December 18, 2003

Jill Vaughan
(804) 371-0049

-VEDP-veteran Joseph E. Gillespie to serve as region-based economic development liaison-

RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced the creation of a community marketing specialist position for Southwest Virginia. Housed in VEDP’s research division, this region-based representative will serve as a direct liaison to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) staff in Richmond, ensuring VEDP project managers have the information they need to fully consider, properly recommend, and sell Southwest Virginia to economic development prospects. The community marketing specialist will serve Virginia Planning District Commissions (PDCs) 1-4.

“We have identified the opportunity to expand VEDP’s existing sites and buildings representative position for Southwest Virginia,” said Mark R. Kilduff, executive director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. “I am pleased to announce that Joseph E. Gillespie will have the new, enhanced role of community marketing specialist serving Southwest Virginia. In his new position, Joe will assist marketing projects and collaborate with VEDP’s Richmond office, communicating the region’s unique assets.”

For more than three years, Gillespie has assisted Southwest Virginia localities and regional organizations address their economic development needs as VEDP’s sites and buildings representative and as community assistance manager. Prior to joining VEDP in July 2000, he served as mayor of the Town of Lebanon. Gillespie’s experience in economic development includes both public and private sector employment. He served as vice president of manufacturing and distribution for Buster Brown Apparel in Norton. He also worked as plant manager for several Southwest Virginia manufacturing companies including Donnkenney Corp., White Swan Uniform Co., Lebanon Apparel Group and Top Form Mills. Gillespie’s office will continue to be housed at the University of Virginia's College at Wise.

“Joe has always been an outstanding advocate for economic development in Southwest Virginia, and we look forward to working with him in this new capacity,” said Sandy Ratliff, director of marketing for the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA). “We are gratified by VEDP’s continued commitment to economic development initiatives in Southwest Virginia.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 15-member board of directors appointed by the Governor. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade development.


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