auvsi, new river valley, Virginia, unmanned systems, drones

AUVSI Ridge & Valley Stays at the Forefront of Unmanned Systems

Blacksburg, VA – Unmanned system technologies are rapidly maturing into indispensable tools for civil service, commerce, science, and security. These tools are increasingly connected to one another, and to the human workers they support, creating partnerships that offer fantastic new opportunities — and new technical challenges. Other sorts of partnerships have emerged to address these challenges and opportunities – from industry/government/academic consortia to externally funded entrepreneurial ventures. Come meet with us this Fall in the beautiful New River Valley as we discuss the latest advances in unmanned systems.

Tuesday Morning Keynote: Ryan Eustice, PhD, Senior Vice President of Automated Driving, Toyota Research Institute (TRI)

In addition to his role as VP of Automated Driving at TRI, Dr. Eustice serves on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s “Council on Future Mobility,” a state government regulatory policy advisory board, and he directs the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory (PeRL) at the University of Michigan. Dr. Eustice received a Ph.D. from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Ocean Engineering in 2005 and was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Best known for his work in advancing large-scale simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), including the visual mapping of the RMS Titanic, Dr. Eustice is a past recipient of the prestigious NSF CAREER and ONR Young Investigator awards.

Tuesday Noon Spotlight: Catherine McGhee, PE, Director of Research and Innovation, VA Transportation Research Council

Cathy McGhee has been with the Virginia Transportation Research Council since 1993, where she has led VDOT’s research program on connected and automated vehicles and has worked with VDOT staff and university partners to develop, test, and deploy equipment and applications within the Virginia Connected and Automated Corridors to advance VDOT’s mission of delivering safe and efficient mobility. As a part of this effort, she has participated in the Virginia Secretary of Transportation’s Automated Vehicle Work Group and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Work Group. VDOT has supported a strong innovative research program for more than 65 years. Its Virginia Transportation Research Council continues to build on this strong tradition by increasing emphasis on implementation of research findings.

Wednesday Morning Keynote: Bala Ganesh, PhD, Vice President, Advanced Technology Group, UPS

Bala Ganesh leads the Advanced Technology Group at UPS, overseeing efforts to apply cutting edge technologies to create UPS’ Smart Logistics Network. Ganesh previously directed marketing strategy for UPS’s retail and consumer goods segment. He joined UPS in 2012 as product manager supporting UPS My Choice and social media/mobile integration within the company’s Customer Technology Management group. Prior to joining UPS, Ganesh was responsible for strategy development and mergers and acquisitions with the healthcare procurement company, MedAssets. From 2006 to 2010, he led consulting project teams for McKinsey & Co. Ganesh has also worked as a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA. Early in his career, Bala was a pilot in the Indian Air Force.

Wednesday Noon Spotlight: Brad Whitby, Managing Director, Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Brad Whitby serves as the Managing Director of the Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS), the only National Science Foundation-sponsored research center focused on unmanned aircraft. The C-UAS is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center whose academic institutions include BYU, University of Colorado, Virginia Tech, and Michigan. Texas A&M and Penn State are expected to join the Center in the coming year. The C-UAS has over 25 industry and government members who select and support dozens of university-led UAS research projects each year.

REGISTER FOR THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP

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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.

technology, new river valley, Virginia

Blocksburg Summit: Block Chain and Beyond

Blacksburg, VA – For nearly 150 years, Virginia Tech has served as a connection hub of diverse-minded thinkers, leaders, technologists and inventors. In keeping with this tradition, Blocksburg Summit 2019 will bring blockchain thought leaders from around the world to the Virginia Tech Campus to engage in conversations at the intersection of technology, research, regulation, policy, and economics in commercial enterprises, government, and education.

Blockchain innovators, academic experts, and policy makers from across the globe will:

  • Lead and facilitate panel forums
  • Host fireside chats
  • Support breakout sessions to discuss the political, economic, and social implications of this disruptive technology
  • Attendees will hear from blockchain thought leaders while participating in an extraordinary networking event aimed at understanding the challenges and opportunities of a blockchain future.

    This event, part of the Virginia Tech Blockchain Initiative led by Computer Science, is designed to catalyze commonwealth, federal, and private collaboration on blockchain technologies in service to the international community. Early registration deadline is October 4th; with the final registration deadline on November 4.

    Speaker Lineup:
    Hester Peirce, Commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission
    Amy Davine Kim, Global Policy Director and General Counsel at the Chamber of Digital Commerce
    Dan Larimer, Chief Technology Officer of Block.one

    REGISTER TODAY

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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 engineering

    Virginia Tech College of Engineering Moves Up to #13 in U.S.

    BLACKSBURG, VA – The Virginia Tech College of Engineering rose one spot in the U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings. The college is now number 13 among all national engineering programs.

    virginia tech engineering

    The college still holds the number 9 spot among public universities.

    “We continue to be sought after by the best and brightest future engineers, seeing a 20 percent increase in applications this year,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “The college is poised to fulfill our land-grant mission and responsibility to fuel the pipeline of a globally astute, diverse workforce and academic leaders. It all starts with shaping young minds.”

    Virginia Tech continues to be a huge asset in the NRV, helping to produce a steady pipeline of talent for our area.

    The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on peer assessment, retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rates, and alumni giving.

    For more information about the ranking, visit the Virginia Tech News post.

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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.

    Carilion NRV a Top Hospital for Nurses in VA

    Carilion New River Valley Voted A Top Hospital for Nurses

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA — Carilion New River Valley Medical Center was named a top hospital for nurses to work in 2017. Coming in at no. 7 in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, this ranking is calculated from surveys from nurses themselves.

    2017 Best Hospitals in VA

    Nurse.org looked at over 1,800 surveys from nurses in 314 hospitals across the state. The average rating for Carilion NRV was at 4.1/5 and it came 94% recommended by the surveyed nurses.

    “We’re excited to be able to recognize Carilion New River Valley Medical Center for providing an excellent work environment for our nurses,” said Nurse.org Product Manager Phillip Lee. “Our survey data shows the hospital ranks in the top 2% in the state for nurse job satisfaction. By supporting nurses through an educational hospital where nurses can thrive and be successful, they are leaving a positive impact on their community.”

    Some anonymous quotes from the reviews say:

    “The staff is friendly and helpful. All disciplines work very well as a team. Your input is valued and heard. It is a busy place. You can obtain great skills and knowledge.”

    “Great place to work. Excellent care and working environment, very safe.”

    “It’s a great place to work. Great nurse PT ratios They care about you and we all work together as a team.”

    Virginia’s New River Valley is a great place for nurses to live, including those still going to school. Radford University has an excellent nursing program, which will expand soon.

    Visit Carilion NRV Medical Center for more information or to view job opportunities.

    Read more at NRV News.

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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 all 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.

    VT College of Engineering #9 Among Public Institutions

    BLACKSBURG, VA — Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering ranks 9th among public institutions, according U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best College Rankings.

    The college of engineering is also 14th among all national universities. Read more about programs offered and engineering news at https://eng.vt.edu/

    Overall, Virginia Tech is ranked the 25th best public university and 69th for all national universities.

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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.

    Volvo Trucks to Secure 270 Acres Adjacent to the NRV Plant

    ~Company acquires 49 acres from the Pulaski County IDA and Enters into a Lease Option Agreement on an Additional 221 acres for Future Business Growth Needs.~

    DUBLIN, VA – On December 19th, the Pulaski County IDA, in concert with the Board of Supervisors officially conveyed 49 acres to Volvo Trucks as part of a performance agreement following the satisfaction of the company’s commitment to invest $38.1 million for the construction of a new 36,000 sq. ft. Customer Center and several plant upgrades to further improve the safety, quality and efficiency of NRV’s manufacturing processes, resulting in the creation of 32 new jobs. Volvo Trucks’ business case was to acquire the additional property to the south-western portion of the NRV plant in order to extend their 1.1 mile Customer Experience Track. Volvo Trucks has also entered into a Lease Option-to-Purchase Agreement for an additional 221 adjacent acres owned by the Pulaski County IDA. The IDA has worked with company executives to utilize this creative approach to both satisfy the county’s local incentive obligation and increase opportunities for further capital investments by Volvo Trucks to take place within the County.

    “Working with the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, the Industrial Development Authority and the county staff, these efforts led to the acquisition of the 49 acres and the securing of an additional 121 acres through a lease-option agreement.” said Franky Marchand, Vice President & GM of the Volvo Trucks NRV plant. “Our investments in advanced manufacturing, upgrades in our cab and paint facility and the construction of the new Customer Center were all instrumental in facilitating this important land deal. One of our many competitive advantages stems from providing a unique customer experience here. Extending the Customer Experience Track, our innovative products and services, and interaction with our dedicated employees, makes NRV ‘best-in-class’ for customer experience.”

    “Volvo’s land acquisition and the option agreement on the more than 220 acres contiguous to their current operations, has the potential to be one of the most transformative investments the County has recently embarked on,” stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “The IDA’s recent purchase of the adjoining property and the subsequent readying of it for Volvo’s use has significant strategic value and affords our region’s largest employer the ability to further enlarge operations and secure new business, both of which could have a positive yield of new jobs, new investments and new opportunities for the county and our citizens.”

    This summer the company introduced their new Volvo VNL series within their new Customer Center. This launch helped gain truck sales by bringing thousands of customers and dealers here to Pulaski County, Virginia During those customer events, the company saw confirmation that they needed to expand the track.

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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.

    Qualtrax Featured in Virginia Business

    Qualtrax, a compliance software company in Montgomery County, VA, was featured in Virginia Business earlier this month. Qualtrax, which originated as a subsidiary of what is now Christiansburg’s FoxGuard Solutions has grown to 33 employees. Almost of half of whom were added this year.


    Located in Downtown Blacksburg, Qualtrax preserved much of a former Masonic Lodge building. While they may call a historic building home, the new company has many modern amenities including a game room and a spot for employee slippers.

    Read more from Stephenie Overman of Virginia Business. If you’re interested in rocking slippers to work, Qualtrax is currently hiring.


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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.

    NRV No. 11 Best Place to Work in Manufacturing

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metro Area, commonly known as the New River Valley, was ranked the No. 11 Best Place to Work in Manufacturing by smartasset in their study this year. Data on 483 metro areas was considered and ranked according to six factors:
    • Manufacturing as a percent of workforce
    • Job growth from 2012 to 2015
    • Job growth from 2014 to 2015
    • Income growth from 2010 to 2015
    • Income growth from 2014 to 2015
    • Income after housing
      Advanced manufacturing can be found throughout Virginia’s New River Valley. The region is home to several major employers including Volvo (Pulaski County), Corning Inc. (Montgomery County), Celanese (Giles County), Kollmorgen (Radford), and Hollingsworth & Vose (Floyd County). Plus, training programs at New River Community College directly support the skills needed to work at companies in our region.  
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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.

    Pulaski County Unveils New Video for #PulaskiCountyIs… Campaign

    PULASKI COUNTY, VA- Pulaski County, in collaboration with the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, unveiled a new video to help launch the “Pulaski County Is…” campaign last night at the Chamber’s 65th Annual Dinner. The dinner was hosted at the Volvo Trucks Customer Experience Center in Dublin, VA and drew a audience of about 240 people.


    The goal of the campaign is to help communicate the assets in Pulaski County and encourage people to share what #PulaskiCountyIs… to them. Check out the video below.


    Pulaski County is… from Nightfire Productions on Vimeo.


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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.

    NRV Among Top Affordable Metros Attracting YPs

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA- Virginia’s New River Valley (The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA) ranks among the top metros that are attracting young professionals while maintaining an affordable cost of living. According to PEW, the NRV is among 10 metros that are growing almost as quickly as other well-known, attractive cities for young people like Silicon Valley or Austin, TX, but have more affordable costs of living.  

    Still Affordable, But Attracting Young Professionals

    These metro areas ranked high for affordability, education, and growth in young professionals.
    Columbus, INBismarck, ND
    Midland, MIMorgantown, WV
    Bloomington, ILCedar Rapids, IA
    Idaho Falls, IDNew River Valley, VA
    Sioux Falls, NDRochester, MN
    The data comes from the American Community Survey and was analyzed by Stateline.
    Virginia’s New River Valley, has a unique opportunity for young professionals. Our region enjoys the upscale amenities residents might find in larger urban areas (like public transit and fine dining), while maintaining the perks of low-cost living and small-town charm (like low traffic, and access to outdoor recreation).   The presence of Virginia Tech, Radford University, and New River Community College elevate the importance of education in the region and provide excellent amenities in arts and culture and opportunities for young people and businesses alike to interact with the universities and benefit from their services.  
    The NRV was also ranked a top destination for college graduates based on eight economic and quality-of-life factors that AIER found to influence migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35 among 260 metro areas, large and small. A few of the factors contributing to the New River Valley’s high ranking included its favorable labor market conditions, affordable housing rents, ability to get around without a car, and density of people with a college degree.
    YPs can find plenty of support in the NRV with clubs and networking opportunities such as Up on the Roof, Blacksburg YPs, The Newcomers Club, and more.   Plus, the NRV is home to a myriad of festivals and burgeoning local music scenes that keep up with the times while remembering the roots of SWVA throughout history. For more activities and insight on what it’s like to live in the NRV, check out the Live Here tab!  
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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.