Office of Economic Development and Tourism

The Office of Economic Development and Tourism is the City of Lynchburg’s economic development and tourism agency. With a focus on developing people and place, staff leads business retention, expansion and attraction efforts, entrepreneurship and tourism initiatives, and business marketing and promotion for the City.

Marjette G. Upshur
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Anna M. Bentson
Assistant Director
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Lisa Meriwether
Tourism Sales Manager
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Alisha Meador
Economic Development Manager
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Krista M. Boothby
Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
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Andrew Marks
Tourism Sales Coordinator
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Emelyn Gwynn Light
Lynchburg Experience Manager
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Melissa L. Dismond
Administrative Associate III
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Economic Development Authority

The Economic Development Authority of the City of Lynchburg is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and serves as the incentive arm of the City. Lynchburg’s EDA takes an active role in economic development efforts, actively pursuing investment and development opportunities, and elevating the economic development profile of the City. 

The Economic Development Authority meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the Office of Economic Development. Any changes to this meeting schedule are posted in City Hall and released to the media. Meetings are open to the public. 

Louise E. Mitchell, Chair -->

Louise has a strong background in education, entrepreneurship and community engagement.  She earned a Bachelor of Science from Bluefield State College and a MEd in Early Childhood Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She has owned and operated two businesses, and currently serves as Business Manager at Credit Connection, Inc.  Louise is active in a variety of community associations and organizations, including work with at-risk youth, Miriam's House, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Lynchburg Chapter of Links and MDM Networking, Inc., sponsor of the Pink Auction, which raises money for Breast Cancer research, education and services.  Louise was the 2010 recipient of the Mayor’s Award of Excellence.  She has served on the LEDA since 2009.

Mark Strosnider, Vice Chair -->

Mark has been a local banker in Lynchburg since 1986 and currently works as a commercial lender with American National Bank and Trust.  Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech, the VBA School of Bank Management, and ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University.  Mark is a native of Strasburg, VA. Mark is an active member of the Lynchburg Morning Rotary Club and the Hokie Club.  Mark and his wife Nancy have four children.

John M. Stone, Secretary-Treasurer -->

John is a First Vice President / Investments with Stifel Nicolaus, a national financial services firm. A graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, John has more than 17 years of experience in wealth management. He holds the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and AIF (Accredited Investment Fiduciary) designations. He is a member of the CFA Institute and Richmond Society of Financial Analysts. John currently serves as Board Chair of the Lynchburg Business Development Centre, on the Board of Directors of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, and as a Board Member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Lynchburg-Morning. John and his wife, Shelley, live in Lynchburg with their four children. He was appointed to the EDA in July 2015. 

William T. Lovern, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer -->

Bill is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of The Global Volunteer Partnership, an electronic portal that matches skilled volunteers with international deployment opportunities, providing partial financial support to the host organization to fund the deployment. Bill graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A degree in Economics. After a forty-five year career in banking and finance, both in New York and Philadelphia, Mr. Lovern has retired and returned to Lynchburg where he was born and raised. Bill serves the Lynchburg soccer community as a Grade 8 FIFA referee. 

Gerard E. Swienton, CFP -->

Gerry is the Managing Partner of the Registered Investment Advisory firm Investment Leadership, LLC. He is past Chair of the Lynchburg Planning Commission of which he served as a Planning Commissioner for over nine years. He is past President of CASA of Central Virginia, Inc. He also served as Finance Council Chair at his church. In addition, he coached basketball at the varsity level.

Organizations he has served for include the Boards of Holy Cross School, The Ellington, The Central Virginia Foundation for Economic Education and Improvement, and The Diocesan Development Commission. He has taught adult education investment classes for almost a decade and has published investment articles and lectured on various topics. His current speaking topics include “Conservative Investing – Principles that Have Withstood the Test of Time”, “Creating Achievers in Your Organization from a Higher Standard of Leadership Excellence, and “Repetitive Positive Qualities of Current and Historical Peak Achievers”. 

Georgeann Snead -->

Georgeann is President and CEO of Electronic Design and Manufacturing, an employee-owned manufacturer of printed circuit board assemblies started in the Lynchburg Business Development Centre in 1990. Prior to joining EDM, Georgeann served as the first director of the Lynchburg Business Development Centre. Georgeann is a graduate of Davidson College and is actively involved in the community, serving on several local boards. She and her husband Parks have two grown children.

Rex D. Geveden -->

Rex Geveden is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT), a $1.7 billion nuclear industrial conglomerate headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. BWXT supplies nuclear components, fuel and other services to the commercial nuclear power industry and the U.S. government, supporting about 6,000 employees.  As CEO, Mr. Geveden directs all business operations and leads strategic planning, capital allocation, and leadership succession planning and implementation.

Mr. Geveden joined BWXT in 2015 as Chief Operating Officer (COO), responsible for all operating business units. Previously, he was Executive Vice President at Teledyne Technologies, leading two of the four Teledyne operating segments. He spent 17 years at NASA, including service as the agency’s COO responsible for a $16 billion portfolio of work that encompassed the agency’s technical operations of science, aeronautics, space operations and exploration as well as overseeing NASA’s 10 field centers.

Mr. Geveden holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Murray State University.

Theodore J. Craddock, Counsel -->

Ted, an attorney with Caskie & Frost, serves as counsel to the LEDA.  Ted received his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School Of Law.  Ted is a member of the Virginia State Bar Association, has served as President of the Lynchburg Bar Association, and he has been included in the “Best Lawyers in America” listing every year since 2001.  Ted was and is active in numerous community, church and professional associations.  He and his wife Sarah have four children and seven grandchildren.

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