Turning Dreams into Reality: A Conversation with Debbie Irwin
Debbie Irwin is the Executive Director of the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF), an entrepreneurial support organization that believes the most vibrant communities grow from within. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Debbie about how SCCF’s diverse services help grow businesses of all scales and backgrounds and how the Shenandoah Valley became the home she always hoped for.
December 17, 2021
Technology Thrives: A Conversation with Ryan Gundling
With a mission to serve the greater good, Ryan Gundling cofounded Ryzing Technologies after a local business plan competition. Five years after the successful competition, Ryzing Technologies is expanding their capabilities as a designer and manufacturer of textile-based engineering solutions. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Ryan about his entrepreneurial growth and how the Shenandoah Valley's premier quality of life attracts and grows the right talent for his company.
December 06, 2021
Initially Inspired Growth: A Conversation with Jennifer Ledford
From a home-based business, to a growing up year, to taking it back to basics, Jennifer Ledford’s “Idea Factory” has progressed many times over the past two decades. One thing remains constant for this innovative entrepreneur – her passion for embracing and supporting the entrepreneurial community. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Jennifer about her initial inspiration, how she has leveraged community resources to grow, and what’s on the horizon for her business.
November 23, 2021
Curating a Local Experience: A Conversation with Jon Henry
Located in an 1800s historical building, Jon Henry General Store offers local and fair-trade treats, gifts, and eats. But Jon Henry is anything but general. An entrepreneur, farmer, and artist, Jon combined his background as a curator and history of family farming to create a charming shop local experience. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Jon about how he utilizes local resources to expand his services and his passion to grow an accessible local food movement.
October 07, 2021
When Passion Takes Flight: A Conversation with Kala Dougan
Kala Dougan's enthusiasm for aviation began at a young age, and now she introduces young people to aviation through NEXTGEN Aviators. Born from a successful, multi-generational aviation company, this new program provides hands-on exploration of a broad range of aviation careers including aerospace engineering, parts fabrication and assembly, electronics and avionics, and flight. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston asked Kala what she loves most about her career and what's on the horizon for the aviation industry in the Shenandoah Valley.
September 16, 2021
Calling a Rural Community Home: A Conversation with Chris Swecker & Bruce Folks
Known for its rich history of maple syrup-producing sugar farms, Highland County's impressive resources and passion for supporting local is attracting startups, telecommuters and young families. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Chris Swecker, Executive Director, Highland County Chamber of Commerce, and Bruce Folks, Owner, Bruce’s Syrup & Candies, about their life in one of Virginia's most rural mountain counties. Discover why family farmers, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between chooses to call Virginia’s Sweet Spot home.
September 03, 2021
Celebrating the Moment through Art: A Conversation with William & Moon Snyder
William & Moon Snyder are the inspiration and energy behind The Oliver Art House. This power couple is splashing into the creative arts scene and developing a nurturing environment for the community to explore arts in the Shenandoah Valley. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with William & Moon about how their dynamic backgrounds and passion are positively impacting the community in which they live, work and play. Learn more about the vision behind their collaborative learning space and how they make it habit to carpe diem.
August 12, 2021
A Fulfilling Career in Manufacturing: A Conversation with Brent Secrist
Driving technology, productivity and innovation, the Shenandoah Valley is home to a host of different manufacturing companies across multiple industries. Long-standing Shenandoah Valley company, Modine, specializes in thermal heat exchange and produces HVAC products at their growing Buena Vista facility. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Brent Secrist, Plant Superintendent, about his Modine manufacturing career path and what he appreciates most about his life in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Learn more about this innovative company, growing a career in manufacturing, and what makes the region an incredible place to raise a family.
August 02, 2021
The Farmer Focus Way - A Conversation with Corwin Heatwole
The Shenandoah Valley has strong agrarian roots where local is defined by a country drive, not a 100+ mile commute. Home to four of the top five agricultural-producing counties in Virginia, robust transportation network, and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, agribusinesses plant roots here and grow. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Corwin Heatwole, Founder of Farmer Focus, about how his unique business model puts the decision-making back in the hands of the farmer. Learn how this young, innovative and thriving company is revolutionizing modern-day farming in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
July 12, 2021
Growing Four Seasons of Community: A Conversation with Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Resort offers four-seasons of multigenerational activities in the heart of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Their 6,000 acres of mountain fun is recognized as one of the premier all-seasons resort destinations on the East Coast. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Matthias Smith, Vice President and General Manager, and Sarah Elson, Business Relations Director, about how this leading employer attracts and retains Shenandoah Valley talent. Learn how Massanutten Resort offers the tools for professional development and community engagement to create an impressive and positive impact on the quality of life for both residents and visitors.
June 02, 2021
Planting Roots: A Conversation with Maggie Anderson
In Spring 2018, internationally-owned Speyside Bourbon Cooperage opened their first U.S. stave mill operation in Bath County. Less than one year later the company announced additional investment to add new equipment and a second shift to the operation. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Maggie Anderson, Product Development consultant for Speyside, about the Shenandoah Valley resources that help Speyside thrive. Get to know this family-focused company, cool job opportunities with room to grow, and why there's nothing more satisfying than living in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
May 04, 2021
Creating Community Impact: A Conversation with Jamie Goodin
Jamie Goodin is a creator, innovator, entrepreneur, community champion, and more. Jamie's energy and passion for creating impact stems from pure curiosity and the determination to produce an outcome that benefits Shenandoah Valley residents. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Jamie about how the Shenandoah Valley empowers residents to fuel change and create real impact in the communities where they live, work and thrive.
April 14, 2021
Part of the Solution: A Conversation with Valley Guard Supply
Launched at the onset of the pandemic as a philanthropic effort to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for the National Guard and other First Responders, Valley Guard Supply is owned and brought to market by military and medical service veterans. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Nicky Swayne, General Manager, and Chris Ashley, Director of Operations, about how the region's business-friendly environment, talented labor pool, and innovative partnerships developed a valuable ecosystem to quickly launch and establish this essential business.
March 16, 2021
Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Reducing Barriers: A Conversation with Peter Denbigh
Peter Denbigh is an entrepreneur in several start-up companies and one of the catalyzing energies behind the Staunton Innovation Hub. A James Madison University graduate, one of his most successful ventures is the best-selling party game “Watch Ya’ Mouth”. SVP Executive Director Jay Langston spoke with Peter about how the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem supported his many business ventures, what he’s doing to break down barriers for other entrepreneurs, and why he loves calling the Shenandoah Valley home.
February 16, 2021