Blueprint Virginia Coming To Farmville On Monday

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

FARMVILLE – The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce is opening the doors to a time machine on Monday when it hosts Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

The destination is the future.

DuVal will lead an in-depth strategic discussion on the state chamber's Blueprint Virginia initiative, the region's priorities, and statewide themes that cross regional boundaries.

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“This is a great opportunity for our community to come together for a conversation about our future,” Rucker Snead, chairman of the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, told The Herald.

The state chamber hopes to produce a “road-map for economic competitiveness” that can be used by elected officials across the Commonwealth to plot a course for future prosperity in every corner of the state.

The chamber's event begins at noon in the Nance Room in the Dorrill Dining Hall at Longwood University and will include a lunch. The 90-minute meeting is open to both members and non-members, with a $5 and $15 cost, respectively.

“The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to act as the hub to bring together so many strong Regional Council members in the Blueprint venture for our region,” the chamber's executive director, Lisa Tharpe, told The Herald this week. “Our voice must be heard in Southside so that we are not overlooked and that our strengths and needs are represented. We are certainly stronger together as a whole than individually stating the same message.”

The state chamber is asking the question: Who is in charge of Virginia's economic future?

In considering the implications, the Virginia chamber noted on its website that “the current economic situation and ever-increasing global competition demands long-term strategic thinking and planning if Virginia is to maintain its position as the nation's best state for business and ensure future prosperity for out citizens.”

Blueprint Virginia is being “facilitated” by the state chamber, which describes the initiative as a “comprehensive effort to provide business leadership, direction and long-range planning for Virginia.”

The year-long campaign, the website continues, “will bring together all sectors of economic development to craft a strategy that will present our elected officials a roadmap for economic competitiveness for the Commonwealth.”

“The impressive group of eight Regional Council members who collaborated for this June 10th event prove that working together great things can happen,” Tharpe noted. “We have plans to bring even more state and nationwide leaders into this community that can help show us better ways to cultivate success here in Southside.”

Monday's meeting in Farmville is part of the map-making process toward that future of economic prosperity, one of 20 different community meetings in which the state chamber expects to participate in order to embrace as many minds and ideas as possible.

“We'll host public hearings…to introduce Blueprint Virginia regionally and gain perspective on challenges and opportunities specific to different geographical areas of the state,” the state chamber explains.

The goal is “to build a statewide consensus among private and public sector leaders regarding investment priorities,” the state chamber declares.

The Farmville meeting will be followed by trips this month to the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Economic Development breakfast, the Roanoke Blacksburg Innovation Network and Virginia Tech Foundation and the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are glad that Barry Duval and the Virginia Chamber chose Farmville as one of their key locations in the Commonwealth to host one of these conversations to gather input to provide to our next governor,” Snead said.

The Blueprint Virginia “economic drivers” are: educational excellence, workforce readiness, robust infrastructure, supporting advanced manufacturing, attractive business climate, innovation and entrepreneurship, quality, cost-effective healthcare, and energy diversity and security.

“Blueprint Virginia is vital to our Southside Virginia area,” Tharpe observed. “It takes into consideration what our own regional needs and plans are for economic and workforce development -and rolls it into a larger state plan. This plan will be presented to the new Governor in November, who must take this Blueprint into strong consideration as he manages our state. Blueprint Virginia helps our state compete against other states, and even other nations for securing jobs.

“I encourage any business, community leader or concerned residents to jump on board with this plan that the Virginia State Chamber is aggressively developing,” she encouraged. “This alliance has well over 5,000 people working together for the strongest development of our state.”

Snead was enthusiastic about the collaborative underpinning of the forum, and Blueprint Virginia, itself, along with the roll-out of economic development planning in the area.

“We are seeing teamwork in action which is a wonderful thing for our community,” he noted, applauding the work of Tharpe and event sponsors for putting the forum together.

“Good things are happening in our community and this forum provides another opportunity for us to gather as a community with a number of partners providing sponsorship for this opportunity,” he continued. “Many of the issues and challenges that we face are regional in nature, coming together for this forum shows us how to come together as a larger community to consider and better resolve those issues.”

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