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Thursday, February 2, 2023 (7:45 AM - 9:45 AM) (EST)

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57 S Center Dr

South Center Drive 57
Daleville, Virginia

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Khari Ryder (Executive Director of Botetourt Chamber of Commerce)

Khari Ryder

Executive Director of Botetourt Chamber of Commerce

Khari K. Ryder is going into his third year with the Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce. During his time at the Chamber, Khari increased the Chamber's visibility by giving back to the community. In 2022 the Chamber donated $500 gift cards to 4 area foodbanks as part of the Chamber Golf Tournament and partnership with Food Lion Feeds and other sponsors. The Chamber places emphasis on collaboration-meeting and partnering with organizations like Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA, and local civic groups. " I really believe that more can be done when we don't silo ourselves, but work together", says Ryder.

In 2023, the Chamber is poised to continue to be a voice, a hub, and a resource for the community, business community, and local governments of Botetourt County. Continuing to fulfill our mission of promoting an environment where businesses can learn, grow, and thrive in Botetourt County.

Gary Larrowe (County Administrator at Botetourt County)

Gary Larrowe

County Administrator at Botetourt County

Gary Larrowe (pronounced “LaRue”) has been the County Administrator for Botetourt County since January 2016.

Prior to his service in Botetourt, he was Carroll County’s Administrator for over ten (10) years. During his tenure, Carroll County was celebrated by the National Association of Counties as one of the top 13 counties in the nation with regard to rural economic development.

Prior to becoming a County Administrator, Gary was on faculty at Virginia Tech for 18 years as an Extension Agent--Community Initiatives Specialist, with a focus on community and economic development in rural communities. While in his Extension roles, Gary lectured at more than 25 universities across the country teaching an Entrepreneurial curriculum as an adjunct faculty member of the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation.

Gary holds a BS from VA Tech and an MS from Radford University; is a Kellogg Fellow in International Community Development, is a former U. S. Congressional intern, and has worked/traveled to 27 countries which developed his interest in expanding rural economies.

While in Botetourt, Gary has placed emphasis on traditional and non-traditional economic development opportunities and focused on bringing industries together to improve the standing of all. Since Gary’s arrival, there have been location announcements of Munters, a Swedish company, Eldor, an Italian automotive component manufacturer; the Virginia Community College System’s Shared Services Center; Harkness Screens, and Pratt Industries; as well as expansions of Altec Industries, Canatal Steel, Arkay Packaging Corporation, and Metalsa.

Also, since being in Botetourt, Gary has seen a need for additional housing and assisted in coordinating the County’s first Housing Summit in 2017. The same effort has been used to expand broadband services to Botetourt. A Broadband Summit was held with more than 100 providers, contractors, and concerned citizens in attendance. Since the Summit and through Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grants and partnership with the county’s internet providers, Botetourt County is slated to see universal broadband coverage by the end of 2023/beginning of 2024.

Gary uses every opportunity to further workforce development opportunities as a component of action in the County and the region and uses efficiency and transparency in local government as a keystone of these efforts.

He still owns and operates a small farm in Carroll County, is interested in vintage trucks, is a passionate traveler, and enjoys visiting new places with his wife, Alice. Gary has a son and daughter-in-law plus three bonus children. He also just welcomed his first grandson in December.

Richard Bailey (Botetourt County Board of Supervisors)

Richard Bailey

Botetourt County Board of Supervisors

Dr. Richard Bailey served as the Chair of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors in 2022. He was elected to serve the Fincastle District in 2019. Bailey grew up in Botetourt County on his family’s farm where he found a love for agriculture and animals.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Virginia Tech, worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture, and went on to graduate from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the previous owner of Botetourt Veterinary Hospital, where he cared for animals for years, and is now retired but still works on his farm and serves the citizens, businesses, and visitors of Botetourt County.

Jonathan Russ (Superintendent at Botetourt County Public Schools)

Jonathan Russ

Superintendent at Botetourt County Public Schools

Dr. Jonathan Russ was born and raised in Southwest Virginia. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Washington Co. in 1986 and received a B.A. in Mathematics from Emory & Henry College in December, 1990. He began his teaching career in the fall of 1991 as a middle school mathematics teacher. Dr. Russ moved to Stafford Co. in 1993 and was a high school mathematics teacher for six years. Dr. Russ began his administrative career as a high school assistant principal at Caroline High School for two years. In 2001, he transitioned to Fredericksburg City Public Schools (FCPS). He served in the following positions with FCPS: Middle School Assistant Principal, Elementary Principal, Director of Assessment & Accountability, Director of Human Resources, Chief Administrative Officer, and Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Russ has served as the Division Superintendent in Botetourt County Public Schools since July 1st, 2020.

Dr. Russ is the proud father of four beautiful children. His wife, Brenda, currently serves as a high school assistant principal. His hobbies include golf and Virginia Tech Hokie football.

Landon Howard (President at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge)

Landon Howard

President at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

Landon Howard has been with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge (Visit VBR) since February 2010. As President, Landon is responsible for building the Virginia’s Blue Ridge regional place brand and aggressively market to visitors, events and sports planners, and meeting planners. Landon has over three decades of successful business experience in management, marketing, communications, administration, and visitor services.

Prior to moving to Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Landon served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Executive Director for the Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association.

He holds an M.B.A. and B.S. Political Science degrees from the University of Tennessee.

He and his wife Lynne have been married for over 30 years and have three adult children.

Kathryn Lucas (Director of Public Relations at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge)

Kathryn Lucas

Director of Public Relations at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

Kathryn Lucas is the Director of Public Relations for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge (Visit VBR). She is responsible for spreading awareness of the VBR region by securing article placements in nationally and globally-known media outlets. Since starting at Visit VBR in 2019, she has worked with media from around the world to generate hundreds of articles touting Virginia’s Blue Ridge as a must-visit destination. Most recently, she secured features in both National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure India & South Asia.

Kathryn is a lifelong resident of Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge. After graduating from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, she returned home and found a perfect fit at Visit VBR as a passionate advocate for the region.

John Oney (Director of Sports and Sales at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge)

John Oney

Director of Sports and Sales at Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

John Oney is the Director of Sports and Sales for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge (Visit VBR). He is responsible for leading the VBR sales team to promote Virginia’s Blue Ridge and its partner facilities as the destination of choice for sporting events, conferences and meetings.

Prior to relocating to Roanoke, John served as the Director of Sales at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida, National Golf Sales Manager for Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Coast, FL and Sales & Event Representative for Visit Central Florida/Polk County Tourism & Sports Marketing.

He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Recreation, Parks, Management/Professional Golf Management.

He and his wife, Jennifer are happy residents of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Erin Burcham (President at Verge and Executive Director of RBTC)

Erin Burcham

President at Verge and Executive Director of RBTC

Erin Burcham is the President of Verge and Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. She’s spearheaded initiatives for technology, innovation, and talent development in the region including multiple GO Virginia projects throughout her career. Previously, she served as the director of talent solutions for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in leadership with a focus on economic development from Virginia Tech.

Taylor Spellman (Associate Director of RBTC)

Taylor Spellman

Associate Director of RBTC

Taylor Spellman comes to the RBTC with a rich background in marketing, media relations and project management for a variety of small businesses, startups and non-profit organizations. Her portfolio showcases a successful track record of launching and scaling new programs for success. As the former Director of Public Relations for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Taylor worked with hundreds of media and news publications around the globe promoting placemaking for the regional tourism organization. Prior to that, Taylor helped the development and marketing efforts to launch Roanoke’s first coworking space, CoLab. She has held many volunteer roles for local organizations and is a co-founder for Experience, dedicated to attracting and retaining talent in the Roanoke Region. Spellman serves on the Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority Board for Virginia’s Explore Park, originally appointed by former Virginia Governor McAuliffe. She is a graduate of Radford University and loves exploring new places and supporting local with her husband Tommy, their two young children and German Shorthaired Pointer Bo.