City Appoints Brewer to Economic Development Authority

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Robby Willey
Robby Willey

The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority’s newest member is also its youngest.

The Williamsburg City Council appointed Robby Willey to the EDA during its meeting Thursday.

Willey replaces Ed Richardson, who did not seek re-appointment to the board.

“I’m excited to be getting involved,” Willey said. “I’m excited to see what other businesses are coming to town and to do what I can to help attract new businesses to the area.”

Willey is a cofounder of the Virginia Beer Company, a craft brewery which plans to open at a Second Street location in York County in the fall.

He is a 2005 graduate of the College of William & Mary, receiving a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a bachelor of business administration degree.

Willey said he would bring a unique perspective to the EDA as a younger resident with experience in the area and as the owner of a small business, and emphasized the importance of incentive programs to attract new businesses to the city.

Willey, who is actively involved with the William & Mary Alumni Association, moved back to Williamsburg part time in 2012 to set up the Virginia Beer Company, and permanently relocated to the city in 2014.

The EDA consists of seven members appointed by the City Council to serve four-year terms, with members limited to two consecutive full terms.

The board advises the City Council on economic issues, including bond issuance and changes to the city’s economic development plan.

The EDA functions separately from the City Council, and independently considers requests for economic development incentives, and manages grant and incentive programs for businesses.

Programs currently managed by the EDA include grants for installing new signs at buildings, grants for creating new websites for businesses, loans for demolishing properties for redevelopment and sponsoring monthly business roundtable events.