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Karen Sorber says the college was the “dominant” reason that she moved Micronic Technologies to Wise County.


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but from across the commonwealth and other states that have an interest in the region — 356 in all — attended the meeting. “This is going to be an ongoing conversation,” Blevins says. U.Va.-Wise is also working with the


Virginia Department of Tourism and the Department of Housing and Com- munity Development to build an entre- preneurial culture in Southwest Virginia. Before a regional strategy was agreed upon in 2012, the effort to promote entrepreneurship was fragmented. The college was an important factor


in recent successful recruitment efforts at the county’s Lonesome Pine Technology Park, including a customer-support cen- ter for TurboTax and Quickbooks and a data center providing business continuity and disaster recovery, Snodgrass says. Among other factors, including geologic stability and technological infrastructure, DP Facilities of Long Island, N.Y., cited “a technically competent labor force because of the nearby University of Vir- ginia at Wise” when explaining its choice of the park as the location for a new 65,000-square-foot data center. U.Va.- Wise has a computer science program and offers the only undergraduate soft- ware engineering major among Virginia’s public colleges. The college was the “dominant”


reason Micronic Technologies, a startup from Northern Virginia, moved to Wise County in 2014, says company founder and CEO Karen Sorber. The support the college offered the company and its sponsorship of a $2 million grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission put U.Va.-Wise “square in partnership with us,” she says. Micronic has developed a patented


water treatment system that removes impurities and contaminants from any water source. “In my case, we had the technology down but needed a lot of ancillary services the college could pro- vide for us,” Sorber says. The company got help from the


college’s professors and interns. They, in turn, have benefited from the relation- ship by getting real-world experience in how businesses work, she says. Sorber has traveled around the state


this year as a member of 2016 class of Lead Virginia, a leadership training program. Through the program, she has learned about Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s interest in linking colleges with early- stage companies. “Chancellor Henry is way ahead of


the game in terms of her leadership in economic development compared with other universities in the state,” Sorber says. “She gets it.”


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