The Online Newsletter for the Virginia Economic Developers Association
March 2017
President's Message
While the rest of the world is awash in March madness, I have to admit that the closest I'll get to choosing a winning bracket is in the aisle at Lowe's. It is interesting, though, to listen to the players and coaches respond to interview questions about teamwork.
As you have hopefully heard, VEDA's programming theme for 2017 is Partnering for Progress. It is easy to see examples of how economic developers across the Commonwealth are indeed partnering for progress. VEDA leadership is meeting regularly with leadership from VEDP, the Secretariat of Commerce and Trade, and GO Virginia/DHCD. VEDA committees are working together to achieve their objectives more efficiently. The nominees and recipients of the Community Economic Development Awards, which you will hear more about at the VEDA Spring Conference, relay stories of endeavors, on both small and large scales, where community partners work together to accomplish something incredibly innovative or a game changer for their local economy. And VEDP's new CEO, Stephen Moret, is visiting communities in all corners of the Commonwealth to share his vision for VEDP and emphasize the "P" in VEDP is for partnership.
I want to extend a special thank you to David Manley and Russell Seymour, chair and vice chair of the Community Economic Development Award Committee, for their leadership in selecting the 2017 CEDA recipients. Likewise, thanks to Von Gilbreath and Renee Chapline, chair and vice chair of the Professional Development Committee, for their leadership in selecting the recipients of the 2017 VEDA scholarships. VEDA is fortunate to have the ability to recognize communities and professionals that are striving to advance.
We hope to see you at the VEDA Spring Conference at the Charlottesville Omni on March 29-31, featuring Powering a Dynamic Region through the Strength of Local Assets. It will be not only a great opportunity for networking, but also chock-full of thought-provoking content!
  -Debbie Melvin, VEDA President

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."  - Michael Jordan
VEDA Professional Development Committee selects 2017 scholarship recipients
Economic developers realize the importance of professional development. Educational venues, where knowledge, professional experience, and best practices are shared between economic development practitioners, provide invaluable learning opportunities. VEDA offers a variety of scholarships to help its members with their professional development efforts. Applications are accepted in January annually to be applied for courses during that calendar year. The VEDA Professional Development Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of scholarships for 2017:

EDI Scholarships
  • Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development & Tourism, City of Waynesboro (Year 1) 
  • Victoria Hanson, Executive Director, EDA of Amherst County (Year 2)
  •  Lindsey Hurt, Virginia Economic Development Partnership (Year 3)
BASIC/IEDC Training Scholarships
  • Ashlyn Shrewsbury, Montgomery County Economic Development
  • Tish Blackwell, Communications & Marketing Manager, Shenandoah Valley Partnership
  • Jason Smith, Director of Community & Economic Development, Fluvanna County
  • Katherine Asbury, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority
  • Edythe Kelleher, Executive Director, Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation
  • Tommy Miller, Director of Economic Development, Orange County
  • Lisa Soltis, Economic Development Specialist, City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development
Smiley Waller Memorial Scholarship
  • Mallory Tuttle, Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. 
  • Stephanie Lillard, Director of Community & Economic Development, Page County
Virginia Institute for Economic Development
  • Jessica Fintel, Economic Development Specialist, Roanoke County Department of Economic Development
  • Yuri Matsumoto, Economic Development Specialist, City of Williamsburg Economic Development
  • Daniel Cook, Economic Development Specialist, Prince George County
In This Issue
Quick Links
2017 marks VEDA's 35th year
VEDA will celebrate its 35th anniversary during the Fall Conference in October. The VEDA office is looking for photographs, documents, anecdotes, etc that represent VEDA's history.

If you have items or ideas for celebrating VEDA's 35th year, please email them to 

Appalachian Power
Sponsorships available for VEDA Membership Meetings and Fall Conference
Sponsorships are still available for VEDA's Summer and Winter Membership Meetings as well as the VEDA Fall Conference.

These events depend on the support of sponsors to secure top speakers and provide excellent professional development opportunities.

There are many benefits to becoming a sponsor of a VEDA event. 

CHECK IT OUT online today!
Join a VEDA committee in 2017--GET INVOLVED!
  • The VEDA Professional Development Committee focuses on issues and tasks related to furthering members' economic development professional training efforts. 
  • The VEDA Community Economic Development Award Committee (CEDA) coordinates the selection process and ultimate presentation of the Community Economic Development Awards at the Spring Conference annually. 
  • The VEDA Legislator of the Year Award Committee coordinates the selection process and ultimate presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award annually. 
  • The VEDA Spring Conference, Fall Conference, and Membership Meeting Committees develop the content for their respective events. They take the conference theme, established by the event chairs and the Program Committee and determine the subjects of the sessions, invite speakers, etc. 
  • The Golf Task Force explores the possibility of holding a stand-alone golf tournament (including fundraising, location, viability, etc.) in conjunction with the Spring & Fall Conferences.
  • The VEDA Sponsorship Committee conducts the annual Sponsorship Opportunity Campaign and follows up on those solicitations. 
  • The VEDA Communications Committee focuses on VEDA's communications efforts. 
  • The VEDA Membership Committee encourages and promotes membership in VEDA and reviews and recommends applications for membership as provided in the bylaws.
  • The VEDA Young Professionals Committee works with VEDA committees to include opportunities for 'young' professionals across VEDA's Program of Work.
  • The Mentorship Task Force will explore ideas for connecting seasoned economic developers with young professionals for networking and mentorship purposes. 
Please CLICK HERE  to sign up for a committee on the VEDA website.