Speaker Bios

SWVA Economic Forum
Speaker Bios

Bill Donohue, President & Executive Director of GENEDGE
Bill Donohue is President of Virginia’s GENEDGE ALLIANCE.  The company, in its 26th year, is a Commonwealth of VA unit which is the best public resource in VA helping companies Innovate, Compete and Grow.  Bill leads a regionally deployed network of talented growth and practice managers who are responsible for improving the competitiveness of the technology and manufacturing sectors in VA, representing 12% of the Commonwealth’s GDP.  Bill’s focus is on expanding services regionally to drive Strategic Innovation, Growth and Operational Excellence throughout relevant industrial clusters and vertical supply chains.  This includes sectors such as medical devices, cyber security, nuclear shipbuilding, water purification and advanced manufacturing technologies.  GENEDGE is the Virginia affiliate of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Program.

Bill’s career began with GE Plastics and Silicones in the engineered materials business unit.  Ultimately, he managed a global investment and technology program for a $2.5 billion annual revenues business.  Prior to joining GENEDGE, he completed general management level strategic start up, expansion and turnaround assignments for Fortune 500 companies in sealants, packaging, pressure sensitive adhesive, and electronic films businesses.

Bill is a 1981 graduate of the University of Rochester and in 1983 the GE Chemical Management Program. Bill is the former chairperson of Danville Utilities, the largest municipally owned utility in Virginia.  His active board memberships include the Old Dominion University Batten College of Engineering, the Manufacturing Technology Center, and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing.  He is the vice chairperson for the MEP National Network Leadership Team.

Bill enjoys golf, gardening, collecting art, his golden doodle dogs, and Virginia Tech Football.  He and his wife Pamela reside in Locust Grove, VA.

Chuck MarohnChuck Marohn, Founder and President of Strong Towns
Charles Marohn – known as “Chuck” to friends and colleagues – is the Founder and President of Strong Towns and the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. He is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a land use planner with two decades of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Minnesota.

Marohn is also the lead author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns — Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 — as well as the author of A World Class Transportation System. He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America. He is featured in the documentary film Owned: A Tale of Two Americans, and was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen.

Marohn is a long time commentator on KAXE Northern Community Radio. He currently co-hosts KAXE’s Dig Deep program, a monthly examination of public policy issues affecting Minnesotans.

Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years. In addition to being passionate about building a stronger America, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and religiously follows his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins.

Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters in their hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Beth RhineartBeth Rhinehart, Vice-Chair of the GO Virginia Region One Council & President and CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce
Beth D. Rhinehart is the President & CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce serving both Bristol VA and TN and representing nearly 600 businesses. The Bristol TN/VA Chamber is a 5-star accredited organization and has been a leader in business advocacy since 1909. Prior to joining the Chamber, Beth spent the previous 10 years as Director of Government Relations for Wellmont Health System, building key relationships and overseeing the Virginia legislative processes as they apply to hospitals and healthcare. Beth currently serves as Vice-Chair of the GO Virginia Region 1 Council, as well as serving on the boards of the VA Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Bristol TN/VA Rotary Club (President-elect), Chair of the Bristol TN/VA United Way, the Sorensen Institute and the first Bi-State Accountable Care Community Leadership Council. She previously served as Chairman of the Bristol Virginia Public School Board, Board member/Secretary for the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and served as Governor McDonnell’s appointee to the Virginia Tobacco Commission and Governor McAuliffe’s appointee to the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success.

Beth is a native of Bristol, Virginia, and earned her B.S. degree from Mary Washington College – Fredericksburg, VA, Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Science in Counseling degrees from Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD, and an MBA from King College in Bristol, Tennessee. She is a 2010 graduate of the Sorensen Institute Political Leadership Program and earned her Institute for Organization Management IOM certification in June 2018. She also completed a Fellowship in the ACCE Education & Talent Development Division in 2019. Beth has three adult children, Dalton, Wynston & McKinley.

Casey TaylorCasey Taylor, Student at UVA Wise
Casey is a native of Staunton, VA. He is a recent graduate from The University of Virginia College at Wise. He earned an Interdisciplinary Studies degree focused in Entrepreneurship and Mathematics and hopes one day to start his own business. Casey participated in the The University of Virginia launch competition, which made him the first student from UVA Wise to be invited to a UVA competition. His hobbies include playing sports and collecting sport cards.

Danielle LambDanielle Lamb, Student at Mountain Empire Community College
Danielle was born and raised in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. She is a 2020 graduate of Mountain Empire Community College with an Applied Science degree in Computer Software. In her free time, she likes to play video games, listen to music, hang out with friends and family (granted, not as much now with the pandemic), and even discover more about her field of expertise — software. Danielle believes it’s important to stay current in her field, and strengthening her knowledge with an always-learning mindset is more than helpful.

Gavin BauerGavin Bauer, Student at Bluefield College
Gavin Bauer is currently a senior enrolled at Bluefield College studying Business Administration and Christian Studies. Last year, he was hired at First Community Bank as a Financial Assistant and just recently as an intern with the SWVA Small Business Initiative. Gavin and his wife Ashly were married in January of this year and are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby in November. They are both very involved in their local church and extracurricular collegiate activities such at Bluefield College. Gavin has been involved in creating a commercial for Bluefield College as well as aiding other local small businesses with their marketing campaigns such as the Bramwell Liberty Station and the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Heads.