The Online Newsletter for the Virginia Economic Developers Association
July 2020
President's Column
Dear VEDA Members,

The adage "the only constant is change" has never been more present in our lives than right now. The health crisis, grappling with institutional racism, and a seismic shift in how politics are conducted, has turned our world upside down. Combine these changes with unprecedented technology acceleration in the digital communications sector and we find ourselves operating in a brand-new world.
Narrowing this perspective to economic development in Virginia, the political shift in the General Assembly has amplified the need for VEDA to be ever vigilant regarding new legislation and policy decisions. This is not a statement about one side of the aisle being better or worse for economic development, but an acknowledgement that political views have changed, and we need to assess them through our lens and react accordingly. A good example of this is the legislation requiring Economic Development Authority members to complete the State and Local Statement of Economic Interest versus the much less intrusive and simpler Financial Disclosure Statement. Frankly, we did not react to this legislation during the last General Assembly session, and even if we had it would have been difficult to oppose without appearing to be against government transparency. However, perhaps under the heading of unintended consequences, we now have valued EDA members resigning over this requirement and with good reason. The level of financial disclosure is not commensurate with their volunteer role and the data's ability to be accessed and abused is a real concern. We are dependent on these volunteers to elevate our economic development programs particularly in smaller communities. This issue will need to be addressed in the next full General Assembly session in 2021, but it is a poignant reminder that we need stay focused on all types of legislative actions that could impact our work.        
The Board of Directors has endorsed an abbreviated public policy statement for the upcoming Special General Assembly session (see details in this newsletter). Primarily focused on freeing up previously approved funding for VEDP programs like VJIP and Business Ready Sites, we need your support with legislators serving as Budget Conferees. Our public policy statement and a list of the Budget Conferees will be available on our website.
Jim Noel
VEDA President
York County Economic Development
VEDA members in the news
Virginia's Gateway Region  (VGR) and the  Community College Workforce Alliance  (CCWA) have created a new joint position to advance workforce solutions in the region. VEDA member Michelle Rogers was named Director of Workforce Development. Michelle previously worked at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Carrie Hileman Chenery , Valley Pike Partners was reappointed to the Board of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Bryan David  has been hired as the program director of GO Virginia Region 3 through a partnership with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. 

Business Facilities magazine , a leading publication for site location advisors, recently ranked Greater Richmond as one of the top places for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in its Metro Rankings Report. Home to manufacturing operations for world-wide leaders like Altria, DuPont, Sabra Dipping and Westrock, the Richmond Region ranked second in the GDP category.

Nichole Hair  has been hired as Economic Development Manager for Virginia's Industrial Advancement Alliance (VIAA). Nichole previously served as Deputy Town Manager for Pulaski, VA.


John J. Smolak III  (Appalachian Power Company) has retired as Director Economic and Business Development.

Mike Davidson   (Campbell County Economic Development) has retired as Director of Economic Development.

Sam Crickenberger (Rockbridge County Economic Development) has retired as Director of Economic Development. 
VEDA Cardinal Comeback Series

Nominate a Business in your community for VEDA's Cardinal Comeback Series

The ca rdinal is more than just VEDA's mascot and official state bird of the Commonwealth.

It represe nts hope. Health. Rejuvenation.

In the wake of COVID-19 and its impact to businesses across Virginia, VEDA wants to use the power of story to help inject some hope and health into our business community, and hopefully help rejuvenate us all to move out of this crisis.

That's why VEDA is proud to launch the CARDINAL COMEBACK SERIES, a series of stories of businesses we will tell on our website and social media channels to help showcase what inspiring businesses are doing to COME BACK!

But we need your help to do it. We need YOU to nominate the businesses.

CLICK HERE to complete the online nomination form and nominate a business that you've seen doing great things in this pandemic. We'll take it from there!

NOTE: The response has been outstanding. We now have 38 nominations and that number continues to grow.This will be a rolling series throughout 2020! Watch for highlights on these Cardinal Comeback stories on social media, the VEDA website and through VEDA communications.
2020 VEDA Fall Conference
Wednesday, September 16-Friday, September 18, 2020

VEDA Winter Membership Meeting
Tuesday, December 1-Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center
Staunton, Virginia

Mark your calendar and plan on attending these economic development events in 2020!
Cardinal around the Commonwealth
It has been said that cardinals withstand all seasonal changes. They are BOLD. STRONG. PERSISTENT . We think that's true for economic developers across Virginia too.
If you have a VEDA Cardinal, take it with you as you travel across your region and beyond, snap a picture and share on social media with #GoVEDA!
 If you don't have a VEDA Cardinal and would like one, send your mailing address to

Check out where the VEDA Cardinal has been showing up across the Commonwealth.
CARDINAL AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH UPDATE: As we continue to telecommute and social distance share your experiences with the VEDA Cardinal. Stay safe in place!
Corporate Patron Spotlight
VEDA is fortunate to have the generous support of Annual Corporate Patrons who assist us in bringing great programming, scholarships, professional development opportunities and much more to VEDA members. If you have an opportunity, please thank them for their support of economic development in Virginia.

Williams Mullen Economic Development Team
To assist companies with the considerable number of legal and non-legal steps associated with relocating or expanding, Williams Mullen's Economic Development Team provides the guidance and know-how to make each transaction as smooth, efficient and cost-effective as possible. Led by former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Pat Gottschalk, our multi-disciplinary team of attorneys and professionals brings significant skills and experience in the distinct services typically sought by relocating or expanding companies, including, federal, state and local government liaison, real estate, land use, energy, environmental permitting, corporate law, international transactions, immigration, labor and employment and intellectual property.

The Team's project focus is on advanced manufacturing, warehouse, distribution and logistics, research and development, technology (including information and communications technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, modeling and simulation and the like), headquarters, energy power generation (with an emphasis on renewable power - hydro, wind, solar, biomass, ethanol, etc.) and data centers.

Contact:  Patrick O. Gottschalk

City of Williamsburg Economic Development

Today, as in Colonial America, Williamsburg is a center of commerce and culture viewed by millions the world over as synonymous with quality, education and hospitality. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, yet still a small town, Williamsburg offers discerning businesses and families th
e opportunity to work and live in one of the world's truly special places.  The smallest city with the biggest international address, Williamsburg's high quality environment, its special sense of place, and its millions of visitors every year make it a great place to do business.
The City of Williamsburg's Office of Economic Development offers programs to attract new business and to assist existing businesses. Programs include:
  • Discretionary Incentives for Targeted Industries
  • Creative Economy Business Tax Incentives
  • Tourism Zone Incentives
  • Redevelopment Incentives, including Demolition Grants
  • Bond Financing
  • eCommerce Grants
  • Site Selection
  • Advocacy and Technical Support
Contact:  Michelle DeWitt
VEDA COVID-19 resources and programming to assist our members
VEDA Resources & Information Page
VEDA is offering resources and sharing tools to support your efforts during this time. Resources you can use and share with your communities in real time. You can share too!  CLICK HERE for the VEDA COVID-19 News and Resource Page. Click on the Forum link on this page (be sure to login as a member) and post your news, information, resources, and best practices.

VEDA/VEDP impactED Sessions
VEDA, in conjunction with VEDP is hosting regular impactED Sessions every other Monday. The next impactED Session will be Monday, August 3, 2020 from 12:30-2:00 pm. Speakers for July 6th include Stephen Moret (VEDP) and Amy Liu and Joseph Parilla from the Brookings Institution.

Be on the lookout for meeting notices and details. To access previous impactED information and recordings, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE  to access the VEDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Spreadsheet.

President:  James Noel
York County Office  of Economic Development

Treasurer:  Steven Harrison
Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance

Secretary:  David Manley
Joint IDA of Wythe County

Immediate Past President:  Stephanie Landrum
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership

Traci Blido
Bedford County Economic Development
Paul Bryan
Froehling & Robertson
Voncile Gilbreath
Greater Williamsburg Partnership
Linda Green
Southern Virginia  Regional Alliance
John Kilgore
Scott County Economic Development
Courtland Robinson
Virginia Economic  Development Partnership
Curry Roberts
Fredericksburg Regional Alliance
Rick Whittington
Whittington Consulting

Russell Held
The Port of Virginia
Barry DuVal
Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Patrick Gottschalk
Williams Mullen
Erik Johnston
Department of Housing and Community Development
Jody Keenan
Virginia SBDC Network-George Mason University
Connie Long
Virginia Economic Developers Association
Stephen Moret
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Sharon Morrisey
Virginia Community College System
In This Issue
VEDA's priorities for the Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly (August 2020)
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Virginia's economy. As our legislators meet in August for a Special General Assembly session, it is critical that they craft a revised budget that creates the greatest opportunity for recovery as well as long-term success. Investments in workforce development, site development, broadband and marketing Virginia to the world are essential to achieve a positive outcome.
While the continued financial support of foundational economic development efforts are important, there are several specific initiatives that are essential for Virginia's recovery and prosperity.
Funding for workforce development and training programs will not only secure thousands of new jobs for unemployed Virginians but will also quickly provide the training Virginians need to get reemployed.
Virginia Talent Accelerator Program - $4.7M in FY22 - The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, Virginia's world-class custom workforce initiative being delivered in partnership with VCCS and other higher education partners is modeled on the current national leading programs. The program is receiving rave reviews from leading companies using it, while helping to secure thousands of new jobs. The program will need an infusion of $4.7M for FY22 (as included but unallotted in the adopted biennium budget) to be able to serve projects across Virginia and to maximize job creation. If the FY22 funding cannot be made available, expansion of the program from FY21's preliminary levels (its first in operation) will cease without the resources to sustain the planned growth.
Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) - $2M in FY21 & $2M in FY22 - VJIP is Virginia's oldest incentive program and is often the only state incentive available for smaller projects, small to midsize  businesses, and those in rural Virginia. Many of these businesses were hardest hit during the pandemic. By providing a grant to offset training costs, VJIP supports the recruitment and job-specific retraining of individuals by companies, using the training provider(s) of their choice. Over the past three fiscal years, VJIP helped to create approximately 35,000 new jobs and 6,000 retrained jobs, with $3.4B in capital investment. Restoration of $2M each year in VJIP funding in the new biennium budget, as included by the Governor and General Assembly but currently unallotted, paired with a world-class custom workforce program (the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program), is vital to Virginia's economic recovery.
Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP) - $12.5M in FY21 - Availability of project-ready sites is one of the top factors companies and site selectors consider when deciding on a project location. Industry analysis and surveys indicate a significant share of manufacturers will likely bring production and sourcing back to the United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, most of Virginia's industrial sites are at a low level of readiness and require additional investment. For the Commonwealth to capture manufacturing reshoring and new supply chain opportunities, Virginia must invest in expanding and improving its inventory of project-ready sites and buildings. The $12.5M in funding currently unallotted for the VBRSP program would contribute greatly to economic recovery, but the impact of the new site development investments would take longer to produce results (i.e., significant ramp-up of jobs created beginning in late FY22 and accelerating into FY23).
Commit to Funding Broadband Expansion - $16M in FY21 - Internet access to all parts of the Commonwealth is essential to the State's competitiveness. It drives job creation, promotes innovation, and expands markets for Virginia businesses. Investments in broadband must be prioritized in the post-COVID-19 budget, not only to address deficiencies but as an incentive to attract businesses to underserved areas across the Commonwealth. The unallotted $16M in FY21 must be restored, particularly considering the impact the pandemic has had, changing how Virginians work, access medical needs, shop, and learn- all now done online.
The preceding four budget items were included in the budget passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic have in part remained unallotted. It is vital that this funding to be reinstated.
Economic Development Marketing & Lead Generation Efforts - Even a great business climate and fully funded incentives are of limited use if we do not have the resources or the people to tell the Virginia story. This, however, is the area where past budget cuts and/or stagnant funding have hit the hardest. Virginia must reengage business leaders globally to ensure top of mind awareness of the state as a great place to do business. VEDA supports enhancing the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's (VEDP) marketing budget and other efforts to enhance Virginia's lead generation, while keeping our current economic development tools whole, to effectively differentiate Virginia from its global competitors. It is now more important than ever when other states are pulling back on economic development, for Virginia to capitalize on its top rankings to help restore jobs lost and continue to grow and diversify the economy.