VCEDA Annual Report Highlights Jobs Created, Retained

Projects Located in All Seven-Member Counties, City of Norton

Despite the challenges to economic development presented during the national COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) experienced a successful year, with projects reported by the authority in 2020 projected to create or retain 1,259 full-time jobs and 227 part-time jobs and to generate $237 million in private investment.

The results of the past year are highlighted in the VCEDA 2020 Annual Report filed with the state March 1 and detail 32 new projects projected to create 505 full-time jobs and 97 part-time jobs generating more than $235 million in private investment, as well as successes in job expansion and retention projects which also impacted the region in a positive manner.

Projects were approved for funding in 2020 in every county and city served by VCEDA and included those in the information technology, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Industrial site development, broadband expansion and workforce development and training projects were also approved during the year.

A full copy of the annual report may be found on the VCEDA website at

“VCEDA has been marketing the region to industries including data centers, information technology and manufacturing for more than two decades. This is reflected in our Southwest Virginia’s e-Region marketing strategy, which was implemented more than 14 years ago and has seen the location of various data centers, IT operations and manufacturing operations in the region.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the VCEDA Annual Report.

. . .

Semi-Annual Application Deadline Set for Renewable Energy Fund

A semi-annual application deadline for the Renewable Energy Fund was established by the VCEDA board when it met in February.

Applications will be entertained in the spring and fall, subject to availability of funds. The application deadline for the Fall 2021 round, which is the initial round of the fund, is August 10, 2021. Applicants are asked to first complete a pre-application form, which is due June 10, 2021.

Both the pre-application form, and the application form, are available by contacting VCEDA at (276) 889-0381 or

Read more about the Renewable Energy Fund

. . .

The Council Industrial Park building in Buchanan County will soon be home to Maine Five’s new sewing factory which will bring new jobs to the county as it opens.

Maine Five Bringing New Jobs to Buchanan County

Buchanan County’s industrial park building at Council, Va. will soon be home to a new business as Maine Five locates its new sewing factory at the park, bringing with it up to 100 new jobs within five years including 12 new jobs to start and an estimated $350,000 in private investment.

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) introduced the new business prospect to the county last fall. VCEDA also served as a communications liaison for Maine Five and Buchanan County as discussions leading to a lease agreement for the use of the building by Maine Five continued with county officials.

That agreement was finalized during a meeting of the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority, February 22.

“We knew Buchanan County had a building and in fact, equipment at the Council Industrial Park that would benefit Maine Five in its search to find a location to grow its business. The Council Industrial Park was one of the earliest industrial parks and industrial buildings financed by VCEDA, so with our knowledge of that location, we were able to connect Maine Five to the county and also to other programs available to help businesses.  Buchanan County and its IDA, with assistance from Scotty Wampler with the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, then did a great job in getting the deal closed.  The end result of those team efforts is the announcement of the company’s decision to locate in Buchanan County. We welcome them to the region.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Maine Five.

. . .

Antony Chestin Wright ‘s new business, NxtGen Mobile Welding Services, LLC offers welding services on site for residential, commercial and industrial needs.

NxtGen Mobile Welding Services, LLC Approved for Seed Capital Matching Grant

When welding services are needed, it’s not always convenient to have to take the piece of equipment or item into the shop to have it fixed. That’s where Nxtgen Mobile Welding Services, LLC comes in.

Antony Chestin Wright, of Honaker, opened the business, with the idea of providing welding services on site for area farms, businesses, or residential customers in Russell, Buchanan, Tazewell and Washington counties. Nxtgen Mobile Welding Services, LLC is a recent recipient of a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) $9,000 seed capital matching grant.

“Nxtgen Mobile Welding Services, LLC’s business model of providing its services on site was a unique way to expand on current markets and needs for welding services and really made the Nxtgen application for seed capital funding stand out. The business projects up to three full-time jobs.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about NxtGen Mobile Welding Services, LLC.

. . .

The Russell Place Building and Site in Lebanon.

VCEDA Provides Loan to Russell County IDA for New Industrial Property

An up to $900,000 loan to be used by the Russell County Industrial Development Authority to acquire and develop the Russell Place building and site in Lebanon was closed recently by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

The property is located at 122 Haber Drive in Lebanon.

“With the recent deals with Rambler Wood Products for the occupancy of the Bush building in St. Paul, and with Polycap for the occupancy of the Lebanon shell building, the IDA and VCEDA were without a single building under the IDA’s control to market in Russell County,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The purchase of the Russell Place building will again make IDA property available in Lebanon which in turn will provide additional opportunities for Russell County to attract new projects and new jobs.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about Russell Place.

. . .

Harry Childress, center, is presented with a certificate of appreciation for his service to the VCEDA board by VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, left; and VCEDA Executive Committee Chairman and past VCEDA Board Chairman J.P. Richardson, right.

VCEDA Board Recognizes Harry Childress for Service; Approves Variety of Projects

Outgoing Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board member Harry Childress was recognized for his service to the VCEDA board and Southwest Virginia during the February meeting of the board.

Childress, whose most recent service on the VCEDA board spanned from 2016-2020 as a representative of the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance, was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation, recognizing him for “his outstanding service and genuine concern for the people of Southwest Virginia and the Coalfield Region.”

In addition to his most recent service on the board, Childress also served from 2008 to 2011 as the representative on the VCEDA board for one of the top three coal producers in the region at that time. He was president of the coal and energy alliance from 2014 to 2020 and in 2021 became president of the new Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA). He is retiring next month from the coal association post. Barbara Altizer, MCPA executive director of education and outreach, succeeds Childress on the VCEDA board.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the VCEDA board approved projects in Dickenson County, Scott County and Tazewell County; and okayed several loan and grant extensions.

Read more about the February meeting of the VCEDA Board.

. . .