and Director of Tom Tom Founders Festival, where he oversees the organization’s programming, administration, marketing, and strategy. Beyer founded the Festival in 2012 as a month-long series of block parties, innovation talks, and art workshops, which concluded with a weekend of ticketed concerts. In subsequent years, the Festival gained nonprofit status and condensed to a week of events.
The stated purpose of Tom Tom Founders Festival is to “catalyze the formation of creative, civic, and entrepreneurial ventures,” ultimately aiming to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in Charlottesville, in Virginia, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
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In April 2015, the Festival attendance had grown to over 26,000 attendees in Downtown Charlottesville. In 2015, the Festival added a signature event, the Founders Summit, which assembled nationally prominent innovators to share their Founding Stories at the Paramount Theater. In its inaugural year, the Summit featured dozens of speakers including the founders of Reddit, The Container Store, Gizmodo, The Maker Movement, and Chromat. The Festival also continued its program of public art, fostering the creation of a 240’ mural, a public transit “art bus,” and numerous performances. Through its pitch competitions and art challenges, the Festival has helped distribute over $700,000 in grants and seed funding.
Founding Cville Project
A signature project of Tom Tom is the Founding Cville Project, which celebrates local artists, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders making an impact in the Charlottesville community and throughout the nation. Local people in the business, civic, and creative fields who embody the Jeffersonian spirit of multidisciplinary creativity are nominated. Tom Tom then selects the recipients of the honor, such as Boyd Tinsley, founding member of Dave Matthews Band, who is pictured on the right with Paul Beyer.
Paul Beyer joined R.L. Beyer Custom Homes in 2006 and has served as its Vice President since 2008. He manages land development, rental management, marketing, public relations, and legal for the construction business, which was founded by his parents, Rick & Diana Beyer, in 1972. The company focuses on residential construction in City infill neighborhoods and larger custom homes in Albemarle County. R.L. Beyer has 20 employees with an average employment of 21 years each.
R.L. Beyer projects have included the Ashcroft Neighborhood in Albemarle County, and Charlottesville City neighborhoods such as Madison Place and Huntley. The website for the Huntley neighborhood describes the development as such:
- "Only steps from the University of Virginia, the Medical Center and the heart of downtown Charlottesville, Huntley offers community, sustainability and classic design with a modern flair. Part of the historic Huntley Hall estate, this city neighborhood encourages outdoor living with seven acres of dedicated open space along the forested creek bed. Amenities include a custom built community playground, walking, biking and bird watching trails that connect into the Rivanna Trail loop, and a Homeowners Association that provides full lawn maintenance."
The zoning and development issues surrounding Huntley have been received as controversial in Charlottesville, according to Tolbert. Jim Tolbert, Charlottesville's director of neighborhood development, singled out Huntley as a controversial development project in the city in a 2008 interview with The Hook. He stated that the Huntley subdivision was "hands down," a "difficult site" with 110 by-right homes under the old zoning rules, a contractor who started work without permits, and a neighborhood up in arms. "Today," he says, "it would be three to four houses at best." He limited his remarks to his own tenure in the role.
In 2010, Beyer approached the Charlottesville planning commission once more with a request to deviate from the city's approved plan in a way that would require the elimination of more trees from the neighborhood's property. Members of the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association pleaded with the commission to deny the request. "When they received permission to build this giant development of in-fill housing, [Beyer] knew perfectly well that there was challenging topography,” said Andrea Weider. She added that the neighborhood fought hard to require that the trees be spared when the original rezoning was granted by City Council. Weider argued that if the Commission granted the request, they would be fundamentally changing the parameters of the original PUD.
The Huntley development, which currently has built 26 homes of its 110 home allotment, has major problems with run-off into the surrounding areas. Dede Smith, who claimed victory over Beyer in a city council primary, documented the issues with water and sediment run-off on video at the time.
Boards and Honors
Beyer is a member of the Board of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce (2014-2017). In 2013-2014 Beyer served on the Steering Committee of the Charlottesville Area Cultural Plan, which resulted in a strategic vision for engaging community stakeholders to “prioritize and strategically respond to needs and opportunities in the area’s cultural sector.” Beyer is a member of the 2010-2011 Leadership Charlottesville class. He has been named in C-Ville Weekly’s 2015 Power List. In 2008-2010, Beyer was a Chair of the Albemarle County Housing Committee, and was involved with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority Redevelopment Project focusing on public housing redevelopment.
Beyer announced his candidacy for the Charlottesville City Council on June 8, 2011. He was one of seven candidates seeking 3 nominations by the Charlottesville Democratic Party in their August 20, 2011 "firehouse primary." During the race, he held a series of informal meetings at his apartment called "Talk About the City." When the votes were counted, Beyer came in fourth, trailing by 31 votes to Deirdre “Dede” Smith in the fifth round of counting.
Democratic primary for city council
As a novice in the political arena, Beyer ran a mostly self-funded campaign. VPAP records indicated that Beyer provided $5,139 of his personal funds, which were matched by $950 from three individual contributors and $1,000 from the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association, of which his father and county developer R. L. Beyer was formerly president. He also received $2,568 in donated products and services.
Democratic Campaign Video
Do you support construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway in the city?
- Yes, I do. I think we have a problem sticking with our decisions, and the parkway is a prime example. The real decision points came and went a long time ago, and yet we still argue. My question is: how does dead ending a major road directly in front of our high school serve anybody’s purposes? It’s time to focus on the positives.With the completion of the parkway, we will have a beautiful gateway to downtown, a vastly improved alternative transportation network, including pedestrian walkways and bike trails, and a far more accessible park to more of our citizens.
Do you support the approved water supply plan or a different approach?
- I support both the 2006 plan that received support from environmental groups, business groups and many other stakeholders, as well as the amended plan from earlier this year. I worry the water issue has become a distraction, both in this campaign and on Council, that keeps us from talking about issues far more important to the lives of our citizens. I’ve been hosting town halls for months now and asking people what issues matter to them most.The water issue hardly ever comes up. People are concerned about meaningful jobs, economic vitality, green infrastructure and promoting equality in the city.That will be my focus on council
What is the most important thing the city can do to create jobs?
- Support small businesses.They are the backbone of the community and preserve our hometown values.When people talk about jobs, it is easy to look for easy solutions, such as an outside industry that will be the answer to all our problems. Of course, we should partner with UVa, as well as target industries that will meet our citizens’ needs, but focus first on our dependable, local, hometown businesses. My family business, R.L. Beyer, has 20 long-term employees and dozens of subcontractors. I am running because council needs this diverse perspective that is sympathetic to small business.
Does the city have an affordable housing problem? What should council do?
- We absolutely have a workforce housing problem. Many small businesses’ employees, as well as police, nurses and teachers, cannot afford to live here. Instead, they commute from outlying counties. Thirty-minute commutes are not good for families and they are not good for the environment. One of the most sustainable things we can do is build affordable workforce housing in Charlottesville. Doing this will take creative public-private partnerships. I have volunteered for six years on committees in both Charlottesville and Albemarle dealing with these issues and I will continue bringing more civicminded business leaders into the discussion.
What should the city do on the issue of addressing poverty?
- We will not solve poverty in Charlottesville until we broaden our tax base, support our small businesses and focus on job creation. We often focus on education as the solution to poverty, but education can only succeed if kids have hope for the future and feel what they’re learning in school is relevant to their success. Our schools shouldn’t only be serving the children going to college.We should be offering vocational training programs and making sure we have good jobs waiting for our kids when they graduate.When that happens, we will begin to break the cycle of poverty.
What is the city’s biggest challenge in transportation?
- Our biggest challenge in the city is balancing attempts to become less automobile dependent while recognizing we must continue investing in our roads and automobile infrastructure in order for the downtown core to thrive.Cars are still the majority use of Charlottesville’s citizens and our customer base. Recent approvals of new roadways are a byproduct of the region’s outward growth. If bike lanes and bus lines are to thrive, a critical mass must begin to exist within the city, specifically along our growth corridors. Alternative transportation is dependent upon a vibrant downtown.
What will be your top priority if elected?
:My top policy priorities are creating more upwardly mobile jobs, diversifying the middle class and focusing on the local economy. I’ll also work hard to form a bridge between council and the business community. For example, I’ve served on affordable housing committees where I’m one of the only private businesspeople or homebuilders involved. We must engage as many stakeholders as possible in the process. Not having progressive, civic-minded businesspeople invested in our discussions makes it harder to get things done.
Talk About the City
After Beyer announced his candidacy for City Council in 2011, he hosted Talk About the City, an informal political salon. The talks were held at his apartment, located in the Pink Warehouse next to South Street Brewery.
Education and Personal Life
Paul Beyer graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, in 2003. He was born and lives in Charlottesville, VA.
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