June 12, 1998

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces Economic Development Board Chairman
-- Southwest Virginian to Oversee Virginia Economic Development Partnership - -

Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that J. Thomas Fowlkes has been elected chairman of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the state authority charged with creating new jobs and investment for the Commonwealth. The 15-member board of directors elected Fowlkes last week at their quarterly meeting in Richmond.

"Tom Fowlkes brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this position and will focus on the needs of all Virginians," said Governor Gilmore. "Under Mr. Fowlkes' leadership, the Partnership will play an integral role in creating the 250,000 jobs that we intend to create during my administration."

As president of The United Company in Bristol, Mr. Fowlkes has sat on the VEDP board of directors since its formation in 1996. He is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to his current position at The United Company, Mr. Fowlkes was a partner at the law firm of Penn, Stuart, Eskridge & Jones in Abingdon. He also serves on the board of trustees for The Barter Foundation and the board of visitors for Emory & Henry College.

"I am honored and privileged to have been elected to serve as chairman of the Partnership and with such a distinguished group of Virginians," said Mr. Fowlkes. "These are exciting times for the Commonwealth in the economic development arena, and I pledge my best efforts to further the goals of the Partnership in making Virginia the preeminent state for new and existing businesses."

The Partnership was created by the General Assembly in 1995 to encourage the attraction of jobs and investment and the expansion of existing business in the Commonwealth. It is governed by a 15-member board of directors appointed by the Governor.

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