Posted On: May 11, 2022

Franklin County Director of Economic Development Beth Simms is on a mission to ensure that you know all the ways this area shines. 

Bright spots in business. Bright spots in livability. Bright ideas that will propel this area forward. 

In honor of Economic Development Week – May 9-13, 2022 – let’s get to know Simms a little better. 

Simms is a Franklin County native and Ferrum College graduate. As a former small business owner, she understands the needs of the business community and will be able to assist companies large and small become more prosperous within the borders of Franklin County and its two towns. In 2021, she was named to The Roanoker Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list for business professionals.

As director of economic development for the county, Simms is working behind the scenes – and in front of the business community – to create business opportunities in the county, from bringing in new companies to helping Franklin County companies grow to grant writing to push programs forward. 

Although she’s been in the director role for just a little over a year, the impact is already being felt in the community.

  • Franklin County has been awarded over $2.5 million in grants for the continued development of Summit View Business Park and other projects.  
  • The Board of Supervisors also approved an 18-month pilot program partnership with Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center for a Small Business Advisor position that solely covers Franklin County. 
  • Simms created a new county-wide business retention and expansion program and marketing program. 
  • She created and hosted the Inaugural Holiday Business Luncheon for large employers in the county. 
  • She serves on Franklin County’s Reentry and Community Collaboration Council, Western Virginia’s Workforce Development Board, Smith Mountain Lake’s Regional Chamber of Commerce (Education and Government Affairs committees), and Ferrum College’s Alumni Board of Directors.  

This work and enthusiasm for the community is contagious. 

“I’m a native of Franklin County with a diverse background, and I look at all the angles,” Simms said in the 40 Under 40 profile. “My passion ensures that I won’t give up on projects and that I get them done right.”

Upcoming projects in Franklin County economic development include looking into the possibility of developing a coworking/incubator space to support solopreneurs and encourage growth of small businesses and conducting a feasibility study for potential hotel development. 

Simms recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, completed the Basic Economic Development Course at Georgia Tech in 2020, and is a 2017 alumni of the EA Morris Fellowship of Emerging Leaders based out of North Carolina.

Previously she was the cultural and economic development director for the Town of Rocky Mount. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ferrum College. 

Economic Development Week was created by IEDC in 2016 to increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.

Want to know more about economic development or how you can invest in our community? Contact Beth Simms at 540-483-3030 or email her.