GO Virginia Region 3 in partnership with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia has a win-win opportunity for the right program director.
“Since the beginning we’ve talked about having someone in the region that would wake up every day asking themselves, ‘What can I do to make a difference in Southern Virginia through GO Virginia?’” says Randy Lail, chairman of the Region 3 Council. “Having the ability to partner with the Cooper Center gives us access to expanded resources, networks throughout the commonwealth, and the opportunity to recruit somebody who has a longer view.”
The program director’s two key functions will be facilitation and communication, roles that will develop a robust project pipeline for the region. As a facilitator, the director will help manage and provide assistance with GO Virginia funding and initiatives across the 13-county/two-city GO Virginia Region 3. As a communicator, the program director’s role will be to engage, educate and champion the stakeholders who represent southern Virginia businesses and entrepreneurs, localities, education, nonprofits and private foundations.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Weldon Cooper Center to build on our core value of collaboration by engaging in a partnership leveraging our strengths in capacity building to meet GO Virginia’s economic development goals,” says Weldon Cooper Center Executive Director Larry Terry. “I believe this work will be a springboard for creating new relationships, programming and other creative ideas aimed at improving the lives of the citizens in GO Virginia’s largest region. As an organization we are thrilled to begin this venture together with Region 3.”
The Cooper Center, housed at the University of Virginia, serves communities across the Commonwealth and beyond by combining decades of knowledge about government, and the regions and people of Virginia, with contemporary and advanced research, analytical expertise, and focused training for high performance.
Conversations with the Cooper Center began last year, led by the Region 3 Personnel Committee, comprised of Lail, Karl Stauber and Charles Majors. Lail believes this partnership will stabilize Region 3’s organizational capacity and sustainability.
Last year Region 3 was awarded the largest competitive grant to date by the GO Virginia State Board. In addition, Region 3 has invested in workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship. The regional council has commissioned apprenticeship and high-value wood products studies, as well as an Entrepreneur and Innovation Investment Strategy currently in development.
Region 3 was launched in 2016 with the part-time, contract support of The RiverLink Group (Elizabeth Povar, principal) and the Southside Planning District. “Through the guidance of Liz Povar, Nancy Pool and our partnership with the Southside Planning District, we’ve been able to develop a strong organizational structure,” says Lail. “Now we are ready to enter into the next phase of our organization’s development. Adding a full-time position will help that structure gain momentum and move the needle more quickly in southern Virginia.”
The position has been filled.