UPS drone test in Lawrenceville, VA

Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) recently partnered with UPS’s (NYSE:UPS) drone delivery subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) and drone technology companies  DroneUp and Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) in tests designed to determine how unmanned aerial systems can assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

As healthcare practitioners nationwide and around the world race to contain the virus and save lives, time is of the essence. Experts in the healthcare industry and in government are calling for technology solutions that can speed the pace of testing and treatment for infected patients. They also express concern for healthcare providers on the front lines who interact with potentially infected patients on a daily basis. Technology leaders see autonomous drones as a potentially valuable solution. 

“I am encouraged to see so many private sector partners stepping up and thinking innovatively as we work together to combat COVID-19,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Drones can be an important way to deliver medical supplies while people stay home to adhere to our social distancing guidelines. Virginia is well-positioned to be a leader in the unmanned system industry, and we are pleased to be part of this initiative.” 

photo of health care worker wearing PPE made by YakAttackA Farmville business has joined the nationwide effort to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

YakAttack, a local company that normally produces fishing gear for kayaks, has temporarily refashioned its machinery to produce PPE.

Company President Luther Cifers said YakAttack, like many other businesses, has been heavily affected by the pandemic. Although spring is one of the busiest times for the industry, several workers were laid off as things came to a halt.

Photo: Robin Guthrie, who works at Centra Southside Community Hospital’s Emergency Department, tries on a PAPR face shield produced by YakAttack. The business is utilizing its kayak fishing machinery to produce emergency PPE equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVEC USDA Event Speakers

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM received $28,000,000 in funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Reconnect Program.  The announcement was made Friday morning by USDA Virginia State Director, Beth Green, to a group of 200 guests comprised of county officials, local and elected officials, directors, supervisors, business partners, and CVEC members and employees. CVEC and Firefly President and CEO Gary Wood remarked, “We have great partners and the folks who have spoken today at the local, state and federal level have contributed to make this announcement and grant possible. We need the partners and appreciate all they have done to help the members of CVEC.” 

Like many rural communities, Mecklenburg County relies on regional cooperation to boost its economy. A newly formed partnership — Virginia’s Manufacturing Region — is a regional coalition to market Southern Virginia as a top destination for manufacturing jobs.

It’s a bit like a supergroup, with Virginia’s Growth Alliance in Keysville, Virginia Gateway Region in Colonial Heights and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance pooling their resources.

Photo of student building a gaming console at GO TEC partner Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Career Tech Academy (CTA-IT).
A student builds a gaming console at GO TEC partner Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Career Tech Academy (CTA-IT) as part of their IT program. CTA-IT gives students the hands-on skills needed to build, repair and troubleshoot computers and personal computing devices.

In March 2019, GO TEC received the largest grant to date from the GO Virginia competitive funding pool. The GO Virginia State Board approved an investment of up to $4.9 million, which will be matched 1-to-1 by support from more than 17 local partners.

The project will deliver workforce training and talent development through a “hub and spoke” model and will target in-demand occupations identified across Southern and Southwest Virginia. Targeted career paths include IT/cybersecurity; robotics, automation and mechatronics; precision machining; welding; and advanced materials. Participating GO Virginia Regions include 1, 3 and 4, an area thatencompasses many of Virginia’s rural counties stretching from Wythe County to Greensville County.

GOTEC logo

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and the Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) staff and advisory board have selected and unveiled a new brand for the GO TEC project. The selection process was facilitated by IALR and completed with the input of students, educators, industry, economic developers and GO TEC Advisory Board members.

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