The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce Gov. Ralph Northam’s appointment of Lott T. Rogers Jr. to the IALR’s board of trustees for a three-year term. Rogers, a financial consultant for AXA Advisors in Halifax, served previously as the chair of the IALR Foundation board. His years in financial consulting, manufacturing and civic engagement will continue to benefit IALR’s leadership and help shape economic transformation efforts. 

Lott T. Rogers, Jr.
Lott T. Rogers, Jr.

“We are excited to welcome Mr. Rogers to our board of trustees and look forward to leveraging his knowledge and diverse experience,” said former Delegate Donald Merricks, chairman of the IALR’s board of trustees and chairman, president and CEO of Virginia Bank and Trust Company. “After serving on the IALR Foundation board and given his expertise, Lott is a natural fit to help our board of trustees guide operations, strategic planning and interactions with stakeholders.”

Prior to his financial consulting position, which he has held for 14 years, Rogers worked for more than 30 years in various management positions within the manufacturing industry. He has amassed significant community achievements, including serving as past president of the Danville Rotary Club, the Halifax Mentor Role Model Program and the former Washington-Coleman Elementary School PTO. He also led the construction and fundraising efforts for the Halifax/South Boston American Youth Soccer Organization Center.

“Mr. Rogers has remained an excellent leader in both the private and public sectors,” said Delegate James E. Edmunds II. “He has served the IALR Foundation’s board well for the region, and I am pleased that he has agreed to continue his commitment on IALR’s board of trustees.”

IALR is governed by a 15-member board of trustees consisting of the presidents or their designees of Averett University, Danville Community College and Virginia Tech; the chairman or his designee of the board of the Future of the Piedmont Foundation; one resident of the City of Danville to be appointed by the Danville City Council; one resident of Pittsylvania County to be appointed by the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors; and nine citizens representing business and industry and residing in Southside Virginia, three to be appointed by the governor, three to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and three to be appointed by the speaker of the House of Delegates.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, conference center services and economic development efforts. The Institute’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

Danville Community College (DCC) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) are pleased to announce the election of Jeremiah Williams, DCC’s Director of Integrated Machine Technology, to the national Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) Council. Williams oversees the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining at IALR and is one of 15 HTEC Council members for the 2018-2019 term. 

Jeremiah Williams

“We are very proud of Jeremiah and all of his accomplishments in support of creating a work-ready community in Southern Virginia. His representation on the HTEC Council will ensure that the role of community colleges in workforce development continues to grow exponentially,” said DCC President Dr. Bruce Scism.

Williams serves as one of the community college representatives on the HTEC Council and was elected by HTEC Network members during the 2018 HTEC Americas Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Educators Conference, hosted by DCC at IALR. A graduate himself of DCC’s Precision Machining Technology program, Williams worked as a senior machinist at one of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s top employers, Rolls-Royce Crosspointe, before returning to DCC to assume his current leadership role. He played a critical role in developing the third-year Capstone program at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining at IALR.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Jeremiah and our region to continue our voice on the national stage for CNC machining education,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “As a product himself of DCC’s renowned curriculum, Jeremiah has been instrumental in helping create a capacity of future skilled workers to enter the advanced manufacturing workforce—thereby, attracting and retaining high-quality employers.” 

“The fact that Jeremiah’s professional peers elected him to the national HTEC Council clearly demonstrates the level of respect he has garnered in his field,” said Troy Simpson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at IALR. “His election is a testament for how DCC’s innovative approach to skilled training is becoming a model for how to prepare technicians to be globally competitive in advanced manufacturing.”

The HTEC Council includes representatives from universities, community and technical colleges, and high schools. It serves as a guiding council for the HTEC Network, an industry- and education-led initiative that enables manufacturing technology educators and their schools to acquire the latest CNC machine tools and related CNC ancillary equipment, software and educational materials. The network’s goal centers on producing work-ready CNC machinists, programmers and engineers for today’s industrial employers. 

For more information about Danville Community College’s more than 100 programs of study and short-term career training options, visit or call 434-797-8594.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, conference center services and economic development efforts. The Institute’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

Drive by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and the sights and sounds of economic transformation present themselves immediately.  Right across the street, construction crews at Kyocera SGS Tech Hub, a manufacturer of precision cutting tools, swiftly work to complete construction of a sleek new facility set to open soon and employ 35 people.  This company represents one of the latest drawn to the area in part because of the talent pipeline produced by the advanced manufacturing training program offered by Danville Community College and complemented with a third-year Capstone program at IALR’s Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining.  Kyocera’s opening constitutes just one example of IALR living its mission, to catalyze economic transformation within Southern Virginia.

“IALR is fortunate to have passionate employees and a multitude of partners and supporters who breathe life into our mission on a daily basis,” said Mark Gignac, executive director of IALR.  “Every decision, every goal, every metric centers on positively impacting and transforming our region’s economy—and what an honor it is to do such exciting work.”  

Mark Gignac, Executive Director - Photo by Michelle Dalton Photography as seen in June Evince

IALR’s service area focuses on the counties of Mecklenburg, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Franklin and Patrick as well as the cities of Danville and Martinsville.  Across this expanse—and many times, even farther—IALR’s divisions work hand in hand to identify, plan, execute and leverage opportunities for economic transformation.  

The Advanced Learning division of IALR manages programs that lead to a skilled and work-ready talent pipeline.  From K-12 accelerated learning curricula like the Piedmont Governor’s School to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps and a mobile inspiration lab, chances abound for the region’s youth to experience and develop an interest in a STEM discipline and career path.  The division also runs adult workshops and oversees the Dan River Year AmeriCorps program, providing service-based learning opportunities.

IALR’s Applied Research division supports industry needs with research centers in analytical chemistry, advanced materials, precision agriculture and applied biostimulants.  Cutting edge technology and leading scientists have positioned IALR as a beacon for world-renowned programs like its growing library of endophytes, or beneficial bacteria—including a collection IALR recently licensed to Indigo Ag, Inc., a company dedicated to helping farmers sustainably feed the planet.  Other impactful programs include drones to help farmers address plant health issues and optimize crop growth, testing labs for industry and various others.

The Economic Development division of IALR collaborates with state and local economic development staff to effectively market the region’s assets to prospective companies and leverage opportunities for growth with existing industry.  Job creation and capital investment combine to benefit the region’s economy.

The IALR Conference Center continues to offer state-of-the-art meeting space, 21st century technology and gourmet cuisine, all with the help of expert staff who practice exceptional customer service.  The Center has served as the venue for national organizations and proudly offers a newly renovated Megabytes Café as a local dining option for the community and visitors.

As Franklin D.  Roosevelt said, “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”  IALR chooses to move forward advancing our region and welcomes others to join our efforts.





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