Blacksburg Commute

Blacksburg Has the Shortest Commute in VA

BLACKSBURG, VA – The numbers are in and according to Business Insider, Blacksburg has the shortest commute time in Virginia.

The average commute in Blacksburg is 13.9 minutes.

The shortest commutes in neighboring states include:

  • Murray, Kentucky — 12.4
  • Fruitland, Maryland — 15.7
  • Boone, North Carolina — 13.3 minutes
  • Paris, Tennessee — 13.2 minutes
  • Elkins, West Virginia — 11.4
  • Blacksburg Commute

    Business Insider used data from the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau. Data from 2013 to 2017, Business Insider identified cities/towns with at least 1,000 workers over the age of 16. It also excludes college campuses and military bases.

    For full list of shortest commute times in the state, visit Business Insider.

    Explore more accolades won by NRV counties, city, towns, and universities here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Blacksburg Mountain Bike Park

    Blacksburg Mountain Bike Skills Park Now Under Construction

    FROM TOWN OF BLACKSBURG – On February 18, Lynchburg-based Native Landworks began construction on the Blacksburg Rotary Mountain Bike Skills Park located on the back four acres of Brush Mountain, off Meadowbrook Drive. The park is expected to be finished by mid-April.

    The Blacksburg Rotary Mountain Bike Park is a community effort, led by Blacksburg Parks and Recreation, with funding provided in part by the Blacksburg Rotary Club and over 150 individuals and area businesses. The primary purpose of the project is to establish an off-road experience in a structured setting that provides various riding opportunities and experiences to the public. The park will include 3560 feet of downhill trails with obstacles to give beginners and intermediate riders the opportunity to learn how to maneuver on the terrain; while more advanced riders can work on perfecting their skills.

    “We’re very excited to begin construction on the mountain bike skills park,” said Blacksburg Town Manager Marc Verniel. “The park will provide an additional outdoor recreation amenity for area residents and will add to our wider region’s appeal as a mountain biking and outdoor recreation destination. This project is possible because of the community members and organizations that have contributed their ideas and funding to support the park’s construction.”

    For more information on the park visit http://blacksburgmtbpark.org/ or contact Dean Crane, Director of Parks and Recreation at dcrane@blacksburg.gov or 540-443-1101.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Meld training program

    MELD Manufacturing Announces New Operator Training Course

    CHRISTIANSBURG, VA – MELD Manufacturing Corporation has launched a new training program that will give participants certification in operating MELD machinery. The 4-day courses will be hosted at MELD’s headquarters in Christiansburg, VA and attendees will receive both hands-on machine training and classroom instruction led by experts in the technology.

    MELD training course

    MELD Manufacturing Corporation’s patented and award-winning technology is a unique no-melt process for the additive manufacturing, repairing, coating, and joining of metals and metal matrix composites. The training course will review the history of how MELD was developed and provide participants with a deeper understanding of its material compatibility, application capabilities, and other properties.

    Participants will also be instructed on identifying required machine settings for the wide range of metals compatible with the technology and be taken through each step of the MELD process, from digital print file creation to deposition.

    “This program creates certified MELDers and delivers the capacity to integrate and innovate with MELD,” said MELD Manufacturing Corporation CEO Nanci Hardwick. “Our customers have raved about the elegance of the MELD process and the ease of training. We’re excited to offer more of these opportunities.”

    Class sizes will be very limited to ensure the maximum amount of hands-on machine time for each attendee. At the end of the sessions, participants will receive a certificate demonstrating their ability to operate MELD machinery.

    Visit http://meldmanufacturing.com/meld-operator-training/ for class details and registration for remaining openings.

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    MELD Manufacturing Corporation holds more than a dozen patents for MELD™ technology, an innovative process for additive manufacturing, coating, joining, and repairing metals and metal matrix composites. MELD™ offers the power to build parts in solid state, thereby avoiding the issues associated with melting. The technology is also open-atmosphere, meaning no special vacuums or chambers are needed for operation. The MELD™ equipment is scalable and can produce parts much larger than similar processes. MELD Manufacturing Corporation offers MELD machines sales, contract manufacturing, and consulting services. Learn more at www.meldmanufacturing.com.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Nest Realty Publishes 2018 NRV Annual Report

    VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEYNest Realty has officially published their 2018 annual report for Virginia’s New River Valley, which may indicate the start of a re-balanced housing market in the region.

    There is nothing to suggest that the real estate market will crash, as it did in 2008, but buyers might be re-gaining some leverage. Overall, the median housing price went up, and the number of sales went down.

    Nest Realty says the NRV housing market is “slow and steady,” which can help both buyers and sellers avoid mistakes. Read more about why Nest says the real estate market in Virginia’s New River Valley remains strong: https://www.nestrealty.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2018AnnualReport_NRV-web.pdf

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    NRV Top Posts of 2018

    Top 10 Posts of 2018

    There’s been a lot great news for Virginia’s New River Valley this year, but which news stories topped the charts? Recap this past year in the NRV by counting down the Top 10 Posts of 2018. The following posts had the most page views online.

    10. RU Highlander Ranked #1 Mascot by USA Today

    USA Today named the Radford University Highlander mascot the no. 1 mascot. Out of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament, the Highlanders came out on top.

    9. Blacksburg A Best Place to Live

    The Town of Blacksburg is a Top 100 Best Place to Live according to Livability.com. Blacksburg came in at number 63 out of almost 2,300 cities. The small and mid-sized towns and cities were ranked using 40 data points that analyzed economics, education, housing, and more.

    8. NRV Ranked No. 6 Top Job Market

    The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA (commonly known as Virginia’s New River Valley) keeps topping charts. The NRV was ranked the number 6 top job market of 2018 by Zippia.

    NRV Top Posts of 2018

    7. Floyd Named Most Underrated City in VA

    Thrillist named Floyd the most underrated city in Virginia. Due to its outdoor recreation opportunities and creative culture, Floyd made the list of underrated cities in all 50 states.

    6. Floyd and Giles Top Counties in VA to Buy a House

    Both Floyd and Giles Counties ranked in the top 15 for Niche’s 2017 Best Counties to Buy a House in Virginia. The housing rankings were formulated based off data from the U.S. Census, the FBI, Zillow, and other data sources. The rankings include 90 counties in Virginia.

    5. Cogar Manufacturing Comes to Giles County

    Governor Ralph Northam announced that Cogar Manufacturing, a manufacturer of material handling equipment primarily for the natural resource industries, will invest $2.5 million and create 60 new jobs to relocate its manufacturing operation to the former Caterpillar facility in Giles County.

    4. 10 Things to Do in the NRV This Summer

    Whether you’re a student, a long-term resident, or anything in between, the NRV has no shortage of things for you to do in the NRV this summer. Explore every part of Virginia’s New River Valley by starting with these 10 hotspots.

    NRV Top Posts of 2018

    3. “Why Blacksburg, VA Is a Best Place to Live”

    Melody Warnick, freelance writer, author and Blacksburg local, wrote why she thinks Blacksburg is a special place to live. Her editorial was published on Livability on January 19.

    2. Virginia Tech Football No. 1 Most Electric Entrance

    Locals know how rowdy Lane Stadium gets, but the news has gotten out. The Virginia Tech Hokies stadium entrance to Metallica’s Enter Sandman was ranked the #1 Most Electric Entrance in College Football by Fanbuzz.

    NRV Top Posts of 2018

    1. Narrows #4 Safest Place to Live in VA

    The Town of Narrows in Giles County, Virginia was named the #4 Safest Place to Live in Virginia by Niche.com, a website which ranks best places to live, school districts, colleges, and more.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Beliveau Brewery

    Roanoke Times: Beliveau Estate to Launch New Brewery

    FROM THE ROANOKE TIMES — Beliveau Estate Winery will launch a new brewery next year as the popular New River Valley destination looks to broaden its appeal beyond date nights and wine enthusiasts.

    Owner Yvan Beliveau said he’ll start small with enough beer to accommodate guests at the 60-acre farm. He hopes to offer large canned beers — known as crowlers — for customers to take home, but the goal is not to become a major beer distributor.

    Instead, the business wants to experiment with small batches to tap into the local beer culture and draw a larger crowd to the estate about 30 minutes from downtown Blacksburg. The winery is known for its events, including a lavender festival and weekly live music.

    “We’re a destination place and we’ve got to remember that,” Beliveau said. “Right now we want to satisfy the people who would like to come out here to enjoy the place.”

    Read more from Jacob Demmitt at The Roanoke Times.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    MELD™ Technology Named Winner and Receives “Market Disruptor” Recognition at R&D 100 Awards

    CHRISTIANSBURG, VA – MELD Manufacturing Corporation’s patented MELD™ technology has earned a spot in the 2018 R&D 100 Awards, an international competition that recognizes the 100 most exceptional innovations in science and technology from the past year. MELD™ was selected as the single most disruptive new technology and received a special Market Disruptor award.

    MELD™, which was named an R&D 100 finalist in August, is a revolution for additive manufacturing and repair of metals. Traditional methods melt materials, introducing weaknesses. MELD™ is a no-melt process for metal, offering stronger, better parts. No melting also means users have the potential to work with unweldable materials. This freedom offers the ability to rethink how particular materials are used for various applications and in what combinations. Since MELD™ is highly scalable it is able to make much larger parts than competitive processes. It is also the first system of its kind for building large-scale 3D parts.

    “We are intent on revolutionizing advanced manufacturing and are honored for MELD™ to be recognized as the most disruptive technology in the world,” stated MELD Manufacturing Corporation CEO Nanci Hardwick. “We know from the overwhelming response to MELD™ that there is a huge gap in existing technologies to fill the needs of manufacturers in diverse industries.”

    MELD Manufacturing Corporation launched in 2018 and its immediate relevance to the manufacturing community was made evident at the 2018 North American RAPID + TCT conference and exhibition, an event boasting more than 6,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors from the additive manufacturing community. MELD™ was selected from this sizeable group of established industry leaders to receive the 2018 RAPID + TCT Innovation Award, a recognition of the most innovative new technology with industry-changing potential.

    MELD™ next won first-place in the Robotics/Automation/Manufacturing category of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Create the Future Design Contest. The contest, produced by SAE’s Tech Briefs Media Group, recognizes the year’s best in engineering across seven categories. MELD™ was selected from more than 800 entries from over 60 countries.

    “The defining characteristic of MELD™ is that it is a no-melt process,” continued Hardwick. “Melting metals creates problems. Since there is no melting during the MELD™ process, it’s valuable for a wide range of applications, from manufacturing stronger, lighter components for the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries to repairing large metal components that are considered unweldable and cannot be salvaged by any other process.”

    Long considered the elite recognition of new developments in science and technology, the R&D 100 Awards is now in its 56th year. The awards are competitively judged and exist to “recognize excellence and inspire innovation.” This year’s winners were announced at the annual R&D 100 Conference in Orlando, Florida.

    Visit www.meldmanufacturing.com for more information.

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    MELD Manufacturing Corporation holds more than a dozen patents for MELD™ technology, an innovative process for additive manufacturing, coating, joining, and repairing metals and metal matrix composites. MELD™ offers the power to build parts in solid state, thereby avoiding the issues associated with melting. The technology is also open-atmosphere, meaning no special vacuums or chambers are needed for operation. The MELD™ equipment is scalable and can produce parts much larger than similar processes. MELD Manufacturing Corporation offers MELD machines sales, contract manufacturing, and consulting services. Learn more at www.meldmanufacturing.com.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Bowl Game Streak

    Virginia Tech Secures America’s Longest Active Bowl Streak

    BLACKSBURG, VA – The Virginia Tech Hokies officially hold the longest active bowl streak in America with 26 straight bowl game appearances.

    The Hokies beat Virginia last month, which led to a conditional game with Marshall. After sealing the victory of 41-20, the Hokies will officially keep playing in the postseason.

    Virginia Tech Bowl Game Streak Graphic from Virginia Tech Football Twitter.

    The Florida State Seminoles have appeared in bowl games for the last 36 consecutive seasons, but their streak ended after losing to Florida. That puts Virginia Tech at the top of the list for active bowl game streaks.

    College Football Bowl Game Streak Leaderboard:

    1. Virginia Tech – 26 years
    2. Georgia – 21 years
    3. Oklahoma – 19 years
    4. Louisiana State – 18 years
    5. Wisconsin – 16 years & Boise State – 16 years
    7. Alabama – 14 years
    8. Clemson – 13 years
    9. Oklahoma State – 12 years
    10. Stanford – 9 years & Texas A&M – 9 years

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    New River Robotics Helps Kids Think Like Scientists and Engineers

    The Virginia + DC FIRST Lego League (FLL) Regional Qualifier was held at the Blacksburg Middle School by New River Robotics on Saturday, November 10, 2018. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

    Twenty-four teams competed in the local tournament for various awards and a chance to compete at the state championship. New River Robotics is the only organization west of Richmond that offers the entire K-12 spectrum of FIRST Robotics competitions.

    The latest FLL tournament was the 5th one hosted in Virginia’s New River Valley. The first competition started off with 12 teams from all over the state (including 6 from Southwest Virginia). The latest one hosted 24 teams and all of them were from Southwest Virginia.

    “We believe the New River Valley is unique in that we have the volunteers, the supportive community, and the infrastructure — schools, hotels, restaurants — to support a total of 5 event opportunities annually,” said Henry Bass, founder/president of Automation Creations, Inc. and vice-president/secretary of New River Robotics.

    Teams of up to ten children, with at least two adult coaches, participated in the “Into Orbit” challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field and developing solutions to problems they have identified while guided by the FIRST Core Values.

    Over 70 volunteers from Virginia Tech and local businesses and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Tuxedo Pandas helped the New River Robotics Association with this qualifier.

    Blacksburg Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith and TORC Robotics Gwen Sheldon welcomed the teams and spectators. Montgomery County School Board members Gunin Kiran and Mark Cherbaka attended to witness the local enthusiasm for STEM programming.

    For more information, or to volunteer at the next event, email nrrobotics@gmail.com.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    VTCRC Media Day Onward NRV

    PharmExec: Southeast Biotech Rising Tall in the Valley

    ~ A look at the booming life sciences scene in southwest Virginia and Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina—and the region’s advantages in location, talent, and funding compared to the more glamour spots up north by Michelle Maskaly ~

    What the [hell] are you guys doing in southwest Virginia?”

    That’s the response Josep Bassaganya-Riera, chairman and CEO of Landos Biopharma, which produces first-in-class oral therapeutics for autoimmune disorders, says he typically gets when he pitches his Blacksburg, Va.-based biotech to investors in hot spots like San Francisco and New York.

    But Bassaganya-Riera, who grew up in Europe and has lived in various places around the world, wouldn’t think about headquartering his company anywhere else.

    “There are beautiful mountains and it’s a great place to raise a family,” he says.

    Southeast Biotech VTCRC Blacksburg

    The area, surrounded by lush green valleys and sky-high mountain peaks, is also home to what some might call the region’s secret weapon when it comes to many industries, especially biotech: Virginia Tech, where Bassaganya-Riera is the director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at the school’s Biocomplexity Institute.

    If you consider the university’s long history of standout engineering and science-related student programs in human and animal health, add in the abundance of resources being made available to professors and students to commercialize research, as well as the cultural collision of the data and science worlds, you have a breeding ground for biotech innovation.

    To help foster that innovation, the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech was conceived in response to a major policy initiative that established biotechnology as a central area of economic growth for the state. Building on early successes in genomic sequencing, the institute quickly established itself as a leader in another emerging scientific field, the simulation of complex systems. According to its website, “today, the Biocomplexity Institute is answering challenges to human health, habitat, and well-being at a scale that would have been inconceivable only a decade ago.”

    Fostering an ecosystem

    Without the correct ecosystem, however, it could all be lost. That’s where the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) comes into play. The 230-acre park is located adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus and within close proximity to Route 81, a main thoroughfare that makes desirable healthcare-related cities in North Carolina, as well as the nation’s capital, just hours away.

    Created in July of 1985, the first building was completed in 1988, and is now home to 33 single-and multi-tenant structures. An expansion on the northwest side of the park provides enough land to construct 16 additional buildings. VTCRC is a for-profit, wholly-owned, private subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation.

    The center has the ability to work closely with the university’s teaching mission by identifying opportunities for classes to use VTCRC and its companies for projects, special studies, internships, cooperative education experiences, and on-site instruction.

    VTCRC also assists with university research programs and initiatives that facilitate economic development activities throughout the university by matching the needs of VTCRC businesses, facilities, and programs with the research and professional capabilities of Virginia Tech, helping to increase the level of industry-sponsored research at the school.

    Much of the credit for the research park’s success is given to Joe Meredith, president and CEO of VTCRC. He, and his staff, work closely with each of the businesses to provide as many resources as possible. In fact, one of the most touted attributes mentioned during a recent media day event was VTCRC’s flexibility, especially when it comes to space, whether it be wet lab or office space. Meredith is known to “tear up leases” and start from scratch to help companies adjust to their needs and keep them in the VTCRC, according to a number of entrepreneurs Pharm Exec spoke with.

    Many of the businesses located in the park have roots that trace back to Virginia Tech, such as CELLINK, a 3D bioprinting company; CytoRecovery, a licensed technology that enables the recovery and testing of subpopulations of cancer cells in tumor biopsies; and TechLab, a full-service in vitrodiagnostic product manufacturer.

    The fact these companies have been encouraged to stay local has had a direct impact on the economic development in the region by helping to keep talent in the area and also recruit new talent to the region. Rob Day, chief operations officer of Blacksburg-based TechLab, is a prime example. Day, who has been with the medical diagnostics company since 2000, grew up about an hour from VTCRC, and was faced with a tough choice when he first entered the workforce—leave the region for a job in his field or do something completely different.

    “After graduating from Virginia Tech, I had limited opportunities in the area at the time,” Day told Pharm Exec. “I worked for about five years locally with a cosmetics factory and was able to then find employment at TechLab. It was quite unusual at the time to be employed in microbiology and immunology in southwest Virginia. However, over the last 20 years or so, we have seen an incredible morph of the area and the biotech industry. …I feel quite lucky to have found employment and been able to stay in this beautiful area.”

    Location dollars

    Southwest Virginia is visually about as far away from Kendall Square as you can get, and the people who live and work there are okay with that. In fact, area business development leaders are very transparent that the type of C-suite level executive you find in Blacksburg or the New River Valley would likely not be happy long-term in a San Francisco or Boston lifestyle.

    The region gives those executives looking for a better quality of life access to world-class talent in a place they can do business without making a compromise. It’s why, no matter the pushback he may initially get from investors, Bassaganya-Riera has no plans of moving his biotech, especially in the early years. “When a company starts out they are usually in bootstrapping mode and budgets are lean,” he says, a consideration that also makes southwest Virginia an appealing location due to its much lower costs to rent and buy space compared to Boston, for example.

    Bassaganya-Riera finds that fundraising and networking is not impeded by being outside of the major biotech hubs, and that current-day technology allows him to bring and supply the resources he needs virtually.

    But not everyone shares his opinion. Ed Champion, president of Roanoke-based Altede, a biotech whose work centers around food allergy-testing technology that was developed at Virginia Tech, and others toldPharm Execthat raising capital is an issue for them, because it is the one missing piece of the biotech ecosystem puzzle.

    Local economic leaders, such as Brian Hamilton, economic development director for the Montgomery County Economic Development, and Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward New River Valley, both acknowledge that the southwest Virginia area doesn’t have the same financial ecosystem for biopharma companies as it does for technology companies, but that it can be looked at as a chicken and egg situation. As biotech companies become successful and are acquired, it will naturally create a financial ecosystem as the founders decide to invest in other local companies.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.