Over my years at the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission (CPPDC), I have worked to bring safe drinking water to thousands of households in Southwest Virginia’s coalfields by writing grant applications so that monthly water bills could be reasonable and affordable. The great majority of households served were low-to moderate-income. Other efforts have been directed toward better housing for seniors and low-income citizens, job creation opportunities and deployment of broadband infrastructure. Other efforts include advocacy of and participation in the creation and development of Appalachian Sustainable Development, The Crooked road, Round the Mountain, Appalachian Spring, all asset-based development initiatives that have made Southwest Virginia an international tourism destination, thus creating jobs and economic opportunity for the region’s lower income citizens.
Inspirations and Influences
Love of the region I serve and its people have inspired me through the years. Despite the challenges of a one-industry economy and a great deal of poverty, the local governmental leaders and citizens of the area have a can-do attitude that keeps the fresh and meaningful. On a personal note, two individuals have been very inspirational, Anthony Flaccavento and Todd Christensen. Both of them, neither of whom are from this area, saw the potential for a better Southwest Virginia and inspired me to work harder for the region I serve.
“I look forward to going to work every day for the opportunity to collaborate with our local, regional, state and federal leaders to improve our region and the lives of our citizens and communities through innovative programs and initiatives.”
Field: Community Development and Asset-based Initiatives
“My love of Southwest Virginia guides my work to see it reach its full potential.”