Rural Business
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

About the Author

Rural System, Inc. is a concept of Professor Bob Giles who taught at Virginia Tech for 30 years. He retired from there in 1998.

Rural System, Inc. displays a set of ideas that he wrote about and discussed with students and has decided to try to implement in various ways.

Bob was educated as a forester and biologist and worked as a state wildlife biologist for years, got a Ph.D. in zoology at Ohio State University, then taught at the University of Idaho. Feeling that education and agencies have failed at teaching how to achieve sophisticated natural resource and rural system management, he has struggled with the concept of an advanced rural system enterprise. He claims that there is not much new included within the Rural System, Inc. proposal, only in new arrangements and uses of well-tested ideas.

Bob was born in Lynchburg and has travel throughout the state and developed geographic information systems for it. His wildlife management area, when he was a game biologist, included Alleghany County and the region around it. He's done projects on Peters Mountain and owned a cabin on Bradshaw Road, in the valley south of Catawba Mt.

Most of his work has been near Blacksburg and westward in the coalfield but he contends the ideas herein are relevant where large segments of a county are in government ownership (as he experienced in Idaho), where land use pressures are especially great, and various agency services are declining for budgetary or other reasons. Some of this thoughts come from experiences as chairman of the Blacksburg Planning Commission and award-winning environmental planning in Williamsburg. He thinks there is a need to protect landowners from poor developments (e.g., poorly located powerlines) but also to encourage developments that have low risks and low capital investments, that use research results, and that tend to improve the county for its people.

At times, Bob seems to have an anti-science attitude, pressing to use what we now know, to use experience before doing more studies. He talks of mining the rich, unused banks of research results. He's sympathetic to Wolfram's A New Way for Science. Bob promotes the Rural System, Inc. concept and works toward moving into practice what he preaches ... computer-aided decision making for total land and resource systems. He invites you to consider the following ideas, use them, help others develop and use them, and profit from them. He presents in a few places concepts for a single landowner and large tract of land but he is really describing a set of such areas, all different and all profiting together. The integrated corporation working throughout a county and region is only a few steps away for the creative investor with a love of the wildlands and rural areas and what they mean to people.

Healthy at age 69 (in 2002), nevertheless, he seems acutely aware that he's running out of time in which to "promote", argue for, or in other ways encourage people to start the Rural System, Inc. enterprise and all that it can mean to Virginians, and others and their resources. He'll welcome your advice and involvement.

He says he's "an environmentalist" if that means that he cares for the Earth and the health and well-being of later generations.

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