A Closer Look at Accelerate 2022: Leadership and Engagement

roanoke region campaign

When the Roanoke Regional Partnership announced the Accelerate 2022 fundraising effort, it included four key strategic areas for the organization’s program of work over the next five years.

  • Leadership and engagement. Creating active, engaged leaders and citizens who advocate for the region.
  • Talent solutions. Creating a dedicated talent attraction program that builds upon the region’s livability and connects with local college students.
  • Targeted marketing. Strengthening marketing to position the Roanoke Region as an energized destination for business and talent.
  • Asset development and outdoor branding. Ensuring the region has the product, amenities and systems in place to propel economic growth.

The plan builds on the program of work adopted in 2012 that took the region to a higher level, creating over the past five years 3,305 primary jobs, 3,459 secondary jobs, $501 million in investments, annual consumer expenditures of $192 million, an increase in per-capita income by nearly 12 percent, and an increase in annual inquiry activity of 27.9 percent. Almost all metrics wildly exceeded goals set in 2012.

The Partnership completed a strategic planning process in 2016 to assess the region’s competitive position and match its program of work to the opportunities and challenges of a competitive, global economy. Business and government leaders helped build the plan.

Here’s a deeper look at the Leadership and Engagement part of the plan.

Energize the leadership and stakeholders of the Partnership

  • Create an executive leadership council that advises on key regional issues and acts as an advocacy arm and thought leadership for the region.
  • Identify topic areas for the leadership council to focus on.
  • Use the metrics of the strategic planning process to identify topics for study and action such as improving air service, support for entrepreneurs, and the supply and demand pipeline for talent.
  • Share findings with the community to build support and build fact-based consensus for action.
  • Bring in national thought leaders for speaking and training.

Provide citizens with a source for reliable information on the region’s economic development progress challenges, and opportunities

  • Create a separate market intelligence vehicle that pushes out data-driven analysis of the regional economy and market dynamics and establishes a voice for accurate information.
  • Develop local media relations to showcase success of the economy.
  • Develop an annual regional report card that shows economic development performance.

Do you want to know more about the five-year strategy or how an investment in the Roanoke Regional Partnership can work for you? Contact us to learn more.


Starr Hill: One More Connection Between Beer and the Outdoors

starr hill roanoke brewery craft beer

Beer and the outdoors just seem to go together. The region’s outdoor amenities have been cited multiple times by breweries choosing the Roanoke Region as a place to do business.

The latest in this line of announcements is Starr Hill, a Charlottesville-based brewery, which is opening a Pilot Brewery and Side Stage at The Bridges in Roanoke.

It is the first satellite taproom for Starr Hill and will feature a 5-barrel brewing system with a capacity of making at least 50 limited release batches each year. It is slated to open this fall.

“Roanoke is going to be a great fit for Starr Hill with our shared history and culture of experiencing music and life outdoors in the beautiful Blue Ridge,” said Jack Goodall, marketing manager for Starr Hill Brewery.

The brewery is just one more in a string of craft beer successes for the Roanoke Region. The Roanoke Regional Partnership helped lure Deschutes Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits to the region. Both will open East Coast headquarters with taprooms and distribution here.

The region is ripe for smaller operations as well. In 2016, Twin Creeks Brewing opened in Vinton, while Chaos Mountain Brewing and Big Lick Brewing announced expansions. Established regional breweries such as Parkway Brewing, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, Sunken City, and Flying Mouse Brewery have also experienced growth.

From locations near the greenway or Appalachian Trail to label artwork that features regional outdoor hot spots to open air settings with live music, each of the breweries has some connection to the outdoors. These businesses are also major supporters of outdoor events, including the Blue Ridge Marathon and Roanoke GO Outside Festival.

A lot of what draws this type of business to the Roanoke Region is the beer culture and connection to the outdoors. It’s part of a wider economic development strategy that the Partnership has been pursuing for years.

Best. Year. Ever.

annual report 2016Since 1983, the Roanoke Regional Partnership has brought together the Greater Roanoke business community and eight governments in a regional economic development program that combines resources and strengths to attract talent, enhance assets, invite strategic investments, and stimulate development. We help the region compete and thrive by leveraging its assets — livability, the outdoors, business climate, and higher education. And we focus on results that shape our region’s economic future.
The Roanoke Region celebrated a lot of wins in 2016, many of which are highlighted in our Annual Report. Download it and share. If you need a printed copy, email us.
Highlights from the report include:

  • $217.5 million location investment (1,412 jobs)
  • $16.5 million expansion investment (258 jobs)
  • It was another year of growth in the outdoor sector with signature events and new infrastructure spearheaded by the Roanoke Outside Foundation, a 501c (3) focused on outdoor engagement and building the outdoor economy.
  • Paddling the Roanoke River downtown is now easier with the opening of a new kayak and canoe launch site made possible by an $80,000 crowdfunding campaign by the Roanoke Outside Foundation. Community and corporate leaders cut the ribbon in October at a site that is a joint effort between the Roanoke Outside Foundation, The Bridges development, Carilion Clinic and the City of Roanoke.
  • The Partnership’s market intelligence department is a regional resource for information for governments, businesses, and citizens. This department impacts the success of all aspects of our work.
  • If we learned anything in 2016, it was that real estate is critical to our region’s success. Studies by the Partnership in 2012 and 2013 determined the region is short on the right sites and buildings that attract jobs, investment, and businesses. In 2016, we did something about it.


Partnership’s Doughty Among Top Economic Developers in North America

top economic developer roanoke

Roanoke Regional Partnership Executive Director Beth Doughty is one of the top 50 economic developers in North America.

This is the third consecutive year Doughty has made the list compiled by Consultant Connect.

Each top 50 economic developer will be featured in an ebook later this year. These industry leaders will share their expertise in the field and leadership insights they’ve learned along the way.

Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants released the 2017 list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers. The economic development professionals selected for this list were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.

“This annual list recognizing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers is designed to acknowledge the hard work of the top leaders in this field and elevate the conversation around economic development and job creation,” said Ron Kitchens, managing partner of Consultant Connect. “Each of the leaders represented on this year’s list are beyond deserving of this recognition for their efforts in building our communities.”

The complete list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers includes:

  • Abby Liu, McKinney Economic Development Corporation, Texas
  • Ben White, Round Rock Chamber
  • Benjamin Teague, Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County
  • Bentley Story, Arkansas Economic Development Commission
  • Beth Doughty, Roanoke Regional Partnership
  • Brad Smidt, Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Brian Hilson, Birmingham Business Alliance
  • Buddy Rizer, Loudoun County Department of Economic Development
  • Carrie Chenery , Shenandoah Valley Partnership
  • Cathy Chambers, JAXUSA Partnership
  • Chris Wimsatt, Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation
  • Clark Krause, BVEP
  • Clay Walker, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership
  • Dan Culhane, Ames Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development
  • Dan Henderson, Gilbert, Arizona
  • Deborah Price, Missouri Partnership
  • E. Ray Covey, AEP Texas
  • Gary Tonjes, Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc.
  • Gene Goddard, Greater MSP
  • Gregg Simon, Metro Atlanta Chamber
  • James Otterstein, Rock County, WI
  • Jessica Breaux, TVA
  • Jim Paetsch, Milwaukee 7
  • Juawana Colbert Williams, Fayetteville-Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation
  • Julie Sullivan, Dayton Development Coalition
  • Kati Hynes, Charlotte Chamber
  • Keith Gillenwater, EDG of Wabash County
  • Kimm Coyner, REDI Cincinnati
  • Kurt Foreman, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
  • Larry Barnett, Midlothian Economic Development
  • Lee Crume, Jobs Ohio
  • Lucienne Pears, Charlotte County EDC
  • Mark Young, Jonesboro Ark Chamber of Commerce
  • Matt McQuade, Columbus 2020
  • Megan Lucas, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance
  • Mike Rosa, Dallas Regional Chamber
  • Mitchel Allen, Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Pandy Brazeau, Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  • Patrick Murphy, Alabama Power
  • Patty Horvatich, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
  • Rob Cleveland, Cornerstone Alliance
  • Robert Van Geons, Fayetteville-Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation
  • Susan Davenport, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Susie Davidson, Idaho Commerce
  • Tim Vanderhoof, Enterprise Florida
  • Tom Long, San Antonio EDF
  • Tony Kaai, Denison Dev. Alliance (Denison, TX)
  • Tricia Paesani, CT Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Vanessa Goeschl, Charlotte Regional Partnership
  • Walter Sprouse, Augusta Economic Development Authority