Beckley, W.Va. (WVDN) – Andrew Davis has been promoted to Director of Strategic Redevelopment at the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), effective July 1.
“Andy’s leadership in cultivating stronger relationships throughout the gateway communities to the new national park and preserve, as well as in Appalachian outdoor economic development, has been impressive,” said Jina Belcher, NRGRDA executive director. “Prior to Andy’s work with NRGRDA, the skillset needed to strengthen those relationships didn’t exist within our team.”
Davis joined the NRGRDA staff as Special Projects Coordinator in December 2020. He spearheaded multiple projects and grants supporting community and economic development efforts within Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers counties. He came to NRGRDA from the West Virginia Community Development Hub.
Belcher said Davis will be extremely active in his new role. “We recognize the importance of reuse and redevelopment across our gateway communities. Andy’s focus on resource identification and coordination for redevelopment projects will ensure that we determining the highest and best use for spaces and places throughout the region,” emphasized Belcher. “Andy also has a great relationship with many of the state and federal funders with whom we work, so he really was an organic fit.”
Davis developed an appreciation for combining outdoor adventures with his educational and social pursuits in his native Georgia. He was first introduced to West Virginia while visiting Canaan Valley with his church youth group. He returned to train as a whitewater rafting guide in the New River Gorge between college semesters at Georgia College and State University where he earned a degree in Environmental Sciences.
After two years of service through AmeriCorps VISTA in the New River Gorge region, Davis earned a graduate degree in Municipal Sustainability at Indiana University and then returned to West Virginia in 2019 to focus on community development across the state. He has collaborated with elected leaders, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, economic development professionals, university employees, local businesses, and volunteers to plan programs, projects and special events aimed at improving people’s experiences within their communities.
His new role will focus on the necessary steps for properties to be made available for various economic uses. The redevelopment of vacant buildings and brownfields sites will be a focus for commercial use and properties adjacent to public lands will be assessed for their outdoor recreation potential.
“The last two years at NRGRDA have allowed me to combine my passions and better understand the opportunities we have to leverage our tremendous outdoor assets to attract more residents, create good jobs, and tap into our region’s economic potential” said Davis.