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Critchfield named Entrepreneur of the Year

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

BLACKSBURG — Pulaski investor and resident Steve Critchfield was named Entrepreneur of the Year Thursday night during Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council’s (RBTC) annual TechNite awards.

Critchfield, owner of MOVA Technologies and West Main Development, chose to headquarter MOVA at 29 W. Main St. in Pulaski. He also purchased and is remodeling a home in Pulaski and is in the process of redeveloping several other buildings on West Main.

When work is complete, one of the downtown buildings will house a virtual reality studio and the other will be home to a New Orleans-style cafe.

“It’s humbling to be given an award for doing what I love,” Critchfield said of the honor. During his speech, he reminded the council Pulaski and Pulaski County are part of the New River Valley.

Critchfield was recognized Thursday for his part in MOVA, a company in the process of creating a “highly advanced” emission control technology. He says research has shown the system is capable of removing almost 100 percent of particulate matter and gaseous substances emitted by carbon fuel energy sources.

The technology, which could be the saving grace for the carbon fuel industry, was the brainchild of late Virginia Tech chemical engineering professor Dr. Arthur M. Squires. When Squires passed away in 2012 at the age of 96, he passed his research on to Critchfield for development.

Once the system is ready for marketing, his goal is to build a small power plant in Pulaski County that would use the technology to produce energy at 60 percent of the market rate, thus making this area even more attractive for development.

Perhaps it is only fitting Critchfield should be recognized by RBTC Thursday night since it was the first time TechNite was held in the New River Valley.

He invited RBTC members to MOVA’s headquarters in August for a reception. He said his purpose was “to make sure council members realize the New River Valley doesn’t stop at the New River.”

At that time, he noted it was his hope RBTC would “start paying attention” to Pulaski and Pulaski County and realize they are prime locations for technology businesses.

With more than 250 organizations making up its membership, RBTC identifies itself as a non-profit association of businesses and organizations that work to promote growth and success among the region’s technology sector.

Nine awards were presented Thursday. Critchfield was among three people or groups of people nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Keynote speaker was Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who spent 20 years as a successful technology entrepreneur and investor before being elected governor in 2001.

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