December 2020
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Unveils Expansion in
City of Roanoke
Video showcases new home to leading biomedical and health sciences research along the Innovation Corridor.
The new 139,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke will be home to at least 25 new teams of Virginia Tech biomedical researchers specializing in cardiovascular research, obesity and metabolism, body-device interfaces, cancer, and more. The building will also feature a green roof, classrooms, wet and dry lab space, offices, and a LINAC particle accelerator to help pets with cancer. 
Watch the full tour led by @mikejfriedlan, @virginia_tech's vice president for health sciences and technology and our executive director:
COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise Our Area
COVID19 cases are on the rise in our area - we wanted to share this joint message below from our regional physicians and hospital leaders at Carilion Clinic, LewisGale Regional Health System and the Salem VA Medical Center about the importance of staying vigilant during this time. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask. Thank you to the fine work of our front line health workers and their efforts in keeping our region safe.
Luna Innovations acquires OptaSense
Combination transforms Luna into a global fiber optic leader; creates a distributed fiber sensing powerhouse

Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ: LUNA), a global leader in advanced optical technology, recently announced it has acquired OptaSense Holdings, Ltd. (“OptaSense”), a QinetiQ company (LON: QQ), for 29 million British Pounds in cash. OptaSense is a recognized market leader in fiber optic distributed monitoring solutions for pipelines, oilfield services, security, highways and railways, as well as power and utilities monitoring systems.  The combination is expected to create the world’s largest fiber optic sensing company.  

"The acquisition of OptaSense marks an incredibly important milestone in Luna’s history and will further support our growth trajectory," said Scott Graeff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Luna. "With the combination of Luna and OptaSense, we are bringing together businesses with strong adjacencies and a large, combined opportunity.  This transaction allows Luna to acquire a leader in fiber optic sensing solutions and distributed acoustic sensing systems of a global size and scale that will truly be transformative to our company.  In addition, OptaSense’s success has been driven by a world class, industry-leading technology base and a very talented team of employees.  We are very excited about welcoming them to the Luna team.”
Long Awaited Specialty Grocer Opens in
Crystal Spring Neighborhood
Crystal Spring Grocery Co. celebrates grand opening and ribbon-cutting.
Mayor Sherman Lea (left) cuts ribbon during November 12 opening with General Manager Devon Steiner of Crystal Spring Grocery Co. Executive Chef Matt Lints and Associate Brianna Sellers, Crystal Spring Grocery Co. assist with Ribbon-Cutting.
On Thursday, November 12, Crystal Spring Grocery Co. located at 2205 Crystal Spring Avenue in the former Tinnell's Finer Foods opened to anxious shoppers just in time for the holidays.

The new grocery store is a lunch restaurant, specialty food store, and community gathering space. If you need to "grab and go," then this is the place for you!

The website states, "we provide exceptional house-made food items, regional provisions, freshly prepared meals, fine wine, and craft beer selections. Guests can dine in for made-to-order lunches or pick up quick carryout items from the prepared food section. Our mission is to provide exceptional service, high quality ingredients and consistent value while serving the local neighborhood and regional community."

Congratulations to the leadership team of this new small business located in the City of Roanoke.
31 Woods Rogers Attorneys Listed as
“Legal Elite” and “Rising Stars”
The 2020 Legal Elite ranking by Virginia Business magazine lists a total of 31 Woods Rogers attorneys from across Virginia in 13 categories. Attorneys are included in the annual list based on high ratings from other lawyers in Virginia. Dan Summerlin, WR President, was profiled for the Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative category. The “Rising Stars” category includes Beth Burgin Waller, who is a Principal and Chair of the Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice. Associate Leah Stiegler, of the firm’s Labor & Employment practice, is the second “Rising Star”.
Passenger Traffic Rebounds at ROA 
October 2020 up 19% over September 2020 at the
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw an increase in October 2020 traffic of 19% over September 2020. 25,783 passengers flew in October via ROA compared to 21,659 in September 2020, an increase of 4,124 passengers, or 133 additional passengers flying each day.

ROA saw a decrease in October 2020 traffic of 62% on a year-over-year basis. Traffic was off 65% nationally. Year to date passenger traffic as of October 2020 was down 59% versus 2019, with 243,314 passengers served in 2020 vs. 595,101 in 2019. Despite the decrease in traffic year over year, it has increased or remained flat every month since bottoming out in April, 2020. 

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Commission works with the airlines to maintain air service serving the region. ROA is open and operational when the public needs to fly and has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, as have the airlines servicing ROA, to make air travel as safe as possible. The Commission sincerely thanks our customers for choosing to fly ROA.

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is the primary airport for Virginia’s Blue Ridge and the New River Valley.  ROA serves over 719,000 passengers per year via four airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Allegiant Air) with nonstop service to 5 hub cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago-O’Hare, Philadelphia, and Washington-Dulles) as well as weekly flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. 
RVARC Releases COVID-19 and Demographic Dashboard
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has prepared a COVID-19 dashboard that tracks regional cases and includes demographics and mapping on vulnerable populations. Data and mapping is available for each locality down to the census tract level. Unemployment claims, nursing homes location, and zip code COVID-19 data are included in the dashboard. COVID-19 cases and deaths are updated hourly from Johns Hopkins. 
Spotlight on Business

LeadPoint Digital is growing into new office space in downtown Roanoke, above Century Plaza at 10 Church Avenue, SE, Suite 300. The newly renovated office is designed to maximize creativity and communication, both virtually and in-person.

Roanoke’s newest tenants specialize in creating inbound strategies consisting of various digital marketing activities. From branding and nurturing to converting prospects into leads, LeadPoint Digital brings a wealth of talent and a history of exceeding client expectations.

Contact Stephanie Frost at 540.566.3281 or by email at to learn more.
NSF grant unites diverse Virginia Tech team to improve
in-home physical therapy

The project responds to growing demand for physical therapy as the U.S. population ages. Annually, 795,000 people suffer strokes in the United States.

Kobla Setor Zilevu, a Virginia Tech computer science graduate student, works on the computer interface of the SARAH system in the Interactive Neurorehabilitation Lab.
Scientists at the VTC Smart Rehab Lab are developing breakthrough, affordable technology and methods to connect stroke survivors to physical therapy at home through tele-rehabilitation.

The lab was awarded $1.1 million by the National Science Foundation to continue development of its Semi-Automated Rehabilitation At Home (SARAH) project. The system will include a fused knowledge base of human and machine learning to assess patient performance during training and daily activities at the home and provide feedback to the patient and summaries of progress to the remote therapist – a major innovation that can be expanded to a range of therapy needs.

“The main goal here is that we want to be able to provide much more therapy to many more people at a significantly reduced cost,” said Thanassis Rikakis, a professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech and principal investigator on the SARAH project.

The VTC Smart Rehab Lab is a collaboration of the Virginia Tech College of EngineeringFralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTCVirginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and Carilion Clinic, which will conduct clinical tests of the equipment and methods.
Texas Tavern Hot Dogs Named Best in Virginia by
Food & Wine Magazine
Food & Wine Magazine rounded up the best hot dogs in every state across America and Virginia's Blue Ridge won the bragging rights for all of Virginia! Texas Tavern, a favorite local spot since 1930, was recognized for their affordably priced and flavorful hot dog. 

The following is an excerpt from Food & Wine Magazine's piece:
"Since the Great Depression, anybody with two nickels to rub together has found themselves welcome to one of ten counter seats at the Bullington family's Texas Tavern in downtown Roanoke, where the hot dogs are still accessibly priced, and best ordered "all the way," with the house chili sauce, onions, and a unique mustard-based relish..."
Experience Leadership Institute January Session: Digital Deep Dive
Digital technology is important now more than ever. Take your existing experience with digital technology and learn how to leverage it in the workplace. You will also learn how you can brand yourself as an employee, as well as discuss the technological challenges that can sometimes exist when transitioning to the workplace.
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.
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
Virginia Economic Development Partnership International Trade (VEDP) is happy to partner with Allocca Enterprises to provide an online training seminar covering the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement. This virtual training is ideal for Virginia companies that are interested in or who are currently engaged in international business with Mexico and/or Canada. 

The seminar will cover the following topics:
  • 11 areas of new upgrades
  • Rules of origin examples
  • Preference Criteria update
  • New proof of eligibility
  • De minimus Customs Levels

Date: December 8, 2020 from 10:00am to 12:00pm

Cost: VEDP is pleased to offer this training for $25 per attendee.