The Online Newsletter for the Virginia Economic Developers Association
May 2017
President's Message
May seems to be the month of celebrations... graduation ceremonies and parties, sports tournaments, music and dance recitals, and four birthdays in our family.  Yes, one is mine. No, I'm not going to say how old I am! 
For me, finishing one chapter and turning the page to start another always brings a sigh of relief and a bit of anxiety about what lies ahead. It's a chance to reflect on accomplishments and think about what's still on the to-do list, or even the bucket list.
VEDA is celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2017 - our 35th year of serving the economic development profession in Virginia. Looking back, I'm so grateful to the charter members of VEDA and the leadership of our first Executive Director, Smiley Waller. These men and women recognized the value of joining together to advocate for economic development and set the foundation for the good work that VEDA continues today.I wonder if they imagined a VEDA of 500+ members, with conferences drawing more than 250 attendees and gubernatorial candidates vying to speak to our members!
Today, I am grateful for all those who devote their time and talents to VEDA and to our fabulous Executive Director, Connie Long. Last week, VEDA leadershipparticipated in a bill signing for VEDA's first sponsored legislation -- HB1591 (patroned by Delegate James) and SB976 (patroned by Senator Hanger) which lowers the minimum size of industrial sites that may be included in the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program from 250 acres to 100  acres.  This historic effort on
VEDA's part would not have been possible without the hard work of members like Deborah Flippo, Ken  McFadyen, Michele Mixner DeWitt, Chris Lloyd, Jay Langston, and John Loftus and the guidance of Mike Woods. Many thanks to everyone who helped in the effort and to those who contacted legislators in support of the change. READ MORE.
What is next for VEDA? What are we undertaking now that will impact our communities for years into the future? What will our economic development colleagues say about us 35 years from now? I guess birthdays make me pensive. Maybe it's from the fumes from all the candles on my cake.
Looking forward to seeing everyone on June 7 in Fredericksburg for the Summer Membership Meeting!

  -Debbie Melvin, VEDA President
VEDA member news
Nathalia Artus , Virginia Small Business Financing Authority, Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity received the Community Service and Volunteerism Award at the Governor's Awards for Public Service ceremony. The awards honor state employees who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. READ MORE.

Lisa Lyle  has joined the Roanoke Regional Partnership. She was previously with the Martinsville-Henry County EDC.

Carrie Hileman Chenery , Executive Director, Shenandoah Valley Partnership was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors. READ MORE.

If you've made a change, received an award or recognition, hired new staff, completed a new project; or generally have good news to share, please send it to the VEDA office at to share your news with your fellow VEDA members.
Martinsville named Virginia's fourth Certified Work Ready Community
The City of Martinsville has been designated as the Commonwealth's fourth Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC).  The nationally recognized designation, conferred by the Commonwealth of Virginia and American College Testing (ACT), is targeted at attracting new businesses and jobs to Martinsville, in addition to strengthening the skill sets of the region's high school students, job seekers, and incumbent workers.

More than 55 regional employers, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations supported the City of Martinsville's efforts to achieve this national certification. To become certified, a county must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credentials attained in the county, and number of employers recognizing the NCRC.  Martinsville companies report that knowing a job candidate has demonstrated foundational workplace skills expedites the hiring process.

Nominations being accepted for the 2017 VEDA Cardinal Award

The VEDA Cardinal Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by VEDA to deserving members. The award recognizes leadership in the field of economic development, outstanding professional accomplishments, and exceptional service to the organization. Nominations are now open and being accepted until June 30, 2017. Both the nominator and the endorser must be current members of VEDA. CLICK HERE for complete instructions and online forms. The 2017 Cardinal Award will be presented at the VEDA Fall Conference, October 11-13 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

VEDA Cornerstone Member Spotlight
A new feature to VEDALink will be spotlighting our Cornerstone Members each month. We hope you'll get to know them a little better and consider becoming a VEDA Cornerstone Member too!

Deborah Flippo, Draper Aden Associates
Q:  Would you rather camp in a RV or stay in a tent? Why?

A: Back when I was a NASCAR race fan, I camped in RVs without hookups - and was pretty proud of how I managed, considering I have spent 25-50% of my life in hotel rooms!  Then in 2013 and again in 2014, I had the opportunity to join a mission team in Zambia.  After I joined, I found out we would be camping in tents (something I had never done)
in the African bush!  Where roosters crowed all night, but we never heard lion roars or elephant trumpets - but we were confronted by a green mamba snake one day!  We were well-fed and showered once a day, thanks to an awesome outfitter.  But having done both types of camping - and recognizing this wasn't one of the choices....  I'll stick to the Hilton Garden Inns and cool new boutique hotels whenever I have to be out of my own bed!

Q: Where do you most want to travel, but have never seen? Why? 

A: I've been all over the U.S. and the Caribbean, to Africa and spent one night in Ethiopia, and this summer, we're going to Portugal.  But I really, really want to go to the Holy Land - Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other Biblical places.  Everyone's always saying that Israel is just to dangerous to travel to, but Mark and I are going to go one year.  Soon!

Q:  What do you value most about VEDA? Why?

A:  The networking and relationship building.  I remember my very first VEDA conference, when after a day on the golf course, I walked into the loudest reception I had ever attended!  I think I knew about five people there.  But this bunch of extroverts, all passionate about the growth of the Commonwealth of Virginia, made it easy to start building relationships that have been profitable for Draper Aden Associates - and personally fulfilling beyond my wildest expectations.  I have developed clients and friends who are advisers , cheerleaders, mentors, best friends, business allies, prayer warriors, and sometimes psychiatrists!  
IRS Stakeholder Liaison offers resources to economic developers
IRS's Stakeholder Liaison organization is unique among its peers. While other IRS functions are collecting taxes or examining returns, Stakeholder Liaison gives away its goods, providing tax professionals and the small business community the latest tax information and resources the IRS has to offer - and at a price that can't be beat: for free.
Local stakeholder liaisons conduct small business forums, opportunities for government agencies and small business organizations to exchange ideas and discuss current and emerging issues. Stakeholder liaisons also host practitioner liaison meetings with representative groups of local tax professionals. These events open up dialogue between the IRS and the tax professional and small business communities. They also collaborate with small business groups and industry associations to provide tax education and information to their members/clients.
Stakeholder Liaison delivers educational initiatives indirectly by supporting and assisting organizations that deliver Small Business Tax Workshops. Stakeholder Liaison also coordinates free, large-capacity webinars via the Internet that deliver comprehensive information on pertinent tax topics in a personal way. Search tax workshops  for more information on SBTW and webinars for more information about webinars.
IRS is on the Web. Are you? - Your local stakeholder liaison can help you create a tax center on your organization's Web site that links to federal tax information tailored for your members. Search: local contacts on to reach your local stakeholder liaison, and visit for resources for tax professionals, small businesses, and organizations that serve them.
If you are interested in more information on how to partner with Virginia's local IRS Stakeholder Liaisons, contact Anna Falkenstein via email at  or by phone at 804-916-3848.
Bits and Pieces
IEDC: Economic Development Week
I n honor of 2017 Economic Development Week, IEDC created a series of videos about the profession and its accomplishments: Why Economic Development, Major Activities, Benefits, and Roles of EDOs. View the videos on IEDC YouTube Channel

VEC Releases 1st Quarter Economic Indicators
The 1st Quarter 2017 Virginia Economic Indicators is now available online.   
This is a quarterly publication illustrating and analyzing key economic indicators including employment, unemployment, and production workers' hours and earnings.

GO Virginia Update
The GO Virginia Initiative continues to make meaningful strides across the Commonwealth. Building from the Orientation Conference held on April 20th, there has been a lot of regional and statewide activity over the last month. As the initiative continues to move forward, we intend to provide more regular updates and information regarding the implementation of GO Virginia. READ MORE.
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 

VEDA Established in 1982
Charter Members
Frederick T. Agostino
Thomas E. Allen
J. Frank Alspaugh, CED, FM
S.K. Anderson
Edward A. Beck
Lowell M. Britt
Jerry A. Brown, CED
V. Lee Cobb
William F. Confroy
A. James DeBellis
Robert S. DeMauri
David G. Dickson
Ridgway M. Dunton
David A. Edwards
Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr., CED
John R. Gessaman
Dale W. Gordon
James B. Gregory
Timothy Gubala, CED
Ralph P. Hines
Richard C. Holmquist
Robert E. Johnson
Hugh D. Keogh
Mark R. Kilduff
Robert P. Lawler, Jr.
Terry W. Lentz
David A. Leonard
Charles J. Lowry, Jr.
Don P. Manning, P.E.
Audrey F. Millner
Lawrence E. Montague
Robert F. Morse, CED
David V. O'Donnell
Thomas C. Parker, Jr.
George W. Ray
Donald F. Reilly
Jack A. Runion
Charles A. Saul
Robert E. Shumate
Verlin W. Smith
Emanuel Spunt
William M. Stafford
Kenneth H. Stargardt, CED
Keith A. Taylor
Thomas A. Waller, CED
Col. Peter O. Ward, CED
Sylvia S. Weinstein
Edwin B.J. Whitmore, III
Robert L. Will
June M. Wilmot
L. Gene Winter
Brian J. Wishneff
A.J. Christopher Wood
George S. Woodall
Milton C. Woodlief
Charles S. Yates
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!

Appalachian Power
VEDA member tools and resources
As a VEDA member there a various tools and resources to help you professionally. Be sure to check them out.


A database of professional economic developers to access for networking, collaboration, sharing, and learning. Be sure to update your own member profile and add your photo!


An excel spreadsheet of VEDA members, updated monthly for your use. CLICK HERE to check it out.


The Mentor Resource Group is comprised of VEDA members with long-term local, regional and state experience in community development, either directly or a combination of professional expertise in such fields as utilities, engineering and economic development consulting.  The group serves as a resource to new VEDA members or other members who have questions about economic development in general or questions about economic development in Virginia.

Upcoming Economic Development Events
June 7, 2017
Fredericksburg, Virginia

June 14-6, 2017
IEDC Training Course: Economic Development Credit Analysis

June 15-16, 2017
IEDC Training Course: Neighborhood Development Strategies

June 18-20, 2017
SelectUSA 2017 Investment Summit

June 22-23, 2017
IEDC Training Course: Real Estate Development & Reuse

July 20-21, 2017
IEDC Training Curse: Workforce Development Strategies

August 7, 2017
CDFA: Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course

August 8-9, 2017
CDFA: Intro Bond Finance Course

August 8-9, 2017
CDFA: Intro Brownfields Finance Course

August 10-11, 2017
CDFA: Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course

August 10-11, 2017
CDFA: Intro Energy & Water Finance Course

August 17-18, 2017
IEDC Advanced Course: Foreign Direct Investment and Exporting

August 20-22, 2017
SEDC: 2017 Annual Conference

August 24-25, 2017
IEDC Training Course: Entrepreneurial & Small Business Development Strategies

October 11-13, 2017
VEDA Fall Conference & 35th Anniversary Celebration
Virginia Beach, Virginia