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Lynchburg’s IT Programs Land City 1st Place Award
The Center for Digital Government (CDG) named Lynchburg one of the first place winners of the 2019 Digital Cities Survey.

Now in its 19th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to tackle social challenges, enhance services, strengthen cybersecurity, and more. The CDG says Lynchburg leverages IT to support several city priorities, with one example being the GIS team’s partnership with the Bridges to Progress initiative, a data-driven approach focused on reducing poverty levels.

“We are very honored to be recognized as a national leader here in Lynchburg for our use of information technology to serve our citizens and to improve the efficiency of local government operations,” says Mike Goetz, Lynchburg Chief Information Officer. “We have a long tradition in this regard.”

Goetz says in the last year, the city has placed special emphasis in three areas: expanding the use of mobile technologies; increasing the resiliency of the City’s IT infrastructure, especially regarding cybersecurity and disaster recovery; and enhancing the use of social media to connect with citizens.

Business Briefs
The University of Lynchburg has announced its 11th president will be Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar. She will take the helm when Dr. Kenneth Garren retires the summer of 2020 after leading the school for 19 years. Dr. Morrison-Shetlar comes to the position from Western Carolina University, where she served as provost and in other capacities, including 18 months as interim chancellor.

According to financial website Wallet Hub, Lynchburg ranks as the 85th fastest growing small city (50-100,000 population) in the United States. Among other Virginia cities, only Richmond had a higher score, while several others scored lower than the Hill City: Arlington, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk, Newport News, Alexandria and Roanoke.

In the coming year, BWX Technologies, Inc. will restart an existing fuel production line, called TRISO, creating up to 60 new jobs.

This will position BWXT to meet emergent client interests in Department of Defense microreactors, space reactors, and civil advanced reactors.

CloudFit Software will move its headquarters to the historic Carter Glass Building located in Downtown Lynchburg this year, where they could eventually employ over 200 people. The international cloud computing and software development operations company has a customer list that includes Microsoft, XBox and other big names in the technology industry. They were formally located in the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation released 2018’s economic impact numbers for the state, and Lynchburg had a 2.4-6.2% increase from 2017 on all fronts—from expenditures to jobs. The Office of Economic Development & Tourism will use this data, as well as other future data, to make strategic decisions on where to commit their resources to encourage economic growth and impact.

Thanks to a generous lead gift pledged from an anonymous donor, Liberty University will begin to construct an on-campus indoor tennis facility in January 2020. The capital gift represents the largest single gift pledged to the Flames Club in athletics department history. The 75,000-square-foot facility will have six courts and seating for 100 fans.

The Town of Bedford and Waukeshaw Development have received a $400,000 grant to help fund the Bedford School Campus Redevelopment Project, which will help transform the former Bedford Middle School and Public School educational buildings into apartments and a boutique hotel. The grant was received from the 2020 Industrial Revitalization Fund.

Downtown Lynchburg will be getting four brewery locations in early 2020. The Farmville-based Three Roads Brewing Company will move into the former Babcock Auto building on Court Street. Starr Hill Brewery, with a home base located in Crozet, is opening a taproom on Main Street in the former Grassroots Grocery location. Champion Brewery will also open in 2020, as well as a fourth brewery, which hasn’t been announced yet.

SML Packaging, LLC, located on Odd Fellows Road in Lynchburg, has expanded to Bedford County. The bottle machine manufacturer is now leasing a 22,000-square-foot space on Venture Drive in Forest and plans to invest $650,000 and add four new jobs over the next three years.

Framatome opened the new SPEC 200 manufacturing facility at its Operational Center of Excellence in Lynchburg, completing the move of the factory from China to the U.S. This marks the full integration of the SPEC 200 product line into Framatome’s solutions portfolio.

Valtim Marketing Solutions, Inc. will expand its operation in Forest and invest $750,000, adding eight new jobs over the next three years.

Johnson Health Center is now providing transportation to and from medical appointments for patients living in Bedford and Campbell counties. Transportation services started in September 2017 and were initially only available to residents of Amherst County and the city of Lynchburg.

Condé Nast Traveler recently announced the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Craddock Terry Hotel recognized as #6 in the “Top Hotels in the USA/Mid-Atlantic” category. More than 600,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers across the world submitted a recording-breaking number of responses rating their travel experiences.

Local makerspace and nonprofit Vector Space has announced another expansion. Since opening on Fifth Street in 2015, Vector Space expanded once before in 2017. Now they will work with their landlord to incorporate nearly 4,000 additional square feet next door.