Jerry L. Gwaltney
Executive Director

Jerry Gwaltney was named Executive Director of IALR in April 2013. Jerry has more than thirty-nine years of senior local government management and consulting experience. He served as the City Manager of Danville from 2000 to 2008, when he recruited thousands of jobs resulting in an investment of $581.3 million involving such firms as Swedwood (IKEA), Yorktown Industries, Essel Propack, Com-40, and numerous technology firms. He is the president of Jerry L. Gwaltney & Associates, a consulting firm for municipal government, industrial development authorities, and economic development organizations. Jerry has served in city government in Salem and Waynesboro in Virginia, as well as cities in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Julie Brown
Director of Advanced Learning

Dr. Julie Brown joined IALR in December 2013 as the Director of Advanced Learning. She has eighteen years of experience in the education sector, working for a public research university, two community colleges, and regional K-12 districts.  Dr. Brown has extensive experience in federal grant reporting, program development, and fiscal accountability, and currently provides management services to the Dan River Region Collaborative, a regional partnership dedicated to working with employers to address workforce needs while moving individual employees to high-skill, high-wage situations.  Dr. Brown holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Longwood University and Old Dominion University. She resides in Pittsylvania County and serves on numerous non-profit boards, including The Arc of Southside, Danville Pittsylvania Community Services Board, The United Way, and the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board.

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Patricia Chatt
Director of Finance and Administration

Pat Chatt joined IALR in January 2011 as the Financial Controller. Pat’s 30 years in senior leadership positions include technology development, financial reporting and compliance auditing higher education institutions, VP for business processing auditing for accounting and regulatory compliance for Wachovia, finance and administration management for various professional services corporations and owner of PAC Financial Consulting for new businesses designing accounting and business processes, in North Carolina, Alabama, and California. She is a professional accountant and earned a Master in Business Administration.

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Mark Gignac
Director of Research

Mark spent his early career building an electronics manufacturing business (E.D.S.) that operated for many years in Danville, VA. As an entrepreneur he has always enjoyed supporting economic development activities required to help transform the region. Gignac has also been actively involved in the community including serving as a member of the Danville City Council, Dan River Business Development Center, and the local venture capital fund. Gignac is a graduate of the Virginia Tech. He resides in Danville with his wife Leannah where they raised four children.

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Melany Stowe
Director of Public Relations and Business Development

Melany Stowe is a lifelong resident of Southern Virginia and she enjoys being part of any collaborative effort that best serves the interests of Southern Virginia. She has won more than 30 regional, state, and national awards for communications and outreach excellence. Melany also has extensive experience in public education, grant monitoring, program development, and graphic design. She has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, multiple state departments of education and higher education institutions, and the Association of American Publishers. Melany holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Radford University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors as Communication Chair for Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (VASCD) and is President of the Southern Piedmont Technology Council (SPTC).

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Linda Green
Director of Economic Development

Linda Hutson Green was selected to serve as the Director of Economic Development for the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance in October 2016, bringing experience at the federal, state, and local levels from public and private sectors and the resources of the hosting Institute for Advanced Learning and Research to assist local economic developers in marketing the Southern Virginia region. Together, they will work to provide recruitment and retention of industries in the regional footprint to create and sustain jobs and ensure the economic vitality of the region. Green worked as District Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Hurt, as Director for Federal Funding and Entrepreneurship for the Center for Innovative Technology, where she also served terms as Director of Manufacturing and Regional Technology Transfer. She also served as the President and CEO of the Dan River Business Development Center and worked as a Quality Engineer for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. A Certified Quality Engineer, Linda holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Duke University, and is a graduate of Averett University and Danville Community College.

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Nina Thornton
Executive Assistant

Nina Thornton is a graduate of Peace College in Raleigh, NC and also has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro where she graduated with Cum Laude honors.  She has a variety of experiences supporting organizations including serving as the assistant to the General Manager of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation and as Controller and Executive Assistant at Virginia Uranium, Inc.  She is very active in the community and is currently a member of Chatham Virginia Rotary Club, Administrative Assistant Governor of Rotary District 7570, and Finance Chair of Watson United Methodist Church.  Nina lives in Chatham where she and her husband, Hal, raised their children Mary Dare and Trey.

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Solution Finders - SMART Tables

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Scientists at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) designed and built two SMART tables in 2014. SMART tables use precision...

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