6580 Valley Center Dr. • Ste 124 • Radford, VA 24141 • 540-639-9313

Our Staff:

_0005_KevinKevin R. Byrd

AICP, Executive Director

P: 540-639-9313 x212 | kbyrd@nrvrc.org

Kevin Byrd began working for the Commission in 2005 as a Regional Planner and was appointed as Executive Director in October 2009. He has over 10 years of community development experience in the public sector at the town, county and regional levels of government along with private sector consulting experience. He has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian State University.

He currently is in leadership roles with ‘Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, serving as President of the Board and with the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions as the Treasurer. Kevin is also on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), the Southeast Regional Director’s Institute (SERDI) and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. In his volunteer time he serves as Past President of the New River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Aphi Fancon

AICP, Regional Planner

Aphi Fancon, AICP, joined the commission as a regional planner in 2017 after working in Florida for 8 years. Before relocating to Virginia, she worked extensively with long range and current planning as the Senior Planner at the City of Titusville, and the City Planner at the City of Cocoa Beach Florida. Aphi was heavily involved with updating the city comprehensive plans, including compliance with water supply concurrency, working with staff, various boards, commissions and the community. She played a key role in Greater Titusville EcoHeritage Trail Plan, and was a staff liaison to the Titusville Environmental Commission.

Aphi holds a Masters degree in Water Resource Planning and Management from the University of Florida, a Masters in Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, and a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from NERIST, India. She has also completed an intensive study program in Urban Ecological Planning as a NORAD fellow in Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

P: 540.639.9313 x217

Michael Gottfredson

Regional Planner I

Michael Gottfredson joined the Commission as a Regional Planner in February 2015 following two years of working for the Bear River Association of Governments in Logan, Utah. Michael’s focus includes community development planning and technical assistance to local governments. Michael is a candidate for a Master of Science in Bioregional Planning from Utah State University, and has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the same institution.

P: 540.639.9313 x205  michaelg@nrvrc.org

James R. Jones

Regional Planner I 

James Jones joined the commission as a regional planner in 2016 after interning with the NRVRC during his senior spring semester. As an intern, James helped jump start the commission’s regional data dashboard. Now James works on various regional projects while continuing to work on the regional data dashboard. Some of his planning experience includes the annual Chesapeake Job Fair sponsored by Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Blacksburg high school resume/college workshop along with experience in event planning as a Supervisor for the Banquets department at the Inn at Virginia Tech. James received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Business Leadership from Virginia Tech.

P: 540.639.9313 x203  jjones@nrvrc.org

_0001_JanetJanet McNew

Director of Finance and Personnel 

Janet McNew is a life-long resident of Pulaski County. After twenty-five years in the banking field she joined the Regional Commission in September of 1999 as a Project Manager. While serving as a Project Manager she worked on a number of community projects including a transitional housing center in Radford as well as the Commerce Center and Jacksonville Center in Floyd. In January 2012 Janet was promoted to her current role as Director of Finance and Personnel. She is responsible for all Commission financial activity, budget preparation, as well as benefits administration.

P: 540.639.9313 x211  jmcnew@nrvrc.org

_0008_PatrickOPatrick O’Brien

Regional Planner II

Patrick O’Brien joined the Commission as a Regional Planner in 2014. Patrick focuses on economic development related projects, including maintaining the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) planning document. Patrick works on a wide range of projects to support regional economic development efforts, including the New River Valley Development Corporation’s revolving loan fund for small businesses, regional tourism promotion efforts, as well as grant writing and technical assistance projects for regional economic development partner organizations. Patrick has a special interest in workforce development issues, and helps regional partners with customized labor market data analysis projects. Patrick received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech, with a focus on economic development. He also has a BA degree from James Madison University, with a major in English and minors in history and philosophy.

P: 540.639.9313 x206 

_0004_JulieJulie Phillips

Office Manager 

Julie Phillips joined the Regional Commission in 2012 as Office Manager after working for a local remodeling firm for 6 1/2 years. Julie serves as staff support to the Regional Commission board of directors as well as support for the Commission convening role through Member Services. She also provides staff support for the Commission’s finance role for the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Board, New River Valley Commerce Park, New River Valley Development Corporation and the Southwest Virginia Solid Waste Managers Association. Julie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Design from Radford University.

P: 540.639.9313 x216 

Stephen Price

GIS Technician

Stephen Price joined the Commission in 2017 as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technician after serving as an intern. His primary focus is using GIS to map and conduct spatial analysis of data to assist in the progression and completion of Commission projects. In addition, he assists in maintaining the Commission’s GIS database and online web mapping GIS services. He has four years of experience working with geographic information systems and geospatial technology.

Stephen has a B.S. from Radford University in Geospatial Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. He is a member of the American Association of Geographers and the Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers.

P: 540.639.9313 x202 

_0000_EliElijah Sharp

Deputy Executive Director

Elijah ‘Eli’ Sharp joined the New River Valley Regional Commission in 2009, following three years as an engineer in Blacksburg, VA. As Deputy Executive Director, Eli provides day-to-day leadership for operations and manages the Commission’s Annual Work Program. He has over ten years of combined private and public sector experience in transportation, site planning, community development, and stormwater management.

Eli has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering Technology from Bluefield State College in West Virginia. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the NRVMPO Technical Advisory Committee, Co-Chair of the NRV Regional Transit Coordinating Council, and as a representative on the National Rural Planning Organization Council of Peers.

P: 540.639.9313 x210  esharp@nrvrc.org

_0009_ChristyChristy Straight

Regional Planner II 

Christy Straight has been a Regional Planner with the Commission since 2008. Her background includes a degree in journalism from Ohio University and over a decade in marketing and sales for engineering and environmental services firms. Her work program with the Commission consists of RIDE Solutions in the New River Valley, Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, grant administration and various other transportation and regional planning projects. She currently serves as Vice Chair, Scholarship Coordinator and Conference Site Coordinator for the Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia.

P: 540.639.9313 x209 

Zachary D. Swick

Data Systems Manager 

Zach joined NRVRC in 2015 serving as the geographic information systems (GIS) specialist and data analyst. In addition, he’s responsible for maintaining the Commission’s GIS database and IT infrastructure. For several years Zach has worked on issues of regional planning and rural development with nonprofits and government agencies. He’s a member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the Association of American Geographers, and the Virginia Association for Mapping and Land Information Systems. Zach received a Master’s in Appalachian studies and sustainable development and a graduate certificate in GIScience from Appalachian State University and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire.

P: 540.639.9313 x222  zswick@nrvrc.org

_0002_JenniferJennifer Wilsie

AICP, Regional Planner II 

Jennifer Wilsie, AICP, joined the Commission in 2007 as a regional planner. She works extensively with affordable housing for the region, providing staff support to the NRV HOME Consortium and was directly involved in the creation of the first regional housing plan for the New River Valley as part of the Livability Initiative. Through the administration of several Community Development Block Grants, Jennifer has experience working across a variety of sectors such as adult day services, housing rehabilitation, and local foods. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech.

P: 540.639.9313 x204