Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Staff​

Jeremy Holmes, Executive Director

Directs all activities of the Commission including preparing a work program and budget that supports the mission of the Regional Commission.  Maintains relationships with all levels of government, as well as with organizations in the region involved in economic and community development activities.  With the Commission board members, sets the regional agenda and monitors those projects and programs to ensure successful implementation. Serves as Secretary to the Transportation Planning Organization and Secretary to the Regional Commission. Email: jholmes at

Niles Comer, Director, Roanoke Valley Collective Response

Responsible for: (1) daily/operational management of the Collective Response (2) ensuring sustainability for the maintenance and growth of the Collective Response, (3) creating a strategy for mission achievement in agreement and aligned with RVARC and the Advisory Board, and (4) promoting the Vision of the Collective Response. Email: niles at

Sherry Dean, Director of Finance/Human Resources

Responsible for: (1) budgetary forecasting and contracts, (2) accounting and financial statements, (3) accounts payable/receivable, (4) grants management, (5) personnel administration, (6) insurance, and (7) procurement. Email: sdean at

Cristina D. Finch, AICP, LEED AP, Director of Transportation

Responsible for: (1) directing the Commission’s transportation planning activities as outlined in the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization’s Unified Planning Work Program and the Rural Transportation Work Program, and (2) working with federal, state, regional, and local transportation stakeholders on the development and implementation of the region’s transportation plans and programs. Email: cfinch at

Andrea Garland, Director of RIDE Solutions

Responsibilities include: (1) managing the RIDE Solutions Program (regional rideshare program for the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, Region 2000 in Lynchburg, and the West Piedmont region of greater Danville and Martinsville), and (2) implementing the air quality plan. Email: agarland at

Bryan W. Hill, AICP, CZA, Regional Planner III

Responsibilities include: (1) managing the Regional Commission’s Housing Development Program, (2) preparing various community development related studies and plans, (3) developing urban and rural transportation plans and corridor studies, (4) developing the Transportation Improvement Program, (5) administering the SMART SCALE grant program, and (6) staffing the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness. Email: bhill at

Emma Howard-Woods, Project Manager, Roanoke Valley Collective Response

Responsibilities include: (1) supporting the administrative, data collection, and correspondence and outreach efforts for the Roanoke Valley Collective Response (RVCR), (2) working alongside the RVCR Director, Steering Committee, and RVARC Leadership, (3) quarterly needs assessments, upkeep of the RVCR website and social media, (4) managing communications to members of the collective including meetings, announcements, and Blueprint information. Email: ehowardwoods at

Gabriel Irigaray, Regional Planner I

Responsible for: (1) Promoting Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts in the Regional Commission’s James River Watershed region, (2) Identify opportunities to enhance local water quality in the Regional Commission’s service area, (3) Work with local stakeholder’s to address stormwater issues in the area. Email girigaray at

Amanda McGee, AICP, Regional Planner III

Responsible for: (1) community and environmental planning, (2) updating greenway and blueway plans, (3) providing technical support regarding recreational and environmental issues, and (4) conducting demographic data analysis. Email: amcgee at

Virginia Mullen, Office Manager

Responsibilities include: (1) serving as recording secretary for the Regional Commission, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization, the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority, and the Transportation Technical Committee; (2) providing administrative support to all staff; (3) scheduling office activities; Email: vmullen at

Rachel Ruhlen, AICP, Transportation Planner II

Responsible for assisting with: (1) data analysis and performance measurement system development and integration, (2) long-range transportation planning and the congestion management planning process, (3) transit, pedestrian, and bicycle planning, and (4) public engagement and education, particularly in the area of bicycle outreach in coordination with RIDE Solutions . Email: rruhlen at

Eddie Wells, AICP, Director of Community Development Programs

Responsible for: (1) community and environmental development, (2) working with federal and state agencies, and (3) providing technical and grant writing assistance to communities in the region. Email: ewells at

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