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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.

Central Virginia Eastern Virginia Northern Virginia Blue Ridge Virginia South Central Virginia Southwest Virginia

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.

Central Virginia Eastern Virginia Northern Virginia Blue Ridge Virginia South Central Virginia Southwest Virginia


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 is the business development manager for the Northern Virginia region, covering DARS' Leesburg, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Alexandria, Manassas and Fairfax offices. LaPearl started with DARS in 1999 as a placement counselor serving Winchester and Leesburg. Prior to DARS, she was a program counselor, deputy director and associate administrator for Tri-County Virginia OIC, a job training and placement program. During this time she developed her passion for employment and workforce services, especially working with those that society sees as "disadvantaged."

LaPearl served on the Board of Directors of the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, is a past member of the Winchester SHRM, Winchester Community Services Council, Shenandoah Valley African-American Professionals and Winchester chapter of Business and Professional Women. In 1997, she was nominated as one of the outstanding women in the Winchester community.

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) 863-1620  (804) 863-1620

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

With more than 20 years experience in the human services field, Melissa Edmonds has a wealth of knowledge in workforce development. Known as Missie, she joined DARS in May 2005 as a job developer. She quickly started building business relationships in the Hampton Roads region.

Missie worked for more than 15 years for Goodwill Industries of Hampton Roads as vice president of workforce development, providing a foundation in both human resources and workforce development.

Cari Fessler, director, human resources and administration at Professional Risk Associates states, "Melissa is a caring, outgoing, knowledgeable member of the Norfolk DARS team. This shines through in her work with the Commonwealth Workforce Networks and the Workforce Business Services teams."


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

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

Southside Workforce Network
(Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach)

Western Hampton Roads Workforce Network
(Franklin, Isle of Wight, Smithfield, Southampton Counties, Suffolk)


Central Virginia


Business Development Manager:

William E. Seaton

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

Wes Seaton understands that skilled, dependable and productive employees are important to business success.

Wes currently markets business services to businesses in the Central Virginia area that focus on staffing and recruitment, workplace accommodations, disability awareness training, incumbent worker training and financial tax incentives.  

He has been involved with workforce development and programming for more than 25 years. He serves on the Community Advisory Council for the Virginia Business Leadership Network and as Director of Member Engagement for the Society for Human Resource Management.


Commonwealth Workforce Network:

Commonwealth Workforce Network of Greater Richmond



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