Company News For the Record

For the Record - November 2015

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SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Research and development prospect Autonomous Marine Systems has been named the second-place energy winner of $175,000 in the first-ever Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition. AMS earlier had received a $1.6 million Tobacco Commission grant to locate in the Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC) at Greens Folly.  AMS is projected to create 47 jobs in Southern Virginia. The company expects to become operational in the next quarter or so, according to SVPAC Executive Director Doug Corrigan.   (The Gazette-Virginian)

Chatham-based Davenport Energy Inc. purchased two fuel oil companies from Roanoke-based Petroleum Marketers Inc. The purchase price of APB Whiting Oil Co. in Roanoke and Whiting Jamison Oil Co. in Covington was not disclosed. The acquired companies employ 20 people, who will become part of Davenport Energy. Eventually, APB and Whiting Jamison will be rebranded as Davenport Energy. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The state has awarded Martinsville Speedway a $50,000 grant to use toward boosting its marketing efforts to attract more tourists to the area and stimulate the local economy, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has announced. The grant is one of 45 local tourism initiatives statewide that will receive more than $796,000 through the Virginia Tourism Corp.’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program, which is designed to help tourism-related venues attract more visitors.  (Martinsville Bulletin)

Chatham’s United Country Real Estate office is relocating to Danville. Owner and real estate broker Jeff Davis explained that the move from Chatham’s Old Dominion Agricultural Complex to Danville’s Forum Shopping Center was related to convenience. The new location is 625 Piney Forest Road on the third level. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to the Nor-Dan Shopping Center in Danville is scheduled to open late summer 2016, according to company spokesman Bill Wertz. The Neighborhood Market will be about 42,000 square feet and employ about 95 people, providing groceries, a pharmacy, health and beauty supplies and some household items. (Danville Register & Bee)


SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources confirmed that three underground mines in Dickenson County will cease operations as early as Nov. 20. Two other mines also will reduce operations. Ninety-six employees will be affected.  All five mines are operated by Norton-based Paramont Coal Co. The reason is an oversupply of coal, Alpha said, adding that declining demand has driven prices down to unsustainable levels, especially for Central Appalachia coal. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The new Cabela’s in Bristol opened in October. The store is the first Cabela’s location in Virginia and the first tenant to open in The Falls development near Interstate 81’s Exit 5. The store’s opening ceremony was the culmination of more than three years of work by city leaders and the investment of millions of dollars to establish the center on 140 acres adjacent to Lee Highway. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Homestead Creamery plans to triple the size of its facility in Burnt Chimney. The expansion will happen in stages to ensure that Homestead’s milk, butter and ice cream production will continue uninterrupted. The expansion will also allow the creamery to begin making cheese and yogurt again — something the creamery started years ago but stopped because it didn’t have enough production space. (SmithMountainLake.com)

RGC Midstream LLC, a subsidiary of Roanoke-based RGC Resources Inc. has agreed to buy a 1 percent interest in the company planning to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Roanoke Gas Co. also will become a shipper on the pipeline to supply and expand its Southwest Virginia customer base. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed 300-mile-long, 42-inch diameter pipeline running from northwestern West Virginia to Southern Virginia. It is expected to cost $3 billion to $3.5 billion. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Tourism in the Roanoke Valley has grown for the fifth consecutive year. Economic impact data for 2014, released in September by the Virginia Tourism Corp., showed that expenditures on Virginia’s Blue Ridge region climbed to $784.5 million, an increase of more than $30 million, or 3.9 percent, over 2013. Virginia’s Blue Ridge encompasses Roanoke, Salem, and Franklin, Botetourt and Roanoke counties. (The Roanoke Times)

Appalachian Technology Solutions LLC in Roanoke is one of four Virginia companies participating in the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award’s Ones to Watch program. The program is designed to assist Virginia businesses with education, assessment and strategic support to help their development. Appalachian is a manufacturer and engineering service provider of structurally reinforced thermoplastic (SRTP)-based water and wastewater systems. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
A new Family Dollar store, scheduled to open in Mount Jackson Oct. 29, is the fifth location to open up in the region — with stores already located in Front Royal, Strasburg, Woodstock and Winchester.  (The Northern Virginia Daily)

Pennsylvania-based Keystone Transport Solutions is taking advantage of a new lumber processing facility at the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal.  Keystone began transferring equipment to the site in early September. The company took control of the log exports at the port last October, and has leased 5 acres on-site to expand its capacity with a new log processing gateway facility. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Mathers was recently recognized for outstanding safety efforts in the workplace. The Waynesboro-based construction company received the Safety Award for 12 months without an accident claim. Mathers was one of only two mid-Atlantic businesses nominated by Amerisure Insurance Company for the policy calendar year of May 2014-May 2015.  (News release)

Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel) is offering new high-speed Internet options and telephone bundles. Customers can purchase standard DSL options such as 5Mbps and 10Mbps or new Internet speeds of 15Mbps, 25Mpbs, 50Mpbs and 100Mpbs without having to also pay for telephone services. Shentel  also has upgraded its DSL network to more rural areas of Shenandoah County outside of its cable services.  (The Northern Virginia Daily)

Shenandoah Valley visitors are spending more money in Virginia and Page County, based on the latest numbers announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Last year, Virginia visitors generated $22.4 billion in revenue, up 4 percent from 2013. Page County also captured a bigger chunk of the tourism industry — visitors to the county generated $63.6 million in 2014, up 2.7 percent from the year before. Since 2010, tourist spending in Page has risen more than 12 percent. (Page News and Courier)

A Walmart Neighborhood Market store is coming to Waynesboro. According to Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer, which represented Walmart Neighborhood Market in its recent land purchase in the city, the store is planned on about 5.4 acres at 1221 W. Broad St. Walmart purchased the land for $2.17 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com)


EASTERN VIRGINIA
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is the new name of a collection of health-care facilities and services in the Hampton Roads city, including Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Early next year, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare will open the Chesapeake Regional Surgery Center at Virginia Beach on the second floor of a new building constructed on the Urology of Virginia campus. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has approved a new master’s degree in business analytics at the College of William & Mary. William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business will begin offering the degree program in August 2016.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A study commissioned by the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance finds that more than 65 percent of the region’s residents live in one locality while working in another. The study by economists James Koch and Vinod Agarwal of Old Dominion University, notes that the percentage of residents commuting outside their home city or county to work is climbing, from under 60 percent in 2005 to 61 percent in 2009. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A call center for a loan-servicing company will close, laying off 255 people, according to a state website. Home Retention Services will begin layoffs at its Chesapeake office by Nov. 23. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Hampton Roads is still far behind the state and nation in terms of job growth. Its gross regional product contracted last year for the first time since 2010, and defense spending, the longtime linchpin of the local economy, will shrink to 39 percent of economic activity this year. These problems are contributing to a lackluster rebound from the recession, according to Old Dominion University’s 16th annual State of the Region report presented in October.  
(The Virginian-Pilot)

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit that will allow for the construction of an 80-megawatt solar farm in Accomack County, which will power Amazon Web Services’ data center activities. According to a news release issued by Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office, the plant is expected to be the largest solar facility in the mid-Atlantic. The developer and owner of the solar facility is Community Energy. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A Walgreens pharmacy in Virginia Beach has sold for $12 million. According to CBRE|Richmond, which brokered the sale, the buyer for the 14,200-foot store at 645 First Colonial Road was Sequoia Frankford Springs. The seller was Old Brandon First Colonial Associates LLC. The pharmacy, located at the intersection of Laskin and First Colonial roads, opened its doors in June after its construction. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Arlington-based BAE Systems Inc. plans to lay off 650 of the 1,500 workers at its Norfolk shipyard operations. The number of surface combatant ships docked at Norfolk is expected to fall to 51 in 2016 as ships are either reassigned to other ports or decommissioned. These ship numbers are dwindling at the same time the Navy is facing spending constraints for the modernization of its vessels. (Washington Business Journal)

Herndon-based LGS Innovations said in October it has acquired Dulles-based contractor Axios Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Axios, which will serve as a subsidiary of LGS, provides services for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.  It has more than 120 employees. LGS offers research and development services. It employs more than 800 workers worldwide.
(VirginiaBusiness.com)

Fredericksburg-based consulting firm Marstel–Day laid off 40 percent of its workforce in October. According to president and CEO Rebecca Rubin, 57 employees were laid off companywide. The firm also closed two of its offices in California. Rubin said the company, which took in $27 million in government contracts during fiscal year 2015, did not receive an expected $11 million contract from a government client. (Free Lance-Star)

Sterling-based technology company Neustar plans to acquire assets from Reston-based Transaction Network Services for $173 million. The acquisition of TNS’ caller authentication assets is expected to create about $60 million in revenue for Neustar next year. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino approval.   (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Towers Watson announced in October it acquired Brovada, a Canadian technology provider for property and casualty insurers and brokerages. Brovada will operate as a separate unit within the company’s risk consulting and software business. Brovada’s founder and CEO, Karl Greenlaw, will continue to lead its team. Towers Watson is a professional services company. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Uber and Lyft will be operating at Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports under a new set of regulations, scheduled to take effect Nov. 1. Under the regulations, ride-hailing services will be allowed to drop off and receive passengers at the airports only if drivers hold a permit from The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Rides to and from the airports would also be subject to a $4 fee. (Washington Business Journal)


CENTRAL VIRGINIA
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, led by Richmond-based Dominion, formally filed its request in September with federal regulators to build the 564-mile natural gas pipeline that would extend through three states, including 10 counties in Virginia. The company hopes to gain regulatory approval and begin construction by the second half of next year, bringing the pipeline into service by the end of 2018. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond-based CarMax Inc. said in September it was recruiting for more than 2,000 positions at its used-car locations throughout the U.S. CarMax spokeswoman Jennifer Curtis said 140 of the job openings will be in Virginia, where the company has 10 locations. The majority of the Virginia jobs, 85, will be in the Richmond area — at CarMax’s home office and its stores in Chesterfield County and western Henrico County.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Charlotte, N.C.-based Park Sterling Corp. plans to acquire the holding company of First Capital Bank in a deal valued at $82.5 million. Glen Allen-based First Capital operates eight branches in the Richmond area. The combined bank holding company will have about $3.1 billion in total assets, $2.2 billion in total loans, $2.4 billion in total deposits and 60 offices in the Carolinas, Virginia and North Georgia. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Richmond celebrated a milestone in September with the grand opening of the $120 million Gateway Plaza. The 18-story building is the city’s first new downtown office tower in two decades. The recently completed structure’s anchor tenants include McGuireWoods and its public affairs arm, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC. About 230 lawyers and nearly 400 non-lawyer personnel moved into the building over seven weeks earlier in the year. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Performance Food Group Co., the nation’s third-largest food-service supplier, became a publicly traded company again on Oct. 1. During its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the Goochland County-based company opened at $19 a share and closed at $19.20, up 1.05 percent. Performance Food was a public company until May 2008, when it was taken private in a $1.3 billion deal to Blackstone and Wellspring Capital. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond-based Avail Vapor, a retailer of electronic cigarette devices and liquids, opened a store in Nashville – its 50th – in September. The rapidly growing company, founded in 2013, plans to have 80 stores by the end of the year. Electronic cigarettes create water vapor instead of smoke by heating a liquid containing nicotine. Avail stores are in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina in addition to Tennessee. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Wal-mart plans to build a supercenter store on a site in Ladysmith in Caroline County. The 158,000-square-foot store is expected to create 300 jobs. It represents a $25 million investment.  The store is part of a broader, 36-acre retail project by Richmond-based Blackwood Development. It will be located on the southwest corner of Ladysmith Road and Route 712 (Green Road), near the Ladysmith exit off Interstate 95. (VirginiaBusiness.com)




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