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This month's newsletter will include updates from the Board, the Regional Councils and details about upcoming events. Click below to jump to a specific section or continue reading to see all content included in this edition.
Board UpdatesBoard_Updates

On September 12, 2017 the GO VA Board met to approve the regional Growth & Diversification Plans in all nine GO VA regions.

Upcoming EventsUpcomingEvents

October 16  - GO VA Board Meeting, The Capitol Building

November 30  - GO VA Executive Committee Meeting, The Capitol Building

December 12 - GO VA Board Meeting, The Capitol Building

Region OneRegion1

Region One includes the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe; and the cities of Bristol, Galax and Norton. The Region One Council is led by Mike Quillen as chair and Ron McCall as vice chair and UVA-Wise is the support organization, led by Shannon Blevins.
Stakeholder input session in Duffield, VA.

Realizing the importance of an economic renaissance in the region, the GO VA Region One Council welcomed the opportunity that the development of this Growth & Diversification Plan provided to offer a new, resilient path to economic renewal throughout Southwest Virginia.  Community conversations  held in each of the three planning districts helped inform the development of the Regional Growth & Diversification Plan. These stakeholder input s essions were held in Duffield, Lebanon and Marion.
Stakeholder input session in Lebanon, VA.

Building upon information gathered through a regional online survey (results may be found HERE), these strategic planning sessions drew representatives from business, government, health, education and nonprofit sectors. Region One Council members were also on hand to engage in conversation regarding the direction of the region and to hear first-hand the ideas coming from citizens, businesses and community leaders. Each regional conversation built upon the previous one, resulting in six strategic goals that the participants believed should be considered in formulating the Growth & Diversification Plan.

Utilizing all of these resources -- a thorough analysis of the existing economic landscape with the strategic plan review, an analytical report completed by Chmura Economics and Analytics, coupled with thoughtful conversations and interactions with the people of the region -- led to a series of targeted industries that the Region One Council believes could signal a new age of high wages, job opportunities and an evolving, lively Southwest Virginia economic landscape. These targeted industries are:
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and Food Manufacturing
  • Information and Emerging Technologies
  • Energy and Minerals
In addition, the Growth & Diversification Plan offers some specific strategies for each initiative that would both support existing local companies and entrepreneurs, helping them to flourish in the new SWVA economy, as well as promote investment and location of prospective industries. These strategies of implementation underpin all four of the targeted industries and they fall into the following categories:
  • Talent Development: Education, Workforce and Leadership Capacity
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Infrastructure
Check out the link below to see what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and Region One :

Region TwoRegion2

Region Two includes the counties of Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedgord, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and Roanoke; and the cities of Covington, Lynchburg, Radford, Roanoke and Salem. The Region Two Council is led by Raymond Smoot as chair and Ab Boxley as vice chair.

Working group breakout meeting in June.
Region Two is supported by the Office of Economic Development (OED) at Virginia Tech with the mission of helping the Region Two Council conduct research and  d evelop a plan for the types of programs best poised to create jobs through the region. Region Two  in cludes the New River Valley, Roanoke-Alleghany and the Lynchburg area. The OED is led by its director, John Provo, who focuses on applied research and technical assista nce projects that link the university and the community to address economic development issues. Additionally, Region Two is supported by Virginia Tech's Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) office as the fiscal and grant manager.

Over the summer Region Two had their Council meeting and OED facilitated four work group sessions dealing with technology, sites and buildings, capital acc ess and skilled talent. OED submitted their Growth & Diversification Plan with the endorsement of the Region Two Council.
Working group breakout meeting in June.
Four priority clusters were identified as the best opportunities for higher paying jobs. They include:
  • Manufacturing
  • Life Science and Health Care
  • Food and Beverage Processing
  • Emerging Technology and IT
To grow the economic opportunity in these clusters, the plan identifies core strategies in four focus areas:
  • Talent and Workforce Development
  • Sites and Buildings
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Development
  • Technology Development
Click here to see OED's blog on GO VA

Region Three, or SoVaGO, includes the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Prince Edward; and the cities of Danville and Martinsville. The Region Three Council is led by Charles Majors as chair and Randy Lail as vice chair. The region is supported by the Southside Planning District Commission (SPDC), led by Gail Moody. Prior to contracting with the SPDC, SoVaGO utilized private-sector partner funding to contract for executive and administrative staff support.  These services were provided by The RiverLink Group (Liz Povar, Principal) and by Nancy Pool, retired Halifax County Executive Director.
Large business committee meeting.

Region Three ( SoVaGO)  is known for its strong advanced manufacturing base, its emerging technology and data centers base and its deep innovation and research base, which is unusual in a rural area without an anchor research university. In advanced manufacturing, the region is home to internationally-recognized name brands such as Eastman Chemical, Goodyear, Nestle, Swedwood and ABB. Due to the investment of innovation assets such as MidAtlantic Broadband Communities Corporation, the region is home to one of the largest Microsoft data centers in the country. It is also home to innovation assets such as the Institute for Advanced Learning in Danville; the FabLab in Martinsville; the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing in Henry County; The Launch Place in D anville; the National Center for Coatings, Application & Research in Halifax County; and SoVaMotion in Halifax County.

In the spring of 2017, seven standing Advisory Committees were established to engage a broader and more diverse audience, and to ensure an active pool of candidates for future service on the Regional Council.  These Advisory Committees included the following: 
  1. Education and Workforce
  2. Economic Development Professionals
  3. Local Governments and Planning Districts
  4. Legislative and State Boards & Commissions
  5. Community Leaders
  6. Large Business Employers
  7. Young Leaders  
Young Leaders stakeholder session.
The Growth & Diversification Plan was completed and endorsed by the Council in August. The plan identified four priority clusters as opportunities to create higher wage jobs. They included:
  • Business Services/IT Data Centers
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Materials
  • High Value Natural Resource Products
  • Health Care
The plan also includes opportunities for rejuvenated regional cohesion in four areas:
  • Entrepreneurial and small business development initiatives
  • Quality of life and regional branding enhancement
  • Pooling resources for region-wide infrastructure improvements
  • More systematic focus on target employment sectors and career pathways

Check out the links below to see what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and SoVaGO:

Region FourRegion4

Region Four includes the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry and Sussex; and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond. The Region Four Council is led by William Goodwin Jr. as chair and John Luke Jr. as vice chair and supported by the Grow Capital Jobs Foundation, a newly formed  501(c)(3) led by Wilson Flohr.
Stakeholder engagement meeting with local officials.

In seeking key stakeholder input in developing the Growth & Diversification Plan, Flohr, Bob Holsworth (lead consultant with DecideSmart) and staff met with dozens of leaders and experts in various fields throughout the region, both individually and in small groups. In addition, members of numerous business  organizations were surveyed online for their input.
Comments from Council and Board members are reflected in the plan. In addition, 10 days were set aside in early August for six Working Group areas identified in the Interim Report with leaders who had first-hand knowledge in those fields.
"I really think that was one of the best things we did," Holsworth said. "They had all read the Interim Report and could comment on its general direction and also provide us with new information and suggestions on things we had not included or maybe not emphasized sufficiently."
Consultant Bob Holsworth presents to the Regional Council in August.
"We now know something about how start-up businesses must feel," Flohr reflected . "You need a fresh, big idea like GO VA, lots of business expertise and a little bit of capital to get started."
The Growth & Diversification Plan was finalized for Council approval at its August 25 meeting. In the meantime, GROW Capital Jobs plans to begin actively soliciting project proposals when it receives final state project scoring guidelines.
"We knew our region well, and the Crater area fairly well," Holsworth said. "But we both found ourselves continually being impressed by people we had not met who were doing amazing things."
"It has been like riding a really big roller coaster," Flohr said. "We are just now reaching the top and we'll be picking up speed--the ride is just beginning."

The Region Four Council focused on the three core strategies to grow higher paying jobs:
  • Integrate business with education to create a highly qualified workforce that will enable individuals and families to flourish in tomorrow's economy.
  • Stimulate growth in bioscience, manufacturing and logistics utilizing advanced technology.
  • Capitalize on the region's growing reputation as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship.
As a result, the Council identified four priority clusters to achieve this:
  • Health/Bioscience
  • Information Technology
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Logistics

Check out the link below to see what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and Region Four :

Region Five includes the counties of Accomack, Franklin, Isle of Wright, James City, Northampton, Southampton and York; and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. The Region Five Council is led by Thomas Frantz as chair and Anne Conner as vice chair. Region Five's support organization, Reinvent Hampton Roads, was created as a 501(c)(3) to support the efforts of the Region Five Council, led by president and CEO, Jim Spore and executive vice president Donna Morris.

Reinvent Hampton Roads contracted with Old Dominion University, George Mason University and the Natelson Dale Group to prepare the Growth & Diversification Plan. In identifying the region's priorities and economic opportunities, stakeholder outreach was achieved through multiple interviews and advisory committees and planning district commission meetings.
Council members gather at the Region Five Council meeting.

Some of the initiatives intended to improve the economic performance of the Hampton Roads region include the following as they relate to GO VA's mission of creating higher paying jobs and diversifying the Commonwealth's economy in private sector growth:
  • Port and Maritime Economic Development Strategy
  • Workforce Gap Analysis
  • Entrepreneur In Residence Program
  • Regional Economic Development Site Inventory
  • Acceleration Pathway Project
  • Industry Cluster Scale-Up Initiative
In August Region Five completed their Growth & Diversification Plan with full endorsement of the Council. The following three broad policy goals were developed from the Plan:
  • Create a coordinated regional capacity for innovation in the Region's key cluster areas.
  • Increase the pace of small and medium-sized jobs creation through both expansion of existing firms and, in particular, the attraction of out-of-state firms in key cluster areas.
  • Close all skills, credentialing and degree gaps in the regional clusters' workforce by 2022 through both in-region production and talent importation.
The Plan identified the following key clusters:
  • Port Operations, Logistics and Warehousing
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and Model Simulation
  • Shipbuilding and Ship Repair
  • Water Technologies
  • Unmanned Systems and Aerospace
Check out the links below to see what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and Region Five:

Consultant presenting to the Regional Council.
The Mary Ball Washington Regional Council governs GO VA Region Six, which covers the Fredericksburg area, the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula (Planning Districts 16, 17, and 18). This region includes the Counties of Caroline, Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, K ing George, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland; and the City of Fredericksburg. The Council is led by William Beale as chair and Carlton Revere as vice chair. The George Washington Regional Commission, Planning District Commission for Planning District 16, is the  support organization and fiscal agent for the Regional Council, led by Tim Ware and Kate Gibson.
Delegate Keith Hodges talking with Council member Lou Belcher.

The Mary Ball Washington Regional Council selected Mangum Economics to develop its Growth & Diversification Plan.  Mangum Economics hosted five public meetings to solicit input from attendees about their perceptions of the economic needs, opportunities and challenges facing the region. These stakeholder input sessions were held in different areas of the region to account for the diverse cross section of economies located in the region.

In August the Mary Ball Washington Regional Council endorsed the Growth & Diversification Plan. The Plan identified six priority clusters for the Region:
  • Seafood Processing/Aquaculture/Commercial Fishing
  • Forestry/Wood Products/Paper
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution and Logistics
  • Professional, Technical and Scientific Services
  • Information/Data Centers
Check out the links below to see what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and the Mary Ball Washington Region:

GO NOVA, the GO VA Northern Virginia Region Seven, includes the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William; and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The GO NOVA Council is led by Carolyn Parent as chair and Matt MCQueen as vice chair and supported by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) and contract support from Sue Rowland with SR Consulting, Inc.  Prior to contracting with the NVRC, GO NOVA  utilized contract services with an interim director.  These services were provided by Martha Marshall.

Council members hear a presentation at the Growth & Diversification Plan work session.
GO NOVA hosted several work sessions on the Growth & Diversification Plan that will guide future strategies and grant funding to accelerate the GO NOVA region. The plan was approved at the August GO NOVA Council meeting.

The overall goal of GO VA is to support the creation of high-wage jobs, which for Region Seven are defined as being at or above $70,000 in annual salaries or wages. Average wage levels were used to identify industry clusters for inclusion in the Region Seven strategies for economic growth. The Plan identified the following seven priority clusters as opportunities for higher-paying jobs and diversifying the region's economy:
  • Computer Services
  • Cyber Security
  • Consulting Services
  • Financial Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Research Organizations
  • Life Sciences
In early August GO NOVA solicited Letters of Interest for projects to be funded for GO Virginia. Projects funded will address one or more of the Council's three broad goals:
  1. Grow and strengthen Northern Virginia's technology workforce;
  2. Support the expansion of small and medium sized growth companies; and
  3. Increase technology transfer and commercialization activities from research centers and institutions.
Proposed projects may use GO VA funding to start new programs and initiatives or expand successful existing programs. Projects supported by GO VA funding must:
  • Involve industries that pay average annual wages greater than $70,000 in 2016;
  • Benefit two or more jurisdictions (county or independent city) in Region Seven, or at least one Region Seven jurisdiction and a jurisdiction located elsewhere in Virginia;
  • Commit non-state sources of matching funds (50/50), including participation by included jurisdictions; and
  • Generate new spending to Northern Virginia (not just recirculating local spending).

Region EightRegion_8

Region Eight includes the counties of Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren; and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester. The Region Eight Council is led by George Pace as chair and Chris Kyle as vice chair. The Region Eight Council is currently being supported by four support organizations:
  • Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) - Providing administrative and staff support, project recommendations and analysis, and compliance and oversight
  • Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) - Assisting with and providing for the development and updating of the Economic Growth & Diversification Plan and reviewing and analyzing project proposals
  • Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) - Fiduciary and grant management, auditing and procurement
  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (SVWDB) - Advising workforce specific projects, providing labor market information and workforce data, managing and implementing regional workforce initiatives as awarded, and collecting and tracking performance metrics for workforce initiatives
    Council members gather at the Region Eight Council meeting kickoff in April.
Region Eight contracted with Camoin Associates, a New York-based full-service economic development firm, for completion of the region's Growth & Diversification Plan. From a staff perspective, the CSPDC is leading the plan for the region in coordination with the SVP, NSVRC and the SVWDB. Camoin started interviews in the Shenandoah Valley and worked with the support organizations and the Region Eight Council to interview influencers and economic developers in the region, analyze and aggregate relevant data then fully comply with the required deliverables for the Region's plan. 

The Growth & Diversification Plan was completed and approved by the Council in August. The Plan identified four areas of focus:
  • Talent Development
  • Growing Existing Businesses
  • Startups/Innovation/Commercialization
  • Sites
To achieve these goals, five priority clusters to develop higher paying jobs and to help diversify the economy were identified:
  • Financial and Business Services
  • Health Care
  • Information Technology/Communications
  • Light Manufacturing
  • Transportation and Logistics
Check out the links below to see press releases and what local news outlets are saying about GO VA and Region Eight:

GO VA Region Nine includes the counties of Albermarle, Culpepper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange and Rappahannock; and the city of Charlottesville.  The Council is led by Brian Cole as chair and Tom Click as vice chair and supported by the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, led by Helen Cauthen.
Governor Terry McAuliffe and Council Chair Brian Cole.
Region Nine contracted with Camoin Associates to develop the Growth & Diversification Plan, hosted two Economic Development Summits and engaged stakeholders through focus group sessions, surveys and site visits in preparation for the development of the Growth & Diversification Plan.

The Growth & Diversification Plan was completed and approved by the Council in August. The Plan identified four areas of focus:
  • Talent Development
  • Growing Existing Businesses
  • Startups/Innovation/Commercialization
  • Sites
Five target industry clusters were identified to promote high wage jobs and to help diversify the economy:
  • Biomedical and Biotechnology
  • Financial and Business Services
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing
  • Information Technology/Communications
  • Light Manufacturing
On September 13 Region Nine unveiled its plan to the public at both the Piedmont Virginia Community College and later in the day at the Germanna Community College.

On September 22 Region Nine will be hosting a GO VA workshop at the Tom Tom Fall Forum to be held in Charlottesville. The  Tom Tom Fall Forum is a statewide convening of business executives, policy-makers and community leaders around a common goal of driving Virginia's new economy forward.  The Forum is results oriented and will showcase the industries and policy choices that will allow innovation to flourish across the Commonwealth. By adding a GO VA Workshop on Innovation to the Forum, Region Nine will have the opportunity to discuss ideas for inter-regional collaboration on innovation and entrepreneurship.

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