GO Virginia

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GO Virginia is a statewide initiative designed to encourage Virginia's economic growth through the creation of high-wage jobs. GO Virginia is divided into nine geographic regions. Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development facilitates GO Virginia Region 2. More information on different regions and GO Virginia can be found here: http://govirginia.org/.

GO Virginia Region 2 staff and team members conducted research, collected data, and held meetings designed to identify regionally-specific growth areas that could lead to the creation of high-wage jobs. This data informed Region 2's Growth and Diversification plan.

GO Virginia Region 2 is currently accepting proposals for projects that seek to address the growth areas identified in the Growth and Diversification plan and that will grow higher wage jobs.

The GO Virginia program is divided into nine different geographic regions.

Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development is the facilitator for GO Virginia Region 2, which includes cities of Covington, Lynchburg, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem; and the counties of Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke.

If you live in GO Virginia Region 2 and you are interested in being added to our mailing list, please fill out the form below. If you would like more information about the program, please email Doris at dwaddell@vt.edu.

Learn more about GO Virginia at the GO Virginia Website.

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University faculty are encouraged to consider opportunities for funding with GO Virginia http://govirginia.org/. This is a state grant program supporting projects leading to higher wage growth, primarily driven by new investments to Virginia. Topics of interest include technology, talent, entrepreneurship, and industrial sites or specialized facilities (e.g. research park infrastructure) driving growth targeted industry sectors. 

The program funds regional grants around the state (generally  in the $100,000-$600,000 range) and multi-regional or statewide projects ($1m and up). The programs require a 1:1 match and substantive industry and local participation. Designated support organizations, such as Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development https://econdev.vt.edu/ can assist investigators in addressing these and other requirements.

Higher Education partnerships with industry are of great interest to the program, but so far few have been submitted. Examples include:

  • Center for Energy Research and Education Industry Labs – ($300,000 regional grant funds) The project will create a center at Liberty University that is connected to local and regional economic development efforts. These labs will offer regional companies and institutions of higher education the facilities necessary to promote research and development as well as to foster the attraction and retention of the scientific and engineering workforce.
  • VCU Pharmaceutical Accelerator – ($500,000 regional grants funds) This project will lead to the creation of an advanced manufacturing cluster by commercializing advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and equipment developed through the Medicines for All program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • Virginia Digital Shipbuilding Workforce Program – ($647,540 regional grants funds) In this project ODU and Purdue will create a regional and statewide program to train approximately 8,500 future workers – skilled craftsmen, engineers, designers, and IT professionals - to work in the new digital manufacturing environment and will support Hampton Roads’ existing advanced manufacturing and shipbuilding clusters.

Additional information on GO Virginia is available at this link:  http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/index.php/dhcd-regions-at-work/go-virginia-regional-work.html

For questions or assistance in developing proposals please contact John Provo at 540-231-5278 or jprovo@vt.edu  

The Region Two Council is currently led by Chair Raymond Smoot and Vice Chair Ab Boxley and includes the following 25 council members: 

Marla Akridge, Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation
Eddie Amos, GE Digital
Amy Ankrum, Qualtrax
Dr. Nathaniel Bishop, Carilion Clinic
Ab Boxley, Boxley Materials Company
Dr. John Capps, Central Virginia Community College
Kenneth Craig, Liberty University
Beverly Dalton, English Construction
Sandy Davis, BCR Property Management
Dr. John Dooley, Virginia Tech Foundation
Watt Foster, Foster Fuels
William Fralin, Medical Facilities of America
Dr. Michael Friedlander, VT Carilion Research Center
Don Halliwill, Carilion Clinic
Mike Hamlar, Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home, PAC director
Dr. Brian Hemphill, Radford University
Dr. Victor Iannello, Radiant Physics, Radiant Ventures (R&D)
Terry Jamerson, Roanoke Times
Floyd Merryman, Sonny Merryman
Marty Muscatello, FoxGuard Solutions
Kimball Payne, The Berkley Group
Debbie Petrine, Commonwealth Care of Roanoke, VT BOV
John Putney, Town of Bedford IDA
Dr. Ray Smoot, Union Bank and Trust
Matthew Stewart, Celanese


Stopping the Brain Drain Strategy Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) works through the Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP) to develop a complete talent attraction and retention program for the GO Virginia Region 2 service area. The project will examine the challenges in attracting talent from the 25 colleges and universities in the region, retaining young professionals, challenges faced by regional employers in recruiting talent, and other concerns in developing talent-focused programs of work. The Region 2 service area has a wealth of available talent for a variety of different fields but fails to keep many in the region post-graduation. There is, however, little data or information on why this challenge exists. Stopping the Brain Drain seeks to overcome the gap and create a Talent Action Coalition that will serve as an action platform in the implementation of retaining talent in the region.

For more information, please contact: Erin Burcham, erin@roanoke.org.

GO Virginia Region 2 Talent Collaborative serves the entire GO Virginia Region 2 service region and works to stimulate the region’s economic growth by closing the skill and interest gap in middle-to-high skilled occupations in Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology. The Talent Collaborative works to create an existing worker-training program that helps priority industries further develop their talent to remain competitive. Furthermore, the Talent Collaborative will create a Region 2 High Demand Career Pathway Educational Campaign to address the interest gap in hard-to-fill, technical occupation across the priority industry clusters, identified in the Growth and Diversification Plan, to develop a sustainable career pathway system for regional jobs. Ultimately, the project will result in increased wages for employees and productivity/profits for employers.

For more information, please contact: Ben Bowman, bbowman@region2000works.org.

Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems works with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) to build a unique and innovative partnership in the DSLCC Service Region and seeks funding in a new drone technology program to meet the needs of the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone. The project creates 18 high-wage jobs and attract three to five new businesses to the area. The project focuses on exhibiting pathways to middle and high school students in the region, so students become aware there are a growing number of interesting, challenging, and rewarding jobs available and what the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed to perform these jobs are in the region. Funds are used to purchase and roll out drone technology training courses to develop the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone program to train students for potential employers.

For more information, please contact: Dr. John Rainone, pbartley@dslcc.edu.

Regional Career and Technical Education Study through The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board will increase the availability and alignment of CTE programs in the region. The study would evaluate previously completed studies of CTE programs, evaluate existing conditions for CTE centers and programs, and recommend next steps to improve CTE programs in the region.

For more information, please contact: Morgan Romeo, mromeo@vcwblueridge.com.

Ignite through The United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) will expand their efforts in GO Virginia Region 1 to GO Virginia Region 2 with a goal to facilitate regional collaboration between schools and employers to equip and retain the next generation of the local workforce. Through a collaborative effort between K-12 and industry, the program will focus on creating industry experience opportunities and enhanced occupational awareness.

For more information, please contact: Leann Vernon, lvernon@unitedwayswva.org.

Developing a Destination for Talent will connect an untapped pool of Virginia Tech undergraduates to regional employers seeking to find and retain talent and will provide faculty members with networking opportunities. Project activities will include the creation of paid internships to build a talent pipeline from VT to regional companies. The Office of the Vice Provost for Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness, inclusive of the Career and Professional Development Office, will coordinate with local businesses to share student internship opportunities and provide students with appropriate training materials and general work etiquette needed to succeed in the workforce. The project will benefit Region 2 by highlighting current job opportunities, offering additional intern slots, and reducing hiring and training costs for the surrounding communities. Virginia Tech has created nine Destination Areas which align with the GO Virginia Region 2’s target industries. These activities build on the new approaches to internships identified in the “Stopping the Brain Drain” project.

For more information, please contact: Catherine Amelink, amelink@vt.edu.

Blockchain Ecosystem Catalyst (BEC) is a collaboration of the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science, Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation, and Continuing and Professional Education with partners including the Virginia Tech Foundation and Valleys Innovation Council. Project activities will include addressing current talent needs for mid-career professionals by providing seminars, short courses, and training events that would ultimately lead to blockchain certifications. Additionally, the project will develop curriculum and courseware resources for current in-degree students at Virginia Tech, develop an industry focused blockchain resource portal to support startups and other companies looking to implement blockchain technology, and sponsor industry seminars targeting regional companies to share how blockchain can be used in various fields. BEC addresses three GO Virginia strategic focus areas: technology development, talent development, and entrepreneurship and business development. 

For more information, please contact: Kirk Cameron, cameron@cs.vt.edu.


Capital Ecosystem Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) examines the Region 2 capital ecosystem to understand the current landscape and find ways to strengthen formal pathways to capital for businesses and entrepreneurs. The project will create a Capital Landscape Study to understand and describe the various sources of capital in the region through surveys and interviews with entrepreneurs and investors in the region. Through this study, analysis will determine a capital access plan that would be most effective for Region 2 to connect businesses and entrepreneurs with investors throughout the region.

For more information, please contact: Meredith Hundley, mhundley@valleysinnovation.org.

Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) Expansion works with the City of Roanoke, Virginia Western Community College, and the RBTC to assist technology-based startups with access to classroom education, mentoring, and assistance in identifying capital. RAMP has previously supported one cohort through the program and current funds will help build a diverse mentor network, provide mentors and entrepreneurs with education and tools to help grow and develop, and build a pipeline of companies who wish to apply to RAMP, the region’s only accelerator program. Through Pitch-and-Polish clinics, pairing mentors and startups, and beginning a second RAMP cohort, RAMP will strengthen the job and resource network in Region 2.

For more information, please contact: Robert McAden, robert.mcaden@rbtc.tech.

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will provide small business counseling, training, and business resources to the New River Valley region (counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski, and City of Radford), and deliver new programs and services that are tailored to the specific needs of New River Valley small businesses and Region 2 GOVA strategies. The project provides the resources to dedicate a full-time Business Advisor to serve the New River Valley exclusively, greatly increasing the time and effort the Roanoke Regional SBDC can devote to serving New River Valley businesses, and rebuilding the relationships between New River Valley communities and the SBDC network.

For more information, please contact Keith Hartman, khartman@roanokesmallbusiness.org.

Increasing the Birth Rates of New High Growth Companies for Region 2 through The Advancement Foundation (TAF) focuses on leveraging business resources, entrepreneur resource partners, industry experts, and partners to increase business readiness and success rate for new high growth companies. The goal of this project is to define and expand the region’s entrepreneurial pipeline for new and early stage companies.

For more information, please contact Annette Patterson, Annette.TAF@gmail.com.

Sites and Buildings

Wood Haven Road Water and Sewer Infrastructure Enhancement works through the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA) to improve site readiness and marketability by making the water and sewer utility connections to the site ready for use. Prior to receiving funds, the site, jointly owned by the County of Roanoke and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem through the WVRIFA, was unable to be developed and did not attract businesses to the area. Through the project, the site will be propelled to a Tier 4 readiness standard through the Virginia Businesses Ready Sites Program. The project seeks to attract new businesses to the region through site preparedness.

For more information, please contact: Beth Doughty or John Hull, beth@roanoke.org or john@roanoke.org

Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs works with Liberty University and Framatome (AREVA Inc.) to create four industry labs including: Chemical/Material Lab, EMC Lab, Calibration Lab, and a Non-Destructive Testing Lab through site preparedness on a 28-acre lot in Bedford, VA. Through developing the land and establishing the labs, the region will be able to attract and build industry support for leading innovations and attract high-growth energy companies to the region.

For more information, please contact: Rich Diddams, rdiddams@liberty.edu.

Additive Manufacturing Partnership Labs (AMPL) is a collaborative effort between Liberty University (LU), The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), the XLR8 STEM Academy, local partners BWX Technologies, FarField NDT, and Bedford County to support the collective goal of building the Additive Manufacturing (AM) base and educating the AM workforce. GO Virginia funding will purchase the AM equipment needed to establish the lab. LU will outfit the AM laboratory with: two Markforged Metal X 3D Printers, one Markforged X7 3D Printer, one Geomagic Capture Scanner, and smaller 3D printers in support of the STEM Academy. The 2,400 square-foot facility will include several AM systems capable of full consolidation of nylon, carbon fiber, polymeric, metallic, and ceramic material systems, as well as a prototyping laboratory which includes a host of characterization techniques.

For more information, please contact: Rich Diddams, rdiddams@liberty.edu.

Lynchburg Site Readiness will advance a portfolio of six existing commercial/industrial sites along the site readiness scale and clarify next steps for moving all sites to at least Tier III on the Virginia Business Site Readiness Scale (VBRSP). This project will complete the site improvement phase that is the due diligence process in the development phase in the Region 2 Growth & Diversification Plan.

For more information, please contact: Meghan Lucas, meganlucas@lynchburgregion.org

a photo of treetops in the roanoke valley and mountains in the background