Company News For the Record

For the Record - November 2014

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Amthor International plans to ramp up production at its Gretna plant and create 30 jobs. The Gretna-based company says it is the largest and most diverse manufacturer of truck-mounted tanks in the U.S. The family-owned firm already employs more than 100 people at the 86,000-square-foot plant. Amthor will be hiring welders, mechanics and electricians. The expansion will allow the company to operate its two existing shifts at capacity. (

Danville has filed lawsuits against GOK International and Web Parts LLC. When the Tobacco Commission awarded grants to the city in 2012 and 2013 to support new companies, Danville expected the grantees to follow through on performance commitments. Two lawsuits later, Danville is now liable for a total of $2 million to the Tobacco Commission, plus another $359,007 in other grants to the two companies that are lost but don’t need to be paid back. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville’s IKEA plant will have a new production line operational by January 2016 — and the equipment expansion will result in new hires. Plant Manager Ildiko Furjesova said that the specific number of hires is unknown at this point. “It’s too early to say, but it will create several new jobs,” she said in a news release. Recruitment for the new positions has started. Positions will be posted with the local employment office. The new line will produce lightweight wood-based home furnishing products.  (

Students, parents, teachers and school board members gathered at the former Woodlawn Academy in Chatham in September to formally dedicate the county’s new STEM Academy, focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Guests toured the building’s various labs and classrooms, and were also able to walk through the second purpose for the purchase of the building — a permanent home for the county’s alternative school. (Danville Register & Bee)

In September, the Virginia Tobacco Commission approved a grant application to establish an IT Academy at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston. The academy will provide a core curriculum leading to CompTIA certification in A+, Network+ and Server+. The academy will also offer intermediate- and advanced-level training based on industry needs and employer demands. SVHEC plans to enroll the first group of students in the spring 2015 semester. (Work It, SoVa)

Danville Community College received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. The grant will be used to incorporate workplace experiential learning in advanced manufacturing in an educational setting. The new program, Retooling America, focuses on realistic, fully integrated training experiences in a full-scale manufacturing facility. Four other Virginia colleges also received grants from the initiative. (

Altec Industries plans to purchase 30 acres at the Greenfield business park from Botetourt County for $241,000, less than a quarter of its value. Altec will invest $1 million in building improvements and $2 million in machinery and tools by next year and hire at least 100 new full-time workers between now and 2016. County Administrator Kathleen Guzi said Altec will pay “liquidated damages” to the county should it fail to meet these conditions.  (The Roanoke Times)

Luna Innovations Inc. said in October it would expand its Blacksburg office in Montgomery County. The company plans a $500,000 investment into a newly renovated 41,000-square-foot suite in the Technology Manufacturing Building where Luna is currently located. Luna’s space will include a renovated executive office, lab and manufacturing space at the Technology Manufacturing Building. Built in 2001, the building is a 109,000-square-foot facility owned and managed by the Montgomery County Economic Development Authority. (

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport will no longer offer direct flights to Detroit, ending a service that’s been available for more than 20 years. The airport said that Delta Air Lines decided to cancel the service Nov. 1 because the route loses money. On the flip side, Delta will expand its service between Roanoke and its main hub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. On Nov. 1, the airline will adjust aircraft assignments, resulting in the number of daily outbound seats to Atlanta growing from 276 to 320. (The Roanoke Times) 

Wells Fargo Bank told 115 employees at its Roanoke County call center they will be terminated later this year, which will eliminate 6.4 percent of the facility’s workforce. Wells Fargo spokeswoman Kristy Marshall tied the cuts to a reduction in foreclosures and delinquency. Demand for mortgage financing and refinancing also is down, she said. The cuts are scheduled to take effect in mid-December, Marshall said. The Plantation Road facility employs 1,800 people. (The Roanoke Times)

Paris-based Daher-TLI will make nuclear waste containers in Washington County to ship globally. Daher-TLI moved into the old Steel Fab building along Lee Highway this summer and has been cleaning and outfitting the building to fit its needs, company officials said in September at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building is about 90,000 square feet and was empty for about a year. The company moved from nearby Bristol, Va., to have a larger manufacturing space. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board recognized Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic as the 2014 “Business of the Year.” The award recognizes a company that encourages and supports professional development of new and current employees; supports the efforts of workforce centers, agencies and/or partners; provides training and retraining opportunities for employees; promotes career advancement opportunities and shows significant increased employment. (News release)

Roanoke Mountain Adventures will open in spring 2015 in Roanoke. The business will provide guides, tours, transportation and equipment for mountain biking, road cycling, kayaking and other outdoor recreation activities. Roanoke Mountain Adventures will operate from Wasena Station alongside the Roanoke River Greenway. (News release)

Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources Inc. says more than 250 jobs have been eliminated at coal mines in West Virginia. In updating its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act announcement from last July affecting mines and some support facilities, the company said three of its affiliates have notified employees that the coal mines where they worked have been idled. Meanwhile, one mine that had expected to be idled will continue to operate, while eight other mines have extended the period of time they will continue to operate. (

Hollister Inc. held a ribbon-cutting in September for a $29 million expansion project at its Stuarts Draft plant. The project increases the overall size of the plant by more than 25 percent, adding 50,000 square feet of space. The project also includes new equipment to automate processes, enhance products and increase production volume. Hollister is an employee-owned company that develops, manufactures and markets medical devices. It is based in Libertyville, Ill., 40 miles north of downtown Chicago. (

InterChange Group Inc. purchased the former Invista Stone Fort II facility outside of Waynesboro, also known as the South Oak Lane Warehouse. The company purchased the site for $4 million, making it the 13th facility for the company — most of which are located along the Interstate 81 corridor. The logistics company based in Harrisonburg specializes in warehousing services for local and regional food processing and manufacturing segments, according to its website. (News Leader)

McKee Foods Corp. plans to spend $34 million to expand production at its manufacturing facility in Augusta County, a project that is expected to create 54 jobs. The Stuarts Draft plant currently employs 1,000 workers and is one of the largest employers in Augusta County. McKee Foods, a privately held company based in Collegedale, Tenn., produces snack foods, cereals and baked goods. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $300,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program for the project. (

The Virginia General Assembly has filled spots in the 26th Judicial District. Clark Ritchie, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Rockingham County, will serve as a circuit judge, while a fellow assistant, Anthony Bailey, was appointed a juvenile and domestic relations judge. Harrisonburg lawyer John Hart was selected for general district court. Domestic Relations Judge Ronald Napier was also selected for circuit court, and Front Royal lawyer Kim Athey was picked to replace him. The appointments are effective Dec. 1. (

FedEx Ground plans to finish construction of a new 200,000-square-foot distribution center near Langley Speedway next September, the company confirmed. The 22-acre site in Langley Research and Development Park in Hampton is close to customers’ distribution centers and is part of the company’s nationwide network expansion. (Daily Press)

Friant and Associates, a California-based maker of custom office furniture, plans to create 166 jobs in Suffolk. The company will invest $17.4 million in its first Virginia manufacturing operation at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund for the project. The company also will receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program as well as funding and services from Virginia Jobs Investment Program. ( 

Huntington Ingalls Industries awarded a contract to Jacksonville, Fla.-based JackQuadMed to manage and operate HII’s family health-care centers for the company’s employees and their families in Newport News and Mississippi. The health-care centers, scheduled to open next year, will provide primary-care services that focus on prevention, wellness, early intervention and chronic condition management. (

A $38 million multimodal transportation center in Newport News is scheduled to begin construction in 2016. The station will be able to accommodate four Amtrak trains a day and will include room for taxis, bays for Hampton Roads Transit and Greyhound buses and 125 parking spaces. The project is scheduled for completion in 2018. (Daily Press)

The Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal reopened to cargo operations in September after being closed for nearly three years. The terminal, which will process 75,000 to 100,000 containers annually, is expected to help relieve congestion at the Virginia International Gateway (formerly known as APM Terminals) in Portsmouth and Norfolk International Terminals. The marine terminals have become more congested as container-moving through the port continues at record levels. (

The Port of Virginia also has received a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for construction of the Norfolk International Terminal Intermodal Gate Complex and Interstate 564 Connector project. The project aims to improve the daily commute for thousands in Hampton Roads by lightening congestion on Hampton and Terminal boulevards in Norfolk. (

Virginia Beach, Alexandria and Chesapeake, named to “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live” compiled by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion website. Virginia Beach ranked No. 37 on the list, while Alexandria was 43rd and Chesapeake was 48th. To compile the list, 24/7 Wall St. looked at 550 cities that the U.S. Census Bureau reported as having populations of more than 65,000 in 2012. Information was collected in seven major categories: crime, economy, education, housing, environment, leisure and infrastructure. (

Chesapeake-based Priority Automotive opened Priority Nissan in Williamsburg, the company’s third new-car dealership on the Peninsula and its ninth in Hampton Roads.  The company, which also owns dealerships in Richmond, Petersburg and Charlotte, N.C., also has plans for additional locations on the Peninsula. They include Priority Collision Center, Priority Certified Used Cars and Priority Value Center, a used-car dealership specializing in “credit-challenged” buyers. (

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in McLean has agreed to sell the Waldorf Astoria New York for $1.95 billion to Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., based in Beijing. As part of a long-term strategic partnership, Anbang will grant Hilton Worldwide a management agreement to continue to operate the property for the next 100 years, and the hotel will undergo a major renovation. (

Tysons Corner-based analytics firm MicroStrategy plans to cut 770 jobs over the next few months, a reduction that would reduce its workforce by roughly 20 percent. The company said it had 3,186 employees worldwide in late 2013, and employed 1,428 locally. (The Washington Post)

Reston-based NII Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. The mobile communications provider said in August it would likely file for bankruptcy protection from creditors. NII said it and some of its U.S. and Luxembourg-based subsidiaries had begun voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings, the first step in restructuring its debt and improving liquidity. The company’s subsidiaries in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are not part of the bankruptcy filings and will continue “business as usual,” NII said. (

The Peterson Cos., a developer in Fairfax, and Brandywine Realty Trust, a real estate company based in Radnor, Pa., announced the formation of a 50-50 venture to develop a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use town center in Herndon. Peterson will be the lead developer for the retail and entertainment components that will serve as an amenity base for Brandywine Realty Trust’s existing 1.86 million square feet of office buildings and the surrounding community. The companies hope to start development in 2016. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Falls Church-based contractor USIS has laid off more than 2,500 employees. The company suffered a cyberattack in August and subsequently lost its contracts with the Office of Personnel Management. USIS, which had performed the bulk of background checks for federal security clearances, said in a statement that the loss of two contracts with OPM led to the job cuts. Both contracts were set to expire on Sept. 30, and the government agency said it would not renew them with USIS. (The Washington Post)

Fredericksburg-based Mary Washington Healthcare cut 66 jobs Sept. 3 as part of an ongoing effort to pare $30 million in expenses. MWHC reduced the hours of 46 employees, and 157 additional workers will be transferred to other jobs within the system. The cuts represent about 2 percent of the system’s employees. The lost positions were mainly in support fields and were divided between Mary Washington and Stafford hospitals, said Eric Fletcher, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and business development for MWHC. (The Free Lance–Star)

Richmond-based McCandlish Holton opened a new law office in Fairfax Sept. 1. Scott C. Ford, a vice president at McCandlish Holton, said the firm transferred one attorney from the Richmond office, Kwabena Akowuah, to the new Fairfax office. It will hire a paralegal and other support staff for the office in the short term and hopes to add more attorneys there over time. The new office is at 8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, near the Capital Beltway’s intersection with Interstate 66. (

Vienna-based Ratner Cos. is celebrating 40 years in business this fall. Ratner, the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons, has nearly 1,000 salons in 16 states. Its brands include Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo and Spa, ColorWorks, Salon Plaza and the Cibu International hair care line. Over the past 40 years, Ratner Cos. has surpassed $15 billion in sales and employed more than 100,000 licensed stylists. (News release)

Nine Virginia companies have made lists of the nation’s largest black-owned companies. Seven of the companies are on Black Enterprise magazine’s list of the 100 biggest black-owned industrial and services companies. Two more are on the magazine’s list of 60 top black-owned auto dealerships. The biggest Virginia company on the industrial/service list is Reston-based Thompson Hospitality. The other six companies were Fairfax-based SoBran Inc.; Alexandria-based SENTEL Corp., Capston Corp. and Advanced Systems Development Inc.; McLean-based Metters Industries Inc. and Reston-based InScope International. The two companies on the Black Enterprise list of largest black-owned auto dealerships were BMW, of Sterling, and Infiniti, of Chantilly. (


Used car dealership chain CarMax says it plans to hire more than 1,000 workers across the country. The Richmond-based company said that the positions include sales, service operations, purchasing and the business office. Full- and part-time positions are included. (The Associated Press)

Richmond-based Cary Street Partners LLC, a wealth management and investment banking firm, plans to acquire The Breckenridge Group Inc., a privately held Atlanta-based investment bank. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. Financial details were not disclosed. The Breckenridge Group, founded in 1987, provides investment banking services to middle-market businesses. (

The Greater Richmond Transit Co. was awarded a $24.9 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant to build a rapid transit bus line from Willow Lawn in Henrico County to Rocketts Landing in Richmond’s East End. The money for the 7.6-mile line will be matched with state and local funds. According to GRTC’s website, the total project has an estimated price tag of almost $54 million and would include 14 stations and over three miles of dedicated travel lanes for buses. (

Charlottesville-based Relay Foods is investing $710,000 to expand its Richmond fulfillment center, a move that’s expected to create 75 jobs. Relay’s goal is to increase mid-Atlantic sales by $3 million during the next three years. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund for the project. Relay has committed to purchasing at least $406,000 worth of Virginia products during the next three years. Relay is an online grocery store and farmers market that offers Virginia-based products. (   

Virginia has filed a lawsuit seeking $1.15 billion in damages against 13 banks accused of misleading the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). The case stems from the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities to VRS from 2004 to 2010. The retirement system was forced to sell most of the securities, taking a loss of $383 million. The suit charges that these banks knew, or should have known, that claims they made about the quality of the mortgages were false. (

Mechanicsville-based Bowlmor AMF completed a $270 million acquisition of the bowling alley operations of Brunswick Corp. last week. As part of the deal, Bowlmor AMF will take on 85 Brunswick bowling alley properties around the U.S. and Canada. It now has more than 340 locations and 9,000 employees. The addition of the Brunswick operations will bring Bowlmor AMF’s annual revenue to approximately $600 million, the company said. (

Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme signed an agreement with Richmond-based Monument Restaurants VII LLC to develop 20 new Krispy Kreme shops in Southern Maryland, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and nearby counties over the next several years. Monument Restaurants has acquired ownership of Krispy Kreme’s Rockville, Md., location while Krispy Kreme still owns its remaining Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia locations. Krispy Kreme has over 260 shops in the United States, approximately 160 of which are franchised. (News release) 

Universal Sports Network, a division of NBC, will air 64 hours of original programming across several networks during the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond next year, the most airtime the championship has ever received in the United States. Financial details were not made public. The championship is the largest road cycling event in the world outside of the Tour de France and the Olympics. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)


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