The Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism

Our Mission
“The Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism is the lead organization unifying the community to foster a business climate that creates jobs and opportunities for citizens leading to investment in our county.”

Our Vision
“To provide the best quality of life educationally, economically, and environmentally.”

Meet Our Team

Leigh Cockram, director of economic development and tourism

Leigh joined the Rockingham County team in February 2019.  She brings extensive experience in economic development from the State of Virginia in addition to entrepreneurial success.  She is the founder and chief executive officer of RaesWear, LLC, where she invented and patented the 360 degree waistband pocket for leggings and other athleisure wear clothing.  Since the company’s founding in 2013, Leigh increased sales by 178 percent through the development and implementation of an independent workforce of women across the United States.  She led the business to win the Under Armour Future Show Innovation Challenge in 2015, with mentions in Good Housekeeping, Women’s Running, WWD, Women’s World, Runner’s World, NBC News, and others.

Prior to that, Leigh served as director of Research and Business Development for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Virginia.  She was also founder and executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, where she identified new prospects for the region and led the marketing of the four-county, two-city organization. Her other relevant experiences include:   vice president of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation; sales associate and then sales manager for Commonwealth Laminating & Coating; and marketing assistant with Martinsville Speedway.  Leigh has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia-Charlottesville, and she has an Economic Development Institute Certificate from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.  She serves as chair of the Henry-Martinsville Dept. of Social Services; advisory board member for the BB&T Local Chapter; member of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce; and adjunct faculty member at Patrick Henry Community College.

Kerry Taylor-Pinnix, deputy director

Kerry is a native and life-long resident of Rockingham County. She joined Rockingham County Economic Development in 1993 after receiving her associates degree from Rockingham Community College. She is the main contact with the existing industries located throughout Rockingham County ensuring they have the atmosphere required to be successful in our community. She also participates in new business recruitment and industry expansions. Additionally, she manages local and state incentives as well as assist with the coordination of available grants for project expansions. Throughout her years as an instrumental part of this team, she has worked on hundreds of new business and expansion projects.

Tara Martin, marketing manager

Tara joined Economic Development, Small Business, & Tourism in March 2020. Tara is a lifelong Rockingham County native and is currently raising her family here. As Marketing Manager for Economic Development, Small Business, and Tourism, Tara is responsible for implementing marketing strategies aimed at increasing the visibility of Rockingham County as a great place to live, work, and play. In addition, she oversees and coordinates the proactive marketing efforts of the Department of Economic Development, Small Business, and Tourism in conjunction with the manager of each division. In previous positions, Tara was the Communications Director for the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, and Assistant Public Information Officer for the Rockingham County Division of Public Health.

Betsy Brame, project & office coordinator

Betsy joined the Center for Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism team in June 2015. She is responsible for a wide range of administrative functions that support the management and operations of the office. Betsy is also responsible for various strategic projects the office is undertaking including commercial, retail and small business outreach efforts.. Betsy completed the NC Basic Economic Development course from UNC School of Government in 2018. A native of Rockingham County, she has office management experience in the construction, health care and public health sectors.