The Roanoke Region is the largest metropolitan area in western Virginia and home to more than 330,000 residents. Composed of five counties (Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke) and three cities (Covington, Roanoke, and Salem), Roanoke is the cultural and business hub for western Virginia. As a budding hot spot for a variety of sectors, including transportation manufacturing, life science, and food and beverage, the region provides strategic market access for businesses and draws talent from a 25-mile radius from the Roanoke Region border with an extended labor area population of nearly 700,000.
More than 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students are educated each year from 25 higher education institutions located within an hour’s drive, including Virginia Tech, Roanoke College, and Virginia Western Community College.
As a true recreation destination, Roanoke’s burgeoning outdoor industry thrives from assets such as the nearby Appalachian Trail, James River, Blue Ridge Parkway – the most visited national park in the U.S. – and Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia’s largest lake.
With unmatched cultural and recreational opportunities and an abundance of strong industry clusters, the region represents a diversity of skills and interests.
The Roanoke Region in western Virginia is in the midst of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains and serves as the transportation hub of the area, with an integrated interstate highway, rail, and air transportation network.
- I-81 runs through the Roanoke Region with direct connections to I-64 to the north and I-77 to the south, providing convenient access to major markets.
- I-40, a major east-west interstate running through the south-central portion of the United States, is 47 miles from the region.
- Freight rail service is provided by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.
- Passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak from downtown Roanoke, providing daily trains to and from Washington, D.C., New York, and beyond.
- The Virginia TradePort, located at the New River Valley Airport in Dublin, is 44 miles south, and The Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads is 182 miles east of the region.
- Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) offers commercial air service, served by four airlines with approximately 40 arriving and departing flights per day and nonstop service to eight cities, as well as frequent connecting service.
The Roanoke Region boasts a cost of living index of 89.1 – well below the national average. Low electric rates, competitive construction costs, and reasonable health care costs combine to make doing business here affordable.
The Roanoke metropolitan area serves as the medical center for the region and Southwest Virginia. Anchored by Carilion Clinic, one of the largest health care companies in Virginia and the region’s largest employer, the life science sector is one of Roanoke’s strongest clusters, and residents have access to leading-edge medical care.
The region’s diverse communities can feel small and friendly while being bustling urban centers. Roanoke is the cultural and recreational hub, boasting the world-class Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and museums like the renowned Taubman Museum of Art, Center in the Square in the midst of the open-air farmers market downtown, and the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Roanoke Region has been named a top outdoor location by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. It is bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway and crossed by the Appalachian Trail. The area has 600 miles of trails, 22 miles of urban greenways, 24 rivers and creeks, 300,000 acres of national forest, and the second-largest municipal park in the United States for families to enjoy.
It is no wonder that outdoor recreation is a major economic driver in the region. The rich mix of outdoor amenities and the burgeoning outdoor industry cluster offer limitless potential for growth. In the Roanoke Region, nature is the backdrop to an enviable quality of life that has received numerous accolades as a best place to raise a family, best place for jobs and careers, best place to retire, and best outdoor town.
Pete Hall Director of Operations, Integer Holdings Corp.
Virginia, and the Salem area specifically, has a strong and diverse workforce that provides companies such as Integer with candidates who have the skills and expertise necessary to succeed.