July 24, 2000

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces New Economic Development Presence in Southwest Virginia
--VEDP names community assistance manager based in Wise County- -

Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) has hired a new community assistance manager based in Wise County. Joseph E. Gillespie will assist Southwest localities and regional organizations in addressing and meeting their economic development needs. Mr. Gillespie's office will be housed at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal made the announcement today at a luncheon hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federally-funded organization established by Congress in 1965 to support economic and social development in the Appalachian region.

"In The Virginia Strategy, my administration's strategic plan for economic development, we identified the need to support Virginia's rural regions," said Governor Gilmore. "VEDP's new community assistance manager will help identify specific economic development needs and marketing tools for this region. I am certain that this new office will play an integral role in bringing new jobs and prosperity to the people of Southwest Virginia."

Joseph E. Gillespie most recently served as mayor of the Town of Lebanon. His experience in economic development includes both public and private sector employments. Mr. Gillespie most recently 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. Mr. Gillespie has been a member of the Russell County Industrial Development Authority and was appointed to the Virginia Workforce Council by Governor Gilmore in 1999.

"The Governor's strong commitment to economic development in rural areas is evident by this new Southwest Virginia office," Secretary DuVal said. "VEDP now has capable community assistance managers based in Richmond, Farmville and Wise to assist these regions with community preparedness."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership 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 development and international trade.


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