RICHMOND—The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced that Stephen Moret has been selected as president and CEO of Strada Education Network, a nonprofit social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging pathways between education and employment, effective January 2022. Moret has served as president and CEO of VEDP since January 2017.

VEDP Board Chair Dan Pleasant said, “Over the past five years, Stephen has led the transformation of VEDP into what it is today—a high-performing economic development asset for the Commonwealth. In doing this, he has assembled a highly talented and passionate VEDP team, second to none in the U.S. With strong support from the Governor and his administration, the General Assembly leadership, and local and regional economic development stakeholders, VEDP is well-positioned to continue leading Virginia’s economic development initiatives. On behalf of the VEDP Board of Directors, we thank Stephen for his service and leadership and wish him only the best, knowing he will be successful in his new position.”

During Moret’s tenure, VEDP addressed the extensive 2016 Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) recommendations that preceded his appointment; developed an ambitious five-year (FY19-FY23) Strategic Plan for Economic Development of the Commonwealth with broad support, as well as Virginia’s first comprehensive International Trade Strategic Plan; greatly strengthened collaboration and communication with regional and local economic development partners; crafted a first-rate digital and print marketing program; and created a new marketing center for Virginia showcasing products made across the Commonwealth. Moret led Virginia’s successful state-and-local team bid for Amazon’s HQ2, which featured a novel, education-centered approach. Working in collaboration with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), as well as higher education and state leaders, he envisioned, designed, and led implementation of Virginia’s $1.1-billion Tech Talent Investment Program to double the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields conferred each year in Virginia, as well as create a new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

While at VEDP, Moret also created the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a world-class custom talent solutions program implemented in collaboration with higher education partners that recently was named the second-best customized state workforce development program in the U.S. by Business Facilities. More recently, he has collaborated with SCHEV and state leaders to launch the Virginia Office of Education Economics (VOEE). VOEE is envisioned to serve as a lighthouse/exemplar for how to leverage analytics and collaboration to drive improved labor market outcomes for students, job seekers, employers, higher education institutions, and regions.

Since January 2017, VEDP has collaborated with state, regional, and local partners to successfully compete for several hundred economic development projects across rural and urban communities in Virginia that collectively are producing tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in private-sector capital investment.

In 2019, Virginia Business named Moret Virginia Business Person of the Year. During his tenure at VEDP, Virginia was named America’s Top State for Business by CNBC for an unprecedented two times in a row.

“Virginia is second to none in economic development, thanks to Stephen's leadership,” said Governor Northam. “We have attracted more than $77 billion in capital investment and 100,000 new jobs in just the past four years alone. Virginia has delivered something unique in the country—becoming one of the best states for workers and earning the 'Top State for Business' title more times than anyone else. Stephen has been at the center of all this work, and Virginia is a better place for it. It's no surprise that others are eager for his talents, and we wish him all the best in Indianapolis.”

“Stephen has been a transformational leader at VEDP and he will be greatly missed,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Stephen was instrumental in CNBC’s recognition of Virginia as the best state in the country for business and I wish him and his family all the best.”

Virginia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barry DuVal said, “Five years ago, VEDP was reeling from a critical JLARC audit that called for sweeping reforms at VEDP. Stephen and his team worked hard with the administration, General Assembly, business community, and economic development partners to address all those issues while also creating one of the best state economic development organizations in the U.S. Stephen’s professional contributions have played an important role in attracting major economic development wins and for Virginia being recognized as a top state for business in several national rankings. It would be difficult to overstate the impact he and his team have had at VEDP over the last five years. We look forward to continuing to support VEDP and its outstanding team in the future.”

“On behalf of the hundreds of economic development professionals from around the Commonwealth, we want to send our most sincere thank you to Stephen Moret,” said Steve Harrison, President, Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA). “His hard work, dedication, and intellect almost single-handedly transformed VEDP into arguably the best state economic development agency in America. From major project wins, such as the Amazon HQ2 project, to helping ensure that Virginia became the first state to be named CNBC’s ‘Top State for Business’ two years in a row, Stephen and his team have produced a truly unmatched list of accomplishments. He was also a champion of VEDA who educated and assisted his fellow members in improving economic development in every corner of Virginia. We wish Stephen nothing but the best and look forward to working with Governor-elect Youngkin and the outstanding team at VEDP to continue building upon these successes.”

“My work at VEDP has represented one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, and I am so proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together over the last five years,” said Moret. “It has been a privilege every day to lead this special organization, to work with such a talented, dedicated team, and to collaborate with our local, regional, and state partners. Likewise, I am so grateful for the support we have received over the last several years from Governor Northam, Secretary Ball, the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Economic Developers Association, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Virginia, SCHEV, the Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Commission, and many other partners. Fortunately, my new role at Strada Education Network will enable me to help advance at the national level much of the work we have done together at the state level in Virginia. VEDP’s strategic goals and important work will continue next year in close partnership with Governor-elect Youngkin’s administration and the Virginia General Assembly, and I look forward to supporting that work in new ways in my next professional endeavor.”

Prior to joining VEDP, Moret served as Louisiana State University (LSU) Foundation President and CEO. He had previously served as secretary (chief executive) of Louisiana Economic Development; president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber; and management consultant with McKinsey & Company, among other roles.

During his tenure at VEDP, Moret also has served as an active member of SCHEV, and he recently served as a member of Harvard University’s Skills and Employability Task Force, as well as co-chair of Back to Work Virginia: A Child Care Recovery and Renaissance Task Force.

Moret will remain with VEDP through December. In the coming weeks, the VEDP Board of Directors will name an interim president and CEO (to begin service in January) and finalize plans for a nationwide search for a permanent successor.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion, and international trade development. 

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