Appalachian Power awards $330,000 in grant funds to support local economic development efforts
Appalachian Power's John Smolak, back row, left, joins the 2018 EDGE Grant recipients from the Roanoke and New River valleys.

ROANOKE, Va. – More than 20 government and nonprofit organizations recently received grant funding from Appalachian Power in support of programs and initiatives that attract industry and encourage business expansion. The funding is part of the company’s ongoing effort to promote local economic development in the company’s three-state service area.

A total of $330,000 in grant funds was awarded to 22 organizations in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee that submitted applications to Appalachian Power’s Economic Development Growth Enhancement (EDGE) program. The funds may be used for site development or to support marketing and promotion, or new business development and retention.

“Economic development is a collaborative effort,” said Brad Hall, Appalachian Power external affairs vice president. “These grants are a way to support the creativity and outstanding programs that create and retain jobs in the communities we serve.”

Appalachian Power launched its annual EDGE Grant program in 2014. “We appreciate the daily hard work and dedication exhibited by our economic development partners,” said John Smolak, Appalachian Power economic and business development director. “If their programs are successful then we as a utility provider are stronger for it.”

Below is a complete list of the 2018 EDGE Grant recipients.


  • $20,000 to the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance for a comprehensive marketing strategy to sell and repurpose the existing TEVA Pharmaceutical facility in Forest;
  • $10,000 for Nelson County’s Economic Development Department to enhance its county-wide economic development marketing plan with a new stand-alone website;
  • $15,000 to the Campbell County Economic Development Authority to support development of a new speculative industrial shell building in Rustburg;
  • $7,000 to the City of Lynchburg Economic Development Department to support development of engineering drawings and site renderings for two industrial park sites;
  • $1,000 for the Amherst County Economic Development Authority to enhance marketing, photos and renderings of the Amelon Commerce Center; 
  • $20,000 to the Floyd County Economic Development Authority to enhance its branding and marketing program, including a new website for its industrial properties and new shell building;
  • $15,000 for the Botetourt County Economic Development Department’s efforts to establish a new marketing platform with branding, marketing materials and website;
  • $15,000 to the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority for a marketing program that will include detailed site renderings, branding, and drone video for the new 130 acre industrial park in Roanoke County known as the Woodhaven site;
  • $15,000 to Onward New River Valley Economic Development to create a balanced marketing strategy with direct marketing to site selection consultants and new available site videos for its regional jurisdictions;
  • $10,000 to the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing for the promotion of manufacturing in southwest Virginia with new video production and enhanced equipment for industry tours for students and potential workforce;
  • $10,000 to the Joint IDA of Wythe County to enhance the organization’s website content materials, videos of industrial properties and other marketing materials;
  • $10,000 to Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facilities Authority for enhanced marketing materials, video production services and site location partnership services for the New River Commerce Park;

West Virginia

  • $20,000 to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority to support a new strategic marketing plan and related marketing materials for the Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park;
  • $20,000 to the Lincoln County Development Authority to assist with the development and marketing of a 25 acre site in the Lincoln County North Business Park; 
  • $15,000 to the Mason County Development Authority to redevelop its economic development website, marketing materials and new site videos of industrial properties; 
  • $15,000 to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation to assist with site identification and assessment at two locations served by Appalachian Power, the I-64 Sam Black Church interchange, and the Peterstown area, near Route 460; 
  • $15,000 to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority to develop a prospect training program for its local development groups and support small business programs at the Beckley Business Hive; 
  • $15,000 to the City of Bluefield and Mercer County to develop a strategic marketing plan and materials for a joint Opportunity Zone development located on property at the Exit 1 interchange on I-77; 
  • $12,000 for the Huntington Area Development Council to engage a noted consulting firm to assist with a branding program, site consultant relationships and other social media marketing for the Huntington region; 
  • $10,000 to the RED Partnership in Wheeling to develop a strategic plan focusing on labor and educational symposiums for a new network of manufacturing industry leaders in Ohio and Marshall counties;


  • $40,000 to the Networks Sullivan Partnership, a multi-jurisdictional economic development marketing organization in Kingsport for engineered grading plans, site renderings and a marketing strategy for a new 20 acre site in the Gateway Commerce Park; 
  • $20,000 to the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development operated by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, for multiple educational programs designed to assist veterans, minorities and female business owners with future growth in the region.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy. 


Teresa Hamilton Hall
(540) 985-2497
Appalachian Power's John Smolak, back row, left, joins the 2018 EDGE Grant recipients from the Roanoke and New River valleys.

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