2016 in the New River Valley, Ranked!

New River Valley, VA – 2016 was a banner year for the New River Valley in terms of regional and national recognition.  From Fox News to Southern Living to Area Development Magazine, both the region as a whole and the counties, city, towns, and universities within it were recognized for outstanding lifestyle, business, and educational opportunities.

Although this list is far from comprehensive, we hope that it gives you a good overview of how the New River Valley stacked up against the rest of the country (and world!) in 2016.

 

Safety First

•  Blacksburg (#6) and Christiansburg (#11) were ranked by Backgroundchecks.org as two of the top 25 Safest Cities in Virginia.


Happiness Counts

•  Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd, and Pulaski all earned top awards in Blue Ridge Country magazine’s Happiest Town in the Blue Ridge survey.

•  Christiansburg was ranked #3 Happiest City in Virginia by OnlyInYourState.com.

•  WTKR rated Blacksburg the #7 Best City for Singles.

•  Southern Living listed Floyd among its Best Small Towns.

•  Forbes called Blacksburg a Top 25 Best Place to Retire.

•  Pulaski rang in at #10 on the Best Small Towns That Offer Peace and Quiet.

 

Leading Metro

•  AIER named the a Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA #19 Top College Town.

•  In its Leading Locations survey, Area Development Magazine ranked the MSA as #30 overall and #12 among mid-sized metros.

•  The MSA ranked #4 overall and #2 among mid-sized metros in Area Development’s Prime Workforce rankings.

•  The Milken Institute recognized the MSA as #41 out of 201 small metro areas.

 

Tech-Savvy

•  Blacksburg was named one of the Best Tech Hubs in Virginia by Southern Business & Development Magazine.

•  Southern Business & Development Magazine also named Montgomery County as one of the Best Data Center Locations in Virginia.

•  NaCo ranked Montgomery County the #4 Top Digital County for counties with populations under 150,000.

 

 College Town Love

•  Garden & Gun ranked Blacksburg as the #1 Southern College Town.

•  Southern Living’s Facebook fans awarded Blacksburg the #1 College Town.

•  WalletHub gave Blacksburg the #27 ranking and Radford the #90 ranking out of 202 college towns.

 

Get Outside

•  Singletracks.com named Blacksburg the Mountain Bike Capital of Virginia.

•  Canoe & Kayak Magazine named Pembroke one of America’s (Next Best) Paddling Towns.

•  Fox News called Floyd Fest the #7 Hottest Music Festival in the U.S.

•  LifeOutside Magazine recognized both Pulaski and Floyd as top Weekend Getaways in Southwest Virginia.

•  Blueridge Outdoors magazine listed the Flat Peter/Dixon Branch Loop in Giles as a Top 10 Fall Foliage Favorite.

 

Top Tier Colleges & Universities

•  Princeton Review ranked Virginia Tech as having the #1 Best Quality of Life and the #7 Happiest Students, among others.

•  Washington Monthly Magazine dubbed Radford University a Best Bang for Your Buck school.

•  New River Community College was named one of Virginia’s Best Community Colleges for Workforce Training by Southern Business & Development Magazine.

•  Giles County was awarded the NaCo 2016 Achievement Award for its Access to Community College Education program.

•  Virginia Tech ranked #9 in Research Expenditures by the National Science Foundation.

 

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the latest rankings for the New River Valley, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

About Us:

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.

NRV Towns Voted Happiest in Blue Ridge

Date:  October 28, 2016

New River Valley, VA – This summer, five towns (technically four towns and one city) were voted to top spots in the Happiest Mountain Towns reader poll by Blue Ridge Country magazine.  Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd, and Pulaski all received top honors in the magazine’s rankings which used quantitative data like unemployment rates and commute times as a baseline, but also accounted for readers’ passions for their hometowns.

The initial 96 towns were whittled down to 61 for readers to choose from, and the coverage area included the mountain regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.  Blue Ridge Country vetted the 61 initial choices by setting “minimum happiness-base standards” (i.e. a commute of <30 minutes, a below-average cost-of-living, unemployment rate below 10%, etc.), but then left the poll open for readers all over the nation to vote for their favorites.

In the 10,000-49,999 category, three New River Valley towns cracked the top twenty: Blacksburg (#6)Christiansburg (#17), and Radford (#18).  Blacksburg and Christiansburg, both located in Montgomery County, are strongly affiliated with Virginia Tech and the many companies that have spun-off from or located near the research university.  Radford, of course, is closely tied to Radford University and its award-winning business, nursing, education, and liberal arts programs.

All three places boast a low cost-of-living, easy accessibility to the outdoors (the 7-mile Huckleberry Trail connects Blacksburg and Christiansburg and the New River snakes its way along the edge of Radford’s downtown and campus corridor), and a strong arts community.

Floyd (#3) and Pulaski (#26) clinched a top spots in the <10,000 category.  Heralded by Southern Living as one of the South’s Best Small Towns, the top tier ranking is no surprise.  What Floyd lacks in numbers, it makes up for with style, small town charm, and impactful events.  Floyd’s innovative business climate offers start-ups, entrepreneurial ventures, and artisanal producers a welcoming place to do business.

Pulaski, a former furniture and textile manufacturing town, has undergone a massive revitalization initiative including the renovation of the Jackson Park Inn, clean-up of Peak Creek, and improvements to Calfee Park, the ninth oldest professional Minor League Baseball Park in use in America.  While many diverse manufacturing jobs still exist in Pulaski, other home-grown business are sprouting up and the town is working to attract a mix of industries.

Both towns offer unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities like paddleboarding the Little River, biking the New River Trail State Park, or hiking the region’s trails.  They also both promote large community farmers markets and music-oriented events like the Floyd County Store Friday Night Jamboree.

To learn more about the poll, its methodology, and to see how the New River Valley stacks up, visit Blue Ridge Country.

Housing in Virginia's New River Valley

Pulaski Ranks No. 9 Best Place in VA for First-Time Homebuyers

New River Valley, VA – NerdWallet.com has ranked the Town of Pulaski the No. 9 Best Place in Virginia for First-time Homebuyers. Here is what NerdWallet had to say:


Like the other western Virginia cities of Richlands, Abingdon and Galax, Pulaski has seen healthy growth in its home values in recent years. From 2010 to 2013, the median home value jumped 17.90% to $96,800.


However, Pulaski remains the most affordable of these communities, and it would take the shortest time in the top 10 — about seven years — to save for a 20% down payment.

Read more at Nerd Wallet.


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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.

Governor McAuliffe Announces $2.125 Million Camrett Logistics Investment in Pulaski County

Camrett Logistics to expand its operation in Pulaski, add 38 new jobs in New River Valley

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: December 11, 2015

Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Camrett Logistics Inc., a full service third party logistics (3PL) company that serves Virginia and the surrounding region, will invest $2.125 million to expand its operation in Pulaski County. The project will create 38 new jobs.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Camrett Logistics is a valued Virginia business established in 1995 that has grown to six locations in the Commonwealth. This impressive company offers material solutions to manufacturers and distribution companies, a vital service to help us grow our advanced manufacturing industry.  Growing this important sector will help us diversify and build a new Virginia economy, and this expansion will bring much-needed jobs to Pulaski County.”

“We are very encouraged by the addition of new jobs in Pulaski County,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “Advanced manufacturing continues to be one of the industries with great growth prospects in the Commonwealth.  This expansion is a testament to the superior workforce, business climate and infrastructure in Southwest Virginia, and we look forward to continuing this great partnership with Camrett.

Started by Collin Peel in 1995 with one straight truck and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Camrett has expanded to warehouses and over-the-road transportation in more than three states. Camrett Logistics offers warehousing, distribution, consolidation, kitting, transportation, and a handful of other logistics services.

“We are excited to be expanding into the Radford community,” said Collin Peel, President of Camrett Logistics Inc. “The old AT&T building (as it was known) is a well-built facility that needs some tender loving care. We have started replacing parts of the roof, removing all the old lighting and duct work and replacing them with the latest high-efficiency lighting and gas powered heaters. The employees that have joined us here in Radford have been truly amazing—start-up operations are often chaotic, and these new employees did what was necessary to keep the customer happy. Our goal is to have the full facility 100 percent warehouse-ready by March 2016. We will seek local manufactures and new ones wishing to expand their operations into the south side of the building. The full facility has nearly 600,000 square feet of space, 27 dock doors and an abundance of offices available. Camrett, as a whole, manages over 1.4 million square feet in Southwest Virginia.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Pulaski County to secure the project for Virginia. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Camrett will also receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by VEDP.

“It is exciting for our county to have a once-closed manufacturing facility open and employing Pulaski County residents, and even better is that it will be occupied by a company that is already in Pulaski County—Camrett Logistics,”said Joe Sheffey, Chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “We are excited that Camrett will expand their operations in our county and add to our local economy. The 38 jobs that will be created in Pulaski County represent 38 families that will contribute in a positive way to our community.”

“A strong logistics network requires many partners working together to support the import and export needs of Virginia’s manufacturers and distributors,” said John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.“This strategic decision by Camrett Logistics to reinvest in Virginia strengthens the Commonwealth’s international logistics network, reinforces Virginia’s position as business location, creates jobs for Pulaski County and contributes to the growth of The Port of Virginia. Camrett is expanding and we are pleased that the port has a role in the company’s future.”

I am pleased to learn that Camrett Logistics’ investment in Pulaski County will result in 38 much-needed jobs and a vital boost to our local economy,” said Delegate Nick Rush. “I commend the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the local government representatives of Pulaski County for their efforts in making this project possible. I am grateful for Camrett Logistics’ commitment to the New River Valley and hope for its continued success for years to come.

Office of the Governor

Contact: Brian Coy

Email: Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov 

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Contact: Suzanne Clark

Phone: (804) 545-5806

Email: sclark@yesvirginia.org

Camrett Logistics

Contact: Collin Peel

Phone: (276) 625-8103

E-mail: cpeel@camrett.com

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Governor McAuliffe Announces $38.1 Million Volvo Group Investment in Pulaski County

Volvo to upgrade truck plant, develop Customer Experience Center, add 32 jobs in New River Valley

DUBLIN – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Volvo Group will invest $38.1 million at the New River Valley (NRV) assembly facility in Pulaski County, where all Volvo Trucks models for North America are assembled. The investment will allow Volvo to make several plant upgrades and build a 36,000-square-foot Volvo Trucks Customer Experience Center on the NRV grounds. In addition to the investment, Volvo will add 32 new jobs at NRV.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Growing the advanced manufacturing industry is a key part of our efforts to create jobs, diversify and build a new Virginia economy. This is the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world, and we are pleased that the Volvo Group chose Virginia for this significant expansion that will ensure its success and longevity in Pulaski County for years to come.” “This announcement is a testament to the great workforce and best-in-class business environment in Pulaski County and the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The advanced manufacturing industry in Virginia continues to gain momentum, and we are proud that Volvo is a leader in this key sector.” Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy-duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,200 dealers and workshops in more than 120 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 16 countries across the globe. In 2014, more than 117,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, and drive systems for marine and industrial applications. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo’s work is based on the core values of quality, safety and environmental care. “Volvo’s investment in the NRV facility and in the development of a Customer Experience Center is evidence of our commitment to our employees and the Pulaski County community,” said Gӧran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Our competitive advantage stems from our innovative products and services, and also from our dedicated employees.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Pulaski County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Pulaski with the project.The Governor also approved a $2 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by VEDP. “The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and County staff are pleased to have assisted Volvo with this effort,” said Joe Sheffey, Chairman, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “We are extremely proud of what Volvo has accomplished over the past 40 years. Volvo continues to be a leader in the local economy, in our quality of life and in the environmental care for the community we call home.” “This is fantastic news for Pulaski County and the New River Valley,” said Delegate Nick Rush. “Volvo Trucks is one of the best manufacturers in the world, and their commitment to the New River Valley is a testament to the hard work of its employees and the County’s continued efforts to bring good-paying jobs to our community.” “The Volvo Group has been a valuable community partner in Pulaski County and the New River Valley Region,” said Senator Ben Chafin. “It is great to see Volvo continuing to invest in Virginia. These new jobs are a positive step forward in building a stronger economy in Southwest Virginia.” Since the beginning of the McAuliffe administration, 471 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with more than $7.799 billion in capital investment, more than any previous governor in his first 20 months in office. Office of the Governor Contact: Brian Coy (804) 225-4260 Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov Virginia Economic Development Partnership Contact: Suzanne Clark (804) 545-5806 Sclark@yesvirginia.org Volvo Trucks North America Contact: John Mies (336) 543-9094 John.Mies@volvo.com

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NRV Named a Top Metro by Site Selection Magazine

New River Valley, VA – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area, known locally as the New River Valley, has been named a “Top Metro” for 2014 by Site Selection magazine. Among 132 metro areas with populations less than 200,000, the NRV ranked No. 4 (tie) nationally with nine new or expanding corporate facility announcements in 2014.


Published by Conway Data Inc., Site Selection delivers expansion planning information to over 44,000 readers including corporate executives, site selection consultants, and real estate professionals. The annual “Top Metros” rankings appeared in the March 2015 issue.


Site Selection used 2014 data from the Conway New Plant Database to examine new and expanding company growth in all 381 MSAs in the United States. The 2014 rankings were split into three Top 10 lists based on population, including less than 200,000, 200,000 to 1 million, and over 1 million.


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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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's new river valley, new river valley, shopping, quality of life, town, downtown, shop local, small business

NRV Ranked No. 7 Most Secure Small City in U.S.

New River Valley, VA – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area, known locally as the New River Valley, is one of the safest places to live in America, according to Farmers Insurance. The Los Angeles-based insurance company recently ranked the area No. 7 on its list of the Top 20 Most Secure Small Cities of 2013. The list, in its nineth year, identifies the most secure small metro areas in the U.S. based on safety and security statistics.


The Farmer Insurance rankings are based on the findings of a study conducted by quality of life expert, Bert Sperling. The study examined over one hundred metropolitan areas – with populations less than 150,000 – using several indicators, including economic stability, crime, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, environmental hazards, life expectancy, motor vehicle fatalities, and employment numbers.


“Our most secure metropolitan areas are islands of security in our challenging times,” said Bert Sperling in a press release from Farmers Insurance. “Although each metropolitan area is different, they all possess a desirable combination of factors (jobs, low crime rates, housing, climate, health, reduced levels of natural disasters) that make these some of the best places to live in the United States.”

Virginia’s New River Valley has three previous appearances on the Top 20 list. Since 2010, the area has climbed from No. 19 to No. 7 on the list. The area’s highest ranking came in 2006, when it debuted at No. 3.


The Farmer Insurance accolade isn’t the first time that that the New River Valley has been recognized for its safety and security. Bloomberg Businessweek and Homes.com ranked Blacksburg the best place in the U.S. to raise a family/kids in 2011 and 2012; respectively. Both cited the area’s low crime rate as one of the factors that contributed to its No. 1 ranking.


The New River Valley has also received third-party accolades for job growth, an important factor used in assessing an area’s economic security. Since 2012, the area has been ranked the No. 5 Best Small City for Job Growth by Forbes, No. 5 Top City for Job Growth by CNBC, No. 29 Best Place for Jobs by NewGeography, and No. 2 American City Adding Jobs by 24/7 Wall Street. Christiansburg was also recently ranked the No. 10 Best Place in Virginia for Job Seekers by NerdWallet.