August 2021
Virginia Earns Back-to-Back Titles in CNBC Ranking, Remains “America’s Top State for Business”
Governor Ralph Northam talks with CNBC reporter at July 13 announcement.
Governor Ralph Northam announced that CNBC, a world leader in business news, has named Virginia as America’s “Top State for Business” in 2021. The Governor joined CNBC at the Port of Virginia for a live broadcast in July where the winner was revealed following an extensive study of 85 distinct metrics across 10 competitive categories. CNBC’s scorecard highlighted the Commonwealth’s education system, workforce, and commitment to equity and inclusion. 
Clarkston Technology Solutions Holds Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for New Site to Support Expansion
CTS employee Alexa Spiers, Economic Development Authority Chair Braxton Naff, Roanoke Regional Chamber President Joyce Waugh, Clarkston Consulting President Paul Garrison, Roanoke City Councilman Joseph Cobb, CTS Partner and Leader Jeff Graffeo, CTS Operations Manager Megan Weldon, and Daughter of Jeff Graffeo, Elle Graffeo.
Technology development leader Clarkston Technology Solutions (CTS) recently welcomed the community and media to attend a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for their new office space located at 502 5th Street SW in downtown Roanoke.

The building, home to several commercial businesses since its construction in 1951, will serve as the new headquarters for CTS, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based business and technology consulting firm, Clarkston Consulting. The new location with the purchase of this building furthers CTS’ investment in the Roanoke area.

With the expanded footprint, the business will increase its headcount to include over 100 technologists, developers, and coding professionals.
Learn more about CTS below from Managing Partner Jeff Graffeo.
Roanoke Regional Airport Commission Taps
Dulles Airport VP for Executive Director Role
Mike Stewart to take over airport leadership this fall
Mike Stewart
The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission has selected Mike Stewart to be the next executive director for the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA). Stewart, who is currently vice president and airport manager for Dulles International Airport (IAD), was selected through a national search process that began in January. He begins October 4, 2021.
“Mike is a leader who creates leaders and his desire for a hands-on position coupled with being a part of growth and emergence for our region made him an ideal fit for Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport’s next chapter,” said Dale Guidry, chairperson for the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission.
Commissioner and search committee chair Cynthia Lawrence added, “Our part of Virginia is going through an exciting period of economic transformation. Mike’s experience and well-known leadership across the Commonwealth demonstrated to the Commission that he has the desired combination of knowledge and determination to open doors for growth, with the community’s help.”
Over the past 14 years, Stewart has progressed through several leadership roles with Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in administration and airline development. In 2015, he was instrumental in positioning IAD to be on the receiving end of a $50 million grant to secure legacy carriers, leading to the return of Air China’s nonstop service that is expected to begin this fall. As manager of Dulles International, Stewart directed the airport’s response during operational challenges, including weather impacts, the diversion of 40 international flights when snow closed New York’s JFK Airport in 2018, the public health challenges of Ebola and COVID-19, international travel restrictions, and the expansion and upgrades of airport facilities, including construction of the Metrorail Silver Line facilities on the Dulles campus. 
Stewart is returning to Roanoke after 23 years outside of the market. His early career included five years as a station manager and supervisor for Piedmont Airlines.
“It feels like I am coming home,” said Stewart. “My family and I have always loved this area which holds special significance as the birthplace of two of our four children. I am looking forward to working with the Roanoke-Blacksburg community to build the strong partnerships and support we need to attract new air service and maximize the economic impact of the airport on the region. Future growth requires collaboration as we strengthen our position as the airport of choice for Southwest Virginia and demonstrate the advantages of flying ROA not only to airlines but to the community at large.”
Stewart joins the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport at a time when the role of transportation as an economic equalizer for the Southwest and Southside regions of Virginia is growing, with Roanoke centrally located to create new opportunities.
RAMP is pleased to announce that applications are now open for our fall cohort to begin in September 2021. We are looking for technology startups with scalability and coachable entrepreneurs who have a desire to do the work. 

RAMP will select up to five companies for the 12-week cohort that provides:
• Expert 1:1 mentoring with the region’s top entrepreneurs and executives
• Free office space with high-speed internet in downtown Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge
• Access to venture capital
• $20,000 in equity-free funding

Application deadline is August 15, 2021.
Roanoke has received great kudos within the last several months. Enjoy recent articles by accessing the links below to see what writers are saying about our fine city!
Spotlight on Business
Sweets By Shaneice
Shaneice Jones started her cake business in 2019. She was inspired by her godson's baby shower she hosted in 2018. Before this event, Shaneice only made treats for fun. As a DIY, creative kind of girl, she started watching YouTube videos to save money on the baby shower and expand her line of baking.

After guests awed over Shaneice's treats at the celebration, one particular person came up and asked her how much 1 dozen cake pops would cost. From that moment on, Shaneice continued to search YouTube for recipes, cake tutorials, and decorations to help further her business.

After making cakes and treats at an extremely low rate, Shaneice decided to take the next step by getting her business license to make extra money to help take care for her two, now three children.

She was also encouraged by her mom, Michelle. Shaneice moved to Roanoke to live with her dad in 2007 after her mom suffered a stroke. Her mom has been in the nursing home since that time. "She was a hard working mother and my inspiration comes from her" says Shaneice. She wants to make her mom proud by showing her that she raised a wonderful, smart, intelligent daughter.

Shaneice is a 2011 graduate of Patrick Henry High School where she took art classes, but never had the opportunity to take any courses offered by the Roanoke Technical Education Center (ROTEC). She does plan on attending a culinary program in the near future to better understand the fundamentals of baking. Shaneice is also planning on expanding to a brick and mortar in the Roanoke Valley within the next couple of months to go full time as a baker.

For more information, visit the Sweets by Shaneice Bakery Facebook page by clicking below.
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute scientists tie improved learning processes to reduced symptoms of depression
Brain imaging, mathematical modeling reveal previously unreported mechanistic features of symptoms associated with major depressive disorder
Virginia Tech scientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC used computational models of brain functioning to consider mechanisms of depression. Illustration by Dan Page.
Virginia Tech scientists with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC have identified neural learning processes to be associated with symptoms of depression and linked improvements in these processes to improved symptoms in research participants being treated for depression.

The findings, described in a study published July 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, suggest distinct paths to depression symptoms and new mathematically guided approaches for treating clinical depression. 
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine welcomes its 12th class
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine welcomed its 12th class on Monday, July 26. More than 6,400 applied for the 49 available positions for the Class of 2025. The medical school is located in Roanoke adjacent to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.

While applications to medical school were up across the country, the national average was about 18 percent, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

About 55 percent of the VTCSOM class are women and 45 percent are men. The members of the class represent:
  • 13 states; 10 are Virginia residents.
  • 36 undergraduate institutions; two are Virginia Tech alumni.
  • 10 who had applied to VTCSOM previously and were accepted this year.
  • 14 students already have graduate degrees, including two with doctorates.
United Airlines adds ROA to their Touchdown in College Town Program
United Airlines has added the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport to its Touchdown in College Town Program to support additional demand expected for the Notre Dame versus Virginia Tech football game on October 9, 2021.

United created the program in 2017 to connect smaller college towns to each other with special non-stop service for big games. On Friday, October 8, the flight will depart South Bend at 5:30 pm and arrive at ROA at 7:30 pm. The return flight will depart ROA at 8:45 am and arrive in South Bend at 10:35 am. Tickets are available for purchase at

“We are thrilled to be added to United Airlines Touchdown in College Town Program, said Brad Boettcher, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development at ROA. We are honored that United is adding the direct flight to make it easier for fans to get to the game. This is a great opportunity to showcase the region not only for football but as a place to live, work and play.”
Roanoke Valley Greenway Coordinator Hired
Frank Maguire
The Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission is pleased to announce that Mr. Frank Maguire has accepted the position as Roanoke Valley Greenway Coordinator effective Monday, August 30, 2021.
Mr. Maguire is currently the Trails & Recreation Program Director for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council where he helps communities envision, plan and implement their regional trail priorities. Mr. Maguire has held this position since 2015. Prior to this, Mr. Maguire was the Mid Atlantic Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

The Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission was formally established in 1997 by the City of Roanoke, the City of Salem, the Town of Vinton and the County of Roanoke. Botetourt County joined the Commission in 2016. 
Roanoke Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) Celebrates
One Year Anniversary 
Roanoke Financial Empowerment Center has held more than 1100 no-cost, one-on-one financial counseling sessions with Roanoke area residents since opening a year ago.

FEC, a City of Roanoke partnership with Freedom First Enterprises and the National Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), has helped Roanoke area residents reduce over $330,000 in debt and save over $45,000 since it opened last year. The Roanoke FEC provides one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a no-cost public service to Roanoke area residents. 

The Roanoke FEC addresses financial instability in the community by empowering individuals and families to increase emergency savings, decrease household debt, become banked, improve their credit, and connect to other resources in the community. Professionally trained FEC counselors help individuals so that they are better prepared to weather financial shocks and build towards a more secure financial future. 
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
Don't forget...BizRoanoke is on RVTV Channel 3!
BizRoanoke is a monthly television program highlighting economic activity and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more, access it on our website at or click below for our most recent show featuring 

Mast General Store
The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Check it Out!

City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties available for acquisition, including existing buildings (as available) and buildable sites. Proposals for these properties must be approved by Council and must be submitted to the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links below:

Upcoming Training and Events
For additional events, workshops and resources, click here!
We are excited to be back in-person for TechNite 2021 and to be celebrating during GameChanger Week

TechNite is the annual celebration of the Roanoke – Blacksburg region’s technology community. It’s an opportunity to network with more than 500 leaders in business and innovation. The evening includes a keynote speaker and awards presentation to celebrate the leaders, innovators, and successful companies within the regional technology community. This historical event is made possible thanks to our sponsors, members, board of directors, and staff.
Keynote Speaker: 
Michael Rihani, Tesla

August 26, 2021
The Inn at Virginia Tech
901 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg VA
5 PM