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Jul 25

A Debt of Gratitude

Posted on July 25, 2022 at 10:56 AM by Casey Lewis

A Debt of Gratitude 

In the past few weeks there has been the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of two individuals that have contributed greatly to the success and prosperity of our community.  In this week’s post, I take a few moments to share their contributions and offer my gratitude.

Man at the Center

Dr. James Sears fulfilled his work with Center in the Square a couple of weeks back after a long and stellar career leading this seminal institution literally at the center of the City and at the core of its revitalization.  Jim led the Center for nearly 30 years, taking it from one building to five, housing such important activities as Mill Mountain Theater, the Pinball Museum, the Harrison Museum, Kids Square, the Science Museum, the O. Winston Link Museum, and the History Museum of Western Virginia.  Most recently the Center has been affiliated with Illuminights and the T-Rex Trail at Explore Park and Blue Ridge Nightmares in Southeast Roanoke.  

As important as housing these many events is, the role that Jim and the Center have played over the years in the revitalization of downtown and the continued vitality of the entire region is the real reason for celebration and gratitude.

A Mentor for Many

Dr. Mary Miller fulfilled her work as Executive Director of the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) which anchors one end of Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor.  Mary’s leadership at RAMP, preceded by her leadership of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and of a private technology company all have contributed immeasurably to the vitality of the local technology and biomedical research ecosystem in our community.  Under Mary’s capable leadership, RAMP has welcomed and nurtured dozens of regional businesses at various stages, helping accelerate them to next level opportunities.  

RAMP has been and will continue to be a key element in the region’s efforts to establish and grow technology based businesses and translate the research occurring in the Innovation Corridor into commercial opportunities.

To both Jim and Mary we can heartily say well done.  It would be challenging to find greater examples of individuals who contributed so much to our Star City and for that I say, thank you!

- Bob Cowell


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