Vice President of Economic Competitiveness

Req Number: XZ855
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posted: 4/15/2021
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Public Policy
Job Type: Permanent

Position Vice President of Economic Competitiveness

Company Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)

Location Richmond, VA

Reporting Relationship Reports to VEDP’s Executive Vice President


One of the wealthiest and most beautiful states in America, the Commonwealth of Virginia is blessed with exceptional human capital, geographic, and infrastructure assets. Widely viewed as an attractive state for business, Virginia also is home to a diverse array of leading privatesector firms, national labs, and important military installations, as well as one of the most educated populations in the country.

For more than two decades, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) has served as Virginia’s state economic development authority. Like the special Commonwealth that it serves, VEDP is regarded as among the best in the country. As a quasi-independent state authority governed by a board of directors that spans gubernatorial administrations, VEDP is a nonpartisan organization with stable leadership and nimble, creative, mission-focused operations.

VEDP aspires to become America’s most effective and impactful state economic development organization (EDO). With that aspiration in mind, one of VEDP’s major priorities is catalyzing significant policy and programmatic improvements to enhance Virginia’s competitiveness and to establish the Commonwealth as a national leader in business climate rankings.

VEDP offers a dynamic, collaborative, high-profile, fast-paced professional environment where a strategic, integrated, action-oriented approach is the standard.


The Vice President of Economic Competitiveness (VP) leads the Economic Competitiveness division of VEDP and provides primary staff leadership for developing and initiating the implementation of strategies to improve the foundations of state, regional, and local economic growth.

The VP is a member of VEDP’s executive team reporting to VEDP’s Executive Vice President and overseeing a staff of 6 with the potential to grow.

With the VP managing the development and execution of projects and related workstreams, VEDP’s Economic Competitiveness team is a nimble and highly leveraged project-based group that focuses on three primary responsibilities:

 Strategic (longer-term) and operational (annual) planning for the organization.

 Identification of opportunities and development of solutions to improve Virginia’s longterm competitiveness relative to other states and global geographies.

 Support for and often leadership of other discrete projects to catalyze targeted and/or strategic improvements in Virginia’s economic development efforts.

The team regularly benchmarks Virginia’s competitive position on key measures, including deep analysis of state business climate rankings, and recommends targeted improvement initiatives. Primary avenues to strengthen the Commonwealth’s fundamental competitiveness for business investment and job growth include the development of public policy proposals (e.g., targeted tax policy improvements), identification of targeted investments (e.g., Virginia’s portfolio of industrial sites), and recommendations to improve governmental processes (e.g., permitting speed). The team shares relevant findings and potential solutions from these efforts with VEDP’s partners across the Commonwealth through written communications and/or meetings/workshops. In addition to these externally facing responsibilities, the EC team drives implementation of VEDP’s strategic plan, economic growth strategy, rural growth strategy, and annual operational plan.

The position offers the opportunity to lead projects across all areas of economic development while providing frequent and in-depth thought partnership and engagement with internal and external leaders.

The current team structure has been in place for three years and has produced distinctive impacts including the RFI response for Virginia’s winning bid for Amazon’s HQ2 project; an extensive and collaborative site characterization effort that was unique for its breadth, depth, and ambition; and a novel, best-in-class framework for evaluating and enhancing local and regional economic competitiveness.


The VP has five (5) core responsibility areas. These are listed below with approximate time distributions.

Division leadership and administration: 15%

• Direct VEDP’s Economic Competitiveness division operations and programs and provide strong leadership to other staff members within the Economic Competitiveness division.

• Ensure that all relevant HR and statutory responsibilities are consistently followed.

• Serve as an active, collaborative member of VEDP’s executive team, including strong participation in key leadership meetings.

• As requested, attend external meetings on behalf of VEDP management, delivering key messages and perspectives of VEDP as appropriate.

• As requested, develop analyses and proposals to support VEDP management in decision-making efforts.

Competitiveness Research and Solution Development: 40%

• Lead a portfolio of discrete projects and/or workstreams in addition to serving as a thought partner with VEDP’s senior leadership team.

• Coordinate with VEDP’s senior leadership team to identify opportunities to improve Virginia’s economic competitiveness (e.g., human capital, site development, tax/incentive policy), develop potential solutions to address identified gaps or enhance existing strengths, and engage stakeholders to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the solutions.

Business Climate Rankings: 15%

• As part of the broader portfolio of competitive research and solution development, lead a dedicated, ongoing effort to regularly and comprehensively evaluate state business climate rankings, and proactively develop related recommendations to improve Virginia’s position.

• Develop and manage implementation of prioritized improvement opportunities (e.g., policy proposals, programmatic efforts, and marketing investments).

• In collaboration with the Virginia Chamber, develop an annual report tracking progress against a comprehensive plan developed as a result of the national rankings initiative.

Strategic and Operational Planning: 15%

• Lead the process for developing VEDP’s Operational Plan (updated each year) and Strategic Plan (updated every two years).

• For both the operational and strategic plans, provide project management, research, and analytical support to internal partners for developing related initiatives and activities.

• In pursuing these activities, embrace the approach and mindset of a highly proactive and collaborative consultant and thought partner.

Special projects: 15%

• Lead discrete projects and workstreams as needed, ranging from supporting or leading transformational projects to answering specific research questions proposed by VEDP’s external stakeholders (e.g., issues identified by multiple regional economic development organizations, requests from members of the General Assembly).


Required Experience

 At least seven years of relevant experience in positions of progressive responsibility

 Excellent strategic analysis and problem-solving skills

 Excellent computer proficiency, particularly with spreadsheet (Excel) and presentation (PowerPoint) development

 Project leadership and management, working within external/internal cross-functional teams

 Management of internal direct reports and indirect reports with a track record of developing people and building successful teams

 Division/department management, resource allocation, and project delegation

 Excellent communication (verbal and written) and interpersonal skills

 Support of organization-wide efforts

 Ability to multitask

 Ability to work under time pressure Desired Experience

 At least two years of experience at a top-tier professional services firm (e.g., management consulting, investment banking), including robust training program with exposure to multiple projects and leadership styles, detailed analytical and quantitative problem solving, and development of relationship and stakeholder management skills. Personal attributes

 Passion for public sector impact

 Exceptional attention to detail

 Strategic thinker who can synthesize large amounts of information quickly

 Excels under pressure, in a fast-paced, high-profile work environment

 Enjoys meeting needs/deadlines of internal and external customers

 Ability to balance progress on medium- and long-term projects with short-term deliverables  Patience and collaborative instincts with stakeholders

 Relationship builder, motivator, and team player

 Positive attitude and energetic

 Healthy curiosity

 Sense of humor

 Sound judgment

 Innovator

 Impeccable character


Within 9-12 months, success looks like . . .

 The VP has developed a full understanding of VEDP, and is comfortable presenting to internal staff, VEDP’s Board of Directors, and external stakeholders on VEDP activities as well as the activities of the Economic Competitiveness division.

 The VP has developed strong, productive relationships with the staff of Economic Competitiveness division as well as VEDP’s executive leadership team members (i.e., VEDP management and VPs of other divisions).

 VEDP’s Economic Competitiveness team is operating efficiently and effectively, with staff productively executing their various assigned responsibilities and clients and partners providing consistently positive feedback.

 The VP has made distinctive contributions through effective management of multiple complex projects to evaluate and improve the economic competitiveness of Virginia and its regions, including well-structured and clearly communicated project plans, robust and responsive stakeholder engagement, comprehensive analysis of current performance of the Commonwealth and its competitors, structured evaluation of potential options, strategic development of recommended improvement actions, and proactive support for VEDP leadership to initiate implementation.

 VEDP’s national rankings initiative is operating in a highly efficient and effective manner with a focused agenda for regular check-in meetings; project planning that is aligned with key windows of opportunity to influence rankings; creative, accurate, in-depth, and insightful analysis; thoughtful, prioritized recommendations focused on improvement opportunities; and strong collaboration with other teams, including the Research and Marketing and Communications divisions.

 The VP has successfully led the development of VEDP’s next Operational Plan with a wellstructured and clearly communicated project plan, a highly collaborative consultant-style approach to engaging and supporting other teams along the way, and strong alignment with the strategies and initiatives identified in the Strategic Plan.

 The VP and VEDP’s Economic Competitiveness division are regarded as highly supportive and collaborative based on interactions with internal and external partners (e.g., sharing goals and potential synergies, aligning strategies and programs, communicating frequently and openly).

 The VP has developed a solid understanding of the decision-making process for executive leadership and has successfully prepared and delivered analysis and recommendations to support decision-making for VEDP on issues.


Bachelor’s degree in social science (economics, public policy, or political science), mathematics, data analytics, business, or a related field preferred; advanced degree in business (MBA), public policy (MPP), and/or other relevant fields preferred.


Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience to attract an outstanding candidate.