Smith receives leadership awardBy David Nutter
Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 15 - December 12, 1996
Al Smith, who served the region in Virginia's General Assembly for 20 years, has been honored with the first Commonwealth Economic Leadership Award at a state-wide Virginia Tech Economic Development Conference in Roanoke.
The conference featured addresses by former U.S. Secretary of Education and Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner, author David Osborne, forecaster Marvin Cetron, Lt. Governor Don Beyer, and Attorney General Jim Gilmore.
Some 150 business, regional, and government leaders attended the two-day event December 5-6 at the Hotel Roanoke.
Smith, of Frederick County, was recognized for his recruitment of state and area businesses, for "building a bridge from education to economic development," and for leadership for the "design/build" concept to save construction funding.
As a state delegate, Smith also was a leader in the 1980s for initiatives to increase teacher salaries and road revenues.
Conference organizers also cited Smith's support "to strengthen university research" and noted that his name is now on buildings on four different college campuses.
Smith, who chaired a legislative committee on mining, was also recognized at the award presentation for his leadership for Virginia's coal-related resources and jobs.
Conference sessions centered on public-private partnerships, apprenticeship programs, tourism, development of quality workers, and America's infrastructure needs.
Speakers from Motorola, John Deere, Harvester, Siemens Corporation, and Regional Technology Strategies were also featured.
The Virginia Economic Leadership Conference was organized by Virginia Tech's Center for Economic Development from a grant from the Philip Morris Corp.