Jennifer Shand Pitzer, who will start as senior economic development specialist in the Office of Economic Development Aug. 1, comes to Virginia Tech from the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati.

Pitzer's role will include looking at research questions of statewide impact.

"Jennifer has a gift for making sense of complex economic concepts and expressing them in ways people can relate to," says John Provo, director of the Office of Economic Development. "I think this will serve her well in working with the diverse array of companies, communities, agencies and faculty we work with."

Pitzer earned her Ph.D. in economics from The Ohio State University, a master's degree in economics from The Ohio State University, and a master's degree in economics from Miami University of Ohio.

Pitzer anticipates bringing a mix of experience to the position, having conducted applied research in Cincinnati. "I have a passion for economics, particularly for making it both accessible and useful. I anticipate conducting employment- and industry-related research to build knowledge that can help move the commonwealth forward. I also want to focus on individual regions because they are so diverse throughout Virginia."

She also has Virginia ties. Her extended family lived in Richmond, and she visited often before she started her undergraduate education at James Madison University.

The staff's other specialists are Whitney Bonham, Dave Nutter, and Patrick O’Brien.

Last year, the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration chose Virginia Tech as one of fewer than two dozen universities to receive competitive University Center grants. Because of its track record in activities that help create jobs, the Office of Economic Development was chosen to receive $500,000 in federal money over five years to further its regional economic development efforts.

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