The Roanoke Valley Region had lots of reasons to celebrate this past quarter. Just one week apart, two industry-leading companies, ELDOR Corporation and Deschutes Brewery, announced to bright-eyed, standing-room-only crowds that they would be opening operations in the Roanoke Valley. Combined, both companies will invest $160 million and create more than 450 new jobs.

Life at VEDP is busy. That’s a good thing when your business is making positive changes happen for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Three-fourths of the way through the fiscal year, our performance dashboard indicates we will most likely exceed the goals for new jobs and investment established by our Board of Directors. It was a good time, then, for our president and CEO, Martin Briley, to pursue new challenges as he left us on March 31. We are keeping the momentum going strong and, at the same time, taking stock to make sure we stay a step ahead of the competition.


In January, the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program graduated a dozen companies, raising the total of VALET alumni to 247 Virginia businesses ready to successfully export products and services globally with tools and expertise gained from VEDP. The graduating companies were recognized by Governor McAuliffe during a luncheon.

In early February, six Virginia companies participated in Winter Germany 2016, a technology exposition series held on the U.S.’s German military bases in Wiesbaden, Ramstein, Stuttgart and Grafenwoehr. This marked the first time VEDP has been involved in the Winter Germany Technology Expo, an annual event for defense contractors. Companies that participated are enrolled in VEDP's Going Global Defense Initiative (GGDI), a program specifically designed to help companies in the defense industry diversify their revenue stream by looking to international markets in light of pending domestic defense cuts.

Governor McAuliffe announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and VEDP in January. AFRICOM is one of six geographic combatant commands in the Department of Defense and is responsible for military relations with African nations, the African Union and African regional security organizations.



In January, the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program graduated a dozen companies, raising the total of VALET alumni to 247 Virginia businesses ready to successfully export products and services globally with tools and expertise gained from VEDP. The graduating companies were recognized by Governor McAuliffe during a luncheon.

In an effort to solidify Virginia’s reputation as a national leader in cybersecurity, Governor McAuliffe and VEDP representatives traveled to San Francisco for a marketing mission in early March to attend the largest information and cybersecurity conference in the world, RSA Conference 2016.

Toi Wilson is the new Business Expansion Project Manager for the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, serving the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Greater Williamsburg Partnership and the Eastern Shore.

She previously worked with the City of Portsmouth, where she served as the business development manager in the Department of Economic Development, marketing, administering and managing the local incentives program.

Toi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Tech, and has completed the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

Ken Hurst joined VEDP in January as Managing Director of Asia in the Business Attraction division. Prior to working in economic development, Ken served in senior-level roles at several global Tier 1 automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers, including SAF-Holland GmBH, Benteler Automotive and GKN plc. He is excited for the opportunity to bring a private-sector perspective to job creation in the Commonwealth and proud to be a part of VEDP’s vital mission to Virginia.

A native Richmonder, Ken holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and is happy to be back after living in Michigan, North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. He has been married to his high-school sweetheart, Debbie, for 29 years and has two adult children, Hilary and Bahen.

Holly joins VEDP as International Trade Manager in the International Trade division and is responsible for the Central Virginia region. With 16 years of supply-chain management experience, primarily in global markets, her roles with consumer products, service and entertainment companies provide a well-rounded knowledge about many issues that importers and exporters may face, such as: international logistics, customs compliance, documentation and finance options. Her prior experience with international markets focused on Asia Pacific, Latin and South America, and Western Europe. Holly’s network is diverse, and she is quick to connect people with the right contacts to facilitate global sales success.

Holly was an active member of the Virginia Maritime Association – Cargo Owners’ Committee for four years and was instrumental in creating the Central Virginia chapter of the organization. A graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English , Holly was asked to participate in the Richmond Logistics Round Table, a consortium of various community leaders. She served on the American Shipper Editorial Board and has spoken at numerous local and national conferences on world trade and supply chain. Holly has also participated as a client in the VALET program, which lends her a unique behind-the-scenes perspective that potential VALET clients value.

VEDP is committed to collaborating with our economic development partners as we aggressively market Virginia around the globe and compete for economic opportunities.

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) set out to grow and diversify the economy of Virginia’s e-Region after being created by the General Assembly in 1988. At that time, coal served as the backbone of their seven counties—Lee, Wise, Scott, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell and Dickenson—and the City of Norton. But in recent years, the coal mining and energy industries have struggled in southwestern Virginia, spurring a need for companies to find alternate ways to develop their revenue streams.

New program will assist localities with marketing sites of 100+ acres to perspective businesses.

Senate Bill 750 was passed in the final days of the General Assembly session, following efforts by VEDP and its partners to correct unintended consequences resulting from the 2015 ethics legislation.

Since opening in 1996, the VEDP call center has been among the highest producing programs for expansion targets at VEDP. The telemarketing program has supported VEDP’s mission through coordinating marketing missions and manager call trips, providing trade show appointment setting services, and supporting event marketing.

In the 2016 session of General Assembly, VEDP's budget grew for the first time since 2000. Senate Bill 750 passed, easing the burden for prospective companies.