SVP staff, with our public and  private partners, are committed to remaining top of mind with our project partners for strong economic growth in 2017. We want everyone to understand our community priorities and what makes our region unique. In 2017 we will highlight a different community in our SVP footprint each month and use this platform to serve as a consistent update on progress being made by each locality. We look forward to sharing these updates with you and hope you’ll stay tuned each month to see our regional progress!

The City of Harrisonburg's  April Update & Focus: The global cybersecurity market is projected to increase from $67 billion in 2011 to $156 billion by 2019.  This explosive growth of the cybersecurity sector provides an economic opportunity for the City of Harrisonburg.  By maximizing the existing assets available in the area and developing new ones, Harrisonburg can be positioned to tap into this fast growing industry. 

Harrisonburg Economic Development has set out on a course to build a successful cybersecurity eco-system, consisting of a sustainable workforce, partnerships with education, quality infrastructure, support from the government and interaction amongst peers in the industry.  The first step in creating that eco-system is to    understand the needs of the industry. 

To that end, we recently partnered with James Madison University to host a day-long Cybersecurity Forum.  The forum brought together JMU’s Computer Information Systems & Business Analytics Executive Advisory Board (comprised of JMU graduates who have become leaders in the fields of technology and cybersecurity) with our local economic development partners. 

Forum 2.jpgThe goal of the forum was to tap into cybersecurity industry expertise to advise Harrisonburg Economic Development on how best to position the City to attract and grow cybersecurity companies.  We certainly think we know our best assets, our vulnerabilities and the great opportunities available in Harrisonburg, but we wanted to hear directly from industry leaders about what could make Harrisonburg stand out as a destination for cybersecurity companies.

The Cybersecurity Forum utilized the WorldCafe format to facilitate the discussion.  Under this format, the room was separated into five tables with each table representing a topic critical to the subject area.  We divided the cybersecurity eco-system into five topics:

  • The Cybersecurity Startup: Current and Future Opportunities
  • Cultivating Harrisonburg into a Magnet for the Cybersecurity Industry
  • Arming the Cybersecurity Warrior: Education and Workforce Development
  • Marketing: Putting Harrisonburg’s Best Foot Forward
  • SWATting the SWOT: Red Teaming Harrisonburg’s Strategic Plan

Each participant was incredibly engaged and provided tremendous value to all of our topics.  By the end of the table sessions, the walls were filled Forum 6.jpgwith observations, ideas and action steps.  After the lively and energetic table discussions, each table host presented on key themes and action steps identified for their particular topic.


However, the interaction did not stop there.  To wrap up the day, each participant stood up before the group, identified one action step they will now take to further the forum’s goal and named one (or more) person to hold them accountable for implementing their action step.

These action steps, and the others identified at the forum, will help form critical components of the City’s Cybersecurity Strategic Plan.  Now with action steps in hand, the City can begin the work of creating a sustainable, vibrant eco-system to build the cybersecurity sector in Harrisonburg.   Please let us know if you would like to learn more about Harrisonburg’s cybersecurity efforts. Check us out at



City of Buena Vista's March Update & Focus:  The City of Buena Vista recently celebrated a milestone by celebrating 125 years as a chartered city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The city’s charter became effective on February 15, 1892. In February of this year, the Virginia General Assembly adopted a resolution to commend the City of Buena Vista, whose beginnings can be traced to the opening of a simple tannery by Benjamin Moomaw, and originally founded as the town of Green Forest. The City’s quasquicentennial was celebrated February 16, 2017, at a Lexington-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours event at the Paxton House, and events will continue throughout the year to mark this significant time four our city.

Munters Corporation, a global leader and premium partner in energy efficient air treatment solutions, recently announced an expansion in Buena Vista with an investment of $2.5 million and the creation of 100 new jobs for the area. Virginia competed with multiple states for this project, representing a huge win for the area.  This investment speaks to the success of existing operations in Buena Vista and the available workforce in the local region.

The City of Buena Vista is collaborating with industry partners, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Buena Vista City Schools and Rockbridge County to start an advanced manufacturing laboratory at Parry McCluer High School.  An industry summit took place on March 8, 2017, and as a result, a basic core skills curriculum is being developed with plans for a first course offering starting April 27th.  Industry leaders will continue to meet with area economic development and education professionals to finalize course offerings for advanced training needs, and classes are slated to start at the high school level this fall.

Advanced manufacturing laboratory courses will be developed to help meet the skills needed by local industry, including careers as electrical and instrumentation technicians, HVAC technicians, fabricators, industrial maintenance technicians, welders and other high-demand careers.  As existing industries continue to grow and expand, the City of Buena Vista and its partners are working to help solve their current and future workforce needs.

To learn more about doing business in the City of Buena Vista, contact Brian Brown, and visit their website:

Bath County February Update & Focus: The Bath County Economic Development Authority and the Bath County Office of Tourism and Economic Development, partnering with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP), the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), successfully recruited Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. to Bath County in 2016.  Bath County is proud that Speyside, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of oak barrels, will invest $5 million into the County and create up to 35 jobs manufacturing barrel staves.  Importantly, this operation will also be sourcing 80% of its timber needs from Virginia landowners.   The Commonwealth of Virginia and Bath County were jointly able to leverage a Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund award to incentivize this operation, along with workforce funding support from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Speyside is on track to be open for business by early September of 2017. View entire Bath County blog.

Augusta County January Update & Focus:  Augusta County continues to move forward in 2017 with its focus on business attraction, business retention and expansion, and entrepreneurial support.  Mill Place Commerce Park, a 371-acre commercial and industrial Park owned by Augusta County and located in Verona, Virginia, is one of Augusta County’s major assets for supporting these economic development priorities. 

After a year-long analysis, the Richmond-based engineering firm Timmons Group completed a comprehensive study of Mill Place Commerce Park which resulted in a new and improved Development Plan. This draft plan was presented to the Augusta County Board of Supervisors on January 23, 2017.  Based on the study’s consideration of utility, environmental, transportation, and road connector factors, Timmons Group determined Mill Place Commerce Park to be nearly a Tier 4 site on the TG Site Readiness Scale. View entire Augusta County blog.