May 2021
Member News is a monthly newsletter that provides news about Chamber members.
With a group of regional partners and stakeholders, Danielle focuses on best practices in workforce development, employee recruitment and engagement, human resources and other critical topics in the context of creating a more equitable workplace. She also provides technical assistance to help businesses and organizations.

Reach out to her at
to learn more!
The Pandemic Recovery and Resiliency Plan (PRRP) survey is officially live!
As part of the PRRP process, this survey has been developed to better understand how regional businesses are affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Completing this survey will help the PRRP planning team understand local business needs.
Averett University has recently received the First-gen Forward designation by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, which recently announced the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort.
This designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students – students who are the first in their immediate family to attend college. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences and a first look at the Center’s research and resources. 
Almost half of Averett’s entering class are first-generation college attendees. Nearly 100% of Averett students qualify for some form of financial assistance, with 43% of the student body qualifying this year for Pell grants.  

Averett offers a vast network of resources specific to first-generation students, including:

  • A vibrant mentorship program, in which 57 self-identified first-generation faculty and staff connect with first-generation students and offer guidance on navigating college life;
  • An annual first-generation recognition celebration, during which T-shirts and swag are given;
  • Financial assistance and guidance to first-generation students during the graduation process, including a desire to acknowledge first-generation graduates during the ceremony by having them stand for applause; and
  • A range of additional programming specifically for first-generation students, including tutoring services, career readiness tools, interviewing skills, and other student success programs.

About the Center for First-generation Student Success

The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success since 1993.
Averett University is launching four new academic programs through Averett Online and converting to a new student information system (SIS), with grant funding from the Danville Regional Foundation and in response to demands of the marketplace.
The following online degree programs, most of which will begin in 2022, are under development:

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Operations
  • Bachelor of Science online: Begins Fall 2022; Up to 30 graduates per year over time
  • Master of Science online: Begins Spring 2022; Up to 15 graduates per year over time
This program will focus on the many diverse elements of the small business enterprise with special attention to entrepreneurialism.
Healthcare Administration
  • Bachelor of Science online: Begins Fall 2023; Up to 20 graduates per year over time
  • Master of Science online: Begins Fall 2022; Up to 10 graduates per year over time

Prepare health care administrators with the knowledge and skills to have a career with leading health care organizations such as hospitals, physician offices, care facilities and other health care organizations.
Information Systems/Security
  • Bachelor of Science online: Begins Fall 2022; Up to 30 graduates per year over time

Focus on the increasingly critical and requested areas of information technology, information security and cyber security.
  • Bachelor of Science online: Begins Fall 2022; Up to 30 graduates per year over time
An undergraduate psychology degree can help a graduate enter into a number of human relations and social service jobs.
The four academic programs were chosen after listening sessions with local industry leaders, expansive data review and an analysis of the institution’s strengths. They are intended to grow the talent of this region, providing a more diverse and prepared workforce as well as an enhanced quality of life for the area’s residents.
Davenport Energy Inc. in Chatham awarded $28,000 in ExxonMobil Educational Alliance grants to schools in Virginia and North Carolina.

Grants, which range from $500-$1,000, benefit classrooms, teachers, and students. A branded wholesaler for ExxonMobil, Davenport Energy secured 58 education grants on behalf of its Exxon and Mobil gasoline stations and convenience stores.

Pittsylvania County schools receiving grants include Chatham High School, Gretna High School, Dan River High School, Tunstall High School, and Dan River Middle School. George Washington High School, Sacred Heart School, and Westover Christian Academy in Danville also received ExxonMobil education grants.

The ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program is designed to provide Exxon and Mobil retailers with an opportunity to invest in the future of communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools.

Every year, ExxonMobil awards 4,400 Educational Alliance grants to K-12 institutions across the country. Since 2000, the company has committed over $38 million to the grant program. Grants target math, science, and technology, and may be used for films, speakers, or field trips to science centers; scholarships or awards to encourage academic or leadership excellence in math or science; science fairs and parent-student events; and educational tools such as computers, math or science books, calculators, and software.

Headquartered in Chatham, Davenport Energy supplies gasoline and diesel fuel to more than 200 convenience stores and gas stations in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

Davenport Energy also delivers propane and heating oil to more than 35,000 customers throughout the region.
The Virginia Department of Health’s Pittsylvania/Danville Health District (PDHD) and Southside Health District (SSHD) expanded vaccination efforts to Phase 2. All individuals in the PDHD and SSHD age 16 and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

To date, nearly 30,000 people in the PDHD and more than 23,000 people in SSHD have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In PDHD, more than 14,500 are fully vaccinated and, in SSHD, nearly 12,500 are fully vaccinated.

Everyone interested in receiving a vaccination should pre-register, as completely as possible, to include appropriate essential worker category, 
When you receive your appointment for a vaccine, please follow these guidelines at the vaccination site:
  • Appointments are required at all locations for COVID-19 vaccination in our area. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Please pre-register to be contacted for an appointment
  • Please plan to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes prior to your appointment time. Too many people arriving too early causes backups
  • Please wear “vaccine ready” clothing to the extent feasible [with easy access to your upper arm]
In the meantime, it is important to remain vigilant in COVID-19 prevention. Continue to protect yourself and others: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash your hands often, stay at least six feet away from others and avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household.
Pre-register: or call 877.829.4682
The Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History presents
THE BURDEN OF INVISIBILITY, an exhibition by Veronica Jackson.

Veronica Jackson will be giving an artist presentation on May 11, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Jackson’s artwork is grounded in the belief that studying visual culture elicits transformation. As an emerging cultural producer with a socially conscious practice, her goal is to engage audiences who may benefit from the ways visual art incites the imagination to see the world differently and eventually empowers them to creatively contribute to it.

The Burden of Invisibility Exhibit consisting of the following artworks: 
  • That’s Pops’s Money [timecards]
  • Language of Invisibility [black felt bulletin boards]
  • VOICED [9 photo panels of face-masked women]
  • Languages of Invisibility, Hypervisibility Devaluation, & Triumph [silkscreen series]

For anyone interested in receiving the zoom link, please contact or phone 434.793.5644

Exhibition Dates: April 18–May 23, 2021
Location: 500 Block Gallery on Craghead [#563] River District, Danville, VA 24541 
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday: noon–8 p.m. | Sunday: noon–5 p.m.
Tech at Lunch Virtual Event: Discover how the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will benefit students and our region.

Averett Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation serves as an academic-learning lab and entrepreneurial gateway for students, connecting them with the region’s economic environment while accelerating and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in southern Virginia.

At the Center, John Vigouroux, Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer, and Averett faculty members work to create new multidisciplinary learning methods with an intense entrepreneurship focus and feature hands-on work with businesses, organizations and other regional partners.

Date: May 13, 2021
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Location: Online via Zoom
2021 Savor Virginia's Best Readers' Choice Awards:
There were 18 categories for breweries and 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. placed in four!

  • Brewery for Amber [silver]
  • Brewery for Seasonal Beer [silver]
  • Brewery for Special Events [silver]
  • Brewery for Families [bronze]
35 Virginia Breweries placed and they were one of 9 that placed in four categories [no one placed in more than four]. 
May is National Foster Care Month and Alliance Health & Human Services is looking to honor foster families that do so much for foster children in our communities. 

Alliance Human Services is a non-profit organization located in Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke that provides treatment foster care services to at-risk children throughout central and southwest Virginia. 

They are planning appreciation events during the month of May for foster families and are seeking donations to help show them how much they are appreciated. 

Any contribution provided, either monetary or in goods would be significantly valued and would assist Alliance in appreciating and honoring families.

The following positions are now available at the Danville Life Saving Crew / Danville Area Training Center:

•  Danville Life Saving Crew CEO [full time]
•  Danville Area Training Center Director [full time]
•  Human Resources Officer [part-time]
•  Front Desk Officer [full time]
If interested, submit a letter of introduction, a resume, and salary requirements to
Danville Public Schools is excited to host its 3rd Annual STEAM Night.

When: Monday, May 10, 2021 [PreK-5], and Tuesday, May 11, 2021 [grades 6-12], from 4:00-7:00 pm.

STEAM Night is an annual family event that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. During STEAM Night, students and their parents/guardians will get to participate in a variety of activities that explore the different areas of STEAM. This event is 100% FREE and open to any student and his/her family no matter the school or school district. Students must be accompanied by an adult.

For families that have multiple grade-level students, they are welcome to attend the night of their choice or join us for both evenings. Both events will be held outside in the bus loop between Bonner and Westwood Middle Schools located at 300 and 500 Apollo Avenue.

Masks are required for all participants - if you do not have one, one will be provided to you at the Safety Station; where you will also have your temperature taken. Hand sanitizer and gloves are also available. For social distancing purposes, each station is placed a minimum of six feet apart and families are asked to travel together through the event in the appropriate arrowed layout

STEAM Night is a floating event so students/parents can attend when a time is convenient for them. Rain dates are Monday, May 17, 2021, for elementary students and Tuesday, May 18, 2021, for secondary students.

For more information, click the links below, or contact Cori Sowers at
Axxor has 6 current job openings: 

  • 4 End of Line Operators
  • 1 Fork Lift Operator
  • 1 Warehouse Operator  

Shifts will vary. Those interested may send a resume/CV to
The Danville City School Board recently approved the following administrative appointments:

  • Alicia Hightower, Principal, Virtual Academy
  • Kevin Bowman, Principal, G.L.H. Johnson Elementary
  • LaTonya Simmons, Principal, Schoolfield Elementary
  • Justin Durham, Principal, O.T. Bonner Middle School
  • Mary Ann Mitchell, Director of Curriculum
  • Misti Webster Williams, Director of Leader Quality
  • Judy Cox, Principal, Westwood Middle School
  • Tonya Steele, Director of Professional Learning
The River District Association has awarded three new businesses a total of $50,000 to open or expand their brick-and-mortar businesses in the River District.

The River District Association Dream Launch Program is a multi-phase entrepreneur engagement program that consisted of a five-week entrepreneur boot camp that was free for anyone to attend. Participants who completed the entire series and wished to open a brick-and-mortar business in the downtown River District area were eligible to pitch for grant funding to help close the gap for needed resources to open their business in the next 12 months.

Dream Launch, now finishing the third year of the program, saw registration of more than 100 to attended the Dream Launch Boot Camp classes; 26 participants finished all five classes, and five business plans were pitched to judges in the Dream Launch Grant Award Program in late March. 

The three businesses that were awarded 2021 RDA Dream Launch Pitch funding are:
  • The Dog-Eared Page Bookshop - Catherine Carter - $25,000
  • The Ramp Nutrition [second location] - Tia Macklin - $15,000
  • The Fashion Haus Studio - Kelly Cunningham - $10,000

Funding for the 2021 RDA Dream Launch program was made possible by the City of Danville and the Dan River Region Entrepreneur Ecosystem [funded by the Danville Regional Foundation]. Additional community partners in the RDA Dream Launch initiative include the Longwood Small Business Development Center, The Launch Place and Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce among several others. This collaboration also opened an additional opportunity for Dream Launch Boot Camp finishers to participate in a newly formed pitch opportunity; those that wish to locate a business outside the district were eligible to participate in Rev Up Danville Pittsylvania.

This program would not be possible without the time, expertise, and support from all these entities and many more instructors, judges, and local entrepreneurs that volunteer their time and talent.
Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce |
(T) 434.836.6990 | (F) 434.836.6955
150 Slayton Avenue | Danville, VA 24540