Logo
Facebook icon LinkedInicon YouTube icon Twitter icon Instagram icon

Meet the Team


Our business development managers are your one-stop resource, whether you need help recruiting qualified job candidates, disability awareness training, job accommodation solutions or information on Virginia's economic and workforce development.

Commonwealth Workforce Network groups meet at various locations throughout Virginia. The mission is to enhance partnerships between workforce development professionals and the business community to promote business, share job leads and enhance job development. Organizations can present at a meeting to showcase their business and share job openings.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by clicking on your region on the map or selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Central Virginia Northern Virginia Blue Ridge Virginia South Central Virginia Eastern Virginia Covered by Deputy Director Southwest Virginia County and City Map

Our business development managers are your one-stop resource, whether you need help recruiting qualified job candidates, disability awareness training, job accommodation solutions or information on Virginia's economic and workforce development.

Commonwealth Workforce Network groups meet at various locations throughout Virginia. The mission is to enhance partnerships between workforce development professionals and the business community to promote business, share job leads and enhance job development. Organizations can present at a meeting to showcase their business and share job openings.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by clicking on your region on the map or selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Find your business development manager and/or Commonwealth Workforce Network contact by selecting your locality from the dropdown list.

Central Virginia Northern Virginia Blue Ridge Virginia South Central Virginia Eastern Virginia Covered by Deputy Director Southwest Virginia County and City Map


Deputy Director for Workforce Development


Dale Batten

Dale S. Batten
 E-mail
(804) 662-9792
(804) 662-9792

Dale S. Batten is Deputy Director for Workforce Development for the Division of Rehabilitative Services. Dale had been Central Regional Director for DRS for seven years and has been with DARS for 30 years.

She leads the statewide, six-person business development team - working together to develop relationships with businesses and workforce partners, understand Virginia’s workforce needs and seek qualified job candidates to meet those needs.

Dale is a certified Workkeys Profiler and helped the Governor's office develop the Virginia Career Readiness Certificate. She holds a master's degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling and bachelor's degree in rehabilitation services from Virginia Commonwealth University.



Northern Virginia


Business Development Manager:

LaPearl Smith

LaPearl Smith
 E-mail
 (540) 431-0538  (540) 431-0538

LaPearl Smith is the business development manager for the Northern Virginia region, covering DARS' Leesburg, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Alexandria, Manassas and Fairfax offices. LaPearl started with DARS in 1999 as a placement counselor serving Winchester and Leesburg. Prior to DARS, she was a program counselor, deputy director and associate administrator for Tri-County Virginia OIC, a job training and placement program. During this time she developed her passion for employment and workforce services, especially working with those that society sees as "disadvantaged."

LaPearl served on the Board of Directors of the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, is a past member of the Winchester SHRM, Winchester Community Services Council, Shenandoah Valley African-American Professionals and Winchester chapter of Business and Professional Women. In 1997, she was nominated as one of the outstanding women in the Winchester community.

She sees her role as service to others and looks forward to new opportunities as the business development manager in the northern region. She is a graduate of Shenandoah University and has done graduate work at James Madison University and George Washington University.


Commonwealth Workforce Network Contacts:

Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and City of Falls Church Areas

Greater Fredericksburg Workforce Network

Loudoun Information Network for Employment (LINE)

Northern Shenandoah Valley

PD-9 Workforce Resource Network

Prince William Area


Blue Ridge Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Nate Mahanes

Nate Mahanes
 E-mail
 (434) 515-0061  (434) 515-0061

Nate Mahanes is the business development manager for the Blue Ridge district providing services to the Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Fishersville and Culpeper field offices.

Nate’s primary function is to serve as liaison between the agency and the business community in order to promote awareness, increase education and develop public/private partnerships that increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Nate received the Virginia Community College System Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Workforce Development and was recognized as one of Lynchburg Business Magazine's "Top 20 Under 40."  He has also served on the board of directors for the Lynchburg Regional Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.


Commonwealth Workforce Network Contacts:

Augusta County Workforce Network

Charlottesville Area Workforce Network

Region 2000 Area Network for Employment (RANE)

Rockbridge Area Workforce Network


Southwest Virginia


Updated information coming soon


South Central Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Beth Groff

Beth Groff
 E-mail
 (804) 863-1620  (804) 863-1620

Beth Groff has worked at DARS since 1998 in various positions including vocational rehabilitation counselor, manager of vocational evaluators, workforce development specialist, assistive technology specialist, manager of the Petersburg field office and now is business development manager for DARS' Danville, Farmville; Petersburg and South Boston offices. Prior to DARS, she worked for employment services organizations including Goodwill of Central Virginia and PARC Services.

As a liaison to the workforce development community and businesses, Beth provides information on job openings and recruitment events and advocates for qualified candidates. She also educates employers about the benefits of diversity in the workplace to include persons with disabilities and helping employers with job accommodations.

The Chester resident is active with several Chambers of Commerce and has served on several Workforce Investment Boards.


Commonwealth Workforce Network Contacts:

South Central Workforce Network


Eastern Virginia


Business Development Manager:

Melissa Edmonds

Melissa Edmonds
 E-mail
 (757) 240-0313  (757) 240-0313

With more than 20 years experience in the human services field, Melissa Edmonds has a wealth of knowledge in workforce development. Known as Missie, she joined DARS in May 2005 as a job developer. She quickly started building business relationships in the Hampton Roads region.

Missie worked for more than 15 years for Goodwill Industries of Hampton Roads as vice president of workforce development, providing a foundation in both human resources and workforce development.

Cari Fessler, director, human resources and administration at Professional Risk Associates states, "Melissa is a caring, outgoing, knowledgeable member of the Norfolk DARS team. This shines through in her work with the Commonwealth Workforce Networks and the Workforce Business Services teams."


Commonwealth Workforce Network Contacts:

Peninsula Workforce Network
(Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, York County, Williamsburg)

Southside Workforce Network
(Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach)

Western Hampton Roads Workforce Network
(Franklin, Isle of Wight, Smithfield, Southampton Counties, Suffolk)


Central Virginia


Business Development Manager:

William E. Seaton

William E. Seaton
 E-mail
 (804) 652-7706  (804) 652-7706

Wes Seaton understands that skilled, dependable and productive employees are important to business success.

Wes currently markets business services to businesses in the Central Virginia area that focus on staffing and recruitment, workplace accommodations, disability awareness training, incumbent worker training and financial tax incentives.  

He has been involved with workforce development and programming for more than 25 years. He serves on the Community Advisory Council for the Virginia Business Leadership Network and as Director of Member Engagement for the Society for Human Resource Management.


Commonwealth Workforce Network Contacts:

Commonwealth Workforce Network of Greater Richmond



Return to Top