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Augusta County economic development director honored by VEDA

rebekah castle
Rebekah Castle. Photo courtesy Augusta County.

The Virginia Economic Developers Association presented its Rising Star Award to Rebekah Castle, director of economic development and marketing for Augusta County, at the organization’s Winter Membership Meeting last week.

The VEDA Rising Star Award recognizes a VEDA member who has made a mark on his or her employer during a relatively short tenure in a new role.

Castle, in her current position since March 2020, works to attract and retain industry, business and tourism to Augusta County, in the Shenandoah Valley on the western edge of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Although Rebekah started her new job during the global pandemic, she has been able to excel at all aspects of it with poise and professionalism,” said VEDA Rising Star Award Chair Gizelle Siapno. “She exemplifies the core tenants of a rising star in economic development, and we salute her for all of her accomplishments.”

Castle served as Marketing Coordinator for Augusta County for more than six years prior to transitioning to the Director position. In her first 19 months, more than $172,000,000 in investment and 162 new jobs have been announced in Augusta County. Castle was instrumental in the JobStarter initiative, a three-week, paid training program connecting willing workers with area manufacturers.

Castle is also behind the continued success of the People of Augusta series on the county website, which introduces business prospects to the people who creatively and uniquely contribute to the state’s economy. The program earned an honorable mention in VEDA’s 2020 Community Economic Development Awards.

In her nomination letter, Castle is lauded for having “demonstrated an appetite for excellence, an aptitude for mastering her new responsibilities, and an initiative in the workplace.” The letter notes that she sought counsel from industry peers and participated in numerous trainings through VEDA in order to serve Augusta County.

Castle holds a bachelor of arts in communication studies from Bridgewater College.

VEDA established the Rising Star Award in 2020, and Meghan Welch, now Director, Technologies & Services, Business Investment, for Virginia Economic Development Partnership, was the inaugural recipient. The idea for the award originated with the VEDA Young Professionals to recognize the Stars of Economic Development in Virginia.

augusta free press
augusta free press