Vandy JonesThe Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is pleased to announce Vandy Jones has been named director of its Eastern Region. He will be based in Petersburg at the Crater SBDC of Longwood University office which operates under a cooperative agreement with the Crater Planning District Commission.

“We’re excited to add Vandy Jones to the SBDC team,” Longwood SBDC Executive Director Sheri McGuire said. “He brings an extensive background in economic development as well as familiarity with the Tri-City area.”

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Jones worked as branch manager for Nations Bank in Petersburg.

“When I worked at the bank, the economic development folks would come in with clients,” he related. “I would work with them on how to get loans.”

In 1993 when an opening in Petersburg’s Economic Development Department was advertised, Jones applied and was subsequently hired as economic development project manager for the city of Petersburg.

Shortly after Jones took the job, the most powerful tornado in Virginia history, an F4, hit the Tri-City area of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Prince George County and Hopewell. The hardest-hit area was in Petersburg’s Old Towne.

“I started that job in Petersburg right after the tornado hit,” Jones recalled. “I mainly worked with downtown businesses and helped them rebuild. That’s how I became familiar with the Crater SBDC of Longwood University in Petersburg. During that time and later as county administrator for Sussex County, I continued to work with the SBDC.”

Jones subsequently worked as Sussex County deputy county administrator and later county administrator before retiring from that position in 2020.

Longwood SBDC’s Eastern Region, served by the Crater SBDC office, includes Charles City, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry and Sussex counties as well as the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell and Petersburg.

“Over time I connected with economic developers, bankers and chambers of commerce in the localities that make up SBDC’s Eastern Region, so I’m familiar with the area,” Jones added.

From past experience Jones knows that the SBDC gets results.

“I’m excited to get started,” Jones concluded. “The SBDC offers a wide variety of expertise to meet the needs of small business owners. Helping them succeed creates a ripple effect in all the communities we serve.”

Vandy Jones, Director of Longwood SBDC’s Eastern Region