Economic development announcements in the Southern Virginia (SOVA) Region have surpassed previous trends. Over the past six years the regional and local economic development team, including the City of Danville and Patrick, Pittsylvania and Halifax Counties, has attracted 3,216 jobs and over $700 million in capital investment, recruiting 23 industries and 18 existing industry expansions. A key factor, four metropolitan areas border the SOVA region — Roanoke, Lynchburg, Greensboro and Raleigh/Durham — and the SOVA overlapping labor sheds provide 541,388 employees in a 60-mile radius. Coupled with a strong workforce program from middle school to higher education, SOVA’s talent pool provides unique recruitment opportunities.
The Environmental and Life Sciences Sector in food, beverage and wood products has attracted 10 new companies and seven expansions (1,187 jobs and $437M in capital investment). AeroFarms, Prolam, Golden Piedmont Labs and Tyson Foods have joined existing employers JTI, Ennis and Ten Oaks. Virginia is the second largest Southeastern food and beverage processor with vertical integration from farms and manufacturing to packaging, bottling, warehousing and distribution. Virginia Tech is the #2 college in the nation for Food Sciences and Nutrition, and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) participates in research and industry support. Virginia is also located within the Southeastern “wood basket” which supplies over 60% of the total volume of timber harvested in the U.S., vertically integrated from forestry to primary wood processing.