The Cardinal Award recognizes leadership in economic development, outstanding professional accomplishments and exceptional service to VEDA.
Roberts’ 35 years of business experience in the nonprofit, public and private sector includes a successful track record of managing complex issues. As President of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at the University of Mary Washington, he leads the marketing of the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. His efforts have led to the creation of 1,000 new jobs, capital investment exceeding $425 million and an innovative research partnership with the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce and Mary Washington.
As Assistant City Manager for the City of Williamsburg, DeWitt oversees strategic planning products and leads the City’s legislative effort. Prior to assuming that position in July 2021, she spent 16 years as Williamsburg’s first Economic Development Director. During that time, she was instrumental in the Prince George Redevelopment Project that enhanced physical and cultural connections between Williamsburg and William and Mary and created a Tourism Development Fund for the Historic Triangle.
The Cardinal Awards were presented at the VEDA Fall Conference in Lynchburg held Sept. 21-23.
“Curry and Michele have an exemplary list of noteworthy accomplishments,” said VEDA President David Manley. “We salute them for their decades of excellence in economic development and for their unwavering commitment to what we do at VEDA.”
Previously Roberts served as Virginia’s Secretary of Economic Development under Gov. Gerald L. Baliles. During that span, 400,000 new jobs were created and 100 domestic and overseas accompanies located or invested in Virginia. Roberts’ experience in navigating the complexities of state and local zoning and regulatory issues, his ability to manage diverse interests toward a common goal and his extensive contacts among decisionmakers led his fellow board members at State Fair of Virginia, Inc. to ask him to lead the organization as President and CEO through a pivotal transition to its new home in Caroline County.
The native of Bedford County is a graduate of Virginia Tech and co-recipient of the Virginia Tech Distinguished Service Award.
In his nomination letter, Roberts is distinguished for “his passion and charisma for the community. Curry has invested himself in the community and has dedicated himself to growing Virginia. His local, regional and state impact have been nothing short of immeasurable.”
DeWitt has served in almost every capacity within VEDA, culminating with a year as its President in 2015. Her service to VEDA has been above and beyond and her leadership was instrumental in securing VEDA’s financial future and building the organization’s financial reserves following the last recession. DeWitt holds a Master of Public Administration from VCU and a Bachelor of City Planning from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.
DeWitt’s nomination letter notes her “true caring and concern for those she comes in contact with. She has consistently mentored and positively influenced the careers of many young economic developers. As a graduate of the LEAD Greater Williamsburg class of 2007, she was responsible for helping the class start and continue to organize the PIPE concert series, which is an annual concert the proceeds of which go toward installing indoor plumbing in residences in Greater Williamsburg that do not currently have indoor plumbing. Most recently, DeWitt personally worked during the COVID crisis to deliver food and critical supplies to the underserved of the Williamsburg area.”
VEDA is a non-profit, non-partisan membership association for individuals with a professional interest in economic development across the Commonwealth of Virginia. VEDA serves as the voice of economic development in Virginia and was founded in 1982 to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Virginia by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and professional development activities. For more information, visit goveda.org.