January 2020
Member News is a monthly newsletter that provides news about Chamber members.
Please note that the Chamber Office will be closed on Monday, January 18 in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We invite you all to participate in the event below to celebrate his legacy.
When: Sunday, January 17 | 3-4:30 p.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

Averett University’s Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness [CCECC] invites you to attend their annual America’s Sunday Supper in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Week on January 17 from 3-4:30 p.m. via Zoom. This year’s theme, “From Chaos to Community,” will begin with a keynote address by former Georgia House Representative and Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and end with a chance for all attendees to engage in a crucial conversation on the need for community-building and volunteerism as necessary tools to address many of our social problems.
Compassion Health Care, Inc. is proud to offer the Small Business Health Program as a benefit of being a member of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

This program provides discounted access to health care services provided by any Compassion Health Care, Inc. location, including our Yanceyville and Eden locations. As a partnering Chamber member, you are eligible for discounts through this small business health program.

Below is the SBHP card that can be used when visiting our locations. Please contact your Chamber to receive a fillable PDF version of this card. Simply cut along the outer dotted line and fold it over to keep with you at all times. Show this card when arriving for your appointment or when you schedule via telehealth to take advantage of this great benefit that includes primary care, urgent care [Yanceyville], psychiatry [Yanceyville], and behavioral health services at a discounted rate.
Pelham native, Tyler Alderson came to Solex Architecture in October of 2020 with a degree in Mechanical Drafting Technology from Alamance Community College. Tyler has 13 years of experience specializing in commercial and restaurant design.  Working directly with a team of architects, he has a wide array of design techniques and has a vast knowledge of project life cycles. He also has extensive experience designing to the corporate standards of regional and national restaurant chains. 
“I am excited for the opportunity to work on a variety of project types and to serve our region. I am committed to each client and strive to exceed all project goals,” said Alderson. 
Solex Architecture is a Danville, Virginia based Professional Corporation providing architecture, planning and design services. Solex Architecture specializes in SOLution EXploration by combining innovation, sustainability and technology. Pulling from a library of projects and experiences, various architectural styles and elements are blended into a cohesive and timeless design. Solex Architecture can provide a complete turnkey project by assembling a team of expert consultants with relevant experience.
On November 10, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center [SVHEC] held a virtual ribbon cutting to formally launch ProductWorks—Virginia’s only single source location for product design & development services.

Formerly known as the SVHEC R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency, ProductWorks was established in 2010 by a grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Today, ProductWorks is home to $5.5M in hardware and software assets, and works with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large manufacturers to energize their growth and help them produce products.

Using one of those assets, a 5-axis CNC router, SVHEC cut the ribbon to officially launch ProductWorks and celebrate its new location within commercial space at South Boston’s Imperial Lofts.

Jason El Koubi, Virginia Economic Development Partnership [VEDP], Executive Vice-President, served as the event’s guest speaker. He began his remarks with a sobering reminder of the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the economy. He highlighted the fact that rural areas have been especially hard hit, and that the recovery will take longer in these areas. It is within this larger context that El Koubi finds hope in the launch of ProductWorks.

Following El Koubi’s remarks, SVHEC premiered a new video showcasing ProductWorks’ facilities and clients.

The ribbon cutting event concluded with remarks from ProductWorks’ Special Assistant for Innovation & Development, David Kenealy. Kenealy leads ProductWorks’s team comprised of Jerry Elliott, Bradley Overby, Christopher Walker, and Lily Toombs. “We have a well-equipped and very sophisticated workspace with advanced technology, but unquestionably without our staff we wouldn’t be able to have the success that we’ve enjoyed. I’m really privileged to have very talented, very dedicated people to work with,” Kenealy stated.

Kenealy encouraged entreprenuers, business-owners, and others interested in collaborating with ProductWorks to reach out to him to start the conversation on how ProductWorks’ resources can advance their vision.

To learn more, visit www.productworks.tech, email info@svhec.org, or call 434.572.5557.
A new strategic planning process for Danville Public Schools is currently underway. The process will chart the course of the division over the next five years. In addition to teacher and community surveys, the division will host virtual community engagement sessions with community members who would like to participate in the strategic planning process. Register below if you would like to participate. A meeting link will be emailed to you prior to your selected meeting date.
At Sovah Health, we are following state and federal guidelines for vaccine distribution. We were given doses to distribute to people at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19: frontline healthcare providers and first responders.

Since our initial receipt of vaccines on December 15, Sovah Health has received both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines totaling almost 5,000 vaccines for both of our communities. This is only about 50% of the total population in this category. By this weekend, we will have administered more than 1,500 vaccines across both communities. The vaccinations have gone smoothly with only the side effects outlined by the manufactures. This week, the second dose of the vaccine was also given with the same favorable responses.

Each state and region have different guidelines for distribution. Sovah Health and our local Virginia Departments of Health [VDH] are working collaboratively to vaccinate healthcare personnel outlined by the VDH in the current phase, described as Phase 1a. The next Phase is 1b which includes essential frontline workers, persons aged 75 and older, people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelter and migrant labor camps.  For more information about the VDH vaccination phases, please go to their website at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.

We anticipate that the VDH will shortly announce guidance on progressing to Phase 1b. We will proceed according to the VDH guidance and as additional vaccines become available. We anticipate receiving additional shipments of the vaccine as we move forward to the next phase. Planning of vaccine clinics for our community is underway and we will be ready once further guidance is received from the state.

While we work to help vaccinate, we ask that you continue to keep up the fight. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Social distance. Stay at home. The COVID-19 vaccine may be a lifesaver in the months to come, but you can be one right now by following the guidelines. 

We have had several volunteers assist in the vaccination process so far, both for registration functions and well as vaccine administration. Sovah Health would like to thank these volunteers. If you are interested in helping with a vaccination clinic, please contact us at either 276.666.7600 or 434.799.3700.

If you have questions regarding the vaccine, please contact your primary care provider’s office. We also have a frequently asked question page on our website about the COVID-19 vaccine. The page is located under our COVID-19 preparedness page and can be found here https://www.sovahhealth.com/coronavirus-covid-19-preparedness-information
In an emotion-packed graduation weekend of historic firsts, Averett University recognized the Class of 2020 in two unique celebrations December 11 and 12.

In response to recent statewide mandates ordering all gatherings to 25 people or less, Averett reimagined its Winter 2020 Commencement to adhere to all statewide health and safety recommendations while still giving its graduates their chance to shine.

Less than a month before graduation day, the University had to drop its plans for an outdoor, socially distanced commencement ceremony and rally together an opportunity for its graduates to still walk the commencement stage in-person – one of the only colleges to do so.

Averett developed a two-pronged approach that included an in-person opportunity and a virtual component. On the evening of Friday, December 11, viewers virtually enjoyed the many traditions of graduation, complete with the bagpipe introduction by Timothy R. Carpenter, the “National Anthem sang by alumnus Matthew Doss '07, a welcome from the Averett Board of Trustees by vice chair Dr. Annie Wimbish, '81, a commencement address from Franks, award presentations and the reading of the graduates’ names and honors by Vice President for Academic Affairs Rev. Dr. Timothy Fulop, the singing of the “Alma Mater” by Professor of Music Dr. Anne Lewis and a blessing upon the graduates by University Chaplain Rev. Skyler Daniel.

Then, on Saturday, December 12, graduates were invited to the Averett University E. Stuart James Grant North Campus for an individualized, in-person commencement experience with up to four guests. More than 100 spring, August and winter graduates walked across the formal graduation stage indoors with their guests cheering them on as their names were read aloud by Fulop. Franks presented their diplomas and they posed for a socially distanced graduation photo on stage. Alumni Director Dan Hayes '92 presented graduates with their keepsake alumni pin, symbolizing their official entry into Averett’s alumni family.
Afterwards, additional opportunities for outdoor photos at distanced photo stations were available around North Campus. Health and safety protocols were followed at all times during the event – masking, social distancing and a maximum of 25 people in a single area indoors or outdoors – and measures were taken to ensure increased air flow inside the Grant Center.

In total, Averett honored 354 graduates from the class of 2020, comprising of 201 spring graduates whose ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as 43 who finished in August and 111 winter graduates. Ranging in age from 20 to 76, 153 of those 354 were traditional graduates and 201 were adult from the Averett Online program. Thirty were U.S. military veterans, and nine were international students from six countries, including the Bahamas, Finland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The University conferred degrees at both the baccalaureate and master’s level.
Additionally the following graduates were recognized for receiving the Fall 2020 commencement awards:

Traditional Undergraduate Awards:
Mary C. Fugate Award for Academic Excellence: Allison Nicole Haran
Grace V. Crenshaw Award: Katelyn Grace Dewberry

Averett Online/Graduate and Professional Studies [GPS] Awards:
Malcolm Knowles Award: Mallory Elizabeth Jamerson
Frank Campbell Award: Timothy Gordon Brewer, II

To view the full virtual ceremony, click here.
To view the in-person commencement exercises, click here.
To view photos from the weekend, click here.
The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region is accepting applications beginning January 1, 2021 for 55 different
scholarship funds.

Area students who are interested may apply online through The Foundation’s website at www.cfdrr.org. The deadline for all
applications is March 1, 2021.

Students who are graduating seniors or former graduates from a high school
in Danville or Pittsylvania County, Virginia or Caswell County, North Carolina may apply. Scholarships may have eligibility criteria that were specified by the donor. The online application system will determine eligibility for each scholarship.

Last year, The Foundation awarded 100 scholarships totaling more than $240,000 to area students. Since its formation in 1996, The Community Foundation has awarded 1,357 scholarships totaling more than $2.9 million.
Have your tried lunch from the Megabytes Café at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research?

Open Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunches to go. Plus, we offer a HOT Lunch to go on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

Check the website for daily specials: https://www.ialr.org/megabytes/.

  1. Order by 10:30a.m. for pick-up between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  2. Call 434.766.6743 or email iccsales@ialr.org to place your order.
  3. Pick up at the Café Door off the Back Patio

Have 10 or more orders? Ask about delivery options!
When: Thursday, January 21 | 10-11 a.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

Some of the most popular reasons to start a business include-having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself.
  • Prepare to start a successful business:
  • Evaluate your entrepreneurial abilities
  • Marketing strategies
  • Financial resources
  • Legal form of organization
  • Tips to prepare & present your business plan

Not every small business is positioned for success, so you may be in for a real challenge when you decide to take the plunge, ditch your day job, and become a business owner. The stage is often set in the beginning, so make sure you start with a strong foundation.

Speaker: Presented and taught by Lin Hite, Regional Director SBDC

Co-Sponsor[s]: Longwood SBDC, George Mason University, Virginia Small Business Development Center, U.S. Small Business Administration
There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.
See below for a list of business development opportunities for January 2021.

eVa Leads Generation

When: Wednesday, January 27 | 10 a.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

This advanced workshop is the 2nd in our series and focuses on lead generation. This hands-on session explores the public transparency tools available on the eVA website, including the Report & Resource Center and the new “power” search. As noted, this is more advanced than the more basic "Selling to the Commonwealth" session. 
SWaM Certification Process: Nuts & Bolts

When: Friday, January 29 | 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: Online

This will provide an overview of the SWaM program along with a review of the required documents. It will also offer a live demonstration / "walk through" of the application portal.
Cyber Security For Your Home Office

When: Friday, January 29 | 1-3 p.m.
Where: Online

If you're working from home, your computer [heart of your business] is not as safe as you think it is. Basic computerized appliances, multiple users of the same router, insecure passwords can all put your business at risk. This free Webinar will show you safeguards you can take to protect your business.
Southside Electric Cooperative has made donations to 24 food banks across its service territory, an outreach to help area residents who are hungry or unsure about their next meals.

The contributions of $500 each were made before Christmas. They went to large and small food pantries spread around the Cooperative’s 18-county service area.

“Unfortunately, many families face hunger and food insecurity every day, problems that have worsened during COVID-19 and its related economic downturn. Community food banks are on the front lines helping these families. The Cooperative wants to support their important work and hopes these donations will replenish their shelves as they provide nutritious meals for area residents struggling to have enough to eat,” said Lloyd Lenhart, SEC’s director of community relations.

Feed America estimated that 842,870 Virginians, including 233,530 children, struggled with hunger in 2020. A February 2020 online article in Morning Ag Clips was headlined, “Food insecurity more prevalent in rural areas, major cities.”

“In this season of giving, SEC wants to help those who are hungry and, at the same time, share with them the joy of Christmas and the hope for a better future,” Lenhart said.

These donations were the latest in SEC’s efforts to reach out to its neighbors. In November, the Cooperative donated $7,500, which was matched by banking partner CoBank, resulting in a $15,000 donation to Farmville Area Community Emergency Services [FACES]. In early December, SEC employees donated canned goods and other nonperishables to the Cooperative’s annual Christmas drive to support community food banks. SEC Community Relations Coordinator Joy Stump served as Prince Edward Christmas Mother this year, helping provide hats, gloves, toys, books and other items to more than 250 area children. Throughout 2020, SEC made other contributions to assist food banks in the service area.

Since being started in 1937 by local residents wanting electricity, SEC has been guided by a mission to enhance the lives of everyone living in the 18 counties. SEC sponsors events, donates to school programs, offers scholarships and supports nonprofits, like food banks. One of the cherished hallmarks at SEC is the seventh Cooperative Principle – Concern for Community.
When: Friday, January 29 | 1-2 p.m.
Where: Online

In 2019, Caesars Entertainment launched an Economic Equity Tour to provide meaningful and impactful education and skill development to employees, potential workforce, potential suppliers and members of the local communities in which Caesars Entertainment operates. The company is continuing the Economic Equity Tour online this year, providing resources in the areas of financial empowerment, workforce development, non-profit organization development, entrepreneurship and potential business opportunities with Caesars.
Caesars Entertainment will offer a FREE webinar that may be of interest to our community. “The State of Caesars Entertainment and the Gaming Industry in the New Normal” will provide an overview of how the pandemic has affected this sector and how Caesars Entertainment has responded to the challenges of the last year and remained an engaged leader and partner in the communities where it operates. The discussion will be led by Matthew A. Miele, Jr., senior vice president for procurement and strategic sourcing, and the Danville community is encouraged to participate.
Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce | www.dpchamber.org
(T) 434.836.6990 | (F) 434.836.6955
8653 US Hwy 29 | PO Box 99 | Blairs, VA 24527