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Economic Development Council Adds 2 New Business Leaders

Woodstock, Virginia: The Economic Development Council, formed by the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, was originally founded in 2017 to promote, encourage and facilitate economic development in Shenandoah County.  The primary objectives include (1) the expansion and diversification of the County’s tax base (2) the creation of new employment opportunities and (3) the improvement of private sector and public services.

In order to achieve the mission and stated objectives, a dedicated group of business leaders have been working with the Board of Supervisors, County Administration and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership since formation.  Current council members include Aaron Bushong (Bushong Contracting); Sarah Cohen (Route 11 Potato Chips); Dennis Dysart (First Bank); Chris French (Shentel); Bill Holtzman (Holtzman Oil Corporation); Kelly Sager (Sager Real Estate) and Keith Stephens (Gateway Hospitality).

            Effective Thursday, September 10, 2020, two new business leaders joined the Council, including Mr. Dexter Mumaw (Cabin Hill Homes, LLC), an experienced builder, developer and property manager and Mr. Jim Guisewhite (SVN Commercial Specialists), an accomplished commercial real estate broker who routinely works with clients and prospects throughout the valley on site selection and has a thorough understanding of economic development.  “We are extremely excited to have both Dexter and Jim join the Council”, stated Dennis Dysart, Chairman of the EDC. “Both are extremely insightful and bring vast experience that will benefit the Council and Shenandoah County.”

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Photos from the 2019 EDC Breakfast held at Shentel and sponsored by Washington Gas



During a Strategic Planning meeting earlier this year, the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors identified Economic Development as a key priority. As a key priority the Board’s plan was to engage business leaders regarding economic development and to establish an understanding of what it means to Shenandoah County as well as the Shenandoah Valley region in general.

The Chamber’s Economic Development Council (EDC) includes: 

Dennis Dysart, First Bank and Chair of the EDC 

Aaron Bushong, Bushong Contracting

Christopher French, Shenandoah Telecommunications

William ‘Bill’ Holtzman, Holtzman Oil Corporation

Keith Stephens, Gateway Hospitality

Mike Thome, Bowman Andros

“The core of our Chamber’s mission is to foster economic growth and prosperity in our Community. This new Economic Development Council will help our Community move forward in this regard. I am excited about the influential group of individuals put together by Dennis Dysart for this Council and look forward to the positive change they are going to make for Shenandoah County,” shared Chris Boies, President of the Chamber.

Why launch an EDC?

The Chamber’s mission is to foster growth and expansion in Shenandoah County by promoting business through education, networking and advocacy. The Chamber, working with the County and Towns, would like to work to create employment opportunities and expand the tax base to fund core community needs such as fire and rescue, public education and social services.

Mr. Dysart shared that “The preliminary goals of the EDC will be to engage the Chamber membership regarding economic development; listen, learn and understand potential barriers; evaluate the current, local economic climate; study market-specific data versus regional and statewide metrics; interact with key community stakeholders; and most importantly promote, and advocate for, economic development.”

A survey conducted at the breakfast meeting found that 96.83% support growth and development for the County. This includes those in favor of pro-growth with smart growth measures included. A little over 1.59% are fine with the way things are going in the County. The survey also showed the perceived barriers to development in the County. The top barrier they believe is the current political climate, followed by pro-business zoning and regulations, pad-ready sites, tax incentive zones, and workforce development and training.

“Based on the survey results, I am confident our business leaders and owners understand the barriers to economic development and expansion of tax base in Shenandoah County. The Chamber membership appears to be engaged and poised to support the EDC, as well as efforts to improve the business climate in our Community”, stated Mr. Dysart.  


The Board kicked off this initiative by hosting a special breakfast meeting on Tuesday, September 19th entitled “Economic Development in Shenandoah County: Business Leaders Breakfast”. The meeting was held at Shentel’s corporate headquarters in Edinburg.

Business leaders received presentations from Mary Beth Price, Shenandoah County Administrator and Courtland Robinson, Business Development Director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership.





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Woodstock, VA 22664


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