Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority Conducts Regional Business Needs Assessment

The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority is inviting all businesses in Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and the City of Salem to take an Internet and Data Transport Needs Assessment Survey. Each survey response will help to prioritize future investments in high-speed internet and telecommunications infrastructure.

The Roanoke Regional Business Internet, Data Transport, and Dark Fiber Needs Assessment Survey is 27-questions that can be taken from any internet enabled computer, tablet, or smartphone at: www.bit.ly/RVBA2018

All Roanoke Valley businesses are encouraged to participate. You do NOT have to be a current RVBA customer to participate. The survey should be taken by the person in charge of telecommunications and technology buying decisions for the company and be completed before midnight, February 16, 2018. 

“This is the time for business owners to provide their honest feedback and opinions on the state of business connectivity services in our region,” Frank Smith, President and CEO of the RVBA, said. “We are looking for forward to learning how we can continue to support the communities we serve.”

The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority was founded as an economic development initiative to help ensure that all Roanoke Valley businesses have access to high-quality services at the speed and capacity they need to grow and remain competitive. With the recent extensions into Roanoke County, the RVBA network now extends past high traffic corridors and over 650 commercial properties in the Roanoke Valley.

Register now for the annual Blue Ridge Safety Conference

The Blue Ridge Safety Association is pleased to announce the 2018 Annual Blue Ridge Safety Conference, to be held on March 20, 2018 at James Madison University in the Madison Union Ballroom. With the growing opioid crisis across the United States, OSHA legal updates, and the growing awareness of the importance of ergonomics in the workplace, we have carefully chosen some of the most qualified and passionate speakers. We believe each presentations will add great value to anyone who attends.

  • Sam Quinones: Best-selling author and journalist will discuss the Opioid Crisis (focused on his book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic)
  • Travis Vance: Employment Litigation Attorney with Fisher Phillips will discuss recent OSHA Legal Updates in dynamic and engaging presentation.
  • Jeff Sanford: Director of Consulting and Ergonomics Engineer for Humantech will discuss How to Quantify Assessments to Sustain an Ergonomics Process.

Parking will be located off of US-81 Exit 245 in the James Madison University lot beside Exxon and across from the Days Inn. A shuttle will provided to and from Madison Union (no additional cost for attendants). Additional parking information will be delivered closer to the event.

Lunch will be provided. Click here for registration information.


Family Service of Roanoke Valley hosts unique training workshop

IgniteHarvard Kennedy School’s leadership framework, Adaptive Leadership, helps today’s executives solve lingering issues and prepare for tomorrow’s changes.

Jill Hufnagel, Ph.D defines “adaptive challenges” as those we face as a community and country of which there is no known solution. She said the keys to addressing these challenges include relationships, experimentation and willingness to try. Focusing on adaptive leadership and case-in-point learning, Hufnagel has worked with Google, Microsoft, New York Fire Department, and organizations across the globe. She is also a staff alumna of Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

That’s why she is bringing Adaptive Leadership home in a unique leadership workshop on Thursday, February 22 and Friday, February 23 at the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Green Room in downtown Roanoke. The cost is $1,000 and registration is open online at www.fsrv.org with early bird discount available until Feb. 5. Proceeds benefit Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

Cherie Grisso, Chief Financial Officer of Richfield Living, said Richfield is already engaged with Hufnagel’s Adaptive Leadership framework.

“Our Community has been through and will continue to go through a lot of change so we were looking for Leadership Development that could provide practical yet impactful development for seasoned and emerging leaders. Jill’s approach, Adaptive Leadership, is helping our team leverage common goals, common language and common values to move the needle on real business problems we have been trying to solve for years,” said Grisso, who serves on the board of Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

The Adaptive Leadership programming designed and developed by Hufnagel is built on deep capacity development and possibility thinking.

“Personally and professionally, exposure to adaptive leadership radically changed the way I think about community challenges,” she said.

Hufnagel took her early career as a counselor at Family Service, and turned it into a lifetime of helping others set goals to better themselves and their communities. She is donating her time to present IGNITE as a gift to Family Service, and the proceeds from the training go to support mental health counseling, case management and life skills education in Roanoke. Family Service is also in the process of developing a training curriculum for direct service providers, so registering for IGNITE is also a way to invest in training the next generation of care providers.

Family Service is excited to offer Jill’s innovative framework to the community.

“Adaptive Leadership is such an exciting concept for the leaders of our Valley,” said Director Karen Pillis. “We often go to leadership courses that give us tools to analyze ourselves, our organizations and maybe even our communities. I am excited that Adaptive Leadership will give those who attend a new way of looking at the complex issues we all face, the concept of change, and how to move forward in the midst of issues that we may be ‘stuck’ addressing.”

Through the immersive leadership experience being offered by Hufnagel, local corporate, government and non-profit leaders can learn a new way of handling complex challenges and responding to change. Participants will walk away with a new peer group who speak the same language and return to their places of work and roles in the community with new skills.

Hufnagel said now is the perfect time to introduce Adaptive Leadership in Roanoke through the IGNITE workshop, as Roanoke is continuing to develop as a strong, resilient, purpose-driven city.

“This is a great opportunity to think about how to share adaptive leadership with a group of people I care about–and that is in Roanoke,” she said.

Hufnagel believes the work of leadership is about changing your corner of the world and as such is everyone’s to claim. Claim your seat today and register online at www.fsrv.org or contact Karen Pillis at kpillis@fsrv.org or 540-563-5316 x3030 if you have any questions.


Chambers Join in Support for Teacher Shortage Solutions

The existing teacher shortage is impacting communities throughout Virginia, including the Roanoke region. The Roanoke Regional Chamber joined chambers throughout the Commonwealth in support of policies to address this issue. Click here to see the resolution for additional details. 

One Step Closer to E-Commerce Tax Fairness

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear South Dakota v. Wayfair. With this move, there is a real opportunity to bring online sales taxing into the 21st century, level the playing field for local retailers, and generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue.

The Chamber has advocated in recent years for congressional action on the issue of online sales tax, particularly through the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). Such a measure would alleviate the competitive disadvantage our brick-and-mortar retailers face against large online giants, like eBay or Wayfair.

If the SCOTUS rules that online retailers are required to remit sales tax, there will inevitably be a debate over where the money should go. We’ll ask our elected leaders to renew the commitment they made in 2013 to use additional sales tax revenue from the MFA to fund transportation priorities.

We are hopeful for a favorable SCOTUS decision; in the mean time, we continue to urge Congress to take action on online sales tax fairness so that implementation is uniform across all states.