The new public information officer here is returning home to take a job for which he brings a wealth of varied previous work experience.
Jonas Silver grew up in Knightdale and he said that the chance to come back was one of the major reasons he wanted the job handling communications for the town. “Knightdale’s where I want to be,” he said. “We’ve always been wanting to come back to Knightdale and now we get the chance to.”
Silver and his family will be relocating from Winston-Salem. His wife, Maiya, is in the second to last semester of a magnetic resonance imaging program at Forsyth Technical Community College there. He will be splitting his time between Winston-Salem and Knightdale while she finishes her degree, spending weekdays in Knightdale and returning to see his family on weekends.
The couple has three children, ranging in age from 4 to 11.
Silver majored in communication studies at UNC-Greensboro, but is coming to the $71,248 per year Knightdale job from a sales position at WasteZero, a firm that partners with municipalities to reduce waste going into landfills or being burned and increasing recycling. He was the head of a 32-state sales region there.
“It gets me back on track to use my degree and use the skills that I’ve honed over the years,” Silver said of his new position.
Before WasteZero, Silver worked as director of alumni affairs at his high school alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he and his wife met. He also worked as a special assistant and fundraiser in Cal Cunningham’s failed bid against Elaine Marshall in the 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Silver started at the School of the Arts, a state supported conservatory in Winston-Salem, to study classical guitar, but after taking a ballet class there he decided to pursue dancing, going on to study after high school and to dance with a company in Santa Barbara, Calif.
But he knew he wanted to raise a family, and the strenuous schedule of ballet rehearsals and travel meant he had to make the hard choice to leave the field. He says, though, that the lessons he learned about determination and thinking creatively have stayed with him. He said that from 1998 to 2002 he only missed three to four days of practice, including holidays.
Silver, who started in October, said one of the first projects he is taking on is updating the town’s website to make it more attractive. He also has been working with Mayor James Roberson to make preparations for next year’s Knightdale Education Festival at Knightdale Station Park, an education-themed gathering that debuted in September as K-Fest.
“I’m excited to have Jonas on board,” Roberson said. “I think a person of his skill set will take the public information officer position to a new level.”
Silver will report to Administrative Services Director Suzanne Yeatts, who also praised his background and what he brings to the position. “Jonas comes to us with a wealth of knowledge about communication strategy,” she said, “and he is eager to put it to good use listening to the Knightdale residents and telling Knightdale’s story.”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826