Episode 32
Brand Story Podcast

Mindful Community Development

featuring Jay Langston

Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership

Jay Langston, Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership, discusses the field of economic development and bringing businesses to the Shenandoah Valley with our president, Steve Gilman

Cultural amenities, affordable housing, good schools — they aren’t just factors people look for when deciding to live somewhere, they’re what businesses are paying attention to when considering an expansion of their workforce operations. It’s no longer enough to just set up shop and post job openings. Companies are intentionally looking for strong quality of life factors and asking the questions for their employees – where will they live and what will their experience be like here?

It’s a question Jay Langston loves to answer. As the Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership, he’s leading the efforts to expand and relocate business to the region, finding the right balance of what’s important to them and what fits with the Valley. In this episode, we talk with Jay about his career in economic development, balancing work between new and existing businesses, and the features that make up the Shenandoah Valley.

About the Guest

Jay Langston

Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership

Jay is the Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the regional economic development organization in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he is leading efforts to expand and relocate business to the region. He has over 30 years of extensive experience in economic and business development, and in 2010 received the Virginia Economic Developers Association’s Cardinal Award, the highest award for economic development leadership, career accomplishment, and service.

Quickfire Q&A

What brought you to the field of economic development?

I actually was at the right place at the right time – responded to an ad that allowed me to enter this field at a young, tender age. I was from the construction industry and got a great opportunity through my college’s alumni placement center. Got hired, early eighties, right place, right time. Great bosses, great mentors, and I’ve never looked back.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

I would say go back and take a look at what you really wanted to do. Stop talking and listen – talk to people and then listen to what they said. I think I probably could have avoided some heartache in that regard.

If you hadn't been in economic development, what would you be doing?

I would be working with my hands. My dad was a mechanic and would not let me play around with him on stuff because he didn’t want me doing the same thing, but I love that instant gratification.

About The Host

Steve Gilman

As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.