1495595007 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en psquires@va-business.com Copyright 2017 2017-05-22T22:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia Inc. 500 companies located in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia#When:09:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0202; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Company City 3-yr. growth rate Revenue1 Industry 10 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 12,621% $25.8 Government services 49 Interactive Government Holdings Springfield 5,058 7.1 Government services 55 ByteCubed Arlington 4,768 11.6 IT services 56 Excel Group Arlington 4,694 34.4 Real estate 70 Talteam Herndon 4,053 5.0 IT services 77 Ecology Mir Group Manassas 3,856 3.9 Government services 100 Inoventures McLean 3,255 3.9 Government services 128 Mosquito Joe Virginia Beach 2,700 8.1 Consumer products & services 200 LLB Enterprises Stafford 1,900 2.0 Business products & services 205 Health Warrior Richmond 1,887 9.8 Food & beverage 212 Darkblade Systems Stafford 1,848 4.0 Government services 215 Preting Consulting Alexandria 1,827 5.2 Government services 222 Pro-Sphere Tek Alexandria 1,795 45.7 IT services 223 AegisCorp. Chantilly 1,794 4.2 Government services 247 Tenica and Associates Alexandria 1,591 9.1 Government services 254 Hosted Records Springfield 1,557 3.3 Government services 280 American Pillowcase Richmond 1,400 6.5 Retail 295 Potomac River Holdings Alexandria 1,337 16.6 Retail 308 GuidePoint Security Herndon 1,276 111.1 Security 312 Axis Global Enterprises Virginia Beach 1,237 6.1 Construction 324 SSi Virginia Beach 1,194 12.0 Human resources 326 Oasys McLean 1,182 5.0 Government services 348 Davis Defense Group Stafford 1,102 30.9 Government services 369 Trigent Solutions Chantilly 1,046 6.1 IT services 392 Open Systems Technologies Gainesville 976 5.4 IT services 394 Perfecta Federal Springfield 972 5.9 Government services 405 Favor TechConsulting Vienna 949 19.2 IT services 408 Avertra Herndon 944 8.7 IT services 451 Sequoia Holdings Reston 847 5.6 Government services 462 The Hilb Group Richmond 820 36.8 Insurance 477 SeKON Enterprise Herndon 798 23.9 Government services 479 Cynet Systems Ashburn 797 31.4 IT Services 480 Wholesale Screening Solutions Purcellville 795 32.4 Business products & services 486 Metronome Fairfax 779 9.8 Government services 1 In millions in 2015 Source: Inc. magazine   2017-02-28T09:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sullyfield_-_Avison_Young_NEW.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-office-buildings-in-chantilly-sell-for-nearly-20-million Two office buildings in Chantilly sell for nearly $20 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-office-buildings-in-chantilly-sell-for-nearly-20-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-office-buildings-in-chantilly-sell-for-nearly-20-million#When:18:48:00Z Two flex-industrial buildings in Chantilly have sold for $19.9 million to Beckham Gumbin Ventures, a Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based real estate and development company. The seller of the 245,888-square-foot office and warehouse space was the CIM Group, a real estate assets manager based in Los Angeles. Overseeing the sale of the properties at 14320 and 14340 Sullyfield Circle were Avison Young Principals John Kevill, Chip Ryan and Bert Harrell, along with Senior Vice President Jesse Martin.   The buildings, located in Sullyfield Business Park, are near numerous amenities including hotels, restaurants and retailers. “We’re seeing a growing demand for these type of buildings, particularly those close to major cities,” Harrell said in a statement. Located at the intersection of Route 50 and Route 28, the properties feature access to two of the region’s main East-West highways -- Interstate 66 and Route 267 (Dulles Toll Road). Both buildings were constructed in 1986. Sullyfield Commerce Center I is a 146,011-square-foot, steel and brick building on a 7.5-acre site. According to Avison Young, it is 95 percent leased to seven tenants including Northrop Grumman. Sullyfield Commerce Center II, a 99,877-square-foot building on 5.4 acres, is 63 percent leased to two tenants, Northrop Grumman and CACI International. The properties are about 30 miles west of downtown Washington in the Dulles South submarket. The market mainly supports the service, defense and cybersecurity sectors. Major employers, including the CIA and National Reconnaissance Office, are located nearby. “These buildings attracted considerable interest from investors across the country,” Ryan said. “The properties were available at significant discount-to-replacement cost, and they’re located in a supply-constrained market.” 2017-05-23T18:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-poll-shows-support-for-atlantic-coast-pipeline-among-voters-in-three-af New poll shows support for Atlantic Coast Pipeline among voters in three affected states http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-poll-shows-support-for-atlantic-coast-pipeline-among-voters-in-three-af http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-poll-shows-support-for-atlantic-coast-pipeline-among-voters-in-three-af#When:22:33:00Z   Editors's note: This story has been updated. A new survey by the Consumer Energy Alliance shows that a majority of voters polled in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina support the expansion of domestic energy production, including construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The poll, conducted from May 9 -11, of registered voters (400 voters in West Virginia, 500 in Virginia and 660 in North Carolina) showed support at a time when environmental groups are ratcheting up their concerns and gubernatorial candidates in Virginia are staking out their positions on the $5.1 billion, 600-mile pipeline. The ACP would transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of fracked natural gas per day to customers in Virginia and North Carolina.  The poll shows that 60 percent of the voters in West Virginia, where the pipeline would start, support the project, while 28 percent oppose it. In Virginia, home to rural Nelson County, which has mounted an aggressive campaign against the pipeline, the number was 54 percent in favor and 31 percent opposed. In North Carolina, 52 percent of overall voters were in support, and 32 percent opposed.  Support was even higher, 60 percent, among voters in Carolina counties where the pipeline would be located. Harrison Hickman of Hickman Analytics Inc., the firm that did the polling, said the sample was selected so registered voters from all parties were equally likely to be contacted. Since some voters, which included Democrats, Republicans and Independents, responded “don’t know” or “neither,” the numbers don’t add up to 100 percent. The CEA conducted a similar poll in 2015. It resulted in a similar outcome, although support for the massive ACP has dropped somewhat in all three states. For instance in 2015 in Virginia, the number was 56 percent in favor, or two percentage points higher. In West Virginia, 70 percent approved in 2015, as compared with 60 percent in the more recent survey. In North Carolina, the figure was 55 percent in favor, compared to the current 52 percent.  Asked about the decline during a press call on the new poll, Hickman attributed the drop to registered Democratic voters, whom he said have become slightly more opposed to pipeline projects in general since the Obama administration declined the certification of the Keystone pipeline. The CEA said that pipeline, which President Trump supports, also garnered a majority or plurality of support from surveyed voters in all three states. 
 The CEA is a nonprofit trade group, based in Houston, that represents more than 450,000 members nationwide that include manufacturers, chambers of commerce, agribusinesses and many companies, including Dominion Energy – the lead developer behind the ACP, and Piedmont Natural Gas, one of its pipeline partners. The group said that it commissioned the poll on behalf of all its members, which includes the Virginia Manufacturing Association and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, supporters of the pipeline who also participated in yesterday's call. Hickman said the polling was done to examine how much support the ACP, Keystone pipeline, offshore production and other key energy issues have among voters and what role energy issues could play in the 2018 midterm elections. 
"We asked would you be more likely to support a candidate who supports natural gas projects such as the pipeline? In all three states, by a margin of at least 20 percent, registered voters support candidates who support these projects,” Hickman said. “Large percentage of voters say that energy issues will be very important when they are voting.  Those are the critical findings.”   Other key findings from the poll: • Across all three states, about two-thirds of voters believe pipelines are the safest means for transporting natural gas. • At least 80 percent of voters in each state say energy issues are very or somewhat important in their voting decisions. • Candidates in next year's midterm elections will need to take a strong stance on pipeline construction and energy development. In Virginia, where both Democratic and Republican primaries for the fall gubernatorial race will be held on June 13, one candidate is trying to make the pipeline a hot button issue. Democrat Tom Perriello, a former congressman who’s running on a progressive platform, has come out against the ACP. He and other  candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates, say they will refuse political donations from Dominion Energy, the state’s largest utility, and its top corporate campaign donor. Perriello’s opponent, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, has remained mum on the pipeline issue other than to note that pipeline projects, including the ACP and the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, should garner strict environmental reviews. Republican candidates Ed Gillespie and state Sen. Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach), who have accepted donations from Dominion, say pipelines would be good for the economy. The third Republican contender, Corey Stewart, has been critical of Dominion and says on his website that the General Assembly gives too much eminent domain authority to private companies, which assails people’s property rights, another issue that has surfaced during the pipeline debate. Even Dominion Energy’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas F. Farrell II, has jumped into the fray. Last week, The Washington Post reported that he sent a letter on May 12 about the upcoming primary to the company’s 76,000 employees, retirees and shareholders in Virginia. In the letter, which the Post published, Farrell urged people to vote in the primary and to take the time to see where candidates stood on critical projects such as the ACP, which Farrell described as “one of the largest and more important projects our company has ever undertaken.”  Dominion Energy also weighed in on the CEA poll with a statement Monday. "While a small minority of opponents has received disproportionate attention, the vast majority of people in the region want to see this pipeline built. Their voices deserve to be heard. … They understand that it takes new infrastructure like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to make that possible. We’re also encouraged by the support of more than 25 local governments, more than 250 business and labor organizations and the bipartisan leadership of all three state legislatures.”  Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is among those supporting the pipeline. The ACP remains under environmental review at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the body that will vote on the project once it has a quorum. Currently, the five-member commission has only two members, and it needs three for a quorum, according to FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen. President Trump has submitted two nominees so far, and they must go through Senate confirmation hearings. Then, the new commissioners would need to review a record on the pipeline of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and comments by interested parties and shareholders.  “There’s no telling when the chairman will set the agenda,” said Young-Allen. “Trump still has to nominate one more person, and even if the other two get confirmed rather quickly, they would need to read the records in the case and get up to speed.” FERC is scheduled to release its final environmental impact statement on the ACP on July 21st. The pipeline, if approved, was originally slated to go into service in 2019. Monday’s press call included comments from Barry Duval, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. "The natural gas that this pipeline will deliver to Virginia will provide affordable, reliable, clean electricity, fuel and raw material for our manufacturing facilities. This supply of natural gas from the Marcellus reserves in West Virginia will allow manufacturers to plan and compete for future investments," Vassey said. Justin Meighan, assistant regional manager for the Laborers' International Union of North America Mid-Atlantic region, commented on the many jobs that would be created.  "In addition to lowering energy costs for families and manufacturers and generating millions of dollars in tax revenues for state and local governments, this project will create more than 17,000 high-paying jobs and spur $27 billion in economic activity across the mid-Atlantic,” he said. 2017-05-22T22:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/granules-india-to-expand-pharmaceutical-operation-in-fairfax Granules India to expand pharmaceutical operation in Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/granules-india-to-expand-pharmaceutical-operation-in-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/granules-india-to-expand-pharmaceutical-operation-in-fairfax#When:19:36:00Z Granules India Ltd. is planning to invest $35 million to expand its pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing operation in Fairfax County. The expansion is expected to create 102 new jobs, according to a statement from Gov. Terry McAuliffe. In 2014, the company invested $15 million to establish a wholly owned subsidiary, Granules Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Fairfax. The news release said the expansion came after McAuliffe met with company leadership in March 2017. Granules India is headquartered in Hyderabad, India. “Granules Pharmaceuticals Inc. will focus on developing complex generic products by leveraging in-house technology that will increase efficiency and cost effectiveness,” Priyanka Chigurupati, executive vice president, Granules India, said in a statement. “We are very excited about our plans for expansion in Fairfax County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There is a lot of untapped potential with a highly educated and technically savvy workforce, reliable security, diverse amenities and state of the art infrastructure including Dulles International Airport, The Port of Virginia, and the expanded Metrorail in close proximity.” The company is eligible to receive $750 per job from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), for a total of $76,500. VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change. VJIP funds are a reimbursement to the company after the employee has been working for the company for a period of 90 days. 2017-05-22T19:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/luck-stone-buys-chesapeake-property-for-2.4-million-for-a-distribution-site Luck Stone buys Chesapeake property for $2.4 million for a distribution site http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/luck-stone-buys-chesapeake-property-for-2.4-million-for-a-distribution-site http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/luck-stone-buys-chesapeake-property-for-2.4-million-for-a-distribution-site#When:15:55:00Z CBRE|Hampton Roads announced the sale of adjoining properties in Chesapeake to Luck Stone Corp. and Allan Myers Corp. The seller, Higgerson-Buchanan, recently closed its business at 5300 Bainbridge Blvd. after 60 years of operation. Luck Stone, the largest family-owned and operated producer of crushed stone, sand and gravel in the country, acquired 32.86 acres of industrial land with access to the N&P Beltline Railroad for $2.45 million. According to CBRE, the company plans to operate a distribution facility at the site. Allan Myers purchased 28.85 acres of land that includes a small office building, upgraded wharf on the Elizabeth River and other improvements, for $5.1 million. Allan Myers will operate an asphalt plant on the site. Ken Benassi of CBRE|Hampton Roads and Marc Allocca of CBRE|Richmond represented the buyers in the transaction.  William Throne and Bobby Phillips of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.   2017-05-22T15:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bankshares-acquiring-xenith-bankshares Union Bankshares acquiring Xenith Bankshares http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bankshares-acquiring-xenith-bankshares http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bankshares-acquiring-xenith-bankshares#When:14:59:00Z Union Bankshares is acquiring Xenith Bankshares Inc. in a $701.2 million, all-stock deal. The Richmond-based companies announced the deal Monday, which is expected to close in early January 2018. Union says the deal will expand its retail footprint into North Carolina and Maryland. The combined company will have total assets of $11.9 billion, based on financial data as of March 31. After the transaction is completed, Union will have the fourth-largest branch network in Virginia. Under the terms of the merger agreement, each outstanding share of Xenith common stock will be converted into the right to receive 0.9354 shares of Union common stock. This implies a deal value per share of $29.67 per share of Xenith common stock. Union, the parent company for Union Bank & Trust, has 113 banking offices in Virginia. Xenith, the parent company of Xenith Bank, has 40 branches and two loan production offices in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. In July, Xenith merged with The Bank of Hampton Roads. John C. Asbury, Union’s president and CEO, will continue to lead the combined organization. Xenith CEO T. Gaylon Layfield III will serve for a transitional period as executive vice chairman of Union Bank & Trust. Following the closing of the merger, the Union Board of Directors will expand to 20 members. It will be made up of 18 members from the current Union Board and two members from the Xenith Board.  Raymond D. Smoot Jr., chairman of Union, will continue to serve as chairman of the board of the combined company. The board of directors of each company has approved the merger agreement.  The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and shareholder approvals. 2017-05-22T14:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jll-announces-leases-in-symbol-in-scotts-addition JLL announces leases in Symbol in Scott’s Addition http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jll-announces-leases-in-symbol-in-scotts-addition http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jll-announces-leases-in-symbol-in-scotts-addition#When:14:59:00Z JLL announced it has finalized nearly 59,000 square feet of leases at Symbol in Richmond’s historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Tenants are expected to begin occupying space in the three-story commercial building at 3200 Rockbridge St. later this month. Symbol is a three-building, mixed-use redevelopment project at site of the former Symbol Mattress Co. The two additional buildings will include more than 200 luxury apartments scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. JLL is representing the developers, Spy Rock Real Estate Group and The Holladay Corp., in its Class A commercial leasing activity. The second and third floors will be entirely occupied by office tenants while the first floor will be made up of a mix of office, retail and restaurants. The owners of Union Hill’s Metzger’s Bar & Butchery will open their second restaurant on the first floor, Brenner Pass. Adjacent to Brenner Pass will be Chairlift, a coffee shop and market. A new men’s clothing store, Jackson & James, will also occupy space on the first floor. The building includes high ceilings, exposed HVAC and concrete floors. Each space is built out to tenants’ needs and specifications and also provides access to shared amenities, like a pool, indoor and outdoor patio spaces, fitness center and community room. The tenants include: ·       Dominion Payroll Services ·       Impact Makers ·       37th Parallel ·       Michael Baker International ·       Brenner Pass ·       BetterMed  (Corporate) ·       Jackson & James ·       Chairlift ·       Strategic Staffing Solutions “From the inception of the project, the development team has strived to be stewards of the neighborhood in not only their plans for Symbol, but also in the tenant mix they wanted to attract,” Gareth Jones, vice president, JLL, said in a statement. “Our goal was to deliver the right mix of tenants that would add to the vibrancy of Scott’s Addition and we’re excited about the interest we’ve seen and meeting this major milestone.” 2017-05-22T14:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Ken_Biberaj_HighRes.jpg Ken Biberaj courtesy Savills Studley http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-real-estate-veteran-joins-savills-studley-at-tysons New York real estate veteran joins Savills Studley at Tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-real-estate-veteran-joins-savills-studley-at-tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-real-estate-veteran-joins-savills-studley-at-tysons#When:14:51:00Z Savills Studley has hired a veteran of New York real estate to serve as the managing director of itsTysons office. The company, a commercial real estate firm specializing in tenant representation, announced that it has hired Ken Biberaj, a broker and former chairman of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. Biberaj joins Savills Studley after 12 years at Morgan Barrington Associates of NY Inc. As executive vice president, he brokered retail leases and investment sales transactions, negotiated strategic partnerships and advised businesses across New York City on real estate expansion needs. Notably, Biberaj oversaw the restoration and 2006 reopening of the iconic Russian Tea Room, which his family owns and operates. At Savills Studley, Biberaj will focus on advising tenants and buyers, in addition to helping clients identify and leverage strategic partnerships and portfolio opportunities. Biberaj said his goal would to be “to act as a bridge between New York and the Washington, D.C., metro area.” Before working at Morgan, Biberaj was the policy research director in Florida for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. In 2014, he was appointed to serve as the chairman of the board for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, where he advocated on behalf of more than 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses. Biberaj grew up in Fairfax County and attended Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria. He received his bachelor of arts degree from American University in D.C., a law degree from New York Law School and his master in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. 2017-05-22T14:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-adds-new-vice-president Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer names vice president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-adds-new-vice-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-adds-new-vice-president#When:14:41:00Z Karen M. Stiansen has been named vice president of property services in Hampton Roads at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Stiansen will oversee Thalhimer’s Hampton Roads Commercial Property Services team. She joins the Hampton Roads team from Cushman & Wakefield in Northern Virginia leading a team managing an office portfolio for an institutional owner. She has over 25 years of in the property management and facilities management field and more than 10 years of corporate real estate experience with both Fannie Mae and Apartment Invest and Management Co. (AIMCO). Stiansen holds several commercial real estate designations, including the Certified Property Manager (CPM) and Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). 2017-05-22T14:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Chris_Kieran.jpg Chris Kieran http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-names-head-of-healthcare-services-group CBRE|Hampton Roads names head of Healthcare Services Group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-names-head-of-healthcare-services-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-names-head-of-healthcare-services-group#When:14:38:00Z CBRE|Hampton Roads has named Chris Kiernan head of its Healthcare Services Group. Kiernan’s specialty includes representing landlords and tenants in the leasing of medical properties throughout Hampton Roads. He has completed over 500 lease transactions worth more than $450 million  and has been named a top producing broker by the Commercial Real Estate Alliance every year since 2001. CBRE|Hampton Roads also announced the promotion of Jeff Fritz to vice president in the firm’s Retail Investment Sales division. Fritz has 13 years of commercial real estate experience, serving both national and regional organizations. He will be responsible for supervising retail investment sales activity in the Hampton Roads area. Fritz has a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing management from Virginia Tech. 2017-05-22T14:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-shows-no-change Virginia’s jobless rate shows no change http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-shows-no-change http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-shows-no-change#When:17:21:00Z Virginia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in April at 3.8 percent. The labor force, however, expanded for the 13th consecutive month to 4.3 million, the Virginia Employment Commission reported on Friday. The VEC unemployment numbers are seasonally adjusted, meaning they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market. April’s 3.8 percent jobless rate was two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the rate seen 12 months before. Virginia’s April rate also was lower than the national rate of 4.4 percent. Virginia tied Minnesota and Montana in having the 17th lowest unemployment rate in the country in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Colorado had the lowest jobless rate for the month, 2.3 percent. Virginia’s nonfarm employment for April was unchanged at 3.96 million jobs. Employment rose in six major industry sectors in April and fell in five others. The biggest gain occurred in professional and business services, up 4,100 jobs to 734,700. The largest declines took place in trade and transportation and leisure and hospitality sectors, down 3,000 jobs each. Trade and transportation employment totaled 663,100 jobs while leisure and hospitality had 400,200 positions. 2017-05-20T17:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-companies-make-forbes-lists-of-best-workplaces Virginia companies make Forbes’ lists of best workplaces http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-companies-make-forbes-lists-of-best-workplaces http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-companies-make-forbes-lists-of-best-workplaces#When:17:19:00Z Twenty-seven large and mid-size companies have made Forbes magazine’s lists of best workplaces. The highest-ranking Virginia employer on either list was the Alexandria-based National Credit Union Administration, which was fifth on the Forbes list of 300 midsize companies with 1,000 to 5,000 employees. At No. 25, Navy Federal Credit Union, based in Vienna, was the highest ranked in the large-employer group of 500 companies. Forbes worked with research firm Statista to compile the lists. Statista surveyed 30,000 U.S. employees, asking them to rank — on a scale of zero to 10 — how likely they were to recommend their employers to friends or family.  Statista also asked employees to recommend companies outside of their own. Other Virginia companies on the large-employer list were: Performance Food Group, No. 74; Norfolk Southern, 86; CarMax, 135; DRS Technologies, 140; Rolls-Royce Holdings, 152; Northrop Grumman, 153; Dominion Energy, 154 and University of Virginia, 166. The large employer list also included Hilton Worldwide, 245; General Dynamics, 268; Willis Towers Watson, 303; Mars, 305; BAE Systems, 376; PAE, 380; SAIC, 401; Huntington Ingalls Industries, 402; Orbital ATK, 418; Serco, 455; and CACI International, 486. Other employers on the midsize list included: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 69; George Mason University, 105; Old Dominion University, 185; ICF International, 186; SCRA, 253; and Altria Group, 266. 2017-05-20T17:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BECHTEL_POWER_PLANT.jpeg Photo courtesy of Bechtel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bechtel-completes-natural-gas-power-plant-in-loudoun-county Bechtel completes natural-gas power plant in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bechtel-completes-natural-gas-power-plant-in-loudoun-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bechtel-completes-natural-gas-power-plant-in-loudoun-county#When:20:37:00Z Bechtel said Thursday it has completed the Stonewall Energy Facility, a natural gas-fired power plant in Loudoun County. The plant, run by Dallas-based Panda Power Funds, has created 27 jobs. Bechtel is a San Francisco-based engineering, construction, and project management company, which has offices in Reston. According to Bechtel, more than 700 jobs were created during the construction of the facility. The 778-megawatt combined-cycle generating station will supply electricity to up to 778,000 homes. This is the fourth facility that Bechtel has built for Panda Power Funds. Siemens also worked on the project, providing components such as turbines, generators, and boilers. The new facility uses advanced emissions-control technology and is cooled with treated wastewater. 2017-05-18T20:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Mary_Jo_Wenmouth.JPG Mary Jo Wenmouth courtesy of Capital Square 1031 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mary-jo-wenmouth-joins-capital-square-1031-as-managing-director Mary Jo Wenmouth joins Capital Square 1031 as managing director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mary-jo-wenmouth-joins-capital-square-1031-as-managing-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mary-jo-wenmouth-joins-capital-square-1031-as-managing-director#When:20:30:00Z Richmond-based Capital Square 1031 said Thursday that Mary Jo Wenmouth has joined the company as managing director. Wenmouth will be responsible for fostering relationships with broker-dealers and due diligence officers on behalf of Capital Square. She also will also oversee Section 1031 investment sales in the Midwest. According to Capital Square, Wenmouth brings 16 years of experience in Section 1031 exchange and other Reg D investments to the company, a real-estate investment and management firm that focuses on Delaware statutory trust investments. She joins Capital Square from Silver Portal Capital, where she served as senior vice president. Previously, she spent 15 years with Inland Securities Corp. where she worked as a vice president and senior private capital consultant. Wenmouth attended DePaul University in Chicago.  She holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses and is a member of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators. 2017-05-18T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/alion-names-new-ceo Alion names new CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/alion-names-new-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/alion-names-new-ceo#When:19:58:00Z Steve Schorer has been named president and CEO of Alion Science and Technology. The appointment takes effect Friday. Bahman Atefi, who has been president and CEO of the company since 2002, will become vice chairman of the board. Alion has been a portfolio company of Veritas Capital since 2015. Ramzi Musallam, CEO and managing partner of Veritas Capital, said: “Bahman’s leadership and vision have helped Alion grow from a newly independent organization in 2002 to a leading provider of engineering solutions and services to defense agencies globally. We appreciate the significant contributions that Bahman has made over nearly two decades at Alion and its predecessor organization IIT Research Institute (IITRI).” Schorer was president of DynCorp from 2011 until 2013 and recently returned to DynCorp to serve as president of DynAviation from 2015-2016. He was president of the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence segment of DRS Technologies from 2003 through 2008. He also previously worked for L-3 Communications and served as a director of Camber Corp. Schorer holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He has completed executive management programs at the University of California, Los Angeles and the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix. McLean-based Alion  provides government agencies and commercial industries with expertise in naval architecture and engineering; systems analysis; design and engineering; and modeling, simulation, training and analysis. 2017-05-18T19:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Rocketts_Landing_Streetscape_%281%29.jpg Rocketts Landing streetscape of new townhomes. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hhhunt-homes-is-building-luxury-townhomes-at-rocketts-landing HHHunt Homes is building luxury townhomes at Rocketts Landing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hhhunt-homes-is-building-luxury-townhomes-at-rocketts-landing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hhhunt-homes-is-building-luxury-townhomes-at-rocketts-landing#When:19:23:00Z HHHunt Homes, one of Virginia’s largest residential builders, has started construction on 15 townhomes at Rocketts Landing in eastern Henrico County. The block of townhomes will offer two contemporary, four-story floor plans. A 1,969-square-foot home with two bedrooms and two and a half baths will be priced at $374,950 while the starting price for a larger 2,098-square-foot home will be $384,950. Several of the units have sold, according to Rocketts Landing, an urban mixed-use development located close to downtown Richmond on the banks of the James River. The homes will offer outdoor terraces and a view of the nearby Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile paved pedestrian and bicycle trail between Jamestown and Richmond along the Route 5 corridor. Amenities include a riverfront pool and sundeck plus a fitness center. Rocketts also is home to Richmond's only marina on the James. The development is close to several restaurants, including The Boathouse, Conch Republic Rocketts and Urban Farmhouse. Stone Brewing Co. also is nearby. A model home is expected to open later this year. A larger floor plan of 3,376 square feet, offering an optional elevator and penthouse owner’s suite, will be released in June.   “We are delighted that HHHunt Homes is continuing to build at Rocketts Landing, and we eagerly look forward to welcoming new townhome residents to the development, which will complement the 156-unit apartment building also underway,” Richard Souter, a partner at The WVS Cos., Rocketts’ developer, said in a statement. 2017-05-18T19:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hospital-group-provides-guidelines-for-protecting-information Hospital group provides guidelines for protecting information http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hospital-group-provides-guidelines-for-protecting-information http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hospital-group-provides-guidelines-for-protecting-information#When:23:02:00Z A Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association task force has developed a set of guidelines to help hospitals and health systems guard against cyberattack. The guidelines are based on three key principles: • Educating employees about safe, responsible use of computer systems to help avoid infiltration. • Developing and implementing prevention plans that operates automatically and are an integral part of a health system’s processes and security protocols. • In the event of a security breach, implementing an established security incident response and continuity plan. The task force developed nearly two dozen recommendations. These guidelines will be updated to respond to developments, safety protocols, emerging threats, and other factors. The task force included health-care information security officers from hospitals and health systems across the state. During the 2017 General Assembly session, VHHA promoted legislation to add penalties to state law for the use of ransomware to compromise health care computer systems containing private medical information. The legislation called for making it a Class 5 felony to use ransomware that denies users access to their data. The legislation did not pass during the 2017 session. 2017-05-17T23:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lidl-will-open-first-u.-s.-stores-on-june-15 Lidl will open first U. S. stores on June 15 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lidl-will-open-first-u.-s.-stores-on-june-15 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lidl-will-open-first-u.-s.-stores-on-june-15#When:22:21:00Z Lidl, one of the world's largest grocery retailers, announced Wednesday that it will open its first stores in the U.S. on June 15.  The Germany-based company also revealed the location of 20 stores that will open during the summer of 2017, including nine stores in Virginia. They will be located in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Culpeper, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond (two locations) and Chesterfield County. By next summer, Lidl said it plans to open up to 100 stores across the East Coast, creating a total of 5,000 U.S. jobs. "We are excited to open our first stores in the United States in a few short weeks," Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl U.S., said in a statement.  "When customers shop at Lidl, they will experience less complexity, lower prices, better choices, and greater confidence." Besides the nine stores in Virginia, Lidl will open stores in North Carolina and South Carolina during the summer. Lidl, a discount retailer, says shoppers can expect high-quality goods and groceries at up to 50 percent less than at other supermarkets in the U.S. The stores opening this summer will have what the company described as an ”easy-to-shop” layout of 20,000 square feet with six aisles. Lidl offers fresh baked goods, fresh and frozen seafood and organic and gluten-free options. The company said that about 90 percent of its groceries would be exclusive brand products. Lidl also offers a changing selection of non-food products in stores for a limited time. They include fitness gear, small kitchen appliances, toys, and outdoor furniture. Their stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Lidl operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe. It established its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County in June 2015. Since then, it has announced regional headquarters and distribution centers in Spotsylvania County; Alamance County, N.C.; and Cecil County, Md. 2017-05-17T22:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prince-william-entrepreneur-is-runner-up-for-national-sba-award Prince William entrepreneur is runner-up for national SBA award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prince-william-entrepreneur-is-runner-up-for-national-sba-award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prince-william-entrepreneur-is-runner-up-for-national-sba-award#When:20:10:00Z Corliss Udoema, a Prince William County entrepreneur, was a finalist for U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Person of the Year. Udoema, the president and CEO of Contract Solutions Inc., is the 2017 Virginia Small Business Person of the Year. She was third runner-up in the national competition announced earlier this month in Washington, D.C., during National Small Business Week. The national winners were Garrett and Melanie Marrero of Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii. Udoema was one of 54 winners in the running for the national award from across the U.S. and its territories. She founded Contract Solutions Inc. in 2006 after a 32-year career with the federal government. The company has grown from a one-person company operating from her kitchen table to a multi-million-dollar business.  CSI is a staffing and consulting company providing professional support services to federal and state government agencies, and private sector clients.  The company's primary areas of focus include: administrative, business, logistics, acquisition, human resources, training, and general management consulting support and services.  Udoema is also founder and president of Agape Love in Action (ALIA), a nonprofit organization that she established to assist those in need.  In addition, Udoema is a small-business SCORE counselor, providing business mentoring to other entrepreneurs. 2017-05-17T20:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capriottis-sandwich-shop-plans-to-open-restaurants-in-hampton-roads1 Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop plans to open restaurants in Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capriottis-sandwich-shop-plans-to-open-restaurants-in-hampton-roads1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capriottis-sandwich-shop-plans-to-open-restaurants-in-hampton-roads1#When:19:00:00Z Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop has signed a franchise agreement for opening up to three restaurants in Hampton Roads during the next three years. The first restaurant is slated to open early next year in Newport News.  The Virginia locations will be owned and operated by Gray and Charles Coltrin. Capriotti’s will open 15 new restaurants this year. Founded in 1976, Capriotti’s has more than 100 restaurants in 18 states and plans to expand to 500 locations nationwide by 2025. There is currently one other Virginia location, in Rosslyn.  In addition to Hampton Roads, the company is looking at Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Richmond, Lynchburg, Roanoke and Northern Virginia as potential sites for new locations. 2017-05-17T19:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/concept-plus-llc-plans-to-add-31-jobs-in-fairfax Concept Plus LLC plans to add 31 jobs in Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/concept-plus-llc-plans-to-add-31-jobs-in-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/concept-plus-llc-plans-to-add-31-jobs-in-fairfax#When:17:44:00Z RICHMOND –Concept Plus LLC, an IT service provider, plans to invest $140,000 to expand its IT operation to create a shared lab for application developers in Fairfax County, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announce Wednesday. The project is expected to create 31 new jobs. Virginia successfully competed against Colorado, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C., for the project. Concept Plus is a government IT contractor founded in 2008. The company serves several federal agencies, including the Defense Health Agency, Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Our investment and expansion in Fairfax County, with its premiere location and access to a talented workforce, supports our goal of expanding our footprint in the federal space and strengthens our mission of ‘Customer First,’” Ahmad Abuzaakouk, president and CEO of Concept Plus LLC, said in a statement. The company will receive funding and consultative services from Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), an incentive available to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change. 2017-05-17T17:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-thornton-adds-executive-to-expand-health-informatics Grant Thornton adds executive to expand health informatics http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-thornton-adds-executive-to-expand-health-informatics http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-thornton-adds-executive-to-expand-health-informatics#When:09:06:00Z Grant Thornton announced it has added Satish Gattadahalli  as director of its public sector. Gattadahalli, who is based in the accounting firm’s Alexandria office, will develop and expand Grant Thornton’s health informatics and digital health capabilities. Gattadahalli has nearly 30 years of strategic IT management experience in government and private-sector health care. Most recently he was a manager and principal strategist for Whitney, Bradley & Brown (WBB) Consulting, where he advised the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), including the agency’s Connected Care Program. Gattadahalli developed, implemented and governed multiple health information technology transformation initiatives for the VHA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Satish brings to Grant Thornton a deep understanding of the federal healthcare landscape and how to apply IT-based innovation to healthcare,” Carlos Otal, national managing partner of Grant Thornton Public Sector, said in a statement. Before joining WBB, Gattadahalli was a senior enterprise architect for Electronic Data Systems (EDS), where he also advised the VHA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. While at EDS, Gattadahalli helped create industry standards for health informatics and made significant contributions to the development of the Federal Health Architecture, an initiative to increase health IT collaboration among government agencies. Gattadahalli helped establish Health Level-7, or HL7, a set of international standards for transfer of clinical and administrative data between software applications used by health-care providers. He has authored numerous white papers on topics such as mobile health IT practices, health systems engineering, telehealth and patient-generated data, and has been published in peer-reviewed health information journals, including the Journal of American Health Information Management Association. Gattadahalli received a master’s degree in computer systems management from the University of Maryland University College and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Bangalore University. 2017-05-17T09:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-issues-executive-order-to-cut-greenhouse-gases Governor issues executive order to cut greenhouse gases http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-issues-executive-order-to-cut-greenhouse-gases http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-issues-executive-order-to-cut-greenhouse-gases#When:22:11:00Z In an action hailed by environmental groups, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order on Tuesday that instructs the Department of Environmental Quality to begin the process of establishing regulations in Virginia that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants. “Today, I am proud to take executive action to cut greenhouse gases and make Virginia a leader in the global clean energy economy,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “The threat of climate change is real, and we have a shared responsibility to confront it … As the federal government abdicates its role on this important issue, it is critical for states to fill the void.” The directive follows Executive Order 57, which required the state’s secretary of natural resources to convene a work group to study and recommend methods to reduce carbon emissions. Today’s action, Directive 11, is designed to ensure Virginia’s regulation includes a structure that enforces carbon-reduction mechanisms. Attorney General Mark Herring recently issued an opinion confirming that the state’s Air Pollution Control Board is legally authorized to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including the establishment of a statewide cap on emissions “for all new and existing fossil fuel electric generating plants." McAuliffe said Virginia already is experiencing the effects of climate change in its coastal regions because of rising sea levels. His office estimates that the threat from frequent storm surges and flooding could cost the commonwealth close to $100 billion for residential property alone. The impacts extend  beyond the coasts, as half of Virginia’s counties face increased risk of water shortages by 2050 resulting from climate-related weather shifts. The order drew both praise and criticism. “As a Virginia-headquartered company, Mars applauds Gov. McAuliffe’s new regulatory action to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy and efficiency,” Kevin Rabinovitch, Mars global director of sustainability, said. “At Mars, we believe climate change is real, and business and government need to work together to address it. This action … is timely and critical to achieve a clean and efficient energy transition.” The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) characterized McAuliffe’s action “as the strongest move yet from a Southern state to push back on the Trump administration’s rollback of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.” SELC attorney Will Cleveland released a statement praising the governor   for “showing Virginia and America what true leadership looks like. Climate change poses the single greatest environmental threat the world has ever known. This bold action demonstrates that when Washington fumbles and falls, with the right leadership, the states can lead.” The Chesapeake Climate Action Network said the directive could create a legal framework for the state to create its own carbon cap program to annually lower power-plant pollution. “That program would most likely be linked to the highly successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system now in place from Maine to Maryland, or to California’s cap-and-trade system.” The environmental group went on to say that to date, McAuliffe’s policies on climate and energy have earned poor grades from some environmental, faith, student and justice groups. One recent report card gave him a D-plus on climate and energy policies. “But today’s action will significantly improve the governor’s grade,” the group said. “Though late in his administration, Gov. Terry McAuliffe did the right thing today in announcing a pathway for Virginia to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The governor’s executive directive … is precisely what environmental advocates have been asking the governor to do for over two years now,” Mike Tidwell, executive director of CCAN, said in a statement. “Now the governor should further cement his climate legacy by opposing offshore drilling for oil and opposing the massive fracked-gas pipelines that Dominion and other companies want to build across the state,” Tidwell said. Criticism came from Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). He termed the governor’s action “ a broad assertion of regulatory authority, Washington-esque in both its nature and scope. The governor is attempting to implement a failed national policy in the commonwealth that will further hamper economic growth at a time when we desperately need policies to get Virginia moving again.” Howell said McAuliffe “is ignoring the legislative process by putting forward broadly expansive environmental regulations — a policy he never proposed to the General Assembly. Policy of this scope and magnitude should be debated and voted on by the people’s representatives, not unelected bureaucrats.” The Republican Party of Virginia also issued a statement panning McAuliffe’s action. RPV Chairman John Whitbeck called it “the worst kind of virtue signaling. President Obama's now-defunct Clean Power Plan would have reduced global temperatures .015 degrees Celsius by 2100, while sticking Virginians with another $5.5 billion in electricity costs — at a minimum. It would also take a number of reliable power plants out of service. "If reducing emissions for the entire country nets a reduction of .015 degrees, how much less would a Virginia-only plan do?  Meanwhile, the free market has led to significant year-over- year reduction in carbon emissions. Terry McAuliffe's decision to 'resist' commonsense environmental policy will drive up prices for consumers, cost Virginians jobs, and make it even more difficult to grow our economy,” he said. Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the mid-Atlantic, embraced the action to cut power plant emissions calling the action “a significant step forward for lung health.  Carbon pollution from power plants leads to warmer temperatures, which enhances conditions for ozone and particle pollution, wildfires, and longer allergy seasons.” 2017-05-16T22:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finnish-company-plans-to-acquire-herndon-based-greensmith-energy-management Finnish company plans to acquire Herndon-based Greensmith Energy Management Systems http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finnish-company-plans-to-acquire-herndon-based-greensmith-energy-management http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finnish-company-plans-to-acquire-herndon-based-greensmith-energy-management#When:20:50:00Z Wärtsilä, a Helsinki-based technology group, plans to acquire Herndon-based Greensmith Energy Management Systems Inc. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Greensmith provides advanced energy storage technologies and software solutions. Wärtsilä is a major provider of advanced technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. The Greensmith acquisition is expected to help Wärtsilä to expand its footprint in the energy storage market. Greensmith will operate as a separate business under Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. The transaction is expected to close by July. The Finnish company has 18,000 employees and had 2016 net sales totaling $5.3 billion. 2017-05-16T20:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/windward-consulting-plans-to-add-97-jobs-in-fairfax-county Windward Consulting plans to add 97 jobs in Fairfax County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/windward-consulting-plans-to-add-97-jobs-in-fairfax-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/windward-consulting-plans-to-add-97-jobs-in-fairfax-county#When:19:26:00Z Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that Windward Consulting, an information technology consulting company based in Herndon, is investing $825,000 to expand its headquarters in Fairfax County. The project is expected to create 97 jobs. Windward Consulting helps large organizations manage their data centers and networks. The company, formed in 1997, has nearly 200 employees Windward has more than 500 clients around the globe. “We have found that the caliber of a highly educated workforce, combined with the strength of the economy, have made Fairfax County an excellent location for us,” Sean McDermott, founder and CEO of Windward Consulting Group, said in a statement. “The close proximity to Washington D.C., and the continued growth in the Dulles Technology Corridor have been instrumental in our growth over the past 20 years.” The company will receive funding and consultative services from Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), an incentive available to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change. 2017-05-16T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wholesome-harvest-baking-to-make-22.1-million-investment-in-roanoke-operati Wholesome Harvest Baking to make $22.1 million investment in Roanoke operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wholesome-harvest-baking-to-make-22.1-million-investment-in-roanoke-operati http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wholesome-harvest-baking-to-make-22.1-million-investment-in-roanoke-operati#When:20:52:00Z Wholesome Harvest Baking, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo, will invest $22.1 million to upgrade equipment and add a production line for artisan bread at its Roanoke operation.  There will be retraining for 324 current employees on operating the new machinery with support from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Started more than 100 years ago, Wholesome Harvest Baking began operating in Roanoke in 1996. The company produces frozen bread for retailers and in-store bakeries. It operates seven bakeries in North America, employing about 1,000 workers. Wholesome Harvest Baking was acquired in 2014 by Mexican baking company Grupo Bimbo. Grupo Bimbo is the largest bakery company in the world, currently operating in 22 countries across four continents. 2017-05-15T20:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-services-administration-leases-13629-square-feet-in-suffolk General Services Administration leases 13,629 square feet in Suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-services-administration-leases-13629-square-feet-in-suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-services-administration-leases-13629-square-feet-in-suffolk#When:20:52:00Z The U.S. General Services Administration has leased 13,629 square feet of space at Bridgeway Technology Center I in Suffolk. According to CBRE/Hampton Roads, which helped broker the deal, the space at 7025 Harbourview Blvd. will be customized for a TriCare Prime Clinic, the first of its kind in Suffolk. Tricare Prime Clinics are specifically dedicated to servicemen and their families in the Hampton Roads area. The new clinic will be similar to other ones in the Lynnhaven corridor of Virginia Beach and the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake. The clinic has an expected completion date of April 2018. Don Crigger, Perry Frazer and Bryan Gurnee of CBRE|Hampton Roads represented the landlord in the transaction. 2017-05-15T20:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-arranges-financing-on-norfolk-office-building CBRE|Hampton Roads arranges financing on Norfolk office building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-arranges-financing-on-norfolk-office-building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-arranges-financing-on-norfolk-office-building#When:15:57:00Z CBRE|Hampton Roads has arranged $35.25 million long-term, fixed-rate non-recourse financing for a Norfolk commercial office building. The office building involved was the 225,286 square-foot SunTrust Building at 150 W. Main St. building in Norfolk. It is owned by 150 Owner, LLC. The purpose of the loan was to refinance and secure long-term permanent fixed-rate financing taking advantage of current low interest rates. John C. Richards Jr., vice president of CBRE Capital Markets’ Debt & Structured Finance group, arranged the financing through one of his correspondent permanent lenders. The transaction was completed in 35 days from application to closing. CBRE Hampton Roads also leases and provides asset management services for the building’s owners. 2017-05-15T15:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2017-05-16_at_9.45.48_AM.png Rendering of Phase I and II, The View at Tysons, courtesy Clemente Development Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/clemente-development-co.-proposes-new-mixed-use-development-for-tysons-corn Clemente Development Co. proposes new mixed-use development for Tysons Corner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/clemente-development-co.-proposes-new-mixed-use-development-for-tysons-corn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/clemente-development-co.-proposes-new-mixed-use-development-for-tysons-corn#When:15:55:00Z Clemente Development Co. has submitted design plans to Fairfax County for a $1.3 billion, mixed-use project on a prime piece of real estate at Tysons Corner. The Tysons-based company is proposing a 2.8-million-square-foot development of five buildings that would include office space, a hotel, condominiums and service businesses on 7.4 acres of land adjacent to the Spring Hill Metro station. The breakdown in terms of space would be 529,673 square feet of office,111,793 square feet of retail, 786 apartments, 320 high-end luxury condominiums, a 330-room hotel, and a 300-seat, 24,834-square-foot performing arts center. The project would be called the The View at Tysons. Dan Clemente, chairman and CEO of Clemente Development, says the firm already has a contract to the buy the land, which has been held for years by the Cherner family. “We have it under contract. We will, in fact, buy the land as soon as the zoning is approved,” he said. “Our project is fully funded. This is not pie in the sky. We’re ready to go.” Clemente added that his company already has invested about a million dollars in the design application, which includes detailed engineering and traffic studies. The company is seeking to rezone the property from a general industrial and retail zoning to a newly adopted zoning for Tysons, the PTC, or Planned Tysons Corner Urban. According to Clemente, the county’s zoning process for Tysons typically takes 12 to 18 months. “This is a very important site, because it was originally designated as the model for Tysons. The initial developer who had the land under contract, [the Georgelas Group] did not go forward, because their contract was due to go to closing in 2008, and you know what happened in 2008,” he said, referring to an economic depression that decimated real estate markets. Since the property never went to closing, it was taken off the market. It went back on the market last year, when Clemente said his company made an offer to buy it. He said terms of the purchase contract prohibit the disclosure of the purchase price for the land located in the northeast quadrant of Leesburg Pike and Spring Hill Road. 2017-05-15T15:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G6-326x412-270-degrees.jpg Riverview Ballroom courtesy Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gaylord-national-resort-opens-a-new-waterfront-venue Gaylord National Resort opens a new waterfront venue http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gaylord-national-resort-opens-a-new-waterfront-venue http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gaylord-national-resort-opens-a-new-waterfront-venue#When:15:46:00Z   The Gaylord National Resort’s newest waterfront venue is open. The 16,000-square-foot RiverView Ballroom, which offers panoramic views of the Potomac River, is being promoted for weddings and corporate galas held at National Harbor in Prince Georges County Md. The mixed-use project of National Harbor is a short distance away from Northern Virginia and 8 miles from Washington, D.C. The RiverView venue, which has floor–to-ceiling windows, is designed to provide event-goers with a private venue outside of Gaylord National’s main meeting hub. The ballroom has two outdoor terraces with more than 10,000 square feet of space. With the addition of RiverView Ballroom, Gaylord National now has five ballrooms and more than 600,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor flexible meeting space. 2017-05-15T15:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copt-to-build-two-more-data-centers-in-ashburn COPT to build two more data centers in Ashburn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copt-to-build-two-more-data-centers-in-ashburn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copt-to-build-two-more-data-centers-in-ashburn#When:15:44:00Z Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT has executed two long-term leases with a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company to build two, 148,600-square data centers on land the company acquired in Ashburn in Paragon Park. COPT, a publicly traded REIT that’s built several shell buildings for Amazon data centers in Northern Virginia, said it expects to deliver one building in the fourth quarter of this year and the second building in the first quarter of 2018 Including this transaction, COPT, based in Columbia, Md., said it has completed 355,000 square feet of development leasing, or about half of its 2017 goal of 700,000 square feet. 2017-05-15T15:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/armada-hoffler-properties-inc.-sells-6.9-million-shares Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. sells 6.9 million shares http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/armada-hoffler-properties-inc.-sells-6.9-million-shares http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/armada-hoffler-properties-inc.-sells-6.9-million-shares#When:20:37:00Z Virginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. has closed public offering of 6.9 million shares of its common stock. The stock, sold at $13 a share, generated net proceeds of about $85.4 million. Armada Hoffler intends to use funds from the offering to repay a portion of its outstanding debt under its unsecured revolving credit facility. Armada Hoffler is a real estate investment trust that develops, builds, owns and manages retail and multifamily properties in markets primarily in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. 2017-05-12T20:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-picked-to-handle-interair-business-center Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer picked to handle Interair Business Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-picked-to-handle-interair-business-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-picked-to-handle-interair-business-center#When:20:35:00Z Grove LLC has chosen Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer to provide exclusive leasing and property management services for Interair Business Center in Henrico County. The center’s industrial buildings are located at 5371-5393 Glen Alden Drive and 2400-2410 Charles City Road near Richmond International Airport. The buildings’ space totals 74,136 square feet.  Approximately 11,631 square feet is available for lease. Isaac DeRegibus and Graham Stoneburner of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer are the exclusive leasing representatives, and Emily Barone, also with Thalhimer, is the portfolio manager. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer manages nearly 25 million square feet of commercial real estate properties in Virginia and South Carolina, as well as over 7,000 multifamily  units. 2017-05-12T20:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-transactions Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports transactions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-transactions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-transactions#When:18:03:00Z Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported these recent Richmond-area leases of 10,000 square feet or more: Textrail Trailer Parts leased 19,500 square feet of office/warehouse space at 300 Stockton St. in Richmond. Virgil Nelson handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. Austin Brockenbrough & Associates renewed its lease of 13,643 square feet  in Boulders Center at 1011 Boulder Spring Drive in Chesterfield County. Amy Broderick and Evan M. Magrill handled the lease negotiations. 2017-05-12T18:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opaq-networks-acquires-drawbridge-networks OPAQ Networks acquires Drawbridge Networks http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opaq-networks-acquires-drawbridge-networks http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opaq-networks-acquires-drawbridge-networks#When:21:33:00Z Herndon-based OPAQ Networks has acquired Drawbridge Networks, a provider of micro-segmentation Solutions. OPAQ officials said the deal would boost the company’s intellectual property, expand its footprint and enhance customers’ ability to identify, monitor and defend against cyberattacks. Financial details about the acquisition were not provided. Drawbridge Network represents OPAQ’s second acquisition this year. The first acquisition was Bat Blue Networks. OPAQ said micro-segmentation allows fine-grained security policies to be assigned to specific users and workloads. Using micro-segmentation, OPAQ said, a company can automatically quarantine malicious activity before it advances within a network. Drawbridge Networks was founded in 2014 by John Terrill and Tom Cross. The company has employees in Atlanta and New York. Along with their Drawbridge colleagues, Terrill and Cross have joined the OPAQ organization. Terrill is chief information security officer and Cross is chief technology officer. 2017-05-11T21:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/straight-path-accepts-3.1-billion-deal-with-verizon Straight Path accepts $3.1 billion deal with Verizon http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/straight-path-accepts-3.1-billion-deal-with-verizon http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/straight-path-accepts-3.1-billion-deal-with-verizon#When:21:13:00Z Straight Path Communications Inc. has accepted a $3.1 billion bid from Verizon Communications Inc., ending a bidding war with AT&T for the Glen Allen-based company. Straight Path holds a portfolio of millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum, airwaves considered highly important in the developmentof fifth-generation (5G) wireless services.. Verizon's offer is worth $184 a share, more than $147 above the price that Straight Path's stock was trading before it announced a merger deal with AT&T. As part of its deal with Straight Path, Verizon will pay a termination fee of $38 million to AT&T. Straight Path had accepted a $1.6 billion offer from AT&T on April 9. In accepting Verizon's offer, Straight Path said AT&T would not make any new bid to acquire it. At $184 a share, the all-stock Verizon deal represents a premium of 486 percent when compared to Straight Path’s closing price of $31.41 on Jan. 11, the day before the company announced a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission. In a consent decree, the FCC fined Straight Path more than $100 million to resolve an investigation of the company’s failure to deploy wireless services as required under spectrum licenses. The Verizon offer  also represents a 404 percent premium compared to the company’s closing price of $36.48 on April 7, the business day before Straight Path’s AT&T merger agreement was announced. The Verizon deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The transaction also is supported by Straight Path's majority shareholder, Howard Jonas. He has entered into a voting agreement with Verizon and agreed to vote his Class A shares (held through a trust) in support of the deal. The companies anticipate a closing within nine months, subject to FCC review. Straight Path holds an extensive portfolio of 39 GHz and 28 GHz wireless spectrum licenses. The company is developing wireless technology through its Straight Path Ventures subsidiary. 2017-05-11T21:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vandeventer-black-llp-names-new-cfo Vandeventer Black LLP names new CFO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vandeventer-black-llp-names-new-cfo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vandeventer-black-llp-names-new-cfo#When:21:07:00Z Paul Julius, a former executive at Morgan Stanley, has been named chief financial officer and executive director at Norfolk-based law firm Vandeventer Black LLP. According to Linkedin, Julius most recently served as director of finance at Proskauer Rose LLP in the New York City-area. His experience also includes working as CFO at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Julius will be responsible for managing Vandeventer Black’s financial activities and the administrative functions of the firm. Vandeventer Black has offices in Virginia, North Carolina and Germany. 2017-05-11T21:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-retail-property-is-sold Virginia Beach retail property is sold http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-retail-property-is-sold http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-retail-property-is-sold#When:12:03:00Z The Lynn Shores Shopping Center in Virginia Beach has been sold. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported that the 12,630-square-foot retail property was sold to Milkin Family Investments LLC for $1.35 million. The shopping center was purchased as an investment. The previous owner of the property at 316 Lynn Shores Drive was Lynn Shores LLC. Michael A. Shaia of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller 2017-05-11T12:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominions-name-officially-changes Dominion’s name officially changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominions-name-officially-changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominions-name-officially-changes#When:19:30:00Z Dominion Resources has officially changed its name to Dominion Energy Inc. The Richmond-based energy company announced Wednesday that its shareholders had approved the change. A new logo also takes effect today. Dominion’s three operating segments will change. Dominion Virginia Power will now be known as Power Delivery Group, Dominion Generation will be known as Power Generation Group and Dominion Energy will be called Gas Infrastructure Group. Dominion Energy shares will continue to be traded under the ticker symbol “D.” 2017-05-10T19:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ir-engraving-to-expand-in-henrico IR Engraving to expand in Henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ir-engraving-to-expand-in-henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ir-engraving-to-expand-in-henrico#When:19:26:00Z IR Engraving announced Wednesday it will expand its operations in Henrico Conty, creating 22  jobs. The company plans to spend $850,000 on the expansion. IR Engraving designs and builds engraved rolls and plates, gravure rolls and custom machinery. “We are excited at the opportunities available since we acquired the business from Standex last summer, returning the company to its privately-held roots,” IR Engraving President Matthew Pursel said in a statement. “Now, as an entrepreneurial business with 100 employees… we are once again poised to aggressively grow with our customers.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support the company’s expansion through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consulting and funding to companies creating new jobs or retraining companies on new technology. 2017-05-10T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/baltimore-law-firm-opens-richmond-office Baltimore law firm opens Richmond office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/baltimore-law-firm-opens-richmond-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/baltimore-law-firm-opens-richmond-office#When:23:46:00Z Baltimore-based law firm Franklin & Prokopik has opened  an office in Richmond, its second in Virginia. The Richmond office, the firm’s seventh overall, will focus on serving clients in Central and Southeastern Virginia, including the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas. Lindsey Lewis will lead the Richmond-based practice. She has civil litigation experience in the areas of automobile/transportation liability, business, construction, employment, premises liability, and professional liability.  The office, located at 5516 Falmouth St., Suite 203, plans to provide legal services for clients ranging from multinational companies to local small business owners. Richmond will also be part of the firm’s transportation group’s Emergency Response Team. Franklin & Prokopik’s other Virginia office is in Herndon. It also has offices in Baltimore, Easton and Hagerstown, Md.;  Martinsburg, W.Va., and Wilmington, Del. The law firm has more than 65 lawyers. 2017-05-09T23:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-first-in-the-nation-in-health-metric Virginia ranks first in the nation in health metric http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-first-in-the-nation-in-health-metric http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-first-in-the-nation-in-health-metric#When:18:19:00Z Virginia has made significant progress in seeing that more babies are carried to full term before they are delivered, hospital officials say. Recent medical research has revealed that when babies are born after 39 weeks of gestation they tend to have fewer health problems. That research overturned previous assumptions that babies born between 37 and 39 weeks were just healthy as those carried to full term. Those assumptions fed a trend toward early elective deliveries (EED), early deliveries that are not medically necessary. During the past the past four years, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association said Tuesday, the state has reduced its EED rate from 8 percent to 1.3 percent. That percentage makes the commonwealth first in the nation in reducing EEDs, according to federal Hospital Compare data. Virginia  had been ranked 24th in the nation on EED rate based on Hospital Compare data released in 2014. VHHA credited the improvement to collaboration by its Center for Healthcare Excellence, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Medical Society of Virginia, the March of Dimes, and other health care providers and stakeholders. To reduce Virginia’s EED, 53 hospitals agreed to seek ways to limit early elective deliveries. They submitted monthly data tracking the total number of births at individual facilities, and the number of births occurring between 37 and 39 weeks. When the effort began in 2012, Virginia’s EED rate was 8 percent and the national goal was 4 percent. 2017-05-09T18:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundation-elects-three-trustees Colonial Williamsburg Foundation elects three trustees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundation-elects-three-trustees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundation-elects-three-trustees#When:09:03:00Z The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s board of trustees has elected three new trustees. They are: Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination; Joseph W. Montgomery, managing director of The Optimal Service Group of Wells Fargo Advisors; and Gerald L. Shaheen, retired group president of Caterpillar Inc.   At Hewlett-Packard Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Fortune top-20 company after rising from an entry-level position at AT&T to become that company’s first female officer. She led AT&T’s spin-off of its manufacturing arm as Lucent Technologies, then oversaw Lucent’s North American operations.  In addition to her presidential run in 2016, she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Fiorina also served as chair of Good360, the world’s largest products philanthropy, as chair of the CIA External Advisory Board and on the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board. She has also served on James Madison University’s board of visitors and as a trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Montgomery is a College of William & Mary alumnus, who joined his Williamsburg firm’s predecessor, Wheat First Securities, in 1975 and has been named to top nationwide adviser lists by the Financial Times, Barron’s, Worth, Registered Representative and Forbes. His firm specializes in services for high net-worth individuals, institutions and corporations. Montgomery is a trustee of the Virginia Retirement System, a director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation, a director of the Future of Hampton Roads Inc., a Randolph associate of the Dean’s Circle of the William & Mary School of Business and a member of the William & Mary President’s Council. He previously served on the William & Mary board of visitors, the Colonial Williamsburg National Advisory Council, as president of the William & Mary Alumni Association, as vice president of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s board of directors, as a director of the Williamsburg Community Hospital, as a trustee of Hampton Roads Academy and the Greater Williamsburg Community Trust. Shaheen was responsible for the design, development, and production of Caterpillar’s large construction and mining equipment, as well as the company’s U.S. operations division. He also oversaw its marketing and sales operations in North America, its components business, and its research and development division. During his 41 years with the company, he held numerous marketing and management positions in the United States and Europe, and at one time held responsibility for business in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.   Shaheen is a board member and past chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the boards of Ford Motor Co. and AGCO Corp. He chairs the OSF Illinois Neurological Institute board and serves as a trustee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Greater Illinois Chapter and Peoria NEXT. He is former chairman of the Bradley University board of trustees and president of its alumni association. He also served as board member of the National Chamber Foundation, Aquila Inc. and National City Corp. 2017-05-09T09:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/daphne-berkowitz-is-elected-to-board-for-colliers-international-richmond-no Daphne Berkowitz is elected to board for Colliers International | Richmond/Norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/daphne-berkowitz-is-elected-to-board-for-colliers-international-richmond-no http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/daphne-berkowitz-is-elected-to-board-for-colliers-international-richmond-no#When:18:13:00Z Daphne Berkowitz has been elected to the Board of Directors with Colliers International | Richmond & Norfolk. Berkowitz is currently a senior vice president as well as the director of brokerage services for the company’s Richmond and Norfolk offices. 2017-05-08T18:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-tourism-revenue-reaches-24-billion-in-2016 State tourism revenue reaches $24 billion in 2016 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-tourism-revenue-reaches-24-billion-in-2016 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-tourism-revenue-reaches-24-billion-in-2016#When:17:49:00Z Virginia’s tourism revenue reached $24 billion in 2016, a 3.3 percent increase over 2015, outpacing the national growth rate of 2.7 percent. Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday said those figures provide proof that tourism plays an important role in diversifying Virginia economy’s by supporting jobs and injecting millions of dollars into communities. According to the governor’s office, visitor spending in Virginia supported 230,000 jobs last year, an increase of 2.8 percent, or 6,175 jobs, compared to 2015. The tourism industry also provided $1.7 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 5.4 percent. Virginia welcomed more than 45 million visitors from across the U.S. last year. In 2016, domestic travelers spent nearly $65 million per day in the commonwealth. Employees in Virginia’s travel industry earned $5.7 billion in payroll income, representing a 5.9 percent increase over 2015. The largest increase in travel expenditures was in the food and lodging sectors, with a $630 million increase compared to 2015. “Tourism is one of the five largest industries in Virginia and plays a critical role in our economic vitality,” Todd Haymore, Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade, said in a statement. The announcement comes on the heels of an earlier one by McAuliffe in April about the economic impact of the state’s agritourism sector, a growing division of the tourism industry. Conducted by the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, the study showed that agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also noted that the economic activity attributed to the commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income and injects $135 million in state and local taxes. The study was the first statewide benchmark report to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of the agritourism industry. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), a state agency, receives its annual economic impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from per-person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home. Detailed economic impact data by locality will be available in the fall. 2017-05-08T17:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-on-lease-transactions-in-hampton-roads Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports on lease transactions in Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-on-lease-transactions-in-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-on-lease-transactions-in-hampton-roads#When:15:38:00Z   Delphinus Engineering leased 34,960 square feet at 3745 Progress Rd. in Norfolk.  Geoff Poston of  Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord. In another transaction for Poston, J.B. Hunt Transport renewed its lease of 30,000 square feet at 3440-B Trant Ave. in Norfolk. Poston represented the tenant. The Extra Mile, Inc. leased 27,390 square feet at 12671 McManus Blvd. in Newport News. Thalhimer's Clay Culbreth handled the lease negotiations. Loomis Armored US LLC renewed its lease of 13,750 square feet in Woodlake Center at 500 Woodlake Circle in Chesapeake. Tony Weiss handled the lease negotiations. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage leased 13,656 square feet at 300 32nd St. in Virginia Beach. John P. Duffy, Jr. handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. 2017-05-08T15:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/unspecified.jpg Rendering courtesy of The Hodges Partnership http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newest-boathouse-restaurant-set-to-open-in-june-on-hopewell-waterfront Newest Boathouse Restaurant set to open in June on Hopewell waterfront http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newest-boathouse-restaurant-set-to-open-in-june-on-hopewell-waterfront http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newest-boathouse-restaurant-set-to-open-in-june-on-hopewell-waterfront#When:15:32:00Z Kevin Healy’s latest restaurant creation, The Boathouse at City Point on Hopewell’s waterfront, is gearing up to open in June. The 6,000-square-foot-restaurant, with views of the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers, will have an indoor seating capacity for 223 people. In addition, there will be an outdoor patio providing 1,257 square feet. An outdoor event space (tent pad) of 2,450 square feet also is planned. The restaurant, at 701 W. Randolph Road, is expected to create 75 jobs. The Boathouse at City Point will be the fourth location of The Boathouse in the Richmond area. Healy’s Housepitality Family group of restaurants also owns The Boathouse at Sunday Park in Chesterfield County, (1988), The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing in Henrico County (2009) and The Boathouse at Short Pump Town Center, also in Henrico, (2015). The group also owns Casa del Barco, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Richmond. A second location of Casa del Barco is scheduled to open this year at Short Pump Town Center. Serving as general contractor on the new Boathouse project is J.D. Lewis Construction Management, based in Richmond. Walter Parks Architects, also of Richmond, is doing the design. 2017-05-08T15:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpeg Raceway Shopping Center courtesy of S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-shopping-center-sells-for-1.7-million Henrico County shopping center sells for $1.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-shopping-center-sells-for-1.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-shopping-center-sells-for-1.7-million#When:15:29:00Z The Raceway Plaza Shopping Center at 500 East Laburnum Ave. in Henrico has sold for $1.7 million dollars to a local church. Sharon Baptist Church purchased the 26,953-square-foot neighborhood center, which is situated on 2.5 acres. Current tenants include Raceway Dialysis and Brothers Rent-to-Own. According to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., which helped broker the sale, the church plans to occupy 14,000 square feet at the center. Nusbaum’s Nathan Shor represented the seller, WB Enterprises, while Stanford Appleman of Keller Williams Realty represented the buyer. 2017-05-08T15:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/72-million-senior-living-project-is-underway-in-reston $72 million senior living project is underway in Reston http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/72-million-senior-living-project-is-underway-in-reston http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/72-million-senior-living-project-is-underway-in-reston#When:13:55:00Z Atlantic Realty Cos. begins construction today on a $72 million senior-living project in Reston. The 230,000-square-foot project at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community is located at 2222 Colts Neck Road. It will include 210 units. Ninety of the units will be designated as independent living, with 81 units for assisted living, 15 for special needs and 24 for memory care. Besides Atlantic Realty, a large commercial real estate developer in the Washington, D.C. region, the development team includes AEW Capital Management and IntegraCare. The project will replace the former United Christian Parish Church, which will be demolished. According to Atlantic Realty Co., 20 percent of the independent living units will be offered as affordable units, and 4 percent of the assisted-living beds will be available for residents eligible for the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services Auxiliary Grant Program. The facility is expected to be completed by January 2019. “Hunters Woods at Trails Edge has been a long time in the planning,” David A. Ross, president of Atlantic Realty said in a statement. “We are proud to bring this leading-edge amenity to the community, the first of its kind in Reston.” Helping to put the project together was Avison Young broker Jim Kornick. He and Dan Baker lead an Avison Young team that specializes in senior housing investment sales across the U.S. The project’s amenities will include dining rooms and family/living rooms in the independent units, activity rooms, fitness centers, indoor parking, an arts studio, barber shop, and salon. Residents also will have access to community-wide Wi-Fi. The 4.3-acre lot is located across the street from Hunters Woods Village Center. 2017-05-08T13:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/graham-holdings-co.-adds-former-delaware-governor-to-board-of-directors Graham Holdings Co. adds former Delaware governor to board of directors http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/graham-holdings-co.-adds-former-delaware-governor-to-board-of-directors http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/graham-holdings-co.-adds-former-delaware-governor-to-board-of-directors#When:08:55:00Z Former Delaware Gov. Jack A. Markell has been elected to Graham Holdings Co.’s board of directors. Markell was the governor from 2009 until 2017. Before he was elected governor he served as 10 years as Delaware’s state treasurer. Prior to his government roles, Markell held several executive leadership roles in corporate development, investor relations, strategic management and consulting with First Chicago Corp., McKinsey & Co., Comcast Corp. and Nextel. Markell serves on the national board of directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates and as a trustee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics and development studies from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. 2017-05-08T08:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1440_London_Bridge_for_Press2.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-facility-in-virginia-beach-sells-for-8.5-million Industrial facility in Virginia Beach sells for $8.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-facility-in-virginia-beach-sells-for-8.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-facility-in-virginia-beach-sells-for-8.5-million#When:01:37:00Z A local investment group from Hampton Roads has purchased a 400,000-square-foot industrial manufacturing and distribution facility located in Virginia Beach for $8.5 million. According to Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, which brokered the deal, the building at 1440 London Bridge Rd. includes two 200,000-square-foot warehouses on 33 acres, with 10 acres reserved for future development. It is the largest industrial facility available in Hampton Roads. Lindsay W. Himelright of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate handled the sale negotiations representing the seller, General Foam Plastics Corp. John Lee & Associates represented the buyer. 2017-05-08T01:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tuckahoe-orthopaedics-leases-space-at-greengate-in-henrico-county Tuckahoe Orthopaedics leases space at GreenGate in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tuckahoe-orthopaedics-leases-space-at-greengate-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tuckahoe-orthopaedics-leases-space-at-greengate-in-henrico-county#When:01:35:00Z Tuckahoe Orthopaedics has signed a lease to occupy 14,749 square feet in a new medical office building in Henrico County. Construction will begin this summer on the 45,000-square-foot building at GreenGate, a mixed-use development on Broad Street between Short Pump Town Center and 288 that’s under development by Markel l Eagle Partners. The building is slated to open in fall of 2018. Tuckahoe Orthopaedics, based in Richmond, has been providing orthopedic care in Central Virginia for more than 40 years. This will be the company’s fourth location. ”We are very excited about our new location at GreenGate as it gives us the opportunity to better serve our patients in this rapidly growing part of the metropolitan Richmond area” Dr. Jed S. Vanichkachorn, president of Tuckahoe Orthopaedics, said in a statement. GreenGate is being designed to have the feel of a city street. According to the developers, it will have access to some of the city’s retail and restaurant brands, with the convenience of suburban living. Popular local restaurateurs that have signed onto the project include The Daily and Coast as well as Red Salt, a new steak and sushi concept from EAT Restaurant Partners, Mellow Mushroom, and Starbucks. Retailers Lidl, CarytownBikes, CycleBar, and Polished Nail Lounge also have committed to the project. Bill Reynolds of CBRE | Richmond represented Tuckahoe Orthopaedics in the transaction. 2017-05-08T01:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-announces-center-for-entrepreneurship-and-innovation Hampden-Sydney announces center for entrepreneurship and innovation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-announces-center-for-entrepreneurship-and-innovation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-announces-center-for-entrepreneurship-and-innovation#When:17:48:00Z Hampden-Sydney College has established the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The center is the result of a $1 million gift from the Flemming Foundation and 1985 alumnus Todd Flemming of Orlando, Fla., a college trustee and chairman of Infrasafe. The center, which is named in memory of Mr. Flemming’s father, Harry S. Flemming, will incorporate the programming of the college’s former Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy. The college said the new center will encourage student and faculty creativity and strive to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue entrepreneurial ideas. Plans for the center includes a full-time director, an endowed “entrepreneur-in-residence,” and the establishment of a Tiger Venture Fund. The fund would support student entrepreneurs, enabling them to develop prototypes and explore the commercial viability of their ideas. The center’s plans also includes the creation of a “flex office” that will provide a professional base for visiting entrepreneurs who accessible to students and faculty. The center will be housed in the new Brown Student Center at Hampden-Sydney, $11 million project made possible by seven individual gifts of $1 million or more. In addition to the Flemming Center, the Brown Student Center will house the college post office, the Tiger Inn café, lounge and activity areas, student affairs and student government offices, and the Ferguson Career Education Center. 2017-05-05T17:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-to-acquire-north-carolina-solar-project Dominion to acquire North Carolina solar project http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-to-acquire-north-carolina-solar-project http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-to-acquire-north-carolina-solar-project#When:09:11:00Z Dominion announced Thursday it plans to purchase a 79-megawatt solar energy facility under construction in Anson County, N.C. A subsidiary of the Richmond energy company agreed to purchase the facility from Cypress Creek Renewables LLC in the second quarter of 2017. A power purchase agreement is in place for the offtake from the solar facility. The solar facility, located on a 550-acre tract of land near Morven, N.C., is being constructed by an affiliate of Cypress Creek Renewables. About 450 workers are expected onsite during the peak of construction. The acquisition would bring the company’s solar portfolio to 535 megawatts of solar generating capacity under development or in operation in North Carolina and Virginia.  That is enough power for about 135,000 homes and businesses at peak use. Dominion's North Carolina solar fleet also includes the 20-megawatt Morgans Corner array in Pasquotank County and the 60-megawatt Summit Farms facility in Currituck County. 2017-05-05T09:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/claxton-logistics-moves-offices-to-quantico-corporate-center Claxton Logistics moves offices to Quantico Corporate Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/claxton-logistics-moves-offices-to-quantico-corporate-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/claxton-logistics-moves-offices-to-quantico-corporate-center#When:20:16:00Z Claxton Logistics, a government contractor, has opened a 10,000-square-foot office in the Quantico Corporate Center in Stafford County. Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite (CBCE) reported that Claxton occupies half of the top floor of a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building that was recently completed. Claxton relocated its operations from Dumfries. The company’s focus at the new facility will be acquisitions and logistics in support of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Also located in the new building are Merrit School and Northern Virginia Dental Arts.   2017-05-04T20:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tegna-ready-to-spin-off-cars.com Tegna ready to spin off Cars.com http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tegna-ready-to-spin-off-cars.com http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tegna-ready-to-spin-off-cars.com#When:20:13:00Z The board of McLean-based media company Tegna Inc. has approved the spin-off of Cars.com, a move that will create two publicly traded companies. Cars.com shares are expected to begin trading on June 1. “This spin-off is the culmination of a multiyear transformation of our company, and the board is confident that both companies are well positioned to execute their strategic plans for growth and create shareholder value,” Gracia Martore, the president and CEO of Tegna, said in a statement. She will retire upon the closing of the spinoff. Tegna has 46 television stations. Cars.com is a digital automotive marketplace. The Cars.com spinoff follows the June 2015 separation of the broadcast and newspaper divisions of Gannett Co. Inc. The spun-off newspaper group kept the Gannett name while the broadcast group became Tegna. Tegna said the Cars.com spinoff will take place through a pro-rata distribution of outstanding Cars.com shares to Tegna stockholders of record at the close of business on May 18. Stockholders will retain their Tegna shares. They receive one share of Cars.com for every three Tegna shares. Tegna Media President Dave Lougee will become president and CEO of Tegna upon completion of the separation. Alex Vetter will remain president and CEO of Cars.com. 2017-05-04T20:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RICHER_NV_web.jpg Photo courtesy DLT Solutions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dlt-solutions-names-new-ceo DLT Solutions names new CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dlt-solutions-names-new-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dlt-solutions-names-new-ceo#When:18:19:00Z Herndon-based DLT Solutions has tapped the former leader of another Northern Virginia-based firm as its new CEO. Art Richer previously served as president and CEO of immixGroup, a McLean-based firm that helps technology companies do business with the government. DLT is a government technology provider with more than 250 employees. Richer spent 18 years at immixGroup, leading its sale to Arrow Electronics in 2015. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the State University of New York Institute of Technology. 2017-05-03T18:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg Rendering of completed expansion courtesy of Sentara Healthcare. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sentara-healthcare-breaks-ground-on-second-medical-building-in-north-suffol Sentara Healthcare breaks ground on second medical building in North Suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sentara-healthcare-breaks-ground-on-second-medical-building-in-north-suffol http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sentara-healthcare-breaks-ground-on-second-medical-building-in-north-suffol#When:16:14:00Z     Construction has begun on a second medical office building on the Sentara BelleHarbour campus in Suffolk. Officials from Sentara Healthcare, based in Norfolk, and Sentara BelleHarbour held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, May 2, on the $34 million, 85,000-square-foot building. It will offer an ambulatory surgery center with two operating rooms, an expanded emergency department, 14 observation beds for emergency and surgery patients, new medical office space and a helipad.. The project should be completed in early 2019. “At 420 square miles, it can take quite a while to drive from one corner of Suffolk to another,” Steve Julian, president of Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk and the Sentara BelleHarbour campus, said in a statement. “With that reality, Sentara set out to bring our services closer to home for people in North Suffolk. “ The new four-story building will be positioned on what is now a surface parking lot in front of the current three-story building, which opened in 2008. The two buildings will be connected and replacement surface parking will be added. Sentara BelleHarbour currently includes a 24-hour, ambulance-accessible, emergency department staffed by the same emergency physicians who serve Sentara hospitals. The expansion calls for the emergency department to grow from 17 beds to 23 or 24. The current campus also offers advanced imaging including MRI and CT scanning, a breast center with 3-D mammography, family and occupational medicine, a certified sleep center, and a community room for health education programs. and group meetings. A master plan for Sentara BelleHarbour includes long-term potential for up to four medical office buildings, an urgent care center and a parking deck, depending on population growth and demand for services in the area. 2017-05-03T16:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/the-branch-group-announces-two-executive-changes The Branch Group announces two executive changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/the-branch-group-announces-two-executive-changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/the-branch-group-announces-two-executive-changes#When:09:02:00Z The Branch Group Inc. of Roanoke has announced it has named a new CFO and senior vice president. Robert Wills has joined Branch as CFO. Bob was most recently executive vice president and CFO of the America’s region for M&W Group. Wills received a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and received his MGA from Regis University in Denver. The Branch Group also announced this week that it has promoted Melanie F. Wheeler to senior vice president and board member. She will focus on corporate and contract administration, risk management, and IT systems and development. Wheeler has been with The Branch Group since 1994, holding several positions, including director of accounting, vice president of administration and treasurer. The Branch Group is a construction company whose subsidiaries include: Branch & Associates, Inc., Branch Civil, Inc., and G. J. Hopkins, Inc. 2017-05-03T09:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheetz-plans-to-hire-nearly-600-people-in-virginia Sheetz plans to hire nearly 600 people in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheetz-plans-to-hire-nearly-600-people-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheetz-plans-to-hire-nearly-600-people-in-virginia#When:22:00:00Z Sheetz convenience stores will begin open interviews at all locations Wednesday as part of a plan to hire 3,400 employees companywide, including nearly 600 in Virginia.  Pennsylvania-based Sheetz operates 550 stores in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. Sheetz offers employees medical and dental insurance, college tuition reimbursement, a 401k retirement plan and an employee stock ownership plan. 2017-05-02T22:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-rhode-island-insurance-agency Hilb Group acquires Rhode Island insurance agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-rhode-island-insurance-agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-rhode-island-insurance-agency#When:20:48:00Z The Hilb Group LLC, a Richmond-based middle-market insurance agency, has acquired Keough Kirby Associates of Woonsocket, R.I. The transaction became effective April 1. Financial details on the acquisition were not disclosed. Keough Kirby has been providing property and casualty, life and employee benefits services since 1914. It will join The Hilb Group's regional operations in New England while continuing to operate out of its Woonsocket office. The Hilb Group is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm ABRY Partners. The company ranked sixth on the recently released Fantastic 50 list of fast-growing privately owned Virginia companies. Its growth rate from 2012 through 2015 was 818.9 percent. 2017-05-02T20:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SOLAR.jpg Photo courtesy Dominion. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-virginia-power-could-increase-solar-capacity-by-5200-megawatts-ove Dominion Virginia Power could increase solar capacity by 5,200 megawatts over 25 years http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-virginia-power-could-increase-solar-capacity-by-5200-megawatts-ove http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-virginia-power-could-increase-solar-capacity-by-5200-megawatts-ove#When:20:52:00Z Dominion Virginia Power executives rolled out a long-term energy plan Monday that would dramatically expand its use of solar power, shrinking the carbon footprint for customers and paving the way for extensive upgrades to the state’s energy grid. With the installed cost of large-scale solar projects dropping by 50 percent over the past four years, solar is now more cost competitive with traditional forms of power generation. Dominion wants to capitalize on that trend by adding at least 3,200 megawatts of new solar capacity by 2032 and at least 5,200 megawatts, cumulatively, of new solar generation by 2042. Put another way that means that in the next 25 years solar eventually could generate enough electricity to power more than 1.3 million homes, or about half of the company's customers in Virginia and North Carolina. Currently, Dominion has developed 400 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation and has a dozen new projects underway, enough to power 100,000 homes. “For the first time, the subsidized costs of utility-scale universal solar power are expected to be low enough to make it a component of future generation additions at reasonable cost to our customers,” Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Generation Group, said during a press conference Monday at the company’s headquarters in Richmond. The conference coincided with Monday’s release of Dominion’s annual Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 15-year energy forecast Dominion is required to file with the state’s utility regulator. Besides solar, added Koonce, natural-gas generation and Dominion’s two nuclear power stations are key to a low-carbon future. “Gas-fired generation is clean, dependable and provides balance to the variable energy flows from solar and wind. Nuclear, with its 24/7 operations and no-carbon emissions, provides a solid base … We believe this balance of solar, natural gas and nuclear hits the sweet spot in terms of cost, environmental performance and reliability for our customers,” said Koonce. More natural-gas infrastructure, including the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, is needed, he said, “as an enabler to deploy this much solar.”  One environmental group,  the Southern Environmental Law Center, said that Dominion's IRP fails to transparently address the question of the need for the pipeline. "Rather than deliver a clear energy plan, this document only serves to raise more questions about what Dominion really wants to do over the long-term and who really stands to benefit,” said Will Cleveland, a SELC attorney.  “While Dominion is taking a good step toward expanding solar, they are simultaneously taking two steps back by doubling down on dirty fossil fuels." On the nuclear front, Dominion is seeking federal relicensing for its reactors at North Anna Power Station in Louisa County and Surry Power Station in Surry County. Together, they have a generating capacity of 3,349 megawatts.  Under one of eight alternative plans listed under its IRP, the company also calls for a possible third nuclear unit at North Anna if certain conditions are met, including approval by the federal government of a construction license for that project. Another alternative calls for the development of two 6-megawatt offshore wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach as early as 2021. The project was dropped from a federal Department of Energy demonstration program, making it ineligible for $40 million in funding because Dominion couldn't guarantee the project would be in service by 2020. The IRP examines options to meet electricity needs of customers over a 15-year planning cycle, while also considering a longer 25-year study period. However, it did not make a commitment to build or request regulatory approval for any particular project. With the combination of solar, natural-gas and nuclear power, Dominion said that more than a third of its Virginia service territory could be powered with carbon-free electricity by 2032. A greater reliance on solar would shrink the carbon footprint for a typical customer by as much as 25 percent during the next eight years, the company said. When added to reductions already made, officials said carbon emissions would fall by up to 46 percent between 2007 and 2027. "We think this is very good news for our customers and the environment,” said Koonce. Proponents of solar power welcomed Dominion’s plans for expansion, but they noted that, even with the growth the company plans to implement, Virginia would remain far behind other states in terms of solar development. “We see the announcement from Dominion as a positive sign that they are beginning to take solar more seriously as the viable energy resource that it is,” said J. R. Tolbert, Virginia’s vice president of state policy for Advanced Energy Economy, a group based in Washington, D.C.  “However, at the end of the day, the numbers that Dominion puts forward in the IRP are still way far behind what other states are doing. “ For instance at the end of 2016, Tolbert said North Carolina had more than 3,000 megawatts of solar capacity installed. “It’s definitely a good thing that Dominion is doing this, but it’s not all that accurate for Dominion to be cheerleading this proposal when, really, what it is is a move for Virginia to get into the game when we’re already well into the second quarter.”   Expanding solar use would require updates to the grid. Robert M. Blue, president and CEO of Dominion Virginia Power, talked about what changes would be needed.  “Widespread solar use — both utility-scale universal solar and private systems — will require a modern energy grid, upgraded from the one-directional grid system that has worked so well to deliver power to generations of customers,” he said. “When the variable nature of solar becomes a major factor on the grid, it must become a flexible, two-way network, so we can deliver energy seamlessly to everyone.” Dominion officials didn’t have an estimate on how much such upgrades would cost. Blue said that modernization would not only advance the development of renewable energy, but also help strengthen the grid against cyber or physical attacks, provide more control and information for customers, and improve Dominion’s ability to restore power promptly after outages. Asked about the possible demise of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and how that might affect Dominion’s plans, Koonce said, “Dominion will continue moving toward cleaner power sources with lower emissions, whether the Clean Power Plan lives or dies. Our customers want more renewable energy …” The company said it anticipates future national and state energy policy to include limitations on greenhouse gas emissions in some form. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed major reductions in power station carbon emissions in August 2015 through the CPP.  However, that plan is now under federal court review, and President Donald Trump has ordered the EPA to review the rule and to begin the process of revising or rescinding it. Still, Koonce noted, the federal government remains under a legal requirement to address carbon as a regulated pollutant. Because of the possible repeal of the CPP, some Virginia legislators have called for an end to a rate freeze put in place by the General Assembly in 2015 for Dominion that was predicated in part on the CPP and stricter emission rules. The freeze on base rates, which represents about 60 percent of the typical residential bill, is supposed to be in place for five years. It was designed to provide price stability for customers at a time when Dominion expected to be dealing with stricter air-quality federal regulations. Since that’s now in question, though, some legislators want the freeze rescinded. The rate freeze was part of a bill that required Dominion to develop 400 megawatts of large-scale solar generation facilities in Virginia by 2020. The company has invested more than $1 billion in solar and already has reached that goal, officials say. Dominion officials pointed out Monday that the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board is considering a petition on carbon limitations.  Also, a taskforce set up by Gov. Terry McAuliffe is developing proposals to reduce carbon emission in Virginia, regardless of what happens with federal CPP rules. Dominion says it has lowered carbon emissions in recent years through a number of measures. It has converted four coal-fired power stations to natural gas or renewable biomass; built efficient natural gas power stations in Virginia to reduce imports of electricity from higher-carbon sources outside the state; encouraged energy conservation; and increased efficiency of its existing stations to produce more energy with the same amount of fuel. 2017-05-01T20:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Clayborne_Corey.jpg Corey Clayborne courtesy AIA Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/architect-group-names-new-executive-vice-president-ceo Architect group names new executive vice president/CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/architect-group-names-new-executive-vice-president-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/architect-group-names-new-executive-vice-president-ceo#When:14:46:00Z American Institute of Architects (AIA) Virginia announced Monday that R. Corey Clayborne will become its executive vice president/CEO starting June 1. Clayborne will work in conjunction with departing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President/CEO Helene Combs Dreiling whose last day is June 30. Nicholas E. Vlattas, AIA Virginia’s immediate past president and search committee chair, said in a statement that Clayborne is an architect known for his leadership skills and participation in the American Institute of Architects on local, state and national levels. “We look forward to working with him to mentor the next generation of architects and strengthen architecture and design professions at all levels.” Currently a project manager and senior architect with Wiley |Wilson, Clayborne’s responsibilities include financial health, quality control, operational management and project management for a wide variety of local, state and federal projects. He has been active in AIA Richmond and AIA Virginia, serving on both boards of directors. He has won many awards, including the AIA 2017 Young Architects Award and the AIA Virginia 2016 Award for Distinguished Achievement. Clayborne also has served on several community boards including the Charlottesville Planning Commission, Virginia Board for Architects and the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia Mentoring program. He lives in Charlottesville and earned his degree in architecture from Virginia Tech.  He will be AIA Virginia’s sixth executive officer since the position was created in 1970. According to AIA, he was one of 70 candidates who applied to lead the group that represents nearly 2,500 architects throughout Virginia. Dreiling plans to focus on her own consulting firm. Through her company, The Plum Studio, Ltd., she will provide creative and consulting services to nonprofits and design firms. 2017-05-01T14:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-womens-center-opens-new-location-in-henrico-county Virginia Women’s Center opens new location in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-womens-center-opens-new-location-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-womens-center-opens-new-location-in-henrico-county#When:14:13:00Z Virginia Women’s Center (VWC) has completed construction of its new Short Pump location and is open for business. The 36,000-square-foot facility, completed on April 1, is located off West Broad Street and Gayton at 12129 Graham Meadows Drive in Henrico County.   It has a staff of 65, including 13 doctors and three nurse practitioners.  “Our vision was to meet our patients where they live, work, shop and play, and we believe we’ve achieved that goal with the opening of our new location,” Dr. Kay Stout, VWC’s president said in a statement.  “Not only are we able to offer more services to our patients, but the location is easy to find and very accessible to women throughout the area.” At the new location, VWC will offer gynecologic and obstetrical care along with numerous subspecialties — including urogynecology, urology, maternal fetal medicine, genetic counseling, clinical research, mental health, bone health and breast-health services. The new location features a 300 square-foot community room where lecture series will be offered as well as prenatal yoga classes. VWC, a women’s health-care practice, also has offices in Midlothian, Mechanicsville, Richmond’s West End, Tappahannock and Kilmarnock. 2017-05-01T14:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LACKER1.png Photo by Jay Paul http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followup-lacker-resigns-as-president-of-the-federal-reserve-bank-of-richmon Followup: Lacker resigns as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followup-lacker-resigns-as-president-of-the-federal-reserve-bank-of-richmon http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followup-lacker-resigns-as-president-of-the-federal-reserve-bank-of-richmon#When:02:00:00Z Jeffrey Lacker abruptly resigned in early April as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond at the conclusion of investigations into the disclosure of confidential information more than four years ago. Lacker released a statement saying that, in a 2012 telephone conversation, he inadvertently confirmed the accuracy of information obtained by a Medley Global Advisors analyst. Lacker said he failed to fully disclose details of his conversation in subsequent federal probes until 2015. “I deeply regret the role I may have played in confirming this confidential information and in its dissemination to Medley’s subscribers,” Lacker said. “In this episode, as in all of my communications with analysts, journalists and the public, it was never my intention to reveal confidential information.” The Richmond Fed released a statement saying, “Once our Bank’s Board of Directors learned of the outcome of the government investigations, they took appropriate actions.” President of the Richmond Fed since 2004, Lacker had planned to retire in October. First Vice President Mark Mullinix now is the bank’s acting president. The New York Times reported that in October 2012 Medley Global notified its clients that the Fed would begin a new round of Treasury purchases at its December meeting. The apparent leak of Fed information became the persistent subject of the central bank’s critics in Congress. In his statement, Lacker said he did not volunteer any information to the analyst but failed to end the conversation when a confidential detail was brought up. “During that October 2, 2012 discussion, the Analyst introduced into the conversation an important non-public detail about one of the policy options considered by participants prior to the meeting,” Lacker said. “Due to the highly confidential and sensitive nature of this information, I should have declined to comment and perhaps have ended the phone call. Instead, I did not refuse or express my inability to comment and the interview continued ...” When Medley published its report the next day, “I realized that my failure to decline comment on the information could have been taken by the Analyst, in the context of the conversation, as an acknowledgment or confirmation of the information,” Lacker said. An interview with Lacker conducted before his resignation announcement appeared in the April issue of Virginia Business. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Waterside-3016.png The Waterside District has undergone a $40 million renovation. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/another-renaissance Another renaissance? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/another-renaissance http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/another-renaissance#When:02:00:00Z The developers of the revamped Waterside District on the Elizabeth River expect it to become “Norfolk’s living room.” When it opens on May 4 after a $40 million facelift, the venue will include an 8,000-square-foot mixed-use space for weddings and corporate events and a number of restaurants new to Hampton Roads. The site’s focal point, though, will be The Market, a 30,000-square-foot, two-level area featuring a variety of eateries and craft breweries. “We feel that Waterside has a good opportunity to be a destination as well as a local hangout,” says Glenn Sutch, Waterside’s president.  When it originally opened in 1983, the site, then called Waterside Festival Marketplace, signaled the beginning of a renaissance in downtown Norfolk. Waterside, however, ultimately became a victim of the redevelopment it spurred. Overshadowed by the MacArthur Center mall and Granby Street’s array of fashionable restaurants, Waterside’s fortunes waned. In 2013, city leaders turned to The Cordish Cos. for Waterside’s redevelopment. The Baltimore developer has a track record of successful projects in its hometown and Charleston, S.C. “We own the property and run it as well,” Sutch says. “We care about how everything is run and oversee every activity and make sure everything is spot on at the end of the day. That is going to be the difference.” The Waterside District joins a list of big-ticket projects springing up in Hampton Roads. The group includes the $175 million Main Hotel and Conference Center in Norfolk, a proposed $220 million privately owned arena in Virginia Beach and the $450 million Tech Center in Newport News, a 100-acre, mixed-use development that combines research labs with shops, apartments and entertainment.  These projects signal a wave of investment in Hampton Roads and a new emphasis on diversifying a regional economy long dependent on defense spending.  “We truly are at a strategic turning point,” says Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “Over the next 18 months to two years, you’ll see a juggernaut of economic activity in Hampton Roads. It’s the fruits of a lot of hard labor over the last couple of years. Success begets success and is a harbinger of things to come.” Stephens believes the big projects will help draw more interest in Hampton Roads. “This is a fabulous place to relocate companies,” he says, noting the region’s efforts to attract industry clusters such as biomedical, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing while continuing to support the military. “We’re leveraging our assets to diversify the economy.” Still below its jobs peak Diversification is expected to help stimulate a regional economy that still lags behind comparably sized areas in recovering from the economic downturn that began nearly a decade ago. The Old Dominion University Economic Forecast for 2017 shows Hampton Roads can expect to add 3,800 jobs this year. That gain still would leave the region below its peak of 775,000 jobs in 2007. Rick L. Weddle, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, says the region may not return to that peak until the end of 2018.   He attributes the region’s recent sluggish economic pace to its continued dependence on military and federal spending. “About 65 percent of business services are military related. When military and federal spending continues to be down, it restricts growth,” he says. “There’s the notion that if we wait long enough, the military will build up and solve the problem, but that’s not prudent. We have to diversify the economy by identifying sectors that are not military dependent and accelerate their growth.” HREDA has crafted an ambitious five-year strategy to attract diverse businesses to the region and create 71,000 jobs, including 32,000 higher-wage positions in industries such as corporate, professional and financial services, health care, manufacturing, and maritime and supply chain management. “We need to get back to the basics and do fundamental economic development — build and improve the workforce, build and improve property and inventory and build and improve the regulatory and tax environment,” Weddle says. “Our challenge is to assemble the resources needed to effectively brand and promote the region.” Tech Center Research Park Florence Kingston, Newport News’ economic development director, agrees that Hampton Roads must reduce its reliance on the military. The city already is home to firms such as Canon Virginia and Alion Science & Technology, and construction soon will be underway on the first research building at Tech Center Research Park, a 50-acre site adjacent to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Emphasizing entrepreneurship, the park, part of the 100-acre Tech Center, will provide 1 million square feet of office and laboratory space for high-tech companies performing advanced research. “We have a good cluster of companies that do advanced manufacturing, and we’re building a welcoming environment of smaller business startups through the Tech Center,” Kingston says. Meanwhile, Newport News Shipbuilding, the state’s largest industrial employer and sole builder of naval aircraft carriers, plans to add 3,000 employees. The company is expected to benefit from President Donald Trump’s plans to expand the Navy, including adding another aircraft carrier to its current fleet of 11.  “We’ve got to support that,” Kingston says, “but not forget the need to focus on other diversification and growth to balance out military spending.” Weddle believes Hampton Roads can play off Newport News Shipbuilding’s expansion without becoming further dependent on military dollars. “We need to build on our military strength but not rely on it by marketing the region during more prosperous times and investing in infrastructure, sites and facilities, education and training as the region prepares for non-military dependence,” he says. ADP and an arena In addition to the opening of The Main and Waterside, Norfolk is raising its profile with a big jobs boost from New Jersey-based ADP (Automated Data Processing). The human resources company plans to hire 1,800 employees to staff a hub in downtown Norfolk. ADP has invested $32.5 million in revamping 286,000 square feet of a formerly empty office tower.  Retailers also are attracting interest in Norfolk. The first phase of the long-awaited $75 million Simon’s Norfolk Premium Outlets is set to open this summer, and a 332,000-square-foot Ikea store will open next year. Next door in Virginia Beach, the city has struck a deal with United States Management to proceed with the 18,000-seat Virginia Beach Arena. If everything falls in place, the privately owned facility could open as soon as 2019.  A much smaller venue, the 300-seat Zeiders American Dream Theater, is scheduled to open next spring at the city’s bustling Town Center, part of the new phase of development there that will include apartments, retail, restaurants and a public plaza. As an added boost to the city’s Central Business District, Wegmans Food Markets plans to open its first Hampton Roads store across from Town Center.  It’s a coup for the city since Wegmans only opens three to four stores each year. “We’re very excited about it,” says Rob Hudome, senior project development manager for Virginia Beach’s Economic Development department. “The population of Virginia Beach is centered around the Central Business District and the growth of Town Center. That’s the future downtown of Virginia Beach.” Landing point for cables Virginia Beach also is poised to become an international digital port as the only landing point on the mid-Atlantic coast for transoceanic cables. Facebook, Microsoft and Telefonica have joined forces to build a 4,000-mile undersea cable from Virginia Beach to a data hub in Bilbao, Spain. Projected to be operational by the end of the year, the cable is intended to meet increasing demand for high-speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services. A second fiber cable running from Rio de Janeiro to Virginia Beach should be ready early next year. “It’s the highest-capacity, fastest cable to come across any ocean,” says Hudome. The new generation of cables creates a need for data centers. First up is Globalinx Data Center’s 10-acre, 138,000-square-foot data center at Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach. NxtVn, a Dutch firm, also plans to build a data center park off General Booth Boulevard. NxtVn also wants to invest in another cable, Midgardsormen, that would connect Virginia Beach to Eemshaven, Netherlands.  “Virginia Beach is geographically in the right spot,” Hudome notes. “It’s a very desirable place to build a cable landing station and data center.” The industry is expected to lead to significant capital investment and job creation in Hampton Roads and the state. “This is a brand-new industry for us, so we’re still seeing how it’s going to develop, but the closer we get to the cable landing, the more interest we’ll get from data centers,” Hudome adds. As part of the city’s efforts to expand its bioscience sector, Virginia Beach also is partnering with The Center for Advancing Innovation to create the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge. Announced by Mayor Will Sessoms at the Virginia Biotechnology Association’s conference in the city in early April, the challenge is designed to bring together entrepreneurs, industry and inventors who will compete to turn inventions into startup companies. The initial competition will put a big emphasis on aiding veterans.  Inventions will be selected to target and improve veteran health care, and veterans will be given priority in competing to run the companies. Virginia Wesleyan growing Hampton Roads colleges, universities and technical institutes are instrumental to the region’s progress as they seek to meet the needs of today’s workforce. This fall, Virginia Wesleyan College will offer its first graduate degree programs — a master’s in education and an online MBA. The private, liberal-arts college also plans to begin an online degree completion program for working adults. Bordering Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia Wesleyan is involved in a construction boom. The 40,000-square-foot Greer Environmental Sciences Center will open this fall with research labs dedicated to Chesapeake Bay fisheries, geology and hydrology. “It will be second to none,” says Virginia Wesleyan President Scott Miller. “It will give us a niche program in environmental science.” Through a dual-degree program with Duke University, students can earn bachelor’s degrees in environmental science after completing three years at Virginia Wesleyan before pursuing master’s degrees in environmental management at Duke. “We intend to graduate top students who will go out and make a difference in the environment,” Miller says. Construction is expected to start this fall on apartments for upper-level, graduate and international students and faculty and staff, while ground could be broken on a $14 million performing arts center next year. Meanwhile, applications are up significantly. Miller expects enrollment to jump from 1,400 to 1,700 students during the next three to five years.  The college also plans to become  a university later this year. “We have a wonderful location,” he says. “The new outlet mall is within walking distance; we’re four and a half miles from the Chesapeake Bay; and there are nearby amenities such as the Virginia Aquarium. We need to use the resources of this wonderful community to grow the college.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/234288_Valley_Scholars_Family_Day__MG_4196.png Valley Scholars participate in a nursing simulation lab at JMU’s College of Health and Behavioral Studies. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/valley-scholars Valley Scholars http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/valley-scholars http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/valley-scholars#When:02:00:00Z James Madison University is an economic engine for the Harrisonburg area. The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service reports that JMU students, employees and visitors spent more than $480 million in the region in 2015. The university itself spent an additional $282 million there that year. But JMU also is making another kind of investment in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s one that won’t pay off for years, but the university expects the return will be big. The Valley Scholars program, now in its third year, promises scholarships covering tuition and fees at JMU to rising eighth-graders who complete the program’s curriculum and maintain its standards through high school.  Those standards require getting good grades in classes that prepare students for college, but it’s more than that, according to Shaun Mooney, director of Valley Scholars. “That means focusing on all of the social capital and life skills that you really need to have to be the most successful person you can be,” Mooney says. “And it’s a lot of work.” The goal, Mooney says, is “to make college possible for very bright, talented young men and women who otherwise don’t believe college is in their future. Some of those barriers might be cultural or social,” he says. “They’re certainly financial in nature. Many of the students we work with come from families where they know paying for college is not going to be an option.” The Valley Scholars program was initiated by JMU President Jonathan Alger, who was involved in a similar program at Rutgers University. A $130,000 grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund helped get the program started. “Overall this year, the programmatic piece costs a shade over $200,000,” Mooney says, adding that the university, with the help of some grant money, takes care of that. “The true cost is much more, as many people give their time and resources to [the program] without reimbursement, both on campus and off.” The services provided to program participants cost about $7,000 a year for each student. That amount is covered by private donations. The program draws its scholars from 11 middle schools and 11 high schools in seven Shenandoah Valley school systems: Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro plus Augusta, Page, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties. In each of the past three years, Valley Scholars has admitted 35 new students. Mooney says the program plans to admit 44 new students next fall — and he expects about 130 applicants for those spots. Students apply at the end of the seventh grade. Those who are accepted have to be academically motivated and capable of college work. Program criteria Valley Scholars must be the first people in their families to attend college, and they must have economic need. Nearly all applicants meet those basic requirements, Mooney says — more than half the students in Shenandoah Valley schools are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches — so the program faces difficult choices with each incoming class. Each applicant must submit an essay and sit for an interview. Reviewers try to get to know students and their families to determine who is most likely to succeed in the program. Mooney says Valley Scholars could probably make a difference for every applicant. On average, a college degree means about $1 million more in earnings over a career.  People with more education also are more likely to participate in their communities. They’re more inclined to volunteer and to vote. “We also see it as an investment in the community,” Mooney says. “We hope that many of these students will choose to stay and live and raise their families in these communities.” JMU is the primary programmatic supporter, housing the organization, employing its staff and hosting events. But the seven school divisions are deeply involved, too.  Economic support comes from the university, local businesses and individual donors in the community and beyond. Students accepted into the program must maintain a minimum grade point average, take advanced placement and honors classes, demonstrate good citizenship and participate in a series of classes and programs, including community service. They’re on the JMU campus a dozen or more times each year — sometimes on school days, sometimes on Saturdays. They also spend a week on campus during the summers between ninth and eleventh grades. They get exposure to majors and careers and learn study skills and time management. They also learn how to navigate a business lunch, prepare for college classes and engage in service projects. “I guess the message for our students is that throughout your life you’re going to have people invest in you, so you’re going to have to also invest in other people,” Mooney says. “That builds a better community than being selfish or self-centered.” College students are mentors The program’s eighth- and ninth-graders get a weekly visit from a mentor, a JMU student. The mentors go through a rigorous selection process, too. “They have to be able to articulate why they want to be a mentor, what they have to offer, what their background and experiences are,” Mooney says. Many mentors are either first-generation college students, or they overcame obstacles to get to JMU.  “So they want to give back to the students who are in the position they were in not so long ago.” Ronald Terry, a senior from Richmond, is a first-generation college student who has been a mentor for the past two semesters. He’s studying elementary education, a five-year program that leads to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees plus a license to teach. Terry, who mentors five ninth-graders, spoke at an event last year, telling Valley Scholars about his road to JMU and worries about college. When he finished, many students told him how his story touched them. Another mentor, Nikki Boyce, is a senior from Winchester who is studying finance and economics. She plans to work for a software company in the Washington, D.C. , area after graduation. Boyce says the five students she mentors remind her of high school classmates, many of whom didn’t go to college. She enjoys seeing her charges realize how important a college education can be. Mentoring Valley Scholars requires preparation, time and effort. It sounds like a big commitment, but Boyce says, “It doesn’t feel that way to me because I love it … I feel like I get more out of it than the kids do.” Positive reaction The real payoff for the scholars is years away, but many of them seem to be getting a lot from the program already. “The happiest moment of my life was when I found out I was accepted into the Valley Scholars Program, because it brightened my future,” Alexandria Richardson, a 10th-grader who wants to become a social worker,  says on the group’s Facebook page. “I am proud to be a Valley Scholar because it is a great opportunity for success in the future.” Other program participants make similar points in their postings.  Karleigh Painter talks about the confidence she’s gained and how supportive everyone has been. Juan Saenz also says he’s gained confidence as well as organizational and time-management skills. Raven Rogers says the program has helped her decide what she wants to be, a surgeon. Daniel Gaete calls the program exciting, fun and challenging. He wants to be a JMU professor. The scholars’ parents come to campus twice a year to learn about money management, financial aid and ways to support their students, such as providing them with an appropriate place to study and responding to their concerns about school. “Some of it is just having the families become comfortable with higher education,” Mooney says. “We’re a university. We’re a whole bunch of folks who are highly educated, and they’re turning their child over to us with the assumption that we have their best interests at heart, to a place ...  they’re not always very comfortable with, to a place they don’t necessarily believe they belong.” The program works to make scholars’ parents feel they do belong at JMU and are welcome to participate in campus life. The Valley Scholars’ oldest cohort is in the 10th grade. So far, 104 of the 109 students who have become Valley Scholars are still in the program. Two moved out of the area. One decided he wanted to do something besides college. Catching students on the cusp of high school is practically a last chance to get them aimed at higher education. “Would earlier be better? Absolutely,” Mooney says. “Is it logistically possible? Probably not. “The end of seventh grade and into the eighth grade, you have a developmental window there where you can change the expectations and the pathway and have a much better shot at moving the student where you want to go.” A lot of financial aid money is wasted, Mooney says, because students come to college unprepared for the experience. JMU is trying to get more students prepared for  college, but Valley Scholars is aiming higher than that. “We’re preparing them for success,“ Mooney says, “not just in college. We’re preparing them for success in life.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/KSP_Kettler_BK_021B.png Bob Kettler’s company is the 16th largest multifamily developer in the country. Photo courtesy Kettler Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/in-his-blood In his blood http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/in-his-blood http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/in-his-blood#When:02:00:00Z Whether nature or nurture is more crucial to the development of a child is a moot point in the case of real estate developer Robert C. Kettler. In him, the two elements perfectly align. By nature, Kettler likes all aspects of the real estate development business, from the first conception of a project —“the envisioning part gets me up in the morning,” he says — to the “granular work” required to turn his vision into bricks-and-mortar reality. By nurture, Kettler was destined to be a developer. His grandfather built apartments back in the 1920s, and his father and uncle were both residential developers. While still in college at George Washington University in the 1970s, this third-generation entrepreneur already was remodeling apartments. Now, 40 years later, the Northern Virginia resident is one of the pre-eminent developers of residential and multi-use properties in the Washington capital region, and his company ranks as the 16th largest multifamily developer in the country. Kettler Inc., which employs about 1,000 people, also has built numerous shopping centers and golf courses. From the beginning Kettler thought big. As a result, many of his projects have been of landscape-altering dimensions. For example, more than 11,000 people now live in the Loudoun County suburb of Cascades, which was open farmland before Kettler began constructing more than 6,000 homes there in the late ’80s. Some of his more ambitious projects have included the 1.3 million-square-foot, multi-use Leesburg Village and 1,000 units of high-rise apartments at Reston Town Center, the latter of which he calls “the most iconic, transformational project we’ve done.”  In all, the busy builder has been responsible for the creation of more than 45,000 homes and 25 planned communities in the metropolitan Washington region. In addition, the management arm of Kettler handles 30,000 units. Kettler has received numerous awards for his voluminous work, including recognition for lifetime achievement from the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. Lacy Rice, who co-owns some apartment complexes with him, credits the developer’s success to his abundant energy, persistence and eye for value.  In addition, Rice, the managing partner of Federal Capital Partners, says Kettler has been able to adjust as the commercial real estate market has become more structured. “Lots of family companies reach their zenith with the patriarch, but Bob is continuing to evolve into a multigenerational company.” Yet all of Kettler’s many accomplishments soon could be dwarfed by his current involvement in what he calls “the biggest redevelopment story in the country – the metamorphosis of what was 2,000 acres of office space into a suburban city known as Tysons.  “The place is on fire,” he says of Tysons. “All pins on a map end up there.”  In addition to building 395 units of midrise apartments at Tysons called Highgate at the Mile, Kettler is working with the Meridian Group on a massive undertaking called the Boro, located near the Greensboro station of Metro’s new Silver Line. The first phase, now in progress, includes 750 residences, 443,000 square feet of office space and 252,000 square feet of retail, including a Whole Foods supermarket. Eventually, the Boro should encompass 4.2 million square feet spread across 18 acres. Kettler admits that even as he continues to build, the NoVa housing market has “a slight oversupply.” Nevertheless, he is confident that the situation is temporary. “Millennials,” he says, “are not al­­ways going to spend all their money on 450-square-foot apartments and takeout. They can’t live that way forever.”  If past is prologue, Kettler will be there for them when they are ready for grown-up housing. Years in the industry: Kettler co-founded his first company, Kettler & Scott, in 1977. Where he grew up: Washington, D.C. Family: Wife of “about” 35 years, Charlotte – a 13th-generation Virginian who traces her lineage to Pocahontas. Four children; two of them work for his company. Two grandchildren. Hobbies: Retreating to his farm on the Eastern Shore and going boating. “I like having no schedule, like one day a year.” Most recent read: “The Obsidian Chamber,” the 16th installment in a series of fantasy thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  Bucket list: A trip to Antarctica. He already has logged an “incredible” trip to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/eloft3.png A vacant, 14-story office building in Alexandria was converted into lofts where tenants can live, work or do both. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-commute No commute http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-commute http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-commute#When:02:00:00Z For $2,500 a month, a tenant can rent a space in Alexandria that provides a place to live, a place to work — or both. “The goal of the product is to give them the space and flexibility to live the life they want,” says Robert Seldin, CEO of Novus Residences, which formed a multifamily partnership with Conrad Cafritz and Cafritz Interests to develop the project. Novus calls the Alexandria rental units “e-lofts.” Since December, 40 of the 200 units have been leased to what Seldin describes as “an interesting and diverse mix. We have a variety of ages, a variety of household types,” everything from empty nesters to entrepreneurs. About 12 of the current tenants use the 1,000-square-foot lofts as offices. “The rest are choosing to live there or to live and work in the same apartment. We have different kinds of small businesses [including] a law firm, a couple of photographers, a restaurant headquarters and a wellness company.” The mostly one-bedroom lofts are  located in what was previously an office building. For years, after the U.S. Army moved out of the 14-story, 240,000-square-foot building at 4501 Ford Ave., the building sat empty — one of many vacancies among suburban office buildings in Northern Virginia.  These empty buildings, says Seldin, have the potential to be a growth industry. “They have open floor plans, lots of space, and they’re in good locations.” A challenge is making sure that a locality’s zoning will allow for the multiple uses.   His company already is planning another e-loft development in a vacant, 10-story Fairfax County building on Columbia Pike.  “In the next five to 10 years, our goal is to have 50 to 100 around the country. We think it’s a new and greatly improved asset class that combines the best features of multifamily with the best features of office space.”   Novus has applied for a patent, Seldin says, on the e-loft system, which allows for a space to be used as an apartment, a workplace or both at all times.  He declined to say how much was spent to renovate the Alexandria building into lofts. The loft concept offers more living space, bigger bathrooms and air-conditioned closets large enough to store servers and other fiber optics if tenants choose to use units as an office.   The property also offers Wi-Fi and common areas including a fitness space, a community kitchen, meeting facilities, a pet space, two soundproof music practice rooms and an outside area for lounging, pingpong and yoga. The lofts especially appeal to entrepreneurs because living and working from the same space trims business overhead costs. “A small office space or co-working space around here is $1,000 a month for 100 square feet,” notes Seldin. “Here you’re only writing one rent check. You’re renting an apartment, but getting an office for free.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_N2A3237airbb.png Retired school teacher Barb Pemberton earns supplemental income by renting out her Albemarle County home. Photo by Jay Paul http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/taking-aim-at-short-term-rentals Taking aim at short-term rentals http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/taking-aim-at-short-term-rentals http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/taking-aim-at-short-term-rentals#When:02:00:00Z On many weekends, a Richmond couple and their seven children squeeze into their eldest son’s small, two-bedroom house in the city’s North Side so the family can rent their spacious five-bedroom home in the nearby Fan District to guests from the lodging website Airbnb. Last year, the family says it grossed about $60,000 (before Airbnb fees, taxes and related costs) renting their home to groups such as book clubs and wedding parties for $650 to $840 per night. The couple has used the money to make home improvements, fund extracurricular activities for their children and pay college expenses for their eldest daughter, who will start at William & Mary in the fall. “There’s a high demand for our home,” says the wife, who asked that the family’s name not be used in this story.  “We’re right near a lot of the running races, and we’re in walking distance to Carytown, which is a great strip for shops and restaurants. … It’s a win-win for our local economy and us as a family and the guests who get to see our beautiful city.” However, there is one problem: It’s still not legal to rent one’s residence for short-term stays in the city of Richmond. Despite that, on any given day there are more than 700 Airbnb listings in the city. In fact, it’s the third-most popular Airbnb destination in Virginia, according to Airdna, a site that collects data and analytics on Airbnb. As of late March, there were nearly 10,000 active Airbnb listings statewide. According to a survey by Airbnb, Virginia’s host community earned $41.4 million in supplemental income by welcoming 280,000 guests in 2016, with Charlottesville seeing the highest number of guests at 35,100.   Virginia, along with other states, is looking at short-term rentals in residential areas. While few localities outright ban such rentals — Richmond’s law was on the books long before Airbnb came along —  concern is growing now that online sites make it easier for people to rent out their homes. Some states are passing new rules in an attempt to ease tensions between homeowners who want to earn money in the sharing economy and the hospitality industry. During this year’s session, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill that gives localities the option of requiring residents who offer short-term rentals to register with them. The law, which takes effect July 1, defines short-term rentals as lodging for less than 30 consecutive days in exchange for a fee.  It also authorizes local governments to impose penalties not to exceed $500 per incident on hosts who violate the registry ordinance. The bill doesn’t ban anything, and it doesn’t alter local taxing and zoning regulations, which vary among jurisdictions. “It allows for a locality to require a form of regulation should they choose to regulate Airbnb-type rentals … It’s reaffirming that the localities have the authority to regulate real estate,” says Julia Ciarlo Hammond, a lawyer with Eckert Seamans in Richmond and the lead lobbyist for the legislation.  One benefit, she added, could be that “by registering with your localities, localities may provide the homeowner with information they need to be in compliance with local taxing and zoning regulations so they can operate legally from day one.” The bill received bipartisan support from the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association, the Virginia Association of Realtors and other groups. Like Uber and other industry “disruptors,” Airbnb is encountering resistance from competitors who point out that some Airbnb hosts don’t pay state or local taxes or comply with the same safety and business regulations that apply to lodging businesses. The Richmond couple is aware that Airbnb hosting is not legal in Richmond. They have lived in their home for 16 years and have been renting it out since September 2015 when Richmond hosted the UCI international bicycle race. The wife says the couple pays federal taxes on their income as a host, but not state or local taxes. She doesn’t have a business license, collect lodging fees or comply with local regulations applying to lodging facilities. “I am not a business. I am a person using my private property to benefit others, my neighborhood and myself,” she says, adding that she would welcome common sense regulation from city government that recognizes the value Airbnb brings to local tourism. Many short-term rental hosts feel frustrated, she adds. “We want to be legitimized and have some form or ability to pay our fair share of taxes … I don’t want to be overregulated to the point where I have to shut down, but I want to be in a safe place, so I know that I’m abiding by all laws and paying my fair share.” If her family was forced to meet the same regulatory standards and pay the same taxes and fees as a lodging facility, she says, “We would shut down, or we would figure out whether we move into a smaller home and rent this out long term as a residential real estate rental, which would be … a very worst-case scenario.” Will Burns, an Airbnb senior adviser and public policy director for the mid-Atlantic, says it’s “incumbent upon the hosts to follow the laws and regulations of their jurisdiction, and that’s stated very clearly on our website and our terms of service.” That being said, he adds, “short-term rentals on platforms [like Airbnb] have really taken off in the last few years, and there are laws on the books from earlier eras that don’t quite track with the new reality. So we’re eager to work with places like Richmond to figure out solutions to help our [hosting] community not be in a gray area but to operate legitimately and legally.” Certainly not all hosts are operating illegally. Barb Pemberton, a retired Albemarle County schoolteacher, rents her four-bedroom, two-story Colonial once or twice a month, usually for $225 to $275 per night, to earn supplemental income. After learning from a neighbor that she needed a business license, she went to the county government and ended up spending about $1,200 for permits and bringing her house up to code so she could get an accessory tourist lodging license. It allows private homeowners in residential-zoned neighborhoods to rent rooms within their primary dwelling places. Pemberton also collects a 5 percent local occupancy tax from her guests that she pays to the county each month. Airbnb offered an alternative proposal in Virginia that would have had the online platform directly collecting and paying taxes to the state and localities on behalf of its hosts and guests. Yet local governments and the lodging industry opposed this move, saying localities still wouldn’t have the ability to regulate Airbnb host properties because of the company’s practice of not publicly disclosing the street addresses of hosts. Airbnb points out that it has made similar deals with other localities, including Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, and has remitted more than $170 million in taxes to 220 jurisdictions worldwide under such agreements since 2014. Arlington County legalized Airbnb-style, short-term rentals in residential dwellings last year, subject to restrictions. The county requires that the home be the Airbnb host’s primary dwelling and that hosts get a permit from the county and comply with county building codes. Also, there can be no more than six lodgers, or two lodgers per bedroom, in a unit per night. Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association, says that it isn’t opposed to Airbnb but wants to make sure that hosts don’t have any unfair advantage over traditional lodging facilities that pay and collect taxes and comply with state and local health regulations and other laws. Additionally, he says, localities lose tax revenue from tourism because the vast majority of Airbnb hosts are not collecting lodging taxes from their guests. “We recognize that Airbnb is … kind of a tourism draw and people do want to utilize it,” Terry says. “We just think that they should pay the same taxes and be subject to the same transparency and all the things that traditional hotels do. We’d all love to do business without having to disclose anything or pay taxes, but that’s not the reality.” Airbnb guests learn the street address of a host property only when a financial transaction has been completed, making it very difficult for localities — and neighbors — to learn who is renting their home or rooms on Airbnb. Denver-based Apartment Investment & Management Co. (Aimco), one of the largest apartment community management companies in the nation, has filed suit against Airbnb in Florida and California, alleging it is aiding tenants in breaking the terms of their leases to illegally sublet rooms and apartments. Keith Kimmel, executive vice president of property operations for Aimco, says the company has evicted tenants who have leased their apartments through Airbnb, and it has had troubles with Airbnb guests partying in vacation mode at their properties. In some cases, Kimmel says, Airbnb hosts will lease multiple apartments from Aimco without living in them, solely to offer the apartments as short-term rentals on Airbnb. “Our No. 1 objective is to create a safe living environment for our residents, one that is predictable,” Kimmel says. “When they rented with us, it was with the expectation that they’re moving into a community,” not living next door to a hotel-like operation with a “turnstile” of people. While he wouldn’t comment on the Aimco lawsuits, Airbnb’s Burns describes such situations as a conflict between the tenant and the landlord, saying, “It is not our responsibility as a third party to enforce that [lease agreement].” At the stately Mayhurst Inn bed and breakfast in Orange, Jack North says he pays his taxes and complies with state and local lodging, health, restaurant and ABC regulations and fees. As a result of a Virginia Department of Transportation requirement, he once had to pay about $50,000 to put in a semi-circular driveway. A board member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, North also lists the Mayhurst on Airbnb. “I’d be crazy not to,” he says, explaining that Airbnb’s marketing and site traffic are so good, the site brings him new customers. Its fees for lodging providers are far less than those charged by sites like Expedia and Priceline, he adds, with Airbnb charging hosts about 3 percent in fees. What North’s not happy about are Airbnb hosts who operate illegally and don’t pay taxes or comply with the same regulations.  His restored 1859 Italianate Victorian plantation manor with eight guest rooms and 37 acres of landscaped lawns and gardens can beat any residential home for amenities, he says, but he can’t compete on cost with people who don’t pay taxes and have little overhead. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ICPH-Inova_April-0853.png Inova is renovating the former offices of Exxon Mobil to house its Inova Center for Personalized Health. Courtesy Inova http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/genetic-mapping Genetic mapping http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/genetic-mapping http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/genetic-mapping#When:02:00:00Z Vienna resident Alyssa Lehman’s youngest child is less than a year old. Nonetheless, Lehman already is armed with the confidence that her daughter would respond well to more than 20 medications. Her daughter was born in July at Inova Fairfax Hospital, the flagship facility of Inova Health System, which likely is the first in the country to offer MediMap testing for newborns. With a simple cheek swab, Inova uses a baby’s genetics to document how that child could react to more than 20 drugs. That list includes codeine, a common pain relief drug used for children. Some children metabolize the drug too quickly, which in extreme cases can cause death. The other drugs on the test, which range from blood thinners to antidepressants, are chosen because they have genetic markers determining how a patient will react to them. “I think it’s great to have a report that is so specific to my child,” says Lehman, a mother of three. “Usually doctors are doing a guessing game about correct dosages and whether a medication will work.” The MediMap program is popular. More than 70 percent of mothers are electing to have their newborn babies tested, and there is no extra cost for the patient. The tests have been so successful that they are being added to obstetrics departments at other Inova hospitals. “These kids won’t need these medicines for some time,” says Dr. John Deeken, chief operating officer of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute, a research institute charged with applying genomic and clinical research to personalized health care. “So is it necessary to do it today? No. But your genes don’t change. We think this starts the child on the right path to personalized health.” Inova makes genetic specialists avail­­­­­­­­able for parents and advises them to share the test information with their pediatricians. But the science behind the test, pharmacogenomics, or PGx, is complex and barely taught at most medical schools. There also is a shortage of doctors and nurses who can interpret PGx data. Inova wants to revolutionize health care through personalized medicine at its new Inova Center for Personalized Health (ICPH) campus in Fairfax County, but to do that, it needs more professionals well versed in the field of pharmacogenomics. Last month, Inova and Shenandoah University announced a partnership to launch graduate-level programs in personalized medicine and other high-need fields. “I think we can hire every single person that graduates and comes through these programs,” says Todd Stottlemyer, CEO of the ICPH. “There’s a real shortage of outstanding health professionals [in the field]. The partnership allows us to capitalize on the strengths of the university to make sure we have the pipeline of outstanding talent in some areas that are relatively new.” First occupants on campus Notably, Shenandoah’s students and professors will be the first occupants on the ICPH campus, a symbol of the health system’s ambition to become a global destination for research and clinical care centered on personalized medicine. Inova recently bought the 117-acre property, located directly across the street from Inova Fairfax, from the Irving, Texas-based energy company Exxon Mobil. Most of the programs will begin in August. Inova envisions the campus eventually being a place that attracts clinicians, researchers, health-care providers, students and businesses involved in personalized health. “Inova’s bringing together the very best researchers and practitioners, and imagine if you’re a student, the opportunity you have to be among those minds,” says Tracy Fitzsimmons, president of Shenandoah University. “I think the energy is going to be amazing here. These are the people who are going to define the future of health.” The Shenandoah programs will occupy 28,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space in the education wing of the former Exxon Mobil offices, which currently are under renovation. Inova will invest $5 million to create the programs. ICPH also has signed partnerships with George Mason University and the University of Virginia. Those programs will focus on research, while Shenandoah’s programs will focus on teaching clinically trained professionals. The new programs include master’s degree and postgraduate certificate programs, which are expected to have about 250 students. In addition to the new programs, Shenandoah will move the Northern Virginia campus of its Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, now in Ashburn, to ICPH. Many students will be able to do clinical rotations at Inova facilities, including Inova Fairfax. Not only will that opportunity provide hands-on training for students, but Inova also will be able to hire practitioners already trained in its policies and procedures and applicable medicine. “Inova has identified two things here,” says Fitzsimmons. “They’ve identified where the societal needs are emerging because of the aging population, and the second piece is that we need practitioners with new sets of skills. We just don’t have enough psychiatric nurses, genetic nurses or professionals focusing on public health.” The new programs include both master’s degrees and postgraduate degrees in: public health, pharmacogenomics and precision medicine, and, for nurse practitioners, psychiatric mental health and gerontology primary care. Certificates in health-care information technology and patient care navigation also will be offered. The certificates in health-care IT, public health, and pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine will be offered online. Working relationship The Inova-Shenandoah partnership is a natural one, the institutions say. They have been working together on programs such as nursing, physical therapy and physician-assistant studies for two decades. In addition, Shenandoah was one of the first pharmacy schools in the country to incorporate pharmacogenomics into its core curriculum, and its professors are active in PGx research, says Arthur Harralson, the associate dean for research and a professor of pharmacogenomics at the pharmacy school. For example, the FDA adopted Shenandoah researchers’ method of assigning genotypes to Warfarin, a blood thinner used to prevent clots, strokes and heart attacks. The pharmacy school also is part of a federally funded program studying pharmacogenomics in African-American patients. PGx is an integral part of Shenandoah’s curriculum, with students required to take four classes on the subject. That puts Shenandoah ahead of the curve. In 2016, new national pharmacy school standards were adopted saying that PGx should be included in curricula. “We had it woven into our program long before that,” says Robert DiCenzo, who is dean of Shenandoah’s School of Pharmacy. “There are now requirements to have pharmacogenomics within pharmacy education, but many of the programs are just starting to look for ways to put that in.” Pharmacogenomics has the potential to be a game-changer in medicine. About 10 percent of drugs have known markers that can affect a patient’s reaction to medicine, influencing its efficacy or toxicity, says Deeken with Inova. PGx also can be used to determine the correct dosage for a patient. “I think it’s probably one of the most exciting areas of medicine today: the intersection of pharmacology and genomics and the ability to tell a healthy individual that they shouldn’t take a drug,” says Stottlemyer. In addition to its MediMap test for infants, Inova is incorporating genetic tests for patients being treated for high cholesterol, coronary disease and psychiatric conditions, such as adolescents being treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Little exposure in med school But while doctors in some areas of medicine, such as cardiology and oncology, are well versed in PGx, most primary-care doctors and pediatricians are not. Harralson of Shenandoah University says a recent study showed that the average medical school student gets only four hours of lecture on pharmacogenomics. That lack of education is holding the field back. “Physician education and physician adoption [probably are two of] the reasons that the field continues to progress, but not rapidly progress,” Deeken says. That’s where Inova and Shenandoah hope their new certificate programs will help. They will include specialized modules for practitioners in different fields. “The rate of change is exponential,” says Fitzsimmons. “That’s why it’s important not just to be training new practitioners, but as they go out into the field, to bring them back every five or 10 years.”    Stottlemyer says pharmacogenomics is revolutionizing the health-care field, giving doctors ways to prevent disease and help their patients stay healthy. “This is fundamentally about changing the human condition,” says Stottlemyer. “You have an industry that’s going through a significant disruption. Disrupting from the inside out is ambitious and not easy to do, and you’ve got to have partners that are agile, quick and entrepreneurial like Shenandoah University to help you do that.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Krause-2991.png Kurt Krause says The Main is drawing group meetings that are new to Hampton Roads. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/moving-into-the-big-leagues Moving into the big leagues? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/moving-into-the-big-leagues http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/moving-into-the-big-leagues#When:02:00:00Z What do Dollar Tree, Ferguson Enterprises and The World Congress on Electroporation have in common?   They’re all meeting this year at The Main, Virginia’s newest luxury hotel and conference center. The $175 million, Hilton-branded property in downtown Norfolk opened April 3, and industry officials say it will help Virginia recruit larger conventions and new customers. The 22-story, 300-room property offers the largest ballroom in Virginia at 18,500 square feet, more than 70,000 square feet of flexible function space and the latest in technology — amenities that will help Virginia compete for convention business with the likes of New York City, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. “The Main is very fresh, youthful — not at all a standard,” says Jeff Schmid, president of the Virginia chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “It’s not just about square feet of space. It’s about what kind of space.” “The Main is one of the best examples I have ever seen of a true convention hotel,” echoes Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association. “This is a game-changer for us in the state.”   New properties increase capacity and generate buzz, but they’re not the only reason meeting planners will consider an area they might have previously passed over. As meeting times gradually have been pared back — many to just one or two days — planners’ priorities include ease of access as well as leading edge technology. Hampton Roads is positioning itself to deliver all three.    Although still in its early days, The Main is attracting attention. “At least half my clients have already booked there,” says Rick Eisenman, president and CEO of Eisenman & Associates Inc., an association management and meetings consulting company in Richmond. “That’s pretty amazing,” he explains, considering that they made their commitment before the hotel had even opened. A sampling of businesses and organizations already booked includes Dollar Tree, a national discount retailer; Ferguson Enterprises, the country’s  largest distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies; and the aforementioned World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies, the tongue-twisting name for a group that will bring in 300 to 500 participants in September. The Medical Society of Virginia and a contingent of the National Association of Black Accountants arrive in October. The Transportation Lawyers Association is booked for November, and the International Society for BioProcess Technology for December.  The Association of Individual Hospitality Professionals, which met at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., this year, has booked The Main for its 2018 summit. Kurt J. Krause, the managing director of the 500,000-square-foot complex located a block off Norfolk’s waterfront, says that 80 percent of these groups have never met in the area or haven’t visited Hampton Roads in at least five years. Not surprisingly, Krause shares in the widespread excitement about the new facility. He has been in the hospitality business all his life. His father was a meeting planner, and his grandparents ran a hotel. Still, he has never worked in a property as grand as The Main. It has three high-end restaurants, a dramatic glass atrium and “technology that any university would envy,” says Krause. The Exchange, the 50,000-square-foot, city-owned conference center, is equipped with a 90-seat tiered meeting room and the latest in tech support. It enjoys an elite IACC (International Association of Conference Centres) certification held by a minority of venues. The certification tells meeting planners that the property conforms to a set of quality standards in meeting room design and food and beverage service. The Main itself can handle as many as 1,000 meeting-goers. Yet, by collaborating with other venues, it, and the Hampton Roads region as a whole, is gunning for not only more conventions but larger ones. In August, for example, the Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (SASHTO), which brought about 1,000 members to the Greenbrier in West Virginia in 2016, will occupy both The Main and the adjacent Norfolk Waterside Marriott. Although capacity is crucial, Virginia tourist officials say it alone cannot move Virginia into the big leagues in terms of conventions. Conference destinations need to be readily accessible. Hampton Roads is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of all Americans, but it is known for congestion around its water crossing tunnels. Interstate 64 in Newport News is in the midst of a road-widening project, and the area’s Midtown Tunnel recently added a new tube. The state also working to secure federal permits required to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.  Norfolk’s international airport offers nearly 200 flights a day. However, as many local officials will point out, the airport needs more direct flights to reduce travel time. The region’s venues also compare favorably on costs with other East Coast meeting sites.  “The price is there,” says Eisenman.  While a midweek night at The Main or the Marriott across the street might run $165 or $175, a stay in a comparable hotel in New York City might be more than $450, he says. A $60 gallon of coffee in Virginia might cost $200 in the Big Apple, while a deli lunch of about $30 could run $120. Hampton Roads’ cultural and recreational opportunities are still another marketing point. SASHTO, for example, will take advantage of both by holding its CEO dinner at Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum of Art and its golf tournament at the Bay Creek Resort & Club in Cape Charles. These resources have helped put the region’s convention industry on the upswing. Todd Bertka, vice president for convention sales and marketing for the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors  Bureau, says that in FY 2015-2016, convention traffic generated $54 million in attendee spending and $9.7 million in direct and indirect revenue for his city. He is optimistic about posting even fatter figures in the future. For example, when the venerable Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach reopens after a $75 million restoration, the venue will contribute 35,000 square feet of function space to the resort city’s meeting capacity. In addition, it will offer a one-of-a-kind, five-star destination that can provide the local color that has become so important to convention-goers. The ability to offer the most advanced connectivity also will be critical to the region’s quest to play a bigger role on the national stage. Virginia Beach was recently named among the nation’s top 20 cities for meetings, according to financial technology company Smart­Asset. In surveying 102 of the largest U.S. cities, SmartAsset looked at such factors as availability of hotels, room rates and proximity to major airports. It noted that more than 7,000 hotel rooms are within three miles of the Virginia Beach Convention Center, located close to the city’s oceanfront area. The center’s already high-tech IQ is expected to get even better. Microsoft and Facebook, in partnership with Telefónica of Spain, have picked Virginia Beach as their first destination for a transatlantic, fiber-optic cable that should provide the convention center with lightning-fast Internet service, possibly by year’s end. Elsewhere in the region, Colonial Williamsburg also is making improvements. This winter, it made extensive renovations to the Williamsburg Inn and the Williamsburg Lodge, the latter of which will be rebranded as part of Marriott’s Autograph collection, a portfolio of boutique hotels.   The lodge, says Shaun Coleman, executive director of sales and marketing in the hospitality division of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, has been updated with nods to modernity that include better Wi-Fi, a meeting concierge and guest rooms with plentiful plugs, since the average visitor has 2.4 electronic devices. To provide local flavor, Williamsburg can offer meeting-goers fife-and-drum escorts to dinner and speakers who appear as historical characters, such as Thomas Jefferson lecturing about early American banking practices to a meeting of financiers. History, though, doesn’t appear to be as big of a draw as it once was. Earlier this year, Colonial Williamsburg laid off about 40 employees to cut costs, with officials noting that historic sites around the country have experienced declined visitation in recent years. Caroline Logan, director of communications for the Virginia Tourism Corp., expects the lodge and other new and improved venues to make Virginia a popular tourism destination. She cites the diverse product that the commonwealth can offer travelers, from the vibrant vibe of downtown Richmond to the natural splendors of rural St. Paul. “Business is booming,” Logan says. “This looks like another record-breaking year.”   Conference hotels table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B080F; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }   Hotel Location Phone Website Meeting rooms Banquet capacity Guest rooms Meeting space1 1 The National Conference Center Lansdowne (703) 729-8000 conferencecenter.com 250 1,150 917 265,000 2 The Omni Homestead Hot Springs (888) 796-5838 omnihotels.com/thehomestead 26 1,000 483 72,000 3 Norfolk Waterside Marriott Norfolk (757) 627-4200 marriott.com/orfws 26 1,400 405 68,000 4 The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Curio Collection by Hilton Roanoke (540) 985-5900 hotelroanoke.com 36 1,200 331 63,000 5 Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Alexandria (703) 845-1010 alexandria.hilton.com 33 960 496 55,000 6 Lansdowne Resort Leesburg (703) 729-8400 lansdowneresort.com 37 720 296 55,000 7 Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport Arlington (703) 418-1234 crystalcity.hyatt.com 26 1,060 686 53,000 8 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Williamsburg Williamsburg (757) 220-2500 williamsburg.doubletree.com 41 1,000 295 48,000 9 Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel Norfolk (757) 622-6664 sheraton.com/norfolk 16 1,200 468 46,000 10 Sheraton Tysons Hotel Vienna (703) 448-1234 sheratontysonscorner.com 27 1,240 449 45,000 11 Williamsburg Lodge, Autograph Collection Williamsburg (800) 822-9127 colonialwilliamsburg.com 28 1,000 323 45,000 12 Hilton Norfolk The Main Norfolk (757) 763-6200 themainnorfolk.com 39 1,200 300 42,000 13 Wintergreen Resort Wintergreen (800) 273-3390 wintergreenresort.com 18 500 230 40,000 14 Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington (703) 920-3230 crystalgatewaymarriott.com 28 1,300 697 38,000 15 Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Washington D.C. - Crystal City Arlington (703) 416-4100 doubletreecrystalcity.com 25 600 627 34,000 16 Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles Chantilly (703) 818-0300 westfieldsmarriott.com 20 550 336 33,000 17 Hyatt Regency Reston Reston (703) 709-1234 reston.hyatt.com 35 950 518 32,000 18 The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner McLean (703) 506-4300 ritzcarlton.com/tysons 13 1,120 398 31,000 19 Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center Glen Allen (804) 727-1400 wyndhamvirginiacrossings.com 26 300 183 28,000 20 Hilton McLean Tysons Corner McLean (703) 847-5000 hiltonmclean.com 16 920 458 27,000 21 Richmond Marriott Richmond (804) 643-3400 richmondmarriott.com 40 1,120 410 26,000 22 Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center Williamsburg (757) 220-2250 fortmagruderhotel.com 18 500 303 26,000 23 Doubletree by Hilton Richmond - Midlothian Richmond (804) 379-3800 richmondmidlothian.doubletree.com 20 700 237 26,000 24 The Jefferson Richmond (804) 788-8000 jeffersonhotel.com 19 420 181 26,000 25 Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel Arlington (703) 521-1900 sheratonpentagoncity.com 21 650 416 25,000 26 The Founders Inn & Spa Virginia Beach (757) 366-5716 foundersinn.com 20 1,000 240 25,000 27 Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel Portsmouth (757) 673-3000 marriott.com/orfpt 23 875 249 24,000 28 The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center Blacksburg (877) 200-3360 innatvirginiatech.com 11 700 147 23,705 29 Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump Richmond (804) 364-3600 hiltonrichmond.com 11 795 254 23,000 30 Holiday Inn Virginia Beach Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center Virginia Beach (757) 499-4400 hivabeachnorfolk.com 16 450 307 22,000 31 Sheraton Reston Hotel Reston (703) 620-9000 sheraton.com/reston 19 400 298 22,000 32 Boar's Head Charlottesville (434) 972-2224 boarsheadinn.com 19 450 175 22,000 33 Newport News Marriott at City Center Newport News (757) 873-9299 mariott.com/phfoy 23 840 256 20,659 1 In square feet                                 Source: Individual hotels 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/worth-a-visit Worth a visit http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/worth-a-visit http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/worth-a-visit#When:02:00:00Z What are the major challenges facing Virginia’s hospitality and tourism industries? That was the topic for a group of  industry executives who gathered recently for a freewheeling discussion at the Town Point Club in Norfolk. Sponsored by Virginia Business and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association (VRLTA), the roundtable coversation touched on topics ranging from transportation to the growing importance of social spaces as modern technologies make hotels more impersonal. Participating were: Beth Erickson, president and CEO, Visit Loudoun; Vinay Patel, president, Fairbrook Hotels; Juliellen Sarver, community relations manager, Stone Brewing Co.; Matthew Simmons, president, Capital Ale House; Bryan Stephens, president and CEO, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; Bruce Thompson, CEO, Gold Key | PHR; and Mark Treadaway, vice president, business outreach/acting vice president, corporate risk and strategy, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Paula Squires, managing editor at Virginia Business, and Eric Terry, president of VRLTA, served as the moderators. An edited transcript follows.  Terry: There’s always discussion when we look at some of the public/private partnerships. How do you work through the public debate of some of those things? Thompson:  I’ve done three public/private partnerships now, with two in the city of Virginia Beach and now one with the city of Norfolk. The projects that we’ve built, starting with the Hilton at the oceanfront on 31st,  would have never been built without some public participation …  The one that we have ongoing today, The Cavalier Hotel [in Virginia Beach],  I think will be another defining moment for the commonwealth. Just know when you get involved that it’s going to be highly contested politically …  You have to have a lot of patience and a thick skin to be able to get through the process. Terry: How do you view that in terms of the craft brewery industry?  Sarver: Richmond is benefiting from Stone [Brewing]. Stone is certainly benefiting from Richmond. We’re delighted to be there [with the California company’s East Coast brewery now in operation]. We’re in a part of town that was erased by urban renewal in the 1970s.  It was the oldest neighborhood in Richmond, and it languished for over 40 years. Most of the misunderstandings, though, have to do with the bond financing [that was part of the incentives deal offered to Stone]. The argument that you hear is: Why couldn’t we have used that money for schools?  I think once people understand that bonds need to be repaid with interest, and that schools don’t produce that income, then they realize that that money couldn’t have been used for schools … We will receive $5 million from the state from the [Commonwealth’s] Opportunity Fund and then $2 million from the city. That’s grant money.  The rest of it is $31 million in bond money.  So when we say that it really is only a $7 million true investment, then people can understand that, and I think the city is benefiting. We’re paying taxes.  We’re paying the lease payments every month, and I think we’re bringing a lot of people to Richmond. … We have one customer who drives from Raleigh every month to pick up a keg of beer,  and we don’t even have the [Richmond] ­restaurant open yet.  Patel:  I will tell you one thing from a small business owner.  You look at the numbers,  and, obviously, we’re not going to do anything until the numbers [add up]. Without some of the public/private partnerships, some of these big deals just are not going to happen.  Terry: Vinay, you just opened a hotel in Charlottesville.  Bruce has got multiple developments underway. We’re seeing the Renaissance [hotel] over in Portsmouth just purchased by Shamin hotels. Have market conditions finally gotten to where the economics are right? Patel: The markets are definitely getting better, and the financing is what makes it a lot easier in terms of doing something new. I think we live in a really positive, pro-business state that makes it easier for us to do business. I’ve got a hotel in Maryland, and just to do business there is a lot more difficult compared to doing it in Virginia.  Erickson: If I could pick up on that, we, as an industry, are doing a better job of telling the story of the importance and the impact of tourism and hospitality to our state. It is starting at the very top all the way down to local councils and elected officials, and their understanding of the connection between those opportunities to drive revenue for the state, for our municipalities. That’s why I think you’re seeing these businesses flourish. Thompson: Down in this area when we were faced with sequestration and defense cutbacks and the idea to diversify our economy, people started talking about … how every dollar that we spent in hospitality marketing generated $5 in state and local taxes. From our standpoint, we’ve had several calls from other localities that have said, “What can you do to come up and help us get our hospitality program going?” ... If you can say we have a new product and a new attraction, and you realize the benefit of what that can do for your overall market … I think people are starting to catch on to it. I’m very excited and optimistic with the campus we’re putting together on the oceanfront with Virginia Beach. I’m building a bourbon distillery. We have a wonderful spa complex. We’ve got a golf program. When [The Cavalier] opens, we’ll be able to do food and beverage service on the beach, which you’re currently not able to do in any other section of Virginia Beach. We’re going to have a real resort complex with the rerouting of Atlantic Avenue. These dynamics are going to play well for this region as far as a hospitality destination. We’re going to have a substantial amount of conference space on the oceanfront, which now opens up all of Hampton Roads [as a meeting destination]. Squires:  The craft beer, distillery and wine industries are booming in Virginia. How important are food and beverages in attracting tourists and hotel guests, and what is the impact on existing restaurants and bars?  Simmons: About 60 percent of the products we carry, and about 75 percent of our sales are Virginia beer.  We’re proud to commit to buying all of our beef from Virginia processors. We’re very local-minded. The craft beer industry has been great for Virginia.  It has brought in a lot of tourism.  I think it’s brought some cool factor to how people perceive Virginia, and I think the quality of life for its citizens has increased. But to say it’s been helpful for a lot of restaurants would be false.  There are a lot of restaurants that feel that these breweries are competing with them on somewhat of an unfair level with different entitlements they have that restaurants don’t.  I’m in the middle of it.  The analogy I give is if you sold Nathan’s hotdogs at your restaurant, sold a lot of them, and then Nathan’s opens up a hotdog stand on the street, and you see a lot of your customers buying hotdogs from Nathan’s, are you going to want to continue to buy Nathan’s hotdogs, or are you going to switch to Hebrew National? A lot of restaurant owners are feeling that pain and having to make that decision. Sarver: What if that Nathan hotdog stand is going to bring in people who otherwise wouldn’t come? They’re not only going to go to Nathan’s, they’re going to go to other restaurants around there because, quite frankly, they’re not only going to want to eat hotdogs.  I think the same thing is true for us. Stone is going to bring people to Richmond who wouldn’t otherwise come, and they’re going to come to our bistro and [beer] gardens once, then they’re going to spread out. So, it’s going to help put Richmond on the map.  I also want to address some of the criticism from the restaurant industry. There are 11 different city economic development programs for any restaurant that wants to come and develop on that side of town … If you come to Fulton or even Church Hill, there are programs there for restaurants to open, to come to those areas that are underserved. Thompson: It’s kind of like being against Uber if you own a taxicab business. Green Flash [a California craft brewery] opened up down the street from me [in Virginia Beach]. I’m probably the largest restaurant operator in the state, or if I’m not, I’m certainly in the top 5 percent or more. There are a thousand people in Green Flash over the course of the evening drinking beer. Eighty-five percent of those are guys from down at the base, but they were drinking beer someplace else before. Green Flash didn’t have to put in food and beverage.  They didn’t have to put in any of the other things we had to do.  That being said, Green Flash is a great economic tool for Virginia Beach.  I’m glad to have them there.  Let me just tell you what I did to deal with this … Across the street [at The Main hotel in Norfolk], I’ve built a rooftop beer garden. On that roof I have 100 craft beers. So if you like Stone and you like Green Flash, and you like to be up on a roof where 600 people can go with live entertainment, I’m going to give you all the craft beer you want. Terry: Let’s talk a bit about infrastructure and transportation. In Northern Virginia, we spend a lot of time talking about [Washington Dulles International Airport] numbers.  I know there have been discussions in [Hampton Roads] about a regional airport.  Stephens: Infrastructure, specifically transportation, is a huge enabler or an inhibitor to business, and that certainly is applicable to the tourism and hospitality industry. It’s especially true here in Hampton Roads. We put it in four broad categories.  One is roads. … When you look at a road system, it’s all about congestion relief.  How do we open Hampton Roads to allow people to come in and easily get out? The second is air service. In my opinion and the chamber’s opinion, we’ve got inadequate air service in Hampton Roads.  We need to expand our routes.  One of the ways that you do that is to improve the airport that we have now.  Optimally, what you want to do is build a new airport here in the Hampton Roads region, a mega-region type airport that’s going to be a hub.  We’re in full support of doing a feasibility study on that, but while we wait, we believe that we have to improve our current airport.  The third is a rail system.  We have a passenger rail system here, an Amtrak system, but it’s totally inadequate. There is a plan for high-speed rail to go from the Northeast all the way down through Richmond, down to Roanoke and on down to Atlanta and areas further Southeast, bypassing Hampton Roads completely.  We think that a spur of that high-speed rail has to come down to Hampton Roads, and we’re working hard to try to make that happen. The fourth category is public transportation … It’s especially applicable to those who work in the hotel and restaurant industry because a lot of your employees are the ones who are using public transportation. We’ve got a fractured system right now where a worker at a hotel may take a bus to work and can’t take a bus back because the bus system stops at 5 p.m. We’ve got to work with organizations to fix that.  The other is light rail.  We had a referendum to approve light rail to Virginia Beach Town Center, which was voted down. I think there’s a place in Hampton Roads for light rail [expansion.] Treadaway: The airport authority in the Metropolitan Washington region is definitely going to make it a high priority to go after any kind of infrastructure funding that could become available. Anything we can do to lower our costs and increase our revenues, increase customer service and keep our routes that we have and develop new ones, we have an obligation to do that.  Last year, about 45½ million people passed through the two airports [Dulles and Ronald Reagan National] generating 387,000 jobs in the region. Many of those were in Northern Virginia. Erickson: One of the things that’s been mentioned on the panel several times has been regional opportunities. The five regions up in our area — Prince William County, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun — work together, especially when going after the international market, because we recognize that international visitors don’t see boundary lines. These five regions of Northern Virginia drive 40 percent of the revenue to the Commonwealth of Virginia from tourism. We recognize that, by bringing the five [localities] together, we have the opportunity to focus on culture and history, to focus on culinary experiences, shopping, to really give that robust product. Patel:  I echo that. Going back to the question about infrastructure, the Metro for us along the toll road will be absolutely critical. Two years ago when [a nearby Metrorail station] opened, probably one or two of our guests were taken to the Metro.  Today we’re probably taking five to 10 guests to the Metro station. I think that’s absolutely critical, and people today are moving in that direction.  Terry: The Silver line has shocked me up in your area in terms of how many tourists are using it. They’ll find the cheaper room rate out that way, and they don’t pay $500 dollars a night [to stay] in the District. They stay in Tysons and spend $200 dollars a night and Metro in.  That’s a real driver. Sarver: For Richmond, we don’t have light rail. But we do have under construction a bus rapid transit line.  It’s going to go right past the Stone bistro, and we’re very excited about that. Access to and from the airports is very important.  Right now, you land in Richmond — it’s a great little airport — but if you don’t have an Uber app or a car, you’re kind of up the creek.  Why can’t we have the bus rapid transit go to the airport, then go through downtown? Squires:  We’re going to move to hotel amenities. Are they becoming more important as a way to compete against short-term, online rental companies?  Patel:  I think the most important amenity is internet.  It seems like the bandwidth needs are always growing … We were talking earlier (and I tried this a few weeks ago at a Hilton product) where I didn’t have to go to the front desk anymore. I literally go straight to the room and push the button. It’s moving in that direction — the lack of the interpersonal. For us the public space is critical. A lot of the public spaces are becoming friendlier, more soft seating and outdoor seating today.  A lot of our hotels are coming out with outdoor fire pits because people don’t want to be stuck inside their rooms. Squires: What about you Bruce?  Thompson: We were talking just yesterday about iPads for wine lists, and I said, ‘You know, these iPads are great. We have them in a half dozen or more of our restaurants, but what happens is it takes out the interaction with the guest and our server.’ Now it’s one less touch point that we have with the customer. Pretty soon we’re starting to feel like Airbnb.  So if you don’t need to talk to anybody about your wine, you don’t need to go to the front desk, so what are you going to do? From our standpoint, it is about creating social spaces, really vibrant and active social spaces where people can get together and feel good about it. The other piece of it is quality and service. We’re loading our properties up with technology, service, social spaces and quality products. Airbnb can’t compete with that. Treadaway: If I had to say what our biggest challenge is, it’s that we have to look ahead and adapt to the change that’s coming. Uber has already arrived in our market.  How does that impact garage occupancy?  How does that impact taxi usage, and what about when we were going to kick off our billion-dollar construction project at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport? How is that going to worsen congestion?  I would say that it’s never one thing.  It’s always a combination … We have to play the cards we’re dealt in terms of where these changes are coming and how far we can get in front of them to manage them. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TheMain-2026.png Dancers dressed to evoke mermaids performed during the soft opening of The Main in Norfolk. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/you-have-to-have-a-new-ride ‘You have to have a new ride’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/you-have-to-have-a-new-ride http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/you-have-to-have-a-new-ride#When:02:00:00Z “It doesn’t feel like we’re in Norfolk anymore,” Dana Jo Decker remarked to friends while standing in line recently to check in at The Main, Virginia’s newest luxury hotel and conference center. “It feels like we’ve been transplanted somewhere else.” While Norfolk’s downtown landscape was visible from the lobby’s glass atrium, a festive gala was underway inside during The Main’s soft opening in late March. Hotel staffers served champagne to guests waiting to collect room keys, while dancers — whose costumes evoked Norfolk’s mermaid sculptures — performed under giant helium-filled balls. Visually, there was plenty to take in.  A hot-pink ice cream sculpture stood near the elevators while a red, baby-grand piano added to the ambiance of Varia, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. Another stricking feature was a bookcase that opened into a private dining room.  “It was just a great vibe — happy, uplifting, energetic,” Decker, a local resident and member of a prominent business family, says of the $175 million, 22-story property. “The magic word in any marketing is new,” says Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key|PHR, the Virginia Beach-based hospitality company that built the Main in a public/private partnership with the city of Norfolk. “People are starting to get the idea that, sort of like Busch Gardens, you have to have a new ride.”  Across Virginia, 46 new, expanded or renovated hotel properties are scheduled to open later this year and next year, representing an investment of $1.1 billion and more than 6,000 guest rooms. According to HotelMarketData, which tracks projects in the planning and construction stages, the full pipeline of projects now in the works in the Old Dominion includes a projected 171 properties, with up to 25,000 rooms and a potential development investment ranging from $2.4 billion to $3 billion. That’s a pretty healthy indicator, says Eric Terry, of the improved fortunes of Virginia’s hotel industry. It struggled after the Great Recession and the 10-year lows in occupancy and “RevPAR” (revenue per available room) seen during 2010. “I’m really encouraged by the amount of new investment that we’re seeing in the state,” says Terry, president of the Virginia, Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. Driving the growth is Virginia’s thriving tourism and meeting industry, which drew more than 41 million domestic visitors to the commonwealth in 2015. Those travelers spent $63 million a day, with total tourism industry revenue reaching $23 billion in 2015, a 2.3 percent increase over 2014. A portion of that business comes from the meeting and convention sector, which can pull in a weekend crowd of more than 1,000. (Tourism figures for 2016 will not be available until later this spring.) Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp. (VTC), the state’s promotional arm for the industry, says she is “thrilled” by the new development. “If we want to compete with other states, and we want more people to come to Virginia, one way to grow tourism is to have new product.” New properties also offer amenities that today’s travelers are looking for: cutting-edge technology, keyless entry systems and high-end beverage and restaurant service that immerses visitors in the local culture. In other words, they give Virginia the modern “vibe” that Decker liked at The Main. One of its amenities is Grain, a fifth-floor beer garden and restaurant that serves 100 craft beers in a space that offers live music, a photo booth and two outdoor terraces, one with waterfront views of the Elizabeth River. Geographic diversity  McClenny notes that new development is occurring not only in urban centers, but also in areas of Virginia that are turning to tourism as a way to diversify struggling local economies.  For instance, in far Southwest Virginia where coal used to be king, the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul is scheduled to open in September.  The $7.2 million, 30-room boutique hotel will have a restaurant, Milton’s, run by Travis Milton, an award-winning chef known for preserving the culinary traditions of his native Appalachia. Other amenities include rooftop dining and a banquet and music hall. The hotel is close to Spearhead Trails, which offer more than 100 miles of trails for ATV enthusiasts. The hotel is expected to create 25 jobs in its first year. The project’s developers are Williamsburg-based Cornerstone Hospitality and Roanoke-based Creative Boutique Hotels.  The partners specialize in revitalizing historic buildings, transforming them into boutique hotels. Cornerstone Hospitality has several other hotels in the works: The Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg, a 115-room property scheduled to open by the end of the year; Hotel Weyanoke, a 70-room property in Farmville that plans to open in April 2018; and the Sessions Hotel in Bristol, a 70-room hotel opening in late 2018. The Sessions Hotel is located next door to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and also will have a Travis Milton restaurant called Shovel and Pick.  Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality, says boutique hotels represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the hospitality industry. “The neat thing about each of these properties is that they are all very different. This creates an opportunity for a traveler to go to different destinations in Virginia and experience the community that they’re in.” Tourism gap financing The Hotel Weyanoke in Farmville is one of five hotel projects that have taken advantage of the state’s Tourism Development Financing Program begun in 2011. The capital cost is $12.2 million, and the developers applied for 22.5 percent of that cost, or $2.7 million, in gap financing. The hotel is expected to create 76 full-time jobs. Gap financing money isn’t taken from the state’s general fund. “All the money the state contributes is from the new taxes from the new revenue that the project creates,” says Wirt Confroy, director of business development for VTC. “It’s up to the developer to make the business a success. If for any reason, it ceases generating revenue, the locality and the state are not liable for anything. It’s a performance-based tax rebate, really.”  The program is designed to compensate for a shortfall in project funding that can’t exceed 30 percent of a project costing under $100 million or 20 percent of a project greater than $100 million. To get financing, a developer must partner with a locality. “The locality has to decide, ‘Do we have a deficit in the tourism business? Do we need lodging, dining or something new?’” says Confroy. The program supports larger-scale tourism development projects that create jobs, tax revenue and visitor spending. VTC will assist a locality in creating an application for the financing, which must be submitted to and verified by the state comptroller.  Applicants pay a $500 application and processing fee.  If an application is approved, the project doesn’t get money until it opens for business and generates revenue. At that point, the developer, locality and the state begin paying an amount equal to 1 or 1.5 percent (for projects over $100 million) of the project’s quarterly revenue to the lender until the gap’s debt service is complete. So, if a project’s quarterly revenue was $1 million, for example, the three parties would each pay 1 percent, or $10,000, for a debt payment of $30,000. Developers still must get financing, and they still own all the debt, explains Confroy. State gap financing, however, reduces the amount developers would need from lenders. Bruce Thompson and his partners got gap financing on two projects: The Main in Norfolk and the ongoing renovation of the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. According to Confroy, the Norfolk project was approved for 9 percent in gap financing on $77.5 million for the hotel portion only. The city of Norfolk also kicked in nearly $87 million for the conference center and parking garage for the project, with the developer responsible for coming up with the rest of the $175 million total.  The Main is expected to create 250 full-time jobs. On the Cavalier, the state approved 12.4 percent in gap financing, or $18 million, for what was expected to be a capital cost of $145 million (for the Cavalier renovation and a new 300-room hotel on the oceanfront).  However, Virginia Beach plans to update its application, Confroy says, since the City Council recently voted to let the Cavalier’s development group borrow an additional $6.5 million to build a third hotel at the resort complex. Originally Cavalier Associates LLC planed to invest more than $300 million in the project, including more than $90 million in private investment, to renovate the Cavalier, build a Marriott Hotel across Atlantic Avenue on the oceanfront and add town homes, condos and a beach club. Plans to include a timeshare property were scrapped, with the developers opting to build an Embassy Suites Hotel to add more rooms and conference space to the oceanfront market. The Cavalier and Marriott projects are projected to create 385 full-time jobs. Thompson says that, if it weren’t for public/private programs, major projects like The Main and the Cavalier “would never have been built.” During a recent hospitality roundtable sponsored by Virginia Business, Thompson acknowledged that he had a hand in shaping the gap financing legislation while serving in 2010 as chairman of a tourism subcommittee under then-Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation. Now the program “sits in the toolbox ready to go to provide the differential between market-rate deals and the aspiration of where a community wants to be to fill a void or gap in the market.” Doing a gap-financing project, though, isn’t easy. “You have to have a lot of patience and some thick skin to get through the process,” says Thompson. “You know when you get involved that it’s going to be highly contested politically and the second piece … while there’s a lot of economic incentives that come along with public/private partnerships — it’s expensive to do from a documentation and legal standpoint, and it’s lengthy.” Case in point: The rerouting of Atlantic Avenue to accommodate the renovation and expansion of the Cavalier resort complex has taken more than a year. In addition, Thompson says, he has been castigated in the local media on a regular basis, with members of the public questioning whether he has received preferential treatment over other developers and challenging whether public/private partnerships are appropriate for hotel projects. New brands While controversy simmers over public/private projects, Virginia continues to attract new hotel brands. Hotel Indigo, a boutique brand launched by IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is expected to open in May on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. Construction also is underway on a 106-room Tru hotel in Farmville. Tru is a new, lower-cost brand offered by Hilton designed to appeal to younger travelers. The company also has plans for a Tru hotel in Montgomery County near Radford University. Virginia Beach also welcomed its first Hyatt House hotel last month. The 19-story, 156-room oceanfront hotel cost nearly $80 million. Another new brand is The Graduate Hotel. It opened in Charlottesville about a year ago, and AJ Capital Partners plans to open another of its college-themed hotels near Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond this spring. The hotel industry is segmenting products to broaden its appeal, and the fact that it wants to put new design concepts in Virginia helps give the state an edgier feel, says McClenny. In another effort to make Virginia tourism-friendly, the VTC has launched a campaign to be more inclusive. “We are expanding our outreach to include LGBT travelers,” says McClenny. Under Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the state created an LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) Tourism Taskforce in 2014. Out of that initiative came new information that’s posted to the VTC website about how Virginia tourism businesses, communities and attractions can maximize their tourism potential with LGBT visitors, a group with high discretionary income that tends to spend more and stay longer than other visitors, according to the VTC. Robert G. Roman, a Norfolk businessman who served on the taskforce, says he’s pleased with the efforts. “When people go on vacations, they want to be welcomed. And in certain parts of the state, it would be difficult to go and have a good experience. When the governor of the state says Virginia is open for business, it’s open to the LGBT community, we want them to come and we want them to come to our hotels and our cities … It sends a message of inclusivity.” Travel officials only need to look to neighbor North Carolina for a cautionary tale.  In late March, the Tar Heel state repealed its year-old “bathroom bill,” which required transgender people to use public restrooms that corresponded to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Backlash from the legislation cost the state economy millions and, over a dozen years, could have cost as much as  $3.76 billion, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Some major companies, including PayPal and Deutsche Bank, canceled plans to expand in North Carolina. In addition, the NBA moved its All-Star Game from Charlotte, and the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA canceled plans to hold football and basketball championship games in the state. Since the repeal, the NCAA has said it would reconsider North Carolina as a host for future championship events. Travel bans create uncertainty International travelers have been on edge this year after President Donald Trump issued two executive orders prohibiting travelers from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The orders have been blocked by federal courts. Trump says the travel bans are intended to protect national security. While the U.S. Travel Association supports efforts to improve security, it has urged Trump’s administration to welcome legitimate travel.  “Mr. President, please tell the world that while we’re closed to terror, we’re open for business,” Roger Dow, CEO and president of the country’s largest travel organization, said in a recent statement. Drawing international visitors through Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia has typically been a benefit for Virginia, because frequently visitors coming to see the nation’s capital take side trips to Virginia.  So far, Trump’s travel bans don’t seem to be having a negative impact, with international traffic up 12 percent in January at Dulles International.  Yet travel bans contribute to an environment of uncertainty, which isn’t good for travel.  “Our industry is doing everything we can to get the administration’s attention on that,” says Jonathan Grella, executive vice president of public affairs for the U.S. Travel Association. “We hope that the president’s hotelier industry instincts kick in, and they issue a statement of some type of reassurance. If international travel dips, we’ll end up with two problems: the security problem and an economic problem.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2017 For the Record - May 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2017#When:02:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA Cision, a Chicago-based media communication technology and analytics company, has acquired Reston-based Bulletin Intelligence, which provides customized news briefings to CEOs. Financial details about the acquisition were not disclosed. Cision also is adding Bulletin Healthcare and Bulletin Media-branded services to its product portfolio. Bulletin Healthcare delivers medical specialty news briefings each morning to more than a million health-care professionals. Bulletin Media provides daily news customized for engineers, educators and manufacturers. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Manassas business owner Corliss Udoema was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2017 Virginia Small Business Person of the Year. Udoema is the founder, president and CEO of Contract Solutions Inc., a staffing and professional support services company. After retiring from a 32-year career with the federal government in various executive-level contracting and procurement positions, she founded CSI in 2006. In a letter to Udoema announcing the award, SBA administrator Linda McMahon stated, “Your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your state’s economy.”  (Inside NoVa) Tysons-based IT services firm Computer Sciences Corp. is no more: April 3 marked its first day trading as DXC Technology, the result of its merger with the services business unit of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. The combined company is expected to generate $24 billion to $24.5 billion in revenue for 2017. Before the merger, CSC had $7.1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending on April 1, 2016, while the HP Enterprise services business generated about $18.55 billion in that same period. DXC will be based in Tysons and trade as “DXC” on the New York Stock Exchange. (Washington Business Journal) Arlington-based Graham Holdings Co. plans to acquire Thomson, Ga.-based Hoover Treated Wood Products Inc. The purchase price was not disclosed. Graham says it has entered into a letter of intent with Hoover, a supplier of lumber and plywood products for fire retardant and preservative applications. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. Graham companies span several industries, including education, media, home health, hospice care and manufacturing. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Nasdaq notified Reston-based NCI on March 21 that the company was not in compliance with the exchange’s rules because it hadn’t released its annual financial information for 2016 in a timely fashion, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NCI has until May 22 to submit a plan for getting back into compliance, or else it could see its shares removed from the exchange. NCI said in a statement it expects to file its annual financials by the deadline. The company also is in the midst of an internal investigation of its former controller, Jon Frank, whom it’s accusing of embezzling millions from the company in the last decade. It has filed a lawsuit against Frank in a Fairfax County Circuit Court, and it said that both the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also have launched investigations into the case. (Washington Business Journal) Sterling-based NeuStar Inc. shareholders approved a $2.9 billion sale to a private equity group led by San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital in a special stockholder meeting in March. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, and the two companies expect the transaction to be final in the third quarter of this year. The publicly traded company will become privately held as it continues to expand its business beyond its legacy services — helping mobile-phone customers transfer their numbers and to route calls — and into information, marketing and cybersecurity services. (Washington Business Journal) Arlington-based PAE expects to acquire Ashburn-based government services contractor FCi Federal. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and was expected to close within 45 business days when it was announced April 3. PAE supports the execution of “complex and critical missions” by providing global logistics and stability operations, technical services and national security solutions to customers around the world. After the closure of the deal, FCi Federal will continue to operate from its current office in Ashburn as a business unit of PAE. (Loudoun Times-Mirror) Pupatella, the Ballston pizza joint that regularly tops “best of” lists around Greater Washington, will begin its quest for world pizza domination in Richmond. The purveyor of authentic Neapolitan pies has signed its first franchise development deal with Zeeshan Kaba, a Richmond entrepreneur who will develop up to four locations in the Richmond area. The first is expected to open this summer in the Virginia capital’s Fan District near Virginia Commonwealth University. (Washington Business Journal) EASTERN VIRGINIA  Allfirst LLC  plans to expand its Suffolk headquarters, creating 27 jobs during the next three years. The industrial general contractor and metal fabricator plans to spend $130,000 on the expansion, purchasing new machinery and tools. It will retrain its 62 existing employees in addition to creating new jobs. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Atlantic Core Building Products  plans to establish a manufacturing operation in Chesapeake, which is expected to create 50 jobs. The company will spend $3 million on the facility. Atlantic Core makes cold-formed steel framing, finishing and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) accessories for commercial and residential buildings. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Hampton Roads Transit  has laid off 16 administrative employees and eliminated 17 other administrative jobs in the wake of its budget shortfalls. Much of the money saved from salaries will go toward 2018’s budget, which starts in July, said HRT spokesman Tom Holden. In late March, HRT reported it was already $1 million over its current $99.5 million operating budget. It is unclear if the layoffs will help the transit group avoid going over budget this year and next fiscal year. (The Virginian-Pilot)  Escalante Golf  has acquired Kingsmill Resort for $30.7 milli on. Texas-based Escalante Golf owns and operates 15 golf-course properties throughout the country. The Kingsmill community encompasses 2,900 acres with private roads and a 24-hour police force. The resort includes 422 rooms, a 17,000-square-foot conference center and three golf courses. (The Virginia Gazette) Optima Health will become the second tenant for a city-owned property on Military Highway in Norfolk. The Virginia Beach-based health insurance company plans to hire 200 employees at the facility at 880 North Military Highway. The new positions will support a statewide contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia. The first tenant announced for the property was Movement Mortgage. (The Virginian-Pilot) The biggest ship ever to call on the Port of Virginia — or the entire U.S. East Coast, for that matter — is scheduled to arrive May 8 at Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth. The COSCO Development, about 250 feet shy of the length of the Empire State Building laid on its side, can carry 13,092 TEUs or standard 20-foot containers. (The Virginian-Pilot) SHENANDOAH VALLEY  Amazon  plans to establish an e-commerce warehouse and distribution operation in Frederick County, a project expected to create 1,000 jobs. The Seattle-based online retailer will build a 1 million-square-foot facility in the county’s White Hall Commerce Center. Virginia successfully competed against West Virginia for the project.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Augusta County  will receive a nearly $300,000 state telecommunications grant. The county was one of five Virginia jurisdictions to receive a total of $945,000 in funds through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative. Augusta County is partnering with Staunton-based Lingo Networks, a provider of fiber and fixed wireless and broadband, on the project. The main targeted area for the funding is Middlebrook.         (The News Virginian)         The Hershey Co.  of Hershey, Pa., is planning to increase production of i ts operation in Stuarts Draft and create 69 a dditional jobs. The announcement marks the eighth expansion for Hershey at its Augusta County plant, which was established in 1980. It is the company’s second-largest production plant in the U.S.         (              VirginiaBusiness.com) A consultant recommends that  Augusta County  rezone the county’s Mill Place Commerce Park in Verona to emphasize industrial developme nt and to reduce the park’s commercial footprint. The rezoning recommendations could take a few months to develop, county officials say. The Timmons Group proposal calls for the largest swath of Mill Place to be industrial, with smaller sections set aside for commercial and commercial/industrial transition. (The News Virginian) Shamrock Farms, one of the largest family-owned dairies in the U.S., plans to expand its Augusta County operations, adding more than 70 jobs. In addition to spending more than $40 million on the expansion, the Phoenix-based company has committed to spending an additional $24 million on Virginia milk; quadrupling its current purchases of agricultural products from the commonwealth. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The Food and Drug Administration has filed a court order against Valley Milk Products in Strasburg, banning the production of all powdered milk as a result of salmonella being found during inspections last summer. The company has agreed to cooperate with the FDA without confirming or denying its allegations. The plant has not produced milk powder since July and cannot resume until 10 “appropriate corrective actions” are taken to sanitize the facility and ensure that salmonella bacteria don’t reappear in the products or the plant. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Omaha, Neb.-based   BH Media Group   in April eliminated 289 jobs, including 108 vacant positions, at its newspapers nationwide because of declining revenue. The move reduces the workforce to 4,450 at t he company, which publishes the  Richmond Times-Dispatch  and several other papers in Vir ginia. The Times-Dispatch laid off 33 full-time employees, and  The Roanoke Times  and Free-Lance Star each laid off 10.   (The Roanoke Times)  Lidl U.S. Operations LLC  purchased a former Colonial Downs off-track wagering parlor in Richmond for $3.4 million and plans to put a 19,000-square-foot grocery store on the site. Lidl bought the 3.7-acre property on West Broad Street from Colonial Downs. The Germany-based discount supermarket chain plans to construct a prototype store at the location as part of the rollout of its first U.S. stores. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Chesterfield County leaders approved a proposal in March to construct a new indoor sports complex. The 50,000- square-foot facility will be located at Stonebridge, the former Cloverleaf Mall site. Under the agreement, the board of supervisors agreed to issue bonds to cover around $7.5 million of the financing associated with  the new facility. This new venture is a public-private partnership between  Richmond Volleyball Club  and Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation. (WTVR.com)  The top executive at Vastly, previously known as Tranlin Inc., is no longer with the company. Vastly, which plans to build a $2 billion paper plant in Chesterfield County, confirmed the departure of Jerry Z. Peng in a brief statement in March. Dong Lan is serving as the company’s acting CEO. Peng is a 2003 graduate of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. The company did not give any reasons for his departure. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Virginia Commonwealth University students may pay about 5.3 percent more in tuition and fees next year to close an estimated $19.1 million funding gap, officials said in early April. The university faces a revenue gap of about $11 million to pay for unavoidable costs and high-priority needs, including a 3 percent salary increase. An additional $8 million budget reduction from the state brings the total gap to $19.1 million. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Bassett Furniture Industries announced in March that it is investing $1.5 million in new equipment in Henry County and will add 22 employees to its local operations. Bassett Furniture will receive a $95,000 grant from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and $53,502 in Henry County Enterprise Zone grants over five years. (Martinsville Bulletin) Blue Ridge Fiberboard plans to invest $2 million to improve efficiency at its Danville plant. The company, which employs 119 people, makes roofing, soundproofing and exterior sheathing products. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission has provided a $75,000 grant from its Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund to help with the expansion, Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville) said in a news release. (Work It, SoVa) Graduates of the Licensed Practical Nursing program at Danville Community College have maintained a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination state board tests since 2012, the only program in Virginia to do so. Practical nurses provide bedside care and medicine while assisting registered nurses with ongoing patient assessments. Since 2009, the college also has had a registered nurse program.  (Danville Register & Bee)  Halifax County will seek nearly $1.8 million in grant funding to build a manufacturing shell building near the entrance of the Southern Virginia Technology Park on U.S. 58. The 37,500-square-foot structure is intended to be “broadly attractive to various types of manufacturers,” according to the grant application to the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. “Businesses, once they make their minds to move, want something that is ready for them,” said Ted Bennett, a board member of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority.  ( SoVaNow.com)  SteelFab, one of the nation’s largest structural steel fabricators, will invest $2.14 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Emporia.  The project will create 18 jobs. The company plans to construct a new building and add machinery and equipment to increase its steel fabrication output. Virginia successfully competed against Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina for the project. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $60,000 from its Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities are available through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.  (News release) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA The Wytheville branch of the American Association of University Women and Wytheville Community College (WCC) sponsored the STEM Train event at WCC. The event, held March 25, provided middle school girls with a hands-on day exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). WCC staff and faculty, along with instructors and students from Virginia Tech, taught classes focusing on different STEM disciplines. (SWVA­Today.com) Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced in March $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the Town of Big Stone Gap for the Mountain Empire Community College Power Lineman Program.  The CDBG program provides funding to eligible units of local government for planning and implementing projects that address critical community needs, including housing, infrastructure, and economic development. The non-credit lineman training enables students to earn a number of credentials to prepare them for entry into an apprenticeship program with the power distribution industry. (News release) Bland County has been awarded $192,141 in grant money for broadband deployment in the Hollybrook community. The Bland County Wireless Authority applied for grant funding through the Department of Housing and Community Development in the winter of 2016, through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative program. This grant application was in partnership with WVVA.net. The project is expected to provide high-speed internet access to more than 300 homes and businesses in Hollybrook and improve the county’s main broadband backhaul infrastructure.  (SWVAToday.com) Quesenberry’s Construction, a general contractor and construction manager in Big Stone Gap, has received the 2016 Project of the Year Award from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of TN Tri-Cities Branch. The Division II award, for projects of $5 million construction costs and up, was presented at an awards banquet on March 28 in Johnson City, Tenn. The company received the award for the new library at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The new six-story, 66,000-square-foot  UVa-Wise Library is poised on a steep embankment at the intersection of the academic and residential precincts. Besides abundant shelving for 300,000 volumes, the building includes group learning areas, multi-media space, lounge seating, a café and a tiered outdoor seating area. Quesenberry’s Construction also won the AGC branch’s project of the year award in 2015. (News release) The second and final phase of the Wytheville Connector from Peppers Ferry Road to Lithia Road is now under construction. The $3.2 million project was recently awarded to W-L Construction & Paving Inc. in Chilhowie. In addition to offering an alternative route to Route 11 through the center of Wytheville, the project will provide an additional entrance to Wytheville Community College.  Motorists should be minimally impacted by construction, as most of the construction is a new location. (SWVAToday.com) The town of Wytheville has formed a Beautification Task Force to enhance the town’s appearance for residents and tourists. The task force is made of department heads from the town of Wytheville, along with representatives from the Town Council, Downtown Wytheville and the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce. The effort will combine municipal and volunteer efforts. (SWVAToday.com) The Wytheville Town Council approved two programs in March it hopes will improve buildings and the aesthetics of the downtown area. The $200,000 Downtown Development Fund, to be established July 1, will provide funds to property owners in the downtown general business district to renovate buildings for business and residential purposes. The maximum grant is $50,000 per building. The Sign Improvement Grant Program will provide an incentive for downtown businesses to invest in new signs and upgrade old signs. The program’s budget is $7,500 for the first year. (SWVAToday.com) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Earth Fare is one step closer to its opening day. Property owner Harbour Retail Partners was granted permits to begin construction of the grocery store on the Ivy Market site in Roanoke in March. Randy Kelley, principal of the partnership, said the project is making a lot of progress and is on track to open in October. The 24,000-square-foot store will be Earth Fare’s first Virginia location. It will include a variety of organic and natural foods, a hot-foods bar, a juice bar and an indoor/outdoor cafe. A 7,000-square-foot multi-tenant building is also being constructed at the site. The Thalhimer real estate group has begun to market the site to potential tenants. (The Roanoke Times) The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said in April that it will require the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project to provide details about individual crossings of streams and wetlands to demonstrate that the crossings will comply with state water quality standards. The DEQ said it would demand the same from the separate but similar Atlantic Coast Pipeline — requiring what is referred to as “individual 401 water quality certification” from the Virginia Water Protection permit program. Each interstate pipeline project is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Each has garnered support in some circles and stirred fierce opposition in others. (The Roanoke Times) Railcar assembler FreightCar America said in March that, due to deteriorating business conditions, it intends to lay off 166 workers on April 24 and 198, the “balance” of its Roanoke workforce, on May 28. The layoffs will go on “until production operations come to a halt,” said a letter to Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea.  Company management “hopes and anticipates that this workforce reduction will be a temporary measure of limited duration,” according to the letter, which was signed by Paul Winsauer, a company human resources official. However, Winsauer said he could not predict when anyone would return to work. (The Roanoke Times) Agribusiness and food production giant Land O’Lakes Inc. plans to build an animal feed manufacturing facility in the Roanoke Valley. Plans call for the plant to open in December 2018. Land O’Lakes declined to disclose where the facility would be located, what sort of investment was anticipated or how many people might work there. Company spokeswoman Becky Lentz said the plant will produce Purina-brand horse and cattle feed, as well as other livestock feed. Purina Animal Nutrition, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, does not manufacture Purina-brand cat and dog food, which are products of Nestle Purina. (The Roanoke Times) For the sixth consecutive month the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport posted a year-over-year increase in passengers utilizing the facility. February 2017 data showed a 5.8 percent increase in passengers flying into and out of the airport compared to 2016. Traditionally a slower month, February passenger numbers showed the highest demand since 2013. Mild winter weather and improved operational reliability assisted in the passenger increase. ROA serves more than 600,000 passengers per year with four airlines. (News release) Roanoke County is on the hunt for potential partners interested in bringing campgrounds, restaurants, ziplines or other amenities to Explore Park. The goal is to turn the park into a more robust recreation hub that can spur tourism and economic development in the region. Interested parties now have until May 17 to submit proposals. Once the deadline elapses, the county will form review committees to vet and score each set of offers. (The Roanoke Times) The Roanoke Regional Partnership was recognized for its work on the Deschutes Brewery project with a 2017 Excellence in Economic Development Award from the Site Selectors Guild. The award was presented to Executive Director Beth Doughty at the Guild’s annual conference March 15 in Tucson, Ariz. The Site Selectors Guild is the only association of the world’s professional site selection consultants. (News release) The State Board for Community Colleges has certified four finalists who have applied to become president of Dublin-based New River Community College (NRCC). They were selected from more than 90 applicants. The finalists include David L. Brand, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina; Pat Huber, vice president for instruction and student services at NRCC; Susan Short, associate vice president for engagement at Virginia Tech; and Kristen A. Westover, vice president for academic and student services at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville. They are vying to succeed Jack Lewis, who retired last year. Charlie White is the college’s interim president. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2017 People - May 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2017#When:02:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA Lauri Reishus was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer at Arlington-based Airlines Reporting Corp. She has more than 30 years of travel management experience, including 12 years at ARC. (News release) Michael W. Wallace has joined Springfield-based Spok Holdings Inc. as chief financial officer. He was executive vice president and CFO at Nashville, Tenn.-based Intermedix.  He succeeds Shawn E. Endsley, now Spok’s chief accounting officer. (News release) Inova Loudoun Hospital CEO Patrick Walters, who retired in April, was replaced by Inova Mount Vernon Hospital CEO Deborah Addo. Inova Alexandria Hospital CEO Susan Carroll was promoted to regional executive officer at Inova Alexandria and Inova Mount Vernon hospitals. Meanwhile, Mount Vernon’s chief medical officer, Dr. Don Brideau, became interim CEO of the hospital while the Northern Virginia health system begins the selection process for a CEO in Alexandria. (Washington Business Journal) Chantilly-based Engility Holdings Inc. has named Scott Whatmough senior vice president of the company’s defense group business. Whatmough joins Engility after 30 years at Raytheon, where he led a $900-million military electronics systems business. (VirginiaBusiness.com) McLean-based Hilton has named Jonathan Witter chief customer officer, a newly created role. Witter was president of retail and direct banking at Capital One Financial Corp., also based in McLean. (VirginiaBusiness.com) EASTERN VIRGINIA Kevin Murphy will succeed the retiring Frank Roach as CEO of Newport News-based Ferguson Enterprises on Aug. 1. Murphy is the company’s chief operating officer. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Philip Shucet has been named CEO of Portsmouth-based Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC). Shucet succeeds Greg Woodsmall, who will remain at ERC as vice president of operations. Shucet, a former Virginia Department of Transportation commissioner and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit, most recently ran a consulting firm. (The Virginian-Pilot) Huntington Ingalls Industries has announced several appointments in its Technical Solutions division, including:   Tom Davison  , president, Oil & Gas Group;  Billy Jahn , CFO  and vice president, business management; Michael Lempke, president, Nuclear & Environmental Gro up; Brad Mason, preside  nt, Fleet Support Group; and Joe Reale, president, Integrated Mission Solutions Group. (News release)  Amy Jordan , formerly redevelopment manager in Hampton’s economic development department, is now James County’s economic development director. Former director Russell Seymour moved to the county’s general services department. (Daily Press)  John Powe ll, managin g broker at a Long & Foster Real Estate office in Virginia Beach, has been appointed to serve on the Real Estate Information Network’s 2017 board of directors. (Daily Press) SHENANDOAH VALLEY A lifelong Shenandoah County resident has jumped from the golden arches to grant-writing and event planning for the Town of New Market. Amber Dennison is the town’s new events and marketing coordinator. She had been a store manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in Harrisonburg for 13 years. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald) Founder and owner of Barren Ridge Vineyards John Higgs has  been elected president of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Growers Association. Citing the Valley’s history as a major producer of apples in the 1940s and 1950s, when his father had orchards on the property that is now Barren Ridge Vineyards, Higgs promised to use his new position to revive the Valley’s reputation as a first-rate producer of fruit. (The News Leader) Dynamic Aviation, provider of special-mission aviation solutions, has promoted Darrell Pope to senior vice president, flight operations. Pope joined Bridgewater-based Dynamic Aviation as a pilot in 2009.  Since that time, he has held roles of increasing responsibility within the flight operations department, most recently serving as vice president, flight operations. (News release) Katy Reeves is the 2017 chair of the board of directors of Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation. She is the vice president and chief administrative officer at Fauquier Health in Warrenton. Reeves has served on the board of the Shenandoah Valley-based college since 2014. (News release) CENTRAL VIRGINIA  Shane M. Cason  has joined Richmond-based Davenport & Co. as vice president–investments. Before joining Davenport, Cason was a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch for 15 years. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  William E. Har dy has been appo inted to the board of directors of Richmond-based Community Bankers Trust Corp., the parent company of Essex Bank. Hardy also is a director of the bank. He is a founding partner and the president of Harris, Hardy & Johnstone PC in Richmond. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Jan Hatchette has been named deputy director for communications at the Virginia Mu­­­seum of Fine Arts in Richmond. She was senior director of marketing strategy and services at the University of Richmond. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Christopher N. Petersen has been named chair of Parker, Pollard, Wilton & Peaden PC’s business and real estate section. Petersen oversees commercial and real estate matters, financing, and general business matters at the Richmond-based law firm. (News release) Rhodes B. Ritenour has been named vice president of external and regulatory affairs in the mission services division of Bon Secours Richmond Health System. Ritenour was deputy attorney general of Virginia for civil litigation. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority has elected  Butch Blanks  to serve another term as chairman. Chad Francis was named as vice chairman, and Mattie Claiborne will serve as secretary/treasurer. The three officers will serve two-year terms. (SoVaNow.com)  The Campbell Family Group , a family philanthropic organization, received the Fred Herring Award from the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth. The award, the chamber’s highes t honor, was accepted by Clay Campbell, the president of Martin sville Speedway, and his sister, Sarah Campbell Fain. (Martinsville Bulletin)  Lisa Fultz, executive director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, received the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award, which is presented to the person considered to have had the most significant impact on the organization in the past year. (Martinsville Bulletin) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Scott Bevins, the associate vice chancellor for information services at UVa-Wise, has been awarded the Distinguished Technology and Engineering Professional designation by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. The honor is based upon evidence of leadership and management skills, continuing participation in association education programs and demonstration of leadership in the association and community. (News release) Matthew Eades has joined Powell Valley National Bank as a vice president and business development officer in Abingdon. Eades has nearly 10 years of financial industry experience, most recently serving as vice president and branch manager for Highlands Union Bank in Abingdon. (News release) Sam Neese has joined Powell Valley National Bank as senior vice president and business development officer. With Neese’s leadership, the bank is opening a loan production office in Abingdon. Neese has over 42 years of banking experience in Washington County, including 24 years serving as the CEO of Highlands Union Bank in Abingdon, before retiring in 2015. (News release) John Wells will join Emory & Henry College on June 1 as its first provost. He has served as the executive vice president and chief academic officer at Mars Hill University in North Carolina since 2009. (News release) Dawn Yarber has been named loan administration specialist at Powell Valley National Bank’s Abingdon office. She has over 17 years of financial industry experience, including serving as escrow department supervisor for Highlands Union Bank in Abingdon. (News release) Six winners were chosen in the Washington County Business Challenge held at the county’s Chamber of Commerce breakfast on March 16. The challenge asks local residents with existing businesses or new business ideas to sign up to win up to $5,000. The winners were   Brian Zier  , Trail Town Ti ny Houses;  Stephen Harris , Appalachi an Drafting;  Lindsey Holderfield , Paper Moon Studio; Mohsin Kasmi, The Pakalachian; Denise Pet  erson, The Blue Door Garden and Frank Cardinell, The ReCell Shop. (SWVAToday.com) Four Emory & Henry College students brought home research awards from the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) meeting in March in Atlanta. E&H students   Myranda Staiano   (Waxhaw, N.C.),  Beth Stevens  (Wytheville), Jordan Greenburg (Cordova, Tenn.) and Rachel  Peters (Gate City) received a cash prize for their research by the Psi Chi International Honor Society.  (News release) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Zeke Barlow has been promoted to director of communications and marketing at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Blacksburg. Barlow was the college’s assistant director of communications and marketing. (News release) Thomas Bondurant Jr., a partner in the Roanoke office of Gentry Locke, has been named by Emory & Henry College as the 2017 recipient of its E&H Distinguished Achievement Award. (News release) Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, has been named one of the top 50 economic developers in North America by Consultant Connect. (The Roanoke Times) Frances McClung Ferguson is the new executive director at the Salem Museum. Ferguson was development director for the Roanoke-based Virginia Museum of Transportation. (The Roanoke Times) Charles W. Steger, former president of Virginia Tech, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the Division of Earth and Life Studies committee of the National Academy of Sciences. (News release) Justin Yalung has been named controller at Christiansburg-based Inorganic Ventures. He was corporate controller at Blacksburg-based TechLab Inc. (News release) 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP2695.png Robert McAden has been involved with the technology council since its inception. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-council-names-board-chairman-as-its-new-ceo Tech council names board chairman as its new CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-council-names-board-chairman-as-its-new-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-council-names-board-chairman-as-its-new-ceo#When:02:00:00Z After a national search for a new leader, the board of directors of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council has named its former chairman as president and CEO of the organization. Robert McAden also will lead the Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network. He succeeds Jonathan Whitt, who resigned from the job last November.   McAden has been involved with RBTC since its inception. He’s been on its board for more than three years and became chairman in 2015. McAden also has served on the boards of NuSpark, a free workspace for fledgling entrepreneurs, and the RAMP Accelerator, an organization that has turned an old hospital building into a center that helps startup tech companies grow. “So I have a lot of experience in the kind of nonprofit, public-sector kind of thing,” McAden says. He’s also been in the technology field since the 1980s. For more than 13 years, he worked at Rackspace, a cloud-computing company with customers in 120 countries. Before that, McAden worked at some small tech consulting firms and some not-so-small ones, including Oracle and Bearing Point. McAden expects to see “companies having almost farm teams” outside of traditional high-tech centers where “they’re having to pay extremely high wages.  They have employees who are having a hard time finding places to live. And then they’ve got the problem of really high turnover. Once you land someone, it’s not uncommon for them to leave six months later because they found a better offer.” McAden also expects to see more companies being spun out of Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tech-Carilion Research Institute. He predicts that trend will attract more venture capital to the region. “The economic development model is changing in a lot of ways,” he says. “How do we help people who have ideas here and create companies and jobs right here locally?” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Marion_VA.png Marion is seeing an apartment boom. Photo courtesy The Town of Marion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-apartments-college-students-fuel-marions-revival Downtown apartments, college students fuel Marion’s revival http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-apartments-college-students-fuel-marions-revival http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-apartments-college-students-fuel-marions-revival#When:02:00:00Z For nearly a century, Marion College sat on Marion’s Main Street. It closed in 1967. For much of the 20th century, R.T. Greer and Co. was a national leader in crude botanicals — roots and herbs collected and sold to pharmaceutical companies — and Marion was the center of Greer’s operations. But the business shrank as drug companies turned to other ingredients. Greer was gone by 1968. Textile companies in Marion also provided steady employment for decades, but by the early 1990s many of those jobs had disappeared. Town Manager Bill Rush says Marion “took some blows,” but it didn’t fall. One of the town’s old sewing factories is about to be converted into an apartment building. The old herb warehouse is, too. Two other downtown buildings have been or are about to be transformed into apartments. Ken Heath, executive director of Marion’s Community and Economic Development Department, says that when the latest round of renovations ends, the town of about 6,000 people will have more than 120 downtown apartments. Pent-up demand explains some of the apartment boom, but college students are playing a big role, too. “For a generation, we didn’t have a college,” Heath says. “Now we have three of them.” Two institutions — Wytheville and Virginia Highlands community colleges — offer academic classes in the Summit Center, a higher-education facility on the top floor of the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts. The Henderson — named after the well-known Virginia guitar player, luthier and National Heritage award winner — provides classes in a variety of regional arts, including quilting, woodworking and making musical instruments. Last fall, Emory & Henry College’s School of Health Sciences accepted its first graduate students at the old Smyth County hospital site. Rush expects about 500 students to be studying there five years from now. Heath likes to call Marion “an overnight success that was 20 years in the making.” “We realized with a population of 6,000 people, we’re not going to get the same business as Roanoke or Bristol,” he says, “so we’re going to have to build it some other way.” Marion worked to attract people with ties to the community and to help locals develop ideas into businesses. More than a decade ago, Joe Ellis, the man behind two of the current apartment projects, renovated the 1920s-era General Francis Marion Hotel. Two years earlier, the renovated Lincoln Theatre had reopened a short walk down Main Street. The Lincoln, with an Art Deco interior intended to evoke a Mayan temple, hosts “Song of the Mountains,” a weekly mountain music show that is syndicated on PBS stations across the country. Heath credits Marion’s revival to community cooperation, organizations promoting Southwest Virginia and the mix of public and private dollars. Opportunity, persistence and luck all matter, but once things get rolling, Heath says, positive change takes on a momentum. “It feeds itself,” he says. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more stuff you get, the more people come. The more people come, the more stuff you get.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Panel_of_speakers.png North Carolina-based iScribes will hire at least five employees in the Danville area during the next three years. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-recordkeeping-service-receives-investment Medical recordkeeping service receives investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-recordkeeping-service-receives-investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-recordkeeping-service-receives-investment#When:02:00:00Z A North Carolina-based startup that helps doctors with their patient records has received a shot in the arm from a Danville-based business development organization. The Launch Place is investing $250,000 in iScribes. The money is part of a $410,000 total investment in the company. The remaining $160,000 came from Triangle Angel Partners, an angel investor firm funding startups in and around North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. In accepting the grant from The Launch Place, iScribes has agreed to hire a minimum of five employees from the Danville area during the next three years, paying a minimum of $250,000 in salaries in the region. The Durham, N.C.-based startup helps physicians maintain their records of patient visits.  Instead of keeping notes themselves or employing assistants (called scribes) to take down information, physicians use iScribes’ mobile app to make an audio recording of their discussions with patients.  iScribes employees then transcribe the recording, putting the information in electronic medical records. iScribes was founded in 2014 by Christopher McGuire and Dr. Jared Pelo, who had become frustrated with the time involved in documenting patient visits.  “I quickly saw how burdensome documentation had become. Doctors were burning out. Counterintuitively, technology didn’t seem to help,” Pelo said in a statement when the investments were announced. “In fact, the adoption of widespread electronic medical records just made matters worse for overworked doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.” Last year iScribes documented more than 400,000 patient visits. Pelo estimates that this means iScribes saved 27,000 hours of physicians’ time. The company now employs more than 250 people, and Pelo says that he hopes to double employment this year.  Eva Doss, president and CEO of the Launch Place, says that she hopes iScribes will help the Danville area achieve a critical mass of startups that will draw more jobs to the area. Officials have been working for years to stimulate the local economy after the loss of tobacco, furniture and textile industry jobs. The Launch Place’s goal is to assist business development in Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_7717.png Matt Donlon is one of the founders of Uzurv, which offers a ride reservation app in 131 cities. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/legislation-gives-ride-reservation-service-room-to-grow Legislation gives ride reservation service room to grow http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/legislation-gives-ride-reservation-service-room-to-grow http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/legislation-gives-ride-reservation-service-room-to-grow#When:02:00:00Z Richmond-based Uzurv may be far from California, but it’s capitalizing on the popularity of San Francisco-based ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Those companies disrupted taxi service in many cities by allowing users to hail rides (and make trips at lower costs) through the use of apps on their phones. Uzurv’s app adds a new wrinkle to this growing trend. It allows users to reserve rides with specific Uber and Lyft drivers. Uzurv only handles reservations and does not provide transportation itself. The app has become popular since it was first launched  in 2016 by Matt Donlon and Harold Frans.  Uzurv now serves 131 U.S. cities.  But if the company had not received some help from the Virginia General Assembly, its app would not be available in its home state because prior law did not allow UZURV to arrange rides with “transportation network company” (TNC) drivers, like those working for Uber and Lyft.  If the situation had not been corrected, Uzurv would have ceased operations in Virginia, Donlon says.   A bill passed by the legislature during its 2017 session, however, reclassified the company as a TNC broker, a company that arranges rides with TNCs but is not subject to the same state requirements.  The law goes into effect July 1. He believes Uzurv’s app could help expand ride-sharing services to rural and suburban areas. With Uzurv reservations, drivers can plan their day around their schedule, making them more likely to make trips in less populated areas. Drivers not using the app are more likely to exclusively offer service in more populated areas because they can find more work there. In most of its markets, Uzurv charges the driver and the rider 99 cents each per reservation. That means a rider pays the Uzurv charge on top of the fee paid to Uber or Lyft.   (In Richmond and five other cities, however, the company is testing a fee that is 50 cents higher, $1.49 for the rider.)   2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/munters_corporation.png Munters Corp. makes energy recovery and dehumidification systems as well as air handling equipment. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expansion-to-create-100-jobs-at-buena-vista-plant Expansion to create 100 jobs at Buena Vista plant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expansion-to-create-100-jobs-at-buena-vista-plant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expansion-to-create-100-jobs-at-buena-vista-plant#When:02:00:00Z Munters Corp.’s Buena Vista plant builds some of the company’s most complicated equipment. “This has historically been a $40 to $50 million operation,” says Don Driscoll, Munters’ director of Virginia operations. “About 10 percent of our equipment is exported around the world.” The company is investing $2.5 million to expand operations and upgrade equipment in Buena Vista, a project that will create 100 jobs. The company already has filled about half of those positions, bringing the plant’s total employment to about 250. Munters makes energy recovery and dehumidification systems as well as custom air handling equipment for a wide range of industries. The Buena Vista plant specializes in HVAC systems with energy recovery components for data centers. “There is a real growing demand for our data-center products,” Driscoll says. The company’s roots in the area date back to 1991 when Des Champs Technologies moved to Natural Bridge Station in Rockbridge County. Des Champs eventually had two local facilities, one in Natural Bridge Station and one in Buena Vista. The company consolidated operations in Buena Vista in 2000 and sold its building in Natural Bridge. Munters acquired Des Champs in 2007. “The irony is that, because of our growth, we are now leasing 50,000 square feet in the building in Natural Bridge Station we started in,” says Driscoll. The company already has moved part of its operations to Natural Bridge Station and upgraded that facility. “We are almost doubling the capacity in the Buena Vista facility,” Driscoll says. “We also bought new equipment and fixtures for production lines.” Munters officials began planning for expansion early last year, considering several sites around the country. It chose Buena Vista because the plant is known within the company for having a highly skilled workforce and strong engineering capabilities. “The lynchpin to our success is finding skilled employees that can come in and build this type of complicated equipment,” Driscoll says. “Finding the right people with good mechanical aptitude and the right skill set is key to keeping up with demand.” The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will give the company $800 for training each of its 100 new employees. The expansion deal “happened quickly, in the course of 90 days,” says Brian Brown, Buena Vista’s director of economic development. “That was extremely fast for an economic development project.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/atarfil.png Atarfil will spend $5.1 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing and distribution facility. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-seen-as-a-good-fit-for-spanish-manufacturer Suffolk seen as a ‘good fit’ for Spanish manufacturer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-seen-as-a-good-fit-for-spanish-manufacturer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-seen-as-a-good-fit-for-spanish-manufacturer#When:02:00:00Z Spanish manufacturer Atarfil began looking for a site in the United States two years ago. In March, the company announced it will spend $5.1 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing and distribution facility in Suffolk. The city is a good fit logistically, says Mario G. Girones, the company’s sales and marketing director. “It was the perfect balance of all our needs.” The project will create 15 jobs. Founded in 1955 and based in Granada, Spain, Atarfil makes high-performance products such as thermoplastic geomembranes for safe-containment use in the waste, water and mining industries. The company has operations in Mexico, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. “Historically, the U.S. is a market where our products have been welcomed since the beginning,” Girones says.  Before picking Suffolk, the company looked at several locations, including sites in Maryland. “All of the options were extremely good with a different balance of advantages and disadvantages,” Girones says. “Key factors are related to logistic needs, energy supply, procurement chain and availability of space. The authorities in Suffolk strove from the very beginning to bring the project to this area.” One of the biggest challenges for Suffolk officials was finding an existing building large enough to accommodate Atarfil’s equipment. “Their equipment is about 90 feet in length,” says Greg Byrd, assistant director for Suffolk’s economic development department. “Once they decided on Suffolk, the logistics of moving the equipment had to be taken care of. The equipment came in during February, and now they are installing it.” Atarfil plans to finalize tests at its new manufacturing site “and start production at the end of May,” Girones says. The company received a $60,000 state grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund as well as a $60,000 grant from the Suffolk Economic Development Investment Program. It also is eligible to receive sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment and funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program to support its training efforts. “There is a lot of upside to these small manufacturers establishing a beachhead consistent with our advanced manufacturing strategy,” says Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, one of the organizations that helped secure the project. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Mellon_and_Bryce.png Jennifer Mellon, president, and husband, Danny Boice, CEO, co-founded Trustify in 2015. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/move-solves-growing-pains-for-investigative-firm Move solves growing pains for investigative firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/move-solves-growing-pains-for-investigative-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/move-solves-growing-pains-for-investigative-firm#When:02:00:00Z Trustify hosted a housewarming party in April to celebrate its move from Washington, D.C., to Arlington. Launched in 2015, the company’s website connects “individuals and businesses with highly trained private investigators nationwide,” says CEO Danny Boice, who co-founded Trustify with his wife, Jennifer Mellon, the company’s president.   The company home­page asks the user to begin the process by completing this sentence, “I need to ____”  by choosing from a drop-down menu of possible  investigations: “infidelity/cheating;  make sure my kids are safe; locate someone; run background checks; investigate fraud of assets; check data breach; find out something else.” Now the employer of 35 people, the company has grown rapidly during the past two years, making it necessary to find a larger space. “It was important that we create an office that would also be a ‘home away from home’ for our team,” Boice says. It was also crucial that Trustify had “sufficient staff to meet our clients’ needs,” Boice says. “Our new office space in Arlington allows us the space we need to continue growing.”  Priorities during the search phase included a convenient location, a thriving community and sufficient space to incorporate elements such as wellness rooms, a kitchen and living room/library space. “This is an incredible place for startups,” says Boice of Arlington’s advantages, ranging from its economic incentives to an innovative workforce. “We knew we wanted to be in the Arlington/Washington, D.C., area.” Trustify is leasing 10,000 square feet in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood. “This is an incredible neighborhood of like-minded entrepreneurs,” says Christina Winn, director of business investment for Arlington Economic Development. Crystal City’s central location and access to the Metro, Metro Bus and the Virginia Railway Express train was a plus for the company.   “It’s an easy commute for young talent living in D.C. who don’t have cars as well as to those who live further out and might be hesitant to battle the congestion in and around D.C.,” says Boice, who lives in Arlington with his family. 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie1409.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/compactness-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder Compactness is in the eye of the beholder http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/compactness-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/compactness-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder#When:02:00:00Z “Fairly debatable” was the key phrase in Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant’s recent ruling in favor of the defendants in a redistricting lawsuit.  So it goes in the ongoing saga of court fights over Virginia’s voting districts. “Compactness,” a mandatory criteria set by the Virginia Constitution, is apparently in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the shape of Virginia’s legislative districts, or so the testimony went before Marchant’s court in March. A lawsuit — funded by One­­­­­­­­­Virginia2021, a group seeking redistricting reform — sought to overturn the boundaries of five House of Delegates and six state Senate districts set by the General Assembly in 2011. The suit asserts that the districts’ compactness was compromised by discretionary criteria considered by legislators in redrawing the lines. In addition to being compact, the Virginia Constitution mandates that districts be close to equal in population and be composed of geographically contiguous parcels of land. The redrawn maps also must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. That law says districts cannot be drawn in a manner that dilutes minority voting power. When it comes to non-mandatory redistricting criteria, factors that tend to maintain the status quo come into play. These include avoiding: shifts in the core population composition of each district, grouping two incumbents in the same district and splitting municipalities into more than one district. As a group, these non-mandatory criteria often are considered helpful in maintaining a “community of interests” within districts.  On the whole, it seems that the idea of a community of interests is a functional surrogate for keeping incumbents in office.  In other words, a community of interests primarily means keeping the status quo intact. All of this works pretty well for members of the General Assembly.  It is rare that more than half of Virginia’s 100 House seats face contested races.  One of the arguments used to justify our current legislative districts is that they were passed with bipartisan support.  Perhaps minority party members feel it’s best to compromise and stay in office. Gerrymandering is a tool that has been used by both parties.  When the Democrats controlled the House of Delegates and the Senate, they did their best to tilt district maps in favor of keeping control.  Now Republicans are doing the same. When redrawn district maps were first presented to Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2011, he vetoed the Senate map on the basis that it was not as compact as required by law and favored Democrats who then held a slim majority in the Senate.  A slightly revised version of the map later was approved. Legal challenges to redistricting are not uncommon.  When lawsuits challenging congressional districts are included along with those involving state legislative districts, nearly a dozen court cases have been filed contesting the 2011 reapportionment.  Some of these cases have gone to trial, and some have not.  In some cases, appeals are still pending. Notably, a federal court case, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, is pending.  The plaintiffs in this case assert that too many minority voters were packed into a single legislative district to maintain the incumbents’ strength in surrounding districts. Bethune-Hill made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The opinion, handed down in March, was more or less an exercise in judicial pingpong.  The case was affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded to the lower court for further consideration.  And so it goes, in the ongoing saga of redistricting. Partisan redistricting is a long-established practice. Democrats and Republicans alike have used it to solidify their control of our political process.  It’s time for this to come to an end.  Virginia needs a nonpartisan process.  The requirements of the state constitution should come first, rather than being subordinated to the interests of incumbents of either party. Unfortunately self-interest by legislators predominates over the interest of the commonwealth. Voters understand this problem.  Unfortunately, the General Assembly is happy for it to remain “fairly debatable.” 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-calmer-pace A calmer pace http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-calmer-pace http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-calmer-pace#When:02:00:00Z Big growth spurts rarely last a long time. Such was the case of last year’s top-revenue growth numbers for the Fantastic 50, an annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in Virginia. The company with the highest growth rate last year, Ashburn-based Cynet Systems Inc., saw its revenue soar 7,388.7 percent from 2011 to 2014. That was the highest number recorded in the Fantastic 50 since the 2011 list when the top firm had a growth rate of 7,752 percent. This year the story is different.  The top company on the list is Stafford-based Darkblade Systems, whose revenue grew 1,848 percent from 2012 to 2015. That number is 5,541 percentage points lower than Cynet’s performance last year. But that doesn’t mean that the whole group of 50 on this year’s list grew at a slower rate. In fact, the median growth rate of this year’s Fan 50 rose to 281 percent, 55 percentage points higher than the pace seen in last year’s list. Also, five companies had growth rates of 1,000 percent or more this year, compared with just three in 2016. The more moderate but steady pace of this year’s numbers is reflected in the fact that Cynet is on the list again this year, but it clocks in at 2012-15 growth rate of 798 percent. Also on this year’s list is Devils Backbone Brewing Co., the leading manufacturing company on the 2016 Fantastic 50. Its return might surprise some people. The company announced last year it was being sold to beer giant Anheuser-Busch, but that deal occurred after the 2012-15 period covered by this year’s list. In addition to Darkblade Systems, three other companies on the list are being recognized as revenue-growth leaders in their categories. They are: Top technology company: GuidePoint Security LLC in Herndon Top service company: Axis Global Enterprises in Virginia Beach Top manufacturing company: O’Connnor Brewing Co. in Norfolk.   Northern Virginia companies continued to dominate the Fantastic 50 list, occupying 33 of the 50 spots. Eight companies are from Hampton Roads, while seven are from Central Virginia, and one each are from the Shenandoah Valley and the Northern Neck. This year’s list was based on revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. To be eligible for the list, a company must of had revenue of at least $200,000 in 2012. It also must have made a profit in 2015 and have revenue of less than $200 million in its most recent fiscal year. The Fantastic 50 companies were recognized at an awards banquet on April 27 at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles hotel in Chantilly. The accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman reviews the financial records of the entries to determine the winners. Virginia Business is a sponsor of the Fantastic 50. 2017 Virginia's Fantastic 50 list table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #A21A0C; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }    COMPANY LOCATION YEAR ESTABLISHED EMPLOYEES (2015) REVENUE (2015) '12- '15 GROWTH CATEGORY 1 Darkblade Systems Stafford 2010 24 WND 1,847.54% Service 2 GuidePoint Security LLC Herndon 2011 139 $111,126,703 1,275.90 Technology 3 Axis Global Enterprises Inc. Virginia Beach 2011 27 WND 1,273.69 Service 4 Super Systems Inc. (SSi) Virginia Beach 1988 120 WND 1,194.03 Technology 5 Davis Defense Group Inc. Stafford 2002 658 WND 1,040.94 Service 6 The Hilb Group Richmond 2009 174 WND 818.87 Service 7 V1 Analytical Solutions Arlington 2009 33 WND 802.35 Service 8 Cynet Systems Inc. Ashburn 2010 183 31,424,000 797.83 Service 9 Concept Plus LLC Fairfax 2008 95 18,212,000 691.83 Service 10 E3 Federal Solutions LLC McLean 2004 328 52,680,610 643.85 Service 11 RM Advisory Services LLC Alexandria 2005 35 WND 636.50 Service 12 Creative Systems and Consulting McLean 2010 40 WND 522.67 Technology 13 Ingenicomm Inc. Chantilly 2010 38 WND 501.08 Technology 14 Tribal Tech LLC Alexandria 2000 45 WND 488.03 Service 15 PotomacWave Consulting Alexandria 2007 155 WND WND Service 16 American Cyber Clifton 2011 48 WND 415.49 Service 17 Cape Henry Associates Virginia Beach 2004 182 22,380,720 409.00 Service 18 Convoke Arlington 2006 24 9,374,460 392.57 Technology 19 Impact Makers Richmond 2006 100 17,851,059 365.95 Service 20 O'Connor Brewing Co. Norfolk 2010 31 WND 356.46 Manufacturing 21 Eagle Hill Consulting Arlington 2003 108 WND 334.84 Service 22 Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Nelson County 2008 132 WND 300.93 Manufacturing 23 Veris Group LLC Vienna 2005 161 WND 298.98 Technology 24 Morooka America LLC Ashland 2012 28 17,530,774 294.33 Manufacturing 25 Insignia Technology Services LLC Newport News 2007 164 WND 292.53 Technology 26 DIGITALSPEC Fairfax 2005 40 4,188,097 270.55 Technology 27 Highlight Technologies LLC Fairfax 2008 64 WND 252.09 Service 28 SOLitude Lake Management Virginia Beach 1998 83 WND 251.86 Service 29 Brandito LLC Henrico 2009 7 3,200,216 249.68 Service 30 MindPoint Group LLC Springfield 2009 77 13,465,648 218.78 Service 31 Divurgent LLC Virginia Beach 2007 57 WND 202.46 Service 32 Patriot Group International Inc. Warrenton 2004 79 33,854,740 188.68 Service 33 Marathon TS Inc. Kilmarnock 2009 120 10,289,406 187.16 Technology 34 Sevatec Inc. Fairfax 2003 289 WND 167.69 Service 35 Epitome Networks Richmond 2009 75 WND 166.39 Technology 36 The Bowen Group Stafford 2005 128 WND 159.56 Service 37 ValidaTek Inc. Arlington 2006 114 WND 154.12 Service 38 Pretek Corp. Chantilly 2002 20 WND 148.37 Technology 39 Datatility Inc. Ashburn 2002 15 WND 146.57 Technology 40 Amatea LLC Leesburg 2005 7 9,726,857 143.84 Technology 41 NuAxis Innovations Vienna 2002 244 WND 133.04 Technology 42 ODUrent Norfolk 1999 22 WND 127.77 Service 43 The Frontier Project Richmond 2008 41 WND 125.59 Service 44 AEM Corp. Herndon 1986 257 WND 115.10 Technology 45 Technatomy Corp. Fairfax 2000 284 WND WND Service 46 Chmura Economics & Analytics Richmond 1998 18 WND 113.86 Service 47 Higher Logic Arlington 2007 78 WND 109.55 Technology 48 Dominion Consulting Reston 2009 70 34,559,797 106.55 Technology 48 Markon Solutions Falls Church 2007 164 WND 101.16 Service 50 Zantech IT Services Inc. Tysons Corner 2007 210 WND WND Technology WND – would not disclose for publication               Companies in BOLD are category honorees                Source: Dixon Hughes Goodman, Virginia Chamber of Commerce 2017-04-28T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/park-sterling-to-merge-with-south-state-corp Park Sterling to merge with South State Corp. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/park-sterling-to-merge-with-south-state-corp http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/park-sterling-to-merge-with-south-state-corp#When:16:26:00Z Park Sterling Corp., a Charlotte, N.C.-based community bank with operations in Virginia, is merging with Columbia, S.C.-based South State Corp. in an all-stock deal worth $690.8 million. The merger will give South State entry to the Richmond market. James C. Cherry, the CEO of Park Sterling, has been based in Richmond. After Park Sterling is merged into South State’s operations, he will be appointed to the combined company's board of directors. On March 31, Park Sterling  had approximately $3.3 billion in assets and $2.5 billion in deposits. It has 50 branches across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. After the merger, South State will have about $14.5 billion in assets, $11.5 billion in deposits and $10.4 billion in loans. Under the terms of the agreement, Park Sterling shareholders will receive 0.14 shares of South State common stock for each share of their Park Sterling common stock. 2017-04-27T16:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/karn-custom-woodwork-to-create-30-jobs-in-richmond Karn Custom Woodwork to create 30 jobs in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/karn-custom-woodwork-to-create-30-jobs-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/karn-custom-woodwork-to-create-30-jobs-in-richmond#When:16:14:00Z Richmond-based Karn Custom Woodwork announced Thursday it is investing more than $2.5 million to expand its operations. The move is expected to create 30 jobs. Karn Custom Woodwork is a small, women-owned, and minority-owned (SWaM) business that was founded in Richmond in 2003. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) will support the company through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Virginia competed against Maryland and Washington, D.C., for the project. 2017-04-27T16:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-may-2017 Out & About - May 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-may-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-may-2017#When:15:15:00Z The Main The soft opening of The Main hotel and conference center in downtown Norfolk on March 24-26 focused on the arts with a fundraising gala. The event, which featured many performers from local arts groups, raised more than $500,000 and showcased the state’s newest Hilton-branded conference venue. Photos by Mark Rhodes 2017-04-27T15:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-to-acquire-paragon-commercial-corp TowneBank to acquire Paragon Commercial Corp., http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-to-acquire-paragon-commercial-corp http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-to-acquire-paragon-commercial-corp#When:15:06:00Z Portsmouth-based TowneBank plans to acquire Raleigh, N.C.- based Paragon Commercial Corp., the parent company of Paragon Commercial Bank, in a stock deal valued at $323.7 million. The combined bank is expected to have $9.7 billion in assets and total deposits of $7.5 billion. TowneBank also announced its first-quarter earnings on Thursday. Its total profit for the quarter was $21.97 million, up 23.3 percent from the same period last year. Earnings per share were 35 cents, unchaged from the first quarter of 2016. The Paragon acquisition would give TowneBank a presence in the Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas. The bank currently operates in Hampton Roads, the Richmond area and Northeastern North Carolina. TowneBank said that, on a pro-forma basis, the combined bank will have the second-largest deposit market share among community banks in the Raleigh area. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Paragon shareholders will receive 1.725 shares of TowneBank common stock for each outstanding share of Paragon common stock. That translates into a per-share value of $59.25 based on TowneBank’s closing stock price of $34.35 on April 26. Pending customary regulatory and shareholder approvals, the merger is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter. Towne plans to operate in the Raleigh, Charlotte, and Cary markets as Paragon Bank, a division of TowneBank. Robert C. Hatley, the president and CEO of Paragon, will become president and CEO of the Paragon Division as well as president of TowneBank’s North Carolina operations. Hatley and Paragon Board Chairman Howard Jung will join the TowneBank corporate board. 2017-04-27T15:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-chamber-of-commerce-ceo-visits-richmond Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO visits Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-chamber-of-commerce-ceo-visits-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-chamber-of-commerce-ceo-visits-richmond#When:14:08:00Z Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO Perrin Beatty was in Richmond this week promoting the country’s trade relationship with Virginia at the same time U.S. President Donald Trump launched his first attack in a potential trade war with America’s northern neighbor. Trump on Monday announced tariffs of up to 24 percent on Canada’s softwood lumber, which is used heavily in the U.S. homebuilding industry. The announcement came a week after Trump decried unfair trade policies in Canada affecting U.S. dairy producers. But Beatty said Wednesday that his reception in Virginia had been anything but acrimonious. He met with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore and Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Canada is Virginia’s top trade partner, with annual bilateral trade worth $4.8 billion.  “This relationship is important to Canada as well,” Beatty said. “Virginia is a destination for our investment, and our goods and services, and for about 800,000 tourists a year. It’s a win-win relationship.” Virginia’s primary exports to Canada include tractors, paper and paperboard, plastics, paper and printing machinery, and motor vehicle parts. And Beatty sees growth opportunities in software, research and development at universities and tourism. “It was great to see such a strong partnership between the government and business community,” says Beatty, a former Cabinet minister who also served in the Canadian Parliament.  “When you talk to the governor and the secretary of commerce, they have such a good understanding of the importance of the relationship. “When I talk to members of the Canadian business community, I’m able to say Virginia’s open to business and that this is a good place for us to be looking for sales and to purchase.” But Beatty’s visit comes against the backdrop of several attacks from Trump over trade. Beatty plans to visit several U.S. states this year to highlight the importance of the U.S.-Canada relationship to both economies. Visits with local and state leaders are important to highlight trade between the countries, says Beatty. “This is the most successful trading relationship anywhere in the world, and there’s potential for us to grow considerably more,” Beatty said. “State government and municipal governments understand what’s happening on the ground, and when they speak to members of Congress or to senators or to the president, and say, ‘Look, it’s important that we recognize what this relationship does here in this state for trade prosperity and jobs,” Beatty said. Canada and the U.S. have long had disputes over the trade of softwood lumber and dairy products. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former President Barack Obama last year failed to reach an agreement to extend a truce on softwood lumber that effectively ended in 2016. The U.S. lumber industry says Canada unfairly subsidizes its lumber industry, which the Canadian government denies. About 30 percent of lumber used in the U.S. is imported from Canada. Beatty points out that the U.S. National Association of Homebuilders released a statement decrying the tariffs. The association says that lumber prices in the U.S. have increased 22 percent in the first quarter of 2017 because of the expiration of the trade agreement governing lumber, adding almost $3,600 to the cost of building a new home. As far as the dispute over dairy trade between the two countries, Canada has long had high tariffs on U.S. dairy products. The U.S. dairy industry, however, has imported ultrafiltered milk, which is used to create cheese and yogurt.  A new policy change last year, however, incentivized dairy farmers to create a lower-priced industry milk, and U.S. imports sharply fell. On that note, Beatty points out that the U.S. has a surplus of $400 million in the dairy trade. “It’s hard to understand what the benefit is of a trade war [on dairy products] when you’re running a $400 million surplus today,” Beatty says. But beyond the lumber and dairy issues, Beatty is concerned the actions could taint the relationship as well as future negotiations regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement. “All trade is related,” Beatty said. “It contaminates the negotiations you have on NAFTA or other bilateral issues. “This is very different form when I was in government, and we negotiated NAFTA with Ronald Reagan,” says Beatty. “The goals was: ‘How do we make all countries succeed? The approach today seems to be somebody has to lose for somebody to win and that makes is it very difficult.’” Trump announced Wednesday he does not plan on withdrawing from NAFTA, but said Canada, the U.S. and Mexico had agreed to enable renogtiation of the deal. Beatty says we should be encouraging more trade between the two countries, which are natural trading partners. “It’s in the in best interest in the U.S.,” says Beatty. “As a Canadian I would far sooner do business with the U.S. than with any other country. We have the same system of laws, we follow the rule of law; we speak the same language, and we’re tied together by security.” 2017-04-27T14:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ey-announces-finalists-for-entrepreneur-award-in-mid-atlantic-region EY announces finalists for entrepreneur award in Mid-Atlantic region http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ey-announces-finalists-for-entrepreneur-award-in-mid-atlantic-region http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ey-announces-finalists-for-entrepreneur-award-in-mid-atlantic-region#When:19:42:00Z The leaders of about 20 Virginia-based companies are mid-Atlantic finalists for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The program recognizes entrepreneurs excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and commitment to their businesses and communities. Award winners, selected by a panel of independent judges, will be announced at a June 15 gala at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner. The majority of the Virginia-based companies hail from Northern Virginia, and some of them are online firms. Among leaders from that region is Rami Essaid, cofounder and CEO of Distil Networks, which has its corporate headquarters in Arlington. According to EY, Distil Networks is a global leader in bot detection and mitigation. Another finalist is Rohyt Belani, cofounder and CEO of PhishMe, based in Leesburg. It provides phishing defense solutions for customers in the defense industrial base, energy, financial services, health-care and manufacturing industries. In the Richmond area, Louis Rogers, CEO of Capital Square, also made the list. Capital Square is a national real estate investment and management company that sponsors institutional-quality real estate exchange programs that qualify for tax deferral under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. Now in its 31st year, the EY Enterpreneur of the Year has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year national program, which will be announced in November. Other finalists from Virginia: Ashish Kachru, cofounder and CEO, Altruista Health, Reston. Mike Baird, CEO and partner, Avizia, Reston. Sukumar Iyer, founder, president and CEWO, Brillient Corp., Reston. Carroll Ross, founder and CEO, Collaborative Solutions, Reston. Alicia (founder and CEO) and Ryan (president) Davis, Dietitians On Demand, Henrico County. Dev Ganesan, CEO, Fishbowl, Alexandria. Amit Puri, president and CEO, Ingenicomm, Chantilly. Kevin Kelly, CEO, LGS Innovations, Herndon. Amy Wright, president and CEO, Macro Solutions, Arlington. Joe Fluet, CEO and chairman, MAG Aerospace, Woodbridge. Rick Torres, president and CEO, National Student Clearinghouse, Herndon. George Zoulias, president, Perfecta Federal, Springfield. Duane Slyder, founder and CEO, Seasonal Roots, Virginia Beach. Julian Setian, president and CEO, SOS International (SOSi), Reston. Adam Vincent, CEO, ThreatConnect, Arlington. Chris Spanos, CEO and cofounder, Urgent.ly, Vienna. 2017-04-26T19:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/applied-felts-plans-to-expand-in-henry-county Applied Felts plans to expand in Henry County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/applied-felts-plans-to-expand-in-henry-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/applied-felts-plans-to-expand-in-henry-county#When:17:50:00Z Applied Felts is undergoing a $3 million expansion at its Henry County facility. The plant, which now employs about 135 people, will add 15 manufacturing jobs with the expansion. Applied Felts makes liners, mostly for sewer pipes, using cured in place pipe (CIPP) technology. CIPP involves felt liners being injected with resin and cured inside existing pipe. Carl Fleming, the company’s financial controller, said it will add 21,000 square feet and two new lines of equipment to its building in the North Bowles Industrial Park. The expansion is expected to allow Applied Felts to expand to new markets and meet growing demand for pipe liners. Fleming expects construction to be completed and one line operating by late spring, while the other new line should be up and running this fall. To help with the project, Applied Felts will receive $52,897 over five years from the Henry County Enterprise Zone Fund and $35,000 from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Applied Felts is a subsidiary of the W.E. Rawson Group, which was founded in the United Kingdom in 1865.  In 1997, Applied Felts expanded to the United States with its manufacturing plant in Henry County. 2017-04-26T17:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/electronics-wholesaler-expected-to-add-66-jobs Electronics wholesaler expected to add 66 jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/electronics-wholesaler-expected-to-add-66-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/electronics-wholesaler-expected-to-add-66-jobs#When:16:26:00Z A consumer electronics wholesaler, 2nd Life Inc., plans to expand its operations in Richmond’s Manchester district south of the James River. The $975,000 project is expected to create 66 jobs during the next two years. Founded last year, 2nd Life currently occupies a 27,000-square-foot warehouse in the Manchester district. The company repairs more than 15 categories of pre-owned electronics. By repairing the devices, the company extends their usable life and creates additional value for its client’s assets. The electronic devices handled by the company include digital cameras, computers, tablets, phones and gaming systems. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support the project through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities. Robert Powell 2017-04-26T16:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/neovera-names-chief-operating-officer Neovera names chief operating officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/neovera-names-chief-operating-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/neovera-names-chief-operating-officer#When:09:26:00Z Cybersecurity firm Neovera Inc. announced Tuesday it had appointed Al Morisato as chief operating officer. Morisato previously was an executive with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, serving most recently as chief operations and technology officer. He also held positions at Freddie Mac. Morisato holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech. Neovera, based in Reston, provides cybersecurity services and enterprise cloud solutions to clients ranging from nonprofit organizations to Fortune 500 companies. 2017-04-26T09:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/IMG_35551.JPG Michael Lease leads a tour. Photo by Paula C. Squires http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-new-institute-for-contemporary-art-evokes-motion VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art evokes motion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-new-institute-for-contemporary-art-evokes-motion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-new-institute-for-contemporary-art-evokes-motion#When:23:35:00Z A first look at Virginia Commonwealth University’s new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) is nothing if not an example of art mimicking life. Located at the intersection of Belvidere and Broad streets, which handles 60,000 vehicles a day, the building was designed to play off the energy of that all that movement, officials said Tuesday during a hard hat tour for the press. Years in the making, the $41 million ICA opens to the public on Oct. 28.   Tuesday was a chance to talk about its vision, its mission and to show off the dramatic contours of the 41,000-square-foot structure. ICA Director Lisa Freiman says the three-level building will be a new symbolic gateway for Richmond and VCU. “By putting it at this location, we’re putting the arts at the forefront,” she said. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the building has dual entrances, opening to the city’s arts district on Broad Street and to VCU’s Monroe Park campus on the other side. It was once the site of a small train station. From the dramatic twisting angles of its zinc exterior to a 33-foot-high central forum on the main floor and a dramatic curved wall of glass on the second floor, the ICA evokes a feeling of motion. Yet there will be quiet spots, too, including an outdoor garden set off by a reflecting pool, bluestone pavers and ginkgo trees. Nearly 30 members of the press turned out for the tour and the overview by Freiman and others. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for everyone involved,” she said. “How often does one get to build a cultural arts center from scratch?” The center, which will be free of charge to visitors, will serve as a significant new arts resource, said Freiman, with space in four galleries, a 240-seat high-tech auditorium, café and rooftop terrace. The ICA plans to offer changing exhibitions, performances, and interdisciplinary programs associated with VCU and other partners. The institute also will complement VCU’s role as the No. 1 ranked public school or art and design in the U.S. A student advisory board is in the works, and students will be able to apply to serve as interns at the institute, leading tours. Partnerships and collaborations also will give the community a chance to work with visiting artists. The building has many sustainable features, including a green wall, 43 geothermal wells that provide heating and cooling and four green roofs to absorb storm water.The expansive use of glass in the structure will allow passing cars, students and bystanders to see into the building, noted Michael Lease, the ICA’s director of facilities, installation and exhibition design "We  want to be a living room to everyone in this area,” he said. “We want people to drive by and get a hint of what we’re about.” There will be 50 metered spaces of parking near the institute, and VCU officials are hoping patrons also will use the Pulse rapid transit bus system, which will will pass by the building, The system, now under construction, should be ready shortly after the ICA opens, Lease said. The building will be introduced to the national press on Oct. 19, which will kick off a week of pre-opening events, leading up to a public block party on Oct. 28, which will include music, food and beer trucks.  To date, the ICA has raised $36 million in private funds towards its goal of $41 million for construction. An endowment campaign also is underway, said Freiman.  Major donations have come from ICA campaign co-chairs Steve and Katie Markel and Pam and Bill Royal. Other donors include John David and Meg Newell Gottwald, George W. and Helen H. B. Logan, True and Charlie Luck, Markel Corp., Abby W. Moore, NewMarket Corp., the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, Patsy K. and Hunter R. Pettus, Jr. and Carolyn and John Snow. The associated architect for the project is BCWH Architects of Richmond. 2017-04-25T23:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spanish-biotech-company-to-locate-u.s.-operations-in-virginia-beach Spanish biotech company to locate U.S. operations in Virginia Beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spanish-biotech-company-to-locate-u.s.-operations-in-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spanish-biotech-company-to-locate-u.s.-operations-in-virginia-beach#When:20:33:00Z A Spanish biotech company, One Way Liver S.L. (OWL Metabolomics), plans to open its U.S. headquarters in the VABeachBio Accelerator in Virginia Beach as part of a strategic partnership with Sanyal Biotechnology.  In turn, Sanyal Biotechnology will open its European headquarters under the auspices of OWL at its location in Bilbao, Spain.  The companies will share resources in their respective locations as they combine efforts serving their pharmaceutical clients. The agreement was made at last week’s ILC/EASL Congress in Amsterdam in collaboration with Virginia Beach Economic Development. OWL and Sanyal Biotechnology have worked closely together in the past on contract research. Company officials say co-locating in Europe and Virginia Beach will allow both companies to better serve clients and expand their customer base. Sanyal Biotechnology moved to the VABeachBio Accelerator last year, after securing an exclusive working relationship with Eastern Virginia Medical School.  The VABeachBio initiative, run by the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, is a business development program designed to grow the existing biomedical cluster in Virginia Beach.  The VABeachBio Accelerator, located on the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College, offers companies like Sanyal and OWL the chance to utilize office and lab space at a reduced rate, allowing them to focus on R&D and develop their businesses. 2017-04-25T20:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-is-first-in-virginia-to-earn-national-solsmart-designation Charlottesville is first in Virginia to earn national SolSmart designation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-is-first-in-virginia-to-earn-national-solsmart-designation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-is-first-in-virginia-to-earn-national-solsmart-designation#When:19:35:00Z The City of Charlottesville has earned a national solar designation. Charlottesville is the first locality in Virginia to earn the SolSmart Bronze designation, which recognizes communities for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier and cheaper for the community to grow solar energy. It is among the first 50 localities in the country to receive the designation, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. Achieving the honor means the community is “open for solar business” and wants to attract solar industry investment and generate local jobs. In order to be designated, a community must encourage solar development and the reduction of solar costs. Charlottesville earned credits for installing solar energy systems on several city facilities; hosting Solarize campaigns that offer community members cost savings on solar installations; and offering financial incentives for property owners that install solar energy systems in the city. Charlottesville aims to earn the SolSmart Silver designation by the end of the summer. In order to rise to the next tier, the city will continue to encourage local solar development and reduce soft costs, such as clarifying zoning code and offering further staff trainings related to solar.  The city was previously recognized as one of the nearly 30 communities nationwide that committed to the SolSmart program as an “Early Adopter.” In February, Charlottesville and Albemarle County were one of eleven host communities nationwide to be granted a program-funded SolSmart Advisor. The adviser has been working full-time to provide expertise and dedicated support to achieve SolSmart designation and to encourage solar energy growth locally. 2017-04-25T19:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/united-bankshares-completes-acquisition-of-cardinal-financial-corp United Bankshares completes acquisition of Cardinal Financial Corp. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/united-bankshares-completes-acquisition-of-cardinal-financial-corp http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/united-bankshares-completes-acquisition-of-cardinal-financial-corp#When:23:57:00Z United Bankshares Inc. has completed its acquisition of Tyson Corner-based Cardinal Financial Corp. The deal, valued at $912 million when announced last year, is United’s tenth recent acquisition in the Washington, D.C., area.  Cardinal had $4.3 billion in assets, boosting United’s total assets to more than $19 billion. United has headquarters in Charleston, W.Va., and Washington, D.C. With the addition of Cardinal’s 22 banking locations, United now has 145 full-service offices in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and the District of Columbia. United officials said the bank now ranks No. 1 in deposit market share among community banks in the Washington area. As a result of the acquisition, Bernard H. Clineburg, Cardinal’s executive chairman, will join United’s board of directors. 2017-04-24T23:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/uli-survey-predicts-moderate-growth-for-real-estate-through-2019 ULI survey predicts moderate growth for real estate through 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/uli-survey-predicts-moderate-growth-for-real-estate-through-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/uli-survey-predicts-moderate-growth-for-real-estate-through-2019#When:14:46:00Z   The U.S. economy and commercial real estate industry are expected to experience moderate growth through much of 2019, according to a new three-year economic forecast from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The latest ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast, a semi-annual outlook, is based on a survey of 53 of the industry’s economists and analysts representing 39 of the country’s leading real estate investment, advisory, and research firms and organizations. Conducted in March, the survey projects healthy GDP (gross domestic product) growth, moderating employment growth, relatively high but moderating commercial real estate volumes, continued commercial price appreciation, rent growth, positive returns, relatively stable vacancy/occupancy rates for all commercial real estate sectors and continued growth in single-family housing starts. While encouraging, the survey results suggest restrained optimism, according to ULI leader and survey participant William Maher, director of North American strategy and research at LaSalle Investment Management. “The latest survey of U.S. real estate economists showed a marked increase in expected economic measures, most likely due to President Trump’s proposals to reform the tax code, reduce regulatory burdens and invest in infrastructure,” he said. “However, while greater job and income growth will be positive for U.S. real estate markets, forecasters were reluctant to upgrade real estate fundamentals or returns. New supply in the pipeline along with higher interest rates is likely keeping real estate economists cautious, but more likely realistic as uncertainty about future growth remains a concern.”   Among the survey’s key findings for commercial real estate: •   Following a 2015 post-recession high of $547 billion in annual commercial real estate transaction volume, sales volume is expected to continue declining from $489 billion in 2016 to $450 billion in 2017 and 2018, and slip to $430 billion in 2019. Still, the average volume of the 3-year forecast period is surpassed only by 2007, 2015, and 2016 levels, and remains well above the long-term average. •   A similar drop is anticipated for the issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), a source of financing for commercial real estate. CMBS issuance grew consistently from 2009 to $101 billion in 2015, then declined in 2016 to $76 billion, a level it is expected to maintain in 2017. Moderate increases, to $80 billion and $85 billion, are forecast for 2018 and 2019 respectively. •   Commercial real estate prices are projected to grow at relatively subdued and slowing rates in the next three years, at 5 percent in 2017, 3.5 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in 2019, all below the long-term (from 2001 through 2016) average growth rate of 5.7 percent. •   Institutional real estate assets are expected to provide total returns of 7 percent in 2017, moderating to 6 percent in 2018 and staying at that level in 2019. By property type, 2017 returns are expected to range from 9.8 percent for industrial to 6 percent for office and apartments. In 2019, returns are expected to range from 7.9 percent for industrial to 5.5 percent for apartments. •   Availability and vacancy rates for 3 sectors (industrial, office, and retail) are expected to continue improving in 2017, but remain essentially flat in 2018 and 2019. The exception is the apartment sector -- the vacancy rate for apartments slightly increased in 2016 from near historic lows in 2015, and is expected to rise once more this year to 5.2 percent. The hotel sector’s occupancy rate is expected to remain flat in 2017 and decline slightly in 2018 and 2019. •   Commercial property rents are expected to continue rising through 2019 for all sectors, although at more subdued rates than in recent years. In 2017, rent increases in the four major property types will range from 2 percent for apartments to 4.6 percent for industrial. Rent increases in 2019 will range from 3 percent for industrial to 2 percent for retail, office, and apartments. Hotel RevPAR (revenue per available room) is expected to increase by 2.5 percent in 2017 and 2.4 percent in 2019. •   Single-family housing starts are projected to increase from 781,500 units in 2016 to 920,000 units in 2019. 2017-04-24T14:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/burlington-signs-a-40000-square-foot-lease-in-chesterfield-county Burlington signs a 40,000-square-foot lease in Chesterfield County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/burlington-signs-a-40000-square-foot-lease-in-chesterfield-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/burlington-signs-a-40000-square-foot-lease-in-chesterfield-county#When:13:27:00Z   Burlington has signed a lease for 40,000 square feet at Hancock Village, a shopping center in Chesterfield County. Ellen Long of Taylor Long Properties Commercial Real Estate in Richmond represented the landlord. In other transactions for Taylor Long Properties: Tuesday Morning also has signed a lease at Hancock Village for 12,000 square feet. Long represented the landlord. Big Mouth Buffet has signed a 13,000-square-foot at Laburnum Park Shopping Center in Richmond. Long and Brian Bock represented the landlord. 2017-04-24T13:27:00+00:00