Governor McDonnell Leads Economic Development Tour of Virginia's e-Region
RICHMOND – Earlier this week, Governor Bob McDonnell led an economic development tour of Southwest Virginia's e-Region. The e-Region consists of Lee, Scott, Wise, Russell, Dickenson, Buchanan and Tazewell Counties and the City of Norton. The e-Region designation reflects the area's focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging technologies. The governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor and Chief Jobs Creation Officer Bill Bolling, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, Senior Economic Advisor Bob Sledd, Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey and representatives from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.
The two-day event showcased the region's economic development assets to key corporate executives and business location decision makers visiting the region. The tour included visits to the Cumberland Plateau Regional Industrial Park, the Southwest Virginia Technology Development Center, the CGI Center of Excellence, Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park, Appalachia America Energy Research Center and NanoQuantics, The University of Virginia's College at Wise, Crooked Road Tech Center and Tempur-Pedic.
Speaking about the tour, Governor McDonnell remarked, "This tour of Virginia's e-Region was meant to showcase Southwest Virginia. This area is ideal for new business development and growth and it is important for business leaders to see that state and regional leadership is committed to a business friendly climate. During the two-day tour we showed prospective businesses first-hand what the e-Region has to offer and told them: if you're looking for a region that is a great place to do business and features a tremendous quality of life, low taxes, and highly skilled citizens with great work ethics, you ought to think about Southwest Virginia. There's no better place in the country to do business than Virginia and this tour gave these key decision-makers a look at the assets in this important region. I look forward to continuing to work to bring more jobs and opportunity to Virginia's e-Region."
Lieutenant Governor Bolling remarked, "We are committed to doing everything we can to encourage economic growth and investment in Southwest Virginia. This tour gave us a chance to introduce several important business leaders and site selection consultants to Southwest Virginia, and they were very impressed with what they saw. Southwest Virginia has a great story to tell, and many positive assets to draw upon. I am confident that the time we spent will help produce leads and produce jobs in Southwest Virginia, and we stand ready to do anything else we can to assist in that effort."
Job creation and economic development in Southside and Southwest Virginia has been a priority for the McDonnell administration. Fulfilling a campaign pledge, Governor McDonnell appointed Mary Rae Carter as Virginia's first Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Economic Development in March of 2010. Governor McDonnell was recently in the Southwest for the grand opening of the Heartwood Artisan Gateway in Abingdon.
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