NEWS SPOTLIGHT
Lynchburg Ranks 8th on National Community Well-Being List
In just two years, Lynchburg jumped 29 spots on the State of American Well-Being: 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings report.
The Hill City placed 8th in the 2016 rankings; in 2014, Lynchburg was 37th on the list. The report, released by Gallup and Healthways, measures how residents of 189 U.S. cities feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security, community and sense of purpose.

The same report in 2010 named Lynchburg as the 8th most obese metropolitan area in the U.S. Since then, there has been a community-wide effort to change the health of the region, which included the introduction of the Live Healthy Lynchburg website and a challenge from Mayor Joan Foster. In 2012, she challenged the city to lose 12 tons—and it happened by August of that year.

“This new ranking should not surprise me because so many citizens in our community came together collectively, set some goals and held everyone accountable to reducing our unhealthy ranking… This will indeed be a gift that continues to give!” said Foster.

Alongside Foster’s challenge in 2012, Christine Kennedy, COO/Executive Vice President of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, wanted to tighten the focus on the local business community; she spearheaded an offshoot of Live Healthy Lynchburg—the Work Healthy Coalition.

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance spearheaded annual community-wide fitness challenges, hosted numerous education events to help employers improve the health of their employees and drafted recommended zoning ordinance changes that would foster improved health for citizens.

“We’re thrilled that we continue to rise in the ranks of this important publication. This type of accolade provides another reason prospective employers and employees make decisions to relocate to a region,” said Kennedy. “People want to be in culture and communities that embrace health, happiness and well-being and this ranking validates that we are that type of region.”

You can read the full report at www.well-beingindex.com/2017-state-rankings.


Retail
Moore & Giles Opens to Public
The general public is now able to shop in person at Moore & Giles’ Forest headquarters.

The last Wednesday of every month, Moore & Giles will open its doors and sell a limited collection of leather hides, rugs, furniture and scrap leather at a deep discount compared to normal prices. Customers can pay with a credit card and take their items home immediately.

The monthly collection will change based on inventory. And while Moore & Giles bags will not be a part of the sale at this time, they could make that an option in the future.


Arts and Culture
City Leaders Hold Successful Conference for Creative Entrepreneurs
The Lynchburg Office of Economic Development says they are committed to organizing an event similar to Create Lynchburg after strong turnout and positive feedback at the first annual conference.

About 75 arts entrepreneurs attended the two-day event January 27-28 at the Academy Center of the Arts. The Office of Economic Development, the Academy and the Small Business Development Center partnered together for the conference. Create Lynchburg included a series of workshops, panel discussions and speakers who covered topics such as legal considerations and promotion/branding.

Anna Bentson, Assistant Director of Economic Development, says one big goal was to expose creative entrepreneurs to all of the resources they have in Lynchburg.

“But we also wanted to expose them to each other and create community…create that network. Let people see and understand that there is a whole community of people out there that have the same struggles,” said Bentson.

She says aside from another conference, they are also hoping to provide some networking events for these arts entrepreneurs this year.


Technology
Lynchburg Ranks High in Tech Survey
Lynchburg is ranked as one of the top tech cities in the 2016 Digital Cities Survey.

The Hill City received second place in the 75,000 – 124,999 population classification, falling just behind Roanoke. Boulder, Colorado was named in third place.

The Center for Digital Government conducts this survey every year to recognize cities that are using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement. They take 10 areas of increased focus into consideration—cyber security, open government, disaster recovery, to name just a few.


Economic Development
LRBA Move Expected Early Summer
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance will be in its new facility in the former James River Conference Center very soon.
Alliance CEO Megan Lucas expects they will move to the new location early summer; construction and renovation work began in March.

Last June, the Alliance Board of Directors and the Alliance Foundation’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to purchase the building. The new 24,000-square-foot location is much larger than their current building on Memorial Avenue, offering plenty of office and meeting/conference space.


Small Business
New Firm Joins Lynchburg’s Marketing World
Rockit Creative Solutions has taken flight in the region. Rockit is a local, full-service marketing firm serving Central Virginia and surrounding areas.

Principal Jack Bobbitt has 25 years of marketing experience geared to deliver results for small businesses as well as larger corporate entities. Bobbit says his approach with clients is focused on relationships and results that make a difference to help “defy the gravity” of their bottom line.


Higher Education
LU Buys CAER for Engineering School
Liberty University is now the owner of the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research in Bedford County and plans to move its School of Engineering and Computational Sciences to the site.

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved the $4.3 million deal. Under the agreement, Liberty will not take over the entire CAER but will oversee the contract for the facility as well as be an anchor tenant.

“As home to our School of Engineering and Computational Sciences, we will have the opportunity to build much needed bridges between academia and the private sector. We view the energy sector as the new ‘enernet,’ a fast-growing sector that promises exciting economic development and job creation,” said Liberty University Vice President of Special Projects Jonathan Whitt.
The CAER is located within the New London Business and Technology Center off Route 460. The Tobacco Commission funded much of the initial construction of the CAER and has continued to support it over the years with funds for updated equipment and new capabilities.


Leadership
LRBA CEO Selected as Top Economic Developer
Megan Lucas, CEO of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, will be featured in an ebook after a consulting agency selected her as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers for 2017.

Consultant Connect is an agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants. They selected the leaders on their 2017 list after reviewing nominations sent in by the economic developers’ colleagues.

Each of the top 50 will be interviewed for an ebook about their expertise and insight in the field of economic development.


Healthcare
New Physical Therapy Clinics Open
Rehabilitation Associates of Central Virginia has opened new clinics in Lovingston and Charlottesville.

The site director of the Lovingston office is Matthew Nolen, PT, DPT, a Lynchburg native and graduate of Bridgewater College. His specialties are general orthopedics, manual therapy and sports rehabilitation.

The Charlottesville office is overseen by Tony Grillo, PT, DPT, who received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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