December 2019

Carilion Clinic launches plans for new cancer center with
million dollar seed gift
Carilion Clinic President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee showcases a rendering of the new Carilion Clinic Cancer Center at the November 26 press announcement. 
Carilion Clinic recently announced a $1 million seed gift to jumpstart plans for a world-class Carilion Clinic Cancer Center on the VTC Health Sciences and Technology Campus. President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee and her husband, the Honorable G. Steven Agee, have donated the money in honor of the many individuals who have dedicated their lives to caring for patients with cancer, along with those confronting the disease through their research and advocacy efforts.

“Cancer care has long held a special place in my heart,” said Ms. Agee. “Steve and I are taking this step now to enhance care in our region, building upon the dedicated work of those who have come before us. We’re committed to offering exceptional care to our neighbors in years to come.”

The new cancer center will enhance cancer care in our region with an innovative facility that offers a sophisticated, warm, caring environment and opens opportunities for leading edge research and clinical trials for patients in the community. The anticipated cost of building and outfitting the new center is ~$100 million. This capital project is not a part of the $1 billion Carilion plans to invest in the communities it serves over the next seven years, which was announced in May 2019.

“This is a big step forward for cancer care in our region,” said James Hartley, chairman of the board of directors for Carilion Clinic. “Nancy and Steve have long been ambassadors of our community – what a tremendous way of showing the love to their neighbors. This cancer center will play an integral role in providing high-quality care close to home for us all.”

The new cancer center builds on continued growth of the burgeoning VTC Health Sciences and Technology campus, further enhancing Roanoke’s role as a hub of health innovation.

“Over the years, the partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic has enhanced specialty medical services in our region, as talented physicians and researchers work side by side to solve our greatest health care challenges,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Thanks to the leadership and generosity of people like Nancy and Steve Agee, cancer research and treatment will advance in our region.”

Detailed planning is underway. Fundraising will play a large role in how quickly the center is built. The Agees are making their $1 million gift as a gesture of thanks to the many people in the community who care for those with cancer, and as an encouragement to all who are able to contribute to this new cancer center.

“With the many blessings we have experienced in our lives comes the responsibility to lift others up,” said Judge Agee. “We hope that this ‘seed’ gift will inspire our community to advance cancer care in our region for generations to come.”

Those who would like to join the Agees and contribute to the cancer center initiative may visit the Carilion Clinic Foundation webpage and click on the “Donate Now” button to make a gift. 
Roanoke Economy Shows Strong Growth
Roanoke Regional Partnership shares recent results.
The Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is performing well in key economic indicators according to John Hull, director of market intelligence for the Roanoke Regional Partnership.  Employment growth is strong; outpacing the rate of employment growth for Virginia.

At 1.3 percent growth and 2,100 new jobs, employment growth from August 2018 to August 2019 in the region exceeds employment growth rates for NOVA, Richmond, Hampton Roads, Lynchburg, and Blacksburg (BLS). According to Hull, employment growth portends positive direction going forward and will support strong growth in the overall economy.
Unemployment as of August 2019 is at 2.8 percent which is the lowest of any August since August 2000 in the Roanoke MSA (VEC). There have been only three times since 1990 when unemployment has been lower in August.
The Roanoke region’s growth in taxable sales from 2017 to 2018 led the state and was 82 percent higher than the state rate of growth (Weldon Cooper). A comparable metric is home price appreciation which is growing at a faster rate than the United States and all but one market in Virginia according to Zillow (YTD 2018 to 2019 median sales price). Local housing costs remain 19.4 percent lower than the national average which complements overall costs of living which are 10.4 percent below the national average (ACCRA 2019).
You can see economic growth of the Roanoke region in the numbers. And the numbers are looking good aided in their growth by strong economic development programs at the local and regional levels.
Spotlight on Business -
Three Notch'd Craft Kitchen and Brewery

Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen and Brewery opened its doors at 24 Campbell Avenue, SE in 2018 and has quickly made an impact on the downtown Roanoke culinary scene. Founded in 2013 by three friends who value great beer and great times, the Charlottesville-based company has since opened four locations around the Commonwealth.

Many patrons have inquired about the origins of the company name. Believed to have taken its name from the distinct markings burnt or axed into trees to blaze the trail, Three Notch’d Road was a colonial-era thoroughfare that ran east and west through central Virginia. The road was made famous by Virginia Military Captain Jack Jouett’s midnight ride to Charlottesville in June of 1781. General Benedict Arnold's defection to the British led to the sacking of Richmond and caused a number of our founding fathers, including then Governor Thomas Jefferson, to seek refuge at Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Charlottesville. Upon learning of General Charles Cornwallis' order to capture the group, Jouett raced the moon-lit Three Notch’d Road arriving at Monticello ahead of British Officer Banastre Tarleton's cavalry to warn the governor and his state legislators of the impending danger. Recognizing their debt to Jouett, The Virginia Legislature honored Joouett via a resolution passed on June 15, 1781 memorializing “Jack Jouett’s Ride” as part of Virginia’s history.

With the original trail less than a quarter mile from the location of the Charlottesville brewery, it only makes sense that Three Notch’d Brewing Company align their products with the rich history of Virginia by leading our patrons down the Three Notch’d Road to great beer.

While Three Notch’d Brewing Co. may never be as legendary as the most revered characters that inhibit Virginia history, they seek to leave their humble mark on the world of craft beer while also telling the stories related to some of the greatest characters in American History – all from a very unique Virginian-craft brew perspective. From Jack Jouett to Thomas Jefferson, our brewery will develop around bold characters that left their mark on our country’s history.

At Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen and Brewery there is an amazing selection of locally sourced food, spirits, wine and beer and this great company is looking to leaving their footprint as downtown Roanoke's next go-to event venue.

If you are visiting Downtown Roanoke, make sure to put Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen and Brewery on your list. They have “All in for $10” lunch specials, which includes your choice of select entrée and a beverage of choice for $10!!

To host an event, whether it be a rehearsal dinner, baby shower, birthday party, going away farewell, or just a fun gathering for friends and family, feel free to reach out to the Events Manager, Ashley Willie at

To learn more about the company, visit .
Virginia Tech faculty receive top honors from the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The five Virginia Tech scientists to be named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science are (top row, from left) Ronald Fricker, Michael Friedlander, Y.A. Liu, (bottom row, from left) Sharon Landesman Ramey, and Shuhai Xiao.
Five scientists from Virginia Tech were named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a high honor of the world’s largest scientific society, according to an announcement this week.

Elected by their peers and representing a broad range of AAAS “sections,” including statistics, neuroscience, engineering, psychology, and geology/geography, the Virginia Tech professors are among 443 newly elected scholars.

The five new Fellows are believed to be the most from Virginia Tech in a single year and are the most additional Fellows from any Virginia university in 2019.
  • Ronald Fricker, a statistician and the associate dean for faculty affairs and administration in the College of Science, was named for distinguished contributions to the field of statistics, particularly for advances in biosurveillance, testing, and survey methods with applications to public health and national security.
  • Michael Friedlander, a neuroscientist, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, was named for his outstanding work on developmental plasticity in the visual system and his sustained service to the neuroscience community and neuroscience education.
  • Y.A. Liu, an alumni distinguished professor and the Frank C. Vilbrandt Endowed Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering, was named for excellence in design teaching, pioneering textbooks and creative scholarship in sustainable engineering, and global leadership in implementing energy/water savings and CO2 capture.
  • Sharon Landesman Ramey, a professor and distinguished research scholar at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, was named for distinguished contributions to the field of human development, particularly for determining the role of early experience and interventions on later developmental outcomes.
  • Shuhai Xiao, a paleobiologist and professor of geosciences with the Virginia Tech College of Science, was named for outstanding contributions to paleobiology and geology of early animals and eukaryotes and for distinguished contributions and service to academe and the earth science community.

“This group of new AAAS Fellows reflects the breadth and depth of multidisciplinary excellence among the faculty at Virginia Tech,” said Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost of Virginia Tech. “These distinguished faculty deserve the recognition they will receive through this honor. We are proud to be associated with these extraordinary colleagues who are making new discoveries, creating significant innovations and impacts in their fields, and leading students to academic and professional success.”

The new Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 29th.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. New fellows receive an official certificate and a gold-and-blue rosette pin on February 15, 2020 at the organization's annual meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Ron Fricker
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech as head of the Department of Statistics in 2015, Fricker was a professor in the Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. Fricker also has served as associate director of the National Security Research Division and a senior statistician at the RAND Corp., where he oversaw a $40 million research portfolio conducted by the National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center.

He has more than 20 years of statistics experience, including work in both corporate and academic settings, and conducting research on Gulf War illnesses, military recruiting and retention, disease detection and surveillance, and body armor testing.

Fricker is widely recognized for his research in quality control and statistical process control; statistical methods for bio-surveillance, survey design, and analysis; and data analytics and data science.

He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), a former chair of the ASA Section of Statistics in Defense and National Security, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Earlier this year, Fricker took on a new role as associate dean for faculty affairs and administration for the College of Science. His duties include assisting Dean Sally C. Morton in the recruitment, retention, and development of faculty.

Fricker earned his bachelor’s degree with merit in mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in 1982, his master’s degree in operations research from George Washington University in 1991, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in statistics from Yale University, in, respectively, 1994 and 1997.

Michael Friedlander
Michael Friedlander joined the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in 2010 as inaugural executive director. Today, he leads 30 translational research teams with more than $125 million in extramural funding working to solve major health challenges and to bring biomedical innovations to the clinic and marketplace.

Friedlander is neuroscientist who studies synaptic plasticity — how connections between brain cells strengthen or weaken during development or in response to experience and injury. He is currently leading research to determine how temporal patterns of neural activity modulate synaptic strength under normal physiological conditions and after mild traumatic brain injury.

Friedlander became known early in his career while conducting research as a graduate student. He studied how behavior, molecules and electrical signals in the brains of goldfish adapted to temperature changes – work his lab has followed up recently with studies in icefishes in Antarctica. The resulting paper in the Journal of Comparative Physiology was hailed as a landmark analysis of how an organism adapts behaviorally, physiologically, and biochemically to temperature change and continues to be cited four decades later by biologists studying climate change.

As a postdoctoral fellow and early career faculty member, Friedlander established some of the first direct structure-function relationships between individual neurons in the brain’s visual processing regions resulting in a series of papers in Science, Nature, and the Journal of Neurophysiology. His lab’s work on nitric oxide published in Science and the Journal of Neuroscience provided some of the earliest evidence on how this molecule modulates release of neurotransmitters and enhances signal detection in the brain’s visual cortex.

In addition to serving as Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Friedlander is a professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and the senior dean for research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Before joining Virginia Tech, he served as the Wilhelmina Robertson Professor of Neuroscience and chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Prior to that, Friedlander was a professor and founding chair of the Department of Neurobiology, founding director of the Neurobiology Research Center, and director of the Civitan International Research Center for Intellectual Disabilities at the UAB School of Medicine. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois and his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

Y.A. Liu
Since joining the College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering faculty in 1982, Liu has achieved international recognition for his promotion of sustainable development and environmental stewardship. He and his graduate students have made significant contributions in the areas of energy and water savings and design and optimization of polymer, biodiesel, and petroleum refining operations.

For close to 40 years, Liu has worked in industrial outreach during university breaks, promoting sustainable development in Virginia industries and developing countries.
While serving as a senior advisor to the president of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., the largest energy and chemical company in Asia and a global top three chemical company, Liu led the development of water-saving engineering and investment proposals throughout the company’s 45 refining and chemical subsidiaries. This effort resulted in a $256 million investment, a 60 percent decrease in freshwater usage, and a 65 percent decrease in wastewater discharge.

With Formosa Plastics Group in Taiwan, one of the world’s top chemical producers, Liu led engineers to achieve similar water savings. In addition, the renowned scientist has worked closely with American-based corporations, such as Honeywell Specialty Materials.
Liu and eight of his Virginia Tech doctoral students have co-authorized seven pioneering textbooks on the methodologies for industrial water reuse and wastewater minimization; for the simulation, optimization, and sustainable design of polymer plants, petroleum refineries, and adsorptive and chromatographic separation processes; and for the artificial intelligence and neural networks in bioprocessing and chemical engineering. All of their textbooks have received excellent reviews by academic experts and industrial practitioners.

Prior to joining the Virginia Tech community, Liu began his professional career at Auburn University, Alabama, in 1974. He earned a bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University, a master’s degree from Tufts University, and a doctoral degree from Princeton University, all in chemical engineering.

Sharon Landesman Ramey
Sharon Landesman Ramey has devoted her career to studying the multiple biosocial and environmental influences on prenatal and early child development, the transition to school and academic achievement, family dynamics, and intergenerational vitality and competence.
Currently, she is a leader of the nation's first multicenter pediatric stroke recovery trial, headquartered at Virginia Tech and uniting researchers and clinicians from 12 sites across the United States to evaluate a therapy to help 8-month-old to 24-month-old infants who have suffered strokes.

In addition to multi-site trials, Ramey leads studies of the impact of the social ecology on quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities, longitudinal studies that address health and educational disparities, and innovative early childhood and parenting programs to improve the educational and health outcomes of children.

She is a distinguished scientist and professor of psychology, neuroscience, and human development with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; a professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; and chief science officer for human development for the City of Roanoke, Virginia.

With her husband, Craig Ramey, a research professor and distinguished research scholar, she has written award-winning parenting books that became the companion volumes to two PBS television series, “Right from Birth” and “Going to School.” She has authored more than 250 scientific publications and seven books.

Her current research focuses on the new field called implementation science that seeks to discover the most effective ways to rapidly translate scientific breakthroughs into practical use for children and families.

Previously, she was director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the founding director (along with Craig Ramey) of the Civitan International Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education.
Ramey received a bachelor’s degree from New College in Sarasota, Florida; studied at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota; and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Shuhai Xiao
A professor of geobiology in the Department of Geosciences and a member of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, Xiao has focused his career on researching life in the Precambrian eon, studying life and environments in early Earth history using paleobiological, geological, and geochemical data.

His research has taken him to Australia, China, India, Siberia, and other parts of the world, where he studies ancient rocks to illuminate the history of the biosphere.
Among his standout discoveries: Finding what could be among the first trails made by animals on the surface of the Earth dating back 550 million years.

Xiao called the unearthed fossils, including the bodies and trails left by an ancient animal species, the most convincing sign of ancient animal mobility. Named Yilingia spiciformis – that translates to spiky Yiling bug, Yiling being the Chinese city near the discovery site – the animal was found in multiple layers of rock. The findings were reported in Nature in September 2019.

He also has helped solve paleoclimatic and geochemical mysteries, such as the impact of massive ice ages on the biosphere and Earth system more than 600 million years ago, the rise of an oxygenated atmosphere and its relationship with animal evolution, and the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere going as far back as 1.5 billion years ago.

His research, totaling more than $4 million, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Chemical Society, and National Geographic Society. He was a recipient of the 2006 Charles Schuchert Award by the Paleontological Society and the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is a Fellow of The Geological Society of America and The Paleontological Society. In 2017, he was named as an Outstanding Scientist by the Science Museum of Virginia. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Patricia Caldwell Faculty Fellowship by the College of Science, an award established by its namesake and Virginia Tech alumna, Patricia Caldwell.

Xiao earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from China’s Peking University in 1988 and 1991, respectively, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1996 and 1998, respectively. He joined Virginia Tech in 2003.

For more information, please contact John Pastor,
Walkabout Outfitter partners with Smartwool sock company to raise
$1,000 for the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy
Walkabout Outfitter, a locally owned, independent outdoor retailer located throughout Virginia partnered up with the brand, SmartWool, to successfully raise $1,000.00 for the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy in Roanoke, Virginia by donating a percentage of Smartwool sock sales during the month of “ Socktober.
Five dollars for every pair of Smartwool socks sold during the month of October was donated to the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy; a local not-for-profit organization that works hard to promote the conservation of western Virginia’s natural resources farms, forests, waterways and rural landscapes. 

Tina Miller, co-owner of Walkabout exclaimed, “We were delighted to have so many customers shop our Socktober promotion in October to purchase socks for a cause. Without our customer’s support we wouldn’t be able to give back to our communities as much as we do!”
In addition to the promotion supporting our local community, it was nationally received and promoted in other independently owned retail businesses and therefore supported not-for-profits in communities across America.
Walkabout Outfitter is an independently owned outdoor retailer that opened their doors in 2005 in Lexington, VA and later added another five locations in Roanoke (two), Harrisonburg, Richmond and Blacksburg. You’ll find merchandise for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel and footwear in all locations from brands such as Patagonia, The North Face, Merrell and Keen.  

To learn more, visit

RIDE Solutions Encourages Shoppers to “Drive Small” this Holiday Season
  Drive Small focuses on the economic benefits to the community for carpooling, cycling, transit, walking, and telecommuting.
As we enter the holiday shopping season, RIDE Solutions encourages shoppers to consider the economic impact of their transportation decisions with the Drive Small awareness campaign. 
“The annual Shop Small movement is an excellent time to remember how our buying decisions affect our local businesses and economy,” says RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes. “Similarly, Drive Small is a reminder that the money we save by using sustainable transportation modes is money that goes right back into those same local businesses.”
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, about 90% of what consumers pay for a gallon of gas leaves the local economy. This includes the costs for crude oil, excise taxes, and federal and state gas taxes. What remains is the small amount of money retained by local gas stations and transportation companies.
“Spending less on gas means that not only will consumers keep more money in their pockets,” says Holmes, “but will keep money from leaving central and southwest Virginia. Those dollars can now support local businesses and the local economy.”
Further, a 2012 article from CityLab reports on an Oregon study showing cyclists and pedestrians actually spend more at the local businesses they bike and walk by each day. While each individual purchase may be less, over the course of a month these consumers spend more than folks arriving by car.
“No matter how you look at it, sharing a ride, taking the bus, or getting out of the car altogether is good for consumers and good for local businesses,” says Holmes. “We hope shoppers will choose to Drive Small while they Shop Small this holiday season.”
RIDE Solutions is a commuter services program operated by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission in cooperation with the New River Valley Planning District Commission, the Central Virginia Planning District Commission, and the West Piedmont Planning District Commission. It provides multimodal trip planning services for citizens and employers throughout Central and Southwest Virginia.
Virginia Mountains Region Virtually Sweeps Contest
Virginia’s Mountains Region of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine recently announced the winners of the ninth annual Top Adventure Towns contest. In 2019, the field was expanded to 80 adventure hubs from across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, as readers narrowed down their choices in four winning categories: favorite tiny town (population less than 3,000), small town (population 3,001-16,000), mid-sized town (population 16,001-75,000), and large town (population 75,001+).

With more than 50,000 votes cast in an online contest supported by Sweetwater Brewing Company, this year’s Top Adventure Towns included: Hot Springs, VA (tiny town), Clifton Forge, VA (small town), Woodstock, GA (mid-sized town), and Roanoke, VA (large town). The multiple runners-up in each category in 2019 were Damascus and St. Paul, VA (tiny town), Thurmont, MD, and Abingdon, VA (small town), Bristol, TN/VA, and Boone, NC (mid-sized town), and Knoxville, TN and Macon, GA. (large town).

Three of the four winning communities are located in the Virginia Mountains Region, which was established by the Virginia Tourism Corporation in 2016 to help promote travel and tourism to an eight-county region between the Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia regions. The region includes charming cities and towns, history, culture and beauty, but outdoor adventure is one of its most significant tourism draws.

Hot Springs, VA, took home the crown as the first top tiny town. More than half of Bath County is preserved as public lands, with plenty of places for you to experience the great outdoors nearby. Hike or bike 40+ miles of trails at one of Virginia’s original state parks, Douthat State Park. Fish the Jackson River, Cowpasture River, Douthat Lake, and their many tributaries for trout, bass, and more. Discover the town’s namesake—the natural springs that bring travelers to the area from all over the world.

Clifton Forge, VA, returns as winner of the small town category for the second year in a row. Float and paddle the Jackson or Cowpasture Rivers or walk or bike the Jackson River Scenic Trail. Take the whole family to Lake Moomaw for a day of swimming, paddling, hiking, and biking in the national forest or pick-up one of the many Alleghany Highlands Trails that connect to the Town of Clifton Forge. Visit Humpback Bridge, the oldest bridge of its kind in the United States, and Falling Spring Falls, an 80-foot waterfall off of Route 220. To finish off the day, make sure to stop by Jack Mason’s Tavern, a lively restaurant and community gathering place.

Roanoke, VA, surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, offers something for every type of adventurer. Visitors can hike for miles on the Appalachian Trail, paddle the Roanoke River or zip line at Explore Park. View the entire city and region from the Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. As an IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) Silver-Level Ride Center, mountain bikers will find a host of trails to ride at places like Carvins Cove and Mill Mountain. For road cyclists you have many miles to cover on the Roanoke River Greenway.
Rita McClenny, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation was quoted as saying, “The Virginia Mountains Region boasts some of the most spectacularly beautiful and charming destinations in the world, from lovely small towns to vibrant cities. This region is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting unparalleled views and a multitude of outdoor adventure options. Further, each destination offers its own unique sense of place, from local culture, historic sites, and authentic cuisine. We are delighted and proud that these incredibly special destinations have been recognized by the passionate readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors, and invite travelers from across the country to come discover for themselves why Virginia is for Mountain and Outdoor Lovers.”
For more information, contact Catherine Fox at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge by email at or by telephone at 540-494-0514.
Additional information can be found by visiting
Virginia Western designated a
National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education
National accreditation comes after more than two years of rigorous review process.

Virginia Western Community College has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Beginning this December, students who graduate with a career studies certificate in Information Technology: Cyber Security will earn the CAE-CDE designation on their transcripts and receive the educational and employment benefits that come with it.
“Cybersecurity professionals are in incredible demand nationally and across the Commonwealth of Virginia, where our government is increasingly reliant on a strong cyber-defense,” said B Bagby, assistant professor of IT. “This designation is an important way to show employers that our students have received the rigorous education and hands-on training that will allow them to adapt to and defend against ever-changing threats.”
Bagby accepted the CAE-CDE designation on behalf of Virginia Western at a national cybersecurity conference held on November 20 in Phoenix. The college became one of only eight community colleges in Virginia to have earned the designation. There are 11 four-year universities in Virginia with the designation.
By 2021, cyber crime is expected to more than triple the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs, which should reach 3.5 million. Locally, with strong healthcare and banking industries, protecting patient and financial records is a major priority. Jobs such as network analyst, security analyst and security architect are in high-demand.
“Education related to cybersecurity has become a point of emphasis across Virginia in recent years,” said Amy White, Virginia Western’s Dean of STEM. “We have heard from our industry partners in the Roanoke Region that they need a strong IT workforce to protect their assets and our community. Our IT program has been leading the way and will continue to do so thanks to this national designation.”
As a part of the CAE-CDE designation, Virginia Western faculty will sit on the Executive Committee for the Virginia Cyber Range, an initiative to enhance cybersecurity education in the Commonwealth’s high schools, college and universities. It allows students to hone their cybersecurity skills in an immersive, hands-on virtual environment.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to test out the skills they have been developing in an environment that mimics the real world, but is safe from actual threats,” Bagby said. “It’s one more tool we can deploy to help our students become proficient at cybersecurity.”
To earn the CAE-CDE designation, Virginia Western demonstrated its robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units. Top subject matter experts in the field validated the programs and evaluated three years of graduating classes.

Virginia Western’s IT program offers two Associate of Science degrees and three Associate of Applied Science degrees. Cybersecurity is one of six career studies certificates that can be paired with an Associate’s Degree or earned separately. IT classes are offered both on-campus and online, and fast-track certifications are also available.
In support of the growing need for flexible learning spaces in cyber security, information technology and computer science, Virginia Western will be opening a new cyber security lab and a new networking classroom for spring semester. The facility includes advanced instructional tools, a computer lab and additional, informal workspace for students to use for group study, computer and IT hardware learning.
Virginia Western’s Spring Semester begins on Jan. 20, 2020. To learn more about IT offerings and how to enroll, visit: .
Featured BizLink
Economic Impact Study Released
Americans for the Arts released their Arts & Economic Prosperity in the City of Roanoke, VA on Thursday, October 10. As part of the many benefits we get from engaging with and creating artistic works, our cultural institutions have a $64.2 million dollar impact on the region's economy. The total number of jobs supported by arts and cultural organizations and related spending: 1,774. 

The data was presented by Randy I. Cohen, Americans for the Arts' vice president of research and policy. Community and business leaders from around the region attended the presentations and engaged in discussions sponsored by the Roanoke Cultural Endowment .

Click the link above to get the full report.

Ideation in the Workplace

In the 1940s, Alex Osborn published a book called Applied Imagination in which he was the first to describe the process called “brainstorming”.  That process has been used over the years to help organizations and individuals come up with more ideas and was based on the withholding of judgement. Brainstorming values quantity over quality, and there will always be a place and time for brainstorming. When you are trying to think of a theme for a child’s birthday party or how to reward employees, brainstorming would be a tried and true technique!

There’s a fresh way of looking at creativity that has emerged recently, and last week we did a Lunch and Learn at our Newport News Center surrounding this process. The process is called ideation, and it is a great addition to the workplace to fuel creativity and new ideas.

Ideation uses triggers instead of throwing ideas out. It’s a creative encounter, an environment if you will, to achieve the potential of the assembled participants. Ideation solves problems through lateral thinking. Lateral thinking uses both sides of the brain. For example, how many uses could you think of for a brick? Once you go through the obvious, you start getting to some really creative ideas. 

While the entire ideation process can’t be relayed in a short article, here are a few things that make ideation sessions unique.

1.  Invite intentionally . Of course, anyone who is working on a problem or a project should be at the table, but ideation takes things to a new level. Invite customers, people from other departments, or even a child or teen if you can! Expand the group to expand into new territory.

2.  Choose a different location . The same style of meeting in the exact same location at the exact same time (with the same refreshments) does not foster novelty. Go outside, exchange space with a close by company, go to the library, go to someone’s home, come to the Virginia Tech Newport News Center…you get the idea.

3.  Don’t forget the warm up . Now you have different people involved who don’t necessarily work together or know each other. You can’t expect them to start sharing ideas if they are not relaxed. Try “Three Things in Three Minutes” for example, where participants have to pair up with someone they don’t know or don’t work with, find three things they have in common, and then report out. 

4.  Craft your triggers . For our recent Lunch and Learn, we had to think of a “project” that everyone from various companies would understand in order to do our mini-ideation laboratory. We came up with the participants having to develop three very marketable new Oreo cookie flavors. Our triggers were menus and cookbooks, helping the participants really think outside of the box. The winner? In Richmond it was tiramisu, and in Newport News it was a caramel macchiato pairing with Starbuck’s coffee of the same flavor, requiring a new partnership!

Those are just a few of the nuances of hosting an ideation session at your workplace. Do something different and just watch. The magic will happen!

Business Bits is brought to you by Lesa Hanlin ( ), Virginia Tech, Executive Director, Roanoke Regional Initiatives (540-767-6100).

Renovation/Reuse Opportunity
for Non-Profit and Community Organizations
Former Fishburn Park Caretaker’s Cottage
   Proposal Deadline: December 31, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.

The former caretaker’s cottage (building only) is available for Lease in “As-Is” condition to non-profit and/or community organizations interested in a renovation and reuse opportunity. A maximum lease term of 5 years is offered with possible additional renewals thereafter. The cottage, located at 2424 Brambleton Ave., S.W. (Tax Map Number 1470301), is adjacent to the entrance of Fishburn Park along the Murray Run Greenway which extends from Grandin Road to Colonial Avenue. A portion of the cottage was built in the late 1820’s and the City of Roanoke has owned the property since 1925.
How to Propose:

Proposals for the Cottage must contain the following elements:

  • Description of the organization’s history and purpose

  • Business Plan outlining the intended use of the Cottage and funding of its renovation/reuse. The plan must include a renovation timeline for the cottage from the initial lease term to the completion of the project

  • Renovation/Reuse plan outlining proposed physical improvements and proposed actions to retain/restore character defining architectural features of the cottage

  • Any conditions and/or contingencies associated with the submitted Proposal.

Please submit your written proposal including the form on the following page to:
Marc Nelson,
Manager, Department of Economic Development
117 Church Avenue, SW
Roanoke, VA 24011

Or by email to:

Only those proposals sent to the Department of Economic Development and containing all of the proposal elements above will be considered.

For more information, please contact the Department of Economic Development at
Check Out Additional Properties Here!

City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties, from existing buildings to buildable sites,
presently available for acquisition. The purchase of City property must be approved by Council; this requires potential buyers to submit a proposal for the property. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links 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 follow this link to our most recent show: 

The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram ! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Training & Events
Upcoming Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series brings nationally renowned experts to Roanoke. The free public lectures are open to members of the general public as well as to Virginia Tech and Carilion faculty, students, and staff.

What's Next in Digital Health Care?
When: December 12, 2019, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Chairman, New England Healthcare Exchange Network
Where: Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016