This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
College Profile: University of Virginia’s College at Wise


The college’s new $37.2 million library opens this fall.


nomic development and community engagement. Along those lines, the col- lege is planning a cyber-technology busi- ness accelerator for a recently donated building in St. Paul. The college is working with Mach37, a Herndon-based cybersecurity accelerator, on the project and is talking with startups about using the St. Paul facility. If she cannot find the expertise


a fledgling company needs in-house, Blevins just puts out a call to her col- leagues in Virginia’s University-Based Economic Developers group. “We go to each other for resources, and we do that a lot,” she said. The close relationship with the mother institution in Charlot- tesville can be particularly helpful. There, Blevins found an expert in fluid dynamics for a new technology business in Wise. U.Va.-Wise’s economic development


hosted 1,001 events, drawing nearly 80,000 people. A better picture of the school’s


overall contribution to the area economy should be available in December when an economic-impact study of the university’s Charlottesville and Wise campuses will be published. “U.Va.-Wise to us is an economic


engine,” says Carl Snodgrass, economic development director for Wise County. “The local impact on the economy has been pretty phenomenal.” He speaks from experience. Snod-


grass, who is the only employee in his office, welcomes help from the college through its resources and broad contacts. The college also provides Snodgrass


with an important recruiting advantage when he goes after new industry. “We tout that pretty highly,” he says. Companies today, Snodgrass notes, are looking for employees who can read, understand what they’ve read and share what they’ve learned with other employees.


Helping new businesses The college is training a workforce


now that can perform in tomorrow’s jobs, Henry says. U.Va.-Wise, she says, is still


82 OCTOBER 2016


at heart a liberal arts college that teaches students to think critically, communicate well, work in teams and be lifelong learn- ers — the kind of soft skills that Snod- grass says companies are looking for. The college also has a business


launch plan that can connect fledgling businesses with faculty, students and other resources in the region, such as civic groups, suppliers, vendors and potential customers, says Shannon Blevins, associate chancellor for eco-


office has pursued a variety of other strategies in concert with regional orga- nizations. One of them is the Virginia Coalfields Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), which has been marketing the region since 1988. “I think [the college] is playing


a very vital role in strengthening the regional effort,” says Susan Copeland, VCEDA’s marketing director. The No. 1 priority for business prospects is the quality of the workforce; so access to education is important, she said. U.Va.-Wise doesn’t seek to duplicate


existing development work in the region but to support all entities that are work- ing for the region’s benefit, helping them find resources, expand and do their work better, Blevins says. For example, by last fall more than


55 individual public and private entities were working on economic development in the region. “That just spoke to the sense of urgency people feel … that we’re in a challenging economic situation with the decline of coal,” Blevins says.


‘Ongoing conversation’ There was a need, Henry says, for a


Carl Snodgrass, Wise County’s economic development director, says the college gives the county an advantage in recruiting new business.


nonbiased party to bring public and pri- vate development organizations together to work on a strategic plan for the entire region. The college hosted a forum in May whose goal was to do just that. People not just from Southwest Virginia


Photos by Tim Cox


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88