President, Verge; executive director, Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, Roanoke
Erin Burcham says she has “a growth mindset,” making her a perfect fit to lead Verge, an umbrella organization for the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP). Burcham’s job is to pursue initiatives that can expand the tech and life sciences sector of the Roanoke Valley and New River Valley.
In February, the Virginia Tech grad helped score a coup for the region, when the City of Roanoke secured a $15.7 million state grant to build a 40,000-square-foot biotech lab and incubator. In collaboration with Carilion Clinic, the Virginia Tech Corporate Center, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Virginia Western Community College, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the city, Verge will oversee an innovation studio associated with the lab as well as programming for the early-stage companies that will use the space.
Burcham wrote her master’s thesis about bringing organizations together — an education she’s using now for this project. That required keeping “a lot of balls in the air,” Burcham acknowledges, but she didn’t do it alone. “I see myself as a team player for this region,” she says.
In addition to her job, Burcham was recently appointed to the Roanoke College Community Advisory Group and for eight years ran the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s Experience networking conference for young professionals.