~ Virginia’s Gateway Region EDO hosts its 61st Annual Meeting at the New Petersburg Public Library ~
Virginia’s Gateway Region Economic Development Organization welcomed business and community leaders from across the Richmond — Petersburg metro area to commemorate another year of success and achievement working together to create jobs and support local business at their 61st Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 18 at the newly constructed, state-of-the-art, Petersburg Public Library.
During his opening remarks, VGR President & CEO Keith Boswell recognized all of the vital partners who help make the impacts which this regional economic development organization — also known as a “REDO” — has on the region’s economy, possible. This included: the four employees and two independent consultants who make up the VGR Team; the VGR Board of Directors; the individuals serving in the roles which operate our seven localities’ economic development departments; VGR’s state colleagues from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Grow Capital Jobs / Growth & Opportunity Virginia — commonly referred to as “GO Virginia” — as well as The Port of Virginia; a special recognition for Delegate Kim Taylor of the 63rd State House District, which covers the City of Petersburg as well as part of the City of Hopewell and portions of the counties of Dinwiddie and Prince George, for attending the event as well as in regards to VGR’s appreciation of her efforts to make the Gateway Region more competitive; and finally, a thanks to VGR’s Executive Leadership Committee.
In addressing the audience on the “State of the Region,” Mr. Boswell and VGR Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Edward “Ted” Raspiller, who is also the President of John Tyler Community College, also known as JTCC, shed light on the importance of VGR’s work in the region and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at-hand with the emerging advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster in Petersburg as well as the REDO’s insightful five-year strategic plan called “Transformative Growth 2025” to seek a five-year goal of $5,000,000 to accomplish the three strategic plan goals of facilitating business opportunities, igniting powerful partnerships and delivering innovative resources to VGR’s seven community partners.
For the past two years, VGR has been focused on this new, emerging industry sub-sector to manufacture essential medicines from active pharmaceutical ingredients in the City of Petersburg as well as how to build a workforce that is trained and ready to enter into the talent pipeline to serve in this important field of work.
VGR and the Community College Workforce Alliance, or CCWA — a partner of JTCC — formed a special, unique partnership to enhance workforce development and training solutions, with the co-hiring of VGR / CCWA Director of Workforce Development Michelle Rogers to serve in the dual role.
Over the past five years, VGR has been instrumental in improving the region’s prosperity. Recently, the REDO commissioned a study to find out the economic impact that VGR has had on the Gateway Region. The bottom line is that our regional economy is approximately $8 billion and VGR has positively impacted the gross regional product by $1.4 billion in direct economic output over five years.
“As we look to the future, we are certain that efforts to develop industrial sites on behalf of the region will continue this economic impact. In fact, we have secured three GO Virginia grants to better position our properties within local, state, national and international site selection community. One grant that I will highlight is our effort to find water solutions for the Route 460 corridor. I personally believe that Route 460 will become a key industrial corridor in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Boswell emphasized.
In short, VGR is committed to advancing solutions for our seven member communities and guiding the regional conversation around all our infrastructure needs. This is the main reason why this organization believes that forming a Regional Industrial Facilities Authority — also known as a RIFA — is a key tool to move the Gateway Region forward.
“VGR works with a big team that incorporates leaders from government, academia, and industry. We’re the regional voice for the Gateway region in economic development matters. We’ve developed deep relationships with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Port of Virginia, Governor’s Office of Commerce and Trade, Grow Capital Jobs, Department of Housing and Community Development, Department of Environmental Quality. We have forged partnerships with our local educational institutions John Tyler Community College, Richard Bland College, and Virginia State University. And because we have many years in this business, we have been able to maintain our relationships at the federal level with organizations like the US Economic Development Administration and the Small Business Administration. Lastly, we enjoy a good, working relationship with our key industrial and commercial partners as I believe their success is also our success. In short, VGR has many relationships which can be quickly mustered when the need arises,” Boswell explained.
Boswell’s last point was this: “VGR is a creative organization.”
“COVID has taught us that we need to constantly be reevaluating the ever-changing economic landscape. If we can successfully do this, VGR will always deliver a mission-critical product to our customers and stakeholders. Whether orchestrating the recent Business Council legislative event at the Dinwiddie County Airport or looking at launching our new vertical called ‘Local Market Development,’ VGR strives to be the region’s trusted partner when it comes to economic development,” he said.
Keith Boswell, President & CEO of Virginia's Gateway Region Economic Development Organization, speaks with Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D., President of Virginia State University in Petersburg at the organization's 61st Annual Meeting, which was hosted at the Petersburg Public Library on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
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