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Virginia Tech has a big economic impact on Roanoke

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Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger was recognized at a luncheon Wednesday for his partnership in Roanoke economic development.

He says it is important for regions to work together to remain nationally competitive.

He touted the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, medical school and research institute as successful projects made possible by working together.

The people who come to Roanoke buy and rent homes, book flights and bring in visitors contributing to the local economy.

"I think we've seen Roanoke in particular grow around the success of Virginia Tech," said John Bryant with Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op who says the stability of Virginia Tech helps their business. "It's a great resource to be able to bring people to the area."

"We all know that competitive regions are really what makes success in the country," said Dr. Charles Steger, the Virgina Tech President.

The university has three big projects in the Roanoke Valley with lasting impact.

"We think of ourselves certainly as a major employer and a major economic engine of the entire region," said Dr. Steger.

The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center brings more than 100,000 guests to town and $2-million in tax revenue every year.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute puts more than $23-million back into the local economy.  Researchers have created three new businesses. VTC provides more than 160 jobs each averaging about $65,000 a year.

"We've been able to bring in some of the most talented people in the world and I'm not exaggerating to really transform what's possible here. Most importantly I think it has an impact on the school system, it has an impact on the success of the city market, the housing market," said Dr. Steger.

130 homes have been sold or leased. More than one thousand flights are taken by staff each year.

"You have people from all sorts of backgrounds but you also have that higher level education where people are looking for healthier food options, looking for community engagement and community involvement," said Bryant.

Supporting businesses like the co-op for years to come.

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