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The Virginia Association of Planning Commissions (VAPDC) returns with a short series of educational and informational programs to kick off the new year. These three online meetings will cover pertinent topics just in time for the start of 2021. So, mark your calendar for January 8*, February 5, and March 5 (10:00 am – 11:30 am) to connect and learn with VAPDC!


*Ok, so technically this is the second Friday of the month, but we figured you didn’t want to join us on New Year’s Day.

Meeting Schedule

Program 3—Friday, March 5, 2021

Marching Forward

Virginia eased public health restrictions during COVID-19 last year using its Forward Virginia blueprint. How is the state addressing recovery and recalibration for a rebuilt and reliable future?


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The Honorable Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce & Trade, Commonwealth of Virginia

Brian Ball was appointed Secretary of Commerce and Trade in April of 2018. He previously served in the Northam Administration as Special Advisor for Economic Development and Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade.  Prior to joining the Northam Administration, Brian was an attorney at Williams Mullen where he concentrated his practice in mergers and acquisitions, securities laws and corporate governance matters. Brian served as a trusted advisor to senior management, boards of directors and audit and special board committees handling such matters as internal investigations and activist shareholders. He also regularly represented clients before state and federal administrative agencies and the Virginia General Assembly. Brian served on the firm’s board of directors and as its General Counsel. Brian graduated with high distinction from the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. He is admitted to practice in Virginia, the District of Columbia and California. He served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1981 to 1982.

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Stephen Moret, President & CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Before joining VEDP in January 2017, Moret served as chief executive of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Louisiana Dept. of Economic Development, as well as the LSU Foundation and its real-estate development arm. At VEDP, he has collaborated with state, regional, and local partners to craft an ambitious vision focused on transformational goals, including accelerating employment growth; enabling every region to grow; and moving back to the top of national business climate rankings. He led Virginia’s successful state-and-local team bid for Amazon’s HQ2 and is launching a world-class, custom workforce program along with the Virginia Community College System. For seven years, Moret served as secretary of LED, transforming it into one of America’s top state economic development agencies. While there, he led business development efforts and built higher ed partnerships that helped secure a variety of projects in urban and rural areas, including software/IT centers (e.g., CGI, CSC, GE, IBM), food/agricultural processing facilities, and a few of the largest FDI projects in U.S. history. Collectively these projects totaled more than $62 billion in capital investment. He also established LED FastStart, which The Economist called “probably the most notable statewide workforce-development initiative [in America].” During his tenure, Louisiana rose to its highest-ever position in every national business climate ranking.  Prior to LED, Moret was CEO of BRAC, which he and his team transformed into a nationally competitive, regional EDO. He also served as a consultant with McKinsey & Company; a public policy fellow with the Public Affairs Research Council of La.; and a consultant to Harvard Business School. Moret received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University; a MBA from Harvard Business School, and an Ed.D. degree in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Program 2—Friday, February 5, 2021

February Friday with the Fed

The worldwide pandemic sent our national and state economy on a wild ride nearly a year ago. Where do we stand now, and what is the outlook for the coming months?



Tom Barkin, President & Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Tom Barkin is the president and chief executive officer of the Richmond Fed. He joined the Richmond Fed in January 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the Bank’s monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services as well as oversight of the Federal Reserve System’s information technology organization. Tom serves as a voting member in 2021 on the Federal Reserve’s chief monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee. Prior to joining the Richmond Fed, Tom was a senior partner and chief financial officer at McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm. Tom oversaw McKinsey’s offices in the southern United States and provided strategic counsel to a diverse portfolio of clients. Tom also served on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 2009 to 2014 and was the board’s chairman from 2013 to 2014. Tom is a member of the Emory University Board of Trustees and the Greater Washington Partnership. Tom earned his bachelor’s, MBA and law degrees from Harvard University.


Sonya Ravindranath Waddell, Vice President & Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell is a vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Waddell has responsibility for the Regional and Community Development research areas within the Research Department, including setting strategic direction for various data products, surveys, and other regional and local analysis. In addition, she directs the incorporation of regional information into FOMC policy preparation for the Richmond Fed. Her work involves analyzing economic trends, writing for a variety of publications, and presenting on regional and national economic conditions. Prior to joining the Richmond Fed in 2008, Waddell worked as an economist in the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget and at ICF International in Washington, D.C. She earned her bachelor's degree from Williams College in 2001 and her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006.

Program 1—Friday, January 8, 2021

Gearing up for the Virginia General Assembly

With the 2021 General Assembly convening soon, this session will explore the legislature’s logistics and timelines, highlight anticipated legislative issues and the Governor’s budget proposal, while providing a glimpse at the politics of it all.


David C. Blount, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions

Deputy Director and Director of Legislative Services, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission

David Blount is the first Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions. He has served in that position since 2018 through a partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District, where he has served for 21 years and presently is Deputy Director and Director of Legislative Services. He previously held positions as a policy associate with the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute at VCU, and as a legislative consultant for both the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League. He is a graduate of James Madison University.

2021 Winter Series Sponsors

2021 Virginia Partners

Partner Profiles

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