On behalf of Governor Terry McAuliffe and his entire delegation, we wish you a shabat shalom and look forward to meeting you next week!
Virginia Delegation to Israel
July 9 – 11, 2016
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Commonwealth of Virginia
Terry McAuliffe is the 72nd Governor of Virginia. Since being sworn into office, Governor McAuliffe has strongly focused on building a new Virginia economy. Whether traveling to Tazewell, Virginia or Tel Aviv, Israel, Governor McAuliffe has made it clear that his number one priority for Virginia is economic growth and he is working hard to create and maintain jobs throughout the Commonwealth.
Governor McAuliffe understands that in order to compete for the jobs of tomorrow, it is essential that we make key investments today. To advance this goal, the Governor has signed legislation increasing the amount of Virginia qualified research and development expenses that can now be claimed as a tax credit — important because it encourages private companies to invest in the jobs of the future.
In order to ensure that Virginia continues to have the best workers in the world, Governor McAuliffe knows that Virginia must continue to have a world-class education system. This year, he signed standards of learning reform legislation to make Virginia’s education system work better for our students, teachers, and schools. Previously, the Governor was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was the Co-chair of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, and was Chairman of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Secretary Jones serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade. As Secretary of Commerce and Trade, he oversees 13 business-related agencies – including the Virginia Economic Development Partnership – and is the chairman of a Cabinet steering committee coordinating state agencies in pursuing the administration’s economic development strategy. His department supports the Governor’s major economic initiatives in the Commonwealth: 1) Infrastructure improvement and development including a 21st century energy policy; 2) Development of more project-ready sites – small, medium and large – so that when the projects come along, Virginia will be in the running because we will have the assets required for new development; 3) Focussing on recruiting businesses in high-growth, high-wage sectors like cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, information technology (particularly in the health-care space), energy and life sciences; 4) Workforce development; and 5) Encouraging entrepreneurism, with incentives and policies to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Commonwealth so that Virginia is not only the best place in the U.S. for business, but the best place in the U.S. to launch and grow a business.
Secretary of Agiculture and Forestry
Secretary Haymore serves in Governor McAuliffe’s Cabinet as the chief marketing and development officer of the state’s two largest industries and is responsible for two of the state’s most well-known agencies, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF). He is also responsible for the Virginia Agricultural Council.
As Secretary, Haymore works closely with the Governor, General Assembly, and key stakeholders on legislative and budgetary initiatives to integrate fully agriculture and forestry into Virginia’s overall economic development and jobs creation platform and to better enhance the standing of the two industries in the Commonwealth, across the country, and around the world. One of the major successes of these initiatives includes creating the first-of-its-kind Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, a multi-million dollar economic development grant and loan program specifically for existing or new agricultural and forestry value-added or processing facilities. In addition, Haymore led efforts to secure new funds to open trade offices in China, India, Europe, Latin America and Canada to assist in the marketing of Virginia’s agriculture and forestry products.
Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB)
As an entrepreneur in both Israel and the US, Ralph assists Israeli companies to build a market entry strategy into the US market as part of his work with Virginia. With a wealth of connections in Virginia, he then helps these companies make the connections and then follows through with the companies for “taclis” results. There are no fees of any kind for the work he does with Israeli companies.
When living in Israel for over twenty years, Ralph was one of the founders and mangers of a private Hospital in Rishon Lezion called the American Medical Center that was later sold to Assuta/Macabbi.
Ralph divides his time between Israel and Virginia and looks forward to “hands-on” follow up.
Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB)
In addition to his role as Vice Chairman of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, Chuck Lessin is the CEO of Virgina On-Line Fantasy Sports LLC. As a serial entrepreneur, Chuck has been the Fouder/President/CEO of of American Homecrafters Inc. for over twenty-five years.
Chuck donates a good portion of his time to his Foundation: The Jerusalem Connection which focuses on Jewish Education both in the US and in Israel. “We have expanded our programming and have created and maintain the largest community garden in the Richmond metropolitan area. This garden feeds over 200 needy families in the Richmond area.”
Communications & Promotions
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Mr. Barnett plans, implements and directs VEDP’s marketing, advertising, and communications outreach programs to build awareness of the desirability of Virginia as a business location and to help bring new businesses to Virginia. His career has focused on marketing and business expansion and he is a U.S. Army veteran.
Director of Marketing and Development
Virginia Department of Agriculture
As Director of Marketing and Development at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Ms. Agee provides executive leadership and strategic direction for the state’s agricultural marketing activities, developing and implementing domestic and international marketing and promotional programs in order to enhance the profitability of Virginia agriculture and agribusiness.
Prior to coming to VDACS, she served in multiple positions in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s International Trade Division. As manager of VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program, she worked with companies to develop and implement their international sales strategies and provided strategic direction for the program. She worked side-by-side with companies throughout the Commonwealth to identify and access their target export markets, troubleshoot on specific international business problems, and connect them with the right partners. Before taking on the VALET position, she served as VEDP’s International Trade Manager for Central Virginia, working with local businesses to increase their international sales and consulting with them on a range of international business issues.
Managing Director, Federal Strategies
In his role as Managing Director of Federal Strategies, Kieth Boswell leads his team at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in its mission to raise the standard of living for all Virginians through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance and trade development. The VEDP focuses on cultivating new business investment, fostering international trade growth and encouraging the expansion of existing Virginia businesses.