VGR Celebrates 55th Anniversary, Creation of Over 10,000 Jobs

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA – Virginia's Gateway Region Economic Development Organization (VGR) welcomed more than 100 business and community leaders to celebrate 55 years of working together to create jobs and support local businesses.

During a regional update, VGR President & CEO Renee Chapline presented new media, reinforced the accomplishments of not only 2015, but of the past five years, and set the stage for the next half-decade.

“Over the past five years under the Global 2 program, we've had the opportunity to work with our five counties and three cities to announce over 10,000 new jobs in our region,” Chapline said. “These announcements also included $3.4 billion in capital investment to be injected in the region. The capital investment dollars offer incredible promise for our tax base and our people as the investment brings new direct as well as indirect dollars to the economy through additional consumer spending and investment.”

Ken Shepard, U.S. TrustU.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America, Managing Director & Southeast Investment Executive Ken Shepard gave an insightful keynote address regarding the state of the economy and what is to come.

“No matter what the environment is, there are always negative trends and positive trends that are occurring,” said Shepard. “On the positive side, if you look at what really drives the U.S. economy, 70 percent of the economy is driven by the consumer. The consumer is generally doing fairly well.”

Shepard went on to discuss manufacturing returning to the U.S., the impact of the millennial generation and women as a “driving economic force” in our global economy, allowing attendees to gain a better understanding of how current major economic trends translate into regional opportunities for economic growth.

Following the keynote, VGR Board of Directors Chairman Victor Branch and Special Awards Committee honored three of the region's dedicated leaders. Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) was chosen as VGR's 2015 Economic Development Ambassador of the Year, while Hopewell City Councilman Wayne Walton was honored with a Community Revitalization Volunteer Award and Waukeshaw Development President David McCormack received an award for Outstanding Development.

WTVR CBS 6's Bill Fitzgerald served as the master of ceremonies, while live music was provided by the talented Appomattox Regional Governor's School jazz band. Signature event sponsors were Prince George Electric Cooperative and Industrial TurnAround Corporation.

For images from the event, please click here.

As the regional economic development organization, Virginia’s Gateway Region exists to enhance the economic development opportunities for the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry and Sussex. VGR is a private, nonprofit organization that is publicly and privately funded to facilitate new business opportunities, work with existing businesses, advance resources that will enhance the economic viability of the region and foster regional cooperation among the public and private entities that are involved in economic development activities.