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Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Honorees

ROANOKE, Va. (September 19, 2022) -- Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia’s 31st annual Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame, presented by Atlantic Union Bank, has announced its honorees for 2022.

Two regional business leaders are being recognized as Laureates and added into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame:

         Sandra Davis                                           Dr. Michael Friedlander,                               

         Former owner                                            Executive Director

         BCR Property Management                         Fralin Biomedical Research Institute


Also being honored at the 2022 Annual Business Hall of Fame event is Dr. Robert Gourdie, Researcher and Entrepreneur, and Founder of Tiny Cargo as Entrepreneur of the Year.

The many business and community contributions of the three honorees will be recognized at the 2022 Annual Business Hall of Fame dinner November 16 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. They will join 62 Laureates who have been inducted in the Hall of Fame since 1990 and 11 Entrepreneurs. These honorees were selected by a committee of regional business leaders.

“This annual fundraiser, celebrating our region’s business successes, makes it possible for Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia to prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. This event recognizes the accomplishments of those who have, through their professional, personal sacrifice and commitment to our community, helped so many others succeed in business and in life,” said Katherin Elam, president of JA of Southwest Virginia. “We are proud to honor innovators and leaders who paved the way and contributed to our region’s quality of life and growing spirit of entrepreneurism in the Roanoke and New River valleys.”


The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets are $160 per person or $1,250 for a table of eight. Proceeds benefit Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia, which has served 528,000 students since its founding in 1957 with innovative, relevant programs delivered in schools by volunteers from the business community.

Join Junior Achievement and attend the 31st Annual Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame. Be a part of the biggest night in business and recognize achievements of the past and inspire greatness in the future.

For sponsorships and additional information, please contact Betsy at 989-6392 ext. 205 or



Katherin Elam, President

JA of Southwest Virginia, Inc.

540-989-6392 ext. 206               



About Sandra Davis, 2022 Laureate

Mrs. Davis is a native of Floyd County who developed a love for business through working in the banking industry, graduating from the Retail Bank Management School at UVA and doing extensive community work and volunteering. She established BCR Real Estate and Property Management, specializing in student housing, with her late husband, Patrick D. Cupp. After many successful years of business, Mrs. Davis recently completed the sale of the properties and offices.


Mrs. Davis has long been committed to education, encouraging her stuff to further their education and by providing support to Virginia Tech, Radford University, and New River Community College to provide for young people in the region who did not have the means for a college education.


Mrs. Davis provides her expertise and support in many organizations including by being a member of the Board of Directors of the New River Community College, Chair of the Campaign Steering committee at Radford University, member of the Campaign Steering Committee at Virginia Tech, member of the board of the Business Council of Roanoke and New River Valley, Co-Chair of the New River Passenger Rail Committee and was recently appointed by Governor Youngkin to serve on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors effective July 1, 2022.


She has received the William H. Ruffner Award from Virginia Tech and was awarded membership as an Honorary Alumni of Virginia Tech. She has received an honorary business degree from Radford University and has been named Citizen of the Year by both the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Blacksburg Rotary Club.


About Michael Friedlander, 2022 Laureate

Dr. Friedlander is the vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech, where he also serves as the founding executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and the senior dean for research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He has built the institute’s research programs to over $140 million in current grant value with 37 research teams and over 400 investigators and students since its founding in 2010. He has served as the principal investigator on multiple research grants on brain processes that mediate vision, developmental plasticity, and traumatic brain injury. His research has been published in leading journals such as Academic Medicine, Cell, J. Neuroscience, Nature, Neuron, PNAS and Science. 


Dr. Friedlander also created a partnership between VT and the Washington D. C. Children’s National Hospital. He serves on the advisory board of the hospital that conducts research on the old Walter Reed campus (VT Innovation Center) where there is a concentration on brain cancer, genetics, and neuroscience. He has served as the principal investigator with pediatric researchers on multiple research grants on brain processes that mediate vision, developmental plasticity and traumatic brain injury.


Outside of his university leadership Friedlander is the founding president of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs, he has served as Chair of the Council of Academic Societies of the Association of American Medical Colleges, AAMC joint task force on the Scientific Foundations of Future Physicians, and as an AAMC Distinguished Service Member.  He served as Chair of the National Association of Intellectual Disabilities Research Centers, as President of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (EBM) where he was also elected to the inaugural class of EBM Fellows and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Friedlander was a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience that included a cash award while at UAB, in 1988 an NIH Fogarty Center Senior International Research Fellowship to the Australian National University.  During the 1990s Friedlander was recognized with a Lucille Markey Foundation Center Award, a W.M. Keck Foundation Center Award, the American College of Physicians’ Menninger Award for Mental Health Research, the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumnus Award and   the   Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. He held visiting Professorships at Oxford University, the Australian National University, and the U. of Paris.


About Dr. Robert Gourdie, 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year

Dr. Gourdie is a cardiovascular scientist, biomedical engineer, professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, and director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s Center for Vascular and Heart Research.

At Virginia Tech, Dr. Gourdie co-founded Acomhal Research Inc., a cancer research company in Roanoke, Virginia. The biotech startup is undertaking preclinical development of a novel drug, JM2, to target cancer stem cells to prevent the cancer from spreading.


In addition, Dr. Gourdie has founded a new Roanoke-based biotech called Tiny Cargo Co. and has developed a new way to extract and purify nano-containers that naturally occur in milk to transport fragile medicine throughout the body.


In March of this year, Dr. Gourdie was named to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows.


Dr. Gourdie recently became Virginia Tech’s first-ever recipient of an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The seven-year, $6.4 million grant provides Dr. Gourdie with the ability to carry out inventive research concepts.


Dr. Gourdie received a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology from the University of Auckland, and his doctoral degree in biophysics from the University of Canterbury. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental biology and anatomy at University College London. He served on the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina before joining the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering in 2012


About Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia (JASWVA). Our purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.  For over 65 years, since our founding in 1957, we have reached over 527,000 kids in our region.  JA programs are taught by volunteers from the local business community.   For more information, please visit

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Media Contacts:

Michael Friedlander
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

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