The Launch Place’s Board of Directors is a group of business leaders, who recognize proactive approaches to advancing entrepreneurship activity in Southern Virginia will lead to economic prosperity in the region.

Past Board members include: Joseph Cobb, Kelly Fitzgerald, Jeffrey Kohler, Laurie Moran, Connie Nyholm and Candace Payne.

Troy Knauss

Troy Knauss

Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute
Chair, The Launch Place

Troy Knauss is Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute, a non-profit spinout of the Kauffman Foundation focused on education and research initiatives for early-stage investors. Troy is a partner in a number of Angel funds and networks that invest in high-growth and turnaround companies. Troy has over 20 years of experience in family, growth, and start-up businesses. In addition to his fund activities, Troy is an exited entrepreneur with start-up and growth management experience in food processing, brand building, software development, and eCommerce companies.

 
Steven Farrar

Steven Farrar, CPA

Partner, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
Vice Chair, The Launch Place

Steve Farrar is a CPA and partner with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP. Steve’s clients include the City of Danville and a number of manufacturers and small business clients throughout Southern Virginia. Steve has assisted a number of companies in securing various federal and state tax grants and is actively engaged in economic development.

 
Kim Adkins

Kim Adkins

United Way of Henry County & Martinsville
Executive Director United Way of Henry County & Martinsville

On April 25, 2016, Kim Adkins became Executive Director of United Way of Henry County & Martinsville. Prior to this, for the last three years, she operated her own marketing communications firm, KEA Consulting Services, LLC. Kim is the former Mayor of the City of Martinsville from 2010 to 2014. Additional work experience includes Executive Director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board (WPWIB), a position she held for six years, and before the WPWIB, President of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce for seven years

 
Jeffrey Lee Bond

Jeffrey Lee Bond

Architect and Owner, Solex Architecture
Director, The Launch Place

Jeffrey Lee Bond, a Gretna native, returned to the region to work in Danville after graduating magna cum laude from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech in 2007.  In addition to being a licensed architect in Virginia and North Carolina, he is a LEED accredited professional focusing on sustainability and energy efficiency. This carries over into his passion for historic restoration projects.

 
Nancy Galli

Nancy Galli

Founder of Nancy’s Candy Company
Director, The Launch Place

Nancy Galli is the founder of Nancy’s Candy Company, located in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

Having a big sweet tooth and a passion for business creation, Nancy started her confectionary manufacturing business in 1987. The desire for much needed job creation in Patrick County was a strong driving force in her choice to locate her facility in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the small community of Meadows of Dan where she lives.

 
Phyllis Karavatakis

Phyllis Q. Karavatakis

Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Carter Bank & Trust
Director, The Launch Place

Phyllis Q. Karavatakis is the President of Carter Bank & Trust, a large state-chartered community bank in the Commonwealth of Virginia with more than 1,000 employees and 123 branches in Virginia and North Carolina. Her banking experience exceeds 30 years and is combined with deep Southern Virginia roots and involvement.

 
James McGarry

James R. McGarry

Partner, Young, Haskins, Mann, Gregory, McGarry & Wall, P.C.
Director, The Launch Place

James R. “Jim” McGarry is a partner in the law firm of Young, Haskins,
Mann, Gregory, McGarry & Wall, P.C., in Martinsville, Virginia. Jim grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he graduated from Louisiana State University before moving to Virginia to attend law school at Washington & Lee University. He graduated from law school and was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1993. He has been practicing law in Martinsville since that time.

 
Edward Owens

Edward Owens

President, Edward Owens Agency
Director, The Launch Place

A native of South Boston, Virginia, Edward “Ed” Owens is the Owner of the Edward Owens Agency  (insurance and financial services) in Halifax, Virginia, which has been in operation since 1985.

 
John Provo

Dr. John Provo

Executive Director, Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development
Director, The Launch Place

John Provo is Director of Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development. John provides leadership for the office in the design and implementation of applied research and technical assistance projects that link university and community resources to address the economic development needs of the Commonwealth.