Company News For the Record

For the Record - August 2018

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
Custom Panel & Controls LLC is expanding in Virginia Beach, relocating its headquarters to a larger space. It also is adding 15 jobs, almost doubling its workforce. The company, an electrical contractor for marine and commercial industries, will occupy 13,000 square feet of Class B warehouse space in Oceana West Industrial Park.  The company plans to make a capital investment of more than $2.3 million for real estate, furniture, fixtures and equipment, and machinery and tools. The Virginia Beach Development Authority has approved a $75,000 grant based on the capital investment in the APZ-1 YesOceana zone. The grant funds will be used to offset machinery and equipment purchase. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

IMS Gear, a German-based manufacturer of automotive equipment, is investing $1.05 million to upgrade its equipment in Virginia Beach. The company’s 115 employees will be retrained to operate new cutting machinery with support from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides funding and consulting for employee training. IMS is eligible to receive $500 for training per job, for up to $57,500. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Construction has begun on a 193,424-square-foot residential facility at Norfolk State University. Commonwealth Architects, S.B. Ballard Construction Co. and Niles Bolton Associates have teamed up to design and construct the building. Other design team members include Thompson Consulting Engineers (M/E/P engineers), Speight Marshall Francis (structural engineers), and VHB (civil engineers).  The four-story facility will include 740 beds for first-year students. The building also will house offices, a conference room, a fitness room, movement/yoga studio, a multipurpose room, group study space, a community kitchen, theater and an open gaming space. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Sentara Healthcare has asked for state approval on its plans for a 24-bed hospital at its Sentara BelleHarbour campus in Suffolk. The Norfolk-based health system has filed a letter of intent with the Virginia Department of Health for a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) for the facility, which would include the 24 inpatient beds, two operating rooms and a CT scanner. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
New town homes will be built in Waynesboro in a development that has plans for up to 184 units. Atlantic Builders of Fredericksburg will be constructing the units in the Evershire Subdivision, at the intersection of Route 254 and Hopeman Parkway. The developer of the property is Hopeman Land Co., a subsidiary of Countryside Service Co. of Fishersville. David Boisvert, the Atlantic Builders sales manager for Charlottesville and the surrounding area, said he anticipates a buildout of about 10 town-home units initially. He said the plans for the 184 units remain intact. Frank Root is the president of Countryside Service. The company owns the land on which the development will be built, and will install the streets, curbs and gutters, and other infrastructure. (The News Virginian)

The Blackburn Inn in Staunton has opened for business. A partnership involving The Blackburn Inn LLC and Richmond-based Retro Hospitality transformed the historic structure, built in 1828, into a 49-room boutique hotel. The hotel is in a Jeffersonian-style building on an 80-acre site that was formerly part of the Western State Hospital. In addition to the guestrooms and suites, the hotel has a 20-seat bistro and bar, Second Draft, with a locally sourced menu and beverage program showcasing Virginia wines, beers and ciders. The Library Lounge, located adjacent to the front lobby, also serves coffee, tea and fresh pastries. The Blackburn Inn offers event space, including a dramatic front lawn and the 2,500-square-foot Penthouse Loft adjacent to the hotel. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A $200,000 GO Virginia grant will create a new cybersecurity workforce development program at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave. The project will aim to spur regional growth in the cybersecurity industry by implementing a self-paced, noncredit training course. It will produce new industry credentials — CompTIA Security+ — that are not offered in the region now. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

ComSonics Inc. is investing $615,000 to expand its manufacturing operation in Augusta County. The company also plans to add 34 jobs over a three-year period. Harrisonburg-based ComSonics provides design, manufacturing, sales and repair solutions for the electronics and fiber-optics industries. The company says it will purchase new equipment and make facility improvements to allow for additional space. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Toray Plastics (America) Inc. has completed a two-year, $40 million expansion at its PEF division in Front Royal. The equipment is housed in two new buildings that cover 74,000 square feet. A new extrusion line provides the company with manufacturing flexibility, and the irradiation unit has doubled irradiation capacity. The new salt bath unit, the company’s third, has increased capacity by 170 percent. This will enable PEF to meet the growing demands of the markets it currently serves and to export products to China as well. The investment also will allow the division to supply unique products to industrial markets. Toray anticipates that the expansion will create 30 jobs. (News release)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
BH Media Group, owner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other newspapers in Virginia, is turning over management of its newspaper and digital operations in 30 markets to Lee Enterprises, an Iowa-based publisher. The newspapers will still be owned by BH Media, a unit of Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BH Media will retain editorial control, consistent with Lee’s policy of local editorial decision-making.  (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

The Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) has developed its first residency program with collaborative partners. They include: Lynchburg-based Central Virginia Family Physicians and Centra Health; the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem; the University of Virginia; Sovah Health in Danville; and Michigan State University. LUCOM is approved for 12 residencies over the next decade. (The News & Advance)

Tonya Mallory, the co-founder and former CEO of the bankrupt Richmond-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., has agreed to pay $10 million to settle claims brought against her by the estate’s liquidating trustee. The settlement covers Mallory’s part of a $600 million lawsuit filed by the trustee in 2016 against more than 100 defendants associated with HDL. The medical-testing company rapidly grew to employ hundreds of people before its collapse. The company was accused of paying kickbacks to doctors as an inducement to use its blood-testing services. The trustee’s lawsuit named former executives, directors, third-party contractors and shareholders of HDL, accusing the defendants of conspiracy and other wrongdoing in the alleged scheme. A federal lawsuit against the company was settled for $48.5 million in 2015. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Lynchburg College name is no more. After 99 years under the LC banner, the name was officially changed to the University of Lynchburg on July 1 with a celebratory event the next day to unveil a new sign for the school. (The News & Advance)

Virginia State University has been named the HBCU of the Year. The university, located in Ettrick near Petersburg, was given the honor in June by HBCU Digest, an online blog. The HBCU Awards is the only awards program celebrating achievement at historically black colleges and universities in the U.S. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Accenture opened its Cyber Fusion Center in Arlington in June. The facility is designed to help organizations defend against data breaches and cyberattacks. The company plans to add 1,000 technology jobs in the Washington metro region by the end of 2020 in high-growth areas such as security, digital and cloud. The Arlington Cyber Fusion Center is the company’s fourth. The others are in Bangalore, India; Prague, Czech Republic; and Tel Aviv, Israel. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Herndon-based Deltek acquired a Canadian company in June that improves the online review of marketing and advertising work. Ottawa-based ConceptShare works with customers to provide a streamlined way to proof, review and approve advertising. Deltek will offer ConceptShare as a stand-alone solution and also will be integrating ConceptShare into WorkBook by Deltek. Deltek provides enterprise software and solutions for project-based businesses. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Discovery Inc., the media company behind the Discovery Channel and the Food Network, announced in June a $16 million expansion in Loudoun County, a move expected to create 240 jobs. The company offers more than 8,000 hours of programming each year in 220 countries and territories. Its brands include HGTV, TLC and the Travel Channel. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Inova Health System expects to lay off about 60 employees this summer, a hospital spokeswoman said in June. Falls Church-based Inova plans to enter a joint partnership with Dayton, Ohio-based Alternate Solutions Health Network (ASHN) to manage the health system’s home-health business, Inova VNA Home Health. That move would affect 211 employees. Under the deal, the majority of the Inova employees would continue in their existing roles, employed by the joint venture, Inova Home Health. About 60 would lose their jobs because operational roles are moving to ASHN’s Dayton headquarters, according to Inova. The joint venture is expected to go into effect in late August. (Washington Business Journal) 

Northern Virginia Community College will begin offering a cloud computing degree with the help of Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the first degrees of its kind offered by a two-year school. The 63-credit, associate-degree program is mapped to the skills and competency-based credentials required by AWS and other cloud employers. Classes are expected to start in the fall. NOVA wants to develop dual-credit courses for high school students as well as extend the program to four-year Virginia schools, such as George Mason University. (Washington Business Journal) 

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Ballad Brewing, the first craft brewery in Danville’s River District, not only celebrated its first year in business in June, but it also saw two of its brews pick up awards at the annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition in Richmond. There was a lot of competition, with 375 beers competing in 27 categories for the awards, according to the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild website. (Danville Register & Bee)

Foxhound Solar LLC won approval from the Halifax County Board of Supervisors to operate a 91-megawatt solar farm in the Clover area, overcoming objections by some residents of the area who said the project would negatively impact their property. The solar generation facility will be on a 1,479-acre tract, although only 589 acres will be taken up by the array of solar panels. The rest of the land will be used as buffer or remain undeveloped as wetlands, and the property owners will be able to continue using the land, whether for farming or otherwise. (SoVaNow.com)

With two internet towers of eight completed, more Pittsylvania County residents are expected to receive high-speed internet access by the end of the year. Both the White Oak and Mount Airy towers have been equipped to provide service, though Mount Airy still needs to be connected to electricity. White Oak, on the other hand, currently serves about 100 households and has seen capacity upgrades in order to add more residents. Pittsylvania County Director of Economic Development Matt Rowe said the broadband provider involved in the project, SCS Broadband, hopes to offer service to about 90 percent of the county. (Danville Register & Bee)

Neighbors expressed mixed reactions in late June to options of creating a connector road to take traffic from the Danville Expressway to the Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill. An input meeting drew about 30 people to Brosville Elementary School to see the plans and talk to various officials. The favored plan calls for using the existing exit at Oak Ridge Farm Road to build a four-lane road to the industrial park. The plan then shows three options for tying the connector into Berry Hill Road and the industrial park. (Danville Register & Bee)

Telvista Inc., which ceased operations and laid off about 300 workers in March, will pay nearly $400,000 and give about $300,000 worth of its equipment to the Danville Industrial Development Authority in exchange for early termination of its lease agreement. The termination agreement between Telvista and the IDA, a quasi-government agency, allows the company to exchange eight months’ rent and the equipment in return for leaving the lease agreement early, explained Danville Economic Development Director Telly Tucker. (Danville Register & Bee)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Ammar’s Inc., the parent company of the regional Magic Mart chain, is closing all of its department stores in Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, as well as the company’s headquarters and warehouse facility in Bluefield. Hundreds of employees in four states will be impacted by the looming closures. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)

Bland, Carroll, Grayson and Smyth counties have filed federal lawsuits accusing 15 prescription opioid manufacturers and three distributors of aggressively persuading doctors to prescribe opioids and turning patients into drug addicts for their own profit. In Southwest Virginia, Washington and Scott counties and Bristol are also pursuing litigation. State lawsuits were filed by Dickenson County and Alexandria in March. (Bristol Herald Courier)

In what could be a game-changer for Southwest Virginia, Dominion Energy is planning to invest more than a billion dollars in the construction of a pumped hydroelectric storage station for the coalfield region. The company is looking at a number of sites in the coalfield counties for the project, which would create hundreds of jobs during the multiyear construction phase and approximately 50 permanent positions. (The Register-Herald) 

A Virginia firm is seeking a state environmental permit to continue operating its electricity production facility at the Bristol, Virginia, landfill. Ingenco Wholesale Power of Richmond has applied for a Title V air-pollution permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for its Bristol solid-waste landfill. The Virginia DEQ held a 30-day public comment period that concluded in July to hear feedback, questions or concerns about the operation. After that, the Environmental Protection Agency has 45 days to review the draft permit, said Rob Feagins, DEQ’s air permit manager for Southwest Virginia. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

Overcome by heavy rains and its inability to control runoff from construction sites, Mountain Valley Pipeline is suspending work on the massive natural gas pipeline in Southwest Virginia. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said in June that Mountain Valley has agreed to suspend “all related construction activities within the project’s right of way” in Virginia, based on problems with erosion control identified during recent inspections. “There is no specific timeline for the suspension, however; as soon as upgrades are completed and approved by DEQ, construction can resume,” spokesman Greg Bilyeu wrote in an emailed response to questions. (The Roanoke Times) 

The closing date for Sunset Digital to acquire Bristol Virginia Utilities’ (BVU) OptiNet division was set for July 27. Sunset, a private Duffield-based internet provider, announced its intentions to acquire the OptiNet fiber-optic network in February 2016. BVU President and CEO Don Bowman said the $50 million deal could conclude sooner, but he wasn’t sure how likely that was. He said having a closing date gave all parties a schedule to resolve any last-minute details. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Blacksburg and Roanoke, along with their surrounding areas, are among the best places in the country to find work. Job search website Zippia reviewed 386 metro areas and ranked the Blacksburg and Roanoke areas as respectively the sixth and 10th best metro job markets for 2018. To determine the rankings, the site compared U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures on changes in local wages and unemployment rates with current unemployment rates to develop an average based on those three indicators. The lower the average, the better the job market. (The Roanoke Times) 

The Children’s Museum of Blacksburg will change its name to Wonder Universe: A Children’s Museum when it completes its scheduled move to the New River Valley Mall later this year. The new name — and a new logo — were unveiled in June during a Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce business after-hours event in the museum’s future home. The museum announced earlier this year that it will leave its current spot inside Blacksburg’s First & Main shopping center to take advantage of greater space inside the mall and to better reflect its efforts to meet the needs of children across the New River Valley, not just Blacksburg. (The Roanoke Times)

Just a little more than a month after the Lightwell Lofts were completed, they were all leased. The new living space at 105 Campbell Ave. in downtown Roanoke was purchased in 2015 by ACR Investments with plans to rehab the aging property into an upscale apartment building. It’s located next door to the Bush-Flora building and was in squalor when construction crews first went into the 12,000-square-foot space. It had been vacant for more than 30 years and was deteriorating extensively. But now units boast marble countertops and modern appliances. In March, the building completed its transformation into 12 residences; half are one-bedroom and half have two bedrooms. Rents range from about $850 to $1,400 per month. (The Roanoke Times)

Magnets USA is investing $1.5 million to upgrade its operations in Roanoke County, according to an announcement from the governor’s office. The maker of customized magnets and related promotional products is rolling out new, state-of-the-art equipment at its Vinton facility. The upgrades, which will allow the production line to expand its capacity, include a new digital press, laser engraver and enterprise resource planning system. Other additions are also planned. (The Roanoke Times)

A 24,800-square-foot industrial building in Salem has been sold for $1.73 million. Roanoke-based Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group said the building at 901 Russell Drive was sold by Community Church. The commercial real estate firm described the buyer as an investment group with an industrial and office user. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Virginia Tech officially gained a new college on July 1 and expanded its expertise in the health sciences with the integration of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. The university now offers an M.D. degree for the first time. Over the past decade, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine operated as an independent institution, not fully a part of the university or Carilion Clinic. Two years ago, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic and the medical school began a process to move the college into the university. “The integration of the medical school is an important part of the university’s commitment to the VTC Health Sciences and Technology campus,” said Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech. “The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and our ongoing partnership with Carilion Clinic will continue driving growth in the region as we aspire to create a robust academic health-care presence.” (News release)




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