Meeting highlights synergies bringing economic transformation

Published 10:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

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In the organization’s latest push to foster business-led economic development in the Commonwealth, GO Virginia Region 3 showcased successful collaborations among partners and grantees in Southern Virginia at the annual All-Hands Meeting, held May 5, 2022, at The Prizery in South Boston.

GOVA Region 3 Council Chair Randy Lail welcomed business leaders, educators, government officials and community members to the All-Hands Meeting, where attendees heard from speakers representing organizations and institutions dedicated to the economic vitality of Southern Virginia. The keynote speaker, the Honorable Nicole Riley, deputy secretary of labor at the office of the Governor of Virginia, emphasized regional cooperation and workforce development in the Commonwealth.

This year’s event had a special focus on the direct beneficiaries of grants and highlighted small business successes and programs. Among those was Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC), which demonstrated the organization’s educational outreach efforts in real time by showcasing two local middle school classrooms to the meeting over Zoom. The day also featured several networking breaks and offered a post-meeting tour of the SOVA Innovation Hub and the GO TEC Technology Bus.

“It is exciting to see firsthand those who have benefited from the GO Virginia Region 3 Council’s support over the last several years,” said GOVA Region 3 Council Chair Randy Lail. “Seeing all our partners together in one place to recognize our achievements is a reminder that together we are doing great things in Region 3.”

Presentations explored entrepreneurship, workforce development, business continuity and recovery, and leadership development. Highlights included:

An update on the 2021 Growth and Diversification plan from GOVA’s Liz Povar and Nancy Pool, noting Region 3’s investment in 10 projects leveraging over $9 million in non-state, private and philanthropic funding since 2017.

Discussion of the regional entrepreneurship and innovation initiative from Lauren Mathena of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation and Sheri McGuire of Longwood University’s Office of Community & Economic Development. Featured organizations included Rise Collaborative, the SOVA Innovation Hub, and Project SEED, a new innovation hub planned for Farmville, Va.

An overview of a major workforce development initiative spearheaded by Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) from Dr. Julie Brown and Jacob Taylor of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). GO TEC introduces technology and engineering career pathways to middle school students, supporting them through advanced level training.

A recap of the work of Bridge to Recovery from the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance’s Linda Green and Samantha Smith-Herndon. Bridge to Recovery created a network that enabled businesses in need of specific professional services or products to connect with businesses in the Region 3 footprint who had those services and products during the pandemic; over the past 18 months, the program has resulted in the identification of 111 suppliers.

Remarks on the importance of community leadership development by Dr. Larry Terry, representing UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

“Our superpower in Region 3 is bringing people together,” said GOVA Region 3 Incoming Chair Tim Clark. “When I moved to the area 23 years ago, everyone was working in silos. No one wanted to communicate or partner with each other, but that has all changed. We are moving the needle. We are supporting programs that are now growing into other regions. It’s magical.”

Region 3 was especially appreciative of the following All-Hands Meeting supporters: The Kitchen Table, Letterpress Communications, The Prizery and SOVA Innovation Hub. To learn more about GOVA Region 3 initiatives or to get involved, visit www.