VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, right, presents a ceremonial check representing the $10,000 seed capital matching grant recently awarded to Dismal River Trucking LLC to Tyler Justus, center, owner of the trucking company. Also pictured is Margie Douglass, left, director of the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College.

OAKWOOD, VA — (JANUARY 20, 2020) — Tyler Justus grew up around trucks as his father owned a trucking business when he was growing up. Owning his own trucking business just seemed to be a natural next step and last summer, he took it, opening Dismal River Trucking LLC, in Buchanan County, Va.

He bought his first truck – a Mack — and hired a driver to run it while he continues to teach at Hurley Elementary-Middle School. Dismal River Trucking LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

“Assisting entrepreneurs like Tyler to grow their businesses is the reason the VCEDA seed capital matching grant program exists,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “In opening up a trucking company, Tyler examined current markets, but also looked at additional haul markets which would add stability to the company, while also providing it with avenues for future growth. His business plan calls for two full-time employees within two years.”

The trucking company hauls and delivers various products to select areas. Currently, it is being used to haul coal, but additional products may be hauled in the future, including gravel, rock and asphalt.

While he has a driver for the truck, he also drives the truck himself as needed. Plans call for the purchase of a second truck within a year, which Justus noted will help in the event the first truck is down for repairs.

“My father had a trucking business and I have been exposed to trucks, coal and mining all my life,” Justus said. “As my business grows, I hope to hire employees in other aspects of the business, other than driving.”

Justus noted he receives some support for the business from his father and an uncle who currently assist with basic maintenance needs. His mother assists with the bookkeeping.

He noted the VCEDA grant had helped him with some of the day-to-day costs of operating a trucking business — from maintenance and repairs to fuel, tires, tools and supplies.

“The VCEDA grant really made a difference,” Justus said.

Justus worked with Margie Douglass, director of the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College, in the development of his company’s application for funding submitted to VCEDA.

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.  or

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.