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Meet the Future: People and Projects

October 14, 2022 @ 8:45 am - 10:00 am

Be part of the narrative! Meet the regional, multi-organizational power team that is building out commercialized biotech clusters from the ground up in the Roanoke and New River Valley regions. Hear how innovation, development, technology, and workforce initiatives can come together seamlessly to shape the future and how to sustain the momentum.

1 hour program overview: 40-45 minute panel discussion from leaders of organizations that are collaborating and building out regional clusters from the ground up. Followed by short breakout discussions to expand on your ideas for the future of the region.

This program is part of a full-day event brought to you by the SWVA PMI Chapter. (See the full schedule and register here.)


  • Fralin Biomedical Research Institute – Hal Irvin
  • City of Roanoke Economic Development – Marc Nelson
  • Virginia Western Community College – Amy White
  • Verge/RBTC – Erin Burcham
  • Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center – Brett Malone
  • Moderated by Carrie Cousins, LeadPoint Digital

Meet the Panelists

Hal Irvin has supported outreach activities for Virginia Tech’s Health Sciences and Technology campus in Roanoke since October 2015. Before moving to Roanoke, he worked as Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Virginia Tech for seven years. He connects with university, government, and industry/health care representatives through coordinated outreach efforts to realize the planning and development goals of the campus. He functions in a program management role for the Virginia Tech and Carilion funded portions of the NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science (CTSA) Award partnership with the University of Virginia and Inova Health System. He facilitates partnerships, including industry-sponsored research, between companies and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute faculty. He leads the Health Sciences and Technology Commercialization Fellows program for graduate students and post-docs selected for participation. He chaired, and now serves on, the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) Advisory Board that guides the start-up business accelerator for the Roanoke and New River Valleys. He is a member of the Roanoke Innovation Corridor Planning Committee, volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and serves on the Old SW Neighborhood Association Board, the Family Service of Roanoke Valley Board, and the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation Scholarship and Foundation Grants Committee.

Marc Nelson serves as the Director for the City of Roanoke’s (City) Department of Economic Development. He has been with the City since 2011.  He currently leads the City’s innovation and economic inclusion efforts, including development of a burgeoning innovation district, mapping the region’s technology ecosystem, and increasing entrepreneurship and economic opportunities related to innovation. He also leads a staff of six focused on a wide range of municipal economic development efforts, including business development, business retention and expansion, public-private investment, and economic equity. Prior to coming to Roanoke, Marc also worked for the City of Savannah and the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management.

Driven by a lifelong love of the natural sciences, Amy S. White received her undergraduate degree in Biology from James Madison University, and her Masters in Microbiology and Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She also earned a Certificate in Field Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Following completion of her graduate degree, Amy worked for a private consulting firm in environmental toxicology until beginning her teaching career at Hollins University in 2001.  She taught at James Madison University from 2003 – 2005 and has worked at Virginia Western Community College since 2005.  At Virginia Western, she has held various roles, including Assistant Professor in Biology, Biology Program Head and Assistant Dean.  She now serves as Dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), while continuing to teach part-time in the Science department.  In her current role, she strives to provide meaningful educational opportunities for local students, as well as helping develop and support strong academic programs that contribute to the economic vitality of the region.

Erin Burcham is the President of Verge and Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. She’s spearheaded initiatives for technology, innovation, and talent development in the region including multiple GO Virginia projects throughout her career. Previously she served as the director of talent solutions for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in leadership with a focus on economic development from Virginia Tech.

Brett Malone, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia’s largest university research park and champion of emerging markets and technologies. He has a diverse background as a biotech and software entrepreneur with experience from working in a variety of startup ecosystems such as San Francisco, Denver, and Boston.




October 14, 2022
8:45 am - 10:00 am
Event Category:


Hollins University, Babcock Auditorium
7916 Williamson Rd
Roanoke, VA 24020 United States
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