Company News For the Record

For the Record - August 2017

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is undergoing a financial transformation to secure its future. Mitchell Reiss, president of the foundation, said it would outsource some of its operations and lay off 71 employees. The plan includes outsourcing its golf operations, retail stores, most of its maintenance and facilities operations, and commercial real estate management. The new vendors include Kemper Sports for golf operations, Aramark for products and retail management, Brightview for landscaping and WFF for facilities management. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Isle of Wight County is reducing some of its financial incentives for Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Roasters by 20 percent after the company spent $36 million less than it pledged to on capital investments during a four-year time frame. In 2012, the company and the county entered into an agreement that guaranteed incentive grants for Keurig ranging from discounts on machinery and tools taxes and real estate taxes to $500 grants for each full-time position created. The company said it would spend $180 million on new capital and create 800 full-time jobs by Dec. 31, 2016. The company has created 550 jobs and spent $144 million in capital investments. (Daily Press)

In May, Gov. Terry McAuliffe celebrated the opening of Virginia’s newest asset in drone technology research — a runway for unmanned aircraft — and then experienced the future of aviation firsthand by flying in a plane that can be piloted from the ground. McAuliffe visited NASA Wallops Flight Facility for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the runway, a $5.8 million state-funded project officially known as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield. “This new facility at Wallops provides government and commercial users with a runway under restricted airspace on a secure federal facility — discreetness that is of high interest for research and development,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said. (News release)

The Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park in Isle of Wight County is under consideration for the location of a 1-million-square-foot facility that could bring up to 1,000 jobs to the area, according to Economic Development Director Tom Elder. The county is competing against Suffolk, which has four sites under consideration for the same project. Additionally, seven other possible clients have either visited the 82-acre site in the park or have obtained information from the developer. (Daily Press)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
The Strasburg Town Council has voted to allow an asphalt company, Strasburg-based Kickin’ Asphalt, to build a plant in the town’s business industrial park. The vote on the plant was tight, with four council members expressing a wide variety of concerns about the plant, and four members saying that the plant would financially help the town. Mayor Rich Orndorff broke the tie and sided in favor of allowing the plant to be built. (The Northern Virginia Daily)

A Page County business that imports artisanal wines from France and Italy and sells them to high-end American restaurants has the go-ahead to move into Elkton. Elkton’s Town Council voted to accept a recommendation from Planning Commission members that Palladion Signature Import be allowed to operate a wine importation, warehousing and distribution center at 102 N. Fifth St. (The Valley Banner)

A medical device manufacturer is investing $9.5 million to expand in Frederick County, a move that will create 57 jobs. Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific is expanding its clinical diagnostics operations. According to a statement by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, more than 300 people work at the company’s Frederick facility. The firm employs more than 55,000 around the world and has revenues of $18 billion. McAuliffe approved a $110,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Winchester Metals is investing $870,000 to expand its manufacturing operation in Frederick County. The project will create 17 jobs. The company will add equipment to its facility, which will expand capacity and allow it to add a third shift. Founded in 1975, Winchester Metals is a family-owned steel distribution, processing and fabrication facility serving Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Winchester Metals’ employee training through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Winchester Metals also received a VJIP grant earlier this year when it retrained 29 employees. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA 
The Amherst Milling Co. is slated to come under the management of a Petersburg-based developer, Dave McCormack, who intends to convert the historic structure into a hydro-powered brewery. The mill, owned by only two families since its construction around 1900, has been for sale for several years, according to current co-owner Richard Wydner, and is one of the last standing and able-to-function water-powered mills in the state.  (The News & Advance)

The impending divorce between Virginia’s information technology agency and Northrop Grumman is getting more expensive, but the question is: Who will pay the bill? The Virginia Information Technologies Agency filed a $300 million countersuit against the McLean-based technology giant in June, alleging that the company has cost taxpayers millions of dollars by blocking the orderly transfer of information services to new providers and failing to adequately upgrade the state’s IT network. The suit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court, represents a forceful answer to the civil suit Northrop Grumman filed against the state in the same court at the end of the previous month. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

This year, the University of Virginia could reach a milestone: it’s on pace to receive more money from private donations than from the state. That’s highly unusual for a large state university. The university administration, under President Teresa A. Sullivan, sees it as a positive sign that its fundraising efforts — spurred on, in part, by declining state funding on a per-student basis — are working. At a board of visitors meeting in June, Melody Bianchetto, the university’s vice president for finance, reminded board members that the university is lucky enough to have a steady stream of philanthropic income — more than $150 million in operating money projected over the next year. (The Daily Progress)

The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System has bought the Museum of the Confederacy building in Richmond from the American Civil War Museum (ACWM) for $6.25 million. ACWM was created in 2013 when the Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center merged. In 2015, the merged entity announced plans for a $37 million building project at Historic Tredegar on the downtown riverfront, originally set for completion by this year. Terms of the sale call for the VCU Health System to lease the building back to the museum for two years while new space for the consolidated museum is constructed. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Packaging maker WestRock Co. announced plans in June to buy assets for making corrugated containers. The company has agreed to buy substantially all of the assets of New York-based Island Container Corp. and an affiliate named Combined Container Industries LLC, which are independent producers of corrugated boxes, sheets and point-of-purchase displays. WestRock, which has its headquarters in downtown Richmond and an administrative office in Norcross, Ga., also is  buying a corrugator — a machine that makes corrugated boxes from paperboard — along with converting operations in Wheatley Heights, N.Y., and other assets including finishing equipment and warehouse space in Saddle Brook, N.J. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
McLean-based government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. said in a statement on its website that the Justice Department informed it in June that it was “conducting a civil and criminal investigation relating to certain elements of the company’s cost accounting and indirect cost charging practices” with the U.S. government. ”To date, our internal and external audit processes have not identified any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, or identified any significant erroneous cost charging,” Booz Allen said. “The company is cooperating with the government in these matters and expects to bring them to an appropriate resolution.” (The Washington Post) 

Chantilly-based Engility Holdings Inc. eliminated its chief operating officer position in June. The move forced out John Hynes, who had served as COO since February 2015 when the company closed its acquisition of Chantilly-based TASC Inc. The move was made “after a strategic review of our organizational structure,” according to a spokesman for the government IT services company. Engility is not looking to hire another COO at this time, he said. (Washington Business Journal) 

Cloud networking provider GTT Communications has reached an agreement to acquire Global Capacity. The purchase price includes $100 million in cash and 1.85 million shares of GTT common stock. McLean-based GTT Communications said the acquisition will help develop its client base with additional health-care, application service provider, and retail and carrier markets. GTT expects Global Capacity’s annualized revenue will be approximately $200 million. Waltham, Mass.-based Global Capacity is a provider of network connectivity solutions aimed at simplifying the process of connecting enterprises. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017 and is subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Kettler, a McLean-based real estate development and property management company, has made its first acquisition in Florida. The company has purchased 18.4 acres from The Celebration Co. in Celebration, Fla., for a mixed-use development. It did not disclose the purchase price. Kettler plans a garden-style apartment community with parcels for hotel and age-restricted housing. It said it would oversee the apartment development and master plan and is evaluating partnership options with qualified hotel and age-restricted housing developers to partner on the remaining parcels. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Arlington-based Nestlé USA has acquired a minority interest in Freshly, which currently supplies consumers in 28 states with weekly shipments of meals. With the move, Nestlé is entering the $10 billion online U.S. prepared meals market. Nestlé is the lead investor in the $77 million round of new funding announced by Freshly in June. The investment by Nestlé will help to fund Freshly’s construction of a new East Coast kitchen and distribution center next year, as it prepares to expand to nationwide service. Based in New York with operations in Phoenix, Freshly was founded in 2015 and employs 400 people. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) has signed an agreement with Northern Virginia Community College to become the first “NVTC Academic Partner.” The partnership is designed to better align training and workforce-development needs in Northern Virginia, allowing businesses to remain economically competitive and better prepare students to enter the 21st-century workforce. (Inside NOVA) 

A $1 billion construction project at Reagan National Airport that promises to ease traveler congestion was scheduled to begin in July. Project Journey, as the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority calls it, is a multiyear effort to create a new commuter concourse and two new security checkpoints. The $245 million checkpoint project is up first. The secure checkpoints are expected to be operational in 2020. A new $360 million concourse, west of Terminal C, is expected to open in summer 2021. (Washington Business Journal) 

Unanet, a provider of cloud and enterprise resource planning software, is expanding its operation in Loudoun County, creating 60 jobs. Virginia competed against Alabama, California, Florida, Maryland and Tennessee for the project. Unanet’s ERP software is designed to allow clients to provide resource management, budgeting and forecasting, project management, timesheets, expense reports, project accounting, billing, workforce collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), and financials in one integrated system. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Unanet with the training for up to 38 jobs through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Canada-based Brookfield Renewable Partners LP has emerged as the third company interested in constructing a solar farm on land outside of Chase City. Angela Fentiman, Brookfield’s project outreach and communications manager, said the company purchased the project from SolUnesco, a Virginia-based company that had started the development process. If approved by local officials, the 60-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy facility would be located on approximately 700 acres. It would abut a similar facility, the 330-acre Bluestone Project, a 70-megawatt solar farm proposed by Carolina Solar Energy. (SoVaNow.com)

The majority ownership of First State Bank, the last black-owned bank in Virginia, has changed hands. Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage in Charlotte, N.C., is now the majority shareholder of the bank, according to Adam O’Daniel, a spokesperson for Crawford. O’Daniel stressed the purchase was not made by Movement Mortgage but by Crawford. (Danville Register & Bee) 

Students may soon be able to earn a degree from James Madison University while staying in Martinsville. The New College Institute and JMU signed a memorandum of understanding so that starting this fall, JMU officials will work with NCI on a “2+2” program. That means students could complete the first two years at a community college like Patrick Henry Community College and then finish the third and fourth years in a JMU program at NCI. (Martinsville Bulletin)

The Noblis Center for Applied High Performance Computing — a supercomputer company — has signed a second five-year lease to continue doing business in Danville. The company plans to install the next generation of big-data processors to work alongside the Cray MXT 2 that was activated at its Danville site in 2012. (Danville Register & Bee)

A total of 2,000 temporary jobs will become available at the Radial fulfillment center in Martinsville in coming months. The company plans to add the positions as preparation begins for the Christmas season. Kelly Scally, the Pennsylvania-based company’s director of strategic staffing, said 1,600 seasonal workers were hired last year, 1,000 of whom became full-time employees after the holidays. (Martinsville Bulletin)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Work continues at a brisk pace on many aspects of The Bristol Hotel – but one space on the fifth floor appears ready for guests to check in. The seven-story downtown hotel is under construction and, in advance of next spring’s expected opening, project developers finished out a temporary room to get a sense of how the finished product might appear. One wall features an expansive black and white train photograph while a white comforter is accented by colorful, monogrammed pillows. There is a desk, large screen TV, chairs, lighting, bureau for clothing and a bathroom. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

Following the passage of bills in the Virginia General Assembly this year, Richmond-based Dominion Energy is searching for sites in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia where it can build a pumped hydroelectric storage facility. Dominion already has a pumped hydroelectric storage facility in Bath County, which it has operated since 1985. The bills authorize electric utilities, such as Dominion or Appalachian Power, to apply to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to construct pumped hydroelectric storage facilities in Virginia’s coalfield region. At least part of the energy stored in such facilities must be generated by renewable resources, the bills state. The legislation encourages companies to establish sites in an abandoned coal mine cavity. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

The University of Virginia at Wise announced that students in Tennessee and Kentucky who live within 50 miles of the college will be able to attend paying in-state tuition rates. Previously, students from those areas were given a tuition discount, according to college officials, who said the new incentive will increase enrollment and makes sense geographically. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

U.Va.-Wise will receive $3.5 million from the University of Virginia to increase enrollment in targeted programs at the college and to create a robust culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. The Wise Innovation Ecosystem received the funding from the University of Virginia’s Strategic Investment Fund. The majority of the funds will support a Center for Innovation, including the hiring of a professor of entrepreneurship, a professor of cyber-MIS, a center manager and operation costs, including startup scholarships, student internships, an entrepreneurship boot camp, a cybersecurity symposium, an entrepreneurial certificate program and the student innovation center. (News release)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Appalachian Power Co. plans to acquire two wind power projects, one in Ohio and the other in West Virginia, to expand the renewable energy sources in the electric utility’s portfolio. If regulators approve the purchases, the wind farms will be the first directly owned and operated by Appalachian, which has relied on coal for the bulk of its power generation. The 175-megawatt Hardin Wind Facility is located in Hardin County, Ohio, and the 50-megawatt Beech Ridge II Wind Facility is located in Greenbrier County, W.Va. Invenergy LLC is the developer behind both projects.  (The Roanoke Times) 

Roanoke’s two biggest law firms are trying to raise money to help Blue Ridge Legal Services. The organization provides legal aid to residents of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke, but it currently has just one attorney. Blue Ridge Legal Services recently saw reductions in funding from numerous contributors including the city of Roanoke and United Way of Roanoke Valley. In July Monica Monday, managing partner at Genry Locke, and Daniel Summerlin, president of Woods Rogers, wrote a letter to the Roanoke and Salem/Roanoke County bar associations, as well as 100 local law firms. They announced that their firms were making a $15,000 donation and hoped to raise up to $29,000 to help fund another Blue Ridge attorney. (The Roanoke Times) 

Black Dog Salvage has opened a new space to sell its architectural merchandise. The Roanoke-based business, known from the popular TV show “Salvage Dawgs,” has expanded its retail operation by opening a new warehouse at 629 Ashlawn St. S.W. in Norwich, about a mile from the store’s main retail location on 13th Street in southwest Roanoke and right along the Roanoke River Greenway. (The Roanoke Times) 

The Roanoke Valley now has one less locally owned bookstore. Givens Books in Salem closed July 1 after more than 34 years in operation. Co-owner Scott Cavendish said business had been wavering. Most of its business came from textbook sales, and when national retailer Textbook Brokers opened at Towers Shopping Center two years ago, it hurt Givens’ sales, he said. (The Roanoke Times)

The sole Kmart left in Roanoke is now slated to close. Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, posted on its website that the company is closing an additional 35 Kmart stores and eight Sears stores by this fall, including the Kmart location at 3533 Franklin Road Southwest. The announcement comes after multiple rounds of closures at the struggling retailer, affecting hundreds of stores. The Franklin Road Kmart will close by early October, according to the company’s online post. (The Roanoke Times) 

Supermarket retailer Kroger, whose mid-Atlantic office is located in Roanoke, has filed a lawsuit against Lidl, a Germany-based grocer, regarding Kroger’s “Private Selection” store brand. In the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Kroger says that Lidl’s “Preferred Selection” store brand is similar in look and design to Kroger’s label. It is seeking an injunction ordering Lidl to immediately stop the use of its Preferred Selection logo and to pay attorney and court fees. Lidl has its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw a 12.3 percent increase in passenger traffic from April to May. Year-to-date growth, from May 2016 to May 2017, was 0.33 percent, with frequent thunderstorms in April preventing a better showing on the year-to-date figures, officials said. The airport moves more than 600,000 passengers a year over four airlines. (News release) 

Total Action for Progress has a buyer for the historic Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development in Roanoke, according to a July news release from the nonprofit. TAP has owned the building since around 1990. The nonprofit renovated and opened the center with the intent of it becoming a major cultural center, but the project struggled from the start. The buyer or terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TAP said it believes the new owners will “keep the rich history of the Dumas alive so that the community will enjoy its presence for years to come.” (The Roanoke Times) 

The natural resources program at Virginia Tech has been ranked No. 1 in the country for three years in a row by USA Today College.  USA Today College started ranking natural resources and conservation programs in 2015. There are only about 50 colleges across the United States with comprehensive natural resources programs. “Due to exceptional education, affordable price, and high earnings boost, a degree from Virginia Tech is a great choice for any student interested in this field,” the report said. (News release)




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