Company News For the Record

For the Record - Southwest Virginia

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Alpha Natural Resources, a Bristol-based coal producer, announced it would close and permanently seal the Upper Big Branch mine near Whitesville, W.Va., the scene of an April 2010 accident that claimed the lives of 29 miners. The mine was owned by Massey Energy Co. of Richmond at the time of the accident. Alpha acquired Massey in 2011. (PRNewswire)

Cycle Systems Inc., a Roanoke-based recycling operation for scrap materials, laid off 45 workers. The lagging economy was cited for the decision as scrap from manufacturing and construction sources had fallen off. Attempts to make up the difference with new business lines, such as used auto parts and recycling tires, proved inadequate. (The Roanoke Times)

FCTech, a unit of Austria’s NNG Holding GmbH, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March and will not proceed with plans to invest $5 million to build and open a facility in Botetourt County. The company, which produces specialized fiber-optic sensors, had said it would employ about 25 workers. (The Roanoke Times)

The Economic Development Authority of Floyd County received $800,000 from the Department of Commerce to build an Innovation Center that would work toward establishing and nurturing high-tech businesses and jobs. The EDA also received $369,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission for the center. (WSLS-TV)

ITT Exelis, a McLean-based defense company, received $33 million in orders from the United Kingdom for night vision equipment, to be produced at the company’s Roanoke County facility. Deliveries will be completed by 2016. (Business Wire)

LewisGale Medical Center’s application to establish a neonatal intensive care unit received a negative recommendation from staff at the Department of Health. The hospital can continue to make its case until a final decision is handed down, but it was denied a similar application last year. Carilion Clinic, operator of a 60-bed NICU, has opposed the request. (The Roanoke Times)

Southern Coal Corp., a unit of West Virginia-based Justice Cos., moved its headquarters to Roanoke from Beckley, W.Va. Southern bought the 28,000-square-foot Bank of America building for $2.1 million with plans to staff it with about 50 employees. The company’s engineering unit will remain in Beckley, but the move puts it closer to Norfolk Southern, which transports most of Southern’s coal production. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke Regional Partnership kicked off a new five-year economic development plan which draws on lessons learned from its outdoor branding initiatives. The new plan will further efforts to spotlight outdoor events and opportunities, as well as encourage entrepreneurs in sectors such as food, transportation and the sciences. A $3 million fundraising effort has already secured $2.2 million in commitments. (The Roanoke Times)

VPT Inc., a Blacksburg company which produces power conversion devices, will move to a larger facility in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. A unit of Heico Corp., of Hollywood, Fla., VPT employs 45 workers and seeks more space to advance its research and development work for the aviation, industrial and military markets. (The Roanoke Times)

Wingate Appraisal Services of Roanoke received the contract from Augusta County to perform the county’s upcoming property assessment. The next assessment will take effect in January 2014, and the cost is not to exceed $602,206. (The News Virginian)

Wordsprint, a Wytheville provider of printing services, was one of five companies nationwide to receive a Platinum Customer Plus Award from the National Association for Printing Leadership. Judged on a survey of 200 regional clients, Wordsprint received one of the highest scores in the country when it was compared by customers with alternative services. (News release)

Luna Innovations Inc., a Roanoke technology company, extended its development agreement with Intuitive Surgical Inc. to integrate Luna’s optical fiber technology into Intuitive’s robotic medical devices. The companies first agreed to partner on the project in 2007. (The Roanoke Times)

Roanoke Cement Co. received honors for two of its operations. The Troutville plant was cited by the Portland Cement Association for its environmental and charitable community efforts; and the company’s Castle Hayne, N.C., terminal was honored by North Carolina for its safety record, highlighted by no lost-time accidents in the last 15 years. (PRNewswire)

A team of students from Radford University’s information technology department placed third at the CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. In the 25-school event, students competed to secure machines from online attacks while performing specific tasks over three hours. (News release)

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering was ranked 24th in the country for graduate studies by U.S. News & World Report. The Pamplin College of Business ranked 37th for master’s programs, as did the public affairs program in Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies. (News release)


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