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About VIC

Our Purpose

The Valleys Innovation Council grew out of a simple idea: Why couldn’t the region do more with our assets together to build an innovation-driven economy? After all, we have world-class research institutions and businesses, a population of college graduates seeking employment, and a base of startup businesses that continue to grow and thrive.

We began working in 2016 to create and generate regional support for an organizational structure that would bring focus to the regional innovation economy and strengthen the region through mobilizing resources, advocating for changes, and tracking progress towards identified goals.

In January 2018, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. relaunched as Valleys Innovation Council (VIC) with a robust board of regional leaders drawn from successful entrepreneurs, higher education, and other regional leaders in the finance and legal fields.

In July 2020, we announced a strategic alliance with the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP).

Learn more about Valleys Innovation Council in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Mission Statement

The Valleys Innovation Council supports the region by connecting, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders to grow and strengthen our innovation economy.

Focus Areas

Research Commercialization

From benchtop to market, the research commercialization process requires ecosystem support and resources at each stage of the pipeline for new startups to form and scale: financial capital, talent, and mentors. VIC supports regional programs and is working to develop the regional capital ecosystem.

Tracking the Innovation Economy

VIC is working with local, regional, and state-level stakeholders to evaluate the state of the regional innovation economy and supporting ecosystem and begin benchmarking the region with peer regions around the state and nationally.

Projects & Activities

  • 2018-2019–Led the Capital Ecosystem Development Project, including a Capital Landscape Study and Angel Investing Education Seminars resulting in the formation of a new angel investing group, Common Wealth Angels
  • 2019–Supported the Regional Entrepreneurship Summit and Star Tank event
  • 2019–Created interactive Valleys Innovation Dashboard to report on data relevant to the regional innovation economy
  • 2019-2020–Conducted survey of regional IT and software development talent needs in the New River and Roanoke Valleys and released survey report for participating employers
  • 2020–Released 2019 Innovation Ecosystem in Review Report
  • 2020-2021–Coordinating the Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative for Region 2, funded by GO Virginia (page forthcoming)
    • Ongoing research on capital ecosystem and innovation economy
    • Facilitating 3 regional entrepreneurial ecosystem coalitions (New River Valley, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany, and Greater Lynchburg) and 1 cross-regional steering group
    • Surveying entrepreneurial support organizations across Region 2 on greatest opportunities and needs
    • Supporting Access to Capital Committee to continue to drive programming and focus on capital needs in the region
  • Grantwriting work to mobilize state and federal resources to support the Regional Accelerator and Mentorship Program and other entrepreneurship efforts in the region


Board of Directors

Eddie AmosTORC Robotics

Amy AnkrumQualtrax

Henry BassAutomation Creations, Inc.

Kevin BloomfieldBloomfield Partners, LLC 

Grant BrewerLICENSE-Center for Technology Commercialization, Virginia Tech

Harvey BrookinsRoanoke Market at National Bank

Erin BurchamVerge President

John CappsCentral Virginia Community College

David CatalanoOzmo

Kathy ClaytorCorvesta

Nick ConteCarilion Clinic

Steve CritchfieldMova Technologies, LLC

Katherin Elam, Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia

Russ EllisCommonwealth Growth Group

Greg FeldmannSkyline Capital Strategies

Ken FerrisBrookewood Management Advisors, & Co-Chair, Verge Executive Committee

William FralinMedical Facilities of America

Michael FriedlanderFralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech-Carlion, Virginia Tech 

Cheryl GiggettsInnovate Lynchburg

Pat HuberNew River Community College

Victor IannelloRadiant Physics

Angela JoynerRadford University

Doug Juanarena, Retired Serial Entrepreneur

Ed Lawhorn, Retired, Atlantic Union, & Treasurer, Verge Executive Committee

Jeff Merritt, Cox Business 

Marty Muscatello, Retired, FoxGuard Solutions, & Co-Chair, Verge Executive Committee

Patrick PattersonFoxGuard Solutions

John RainoneDabney S. Lancaster Community College

Robert SandelVirginia Western Community College

Jeff SmithVoltage Leadership

Brian SollerLuna Innovations

Bob StolleVirginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)

Daniel SummerlinWoods Rogers Vandeventer Black, & Secretary, Verge Executive Committee

Marjorie Tenzer, Retired, IBM

Clark WorthyGentry Locke


Erin Burcham

Verge President

Jackie Lackey

Verge Vice President of Programs

Lindsey Eversole

Operations and Grants Manager

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