Blacksburg Partnership president retiring
Diane Akers is retiring after 19 years heading economic development group
After 19 years as the founding leader of the Blacksburg Partnership, Diane Akers announced Friday that she will retire on June 30 from her position as president of the private economic development group.
Akers was hired as the Blacksburg Partnership’s founding director in 2002, helping launch the organization that was established as a partnership between the town of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech and the local business community. During her tenure, the partnership expanded from 22 membership organizations to more than 70.
“The past 18 years serving as president of the Blacksburg Partnership have been the most rewarding of my 30-plus year career,” Akers said. “I am so proud of all we have accomplished as an organization and all that we have done together to further the economy and quality of life in Blacksburg and the region.”
Before leading the Blacksburg Partnership, Akers ran a Roanoke-based consulting firm, ComBiz Solutions. She also worked as the economic development director, acting assistant city manager and budget administrator for Roanoke city government.
In a statement, Blacksburg Town Manager Marc Verniel said, “Since becoming the first staff member back in 2002, Diane has led the Blacksburg Partnership from a fledgling organization into the mature economic development partnership it is today. Diane has left a solid foundation for the Partnership’s continued positive contributions to Blacksburg and the New River Valley.”
“As a lead advocate for the interests of Town of Blacksburg, the business community, and Virginia Tech, Diane has been especially adept at recognizing where those interests align, and helping us move forward on that common ground,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president and chief business officer at Virginia Tech. “The partnership and her leadership have made our quality of life in this area more vibrant and our economic resilience stronger. We owe a debt of gratitude to Diane and the Blacksburg Partnership.”
The partnership is seeking a successor for Akers.