An Onward NRV Transition

Dear investors, partners, and allies: We, Charlie Jewell and Scott Blankenship, would like to jointly inform you of a transition for the Onward NRV team. Charlie is resigning his position as Executive Director, effective Friday, August 6. He has accepted the role as Managing Director of The Site Selectors Guild, an organization of members who provide location strategy to corporations around the world. I, Charlie, would like to thank all of you investors and stakeholders for your support and engagement. It’s been a privilege to work here and throughout my tenure, I have felt that I had one of the best jobs in the world working in economic development for this region. The New River Valley has a unique spirit and youthful energy. It’s telling that so many public and private organizations, along with individuals, invest in Onward NRV. It’s ground support like this that will help our region achieve its economic promise. My family and I call the NRV home and we plan to continue to live here as I work remotely in my new role. It’s been an honor to work with you to shape Onward NRV to adapt to changing circumstances and support economic growth in our region. This is Scott. While I am sad to be losing Charlie, I am happy for him personally and wish him all the best as he pursues the next stage in his career. Charlie has been a delight to work with: focused, energetic, humble – and a level force that was critical at this stage of our organization’s development. The Executive Committee held a special called meeting yesterday afternoon to develop the transition plan. We have a strong staff and a sound plan for them to follow during the transition; we have a highly engaged board and committed investors. Over our 31-year history we’ve been through transitions before, but never have we been in such a strong position as we seek a new Executive Director. We have hired Creative Economic Development Consulting to provide strategic and staff support to help fill in any gaps through the transition. They are very familiar with our organization as they were the consultant who help us craft our Onward 2023 five-year strategy. Charlie has also agreed to be available on a limited basis as needed to support the transition. I am enthusiastic about Onward NRV’s future. During the past six years, we have accomplished much:
  • We completed two strategic planning processes that helped the organization evolve into a modern, high-performing regional economic development organization that unites our region.
  • We developed the first long-term economic development strategy for the region that has supported the creation of 2,139 jobs and $450 million in capital investment.
  • We graduated 55 interns through the NRV Experience program; a seven-week-long summer curriculum designed to retain more college graduates in the region.
  • We branded the region for economic development as Virginia’s New River Valley through digital marketing campaigns that have reached over 3 million people.
  • We rebranded our organization from the NRV Alliance to Onward NRV and embraced and embraced its messaging of pulling the region together and moving it forward.
  • We have grown the number of organizations who invest in our mission by 62%.
With this as a base, imagine what we can accomplish in the next 6 or 10 years! Starting today, if you have any questions about Onward NRV’s operations, please contact me at scott@onwardnrv.org. Thank you for investing in the mission of Onward NRV and supporting the economic vitality of Virginia’s New River Valley. Sincerely,  
Scott Blankenship
Scott Blankenship Chairman of the Board
Charlie Jewell
Charlie Jewell Executive Director
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