Local Business and Economic Development

Virginia Bio conference. G Marrano photo

virginiabio is a statewide trade association for the bio-tech industry and this year its bi-annual conference is being held at Hotel Roanoke. During a panel discussion this morning Brett Malone, who oversees the Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, outlined a vision for downtown Roanoke. Both at the CRC adjacent to Virginia Tech and near the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke federal funding will be used to build “wet lab” shared spaces designed to attract bio-tech startups to the region.

Rising interest rates are not yet halting the steady increase in area home values. The Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors reports that for the first three months of the year, the average home sales price topped $292,000, an increase of almost 10% over the same period in 2021. At the same time, the number of homes sold so far in 2022 fell below that of the last two years. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

Click here to see area home sales numbers and average prices 

Those looking for work – no matter where they live locally – are invited to a job fair in northwest Roanoke this Saturday. One goal is to help reduce gun violence in that part of the city. The story from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

Companies scheduled to be on hand:

1) VA Cares
2) Ply Gem Windows
3) VW / NW Collaborative United for Impact
4) Protos Security
5) Roanoke City Sheriff Office
6) VA Tranformers
7) Richfield Living
8) Holiday Inn Tanglewood
10) Thompson Craft House
11) Roanoke Fire & EMS
12) VA Water Authority
13) C. Lewis
14) Job Corp
15) Carilion HR
16) Jackson For City Council
17) Isiah Wiley
18) Roanoke City Health Dept.
19)Carilion Community Outreach


Hopes were raised perhaps that Senator Mark Warner’s appearance to talk about infrastructure funding at the Wiley Drive low water bridge on the greenway this afternoon – often closed due to flooding – would be funded by the bi-partisan bill signed into law by Congress. But any replacement won’t come from that pot of money since the bridge is not in major disrepair. Warner had never visited that part of the Roanoke River Greenway before. He walked the low water bridge with Roanoke City Council members, other local officials – and met several people fishing from the bridge.

Franklin County officials say 40% of its workforce leaves the county each day to reach their jobs — which is why many employers there hope to attract some of that number to positions closer to home. The county’s Workforce Development Office is hosting  a Career and Resource Fair from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Tuesday afternoon in Rocky Mount; more than two dozen employers on hand, largely in hopes of finding more employees who live nearby and may desire shorter commutes. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

CLICK HERE for full Franklin County Career Fair information

It didn’t take long after an announcement just last month – A. Duie Pyle, a transportation company that offers direct trucking and warehousing services, has opened its new facility in Roanoke on Salem Turnpike. The Pennsylvania-based company is opening two other locations in Virginia, where it will also warehouse products and then ship direct from those facilities to retail and end-user customers. John Luciani (pictured) is the chief operating officer for “Pyle.”