About the EDA

Stafford Economic Development Authority Members

Joel Griffin, EDA Chairman, Rock Hill District

Joel is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and the business sector, boasting 25 years of private industry consulting experience and 20 years in government contracting. A member since 2009, he has led the EDA as chairman since 2015. A business owner himself, Joel leads Riphean Investments, an investment portfolio company for new ventures in private equity/venture capital and in the hospitality industry. He is the co-founder of the Gwyneth’s Gift Foundation, which raises awareness and education of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Donald Newlin, EDA Vice Chairman, George Washington District

A Stafford resident since 1969, Donald has shaped EDA initiatives since 1976. A financial advisor with over 50 years in the brokerage business, he champions policies that lessen the tax burden on Stafford residents. Devoted to the community in which he lives, Donald has served on various boards, including Mary Washington Healthcare, The Salvation Army, and Rappahannock Valley Football. He is also a founding member of the Rappahannock YMCA.

 Howard Owen, EDA Treasurer, Falmouth District

As the longtime owner of Stafford Printing, Howard brings valuable small business perspectives to the table. The Falmouth representative on the EDA since 2017 and the current treasurer, Howard has residents’ best interests at heart. Howard is a member of the Stafford Hospital Foundation and remains active in an HP global digital printing cooperative. When he’s not shaping local communities, he’s exploring other ones in Cape Cod, or cheering on Alabama football with his family.

Danielle Davis, Aquia District

As a business leader and a 25-plus year resident, Danielle advocates for a healthy balance between residential and business growth. The financial analyst-turned-consultancy firm owner brings breadth to the conversation, as a community volunteer, blogger, military wife, and mother. Danielle has served on local and state boards, including a Governors Citizens Advisory Board for DPOR and the Stafford County Telecommunications Commission, which she chaired.

Heather Hagerman, Garrisonville District

Boasting 20-plus years in commercial property and development, Heather is a local real estate broker who knows the ins and outs of business relocation and attraction. Beyond her work with the EDA since 2016, Heather devotes her time to local charities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fredericksburg, the SPCA, and Truist.

Marlon Wilson, Griffis-Widewater District

A business executive in the information technology industry, Marlon works at a women-owned, veteran-owned firm. With over 25 years of experience in program management, government contracting, and business acquisitions and development, the U.S. Army veteran also serves as a local minister. Keen to balance economic growth with family-oriented development, Marlon has deepened the dialogue on the EDA since 2020.

Jack Rowley, Hartwood District

A board member since 2001, Jack’s decades of leadership in the paper industry provided him with a valuable take on business development. A devoted philanthropist, he serves as vice chair of the Mary Washington Healthcare Board of Trustees and the president of Germanna Community College Real Estate Foundation. Jack previously served as a Rappahannock United Way director for 18 years, past director for Rappahannock Community Services Board, and remains active with the Fredericksburg Host Lions Club. He enjoys leisure time with his family and his classic car collection.

Charles Payne, Jr., Counsel

A Fredericksburg native through and through, Charles prides himself on the business development services he provides to his region. Serving as the counsel for the EDA for over 15 years, Charles advocates for sustainable, long term prosperity for the region. His practice areas include corporate and general business law, zoning and land use, commercial real estate, and federal and state government relations.

John P. Holden, EDA Secretary

For 25 years, John navigated Maine tourism, community and economic development, and international business development. In 2018, he brought his knack for consensus building, entrepreneurship, and a bad golf swing to the Mid-Atlantic. Whether he’s stirring up new initiatives in Stafford or a recipe in the kitchen, John is passionate about creativity and innovation and seeks results.  John also serves as the Director of Economic Development and Tourism for Stafford County.

Linzy Browne, EDA Marketing & Events Professional

True to her roots, this Florida native brings a sunny perspective to marketing and events. When Linzy is involved, the ideas are fresh and the plan is solid, thanks to a track record in non-profit, government, education, and business marketing. Within the Stafford team, Linzy contributes to marketing strategy, social media management, design, and website performance monitoring. Linzy received a bachelor’s degree in public relations and environmental policy from the University of West Florida. She holds certifications in digital marketing and Google Analytics. Equally comfortable crunching stats as she is catching waves, Linzy loves water sports, the great outdoors, and craft brews. To showcase your business, sponsor an event, or get involved with the EDA, contact Linzy!

History Timeline

  • COVID-19 Small Business Relief

    2020: Provided financial support for small businesses and nonprofits in COVID-19 relief through a total of $1,742,672 in grant funding.

  • Broadband Expansion

    2020: Supported Stafford County’s efforts to expand broadband to underserved areas by providing $50,000 in cash match to a grant that expanded broadband to 750 houses in Stafford and acted as the conduit for additional projects that contributed over $200,000 towards broadband expansion to hundreds of more residences.

  • Awarded Grant Funds for Entrepreneurial Development

    2020: The EDA was awarded a $75,000 grant from GO Virginia to support entrepreneurial development in Stafford County. 

  • Germanna Community College Expansion

    2020: EDA fulfilled a pledge to support the expansion of Germanna Community College Stafford County campus.  The EDA has committed $750,000 for Germanna Expansion at the Barbara Fried Center in Stafford. 

  • Loan Programs

    2019: The EDA launched business financing loan programs for small and expanding businesses in Stafford.

  • Veterans Entrepreneurial Development Program

    2016: The EDA launched the first Stafford County Veterans focused entrepreneurial development program, This program is designed to support business education and development for the military community, and to grow veteran owned businesses in Stafford.

  • Welcome Stafford Hospital

    2009: The EDA was a strong advocate and supporter for the development of Stafford Hospital and assisted the hospital with tax exempt funding which was a benefit to the community and Mary Washington Healthcare.

  • Emergency Communication Equipment Bond

    2002:  In response to the Beltway Sniper attacks in October of 2002, the EDA provided a bond for the purchase of a 23 million dollar Emergency Responders Communication Equipment System which allowed Stafford County Police and other emergency services to correspond with surrounding counties and communities in times of crisis.

  • Business Appreciation

    1993: The first Business Appreciation Reception for Stafford County businesses and employees. 

  • Welcome Stafford's First Distribution Center

    1973: The Economic Development Authority welcomes Southland Distribution Center. 

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