Crozet Leaders Recognized by State

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Left: Laura Duckworth, Director of Occupational Programs at the University of Virginia, was recently reappointed to the Virginia Apprenticeship Council (Photo: Keith Woodson). Right: Bill Kittrell, Deputy State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Virginia, was recently appointed to the Board of the Virginia Resources Authority (Photo: Melissa Morrison).

In a testament to the wealth of professionalism we have in Crozet, two residents have recently been called to duty by the state of Virginia. 

On August 21, Governor Ralph Northam appointed Bill Kittrell, Deputy State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Virginia, to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Resources Authority (VRA).  The VRA was created in 1984 and meets quarterly in Richmond.

“The VRA provides cost-effective financing to localities and enterprises across the state to help support infrastructure development, land conservation, and community services,” explained Kittrell. “They provide funding for land acquisition to protect the water supply, for example. As a board member, I hope to expand on these services. The Nature Conservancy has borrowed twice from VRA to finance land acquisitions in Virginia with low interest loans, so I will bring some expertise to debt financing.” 

Kittrell was born in Greenville, N.C., and received degrees in biology and economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He recently stepped down after nine years as White Hall representative on the board of the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA). He has been with the Nature Conservancy for 29 years. The Nature Conservancy (www.tnc.org), with its main Virginia office in Charlottesville, is an international conservation organization that works to protect biodiversity around the world. “We work toward land conservation, protection, and management across state,” said Kittrell. “The best couple of examples of The Nature Conservancy’s work in Albemarle and Nelson Counties would be our Fernbrook Preserve and Fortune’s Cove Preserve. Both of these are really nice places to visit on any day of the week.  Fortune’s Cove, south on Rt. 29, has an ambitiously steep trail that will get your blood moving, while Fernbrook, in northern Albemarle, offers a more intimate and peaceful expedition through a nice forest down to the Rivanna River.” 

On September 11, Governor Northam reappointed Laura Duckworth, Director of Occupational Programs at the University of Virginia, to the Virginia Apprenticeship Council (VAC), administered by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI). She joined the Board in 2018 to replace a retiring member. The VAC meets quarterly in Richmond or Hampton Roads.

The VAC consists of eleven members who oversee the standards of Registered Apprenticeship programs throughout the state.  They serve in an advisory capacity and provide guidance on Registered Apprenticeship practices that help maintain high quality work-based learning in the Commonwealth. “The VAC works with DOLI to make sure we are bringing the needs of employers to their attention,” Duckworth explained. “We are a voice for the community, serving as consultants to provide guidance in designing apprenticeship program regulations as well as promoting the value of apprenticeship across the Commonwealth.”

After managing the Occupational Safety and Health program for George Mason University, “I was hired by U.Va.’s Facilities Management Department six years ago to help to grow their safety culture. When the University restructured the Human Resources Department, I was offered the opportunity to manage and grow Facilities Management’s apprenticeship program. Our apprenticeship program provides an opportunity for people to learn and earn at the same time. Our programs foster employees’ career enrichment as well as their personal and professional health and well-being. We have many partnerships in the community, including educators; for example we partner with local centers for technical education like CATEC as well as local high schools to showcase non-college track opportunities that provide lucrative careers, and great programs like PVCC’s Network2Work that help employees overcome obstacles that might make it hard to get a job, including training. We emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. It has been a very successful program for over 37 years.

“I am passionate about workforce development,” Duckworth continued. “Apprenticeship programs create regenerative pipelines for both businesses and individuals. We are looking for the skilled person who is interested in growing in their profession. As a VAC board member, I hope to connect workforce boards and local committees as well as connect companies and individuals to resources and grants.” 

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