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Economic Development Panel at the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity

If we collaborate across sectors, go in together on funding, we can deliver on the Governor of Virginia’s goal of being the number one state for business.

That was the message Erik Johnston, Director of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, delivered during the Economic Development Panel Discussion at the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity.

Fellow panelists - Chris Thompson, Director of Strategic Housing at the Virginia Housing Development Authority; Shannon Blevins, GO VA Region 1 Support Staff; Randy Lail, GO VA Region 3 Vice Chair – echoed that same sentiment.

The panel was moderated by Cassidy Rasnick, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Economic Development.

To watch the recorded Facebook live video of the panel discussion, go here.


The annual Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, hosted by the Virginia Rural Center, was held in 2018 from October 21-22 in Staunton, Virginia. The summit featured a keynote address by Governor Ralph Northam, panel discussions on rural economic development and workforce development, and remarks from multiple members of the Governor’s cabinet.

Attendees also learned about the latest in rural broadband innovations from the Governor’s Chief Broadband Advisor, Evan Feinman, and got an update on the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan from the Honorable Shannon Valentine, Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

Activities commenced with an evening welcome reception on Sunday, October 21 with an address from the Honorable Brian Ball, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

Economic development officials, elected officials, business and community leaders, local government officials, trade organizations and policymakers from across the Commonwealth were all in attendance.

Throughout the event, presenters discussed innovations in broadband connectivity, state economic development initiatives, regional asset development and entrepreneurship, and innovative workforce solutions.

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