From the Desk of the Executive Director:  Greenbrier Valley EDC’s 30th Year! 

Happy 2024! At the start of each year, it’s traditionally a time to focus on improvements and goals.  Moving into one that also marks the 30th anniversary of the Greenbrier Valley EDC and the roll-out of our new strategic plan, we are doing just that. This year, we celebrate an organizational milestone by appreciating where we’ve been – but mainly looking forward.   

This year, Greenbrier Valley EDC is recommitting to our businesses and our communities to provide a program of work that lives up to our mission. 

30 Years 

On March 11, 1994 the West Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 4587 that established, named and enumerated powers for Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation – a multicounty economic development authority for the counties of Greenbrier, Monroe and Pocahontas. For the past thirty years, this organization has taken a regional and collaborative approach to economic development with the support of the three county commissions. 

Admittedly, while not all swings from the organization have been home runs in the past three decades, we can certainly be proud of our record in providing businesses space to grow, connecting businesses to resources to retain and expand job opportunities while coordinating economic development projects.  

The work of the EDC has always been about assisting existing businesses or attracting businesses to spur job creation. When we embarked on our strategic plan last Spring, we recognized that these pillars of economic development would likely remain the same – but the initiatives that each required may look a bit different under a focused plan of work. I’d like to offer an outline of that new streamlined effort below.   

Moving forward: The Plan 

Based on recommendations of Insite Consulting, culminating from an intensive, collaborative, and inclusive strategic planning approach, the Greenbrier Valley EDC 3-year plan is structured around core competencies and strategic alliances. Core competencies is a concept used in organizational management to describe the unique capabilities of an organization that are fundamental to its competitive advantage. Strategic alliances represent a collaborative relationship between multiple organizations that allow these groups to combine strengths, resources and expertise to pursue common interests.   

Core Competency:  Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) to include Small Business and entrepreneurs 
Approximately 80 percent of new investment and job creation nationwide is generated by existing companies. We are restructuring our BRE Program to be more proactive and launch new ways for existing businesses to interact more closely with the EDC to provide a more meaningful relationship.   

Greenbrier Valley EDC is also excited to announce a new BRE partnership with the WV Department of Economic Development, providing a dedicated state representative for our three-county area. We’re launching this initiative with a series of visits to existing manufacturers and other industry this first quarter of 2023.   
In addition, we will be facilitating roundtables and training and providing as many resources as possible for our existing businesses. BRE Programs support economic stability, job preservation and community wealth. It enhances business development systems and spurs innovation.  It is at the crux of what we do. We will do it better.  

Core Competency:  Capacity Building Strategic Initiatives 
The term “Capacity Building” refers to key initiatives that must be addressed by the Greenbrier Valley EDC to improve competitiveness. To better compete regionally, statewide, and nationally we will focus on initiatives in product and infrastructure development; community development, including downtown revitalization; as well as incentive creation. 

It is important to note that the inventory of commercial property is extremely low in our region, those sites and buildings that are available are not currently competitive in a multi-state, national site selection process due to a lack of acreage or utility capacity. That’s not great news. But knowing where you are can only help move you forward. While we work on identifying viable and marketable sites, we will better match regional expanding business needs to existing sites. In addition, creating incentives for expansion, repurposing downtown assets, continuing to inventory commercial property, including brownfields, are all part this capacity building competency.  

Core Competency:  Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations 

Marketing, communications, and public relations are essential tools for highlighting the leadership, strengths and opportunities of a region or community. They attract investment and talent, support local businesses, foster entrepreneurship and enhance collaboration among stakeholders – all of which contribute to economic growth and development. 

Marketing is a critical part of what we do at the Greenbrier Valley EDC. The Greenbrier Valley EDC is the local resource, expert, and champion for businesses and entrepreneurs in the region. We need to refocus our efforts so that more people know this. Look for more content geared toward business development, a better spotlight on existing businesses, and better communication on successful initiatives of our region and our organization.  

Strategic Alliances 

In addition to these core competencies, Greenbrier Valley EDC is also continuing to play a collaborative role through strategic alliances in two key areas: Workforce and Affordable Housing.  It is the intent of the Greenbrier Valley EDC to facilitate more dialogue around the many organizations that serve in these realms and support our partners in initiatives increase the health and number of our workforce and the options for affordable housing.   

See you soon! 

We’re only a few days into the new year, but I am already excited about our progress and our renewed focus. I’m looking forward to working with our amazing partners and businesses to ensure we are doing all we can for the region we serve. We have a lot to celebrate and lots to do! 

Happy 2024,