Virginia Tech has had a major impact on the economy of the Roanoke Valley, and Tech President Charles Steger says the relationship is only going to grow.

Steger was the keynote speaker Wednesday afternoon at a business appreciation luncheon organized by the city of Roanoke.

Steger said the partnership has already proven itself in projects such as the renovation of the Hotel Roanoke, and the creation of the Virgina Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. And he said he believes the economic impact of the university is going to accelerate.

" I know at our corporate research center we've got 160 companies," Steger told WDBJ7 in an interview, "and we're getting a labor pool of high technology people and we're at a critical mass where I think the speed at which it's going to develop is going to grow. "

Steger is set to retire at the end of the month.

He said the university and Roanoke now understand that both are stronger when they're working together.