Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to Deliver Keynote Address at UVA Wise Ninth Annual Economic Forum in May

Governor Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Ninth Annual SWVA Economic Forum, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise) announced Thursday.

On Thursday, May 23, Youngkin will make his remarks during the morning session at the forum, the theme of which is “A Region on the Move.” The conference will be a hybrid event that participants can attend online or in person. The event will take place at the College’s David J. Prior Convocation Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Governor Youngkin will be returning to UVA Wise, where in March, he hosted a roundtable discussion and held additional listening sessions in the region on spurring economic opportunity in Southwest Virginia. 

“We are excited and honored to have Governor Youngkin return to UVA Wise and share his vision of improving the economic future of Southwest Virginia,” UVA Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. 

Governor Youngkin is the first state governor to attend and participate in the longstanding economic and community development event.

“The forum is an important gathering aimed at strengthening community and economic development initiatives in the region. It’s a great day to learn from each other, meet new partners and get inspired,” Henry said. “UVA Wise is committed to its critical role in providing an exceptional education, contributing to the region’s skilled workforce, and bringing partners together to find solutions and opportunities to move this region forward.” 

Born in Richmond and raised in Virginia Beach, Youngkin is the 74th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He grew up from humble beginnings—washing dishes at a local diner to being named co-CEO of one of the world’s top investment firms, Carlyle Group, a private equity firm.

During his tenure, Governor Youngkin ushered in historic investments in education, launched a lab school initiative to inject choice and innovation into our public school systems, raised teachers’ salaries by 12%, passed the Virginia Literacy Act to improve literacy among elementary school-age students, renewed Virginia’s focus on career and technical education and implemented the “ALL In VA” plan to tackle persistent learning loss stemming from forced pandemic school closures through targeted tutoring in math and reading.

Governor Youngkin has facilitated waves of economic investments and business expansions to reinvigorate job growth and opportunity. Under his leadership, the Commonwealth has welcomed companies committing nearly $71 billion in capital investment and major corporate companies like Boeing, Amazon Web Services, Raytheon and The LEGO Group, along with major expansions from others like Hilton, Northrop Grumman and Framatome.

Julie Newman, PBS Appalachia vice president and general manager and former Channel 5 WCYB news anchor, will emcee the conference.

The forum’s morning sessions will include Dr. Christine Chmura as the State of the Region speaker; John Wilson, Market President of Addiction Recovery Care, and Dana Cronkhite, Economic Development Director for Dickenson County, for a fireside chat regarding recovery and its economic impacts; and a panel discussion featuring the SWVA legislative delegation.

The afternoon will include Dan Schawbel, NYT bestselling author and workplace researcher, as well as a panel highlighting community-based funding solutions and impactful regional projects and their sponsors. Dwayne Yancey, founding editor at Cardinal News and author of the popular opinion piece, “‘Whatever the hell is west of Roanoke.’ Them’s fighting words!” will give the closing remarks.

Registration for the Forum is required. In-person tickets are $45, and virtual tickets are $25. Registration is open now through May 21; walk-ins welcome. Please visit the Southwest Virginia Economic Forum website for registration, program updates and sponsor information.