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Greg Feldmann to serve as Interim Executive Director and CEO

Roanoke, Va., October 22, 2018–¬†

Valleys Innovation Council (VIC) announced the hiring of Greg Feldmann to serve as interim Executive Director and CEO of the organization. VIC is a nonprofit corporation established earlier in 2018 for the purpose of growing the innovation economy in the region through strategic planning, advocacy, investment and regional coordination with existing organizations and businesses.

 

Feldmann, who is President of Skyline Capital Strategies LLC, a business advisory company he co-founded with Woods Rogers PLC, has been leading and advocating for improved access to capital to fund early stage technology businesses for more than 30 years.

Together with its major supporting partners, Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech, VIC is focused on activities that will translate the innovative research being done in the Roanoke-Blacksburg corridor into commercial products that can spur the growth of existing businesses or accelerate the formation of new companies in the region. VIC’s goal is to create a regional environment that drives the formation and growth of technology-based companies that can generate high wage technical jobs in the region.

VIC’s Co-chairman, Doug Juanarena stated, “The national average of a STEM-related job is approximately $80,000 annually, which is about 1.5x the average job in the region today. Our region has more than ten universities and colleges that already provide degrees and certifications necessary to qualify graduates for a wide variety of work in technology-based industries. Today, we export too much of our intellectual capital to places like San Francisco, Boston, Raleigh and Northern Virginia. We need to create employment opportunities for both our graduating and existing in-market talent in the region to stem this tide.”

Victor Iannello, VIC’s other Co-chairman, commented, “VIC will bring more focus and structure to translating innovative research into jobs and wealth creation. Relative to our peers, our region compares very favorably with respect to the concentration of advanced degrees, the volume of sponsored research, and the number of patents. These points are important measures of innovation. However, our region ranks poorly when we look at the number of start-up companies, venture capital investment, technology jobs created, and the overall number of rapidly growing technology companies.”

Iannello added, “Greg is a perfect fit to help VIC to prioritize strategic initiatives and expand the capacity of our region’s innovation ecosystem.” Feldmann served as the organizing Chairman of the RAMP advisory board, the regional accelerator for technology-based start-ups. Feldmann also serves on the governing board of The Launch Place in Danville, Va., which manages early stage venture funds.

Commenting on this opportunity to assist the region in unifying its collective assets, Greg Feldmann stated, “I’m excited to work with the excellent VIC board and staff on this transformational initiative. During my career, I’ve witnessed the economic transformation of places like Raleigh-Durham and Nashville, where comprehensive and intentional focus on leveraging partnerships between research universities, existing or emerging technology clusters, and economic development organizations generated population growth and higher standards of living. Our region can compete and prosper if we strategically organize our resources correctly.”

Woods Rogers’ President Dan Summerlin said, “It’s been a tremendous benefit to Woods Rogers to have a business advisor of Greg’s experience working alongside us. He offered guidance during the launch of our Emerging Growth practice, which is a team of attorneys focused on companies engaged in start-up activities in technology innovation and business growth opportunities.”

Summerlin added, “Woods Rogers views entrepreneurship and start-ups as a key component to our region’s future and is committed to providing leadership and support throughout our growing footprint. Greg shares our vision and is a natural fit to take VIC and our region to the next level.”

Read more about Valleys Innovation Council here.