VIRGINIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Strongwell EHS Director Appointed to Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority

Walker serves as executive director at the non-profit group.   Courtesy of Diane Walker.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on Oct. 10.

(Bristol, VA) Lydia Sinemus, Corporate Director, Human Resources and Environmental Health & Safety, was recently appointed by Governor Ralph Northam to serve on the newly-created Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority.

The Authority was established as a part of HB 2747, passed during the 2019 General Assembly, sponsored by Senator Ben Chafin and Delegate Terry Kilgore. Of the Authority’s 11 board members, four were appointed by the Governor. In addition to Sinemus, Governor Northam appointed: Dr. Michael Karmis of Blacksburg, Professor and Director, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Virginia Tech; Brad Kreps of Abingdon, Clinch Valley Program Director, The Nature Conservancy; and, Dr. Kristen Westover of Dryden, President, Mountain Empire Community College.

The Authority began its work at the end of September, electing Mike Quillen (Chairman of the GO Virginia Region One Council) as chair and Dr. Kristen Westover as vice chair of the board.

As outlined in HB 2747, the Authority is tasked with:

  • leveraging the strength in energy research and workforce development of Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education;
  • supporting the development of pump storage hydropower in Southwest Virginia and energy storage generally
  • promoting the development of renewable energy generation facilities on brownfield sites, including abandoned mine sites
  • promoting energy workforce development
  • assisting energy technology research and development by promoting the development of a Southwest Virginia Energy Park
With the increasing emphasis on renewables, and with Strongwell’s history of manufacturing for both the fossil fuel and renewable industries, Sinemus’ participation on the Authority will allow a voice for the importance of manufacturing in the energy sector. In addition to her experience in manufacturing, Sinemus has spent time in the fields of geology, environmental science, and education.


Headquartered in Bristol, Virginia, Strongwell is the world’s leading pultruder of fiber reinforced polymer composites. The company has pultrusion manufacturing facilities in Bristol, VA, Abingdon, VA, Chatfield, MN, and Apodaca, MX. Strongwell is a financially strong, privately-held company, producing products including structural shapes, grating, handrail, structural building panels, decking systems, composite armor, ladder rail, and many OEM products for its diverse customer base. To learn more about Strongwell, please visit


Original source can be found here.

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