Conaway B. Haskins III has spent nearly 20 years helping higher education, government and nonprofit institutions navigate economic development, community engagement and public policy issues at the local, state, and national levels. Currently, he serves as the statewide Extension Specialist for Economic Development at Virginia Tech where he initiates and leads a number of statewide partnerships and programs for Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development.
Conaway previously served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Community Economic Network, a nonprofit organization promoting entrepreneurship, placemaking and social innovation strategies across the Commonwealth. Before that, he led a variety of efforts for Virginia State University, the Council on Foundations, US Senator Jim Webb, and the Cameron Foundation. He began his career as an economic and workforce development researcher at the Aspen Institute.
Conaway is currently a member of the board of directors of the Center for a Better South and serves on and is a member of the Policy, Programming, and Professional Development Committees of the Virginia Economic Developers Association. His prior volunteer service includes stints on the the Virginia Governor’s Council on Social Enterprise and Impact Investing and the boards of directors of the George Mason University Alumni Association, Communities in Schools of Virginia and the Virginia Public Access Project. He was a longtime member of the Richmond Folk Festival Program Committee and the advisory board of the Virginia Minority Political Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2011-2012, Conaway served as a member of the Volunteer State Leaders Program of the White House Office on Public Engagement, and he was listed as one of the “People to Watch in 2009” by Richmond Magazine. He was named as a 2006 Political Leadership Fellowship of the University of Virginia Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership and a 2006 Robert Hull Leadership Fellow of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. He published the highly-regarded South of the James blog from 2004-2007.
Conaway earned a Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics from George Mason University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Planning, Governance and Globalization at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs.