Club Meeting – January 8th, 2015

Doughty 010415Beth Doughty has spent the past 25 years in economic development helping to create more than 14,000 jobs and $1 billion of investment for the Roanoke region.  She has twice been executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership from 1991 to 1999 and since March 2008 to the present.  Beth currently also serves as executive of the Roanoke Outside Foundation and executive director of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority.  In addition, Beth was president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce for 9 years.

The Roanoke Regional Partnership serves as the point of contact for businesses looking to relocate and expand.  They are connectors who match needs and questions with resources and answers.  A one-stop-shop for learning, evaluating, and connecting with the Alleghany,Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke counties, cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton.  They help businesses find the right site or building, perform custom research to aid business decisions, and connect people and services to help businesses see why the Roanoke region is the right place.

Beth’s presentation was “From Silver Bullets to Spinning Plates“.  A very creative title that depicts the evolution of economic development philosophy in our region over her career.  For many years the goal was to attract “big box”  large manufacturing or wholesale distribution facilities requiring large square footage buildings and hiring hundreds of employees.  Economic developers were swinging for the fences, particularly so, in our region.  Today the approach for economic development professionals is a multifaceted one.  With stronger marketing of our region’s natural resources, quality of life, a greater focus on fostering the growth of existing businesses, and nurturing entrepreneurs.

Visit the Roanoke Regional Partnership web portal to learn more of the varied approach used today to enhance the economic well being of communities in Southwest Virginia.