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2017 VEDA Spring Conference
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2017 VEDA Spring Conference

3/29/2017 to 3/31/2017
When: Wednesday, March 30, 2017-Friday, March 31, 2017
Where: Omni Charlottesville Hotel
212 Ridge McIntire Road
Chartlottesville, Virginia  22903
United States

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Partnering for Progress
Powering a Dynamic Region through the Strength of Local Assets

2017 Spring Conference
Phew! Now that 2016 is in the rear view, we’re excited to get 2017 going with the VEDA Spring Conference! Being held in Charlottesville, the conference line-up will focus on partnerships and collaborations to tie in VEDA’s year-long theme of Partnering for Progress. The Spring Conference will take a deep dive into how a region can leverage all of its localities’ assets. Central Virginia is a blend of urban and rural economies and the Conference Committee is excited about showcasing how the region taps into its strengths for growing businesses of all sizes and industry types. You’ll also learn about new ideas and resources to be put into action back in your region.

And of course, the conference location on the Downtown Mall makes it great place for restaurants, music, and nightlife! We’ll see you in March!

-Jason Ness, City of Charlottesville Economic Development, Spring Conference Co-Chair
-Alan Yost, Greene County Economic Development & Tourism, Spring Conference Co-Chair

>> Photos <<

>> Presentations <<

>> Agenda <<

>> Attendee List <<

>> Speaker Bios <<

>> Wednesday, Pre-Conference Golf Tournament --- Details & Registration <<

Thursday, Pre-Confernce Activities

>> Regional ED Meeting <<

>> Professional Development Workshop <<

>> Thursday, Conference Opening Tours - Case Studies <<

>> New Member Reception <<

>> Young Professionals Dinner/Dinner on Your Own <<

>> Lodging <<

>> Dining in Charlottesville, Virginia <<

>> The Downtown Maill <<

>> Sponsors <<

The VEDA Spring Conference begins early again this year with an expanded format to bring you more learning and networking opportunities. Pre-conference activities (Golf and Cycling) will be offered on Wednesday, March 29th. VEDA’s Professional Development Workshop will be held on Thursday, March 30th from 10-12 at the Charlottesville Omni. The conference will kick-off with registration and a box lunch at noon, followed by three concurrent tours/activities. Conference participants will have their choice of one of three tours to supplement their knowledge of the region and how they can use what they learn in their own communities. The conference will conclude on Friday, March 31, 2017 following lunch and keynote speaker.

VEDA Members
- $275, Cornerstone Members - $247.50, Non Members - $350
Online Conference Registration closes Friday, March 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm. No cancellations or refunds after Friday, March 24, 2017. Cancellations made prior to Friday March 24, 2017 will be assessed a $25 processing fee.

Pre-Conference Activities
Thursday, March 30, 2017

VEDA Spring Conference Regional EDO Meeting
: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 8:00-10:00 am
Location: Charlottesville Omni, James Monroe Room
Cost: There is no cost to attend this meeting, but you must register for the meeting through the registration website. This Meeting is for directors of regional economic development organization or their designee ONLY.

VEDA Spring Conference Professional Development Workshop
: Thursday, March 30, 2017: Registration Opens: 9:30 am; Workshop Time: 10:00 am–12:00 pm
Location: Charlottesville Omni, James Monroe Room
Cost: VEDA Members - $25.00; Non-Members - $50.00. Cost of registration includes refreshments and course materials.

VEDA’s Professional Development Committee will kick off the year with Using the Power of Facilitating Skills to Accomplish Organization Goals. Economic developers will be empowered with insight on the “facilitator process” to be able to provide leverage for their respective organizations and/or communities.

VEDA Spring Conference Opens
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 12:00 Noon

Conference Opening Tours
All Conference Attendees Please Note:

For the 2017 Spring Conference the planning committee has come up with a new idea to showcase the region and provide each attendee with their choice (on a first-come, first-served basis) of regional tours highlighting different aspects of economic development and how the region is using its  local assets to generate economic growth and prosperity.

The Conference Tour Options/Case Studies are included in your Spring Conference registration along with a box lunch, transportation, and additional items included in the tours. CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS MUST ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 12:30 TO ENSURE PARTICIPATION/TRANSPORTATION.

Date/Time: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
12:00 – 12:45 pm--Registration/Pick up Lunch
12:45 – 1:00 pm--Board Buses for Selected Tour
1:00 – 4:00 pm--Choose from Three Tours (all tours will be back at starting point no later than 4 pm)

Case Study 1: Tourism/Asset Development
- Economic Impacts of Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Nelson 151 is the travel destination for Virginia wine, craft beer, hard cider, spirits and outdoor recreation lovers. Route 151 is a designated Virginia scenic byway on the sunrise side of the Blue Ridge that connects the Nelson 151 member businesses. Five wineries,three breweries, anda cidery decided to form a group to more efficiently market and leverage their unique “micro” appellation. Nelson 151 was created. The Nelson 151 members recognize and celebrate the benefits of their proximity to one another in the pastoral Rockfish Valley. The route is linked with orchards and farms, unique shopping, bed and breakfasts, local restaurants, community theater, hiking, biking, skiing, golf, fresh air and unforgettable.

If you choose Case Study 1 as your conference destination, you’ll get a taste of Nelson 151’s impact on craft brewing, tourism, and the local economy with stops at Wild Wolf Brewing Company and Blue Mounta
in Brewery. Small flight included at each stop.

Case Study #2: Distribution/Manufacturing: Plow & Hearth Distribution Center/ Early Mountain Vineyards (Madison County)

What began as a small retail store in Madison, Virginia in 1980 has grown into 26 retail stores and a multi-channel online and catalog business.    Today, Plow and Hearth LLC operates out of 384,000 square foot distribution center with their subsidiaries: Plow & Hearth, Magic Cabin, Wind & Weather, Hearth Song and Problem Solvers.   They employ 250 year round employees and add an addition 275 employees during the holiday season.   Participants will be given a tour of the state of the art distribution center, customer care center, headquarters and photo studio.   They were awarded a Governor’s Opportunity Fund Grant in January of 2015 and that expansion, improvement, equipping and operation of the Facility entailed a capital expenditure of approximately $4,533,000.  

Located nearby and a must stop, Early Mountain Vineyards was named America’s Favorite Tasting Room via USA Today in August, 2016, and is owned by Jean and Steve Case (cofounders of AOL).  Early Mountain hosts Virginia’s best wines, not just their own, making it very unique. Gorgeous tasting rooms, with amazing views.

Time allowing, on the way back to Charlottesville participants will stop at Plow and Hearth's Outlet Center.


Case Study #3: Downtown Development/Revitalization: Connecting a Regional Hub to Downtown

Experience how recent and future developments will improve connection between the region’s main economic drivers, the University of Virginia and the UVa Medical Center, to Charlottesville’s main business district, the Downtown Mall. Bring comfortable shoes, walking is required!

VEDA New Member Reception
VEDA’s New Member Reception is open to new members to the organization since spring of 2016 and VEDA’s leadership. It provides the opportunity for new members to meet VEDA’s leadership and one another. While there is no extra cost, participants should be sure to register on the website along with their conference registration.

Date/Time: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 5:30-6:00 pm
Location: Charlottesville Omni, Preston Room
Cost: There is no cost to attend this reception, but invited guests must register for the meeting through the registration website.

Young Professionals Dinner/Dinner on Your Own

For dinner in Charlottesville following the Conference Reception, be sure to check the list of restaurants on the VEDA website. Following the reception, the VEDA Young Professionals will gather at a local restaurant to catch-up and get acquainted with other VEDA Young Professionals. Be sure to sign up for this Dutch-treat dinner when you register for the conference.

VEDA 2017 Spring Conference Hotel Accommodations
Omni Charlottesville Ho
tel - OMNI is full. See alternative lodging options below.
212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Front Desk: 434-971-5500,

Adjacent to the historic downtown Pedestrian Mall, the Omni Charlottesville Hotel blends the area’s unique history with modern luxury. Relax in guest room accommodations featuring contemporary comfort and a host of amenities designed to make your visit unforgettable. This luxury hotel, featuring a stunning, seven-story glassed-in atrium containing a lobby, is lush with greenery. Omni Charlottesville Hotel is just 20 minutes from Charlottesville Airport.




Alternate Lodging Listed in Order of Proximity to the OMNI

Residence Inn by Marriott—West Main
315 West Main St.
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Rates vary from $211 and up
Located across the street from the Omni 

200 South Street Inn
200 W. South St.
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Rates vary from $150 up
|Located on the Downtown Mall within walking distance from the Omni (0.1 mile away)

Hampton Inn & Suites at the University
900 West Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Rates vary from $169 up
Located 0.6 miles from the Omni

Graduate Hotel
1309 W. Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Rates vary from $152 up
Located 0.9 miles from the Omni

Conference Sponsors

>> Sponsor Profiles <<

 Virginia Sponsors


Commonwealth Sponsor


Dominion Sponsors

Albemarle County
Bowman Consulting Group, Ltd.
City of Charlottesville
CSX Transportation
ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC

Greene County
Louisa County Economic Development
Sands Anderson PC
Sanford Holshouser ED Consulting

Dogwood Sponsors

Madison County
Orange County


1340 N. Great Neck Road, #1272-128
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454