Onward NRV Staff

Roanoke Times Opinion Letter: Moving the NRV Onward

The Roanoke Times posted the following letter from Onward NRV Executive Director Charlie Jewell today:

“It’s a new day at Onward New River Valley. With the input of almost 200 stakeholders in the NRV, we developed a modern, five year economic development strategy for the region that focuses on four goals related to industry, talent, place-making and regionalism. By 2023, our goal is to work with partners from industry, government and higher education to stimulate $180 million in new capital investment and the creation of 1,720 jobs.

Goal 1 (industry) is to establish the NRV as a hub for advanced manufacturing, information technology, unmanned systems and food processing and agribusiness. We will engage companies already here to cultivate a world-class environment for each industry. This will not only support their growth but will also build the conditions necessary for us to successfully attract new companies to the region.

Goal 2 (talent) is to attract and retain talent to grow communities and support industry needs. We will tell the livability story of the NRV and work to better leverage the colleges and universities here. All too often students of Virginia Tech, Radford University and New River Community College leave the NRV without gaining a full understanding of what we have to offer besides being a great place to go to college. We want these students, and alumni who have already left, to know the NRV is also a great place to live post-graduation with meaningful career opportunities and lifestyle choices.

Goal 3 (place-making) is to cultivate assets that support our economic vitality. In an ever-tightening national labor market, “quality of place” (e.g. the outdoors, vibrant downtowns, arts/culture) will increasingly drive where people choose to live, thereby influencing where businesses decide to locate. We will be an advocate for these types of assets as well as more traditional assets such as ready-to-go sites and buildings.

Goal 4 (regionalism) is to be a high-performing organization that unifies the NRV. We will further develop our capacity to build the collaborative partnerships necessary to realize our bold vision for the NRV.

It is a new day at Onward NRV. We look forward to moving the region onward, together.”



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.

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