Aila Boyd
aboyd@ourvalley.org

PHOTO BY AILA BOYD
Heather Fay became the assistant director of economic
development for Botetourt County last month.

Heather Fay, a Troutville resident and Massachusetts native, joined Botetourt County last month. She will be serving as assistant director of economic development.

Fay will be serving under Ken McFadyen, who assumed the role of director of economic development in 2016. “Heather’s enthusiasm for her professional work and the Botetourt community is evident and we are looking forward to her contributions in 2019 and into the future toward assisting the county with delivering economic development services to our residents and businesses,” McFadyen said. Fay explained that her primary focus will be on small businesses and marketing, whereas Mc- Fadyen will continue to concentrate his efforts on the industrial side of economic development.

“My job is to help with retention, recruitment, and expansion,” Fay said. “Heather is a welcomed addition to the county staff and is our second full-time economic development employee who is adding signifi cant capacity to an already effective program,” Gary Larrowe, county administrator, said in a press release at the time of Fay’s hiring. Fay, who previously spent a considerable amount of time in college admissions, hopes to utilize her recruitment and retention experience when dealing with local businesses. In the past, she served in leadership positions in the admissions offices of Roanoke College, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. “I spent a lot of time on the road – traveling and getting to know people,” Fay said of her time in college admissions. “I spent a lot of time interacting with people and learning how to be an active listener.” As she continues to make herself aware of the business climate in the county, Fay said that she hopes to foster close relationships with local businesses much in the same way that she did with potential students and parents back when she worked in admissions. She added that she wants “to see companies thrive.”

She said that she plans to assess where the holes are in terms of businesses throughout the county, with the goal in mind of fi lling them through the recruitment and retention of businesses that she feels could thrive in the area. She said that she has her “ear to the ground,” listening to what local businesses are saying. In addition to getting to know local business leaders, she explained that she’s on the lookout for individuals who have aspirations of becoming entrepreneurs.

She said that she hopes to be able to help “connect the dots,” helping them make their dreams of owning a business a reality. For businesses and entrepreneurs that are already established, Fay said she hopes to be able to help them continue to operate successfully. In order to do so, she that she plans to listen to their problems and do whatever she can to guide them in the right direction. According to her job description, she is to “assist the director of economic development with business recruitment, retention and expansion in Botetourt County through the cultivation and development of relationships with companies currently established in Botetourt County and companies looking to establish or expand in Botetourt County.” Part of her job also includes assisting companies to identify and hire qualifi ed applicants. “I’m just really excited about this position,” Fay said.

“I’m looking forward to helping the county grow – it’s where we live, work, play, learn, and worship. It’s just something I’m so honored to be able to participate in.” She holds a master of science in education from Capella University and a bachelor of science in business from William Woods University. Most recently, she served as the director of events and member engagement for the Roanoke- Blacksburg Technology Council. Fay explained that when she fi rst started at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, the organization staged 20 events a year. During her most recent year, upward of 50 events were staged. Her tenure there also required her to engage with 285 different companies. “It was nice to see it scale and grow,” Fay said of her time with the council. In order to let local business leaders know that she’s in the county and ready to start assisting people, Fay has been, and will continue to, attending networking events and is working closely with the Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce.

“That’s the biggest piece – getting the word out that I’m here,” Fay said. “Of course, I can’t solve everybody’s problems, but I can at least be a sounding board to help businesses be successful.” Fay encourages business owners to contact her by emailing her at hfay@botetourt.gov or by calling her at 928- 2140. “Come to us. We’re here to help you and want you to thrive,” Fay said. “Whether you’re interested in starting a business or you’re a current business owner or are thinking about expanding, know that we’re here to serve you.”

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