Mark Gignac serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), where he works to lead economic transformation across the region. Prior to his current role, he served as IALR’s Director of Applied Research. Mark has founded, owned and operated businesses within the region over the past 30 years, including Engineering Design & Sales, Inc. (E.D.S.), Chartwell Homes LLC and Dan River Plants LLC. E.D.S. operated for many years in Danville, Va., and served key manufacturers with critical electronic components. Mark has also been actively involved in the community, including former service as a member of the Danville City Council and the Danville Development Council. He has served on the boards of the Dan River Business Development Center, Southside Rising Venture Capital and the Southern Piedmont Technology Council. Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech and resides in Danville with his wife, Leannah.