cnbc

Virginia Named Top State to Do Business in 2019

New River Valley, VA – CNBC ranks the Commonwealth of Virginia as the overall #1 state to do business in 2019.

All 50 states are put through a rigorous test, scoring each state on more than 60 measures in 10 overarching categories. Then each category is weighted based on how often the state uses that category as a selling point in their economic development marketing materials. This ensures that the states are only being assessed on the attributes they use to promote themselves. The criteria for scoring was developed using existing business and policy experts, official government sources, and the input from the individual states.

The 10 categories of evaluation include:
  1. Workforce
  2. Economy
  3. Infra-structure
  4. Cost of Doing Business
  5. Quality of Life
  6. Education
  7. Technology & Innovation
  8. Business Friendliness
  9. Access to Capital
  10. Cost of Living

Not only did Virginia rank #1 overall, but the state also received the top spot in workforce and education. Educational attainment of workforce, number of available employees, and net migration of college-educated workers are all considered when calculating the workforce category, which is allocated the largest sum of points, 450, of all 10 categories. The state’s concentration of STEM workers, workforce productivity, and even union membership and right-to-work laws are also considered. In the category of education, which is slotted for up to 175 points, the number of higher education institutions as well as the test scores, class size, and spending of K-12 schools is calculated. Another notable ranking for Virginia, is the 3rd place score in the category of business friendliness. Business friendliness is also awarded 175 points and looks at the legal and regulatory climate of the state and the economic freedom for business individuals.

Learn more about the categories and grading system here or check out the list of all 50 states and their rankings here.

For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both a small-town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative and business-friendly culture. It also offers a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. With magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, and exceptional arts, entertainment, and education — Virginia’s New River Valley is quite simply, A Natural Fit.

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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.

Volvo Trucks

Volvo Group to Create 777 New Jobs in Pulaski County Expansion

Company to invest nearly $400 million to expand heavy-duty truck manufacturing operation

Dublin, VA — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Volvo Group will invest nearly $400 million to expand its Volvo Trucks North America New River Valley (NRV) assembly operation in Pulaski County. Major components of the investment include a new 350,000-square-foot building that will ultimately house truck cab welding operations; an expansion of the existing plant to allow for further improvements to the facility’s paint operations and overall material/production flow; and a variety of equipment upgrades, including installation of several state-of-the-art dynamometers for vehicle testing. Volvo considered sites in multiple other states for the expansion project, which will create 777 new jobs within approximately six years.

“As the leading private employer in the New River Valley, Volvo Trucks has been a bedrock of this community for more than forty years and has fueled the regional economy. The company’s decision to grow its footprint in the Commonwealth not only recognizes the strength of our manufacturing sector, but also reflects the skill of our workers, the quality of life in rural Virginia, and the competitiveness of our business climate.”
    – Governor Ralph Northam

This announcement represents one of the largest capital investments in the history of Southwestern Virginia, and I am confident that this expansion will both prepare the NRV plant for continued success and solidify Volvo’s presence in Pulaski County for decades to come.”

Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,100 dealers and workshops in more than 130 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 15 countries across the globe. In 2018, more than 127,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment, and marine and industrial engines. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo Trucks’ work is based on the core values of quality, safety, and environmental care. The Volvo Trucks facility in Pulaski County is its largest in the world, with 1.6 million square feet on nearly 300 acres and 3,500 employees.

“Volvo’s historic investment in an additional facility and upgraded, state-of-the-art equipment at its Pulaski County operation signifies the plant’s future growth, and we are honored to further strengthen Virginia’s corporate partnership with Volvo Trucks North America,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “With its access to markets, robust workforce, and pro-business climate, the New River Valley is a hub for manufacturers from around the world. This investment will position Volvo’s NRV plant for long-term growth and is a testament to the Commonwealth’s competitive advantage.”

“This investment will give our employees the tools they need to continue providing our customers the highest quality products,” said Franky Marchand, Vice President and General Manager of the NRV plant. “We’re very grateful to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Pulaski County, and the citizens in this community for their continued support of our business and our people. Creating more value-added processes through these investments is good for our employees, our plant, and our region.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Pulaski County, the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission, and Onward New River Valley to secure the expansion for Virginia. The Volvo Group will be eligible to receive post-performance MEI custom grant payments totaling up to $16.5 million over 10 years, based upon achieving its pledged net new job creation and investment commitments. New job creation will be on top of the baseline employment level of 3,219 in place when project negotiations began in 2018. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and the Economic Development Authority are most excited to partner with the state to comprehensively support Volvo Trucks and the exceptional men and women who work there with this monumental expansion project, and we are ever confident that their investment and job growth will go a long way to ensuring this company continues to operate and prosper here in our community,” said Chair of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Andy McCready.

“This announcement is one of the largest capital investments in the history of Southwestern Virginia and it says a tremendous amount about the confidence and trust the Volvo Group has in the Commonwealth, in Pulaski County, in their dedicated workforce, and in the economic development professionals that helped make this project possible.” – Andy McCready

“Volvo Trucks represents the largest private employer in the New River Valley, and I am proud that the Commission could support the company’s continued growth in Virginia,” said Senator Frank Ruff, Chairman of the MEI Project Approval Commission. “This monumental project will enable the company to add nearly 800 new jobs to its existing workforce, creating opportunities for citizens of Pulaski County and the region and further strengthening the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in automotive manufacturing. We thank Volvo for its commitment to Virginia and for being a key source of job creation and investment in our economy.”

“The NRV assembly plant is Volvo Trucks’ largest manufacturing facility in the world, and the company’s decision to reinvest in this operation is a significant win for the region and for the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Nick Rush, Vice Chair of the MEI Project Approval Commission. “With support from our local, regional, and state economic development partners, the company has been able to grow in Pulaski County for decades, and we are confident that this major investment will ensure that Volvo Trucks remains a critical employer in the New River Valley for years to come.”

“Volvo Trucks’ continued investment and creation of new jobs is a huge opportunity for the hard working people of Southwest Virginia and the New River Valley,” said Senator Benton Chafin. “I want to thank Volvo Trucks for their commitment to the region and seeing the value of reinvesting in the regional workforce and economy. Volvo Trucks is a critical community partner and with the creation of nearly 800 manufacturing jobs, their investment is another step forward in creating a more thriving and diverse regional economy.”

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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.”

information technology

Block.one Unveils New Social Media Network

Recently, at an event in Washington, D.C., block.one CEO Brendan Blumer announced a new social media network built on blockchain technology.

Block.one was established two years ago by Virginia Tech alum Dan Larimer, who leads the company’s Blacksburg office, and Blumer, who is based out of Hong Kong. The company focuses on creating blockchain software, which stores information across a large network to prevent hacking and increase transparency. Their new social media network, Voice, is built around the removal of secret algorithms that the company says fault traditional platforms. The blockchain technology will prevent fake users from invading the network.

information technology

Voice begins its protection and transparency from the start by actually verifying your account creation, a step many current platforms skip. The platform will allow users to receive tokens for likes and participation on the content they post, whether to their page or their engagement with other accounts. Users can then “spend” their tokens to increase the visibility of their post or “voice it”. With this strategy, the best content, as deemed by the people and not dictated by companies, will be seen. The platform has not officially launched, however users can sign up on the website for a pre-release beta platform.

To learn more about blockchain and the launch of Voice (18:30), check out the video of the announcement.

information technology

If you are looking to join this innovative company in Virginia’s New River Valley, block.one is currently hiring for 27 positions at their Blacksburg location.

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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.

ozmo new jobs

Ozmo to Add 40 Jobs in Montgomery County

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Ozmo, a technology company that builds software products for mobile operations and their customers, will invest over $200,000 to expand its existing operation in Montgomery County. The project will position the company to meet increasing demand for its products from top mobile operations and device manufacturers from around the world, creating 40 new jobs.

“Since its arrival in Montgomery County just three years ago, Ozmo has grown from a small startup to a thriving company,” said Governor Northam. “The New River Valley’s impressive cluster of technology businesses continues to grow thanks to the region’s renowned educational institutions that will supply a tech talent pipeline for years to come. The Commonwealth is proud to support Ozmo’s job creation efforts and we thank the company for choosing to expand and reinvest in here in Virginia.”

With a customer base including Verizon and TELUS, Ozmo helps mobile operators and their consumers solve any device, application, or software issue quickly and effectively. Over 75,000 contact center agents use the company’s support platform, which scales to assist mobile operators and device manufacturers of all sizes. The Ozmo platform assists in over 25 million support interactions each year.

“Information technology is evolving rapidly in the Commonwealth and beyond, and we rely on innovative companies such as Ozmo to keep Virginia at the forefront of this industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This exciting expansion will nearly double Ozmo’s workforce in Virginia, demonstrating that the sky is the limit for homegrown IT firms in the New River Valley. We thank Ozmo for its commitment to growth in Montgomery County, and for the creation of 40 new, 21st-century jobs in the Commonwealth.”

“Ozmo is doubling down on its commitment to growing in downtown Blacksburg,” said CEO of Ozmo David Catalano. “Our proximity to Virginia Tech provides us a unique advantage of access to top talent, while also being able to offer exceptional quality of life for our employees. We look forward to growing locally in order to support the increasing demand for our products worldwide.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Montgomery County to secure the project for Virginia. VEDP will support Ozmo’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change in order to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

Ozmo is currently participating in VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. VALET is an application-based, two-year global export acceleration program that provides participating companies with assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help meet their export goals.

“We value businesses like Ozmo that are investing in our community and creating even more technology-based jobs, which are attractive to both our citizens and others who wish to relocate to our region,” said Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chair Todd King.

“Ozmo’s expansion in Montgomery County demonstrates a burgeoning high-tech business environment in the New River Valley with a workforce prepared to meet the needs of a growing mobile market,” said Senator John S. Edwards. “Since 2012, VJIP has assisted in more than 2,000 jobs brought to Montgomery County, and its support in this expansion is yet another testament of its commitment to job creation in the region.”

“David Catalano and his team at Ozmo work tirelessly to build and maintain relationships with some of the most impactful telecommunications companies in the world,” said Delegate Chris Hurst. “I am thrilled that Ozmo will be making additional investments in the New River Valley, proving that the region around Virginia Tech and Radford University is one of the best for tech talent in the nation.”

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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.”

Floyd Fiber

Floyd to Be Most Connected Rural Community in VA

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Floyd County and Citizens received a Virginia Telecommunication Initiative Grant, which was announced last month. This grant is $348,018 to get high-speed internet to Copper Hill, a village in Floyd County, but that’s not where the connectivity ends.

At the end of the year, 60% of Floyd County will be connected to high-speed internet.

By 2021, 97% of Floyd County will be connected.

Citizens, Floyd Fiber

The gigabit internet Citizens plans to implement over the next 3 years will be about 1,700 miles of fiber-optic cable all across Floyd County.

Plus, Citizens’ internet speed will be about 40 times faster than what the Federal Communications Commission calls high-speed internet.

At the company’s public announcement event, Congressman Morgan Griffith said:

“Right now, in the commonwealth of Virginia, the most modern county is Floyd County. Welcome to gig country.”

For more information about this huge announcement, see coverage by 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.”

NRV internet

Montgomery County and City of Radford Study Internet Needs

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – At the end of March, Governor Northam announced that both Floyd and Giles counties received Virginia Telecommunication Initiative Grants. These grants come from federal and state funds that have be designated for broadband improvement projects across Virginia.

Now Montgomery County and the City of Radford will be joining in the effort to make sure all the communities in the NRV have better internet connectivity. The two localities plan to conduct a study that will find areas that have insufficient internet service. It will also look into how to remedy those insufficiencies.

The NRV Regional Commission conducted a survey in 2017, in which Montgomery County residents reported insufficient internet speeds from Blacksburg (30%), Christiansburg (36%), and Montgomery County (48%).

Before making improvements, the localities need to understand exactly where the greatest needs are. That’s why they’re in the process of hiring a consultant to create a plan for both localities. Bids on the project were due in late April.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development awarded Montgomery county a $30,000 grant to help pay for the the plan’s development.

Find more details 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.”

Project Wing Delivery, First Commercial Drone Delivery in US

NRV to Be Home of First Commercial Drone Deliveries in US

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEYBlacksburg and Christiansburg are the first towns in the U.S. where residents can have drone deliveries to their homes.

Google subsidiary Wing is leading a project that will bring commercial drone deliveries to the U.S., starting in Virginia’s New River Valley.

Wing received the same FAA and Department of Transportation certifications as smaller airlines. According to Bloomberg’s Alan Levin, the FAA is currently working on rules regarding “flights over people” as they relate to drone activity.

Wing is currently looking for drone staging sites in the NRV and gauging interest of local businesses that might want to utilize their services.

Read detailed coverage on this breaking story from Jacob Demmitt at the Roanoke Times: https://www.roanoke.com/business/drone-delivery-set-to-land-in-blacksburg-and-christiansburg-this/article_13af81c2-490e-5340-85b3-2279da2e85eb.html.

Also see coverage from Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-23/alphabet-s-drone-delivery-business-cleared-for-takeoff-by-faa.

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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.”

1901 Group Expansion

The Next Big Trend in IT

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY1901 Group recently announced that they will add 580 jobs to their Blacksburg location. This follows what 1901 Group Founder Sonu Singh refers to as “the next big trend in rural IT jobs.”

“Our goal of creating high-quality IT jobs clustered in rural areas is the best way to improve quality and performance for the federal government, especially as the pace of cloud adoption increases,” said Singh in a recent Virginia Business article. “Our revenue and headcount growth are proof that this is the next big trend in rural IT jobs.”

“Virginia Tech is one of many pipelines,” said Senior Vice President Brian Lubin in the same article. “It’s an important one, but it’s not the only one. … Draw a 20-mile-radius circle around Blacksburg, and there’s probably 50,000 college students that, in a lot of cases, have a technology focus in Virginia Tech, Radford and also New River Community College.”

Read more about 1901 Group, their presence in Virginia’s New River Valley, and their plans for the future from Tim Thornton at Virginia Business.

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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 #4 Safest Town In Virginia

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Blacksburg was recently named one of the safest towns in Virginia by SafeWise. This is the fifth annual Safest Cities report by SafeWise.

Crime rates in Virginia are below the national average. In fact, all cities had fewer than 1.5 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

Top 5 Safest Cities in Virginia

1. Bridgewater
2. Berryville
3. Vienna
4. Blacksburg
5. Tazewell

The safest city rankings are determined through FBI crime data, population thresholds. For more information visit the methodology page from SafeWise.

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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.”

Amazon HQ2

Amazon HQ2’s Effect on the NRV

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – While Northern Virginia may feel far away, Amazon’s new HQ2 locating in Crystal City will have a major effect on Blacksburg and the entire New River Valley.

Not only will Virginia Tech increase undergraduate enrollment, but it will also add over 100 jobs in Blacksburg.

The entire Commonwealth of Virginia will be affected as the General Assembly looks to increase the “tech talent pipeline” by increasing computer science undergraduate degrees by 25,000 across Virginia by 2039.

Radford University is slated to help in this initiative as well, especially with the IMPACT program, which is part of the Artis College of Science and Technology.

Read the full coverage of Amazon’s impact from Robby Korth at the Roanoke Times: https://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/amazon-s-impact-hundreds-of-new-jobs-higher-enrollment-at/article_103e28e5-e03c-5a24-b28f-5a7e5479e320.html

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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.”