Company News For the Record

For the Record - December 2018

  •  | 
Print this page

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
State transportation officials have prioritized $2 billion in improvements that can be made to the Interstate 81 corridor in Virginia and have proposed different methods for funding the upgrades. The 72 projects recommended for improvement include at various locations widening to three lanes, shoulder widening, extending acceleration and deceleration lanes at the Mount Sidney rest stop and providing a truck-climbing lane at Weyers Cave. Nearly $900 million of the improvements would take place in VDOT’s Staunton District. The estimate is the improvements to the congested interstate would save 6 million hours in delays a year and reduce crashes by 450 a year. Virginia Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nick Donohue told Shenandoah Valley legislators and a crowd in Weyers Cave that improvements could be funded over a 30-year period by tolls or by increases in retail sales and use taxes and regional gas taxes. (The News Virginian)

New Market Town Council has adopted an ordinance establishing a tourism zone offering tax benefits, business license reductions and reduced sewer/tap hookup fees for a wide range of businesses throughout the town. Alex Berryman, New Market’s zoning administrator and town planner, presented the ordinance, drawing on similar projects in Front Royal and Strasburg. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Continental has announced that it would expand its O’Sullivan Films production facility in Winchester, creating 61 jobs. Virginia competed against Mexico for the $10.3 million project, according to a news release from the governor. O’Sullivan Films produces films and artificial leather products for the North American automotive industry. Continental purchased the company in 2016. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Shenandoah University will launch undergraduate degree programs next fall that will establish an academic foothold in the expanding world of virtual reality and esports. The university will offer bachelor’s degrees in virtual reality design and in esports, or video game competition. “We believe a significant number of careers will live in virtual reality,” says J.J. Ruscella, executive director of the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning and associate professor of theater. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative has completed an $11 million project updating a Strasburg substation. According to Danny Williams, a system engineer for SVEC, the project improves the reliability of the cooperative’s substation because if one transformer in the substation goes out, the other can take care of the electrical load. Construction began on the project in 2016. (Northern Virginia Daily)

TruckVault, a Washington state-based company producing armored drawers for trucks and SUVs, has begun operation in Mount Jackson. The company purchased and converted the former One Stop Deli building in Mount Jackson’s industrial district. Patrick Garrett, TruckVault’s general manager, said the firm has spent nearly $1.5 million to get the plant up and running. In its beginning stages, about 10 employees are constructing truck vaults. Garrett said he expects that number to grow over the next year. (Northern Virginia Daily)

EASTERN VIRGINIA
Chartway Federal Credit Union plans to merge with the Norfolk-based PortAlliance Federal Credit Union creating an entity with nearly $2.2 billion in assets. Chartway said that the National Credit Union Administration governing body had given its approval of the merger. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The College of William & Mary and Ferguson Enterprises have created the Ferguson Innovation Challenge to solve what Ferguson believes to be a major issue facing the industry: How to maximize the amount of time contracted construction workforces are doing billable work. During the spring semester, teams of four to six students from graduate and undergraduate schools and different majors will work together on solutions to the problem. (The Virginia Gazette)

ECPI University has begun using blockchain to issue degrees digitally. The Virginia Beach-based school said that, with the change, its graduates would not need to contact the registrar’s office to have a verifiable degree sent to a prospective employer. ECPI said blockchain technology provides secure, immediate verification, allowing students to control and distribute their official records. Next year, ECPI plans to use blockchain to issue digital transcripts as well. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

By simply getting together, Hampton Roads and Richmond have taken a step toward greater economic collaboration. Over two days in October, 50 business leaders from both areas took a firsthand look at each region’s assets with the goal of jump-starting conversations that could lead to the creation of a megaregion. Together, Hampton Roads and Richmond would be one of the 20 largest metro areas in the United States, a metric that would keep the region on the radar of companies that are looking to start up and grow, according to community leaders who champion both areas. (Inside Business)

A Canada-based company is investing $80 million to build two data center facilities at Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach. Alberta-based PointOne will build two, 31,000-square-foot properties that will house data centers, a cable landing station for future subsea cables and an international internet business exchange. The Virginia Beach Economic Development Authority has approved a purchase agreement for a 10.4-acre site in Corporate Landing Business Park to PointOne for $2.08 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A Virginia Beach grand jury has indicted a former economic development employee for embezzlement. Brian Scott Hall, a former business development coordinator, has been charged with three felony counts of embezzlement, according to Macie Allen, a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. He is accused of stealing about $4,000. The indictment offered no details surrounding the incidents other than that they happened between September 2016 and June 2018. Virginia Beach Auditor Lyndon Remias said the alleged crimes are associated with packages Hall shipped to his girlfriend in the Philippines. (The Virginian-Pilot)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Five years after Lee County’s only hospital closed its doors, the county’s hospital authority said they want answers about a plan to keep the facility open long-term. Officials with the hospital authority said a startup company known as Americore halted upgrades to the facility back in August.  Last year, Americore bought the facility for $2 million. Jeanette Filpi, CEO of Lee County Hospital, said the company is in the process of reopening the hospital by December 27. Members of the hospital authority held a closed phone meeting with Americore in November to discuss the project’s progress. After nearly two hours, the meeting was adjourned with no decision made.  Commissioner Howard Elliott on the Lee County Hospital Authority said they are still holding Americore to a December 27 deadline. (WYMT.com)

Bluestone Resources says it is hiring 290 more workers for its coal-mining operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. In West Virginia, the company says new jobs will be created at Keystone Surface Mine and at Bishop Surface Mine, which is reopening. Bluestone says it’s also looking for miners at its operations in Pike County, Kentucky, and in Wise, Virginia. Jay Justice, who operates the mines for Justice Companies, says workers are being sought to operate all types of machinery. He says the company is looking to hire right away. (The Associated Press)

The Bristol Chamber of Commerce announced an initiative in November to create a 25-year vision and action plan for the economic and community development of the Twin City. The Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the Bristol2040 Steering Committee will embark on an eight-month process to create a long-term blueprint for what Bristol and surrounding Sullivan County, Tennessee, and Washington County, Virginia, can and should look a quarter of a century from now. The effort will be in consultation with Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in community and economic development. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Washington County and Bristol are among 136 localities or entities that submitted proposals to become the new home of two U.S. Department of Agriculture offices that are relocating. County and city leaders want to bring the USDA’s Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture headquarters to the former Alpha Natural Resources building in Bristol. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in August the relocation as part of a reorganizing effort. The locations have yet to be determined, and it is possible both organizations may be co-located. A decision is expected by January and the move is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the USDA. (Bristol Herald Courier)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Block.one has moved into its own building in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center as the blockchain startup continues its meteoric rise from nonexistence to a billion-dollar bank account in two years. Block.one has had a team in a small office suite in the VTCRC for more than a year, but property records show it moved into a 30,000-square-foot stand-alone building this summer. (The Roanoke Times)

Christiansburg’s policymakers plan to begin talks on a potential new ordinance for short-term rentals. Christiansburg’s Planning Commission was scheduled to host a public hearing on the matter Nov. 19. The Town Council is scheduled to host a public hearing on the topic Dec. 11. While some council members have floated the idea of strengthening the town’s enforcement of short-term rentals for at least several months, the upcoming public hearings indicate that town officials are laying the groundwork for a new law. (The Roanoke Times)

An upswing in market demand has allowed Harris Corp. to add nearly 50 jobs to its Roanoke County site since the beginning of this year, county officials said. The facility, which employs a little over 500 people, makes night vision technology. The new hires were primarily for production jobs with some positions for supervisors, technicians and engineers as well, said Erik Fox, a vice president and general manager with Harris. (The Roanoke Times)

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in October narrowly approved a special use permit needed for a natural gas gate station that would tap into the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline. The board voted 4-3 on the permit request from Roanoke Gas, which services approximately 60,000 customers across the Roanoke Valley and a tiny section of eastern Montgomery County. (The Roanoke Times)

Radford is preparing to launch a program it hopes will boost local investment by offering real estate tax reimbursements to companies building in the city. The new offering targets larger projects, where developers can often spend millions on new construction or renovating existing buildings. (The Roanoke Times)

Vinton is buying a block of properties at the southern gateway into downtown in hopes of facilitating an economic development project. The deal, approved in October by a unanimous vote of the Town Council, covers five lots that comprise the entirety of the triangular cut of land between Pollard Street, Cedar Avenue and First Street. The town will pay $320,000 for the land that together spans just under 0.9 acres in area, according to GIS (Geographic Information System) records. (The Roanoke Times)

Volvo Trucks has hired about 300 new employees at its Dublin plant since the beginning of September as it tries to keep up with unprecedented demand for big rigs. The company’s 2018 retail sales in North America and Canada are up 60 percent compared with the same time last year, according to Volvo Trucks spokesman John Mies. Employment at the plant, meanwhile, has soared to 3,500 workers, compared with 2,600 at the beginning of 2018 and 1,700 in January 2017. (The Roanoke Times)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Danville Community College held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new welding building and a rededication ceremony for its Charles R. Hawkins Engineering and Industrial Technologies Building on Oct. 23. The facilities house a diverse mix of programs offering certifications in high-demand, high-paying career fields, including precision machining technology, welding, automotive, and dimensional inspection/metrology or quality control. (Danville Register & Bee)

Martinsville Eyecare Center has outgrown its current space and will be moving into a larger space in an empty building 40 yards away. Dr. Theresa Bechtel, founder and owner of Martinsville Eyecare Center, said the business will move from 1049 Brookdale St. to 1099 Brookdale St., effective Jan. 2. Since she opened the business six years ago, “every year we’ve bucked the trend” in terms of growth of volume of patients and number of exams performed, said Bechtel, a doctor of optometry. She added that a good growth rate in the industry is between 3 and 10 percent. “We’ve averaged between 20 and 30 percent.” (Martinville Bulletin)

Community-wide Wi-Fi service is now available in Boydton. In October, Microsoft and Lake Country Satellite set the launch of a free community Wi-Fi service in town. The project was developed in response to a community need, according to Robert Sloan, Microsoft’s director of data center community development. Sloan said Microsoft is committed to improving the communities where it has operations, and hence the tech giant pursued the Wi-Fi project in response to demands identified by local residents. (SoVaNow.com)

Virginia Sen. Bill Stanley believes a shipbuilding program could help change this region’s economic fortunes. In October, Stanley and New College Institute Executive Director Leanna Blevins took people on tours of NCI’s new Shipbuilding Mobile Experience Lab in Martinsville. NCI plans to begin offering the high-tech education program by next fall. Stanley, a Republican from Franklin County who is chairman of NCI’s board, said New College reached a memorandum of understanding agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding to bring the program to New College. (Martinsville Bulletin)

The Planters Warehouse project in downtown Clarksville is not defunct even after the historic tobacco warehouse was destroyed by the high winds of Tropical Storm Michael. Dave McCormack of Petersburg-based Waukeshaw Development Co. wants area citizens to know that he is optimistic the downtown redevelopment will move forward. The building had been undergoing a historic renovation by McCormack and his team of architects, engineers and contractors — with the goal being to create a mixed-used commercial/residential building in the heart of Clarksville. (SoVaNow.com)

The next edition of Startup Martinsville-Henry County will be more “hands-on,” according to chamber officials. Speaking to the Martinsville City Council, Chamber President Lisa Fultz explained that there will be a few changes to the program when it returns in February. Startup is an annual program where several prospective business owners are chosen to receive both grant funding and mentorship, learning what it takes to launch and maintain a successful operation. Fultz said one of the problems they’ve encountered in the past is that some people want the grant funding, but they don’t want to hear any advice. (Martinsville Bulletin)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. said in October that it will pull some of its e-cigarette products from the market after public health officials warned of a rising “epidemic” of underage use of nicotine delivery devices. For the first time, the nation’s largest tobacco company also said it would back federal legislation to set the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products at 21 years old. The current federal minimum age is 18. In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fined 130 retailers and sent letters to 1,200 stores warning them about selling e-cigarettes to minors. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Despite its name, the Lynchburg Retail Merchants Association supports more than just retailers and businesses in Lynchburg. So the group changed its name to better reflect what it does. Its new name is Central Virginia Business Coalition. (News & Advance)

PepsiCo Inc. has acquired Health Warrior Inc., a Richmond-based “superfood”  company. Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo said the deal would expand its nutrition portfolio. Financial details were not disclosed. Health Warrior makes low-sugar products that contain plant-based ingredients. Its current offerings include nutrition bars made with chia and pumpkin seeds and other products such as muffins and protein powder. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Liberty University has announced plans to build a technology park behind the Center for Energy Research & Education (CERE) and put its School of Engineering on LU’s main campus instead of at the center in Forest as originally planned. Plans are in the works to construct 10 additional buildings, over a longer period of time, behind CERE, which will be called LUTECH. The campus will be Liberty’s technology park and home for business and industry partners to the school. The new engineering school now will be built next to the School of Business across from DeMoss Hall.  Plans are being drawn for that building now. (News & Advance)

Facing a tough competitive environment that has hurt its earnings and stock price, Owens & Minor Inc. has parted ways with P. Cody Phipps, its chairman, president and CEO, naming an interim executive who has more than two decades of experience running a foodservice distribution business. The Hanover County-based medical products distributor named Robert C. Sledd as its interim president and CEO. An Owens & Minor board member since 2007, Sledd, 65, also was elected chairman. He is the former chairman and CEO of Goochland County-based Performance Food Group, the nation’s third-largest foodservice distributor, which he co-founded in 1987. Sledd left the company a decade ago when the business was sold to a private equity firm. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Capital One unveiled its massive new headquarters tower to the media in early November. The 31-story building in Tysons is the tallest occupied structure in the Washington, D.C., area. The tower, located at 1600 Capital One Drive, is adjacent to Capital One’s current headquarters and conference center, which the financial services company will continue to occupy. The tower is only part of the company’s expansion plans. Future development includes the Capital One Center, which will house a 1,500-seat auditorium available for public performances. An 80,000-square-foot Wegmans supermarket and hotel also are planned for the campus.  Additionally, the company will break ground on another office building in February. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

KPMG LLP is relocating and expanding its offices in Northern Virginia in a deal that involves public dollars and tax incentives. The move is expected to create 500 jobs over three years. The audit, tax and advisory firm plans to move out of its current office at 1676 International Drive in Tysons to a forthcoming development called The Boro near the Greensboro Metro Station in Tysons. KPMG says it plans to invest $30 million over the next 12 months to build out its new space. The company will occupy up to seven floors at a 20-story tower at The Boro. The tower will be finished in early 2019. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Greater Washington government contractors dominate the latest top 10 list from global jobs website Monster and Military.com of the best companies for military veterans. Fairfax-based ManTech International Corp. tops the list and is joined by CACI International Inc. (Arlington), Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (McLean), PRISM Inc. (Reston), Lockheed Martin Corp. (Bethesda), Intelligent Waves LLC (Reston) and BAE Systems Inc. (Arlington, though it’s planning to move to Falls Church). A panel of veteran-hiring experts nominated more than 50 companies, and then those nominees provided their veteran hiring statistics, veteran retention rates and veteran recruitment plans and practices. (Washington Business Journal)

An Arlington County cybersecurity and IT company is adding 87 employees and moving into bigger digs. Two Six Labs LLC is investing $3.4 million to relocate from 4350 N. Fairfax Drive to Ballston Metro Center at 901 N. Stuart St.  It expects to move into an almost 30,000-square-foot space early next year, an upgrade of about 10,000 square feet. (VirginiaBusiness.com)




Reader Comments

comments powered by Disqus


showhide shortcuts