SWVA Economic Forum

SWVA Economic Forum

Join us in 2020!

Save the date for the 5th Annual SWVA Economic Forum

Place: Celebrating our Region

May 20, 2020

Technology Leads The 2019 SWVA Economic Forum

Keynote Focuses on Transforming Through Technology

Throughout his career, Scott Klososky has lived on the leading edge of technology innovation and its impact on the business world and society in general. He is recognized globally for his unique ability to accurately predict future digital trends and provide the logic behind why they will alter the current status quo.

Scott has the ability to entertain, inspire and enlighten audiences while also translating difficult to understand technology topics. He is known for architecting each presentation specifically for the audience, and with the very latest information available. Topics include content such as the importance of organizational digital maturity, leading through the Digital Transformation, cybersecurity, machine intelligence, data intelligence, trendspotting, digital marketing, and best practices for digital governance.


Breakout Sessions

Economic Development

Leveraging Opportunity Zones and HB222

Kris Sturgill of Global Growth Advisors, LLC will facilitated this session through moderating an overview of Opportunity Zones and House Bill 222, and discussing how utilization of these incentives could be layered into an incentive package deal that would be attractive for businesses and their employees. Delegate Will Morefield, sponsor of HB222 attended at the session as did Cassie Resnick and Adam Northrup of Governor’s Northam’s Office to answer questions regarding the bill.

Community Wellness

Community Wellness – Our Role

Casey Carringer is the Director of Clinical Engagement for Ballad Health within the Department of Population Health who facilitated this session.
What shapes the health and well-being of a region?  Research demonstrates that the answer lies with the intersection between educational success, economic success, and health.  The story starts upstream of the development of poor health with social determinants.  Though healthcare can shape health status through prevention and treatment, every sector of the community has a role to play in shaping health knowledge, perceptions, and outcomes for the next generation.  The session explored the role each of us can take to impact generational change for our region that will reduce the burden and cost of poor health and prepare a stronger workforce.


Technology in Appalachia

New Peoples Bank presented the breakout, “A Conversation with Rusty Justice, Dario Marquez and Wendy Marquez: Technology in Appalachia.” Moderated by Mary Trigiani, senior vice president of NPB, the session explored the vast potential for the region to participate in the global technology boom.
New Peoples Bank, headquartered in Honaker, Virginia, is a thriving community bank.

Economic Development

Challenges of Attracting Tech Companies

As COO and Co-Founder of Global Growth Advisors, Kris is experienced in the fields of site location consulting and analysis, incentive negotiations and financial management.

The session provided insight to economic development agencies and local government agencies on the challenges of attracting tech companies to the region. Having recently assisted BioIQ in relocating (See Release) , Kris shared experiences from the recruitment process and discussed the importance of partnerships with the state and county to develop some unprecedented, creative solutions.

For more information about Global Growth Advisors, LLC

Read more about their recent tech project,  BioIQ

Community Wellness

One Health – Connecting SWVA

The Center for Animal and Human Health (CAHA) introduced the concept and application of One Health to SWVA Economic Forum attendees.  One Health is a philosophy that recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. It is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach—working at the local, regional, national, and global levels—with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes for people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.  Panel Members introduced practical applications of One Health that are currently being deployed in SWVA and greater Appalachia. Dr. Gil Patterson ,Program Manager and Principal Researcher for the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia moderated the panel of  Casey Carringer of Ballad, and Laroy Brandt of LMU.


Business Tech Tips

How can technology help your business grow?

The panel will discussed  tips and applications to give  businesses a competitive edge.

Sandy Ratliff of Virginia Community Capital discussed the EVa system and provide guidance on registering and setup for success.

Craig Belcher of YourPCPro will demonstrated chatbots and how they can improve your customer interactions.

Bill Rose with Sykes-Intuit discussed Quickbooks and apps available to help become more efficient and less time consuming.

GO Virginia Region One Council

We were pleased to have a Go Virginia Panel: Rural Regions Lead the Way to Higher Paying Jobs discussion for the 2019 SWVA Economic Forum. This panel showcased some of the great work and projects Go Virginia Region One, Two, and Three are working on around Technology in an effort to scale and develop inter-regional efforts. This Panel was moderated by Erik Johnston with Mike Quillen of Region One, John Provo of Region Two, and Randy Lail of Region Three participating.

Wendy and Dario Marquez of Wize Solutions opened the Forum as the morning keynote speakers.

J. Wendy Marquez, is Founder and President of Wize Solutions, an IT company which focuses on creating sustainable high tech jobs in rural areas of Virginia through partnerships with local community colleges and national remote-based employers. Prior to forming Wize Solutions in 2017, Wendy served for over a decade as President of Onyx Media Group, a film production company which won several prestigious awards under her leadership.


Dario Marquez began his professional career as a member of the United States Secret Service, serving under the Administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter. In 1979, Mr. Marquez left the Secret Service to establish MVM, Inc. MVM’s initial focus was in security personnel management, security training, executive protection, criminal and civil investigations, technical security, and security risk assessments. Subsequently MVM expanded its services to include IT management, network administration, system security, system analysis and development of proprietary IT solutions tailored to the specific needs of its customers. Under Mr. Marquez’s leadership, MVM grew to become one of the largest companies in the country, currently employing over 2,400 security professionals worldwide. Mr. Marquez sold MVM in 2015.