PowerGen International Held in Louisiana

Southwest Virginia’s e-Region was represented at PowerGen International in New Orleans, LA by the team of Susan Copeland, VCEDA marketing coordinator; Charlotte Mullins, VCEDA marketing ambassador; and Brian Falin, executive director of the Wise County IDA.

The exhibit hall opened with a traditional Mardi Gras band and the team visited exhibitors and attended conference sessions on topics such as building an innovative workforce for a decarbonized future, the decarbonization challenge using hydrogen and other solutions, addressing economic challenges from a construction and operations perspective and microgrids and onsite power for data centers.

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VCEDA Sponsors SWVA Reception

VCEDA was pleased to attend and be a sponsor of the SWVA Legislative Reception in Richmond, VA on January 31 at the State Library of Virginia. A large contingent of residents from SWVA turned out to show the best of the region. The Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and the SWVA delegation also attended the event.

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Buchanan County Economic Development Director Matt Fields, left, accepts a ceremonial check for $2.5 million from VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. The grant funds will be used toward the development of a new approximately 20-acre industrial site at Southern Gap.


$2.5 Million Grant Closed for New Southern Gap Industrial Site Development

An up to $2.5 million grant to be used to develop an approximately 20-acre industrial site in the Phase II section of the Southern Gap Industrial Park in Buchanan County, Va., was closed recently between VCEDA and the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority.

The Southern Gap development, a 3,153-acre area in Buchanan County, controlled by the IDA, has been developed through the years utilizing funding from the county and from VCEDA.

Read more about the Southern Gap industrial site.

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VCEDA representatives pictured with members of the MCPA at the Richmond breakfast were, from left, Diane Thomas and Charlotte Mullins, VCEDA marketing ambassadors; Bob Cline, MCPA chairman; J.P. Richardson, MCPA director and VCEDA chairman; Jean Jordan, VCEDA funds administrator; and Barbara Altizer,MCPA exceuctive director of outreach and education and VCEDA board member.

VCEDA Sponsors MCPA Breakfast

VCEDA joined the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA) in early February as a sponsor of the MCPA Legislative Breakfast in Richmond, VA. The breakfast followed the SWVA Legislative Reception held the night before. Attendees at the breakfast heard from Sen. David Marston and Sen. Travis Hackworth, as well as MCPA Chairman Bob Cline.

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From left are Tobacco Commission Director of Regional Energy Development and Innovation Jerry Silva; Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade James Campos, who also serves as Tobacco Commission executive director; and VCEDA Marketing Ambassadors Charlotte Mullins and Diane Thomas.


VEDA Legislative Reception Held in Richmond

VCEDA was a sponsor of and attended the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) legislative reception in Richmond, Va.. in late January. While at the reception, VCEDA Marketing Ambassadors Charlotte Mullins, Diane Thomas and Cathy St. Clair (not pictured) had the opportunity to network with other economic development professionals from across the state, as well as with representatives from a number of state agencies and legislators.

Delegate Danny Marshall was recognized as the VEDA Legislator of the Year during the reception event. 

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Three grants totaling $332,250 to expand service and to finance the provision of Starlink low earth orbit space-based broadband service to further expand telehealth access in Wise County, VA were recently closed by VCEDA. On hand for the combined ceremonial check presentation were, from left, Donald Purdie,  Appalachian Broadband Innovators; Michael Wampler, MEOC executive director; Jeff Gilliam, LENOWISCO Health District business manager; Reisa Sloce, LENOWISCO Health District director; Brian Falin, Wise County IDA executive director; and Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel.

Three Wise County Projects to Expand Telehealth Access Funded by VCEDA

Three grants totaling $332,250 to expand service and to finance the provision of Starlink low earth orbit space-based broadband service to further expand telehealth access in Wise County, VA were recently closed by VCEDA.

The three grants included:

  • up to $161,250 to the Wise County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for the Mountain Empire Older Citizens (MEOC) broadband access project for unserved and/or underserved Wise County senior citizens with telemedicine or telehealth needs;
  • up to $150,000 for service expansions through the IDA’s project with the St. Mary’s Health Wagon to identify telehealth/telemedicine patients in Wise County in need of services; and
  • up to $21,000 to the IDA for mobile telehealth services provided by the LENOWISCO Health District.

Each of the grants will cover hardware, installation and a two-year subscription to Starlink services.

Read more about the Wise County broadband grants.

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Elgin Separation Solutions Graduates from VALET Program

VCEDA extended its congratulations to Tazewell County’s Elgin Separation Solutions, as they graduated in January from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. VALET is a two-year international business acceleration program that provides participating companies with international sales plan development services, assistance from a team of experienced international service providers, international business meetings with potential partners, educational events and customized market research. Elgin is one of 16 companies across the Commonwealth to graduate from the program this year. The program has now graduated 391 companies since its inception in 2002

To read the governor’s release, click here.

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Center for Rural Virginia Breakfast Sponsored by VCEDA

VCEDA took part in and sponsored the Center for Rural Virginia Breakfast and Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) Day events in Richmond, VA in January.

VCEDA Marketing Ambassadors Diane Thomas and Charlotte Mullins joined other economic development professionals from throughout the state to visit with legislators, talking to them about the importance of economic development initiatives underway across the state. Among the topics VCEDA representatives addressed was the importance of the Coalfields Expressway in Virginia to open up the region to future economic development.

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CFX Focus of Virginia Business Magazine Ad

The message was simple. Keep the momentum going! VCEDA published an ad promoting the Virginia Coalfields Expressway project in the January issue of Virginia Business Magazine.

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VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund Eligibility Criteria Revised

Revisions to the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant fund to expand eligibility criteria were made in late December by the VCEDA board.

VCEDA formed the seed capital grant program in 2017 in consultation with the two Small Business Development Centers that serve the region. The stated goal of the program was to provide a source of matching grant funds to assist new, start-up and emerging small businesses located within the seven-county and one-city VCEDA region and to attract small businesses from outside the region.

The most recent revisions to the eligibility criteria add construction-related trades as a business sector qualifying for funds, in addition to those in manufacturing, information technology, energy and creative tourism.

Read more about the seed capital criteria revisions.

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Virginia Chamber Day At the Capitol Held

VCEDA was in attendance in mid-January at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Chamber Day at the Capitol and the Old Dominion Assembly Legislative Reception in Richmond, VA. While there, attendees heard from Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, Speaker of the House Don Scott, Del. Todd Gilbert, Sen. Ryan McDougle and Sen. Scott Surovell and had an opportunity to speak with other delegates and senators and cabinet level officials about economic development opportunities and the Virginia Coalfields Expressway.

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Virginia Economic Summit Held in Richmond

VCEDA Marketing Ambassador Diane Thomas was an attendee at the December 2023 Virginia Economic Summit and Forum on International Trade in Richmond. The event was co-hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

The program provided an overview of the new Innovative Framework for Economic Growth in Virginia and featured a panel discussion with business leaders from across the Commonwealth on Virginia’s business climate. Insight was also offered on the Commonwealth’s legal and regulatory environment and how to position Virginia as the best state for business. Discussion of 2024 elections and implications for Virginia’s international trade activities was also heard.

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Carl Scott works on some of the leather goods his new business, Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC, is manufacturing in Scott County, Va. Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC was a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC Approved for Seed Capital Grant

Leather slip covers for bibles, patches for hats and clothing and belts are among the leather goods items Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC is manufacturing from its new location in Duffield, Va. With a contract from an Ohio-based company in hand to make bible slip covers in four different sizes, Carl Scott began looking for ways to expand his new custom leather manufacturing business.

Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant. Seed capital grants are funded from regional funds received by VCEDA which are paid by the natural gas industry.

In addition to manufacturing the items here in Southwest Virginia, Scott also hopes to train and teach others in the art of leatherworks and periodically offers classes in the community.

Read More about Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC. 

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Road to Richmond Legislative Breakfast Held

VCEDA was in attendance January 4 at the Road to Richmond legislative breakfast held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. The event was organized by the Southwest Virginia Government Relations Coalition which is new and is comprised of some area chambers of commerce in the region including Tazewell, Wise, Washington Smyth, Bristol, Tenn. and the chamber of commerce of the two Virginias.

Attendees at the breakfast had the opportunity to hear from Southwest Virginia legislators, Sen. Travis Hackworth, Del. Israel O’Quinn, Del. Terry Kilgore and Sen. Todd Pillion on issues expected to come up in the General Assembly session which convened January 20, 2024, as well as to gain insight on their legislative priorities.

Dr. Bob Holsworth, managing partner for DecideSmart and Chris Piper, executive director of the Virginia Public Access Project, also spoke about the legislative landscape. The legislative panel was moderated by Larry Roberts, director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

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Virginia Business Ad Promotes VCEDA Impact

VCEDA supports companies and employees in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region was the message of a December ad in Virginia Business Magazine. A QR code in the ad allowed readers to scan it to hear for themselves the impact VCEDA has made in helping companies to locate to or expand in Southwest Virginia.

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Jesse Hoskins is working now to construct a building in the Rose Hill area of Lee County to house his planned meat processing facility, Good Ol’ Boys Processing, LLC. The facility, once open in the fall, will process cattle, hogs, goats, sheep and deer. Good Ol’ Boys Processing, LLC was a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

VCEDA Seed Capital Grant Approved for Good Ol’ Boys Processing, LLC

Helping to support beef producers and hog producers, as well as regional deer hunters, Good Ol’ Boys Processing, LLC, plans to open its doors in the fall of this year to begin processing meats at its new facility now under construction in Lee County, Va., in the Rose Hill area.

Good Ol’ Boys Processing, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant. Seed capital grants are funded from regional funds received by VCEDA which are paid by the natural gas industry.

Jesse Hoskins, who owns and operates the new company, is a veteran in the field of meat processing and formerly operated a similar facility in Tennessee.

Read more about Good Ol’Boys Processing, LLC.

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Jessica Monroe moved to Southwest Virginia in 2023, purchasing 35 acres on which she has started her new business, Breath of Dawn LLC, an alternative camping location and educational farm in Russell County. Her business was the recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching grant.


Seed Capital Grant Approved for Breath of Dawn LLC

Primitive camping, dry cabins and renovated RVs are among the alternative overnight accommodations, Breath of Dawn, LLC will offer as it opens this year. The new business will also offer classes focused on backyard gardens, food preservation and sustainable living on 35 acres of what owner, Jessica Monroe, calls an educational homestead. A new pavilion will be constructed and will open in late spring 2024 allowing planned agritourism facets of the business to be shared along with the rich heritage of Southwest Virginia.

Breath of Dawn LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant. Seed capital grants are funded from regional funds received by VCEDA which are paid by the natural gas industry.

Read more about Breath of Dawn LLC.

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