Vision 2020 announces board

Creating a shared, unified vision for the future of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County has been an on-going process for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of community leaders. Since 2009, three leadership workshops or forums have been held every six months, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce members have been surveyed to collect the business community’s opinions on our community and the general public has participated through an open survey process last year. A vision statement, four cornerstones and accompanying strategies were drafted and Vision 2020 representatives shared the plan with every local government in the area.

Last Thursday, the process took a more formal step by bringing together twenty-four community leaders to serve as the Vision 2020 Leadership Board. This group began working on specific actions that will help fulfill the vision – A community of unparallel quality of life, where natural beauty, friendly interdependent relationships and diverse cultural, economic and educational opportunities exist.

The Vision 2020 Leadership Board met for the first time, breaking into four “Cornerstone Working Groups” – Comprehensive Community Planning; Business Vitality and Entrepreneurship; World Class Education and Workforce; and Community Leadership and Mentorship Development. Each working group will be doing resource assessment, establishing short-range action steps, developing long-range benchmarks for success and integrating the body of work into the goals of Vision 2020. For example, one of the well recognized strengths of our economy is the diversity of the business base, but that makes the educators’ and trainers’ jobs of identifying common job skills and projecting workforce needs somewhat elusive. One immediate action step may be to create a stronger link between businesses and education, which may also lead to a more efficient allocation of resources in the future.

“Whatever develops from the Leadership Board will include input from many others” according to Chairman Tom Mendez. “The plan has always been to develop and adopt a community-wide Vision that everyone can embrace and recognize as the future we want for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County”. An interim report is expected in December from the working groups and a community event is being scheduled for the spring.

Members of the Vision2020 Leadership Board include:

Community Planning Cornerstone Focus

1. Mensel Dean, Principal – PBGH
2. Joe Paxton, Rockingham County Administrator
3. Kurt Hodgen, Harrisonburg City Manager
4. Daniel Michael, Principal – Valley Engineering
5. Austin Garber, Town Manager –Timberville
6. Jim Mason, President – Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative
7. Frank Tamberrino, President/CEO HR Chamber

Business Vitality & Entrepreneur Focus

1. John Hall, CEO – Camp Horizons/Horizons Youth
2. Tony Biller, CEO -Nielsen Builders
3. Ron Yoder, CEO – Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community
4. Keith May, CEO – Cottonwood Realty
5. Dr. Krishna Kodukula, Executive Director – SRI International/CADRE
6. Tim Heydon, CEO Shenandoah Growers
7. Frank Tamberrino, President/CEO HR Chamber

World-Class Education & Workforce Focus

1. Dr. John Downey, President – Blue Ridge Community College
2. Dr. Loren Swartzendruber, President – Eastern Mennonite University
3. Dr. Mark Warner, Vice President – James Madison University
4. Dr. Carol Fenn , Superintendent – Rockingham County Schools
5. Alysia Davis, Executive Director – Smart Beginnings
6. Dr. Scott Kizner, Superintendent – Harrisonburg City Public Schools
7. Tom Mendez, Vice President – BB&T

Community Leadership Development Focus

1. John Neff – Community Champion; Chairman –Nielsen Builders
2. Dennis Zimmerman, CEO – Comsonics
3. Cathy Welsh, Attorney -Lenhart Obenshain
4.Tracey Jones, General Manager -WHSV
5. Laurie Deavers, Executive Director – Generations Crossing
6. Dixie Garber, United Bank
7. Tom Mendez, Vice President – BB&T


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