10/10/19 Tobacco Commission Meets In Marion

Written by Jordan Butler


Commission Approves 18 Funding Requests for Projects in Southern and Southwest Virginia

Richmond, VA – The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission met on Thursday, October 10th to give final approval for 18 funding requests. The 18 requests total more than $15.4 million and will support projects across Southern and Southwest Virginia. The total funds awarded break down as follows: $8 million for a potential Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (TROF) project, $3.94 million for economic development projects in Southwest Virginia, $1.99 million for economic development projects in Southern Virginia and $1.5 million for Research and Development projects. Additionally the Commission authorized various extensions for existing projects. The individual requests approved ranged in size from $57,000 to $8 million.

Tobacco Commission Chairman, Delegate Terry Kilgore said, “It was a pleasure to hold our Commission meetings in Marion. The projects the Commission approved will bring much needed jobs, tourism dollars and other benefits to Southern and Southwest Virginia. I look forward to our January meetings in Richmond as we continue our work to bring opportunity to the regions we serve.”

Tobacco Commission Executive Director, Evan Feinman added, “The Tobacco Commission continues to make investments that will grow the economy of Southern and Southwest Virginia for years to come. From tourism to education and more, I believe the projects the Commission chose to support at our meeting in Marion will keep us on the right path towards a vibrant and diversified regional economy.”

The Tobacco Commission is committed to developing a diverse economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia. The funding requests approved over the two day meeting will continue to move the region toward that goal.

Contact: Jordan Butler
Telephone: 804-786-7692
Cell: 757-692-0878


Recreation Economy for Rural Communities

Excerpt from the EPA:

Recreation Economy for Rural Communities is a new planning assistance program to help communities develop strategies and an action plan to revitalize their Main Streets through outdoor recreation.

Outdoor activities are increasingly popular across the United States. Communities can take advantage of this trend to revitalize Main Streets. By conserving forests and other natural lands and making them available for outdoor recreation, small towns can boost air quality and water quality and focus development downtown. Promoting outdoor recreation can also create jobs and offer new opportunities for people to connect with the natural world. For more information on the outdoor economy, read the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2016 report Federal Outdoor Recreation Trends: Effects on Economic Opportunities.

Read more:

Governor Northam Announces 153 New Jobs in Brunswick County

Echo World Communications to establish new customer service center

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Echo World Communications, LLC, a newly formed company in Virginia, will invest $550,000 to establish a customer service center in Brunswick County. The company will receive funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) to support the hiring and training of 153 new employees.

“We are thrilled to welcome Echo World Communications to our Commonwealth and to the vibrant region of Southern Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “Our economic development partners in Brunswick County and the surrounding area have worked to cultivate a supportive environment for companies like Echo World Communications, and this expansion demonstrates the positive impact of their efforts. We look forward to continued growth for Southern Virginia’s corporate services industry.”

Echo World Communications offers insurance products through several insurance carriers, handling thousands of service requests for Medicare, medical cost-sharing products, and major medical insurance needs. Echo World Communications has established customer service centers in seven states over the last 30 years, with clients including the United States Army, National Football League, United Healthcare, Aetna Health Care, and Paramount Studios.

“For a start-up corporate services business such as Echo World Communications, there is no better place to put down roots than Southern Virginia, where low business costs and a dedicated workforce provide a competitive advantage to customer service centers in the region,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We are confident of Echo World Communications’ success in Brunswick County, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership between the company and the Commonwealth for many years to come.”

“We are thrilled to be expanding Echo World Communications’ operations into Brunswick County, where we will be hiring 153 new employees in the community,” said Carl Townsend, CEO of Echo World Communications. “After careful review of several states and locations throughout Virginia, the City of Lawrenceville was selected because of the incredible workforce and generous support from our economic development partners in the region.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority to secure the project for Virginia and will support Echo World Communications’ job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

“We are so very pleased to welcome Echo World Communications to our region, and we are thankful to the company for investing its time, energy, and significant resources in our County,” said Michael R. Dotti, Director of the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority. “Carl Townsend and the Echo World staff had the vision to see what our area offers, and we are very pleased to be working with them. The Brunswick County Industrial Authority, in partnership with the Mayor of Lawrenceville, Scott Martin, the Governor’s Office, and VEDP, worked tirelessly to make these jobs a reality. A special thank you goes out to Dr. Barbara Jarret-Harris, Chairman of the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, for her always appreciated and valuable input. We work hard each and every day to bring quality full-time jobs to our wonderful community.”

“I am delighted to have Carl Townsend’s business, Echo World Communications, as a part of our town,” said Mayor of Lawrenceville Scott Martin. “This is a giant step on our path to creating jobs, encouraging more businesses to locate in the area, and revitalizing downtown Lawrenceville. I thank Echo World Communications for investing in our community.” 

“I am excited to join with the Governor in celebrating 153 new jobs with Echo World Communications in Brunswick County,” said Senator Louise Lucas. “These new jobs will surely contribute to the economic and job growth in the Southwestern part of my District.”

“I am thrilled for Brunswick County and the 153 new jobs being created by Echo World Communications,” said Senator Frank Ruff. “Congratulations to all those who played a part in securing this new company.”

“The announcement that Echo World Communications, LLC will be locating in Brunswick County and creating 153 new jobs is exciting news to my District,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler. “Job development in Virginia is a priority of state and local governments, and I am pleased that Echo World Communications will be offering job opportunities that this will certainly boost our economy in Southside Virginia.”


Upcoming Business Seminar

The Brunswick County IDA and Brunswick County Government invite you to join them at the “Open for Business” Seminar 2019 at the Brunswick County Conference Center. Representatives and special guests will share tools and information on how to bring forward economic development. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Deadline for registering is October 1, 2019.

Details on the event page:

Launching Virginia’s Opportunity Zone Market

An initiative supported by LOCUS Impact Investing and Virginia Community Capital, Opportunity Virginia’s mission is to facilitate productive connections between investors, project sponsors, and communities to drive meaningful activity in Virginia’s Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Virginia provides the education, tools, and resources to guide each stakeholder group through the process while maintaining a pulse on potential and realized impact in communities served.

Opportunity Virginia’s website launched last week to serve as a central location for all of these resources. Learn more about Opportunity Virginia, their mission, and the projects they facilitate on their brand-new website.

New Jobs Coming to Brunswick County

July 2019 Update

Ribbon Cutting Photos

Brunswick County Announces New Company to Create 8 Jobs

Brunswick County, VA – The Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, and the Town of Lawrenceville announced today KASS Foods, a healthy snack food manufacturer, will invest to establish an operation in Brunswick County, Town of Lawrenceville. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina and Maryland for the project, which will bring eight new jobs to the region.

Mike Dotti, Chair of Brunswick County IDA Board said, “It is an easy thing to say Brunswick County is open for business. To create an environment where new business is possible takes the work of a lot of people. We could not have done this without our team. The Board of Supervisors, Carthan Currin, Economic Development Director, C. J. Dean and the Town of Lawrenceville, the Tobacco Commission, the amazing IDA board all moving forward under the proactive leadership of our County Administrator, Dr. Woolridge. A special thanks to Ajay and the fine people of KASS for their investment in our County.”

“We are extremely pleased that KASS Foods chose to locate their company in Brunswick County,” said Dr. Charlette T. Woolridge, Brunswick County Administrator. “President Sujanani’s business investment results in the restoration of the former Southern States facility, the creation of employment opportunities for Brunswick residents, increased tax revenues, and even more benefits.” Dr. Woolridge also thanked the partners who helped to make this project possible. “I am very appreciative of the collaborative partnership between KASS, the Board of Supervisors and staff, Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority Board, Town of Lawrenceville, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia’s Growth Alliance and Southside Planning District Commission who were instrumental in making this project a reality.”

“The Town of Lawrenceville would like to welcome KASS Foods (Ajay and Kareena) to our community. They are bringing much needed jobs to our Town and putting a vacant building back into productive use. We would like to thank all of those involved in bringing this manufacturing facility to Lawrenceville, including the Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia’s Growth Alliance and our partners in Brunswick County. Lawrenceville looks forward to the future with KASS and assisting with their future goals and plans,” said CJ Dean, Lawrenceville town manager.

“We are excited to be a part of Brunswick County and the Town of Lawrenceville. We believe this is the perfect location for our facility,” said KASS Foods president Ajay Sujanani. “The wide support and consistent enthusiasm we have received for our project reassures us that we have made the right choice in selecting Town of Lawrenceville in Brunswick County for our manufacturing plant.”

KASS Foods focuses on manufacturing of healthy snack products in various segments including organic, children, adult, as well as sweet and savory. Their product portfolio will consist of several European style snacks customized to the American palette. With robust R&D tie-ups with Universities in Germany and US, KASS has various innovative products that will be rolled out in phases once they start operations.

Tobacco Commission Vice-Chair, Senator Frank Ruff said, “This is exciting news for Brunswick County. Attracting an innovative company like KASS Foods to our region shows that we can compete successfully for manufacturing jobs in any sector. I’m glad that the Tobacco Commission chose to support this project through the refurbishment of the former Southern States building and look forward to the success of KASS Foods in their new home here in Southern Virginia.”

The Tobacco Commission awarded a $447,000 Southside Economic Development grant to assist with the renovation of the building located on the Virginia Tobacco Heritage Trail in historic downtown Lawrenceville.

With assistance from the Southside Planning District Commission, the Town of Lawrenceville was able to secure a Community Development Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for additional building renovations needed for the project.  The Southside PDC, through Lake Country Development Corporation’s loan pool program, was also able to assist the client with project financing.

The company will be located in the former Southern States building adjacent to the Tobacco Heritage Trail.

This project was developed by Virginia’s Growth Alliance. Brunswick County, along with Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties and the city of Emporia comprise the Alliance (

Open for Business, Vision 2035

Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) plans to strategically pursue new businesses and industries with the vision of having them locate in the County thus encouraging the growth of existing businesses while providing local entrepreneurs with guidance and resources for their start-up ventures and creating employment opportunities.
As many of you already have heard Brunswick County is changing. The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, under the direction of Chairman Barbara Harris, spent a great deal of time in 2017 to envision the future and to develop a comprehensive plan to move forward. Mrs. Harris realized that without Vision there is no way to see the possibilities available to us in the future. Guided by this vision the Board is moving forward to put the pieces in place to make Vision 2035 a reality.

The IDA Board of Directors is made up of citizens from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Each member brings his or her own individual perspective to our work. Our board has embraced Vision 2035 not only with our words but also with our actions. Committees have been formed, communication has been improved and finances and procedures are being reviewed. We are pledged to work side by side with Carthin Currin, Directoår of Economic Development and the County to find good business partners and to enhance and encourage those that are already here.

County government works for you. We invite public comment and interaction. You have a say and your opinions matter. You also have a responsibility to improve our County. Shop local, eat local, brag a lot about all we have. Our local restaurants have great selections. It is very hard work to operate an eating establishment. Trust me I know, I spent 25 years in that business. Encourage and support the folks who have dedicated their time and money to giving you a place to eat. Get your hair done locally, we have high quality beauty shops and barbers. The county has great grocery stores, hardware stores, and some of the best hot dogs and biscuits available anywhere. When you eat and shop locally you encourage other business to come to our County. You help create new jobs. You can help create a climate which will encourage the growth of new business.

As the newly appointed Business Liaison Director of the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, I thank you for your time and your help. In the future you will be asked for input, help and guidance to move the Vision forward. The vision will take time, it will take cooperation and of course your prayers are most appreciated.

Mike Dotti, IDA Chairman of the Board

Michael Dotti
Brunswick County, Va.
IDA Business Liaison Director

dominion power

Brunswick Power Station Producing Electricity for Customers

– Station’s 1,358 megawatts can power 325,000 homes
– During construction more than $824 million in economic benefits was generated
– Station uses efficient technology and clean natural gas

RICHMOND, Va., April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The newest member of Dominion Virginia Power’s generation fleet, the 1,358 megawatt, environmentally clean Brunswick Power Station began producing electricity for the company’s customers on Monday, April 25, 2016.

The station, located in Brunswick County, uses natural gas and energy efficient technology to produce enough electricity to power 325,000 homes.

“The Brunswick Power Station is destined to be a workhorse, using combined-cycle technology that is clean and efficient and will produce reliable, low-cost energy for our 2.5 million customers,” said Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Generation Group. “I commend the Generation Construction team on the successful, on-schedule, on-budget completion of an important project.”

The station was needed to meet growing demand and to replace electricity from aging coal-fired power stations as Dominion transitions to a cleaner energy future.

Combined-cycle power stations such as Brunswick use low-cost, environmentally clean natural gas to produce electricity. Brunswick has three combustion turbines – essentially large jet engines. The combustion turbines generate electricity and then the heat is captured and used to create steam that is used to create even more electricity.

Construction on the station began in August of 2013. At the height of construction, the station had more than 1,500 workers on site. During the development and construction, the station was estimated to generate approximately $824 million in economic benefits for the state. The station has been estimated to pay about $4 million a year in local property taxes in 2017 and up to $5 million annually thereafter.

Upon commencement of operations, Brunswick Power Station will have 43 employees and an annual payroll of about $7.5 million. In the first full year of the station’s operation the fuel savings have been estimated to be nearly $100 million. Those fuel savings will continue over time, and the station is expected to save customers between $924 million and $1.5 billion over its expected life.

About Dominion Virginia Power
Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy. Dominion provides energy or products and services to more than five million customers in 14 states. It has a portfolio of approximately 24,300 megawatts of generation and 6,500 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion also operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 933 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at

SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power


Supervisors vote to repeal Merchants’ Capital Tax

The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance to repeal the Merchants’ Capital Tax effective Jan. 1, 2017. The supervisors held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance amendment on Wednesday, June 17, and no one spoke in opposition and several people spoke in favor of repealing the tax.

Scott Martin, chair of the Economic Development Authority of Lawrenceville, said the authority fully supports the adoption of an ordinance to amend the merchant’s capital tax in Brunswick County.

“In the view of the EDA, this tax acts as a deterrent to attracting new industry into our county. It also may become a determining factor for those present businesses who may be considering whether to remain in Brunswick County. Brunswick is a prime location for businesses such as distribution centers, however, considering that many of the surrounding counties do not have this tax, it leaves Brunswick without much hope of attracting these facilities,” Martin stated. “Considering the relatively small revenue garnered from this tax and the future revenue anticipated with the completion of the Dominion plant and the pipeline, we see this as the most opportune time to be considering this move. It is our hope that you will proceed with the elimination of the merchants’ capital tax at this time.”

from The Brunswick Times-Gazette