The Online Newsletter for the Virginia Economic Developers Association
April/May 2018
President's Message
The Spring Conference in Richmond, April 11-13, certainly did not disappoint. Christine Bell (Virginia Economic Development Partnership), Conaway Haskins (Virginia Tech), and their committee delivered a great conference that included a night out with bowling as well as conference sessions on redefining the evolving profession of economic development. Amy Liu, with the Brookings Institution, delivered a keynote that had the room thinking over the idea that we shouldn't measure economic development activities, or at least measure strictly in the traditional way of counting jobs, investments and announcements. I took from Amy's keynote that we should elevate the types of economic development activities that tend not to attract the same excitement as those that warrant ribbon cuttings. We should also contend with the difficult aspects of economic prosperity that favor some but not all of our citizens.

As of this morning, we have learned that the General Assembly has passed a budget. Look for a detailed update later this week from VEDA's legislative liaison, Mike Woods (Troutman Sanders Strategies) to learn the specific outcomes for economic development appropriations. One budget item that VEDA watched closely during the session relates to the Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) and Building Collaborative Communities (BCC) programs, both administered by the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD). These programs are relatively small in terms of budget dollars, but the local impact of these programs is significant. This year's budget process initially called for no appropriations for these programs and to prohibit administering them. To be fair, the initial proposal to conclude these programs made sense when we recognize that GO Virginia, also administered by DHCD, is designed to enable regions to collaboratively address economic development challenges and opportunities. However, VEDA conveyed to the General Assembly that there is a matter of scale and that smaller communities lacking the capacity to develop GO Virginia proposals first need to build that capacity, which the BEE and BCC programs enable. Because of our discussions with the General Assembly's leadership, we understand that the authorization for these programs will continue and funding them can be considered during subsequent budget sessions.

You have received emails from VEDA and from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) about our upcoming meetings in Danville. On Monday, June 4th, VEDP is scheduling a "Local Economic Developers Bi-Annual Meeting" and VEDA's Summer Membership Meeting is scheduled for the next day, Tuesday, June 5th. Both days and the schedule of meetings will be information-packed and well worth your investment of time and resources to attend. The Membership Meeting co-chairs, Linda Green (Southern Virginia Regional Alliance) and Telly Tucker (City of Danville Office of Economic Development), have assembled another great agenda for the membership meeting. I am particularly looking forward to Ted Abernathy's keynote on Tuesday regarding leadership in economic development.

You have surely noticed the alignment with VEDP for our meetings in Danville. Frequently, VEDA's leadership is asked to differentiate our Association from the VEDP. We are often asked whether we are the same entity or does one work for the other. Answering this question is a welcomed opportunity to educate folks about economic development in the Commonwealth. My perspective is that Virginia must have a strong state-level economic development agency to work with our regions and localities. I appreciate Stephen Moret's sincerity in organizing what are becoming regular meetings with the regional marketing organizations and now our localities. At the same time, Virginia has a strong professional organization, supporting its practitioners with resources, networking opportunities, training, and a host of other benefits. It is clear that VEDP and VEDA have entered upon a renewed relationship to promote economic development throughout the Commonwealth, which has delivered short-term success and offers promising long-term benefits. As VEDA's president for 2018, I am grateful for our partnership with VEDP and am looking forward to our meetings in Danville on June 4th and 5th.

-Ken McFadyen, VEDA President
VEDA's Spring Conference, Redefining Our Evolving Profession,  provides learning and networking for 200+
VEDA's annual Spring Conference hosted 200+ economic developers in Henrico County.  Check out the VEDA website for registration lists and speaker presentations.

Some snaps from the Spring Conference below. LINK HERE for more photos from the April event.

VEDA Cornerstone Member Spotlight
Learn more about VEDA's Cornerstone Members and consider joining their ranks!

Gregory E. Hitchin, CEcD, Director, City of Waynesboro Economic Development and Tourism

Q: Would you rather travel by plane, train, or automobile? Why?
A: Train. Once you are on board, it is stress free and is a quiet place to work, read, or nap.

Q:  Where do you most want to travel, but have never seen? Why?
A: Hitchin, England. Supposedly where we came from! It would be fun to see and learn more.

Q:  What do you value most about VEDA? Why?
A: Professional camaraderie. Ability to share best practices, failures, and successes and learn from them.

Greg Hitchin is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) with nearly 20 years of Economic Development experience and has served as the Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Waynesboro and Secretary/Treasurer of the EDA since April 2010. Before joining the City, Greg spent eleven and a half years as the Business Development Manager and the Treasurer/CFO of the IDA for the Onondaga County Office of Economic Development in Syracuse, New York. Greg is a past member of the VEDA Board of Directors and currently serves as Program Chair.
Opportunities for technology and R&D companies with the Navy
The U.S. Navy is planning a special event in June to bring together technology companies with the Navy's program managers and purchasers of technology products and services.  The Navy is working towards an aggressive schedule to identify needed technology products/services and implement the ones of interest, in a period of time drastically reduced from traditional time frames.
The event,  Catapult Forum & Expo - Naval Technology Discovery to Deployment  ( ),  will be held on June 5-6, 2018 at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach.  This two-day event will serve to stimulate and engage Navy buyers and Hampton Roads technology companies to discuss ways they can work together more effectively and efficiently.  The first of its kind in the United States will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the technology that can be used by the U.S. Navy.  Click here for information and details on the four focus areas of the forum: Cyber security, ModSim, Unmanned Systems, and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality.

NASA will also have a presence at Catapult.  
Components of Catapult includes discussions regarding R&D needs for the Navy's Sea, Air and Space missions, the Naval research enterprise,  Naval acquisition,  and government contracting.  We look to provide to the Navy direct access to our Commonwealth's companies - those that have previously done business with the Department of Defense along with those that haven't, with input and opportunities to learn more about the strong resources that we currently have to assist them.  We'll look to tap the input from our Universities & Colleges, along with economic development professionals who work with allies throughout the state to provide companies with the assistance needed.  As I mentioned, NASA officials will be at the Forum, also.  They are available to discuss technologies they've developed and how small businesses can partner with them to develop and provide products to commercial industry.  With a year behind the new administration, Catapult will also give attendees the opportunity to hear from our congressional leaders who will share their unique insights into the support from the White House and Congress to insure our Military is as strong as ever.   With rapidly changing technology developments paving the way for continued superiority in insuring the safety of our country and our allies, their insights will help to look ahead to the future and the money needed to purchase the items needed to accomplish the mission.  Along with excellent networking opportunities, a valuable resource will be the opportunity for companies to meet one-on-one with the purchasers of goods and services that the Navy will use to fulfill their needs and reach their goals.
For small entrepreneurial firms, Catapult provides them with an opportunity and mechanism to plug-in to a system that can help to take their business to the next level.  So as you see, this event is an opportunity for all communities to shine and potentially provide new avenues of income for our technology companies and current government contractors.  You can support this event by spreading the word about Catapult to all of your technology companies in your communities.  New doors of opportunity can be opened, for companies that participate!
Former State Delegate Ron Villanueva (Virginia Beach/Chesapeake) and entrepreneur Jeff Palumbo are key contacts for additional information.  They can be reached at 757-777-9340,,
In This Issue
and see why economic developers are
Agents of Change

VEDA Fall Conference
September 12-14, 2018
Roanoke, Virginia

VEDA Winter Membership Luncheon
and Annual Meeting
December 5, 2018
Charlottesville, Virginia
Promote your organization and support VEDA at the same time! VEDA partners with Virginia Business magazine.
EDA is pleased to announce a new partnership with Virginia Business magazine.  VEDA is helping to promote the magazine's 26th Annual Economic Development Site Selector Report. This special report will appear in the August issue of Virginia Business. VEDA members are encouraged to be a part of this special report by advertising and participating in other promotional opportunities that may arise. 

Be sure to check your subscription status with Virginia  Business to make sure you don't miss one of our ads this year.
The deadline to be included in the Site Selector Report (August) is June 29. For further details contact Hunter Bendall at or 804-225-0078.


Administration announces nomination of 212 Opportunity Zones
Governor Northam recently announced the nomination of 212 Opportunity Zones to the U.S. Department of Treasury. This represents the maximum number of zones the Governor may nominate under the new federal tax tool that targets low-income census tracts.
The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that passed last December included provisions for a new revitalization tool, the Opportunity Zone and Opportunity Fund. The zones and funds will allow investors to receive tax benefits on currently unrealized capital gains by investing those gains in qualified census tracts or "Opportunity Zones." While the federal government is responsible for defining the investment process, the Governor of each state was given until April 20, 2018 to nominate qualified census tracts as Opportunity Zones, and Virginia was allowed to submit 212 nominations out of the 901 eligible low-income census tracts.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) coordinated the nomination input process with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). These lead agencies based the Governor's nominations on the best available criteria and input to ensure fairness across the state and among rural, urban, and suburban localities. They received input from localities throughout the Commonwealth in order to recognize the needs and opportunities at the level of government closest to investors and residents. In addition, statewide strategic criteria ensured there was balance between evaluating those census tracts in most need and those with the most likelihood of future investment.

The U.S. Treasury Department has 30 days to respond to the Governor's nominations and is expected to accept and approve them as nominated, establishing Virginia's Opportunity Zones by late spring of this year. However, the rules associated with qualification of Opportunity Investment Funds and Qualified Opportunity Investments must also be written at the federal level and are not anticipated to be formalized until later this calendar year. Virginia's Opportunity Zones are already areas of significant effort and focus at the state and local level and these zone nominations are intended to attract additional private investments.
Click here  for a link to the Virginia Opportunity Zone website and  click here  for a map of Virginia's nominated zones.
Safety for economic development professionals
Economic developers take on so many roles, chauffeur, travel guide, tour leader, and often spending considerable time with strangers. Working with visiting prospects at short notice is actually the goal of many local and regional economic development programs. Combined with what are often small staffs and long distance, safety protocols is a topic that warrants attention.
This realization was the impetus for Creative EDC to develop and publish a Safety Guide specifically for the economic development profession.

CLICK HERE for more information. VEDA will have copies of this brochure available at the 2018 Spring Conference.