Rockingham County Manager Appoints New Director of Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism

Leigh Cockram, Rockingham County’s new director of Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism.

Rockingham County Manager Lance Metzler appointed Leigh H. Cockram as the new director of Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism today.

He welcomed Cockram, who is from Collinsville, VA, to the Rockingham County family and explained, “She is extremely qualified for this critical leadership position due to years of management, planning, business development, and high-quality program coordination.  Her successful career illustrates her leadership with an award-winning start-up business, a regional economic development organization, and the recipient of multiple patents.”

Cockram begins her tenure on Tuesday, Feb. 5th, and said:  “I am honored to be joining Rockingham County’s team.  I see incredible potential to build upon the great work being done to increase the economic health of the county and create jobs for its citizens.  I am eager to start working and look forward to this opportunity.”

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, Cockram 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, Cockram served as director of Research and Business Development for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Virginia.  While there, she was recognized for handling a departmental budget of $1.2 million, managing the Virginia Governor’s Office on the first Virginia AgBio Conference, and serving as a member of the Virginia Bio Board.

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.

Cockram’s 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.

Her Bachelor of Arts degree is from the University of Virginia-Charlottesville, and she has an Economic Development Institute Certificate from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.

Cockram 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.

Cockram replaces Jan Critz-Yokeley, who moved to Wilmington in Dec.