Company News For the Record

For the Record - October 2015

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics System (CCALS) and the Port of Virginia are joining forces on a research project to find operational efficiencies. Under the agreement, a CCALS researcher located at the port first will focus on vessel berthing and scheduling processes. Additional projects are expected. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Norfolk public officials and representatives from the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. held a groundbreaking in August for the $40 million renovation of Norfolk’s Waterside, a city-owned waterfront mall. Cordish officials have spelled out their new vision for the site: a family-friendly destination with restaurants and entertainment venues. The project is scheduled to open in early 2017. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Diamond Resorts International Inc., a Las Vegas manager and owner of vacation ownership resorts, has executed an agreement to purchase the vacation ownership business of Virginia Beach-based Gold Key Resorts for $167.5 million. The deal, announced in August, is expected to close following a two-month transition period. The portfolio includes five vacation ownership resorts in Virginia Beach and one on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Newport News Shipbuilding announced 480 layoffs in September because of a temporary but significant drop in work. More layoffs are likely on a larger scale next year.  The company is headed into a “workload valley” that will last through 2016, President Matt Mulherin said. It will finish work on three aircraft carriers next year. (Daily Press)

For the third quarter in a row, Suffolk-based cybersecurity firm Sera-Brynn has been ranked No. 1 in Virginia and No. 16 in the world on the Cybersecurity Ventures global list of the top “500 Hot Cybersecurity Companies to Watch in 2015.” Sera-Brynn is a cyber risk management firm focused on helping clients secure computing environments and meet mandatory industry and government compliance requirements. (Inside Business)

Switzerland-based TE Connectivity Ltd. plans to expand its sensor operations in Hampton, investing $9 million and creating 66 jobs. The expansion involves the former Measurement Specialties Inc., which TE Connectivity bought last year for $1.7 billion. The company designs and manufactures connectivity and sensor solutions. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

GoodCall, a data-science group, has ranked Chesapeake as one of the best cities for female entrepreneurs to start businesses. Chesapeake was No. 84 in the GoodCall survey. Three other Virginia cities made the list: Alexandria, Charlottesville and Fairfax. GoodCall said it analyzed 405 cities to create its report. (The Virginian-Pilot)

 

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
After nearly a year of planning and deliberation, a Front Royal location for an Aldi grocery store has been selected. The Germany-based grocery chain recently closed on a deal to purchase an 18,000-square-foot building for $1.45 million in the Riverton Commons Shopping Center off U.S. 522. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods recently marked the 25th anniversary of its manufacturing facility in Augusta County. McKee, known for its Little Debbie line of snack cakes, began as a five-person bakery in the 1930s. The company established the Stuarts Draft bakery in 1990 to produce oatmeal crème pies, honey buns and other bakery products. (News release)

Mount Jackson Town Council approved the annexation of almost 600 acres of Shenandoah County land for a proposed 712-acre industrial site. The council rezoned 136 acres of the proposed site from agricultural to light industrial in April. The proposal has been a point of contention among residents since last spring. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)

The Luray Triathlon was held in August. Since 2006, the annual event has grown from fewer than 300 athletes participating in a single-day race to more than 1,000 participants in a two-day competition, according to Luray Parks and Recreation Director Pat O’Brien. During the past decade, event organizers say, the triathlon has generated more than $1 million in revenue for the community through spending on lodging, shopping and dining. (Page News and Courier)

Route 11 Chips has begun work on a $1.1 million project to upgrade its Mount Jackson facility with a second production line and an expanded warehouse. Sarah Cohen, the founder and co-owner of the company, said about one-third of the warehouse expansion has been completed and work is expected to begin on the production line in January. The expansion project is the first for the company since it moved to Mount Jackson in 2007. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center changed its name to the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center on July 1. The historic center in Augusta County, founded in 1947, is a state-operated comprehensive vocational/medical rehab center for people with disabilities. (News release)


SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Amthor International in Gretna will add 30 jobs and create a training program called Amthor University in partnership with Altavista’s Virginia Technical Institute. The program will open Oct. 5. The company, which creates tanks used for drinking water, construction, septic system care and other uses, now employs about 100 workers. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority accepted a $2.2 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission for water system improvements at the Berry Hill industrial mega-park site. The project costs about $2.4 million, with the remainder of the expenses to be paid by Danville and Pittsylvania. Under the grant’s conditions, 10 percent of the project’s budget must come from other sources. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville-based GoDocs, a mobile medical service, is setting up a clinic called GoDocs Health Care Center. The clinic will be located in 5,000 square feet of space on the top floor of a building on Piney Forest Road. GoDocs is leasing only one floor now but expects to expand into the rest of the building within three years. (Danville Register & Bee)

Henry County received a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant to partially fund the first phase of plans to revitalize Bassett, Fieldale and two other areas in the county. The grant was one of 12 announced by Maurice Jones, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, during an event at the Bassett train depot.  The towns of Bassett, Stanleytown, Fieldale and Koehler have faced many challenges, Jones said, referring to the loss of furniture and textile jobs in the area. (Work It, SoVa)

Danville Nestlé employees’ voted in August to join the international United Steelworkers union, which will represent the production, maintenance and other specific job titles at the plant. The final tally was 296 votes for the union and 147 votes against it. About 115 of the total 560 employees did not vote. Nestlé has operated in Danville for 27 years. (The Danville Register & Bee)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
American Systems, a Chantilly-based government IT services provider, has acquired EM Business Holdings Inc. (EMBH) in Arlington. The transaction closed in August, and financial terms were not disclosed. EMBH provides engineering, IT and professional services. American Systems said the acquisition would add more than 160 employees to its workforce. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Falls Church-based Computer Sciences Corp. plans to combine its spinoff, Computer Sciences Government Services, with Fairfax-based SRA International. CSCGov will assume $2.7 billion in debt, including a $390 million cash payout to existing SRA shareholders, in the deal. The resulting company will be a publicly traded government IT company with revenue of about $5.5 billion and nearly 19,000 employees. (Washington Business Journal)

Herndon-based MicroPact Inc. merged with Arlington-based Iron Data Inc. Financial terms of the merger of two technology contractors weren’t disclosed. Former Iron Data CEO Tom Sechler now serves as head of the merged company, which is based in Herndon. MicroPact founder and CEO Kris Collo is president. The merged firm operates under the MicroPact name. (Washington Business Journal)

Arlington-based Opower has been named to Fortune’s first “Change the World” list, which recognizes companies that have made a major impact on global social or environmental problems. The company ranked No. 45 on the list. Opower is a publicly traded company whose software helps utilities and their customers reduce energy consumption. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A new report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute finds that Washington, D.C., area drivers face annual congestion delays of 82 hours in comparison with 67 hours in 2013.  “Washington, D.C., tops the list of gridlock-plagued cities, with 82 hours of delay per commuter, followed by Los Angeles (80 hours), San Francisco (78 hours), New York (74 hours), and San Jose (67 hours),” according to TTI’s 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

McLean-based Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS) has hired B. Michael Bolton as chief financial officer and promoted Lily Yeh to vice president of strategy, programs and planning. Before joining DISYS, Bolton held senior financial and operational positions at American Traffic Solutions, ACS, Serco and Dyncorp. Before her promotion, Yeh was executive director, strategy, programs and planning. (News release)


CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Richmond-based Allianz Global Assistance has begun offering tuition insurance in Virginia. Allianz Tuition Insurance covers nonrefundable college costs for Virginia residents in the event a student must withdraw from school for a reason covered by the plan, such as an illness, injury or psychological issues. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Greater Richmond Partnership worked with a dozen companies during its recently completed fiscal year, supporting the creation of 1,800 jobs. The new and expanding companies are expected to invest $142 million in their economic development projects. The organization markets Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico to business prospects. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Virginia environmental officials and New Jersey-based Honeywell have reached an agreement calling for the company to make more than $13 million in improvements at its Hopewell chemical plant and pay a $300,000 penalty after several spills there. The spills involved materials such as nitric acid, methyl ethyl ketone, caprolactam, oil and gasoline from mid-2013 until early this year, DEQ officials said. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond-based Media General Inc. announced in September that it will acquire Des Moines-based Meredith Corp. for $2.4 billion, creating the third-largest local television station owner in the country.  Media General has created a new holding company, which after closing will be named Meredith Media General. The combined company is expected to have annual revenues of $3 billion and initially own 88 televisions in 54 markets that will reach 30 percent of television households in the U.S.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The commonwealth will continue a program aimed at helping Virginia defense contractors find new markets for their products and services. The Going Global Defense Initiative (GGDI), run by the Richmond-based Virginia Economic Development Partnership, received $1.8 million in grant funding for a third year of operation. The GGDI was created to mitigate the negative effects of defense spending cuts on Virginia’s economy. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Richmond-based WestRock Co. plans to acquire Georgia-based SP Fiber Holdings Inc. for $288.5 million. SP Fiber Holdings produces recycled containerboard and kraft and bag paper. WestRock also said it will acquire SP Fiber’s interest in Green Power Solutions of Georgia LLC, a renewable energy joint venture providing energy to Georgia Power and steam to a paper mill in Dublin, Ga. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Hilb Group LLC, a middle-market insurance agency based in Henrico County, has acquired Wilmington, N.C.-based JWB Insurance Group. Financial details on the acquisition were not disclosed. JWB provides specialty services in employee benefits and commercial insurance, with expanded offerings in individual and personal lines. JWB is Hilb’s seventh acquisition this year. It will continue operating under its current leadership. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

VCU Health is the new brand identity for the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and the VCU Health System. VCU officials began rolling out the new brand in August. VCU Health includes VCU hospitals and clinics; the School of Medicine and other health professions schools; the MCV Physicians group practice; Virginia Premier Health Plan, a Medicaid managed care plan; and Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)


SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Roanoke-based Advance Auto Parts said in August it was eliminating 100 jobs in Roanoke and Raleigh, N.C. The cuts are designed to help streamline the company after the 2014 purchase of General Parts International. (The Roanoke Times) 

Carilion Clinic has purchased the headquarters building of Shenandoah Life for $4.6 million. The 88,000-square-foot building is located on a 27.5-acre site in Roanoke. The deal means the life insurance company will be relocating to a new space in the Roanoke area. Carilion will allow Shenandoah Life to occupy its current offices for up to a year while it finalizes plans to relocate. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A new program, Go Global with Coal & Energy Technology, aims to help companies in Virginia’s coalfield region market their products and services overseas. The venture is modeled after the state’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. The initiative is a collaboration involving the governor’s office, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Roanoke-based Interactive Achievement plans to add up to 35 jobs after winning a contract from the Virginia Department of Education (DOE). The contract, renewable for five years, is worth $3 million yearly, according to Charles Pyle, a DOE spokesman. It will give more teachers access to Interactive Achievement’s software, allowing them to track individual students’ performance on assessments over time. (The Roanoke Times)

Two Virginia regions, the Mount Rogers Planning District in Southwest Virginia and the Eastern Shore, have been picked for the Stronger Economies Together initiative, which aims to explore the economic advantages of each region and help them formulate economic blueprints. Partners in the program include Virginia’s U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Tech Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

All announced tenants of The Falls are still planning to build, and work on their sites is expected to begin soon, Brent Roswall of Interstate Development told the Bristol Virginia City Council. Announced tenants Calhoun’s, Sheetz, Smoky Mountain Brewery and Zaxby’s remain committed, he said. In late August, only the buildings of anchor tenants Cabela’s and Lowe’s had taken shape in the commercial center near Interstate 81’s Exit 5. (Bristol Herald Courier)




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