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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 Valleys Innovation Council (VIC) launched as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 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

People

Board of Directors

Eddie Amos

Retired from GE Digital

Amy Ankrum

President & CEO, Qualtrax

Henry Bass

Owner & President, Automation Creations

Kevin Bloomfield

Vic Board Co-Chair

Managing Partner, Bloomfield Partners

John Capps, PhD

President, Central Virginia Community College

David Catalano

CEO, Ozmo

Kathy Claytor

Vice President & Head of Global HR, Corvesta Companies

Nick Conte

General Counsel, Carilion Clinic

Steve Critchfield

President, MOVA Technologies

Donald Deeds

Financial Controller, Nicus Software

Russ Ellis

President, Common Wealth Growth

Greg Feldmann

President, Skyline Capital Strategies

CEO, Valleys Innovation Council

Ken Ferris

President, Brookewood Management Advisors

William Fralin

CEO, Medical Facilities of America

Michael Friedlander, PhD

Executive Director, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech-Carilion

Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology, Virginia Tech

Cheryl Giggetts

Principle Consultant, CTA Consultants

Pat Huber, PhD

President, New River Community College

Victor Iannello, ScD

CEO, Radiant Physics

Doug Juanarena

VIC Board Co-Chair

Retired Serial Entrepreneur

Ed Lawhorn

Vic Board Treasurer

Retired from Union Bank and Trust

Frank Lucia

President & CEO, Delta Dental of Virginia

Joe Meredith, PhD

Retired from Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

Marty Muscatello

CEO, FoxGuard Solutions

Patrick Patterson

Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, FoxGuard Solutions

Sean Peters

President, Tech Squared

John Phillips

President, Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC)

John Rainone, PhD

President, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Robert Sandel, PhD

President, Virginia Western Community College

Barbara Schleider

Vice President Associate CIO, Carilion Clinic

Beth Sherman

Sales Manager, Cox Communications

Jeff Smith

Managing Partner, Fortify Leadership Group

Brian Soller, PhD

Vice President and General Manager, Lightware Division, Luna Innovations

Bob Stolle

Senior Vice President for Policy and Regional Initiatives, Center for Innovative Technology

Wayne Strickland

Executive Director, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission

Marjorie Tenzer

Retired from IBM

Don Taylor, PhD

Vice President for Research and Innovation, Virginia Tech

Beth Waller

VIC Board Secretary

Chair Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice, Woods Rogers

Clark Worthy

Partner, Gentry Locke & Moore

Staff

Greg Feldmann

Executive Director & CEO

Meredith Hundley, PhD

Chief Program Officer

Ellen Plowman

Program Associate

Pratyusha Kiran

Research Associate

Don Chen

Research Assistant

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