Desmond Miller is the City of Concord’s 2022 recipient of the prestigious Jo Atwater Continuous Core Values award, the highest honor bestowed upon a city employee. Miller received the honor for his dedicated service to his coworkers and the residents of Concord.
City Manager Lloyd Payne presented the award to Miller during the May City Council meeting. Miller was joined by members of his family, close friends, colleagues, and past recipients of the Jo Atwater Award.
“Desmond is a shining example of respect, teamwork, and ethical standards,” said Payne. “Just like Jo Atwater, he has shown a commitment to serving others and the community in an abiding dedication to the city’s core values. No matter the challenge, he is always right there to assist.”
Miller was nominated by his coworkers for his commitment, compassion, advocacy and leadership. He is a respected friend to many throughout the community and continuously goes above and beyond the call of duty to help others. He has a heart for service and passion for the city that is unmatched.
Upon accepting the honor, Miller spoke of opportunity and encouraged others to not squander second chances.
“This has been my journey, my opportunity when I needed it,” said Miller. “When I got a second chance, I didn’t let it go. I come to work every day with that attitude and try to inspire others to be their best, just as they inspire me. Together, we set examples, we create the culture of excellence.”
Miller began his career with the City of Concord in 2011, and currently serves as Supervisor for Environmental Services. He is a neighborhood liaison with the city’s Partnership for Stronger Neighborhoods program, and leads the city’s Customer Service Advancement Team (CSAT). CSAT is a team of employees from every city department, dedicated to establishing a culture of excellent customer service. Members of CSAT are appointed by the City Manager and develop training and programs that promote the city’s nine principles of excellent service: Concern for the Individual, Customer Focus, Fair and Equitable Service, Professional Service, Effective Communications, Taking Ownership, Timeliness, Teamwork, and Great Service Recovery.
A native of Cabarrus County, Miller graduated from A. L. Brown High School. He spent time after school at the Boys and Girls Club playing football, and attended Appalachian State University on a football scholarship. He is a member of Bethpage Presbyterian Church, a member of the Coalition to Achieve Racial Equity, and has worked in collaboration with Cabarrus Health Alliance for many events. He has also been involved in the I Love My City project and regularly organizes projects to help keep Concord clean and safe. Miller became a first-time homebuyer in 2021 through the city’s affordable home buying program and now does all he can to educate others about the programs and resources available to help families in need achieve homeownership.
The Jo Atwater Award was created in 2003 to recognize one coworker annually who embodies the city’s organizational core values and commitment to serving others in the community. Jo Atwater was Concord’s Human Resources Director and worked for the city from 1994 until her passing in 2004. She was the first recipient of the award that was named in her honor.