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VGR September 2020 Newsletter

September 2020 Newsletter




CEO Update


Welcome Fall! With this new season, the Gateway Region is also experiencing new community and partner leadership. First, congratulations to Melissa Rollins who was promoted to County Administrator for Surry County in June. Melissa and David Harrison continue to lead economic development efforts in the county. We also welcome Richard Douglas as the new Sussex County Administrator. Richard comes to the Gateway Region from the City of Covington and started his new job this month. He is excited to partner with VGR to promote the county to prospects. Alec Brebner was recently named the new Executive Director of the Crater Planning District Commission. We recently had lunch to explore how our organizations can continue to work closely together. Finally, we welcome John Milton-Benoit, the new President of CCAM—the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. You can read more about John and his vision for CCAM on our new Blog below. Strong relationships and communication between VGR staff and our partners are critical to economic development success. We look forward to working with all seven VGR communities this fall and beyond, and especially as we all collaborate and emerge stronger after the pandemic.

October will be a busy month. Prospect calls and meetings have increased, and VGR will be putting the final touches on our new regional brand video. We will host our next board meeting on October 1st. Finally, COO Ajay Sujanani has been busy completing grant applications for the region.

 If you have any questions or input, please do not hesitate

to reach out to me at: or (804) 732-8971.


VGR Participates in London Tech Week

VGR participated in London Tech Week which was held virtually for the first time. The event had participants from the entire spectrum of the tech industry, ranging from giants to start ups, making it an ideal platform for VGR to connect with companies virtually to pitch the region’s assets. There was also an impressive lineup of speakers from across the globe, tackling the most pressing topics facing the tech sector today. The event helped VGR stay current with industry knowledge, especially on the business processing outsourcing front, a new target industry.


Touring the Talley Workforce Center

On Wednesday, September 23rd, Chairman of VGR's Board of Directors Dr. Ted Raspiller, who is the President of John Tyler Community College (JTCC), gave President & CEO Keith Boswell, Director of Economic Development for the City of Petersburg Carthan Currin and his department staff a tour of JTCC's Talley Workforce Center. Dr. Raspiller explained to those who attended the tour how the community college wants to be the workforce resource for the Gateway Region, and that's exactly why the Community College Workforce Alliance and VGR co-hired Michelle Rogers as Director of Workforce Development. "That's how important this is to us" — Dr. Raspiller. 


Virginia Has All the Ingredients a Manufacturing Region Needs to Flourish

Coming from Connecticut, John Milton-Benoit chose to pursue an opportunity at Virginia’s Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) as its new President because he saw that all of the pieces to create a great public–private partnership for a vibrant manufacturing ecosystem were already in place and ready to grow. Read more on the VGR Blog HERE



A Conversation with Chris Lloyd


Keith Boswell sat down with Chris Lloyd this month. Chris is Senior Vice President at McGuire Woods Consulting, and a member of the Site Selection Guild. Chris shared key insights about the future of site selection trends considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video HERE and subscribe to our new channel. 


More News Happening in VGR 

Fort Lee Maintains Important Position as Economic Engine for the Crater Region

Center for All Things Retail Sees Uptick in Revenue, Profile on Karen Epps

IBM Plans to Invest $100 Million in HBCUs, Including VSU

Virginia 500: featuring friends of VGR Victor Branch, Makola M. Abdullah, Chris Shockley, and Neil P. Amin


Show us Love on Social Media


Please follow VGR on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (@VAGatewayRegion) to keep up with all the latest VGR happenings!


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Partner Spotlight



Fort Lee Federal Credit Union, founded in 1952, is a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that serves all of your personal banking needs. Fort Lee FCU proudly serves Fort Lee as well as the following cities and counties: Hopewell, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield and Sussex. Fort Lee FCU offers checking accounts, ATM and Visa credit and debit cards, savings and retirement solutions, mortgages, auto loans, insurance options and more. Their convenient services make personal banking easier than ever, with options such as online banking, online bill pay, mobile banking and e-statements.