Opinion

Telling the story of business in Virginia

Our View from the Publisher

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Print this page by Bernie Niemeier

When Virginia Business was born 25 years ago, on March 1, 1986, the business and political headlines from daily newspapers around the state that day were relatively inauspicious.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress reported that city property values had risen 4 percent and the Virginia Republican Party was “Short on vigor.”

The Virginian-Pilot reported that the Veterans Administration’s mortgage loan rate had been cut to 9.5 percent, its lowest level since 1979.

An article in The Winchester Star announced a new lamb-packing plant slated for Timberville.

The magazine’s first issue included stories on Norfolk Southern’s efforts to acquire Conrail, a real estate boom in Fairfax County, the resilience of Virginia’s farm economy, the benefits of movie productions in the Old Dominion and the wine collections of Virginia executives.

A commentary by Virginia Business’ first publisher, Jim Dillon, and editor Jim Bacon, promised the new magazine would provide “balanced coverage of the issues, personalities and trends that affect business in the state: from the Southside tobacco farms to Northern Virginia’s high-tech companies, from the coalfields of the far Southwest to the ports at Hampton Roads.”

Changes in the tobacco economy notwithstanding, the topics mentioned in the initial issue remain as relevant today as they were 25 years ago.

The current magazine is more modern in its design and marketing.  Our new positioning statement, unveiled over the past year, is to be “Virginia’s Source for Business Intelligence.”  We hope that our 25th anniversary issue lives up to this new promise as well as to the aspirations expressed in the first issue.

Unlike some print publications, Virginia Business continues to grow.  This issue has more pages, 124, than any we’ve ever published.  In addition to the magazine, we also distribute content electronically at http://www.VirginiaBusiness.com and through our daily e-mail newsletter.

It is important to say “Thank you” to our advertisers who have made this growth possible.  Many of them have been with us from the very beginning, and they continue to see their brands grow from monthly exposure to our unparalleled audience of Virginia’s top business decision makers.

It is also important to thank the staff of the magazine, some of whom have been here since the first issue.  Production Manager Kevin Dick has been responsible for producing all 301 monthly issues since 1986.  Richmond Sales Manager Hunter Bendall sold the magazine’s first ads 25 years ago, and Norfolk Sales Manager Susan Horton came to the magazine shortly after its launch when it acquired and merged with the monthly Tidewater Virginian.

The quality of our monthly content has increased substantially under the leadership of Editor Robert Powell and Managing Editor Paula Squires.  Our political coverage, website and special sections have benefited greatly from the work of Special Projects Editor Jessica Sabbath. Our fresh look and updated graphics are the handiwork of Design/Production Coordinator Adrienne Reaves-Taylor.

Business Development Manager Lane Kelly rounds out our sales team, and Circulation Manager Karen Chenault keeps our subscription lists up to date.  Last, but not least, Accounting Manager Sunny Ogburn takes care of advertiser billing, keeps the books, handles special events and pitches in anywhere help is needed.

As publisher, I’m privileged to count myself as part of this team of outstanding professionals.

We are also fortunate that over many years we have been joined by a dedicated group of talented freelance writers, photographers and illustrators. While too numerous to name, these skilled professionals have also contributed greatly to the quality of the magazine for many years.

Dillon and Bacon’s 1986 commentary claimed Virginia Business was the “First statewide publication devoted solely to business in the commonwealth.”  This remains as true today as it was then.  Throughout our history, we’ve maintained offices in Richmond and Hampton Roads.  Today, we reside on Main Street in Richmond’s financial district and in Old Dominion University’s Innovation Research Park in Norfolk.  We make a special effort to travel regularly to Northern Virginia, Southern and Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, covering all regions of the state in every issue of the magazine.

As Virginia Business enters its 26th year, we will continue to be the leading source of information about the people and industries most significantly affecting Virginia’s economy.  It is our great good fortune to be trusted with telling the story of business in the commonwealth, and we thank you, our readers, for making this possible.


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