January 2023 Update
NRVRC Receives Community Service Award

The Regional Commission was honored to be recognized by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce at their annual meeting in December as the Outstanding Community Service Organization of the Year! The award is in recognition of contributions made above and beyond the mission of the organization. Staff at the Regional Commission certainly "walks the talk" when it comes to serving communities. The team makes so many contributions when they are not working directly on projects because everyone in the organization is truly passionate about being involved with communities in the region.  

For more information, contact Kevin Byrd at kbyrd@nrvrc.org.
Commonwealth Transportation Board Coordination

On November 29, 2022, the Commonwealth Transportation Board Salem District Representative, Dr. Raymond Smoot met with local government partners to learn about the most pressing transportation needs in the region. The Regional Commission coordinates the meeting each year in the Fall, and it allows local partners to share projects that have been submitted for funding consideration by the Virginia Department of Transportation. The meetings also provide an opportunity to learn about upcoming funding programs and statewide initiatives.  

For more information contact Elijah Sharp at esharp@nrvrc.org
NRV Passenger Rail Station Authority Update

The Authority held their second official meeting at the end of November. Primary items on the agenda included reviewing draft bylaws, discussing remote meeting policies, appointing staff and legal counsel to serve the authority, and determining next steps for staff to focus. The Authority took action to appoint the Regional Commission as staff and Sands Anderson, PC as legal counsel. The next meeting will have an updated draft of the bylaws for adoption. Staff will also be developing a Request for Proposals for preliminary architectural/engineering services to support the authority in the coming months.  

For more information, contact Kevin Byrd at kbyrd@nrvrc.org.
Help needed with regional visitor survey

The NRV region and regional tourism partners are collecting responses for a NRV Visitor Profiling Study. This survey is being done to learn more about those who visits the NRV and what they do while here. Your assistance is much appreciated! Please consider completing the survey, sharing with friends and family or including this survey link on any email or social communications you have with guests and customers. The data is extremely valuable to target future marketing and development efforts. Click here to take the survey!

For more information, contact Joy Rumley at jrumley@nrvrc.org
Community Heart and Soul Coaching Cohort

In August of this year, Holly Lesko was selected to participate in the Community Heart and Soul Coaching cohort with the Orton Foundation. She completed the 12-week course of weekly training modules and on-line engagement in November and is now a Certified Heart and Soul Coach. The Community Heart & Soul training is designed to support community residents in small cities and towns across the U.S. identify what they love most about their community, the future they want for it, and how to achieve it. Community Heart & Soul has been field tested for over a decade in partnership with over 90 small cities and towns across the US. It is based on 3 principles: Involve everyone, Focus on what matters most, and Play the long game. 
Regional Commission Welcomes Chris Owens!

Chris joined the Regional Commission in December 2022. She has over 15 years of combined private and public sector experience in grant and project management including six years with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  Through her experience, she has been involved in a wide variety of community development and economic development projects, including water and sewer infrastructure, housing, brownfield redevelopment, community service facilities, downtown revitalization and broadband implementation. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography with a minor in environmental studies from Emory & Henry College. She also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Community and Organizational Leadership from Emory & Henry College, as well. Chris has a passion for assisting communities with planning, development and implementation of projects that not only improve the overall community, but also enhance the quality of life for the citizens of these communities. 

Chris can be reached at cowens@nrvrc.org
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