LEBANON, VA – MARCH 3, 2023 —  Fifty new projects and expansions in all eight Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) localities resulting in a projected 900 new jobs and more than $220 million in planned private investment were announced in the region during 2022, according to details highlighted in the VCEDA 2022 Annual Report filed earlier this week with Governor Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia General Assembly.

Combined, the projects were projected to create 709 new full-time and 191 new part-time jobs.

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) was formed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the economy of the seven-county, one-city coalfield region of Southwest Virginia, which includes the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise and the City of Norton.

VCEDA Chairman Larry Mosley noted that new project announcements in 2022 included the locations of Signco, Ronald Mark Associates and Blackstone Data Services to Tazewell County, as well as expansions by Appalachian Millworks & Cabinetry and AMR PEMCO in that county; the K-VA-T Food Stores expansion and a new substance abuse rehabilitation facility in Dickenson County; the Coronado Global expansion in Buchanan and Tazewell counties; and expansions by Polycap and Bates Family Farm in Russell County. Other new project announcements included business start-ups approved for funding through VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program.

“Funding from VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching grant program assisted 37 new business start-ups with 267 full-time and part-time jobs projected,” Mosley added. “In 2022, VCEDA approved 54 loans and grants for $9,524,604 in new VCEDA funding.”

Additionally, Mosley said, VCEDA staff, who provide administrative assistance to the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority (CFX), worked in conjunction with the region’s federal legislators, raising $8.995 million in federal funding for the CFX which is deemed a crucial component in the economic development future of Southwest Virginia.

“VCEDA is committed to its mission and crucial role in helping to diversify the region’s economy,” Mosley concluded. “We look forward to working with the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly to help our region continue to diversify and grow.”

“Since VCEDA was formed, the region has seen the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and billions in private investment,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The economic diversity index of the region has improved by more than 250 percent and the region’s unemployment rate has been cut by at least half.”

Belcher noted that 2022 saw the region build upon those successes, despite the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and high national inflation.

Some of the successes included:

  • The announcement of 43 new projects in the region, projected to create 365 full-time and 141 part-time jobs and $35,879,701 in private investment;
  • The announcement of seven expansion projects in the region, projected to create 344 full-time and 50 part-time jobs and $184,475,200 in private investment;
  • The approval by the VCEDA Board of 54 loans and grants for $9,524,604 in new VCEDA funding;
  • Thirty-seven new business start-ups in the region supported by grants from VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Fund program, projecting 126 full-time and 141 part-time jobs; and
  • Twenty-five outreach marketing events to promote the region, which VCEDA promotes as Southwest Virginia’s e-Region, throughout the United States.

In 2022, VCEDA had 67 in-person and virtual prospect visits and fielded 218 inquiries about Southwest Virginia’s e-Region. It participated with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in several events including marketing call trips to Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio. VCEDA, joined by local economic developers, also conducted a virtual call trip, talking with site location consultants about the region and also participated in a number of trade shows and conferences to promote the region, including Data Center World, the International Manufacturing Technology Show, SelectUSA and the Industrial Fabrics Association International Expo.

The report also noted VCEDA’s social media channels continue to gain followers and attention for VCEDA and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region. A LinkedIn campaign in March, coupled with an ad in Virginia Business magazine, drew attention to videos on VCEDA’s website (vceda.us/impact) from companies telling their stories and how VCEDA has helped them to locate to Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.

To view the full annual report, interested persons may visit https://www.vceda.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/VCEDA-Annual-Report-2022.pdf.

Members and officers of the 2022 VCEDA Board included Mosley as chairman; Joshua Ball, vice chairman; J.P. Richardson, secretary; Esther Bolling, treasurer; Becky Coleman, Kathy Still, Maggie Asbury, Troy Nichols, Scotty Wampler, Duane Miller, Andy Hrovatic, Brian Hess, Barbara Altizer, Rhonda Sluss, Carroll Branham and Tim Stuller.

“As always, the successes of 2022 were possible because of the region’s team approach as VCEDA and its economic development allies work towards a common goal for the betterment of the region,” Belcher said. “It is this team approach that will continue to be critical as the region perseveres in its challenge to enhance and diversify the economy of the coalfields of Virginia.”

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.