Roanoke Regional Partnership Recognized for Excellence

economic development award

The Roanoke Regional Partnership was recognized for its work on the Deschutes Brewery project with a 2017 Excellence in Economic Development Award from the Site Selectors Guild. The award was presented to Executive Director Beth Doughty at the Guild’s annual conference March 15 in Tucson, Arizona.

“This is great recognition for our region but it also rewards the teamwork involved in bringing Deschutes to Roanoke and Virginia,” Doughty said. “The list of partners in this project is 50 names long but special appreciation goes to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Roanoke City Council, City Manager Chris Morrill, Roanoke Economic Development, Roanoke Parks & Recreation, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The Western Virginia Water Authority, Appalachian Power, RGC Resources, Norfolk Southern, and Balzer and Associates also were key members of the team.

“This was a four year process and had many challenges,” she said. “Success would not have been possible without such incredible community support. We’ve never worked on a project that generated so much enthusiasm and excitement.”

The nomination, by Guild member Don Schjeldahl of DSG Advisors, commended the team for learning from being runner-up on the Sierra Nevada deal that went to Asheville, N.C., and using that knowledge to earn Deschutes.

The Roanoke Regional Partnership had a record-breaking year in 2016.

Announcements of jobs and investment in 2016 included:

  • Eldor Corporation to build $75 million facility with 350 jobs
  • Virginia Community College System to create shared service center location and 200 jobs
  • Ballast Point Brewing to build $48 million facility with 178 jobs
  • Deschutes Brewery to build $85 million facility with 108 jobs
  • Staybridge Suites to build and create 60 jobs
  • Arkay Packaging expansion with 60 new jobs
  • Fleetwood Homes expansion with 100 jobs
  • Integrity Windows expansion with 60 new jobs
  • Canatal Steel USA expansion with 38 new jobs

The Site Selectors Guild is the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants. Guild members provide location strategy to corporations across the globe and for every industry, sector, and function.

Roanoke Named Top Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors

roanoke outdoor town

Top Adventure Town has a nice ring to it. And it’s a moniker we can use all year long. Roanoke is the 2016 Top Large Size Adventure Town winner in the annual ranking from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

The region beat out 47 other contenders and topped Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Baltimore, and Knoxville in head-to-head voting. What makes the win even more impressive is that Roanoke won the large town category, despite competition from locations more than double our size. (That just goes to show how much you love Roanoke!)

The region has earned top town honors four of the last five years as Top Mid-Sized Town in 2015, Best Trail Town in 2013 and was voted Best Mountain Town in 2012.

“Everyone else is really starting to notice what we’ve known about the Roanoke Region for a long time,” says Pete Eshelman with the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “There aren’t too many places with such easy access to such a diverse offering of outdoor recreation opportunities.”

Here’s what the magazine had to say about Roanoke:

“Drive through Roanoke tomorrow and you’ll see runners along the Roanoke River Greenway, cyclists heading up Mill Mountain, and kayaks on roof racks.”

A community invested in the outdoors is more than just good for the adventure-seeker. Recent research shows that communities like Roanoke that invest in invest in bike paths, parks and recreational assets, as well as in infrastructure that improves walkability have demonstrably better outcomes in important areas of health for their residents. (Learn more.)

Earning recognition from a publication such as Blue Ridge Outdoors helps, too! It helps spread what we already know in the Roanoke Region to people in other locations that may not know what a hopping outdoor spot this is.

You can read the full feature from Blue Ridge Outdoors in the November issue.

Virginia Western Places 2nd in Digital Community Colleges Survey

virginia western community college roanoke

Virginia Western Community College placed second in the mid-sized colleges category of the Center for Digital Education’s 2015-16 Digital Community Colleges Survey. Now in its 11th year, the Digital Community Colleges Survey analyzes how community colleges across the country use a range of technologies to improve services for students, faculty, staff, and the community.

Virginia Western has been selected for Top 3 honors on the Digital Community Colleges Survey for each of the past six years. The college, which earned a first-place ranking in 2011, recently relaunched a new website.

Award winners demonstrated innovative uses of technology, including online courses and mobile environments, mobile apps, secure platforms and wireless networks.

This year’s Digital Community Colleges Survey also revealed insights about community colleges’ technology priorities. Colleges surveyed indicated that mobility devices/app support and website redesign are their top priorities in the coming year, followed by cybersecurity tools and testing, network infrastructure modernization, server consolidation and virtualization, and disaster recovery/business continuity. The survey also revealed that 59 percent of colleges now offer professional development courses on how to use mobile apps for instruction while 93 percent offer professional development courses on how to integrate technology into curriculum and instructional practices.

All accredited U.S. community colleges are eligible to participate in the Digital Community Colleges Survey within three classifications based on enrollment size.

Find the full list from the Center for Digital Education.