Dr. Thomas William McCracken III has been reappointed to the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB). VIAB is state government agency established in 1986 to help Israeli companies build and grow their U.S. operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For Virginia companies, VIAB provides access to innovative Israeli technologies and partnerships with Israeli firms that grow the manufacturing and research and development base in the Commonwealth.
Over the next four years, the VIAB will also be focusing on the educational component of the mission and has tasked Dr. McCracken with leading this effort to create synergy between Israeli students and the students of Virginia. One exciting upcoming project that has such potential is the future 2024 Israeli Lunar Mission. Dr. McCracken hopes to engage some of our Commonwealths students through virtual collaboration, perhaps even contributing to the digital payload on the moon.
“By creating and developing relationships through student exchange programs, and the use of technology to facilitate meetings, I hope we can expose some of Virginia’s students to the incredibly advanced progress and technological strides that mark the Nation of Israel. Additionally, by having our incredible Secretary of Education, Aimee Guidera, serving on the board, we should be able to enjoy educational advancements and synergy not realized by our board in the past,” says McCracken.
McCracken brings a diverse educational and vocational background to the VIAB table holding degrees in business, theology, and education, while having served in the business world, the classroom, and launching Salem’s CommUNITY Church in 2005. After a successful campaign for a seat on the local school board, Dr. McCracken has since been heavily involved in advocating for students and training potential school board members through the Bedford-based Noah Webster Educational Foundation and the Leadership Institute in Arlington, VA.
According to the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at ODU, VIAB’s economic impact to the Commonwealth to date is $5 billion.
One Israeli-based company that VIAB has attracted to the Commonwealth is Oran Safety Glass (OSG), located in Greensville County (Emporia). OSG, a world-leading glass fabricator, develops and delivers glass systems for the defense, security, transportation, and special applications markets.
Under the leadership of David Yogev, OSG’s vice president & managing director, Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy reported that OSG’s economic impact to the state and local economy is over $400 million. This figure represents the cumulative impact of employment and investment of OSG’s operations. OSG employs nearly 200 with average sales of $30-$50 million annually.