Rick Barker, an area native, is the founder and president of Supply Resources, with its affiliated companies, SRI Global, Virginia Public Warehouse, and Rick Barker Properties. The flagship brand, Supply Resources, is a packaging design, sourcing and distribution company, headquartered in Danville’s River District.

Among Rick’s varied interest in design, art and architecture, he is a long-time disciple of the historic preservation movement. He sees his preservation efforts as a way to improve one’s quality of life by promoting a sense of place and community. Rick was a recent guest speaker for the National Parks Service regarding the benefits of the state and federal historic tax credit program to small businesses.

As to Rick’s community activities, after serving on multiple non-profit boards over the years, he currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Danville Regional Foundation. He, along with his wife Kristen, are passionate advocates for the arts.

Why is community involvement so important to you?

My motivation might be more selfish than you think. This is my community. If I, along with others, can pitch in to make it a better place to live, work and play, I am a front row beneficiary. I am mindful that my Danville experience growing up here was enhanced by countless volunteers from church, to Boy Scouts, to baseball coaches, to arts leaders and more. Community involvement is less of a charitable conscious decision, but rather a desire to be engaged.

My motivation might be more selfish than you think. This is my community. If I, along with others, can pitch in to make it a better place to live, work and play, I am a front row beneficiary. I am mindful that my Danville experience growing up here was enhanced by countless volunteers from church, to Boy Scouts, to baseball coaches, to arts leaders and more. Community involvement is less of a charitable conscious decision, but rather a desire to be engaged.

What inspires you to volunteer?

As a business guy, I am generally focused on results. I like positive measurable outcomes, without excuses for failure. Danville is still of the size, with sufficient needs, that one person can make a difference. So, if you see something with which you are unhappy, raise your hand, volunteer, and go to work. My experience is that if you volunteer to work, no one will stop you.

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

“Get out of your comfort zone.”

Who are your real-life heroes and why?

Without embarrassing them by name, I look up to many leaders in our region. There are heroes among us. Those who give selflessly their time, resources and most importantly, their talent. I love working with those, who beyond their personal goals, want to see this region prosper. So, hold on to your hat, because this region is about to rock. To all those critics who wrote off this sleepy little mill town as dead, there is nothing better than a good comeback story, and Danville is it.

What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?

My work has always provided the opportunity to travel, to see other cities, and understand what makes some great. This, I believe, makes me more objective when thinking of Danville. Gradually, years ago, I came to realize that Danville is not so bad. In fact, just the opposite. I noticed that the cities which I enjoy the most, often have less with which to work than does Danville. Where I saw other cities excel was with their appreciation and eagerness to celebrate their local culture. Danville, as it emerges from its economic and physiological depression, has plenty of assets. The challenge, that many have accepted, is to better promote our assets to locals throughout our region. Knowing that if we do, those from outside will take notice and join the bandwagon. Great momentum has been established to “Reimage Danville” as a regional destination. I am excited for our future!

What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

I’m looking forward to continued development in Danville’s River District. Each new announcement adds to Danville’s vitality.

What are your visions for the future of Danville?

I believe that Danville will become the best micropolitan community in the United States, in which to live. I believe that we will take a leadership role in creating a regional destination right here; taking advantage of our location, climate, natural beauty, our river, proximity to the coast and mountains, access to major airports, great industrial and residential architecture, a booming River District, not to mention all our smart people with great work ethics. As we retool our economy, we will create meaningful jobs to give opportunity to our brightest. We will realize that we can compete and win. We will decide that “world class” is not out of reach. We will demand it and settle for nothing less.

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