Virginia organization named one of nation’s best

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) was ranked second in the American Economic Development Institute and Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s Top 10 State Economic Development Organizations for 2014.

The organization was founded in 1995 by the Virginia General Assembly to market the Commonwealth as a location for businesses to set up shop or expand. Much like an economic development authority, the VEDP acts as a single point of contact of resources for companies looking to do business with the state.

In a news release, Maurice Jones, secretary of commerce and trade, said he was proud of the organization’s recognition.

“VEDP’s work marketing Virginia and helping to create jobs and capital investment in the Commonwealth is top-notch and recognition from a third party is a testament to their success,” Jones said.

Suzanne Clark, a VEDP spokesperson, said their winning the NO. 2 slot is a reflection of the hard work carried out by the organization.

“It’s unbelievable we’d get this award and it’s a great testament to our allies, staff and partners who ensure businesses are coming to Virginia to create jobs for our citizens,” Clark said.

The rankings were conducted by Ronald R. Pollina, chairman of the American Economic Development Institute and President of Pollina Corporate Real Estate, a national corporate relocation firm.

Clark said being recognized by the firm is a new selling point for future businesses interested in Virginia.

“Pollina is a nationally recognized corporate relocation firm and is well respected throughout the national business community,” Clark said. “By having them recognize us, it lets companies know we are at the top of our game.”

Measuring by the incentives and marketing among state economic development organizations, Pollina was able to compile a list of the top states, with Missouri occupying the top slot, followed by Virginia, South Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi and Utah.

Clark said while Virginia is not an incentive-heavy state, it does have resources other states lack, namely in helping existing business expand.

“We don’t have much by way of incentives, but what we make up for it is with a well-educated, highly skilled workforce, infrastructure and a low corporate tax rate,” Clark said. “A lot of states focus on bringing in new industries, which is key, but we also have resources for businesses who are thinking about expanding.”

Last year, business expansions in the commonwealth accounted for 86 percent of announced investments for the VEDP and 74 percent of new jobs created, Clark said.

The organization is located in Richmond and has offices throughout the commonwealth, as well as Germany, Shanghai, China, Mexico, Japan, India and the United Kingdom.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com