The Virginia Southern Industrial Development Council named Robert A. Agnew the Virginia economic development volunteer of the year last week in a ceremony recognizing six Virginians for "contributions to the economic growth of their communities during 1983."

Agnew, chairman of the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority since 1976, was chosen as statewide winner because of his role in attracting new companies to that county, the Virginia Department of Economic Development said. Those companies, including Precision Engineering and Manufacturing Co., Potomac Airgas Inc. and Abel Industries Inc., have brought the county about 1,000 new jobs, the department said.

Agnew has worked with the county industrial development authority for the last nine years and has engineered the relocation of his firm's office from Alexandria to Woodbridge. Consequently, he said, he knows the difficulties of moving a business and can show companies how to approach them.

In addition to his responsibilities as vice president and general manager of Universal Dynamics Corp., Agnew said, he spends between 20 and 25 hours a week on development projects for which he isn't paid.

As statewide winner of the volunteer award, Agnew will represent Virginia in an overall competition involving the 17 states of the Southern Industrial Development Council. The award will be presented in November at SIDC's annual convention in Little Rock, Ark.

The council also presented regional awards to David A. Leonard of Lebanon, George C. Bird of Highland County, Morris G. Wells Jr. of South Hill, Peter Eustis of Portsmouth, and A. R. Tedesco of Prince George's County.