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Meet the Team


Our business development managers are your one-stop resource, whether you need help recruiting qualified job candidates, disability awareness training, job accommodation solutions or information on Virginia's economic and workforce development.

Commonwealth Workforce Network groups meet at various locations throughout Virginia. The mission is to enhance partnerships between workforce development professionals and the business community to promote business, share job leads and enhance job development. Organizations can present at a meeting to showcase their business and share job openings.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by clicking on your region on the map or selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

EASTERN CENTRAL NOVA BLUE RIDGE SOUTH CENTRAL SOUTHWEST

Our business development managers are your one-stop resource, whether you need help recruiting qualified job candidates, disability awareness training, job accommodation solutions or information on Virginia's economic and workforce development.

Commonwealth Workforce Network groups meet at various locations throughout Virginia. The mission is to enhance partnerships between workforce development professionals and the business community to promote business, share job leads and enhance job development. Organizations can present at a meeting to showcase their business and share job openings.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by clicking on your region on the map or selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

EASTERN CENTRAL NOVA BLUE RIDGE SOUTH CENTRAL SOUTHWEST


Deputy Director Workforce Programs


Dale Batten

David Leon
 E-mail
(804) 662-7151
(804) 662-7151

David Leon is deputy director of workforce programs and Ticket to Work coordinator. He has worked for DARS since 2011 and has more than 20 years of experience in helping adults with disabilities go to work.

David provides technical assistance on Ticket to Work and SSA work incentives statewide and nationally. He received the Corbett Reedy Award for Excellence for dramatically growing the Ticket to Work program in Virginia.

He also serves on the board of directors for the National Employment Network Association and has served as a subject matter expert for the Department of Labor.



Northern Virginia


Business Development Manager:

LaPearl Smith

LaPearl Smith
 E-mail
 (540) 431-0538  (540) 431-0538

LaPearl Smith has been the business development manager for the Northern Virginia district since October 2013. In 2017, she was selected to receive the State Rehabilitation Council Leadership Award.

LaPearl has served in numerous community organizations including the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Winchester Community Services Board and Winchester Chapter of SHRM. In her current role, she represents DARS on the Northern Virginia Business Solutions Team, the Alexandria-Arlington Employment Team, the Winchester area Workforce Partners committee and the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Committee for the Northern Virginia Career Works Centers.

She sees her role as service to others and looks forward to new opportunities as the business development manager in the northern region. She is a graduate of Shenandoah University and has done graduate work at James Madison University and George Washington University.


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and City of Falls Church Areas

Greater Fredericksburg Workforce Network

Loudoun Information Network for Employment (LINE)

Northern Shenandoah Valley

Prince William Area


Blue Ridge Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Nate Mahanes

Nate Mahanes
 E-mail
 (434) 515-0061  (434) 515-0061

Nate Mahanes is the business development manager for the Blue Ridge district providing services to the Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Fishersville and Culpeper field offices.

Nate’s primary function is to serve as liaison between the agency and the business community in order to promote awareness, increase education and develop public/private partnerships that increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Nate received the Virginia Community College System Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Workforce Development and was recognized as one of Lynchburg Business Magazine's "Top 20 Under 40."  He has also served on the board of directors for the Lynchburg Regional Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

Resource Access Network for Employers (RANE)

PD-9 Workforce Resource Network


Southwest Virginia


South Central Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Beth Groff

Beth Groff
 E-mail
 (804) 895-1696  (804) 895-1696

Beth Groff serves the Roanoke, Martinsville, Danville and South Boston areas. She provides businesses with assistance in recruitment, meeting diversity initiatives and serves as a liaison with local workforce partners.

With more than 25 years of experience, Beth strives to learn the unique needs of individual businesses and educates job seekers on the demands of current work environments. She provides business services including recruiting qualified candidates, assisting with job retention and educating about workplace accommodations.

As a recipient of the 2016 State Rehabilitation Council Employee Leadership Award, Beth finds fulfillment in assisting people in achieving their own personal career goals and businesses achieve their recruitment and retention goals.


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

South Central Workforce Network


Eastern Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Melissa Edmonds

Melissa Edmonds
 E-mail
 (757) 358-2488  (757) 358-2488

Melissa Edmonds has over 30 years of workforce development experience and has cultivated excellent business partnerships in the Hampton Roads region. Known as Missie, she joined the DARS team in 2005.

Missie served as vice president and president on the Governor’s Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. Through that experience, she developed great collaborations with other state and community agencies.

Cari Fessler, Director of Human Resources and Administration at Professional Risk Associates said, “Melissa is caring, outgoing, knowledgeable member of the DARS team. This shines through her work through the Commonwealth Workforce Networks and Business Solutions Teams.”


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

Peninsula Workforce Network
(Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg)

Southside Workforce Network
(Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight)


Central Virginia


Business Development Manager:

William E. Seaton

William E. Seaton
 E-mail
 (804) 652-7706  (804) 652-7706

Wes Seaton partners with local businesses in the Central Virginia district – covering 28 counties from Metro Richmond to Fredericksburg and the Northern Neck.

Wes has worked in workforce development and programming for more than 25 years and understands that skilled, dependable and productive employees are important to business success.

He serves as a vital link in connecting businesses with skilled and talented workers with disabilities actively seeking employment through staffing and recruiting, workplace accommodations, disability awareness training, incumbent worker training and financial tax incentives.


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

Commonwealth Workforce Network of Greater Richmond



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