Company News For the Record

For the Record - August 2015

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EASTERN VIRGINIA

Amazon Web Services Inc., an Amazon.com company, has teamed with Community Energy Inc., a solar developer based in Radnor, Pa., to support the construction and operation of an 80-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Accomack County. According to AWS, the project would be the largest solar farm in Virginia. The farm is expected to start generating about 170,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually as early as October 2016. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Avis Budget Group, which employs 520 workers at a facility in Virginia Beach, decided to outsource part of its operation, affecting up to 150 workers in some way. The effective date is Aug. 1, according to a notification the company gave state officials. Up to 30 of the other workers will be moved to current, open positions within the company, leaving a net job reduction of 70 to 90 positions, said John Barrows, a company spokesman. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree Inc. completed its $9.2 billion acquisition of Family Dollar stores in July after federal regulators approved an agreement to meet antitrust concerns. The combined company will be the largest discount retailer in North America, with more than 13,000 stores. Nearly all the Family Dollar stores will maintain their name, but they will undergo improvements, Dollar Tree executives have said. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The Navy awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., parent of Newport News Shipbuilding, a $3.35 billion contract for the detail design and construction of the carrier John F. Kennedy. Newport News-based HII also won a $941 million modification to an existing construction-preparation contract to continue material procurement and manufacturing for the ship. It is scheduled for delivery in June 2022. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The Navy is looking to hire about 430 civilians over the next six months for professional and skilled positions in Hampton Roads. The vacancies were created, in part, when older workers retired a couple of years ago during a hiring freeze prompted by cuts in defense spending, said Tom Kreidel, a Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic spokesman. Now the command is catching up and filling those positions. (Daily Press)

The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved an extension of up to one year for exclusive negotiations with the Northern-Virginia based Peterson Cos. on a 230,000-square-foot entertainment project in the resort area, dubbed VA ViBe. It is estimated that 2,380 full-time and part-time jobs will be created, while the total capital investment is estimated to be $100 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
A Harrisonburg-based cybersecurity firm is expanding in the city, expecting to create 29 jobs. AXON Ghost Sentinel Inc. (AGS), a portfolio company of AXON Connected LLC, will spend $1.5 million on the expansion. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $75,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund (formerly the Governor’s Opportunity Fund) to help Harrisonburg with the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The 2015 Business Excellence: Business Appreciation Awards presented by the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority have been announced. This year, Weathervane Graphics received $500 to help the business as it moves to a new location; Joe’s Steakhouse was awarded $750 for some outdoor beautification; and Backroom Brewer received the first-place award of $1,000, which will be used for new kitchen equipment. (Northern Virginia Daily)

More than 600 jobs are expected to accompany a $40 million project coming to the former Avtex superfund site in Front Royal. IT Federal LLC will build an office complex on about 30 acres in a phased process. Construction is expected to begin in third-quarter 2015, with all phases complete in September 2018. (The Warren Sentinel)

Shenandoah Terrace is scheduled to open in December or January in New Market. The 15,000-square-foot-facility will provide memory care services, catering to residents with memory issues, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Paul Griffin, an owner of the Shenandoah Place Assisted Living Facility on Burkholder Lane, broke ground on the facility on May 26. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)

Threshold Enterprises Ltd., the nation’s second-largest distributor of nutritional supplements and natural health and beauty products, announced the opening of a new East Coast distribution center in Winchester. The company currently employs 80 people at its facility in Stonewall Industrial Park. It expects to employ more than 100 workers when fully operational by the end of the summer. It also plans to nearly double the warehouse space to 148,000 square feet as demand continues for its line of products. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA

Danville Community College board members approved two new welding programs and upgrades to the welding workshop on campus in June. The first program will allow DCC students to pursue a standard welding diploma. DCC also will debut an advanced certification program for welding.  (Danville Register & Bee)

Local middle and high school students will be starting their own businesses in the upcoming school year as the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce prepares to launch the third class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). YEA! is a program that takes students through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. (Work It, SoVa)

Dominion Virginia Power is seeking regulatory approval of a proposed $1.3 billion natural gas-fired power plant in Greensville County. The Richmond-based company filed the request in July with the State Corporation Commission. Dominion said construction of the power plant would create more than 1,000 jobs. Forty-five workers would operate the plant. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia agreed in June to a $2.5 million settlement with Duke Energy for a 2014 spill of coal ash in North Carolina that floated down the Dan River, depositing tons of the toxic stew into the city of Danville’s waterfront and beyond. In February, Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke also agreed to plead guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act related to the spill and other violations and pay $102 million in fines, restitution and community service. (The Associated Press)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the former Henry Hotel, which is undergoing redevelopment, has tentatively been set for July 29, according to Martinsville Assistant City Manager Wayne Knox. Waukeshaw Development Inc. is spending roughly $3.2 million to turn the four-story building at the intersection of East Church and Broad streets into The Henry, a complex of 25 modern apartments and four commercial units. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Monogram Foods was honored by the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. as the company with the highest combination of new jobs and capital investment in the previous year. The food products company has added a total of more than 450 jobs and invested more than $50 million in the community since 2009. (Martinsville Bulletin)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The New York Stock Exchange took action in July to delist the stock of Bristol-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources. The stock, which closed at 24 cents a share on July 15, had been trading at less than $1 since April. Coal  producers have faced a depressed market as many power plants switch to natural gas. (News release)

With Cabela’s set to open this fall, the company is accepting online applications for approximately 150 full-time, part-time and seasonal positions at the new Bristol location. Cabela’s will be the first store to open in The Falls, the city’s long-awaited retail center taking shape near Interstate 81’s Exit 5. (Bristol Herald Courier)

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based HSN Inc. plans to close its call center and fulfillment facility in Roanoke County, leaving 350 people out of work. HSN spokesman Brad Bohnert said the closure would not occur until April 2016. HSN, which sells merchandise on TV and online and through catalogs, is moving its fulfillment operations to Tennessee. (The Roanoke Times)

The yearslong search for a new business park site in Franklin County may be coming to an end. The county’s Board of Supervisors has until Nov. 30 to decide whether it wants to purchase Southway Farm LLC, a 350-acre site that would cost the county $7 million if it chooses to purchase the site to serve as a business park, said Michael Burnette, Franklin County’s economic development director. (The Roanoke Times)

A group of 15 media organizations wants to study how drones can be used safely in news gathering. The coalition is partners in a study with Virginia Tech, one of the Federal Aviation Administration-designated test sites for research on unmanned aircraft systems. The project will include controlled flight tests on real-life scenarios that simulate news events. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Yokohama Tire in Salem will invest $15 million in its facility and keep at least 800 employees over the next three years. In exchange, the city will rebate a portion of the company’s tax payments, according to a new contract between the company and the city. The Salem plant manufactures passenger, high-performance and light-truck tires and is one of Salem’s largest employers.
(The Roanoke Times)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Bow Tie Strategies, a public affairs firm located in Leesburg, named Best Home-Based Business for 2015 at the Town of Leesburg Business Awards. The company’s president and founder is Rusty Foster. (News release)

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce threw a party June 9 to celebrate the organization’s 90th anniversary. Del. Tim Hugo (R-40th) presented chamber president and CEO James Corcoran with a resolution from the General Assembly that honored the business group’s contributions over the past nine decades. The chamber donated more than $5,000 obtained from ticket sales to the Children’s Science Center. (Inside NoVa)

George Mason University received a $10 million gift from the Peterson Family Foundation to be used for scholarships in the arts and to complete the construction of a health-sciences building. The gift was announced in June at a groundbreaking ceremony for the health-sciences building that will be named in honor of the Peterson family. Milt Peterson is the founder of Peterson Companies. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Washington, D.C.-based GovLoop acquired Alexandria-based TMGov, an association of more than 100,000 government talent management leaders, and its TMGovU online university. Financial details were not disclosed. GovLoop said the deal will expand the scope of its GovLoop Academy, a free, virtual training program created for government employees. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Fairfax-based ManTech International Corp. completed its acquisition of Knowledge Consulting Group (KCG), a cybersecurity advisory firm. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Founded in 2000 and based in Reston, KCG focuses on anticipating threats and implementing defensive countermeasures. ManTech provides support to national security programs for about 50 federal agencies through approximately 1,100 current contracts. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia and Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, launched a long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in July. Webb, who lives in the Falls Church area, announced the decision on his campaign website. “After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the Presidency of the United States,” he wrote. (USA Today)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
The Babcock and Wilcox Co. completed the separation of its companies, leaving Lynchburg as the headquarters of nuclear company BWX Technologies Inc. Charlotte-based Babcock & Wilcox announced last year its plans to spin off its power generation business, which is now known as Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. That business has remained headquartered in Charlotte.
(VirginiaBusiness.com)

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has approved procedures for Richmond-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. to put itself up for sale. The company plans to solicit bids through Sept. 4, hold an auction Sept. 10 and seek court approval at a hearing on Sept. 16. Once one of the region’s fastest growing companies, HDL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, listing a $49.5 million federal settlement payment as its biggest debt.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A mediated settlement in June will keep Sweet Briar College open for the upcoming academic year. The deal involves using $12 million raised by alumnae to keep the women’s college afloat while sweeping out leadership of the 114-year-old school. The school was scheduled to shutter in late August. Leaders of the liberal arts college cited insurmountable financial challenges in March as the reason for the planned closure.  (The Associated Press)

The final bill has come due on the abortive U.S. 460 toll expressway pushed by the administration of then-Gov. Bob McDonnell — $260 million, most of it to a private contractor paid by the state without a federal permit to build the road through hundreds of acres of wetlands. Under a settlement announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe — who halted the project— the state will recover $46 million already paid to US 460 Mobility Partners and avoid paying $103 million in additional claims submitted by the developer under the terms of a contract that critics say shifted all the project’s risks to the state. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The merger of paper and packaging companies MeadWestvaco Corp. and Rock-Tenn Co. has been completed. The combined company, now known as WestRock Co., began operations on July 1. It is based in Richmond.  Steve C. Voorhees, who was CEO of Rock-Tenn, is CEO of WestRock. John A. Luke Jr., who was chairman and CEO of MeadWestvaco, has become non-executive chairman. (VirginiaBusiness.com)




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