The Online Newsletter for the Virginia Economic Developers Association
October 2017
President's Message
Glossophobia - the fear of public speaking. Did you know that 75 percent of people have it? Can you believe that the majority of people fear public speaking more than death?  Those of you who have been at a VEDA conference this year or that know me well can probably tell that public speaking is not my forte. Maybe it's not full-blown glossophobia, but it definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone.

T.S. Eliot once asked, "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?" Stepping outside of our comfort zone may be incredibly uncomfortable at times, but it is critical to our success and well-being. What are you doing to get out of your comfort zone? Taking on a new leadership role? Traveling somewhere new? Receiving feedback from a site selection consultant on your community? Launching a new program? Or maybe submitting a proposal for a transformational economic development project? I'm so grateful for a VEDA family that encourages each of us to grow professionally and to see how "tall" we can be.

Speaking of tall, the VEDA Fall Conference Committee set a high bar to host the best fall conference ever. I believe Patrick Barker, Michelle Chapleau, and their committee must have been in their comfort zone, as they knocked it out of the park (kind of like a few golf balls at Top Golf - literally). The site selection consultants gave us valuable insight, and attendees appreciated hearing updates from GO Virginia and VEDP. 

True to form for the gubernatorial election cycle, VEDA invited both candidates to speak to our members at the fall conference prior to the election. While only one candidate's schedule allowed him to participate, our invitations clearly raised both candidates' awareness of VEDA and the fact that we are the "voice of economic development" in Virginia. Please take a minute to read both candidates' responses to VEDA's questionnaire regarding their stance on various economic development-related issues. The responses are located on VEDA's website .

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween, happy voting on Nov. 7, and a little time outside of your comfort zone.
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.-- John Wayne  
-Debbie Melvin, VEDA President
Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Winter Membership Luncheon & Annual Meeting in Staunton on December 6
Mark your calendar and plan to attend the VEDA Winter Membership Luncheon & Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia. The meeting will highlight Cultivating Culture and Refreshing Innovation. VEDA will also hold it's annual business meeting at this event and elect offices and directors for 2018. Look for the slate of proposed officers and directors in your email box soon!
Member News
VEDA's CEDA recipients Lynchburg, VA (Pop. 40,001-100,000) and Arlington, VA (Pop. >100,000) were named CEDA winners in their population categories by the Southern Economic Development Council at the organization's Annual Conference in August. 

The City of Norfolk Department of Economic Development  and the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development received Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Norfolk received the Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category for real estate redevelopment and reuse and a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of business retention and expansion single event. Virginia Beach received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development for it's 2016 Annual Report. The awards were presented at the IEDC Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in September. 

VEDA member Bethany Miller, Vice President of Business Attraction for the Greater Richmond Partnership, was elected to the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Board of Directors for a two-year term.

Russell Seymour  has been chosen to be Leesburg, Virginia's next director of economic development. Seymour will start his position November 6 and work alongside the current director Marantha Edwards , until she retires on January 5. Seymour has held economic development positions with James City County, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania County. 

VEDA member and past president, Greg Wingfield, a senior fellow at the Wilder School, has been named a VCU 2017 Alumni Star. Wingfield earned his bachelor's degree in 1974 and his Master of Urban and Regional Planning two years later and has remained a loyal supporter of his alma mater. He is one of 15 VCU graduates who will be honored as a 2017 Alumni Star at a special banquet Nov. 3.

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.
Monday, January 15, 2018
5:30-7:30 pm
VCU Study reveals important insights on perceptions about economic development incentive policies and programs
The recent Summer 2017 L. Douglas Wilder School Public Policy Poll from Virginia Commonwealth University revealed important insights about citizen perceptions and preferences about economic incentive policies and about general awareness of Virginia economic development programs.  These insights are helpful to economic policymakers at the local and state levels, as public opinion and awareness provides the context for the economic and political sustainability of economic development programs.
Virginians' Opinions on Tax Breaks and Incentives for Business
Overall, Virginians overwhelmingly support the state government in offering tax breaks or other incentives to companies considering an expansion or relocation of their business to Virginia (see Figure 1). Eighty percent of those surveyed either strongly support or somewhat support these efforts in general. To better understand which policies are ideal from the perspective of Virginians, the poll tested changes in overall support based on specific potential elements of an incentives policy - overall caps on the amount provided as an incentive and "claw back" provisions that allow the state to recover funds if a promised expansion or relocation does not occur.
Figure 1. Virginians support the state government offering tax breaks or incentives in general.

Out of those who originally indicated support for tax breaks and incentives for businesses relocating or expanding in Virginia, 54 percent said that they would still support these incentives if there was no limit on the dollar amount on the incentives. Forty-one percent, however, changed their mind and would oppose the policy if there would not be a cap on the incentive amount (see Figure 2). This is an increase in 26 percentage points from those who originally opposed the policy.
Figure 2. Forty-one percent of respondents who originally supported general tax incentive policy indicate they would oppose an unlimited dollar amount of incentives offered.

Similarly, respondents who generally favored incentives were asked whether they would be supportive if Virginia offered financial the incentives to companies upfront even if those companies ultimately decided not to bring their business to the Commonwealth (meaning having no clawback mechanism). Seventy-two percent now said they would oppose the policy.
The original proportion of respondents who opposed general tax incentives was 15 percent. Adding specific details about proposed policies, however, mattered in their support or opposition. When asked whether they would still oppose financial incentives if a limit was in place on the amount that could be offered, 52 percent still opposed incentives, but 43 percent of those originally in opposition now said they would be supportive with caps were in place (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Out of the respondents who originally indicated opposition to tax incentives, 43 percent would support incentives if there was a cap on the dollar amount offered.

Similarly, when asked if they would still oppose the state offering financial incentives if there was a rule that companies must return financial incentives if they decide to not bring their business to Virginia, 46 percent indicated they would still oppose the use of incentives, while 48 percent indicated they would now support such a policy.
Virginians' Familiarity with "GO Virginia" Program
"GO Virginia" is a new economic development program that provides funding to regions across the state for collaborative projects that include local businesses, higher education, and community leaders as partners. The results of the poll show that much of the public is not aware of these efforts - 72 of respondents said they were not at all familiar with the Go Virginia program. Only 9 percent said they were very or somewhat similar, and these respondents were more likely to be older individuals (see Figure 4).    
Figure 4. Most Virginians are not familiar with the "GO Virginia" program.

Nuances in economic policy are important to Virginia citizens. While populations may support or oppose general policies, those opinions shift when specific details are proposed. Respondents also demonstrated a high level of unfamiliarity with the new economic development program, Go Virginia, indicating a need for public information and outreach campaigns to connect Virginians with the impact of these program resources.
CLICK HERE to view other VCU Studies through the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis.

Elizabeth Marcello- Elizabeth graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2017 with a double major in Government and Psychology. She is currently pursuing an M.S. in Criminal Justice at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Robyn D. McDougle, PhD,  Faculty Director,  Office of Public Policy Outreach,  L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs,  Virginia Commonwealth University
DHCD Community Development Roadshow 2017
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Community Development Division will be traveling throughout the state to provide information about the various community development and capacity building programs available through the agency. 
Stakeholders will be introduced to DHCD programs, be provided with examples of how communities have used these grant funds and be prepared for the upcoming grant cycle this winter. 
Attendees will learn about Community Development Block Grants, Virginia Main Street Program, the Industrial Revitalization Fund, Building Collaborative Communities, Building Entrepreneurial Economies, Community Business Launch, and Virginia Individual Development Accounts.
DHCD representatives will be available to introduce you to the programs, as well as talk individually about potential projects.

Dates and Locations
  • November 2, 2017: Historic Train Station, Farmville (1-4 pm)
  • November 6, 2017: John Barton Payne Building, Warrenton (1-4 pm)
This event is free, but pre-registration is requested. Register Today!
In This Issue
YP Event: Coming to Richmond Nov 9
REGISTER  for the VEDA Young Professionals Happy Hour from 5-7 on Thursday, November 9th at Legend Brewing Co.
Quick Links
President's Award Press Release
2017 marks VEDA's 35th year
The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) was established in 1982 with 56 Charter Members. VEDA has grown, not only in number of members, but in activities and benefits for those members. 

Some of those Charter Members continue in their membership and service to the organization today:

V. Lee Cobb
David G. Dickson
Hugh D. Keogh
Mark R. Kilduff
William M. Stafford
Keith A. Taylor
Thomas A. Waller
June M. Wilmot

VEDA's leadership thanks these and all the charter members who had the vision and took the time to form the Virginia Economic Developers Association in 1982.


Appalachian Power

Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance-Annual Conference announced
The Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance will hold its first annual conference, Winning with PACE: Game Plans for Financing Energy Improvements,  on November 13th.

The day-long program will provide information on Commercial PACE for lenders, economic development professionals, contractors, and local government representatives. 

CLICK HERE for registration information.
GO Virginia Update
Virginia's statewide elections are right around the corner and both candidates for Governor have made statements underscoring the importance of spurring new economic growth in the Commonwealth. This economic focus comes at a critical time - as the GO Virginia regions prepare to submit project applications to grow and diversify Virginia's economy.
Recent GO Virginia Events and Activity
GO Virginia made appearances at  The Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference on October 2, 2017 in Williamsburg and The Virginia Economic Developers Association Fall Conference on October 13, 2017 in Virginia Beach.
The GO Virginia Regional Councils  are preparing to submit project proposals for the first round of per-capita GO Grants. The project application deadline is November 15, 2017. The State Board will review each proposal and make award decisions at its December 12, 2017 board meeting.
The Collaborative 
Economic Development Act Guidelines were approved by the State Board at its October 16, 2017 board meeting. This Act was passed as part of the GO Virginia Initiative and it represents the first time in history that Virginia's localities will be able to share in the state income tax revenue generated by new job creation. This new incentive for collaboration is a major advancement towards bringing new investments and higher-paying jobs to the Commonwealth.
The Growth and Opportunity Board created four working groups to assist in the review of project applications  during for the first round that are organized four areas of opportunity: Credentialing and Talent Development; Joint Site and Economic Development; Clusters, Scale-Ups; and Commercialization of Research.
Two new members have joined the Growth and Opportunity State Board: Jennifer Boykin of Suffolk, President of Newport News Shipbuilding; and Doug Juanarena, a successful serial entrepreneur living in Blacksburg.
Upcoming GO Virginia Events and Activity
The Growth and Opportunity State Board will meet on December 12, 2017 to review the per-capita grant project proposals.
GO Virginia is also a topic of discussion at several upcoming events around the Commonwealth: Virginia's University-Based Economic Developers Fall Meeting on November 8, 2017 in Norfolk; Fredericksburg Community Foundation's Annual Luncheon on November 14, 2017 in Fredericksburg; and the Virginia Chamber Economic Summit on December 1, 2017 in Williamsburg.
Applications for statewide competitive grants will be accepted in early 2018. 

The 2018 Board schedule is as follows:
February 13, 2018
April 10, 2018
June 12, 2018
August 14, 2018
September 11, 2018
December 11, 2018
Virginia Economic Dashboard
The Virginia Chamber Foundation has recently launched the Virginia Economic Dashboard, an online tool used to compare Virginia's performance with peer states; drill down to progress at the local level; and track metrics over time. CLICK HERE to access the Virginia Economic Dashboard.