Highland Economic Development Authority Could Benefit From Shenandoah Valley Partnership Initiatives This Year

Monterey, VA – At its meeting last Tuesday, Highland Economic Development Authority Chairperson Betty Mitchell gave EDA members a report on the recent Shenandoah Valley Partnership meeting.

“The meeting was actually held in the newly renovated terminal at Weyers Cave airport at the Shenandoah Valley airport,” says Mitchell “and it’s really quite nice. Martin Briley, who’s the new president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnerships spoke at the meeting. They’re looking at the strategic plan that they’re trying to put together for an economic development partnership. They have four targeted sectors which are advanced manufacturing, security and services, science and research, and transportation.”

She continues with a discussion of some specific areas of interest that the Partnership is planning to pursue over the next year.

“There are seven that they are feeling like are hotter sub-sectors of that, and one of them includes food processing, it’s the advanced manufacturing that’s the hot one,” she says. “Federal security agencies and providers, which we’ve talked about from time to time about whether there might be any spillover of any of those people looking to get right outside of the “blast” zone, maybe come to the valley, whether that would have any implication on Highland. Information technology is another one of them; clean energy, bio technology R&D; and then within the transportation section, aerospace and general logistics.”

The EDA technology committee is working to set up a meeting with Verizon Wireless, to get information on Verizon’s current plan for expanding cell phone coverage in the county. The technology committee also has meetings scheduled with the county’s internet service providers.

“The Highland EDA technology committee is scheduled to meet with the Board of Highland Telephone Cooperative on June 14th to review the technology committees goals and just meet with their phone company board and find out what their future plans are and if there are any ways we can work together,” says Mitchell. “And she’s trying to set up a similar meeting with Craig Smith of MGW for the same purpose.”

“And they’re going to try to have a draft of their technology plan to us by September 1.”

The EDA is also looking to set up a meeting with Mead WestVaco to get more information about their plans to expand part of their wood products program. In the future there may be job opportunities for timber workers in both Bath and Highland Counties associated with that expansion. They are currently planning a meeting in June.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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