VCEDA Closes up to $600,000 Loan for Apex Leasing

VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, right, presents a ceremonial check for the Apex Leasing project in Buchanan County. From left are Jay Rife, Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority; Joe Gary Street and Pete Savage, West River/Apex Leasing; and Belcher.

On March 29 VCEDA closed an up to $600,000 loan for Apex Leasing Corporation, an affiliate of West River Conveyors and Machinery Company, which will result in the creation of 12-15 new jobs in Buchanan County.  Formed in 1992, Apex Leasing Corporation leases property to West River, a designer and manufacturer of conveyor systems and equipment.

Funds from the VCEDA loan to Apex will be utilized for an expansion of the West River facility on Dismal River Road in Buchanan County, which will enable the company to expand its product line. The expansion project includes the construction of an approximately 15,000 sq. ft. building, including a paint booth and office and equipment. The building will be owned by Apex and leased to West River.

West River, founded in 1985, builds belt drives, discharge/transfer stations, tail sections, take-up units, power packs, starters, belt storage units, winches and many unique fabrications to customer specifications. It sells belt and structure as part of its conveyor packages and also sells new and used conveyor parts. West River is the largest manufacturing company and one of the largest private employers in Buchanan County.

The expansion will allow for the development of new product lines to make the company more competitive and enhance its ability to offer greater solutions to its customers.

“One of VCEDA’s goals is not only to attract new businesses to the region, but also to assist existing business in their growth and expansion plans. This project certainly is in line with that goal and we look forward to seeing the company implement its plan and continue to grow and provide jobs in the e-Region.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about this project.

VCEDA Closes up to $500,000 Grant to MECC Foundation

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel, presents a ceremonial check for up to a $500,000 grant to the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation for workforce development and training. In the photo, from left, are Vickie Ratliff, MECC Vice President, Academic and Student Services; MECC President Dr. Kristen Westover; Belcher; Fran Doyle, MECC Dean, Business and IT; and Amy Greear, Interim Director of Institutional Advancement, MECC Foundation.

VCEDA closed March 27 on an up to $500,000 grant to the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation to be used for workforce development and training at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC). The funds will be used for scholarships, tuition, and assessment fees, including administering National Career Readiness Certificate testing, to create and administer relevant courses to train and retrain the workforce for new jobs in the region. Students must be residents of the VCEDA region, which includes the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell,


Scott, Tazewell and Wise and the City of


“Being able to present workforce capabilities to those employers who are considering locating or expanding their businesses in the VCEDA region is important in VCEDA’s mission to enhance and diversify the region’s economic base.” 

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the grant to MECC Foundation.

VCEDA Provides $1 Million to Buchanan County IDA to Benefit Appalachian School of Law

VCEDA closed on the third and final installment in a $6 million loan benefitting the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on March 29.
The installment amount was for $1 million, completing delivery of the $6 million funding package initially approved in 2016 by VCEDA to benefit the law school. The funds were presented to the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority which will disburse the funds to ASL.

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel, presents a check representing VCEDA’s final installment in a multi-year loan to the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority to benefit the Appalachian School of Law. Pictured from left are Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority Chairman Jay Rife; ASL Board of Trustees Vice Chair James Keen; ASL Dean Sandy McGlothlin; Belcher; and ASL Development Consultant Will Morefield.

One of the parameters that had to be met to access the VCEDA funding was tied to enrollment. Sixty-nine first year law students arrived on campus to start the 2017-2018 academic year. The first-year class included new students, students who started law school in January 2017 and transfer students, representing a more than 80 VCEDA Attends Site Selectors Guild


Annual Conferencepercent increase in the

number of first year

students compared to fall 2016.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to assist the Appalachian School of Law in this project aimed at job retention and job creation. The funds the law school is receiving for this project are contingent upon the law school meeting additional enrollment performance criteria and we are happy to say they not only met that criteria, but exceeded it.”

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel

Read more about the ASL loan.

VCEDA Attends Site Selectors Guild Annual Conference

Site selectors are a valuable source of leads for potential projects, and this is one method VCEDA utilizes to communicate with them and make them aware of the advantages of locating in Virginia’s e-Region. VCEDA attended the seventh annual conference of the Site Selectors Guild March 19-21 in Cincinnati, OH. The theme of this year’s conference was how disruptive technologies are affecting economic development and the future. Trends and innovative technologies such as driverless cars; workforce training required for jobs that may not even exist today; changes in energy; and site selection process and policies were among the topics discussed. Interacting with individual site selectors who are members of the Site Selectors Guild in revolving roundtable discussions was a highlight of the conference that was attended by some 400 attendees. The guild seeks to foster the vital relationships between economic developers and site selection consultants through sharing of valuable information and feedback from its work with corporate clients in order to help make regions and communities more competitive and successful.