VE was launched in 1992 when founder Frank Knott created a structured, yet flexible approach for underperforming rural communities to achieve economic, social and environmental prosperity. Called the VE Journey, the unique, eight-step process shifts rural CED efforts from attracting outside industries and capital-intensive infrastructure to using intrinsic assets and broadband capabilities to grow a knowledge-based, networked economy. To support the multi-disciplinary requirements of these initiatives, VE attracted a team of successful entrepreneurs – the VE Alliance – to guide regional development.
VE has served more than 40 regions throughout North America and Australia, helping regions build locally-led, sustainable CED initiatives that would make them winners rather than victims of the global economy. VE’s goal has always been to help leaders of economic regions understand how broadband technology, linked with asset-based CED, could enable a region to transform how they live, work, learn, govern, compete, access resources, play and share resources to become successful networked economies. As a result, broadband connectivity strategies are a core component of every VE initiative and have resulted in substantial increases in broadband infrastructure investment, access and utilization for many regional economies.Every VE initiative is required to establish time-based and measurable quantitative and qualitative ROI goals, strategies and action plans. Over the past 18 years, this measurable process has developed into what many clients call the first successful blueprint and toolbox for Quality-of-Place CED implementation that regional leaders have ever experienced.
Frank Knott’s experience spans more than 40 years and encompasses serving as both a successful entrepreneur and a volunteer leader of regional CED initiatives. He provides a rare perspective on effective ways to connect citizen, government and private sector interests. For the past 25 years, Frank has initiated and/or participated in a number of regional and national public-private partnerships in the areas of economic development, workforce training, education reform, at-risk youth empowerment, rural and urban economic policy, and information highway initiatives.
Frank’s expertise in building such partnerships has been recognized by the administrations of several US presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. He and his partners in the VE Alliance firmly believe that both they and their clients can “do well and do good” at the same time.