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Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. Staff


Karl HeckKarl T. Heck 

President and CEO

Karl oversees the organization and its activities, and also focuses on administration of economic and industrial development activities throughout the City and County that retain and attract businesses, expand the local tax base and market the community to businesses and workers. He also represents Franklin Southampton regionally and beyond to foster business development and growth.

Karl received his M.S. from the University of Toronto in Urban Planning with a concentration in Community and Economic Development, and his B.A. from Le Moyne College in Economics and Political Science. 



Ashley Covington

 Ashley C. Covington

Marketing and Existing Business Manager 

Ashley serves as the Marketing and Existing Business Manager focusing on business expansion and retention and small business development. She is also tasked with managing the Franklin Business Center.

Ashley received her B.S. from Longwood University in Business Administration. She is a member of the Downtown Franklin Association Board of Directors and she was awarded a 2015 and 2016 Virginia Economic Development Association scholarship.





Lauren V. Sloan

Business Development Manager

Lauren serves as the Business Development Manager for Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc., focusing on recruitment of entrepreneurs to the Franklin Business Center.  Lauren also represents Franklin Southampton with regional Tourism initiatives.

Lauren received her B.A. from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Communication Studies. She sits on the Membership Committee for tHRive, the Young Professionals organization of the Hampton Roads Chamber.



Emily Ballance 

Emily E. Ballance 

Administrative Assistant 

Emily serves as the Administrative Assistant for Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. and assists with the day to day operations of the Franklin Business Center. She also plays a key role in marketing projects related to the Franklin Business Center and the Visit Franklin Southampton VA brands. 

Emily graduated with her Associate's Degree from Paul D. Camp Community College focusing on General Studies.