Author Archives: Rick Whittington

new Bedford County website

Bedford County Economic Development launches new website

The Bedford County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that we have launched a new website aimed at providing information that site selectors and new businesses need when making decisions to locate or expand a business. The site also provides useful information about incentives, real estate, and workforce development tools.

The new site was a project of the Bedford County Economic Development Authority as a way to effectively market the unique assets and superb quality of life that residents and businesses enjoy in Bedford County.

“This new website is all about showcasing the diverse economy that we have in Bedford County, from agriculture to high tech industries and nuclear power,” said Traci Blido, Economic Development Director. “We’re on the cusp of what we believe will be strong growth in new and expanding business and this site will help decision makers find the information they are looking for.”

The target industries featured on the site include nuclear energy, wireless communication, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and agribusiness.

For more information, visit


Bedford County to benefit from regional agriculture grantBedford County to benefit from regional agriculture grant

Bedford County to benefit from regional agriculture grant

Governor Bob McDonnell announced on May 8 the recipients of fiscal year 2013 planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) and Bedford County will benefit. The program was developed to encourage local governments and regional organizations to analyze and plan strategically about how they can support and integrate agriculture and forestry-based industries into their communities’ overall economic development efforts.

Read more here

Bedford Grown Logo

Bedford Grown Program Launched

The Bedford Grown program is a method for consumers, retailers, restaurants, farmers markets, and wholesalers to identify and promote locally grown produce or goods. The program is provided through the Bedford Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board (AEDAB), in partnership with the Bedford County Office of Economic Development and the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Learn more»

Bedford Barns

Barns of Bedford

Landmarks of Our Agricultural Heritage

A 1998 architectural and archaeological survey stated “Bedford County contains some of the finest historic rural architecture in Virginia, ranging from small log dwellings and (agricultural) outbuildings to impressive plantation seats….” Since that time, several rural historic initiatives have taken place in Bedford, but none of these had specifically addressed barns and other agricultural structures, many of which are in fragile condition, until 2013.

Recognizing the historic value of many of Bedford’s barns and other agricultural outbuildings, and their potential impact on the area’s agricultural industry, the Bedford Historical Society, with cooperation from the Bedford County Farm Bureau, began the Barns of Bedford project. Recognizing these significant, unique, and often disappearing, rural resources, the Barns of Bedford project was endorsed by the Bedford County Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board.

The goals of the project included:

  • Promoting awareness and appreciation of Bedford’s historic barns and farms
  • Advancing the agricultural heritage of the Bedford area
  • Educating the public about the various aspects of our agriculture industry
  • Enhancing the economic impact of agriculture in the area
  • Supporting the preservation/rehabilitation of barns and related structures

Big Otter Mill 9-2- 2006 003The Bedford Historical Society then hired Daniel Pezzoni of Landmark Preservation Associates to conduct a survey of farms, barns, and other agricultural outbuildings in Bedford City and County.

The “windshield” survey began in February 2013 and involved the photographing and brief field notation of what ultimately became hundreds of properties with over a thousand individual historic farm buildings.

The survey was the first major component of the project. In 2014 a Barn Art calendar as well as an art show was held at the Bower Center with artwork by Bedford Middle School students.

Read the December 2014 article by Mr. Pezonni here.
View the map of the barns included in the survey here.

For more information on the Barns of Bedford project, please contact Betty
Lambeth Gereau of the Bedford Historical Society at 540-293-0800, or by mail at
P.O. Box 602, Bedford, VA 24523.

B&W to Expand Nuclear Energy Business in Bedford County

Bedford, Virginia—Bedford County’s Office of Economic Development is pleased to
announce that the commercial nuclear energy subsidiary of The Babcock & Wilcox
Company (B&W) will invest more than $16 million to expand in Bedford County. This
location adds to B&W’s four sites already established throughout the region. It is the
second B&W site to be established in Bedford County following last year’s launch of the
B&W mPower™ reactor Integrated System Test (IST) facility at the Center for
Advanced Engineering and Research. The company also has office or production sites in
Campbell County and the City of Lynchburg.

As part of this expansion, B&W will relocate 39 employees who are a part of the nuclear
energy business unit from its Lynchburg office into an existing facility in Forest. B&W is
expected to add 30 new employees over the next three years to meet its growing customer
demands in the commercial nuclear services sector. The new jobs will include project
engineers and managers, field supervisors and robotics technicians, and business
development and administrative staff. Due to the nature of work demands in the field
inspection and services industry, about 100 seasonal employees will be hired as part of
this expansion as well. This work generally involves extensive travel to work sites during
active times of the year and extended time off during off-peak times.

The expansion includes a five-year lease agreement on an existing 16,000 square foot
facility located at 107 Vista Centre Drive in Forest. The company will invest more than a
half-million dollars in real estate improvements and more than $16 million in advanced machinery that will be a part of a high-tech mock up area to be used in inspection and
repair projects and utilized for testing and training purposes.

“We’re dedicated to offering engineered solutions and innovative services that provide
maximum value for our customers,” said Joseph Zwetolitz, President, Babcock & Wilcox
Nuclear Energy, Inc. “Our investment in the Bedford County location will also facilitate
growth in our nuclear services business.”
Bedford County’s Office of Economic Development worked with the Virginia Tobacco
Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (TICRC), the Bedford
County Board of Supervisors, and the Economic Development Authority to provide
grants and assistance toward the expansion.

“B&W has unique capabilities and a long history in the nuclear energy industry. This
expansion will serve them well as they expand their position on the commercial side and
play a larger role in the industry’s safety and security advances,” said Virginia Delegate
Kathy Byron who serves on the Virginia Tobacco Commission and was instrumental in
supporting the company in its decision to locate its mPower test facility in the New
London Business & Technology Center at the CAER in 2011. “B&W is an outstanding
employer in this region and I’m thrilled that their positive impact continues to grow.”

B&W will begin making improvements to the site this month when the lease begins. The
company could start operations at the site as early as this summer.