Company News For the Record

For the Record - June 2018

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ACA International plans to invest $52 million to open a 130,000-square-foot data center in Virginia Beach. The telecommunications consultancy firm is buying a 10.2-acre site in Corporate Landing Business Park from the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development for $2.04 million. The new facility will house the data center and the company’s corporate headquarters, while serving as the cable-landing station for future subsea telecommunications cables. ACA expects to create 30 jobs with average annual salaries of $59,000. The project should be completed in late 2019. (Inside Business)

Big things are expected out of the recently upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, even if what exactly will be discovered by the 1,600 scientists using the facility is not yet known. The $338 million upgrade tripled the operating energy of the facility, a facility of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Essentially, it is the most powerful microscope in the world for studying the atomic nucleus. (Daily Press)

Atlanta-based New Realm Brewing confirmed in April that it will open a brewery and tasting room in the former Green Flash Brewing facility off General Booth Boulevard in Virginia Beach. The company said that it bought Green Flash’s brewing equipment. New Realm plans to brew up to 40,000 barrels annually. Green Flash closed its Virginia Beach tasting room abruptly in March and ended distribution to the East Coast after suffering financial problems. (The Virginian-Pilot) 

Old Dominion University announced plans to rebuild and expand the 81-year-old S.B. Ballard Stadium. Construction on phase one of the $65 million project will begin this summer and end before the home opener of the 2019 football season. ODU’s Department of Design and Construction is working with Intercollegiate Athletics and a design and construction management team that includes Moseley Architects, Populous and S.B. Ballard Construction. (

More than 20 faculty and staff members were told they would soon be out of a job at Tidewater Community College. In an email sent in April to faculty and staff, President Edna Baehre-Kolovani said 10 full-time employees — including four administrative faculty and six classified staff positions — were notified of their layoffs. Another 12 employees’ positions were discontinued effective June 7. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Whitley’s Peanut Factory is investing $530,000 to expand in Gloucester County. Whitley’s Peanut Factory got its start as a family business 32 years ago at its current Route 17 store near Tidemill Road, said Todd Smith, the company’s owner and president. The company is leasing a 9,200-square-foot distribution facility in Ordinary for more storage and customer service needs, he said. (The Daily Press)

Cadence Inc., a Staunton-based provider of complex high-precision components and finished devices for advanced surgical and specialty industrial applications, has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Kohlberg & Co., a private-equity firm based in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Alan Connor, Cadence’s president and CEO, will continue to lead the company, and its management team will remain in place.  Backed by Kohlberg’s private-equity funds, Cadence expects the acquisition will accelerate the expansion of its capabilities. Kohlberg plans to maintain current operations.  (News release)

Mary Baldwin University announced the largest gift in its 176-year history — a $25 million legacy gift from alumna and longtime patron Bertie Murphy Deming Smith, ’46 — in April. Smith has been MBU’s top donor for more than 50 years. In 2011, a $15 million gift from Smith made possible the establishment of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, which has transformed the university with doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of high-demand health sciences disciplines. (News Leader)

Last September, the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce launched a leadership class for the first time. Its aim was to get community members more familiar with county issues and to develop leaders in the county. The class graduated in April, and Sharon Baroncelli, the executive director of the organization, is getting ready to start up the class again for next year. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Early returns on SkyWest Airlines, the new carrier for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, are positive. Airport Executive Director Greg Campbell said the airline has displayed “strong customer service” and has been “really solid” overall. Last summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation granted the airport’s request to terminate its contract with ViaAir and look for a new passenger carrier. SkyWest got the job in September and began service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport in early April. (The News-Virginian)

The Staunton Innovation Hub opened its doors in April. The space is designed to transform a section of downtown Staunton into a co-working business destination. Think of it as a complex that houses businesses — startups or those that are more established — workspace, conference areas, gathering space and more. Some are already calling the Hub home, like the Staunton Makerspace and the News Leader. (News Leader)

Averett University President Tiffany M. Franks, and Patrick Henry Community College President Angeline Godwin signed an agreement in April that will make it easy for students graduating from PHCC to become students at Averett. The agreement provides a path for PHCC’s administration of justice graduates to transfer to Averett’s criminal justice program. It ensures those with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher will be accepted to Averett and that the credits they earn on an associate degree will transfer into credits required for Averett’s degrees in sociology/criminal justice. (Danville Register & Bee)

Plans are moving forward to transform the vacant Chatham Armory into a part of the Pittsylvania County School system. The school system intends to use the building on Main Street in Chatham as a mini-school dedicated to its Ready for Success program for students with behavioral issues. A special use permit for renovations and updates to the building would be needed first, though. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville officials hope to provide an on-site or near-site health clinic for city government employees. The city planned in late April to send out a request for proposals seeking bids from potential providers. Officials say an on-site or off-site clinic or other options, including contracting with a local network of Danville doctors, would reduce health insurance costs for the city. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville and Pittsylvania County will launch tech career labs in their middle schools next year after receiving a state grant. The two school divisions, as well as Danville Community College, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and other regional institutions, were recipients of part of a $648,000 GO Virginia grant. The purpose of the grant is to prepare local students for careers in information technology, advanced manufacturing and other related fields. (Danville Register & Bee)

Patrick Henry Community College has established an educational credential program to provide students the basic skills they need for advanced manufacturing jobs. The 22-credit program includes courses in industrial processes, computer methods used in engineering, mechatronics (a combination of mechanical engineering and electronics), installation and preventative maintenance, quality assurance technology and industrial safety. It also includes an internship and a college survival skills course. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Attorneys representing the commonwealth of Virginia filed a supplemental brief in the U.S Supreme Court in April making their case for keeping the ban on uranium mining. In the brief, lawyers argue that the Atomic Energy Act — a 1954 law outlining uses of nuclear material — does not pre-empt Virginia’s decision to ban uranium mining. Last year, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that Virginia was the “paramount protector” of whether to allow mining. Chatham-based Virginia Uranium Inc. filed the initial petition. For the past decade, Virginia Uranium has sought legal relief to mine a 119-million pound deposit of the ore located at Coles Hill. (Danville Register & Bee)

Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health said in April that it was eliminating about 150 occupied positions and had already cut 49 jobs through attrition. The group, which includes hospitals and health facilities in Southwest Virginia, said the job cuts primarily affect administrative and support positions and the total impact was about 1 percent of its total workforce. Some of the cuts were made to eliminate “costly duplication” that resulted from the merger of Wellmont and Mountain States. Last September, Ballad Health anticipated an initial impact of 250 positions. While these positions were cut, Ballad Health said it is working to fill hundreds of vacant positions, especially in nursing. ( 

Contura Energy, Alpha Natural Resources and ANR Inc. — formed nearly two years ago as a result of Alpha Natural Resources’ federal bankruptcy proceedings — announced plans to merge under the Contura banner. The merged company would become the nation’s largest producer of metallurgical coal, the companies said. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, pending the approval of Alpha shareholders and regulators. Once it is finalized, officials intend to file a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, make Contura a publicly traded company and list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

Six Virginia communities and agencies received $2.4 million in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess and revitalize “brownfields,” properties with potential contaminants or hazardous materials. The EPA selected 144 communities around the country to receive a total of $54.3 million in grants to study brownfields and clean up any potential pollution so they can be redeveloped. Among those selected are the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Authority, Wise County, Lynchburg, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Northampton County. (The Roanoke Times) 

Work continues on the Rural Retreat Depot with the majority of the interior restoration complete. Landscaping is expected to get underway this summer. The Rural Retreat Depot was built by the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad in the 1850s. It was operated by Norfolk and Western into the 1990s. Once the depot was no longer in use, it continually declined until a group of local citizens formed the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation in 2011 and undertook the task of saving and restoring the historic structure. Jerry Hurt, president of the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation, said the foundation’s biggest focus is on family with the depot being used for weddings, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations and other events. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people visited the depot during 2017, he estimated. ( 

General Dynamics Information Technology has been accused of underpaying about 10,000 workers who run help hotlines for public health insurance programs by up to $100 million over the past five years. That’s according to four complaints filed in April by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to the Labor Department. “The company takes seriously our obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act. Our call center employees are not represented by the Communications Workers of America,” the company said in a statement. “Similar to other federal contractors, the company is subject to routine compliance reviews and as with any notice received it will engage with the relevant parties including our employees and the Department of Labor.” The CWA has previously filed four similar complaints about the contractor’s call centers, and those cases remain under investigation. (The Washington Post) 

Herndon-based Peraton has acquired its first company since spinning out a year ago from the government IT services division of Harris Corp. Peraton completed a deal to buy Strategic Resources International (SRI) in Reston. SRI builds communications infrastructure. Peraton President Stu Shea said in a statement that the acquisition adds to his company’s telecom assets, thanks to SRI’s portfolio in mobile, internet protocol transport and a type of satellite communications called VSAT, which stands for very small aperture terminal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Washington Business Journal) 

Virginia has reached two milestones in its long, litigious effort to disentangle the state’s vast information technology network from a multibillion-dollar contract with Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman. The state awarded a $120 million, five-year contract to the North American subsidiary of Atos, a French-based global technology company, to provide advanced managed security services to state executive branch agencies. The agreement is the fourth contract the state has awarded for services that had been provided solely by Northrop Grumman under a $2.4 billion, 13-year contract that will expire in mid-2019. Virginia also completed the transition of more than 55,000 state employees to a new, Google-based messaging system, after a costly, protracted stalemate between the state’s IT agency and Northrop Grumman over the terms of their increasingly bitter divorce. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

The Carilion New River Valley Medical Center (CNRV) in Montgomery County is relying on solar panels to generate 17 percent of the hospital’s annual electricity. The 4,000 panels, which became operational in December, were installed on seven acres of farmland adjacent to the hospital’s campus, just off I-81. They are expected to save an estimated $1.5 million over 20 years while reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported the project with a $500,000 grant from the Rural Energy for America program.  While CNRV creates its own solar electricity, it also purchases services from Staunton-based solar company Secure Futures LLC, which finances, owns, operates and maintains the array. Including battery storage, the CNRV solar power system represents the first use of clean energy for backup power by a hospital in the state. (News release) 

India-based Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the world’s largest trucking manufacturers, is opening an office in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. It plans to move senior level staffers to Blacksburg to create a technology development unit that will focus on new products for sale in North America.  In its first joint effort with university researchers, it will explore the creation of a grape-picking robot. (The Roanoke Times) 

MELD Manufacturing Corp. launched in April in Christiansburg as a new subsidiary of the 20-year-old tech firm Aeroprobe. MELD has designed a new 3-D printer that can produce large, industrial-scale parts.  The company’s machine is similar to traditional 3-D printers, but it creates metal components instead of plastic.  For now, both companies will operate from Aeroprobe’s office in Christiansburg’s Falling Branch Corporate Park. Aeroprobe CEO Nanci Hardwick is also serving as MELD’s CEO. Aeroprobe is known for its air sensors, which it sells to customers around the globe. It recently began building smaller versions so the sensors can attach to drones. (The Roanoke Times) 

The state’s newest workforce development center has opened in Roanoke. The Virginia Career Works Center at 3601 Thirlane Road is the first in the state to use the new Virginia Career Works brand. Gov. Ralph Northam, who attended the center’s grand opening in April, said it represents a new approach to workforce development. The center brings together a variety of programs with the goal of providing comprehensive services for both jobseekers and employers in a single location. Besides a computer lab, the center houses staff with expertise in résumé writing, career planning, education and training, unemployment insurance benefits and job placement assistance. Employers can also access services such as recruitment and screening assistance, coordinated recruiting events and funding to improve the skills of their new or existing workforce. They also have access to interview rooms and job fair space at no costs. (News release)  

Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc., a major manufacturer of nuclear components, has reached an agreement to purchase Sotera Health’s Nordion medical isotope business. The company says the acquisition will accelerate its entry into the industry by adding about 150 personnel and two production centers in Canada. BWX has worked for several years in the creation of targets that are used by other companies to make medical isotopes. The company, however, has not been involved in processing those targets into medically safe isotopes. The deal, subject to U.S. and Canadian regulatory review, is expected to close by the end of the year. (

The board of directors of the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority voted in early May to withdraw an application to rezone 1,675 acres of south Chester property from residential to industrial for the purpose of creating an industrial megasite. It’s a significant setback for the EDA and the county’s economic development staff, which had hoped to use the property to bring in a large-scale manufacturer, create thousands of new jobs and diversify the local tax base. (Chesterfield Observer)

The Liberty University engineering program continues to take shape with a $300,000 GO Virginia grant to boost LU’s Center for Energy Research & Education in Bedford County. Now nicknamed CERE, the facility previously was known as the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research. LU purchased the property along U.S. 460 for $4.3 million last spring. The space will serve as the new home for the LU School of Engineering and Computational Sciences as it expands. (News & Advance) 

Owens & Minor Inc. has completed its purchase of the surgical and infection prevention business of Halyard Health Inc., the largest acquisition in the Hanover County-based company’s history. The $710 million cash deal was announced in November. It adds some new markets for Owens & Minor, a distributor of medical supplies, including international markets such as Japan, Canada, South Africa and Australia. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing bought Virginia’s Colonial Downs racetrack in April for more than $20 million, touting the purchase as a major step toward reopening the shuttered facility and revitalizing Virginia’s dormant horse racing industry. The new owners said the deal was a result of the General Assembly’s decision to pass legislation to allow slots-like betting terminals that will generate millions in revenue to support the track, located in New Kent County. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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