Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Tobacco Commission funds study of small manufacturing incubator in Altavista

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance has been awarded a Project Support Fund grant by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) in the amount of $17,000, according to a release from the alliance. The grant will help fund a feasibility study for a small-scale manufacturing incubator at Virginia Technical Institute (VTI) in Altavista.

VTI is a NCCER-certified training facility, and they currently provide training for occupations such as electricians, welders, plumbers, industrial maintenance technicians, and more. The facility has vacant space that could accommodate a small-scale manufacturing incubator and this grant will explore this concept for future growth. Contributing partners on the project include Virginia Technical Institute, the Town of Altavista, and Campbell County. The grant required a cash match that was contributed by all partners, and the Alliance will serve as the administrators on the project. The study will be completed no later than December 1, 2022.

The feasibility study will provide floorplan options, a comparative analysis of existing industrial incubators to gather information and data on physical layouts, programmatic components in the physical space, management/oversight (organizational review), funding and finance of operations, and any other pertinent information that might be useful in development of the facility as envisioned.

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Poster for the fundraiser. Courtesy of Averett University.

Averett University collecting relief supplies for Ukraine

A benefit concert in Danville co-sponsored by Averett University and West Main Baptist Church has raised $3,1000 for relief efforts in Ukraine, according to a release from the university.

The money will go to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

Averett is also partnering with American National Bank and EBI Furniture to collect items like blankets, hygiene products, bandages and kids toys. The University has boxes at various locations around its campuses to collect these goods, and they will be picked up on March 31 for shipping to Ukraine, thanks to EBI Furniture. 

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Pulaski man named to small business leadership post

Steve Critchfield, CEO of MOVA Technologies of Pulaski, has been named to the National Small Business Association Leadership Council. NSBA is the nation’s oldest small-business advocacy organization.

Crutchfield is a graduate of Virginia Tech. After college, he established Tele-Works, which provided informational and payments systems to local governments in over 36 states in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to being CEO of MOVA Technologies, he manages his real estate company, Rocky Acres, which offers housing for graduate, VCOM, and Veterinary students at Virginia Tech. He is currently working to restore many mixed-use buildings and houses in Pulaski.

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Roanoke company receives accreditation

Global Metal Finishing in Roanoke has now received accreditation by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap), according to a release from the company.

President and CEO Tamea Franco said the accredition in chemical processing will help the comany “better serve clients while providing us the credentials to further grow our client base.”

Headquartered in Roanoke, Global Metal Finishing is a multi-line aluminum anodizing and precision hard coating company.

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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation hosts anniversary event in Roanoke April 7

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is hosting a reception to celebrate the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 7, at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. 

The event will highlight the projects and programs within the national park that have been made possible thanks to the support of donors, volunteers, and community partners. Guests are invited to enjoy drinks, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and a special awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Conservationist and retired attorney Broaddus Fitzpatrick will be awarded the Pat Shore Clark Stewardship Award. This honor recognizes exemplary individual service in advancement of the Foundation, and is named for its first recipient, Pat Shore Clark, a board member, major donor, and volunteer. The late George Kegley, a journalist, volunteer, philanthropist, and champion of preservation, will posthumously be honored with the Legacy Service Award. The Peaks of Otter Lodge operated by Delaware North will receive the Corporate Champion Award.

Guests will also learn about the nonprofit’s plans for the future including the funding of a youth conservation crew that will repair trails at Humpback Rocks on the Parkway this spring.  The nonprofit is also behind the Kids in Parks program, which will be installing family friendly TRACK Trails in Roanoke. Since 2013, the Foundation has supported programming at Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, including the venue’s annual summer concert series. 

The Foundation’s past projects in Virginia include rehabilitation of historic Polly Woods Ordinary and Johnson Farm, upgrading the Abbott Lake Loop Trail at Peaks of Otter to meet ADA guidelines, a bioblitz survey of flora and fauna at Rock Castle Gorge, and more.  

Guests are asked to purchase tickets in advance at

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