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City Manager David Ridpath

Power shift

Rules and costs dull coal’s luster

The coal-fired Glen Lyn power plant in Giles County will close in 2015.

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Shifting sources

Natural gas produces a bigger share of the country’s – and the region’s – energy.

by Mason Adams

BUSINESS TRENDS Learning and economics


Roanoke’s Higher Education Center is “a hidden jewel” that generates $32 million in economic impact. by Donna Alvis



TECHNOLOGY Research to commerce


The region is not a biotechnology hub – not yet. by Jenny Kincaid Boone

SPECIAL REPORT More than a building

23 Architects use materials and design to


connect people. by Cara Modisett

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M 30






COMMUNITY PROFILE From biotechnology to baseball

Human services and the bottom line “We don’t make coffee pots; we make families.” by Shawna Morrison


Salem offers a diverse economy and welcoming small-town community. by Kathie Dickenson

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Meet Kristina Dodd, our Bonsack Branch Manager My passion is helping people reach their financial hopes and dreams. I am proud to be part of the Valley Bank team and looking foward to having a positive and lasting impact as the Branch Manager of the new Bonsack Branch.

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FROM THE EDITOR I have seen the future, and it looks pretty cool by Tim Thornton


ack in August, 14 teams of students from 14 countries stood on a stage in the Hotel Roanoke and pitched ideas to a panel of business leaders. The teams had 10 minutes to make a case and another 10 minutes to respond to questions from the panel. They were judged on eight criteria focused on evaluating the team’s planning, its understanding of the market it hoped to enter, and the team’s ability to enact the plan. The Global Student Business Concept Challenge was just part of the fourth annual VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week, but it was a fascinating part. The students’ concepts included products that would prevent oil pipeline leaks; schedule medical appointments; prioritize citizen complaints; organize soccer leagues and help asthma sufferers breathe easier. The team from China’s Tongji University pitched Speed Star, a plan to provide warehousing and financing for consumer-to-consumer internet sales. It would come in handy, the team said, on Singles’ Day, when the Chinese celebrate being unmarried. Singles’ Day is to Chinese retailing what Christmas is to the United States. Speed Star plans to make the system more efficient, especially for small entrepreneurs, by using available warehouses and a scalable storage system to store, inventory and distribute goods. Speed Star didn’t wow the contest panel as much some other teams. Neither did Believe in 3D (“Because the world is not flat.”), a team from Belgium’s Ghent University that wants to make holographic displays to replace poster boards and videos at trade shows. The first People’s Choice award and its $5,000 prize went to GraphInsight, a team from the University of Trento in Italy that turns mounds of data into three-dimensional displays that show the interconnectedness of companies and customers. Some companies that tested their product discovered competitors they didn’t know they had, according to the group. Second place and $5,000 went to Roka, a team from the University of Technology Sydney that says it “seeks to solve real-world poverty issues by delivering real business opportunities to the women in the quarries of Bangalore.” It would help women in the granite quarries use quarry dust to make jewelry and market it as corporate gifts. The big winner was the French team Auticiel, from Telecom SudParis, the graduate engineering school at the Institut MinesTelecom. They make smart phone and tablet apps that help people with autism and other cognitive impairments communicate, interact and become more independent. The team has its name engraved on the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Challenge Trophy. It also won $25,000. Some teams, such as Auticiel and Roka, set out to ease suffering and improve people’s lives. Some, like GraphInsight and Speed Star, identified ways to make businesses and business connections more efficient. Some, including Believe in 3D, pitched products for niches people and businesses may not realize need to be filled. But how many people knew they needed a pocket-sized computer that can surf the Internet, send text messages, take pictures, keep track of meetings and make phone calls before such a thing became available? The creative energy assembled at Global Challenge was impressive. That it was assembled by VT KnowledgeWorks in a hotel owned by the Virginia Tech Real Estate Foundation is a reminder of what an economic and innovative force like Virginia Tech can do for this region.





President & Publisher Roanoke Business Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Writers

Art Director Contributing Designer Contributing Photographer Production Manager Circulation Manager Accounting Manager Advertising Sales

No. 11

Bernard A. Niemeier Tim Thornton Paula C. Squires Mason Adams Donna Alvis Banks Jenny Kincaid Boone Cara Modisett Shawna Morrison Kathie Dickenson Adrienne R. Watson Elizabeth Coffey Sam Dean Kevin L. Dick Karen Chenault Sunny Ogburn Lynn Williams Hunter Bendall

CONTACT: EDITORIAL: (540) 520-2399 ADVERTISING: (540) 597-2499 210 S. Jefferson St., Roanoke, VA 24011-1702 We welcome your feedback. Email Letters to the Editor to Tim Thornton at

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on the cover Appalachian Power’s Glen Lyn power plant Cover photo courtesy American Electric Power

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Shifting sources Natural gas produces a bigger share of the country’s – and the region’s – energy by Mason Adams

The Celanese Acetate plant, Giles County’s largest employer, is shifting from coal-fired power to natural gas. 6


Photo by Sam Dean

dvances in mining techniques and increasingly stringent pollution controls have rocked the U.S. energy industry, with the resulting tremors felt as far as rural Giles County.


As the energy industry shifts from coal toward natural gas, the change is making a substantial impact on two of the cornerstone employers in this small county of 17,000 people near West Virginia’s border. Appalachian Power announced in 2011 that it would shutter the nearly one hundred year old coalfired Glen Lyn power plant. The plant already has scaled back to a skeleton crew and is used only when there’s high demand or a transmission issue. When plant manager Brad Jones joined the company 19 years ago, there were 135 employees. Now, 37 people work there regularly, with rotational crews traveling in as needed. With coal long the economic lifeline for many communities in Southwest Virginia, the town of Glen Lyn faces an uncertain future. Between 2000 and 2010 its population shrank from 151 to 115 – a decrease of nearly a quarter. News of the impending plant closure didn’t help. “When they first announced the plant was going to close, it had an impact on housing prices in the area and sales,” Jones says. Meanwhile, Giles’ biggest employer, Celanese Acetate – a global technology and specialty materials company based in Dallas – broke ground in August on a $150 million Photo by Sam Dean

When manager Brad Jones came to Appalachian Power’s Glen Lyn power plant, it employed 135 people. Only 37 work there now.

project to convert its power plant from coal-fired to gas-fired boilers. Construction is expected to last about two years, generate 150 short-term jobs and eventually result in at least 22 new permanent jobs. These developments are the result of two major shifts. The use of hydraulic fracturing to access previously unreachable natural gas beds as well as increasingly tight federal clean-air regulations place coal – which produces more pollutants and greenhouse gases than natural gas – at a competitive disadvantage. “The thing that ties us and Celanese together is both of us are changing the way we’re generating electricity in Giles County,” says Appalachian Power spokesman Todd Burns. Celanese’s stability has helped buffer the phasing out of the Appalachian Power plant, at least in terms of employment. Some of the workers from the Glen Lyn plant have found jobs at Celanese, which is Giles County’s largest employer

with more than 1,000 employees. Jones says at least 22 former Glen Lyn employees were transferred and now work at other locations for Appalachian Power. It’s a unit of Columbus, Ohio, based American Electric Power (AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S. When the plant closes in 2015, approximately half of its current workforce will retire. It’s unclear how Appalachian Power’s hefty philanthropic presence in Giles County will be affected by the plant closure. Spokesman Todd Burns says Appalachian Power does maintain a charitable presence in communities where it doesn’t have plants. “The company tries to support a mix of human services, arts and community organizations that improve the quality of life in our service area, and that won’t change with the plant closing,” Burns says. “Perhaps the larger impact would be seen in volunteerism with less people.” Coal has long produced more electricity nationwide than any other ROANOKE BUSINESS


cover story source, including natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric and renewables such as wind and solar power. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal produced 50 percent of the nation’s electricity annually from 1990 to 2010. Even a decade ago, coal provided about 51 percent of electric generation in the U.S., versus 17 percent from natural gas. By 2012, coal was down to 37 percent and natural gas was up to 30 percent. In Virginia, coal generates about half of the state’s electricity, while natural gas accounts for about a third. From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of electricity generated from natural gas in Virginia doubled, while coal declined slightly. The growing dominance of natural gas wasn’t predictable. As recently as 2003, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a congressional committee that natural gas would likely remain only a regional commodity and that “we are not apt to return to earlier periods of relative abundance and low prices anytime soon.” The development and widespread proliferation of hydraulic fracturing soon proved Greenspan wrong. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – a process of injecting a mixture of solids and fluids into wells at high pressure to break up geological structures – opened up previously inaccessible reserves of natural gas, creating a boom and resulting in a price drop. “Horizontal fracturing has flooded the market with natural gas,” says Nino Ripepi of Virginia Tech’s Department of Mining & Minerals Engineering. “The price has been pretty low and consistent the last two years.” In June 2003, when Greenspan delivered his remarks, the wellhead price for one thousand cubic feet of natural gas was $5.41. By the same month in 2012, it was less than half that, at $2.54. 8


Nino Ripepi, of Virginia Tech’s Department of Mining & Minerals Engineering, says horizontal fracturing has flooded the market with natural gas.

While natural gas prices have dropped, federal regulators have increasingly penalized emissions of pollutants, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Since coal produces more pollutants than many other sources of energy, it’s become the focus of much of that enforcement. As a result, natural gas is increasingly chipping away at coal’s dominance in electricity production. “There’s been a roughly 8 to 10 percent swing in the shares between coal and natural gas,” says Kurt Stephenson, who teaches resource and

tween the two. “We’ve had a couple quarters where it got really close,” Ripepi says. “I imagine it’ll be pretty neck and neck the next few years, and depending on future legislation it could be that natural gas takes that over.” Officials at Appalachian Power and Celanese Acetate look to the regulatory burden, more than the price of natural gas, as accelerating scheduled closure of the Glen Lyn plant and spurring the switch from coal to natural gas by Celanese. Jeffery LaFleur, Appalachian Power’s vice president of generating

“Horizontal fracturing has flooded the market with natural gas.” environmental economics at Virginia Tech. “I would never have guessed there’d be such a sharp reduction in the percentage of electricity being produced by coal.” Last year, natural gas briefly came close to overtaking coal as the largest source of electricity production in the U.S. before a combination of lower prices and increased summer demand restored a gap be-

assets, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MACT) Standards are the specific reason for the closure of Glen Lyn. The plant is one of five in AEP’s fleet that will be shut down over the next two years. Of the five, Glen Lyn is the only plant in Virginia; three are in West Virginia, and one is in Ohio. “Mercury regulation is really Photo by Sam Dean

what’s driving the closure of these older coal plants,” LaFleur says. “We would have to install scrubbers and SCRs [selective catalytic reduction systems] to be able to meet NOx [nitrogen oxide] and SO2 [sulfur dioxide] and mercury emissions.” Appalachian Power has spent about $2 billion since 2004 on retrofitting plants with scrubbers, SCRs and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems to reduce emissions. Those investments don’t make financial sense in a plant as old as the one at Glen Lyn, which started producing energy in 1919. One of its components, a 95-megawatt unit that went online in 1941, is the oldest in AEP’s fleet. The ’40s and ’50s were the plant’s peak years, but it continued to be an important, well-used part of AEP’s fleet well into the 21st century. The plant operates regularly in January, July and August, when people are running electric heat and air conditioners, but otherwise it is used only occasionally. In addition to the shutdown of the five AEP plants, the company also is retiring individual generating units at six other plants, including the Clinch River facility in Russell County. AEP also is seeking permission from regulators to convert two 240-MW coal-fired generating units at the Clinch River plant to natural gas, at a projected cost of $65 million. According to LaFleur, about 75 percent of Appalachian Power’s generated electricity now comes from burning coal. When the electricity Appalachian buys from other companies is factored in, more than 90 percent of the electricity Appalachian Power sends its customers comes from coal. Natural gas accounts for about 14 percent of Appalachian Power’s generated electricity. After the plant closures and the Clinch Valley conversion, natural gas will generate closer to 20 percent of AEP’s power, LaFleur says. AEP’s 2013 Corporate Accountability Report

projects further changes, with coal dropping to 46 percent and natural gas rising to 33 percent by 2020. The rest is projected to come, as it does now, from water, wind and sun. “We believe that as we move forward, to support a strong economy in our areas, we need a diverse mix,” LaFleur says. “We don’t believe we need to be shutting down all the coal. The volatility is what our customers can’t tolerate. But a diversity of a mix between renewable, gas, hydro, coal,

we believe, is going to deliver a more stable electric rate for our customers.” Celanese, a Fortune 500 company, runs the old Celco plant, in operation since 1939. It relies on a large power plant that consists of seven coal-fired boilers and two older natural gas-powered units. In August, however, workers began construction of five new, state-of-the-art natural gas boilers to replace the current units. Celanese’s $150 million invest-



cover story ment was spurred partly by $4.5 million in incentives from the county and $2 million from the state, but company officials say, like Appalachian Power, they were driven mostly by looming environmental regulations. “Besides being good for the environment, the driving factor [behind the investment] is the changes in regulations that are happening around the boiler MACT, with the stringent newer emission standards,” says Jon Mortimer, Celanese vice president of manufacturing, process technology and capital management. Mortimer doesn’t anticipate the conversion will save the plant much money when it comes to the price of natural gas versus coal. However, he says, it will save money when it comes to lowering emissions and avoiding penalties imposed as a result of violating federal regulations. The boilers will be connected to a natural gas supplier in West Virginia by a 16-mile pipeline. Mortimer told a crowd at the official groundbreaking the new gasfired boilers will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 300,000 metric tons per year – about a one-third decrease from their current levels – and reduce the byproduct of fly ash by about 55,000 metric tons per year. Fly ash, which contains pollutants including arsenic, mercury and selenium, is produced by burning coal and must be captured and disposed of, according to federal air regulations. Some fly ash is recycled into concrete, wallboard and other construction materials, but most of it is stored in containment ponds or buried in landfills. Mortimer says the reduction means “less material going into the landfill, less material that future generations have to deal with.” It’s also less material that Celanese must pay to transport off the plant site. Aric Bopp, executive director of New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, says not many other industries in the region are 10


Kurt Stephenson, resource and environmental economics professor at Virginia Tech, is among the many people surprised by how natural gas has encroached on coal’s dominance of electricity generation.

as dramatically affected by the difference between coal-burning and natural gas-burning power plants. “It really varies from company to company and industry to industry,” Bopp says. “The more energy intensive a company is, the more important it becomes to them. For other companies, it’s not nearly as important.” Bopp says that the question of coal versus natural gas is “generally not a game-changer or deal breaker” when it comes to economic development. It’s not clear the energy industry’s roller coaster ride is complete, either. “So much electricity is derived from coal, you wonder if we’re not one or two technological advances away from coal regaining momentum again,” Bopp says. Indeed, coal companies have invested over the years in carboncapture research that would help coal-fired plants meet new regulatory standards. Despite these advances, the issue is finding a large enough market for disposing of the captured CO2. One company is developing a facility in Kemper County, Miss., that will send captured carbon

byproducts through a pipeline to be used in what’s known as “enhanced oil recovery,” a process that helps make oil drilling more efficient. The process is used on a fairly limited basis now, but expansion could provide a bigger market for captured carbon and therefore become a game-changer for coal, Virginia Tech’s Ripepi says. There’s additional research at Ohio State University that could ultimately produce effective clean coal technology. So-called “chemical looping” burns coal more effectively and leaves only coal ash and sequestered carbon dioxide, according to Congressman Morgan Griffith. Griffith, who represents the district that includes Giles County as well as the coal-producing counties to the southwest, won election in 2010 largely by challenging longtime incumbent Rick Boucher’s support for “cap-and-trade” legislation, which would have created a market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ironically, Boucher had traded his vote for the legislation – which ultimately died in the Senate – in Photo by Sam Dean

Let us help you find your way!

Roanoke Higher Education Center Dedicated to expanding the educational opportunities of the people in the Greater Roanoke Region The Roanoke Higher Education Center, home to 14 colleges, universities, and workforce training organizations, is the first stop for those seeking educational opportunities in the Roanoke Valley. Offering everything from the GED to the PhD, the Roanoke Higher Education Center is a model for 21st century learning delivering degree and certificate programs in a variety of formats to meet the needs of learners. Featuring: • More than 200 degree, licensure, and certificate programs including programs in Education, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Business Administration, Counseling, Health Care Administration, Nursing, Public Administration, Social Work and many more. • Customized programs and courses which can be delivered at the Center or onsite to your business or organization. • Convenient and affordable conference space for your next meeting or training event.

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Participating Center Members Averett University Bluefield College Hollins University James Madison University Mary Baldwin College Old Dominion College Radford University Roanoke College TAP-This Valley Works University of Virginia Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech Virginia Western Community College Western Virginia Workforce Development Board

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return for a more lenient approach for the coal industry, including extra funding to develop clean coal technology. Griffith says that coal is still a competitive, viable industry on the verge of technological breakthroughs to reduce its carbon emissions. However, he says the increasingly stringent federal regulations penalizing coal plants will likely cripple the industry, at least in Appalachia, before that can happen. “If we can’t push off the regulations long enough for the technology to catch up, we’re in for a tough period,” Griffith says. Despite the regulations and largescale shift to natural gas for electricity generation, there’s still a good market for coal. In fact, natural gas has lost a bit of market share to coal during 2013 as the larger-scale shift to natural gas has caused it to rise in price relative to coal. That caused a small decrease in demand for natural gas, even as most analysts expect a continued shift to gas from coal. International demand for coal has grown, too, leading the Energy Information Administration to project that coal production will grow through 2040, especially in the western United States. The bad news for Southwest Virginia miners: The EIA projects that coal production in Appalachia will continue a steady decline through that same time period. Some analysts still question the stability of the historically volatile price of natural gas, too. Hydraulic fracturing has brought it to a historic low, but can it remain there? Mining companies have idled drilling equipment and allowed some of their leases to expire in hopes that the price will go back up to a more profitable level. Additionally, companies are pressing Congress to allow exports of natural gas from the United States to the international market, where prices are regularly five to six times higher than the domestic rate. Dominion Resources, the

other big power company in Virginia, won federal approval in September for a liquefied natural gas exporting terminal in Maryland. Additionally, the transportation sector increasingly

Bopp says there’s always the risk of fluctuations in the energy market affecting business in western Virginia. One can look at the general rise in Appalachian Power’s electric-

Despite the regulations and large-scale shift to natural gas for electricity generation, there’s still a good market for coal. has shifted from diesel fuel to natural gas, which could drive demand and increase prices as well. While President Barack Obama’s administration has generally supported natural gas drilling from a regulatory standpoint, states such as California and New York have actively considered new regulations to restrict fracking.

ity rates since 2007 as an example. “Hopefully our companies are taking that risk into consideration and locking in contracts,” Bopp says. “That’s the way you overcome the volatility of the markets and changes. If you have locked-in rates for a certain period of time, that’ll take care of you until the time when you have to renew those contracts.”

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Appalachian Power is enhancing its infrastructure and improving operations to better serve customers today and in the future. We’re expanding our use of renewables, increasing energy efficiency, diversifying our fuel source portfolio and keeping power as affordable as possible. Why? Because our families, businesses and community depend on safe, reliable power to expand economic development, protect our communities and make life more productive and convenient. It’s part of our commitment to the customers we serve, and it’s how we are building a powerful future.



Learning and economics

Roanoke’s Higher Education Center is ‘a hidden jewel’ that generates $32 million in economic impact

The Claude Moore Education Complex houses Virginia Western Community College’s culinary arts program.

by Donna Alvis Banks

very year, 500 people graduate from the Roanoke Higher Education Center (RHEC). Some graduates leave with a high school equivalency diploma, while others earn their doctorate. The center offers more than 200 programs — as varied as computer training and culinary arts. All that education has a big impact on the local economy, providing the region with an annual stimulus of $32 million.


“The Higher Education Center is unique because it offers a whole range of programs — from the GED to the Ph.D. We have more colleges and universities [represented here] than any other facility in the state,” says state Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, chairman of the board of trustees for the nonprofit Roanoke Higher Education Authority, which developed and operates the center. Twelve colleges and universities lease space at RHEC as well as the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board, and TAP/This Valley Works, an organization that provides Photo courtesy of Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau

job matching and training resources. Besides offering classes, the center offers testing and meeting services for businesses. Edwards recounts how he helped recruit one agency in his occasional role as marketing director — a position he says is needed but remains unfunded. When leaders of the state’s division of child support enforcement were looking for a conference site, Edwards sold them on the center. “It is a lot cheaper than, say, the Hotel Roanoke,” he notes. The center also serves as a valuable technological resource, he adds, with state-of-the-art computer labs, teleconferencing equipment, an exam center and a nursing simulation lab. RHEC opened Aug. 15, 2000, with an enrollment of 2,500 students. Housed in downtown Roanoke’s renovated Norfolk and Western Railway headquarters — a 1931 Art Deco building on Jefferson Street — the center began with $200,000 from the 1996 Virginia General Assembly for a feasibility study. The hope was to create a centralized place that would

meet demands for skilled jobs in the Roanoke region by offering a variety of college education and workforcetraining programs under one roof. A 2012 market assessment by the Clarus Corp. found that the center’s educational providers serve 2,100 students each semester, the majority 35 to 44 years old. Female students outnumber males nearly 7 to 3, and 48 percent of the student population receives no financial aid. Kim Roe, a 46-year-old mother of two, graduated from the center in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Business for a Sustainable Future from Mary Baldwin College. Trane, her employer, paid for her schooling. “That was the best part,” Roe says. When her supervisor approached her with the idea of going to RHEC, Roe was thrilled. “I had always wanted to go back to school to get my degree. I had been looking but kept thinking it was just too expensive. The Roanoke Higher Education Center had all the good opportunities there,” she says. Roe, like most students, took classes at night. “It was challenging ROANOKE BUSINESS


Business Trends and took time away from my family, but they were understanding,” she said. “I guess I approach things a bit differently now since I went back to school. It makes you more open to new ideas.” The center has a positive impact on the local economy. A 2010 independent study by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission credited the center with producing a $32 million annual stimulus for the city’s metro area. Through student and alumni spending, as well as operations at the center, the study concluded that the $32 million came from annual sales activity and 310 jobs earning an average of $35,142 per year supported by the center. “This is quite impressive,” the report said, “considering that this annual impact is generated from a base annual budget of $9 million [of the center and its member institutions].” The center employs 13 full-time and five part-time employees. Despite its unique mission, it doesn’t enjoy broad recognition. The report showed

Providers at the Roanoke Higher Education Center Averett University Bluefield College Hollins University James Madison University Mary Baldwin College Old Dominion University Radford University Roanoke College University of Virginia Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech Virginia Western Community College TAP/This Valley Works Western Virginia Workforce Development Board

that two-thirds of the region’s 377 larger employers were familiar with the center, but 16 percent had never


“It took us a long time to find the perfect building. I knew we needed a lot of space to add fitness and spa services to my chiropractic practice. The folks at Waldvogel Commercial Properties were very patient — and honest. And ultimately that helped us find this space.” Dr. Jennifer Walker, Balance Chiropractic & Wellness

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heard of it. “The Higher Education Center still remains sort of a hidden jewel in the valley,” acknowledged Academic and Student Services Director Carla James. “We’re offering 218 programs right now … The center is here for the community — for the learners and the employers. We really want to be a resource for everyone.” It was a helpful resource for Ian Fortier, 41. He graduated in 2012 with a master’s degree in public administration from James Madison University. Currently the Jefferson Center Foundation’s director of patron services, Fortier chose the RHEC because it was geared to working professionals. “It is convenient, accessible and a warm environment for learning,” he says. “It also lacks all the bureaucracy and silos often found at larger traditional campuses, which makes it much easier to focus on the actual workload and excel.” The only drawback for Fortier was a lack of electives in his satellite program. “Because we are a satellite program, the tenured and adjunct professors do not reside in Roanoke. Each semester there were two courses offered, and you took it or missed it and had to wait again for it to come around.” A variety of short-term programs, such as GED certification and computer training, are available for those not pursuing advanced degrees. James says the culinary arts career certificate offered through Virginia Western Community College is so popular RHEC dedicated a separate building, the Claude Moore Education Complex, just for it. Dr. David Trinkle, a psychiatrist and Roanoke city councilman who also owns three local restaurants — Fork in the City, Fork in the Alley and Fork in the Market — hired several employees who completed the program. “They seem to be able to quickly take on management roles,” he said. “Because of the school, they know the community, too. Every restaurant that hires one of these students has an edge up.” That edge, Trinkle adds, is especially important in the restaurant business. “It’s a tough business.”

Cox Business helped Liberty Market keep more than their bread 100% local. Kiersten Traina, co-owner of the Liberty Market prefers to do business with local suppliers— that’s why she trusts Cox Business for fast, reliable Internet and feature-rich phone service. With award-winning local support, we’re available 24/7 if she ever needs it. This way, she can get back to doing what she does best, making the most delicious wood-fired pizzas in town. Call today and see how your business is our business.

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Offer ends 9/30/13. Available to new commercial subscribers of Cox Business VoiceManagerSM Anywhere and InternetSM Starter (max. 6/2 Mbps). Wi-Fi gateway equipment provided at no additional charge; remains Cox property and must be returned upon service termination. Prices based on 2-year service term. Installation discount applies to standard installation rates. Offer includes unlimited nationwide long distance. Unlimited plan is limited to direct-dialed domestic calling and is not available for use with non-switched circuit calling, auto-dialers, call center applications and certain switching applications. Equipment may be required. Prices exclude equipment, installation, taxes, and fees, unless indicated. Speeds not guaranteed; actual speeds vary. Rates and bandwidth options vary and are subject to change. Phone modem provided by Cox, requires electricity, and has battery backup. Access to E911 may not be available during extended power outage or if modem is moved or inoperable. Discounts are not valid in combination with or in addition to other promotions and cannot be applied to any other Cox account. Services not available in all areas. Other restrictions apply. © 2013 Cox Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


The future is now boarding. Roanoke Regional Airport is excited to be nearing completion on our first round of renovations to our facility. Visitors will notice improved aesthetics, better signage and wayfinding, modern and easily accessible restroom facilities, new escalators and more. Business travelers and “wired” kids will appreciate our new technology counters that create a great working space and allow for easy charging. Everyone will also love our expanded—and still free—Wi-Fi service. Let’s face it, an airport can’t get you where you’re going quicker, nor can it influence airfares—those are controlled by the airlines. Our job is to make you as comfortable as possible while you are here. To see a gallery of the new facilities, visit

TECHNOLOGY The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute is among the reasons some believe Southwest Virginia can become a biotechnology center.

Research to commerce The region is not a biotechnology hub – not yet

by Jenny Kincaid Boone

irginia Tech’s new Human and Agricultural Sciences Building, which should be complete this month, will bring the latest in biotechnologies: open laboratories, a biosecurity food processing facility and research programs for everything from bioenergy to food packaging.


Yet this 93,860-square-foot building is just the first of what Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

university officials hope will eventually be four structures comprising

a 400,000-square-foot Human and Agricultural Biosciences Precinct. ROANOKE BUSINESS



Jamie Tyler’s Neurotrek is the first company to result from work at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

The $53.7 million state-funded building is a sign of how important biotechnology is to the university and how important biotechnology may become to the region, where biotech-related businesses have been

growing for the past 10 years. While there have been successes, industry experts are not ready to call Southwest Virginia a hub for biotechnology. “It’s growing, but it’s really in the beginning stages,” says

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John Hull, director of market intelligence for the Roanoke Regional Partnership, an economic development group that markets the Roanoke Valley. “We don’t have the same sort of story as you might find in places that have a more developed sector.” Still, job opportunities and companies related to biotechnology and life sciences are increasing, a welcome sign for economic development officials who tout these businesses for paying high wages and attracting educated workers. In Montgomery County, the number of people employed in biotechnology-related jobs increased 51 percent, from 3,034 in 2001 to 4,592 in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages and Purdue Center for Regional Development. In Roanoke County, the increase was 9 percent, from 7,301 to 7,955, while Roanoke City experienced a 23 percent jump, from 7,825 to 9,602. Carilion Clinic and its related entities, including the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, account for many of these jobs. Carilion Clinic is the largest employer in the Roanoke Valley, while industry experts look to the 2010 opening of the Research Institute as a key to cultivating the region’s economic growth in the biomedical and biotechnical industry. The median salary for biotechnical jobs is $45,000, with the potential to rise to $70,000 to $100,000, says Brian Hamilton, Montgomery County’s economic development director. Enterprises that form as a result of Virginia Tech research are boosting this industry in the New River Valley and elsewhere. “To be successful in biotech, you really need a strong research facility doing the research,” Hamilton says. “The benefits to our community are the spinoff of companies and jobs.” A noteworthy example of a Virginia Tech-grown enterprise is Photo by Jim Stroup/Virginia Tech

Techlab, a company born in 1990 from research by former Virginia Tech professor Tracy Wilkins. Techlab manufactures and sells tools that diagnose intestinal diseases. In the past year, the company, which had sales of $25 million in 2012, expanded some of its operation into a separate manufacturing facility in Radford while maintaining its headquarters at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) in Blacksburg. Of the research park’s 160 tenants across 29 buildings, 22 are biotech-related companies as of September, says Joe Meredith, the center’s president. He estimates that biotech companies represent about 10 percent of the center’s tenant base

In Montgomery County, the number of people employed in biotechnology-related jobs increased 51 percent, from 3,034 in 2001 to 4,592 in 2011. since the first business opened there in 1988. A third of those businesses, he notes, are startups by Virginia Tech faculty or students. A recent success story for the region is Intrexon, a synthetic biology company that raised about $184 million during an initial public offering in August. Until 2009, Intrexon Corp., founded in 1998, had its corporate headquarters at the CRC in Blacksburg. In August of that year, it relocated the headquarters to the biotech corridor of Maryland, following the hiring of a prominent cancer researcher who lived near

there. The company continues to have an operation in Blacksburg that employs about 120 people. Intrexon’s CEO is Randal Kirk, who grew up in Pulaski County and was Southwest Virginia’s first billionaire before moving to Florida. Kirk was an early and enthusiastic backer of Intrexon founder Thomas Reed. He and his investment fund, Radfordbased Third Security LLC, have invested millions in the company.

Intrexon is developing technology, called Better DNA, which modifies living cells that could be used in the health, energy, food and other industries. While the company is yet to make money – it saw a net loss of $81.9 million last year on revenue of $13.9 million – the IPO generated a lot of interest in the potential for its technology. “For any of our companies to have an IPO is a big deal,” says Sam

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technology English, board president of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. “It will obviously give them [Intrexon] access to capital that they need.” In Roanoke, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute aims to attract scientists who eventually will start businesses stemming from their research. At least one company, Neurotrek, has spun off from the institute, as a result of research by professor and researcher Jamie Tyler. Neurotrek creates medical devices that use ultrasound to treat certain neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and depression, without surgery. English describes the institute as “young.” And for a young facility to produce a spinoff so soon is impressive, he says. “I am confident that there will be additional spinoffs,” English says. This is a similar hope for Virginia Tech’s new Biosciences Pre-

Virginia Tech’s plans for a 400,000-square-foot Human and Agriculture Biosciences Precinct demonstrate how important the university considers biotechnology.

cinct. “In our new strategic planning, we really focus on increasing the number of patents, increasing the number of licenses, increasing the

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translation of the research taking place,” says Saied Mostaghimi, associate dean for research and graduate studies in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The precinct “will go a long way in helping us achieve that,” he says. At least 25 Virginia Tech faculty will work in the precinct’s first building. As many as 70 students could work there as well, Mostaghimi says. The number of students enrolled in the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences rose by 600 in the past four years to 2,800, says Susan Sumner, associate dean and director of academic programs at the College. Many students land jobs within 100 miles of Virginia Tech after graduation, Sumner adds, but an exact number is unknown. Still, the majority land jobs in Northern Virginia, likely because of the “sheer volume of jobs in that area,” she says. Hamilton and other economic development officials hope job growth trends will continue to shift to Southwest Virginia. “Our goal is to capture the research at Virginia Tech and spin it off into companies that stay in Blacksburg and Montgomery County.” Artist’s rendering courtesy of Virginia Tech.

SPECIAL REPORT OnSite’s renovation of this 200-yearold farmhouse included a modern take on the ancient construction technique of timber framing.

More than a building Architects use materials and design to connect people by Cara Modisett

illennials tethered to digital devices. Aging Baby Boomers. The Great Recession. Even coffee shop culture. All these demographic trends affect architectural design. That’s because architects rely on a humanist approach to design and Keith and Marie Zawistowski do more than design buildings. engineering. In addition to physical structure, they take into account things like traffic, context, lifestyle and sustainability. To spot today’s hottest trends, Roanoke Business surveyed local architectural firms. Some of the takeaways: Architects are into creative design that serves the greatest good. There’s a growing emphasis on efficiency, and in many cases spaces are getting smaller, not bigger.


Top photo by Patrick Hummel. Bottom photo by Espirit Photography.



special report SFCS, Inc. Roanoke and Charlotte, N.C. Founded: 1920 SFCS builds its business model on one primary national field — nursing, special needs and senior housing — while pursuing regional work in health care, higher education and civic projects. Nursing and senior housing historically was based on a hospital design; these days the national move-

ment is toward campus-style living with continuing care. Design and redesign in that field is about efficiency — but efficiency with an eye toward human interaction. “The skilled-care-level care is very labor intensive,” says Tye Campbell, SFCS CEO. “They want to, need to, spend time with our loved ones … but they also have a lot of tasks.” So design extends to finding ways to reduce travel time for caregivers so



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care can be more dedicated. Medicines are stored securely in rooms, rather than wheeled around on carts. The design is more residential than institutional, with open kitchens and family-style dining rooms. Higher education campuses are changing too: “Technology is huge, of course… there can’t be a part of campus without high-speed Internet access.” Residence halls have replaced old dormitory models with exercise rooms, social spaces and conference spaces. Campus construction seeks to “weave components of a campus together.” Young architects are coming into

“We find that the overwhelming majority of the current generation is extremely interested in nontraditional paths and particularly interested in nonprofit service” the field with big goals: “a strong desire to do more than design buildings… they have this passionate view that through architecture they can do some greater good.” Young architects are coming into the field with big goals: “a strong desire to do more than design buildings … they have this passionate view that through architecture they can do some greater good.” Campbell thinks they’re right. “You can change life for humans.” Design isn’t just about structures, but about surrounding space and context.

OnSite LLC Blacksburg and Paris, France Founded: France office: 2003. Roanoke architecture office, 2012. Architects Marie and Keith Zawistowski (from Paris and New Jersey, respectively) have taught together in Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design since 2008; they’ve studied, worked in, written about and received awards for rural design. They met while working together on an Auburn University Rural Studio student charity project, the Lucy House. The Zawistowskis believe that design can do some greater good. “We find that the overwhelming majority of the current generation is extremely interested in nontraditional paths and particularly interested in nonprofit service,” says Keith. The courses the couple teaches at Virginia Tech include Designing Practice. “The premise of the course is that there is no one way to practice architecture.” Creativity, they say, is the way to solve problems.

with each other,” says Chester. Adult children don’t live close to their parents in the way they did in previous generations, so “the church has become the extended family.” Other needs include solving navigation problems in a “maze of small disorganized corridors.” And churches are responding to cultural tendencies: “[They] have come to the realization that the younger generation is comfortable in a Starbucks,”

says Hughes, “learning in a distancebased format.” The request? A coffee shop in the building where parishioners can watch a service broadcast online from elsewhere in the building. As for residential — “gone are the days of the ‘McMansion.’ Clients have realized that they don’t need a larger house; the house they already own can be adapted to their needs.” University-area apartment build-

Hughes Associates Architects and Engineers Roanoke Founded: 1976 in Salem “Our office building represents our philosophy that creativity and ingenuity can help to transform buildings,” says architect Martha Chester, president of Hughes Associates. “It was a burned-out gas station with a former community grocery store attached to the back.” Hughes projects span health care, higher education, commercial and industrial. In 2012, the firm saw the highest percentage of billing increase in the area of religious structures. “Churches often want larger areas to meet and greet … sanctuaries that have a contemporary shape where they feel they connect visually

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special report ings are beginning to attach separate bathrooms to each room, realizing that often clients rent a single room, rather than going in on an apartment with friends.”

Spectrum Design Roanoke Founded: 2000 with the merging of Echols-Sparger Architects (founded 1946 in Marion) and Spectrum Engineers (founded 1980 in Roanoke) Historic preservation and adaptive reuse are perhaps the most well known of Spectrum’s projects, though the firm works in new construction and modern renovation too. Museums and performing arts are strong elements in a number of their projects. “Architecture is about clients that have something that’s broken or something that’s inadequate,” says Spectrum COO John Missell, who came to Spectrum earlier this year

Hughes Associates have learned that churches want more than a sanctuary.

after working on multimillion dollar international development projects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. “Sometimes that results in a building [less than 10 percent of the time] he says, sometimes that results in reor-

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ganization; sometimes that results in renovation … We can work with some of these clients for years and never even address a building.” Historic preservation enters into school renovations and new construction as well. David Bandy, Spectrum’s president: “[We] want to be respectful of the schools themselves, and their memories.” For renovating Cave Spring Middle School from the former high school, that meant keeping the auditorium and the gymnasium and demolishing ev-

“Buildings have to become more efficient, and the best strategy is to build them better.”

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erything else. “A lot of history took place in CSHS in those two places.” Spectrum’s restoration projects not only preserve buildings but strengthen the communities surrounding them. Bandy says creating, Photo courtesy of Hughes Associates

preserving and adapting historic buildings to house attractions such as Center in the Square or the Patrick Henry Hotel contribute toward the “renewal of Roanoke as a desirable place to live.�

Quantum Architects Roanoke Founded: 2012 as a partnership between Steve Sunderman of TerraZia PC and Adam Cohen and Steven Strauss of Structures-Design Build, LLC (founded 1999) Sunderman, Cohen and Strauss brought resources from two different firms together to create a third firm, with the goal of creating a new trend — moving beyond green, LEED-certified housing to PassivHaus building. That’s a sort of holistic approach to energy-efficient houses through a focus on the “envelope� — the walls and windows that leak cold and hot air. They create the need for expen-

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sive air-conditioning and heating systems and insulation that traps moisture. “Buildings have to become more efficient,� says Strauss, “and the best strategy is to build them better.� Both companies bring to Quan-

tum background experience in traditional and sustainable architecture and engineering. “I think the future trend is toward smaller, smarter, more efficient and more accessible buildings,� says Sunderman.


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INTERVIEW: AMANDA STANLEY, Executive Director, DePaul Community Resources

Human services and the bottom line ‘We don’t make coffee pots; we make families’ Amanda Stanley: “I remember … thinking, I want to be somebody that does this stuff right.”

by Shawna Morrison


n April, Bedford resident Amanda Stanley became executive director of DePaul Community Resources, a human services organization based in Roanoke County with 19 service locations around the state. Her career in human services began long before that, with years spent working in the field through the Department of Social Services in Bedford and the Comprehensive Services Act in Bedford County and Roanoke. Stanley saw what worked and what didn’t, leading to the creation of two businesses. In 2009, she started TwoChair Solutions, through which she did consulting work for human services organizations such as DePaul until she took the job with the company — a job she said she didn’t expect to get. In 2010, she created FindFamilyServices. com, an online search engine that helps link



people in need of human services with providers. Stanley, 33, owns half of that company, which is still active. She sat down with Roanoke Business recently to talk about her goals for the nonprofit and how her own struggle with mental illness led her into the human services field. There are times, she says, when she wishes she had gone into sales or “anything else.” But Stanley says she was drawn to the field to help others. Roanoke Business: What do you want people to know about DePaul and what it does? Stanley: The thing that ties together every program we do … is we create belonging. We have services for children and families. That’s sort of one segment of the world that we deal with. And then we also deal with folks who have intellectual or developmental

disabilities. On the child and family services side, belonging looks like prevention of foster care — making sure kids have permanency. That can mean that kids never have to leave their own home just because they have special needs. It can mean giving them a safe foster home while their parents work out whatever issues had them removed. It can mean adoption for kids whose parents never are able to get them back, for whatever reason. And a lot of times it means reunification — working with parents on correcting things in their home that were harmful to their family so that they can be whole again, so that kids have a forever home. That’s our goal. That’s also our goal on the other side of things, for individuals who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. We provide services in three primary settings: Care provider homes, which is kind of like foster homes for adults; group homes that have four or fewer clients living in them; and day support, which is an alternative to work. For somebody off the street, it’s going to look a lot like a day-care center, but we have folks ranging in age from 18 to 80. RB: What drew you into this field? Stanley: I struggled with mental illness when I was a teenager and in college, and because of my experience in that, I got to kind of see what it’s like to be that vulnerable outsider. I remember … a particular experience when I was dealing with mental illness and thinking, I want to be somebody that does this stuff right. I think it’s a privilege really. … People will always gripe about the pay and the burnout and the stress, and it is heart-wrenching, but it’s a privilege to get to be with people when they’re really living life. And that’s where the best stuff happens, really. The crappy part of this job is that the world is hard and bad, and this stuff is never going to stop happening. There are always going to be people who are doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing to folks who are vulnerable. What we can do is give kids a safe place to belong and to heal from that. Everybody’s Photo courtesy of DePaul Community Resources

been through something, and what mattered was that we had a place that accepted us as we went through it. What makes somebody successful … isn’t that they never had any crap, it’s that they had love and care and compassion in the middle of it. RB: What are your goals for DePaul? Stanley: I want everybody to know about us who doesn’t know about us. That’s kind of an external goal. Internally, I want us to be as healthy and strong as we can be, because the field that we work in is changing daily, pressures go up, regulations get tighter, funding goes down, so there’s all of these kind of negative external pressures on human services. I think that the work we do is so important that those aren’t excuses to not do it well. As a consultant, I saw time and time again those external pressures would make an organization change course because they weren’t strong enough to hack them. But DePaul is, so part of my goal is to keep us that strong and make us even stronger so that we stay a leader. The other goal is innovation. DePaul was actually born the same year that Apple computers was born … and I keep telling the management team we can be true to who we are as an organization and innovate. The depressing thing about human services is that most of the time the government says, “Here’s what we’ll pay for,” and providers do that thing. I want us to get ahead of that, and I want us to use research and our practice to say, “Here’s what works for kids and families, we’re going to do that,” and then we’ll figure out the money part. RB: It sounds like a lofty goal. Is that feasible? Stanley: It is, but we can do it. We’re starting to do it now. Sometimes what Medicaid pays for isn’t always what’s right for kids and families, so we think that doing what’s right for kids and families means you have to be informed by more than Medicaid. And so that word “innovation” is very important to our future, that we’re healthy enough that we don’t just do this black-and-white stuff that this column of this budget pays for, but that we create best practice, we create stuff that people didn’t know could exist, because it’s what our kids and our clients show us

that’s what works for them. RB: You sound very passionate about this, like this is almost personal to you. Stanley: I’ve not had a personal experience, really, in this way, but I have worked with kids and families and adults in this system, and I always walk away from experiences thinking how would I want my people to be treated? And I would want the Apple of human services working with my family. We’ve all been clients, we’ve all been to the hospital, we’ve all been to the doctor or the dentist or whatever, and we’ve all been in a vulnerable situation where we trusted somebody else with our care. You want the best, and you want somebody who treats your person as well as they would treat their own person. And that’s what we do. We deal with people at their worst and their most vulnerable moments when they’re scared, they’ve lost something, they’re being judged incredibly harshly by communities, so it’s really important to get it right. I’m passionate about it because you can’t mess this stuff up. You know, we don’t make coffee pots; we make families. You can’t be lukewarm about this; you have to believe in this. RB: How has DePaul changed as the needs of the community have changed over the years? Stanley: We’ve grown. Since DePaul came about, we’ve offered more services, more specialized services. We’re an organization today that has service lines with professionals who are incredibly specialized in what they do. Our adoption specialists only do adoptions, so they don’t get distracted by anything else. Our treatment foster-care specialists just do treatment foster care. I think that’s how we’ve adapted — We’ve become experts in the things that we do. RB: Do you see other changes coming in the future? Stanley: One of the things we are doing that’s really new for DePaul is fundraising. It’s always been that we provide a service, we send a bill, the bill gets paid, or it’s been a grant that we’ve gotten. For us to be able to innovate and do some more creative services and for us to be able to weather

the storms of the fickle funding world that is human services, we’re going to have to have a more diverse revenue system. That includes accepting gifts from people that are also passionate about human services. I completely believe that we can raise more than 10 percent of our annual revenue. RB: As a nonprofit in this field, how is the way you operate different from other businesses? Stanley: Internally we operate as a business in the sense that profit is not the most important thing to us; sustainability of our mission is what’s most important … We want to run a good business, meaning we want to have positive numbers on that bottom line at the end of every year because we want to be able to reinvest and keep doing it. The cool thing about what we’re doing is we have about 200 employees, we have hundreds of care providers and foster parents, and we contribute to the economy in that way. But we also, by giving folks a place to belong in their communities, we are helping to create individuals who are going to positively contribute to their local economies one day. For kids who leave foster care without a permanent connection, nothing ever got better and then they left because they were too old, outcomes are horrible. Those kids are … going to be homeless, without a job, living on the system, living in violent relationships, so when we’re doing our work really, really well, it means there are fewer people entering the economy unprepared for it. When kids are raised in families, when people with disabilities learn to be independent, then people are contributing positively to their communities versus being alienated from it, and living off of it. People leave us with what they need to contribute positively versus being dependent on a system, and that’s as important as our own internal business. We’ve got some kids who are just smart and creative and innovative and going to college and have huge dreams, and the fact that their parents messed up in some way should not keep them from being able to do that. That’s what’s exciting is the impact we’ll have on the economy in 20 years when some of these kids are starting a company because they had somebody believe in them. ROANOKE BUSINESS



From biotechnology to baseball Salem offers a diverse economy and welcoming small-town community

The Salem Red Sox won the 2013 Mills Cup, the city’s first Carolina League championship in a dozen years. by Kathie Dickenson


alem, a small city of nearly 25,000 people located between Roanoke’s urban culture and Blacksburg’s college-town energy, has managed to carve out an identity all its own.

A competitive school system, a diverse economy and an array of cultural and recreational opportunities make it one of the most livable communities in the region. In June the financial website NerdWallet ranked the city fourth in a list of the 10 best cities in Virginia for young families. The ranking takes into account public school quality, cost



of living and local economy. “We have a motto in Salem that we put children first,” says Salem City Council member Lisa Garst. Last year, when faced with a pressing need to replace an elementary school building, “we decided to raise the meals tax two cents,” recalls Garst, “and we told our citizens that we were going to dedicate

that to capital improvement in our schools. The response was really heartwarming because people said, ‘Yes, we know that we need this, and we want to support our schools.’” The response might also reflect what Mayor Randy Foley calls the “practical and rational” nature of the community. “Ideological or philosophical ideas take a back seat to Photos by Mike Stevens, courtesy City of Salem

what needs to be done,” he explains. “It’s not always popular to make cuts or raise taxes, but this community — not everybody, but for the most part — this community understands the need to be practical in making financial decisions.” When Salem established an independent school system in 1983, “City Council and the School Board resolved to put resources in place to consistently recruit and retain extraordinary teachers,” says Salem School Superintendent Alan Seibert. “That was the beginning of our having a very competitive pay scale.” The school division recruits across Virginia and in other states to gain access to the good teachers. Statistics from 2011-2012 show Salem had a graduation rate of 93.65 percent, with 63 percent of graduates receiving advanced diplomas and more than 83 percent accepted into two- or four-year colleges. The school system scored eight out of 10 possible points in NerdWallet’s ranking based on comparisons between local standardized test scores and state averages. Seibert credits the division’s success to “community support, excellent teachers and a history of collaboration” with the city, with businesses and with higher education institutions, especially Roanoke College in downtown Salem and Virginia Western Community College. Seibert says people see Salem’s strong school outcomes and great facilities and assume Salem is a wealthy community. On the contrary, he points out, two of the city’s four elementary schools are Title I schools, where at least 40 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Division-wide, the free/reduced lunch percentage is about 30 percent. “We are not a wealthy community,” he says. “We have professionals in town, and we have a college, but the core of Salem is just good, hardworking people who care about their children.”

Overlap and collaboration among city government, schools, utilities and public services afford both efficiency and quality in operations. Salem schools and the city share an accounts payable office, a garage that takes care of city trucks and school buses, building maintenance and other services.

Salem Stats Population estimate in 2012: 24,970 Median household income in 2009: $48,050 Median home value 2007-2011: $166,200 Average unemployment rate for 2012: 5.9 percent Commuting patterns: · 6,234 people commute out of Salem for work ·

20,414 people commute into Salem


Net difference of 14,180 in-commuters

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Virginia Employment Commission

A small system with six schools normally wouldn’t have access to a high-quality HVAC person, Seibert offers as an example, “but we do, because the same person services the Civic Center and City Hall.” After hours, schools’ fields and gymnasiums are available to Parks and Recreation. When tournaments come to town, the result is revenue for the city. Salem’s business base includes two large health-care employers, HCA Virginia’s LewisGale Medical Center, part of a regional health system, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Administration Hospital, along with a blend of other

businesses. There’s Yokohama Tire Corp., a growing manufacturer; biotech businesses such as Novozymes; the Salem Red Sox, a professional baseball team; and a service industry that thrives on activities at the Salem Civic Center and the many athletic tournaments hosted in Salem. The economic impact of athletic events, although hard to measure, goes beyond Salem. “Whether it’s the more than 70 NCAA championships we’ve hosted since 1993 or the national youth softball tournaments, like the one we welcomed to town this summer, we’ve never measured these events based on annual income,” reports City Manager Kevin Boggess. “It takes a huge commitment from the entire valley to pull off events of this magnitude. Much of the revenue Salem and the other localities receive is indirect income in the form of hotel, restaurant and merchandise sales, not to mention the name recognition we get from being featured on ESPN.” Contained within a built-out 14.4 square miles, Salem has two big economic development challenges, according to Boggess. One is “trying to entice people into areas they wouldn’t normally consider for retail development,” such as areas farther out West Main Street beyond Wildwood Road. Another is “getting folks in the nonretail side interested in properties that need to be redeveloped.” The opening of a Lowe’s store on West Main Street three years ago required demolishing an old shopping center, cleaning up a former tannery site and providing tax incentives to the developer. For businesses that consider locating in Salem, says Boggess, “we try to be easy to work with, easy to contact, both on the economic development side, the zoning side and all that, and make sure we’re available to turn questions over as quickly as possible.” Since the city owns its electric distribution, water and sewerage systems, it can respond quickly to ROANOKE BUSINESS


community profile the needs of developers. Families find abundant recreational, leisure and cultural activities in Salem. Roanoke College presents concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural opportunities. Salem Civic Center events range from Roanoke Symphony performances to a Merle Haggard concert, from gem shows to gun shows. A downtown Farmers Market offers fresh produce, cooking demonstrations, live music, Pumpkinfest and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Downtown parks offer summer night outdoor movies. Four miles of the Roanoke River Greenway, part of a Roanoke Valley multijurisdictional project, have been built in Salem with more in the planning/building stages. McAffee Knob is a popular Appalachian Trail destination. The Roanoke River and the nearby James and New rivers provide kayaking, canoeing and tubing adventures. Recreational sports for all ages and

Founded in 1842, the institution that’s now called Roanoke College moved to Salem in 1847.

spectator sports — professional and NCAA — abound. And then there’s the Salem Fair, which draws visitors from miles away every year. Garst, a Covington native, moved to Salem with her husband in 1999, and they are raising their family there. She describes Salem as a warm,

inviting community. “We laugh, because we hear people say things like ‘you need a passport to Salem,’ but once people are here they say ‘the community has made me feel so welcome, I’ve never been treated like this before.’ It just has that small, community feel.”

What do Knights, Vikings and Highlanders all have in common? At Spectrum Design, we find great reward in every building project. We take pride in enhancing function, enjoy optimizing energy efficiency, and embrace the process of improving every day through aesthetics and form. Working with Roanoke County Public Schools has been an experience that has taken this to a new level. After successful work at Northside High School, we were selected to help renovate Cave Spring Middle School. Then we were chosen to help with Glenvar High School’s renovation. We enjoy the opportunity to serve so many students and appreciate that Roanoke County Public Schools has asked us to help them again. And again. If you have an education project, call Spectrum Design to discuss it. Because building better learning facilities is a subject we never get tired of talking about. Roanoke 540.342.6001 |



Photos by Mike Stevens, courtesy City of Salem

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Roanoke Regional Chamber recognizes Chamber Champions CHAMBER CHAMPIONS BB&T Brown Edwards Blue Ridge Copier Cox Business Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LifeWorks REHAB (Medical Facilities of America) MB Contractors Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC Trane Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law Pepsi Bottling Group

EVENT SPONSORSHIP Roanoke Regional Chamber Cup – Aug. 19 Title Sponsor: All Star Impressions

Appalachian Power Oasis Point Sponsor:

Gold Sponsors: Interactive Achievement

First Piedmont Corp. Hole Sponsors: Virginia Business Systems

Clear Channel Media + Entertainment Roanoke Country Club

Consolidated Construction Services Inc.

Chocklett Press

Omnisource SE

Silver Sponsors:

Digital Benefit Advisors

Carilion Clinic

SERVPRO of Roanoke, Montgomery and Pulaski Counties

Anthem Valley Bank

Beverage Sponsor: Pepsi Bottling Company

Delta Dental Note: Chamber Champions are members who support the Roanoke Regional Chamber through yearround sponsorships in exchange for year-round recognition.

NEW MEMBERS JOIN CHAMBER The following members joined the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce between July 16 and Aug. 9, 2013. On behalf of the Roanoke Regional Chamber, thank you!

Woods Rogers PLC

Hole-in-One Sponsor: Berglund Chevrolet

Trane Rockydale Quarries

Swing Into Business After Hours – Aug. 19 Spilman Thomas and Battle PLLC Roanoke Country Club Appalachian Power Creative Entertainment

2013 State of the City Address – Aug. 23

C2 Architecture

Appalachian Power

The Center for College and Career Services

Carilion Clinic

Cogent Management Resources


Farmer Auctions

First Citizens Bank

Interior Creations

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore

Primetime Exhibits – Virginia

Hall Associates Inc.

Volatia Language Network

RGC Resources



SPONSORED CONTENT | Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce

Member news & recognitions A meric an National Universit y (ANU) PProfessional Training rrecently announced the aaddition of two new staff members in Roanoke. m Shaw Wagner Annette Shaw and Angelica Wagner have been hired as corporate training executives, working closely with companies to assess learning requirements and develop training solutions tailored to their needs. A meric an National University has named U Edward Avella as E eexecutive director of uuniversity development. Bridget Moore has B Avelia Moore bbeen hired as executive ddirector of program ddevelopment. Keith Nordmann has bbeen named executive ddirector of online eduNordmann Sluss ccation, and Jill Sluss has been hired as publications editor.


Brown Edwards, a regional accounting B firm, has announced the promotion of f Holly M. Rutherford, CPA, to the H firm’s partnership. She has worked in f the th public accounting sector for more than th 13 years.

Beers Darby Goodlatte Glenn Feldmann Darby & Goodlatte has announced that the following attorneys are once again in this year’s rankings of The Best Lawyers in America: Harwell M. Darby, Jr., for corporate law and public finance law; Maryellen F. Goodlatte, real estate litigation and real estate law; and Paul G. Beers, commercial litigation, employment law, and law and employment litigation. H o n e y Tr e e E a r l y LLearning Centers have aannounced the following staff changes: lo Brandy Abbatello B hhas been promoted to Abbatello Moding center director of Smith Mountain Lake HoneyTree Early Learning Centers, and Mark Moding has been named HR and billing coordinator for McLeod Enterprises. Valley Gastroenterology of Southwest Virginia will be joining Carilion Clinic Gastroenterology. Dr. Robert D. Moylan, Dr. M. Jonathan 34


Bern, Dr. Vikas Chitnavis, and Dr. Kevin B. Mercure, are moving from their current location on Braeburn Drive in Salem to Carilion’s Riverside Center in Roanoke.


Creasy C



Speight S


The law firm of Johnson, Ayers & Matthews has announced that six of its attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Those recognized are: Ronald M. Ayers, eminent domain and condemnation law and personal injury litigation – defendants; John D. Eure, appellate practice and insurance law; William P. Wallace, Jr., personal injury litigation – defendants; Kenneth J. Ries, insurance law and personal injury litigation – defendants; Jonnie L. Speight, education law, real estate law and workers’ compensation law; and Bryan Grimes Creasy, commercial litigation, litigation – real estate and railroad law. Three attorneys were also named “2014 Roanoke Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers including: Creasy, litigation – real estate; Eure, insurance law; and Speight, real estate law. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) has announced that the City of Roanoke E911 Center has met or exceeded the minimum training standards for the APSO International Project 33 Training Program Certification-2010 and has been awarded certification as of July 17. Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority Chairman Kelvin C. Bratton recently detailed an agreement in principle that would establish a 99-year lease of Explore Park to Roanoke County. The park would be administered by Roanoke County’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department, with the long-term goal of creating a regional adventure park. Jennifer Overstreet, a teacher at W.E. Cundiff Elementary School in Roanoke County, has been named the new assistant principal at Penn Forest Elementary School. The Salem Red Sox, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, have announced that Ryan Shelton, vice president of ticketing, has been promoted to general manager. As part of the transition plan, Allen Lawrence, assistant general manager, and Tim Anderson, director of food and beverage, have both been promoted to vice presidents. Dr. K. Jeffrey Miller recently received certification as a Medical Compliance Specialist through Medical

Compliance Training. Dr. Miller currently serves as the director of clinical operations for Tuck Chiropractic Clinics in the New River and Roanoke Valleys. The T law firm of Spilman Thomas T & Battle announced n that several of its it Roanoke attorneys were w recently selected by b their peers for incluAmmar Black sion s in The Best Lawyers y in America 2014 directory of leading atd torneys. to The following Spilman attorneys were S selected: s N.A. Amm Jr., employment Melchionna mar, Day benefits law, trusts b a estates; Paul M. and B Black, banking and fi finance law, bankruptcy a creditor debtor and rights/insolvency r and Stark TTower r reorganization law, fin nancial services regulation law; F.B. W Webster Day, corporate law, public fi finance law; Olin R. Melchionna, Jr., J trusts and estates; Douglas T. S Stark, commercial litigation; King F. T Tower, employment law – management, Wellons labor law – management; and Hugh B. Wellons, banking and finance law, biotechnology law, financial services regulation law, and securities/capital markets law. The law firm also announced that Wellons has been named the 2014 Roanoke Financial Services Regulation Law “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers. Brooke B D. Beyer has been appointed an a assistant professor in the Department of o Accounting and Information Systems at a Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. B Beyer y




The T School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture A and a Urban Studies at Virginia Tech has announced that it is inaugurating an a advisory board and Professor Emeritus a James R. Bohland will serve a J two-year term as the first chair. Bohland tw has h been with Virginia Tech since 1980. Brian Bolton has been named direcB tor to of Cranwell International Center at Virginia Tech. Bolton comes to Virginia V Tech T from Longwood University, where he h directed services for international students s and scholars. B Brian Callaghan, a Richmond entr trepreneur and investor, gave the Wells F Fargo Distinguished Lecture, sponsored b the Pamplin College of Business and by W Fargo, on September 5 at Alumni Wells

Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce | SPONSORED CONTENT Assembly Hall at Virginia Tech. The VT graduate gave the audience a personal view of his journey to success.









Terry T Clements, associate professor of o landscape architecture in the College of o Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has been named a Fellow V of o the American Society of Landscape Architects. A The T Design Futures Council has named Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals ProfesJ sor s of Architecture and dean of the College le of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, a senior fellow. Davis was V one o of 13 individuals recognized with this honor for 2013. Michele C. Deramo has been named M director of diversity education and initiad tives ti in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion s at Virginia Tech. In her new position, Deramo will plan and implement customD ized iz educational programs that advance the Virginia Tech Principles of Community. V Virginia Tech selected Rachel HolV loway as vice provost for undergraduate lo academic affairs. She began her new a position in September. She has served p on o the faculty at Virginia Tech since 1989. E. E Scott Johnson has been appointed an assistant professor in the p Department of Accounting and InformaD tion ti Systems at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. C Kathy Kaplan has been named K director of development for the Divid sion s of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech. Kaplan had served as the major gifts K officer, director of donor relations and o assistant director for special events at a Old Dominion University. Roop L. Mahajan, the director of R the th Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech, received A the th 75th Anniversary Medal of the American Society S of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer T Division at the 2013 Summer Heat Transfer Conference held in Minneapolis. K Kimberly Mathe-Soulek has been a appointed an assistant professor in the D Department of Hospitality and Tourism M Management at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin C College of Business.

N Morgan, a former Newport News Neil c manager, has joined the team of Vircity g Tech Fellows in Roanoke providing ginia e executive-level leadership training. The F Fellows, headquartered at The Hotel Roan & Conference Center, are part of noke Morgan Virginia Tech’s Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement.


V Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Res sources and Environment Dean Paul W Winistorfer has appointed Robert L. “ “Bob” Smith the college’s associa dean for engagement, as head of the ate D Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. A Anna-Katherine Ward has been aappointed an assistant professor in the Department of Management at Virginia D TTech’s Pamplin College of Business.



Michael C. Wolfe has been appointed M aan assistant professor in the Department oof Accounting and Information Systems aat Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of BBusiness. Ryan Zimmerman has been apR ppointed an associate professor in the Department of Management at Virginia D TTech’s Pamplin College of Business.

TThe Al Pollard Memorial Foundation and VVirginia Western Community College hhave announced the designation of the Al Pollard Culinary Arts ProZimmerman A gram. The $500,000 gift will provide scholarships for students pursuing promising careers in local restaurants, catering and dining establishments, as well as funding to support the future development of the culinary programs.


Wells Fargo announced that it has named W Michael Orr business relationship M manager for Western Virginia’s business m bbanking team. Covering the Roanoke aand New River Valley markets, Orr will work with small and mid-sized business w owners in these communities.

Thirty-three attorneys with Woods Rogers have been named to Best Lawyers in America magazine’s list for 2014. They are: Thomas R. Bagby, employment law-management, labor law-management, and litigationlabor and employment; D. Stan Barnhill, commercial litigation, construction law, litigation-construction, litigation-first amendment, and professional malpractice law defendants; Neil V. Birkhoff, tax law, trusts and estates; Victor O. Cardwell, employment law management and labor law management; Claude D. Carter, real estate law; Francis H. Casola, commercial litigation, litigation antitrust, litigation intellectual property, and litigation real estate; Agnis C. Chakravorty, employment law management, labor law management, and litigation labor and employment; George J.A. Clemo, administrative/regulatory law, corporate law, project finance law, public finance law, securitization and structured finance law; Nicholas C. Conte, commercial litigation, corporate law; James F. Douthat, land use and zoning law; Bradley W. Fitzgerald, transportation law; Frank K. Friedman, appellate practice; H. Allen Glover, Jr., administrative/regulatory law, energy law; Bayard E. Harris, employment law management, labor law management, litigation labor and employment; James

W. Jennings, Jr., commercial litigation, personal injury litigation defendants, product liability litigation defendants, and railroad law; R. Neal Keesee, Jr., corporate law; Talfourd H. Kemper, Sr., corporate law, real estate law, and trusts and estates; B. Webb King, employment law – individuals; Alton L. Knighton, Jr., employee benefits laws, project finance law, and public finance law; Mark D. Loftis, commercial litigation, insurance law, product liability litigation – defendants, and technology law; Heman A. Marshall, III, antitrust law and health care law; Richard C. Maxwell, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, and litigation – bankruptcy; J. Lee E. Osborne, trusts and estates; Thomas T. Palmer, health care law; Elizabeth Guilbert Perrow, medical malpractice law – defendants; Matthew P. Pruitts, transportation law; Alexander I. Saunders, corporate law, tax law, and trusts and estates; Michael K. Smeltzer, real estate law; Christopher W. Stevens, insurance law; Daniel C. Summerlin, III, labor law – management; Paul R. Thomson, Jr., criminal defense, white collar, environmental law, litigation – environmental, timber law, and water law; Thomas M. Winn, III, employment law – management, labor law – management, and litigation – labor and employment; and Dudley F. Woody, employment law - management. In addition, the following attorneys received Lawyer of the Year recognition: Thomas R. Bagby, Roanoke Employment Law-Management Lawyer of the Year; Bayard E. Harris, Roanoke Litigation-Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year; Alton L. Knighton, Jr., Roanoke Public Finance Law Lawyer of the Year; and Alexander I. Saunders, Roanoke Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year. J Joyce Kessinger with Boxley Materials w hhas been elected chair oof the Western Virginia Workforce DevelopW Kessinger ment Board. Other m J Jones oofficers elected at the bboard’s annual meeting include: William in F. Bill Jones, Jr., F HomeTown Bank, vice H cchair; Carroll GenGentry Brinley ttry, Tanglewood Estates, treasurer; Joe ta Brinley, NECA-IBEW B LLocal 26, secretary; Hiawatha Nicely, H New Century ConsulN Nicely Flippen tants, immediate past cchair; Paul Paradzinski, youth ccouncil chair; and Wayne E. Flippen, Roanoke Regional Small Busip nness Development Center, oversight Paradzinski ccommittee chair. ROANOKE BUSINESS


SPONSORED CONTENT | Roanoke Regional Partnership

News from the Roanoke Regional Partnership Two new manufacturers are coming to Roanoke region Two new companies – Ardagh Group and Canline Systems – are moving to the Roanoke Region. Ardagh Group, a Luxembourgbased global leader in metal and glass packaging for the food and beverage industry, will locate a state-of-the-art f h metall can manufacturing facility in the 525,000-square-foot former Hanover Direct distribution center on Hollins Road. The company will create 96 jobs and invest $93.5 million in real estate and equipment. It is the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County history. Earlier this year Ardagh Group signed a long-term supply agreement with a major customer, ConAgra, requiring the company to add capacity in the eastern United States. It selected Roanoke County over locations in Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Canline Systems, an international supplier of conveyor systems for the packaging industry, will open its first U.S. facility in Roanoke County, creating 25 jobs over the next three years. The company is expanding to the U.S. to be closer to customers including Ardagh. Netherlands-based Canline Systems designs and manufactures automated product conveyor systems that use magnetic and vacuum technologies in production lines. The company will design, manufacture and assemble the systems at its 10,500-square-foot facility at 6525 Commonwealth Drive in southwest Roanoke County. The company also will serve other customers throughout the United States from this facility. “In one month, we welcomed foreign direct investment from two companies,” said Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “That kind of presence strengthens the economy and reputation of the Roanoke Region.” The Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke County Office of Economic Development worked on the project with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Department of Business Assistance, Appalachian Power, Norfolk Southern, Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group and Roanoke Gas Company. The Partnership, Roanoke County and Waldvogel Commercial Properties worked together on the Canline Project.

Partnership hosts state economic developers The Roanoke Regional Partnership and economic developers from the Alleghany Highlands to Franklin County hosted the Virginia Economic Development Partnership business expansion team this summer.



The two-day tour, “Nothing but the Best … Today and Tomorrow in the Roanoke Region,” focused on Roanoke Region highlights. Stops included kayaking at the largest municipal park east of the Mississippi (Carvins Cove); accommodations at the finest hotel as voted by Virginia Living readers (Hotel Roanoke); the award-winning Botetourt Center at Greenfield, the nation’s largest contiguous urban farm site at the Roanoke Center for Industry and Technology; and dinner by one of the 101 best food trucks in America (Smith Mountain Lake’s Bruno’s GastroTruck) at an award-winning winery (Valhalla). “Our goal was to make an impression with new and exciting things happening in the Roanoke Region,” said Ann Blair Miller, the partnership’s director of project management.  

Virginia tourism list features Roanoke restaurants Eat like a local. That’s the theme of a new list on Virginia’s Travel Blog, sponsored by the Virginia Tourism Corp. Roanoke landmark Texas Tavern made the list of 22 hot spots, as did the parent restaurant of the recently opened Jack Brown’s Burger Joint. A Virginia travel writer had this to say about Texas Tavern: “In Roanoke, the name Texas Tavern dates to 1930. This love-worn establishment has been in the same family for four generations and is acclaimed for ‘Best Chili,’ ‘Best Hot Dogs,’ ‘Best Local Hamburgers’ and ‘Best Late-Night Dinner’ by readers of Roanoker magazine. Saunter up to the counter and enjoy home-cooked food 24 hours a day.” Jack Brown’s Burger Joint, which opened downtown this spring, was recognized as a top eatery for its great burgers and wide selection of beer.  Roanoke region’s cost of living is lower than three-quarters of U.S. metros Roanoke is in the top 25 percent of metros nationally when it comes to a low cost of living, according to latest data from the ACCRA Cost of Living Index. The data from the second quarter of 2013 show that Roanoke costs are more than 10 percent below the national average.  Roanoke’s advantages are strongest in groceries, housing and transportation costs. Roanoke’s cost of living is lower than many competing metros in the South, including Asheville, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; and Chattanooga, Tenn. Use the Roanoke Region’s cost-of -living calculator to see how far your dollar will go in the Roanoke Region. The Roanoke Regional Partnership collects data in support of the national cost of living index three times a year. 


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Roanoke Business- Nov. 2013  
Roanoke Business- Nov. 2013