Floricane's first strategic planning client was The James House, a non-profit in the Tri-Cities (Hopewell, Petersburg, and Colonial Heights, along with Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties). We've followed that work up with engagements with a half-dozen Petersburg-area organizations.
We spent a lot of time in recent years learning about the unique political, social and economic landscape of the Tri-Cities, and we've enjoyed getting to know Petersburg better.
Last week, it felt like we relocated the business to Petersburg. As part of an engagement I've made with the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence's Organizational Solutions arm and the Cameron Foundation, I've been interviewing for two organizational assessment projects in Petersburg. I brought our new consultant, Lesley Bruno, along for both meetings to listen and learn.
Our first meeting found us meandering through the residential and commercial edges of Petersburg, as we found our way to the Crater District Planning Commission offices. Our second meeting took us into the heart of Old Town Petersburg, and to an old-time lunch at the veritable Dixie Diner. (I had the chicken-and-dumplings with collard greens, y'all.)
We talked about the unique environmental, educational, political, workforce development, and health care challenges of the region with our two prospective clients. Along the way, I rediscovered some of the things that make the Tri-Cities so uniquely important to the larger identity of Central Virginia.
It's a shame that more Richmonders don't spend time understanding and exploring this corner of our region. It's exciting to have the opportunity to deepen my own understanding once again.