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Robert Natt Announces Departure as Director of Roanoke Valley Collective Response

Robert Natt, the Director of the Roanoke Valley Collective Response (RVCR), has announced his resignation, effective May 31st, 2024. His departure marks the end of a chapter of dedicated service to the region in responding to the addiction crisis and building a recovery ecosystem.  Bailey Helgeson, Recovery Community Engagement Lead for the Collective Response, will serve as Interim Director after Mr. Natt’s departure.

Throughout his tenure, Robert Natt has been a driving force behind the Collective Response’s efforts to bring crucial resources to the Roanoke Valley. Under his leadership, the RVCR has made significant strides in addressing the addiction crisis, with a focus on collaborative initiatives and strategic partnerships.

Jeremy Holmes, Executive Director of The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, said, “As a new and evolving program of the Regional Commission, the Collective Response has benefited from Robert’s steady leadership, his focus on sustainability, and his efforts to expand the program’s focus to the entirety of the Commission service area to meet the breadth of addiction and recovery related needs facing our communities.”

Natt’s key accomplishments include establishing financial stability; strengthening partnerships with local, state, and federal government agencies;  and facilitating new collaboration with localities and stakeholder organizations to support the regional response to the addiction crisis. In these efforts, he secured a $3.7M Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority (VOAA) Cooperative grant with the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County, assisted in developing a 5-year VOAA grant budget strategy for the City of Roanoke, resulting in an additional $2.5M in funded initiatives for the City of Roanoke through VOAA. His contributions also helped secure planning grants for the City of Salem and Botetourt County.

In reflecting on his departure, Robert Natt shared,  “It has been an honor to serve as the Director of the Roanoke Valley Collective Response. This is a community effort, and I am immensely proud of the great work of our staff, stakeholder network, and localities. There is always hope for those impacted by addiction. We have a loving and compassionate regional community, and rapidly expanding resources to meet this critical and urgent need. The Collective Response remains in good hands and will continue to thrive in its service to the region, and beyond.”

Jim Wallace, Vice Mayor for the City of Salem and Chair of the Regional Commission, said, “The Collective Response is a critical effort to convene the region around effective strategies for addressing the opioid crisis.  We are grateful for Robert’s leadership in this program and look forward to its continued growth.”

As Robert Natt prepares to conclude his service, the Collective Response remains committed to a community approach to addiction for the Roanoke Valley Region.

The RVARC looks forward to welcoming new leadership to build upon the foundation laid by Mr. Natt and drive further progress in addressing the addiction crisis. The Commission is excited to have the expertise of Ms. Helgeson as Interim Director to help guide the program through this next phase.  The Commission intends to begin the search for a new Director in the coming weeks.