VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Onward NRV recently received $15,000 in EDGE Grant funding from Appalachian Power in support of programs and initiatives that attract industry and encourage business expansion. The funding is part of the company’s ongoing effort to promote local economic development in the company’s service area.
“Economic development is a collaborative effort,” said Brad Hall, Appalachian Power external affairs vice president. “These grants are a way to support the creativity and outstanding programs that create and retain jobs in the communities we serve.”
Onward NRV will use its funding to market toward site selectors and help raise the visibility of the NRV as a hub for Advanced Manufacturing, Food Processing & Agribusiness, Information Technology, and Unmanned Systems. The grant will also be used to help create videos to showcase the region’s most ready-to-go sites and buildings so Onward NRV and local partners can more easily highlight the region’s assets.
“Thank you to Appalachian Power for their generous support of Onward NRV and Virginia’s New River Valley,” said Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward NRV. “The grant funding will have a significant impact on the NRV’s ability to market the region, attract industry, and encourage business expansion.”
Appalachian Power also awarded EDGE Grant funding to two other organizations in the New River Valley. The Floyd County Economic Development Authority received $20,000 in funding to enhance its branding and marketing program, including a new website for its industrial properties and new shell building. Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facility Authority received $10,000 in funding for enhanced marketing materials, video production services, and site location partnership services for the New River Valley Commerce Park.
“We appreciate the daily hard work and dedication exhibited by our economic development partners,” said John Smolak, Appalachian Power economic and business development director. “If their programs are successful then we as a utility provider are stronger for it.”
Onward NRV has a history of successfully leveraging EDGE Grants. In 2016, Onward NRV was awarded $20,000 to add to the rebranding budget, which helped develop the Onward NRV and Virginia’s New River Valley brands. The regional rebrand served as the basis for the NRV video that was recently released and contributed to the receipt of three Southern Economic Development Council awards and one International Economic Development Council award.
Appalachian Power launched its annual EDGE Grant program in 2014. EDGE stands for Economic Development Growth Enhancement.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy.
Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”
Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.