Date: September 27, 2016
New River Valley, VA – Last Wednesday, we celebrated the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance’s 26th anniversary with our biggest and most impactful Annual Dinner to-date. With over 115 local business, government, and community leaders in attendance, we recognized the past year’s accomplishments, outlined our vision for FY2017, and listened as our keynote speaker, Melody Warnick, presented research on current trends in economic development.
Over an hour of networking kicked-off the evening and gave our investors, friends, and guests a chance to mingle with fellow industry colleagues, as well as with those from entirely different regions or sectors. Given the unique makeup of the New River Valley—a geographic area of four counties, one city, and ten towns, as well as a region with a wide range of industries spanning technology, manufacturing, food, and the creative sectors—this Annual Dinner provided a critical opportunity for developing relationships across regional and industry boundaries.
Our motto, as Charlie Jewell, Executive Director, reminded everyone at the start of the program, is “All Together. Better.” With that in mind, not only did he provide an update on 2015-2016 employment, workforce, and prospect activity, but also emphasized the ways in which we, as business, elected, and community leaders, can work together to make the New River Valley the best place to live and work.
One of the main ways that the Alliance plans to work more closely with community members is through this upcoming year’s rebranding process. Part I includes the strategic target industry analysis that Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development is undertaking. This process will determine the specific and targeted industry clusters that the Alliance will focus its marketing efforts on. Part II requires a total brand overhaul (including website, logos, and messaging) in order to better represent our business and local communities. This rebranding will place our partner-based mission first and foremost: “To attract and retain world-class jobs, investment, and talent in the New River Valley by marketing the region as a premier destination to live and do business, and by building collaborative partnerships that promote economic vitality.”
Finally, Melody Warnick, author of This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, headlined the event with an engaging and eye-opening presentation on how quality of life affects economic development. As a local Blacksburg resident, Melody outlined how place attachment is directly correlated to GDP and described how site selection is increasingly concerned with sourcing a talented workforce with a good quality of life than just finding a site or building.
As we look forward to FY2017, we’d like, once again, to thank the investors, allies, and local communities who support the Alliance. This region is truly the best place to live and do business, and we are here to join with you to continue attracting and retaining the best companies and workforce to the New River Valley.
Virginia’s New River Valley is a vibrant community that’s home to two state universities, Virginia Tech and Radford University, and a diverse industry base ranging from large international corporations to small technology startups. The region is designated the Blacksburg-Christiansburg Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area and encompasses the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and the city of Radford.
The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance is a public/private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market the New River Valley, to foster job creation, facilitate new investment and to improve the quality of life in the region.