Company News For the Record

For the Record - December 2017

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SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Ballad Brewing in Danville is launching a new service for its customers: home delivery of its craft beers. “We’re very excited about it,” Tim Meyers, the brewery’s business operations manager, said. “We’ll be delivering bottles and Crowlers.” Crowlers are 32-ounce cans filled when the order comes in and then sealed. Deliveries will be made to addresses within 3 miles of the brewery, which is located in the River District. (Danville Register & Bee)

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) is moving forward with a $2.7 million tobacco fund request to build a fiber-optic network for speeding up the internet in rural areas in the cooperative’s service region. The cooperative wants to provide fiber-to-the-home connectivity — which can operate at gigabit speeds, much faster than currently available retail options — initially to some 3,100 homes and businesses in a nine-county Virginia area including Mecklenburg. The ultimate goal is to provide broadband service to all 31,000 customers in the 14-county MEC service area of Virginia and North Carolina. (Mecklenburg Sun)

Students began moving from the main campus to the new Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Complex at Patrick Henry Community College in late October. The approximately 53,000-square-foot building is PHCC’s renovated former motorsports technology education building in the Patriot Centre industrial park. The college will base highly technical vocational programs — such as electronics, mechatronics (a combination of mechanical engineering and electronics), computer-assisted design, instrumentation, industrial maintenance and motor control — there alongside the motorsports program. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Something different is heading to Danville’s River District: a temporary ice skating rink will be set up between the Community Market and the digital dome theater during December. The River District Association is renting a 30-foot-by-40-foot, synthetic ice rink — which sets up outdoors and can be skated on whether December weather is on the warm or chilly side, without requiring refrigeration units. (Danville Register & Bee)

A downturn in demand for hardwood flooring contributed to a decision by Shaw Industries to close its plant in Stuart. The decision, announced in early November, means 160 employees will be out of work. They will be given offers to work in the company's other facilities. The Stuart plant will continue to operate through December or early January. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Virginia Tobacco Commission funds have provided more than $195 million in funding for economic development, college scholarships and other projects in the Dan River region since it began in 1999. The latest round of funds includes nearly $1 million approved since January for education and job training in Danville and Pittsylvania County. Those total funding figures do not include the indemnification funding to farmers over the years, designed to help them adjust their crops to reflect the lessening demand for tobacco. (Danville Register & Bee)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Ariake USA Inc., a Harrisonburg-based manufacturer of stocks, bases and seasonings for the food industry, will invest $17 million to expand its manufacturing operation by 20,000 square feet. The project is expected to create 22 jobs. The company opened its production facility in 1990 and owns a 34-acre campus in Harrisonburg. It has expanded its facility several times over the past 27 years. The company currently has 90 employees in the city. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $75,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

DanoneWave announced a $60 million expansion that is expected to create up to 49 jobs in Rockingham County. The food company will add production capacity and expand its warehouse in Mt. Crawford. Its brands include Activia, Dannon and Horizon Organic dairy products, International Delight coffee creamers and iced coffee, Oikos Greek yogurt, and Silk foods and beverages. DanoneWave will receive a $700,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program for the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Ryzing Technologies of Staunton has received a research grant from the U.S. Army. The company specializes in engineered textiles and first opened its doors in 2015. The company was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant totaling $1.05 million from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to continue the development of an adjustable, reusable platform for expeditionary military shelters. (News Leader)

Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel) has completed two major projects in the transformation of the former nTelos wireless service area it acquired last year. Shentel absorbed the nTelos network in May 2016 after the company bought Waynesboro-based Ntelos Holdings Corp. for $640 million. The two Shentel projects, involved the upgrade of the former nTelos network from 3G to 4G LTE and the transfer of former nTelos customers to Shentel’s Sprint billing system. The two tasks were completed in 17 months, three months ahead of schedule. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

EASTERN VIRGINIA
The Port of Virginia has joined a number of other Southern ports, stretching from New Orleans to Charleston, S.C., that can import a limited number of in-transit, cold-treated cargo containers bearing goods such as blueberries, citrus and grapes from Peru, blueberries and grapes from Uruguay, and apples, blueberries and pears from Argentina. Among the benefits of the change: Consumers will see lower prices at the store; shippers will see lower transportation costs and a longer shelf life for their goods; and the environment will gain from reduced emissions, said John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, in a statement. Before the program began in 2013, such perishables had to enter Northeastern U.S. ports for cold treatment and clearance. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Power-tool manufacturer Stihl Inc. plans to invest more than $25 million to expand its headquarters in Virginia Beach. The company is building an 80,000-square-foot administration facility, which will combine the finance and controlling; sales and marketing; legal and customer and technical service teams under one roof, as well as add a new museum and brand experience center. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Virginia Beach City Council voted in early November to end its contract with Mid-Atlantic Arena, a developer trying to build a sports and entertainment venue near the city’s Oceanfront. The company argued that it had met its deadline to file its loan paperwork. Mayor Will Sessoms said the council would consider voting again on the same deal if Mid-Atlantic returns with the financing at a later date. “Obviously, we spent a lot of money, and if they are trying to say we can’t close because of a technicality, that is disingenuous,” said Andrea Kilmer, president of Mid-Atlantic. (The Virginian-Pilot) 

In the face of a continuing decline in print revenue, the publisher of The Virginian-Pilot said the company would offer voluntary buyouts to its most veteran employees and cut in-house advertising design and production. If not enough people volunteer, Publisher Pat Richardson said layoffs would follow. Richardson said the cuts are expected to result in a reduction of less than 10 percent of Pilot Media’s workforce of 543 people. (The Virginian-Pilot)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The Wise County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Oct. 12 creating the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facility Authority, consisting of Norton and the counties of Wise, Dickenson, Lee and Scott. Each locality will have the option not to participate in a specific job creation project. Also, a locality can withdraw from the authority after 30 days’ written notice to other localities. The authority will have an office at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Its bylaws allow it to hire or contract for the services of an executive director. (The Coalfield Progress) 

Smyth County leaders hope their next economic development director will not only bolster the community’s business growth but will also help communicate with citizens and promote a positive image of the county. In October, the county’s Board of Supervisors adopted a new job description for the position, including additional marketing and communications responsibilities. The post was vacated on Aug. 31 when Lori Hester Deel resigned. Deel had held the position since early 2014. In her letter to county officials, Deel attributed the decision largely to the birth of her daughter on June 30. While thanking them for the opportunity to serve, she was forthright in sharing criticism that came with her experience, writing, “My style of planning and leadership, along with my venturous personality and my desire to work as a team, unfortunately, doesn’t fit in with the setup and operation of the county.” (SWVAToday.com) 

Sunset Digital Communications plans to deploy wireless hotspots to hasten extending broadband internet service to rural areas. Sunset, which is working to finalize its $50 million acquisition of BVU Authority’s OptiNet telecommunications network, will use the technology — called “SunSpots” — to serve areas currently underserved by BVU. Sunset expects to finalize the purchase of OptiNet during the fourth quarter of this year and begin connecting new customers through the wireless technology while fiber-optic connections are extended, according to the statement. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

Beef cattle production leads the agricultural economy of Southwest Virginia according to a report prepared by the Virginia Tech office of economic development. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia Community College commissioned the report. The summary showed the area had $53.1 million in beef cattle sales in 2012 from its 2,140 cattle farms. The region had $1.9 million in income from tobacco and $1.38 million from corn. The area recorded vegetable sales of $860,000. (SWVAToday.com) 

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Altec Industries plans to invest $30 million in a 65,000-square-foot expansion at its plant in Botetourt County. This is the fifth time the company has expanded since it began manufacturing aerial trucks for the electric utility and telecommunications industries at its facility at Botetourt Center at Greenfield in 2001. The latest expansion is expected to create 180 jobs. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Humm Kombucha plans to build an East Coast manufacturing facility in Roanoke that would employ 50 people. The Bend, Ore., company, which makes fermented tea, will invest about $10 million in a 100,000-square-foot facility on a 12-acre site in the Roanoke Centre for Industry & Technology. Humm is the second Bend, Ore.-based company to come to Roanoke, following the 2016 announcement that Deschutes Brewery would build a brewery in the same industrial park. The Roanoke Regional Partnership estimates that the Humm project would have a $58 million annual economic impact on the regional economy. (News release) 

Virginia Furniture Market is coming to the New River Valley. The Rocky Mount-based company said it would invest $5 million to build a 60,000-square-foot store on what is now a vacant, 11-acre lot adjacent to the Christiansburg Home Depot on Farmview Road. The $5 million project represents the eighth location for Virginia Furniture and its first west of the Roanoke Valley. The store is expected to employ more than 20 people. (The Roanoke Times)  

Construction is underway on a 139,000-square-foot expansion of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke. The $90 million project will be home to 25 additional research teams, hundreds of students and faculty and an oncology center for dogs and cats.  Tech and Carilion also have established a $15 million venture capital fund to encourage startups to locate around the campus. The project is expected to be complete in 2020.  The first phase began nearly a decade ago in 2008 with Carilion and Virginia Tech joining forces to build a medical school. (The Roanoke Times and Virginia Tech News) 

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
McLean-based contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. announced the acquisition of Morphick, which has about 40 employees and is based in the Cincinnati area. Terms were not disclosed. Booz expects the deal to close by the end of the year. Morphick, founded in 2015, landed $10 million in funding about a year ago. Booz did not release the company’s revenue. The acquisition gives Booz access to Morphick’s technology, which allows companies to adapt to cyber threats by analyzing the attackers’ behaviors and strategies and devising ways to respond. (Washington Business Journal) 

Reston audience measurement company comScore is looking for a new leader after it announced that CEO and co-founder Gian Fulgoni intends to retire, effective Jan. 30. ComScore also is looking into strategic options for the company, which could include a sale. The move comes after comScore settled a lawsuit with shareholder and activist investor Starboard Value. That deal gave Starboard and comScore the same number of board seats, with the option for Starboard to nominate another director, giving it a majority if comScore fails to file financial documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission by March 31, 2018. It was its failure to file those financial documents that led to comScore’s delisting from Nasdaq earlier this year, and the company has since twice missed its self-imposed filing deadlines (and several previous ones from Nasdaq). (Washington Business Journal) 

Falls Church-based CSRA Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Praxis Engineering Technologies Inc. for $235 million in cash. Annapolis Junction, Md.-based Praxis is a consulting and solutions firm dedicated to the application of software and systems engineering technologies. It has more than 350 employees, with the majority of them being software and systems engineers holding top-level security clearances. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals and is expected to be complete by Dec. 29. When the transaction closes, Praxis will become a subsidiary of CSRA LLC. CSRA provides information technology solutions and professional services to government clients. It has 18,000 employees. (News release)  

Arlington-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts is launching a new management division, Intrigue Hotels & Resorts by Interstate, focused on independent properties. Interstate is a hotel management company with a portfolio of 400 hotels, resorts and conference centers. Intrigue offers a management platform that aims to increase revenue contributions and better cost savings to improve operating margins.  The division also will offer a central reservation system integrated with a revenue management platform designed for its independent hotels. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  

Reston-based Leidos has landed a contract worth nearly $1 billion to provide IT services to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The prime contract was awarded by Springfield-based NGA under the Information Technology Enterprise Management User Facing Services program. The firm-fixed price contract has a five-year ordering period with a total ceiling of $988 million. (Washington Business Journal) 

Miami-based Lennar Corp. announced a merger agreement with Arlington-based CalAtlantic Group Inc. in a deal valued at $9.3 billion, creating what Lennar says will be the nation’s largest homebuilder. CalAtlantic, as a single entity, lasted only two years. The company was formed through the merger of The Ryland Group Inc. with California-based builder Standard Pacific Corp. The deal, already approved by each company’s board of directors, would create a homebuilding giant in control of 240,000 home sites in 49 markets in 21 states. Lennar and CalAtlantic expect to initiate the merger in the first quarter of 2018 in anticipation of shareholder approvals. (Washington Business Journal) 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October for the new Puller Veterans Care Center in Fauquier County. The 128-bed facility will be complete in 2020. The long-term care and rehabilitation center will be built on 30 acres on the former Vint Hill Farms Station, which previously served as a U.S. Army and National Security Agency facility. The Puller Veterans Care Center will be one of four veterans care centers in Virginia, including another in the pipeline in Virginia Beach. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Herndon-based Strayer Education Inc. will combine with Minneapolis-based Capella Education Co. to create a $1.9 billion company serving 80,000 students across all 50 states. Upon closing, Strayer Education will be renamed Strategic Education Inc. While the entity will be based in Herndon and Strayer shareholders will own 52 percent of the combined company, both Strayer and the largely online Capella will continue to operate as independent and separately accredited institutions, maintaining separate boards and their current presidents. The merger is not expected to close until the third quarter of 2018. (Washington Business Journal) 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
CarMax Inc. said in October that it plans to hire more than 2,000 employees nationwide by the end of the year. Approximately 150 of those positions are expected to be filled in Virginia. The Richmond area-based used car retailer currently employs 24,000 people throughout the country. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

As an early sign of the impact of the summer’s violent white nationalist rallies on the future of the University of Virginia, the Darden School of Business announced in a recent email that it is “facing headwinds.” In an email sent to alumni, Dean Scott Beardsley attributed a drop in first-round applications to the full-time MBA program to the violent rallies on Aug. 11 and 12 that brought torch-bearers to U.Va.’s Rotunda and ended in the death of a counter-protester in Charlottesville, and indirectly, the deaths of two state troopers in Albemarle County. (Daily Progress)

Draper Aden Associates (DAA), an engineering, surveying and environmental services firm, has moved its headquarters office from Blacksburg to Richmond. The move gives the company a more central location as it celebrates its 45th anniversary and positions itself for future growth. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Owens & Minor Inc. announced the largest acquisition in the company’s history in early November — a $710 million cash deal to buy the surgical and infection prevention business of Georgia-based Halyard Health Inc. The acquisition is expected to add about $1 billion in revenue and $80 million of annual operating profits for Owens & Minor, a Hanover County-based international distributor of medical supplies. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond is seeking proposals from developers to spur redevelopment of a 10-block downtown area that includes the aging Richmond Coliseum. The city envisions an ambitious project that replaces the 47-year-old arena and adds affordable housing and a convention center hotel with a minimum of 400 rooms. The request for proposals comes months after a group of investors led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell called for replacing the Coliseum and redeveloping many of its surrounding properties, including the former 6th Street Marketplace and Blues Armory. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Virginia’s hopes for a $2 billion paper manufacturing plant in Chesterfield County continue to fade, as the Chinese company behind the project failed to meet a deadline for repaying a $5 million incentive grant by the state. Tranlin Inc. informed state economic development officials in October that the company was unable to fully repay the loan, as it had promised in July as part of a plan to reset the massive project to incorporate new technology already operating at new plants in China. Instead, the company wrote the state a $150,000 check and promised to repay the balance of the grant in six monthly installments, beginning on Dec. 1, and 10 percent annualized interest. It also agreed to give the state a first-position lien on 58 acres it bought in Chesterfield for $3.2 million. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)




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