What's Happening in Tazewell County


Press Release

July 24, 2017
Tazewell, Virginia
Reference:  Bluestone Business and Technology Park


The Bluestone Business and Technology Park is moving forward with the construction of 40,000 sq. ft. shell building.  A groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held Friday, the 21st to officially kick off this project.  The building is being constructed by the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority to help draw new businesses to the park.  Companies or entrepreneurial individuals want to talk about a building and how quickly they can occupy it instead of waiting one to two years to plan and build a new one.  The new shell building can be completed awaiting a company and the build-out can be done to the buyer or lessee's requirements.  "We have lost several opportunities just because we did not have a building ready to occupy in a reasonable time", said Mike Thompson, Economic Development Director for Tazewell County. "This building will allow us to market the park to a variety of companies and will provide a better avenue when a tenant is obtained giving our citizens and our young people an opportunity to stay and work in our beautiful county."

The IDA is excited to break ground.  "The building should be constructed and ready for further build-out by end of December," said Rick Chitwood, Project Manager for Thompson-Litton who is heading the project. Thompson added, "we are now talking and will be reaching out to potential companies who can offer good paying jobs as we move forward."  "It is also imperative that we spread the word that The Bluestone is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  We hope this will add to the excitement of what we feel is a more optimistic economy already emerging."  

Our Industrial Development Authority, our Board of Supervisors and our county staff are working hard for this new beginning.  The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) is also working with the IDA on the building and potential tenant candidates through their marketing program.  "The goal is to have a good tenant as quickly as possible," said Patricia Green, Tazewell County Administrator.  "We need everyone to get behind this initiative and drive to keep the momentum going.  We all have a responsibility to help Tazewell County grow."


Mike Thompson
Economic Development Director 

Tazewell County, Virginia


Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority
P.O. Box 1060
Lebanon, VA 24266

News Release
CONTACT: Jonathan Belcher
276-889-0381 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Lebanon, VA (April 27, 2017) – The Bluestone Business and Technology Park in Tazewell County will soon be home to a new 40,000-square-foot technology shell building, thanks to a $2.739 million loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

VCEDA closed on the loan during a brief ceremony at the Tazewell County IDA office today (Thursday, April 27). The VCEDA board approved financing for the project earlier this year. The funds will be used for site grading, site development, building construction, utilities installations and extensions, other improvements and costs associated with the foregoing including legal, permit, architectural and engineering fees associated with the development and construction of the new shell building.

“VCEDA is pleased to assist with this project,” VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher, who also serves as the authority’s general counsel, said. “As we talk with potential prospects interested in the region, one question we hear often relates to the availability of existing buildings for location. Our inventory of available publicly controlled industrial buildings in the region has been decreasing for several years as those buildings are occupied, and we are pleased to assist in the construction of this building in Tazewell County’s Bluestone Business and Technology Park.

“Tazewell County and VCEDA have already been marketing the future shell building to potential business prospects,” Belcher added.

The new building is the first building to be constructed in The Bluestone Business and Technology Park, located just off U.S. Route 19 in Tazewell County. Funds for the project are coming from VCEDA’s Tazewell County account.  VCEDA also previously provided a $2 million grant to the Tazewell County IDA to assist with the development of the park.

Construction of the new building is expected to begin in June, with completion anticipated in December 2017.

PHOTO Caption:

Among those on hand for the $2.739 million loan closing were, from left, Pat Green, Tazewell County Administrator; Eric Young, Tazewell County Attorney; Doyle Rasnick, Tazewell County IDA Chairman; Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel; and Mike Thompson, Tazewell County Economic Development.



Governor McAuliffe Announces New Exports to Canada for Virginia Coal Equipment Manufacturer

October 4, 2016

~ Company Expands International Sales through Participation in Virginia’s Go Global with Coal and Energy Technology Program ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Ceramic Technology, Inc., a Cedar Bluff-based manufacturer of ceramic-lined coal and mineral process equipment, made more than $300,000 in sales to new customers in Canada as a result of its participation in the Go Global with Coal & Energy Technology (GGCET) program. GGCET is a collaboration of the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), resulting from the Governor’s 2014 Energy Plan. Canada was Virginia’s largest product export destination in 2015, with product exports totaling more than $3.4 billion. 

“As part of our 2014 Energy Plan, we laid out a vision for facilitating access to international markets for coal supply chain companies based in Southwest Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “GGCET gives these businesses in the Coalfield region an opportunity to export their expertise and products, helping them expand their businesses and create jobs. Ceramic Technology, Inc. is a great example of a Virginia business that expanded its international clientele with the help of this important program. We will continue to find innovative ways to help grow existing businesses as we build the new Virginia economy.” 

Ceramic Technology, Inc. recently celebrated its 32nd year of operation. This anniversary marks an innovative progression into the design and development of the current CTI-X7 ceramic-lined process equipment being used throughout the coal, power, potash, phosphate, and gold mining industries.

Ceramic Technology, Inc. graduated from the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program in July 2013. The company conducted a business trip to Toronto and Montreal in October 2015 through the GGCET program. Traveling to this important international market provided the company with the opportunity to meet with potential customers in the country through connections made by VEDP’s in-country partner.

Making the announcement on behalf of the Governor at the Virginia Conference on World Trade, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore added, “Ceramic Technology is the first Virginia company to leverage this innovative program to expand its footprint in the international marketplace. The funding provided by VCEDA to support the GGCET program allows these companies to travel to international markets and find customers outside of Virginia and the U.S., diversifying their customer base and creating jobs in the Coalfield region along the way.”

In addition, Ceramic Technology, Inc. exhibited at the 2016 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum Show in Vancouver, where company representatives met potential new clients to develop sales relationships in the gold and uranium markets. The CTI-X7 ceramic-lined process equipment continues outperforming traditional rubber and AR-lined mining equipment, increasing efficiency 10 to 15 times over the current base line performance.

“We look forward to increasing our Canadian market share and to the continued relationship with VEDP and the GGCET Program,” said Lee R. Osborne, President and CEO of Ceramic Technology, Inc. “With the assistance of an in-country partner, we were able to accomplish a great deal more than we could have if we had travelled to market on our own.”

The GGCET program assists coal and energy technology companies in the Virginia coalfield region in expanding their international business. GGCET offers a powerful combination of resources provided by VCEDA and VEDP, as well as professional services from expert, private-sector partners. GGCET is modeled after and linked to VEDP’s award-winning VALET program.

“VCEDA is pleased to support coalfield companies’ participation in the Commonwealth’s international trade development programs through GGCET,” said J.P. Richardson, VCEDA Vice Chairman. “VCEDA is assisting eight of our region's coal and energy technology companies with support and access to resources to help expand their international sales and markets.”

In 2014, the Commonwealth of Virginia exported more than $36 billion in manufactured goods and services. Exports of Virginia’s products and services to the world are vital to the growth of the Commonwealth, with an economic impact to Virginia of more than $18.7 billion in labor income, $2 billion in tax revenue and the creation of nearly 321,000 jobs. 

More information about Ceramic Technology, Inc. may be found at

February 8, 2016

Best Online Colleges – Southwest Virginia Community College (ASO), a leading resource for online learning and college accreditation information, has released its annual rankings for the 2015-2016 Best Online Colleges in the nation. Southwest Virginia Community College was listed among this distinguished list of exemplary colleges.

According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, twelve and a half percent of students, nationwide, are enrolled exclusively in distance education courses.

Ranked schools meet a number of criteria and metrics, including: Must offer an Associate’s degree or higher; Must be a public or private, not-for-profit institution; Must offer at least one fully-online degree program

“We wanted to highlight schools, like Southwest Virginia, that have made it a point to ensure academic quality standards through accreditation” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of Accredited Schools Online. “These schools are not only offering exceptional programs, but they have expanded their program’s excellence to the much-desired online environment.”

Accredited Schools Online has distinguished its ranking scale by the use of Peer-Based Value, or PBV. The PBV score compares the cost of each program to the cost of similar programs with the same qualitative score.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dominic Martin at 775.432.2007 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pat Bussard, M.S.

Public Relations Coordinator

Southwest Virginia Community College



Date: December 10. 2015

Recently, Niche released their “best of” rankings for 2015, including the best towns in Virginia for raising a family. Niche is an online community data source focused specifically on helping students, families, and professionals make major life decisions. To determine the best places in Virginia, they looked at factors like crime, education, access to libraries and grocery stores and much more. To see the full article and rating methodology, click here.