Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright 20172017-01-23T21:27:00+00:00
Capital Square 1031 completes sale of Forest Office park for $24.1 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-square-1031-completes-sale-of-forest-office-park-for-24.1-million#When:21:27:00ZCapital Square 1031 in Richmond said Monday that affiliates of the firm completed the stabilization and sale of Forest Office Park in Richmond for $24.1 million.
“Capital Square stepped in during the eleventh hour of a failed refinance effort and provided the necessary lender guarantees required to successfully refinance the project. These actions resulted in significant investor savings and further enabled the asset to progress toward a successful sale,” Bradford Bodley, an owner in the tenant-in-common arrangement that owned the property, said in a statement.
Capital Square said it assumed sponsorship and management in February 2016, replacing the previous manager after more than a decade, to take over sponsorship, management and to serve as loan guarantor for the TIC program.
Forest Office Park is located in Richmond’s West End at the corner of Three Chopt Road and Forest Avenue. The property is close to the Interstate 64 /Glenside interchange and West Broad Street corridor. According to Capital Square, the property was about 95 percent leased at the time of the sale in December.
CBRE|Hampton Roads, CBRE|Richmond and the Atlanta office of CBRE Group Inc. brokered the sale on behalf of the TIC ownership.2017-01-23T21:27:00+00:00
Williamsburg Marketcenter sells for $6 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williamsburg-marketcenter-sells-for-6-million#When:21:20:00ZMiami-based Lionheart Capital has purchased Williamsburg Marketcenter, a 175,760-square-foot shopping center in Williamsburg, for $6 million.
CBRE/Charlottesville, which brokered the sale, said the seller was AIG. Lionheart is a real estate investment and development firm.
Ross Dress for Less and Dollar Tree stores anchor the 30-acre shopping center at 6610 Mooretown Road. Other tenants include Tropical Smoothie Café, OneMain Financial, Quiznos Sub, Navy Federal Credit Union and Supercuts. The center was 41 percent occupied at time of sale.
“The new owner has some exciting plans for revitalizing the center and leasing the available space,” Jay O’Donnell, assistant vice president with CBRE|Charlottesville. said in a statement.
O’Donnell, Kris Knepper of CBRE|Hampton Roads and Bill Kent and Ryan Sciullo of the Washington, D.C. CBRE office represented the seller in the transaction.2017-01-23T21:20:00+00:00
Favor TechConsulting expects to create 1,200 new jobs in five years
Favor TechConsulting LLC (FTC), an IT solutions company, plans to invest $1.65 million in expanding in Virginia as it establishes its headquarters in the Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County.
The company expects to create 1,200 new jobs during the next five years.
FTC is a service-disabled veteran-owned, woman-owned and minority-owned small business.
In October, the company announced that it received 10 Department of Veterans Affairs task orders valued at $112 million under the VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation contract.
Last year, the company ranked no. 405 on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. The magazine listed FTC as having 2015 revenue of $19.2 million and a three-year growth rate of 949 percent. The company ranked No. 256 on the 2015 list.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) will support Favor TechConsulting’s new job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). State-funded VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities.2017-01-23T20:24:00+00:00
The keys to remaining healthy during the flu season in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-keys-to-remaining-healthy-during-the-flu-season-in-virginia#When:18:58:00ZAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) weekly US influenza map, the geographic spread of the flu in Virginia is now considered widespread.
Flu, or influenza, is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalizations, severe health complications and even death. According to the CDC, flu-related deaths during a given season can number as high as 49,000. Also, flu has a significant impact on the economy. A new study from Health Affairs reports that flu costs in the United States last year for adults reached $5.8 billion in medical visits, medication and lost productivity.
So what can you do? The best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu is to get a flu shot.
According to the CDC, everyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated is especially important for people who have certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or chronic lung disease; and for pregnant women, young children and people 65 and older.
Influenza does not discriminate against age or health habits. Just because you’re young or don’t typically get sick doesn’t mean you can’t catch the flu. Since a person can be contagious before symptoms develop, you can catch the flu from someone who has yet to show any signs of being sick.
The flu usually comes on suddenly. Common symptoms include constant cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue.
Flu prevention tips
To help protect yourself and others from the flu, consider these five tips:
• Get a flu shot (most important)
• Wash your hands to reduce the spread of germs
• Stay away from people who are sick
• If you’re sick, stay home to prevent spreading flu to others
• Cover coughs and sneezes
The flu shot is not expensive. In most cases, the cost of a flu shot is covered by your health plan, whether you buy health insurance on your own or are covered through your employer, Medicare or Medicaid.
Know where to get a flu shot
Many employers offer free onsite flu shot clinics at work. You can also visit your primary- care doctor or nearby wellness clinic, convenience clinic, most retail pharmacies or contracted flu shot providers.
Please do not go to an emergency room for a flu shot. Emergency rooms should be used for medical emergencies — receiving a flu shot in the ER will come with longer wait times and higher out-of-pocket costs.
To find a list of flu shot providers near you, visit the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/flu) and enter your zip code.
Because it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take full effect and provide the greatest protection, the CDC recommends getting a flu shot as close to the start of flu season in the fall, if possible. Flu season can run through May with a peak time between December and March, so now is the time to make your and your family’s health a priority and get a flu shot.
Dr. Ed Koza is chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual for the Mid-Atlantic.2017-01-23T18:58:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg
Divaris Real Estate selected to lease Marketplace at Tech Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-selected-to-lease-marketplace-at-tech-center#When:17:03:00ZInland Real Estate Income Trust Inc. has selected Divaris Real Estate Inc. as the exclusive leasing agent for the retail space at Marketplace at Tech Center in Newport News.
Divaris handled preleasing and leasing of the 210,000-square-foot mixed-use regional center for the previous owner, S.J. Collins Enterprises, since the project’s inception.
Marketplace at Tech Center is a newly constructed center. Completed in 2015, it is located at 12080 Jefferson Ave. A 39,998-square-foot Whole Foods grocery store serves as the anchor tenant.
According to Divaris, the center is 98 percent leased. In addition to Whole Foods, other tenants include: Steinmart, DSW, Five Below, BJ’s Brewhouse, Mattress Firm, AT&T and Massage Envy.
Divaris is headquartered in Virginia Beach and has Virginia offices in Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke plus Charlotte, N.C.; Beverly Hills, Calif. and Washington, D.C.
Divaris Real Estate and Divaris Property Management Corp. are divisions of The Divaris Group, an international real estate brokerage and property management company that manages and/or leases more than 26 million square feet of office, retail and industrial space.2017-01-23T17:03:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/cw-ph-plume-st-0481.jpgThe Decker Building courtesy city of Norfolk
Combining the old with the new
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/combining-the-old-with-the-new#When:16:19:00ZA part of Norfolk’s history joined the city’s future Monday during the unveiling of the Decker Building Façade at The Main Norfolk Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.
Norfolk Mayor Kenneth C. Alexander joined the Decker family and officials from Gold Key l PHR, the Main’s developer, for a special ceremony to show off the façade that was removed stone by stone in 2007 and preserved for nearly a decade.
The remainder of the former Decker Building was sold to the city to make way for the $150 million, 21-story hotel development at the corner of Main and Granby streets that is scheduled to open in March.
The façade is interwoven into the hotel’s frontage along the 100 block of Granby Street and will serve as an entrance for patrons visiting two of The Main’s restaurants, Saltine on the ground floor, and Vaira on the second floor. The façade consists of 528 solid gray limestone blocks, each weighing an average of 400 pounds. The cornice pieces weighing 2,500 pounds. Hand carved lion heads complete the design of the Neoclassical and Class Revival architecture that was part of the Decker building.
According to the city, Peter Decker and his wife Bess purchased the building in the early 1980s for the Decker law practice. The three-story building was originally constructed in 1919 for Guaranty Title & Trust Co., which declared bankruptcy in 1929. It was then purchased in 1940 for Frederick J. Dean, Jr., a prominent Norfolk attorney.2017-01-23T16:19:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/12727-12731-12739SpectrimLane.jpgProperties at Oaklake Business Park.
Milmar Holdings acquires two industrial assets in Chesterfield County for $3.5 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/milmar-holdings-acquires-two-industrial-assets-in-chesterfield-county-for-3#When:15:58:00ZMilmar Holdings LLC has purchased two industrial assets in the Oaklake Business Park in Chesterfield County for $3.5 million.
Milmar purchased the single tenant, net-leased assets from Manakin Holdings LLC, which was represented by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group.
Catharine Spangler handled sale negotiations while Matt Braun assisted in the transaction and in lease negotiations with the current tenants.
In another sales transaction, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced that Alliance Machine and Engraving has purchased a 22,500-square-foot warehouse property in Ashland for $1.45 million.
The company will use the property at 10190 Maple Leaf Court for its business. Braun handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.2017-01-23T15:58:00+00:00
Navy Federal Credit Union renews lease in Herndon
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/navy-federal-credit-union-renews-lease-in-herndon1#When:15:22:00ZThe Navy Federal Credit Union has renewed its 80,582-square-foot lease at Worldgate Plaza II in Herndon.
The credit union has been a tenant at 12851 Worldgate Drive for 10 years. The lease was one of the largest real estate transactions in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Colliers International.
“While Navy Federal Credit Union continues to expand and construct its own facilities, they value their office at Worldgate Plaza II because of its location near the future Herndon Metro Station, quality facilities and competitive pricing,” said David Gast, executive vice president at Colliers, who represented builder owner InvenTrust Properties in the lease negotiations.
Navy Federal Credit Union has several expansion plans of its own, including its Vienna headquarters and the expansion of an operations center in Winchester.
Worldgate Plaza II is part of a four-building, Class-A office complex that fronts the Dulles Toll Road.2017-01-23T15:22:00+00:00
U. Va. president announces plan to step down in 2018
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.-va.-president-announces-plan-to-step-down-in-2018#When:22:09:00ZUniversity of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan said Friday she plans to retire in the summer of 2018 after her contract ends. She has asked the university’s board of visitors to begin searching for her successor.
Sullivan has led U. Va., since 2010, surviving an ouster attempt by some board members in 2012. She is the university’s first female president.
“As 2017 begins, UVA is strong and positioned for even greater strength in our educational offerings, research programs, and health system,” she said in a letter to the university community. “Given this strength, UVA is well-positioned for a transition to its ninth president.”
Founded by Thomas Jefferson, U.Va. consistently ranks among the nation’s top public universities in an annual list published by U.S. News and World Report. In the most recent list, it tied for second with UCLA behind the University of California-Berkeley.
In the letter, Sullivan cited U. Va.’s economic impact on Virginia. She said the university’s direct and indirect employment accounted for 52,000 jobs in the commonwealth. U.Va.’s alumni have founded enterprises that employ another 371,000 people in Virginia, she said.
Sullivan also touted the university’s perseverance during fiscal challenges. She said U.Va. continues to “provide a first-rate education,” despite receiving $200 less per student (in inflation-adjusted dollars) from the state and tuition in 2016 than it did in 2000. Despite financial hardships brought on by the Great Recession, the university’s annual philanthropic cash flow has increased from $203.8 million to $260.2 million during the past six years, Sullivan noted.
“This is not a farewell note,” she concluded. “We have unfinished business to do in the months ahead, and with your continued effort and sustained energy we will do that work together.”2017-01-20T22:09:00+00:00
SOS Security acquires Manassas-based New Horizon Security Services
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sos-security-acquires-manassas-based-new-horizon-security-services#When:21:26:00ZNew Jersey-based SOS Security LLC, a privately-owned security company, has acquired the operating assets of New Horizon Security Services Inc., which is based in Manassas.
Financial details were not disclosed.
New Horizon Security Services, which was founded in 1998, employs more than 800 security officers serving commercial, residential, and state and local government clients.
New Horizon Security Services was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the nation's fastest-growing private companies six years in a row.
Last year, the company ranked No. 2,310 on the Inc. 5000, with 2015 revenue of $21.8 million and a three-year revenue growth rate of 157 percent.
John (J.J.) Frazer, the president of New Horizon, will become the regional vice president of the New Horizon Security division of SOS Security.
Founded in 1969, SOS Security is based in Parsippany, N.J, and has more than 7,500 security personnel.2017-01-20T21:26:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HarrisonKimberlin1.jpgNick Harrison, CPA, and Stephen Kimberlin, CPA, of Dixon Hughes Goodman.
Possible tax impacts & considerations with the new Trump administration
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/possible-manufacturing-and-distribution-industry-tax-impacts-considerations#When:20:54:00ZThe inauguration of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th President and the beginning of the 115th Congress bring much uncertainty to the political and economic landscape. One near certainty, however, is a focus on tax reform during 2017, as reform was a large piece of the economic component of Trump’s campaign. In addition to his various campaign positions, House Republicans released a tax reform plan in June 2016 (the Blueprint) that many expect to be the starting point for any legislation drafted in the House in 2017.
Highlights of each are discussed below.
Income tax considerations
From an individual standpoint, Trump’s tax plan proposes compressing the current seven tax brackets into three, as well as removing the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT). This would reduce rate brackets on ordinary income to 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent.
Trump similarly proposed lowering the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, while also removing the corporate AMT. Trump has indicated that pass-through entities whose owners wish to retain the profits within the business may also be taxed at this flat 15 percent tax rate, rather than flowing that income through to the owners and potentially taxing it at the higher tax rates on ordinary income.
The full impact of making such an election under the Trump plan is not defined; therefore, it is possible that a second layer of tax would apply if the earnings were later distributed to the owners. In comparison, the Blueprint lowers the business income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Pass-through entities would retain a single level of taxation and be subject to a tax rate capped at 25 percent on business taxable income with a reasonable compensation deduction required in calculating business taxable income.
Depending on the effective date of any proposed legislation, businesses should consider accelerating deductions into the 2016 or 2017 tax years and deferring income to future periods in order to maximize the impact of the tax rate differential. Doing so could create a permanent, rather than timing, tax difference.
Capital gains considerations
Trump’s plan does not seem to specifically address the current tax rate for capital gains, although it does call for a repeal of the net investment income (NII) tax related to passive income, including capital gains. As such, it may be that Trump modifies the capital gains tax rate structure to align with his proposed three-pronged tax brackets. Under the Blueprint, rates on capital gains would effectively be reduced via a deduction equal to 50 percent of net investment income, which would include not only capital gains and dividends, but also any interest income. For example, taxpayers in the highest bracket (33 percent) would effectively pay a 16.5 percent tax on capital gains.
Potential ACA Repeal
Much has been made recently about the possible “repeal and replace” approaches the new administration may take concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While repealing the ACA has many implications, the one most pertinent and obvious tax provision is removing the 3.8 percent NII tax.
Business deductions and credits
As part of Trump’s efforts to streamline the tax code, he has proposed eliminating many business tax deductions and credits, including the domestic production activities deduction (U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Section 199). Under current law, the domestic production activities deduction is a permanent benefit from deducting 9 percent of qualified production activities income generated in the United States. However, also of significant importance, the research and development credit made permanent in 2015 would remain in effect.
Trump also proposed a new method of cost recovery whereby manufacturers and distributors could elect to currently expense 100 percent of capital investments, but lose the benefits of deducting corporate interest expense. The House Blueprint provides for a similar deduction, but does not appear to limit it to manufacturers. This proposed expensing methodology may provide more immediate benefits; however, the election would need to be analyzed to examine any revocation provisions, and to determine whether the immediate expensing of such investments outweighs the depreciation and interest deductions available without the election, as well as the potential impact on other tax preferences such as Section 199.
With President Trump’s occupancy of the White House and the Republicans’ continued majorities in both the House and Senate, the likelihood for tax reform is at an apex not seen in quite some time. While we cover some of the areas more likely to have a significant short-term impact, we recommend businesses and individuals begin familiarizing themselves with the nuances of these potential changes to better grasp how they may affect businesses and personal tax posture.
Nick Harrison, CPA, and Stephen Kimberlin, CPA, work for Dixon Hughes Goodman in Glen Allen and are members of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. You can reach them at:
Nick Harrison, CPA
Partner, DHG Tax
Stephen Kimberlin, CPA
Manager, DHG Tax
Riverstone Properties acquires The James Center for $108 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/riverstone-properties-acquires-the-james-center-for-108-million#When:22:46:00ZCall it hometown pride combined with the opportunity to buy an iconic office complex at a good price in a prime location. Those were the makings of a deal Riverstone Properties couldn’t pass up.
The real estate arm of Bill Goodwin’s Riverstone Group announced Thursday that it had acquired the 1-million-square-foot James Center complex in downtown Richmond for $108 million.
Goodwin is one of Richmond’s best-known businessmen and philanthropists, and Riverstone has a reputation for restoring properties to their former grandeur. Millions in renovations are planned for the three office towers on East Cary Street, said Jeff Galanti, a principal with Riverstone Properties. “When we say Class A, we mean Jefferson Hotel Class A,” he said, referring to one of Richmond’s premier hotels.
Goodwin’s private, family-owned business owns and operates luxury hotels including the Jefferson, Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C., and The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C.
Riverstone Properties is well acquainted with The James Center, because it was a tenant there for nearly 20 years before moving in October 2015 to Gateway Plaza, a new skyscraper built just across the street. “We are keenly aware of its qualities and of the areas that need to be improved for the property to reach its full potential. We are working with designers on updates to the lobbies, common areas, elevators and other areas which have not been meaningfully updated since their original construction in the mid-1980s,” said Chris Corrada, another principal at Riverstone.
Just to replace the buildings’ 33 elevators, which are near the end of their life cycle, represents a huge investment. The principals said these costs were taken into consideration when Riverstone decided to buy the buildings. “To build something like that today, you would spend $300 to $400 million. So buying it for $100 million and investing another couple hundred million is still a great, great opportunity,” said Corrada.
Galanti said Riverstone is “not looking to put some Band-Aids on it and sell it in three or four years. With Richmond being our hometown and with our headquarters here, we are going to bring it to true Class A status and to hold it indefinitely.”
Holliday Fenoglio Fowler (HFF) marketed the property on behalf of the seller, LNR Partners LLC, a commercial mortgage special servicer. The complex was returned to the lender after the previous owner, New York-based JEMB Realty, defaulted on two loans totaling $150 million. At one point last year, the property was scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction, but the auction was canceled. The property is currently valued at about $132 million.
Built from 1984 to 1986, The James Center has three Class A office towers, the 21-story One James Center, the 22-story Two James Center and the 14-story Three James Center along with ample onsite parking for tenants. It also has two restaurants and access to other restaurants through its connection to the nearby Omni Hotel. Galanta said Riverstone hopes to attract new retailers and dining options to the property’s ground floor.
Currently, the buildings are about 70 percent leased. Major tenants include Wells Fargo, Davenport & Co., Mercer, Union Bank and Trust, Xenith Bank and The Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
With its location in Richmond’s central business district, close to the state Capitol and the James River, the complex “has the best location in the downtown Richmond office market. The opportunities for its improvement and growth are remarkable,” said Galanti.
The property was on Riverstone’s radar for about two years. “Since we started this process, there have been some significant developments in the downtown market,” noted Corrada.
CoStar Group announced in October that it’s leasing the top four floors of space in the WestRock Co. building downtown, the former MeadWestvaco corporate headquarters. It plans to put a new headquarters there for operations and research. Plus, SunTrust Bank decided to keep its Virginia division headquarters on East Main Street downtown rather than move into a new office tower planned at The Locks development nearby.
“In the span of a couple of months, two large blocks of contiguous space were off the market,” said Corrada, spaces that would have competed with the James Center for tenants. Currently, the James Center has about 170,000 contiguous square feet of space where the McGuireWoods law firm used to be located.
Even without those developments, Riverstone Properties would have proceeded with the purchase. “Iconic assets don’t come along that often,” said Corrada.
The new owner doesn’t expect current tenants to have to relocate during the renovations. And Riverstone plans to continue the annual holiday tradition of the “Grand Illumination” of the James Center with its display of reindeer and holiday tree.
Competition for the building was strong, said Dek Potts, who led the HFF investment sales team. “We had more than a dozen tours with real capital players. We had a lot of good capital out of New York and Boston and some of the current owners who recently bought in downtown Richmond played and played hard. Riverstone ended up on top. There was a realization that this was a centralized location, and the real estate itself offered great potential for someone meeting the long-term vision.”2017-01-19T22:46:00+00:00
Study shows Virginia wine industry has growing impact
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-shows-virginia-wine-industry-has-growing-impact#When:22:25:00ZA new economic impact study shows that Virginia’s wine industry contributes more than $1.37 billion annually to Virginia’s economy.
That figure represents an 82 percent increase from the last economic impact study, according to the governor’s office.
The 2015 Economic Impact Study of Wine and Wine Grapes on the Commonwealth of Virginia was conducted by Frank, Rimmerman + Co., an accounting and consulting firm specializing in the wine industry.
The latest study, commissioned by the Virginia Wine Board, was completed this month. It is the first Virginia wine industry impact study done since 2012.
From 2010 to 2015, the new study shows the number of wineries increased 35 percent, from 193 to 261. The number of full-time equivalent jobs at wineries and vineyards rose 73 percent, to 8,218. Wages from jobs at wineries and vineyards increased 87 percent, from $156 million, to $291 million.
Tourism to Virginia wineries also grew. The number of people visiting wineries grew by 39 percent, from 1.6 million visitors in 2010 to 2.25 million in 2015. At the same time, wine-related tourism spending grew from $131 million to $188 million, a 43 percent increase. The study attributes the growth of tourism to the growing number of wineries and the improving quality of Virginia wines.
The study also found that the number of grape-bearing acres in Virginia rose from 2,700 in 2010 to 3,300 in 2015, a 22 percent rise. Taxes paid to the state and to local governments grew to from $43 million to $94 million, a 118 percent increase.
Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2016 with more than 556,700 cases, or more than 6.6 million bottles, sold. This volume marks a sales increase of more than 6 percent over the previous fiscal year.2017-01-19T22:25:00+00:00
Old Point National Bank CFO to retire this summer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/old-point-national-bank-cfo-to-retire-this-summer#When:20:58:00ZOld Point National Bank is searching for a new CFO after Laurie Grabow announced her intent to retire this summer after more than 30 years with the company.
Grabow is CFO of Old Point National Bank as well as CFO and senior vice president at the bank’s parent company. She joined the bank in 1986 as assistant vice president of operations. Grabow then served as audit director before being named CFO in 2000.
“Laurie’s dedication through the recession positioned our company well for the future. She certainly won’t be easy to replace, but we are confident that a strong candidate who believes in the values of community banking will emerge,” Old Point Financial Corp. chairman, Robert F. Shuford Sr., said in a statement.
Old Point has hired Kaplan Partners, an executive search firm headquartered in Philadelphia, to lead the search for a new CFO.
Old Point Financial Corp. is the parent company of Old Point National Bank, a community bank serving Hampton Roads, and Old Point Trust & Financial Services NA, a wealth management services provider in Hampton Roads.2017-01-19T20:58:00+00:00
Nine companies graduate from state export program
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nine-companies-graduate-from-state-export-program#When:20:48:00ZNine Virginia companies have increased their exports substantially since joining a state-run international trade program.
The companies are graduates of the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program, which is offered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Two hundred sixty-nine Virginia companies have completed the program since it began in 2002.
The new VALET graduates are: ComSonics Inc. (Harrisonburg), Command Post Technologies Inc. (Suffolk), Germane Systems and IMCI Technologies (Fairfax County), Prevailance Inc. (Virginia Beach); Regional Conveyor Systems Inc. (Salem), Steel Fab (Russell County), sweetFrog (Chesterfield County), and Wako Chemicals USA (Richmond).
The governor’s office said these companies have increased their exports an average of 50 percent since joining the VALET program two years ago.
The program assists companies that are committed to international exporting as an expansion strategy. Participating firms are chosen based on their dedication to growth through exports.
Forty-eight companies are currently participating in the VALET program. Virginia exports more than $35 billion in goods and services annually.2017-01-18T20:48:00+00:00
Virginia hospitals urge General Assembly to be cautious about health-care legislation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-hospitals-urge-general-assembly-to-be-cautious-about-health-care-l#When:20:46:00ZWith the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session underway, hospital and business leaders are urging legislators to take a “do no harm” approach to health-care legislation.
“We should be extremely cautious on a state policy level about doing anything that could negatively impact these vital services, their providers and our economy,” Bryan K. Stephens, president of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, said during a Richmond news conference held by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. VHHA represents 107 hospitals and 30 health systems in the commonwealth.
VHHA officials suggested that the legislature wait and see how Congress acts on President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known commonly as Obamacare. The association cited the results of a Mason-Dixon poll of 625 Virginia voters showing a majority favored holding off on significant health-care changes until Congress has acted.
VHHA is particularly concerned about major changes to Virginia’s certificate of public need (COPN) law. The law requires medical providers to secure a certificate from the state showing there’s a “public need” before offering certain services. Hospital leaders say this process prevents competitors from “cherry picking” profitable services, such as surgery and imaging.
Bills already have been filed in the state House and Senate related to COPN. That includes Senate Bill 1141, introduced by state Sen. Glen H. Sturtevant Jr. (R-Midlothian), which would repeal the COPN requirement for projects that primarily provide rehabilitation services for patients with substance abuse problem.
That bill has been referred to the Senate Education and Health committee.
Another bill introduced by Del. John M. O'Bannon III (R-Henrico) seeks to phase out COPN requirements for many categories of medical care facilities and projects. House Bill 2337 has been assigned to a House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee.
The “do no harm” warning also extends to U.S. Congress, too, VHHA says. Virginia hospitals are facing $1 billion in annual cuts under the ACA, which are likely to continue even if the law is repealed, the association says. If the ACA is repealed and not fully replaced, one estimate suggests Virginia could lose $2.6 billion in health-care spending. Of that amount, hospitals could lose nearly $986 million.
“Those are significant sums, which can have far-reaching implications for patients’ access to health care, and for Virginia’s economy,” Mary N. Mannix, president and CEO of Augusta Health in Fishersville who is chair of VHHA’s board of directors, said in a statement.
While VHHA opposes major changes, it supports, among other bills, legislation enhancing preadmission screening procedures and strengthening cybersecurity standards to safeguard medical data.
The VHHA says Virginia hospitals employ 115,000 people and generate $36 billion in economic activity.2017-01-18T20:46:00+00:00
Sanjo selects Virginia Beach firm for construction of North American headquarters
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sanjo-selects-virginia-beach-firm-for-construction-of-north-american-headqu#When:20:12:00ZThe Miller Group in Virginia Beach said Wednesday that it has been selected by Sanjo Corte Fino to develop and construct the Spanish company’s first North American headquarters in Virginia Beach.
Sanjo Corte Fino, located in Barcelona, said last summer that it would build a $17.5 million, 24,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Progress Lane. The company plans to supply specialty, fineblanking metal components to Stihl Inc., which also has a headquarters in Virginia Beach, as well as to automotive suppliers. The new facility, slated to be operational by December, is expected to create 85 jobs during the next three years.
The Miller Group is a real estate development, construction and asset management company. Recently completed design-build projects include Green Flash Brewery, IMS Gear, and Prufrex.2017-01-18T20:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CBLVirginiaPortfolio_Email.jpg
Oyster Point office buildings in Newport News have new owner
Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. (HFF) has closed on the sale of One and Two Oyster Point office buildings in Newport News. Suttle Holding Corp., a local company, purchased the two properties for $6.2 million.
HFF marketed the properties, which totaled 75,172 square feet on behalf of the seller, CBL & Associates Properties Inc.
One and Two Oyster Point are located within Oyster Point Park off Interstate 64. The location is close to the Norfolk International Airport, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, the Port of Virginia and the Department of Defense as well as numerous retail amenities.
One Oyster Point has 36,272 square feet and Two Oyster Point has 38,900 square feet. According to HFF, the properties are about 79 percent leased to local, regional and national tenants.
Director Scot Humphrey and Senior Managing Director Ryan Clutter lead the HFF investment sales team. Mike Mausteller of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate in Newport News represented the buyer.2017-01-18T19:17:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/unspecified.jpgPhoto courtesy The Bozzuto Group
A new approach
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-new-approach#When:19:12:00ZUnion on Queen, a $77.2 million, mixed-income multifamily community has opened in Arlington under a concept that helps Arlington County meet goals for affordable housing
Developed by the Bozzuto Group and nonprofit developer Wesley Housing Development Corp., the community at 1515 N. Queen St. in downtown Arlington has 193 apartments of which 78 (40 percent) are designated as affordable housing. These units are open to households earning 50 to 60 percent of the area’s median income of $106,484.
The project offers both market-rate apartments and affordable-rate apartments. Under affordable rates, for instance, a bedroom with 714 square feet that would go for $1,018 would be more than $2,000 at the market rate.
According to the developers, the idea behind mixed-income communities with affordable housing is that teachers, police officers and firefighters, as well as low-income renters or retired people living on Social Security, can live in the neighborhoods where they work.
“This community welcomes everyone no matter where they fall on the economic scale,” Shelley Murphy, president, Wesley Housing Development, said in a statement. “… We are creating stabilized neighborhoods with quality living arrangements for residents with mixed-incomes and for families. This development is significant in Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan and provides housing for a broad range of Arlington residents.”
Arlington County Housing Director David Cristeal said the project — one of the few mixed-income housing developments in the area — “represents the next generation of housing affordability because it is better integrated into the surrounding community, has features that will help its residents save money with access to more ways to get to and from work, and helps to strengthen our economy.”
Union at Queen has access to Route 50, 1-66 and the George Washington Parkway. The 12-story, LEED silver certified development is considered a transit-oriented community because of its proximity to the Orange, Blue and Silver Metro lines at the Rosslyn and Courthouse stations.
Floor plans include studio apartments and one- two- and three-bedrooms. Among the amenities are a clubroom, e-lounge, fitness center, outdoor kitchens with a fire pit and rooftop deck with views of the U.S. Capitol.
Architectural firm Davis Carter designed the community, with interior design by Design Works. Bozzuto Construction Co., based in Greenbelt, Md., served as the general contractor.
Support came from Arlington County, the Virginia Housing Development Authority and financial partners Capital One Financial Corp., Hudson Housing, Walker & Dunlop and Freddie Mac.
“Affordable housing helps strengthen communities and partnering to play a role in that process is exciting,” Ed Delany, senior vice president Community Finance, Capital One, said in a statement.2017-01-18T19:12:00+00:00
Altria acquires premium cigarette company
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-acquires-premium-cigarette-company#When:21:02:00ZAltria Group Inc. announced Tuesday it had acquired a premium tobacco company.
The Richmond-based company has purchased Sherman Group Holdings LLC, a Greensboro, N.C.-based tobacco manufacturer, and its subsidiaries (Nat Sherman).
Nat Sherman sells premium cigarettes and cigars and will join Philip Morris USA and John Middleton Co. as part of Altria’s smokeable products segment. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Nat Sherman was founded in 1930 as a family-owned and operated business. Its cigarettes, which are manufactured in Greensboro, are currently in limited distribution throughout the U.S. The company also operates a flagship store in New York City.2017-01-17T21:02:00+00:00
Kroger completes remodeling of two Richmond-area stores
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-completes-remodeling-of-two-richmond-area-stores#When:20:20:00ZKroger has completed an extensive remodeling of two of its stores in the Richmond area.
The company said it invested $3.5 million in the Chester store located at 12726 Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield County and $3.3 million in the Ridge Shopping Center store located at 1510 Eastridge Road in Henrico County.
Both remodels included the addition of ClickList, Kroger’s new online ordering service. The stores will celebrate with a grand “reopening” on Tuesday. Jan. 18.
The renovations included a new décor, paint and updates to many departments.
The Chesterfield Kroger store opened in 2007 while the Henrico store opened in 2004. This is the first remodel for both stores.
Kroger's mid-Atlantic division operates 121 stores, 116 pharmacies and 87 fuel centers in Virginia.
2017-01-17T20:20:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Huff_PR_CMYK-2015.jpgCatherine J. Huff
Catherine J. Huff named partner at Gentry Locke
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/catherine-j.-huff-named-partner-at-gentry-locke#When:21:09:00ZThe law firm Gentry Locke has promoted Catherine J. Huff to partner.
Huff practices in the firm’s Labor and Employment and Insurance practice groups.
She serves on the board of directors for Opera Roanoke and Roanoke Wildlife Rescue. She also serves as a volunteer at the Blue Ridge Legal Services Pro Bono Hotline.
Huff earned her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Virginia Tech and received her law degree from Liberty University.
Founded in 1923, Gentry Locke has more than 55 lawyers in offices in Roanoke and Lynchburg.2017-01-16T21:09:00+00:00
Partner elected at Willcox Savage
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/partner-elected-at-willcox-savage#When:21:06:00ZJ. David Crain has been elected partner at the Hampton Roads law firm Willcox Savage.
Crain practices in the firm’s catastrophic loss and insurance coverage litigation practice group.
He is a 2009 graduate of the College of William and Mary School of Law.
Crain earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from James Madison University in 2003.
Willcox Savage has offices in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.2017-01-16T21:06:00+00:00
2017 construction outlook
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-construction-outlook#When:16:30:00ZSeventy-three percent of construction firms across the U.S. plan to expand their payrolls this year as contractors look for private- and public-sector demand to grow in all market segments. That optimism shines through in a new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate.
Yet despite the rosy expectations outlined in “Expecting a Post-Election Bump: The 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook,” many firms, including contractors in Virginia, remain worried about the availability of qualified workers and rising health and regulatory costs.
“Contractors have relatively high expectations for 2017 as they predict the economy and demands for all types of construction will grow,” Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO, said in a statement. “As a result of this optimism, many firms expect to expand their headcount next year.”
Association officials noted that some of these expectations are based on President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to investing in infrastructure, improving federal health-care laws and reducing regulatory burdens. During his campaign, Trump promised to invest in America's infrastructure and to employ millions of workers to rebuild highways, bridges, tunnels and airports. “While the new administration and its stated policy objectives offer many reasons for optimism, there is a significant risk to the industry if the new Congress and administration underdeliver,” Sandherr said. “If plans to invest in infrastructure, reform health-care laws and roll back regulations are delayed, many contractors will likely scale back their plans to expand headcounts.”
Overall, respondents from nearly 1,300 construction firms in 49 states are most optimistic about the outlook for the hospital, retail, warehouse and lodging markets. Survey results from Virginia showed that contractors here expect more business in these sectors as well as warehouse and multi-family.
Yet 59 percent of the Virginia contractors said they have a hard time filling salaried and craft-worker positions. Firms report they are increasing base pay and bonuses and/or benefits to retain or recruit qualified staff.
“Contractors remain quite concerned about labor shortages, tight margins and growing costs,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “In particular, as additional older workers reach retirement age, firms will struggle to find qualified workers to replace them.”
Besides coping with worker shortages, contractors expressed concern about the continued increase in health-care and regulatory compliance costs. One hundred percent of the Virginia contractors who were surveyed said that the cost of providing health care for their employees increased in 2016, and 88 percent expect costs to rise in 2017.
Even as firms spend more on health care, they are prepared to increase investments in information technology (IT). According to the Outlook, 35 percent of firms across the country say they invested at least 1 percent of their revenue in IT last year. In addition, 40 percent say that their IT investments will increase in 2017. However, many contractors, including those in Virginia, report having no in-house IT staff, with these functions typically outsourced.
“With competition heating up for both projects and qualified staff, construction companies are relooking at how technology can help them meet these challenges head on,” said Jon Witty, vice president and general manager for Sage Construction and Real Estate, North America. “Contractors are not only increasing their investment in IT, they are becoming more strategic about securely applying information technology to all aspects of their business.”
In Virginia, contractors said they use estimating and bidding software to obtain work, and 43 percent use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to drive their brand. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are common, and more companies are using cloud-based servers/storage to enhance business operations.2017-01-16T16:30:00+00:00
Chesapeake Regional Medical Center buys office building for $2.5 million.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-regional-medical-center-buys-office-building-for-2.5-million#When:16:24:00ZChesapeake Regional Medical Center has purchased a 15,526-square-foot office building in Chesapeake From TowneBank for $2.5 million. According to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., which brokered the sale, the building is located on 1.1 acres at 1034 Battlefield Boulevard South. Nusbaum’s John M. Profilet and Stephanie Sanker represented the seller.
In other transactions for Nusbaum, the Norfolk-based firm reported on this leases:
· Thy Kingdom Christian Church leased 15,000 square feet of commercial space at 1520 Halstead Ave. in Norfolk. Chris Zarpas and Ashley Bussey represented the tenant.
· Peak Experiences Inc. leased 15,000 square feet of retail space at 1375 Overbrook Road in Richmond. Nathan Shor represented the tenant.
· First Choice In-Homecare Inc. leased 12,580 square feet of office space at Crossways Commerce Center in Chesapeake. John M. Profilet represented the tenant.2017-01-16T16:24:00+00:00
The Launch Place invests in ProAxion
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-launch-place-invests-in-proaxion#When:20:32:00ZThe Launch Place in Danville has announced it is investing $75,000 to help bring ProAxion’s product to market.
ProAxion is a startup based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Its TACTIX Machine Health Monitoring System helps manufacturers monitor machines and avoid breakdowns.
The system has been used in pilot programs at two Virginia manufacturers—Blue Ridge Fiberboard in Danville and Drake Extrusion in Martinsville.
“The system fits well in our predictive maintenance program by providing 24/7 monitoring of the equipment where it is being used,” Blue Ridge Fiberboard’s Plant Manager, Mark Custer, said in a statement. “The hope is that the machine vibration and temperature data will help to identify issues before they result in a breakdown.”
Since the local pilot projects were successful, The Launch Place decided to invest in ProAxion. The money’s coming from The Launch Place’s pre-seed investment fund, which requires that a business locate in the Danville-area as it grows.
“When we first met [ProAxion CEO and co-founder] Justin [Rothwell] over a year ago, and learned about ProAxion, we could see the potential for their product. However, the company was too early in development for The Launch Place investment,” Eva Doss, The Launch Place president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are very grateful to these local companies for opening their doors to ProAxion. The product has been tested and reached specific milestones that brought them to become investment ready.”
In addition to offering startups funding, The Launch Place offers businesses in Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C., consulting, mentoring and residential and office subsidies.2017-01-13T20:32:00+00:00
Shockoe Cary Building in Richmond sells for $2.3 million
The Shockoe Cary Building on South 13th Street in Richmond has sold for $2.3 million to 1877 Ventures LLC. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, the buyer purchased the
21,100-square-foot, mixed-use property of 16 apartments and a 6,000-square-foot commercial space as an investment. Thalhimer's Catharine Spangler handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.2017-01-12T22:29:00+00:00
Vandeventer Black relocates Richmond office
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vandeventer-black-relocates-richmond-office#When:22:25:00ZVandeventer Black LLC has relocated its downtown Richmond office to the West Tower of Riverfront Plaza.
“It’s very convenient and just three blocks away from our former location,” Mark S. Brennan, partner and Richmond department manager, said in a statement.
The company’s phone numbers, post office box and email addresses will remain the same.
Sixteen employees will work from the 9,000-square-foot office in Suite 1600. Vandeventer Black, based in Norfolk, said Richmond is one of its five law offices, providing legal services across a wide variety of business industries.2017-01-12T22:25:00+00:00
Bar association donates archives to the Virginia Historical Society
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bar-association-donates-archives-to-the-virginia-historical-society#When:22:05:00ZThe Virginia Bar Association has conferred its archives to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.
In a formal signing ceremony on Wednesday, VBA President James Patrick Guy II executed a deed of gift to donate the bar’s nearly 130-year-old collection materials to the society.
The historical society will preserve the collection and make it available to scholars, VBA members and the public.
The VBA also joined the Virginia Historical Society as a corporate member. This membership expands the VBA’s affiliation with VHS. Since 2000, VHS speakers have presented topics at Legacy Series Luncheons during VBA summer and winter meetings.
VBA collection donated to the historical society includes minutes, working papers, memorabilia, photographs and books. The items reflect the history of the VBA, which was founded in 1888.
The deed of gift allows the VBA to borrow items from the collection for display or other purposes.
The Virginia Historical Society holds more than 8.5 million documents and artifacts.
The Virginia Bar Association, the first statewide organization for lawyers in Virginia, is the largest voluntary bar association in the commonwealth, with about 5,000 members.2017-01-12T22:05:00+00:00
Chesapeake company acquired by Pennsylvania firm
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-company-acquired-by-pennsylvania-firm#When:19:41:00ZHazleton, Pa.-based DBi Services announced Thursday it has acquired TME Enterprises Inc., a Chesapeake-based provider of transportation and facilities management services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
TME Enterprises Inc., now operating under the name DBi Services, operates the largest private snow removal fleet in Virginia. It has a fleet of more than 260 trucks and 560 pieces of equipment. TME Enterprises was established in 1992 and grew to employ more than 300 people.
“Both DBi and TME share similar entrepreneurial roots, customer focus and family-oriented cultures, and the acquisition will allow DBi to offer all employees additional career development opportunities and job stability,” DBi Services said in a statement.
DBi Services provides infrastructure maintenance, management and operations services to customers in the public and private sectors, including railways, utilities and private industries. The company has 60 locations and 2,100 employees in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.2017-01-12T19:41:00+00:00
InterChange Group to build 108,000 square-foot facility in Verona
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/interchange-group-to-build-108000-square-foot-facility-in-verona#When:16:18:00ZInterChange Group Inc. will invest $6 million and build a 108,000 square-foot facility in Mill Place Commerce Park located in Verona.
The facility will serve as an expanded, new home for Sumitomo Drive Technologies and will also have additional space for future InterChange customers.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday in Verona.
InterChange offers warehousing, repackaging and transportation services to companies such as Hershey, Hollister and Shamrock Farms. Shamrock Farms will be a nearby neighbor to the new facility.
InterChange also owns South Oak Lane Warehouse in Lyndhurst, a 320,000-square-foot building.
This new facility in Verona expands InterChange’s distribution network and is expected to help connect the company’s other facilities along the Interstate-81 and I-64 corridors.
Weather permitting, A&J Development and Excavation will start site preparation immediately. Harman Construction is expected to begin construction in March. The building is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
Founded in 1993, InterChange is a full-service warehousing and logistics company serving the East Coast.
InterChange has a building portfolio of nearly 1.7 million square feet.2017-01-12T16:18:00+00:00
Poll finds strong support for Virginia workforce training and development programs
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poll-finds-strong-support-for-virginia-workforce-training-and-development-p#When:16:15:00ZA poll released Thursday finds strong support in Virginia for workforce training and development programs.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents say they were willing to pay more taxes to keep programs for workforce training and development at the current state levels, according the poll conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
That support, however, was mixed when the political affiliation of respondents was taken into account, with Democrats being more supportive (69 percent) than Republicans (46 percent).
In addition to supporting workforce training and development, respondents said the expansion of workforce training and education should be tied to state economic development funds. Respondents in Northern Virginia (53 percent) and Hampton Roads (52 percent) showed the strongest support for such incentives.
"Economic development and workforce development are important topics nationally as well as statewide, and they will certainly be at the forefront of this year's General Assembly session," John Accordino, interim dean of the Wilder School, said in a statement. "As policymakers wrestle with these issues, it's critical that citizens' views be taken into account.”
Despite support for workforce training and development, 57 percent of respondents said they were not familiar with job and career opportunities in their community.
Perhaps more alarming is that 80 percent of respondents without high school diplomas are unfamiliar with the education and training opportunities in their area.
Slightly less than half of respondents (47 percent) believe Virginia does a “good” or “excellent” job at attracting new businesses, while 35 percent think the commonwealth is doing a “fair” job.
The 2017 Public Policy Poll: Economic Development and Workforce Training is the result of telephone interviews with 1,000 Virginia adults on Dec. 1-20. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.2017-01-12T16:15:00+00:00
K12 Inc. adds former DC city council member to its board
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/k12-inc.-adds-former-dc-city-council-member-to-its-board#When:10:05:00ZHerndon-based K12 Inc. has added a board member.
Kevin P. Chavous, a supporter of national education reform that includes charter schools and parental choice programs, has been elected to the company’s board.
“His expertise as an accomplished author, sought-after speaker and leading advocate on behalf of students and families will add a valuable perspective to our board,” Nate Davis, executive chairman K12’s board of directors said in a statement.
Chavous was a former member of the Washington, D.C., city council and chair of the council's education committee. He previously served on the board of the Friendship Charter Schools in Washington and is a founding board member and executive counsel to the American Federation for Children.
Chavous is a graduate of Wabash College where he was an NCAA District All-American in basketball. He also graduated from the Howard University School of Law, where he was president of his graduating class.
K12 is a technology education company with online school programs and for students pre-K through high school.2017-01-12T10:05:00+00:00
TowneBank names four regional executives
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/townebank-names-four-regional-executives#When:22:58:00ZPortsmouth-based TowneBank has named four executive regional officers and presidents.
Dawn S. Glynn has been named president and regional executive officer of Chesapeake, Portsmouth/Suffolk and North Carolina. She also oversees the bank’s private banking division.
Brian K. Skinner has been named president and regional executive officer of the Peninsula and Williamsburg. He will also oversee the retail banking, treasury services/merchant credit card and the public finance & community investment divisions of the bank.
John P. Matson has been named president and regional executive officer of TowneBank Norfolk. He will continue his leadership of the overall banking operation in the Norfolk region, including business development, deposit growth and lending. His expanded role will include the oversight of the bank’s automotive finance/dealer division.
William I. Foster III has been named president and regional executive officer of TowneBank Virginia Beach. He will continue his leadership of the overall banking operation in the Virginia Beach region. His expanded role will include the oversight of the bank’s residential and commercial real estate divisions.2017-01-11T22:58:00+00:00
Here comes the sun
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/here-comes-the-sun1#When:21:39:00ZDominion Virginia Power said nearly 235,000 solar panels are generating power now that the company has completed construction on three large-scale solar facilities in Isle of Wight, Louisa and Powhatan counties.
Dominion said Wednesday that the facilities at peak output will produce 56 megawatts (MW) of generation, enough to power more than 14,000 homes.
Amec Foster Wheeler, Dominion’s construction contractor, managed the facilities through the engineering and environmental permitting process in the first half of 2016 and completed construction during the next five months. The facilities became operational in December.
Dominion acquired the solar development in Isle of Wight from Coronal Development Services and the development in Powhatan from Virginia Solar LLC. The facility in Louisa was developed by Dominion.
According to Dominion, the projects created more than 550 jobs during the construction period. They are expected to have a $74.2 million cumulative economic impact on the state in 2015-2017.
The solar panel count is 71,820 panels in Powhatan or 17 MW, 79,572 panels in Isle of Wight, 19 MW; and 83,600 panels in Louisa, 20 MW.
Dominion has announced 391 megawatts of large-scale solar facilities under development or already in operation in 12 Virginia localities. According to the company, this amounts to enough electricity at peak capacity to power more than 95,000 homes.2017-01-11T21:39:00+00:00
OneDigital Health and Benefits acquires Chevy Chase firm
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/onedigital-health-and-benefits-acquires-chevy-chase-firm#When:02:11:00ZAtlanta-based OneDigital Health and Benefits is expanding its reach in the Virginia-Washington D.C.-Maryland region.
The benefits consulting company has acquired C.T. Hellmuth and Associates in Chevy Chase, Md., which has operated in the Washington area for 44 years.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
As a result of the deal, the region has become the largest in the country for OneDigital, with more than 110 employees and 3,500 clients. Twenty-six Hellmuth associates have joined OneDigital.
“This alignment of firms represents a significant expansion of OneDigital’s middle-market benefits consulting capability in the mid-Atlantic region and nationally. Jim Hellmuth and his talented team fit our culture like a glove, bringing a reputation for client service that is unique in the marketplace,” Mike Sullivan, chief growth officer of OneDigital, said in a statement. “Our selective consolidation strategy remains focused on teams and capabilities that will thrive in a culture built on innovation and collaboration. When your focus is building for the long term, it is acquisitions like this that help solidify our foundation.”
Jim Hellmuth, president of C.T. Hellmuth, will report up through Chris Schutt, regional managing principal for OneDigital Mid-Atlantic.
OneDigital has more than 850 employees throughout the country, serving 35,000 companies. The firm works with 275 major brokers and manages nearly $4 billion in premiums.
Formerly known as Digital Insurance and Digital Benefit Advisors, the company has been named to the Inc. 5000 List of America’s fastest-growing companies every year since 2007.2017-01-11T02:11:00+00:00
Brown Edwards names new managing partner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/brown-edwards-names-new-managing-partner#When:22:01:00ZBrown Edwards, a CPA firm that has six offices in Virginia, has named Jason A. Hartman its managing partner. He succeeds Don Pellillo who served as managing partner for 16 years and will remain partner at the firm.
Hartman has managed Brown Edwards’ Roanoke office since 2008. He joined the firm in 1986, developing its Local Government Practice and Local Government Team. He also was responsible for building and leading the Credit Union Practice, which expanded under his leadership to include clients throughout the region.
Hartman also was instrumental in the firm joining the BDO Alliance USA, giving Brown Edwards access to the expertise of the fifth-largest CPA firm in the U.S.
One of Hartman’s main objectives is to continue the firm’s growth through acquisitions.
“As we have grown, clients from outside our office locations have recognized the quality delivered by Brown Edwards and have sought us out,” Hartman said in a statement. “It is desirable from a client service and community involvement perspective that we have offices in those locations to better serve our clients.”
He earned degrees from Glenville State College and James Madison University and serves on the board of Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
Brown Edwards is a CPA firm with more than 250 employees. It has offices in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.2017-01-10T22:01:00+00:00
All Traffic Solutions (ATS) to establish corporate headquarters in Herndon
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/all-traffic-solutions-ats-to-establish-corporate-headquarters-in-herndon#When:21:02:00ZAll Traffic Solutions (ATS) is establishing its corporate headquarters at Worldgate Centre in Herndon.
The company, which now has administrative offices in State College, Pa., says it will create up to 86 new jobs during the next three years. ATS plans to hire 25 employees this year. The company will spend $100,000 to establish the headquarters in a 4,300-square-foot facility.
ATS provides cloud-based traffic management solutions, including radar speed and variable message displays, imaging products and intelligent transportation systems.
The company said several factors influenced its decision to move to Herndon.
“First, Virginia is known for its business-friendly and robust startup environment,” Jim Weaver, CEO of All Traffic Solutions, said in a statement. “Also, Virginia is a major hub for transportation innovation. Equally important, the Dulles Technology Corridor, in particular, offers us access to some of the best tech talent in the country, which is key to our continued position as a leader in transportation technology.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support ATS’ investment through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consulting and funding to companies creating new jobs.
“Companies with innovative solutions to problems are drawn to the Town of Herndon and to Fairfax County because of the strong IT-focused workforce and the proximity to customers, partners and policy-makers,” Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said in a statement. “ATS is an excellent example of this kind of company and we are delighted to welcome the firm and its employees to our increasingly diversified IT sector and the larger business community.”2017-01-10T21:02:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Cabelas_logo.jpg
Cabela’s will open new store in Gainesville on March 9
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cabelas-will-open-new-store-in-gainesville-on-march-9#When:20:44:00ZCabela’s said Tuesday that it plans to hold the official grand opening of its newest Virginia store in Gainesville on March 9.
The 79,999-square-foot store, at 5291 Wellington Branch Drive, is Cabela’s first location in the Washington D.C., metro area and the third in the state. The Sidney, Neb.-based outdoors retailer already has opened stores in the West Broad Marketplace in Henrico County and at The Falls development in Bristol, Va.
The Gainesville store, which at one point was in question of being built, is adjacent to Virginia Gateway Center, a 1.3 million-square-foot, mixed-use shopping center.
The company said the store is being designed to offer customers an immersive outdoor experience, including Cabela’s Conservation Mountain and many wildlife-displays, including dozens of taxidermy mounts.
The store also will include an archery and firearm tech room and indoor archery range.
Cabela’s said the store will employ about 175 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.2017-01-10T20:44:00+00:00
CPA firm Thompson Greenspon adds principal
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cpa-firm-thompson-greenspon-adds-principal#When:22:02:00ZCarolyn C. Quill has joined the Fairfax-based CPA firm Thompson Greenspon as a principal.
Quill, who previously worked for another accounting firm in the Washington, D.C., area, has more than 25 years of experience as a tax professional.
She has authored many tax articles and has been a frequent speaker and instructor on tax and other business-related issues.
Quill received a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College, a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law and a master’s of law degree in taxation from Georgetown University.2017-01-09T22:02:00+00:00
Beacon Roofing Supply acquires an insulation distributor
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-roofing-supply-acquires-an-insulation-distributor#When:20:31:00ZBeacon Roofing Supply announced Monday it has acquired Eco Insulation Supply (EIS), a distributor of insulation and related accessories.
The purchase will expand Beacon’s reach of its existing insulation business, which grew recently with the company’s acquisition of Roofing & Insulation Supply in December 2015. Eco Insulation, based in Stamford, Conn., serves Connecticut, Southern New England and the New York area.
Paul Isabella, Beacon’s CEO and president, said of the acquisition: “EIS’s strong reputation with contractors in its markets will provide an excellent complement to Beacon’s insulation footprint, which we are committed to growing both through additional acquisitions of great companies like EIS and through strategic greenfield openings.”
Herndon-based Beacon Roofing is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and related building products.2017-01-09T20:31:00+00:00
Noblis Inc. moves to new headquarters building
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/noblis-inc.-moves-to-new-headquarters-building#When:16:38:00ZNoblis Inc. started 2017 with a relocation to a new headquarters in Reston. The building, a 160,000-square-foot, LEED-certified space on Edmund Haley Drive, accommodates 450 employees. It’s adjacent to the future Reston Town Center Metro and has numerous conference rooms and spaces for collaboration and privacy.
“We are proud to provide a new workspace for our employees, partners, and clients that reflects our commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and sustainability,” Amr ElSawy, president and CEO of Noblis, said in a statement.
The nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization, moved on Jan. 2. It had been based in Falls Church since 2007.2017-01-09T16:38:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Landmark_Corner_Rendering.jpgLandmark redevelopment rendering courtesy Businesswire
Howard Hughes Corp. buys Macy’s Landmark Mall store in Alexandria
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/howard-hughes-corp.-buys-macys-landmark-mall-store-in-alexandria#When:16:34:00ZThe Howard Hughes Corp. said Monday that it has acquired the 11.4-acre Macy’s store and parking area at Landmark Mall in Alexandria for an undisclosed price.
The site is located about nine miles from Washington, D.C. The company said it plans to transform the enclosed mall, which opened in 1965, and the Macy’s parcel into an open-air, mixed-use community with retail, residential and entertainment components.
These plans build on an initial rezoning approval granted by the Alexandria City Council in June 2013.In addition to a fresh line-up of retail offerings and Class A residences, the new Landmark would offer multiple plazas and green spaces, outdoor seating, an updated transit center, seasonal entertainment, public art, dining options and a luxury cinema, the company said.
“Our vision is to revive the site and create a new urban hub on the west end of Alexandria,” Mark Bulmash, senior vice president of development for Howard Hughes Corp., said in a statement. “This acquisition enables us to increase the scale of this catalytic redevelopment and transform Landmark into a vibrant destination attracting area residents and visitors.”
In connection with the redevelopment, the company plans to close the interior portion of Landmark Mall at the end of January. A timeline for the redevelopment has not been finalized.
Howard Hughes Corp. owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the U.S. The company has offices in New York, Columbia, Md., Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and Honolulu.2017-01-09T16:34:00+00:00
Snagajob opens new corporate offices in Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/snagajob-opens-new-corporate-offices-in-arlington#When:15:06:00ZSnagajob, America's largest marketplace for hourly workers, has expanded its reach to the Washington, D.C,. metro area.
The company has opened new corporate offices in Arlington, in the Waterview building in Rosslyn. The move is the result of the company's continuing growth. In 2016, Snagajob said it grew its workforce by 60 percent and helped more than 3.5 million Americans get a job.
It also secured $100 million in funding, announced a strategic partnership with LinkedIn and acquired human capital management platform company, PeopleMatter.
With more than 75 million registered hourly workers and 300,000 customer locations, Snagajob says its digital and mobile solutions are reimagining the way workers find hourly work and employers find hourly workers.
"As we work to make a difference in the hourly space, moving closer to our nation's capital was an easy choice. Not only are we are able to better impact the policies that affect the 75 million hourly workers in America, but we are also able to access an extraordinary talent pool filled with people excited to help grow a business that's truly making a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans," Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob, said in a statement.
Snagajob said it is hiring across all departments at its five locations, including Richmond, Oakland, Charleston, S.C.; Atlanta and Arlington.2017-01-09T15:06:00+00:00
Bank of Lancaster names senior vice president
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bank-of-lancaster-names-senior-vice-president#When:21:16:00ZKilmarnock-based Bank of Lancaster has hired Matt Paciocco as senior vice president, commercial banking.
Paciocco will be responsible for developing commercial banking relationships in the Richmond region.
Paciocco joins Bank of Lancaster with more than 12 years of banking experience retail and commercial banking in the Richmond region. He most recently was vice president in commercial lending with Park Sterling Bank.
Bank of Lancaster is part of Bay Banks of Virginia Inc., which also is the holding company for Bay Trust Co.
Founded in 1930, Bank of Lancaster has eight banking offices in the Northern Neck and Middlesex County and three in Richmond.2017-01-06T21:16:00+00:00
New director named at the Jefferson Lab in Newport News
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-director-named-at-the-jefferson-lab-in-newport-news#When:21:12:00ZStuart Henderson has been named the new director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News.
He will assumed his new responsibilities on April 3. Henderson currently is director of the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade Project at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill.
Henderson is an internationally recognized particle accelerator scientist. Before joining Argonne, he was the associate laboratory director for Accelerators at Fermilab, responsible for its accelerator research, development, construction, and operations activities centered on accelerator-based particle physics.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in physics from Yale University.
Henderson succeeds Hugh Montgomery, who came to Jefferson Lab as director in 2008. Montgomery announced his decision to step down from the directorship in December 2015. He will continue his association with Jefferson Lab as director emeritus.2017-01-06T21:12:00+00:00
Kaiser Permanente to open 40,000-square-foot office in Alexandria
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kaiser-permanente-to-open-40000-square-foot-office-in-alexandria#When:21:09:00ZKaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States will open a 40,000-square-foot medical office at The Exchange in the Potomac Yard area of Alexandria.
Located at 3000 Potomac Ave., the Alexandria Kaiser Permanente Medical Office will be the organization's first office in the city. The newly constructed office will offer primary care, imaging, laboratory, pharmacy services, optometry and optical sales.
The medical office will be located in a 100,000-square-foot building that will also serve as headquarters for the National Industries for the Blind. The building is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019.
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States region, based in Rockville, Md., provides health-care services for more than 670,000 members through 29 medical centers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.2017-01-06T21:09:00+00:00
American Airlines increases service from Roanoke to New York
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/american-airlines-increases-service-from-roanoke-to-new-york#When:21:05:00ZAmerican Airlines will add a second nonstop daily departure from Roanoke‐Blacksburg Regional airport to New York’s La Guardia Airport starting Jan. 9.
The additional flight will increase service to twice daily Monday – Friday and once daily on Saturday and Sunday.
“This is an important development for area businesses as New York is the nation’s financial center,” Timothy Bradshaw, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission, said in a statement. “The region has been utilizing the existing service on American for the last two years and as it has become more popular with travelers. The airline has added this additional flight to accommodate the increased demand.”
American has scheduled the new arrival into Roanoke at 9:43 a.m., which will then depart for La Guardia at 10:30 a.m. The 2:15 p.m. flight to LaGuardia also will continue daily.
The Roanoke‐Blacksburg Regional Airport serves more than 600,000 passengers a year with four airlines with nonstop service to eight hub cities.2017-01-06T21:05:00+00:00
Land near Innsbrook sells for $2.9 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-near-innsbrook-sells-for-2.9-million#When:22:29:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced the sale Thursday of about 2.4 acres located near the entrance to the Innsbrook Corporate Center in Henrico County.
Dominion GA LLC purchased the land along 4101 Dominion Blvd. and West Broad Street from Doswell Properties for $2.9 million. According to Thalhimer, it plans to develop a 12,800-square-foot retail center to be named Dominion Shoppes at Innsbrook.
The center is 100 percent preleased to tenants Noodles & Company, Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Whitley’s Peanut Factory and American Family Care. Construction is underway, and the opening of the retail shops is scheduled for the third quarter.
Connie Jordan Nielsen and Alicia Farrell of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the purchaser and were responsible for leasing the center prior to closing.2017-01-05T22:29:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Nate_Story.jpgNate Story
Hirschler Fleischer promotes Nate Story to partner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hirschler-fleischer-promotes-nate-story-to-partner#When:22:17:00ZHirschler Fleischer said Thursday that it has promoted Nathaniel L. (Nate) Story to partner. Story is a member of the firm’s Construction & Suretyship Practice, which advises developers, contractors, suppliers, small-business owners and general counsel on a ange of industry issues and disputes.
He also serves as editor of Hirschler Fleischer's recently launched Construction Law Blog. It provides industry executives with case updates, practical guidance and other legal news.
Story serves as a member of the Board of Church Hill’s Robinson Theater Community Arts Center and Richmond’s Builder Academy, and is a member of the Associated General Contractors of Virginia.
He earned his undergraduate degree from The College of William & Mary and his law degree from Regent University School of Law.2017-01-05T22:17:00+00:00
House Republicans will push for an overhaul of VEDP and its board
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-republicans-will-push-for-an-overhaul-of-vedp-and-its-board#When:21:16:00ZVirginia House Republicans said Thursday that they plan to introduce legislation during the 2017 General Assembly session that would dissolve the 24-member board of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
As part of a package of proposals that would overhaul the state’s premiere business recruiting authority, Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico County, said the Republican plan would include “dissolving, reconstituting, and significantly reducing and professionalizing the board of the VEDP.”
Massie said during a press conference call that the legislation would require the existing board to meet monthly during 2017 with VEDP’s new CEO, Stephen Moret, so that they could come up with a comprehensive strategic plan that responds to criticisms about VEDP leveled by the stage’s investigative arm in a recent report. On Nov. 14, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission issued a scathing, 132-page review with 35 recommendations to shore up what it depicted as gross organizational deficiencies that compromise VEDP’s effectiveness and could make the state vulnerable to fraud.
“Within nine months they would have to report back to the governor and the General Assembly on which recommendations they have implemented and which ones have not been implemented and why,” said Massie, a JLARC member.
The Republican legislators said they don’t agree with a legislative proposal floated last month by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to make the state’s secretary of commerce and trade the permanent VEDP board chairman. And they disagree with the governor’s proposal to shorten board terms from six to four years.
“I’m not very excited about that,” said Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, a JLARC member and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “You want to have the terms extend beyond one governor for continuity’s sake … I don’t want to politicize this board. We want it to be a business board that focuses on nothing but economic growth.”
The House legislation also calls for the position of an internal auditor within VEDP, which is in sync with McAuliffe’s proposed reform legislation. In addition, it would postpone the already approved spinoff of VEDP’s international trade unit as a separate agency, set for April 1, until July 1, 2018. “That will give us an opportunity to look at where things stand and to figure out if that’s the best way to go,” said Massie.
The proposal would also withhold $1.5 million in new marketing monies for VEDP that were supposed to be available on July 1.
If passed, the bill would have an emergency clause, meaning that it could become law immediately upon the governor’s signature.
The VEDP reform legislation was part of an overall package of laws that House Republicans said they plan to propose. Besides an overhaul of VEDP, they want to balance the budget, which is facing a $1.5 billion shortfall, without tax or fee increases. They plan to submit “commonsense economic growth bills,” including one that would prohibit local governments from setting artificially high wage floors for private contractors.
Under regulatory reform, Del. Michael Webert, R-Marshall, said he will introduce three bills. One would install a chief of regulatory management officer and a Red Tape Reduction Commission whose goal would be to reduce the state’s regulatory requirements by 35 percent.
Another bill would push for occupational licensing reform. The 2017 General Assembly begins Jan. 11.2017-01-05T21:16:00+00:00
$49 million project planned at Sentara Virginia Beach General
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/49-million-project-planned-at-sentara-virginia-beach-general#When:21:42:00ZSentara Virginia Beach General Hospital is beginning a $49 million modernization of its patient-care areas and infrastructure.
Three intensive-care units will be consolidated into one, 24-bed ICU.
Also, six operating rooms in use since 1983 will be replaced in a new surgery wing, and four other operating rooms will be renovated.
In addition, sterile-support areas will be expanded and upgraded. Two new elevators will connect the operating room suite with the consolidated ICU a floor above.
The Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) will be expanded and renovated, and the hospital’s Central Utilities Plant (CUP) will be modernized and have its emergency generators replaced.
Finally, locker rooms and lounge areas for physicians and staff will be modernized.
The project is scheduled to last about 30 months and create 75 to 100 construction jobs during peak activity.
The hospital marked its 50th anniversary last year.2017-01-04T21:42:00+00:00
Permits issued for two new solar facilities
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/permits-issued-for-two-new-solar-facilities#When:20:50:00ZGov. Terry McAuliffe announced new investments in Virginia’s solar industry Wednesday. Permits have been issued for two new projects.
The first, a 20-megawatt (MW) facility under development by Coronal Development Services, will be on about 275 acres in Dunnsville in Essex County.
Virginia Solar will build the second project, also with 20 MW of capacity, on a 720-acre parcel in Powhatan County.
The governor’s office says these projects represent a significant step in Virginia’s initiative to move towards mixed-use energy generation. Since McAuliffe took office in 2014, Virginia has seen its installed solar capacity grow from 17 MW to more than 188 MW at the end of 2016.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued the permits through a streamlined regulatory framework that supports the speedy deployment of renewable energy infrastructure while assessing the potential environmental impacts of new facilities.2017-01-04T20:50:00+00:00
Berkadia secures $34 million in financing for multifamily property
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/berkadia-secures-34-million-in-financing-for-multifamily-property#When:20:11:00ZBerkadia’s Richmond office said Wednesday that it has arranged a $34.1 million loan for Stone Creek Village Apartments, a 264-unit multifamily property in Charlottesville.
Senior Director Steve Murden secured the HUD loan, which was used to refinance existing debt on the property. The deal was completed on Nov. 28.
The borrower is Stone Creek Apartments LP, based in Virginia. The 35-year loan features a 3.25 percent interest rate and provides a debt service savings of about $216,000 annually.
Stone Creek Village Apartments is located at 365 Stone Creek Point. Amenities include an onsite creek, a pond, mountain views and landscaped walking trails. The community is close to Charlottesville’s downtown and the University of Virginia Medical Center.2017-01-04T20:11:00+00:00
Index AR Solutions names vice president of client and corporate development
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/index-ar-solutions-names-vice-president-of-client-and-corporate-development#When:02:37:00ZWilliamsburg-based tech startup Index AR Solutions has named Scott Sommers vice president of client and corporate development.
Sommers had a background in banking, finance and corporate development.
He previously worked in corporate management at firms such as SureWest Communications, Cantor Fitzgerald, Mellon Financial Services, KBC and UBS.
Sommers earned a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management.2017-01-04T02:37:00+00:00
Richmond insurance broker acquires Maryland agency
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-insurance-broker-acquires-maryland-agency#When:02:32:00ZThe Andrew Agency, a Richmond-based insurance broker, has acquired Wallace & Wallace, an insurance agency based in Cabin John, Md.
The deal was effective on Jan. 1. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Wallace & Wallace specializes in commercial and personal lines property/casualty insurance for high net-worth clients.
With the acquisition, The Andrew Agency is expanding its footprint into Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“As we continue to grow, we are seeking specialized agencies throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” Ryan Andrew, president of The Andrew Agency, said in a statement. “Wallace & Wallace will further strengthen our high net-worth division and increase our commercial client base. We are excited to welcome employees of Wallace & Wallace to The Andrew Agency team.”
Employees of Wallace & Wallace, will join The Andrew Agency team and will continue to operate under their firm’s existing name.2017-01-04T02:32:00+00:00
New CEO takes over at Union Bankshares
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-ceo-takes-over-at-union-bankshares#When:21:47:00ZJohn C. Asbury has become chief executive officer of Richmond-based Union Bankshares Corp., the holding company for Union Bank & Trust.
He succeeds G. William Beale, who has become executive vice chairman.
The change is part of a transition plan announced in August. Asbury joined the bank in October as president and CEO of the bank.
He is the former president and CEO of privately-held First National Bank of Santa Fe, N.M.
Union also named L. Duane Smith Jr. senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Smith, 49, replaces W. Olen Thomas who retired after serving as chief marketing officer since 2003. Smith was most recently head of brand marketing at Vonage. Prior to Vonage, he spent 16 years at Capital One ultimately becoming vice president of card marketing.
Union Bank & Trust has about 114 banking offices and 190 ATMs located throughout Virginia.
Non-bank affiliates of the holding company include: Union Mortgage Group Inc., Old Dominion Capital Management Inc. and Union Insurance Group LLC.2017-01-03T21:47:00+00:00
Tysons Technology Center sells for $96 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tysons-technology-center-sells-for-96-million#When:21:03:00ZThe Meridian Group has closed on the sale of Tysons Technology Center, a data center and office complex in Vienna.
According to Meridian, the 280,000-square-foot campus sold for $96 million to a joint venture involving an affiliate of Central Colo, a national data center operator, and Legacy Investing LLC, a Northern Virginia-based real estate investment company.
Tysons Technology Center is adjacent to the Capital Beltway. It is a short drive to Tysons Corner Metro Station and has access to the Capital Beltway, I-66, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 7.
The center includes a 199,560-square-foot office and data center building and a 79,890-square-foot office building. Anchored by Leidos and GSA, the complex is 91 percent leased to a diverse mix of tenants.
Meridian purchased the complex from SAIC for $63 million in 2011 and said it has invested more than $11 million in improvements since. They included renovations to the lobbies and comprehensive upgrades to the data infrastructure, including new chillers.
Meridian also rezoned the property to allow for a lighted athletic field with synthetic turf and a sound wall to reduce noise from the Beltway. The park, slated to be completed in 2018, will be available to the public and managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority.
“This transaction fit our investment strategy of acquiring underperforming assets and unlocking additional value,” Dave Gelfond, Meridian’s senior vice president said in a statement. “It was a repositioning opportunity where we converted substandard office space to data space and increased leasing from 63 percent at acquisition to 91 percent at sale.”
Eric Berkman and Bill Collins at Cushman & Wakefield, and Jeff Zell and Louis Kluger at JM Zell Partners, represented
Meridian, a real estate investment and development firm based in Bethesda, Md., in the transaction.2017-01-03T21:03:00+00:00
Willis Towers Watson creates East region
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/willis-towers-watson-creates-east-region#When:20:38:00ZWillis Towers Watson, an Arlington-based global advisory company, announced Monday the formation of its U.S. East region. It has appointed Susan Potter to lead the region.
The East region combines the company’s previous Northeast and Atlantic/South regions. It includes about 6,300 employees and $1.5 billion in annual revenue. The region spans 22 states, plus Puerto Rico, Bermuda, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
In her expanded role, Potter will be responsible for managing and growing the company’s business and client relationships across the region. She will also remain involved in client work. Potter has been with the company for more than 20 years and has held a number of leadership positions.
Most recently, she served as the Atlantic/South region lead. Potter started with the company in its retirement business and over the years has broadened her expertise by working in several other practice areas including health and benefits, and technology and administration solutions.
Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. It helps companies manage risk, optimize benefits and cultivate talent.2017-01-03T20:38:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/George_Whitley.jpgGeorge P. Whitley
TowneBank names chief legal officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/townebank-names-chief-legal-officer#When:16:50:00ZHampton Roads-based TowneBank has named Richmond attorney George P. Whitley as its senior executive vice president and chief legal officer.
Whitley’s legal career began at Mays Valentine, where he specialized in banking and finance law for 15 years. In 1994, he joined the law firm LeClairRyan, where he focused on community banking.
Throughout his 37-year career, Whitley has worked with G. Robert “Bob” Aston, Jr., chairman and CEO of TowneBank.
Whitley was the lead attorney on the LeClairRyan legal team that helped form TowneBank, and he has maintained an ongoing partnership with the bank throughout its 17-year history.
Whitley will continue to live in Richmond. He will maintain offices in Richmond and Hampton Roads.2017-01-03T16:50:00+00:00
CFO NOMINATION FORM 2016- SAMPLE 2
Create your own user feedback survey2016-12-31T17:44:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Dennis_Jarvis_1.png“When one of us grows, we all grow,” says Dennis Jarvis II. Photo by Jill Nance Waugh
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coming-together#When:09:00:00ZWhen Standard Insurance Co. was looking for a site for a new East Coast operations center, Lynchburg and Altavista made the short list — even though they are only about 20 miles apart.
“That was no accident,” says Bob Speltz, senior director of public affairs for Portland, Ore. – based Standard, a 110-year-old insurance and financial services company. “We knew that there would be a great pool of highly skilled, loyal talent to draw from within the region, and we felt like it offers an ideal quality of life, which is so important to attracting and retaining the very best folks in the marketplace.”
Economic development officials in both localities did their best to win the project, but the competition wasn’t a zero-sum game.
As long as one of them landed the deal, then the whole region stood to gain, says Dennis Jarvis II, Altavista’s economic development director.
“When one of us grows, we all grow,” Jarvis states. “Cars are bought. Houses are bought. Goods and services are acquired. We do our very best for our own community, of course, but we think it’s a blessing any time one of our partners in the region is successful, whether it’s the Lynchburg city core or Bedford or Amherst or Appomattox or Campbell County, because we all derive some indirect benefit from it.”
All for one, one for all
This understanding has encouraged regional players to work together more closely. In December 2015, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance was formed. It combined two longstanding organizations: the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Region 2000 Business and Economic Alliance.
“By aligning talent, financial resources and volunteer board members within one organization, we are now all focused on a single mission of leading regional economic development,” says Megan A. Lucas, CEO of the new group.
The new organization’s duties include promoting the region, courting business projects, providing strategic direction, cultivating talent and researching the impact of new legislation and regulations.
“Megan and her team can go out and tell our story and deal with the larger regional issues, which frees up our local chambers to focus on supporting their members and helping them grow and succeed,” says Traci Blido, Bedford County’s economic development director.
The group has developed a comprehensive economic development strategy and organized Virginia’s first regional connectivity study. It also spearheaded an effort to obtain $85 million from the Virginia Smart Scale funding process, formerly known as HB2, to upgrade the region’s roadways.
“I would definitely say that the theme and temperature here is the collective collaboration and cooperation that exists now to advance the region,” Lucas says. “Everyone here and all of our regional partners are working really, really hard, and it’s making a difference.”
On a roll
In the first nine months of 2016, the Lynchburg region saw 603 new jobs and $47 million in capital investments by new and existing businesses.
One of the new arrivals is Standard Insurance. In June, the company decided to put its operation center in Altavista, thanks in part to what Standard’s Speltz describes as “a strong cultural fit,” along with an incentive package that included a $320,000 Tobacco Commission grant. Another key factor was that the town had a vacant building once used as a call center that “is basically turnkey and will give us plenty of room to grow,” he says.
Standard plans to invest nearly $3 million in the facility, which will process claims. The firm now has 30 employees in place and expects to hire another 200-plus benefit and claims analysts by 2020. Their median pay will be $17 to $19 per hour.
Not to be outdone, Lynchburg landed a new insurer less than a month later. Pacific Life Insurance Co., based in Newport Beach, Calif., acquired Genworth Financial’s technology platform for new term-insurance business.
Henrico County-based Genworth, a Fortune 500 company, has operated in Lynchburg since 1955 but has seen major losses in recent years. In October, Genworth announced it is being sold to Beijing-based China Oceanwide Holdings Group for $2.7 billion.
Genworth, which will keep its headquarters in Henrico, will continue to have a customer service center in Lynchburg, which now has about 800 employees. “We expect that they will remain a strong company,” says Marjette Upshur, director of Lynchburg’s Department of Economic Development.
Mike Shadler, Pacific Life’s vice president of Lynchburg operations, explains that his company acquired Genworth’s term-life technology platform and the downtown Lynchburg building that houses it as well as a group of former Genworth employees who have the skills needed to launch the business. The deal, however, did not involve the transfer of existing Genworth policies and policyholders. “We’re building from the ground up here,” says Shadler.
Pacific Life has been known for its focus on affluent consumers, he explains, while the acquired capabilities are designed to target a broader market.
“Those are two very different sets of customers and distribution models, and they require very different capabilities,” he says. “With this acquisition, we now have the capability, processes and people to go after a brand-new market space immediately, without taking away any resources and focus on our existing business.”
Pacific Life will invest $4 million and hire approximately 300 employees, including insurance case managers, underwriters, IT experts, business analysts and HR specialists during the next two years as the business grows. The goal, Shadler says, is to be able to process 100,000 term policies by early 2018 and process another 100,000 policies every year after that.
Other new businesses have also moved into the region. Meat processor Seven Hills Food redeveloped a century-old, 40,000-square-foot facility in Lynchburg and expects to have more than 40 employees within the next three years.
Bedford also will get its first brewery when Beale’s Brewery & BBQ, a project by Petersburg-based developer Dave McCormack, opens a production facility, taproom and restaurant next summer. “We will sell to grocery stores and anywhere you can buy packaged beer, and we plan to be in both the Lynchburg and Roanoke markets,” McCormack says.
Taking stock and rebuilding
The region’s redoubled effort to collaborate more effectively is in part a response to a period of local economic turbulence. The area has lost more than 2,500 jobs in recent years, including 1,000 in 2016, according to Alliance officials.
The insurer Nationwide closed its Lynchburg office as part of a larger consolidation effort in 2015, resulting in the loss of 300 jobs. The Timken Co., which makes transmissions, power trains and other engine parts, is relocating its Altavista operations to another plant in North Carolina, a decision affecting 125 jobs.
Areva Inc., the France-based nuclear energy giant and one of Lynchburg’s largest employers, trimmed its payroll by 50 positions in 2016, the latest in a series of adjustments the company has implemented in response to decreasing industry demand.
Denise Woernle, Areva’s vice president of communications, says the company is diversifying its portfolio of products and services.
Areva’s Lynchburg-based Operational Center of Excellence for Nuclear Products and Services recently developed a more cost-efficient maintenance technique called “cavitation preening,” as well as the most comprehensive nuclear testing facility in North America, which allows the company to more reliably support the long-term operation of the existing nuclear reactor fleet.
No one in the region has had it tougher than Amherst County. Two years ago the county was bracing for the loss of its largest employer, Central Virginia Training Center — scheduled to shut down by 2020 — when Sweet Briar College, its second largest employer, announced it would close. “The combined job loss of nearly 1,500 [positions] represented about 25 percent of all jobs in Amherst County, and it was going to create a huge negative loss of economic activity,” says Victoria Hanson, executive director of the Amherst County Economic Development Authority.
The college was saved through a Herculean effort by devoted alumnae, regional businesses and the local government, but the incident galvanized the community. “There’s nothing like a scare like that to get everybody’s attention,” Hanson admits.
In response, the government obtained $122,000 in grant funding and ponied up $3,000 of its own money to conduct a comprehensive economic development strategic plan.
“It’s unusual for a small rural county to get this much money to take this in-depth level of a look at what we could do, and I like to think that these funders recognized the crisis that was brewing here,” Hanson says. “And the community was overwhelmingly interested and motivated to participate and provide their input.”
In 2016, Hanson and her team began to implement a multi-pronged plan. They are creating a new brand for the county and are proactively performing environmental assessments and leveling sites in its existing business parks. In addition, a new visitor’s center, located in a refurbished train depot, will open this year.
From the ground up
Upshur notes that, while it’s exciting to attract new business prospects, economic development officials in the region are putting most of their focus on supporting existing businesses and developing talent.
Several localities, including Lynchburg and Altavista, are running entrepreneurial boot camps that have helped a number of graduates in starting companies. Lynchburg, meanwhile, kicks off the first of several TechHire training sessions in January to prepare unemployed residents for jobs that are in high demand.
Upshur explains that 15 local employers, including Centra Health, Sharptop, BWXT, RR Donnelley and Porter’s Fabrication, will provide training and paid apprenticeships to 210 people during the next four years. “We are bridging the gap between opportunity and training, such that we’re saying to these employees, ‘If you train with us, you will also be employed by one of these companies at the end of your training period,’” she says.
The region already is benefiting from a number of recent expansions. In Altavista, BGF Industries and Schrader-Bridgeport International are collectively investing $5.5 million in new tools and machinery, which will result in a total of about 50 new jobs, while Abbott Laboratories expects to add another 50 jobs once it completes a nearly $40 million expansion of its nutrition manufacturing facility.
Bedford also has seen a lot of new business activity. Simplimatic Automation, which provides materials handling, conveyor automation and robotics integration, moved from Campbell County to the 500-acre New London Business and Technology Center in April 2015, where it built a 60,000-square-foot facility.
CFO Sara Orange says the company has grown rapidly during the past four years, jumping from 45 employees and $14 million in revenue in 2012 to 110 employees and $24 million in revenue in 2016. “We’re already at capacity,” Orange says, noting that the firm is looking at either expanding its current facility in the New London park or building on an adjacent lot.
Also in the New London park is the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), a 10-year-old R&D facility and business incubator. It has worked with 10 companies that have either expanded or relocated to Bedford County. An example is the International Critical Infrastructure Security Institute (ICISI), a nonprofit organization that tests, validates and certifies cybersecurity solutions.
Another new Bedford firm is NanoTouch Materials. It moved to the CAER facility from Lynchburg after receiving a $2 million Tobacco Commission grant to commercialize its self-cleaning mats and surfaces. The company plans to sell its products to hospitals, hotels and facility management firms. The four-person firm, which recently won an international innovation award for new cleaning agents, plans to hire up to 16 more employees and build a facility in the New London park, says co-founder Mark Sisson.
“We’re currently working with the Bedford Economic Development team and the Tobacco Commission to figure out what funds might be available to accelerate that project and [get] that building done sooner, even as we continue working to grow market awareness and sales,” he says.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Florance-5173.pngCoStar Group CEO Andrew Florance. Photo by Mark Rhodes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-relationships#When:09:00:00ZAndrew Florance was faced with a choice as he was finishing his undergraduate degree at Prince­­ton University 30 years ago. He could go on to graduate school or he could pursue his dream of using new technology to create a commercial real estate research company.
Florance had hatched that business plan while working as a summer intern with a Washington, D.C., real estate firm. He watched as company employees made financial projections on a new office building in pencil on a 24-by-18-inch spreadsheet. Why, he wondered, didn’t they take advantage of personal computers, which had recently appeared on the market?
“That was a real eye-opener. I knew that people were leasing real estate, buying and selling and valuing real estate, all by manual processes,” Florance says. “I thought that was a huge opportunity. I actually started working out of my college dorm my senior year, writing software to basically manage [real estate] information.”
But a real estate professor Florance consulted didn’t think much of his idea of starting a research company, urging him to go to graduate school and become a developer. Florance ignored that advice and started CoStar Group Inc.
Now, that professor’s son manages an investment fund that is one of CoStar’s major investors. “I love the fact that this professor who said I’ve got the stupidest idea in the world has a son who is a fund manager with $400 million of our stock,” Florance says.
Forbes magazine has called Washington, D.C.-based CoStar one of the “100 Most Innovative Growth Companies.” Fortune magazine identified it as one of the nation’s “100 Fastest Growing Companies.”
Soon, CoStar will become a major employer in Richmond. In late October, the company announced it will spend $8.2 million to establish a 125,000-square-foot research operations headquarters in four floors of a nine-story building on the banks of the James River.
CoStar eventually will employ about 730 people in the building, which it will share with WestRock Co., a packaging company formed in the 2015 merger of Richmond-based MeadWestvaco and Georgia-based Rock-Tenn Co. The CoStar project is expected to pump $250 million into the Richmond regional economy.
CoStar currently employs about 3,300 people worldwide. Customers use its data to buy or lease real estate or find information about office, industrial and retail properties. The company, which also owns the apartment listing website Apartments.com, generated revenue of $711.8 million in 2015.
CoStar picked Richmond for the research center after a yearlong search involving 20 cities around the country. Kansas City, Mo., and Charlotte, N.C., were the other finalists.
Important factors in the decision were the area’s cost of living, quality of life and the proximity of a number of universities. The company seeks a highly educated workforce, and it hopes to work with schools as research partners.
Most of all, Florance wants Richmond employees to stay with the company, establishing long-term relationships with its customers. “Our clients feel like they invest in our researchers,” he says.
In addition to guiding CoStar, Florance serves on the board of directors of the American Real Estate Society and Walker & Dunlop Inc., one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the U.S. The Office of the Mayor in the District of Columbia recently named him to a task force reviewing D.C.’s use of real estate.
Virginia Business editors Robert Powell and Paula Squires interviewed Florance at its offices in October. The following is an edited transcript.
VB: How has your company changed the real estate industry?
Florance: I’ve been spending a little bit of time in Madrid lately, and we’re beginning to ramp up there. Madrid reminds me of Washington, D.C., in 1988 or ’89 in terms of the way information flows … Madrid is the exact same size as Houston, Atlanta and Washington in terms of GDP or in terms of population. In Madrid, the top 20 brokerage firms have 500 brokers total, as opposed to Houston, Washington and Atlanta having 1,500 [each]. Then the amount of inventory that the top brokerage firms have to move in Madrid is 25 million feet. In Washington, Atlanta and Houston it’s 100 million feet. The brokers themselves are earning 300 percent more in Washington, Atlanta and Houston on average than they are in Madrid … They earn more in an information-rich environment than they do in an information-starved, nondigital environment.
VB: What made you decide to create this research operations headquarters and why did you decide not to base it in D.C.?
Florance: [While CoStar relies on sophisticated technology], at the end of the day, it’s about people who are communicating with the owners, developers and brokers. They are a trusted intermediary or curator of the information … Our clients love to develop long-term relationships with our researchers … The longevity of those relationships is important.
We need to have college-educated, sharp, motivated people with good relationship skills. [The decision on locating the center was] about creating the best environment for them. In Washington, if I want to be able to walk 10 minutes to work, I would have to spend $2,300 a month for an apartment. If I do the same thing in Richmond, I could spend $1,000 a month. For someone coming out of college with a little bit of student debt, a $15,000 to $16,000 differential is huge. Another important thing to a 29-year-old would be the cost of a pint of beer …
We also want to invest in [employees’] education. We bring professors in, and we actually fund graduate education for them. We like an environment where you have a bunch of great educational institutions. [Here you have] Virginia State, VCU, Virginia Union, University of Richmond, U.Va., Virginia Tech, I mean, a phenomenal educational system — and affordable beer.
VB: You probably are aware that there’s been an advanced manufacturing collaborative research center south of here [the Commonwealth Center for Advance Manufacturing in Prince George County].
Florance: That’s sort of the model we’d love to pursue. How can you take this sort of content and apply it in a real-world scenario? We’ve got 25 million people a month coming to our websites and they’re conducting a billion searches a year and you’ve got a trillion data points coming back, and we’re saving every bit of it … Historically, you’d learn in real estate 101, that you look at a building and you look for other buildings of the same type within a couple blocks, and those are your peers. Except now we know those are not the competitors. What’s more of an indication of a competitor is what the consumer looks at and shops for. We can say that a hundred million renters came and searched, and the ones that looked at these lofts in this community most likely spent the same amount of time looking at [loft apartments] three miles away, down the river. So your competitor is not that building two blocks away. Your competitor is three miles away, down the river.
We now even have data where, we frankly can see how inefficient people are at pricing their real estate. You’ll see one community setting a price just $100 too high a month, and they will get only 10 percent of the attention of the renters that another community priced $100 dollars lower gets. You realize that the automated pricing systems have to move out to the internet where the consumer is actually searching. As real estate becomes completely digital, that will keep the academic world busy for a long, long time, and the more problems the academic world can dig into, the more the private sector can consume that knowledge.
VB: Where does most of your information come from, public data or private sources?
Florance: There are probably several hundred different sources of data. One of the keys to presenting good data is having the software to pull together all those different flows of data and rationalizing and curating it into something that makes sense … There will be a lot of data coming from public data sources: the Department of Energy, the EPA, the SCC, state insurance filings. There will be tons of private sources of data coming in ...
Then we write tens of thousands of little software robots that roam around the internet collecting data. We have a robot that puts in every single possible permutation of potential deed number every morning and compares it to what was there yesterday morning and then finds the new deed. So we can actually get immediate word of a new deed through this sort of code cracking. We also have robots that [track the locations of CVS drugstores]. If we find there’s a new CVS, we then send a trigger to our researchers responsible for that neighborhood who will then figure out what happened — like who built it and what was there before …
We will have a point person who manages a relationship here in Richmond between CoStar and the brokers at [major brokerages] or at any of the big developers. We take all that data, and we try to make sure that the most important part of the market, which is the active listings, are being accurately represented and the deals are being accurately represented. At any point, there’s more than a trillion dollars of potential transactions being offered to the market here in the United States, and our brokerage clients earn about $60 billion of commissions off that each year.
VB: How well did you know Richmond before you started this search?
Florance: I personally worked with the brokerage firms here 15 to 20 years ago in getting CoStar going. When I first started up the company, my sister had a little graphics shop down here, and I would spend every week here when we were producing our first product. When we printed commercial real estate directories back in the early ’90s, we used to print those down here in Richmond. I’ve gone up and down I-95 a fair amount.
VB: Now, tell me a little bit of where your revenue comes from.
Florance: [CoStar] subscribers pay a monthly subscription fee, roughly a per- broker subscription fee. Institutions pay a similar sort of fee. We have a quarter million clients, and, they include every major brokerage firm in the United States. Most of the vast majority of the substantial [real estate owners] are using it. A vast majority of banks use it, also regulators and economic development, state government and federal government [officials].
On the apartment side and on the commercial real estate side, people pay advertising fees to generate leads online. We’ve served up 50 million leads for tenants to our clients over the past two years. We believe we’re involved in about 85 percent of all real estate deals in the United States.
We do a lot of other things, like things you’d never think of. We’re the number one site for buying and selling farms in the United States, which is a multitrillion-dollar sector. That’s timber, that’s minerals, that’s agriculture. And we’re also the number one website for buying and selling small businesses … Then we also do things like rent payment systems
… We do econometric consulting and then we also have a team that works with the Fed and various major banks on doing debt risk analytics … We’re involved in a lot of stuff.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Wegmans1.pngWegmans has opened two stores in the Richmondregion, one in Midlothian and one in Short Pump.Photo by Adrienne R. Watson
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/supermarket-supremacy#When:09:00:00ZWant a grocery store with a restaurant and a wine bar — got it, at least at some Wegmans.
Want someone to carry groceries to your car — got it, at newly arriving Publix stores.
Want a small, no-frills, dash-in kind of store — got it, at stores such as Lidl and Aldi.
New grocery brands and variations on old brands are moving like a wave across much of Virginia.
There are so many players that it’s getting hard to keep them straight. Some of the newcomers: Aldi, Lidl and Publix. Wegmans also is entering new markets.
As for the tried and true: there’s Wal-Mart, Kroger and Kroger Market Place, Whole Foods, Food Lion, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market and independents.
In other words, a lot of stores are vying for the grocery dollar, although not necessarily for the same customers. Some of the higher-end stores are purposely targeting high-income areas. Whatever the demographic, activity is robust, with grocery stores becoming the go-to anchor for new mixed-use developments.
The Richmond region is ground zero for much of the activity. Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World, a trade publication that follows the supermarket industry in the mid-Atlantic, says Richmond will be the only place in the country where Wegmans and Publix will compete head-to-head, although Raleigh, N.C., will face that scenario in a couple of years.
So, why is the grocery store sector so hot?
Connie Nielsen, a senior vice president and veteran retail broker with Richmond-based Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer, says, “I don’t know that it’s necessarily a war,” but it is competitive. “Very competitive.”
The Richmond market got a jolt in July when Florida-based Publix announced it was buying 10 store locations from Martin’s. The fate of Martin’s nine other stores that were not part of the Publix sale remains uncertain, although the grocer has indicated that it does not plan to stick around if a buyer or buyers cannot be found.
The store sales were necessary to satisfy federal regulators so that the Dutch retailer Royal Ahold NV, which operates Martin’s, can combine with the Belgian Delhaize Group, which owns Food Lion and Hannaford.
Nielsen brokered the deal for Wegmans, one of the best known high-end grocery brands, and found two sites in Richmond. Wegmans has one of the largest average footprints in the industry with some stores ranging to 140,000 square feet or more.
According to Nielsen, every grocer is looking for the niche location that best suits its brand, traffic requirements, customer base and operating style. In Richmond, Wegmans located in two of the highest income ZIP codes in the region.
One Wegmans opened in Chesterfield County’s Midlothian area, which has an average annual household income of $122,000 within a three-mile radius, according to Nielsen.
The other Wegmans is in Henrico County’s Short Pump area where the annual household income averages $124,000. Those figures compare with the median income for the Richmond metro area of $60,713, according to the Census Bureau’s latest annual American Community survey.
The Publix push
Meanwhile, Publix has aggressive expansion plans for Virginia. Opening soon will be a 50,000-square-foot store in Nuckols Place in Henrico County. This will be Publix’s first store in the region, and it is the anchor tenant in the 90,000-square-foot development.
The growth of Publix in Richmond is part of its ongoing rollout of stores in the Southeast, and future announcements about other store locations in Virginia will be forthcoming, says spokeswoman Kim Reynolds.
“What we hang our hat on is providing premier customer service. We try to treat our customers like ‘kings and queens,’” she says, employing a phrase often used by Publix’s founder.
According to Reynolds, customers can expect to be offered complimentary carryout of their bags to their cars and to be recognized by store associates when they arrive for shopping.
“We’re the largest employee-owned supermarket in the nation. Our associates are company owners, and they realize that how they do their jobs every day affects them and their families. It’s motivation to go above and beyond,” Reynolds says.
Lidl and Aldi
On the other end of the spectrum, discount grocer Lidl is developing a $125 million regional headquarters and distribution center in Spotsylvania County, and Aldi has announced plans for building a $57 million distribution center and division headquarters in Dinwiddie County. Lidl and Aldi, both based in Germany, are fierce competitors in Europe.
Aldi has 32 stores in Virginia and plans to have 60 by 2021. A spokesman for Lidl says its first U.S. stores will be open no later than 2018. “To date in Virginia, we have announced two facilities and at least 700 jobs — our U.S. headquarters in Arlington County as well as a regional headquarters and distribution center in Spotsylvania County. Our announced investment in these two facilities is more than $200 million,” says Lidl spokesman William Harwood.
Lidl is expanding into Virginia, he adds, because the company thinks it will be a great option for shoppers. It currently operates 10,000 stores in 27 countries.
Northern Virginia’s allure
In Northern Virginia, Greg Ferrante, a real estate and development executive with JLL (formerly Jones Lang LaSalle), says the grocery market is on fire with Wegmans, Whole Foods, Lidl and the anticipated arrival of Publix, which is eyeing the region as a potential market.
Ferrante noted that many retailers are continuing to converge on the Northern Virginia-D.C. area because of its disproportionate number of high-income residents.
The three richest counties in America are all in the Virginia suburbs near D.C., according to Census Bureau data. Falls Church — an independent city that the Census counts as a county — leads the pack, with a median household income of $125,635, followed by Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
Yet even with all that wealth, Ferrante says there may not be enough business to sustain every grocer that wants a share of the market. “I think there are a lot of grocery stores that will go out of business, the weaker ones. They’re squeezing a balloon. They’re going to be stealing from each other,” Ferrante says.
Whenever a well-known grocery brand comes into a community, that move can have repercussions far beyond its geographic boundaries, Ferrante adds. For instance, he pointed to the recent opening of a Wegmans in Charlottesville. “By locating in the Charlottesville market, it will draw from 30 miles,” he says, and could impact other grocers and shopping trends throughout the region.
Tom Dunn, a JLL vice president of retail brokerage based in Hampton Roads, says that one of the biggest trends he’s seeing in the grocery store market has been in response to customers wanting to have ready-made items that they can carry from the store to the dinner table.
“Gone are the days of people walking to a grocery store and planning their meals. More people are eating out more, and grocery stores are changing their model to a larger selection of fast foods” including natural foods, Dunn says.
Last year was the first time that restaurant sales outpaced grocery sales in the U.S., he adds, in part because millennials are reshaping shopping patterns to fit their fast-paced lifestyles. “It’s a cultural shift in buying patterns,” Dunn says.
Dunn, who splits his time between Hampton Roads and Richmond, has only exclamation points to describe what he’s seeing in the grocery market. “I’ve never seen the level of activity that we’re seeing now. A plethora of players has landed. It’s pretty unprecedented.”
When a major grocer can’t find the space it wants, it creates its own space, Dunn says, pointing to what Kroger did in Hampton Roads when it purchased an existing shopping center and reshaped it to accommodate a sprawling 125,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace.
Susan Jones, a senior vice president with Colliers International in Richmond and director of its retail brokerage, says Aldi did something similar in Richmond on a much smaller scale. Last year, the company acquired a former steak house and remodeled it for the first of what will be four locations in the Richmond area. Aldi recently announced that it would also build on a former church site in Virginia Beach. “As more and more grocers enter the market, sites have been harder to find. You have to get creative and still be right with your demographics” Jones says.
For commercial brokers, Jones says, the arrival of new grocers is more than welcome. “It’s money in the bank with new players, if we can find good sites and put developers and grocers together,” she says.
Metzger of Food World says that, like Richmond, nearly every metro area in the country is “overstored,” as saturated markets are strained even further. In Richmond, he believes Food Lion is particularly vulnerable.
His prediction for the future of the grocery store market over the next five years: “Nationally and in Richmond, there will be a thinning out of the herd.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ROANOKECOLLEGE_Lee.pngKelly Dalaski (left) and Jonathan Lee worked with Toni McLawhorn to develop the Maroon Mentors program.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/maroon-mentors#When:09:00:00ZToday’s college students may be more savvy than their predecessors, according to Jonathan Lee, a 1995 Roanoke College graduate and the college’s director of alumni and family relations.
Technology has made information readily available to current students, Lee says, and they are better at using that technology and taking advantage of other resources. They’re also more willing to ask for help. But today’s college students share at least one trait with virtually every college graduate who came before them. “I don’t think they realize how little they know,” Lee says.
That has become one more thing that the liberal arts college will try to teach its students. “We sort of came to realize students need as much guidance as possible to succeed in the real world,” Lee says.
Lee and his colleagues also realized Roanoke College’s alumni offered a ready-made network of people who could provide that guidance, so Lee — along with Director of Career Services Toni McLawhorn and Career Advisor Kelly Dalaski — developed a way to connect students with that network. The 175-year-old college’s Maroon Mentors program targets sophomores but also pairs juniors and seniors with alumni who’ve spent some time in the business world and are willing to share what they’ve learned.
Insight on a career
Steve Devlin, a 1998 Roanoke College graduate, was hesitant when Lee suggested he become a mentor, but he relented. “I guess, as we talked about it more, it kind of hit me that these kids are coming out of school without a good idea of what the world is like,” Devlin says.
He also thought about how great it would have been if someone had done this for him, how much time he would have saved in developing his career. Ultimately, Devlin became a mentor to Luke McCollester, a sophomore from Rochester, Mass., who came to the college as an athletic training major.
McCollester says his first biology class convinced him he’s not a science person but he has always liked math. Now he wants to get an MBA, become a CPA and go into wealth management. “Maybe open my own business,” McCollester says. “I’ve always been interested in being an entrepreneur.”
McCollester’s time with Devlin has given him some insight into what that business is like. Devlin and five other people — one of whom is also a Roanoke College graduate — founded Market Square Advisors more than three years ago. The wealth management company contracts with Freedom First Credit Union as well as serving its own clients.
Roanoke College suggests that mentors meet with students at least two or three times a semester. Lee says ideally that would include an introduction session, a mock interview, job shadowing and possibly an internship.
With Devlin and McCollester, the process began with a meeting at Mac & Bob’s (a restaurant owned by a Roanoke College graduate). “We just went and grabbed a long lunch, and we just chatted,” Devlin says. “We just kind of went with the flow. “
“We kind of hit it off really well,” McCollester says. Devlin didn’t want to do things halfway, McCollester says. They discussed ways McCollester could use the skills he developed during a marketing and web design internship last summer to work on a project for Market Square Advisors.
McCollester says he shadowed Devlin, watching how he dealt with clients with very different concerns. The company deals in wealth management, McCollester says, but Devlin showed him, “You’re in the people-helping business.”
Since that first meeting, McCollester says, he and Devlin have communicated almost weekly, and McCollester expects that will continue. “I definitely think Steve and I will keep this relationship going,” McCollester says.
Helping two women
Ellie Hammer, a 2010 graduate, has kept up her relationship with 2012 graduate Sara Sloman for more than four years. That connection predates the Maroon Mentor program. Sloman was an intern at the Merrill Lynch office where Hammer works. “It was a very rewarding experience,” Hammer says.
She helped Sloman with job shadowing years ago. Since then Hammer has assisted Sloman with interviews and other career challenges. Hammer was especially keen to help because she knew how difficult it could be for a woman to break into her business.
When she joined Merrill Lynch, she was the only female financial adviser in her office. Hammer’s childhood — she describes herself as a tomboy and a daddy’s girl with three brothers — prepared her for working with men. “A few of them, I think they’ll tell you I made them be my mentor,” she says. “I kind of bullied them into it.”
In addition to Sloman, Hammer is also mentoring Cassidy Drew, a sophomore from Atlanta. “I really like that I’m able to talk to somebody who’s in the business world,” Drew says, “just because there’s so much difference between the classroom and the real business world.”
She met with Hammer a couple of times last semester, including a mock job interview. Hammer says she wanted to go through that exercise before they got to know each other too well to make it more like a real interview.
Drew says the mock interview was very useful. She learned something about how she acts in that situation. “I fidget a lot,” she says. “It’s usually those little things you don’t notice until someone points them out.”
Drew’s parents have a consulting company that finds art for businesses to place in board rooms, reception areas and hotel rooms. Her parents work with several Fortune 500 companies, Drew says.
She likes the variety in that work. “Every project is something new and different,” Drew says, “and I really like that. “
Drew says she’s leaning toward a career in marketing, perhaps on “the creative side.” (She’s taking a graphic design class.) She likes having a mentor who works in finance because it’s “good to get different perspectives.”
Drew’s not sure about the immediate future of her mentorship because she is applying for a Rotary scholarship, which could mean she’ll spend a semester as an exchange student at the University of Oslo. She’s not completely sure about that marketing career, either. “I still have plenty of time to figure it out,” Drew says.
The mentorship will be even more valuable in her junior and senior years, Drew says, because she’ll have someone to help connect her with people in the working world and somebody to bounce ideas off.
Plenty of volunteers
Lee says the ultimate goal is for every student at Roanoke College to have a chance to have a Maroon Mentor to help them make those connections and discuss those ideas. The mentorship program was limited to business majors when it began two years ago. This academic year, the program was opened to all majors. Last semester, 42 of the college’s roughly 450 sophomores were in the program.
There’s been no problem finding potential mentors, Lee says. Whenever he travels for Roanoke College, graduates offer to mentor students. It sounds like a cliché, Lee admits, but he insists it’s true, “People here really care a lot about each other.”
And those mentors rarely have problems connecting with the students, Lee says. “I think part of it is we are a small school,” he says, “so there are a lot of commonalities, even if there are 10 or 15 years between them.”
Coaches and professors tend to stay at Roanoke College, Lee says, so mentors and students may have had the same classes taught by the same people.
Lee says studies and anecdotal evidence shows many companies are looking for employees who can think on their feet, exercise critical thinking and adjust to changing circumstances. In short, most employers prefer liberal arts graduates.
“They realize,” Lee says, “that a person with a liberal arts degree can take projects and run with them and be flexible.”
Even so, Lee says, the education available to students through Maroon Mentors can develop and amplify one very important lesson some students can’t absorb in a classroom. Mentors who’ve been in the working world know, and may be able to convince students that it’s okay for them to take a chance. It’s okay to fail. Rather than derailing a career, those experiences can be opportunities to learn and grow. “If you have someone mentoring you and guiding you, you feel a little more empowered,” Lee says.
Students and newly minted graduates are sometimes so focused and driven they aren’t prepared for the inevitable stumbles waiting in their career path.
“I think in today’s world there’s so much pressure on students.” Lee says. “What are you going to do? What’s that first job’s salary going to be?” Mentors can let them know, “Things will work out. Keep working hard. Keep moving.”
Students can learn other important lessons from their mentors, too. Lee says one reason the program begins with sophomores is so students can get a close look at what their chosen field is really like. If they’ve picked the wrong path, it’s better for students to learn that early in their academic career rather than the second semester of their senior year.
Students and mentors both can profit from these relationships, but Devlin says the potential benefits extend far beyond that. “I think it’s important if you care about what’s up and coming in the workforce,” he says. “The better we can prepare kids for the job market, the better off our society will be.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VTech_map.pngPamplin College of Business is building a new $225 million campus. Courtesy Virginia Tech
Building and buzzing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-and-buzzing#When:09:00:00ZAmid its ongoing $500 million construction and campus renovation campaign, Liberty University will build a 78,000-square-foot home for its School of Business, to open by fall 2018.
Designed by Richmond firm Glavé & Holmes Architecture, the new business school building will house an auditorium, its Center for Entrepreneurship, a trading room, the university’s information technology program and “gathering spaces not only for our students but for the business community in the region,” says Liberty School of Business Dean
Scott Hicks. “We want this to be a destination spot for them to come in and take advantage of using the facility and work with our students.”
The building will stand where Religion Hall now is located on Liberty’s Lynchburg campus. Its cost has not been finalized.
Liberty’s business school isn’t alone in making ambitious plans. The business of teaching business is booming these days at Virginia’s major universities, which are erecting buildings, starting new endeavors to encourage entrepreneurship and expanding degree programs.
New campus at Tech
For example, Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business is building a new $225 million campus, to be called the Global Business and Analytics Complex. It will include two 100,000-square-foot academic buildings and two residence halls. Construction will begin in 2020 (on a site now occupied by parking lots) and is expected to be complete by 2023.
Tech’s business school enrollment has outgrown its old space at Pamplin Hall, which was built in 1957 and renovated in 1988, says Dean Robert Sumichrast. The new academic buildings will be conducive to active learning and teamwork, he says, while the residential halls will house U.S. and foreign students and include an apartment for an international faculty member in residence. “This is a terrific asset for the university,” Sumichrast says. “Complementary causes came together that will give us resources to attract faculty and students interested in business and all forms of analytics.”
James Madison University’s College of Business also is expanding to meet the demands of growing enrollment. It is building a College of Business Learning Complex, a $15 million, 166,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project.
The school’s current home, JMU’s Showker Hall, was built in 1991 for 2,400 students. It now is packed with more than 5,000. The Business Learning Complex is designed by New York-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) and Richmond-based Moseley Architects. So far the university has raised $7 million toward the project, which will break ground in late 2018 and should be completed by fall 2020.
Aside from creating some much-needed elbow room, though, the new complex also will better reflect changing business school philosophy.
“Our current building doesn’t fit our values as a college of business,” says Dean Mary Gowan. “We are really known for preparing students to be collaborative business partners when they go out into their jobs. They understand how to work in teams, they’ve got great interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic, and we don’t have space for them to practice those skills in the College of Business. We have maybe four [or] five very small breakout rooms for students, but that’s it. We encourage them to work in teams so they are sitting in a hallway, any little spot they can find, to work on their teams.”
Collaboration and innovation “will be at the heart and soul of the design,” she says.
EPIC effort at VCU
Entrepreneurship and creativity are hot topics at many universities. Take Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business, which this year launched a strategic plan aimed at promoting creative thinking among business students. Called EPIC (Experiential learning, Problem-solving curricula, Impactful research and Creative culture), the initiative capitalizes on VCU’s reputation as the No. 1 public arts and design school in the nation.
The initiative has included the ongoing “Shark Tank”-like EPIC Challenge, a competition to pitch ideas to support the EPIC ethos. Open to teams comprised of faculty, students, staff and/or alumni, a handful of teams have so far received $30,000 to $70,000 to develop their ideas. Winning concepts include a new education model that would have students accessing some lecture content online and devoting more class time to team activities and homework.
The VCU School of Business also hired Richmond artist Noah Scalin as the business school’s first artist-in-residence. In addition to talking to students about creativity, Scalin crafted a portrait of Maggie L. Walker, a historic African-American businesswoman, from piles of donated clothing. “Our vision statement is driving the future of business through the power of creativity,” explains Senior Associate Dean Kenneth Kahn. “There is a vibe at the [VCU] School of Business around creativity that you don’t pick up when you go to other business schools.”
Also cultivating creativity and entrepreneurship is the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, which converted one of its classrooms into an innovation lab featuring open space and several writable surfaces to encourage student startup businesses, collaborations and entrepreneurship studies. Students participating in the university’s summer Richmond Guarantee program, which provides $4,000 to students for fellowships or faculty-sponsored research projects, will be able to apply that funding toward startups that they work on in the lab, says Dean Nancy Bagranoff.
Business schools also are expanding degree programs.
The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has added a Washington, D.C.-area location for its Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA programs. Its home is on the 25th floor of the Waterview Tower in Rosslyn, overlooking the Potomac River and the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials.
“It’s probably got the best view in Washington,” says Ronald T. Wilcox, senior associate dean for degree programs. “It probably makes our Charlottes­ville students jealous.”
Brett Twitty, director of admissions for executive formats, says, “This August we enrolled 120 executive format students, up from 92 in the previous year, 61 of whom selected our
Washington, D.C.-area location. It is clear that offering two world-class locations — Charlottesville and the Washington, D.C. area — and two executive formats of the Darden MBA … adds an attractive option to working professionals seeking a world-class executive MBA experience. The recruitment process for our Class of 2019 is underway, and, while it is still early, we are very excited by the strong interest we have seen from prospective students in the D.C. metro area as well as throughout the country and world.”
Meanwhile George Mason University’s School of Business is building on Northern Virginia’s prominence as a mecca for federal contractors by raising $1 million toward its new GovCon initiative, which is focused on preparing students to work in government contracting. GMU has hired John Hillen, former president and CEO of Sotera Defense Solutions, to chair the initiative.
“We will be the first [business school] in the nation to take a look at this industry as a vertical. … It’s never been seen as an independent sector of its own,” says GMU School of Business Dean Sarah E. Nutter. “It’s a fascinating industry that has this intersection of business policy and regulatory issues. The biggest players are all in and around this area … and we should be the school that’s taking the lead.”
In addition to building a new home for its business school, Liberty University is developing a new automotive dealership management curriculum in partnership with Charlotte, N.C.-based Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s largest privately held car dealership group. Hicks, the school’s dean, notes only two other colleges in the nation offer similar programs, despite the fact that the United States has the second-largest auto industry in the world. The U.S. has about 118,000 dealerships, employing a variety of workers in positions ranging from administration and sales to back-office financial workers, information technology to mechanics.
The new curriculum also will address topics such as how dealerships can successfully adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace, which now includes driverless cars as well as on-demand transportation services such as Uber.
Discussing the changes coming to the bustling school, Hicks remarks, “We’re constantly moving. It’s nonstop.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/conservatory.pngThe $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor opened in December in Prince George’s County, Md.Robb Scharetg/ MGM National Harbor
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transformative-properties#When:09:00:00ZThe new year will be a big one for Virginia’s hospitality industry in terms of openings. December saw the much-awaited debut of MGM National Harbor, a $1.4 billion casino and resort in Prince George’s County, Md., across the Potomac River from Alexandria. Two more properties, The Main in downtown Norfolk and a restored Cavalier on the Hill in Virginia Beach, will open in the spring. All three properties promise the latest in amenities and luxury, and travelers and convention planners are checking them out and making reservations.
From huge swirling fountains to a trio of 60-foot-tall stainless steel sculptures, there is a grandness of scale and Las Vegas glitz at MGM Resort International’s first East Coast property. Yet MGM National Harbor also plays on its proximity to the nation’s capital with plenty of outside terraces with panoramic views of the Potomac and the city skyline.
The 308-room resort rises 24 stories above the mixed-use National Harbor development. Room rates are adjustable, based on time of stay and type of room. During the holiday season one room ranged from $299 a night right before Christmas to $1,599 on New Year’s Eve.
Guests staying at the resort are within walking distance of its spa, dining and entertainment venues, upscale shops and a 125,000-square-foot casino with 3,300 slot machines and more than 100 gaming tables.
“We’re confident the MGM National Harbor experience will resonate with guests from all over the globe,” says General Manager Bill Boasberg. “Our intent is to grow domestic and international visitation to National Harbor, Prince George’s County and across the region.”
The resort’s entertainment options include a 3,000-seat theater. Duran Duran was scheduled to play on New Year’s Eve, and Cher is booked to perform in March. “The venue is intimate and will allow guests to see some of the industry’s top artists up close and personal rather than in a large-scale arena,” Boasberg says.
MGM National Harbor also touts its restaurants, some of which are new to the region. There’s a seafood restaurant led by celebrity chef José Andrés, a sports bar, a pan-Asian eatery and a market offering 10 food venues ranging from Vietnamese sandwiches to Southern fried chicken. Epicureans can top off their meals with a visit to the resort’s European-inspired pastry shop, Bellagio Patisserie, showcased by a 12-foot chocolate fountain.
The resort’s conference center offers 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 16,200-square-foot grand ballroom and a 6,000-square-foot outdoor terrace.
Meanwhile, downtown Norfolk is preparing for an influx of new convention business with the anticipated March opening of a 21-story hotel and convention center, The Main. Bearing the Hilton brand, the 300-room hotel will offer 42,000 square feet of high-tech meeting space as well as an 18,382-square-foot ballroom, touted as the largest hotel ballroom in Virginia.
Other selling points include 11 luxury suites and two presidential suites — with views of the Elizabeth River and downtown Norfolk — a fitness facility, indoor pool and three full-service restaurants. They include Grain, a rooftop beer garden, and the Fruitive, which will offer a vegan menu. The hotel’s public spaces will be tied together by a 100-foot-tall ground-floor glass atrium known as Grand Central Station.
The Main represents Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson’s first venture in Norfolk. The CEO of Gold Key|PHR persuaded the city to invest $86.6 million in the $150 million development, which is expected to generate an estimated $2 million in annual city tax revenues while creating 100 jobs. The city of Norfolk owns The Exchange, the hotel’s conference center.
About 100 groups have reserved space at The Main between April and 2020, including nearly 70 traveling to Norfolk for the first time. “Combined, that’s over 22,000 individual room nights,” says Michael Woodhead, Gold Key’s vice president of marketing. “What we are offering for the large-scale corporate meeting planner is something you can’t get anywhere else in the state.”
By attracting large groups, he adds, The Main will help fill rooms at nearby hotels, including Norfolk’s Waterside Marriott and the Sheraton. “It stands to reason that if we have more meeting space than guest rooms to accommodate, we are going to overflow into the surrounding hotels. It’s going to have a transformative impact on occupancy rate growth in downtown Norfolk.”
Cavalier on the Hill
At its other property, Gold Key is melding history with modern amenities in restoring Virginia Beach’s Cavalier on the Hill. Built in 1927, the hotel is undergoing a $75 million renovation that Woodhead describes as a renaissance. “We’re taking a historic hotel and preserving what’s special and magical about it and marrying that concept with the contemporary amenities the 21st century traveler expects,” says Woodhead.
On tap to reopen this spring, the Cavalier will be a five-star member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the first in Hampton Roads. New design elements, combined with décor reminiscent of the early 20th century, include saltwater swimming pools, enlarged guest rooms, a farm-to-table restaurant, and an onsite vodka and bourbon distillery.
The grand dame of the resort city, the Cavalier has hosted 10 U.S. presidents, as well as numerous celebrities. Gold Key is playing up that history by inviting couples that married or honeymooned at the hotel to submit their love stories. Eighty-five couples will be chosen for an all-inclusive stay during the Cavalier’s grand reopening, including a vow renewal ceremony and champagne brunch.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/StaggBowl2014_1.pngThe NCAA Division III National Football Championship is played in Salem. Photo courtesy Salem Civic Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/game-on#When:09:00:00ZHistory has traditionally drawn tourists to Virginia along with the state’s mountains and beaches. These days, fast-pitch softball and Frisbee competitions are filling bleachers and hotel rooms, with sports tourism a fast-growing sector of the tourism market in Virginia and across the country.
In 2015, the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) estimated that visitor spending associated with sporting events was $9.4 billion nationally, a 5 percent increase from $8.9 billion the year before and part of a steady growth pattern of at least six years. Such muscular statistics have not gone unnoticed in Virginia, where cities and counties have been busy trying to make themselves into major players in this market.
“In Virginia, I can’t name a city that isn’t looking at taking advantage of the growth in sports tourism,” says Dev Pathik, founder and CEO of The Sports Facilities Advisory/The Sports Facilities Management. The Florida-based company specializes in developing and running recreational assets, including a number of public and private venues in the commonwealth.
Youth and amateur contests
Virginia has a deep bench of jurisdictions that attract sports tourism, says Joni Johnson, the Virginia Tourism Corp’s national sales manager, domestic sales. Virginia Beach, Salem, Roanoke, Hampton and Norfolk, as well as Stafford, Fairfax and Loudoun counties have all stepped up to the plate. Promoting sports, primarily youth and amateur competitions in activities as diverse as ultimate Frisbee, bowling, basketball and fencing, has been an economic winner for them, says Johnson, because these events draw people who spend money.
Salem is a prime example. It hosts both the NCAA Division III National Football Championship and the Division III Men’s Basketball championship. It also has been home to women’s soccer and softball championships along with volleyball and baseball tourneys. In 2015, a fast-pitch tournament there generated 8,900 hotel nights in seven days, says Carey Harveycutter, the city’s director of tourism. That represented nearly half of the 19,000 hotel nights Salem logged that year and about $20 million in revenue generated by hotel, food and transportation taxes.
Like many other jurisdictions, Salem is looking to upgrade its facilities. Harveycutter says a feasibility study for a new basketball and volleyball indoor venue is in progress. “Everyone wants to be in sports marketing,” explains John P. Shaner, director of Salem’s Parks and Recreation Department. “Everyone is building facilities.”
The NASC reports that 40 percent of the jurisdictions it surveyed in 2015 said that they had facilities under development, and 75 percent reported recently completing renovations.
Loudoun County is working with George Washington University on a study about the feasibility of a new sports complex, says Jennifer Sigal, media relations manager for Visit Loudoun.
Stafford County already has taken the plunge on a major investment. To stay on top of the competition, it has upgraded Embrey Mill Park, adding a $12 million swim center, two turf fields and four synthetic fields, with two more synthetic fields planned. The intention was not only to serve residents, but to attract more competitions, and it has had the desired effect.
During Columbus Day weekend, 169 teams participated in a three-day youth soccer tournament at the park and at other county sites. Lisa M. Logan, tourism manager for Stafford County Economic Development and Tourism, estimates that each team represents 45 to 50 people, with 1.5 to two spectators per athlete. Thanks to its facility expansion, the county also recently won the right to host the 2017-18 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series.
Chesterfield County deal
Chesterfield County is poised to make a large investment, too. At press time it was in the final stages of approving a deal that allows the county to acquire the River City Sportsplex for $5.5 million. The 12-field, 115-acre facility is expected to augment the $1.4 million in annual tax revenues the county already earns from sports tourism, but it needs more than $4 million in site improvements.
Lynchburg is still another locality that has come off the sidelines to join the pursuit of sports tourism dollars. Johnson says it teamed with Liberty University to co-host the Commonwealth Games last April, which attracted about 10,000 athletes of all ages and skill levels. Furthermore, the partners will host the event for four more years. In 2019, Lynchburg and Liberty additionally will be the site of the State Games of America, an Olympic-style competition expected to draw 14,000 to 15,000 athletes.
Pathik says sports tourism has proven uniquely desirable for several reasons. First, it brings in visitors who otherwise wouldn’t travel. Even better, it is “recession resistant.” Parents may forgo a weekend getaway for themselves when the budget is tight, he says, yet they rarely stint on their children’s recreational opportunities. Thus, when other forms of travel took a hit during the last economic downturn, travel linked to youth sports continued to thrive.
In the Richmond region, for example, nearly 50 percent of hotel bookings now are attributable to sports tourism, says Danielle Vincenti, senior sports development manager for Richmond Region Tourism. What’s more, this sector of the industry fills rooms during slow times.
Dead times no more
Thanksgiving and Independence Day are traditionally dead periods, she explains, but not anymore. In 2016 and through 2019, the River City Sportsplex is hosting the Shooting Star Field Hockey Tournament, which attracts college recruiters. Last July 4, the Greater Richmond Convention Center hosted the USA Taekwondo National Championships, and next year it has booked the Teen Masters Bowling National Championships.
Still another attraction of sports tourism is its ability to spur economic development. More spending takes place outside the sporting venues than at the events themselves, Pathik says, because athletes and their family need to sleep, eat and be entertained off the field or court.
All these pluses have made amateur athletics, especially youth sports, into the power forward of sports tourism in the commonwealth. Outdoor and adventure sports, such as hiking and horseback riding, make up the next largest segment of the market, Pathik says, while the role of professional sports, so far, has been relatively minor. The potential is there, however.
In 2015, the UCI Road World Championships had a $161 million impact on the Richmond area. If a Redskins stadium ends up being located in Northern Virginia, Eric Terry is sure that the region’s economy would get an economic boost.
“Look at what the Dallas Cowboys did for Arlington, Texas,” says Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association. “I have not seen a stadium built anywhere that didn’t have a big impact on hotels and a very, very big impact on restaurants. And not just for the limited number of games.”
Even without the Redskins, sports tourism has been a home run for Virginia. The challenge for the commonwealth now will be to keep finding ways to run up the score.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HOSPITALS_HAYMARKET.pngHaymarket Medical Center Photo by Chris Cunningham, courtesy Gresham, Smith and Partners
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mixed-results1#When:09:00:00ZVirginia hospitals saw mixed results in the most recent nationwide patient satisfaction survey.
The number of hospitals getting high scores on the survey is rising, but the overall average for more than 80 facilities remains unchanged.
Those are some of the trends found in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Virginia results were provided by Virginia Health Information, a Richmond-based nonprofit, which also recently released “service line” information showing the volume of patients discharged by hospitals in 2015 for various treatments.
The patient satisfaction survey, conducted from January through December 2015, asks patients to rate their hospital experiences. First, they are asked to grade hospitals on a 10-point scale, with “9 or 10” being the highest score. Then patients were asked whether they would recommend hospitals to friends and family. The most positive response was “Yes, Definitely.”
At least 80 percent of patients gave six Virginia hospitals high praise on both questions in 2015. By comparison, only three hospitals had met that mark in 2014.
Statewide, however, the average percentage of patients giving hospitals high scores on both questions was 70 percent. While that figure has improved from 64 percent since 2009, the 2015 percentage remained unchanged from 2014.
Nationally, the 2015 patient satisfaction average was 72 percent, up one percentage point from 2014. Virginia’s satisfaction rate has trailed the national rate every year since 2009.
The Virginia hospitals getting high satisfaction ratings on both survey questions from 80 percent or more of their patients in 2015 were: Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach, Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Haymarket Medical Center in Prince William County, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg.
Four other hospitals had high satisfaction ratings from 80 percent or more of their patients on one of the survey questions. They were Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville and Inova Fair Oaks and Inova Fairfax hospitals in Northern Virginia.
The satisfaction rates for all Virginia acute-care hospitals are listed on the following pages.
This section also includes the latest service line information from VHI. The data offer a snapshot of the market share that hospitals hold for various treatments in their regions.
Inova Fairfax Hospital, for example, accounted for more than 50 percent of the oncology patients discharged in Northern Virginia in 2015. On the other hand, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital were virtually tied in the percentage of Hampton Roads obstetrics/delivery patients they served, 14.5 percent vs. 14.4 percent.
Editor's note: The Top Hospitals service lines report includes only nine months of discharges and not the full calendar year. The shorter timeframe, from Jan.1 through Sept. 30, 2015, is related to a change in official system of assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures in the United States.
The International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) was replaced by the ICD-10-CM coding system effective with discharges on and after Oct. 1, 2015. Because of the increased detail of the ICD-10-CM system, data that VHI uses for its service lines report had significant differences in volume. While these differences are not errors, for comparability, VHI chose to include only the nine months of 2015 discharges before ICD-10-CM went into effect.
Hospital satisfaction rates 2015
Service Line Charts
More service line charts are available at VHI’s website, www.vhi.org. The website also provides additional information on hospitals, physicians, health insurance, HMOs and nursing facilities.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/POLITICAL_open.pngPanelists participating in the political roundtable. Photos by Rick DeBerry
The day after
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-day-after#When:09:00:00ZHow did Donald Trump win the White House?
On the day after the election, five Virginia political observers offered their perspectives on the Republican billionaire’s stunning victory. Most polls leading up to the election had predicted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win.
“The mechanics of polling are really changing rapidly” because of the widespread use of cell phones, said panelist Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington. The university’s poll showed a much closer race in Virginia than many other surveys did.
In assessing Trump’s victory, another panelist, Whitt Clement, cited the candidate’s skillful use of trade issues. Clement, head of the state government relations practice group at Hunton & Williams LLP in Richmond, said the big jump in Obamacare premiums announced late in the campaign also had an effect on the outcome. “My gosh, what better issue do you need to seal the deal for Donald Trump,” he said.
Panelists also believe that the FBI investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server and the release of Democratic Party emails through WikiLeaks also had an influence on the election. “There was just a constant flow of this information that overall had a huge impact,” said Ben Dendy, president of the Richmond-based government relations firm Vectre Corp.
The panelists also looked at effects the national election could have on U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who was Clinton’s running mate, and the 2017 gubernatorial election.
“Kaine, having been elected to the Senate under ideal conditions, in a presidential year in which he ran ahead of Barack Obama in Virginia, is now looking at the most perilous conditions under which he’ll have to defend that Senate seat,” said Jeff Schapiro, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s political columnist.
The panel’s outlook for the upcoming General Assembly session was succinct. In a legislative election year, lawmakers’ priority will be “passing the budget and going home. That’s it,” said Chris Saxman, the executive director of Virginia FREE (Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education). “They’re going to be in and out.”
The Virginia Business moderators were Managing Editor Paula Squires and Senior Editor Jessica Sabbath. The discussion took place at a luncheon attended by about 60 people at the Omni Richmond Hotel. The following is an edited transcript.
Virginia Business: The pundits got it wrong. The press got it wrong. Most of the polls got it wrong. The campaigns even got it wrong. Why was everyone so wrong?
Saxman: I think one of the problems that we saw in the polling this year was relative to how you model this kind of an election. This is a very different modeling than the ’08 and ’12 cycles were. I think that it was very difficult for pollsters to get a handle on what was really going on out there. What I try to tell audiences and students is: Don’t follow the ball in politics, and polling is following the ball. It doesn’t really tell you what’s actually going on in the game. At the end of the election, when you saw Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on stage in Philadelphia to close out the campaign, that’s a sign that there’s a problem. Their turnout in Philadelphia was so depressed that they had to have Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi have a concert to bring people out in Philadelphia. That means Pennsylvania’s in play.
Clement: I remember when Donald Trump started talking about these bad trade deals and [and the effect they have had on blue-collar workers. After seeing what had happened in Southern Virginia], I said to a lot of my friends here in Richmond, “don’t kid yourself about that trade issue.” In the southeastern United States, NAFTA has been bad. People lost their jobs, and they’ve grown too old to adapt to new skills. It’s been horrible for those families, and I think these Rust Belt states in the Midwest had similar effects … I think that was a strong undercurrent that never went away. [On top of that was the announcement of] the increase in the premiums of the Affordable Care Act during the last 10 days of the campaign. My gosh, what better issue do you need to seal the deal for Donald Trump? In hindsight, I think, those were big factors.
Dendy: I would just say, on the trade issue, I think it certainly was a vote getter in the Rust Belt and areas like that, but it is really going to be interesting to see if any of those jobs come back. More than because of the trade agreement, those jobs have been lost because of technology. In fact, I was reading some articles saying that, as jobs are created in Mexico, in many cases they’re creating higher-level, technology jobs back in the United States. The reality of the situation is that those jobs probably are not going to come back, and unfortunately, some of the same may be true for the coal industry in Virginia, but it will be interesting to see over the next four years if there’s any change in that.
Schapiro: I’ve always been bewildered by the inability of Hillary Clinton to get any real mileage out of the historic character of her candidacy. To hear younger women, particularly younger professional women, sort of dismiss the efforts of women of Hillary Clinton’s generation, that was something that clearly indicated that was not a vote on which Mrs. Clinton could count. It was clearly a vote that a lot of the prognosticators believed would be decisive to her candidacy … Also, the great gift of [FBI Director] Jim Comey to the Trump campaign, renewed investigation of the Clinton emails, made it much easier for the most partisan voters, if you will, the voters [most hostile to Clinton], to turn out in significant numbers in early balloting states.
Farnsworth: We do an annual poll at Mary Washington, and we found a three-point gap favoring Clinton over Trump in Virginia, and we got some ribbing from some of the other pollsters because we showed the race to be a lot closer than a lot of other polls did. The nature of polling does, I think, lend itself to approximations at best. The mechanics of polling are really changing rapidly.
I just want to say two things about that as part of the reasons why pollsters were so surprised. The first is the question: Who is a likely voter? We have a series of questions that we ask, and we all ask more or less the same questions. How much attention are you paying [to the election]? Did you vote in the last election? Do you know where you would vote this time?
Those sorts of things give us a sense of how likely one is to participate, and I think that Trump kind of breaks the likely voter model that we saw in 2012 because a lot of the Trump supporters are not so much Republicans, not so much disaffected Democrats, as they are disaffected, period. That may be the reason why some of those likely voter models that we use are not bringing into the conversation the people who were likely voters this year but wouldn’t have been likely voters if Trump weren’t on the ballot. I think that’s part of the explanation.
The other thing is the challenge that pollsters have facing modern technology. People are used to picking up their landlines, but if you see an unknown number on your cellphone, you’re not likely to take that call. So, for us to get representative samples, we really struggle. It is a real challenge to find people willing to talk to us. To do this right, we figure we need 60 percent [cell phone respondents], 40 percent landline in terms of our calls. So few people will pick up, we have to keep at it. That’s one of the reasons why I think we are in a kind of transitional period in terms of what we’re doing with polling and what’s working and what’s not.
VB: Can you tell us what you think this win says about the mood of the American electorate? What message does it send?
Saxman: [Except for George H.W. Bush] America has been picking outsiders [for president] since Watergate, and no one picks up on that theme. We want something new. That’s part of our demand in politics. We want change. We’re not satisfied with what we have … There’s also a lot of anger out there. A lot of people have been left behind in this economy, and they’re upset. A lot of people think the deck is stacked against them, and they’re right.
Clement: Clearly, Bernie Sanders had a constituency that was much more intense about the issues he espoused than Hillary Clinton did, and I don’t see how the Democratic Party can now ignore that … What are the Republicans going to do with this outraged constituency of Donald Trump, who obviously spoke for so many people? ... I don’t think we’re going to see any wall built. I don’t think we’re going to see a number of the things that were promised [by Trump] and that is going to intensify the anger … I think it will be very interesting to see how both parties, the establishment on the Republican side and the Democrats, figure out what to do in trying to solve that very intense issue.
Schapiro: Well, I’m angry. I’m angry because I’m legacy media, and you all don’t pay attention to us anymore, and Donald Trump appreciates this. This is an evolving trend in politics and the media. No longer is it a reporter for the Times-Dispatch, it’s that personality with a particular newspaper. It’s all about the individual brand, and that individual brand was something that Trump had certainly well established as a businessman and as an entertainment figure. I think it also allowed him to very crisply reach into that pool of anger but more importantly for those who were feeling pain to connect with him.
VB: Did the hacked WikiLeaks emails play much of a role in this election?
VB: And why?
Dendy: It was just constant. It wasn’t just WikiLeaks. It was Comey. It was the emails. There was just a constant flow of this information that overall had a huge impact.
Clement: It was a constant drumbeat. It just never went away. Never got beyond it.
Saxman: There were a couple [of leaked emails] in there that just infuriated, I think, certain segments of the electorate, especially members of the Catholic Church [because of criticism of the church by some campaign officials] … That was catastrophic for [Hillary Clinton] in some of those Rust Belt areas, which are also predominantly Catholic.
Dendy: While that’s true, I don’t think we ought to let it go without saying how horrible it was that [the hacking] was done. I’ve been in politics for 40 years, and I don’t think there’s anybody that I know of, if you took all of their emails, today would be in good shape. That was a huge crime. That was private information.
VB: Now that he’s won, he has to lead. How will Trump deal with the after effects of such a rancorous campaign in which he insulted women, Muslims, a decorated war veteran and, of course, many of the people in his own party? Is it going to be a quick kiss and makeup?
Clement: I’ve got to think we’ll see a different Donald Trump. Surely, he will rise to the occasion.
Schapiro: I don’t think that one can underestimate the aftershocks of this continuing division within the Republican Party. I mean Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, is the embodiment of the Republican establishment, for lack of a better description. Certainly, he will bring to this process a measure of institutional knowledge, a certain intimacy with governing and governance that will clearly be lacking initially in the Trump White House. This would seem to be an opportunity … for the Trump movement to graft itself to these comparatively speaking “grownups” on Capitol Hill. A lot of what Trump has talked about doing [would be] by executive fiat. This is the same [approach] we complained about with Barack Obama, the sweeping use of executive authority. I think there is an opportunity for the new president to learn about how our system works. Whether there can be a level of trust and some comfort between the Republicans on the hill and the Trumpians at the bottom of Pennsylvania Avenue, that remains to be seen.
Saxman: I think the challenge for Trump going forward as he pivots toward being president in government is still maintaining a level of his instinctive behavior that got him there. That authenticity still has to resonate in himself and with his supporters. That’s where a lot of politicians get off the rail: They become inauthentic. I think Tim Kaine is one of the most authentic people in politics ever, and it serves him well. Whether Trump can strike that balance is, I think, the real question for him.
VB: Well, this is a good segue because we did want to talk about Tim Kaine, and where does Clinton’s defeat leave him? Editor’s note: After this roundtable discussion was held, Kaine said he will not run for president or vice president in 2020.
Schapiro: In deep kimchi. He’s going to have to defend [his Senate seat] in 2018. That’s an off year. I’m sure many of you remember that the supposedly unbeatable Mark Warner came close to being beaten for a second [Senate] term in an off year. So Kaine, having been elected to the Senate under ideal conditions, in a presidential year  in which he ran ahead of Barack Obama in Virginia, is now looking at the most perilous conditions under which he’ll have to defend that Senate seat.
Dendy: I really think he comes out of the race relatively strong. You don’t hear a lot of negative comments about him. I think he ran a strong campaign, and if you look around the country at other candidates who’ve been on national tickets, even George McGovern got re-elected in South Dakota in the next cycle [after being defeated for the presidency in 1972]. I think, in some ways, he probably enhanced his brand. Another thing about the 2018 midterm election … There will be a sitting Republican president. If history is any indication, regardless of the president, in the [following] midterm elections, there’s buyer’s remorse [by voters, resulting in the opposing party gaining seats]. I think there might be a good chance of that in 2018.
Saxman: A number of Republicans were already lining up for the possibility that they were going to run for the open seat in ’17 and ’18 if Tim Kaine [and Hillary Clinton] won, and I’ve had conversations with many of these candidates. The quality of that candidate — whether they have the organization, the message, and the money in ’18 — will determine that. I think Kaine is strong going into ’18 because of his name ID. I think he [relates] well to the population in Virginia. I don’t think he plays the prosecutor as well as he does the defense attorney, and that showed up in the debates because it’s not authentically him. Hopefully he’ll correct that course. But he’s got a great team underneath him, and I think he’ll do well in ’18 if he decides to run again.
VB: Do you think this election will have any implications for the 2017 gubernatorial election here in Virginia?
Clement: Virginia has a tradition of going the opposite way after presidential election years. Now, the exception was with Governor McAuliffe’s election in 2013 following Obama’s re-election in 2012. But, if I had to predict, I would say that the very strong Republican showing in December throughout the country will be more beneficial to Ralph Northam and his running mates than it would have been if Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine had won. A year is a long time, and it’ll be interesting to see how Trump starts his presidency, but I think inevitably it’s got to help the Virginia Democratic ticket.
Dendy: I think a key piece of it is going to be turnout, and I think the difference between whether the Democrats carry Virginia, in almost any election, is whether Northern Virginia and the core cities turn out. That will be the challenge. If the president is unpopular, if there are issues between the president and federal employees, maybe you would have a good turnout in Northern Virginia. If you don’t, downstate, the Republicans outside of the core cities tend to be favored.
Farnsworth: I think it’s important to appreciate the challenge of on-the-job training for a new president when we think about 2017. It seems to me that both Barack Obama, who had been a senator four years, and George W. Bush, who had been a governor for six, would have benefited from additional training before they ended up president. Of course, with Donald Trump, his on-the-job training in government starts the day he becomes president. That high bar requires extraordinary movement very rapidly to be successful, because issues don’t wait.
It seems to me that one of the challenges that any CEO would face … is this question of how to work collaboratively with others. When you think about working with Congress, Congress is not interested — even from a member of one’s own party — in taking instruction, and similarly the NATO allies are not all that interested in taking instruction. Donald Trump seems throughout his career to be focused on giving instruction, and I think that kind of challenge that Trump faces creates an environment that can be used to Democratic advantage.
If you think about the issues that would animate and motivate Northern Virginia voters, a Trump presidency would be pretty high on the list, it seems to me, and so the successful fortune of the Democratic ticket in 2017, I think, depends on how the White House handles things with a new president in that first year, and that’s really going to be so crucial to whether or not the Democrats or the Republicans win in 2017.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_3307.pngDennis Treacy, chairman of VIRGINIAforever and Nikki Rovner, vice chair of the organization. Photo by Rick DeBerry
Building on consensus
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-on-consensus#When:09:00:00ZThe premise behind VIRGINIAforever is that if you can find common ground you can build on it.
Now 10 years old, this nonprofit group — an alliance of businesses and environmental organizations — has become an effective presence in Richmond. Its mission is straightforward and relatively noncontroversial: It wants to get as much funding as possible in the state budget to support land and water conservation.
“We can come to the same table because both sides agree that the state should protect its natural resources, and that [they are] key to the state’s economic development,” says Dennis Treacy, the group’s chairman, who is president of the Smithfield Foundation and will become chair of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce in late January. A former head of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Treacy just retired as executive vice president and chief sustainability officer of Smithfield Foods.
The group’s seemingly unusual alliance is part of why it has influence, says Nikki Rovner, vice chair of VIRGINIA­forever and associate state director for the Virginia chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She’s also a former state deputy secretary of natural resources. “When you walk into a legislator’s office, and it’s somebody from a conservation group and somebody from one of Virginia’s big businesses, [lawmakers] really are interested and respond to that,” she says.
The group has a 42-member board (of which half are on the executive board), but it has just one lobbyist, L. Preston Bryant Jr., who was secretary of natural resources under then-Gov. Tim Kaine. Bryant is with McGuireWoods Consulting, a firm that also provides communications support to VIRGINIAforever.
Its leadership includes representatives from some of Virginia’s biggest corporations, including Dominion Resources, Norfolk Southern and Newport News Shipbuilding. Environmental groups include the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Trust for Public Land and the New River Land Trust. Industry groups include the Home Builders Association of Virginia, the Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate and the Virginia Agribusiness Council.
The board meets five times a year and the organization hosts three events annually, most recently a briefing in mid-December following the release of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget.
Treacy says last year was the group’s best in terms of successfully getting state funding. But the group expects a tougher time in the upcoming General Assembly session.
“Unfortunately they’re in budget-cutting mode,” Rovner says. “So ours is just a question of finding funding for the things for which there is no funding in the current budget.”
The group’s priorities for the 2018 budget include some minimum funding goals: $20 million for the state’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, to help localities reduce urban runoff, and $62 million to help farmers adopt practices to reduce agriculture runoff. The group also wants $10 million for land conservation grant programs.
In the longer term, VIRGINIA­forever has much bigger spending goals. A five-year plan produced last year calls for the state to spend $805 million on water quality improvement, with most of that money directed to agriculture projects to limit runoff. It also proposes a funding goal of nearly $834 million over five years for land conservation.
VIRGINIAforever emphasizes the economic value of environmental protection, from farming to the industries dependent on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay to outdoor recreation and clean drinking water supplies. Back in the early 2000s when the group began to take shape, Virginia ranked last among states in spending on the environment, according to the group’s website.
One of the group’s strongest allies in the General Assembly is Republican state Sen. Emmett Hanger, who represents parts of the Shenandoah Valley. Hanger was honored by VIRGINIAforever last September for his support of land and water conservation efforts.
During the decade that the group has existed, there has been less political polarization on issues where environmental protections and business goals tend to collide, Hanger says. “I get in trouble sometimes [with] my base, the right wing of the Republican Party; maybe they’re not as quick to try to achieve some consensus or compromise … but the truth is there are a lot of common goals,” he says.
Hanger says the next major water quality issues are stormwater management and dealing with polluted runoff from developed areas. “We’re at a particularly sensitive point right now where this group can be helpful with the coalition they’ve put together,” he says.
Consensus doesn’t always happen, though. “Early on, we were asked to take on air quality, and we couldn’t get agreement on it, so we didn’t do it,” Treacy says. “We agree on what we can agree on,” he says, adding that it’s not for a lack of effort. “We’re very serious about what we do; these aren’t just fly-by-night positions. We debate them. It’s a consensus organization, so we all have to be in agreement.”
Even in disagreement there are benefits, says Bill Street, CEO of the James River Association. “I think it certainly has helped open lines of communication and even build enough trust to collaborate. Just being able to identify these are issues we disagree on, and these are things we do agree on” is valuable, he says.
Building consensus may advance the shared goals of business leaders and environmental advocates, but it’s not easily done, Street says. “It takes more work to be willing to hear and try to understand different perspectives, as opposed to just sticking to what you believe and going to battle,” he says. “That’s why it takes having an entity that is really focused on bringing folks together and focusing on that common ground.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/opening_graphic.png
The big reboot
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-big-reboot#When:09:00:00ZAfter a long-term, high-tech relationship, Virginia’s state government and Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman Corp. are moving toward divorce.
Like many separating couples, the two sides are trying to keep things amicable while they resolve thorny issues with the help of a mediator.
Despite the impending split, Virginia officials say the relationship did not fail. They say it succeeded in meeting goals set more than a decade ago. The problem is the IT industry has vastly changed since the commonwealth and the company signed a contract in 2005.
“The Northrop Grumman contract was signed almost a year and a half before the first iPhone was released,” says Nelson Moe, the head of Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and the commonwealth’s chief information officer. “[The contract] did what it was supposed to do. Northrop Grumman stepped up and helped us consolidate our assets and modernize our IT infrastructure, but there are better service frameworks now.”
The resulting changes will affect not only state agencies and Northrop Grumman but also technology hubs in Central and Southwest Virginia.
Northrop Grumman currently provides IT for most state agencies under an almost $3 billion contract that ends in mid-2019.
When the original contract was signed, it was seen as a revolutionary way for a state government to provide IT services. Only two other states, Georgia and Texas, currently outsource their IT services.
Virginia now plans to switch to a multi-vendor model, a move designed to give VITA — the agency charged with management of the state’s IT — the ability to respond to rapid changes in the industry with shorter contracts involving several companies.
But as Virginia begins the delicate and complex task of moving to a new model, which is scheduled to take place over the next 2½ years, the difficulties posed by the transition have quickly become apparent.
First, Northrop Grumman argues that VITA’s new approach will make the state’s IT infrastructure less secure, threaten Virginia jobs and increase costs to the state.
In addition, Northrop Grumman and VITA disagree on a number of important issues related to the transition to a new system. Disputes include how much information Northrop Grumman must share with Virginia during the new procurement process. The company also has balked at providing infrastructure for messaging services supplied by another company. Those services originally were scheduled to transfer to another provider in September.
VITA and Northrop Grumman also disagree about unexpected increases in service charges from Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman has charged the state an additional $5.5 million for Unisys mainframe services. In addition, the company says Virginia owes $4.2 million more in Microsoft licensing and fees than VITA believes it owes.
In response to these disagreements, Northrop Grumman, VITA and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office have agreed to work together in a nonbinding mediation process. Those discussions were scheduled to start in January.
Still, Moe says, such disputes are not unusual. “It is normal for a contract of this size and complexity to have these types of issues, especially toward the end,” he says.
Resolutions to these disagreements are vital to a smooth transition process. Unless resolved, these disagreements “could harm the state’s effort to transition duties and ongoing service obligations,” the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), the Virginia legislature’s watchdog, concluded in a September memorandum. JLARC also warns the disputes “could negatively impact the much larger and more complicated transitions that are planned in the years to come.”
Northrop Grumman, in response to questions for this story, said it plans to work with the commonwealth to ensure a smooth transition.
“For more than a decade, Northrop Grumman and the Commonwealth of Virginia have been partners in providing award-winning improvements to the state’s IT infrastructure,” said Brandon R. “Randy” Belote III, vice president of strategic communications for Northrop Grumman, in an emailed statement.
“The commonwealth has announced it is going in a different direction and will work to disentangle the VITA program.
“As the commonwealth goes through this process, Northrop Grumman will continue its efforts to protect the citizens of the commonwealth and enable the services that are used every day. We are committed to adhering to the terms of the Comprehensive Infrastructure Agreement with VITA to facilitate an effective transition of IT services.”
Warner administration idea
In 2005, Virginia signed a 10-year, $2.4 billion contract with Northrop Grumman to revamp and modernize the commonwealth’s antiquated IT infrastructure. The deal was the largest contract the state had ever awarded to a private contractor.
The idea was the brainchild of then-Gov. Mark Warner, who had made it a priority to consolidate and modernize the state’s aging, outdated IT infrastructure. George Newstrom, Warner’s secretary of technology, determined that state agencies were spending $800 million to $1.3 billion a year on software, computers and other technology, according to a Virginia Business interview in June 2002. The fragmented process led to wasteful spending.
In 2002, the commonwealth consolidated its technology agencies into VITA and began looking for a contractor to overhaul and modernize IT services.
“If we go back in time … the state, I think, was in the place many organizations found themselves,” says Fred Norman, head of Commonwealth of Virginia Consulting in Richmond, which helps clients navigate the state’s procurement system. “They had investments in assets that were aging, and to maintain or improve those assets, they were going to spend a great deal of money. They wished to explore the opportunity to spend it in a different way that would get them modernized capabilities and assets. That process resulted in the award to Northrop Grumman after a lengthy competition with the industry’s finest.”
Since the contract was implemented, the relationship between the state and Northrop Grumman at times has been rocky. In 2009, disputes erupted over deadlines, payments and the level of service being provided.
In 2010, Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration signed contract modifications designed to improve service and resolve conflicts. The length of the contract was extended three years and kept the annual cap of $236 million paid to Northrop Grumman.
Then, earlier this year, headlines documented new disagreements between VITA and the company. Letters revealed VITA’s disappointment with the performance of some IT services and the company’s failure to save emails related to a court case. Then, after VITA informed Northrop Grumman of its decision to move to a multi-vendor model, the company warned of problems inherent in such a system.
Despite the disputes, Moe argues that the Northrop Grumman contract accomplished what it was meant to do. “The goal was a consolidation of the commonwealth’s assets and the creation of centralized governance,” says Moe. “It did that. It did that very well. Northrop Grumman upfront provided an investment of almost $300 million to accomplish this and build us two data centers [one in Chesterfield County] and one in Southwest Virginia.”
With two high-tech data centers and a centralized IT system, Moe, who was previously chief information officer for the U.S. House of Representatives, says Virginia is in a much better position than it was in 2005.
“IT systems we use daily now are standardized,” says Moe. “The data trusted to the commonwealth is more secure than when the contract was put into place. We are in a much more advantaged position now than we were in 2005.”
Moving to multiple vendors
Using a multi-vendor model will allow Virginia to get lower prices, better meet state agencies’ needs and respond more quickly to the rapidly changing IT industry, according to an analysis by Integris Applied. It’s the consultant VITA hired in 2015 to determine the best way for Virginia to supply IT services to state agencies.
“Shorter contracts going forward are going to provide the contract framework and the services framework to adapt more often,” says Moe. “Look how fast phones change. Technology changes in six months, and the contract we have now can’t keep up with that.”
Integris Applied concluded that the current contract could not keep pace with the IT marketplace, resulting in higher prices and fees than the state could obtain under present market conditions. The current structure also prevents state agencies from getting the flexibility and service changes they need.
The consultant’s findings, detailed in a December 2015 memorandum, said that the current contract was not in line with current market conditions in part because it was designed to allow Northrop Grumman to recoup its upfront investment in Virginia’s IT infrastructure.
“We’ll be able to go out more frequently, obtain the latest IT services at market competitive prices,” says Moe. “That’s the goal of the multi-service provider.”
Integris Applied also said that VITA should begin transitioning services away from the Northrop Grumman contract in phases, or “waves,” rather than waiting until the contract expires in 2019.
The report concluded that approach would require upfront investment but most likely would be cost-neutral because of savings recouped in new contracts.
When notified of the state’s new approach, Northrop Grumman said it would not apply to be a prime contractor under that system. The company also warned that the wave approach could cost Virginia $135 million to $200 million and threaten the jobs of its 600 employees working on the VITA contract.
Northrop Grumman points out in a letter dated May 12 that the new system also does not offer a competitive advantage to suppliers that agree to provide jobs in Virginia.
In addition, Northrop Grumman argues that Virginia’s IT infrastructure will be less secure under multiple vendors. “There is significant risk in this plan since there are few instances of mature [multi-source service integrators] models in the market, and the current architecture is not designed to be disaggregated to multiple providers,” Christopher T. Jones, president of Northrop Grumman Technology Services, said in the letter.
Under the state’s new approach, one new vendor will serve as a multi-source services integrator, whose responsibilities will include coordinating the services under the new IT model.
Northrop Grumman also contends the new model will transfer performance risk to Virginia and make the state’s IT system more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. “This creates an architecture where security becomes only as strong as the service with the weakest posture,” Jones writes.
The wave approach
Transitioning Virginia’s IT is a massive undertaking.
Virginia’s infrastructure provides IT for 63 state agencies, which have 55,500 computers, 59,000 email accounts, 27,000 printers, about 95,000 desk and cell phones and 1.75 petabytes of data. (A petabyte of data is equal to 1 million gigabytes.)
The new framework includes at least seven contracts for IT services, with separate vendors providing services ranging from email messaging to data and voice networks.
VITA plans to move IT services to new vendors in three waves (see chart on this page). Procurement already has been completed for the first wave: HP Enterprise Services was awarded a $34.7 million contract over five years to provide an IBM mainframe system, and Tempus Nova, a Denver-based company specializing in Google enterprise solutions, has received a $5.3 million award over five years to provide messaging, including email and related services.
As the first part of the second wave, VITA is reviewing candidates for the multi-source services integrator, or MSI. Requests for proposals (RFPs) were scheduled to go out in December for a security provider and January for a server and storage provider.
RFPs for the third wave, which includes a purchaser of PCs, laptops and tablets and the provider of voice and data networks, are scheduled to be issued in late 2017 and early 2018. That wave would be implemented when the Northrop Grumman contract ends in 2019.
First-wave plans, however, already have hit snags.
Mainframe services are scheduled to begin switching to HP next January. During the procurement process, however, Northrop Grumman declined to release some information about subcontracts with other companies, saying it was proprietary information. JLARC says not having that information could result in higher costs for Virginia.
Disagreements over information sharing could have an even greater effect on higher-cost services, such as server and data storage, according to JLARC’s September memorandum.
While the mainframe is still scheduled to transfer from Northrop Grumman to HP in January, the switchover of messaging services has been delayed. “Because we’ve had some challenges, we’re going to delay its implementation until after the General Assembly [session this year],” says Moe.
Disagreements that have erupted during the first wave were partially expected and a reason behind the consultant’s recommendations to start the transition before the contract’s expiration.
“Starting disentanglement early would allow the state to gradually transition to new services and better manage risks,” according to the Integris Applied report. “The state could begin by disentangling smaller services and use the lessons learned to disentangle larger and more complicated services at the end of the contract.”
Despite the setbacks and upcoming mediation, Moe remains confident that services will be transferred by the end of the contract in 2019.
Data centers’ future
Northrop Grumman’s most visible contributions to the state’s IT system were the construction of two data centers in Virginia. They are the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center in Chesterfield County, which employs 291 workers, and the Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center in Russell County, with 171 employees.
Both have been major economic development drivers in their regions.
“When the [Commonwealth Enterprise] data center was built, it was the first facility to go into the Meadowville Technology Park. So that was a big deal for us,” says Garrett Hart, Chesterfield’s economic development director. “It really started opening the park up. Additionally there are really good jobs there, and it’s a data center, so it pays a pretty good tax bill.”
Meadowville, a 900-acre business park, is now home to some of Chesterfield’s biggest economic development projects, including an Amazon distribution center, Capital One’s biggest data center and a Medline medical device distribution facility. In addition, Niagara Bottling is building a 450,000-square-foot distribution facility in the technology park.
The Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center likewise boosted economic development in the far west corner of Virginia. “It’s one of our top five employers in the region, so their impact has been pretty tremendous,” says Becki Joyce, chairwoman of the Russell County Industrial Development Authority.
In addition to providing well-paid jobs and benefits, the data center also has been heavily involved in the community. “[Data center employees]help coach the local robotics team, and they participate in the annual school backpack program. They also participate in food drives and much more,” Joyce says. “For a small community like us, that type of community involvement is very significant.”
Creation of the Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center and CGI Group’s decision to open another data center around the same time were instrumental in helping the region establish itself as a technology hub. The Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center was the first tenant in the Russell Regional Business Technology Park in Lebanon. “We have such a great broadband infrastructure … here in Southwest Virginia, which is one of the biggest hidden assets that we have in the region,” says Joyce.
While the employment future for Northrop Grumman employees at the data centers remains murky, Joyce and Hart hope impacts will be minimal.
Joyce points out that many employees in the Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center work on other Northrop Grumman projects. Hart also hopes Chesterfield remains Virginia’s choice location in consolidating IT services.
The next couple of years will be telling in Virginia’s IT transition efforts and its abilities to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and cybersecurity threats.
“It will be interesting to see what this next decade brings,” says Norman, who plans to work with vendors applying for contracts under the new model. “Can we respond to technology and its capabilities quickly, efficiently, transparently and economically? I commend the commonwealth for stepping up to this and taking a good hard look at it and saying, ‘Let’s turn the page and write the next chapter.’”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Ben_and_Betty_Davenport.pngBen and Betty Davenport are known for their philanthropy and interest in education. Photo courtesy Chatham Star Tribune
Gift is designed to boost the quality of child care
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gift-is-designed-to-boost-the-quality-of-child-care#When:09:00:00ZA $1 million gift from a Chatham couple aims to improve the quality of child care in Southern and Southwest Virginia.
The gift from Ben and Betty Davenport will establish the Davenport Institute for Early Childhood Development. It will partner with four of Virginia’s community colleges — Danville, Patrick Henry, Virginia Western and New River — in improving the education of child-care workers.
The Davenports are known for their philanthropy and interest in education. Ben, the chairman of Davenport Energy and First Piedmont Corp. in Chatham, is director emeritus of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and a former rector of the Virginia Tech board of visitors. Betty has served on the board of Smart Beginnings Danville/Pittsylvania, a Virginia Early Childhood Foundation program focused on improving children’s health and school readiness.
Under the Davenport Institute arrangement, the community colleges will work closely with support organizations such as Smart Beginnings and Virginia Quality, the commonwealth’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system.
“Virginia doesn’t have any requirements to get into the field of early childhood education,” says Megan Healy, assistant vice chancellor for academics and partnerships at the Virginia Community College System. “The field has a low-paying workforce, and people don’t move up in early childhood education.”
In addition to training, the institute will offer coaching, professional development opportunities and a fellows program that provides selected students — many on the center-director level — with financial incentives, service opportunities and leadership experiences. “We want them to be regular and local advocates of the program,” Healy says. “Our first set of fellows should finish their program in 2018.”
The institute will begin in January. Students who complete 16 required credit courses in a year will receive a career-studies certificate. Fellows must complete a two-year program to receive associate degrees.
Part of the Davenport gift will be used for outreach for faith-based and home-based child-care centers, many of which are not registered with the commonwealth’s social services agency. “We want to use the community college system to provide better professional development and education opportunities for those providers as well,” Healy says.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_Spok_Kelly.pngVincent Kelly leads Springfield-based Spok.
Spok aids communications in critical situations
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spok-aids-communications-in-critical-situations#When:09:00:00ZDoctors, emergency personnel and first responders are just some of the people that rely on Spok Inc. to make sure communications run smoothly when lives are at stake. “We help enhance the way people communicate in critical situations,” says Vincent Kelly, company president and CEO.
The Springfield-based company provides telecommunications and software for fields ranging from 911 call management to hospital workflow.
In addition to health care, the company provides services to government, public safety and industry. Last year, the company helped VCU Health’s event staff manage race-related messaging during the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Richmond.
Spok was founded in Virginia in 1965 as Advanced Communications Inc., a two-way radio shop providing paging services to mid-Atlantic companies.
After several mergers and acquisitions, it was rebranded as Spok in 2014, with the merger of wireless communication and software provider USA Mobility and Amcom Software. The new name, Spok, was picked to evoke the spokes of a wheel, “each supporting the other and the overall network,” Kelly says.
About 60 of the company’s approximately 600 employees work at its Springfield headquarters. The rest are spread among its U.S. offices in Minneapolis; New York; Plano, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Bedford, N.H., and its international offices in Singapore, Dubai, London and Perth, Australia. “Most of our business is in the U.S.,” Kelly says. “We are mainly focused on English-speaking areas.”
In 2015, the company posted $189.6 million in revenue. Currently, health care represents 70 percent of its customer base while 8.3 percent of its clients are in government, 7.5 percent in large enterprises and 14.2 percent in other industries such as hospitality. Customers include Johns Hopkins University,
Stanford School of Medicine, Duke University, University of Virginia, University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, NASA, Marriott and Amazon.
“All 31 hospitals on the 2016-2017 US News & World Report Best Hospitals list honor roll are Spok customers,” Kelly says.
The company also is the largest paging company in the U.S. “Pagers are still used in health care and emergency services,” Kelly says. “When there is a major storm, mobile devices often don’t work, but you can send messages to pagers, and it can get through. Pages worked in Hurricane Sandy.”
Virginia is a good place for Spok, Kelly says. “It’s easy for me to recruit talent in this market.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/QualiChem_2016_small_biz.pngGlenn Frank and Dennis Butts celebrate QualiChem’s wins at the Roanoke Regional Chamber’s Small Business Awards.
QualiChem cited for its growth, staying power
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/qualichem-cited-for-its-growth-staying-power#When:09:00:00ZQualiChem began business in 1989 as a blender of industrial cleaning and water treatment products, with eight employees serving customers in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Today, the company employs 77 people — 52 at its Salem headquarters. The company’s offices in Europe and China market its water treatment chemicals and metalworking fluids to customers — including Boeing and Pratt & Whitney — around the globe.
In October, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce named QualiChem its Small Business of the Year. Companies in the running for the award are required to have a record of increased sales, employee growth, staying power, innovation and contributions to the community. QualiChem appears to have all the bases covered.
The privately-held company says its revenue grew more than 60 percent during the past five years.
“We have sustained a steady year-on-year rate of growth over the past 15 years, and we expect the steep growth curve to continue for the foreseeable future,” QualiChem President Glenn Frank said in a statement. “Our growth is driven by our management team’s focus on new product development, customer service and support for our distribution partners.
“We make a substantial investment in R&D to keep on the cutting edge of technology in our core businesses and have a program of continuous improvement in quality, delivery times and product consistency.”
The company also made a sizable investment three years ago, expanding its Salem headquarters, laboratory and manufacturing center by 70 percent and adding a 45-seat training and conference center.
In addition to developing its markets and working to stay at the forefront of its industry, QualiChem works with high school and university students interested in chemistry or manufacturing, offering internships to some and full-time employment to others.
Joyce Waugh, president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber, says QualiChem stood out among the winners in 11 small-business categories. QualiChem won the manufacturing category to earn its shot at the overall Small Business of the Year award.
“The Small Business Awards selection committee was impressed by QualiChem’s story of finding their niche markets and going from a small operation with mostly local sales to one of the fastest-growing cutting and grinding fluids manufacturers in the world,” Waugh says.
“They had a good history of growth as well as revenue,” she says, but that’s not enough. “You’re looking at sustainability. It’s the ones that have been around and weathered the recession and the things that come and go that really make the difference.”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Virginia_Business_Magazine_Vertical.pngStrongwell traces its roots to a furniture factory founded in 1924. Photo courtesy Strongwell Corp.
Strongwell honored for corporate citizenship
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/strongwell-honored-for-corporate-citizenship#When:09:00:00ZLike every Eagle Scout, John Tickle had to organize, supervise and complete a public service project. The habit stuck. It continues with his family’s Bristol-based company, Strongwell Corp.
“They’re super-involved in the community,” says Lennie Gail Mitcham, executive director of the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing.
The company is so involved, Mitcham says, the narrative introducing Strongwell as the alliance’s “Manufacturer of the Year” was extra long.
“They’re very big on corporate citizenship,” Mitcham says, ticking off a long list of organizations, causes and services the company and its employees serve. Boys and Girls Clubs, the Boy Scouts and the Birthplace of Country Music are among the groups that have benefited from Strongwell’s involvement.
The company also promotes advanced manufacturing as a potential career for young people in Southwest Virginia through tours, internships and the support of groups such as YMCA Tech Girls.
“Innovation, corporate citizenship and advocacy,” Mitcham says, “They definitely hit the mark on all those things.”
Strongwell’s four plants produce tens of thousands of feet of structural fiberglass parts every hour, according to the company’s website, using a process called pultrusion. Pultrusion involves pulling liquid resin and reinforcing fibers through heated metal dies. Depending on the ingredients and dies used, the end product can range from studs and nuts to components for wastewater treatment facilities to other components that can be assembled into complete buildings.
Strongwell traces its roots to a Bristol factory that started building furniture in 1924. During World War II, Strongwell’s corporate ancestor switched from building radio cabinets to making parts for weapons.
In 1956, the company produced its first pultrusion plastic products, ladder rails. They are still an important part of the company’s product line.
That group now includes a variety of products, including power poles, bridge components and building panels that can withstand a shot from a .357 magnum or a projectile hurled by a 250 mph hurricane.
“After the Great Recession, we became a very diversified company,” says Tekai Shu, Strongwell’s social media and business development manager.
Since its inception, the company has gone through a number of ownership changes, moving from private to public and back to private.
It added plants and production processes until Tickle and his family gained ownership of Strongwell — Tickle worked at the company nearly 30 years before his family took full ownership — and focused its efforts on pultrusion.
Strongwell also focuses on promoting advanced manufacturing in a region known for coal mines, furniture plants and textile mills.
“There hasn’t been a real great focus on manufacturing within our region,” Shu says.
To change that, Shu says, Strongwell hosts 20 to 24 tours each year for middle school pupils up to MBA candidates, showing them the operations and job opportunities of advanced manufacturing.
With more than 650,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity, more than 10,000 square feet of lab space and a wide range of products to create and market, Strongwell needs workers on and off the factory floor following a variety of career paths. The company is blazing new paths in other ways, too. In a field stereotypically dominated by men and in a region stereotypically portrayed as overwhelmingly white, more than 60 percent of Strongwell’s workers are women and more than 20 percent are minorities.
“We’re very proud of that,” says Shu.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VALLEY_ViaAir.pngShenandoah Valley Airport’s new arrangement with ViaAir connects travelers with more than 700 flights. Photo courtesy ViaAir
Airport begins service to Charlotte and Orlando
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/airport-begins-service-to-charlotte-and-orlando#When:09:00:00ZShenandoah Valley travelers now can fly directly to Charlotte, N.C., and then on to Orlando, Fla.
Shenandoah Valley Airport near Weyers Cave might be the smallest of Virginia’s nine commercial airports in terms of traffic — about 20,000 passengers a year — but the new arrangement with Maitland, Fla.-based ViaAir connects travelers with more than 700 flights.
“This is the first time the Shenandoah Valley has had a partner airline offering daily commercial flights with a jet aircraft,” says Greg Campbell, the airport’s executive director. ViaAir will use a 50-seat Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet in flying to Charlotte and Orlando.
The new airline service has been well received, Campbell says. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and interest,” he adds. “Orlando is one of the top markets for our area. It was previously served by a seasonal airline and did well.”
The airport added ViaAir service to Charlotte on Nov. 30 and to Orlando/Sanford, Fla., on Dec. 11. Travelers flying to Orlando will have a stop in Charlotte before continuing on the same plane to Orlando. The flights replace the airport’s former air carrier, Silver Airways, which offered daily turbo-prop service to Washington Dulles International Airport. “That airline suffered from some operational issues,” Campbell says. “Reliability is important in a small market, and we were having some issues there.”
Introductory fares to Charlotte start at $44 each way. Orlando fares start at $99 each way. Fares include one piece of checked luggage of up to 30 pounds.
“Charlotte is a six-month promotional fare, and Orlando is a 90-day promotional fare,” Campbell says. “We think fares will remain close to that after the introductory period. We think they will remain competitive.”
ViaAir, which boasts a 98 percent on-time performance record, will operate 12 weekly departures/arrivals to Charlotte. The Charlotte hub has approximately 710 daily departures serving 155 nonstop destinations.
The Shenandoah Valley Airport averages about 70 to 80 takeoffs and landings a day on its 6,000-foot runway. “Five to six of those a day are commercial airlines. The rest are general aviation, primarily corporate,” Campbell says.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HR_The_Tide3.pngThe Tide runs more than 7 miles through Norfolk. Photo courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation
Beach voters are not on board with light rail
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beach-voters-are-not-on-board-with-light-rail#When:09:00:00ZVirginia Beach won’t be served by a light-rail transit system anytime soon. A referendum to extend The Tide, Norfolk’s rail system, 3.2 miles to Town Center in Virginia Beach was voted down in November. Although the referendum was not binding, Virginia Beach City Council promised to follow the voters’ will.
The proposal was opposed by No Light Rail in Virginia Beach, a group formed by Virginia Beach Treasurer John T. Atkinson.
“Norfolk spent $56 million for their portion of the light rail in 2011, and now they have a $9 million a year deficit. For a population of about 250,000 that works out to $38 for every man, woman and child in Norfolk to keep the light rail running. And, ridership in Norfolk is down,” Atkinson says. “Light rail doesn’t offer a valued service to citizens in Virginia Beach.”
Adding light rail in Virginia Beach will not eliminate traffic congestion, but “it will give us a bigger tax bill,” Atkinson says, noting that City Council passed a budget in 2015 that included a tax for light rail. “We have a special tax on the real estate tax bill amounting to $45 per $250,000 of assessed value for light rail even though we have never driven the first nail in the ground.”
This isn’t the first time light rail was put to a vote in Virginia Beach. Plans to build a rail transit were voted down in a 1999 referendum. A 2012 referendum to study the idea was approved.
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms believes the cost of the $243 million extension — of which the city would be responsible for $88 million — scared people. The first estimates were as high as $326 million. “That’s what the opposition took and ran with, and they did a good job,” he says.
He saw the rail extension as a “vision for connectivity.”
“In Virginia Beach, we have strategic growth areas that are planned, and it would be more successful with light rail,” Sessoms says. “A multimodal system is needed for us to be successful 20 years from now.”
The city may now look at other rapid transit options such as express buses. “We still have a lot of options,” Sessoms says. “I am optimistic we will come up with a solution. The question is: When and also how we will pay for it?”2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00
People - January 2017
Dr. Peter F. Buckley has been named executive vice president for medical affairs at the Richmond-based VCU Health System and dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. The appointment is effective Jan. 17. Buckley was dean of the Medical College of Georgia and executive vice president for medical affairs and integration. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT) has named Chief Operating Officer Rex D. Geveden the company’s president and CEO, effective Jan. 1. He replaces Peyton S. “Sandy” Baker, who plans to retire on May 31. Baker will serve as special adviser until his retirement. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Elizabeth Jennings has been named SunTrust’s director of institutional investments for the foundation and endowment specialty group. She is based in Richmond. (News release)
The Charlottesville-based University of Virginia Health System has named Jeffrey Keller its first chief innovation officer. Keller has worked in biomedical research, business and the development of early stage technologies. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The former controller at Roanoke-based Advance Auto Parts is now serving in the same role at Henrico County-based CarMax Inc. Jill A. Livesay stepped into the role of vice president, controller and principal accounting officer at CarMax on Nov. 14. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Susan P. Davis, a certified public accountant, has joined S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co.’s Norfolk office as controller. Before joining the company, Davis worked in public accounting with a concentration on real estate. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare has named Reese Jackson its president and CEO. Jackson was the president and CEO of Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Pa. ( VirginiaBusiness.com)
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell will join Regent University in January as a distinguished professor in government. McDonnell, who received his law degree from Regent, will teach in the Robertson School of Government and will help establish a Governor’s Center for Federalism and Civility. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
William “Bill” C. Morrison, has joined C&F Wealth Management’s Williamsburg office as senior vice president. Morrison was managing partner for the wealth management division of Middle Peninsula Insurance & Financial Services in Williamsburg. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Community Associations Institute recently elected Vandeventer Black attorney, Jeremy Moss, as chair of the Virginia Legislative Action Committee. Moss was vice chair of the committee. (News release)
Scott Tilley, general counsel for Stihl Inc. in Virginia Beach, has been re-elected chairman of the Virginia Manufacturers Association board of directors. (News release)
Nick Alexander has been named area manager for Dixie Gas and Oil Corp.’s offices in Lexington and Covington. Alexander joined Dixie in April and, since that time, has worked in various roles. (News release)
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC announced Edward A. Bartlett has joined the firm as first vice president/wealth management and manager of its Harrisonburg office. Bartlett was with Wells Fargo Advisors, where he managed more than $100 million in client assets. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
John “Jay” Jones has joined the First Bank & Trust Co. as commercial lender, working with customers in the Shenandoah Valley. Jones has over 21 years of financial experience, most recently with Ameriserv and Union Bank & Trust in Staunton. (News release)
Douglas J. Moyer has been appointed to lead Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg. Moyer had been CEO for CHS Virginia Hospital Network and for CHS/Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg since 2000. Moyer succeeds Jim Krauss, who retired in June after 15 years of working for Sentara RMH Medical Center. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Paul Hudgins has joined Carilion Clinic as senior vice president of human resources and chief human resource officer. He was with Dignity Health in Sacramento, Calif. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Brian Wells, who most recently managed the Hilton Durham in Durham, N.C, has been named Hotel Roanoke’s new general manager. He succeeds Gary Walton, who retired in July. (The Roanoke Times)
Nick Alexander has been named area manager for Dixie Gas and Oil Corp.’s offices in Lexington and Covington. Alexander joined Dixie in April and has worked since in various roles. (News release)
Abingdon-based Virginia Highlands Community College held a dedication ceremony for its student center in October, which was named after longtime professors David and Schery Collins . They were among the first professors hired during VHCC’s organizational period and remained on staff until they retired in 2013, VHCC officials say. (Bristol Herald Courier)
Bristol-based Settlers Life Insurance Co. announced the following promotions: Josh Dixon , formerly marketing services director, is now director of telesales operations; Amy Smith has become director of marketing, but will retain her prior duties as marketing communi cations director; Evan Monahan was promoted to agent performance manager. (News release)
Bristol native Nancy Stallard Harr was sworn in in October as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. She had been serving as interim U.S. attorney for the district, which covers 41 of 95 counties in Tennessee. She replaces William C. Killian, who retired in December 2015. Harr will remain U.S. attorney until the new president makes an appointment and the Senate confirms. (Bristol Herald Courier)
ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Montgomery County Supervisor Mary W. Biggs has been elected president of the Virginia Association of Counties. She succeeds Surry County Supervisor Judy S. Lyttle. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Kevin Croft on has donate d $15 million to Virginia Tech. Crofton, a Fincastle native, is president of SPTS Technologies and corporate vice president at Israel-based Orbotech. (The Roanoke Times)
Marc Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, was named an American Ingenuity Award winner by Smithsonian magazine. (The Roanoke Times)
Roanoke-based Virginia Amateur Sports has named Dan Foutz to succeed Pete Lampman as president of the organization. Foutz has experience in the corporate sector plus more than 27 years in sports. (WSET.com)
Carol Gilbert, associate professor of surgery at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, won the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. (The Roanoke Times)
Paul Hudgins has joined Carilion Clinic as senior vice president of human resources and chief human resource officer. He was with Dignity Health in Sacramento, Calif. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Brian Wells, who most recently managed the Hilton Durham in Durham, N.C, has been named Hotel Roanoke’s new general manager. He succeeds Gary Walton, who retired in July. (The Roanoke Times)
Fairfax-based MainStreet Bank has named Charles “Chris” Brockett president of the bank and its holding company, MainStreet Bancshares Inc. Brockett was executive vice president, director of operations, at Bethesda, Md.-based EagleBank. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Steven Earls has been named vice president of information security strategy at Ntrepid in Herndon. He was senior vice president and deputy chief information security officer at Fifth and Third Bank. Previously, Earls was the cybersecurity architect and a cyber CTO officer at the CIA. (News release)
McLean-based Hilton Worldwide has named a former senior White House adviser as its senior vice president and global head of corporate affairs. Katie Beirne Fallon was director of legislative affairs for President Obama. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
McLean-based Alion Science and Technology has named Bruce Samuelsen chief operating officer. Samuelsen was special adviser to CEO Bahman Atefi. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Fairfax-based Salient CRGT Inc. has named Joseph Zimmerman vice president, Enterprise Solutions Group. Zimmerman was the chief operating officer for Fairfax-based Pyramid Systems. (News release)
Greg Overkamp joined the Stantec education design team as a senior project manager in Reston. Overkamp has 15 years of experience in design and construction administration of K-12 schools and higher education projects. (News release)
Rhonda Hopkins and Suzan Kirby were named the overall winners of Patrick Henry Community College’s Big IDEA Challenge, which aims to inspire people to create new jobs in the Martinsville area. Chris Wagoner was named the student winner. (Martinsville Bulletin)
Madelyn R. Meadows has been promoted to senior branch office administrator at the Danville branch office of financial services firm Edward Jones. Meadows has been with Edward Jones four years. (Work It, SoVa)
Karl Schledwitz, the chairman and chief executive officer of Monogram Foods, has been named to the National Provisioner’s Top 25 Icons list, which honors influential leaders in the processed meat industry. Monogram Foods is the parent company of Monogram Snacks Martinsville. (Work It, SoVa)
David Smitherman has been named Pittsylvania County administrator. He succeeds Clarence Monday, who retired. Smitherman was a senior consultant at Bear Strategies in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Danville Register & Bee)2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00
For the Record - January 2017
Richmond began renovations in November on Monroe Park, a $6 million project expected to take up to a year-and-a-half to complete. Renovation of the city’s oldest park was made possible through a multiyear, $3 million private fundraising campaign. Altria and the Dominion Foundation each provided $500,000. Also, a major gift from The Beirne Carter Foundation will support sustainability and safety improvements at the park. The nonprofit Monroe Park Conservancy will operate the park after the renovation, and Virginia Commonwealth Un iversity will provide maintenance. (News release)
Virginia has moved up on the Forbes list of “Best States for Business.” The commonwealth ranks No. 6 on the 2016 list, up from No. 7 last year. Utah was named the top state for business for the third year in a row. Forbes noted that the commonwealth ranked as the top state for business as recently as 2013, “but higher business costs and a declining economic climate have pushed it lower.” (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Henrico County-based Eastern Virginia Bankshares Inc., the holding company for EVB, plans to combine with Southern National Bancorp of Virginia Inc., the McLean-based holding company for Sonabank. The deal, which is valued at $178.3 million, is expected to close in the second quarter, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals. The combined company will assume the Southern National Bancorp of Virginia name for the holding company and the Sonabank name for all banking operations. It will maintain its corporate headquarters in McLean and the Henrico headquarters for the bank in the Richmond area. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Stonebridge Shopping Center in Chesterfield County is under new ownership — and poised for more development. McLean-based S2 Capital Partners LLC has acquired the 8.1-acre retail center — part of the former Cloverleaf Mall property — for $12 million. The center includes two fully developed construction sites on which S2 Capital Partners will build 15,600 square feet of multi-tenant retail space. At completion, the total retail space will be 67,416 square feet. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
With about 300 ADP employees moving into a downtown Norfolk building, Carlos Rodriguez, the payroll and human resources company’s CEO, made his first visit to the city in early December for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. ADP, a New Jersey-based company formerly known as Automatic Data Processing Inc., has begun moving into 2 Commercial Place, its new home for a customer service center that eventually will have 1,800 employees. (The Virginian-Pilot)
A study released in November by the College of William & Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center warns that sea-level rise could eventually cost the Hampton Roads region more than $100 million extra in damage and costs annually if no measures are taken to mitigate the risks of coastal flooding. The study, conducted by the North Carolina-based Research Triangle Institute, found that rising seas will pose ever-increasing threats to Hampton Roads’ roughly $100 billion worth of buildings, not including military installations and ports. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Smithfield-based Smithfield Foods said in November it is buying Clougherty Packing from Hormel Foods Corp. for $145 million in cash. Clougherty Packing is the parent company of Farmer John and Saag’s Specialty Meats. The sale also includes PFFJ farm operations in California, Arizona and Wyoming. Minnesota-based Hormel acquired Clougherty Packing in 2004. Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Navy aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, is in the final stages of construction after cost overruns and a delay of more than a year. This carrier and those that will follow will replace the Nimitz-class carriers, which were first commissioned in 1975. Construction on the Ford, which currently is sitting at Newport News Shipbuilding, started in 2009. (The Associated Press)
Plenty of job seekers eager to work at the new Waterside District attended an open house hiring event at Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel on Nov. 15. The mixed-use venue will feature music, live entertainment, events and festivals along with a range of regional and national culinary options. It is a $40 million overhaul and rebranding of the Waterside Festival Marketplace. The district is anticipated to fill 1,000 jobs before its April opening. (Inside Business)
James Madison University has begun a fundraising campaign to support its new College of Business Learning Complex. The university has raised more than $7 million toward its goal of more than $15 million for the facility. The learning complex is currently in the design phase with plans to break ground at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. It is slated to open for the 2020-21 academic year. (News release)
Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Clarity Communications Group, which operates a 730-mile fiber network in four Southeastern states. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The majority of Clarity’s operations and fiber mileage is in North Carolina. The company is based in Raleigh, N.C. Timothy G. Biltz, CEO of Lumos Networks, said he expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2017. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Mary Baldwin University will offer coeducational, three-year degree programs beginning next fall at its Staunton campus. The newly created coeducational unit called University College will offer residential programs open to men and women after their junior or senior years in high school. Men already are admitted to the university’s graduate and adult-degree programs but not to its residential college for women. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
A national grocery store anchor, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. and Valley Health Urgent Care, will be coming to the Rutherford Crossing Shopping Center in Winchester in 2017, according to the center’s developer. NVRetail said the tenants are expected to begin construction of their stores as part of a second phase of Rutherford Crossing. Phase one began in 2007 and includes tenants such as Lowe’s, Target and PetSmart. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Shenandoah University has revealed the results of its most recent economic impact study. The study determined that in 2016, the overall economic impact from the university was an estimated $145.7 million and it supported roughly 1,500 jobs. These numbers compare favorably with the numbers from 2010, the first time the university conducted such a study. In 2010, the economic impact to Frederick County-Winchester was determined to be $90.4 million. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Bristol City Council took the first step in November to rebrand its Industrial Development Authority as the Economic Development Authority. It also plans to disband the city’s Economic Development Committee, a move which will require a charter change by the Virginia General Assembly. The council held a public hearing and first reading for both enabling ordinances Nov. 8. (Bristol Herald Courier)
Virginia Intermont College has been sold for $3.3 million. The winning bid was placed by George Xu, who represents a company based in New York that operates a college in China. Xu said his plan is to renovate the campus and reopen it at a later date as a four-year college. (Bristol Herald Courier)
The Southwest Virginia Health Authority approved the merger in November between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System, which are based in Tennessee but have operations in Virginia. The merger plan has been forwarded to Virginia Commissioner of Health Marissa Levine for consideration. A similar process is underway in Tennessee. Both states must approve the merger for it to proceed. (Bristol Herald Courier)
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise held its first annual Girls Day in STEM-H in November. The event is designed to get young girls more involved in STEM-H courses and show them that careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health are not just for men, according to a news release from U.Va.-Wise. Many girls lose interest in these fields by the time they reach high school, the release states. U.Va.-Wise plans to hold Girls Day in STEM-H every year. (Bristol Herald Courier)
The long-awaited Wal-Mart at Interstate 81’s Exit 19 in Abingdon opened Nov. 16. Construction began in October 2015. The store, which is open 24 hours, has about 300 full- and part-time employees. (Bristol Herald Courier)
ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Celanese plans to lay off 27 workers at its Giles County plant because of waning demand for the plant’s primary product, acetate tow, a material used in cigarette filters. After the layoffs, the plant will still employ more than 600 workers in Narrows. (The Roanoke Times)
Franklin County Distilleries plans to open a tasting room in Boones Mill where it already has a small production facility. The company makes White Label Corn Whiskey but plans to add more products to meet demand. (The Roanoke Times)
Roanoke-based Hollins University has received a record-setting gift from the charitable trust of an alumna that will be used to strengthen the university’s unrestricted endowment. The JSM Charitable Trust has pledged $20 million to the endowment fund. The commitment — arranged by Hollins graduate Elizabeth Hall McDonnell and her husband, James McDonnell III — marks the single largest gift received in the campus’s 175-year history. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, Virginia Western Community College and the City of Roanoke are creating RAMP – the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship program. RAMP will be located in downtown Roanoke and will house up to five technology companies that will receive programming and mentorship in hopes of helping them to achieve greater success in a shorter timeframe. The first class of RAMP startup companies is expected to start in mid-2017. (News release)
In November Roanoke Gas celebrated the completion of a 25-year, $100 million project that replaced about 200 miles of aging natural gas pipelines in the company’s regional distribution network. Some of the buried cast iron pipe that crews replaced dated back to the late 19th century. The Roanoke Gas distribution system includes about 1,100 miles of pipe and serves about 60,000 customers in a service area that includes the cities of Roanoke and Salem, the town of Vinton, Roanoke County and portions of Botetourt, Franklin and Montgomery counties. (The Roanoke Times)
The owner of high-end mall Tysons Galleria has bought the on-site Macy’s building and the property it sits on with an eye toward a redevelopment of the retail center. General Growth Properties purchased the 2.6-acre Macy’s site for $38 million. That purchase will allow General Growth Properties to move forward with a redevelopment of the Galleria, according to spokesman Kevin Berry. (Washington Business Journal)
A group of 17 high-powered CEOs led by Russ Ramsey, Ted Leonsis and Peter Scher are forming an organization aimed at spurring economic growth in a region spanning from Baltimore to Richmond. The Greater Washington Partnership will focus on improving infrastructure, transit and workforce development, branding what has become known as a “megaregion” or “super region” as a hub for business and innovation. (Washington Business Journal)
Fairfax-based ManTech International Corp. must pay more than $2 million in damages to two former employees after a jury found the company retaliated against them for blowing the whistle on alleged fraud in a contract proposal. The Employment Law Group, a D.C.-based law firm that represented the employees, said ManTech was also ordered to pay $1.35 million in back pay and could be on the hook for “front pay” damages, meaning money they could have earned if they were rehired. (Washington Business Journal)
Reston-based government contractor Maximus plans to open a customer support center in Hampton. The company plans to spend $1.87 million to establish the call center, which is expected to create 189 jobs. Virginia competed against Pennsylvania and Texas for the project, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The company provides business process management and technology solutions. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Tysons Corner-based Nehemiah Security, a supplier of cybersecurity software and services, has acquired Siege Technologies, an advanced research and development company based in New Hampshire. The deal represents Nehemiah’s fourth cybersecurity acquisition since 2015. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Intertape Polymer Group plans to invest $22 million in several new manufacturing lines at its facility near Ringgold. The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors voted to offer incentives of up to $144,319 over three years in machine and tools tax grants and a one-time building permit fee waiver. The group makes and sells “paper and film-based pressure sensitive and water activated tapes, polyethylene and specialized polyolefin films, woven coated fabrics and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use,” according to a news release. (Danville Register & Bee)
Work has begun on the 5.4-acre site that German grocery chain Lidl purchased last November at the intersection of Piedmont Drive and Piedmont Place in Danville. A building permit to construct a 36,000-square-foot grocery store was issued in November. The company announced its intention of expanding into the United States last year and opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington. (Danville Register & Bee)
Microsoft Corp. has announced its fifth expansion in Mecklenburg County. The company will invest $251.6 million to expand its data center. The project will create 44 jobs. According to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Microsoft has invested nearly $2 billion in its Mecklenburg facility since 2010 and created more than 250 jobs. McAuliffe approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $970,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Patrick Henry Community College has started renovations to its motorsports building, turning the roughly 53,000-square-foot building in the Patriot Centre into a place that will house a number of new programs. The goal is to use these programs to help with job training and other ways of developing a local workforce. (Martinsville Bulletin)
Runk & Pratt (R&P) had its rezoning request of 349 acres off of Country Club Road approved by the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, allowing the company to begin renovating the Altavista Country Club and constructing a senior living community. Hurt Town Mayor Gary Poindexter welcomed the company to the area. (Chatham Star Tribune)2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Vince_Riggi_and_Brian_Marks_photo_by_Alexander_Kreher.pngVince Riggi and Brian Marks plan to ramp up production of their premium moonshine. Photos courtesy Belle Isle Craft Spirits
Belle Isle crafting plans for future growth
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/belle-isle-crafting-plans-for-future-growth#When:09:00:00ZA Richmond-based distillery is ready to bring moonshine to the masses.
Belle Isle Craft Spirits, the maker of Belle Isle Premium Moonshine, plans to increase production capacity this year from 130,000 to 500,000 bottles. It also expects to expand distribution to all 50 states in the next couple of years.
Belle Isle’s moonshine currently is sold in seven states (including Virginia) and the District of Columbia. The product also is available in China.
“Moonshine is America’s original clear spirit,” says Vince Riggi, the CEO of Belle Isle who co-founded the company in 2013 with Brian Marks and Alex Wotring.
Riggi says the three men were attracted to moonshine as an opportunity to “not only provide another tool for the bartender, but also to re-educate people on a spirit that has long been forgotten and kind of relegated as a novelty.”
He says Belle Isle is creating a new category, premium moonshine, positioned between whiskey and vodka. In addition to plain moonshine, Belle Isle offers flavors like “cold brew coffee” and “honey habanero.” A 750-milliliter bottle sells for $25 to $27, depending on the type of moonshine and store location. The company’s target demographic is the vodka drinker more than the whiskey connoisseur.
“A whiskey drinker wants something aged … 5 to 10 years in a barrel … most of the time [a product] with a higher price point,” Riggi says. “We really pride ourselves in the versatility of the spirit, and that resonates more with the vodka drinker.”
Belle Isle was one of 42 licensed distilleries operating in Virginia as of October, says Amy Ciarametaro, executive director of the Virginia Distillers Association. More than half of those distilleries produced moonshine or white whiskey.
The company plans to continue growth with an injection of new capital. It is currently undergoing a “series B” round of funding, hoping to raise more than $2 million. The company expects to close on that series of funding by February.
That capital would allow Belle Isle to hire more employees and continue to increase production, inventory and marketing.
Marketing is highly important when you’re competing with major brands like Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s, Riggi says.
“We’re trying to take the same real estate, so it’s expensive to get in front of people’s eyeballs,” he says.2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00
Followups: January 2017
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-january-2017#When:09:00:00ZVEDP board names new CEO
The board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in late November named Stephen Moret, a Louisiana economic development executive, as its next CEO. The appointment was scheduled to begin Jan. 1.
The announcement came only two weeks after a General Assembly watchdog group, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), issued a scathing report on VEDP operations, listing 35 recommendations for change.
VEDP was searching for a new top executive when the report was released. Some legislators urged the board to delay a hiring decision until the General Assembly could act on JLARC’s recommendations.
VEDP Chairman Dan Clemente, however, said that hiring a new, highly qualified leader will help shepherd through changes resulting from JLARC’s review. He said that Moret was picked to head Louisiana’s economic development efforts in 2009 under conditions similar to those facing VEDP today. Moret’s accomplishments in that post drew national attention.
Moret most recently was president and CEO of the Louisiana State University Foundation in Baton Rouge.
A story about the JLARC report and other changes taking place in economic development in Virginia appeared in the December issue. An updated version including Moret’s appointment appeared on VirginiaBusiness.com.
1776 co-CEO to step down
Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, will step down as co-CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based incubator and seed fund at the end of January.
Harris said in a late November blog that she will remain on 1776’s board of directors and continue to be an investor in the organization, which established a site in Arlington in 2015.
Virginia Business profiled Harris in its December issue. An updated version of the story, including the change in Harris’ status at 1776, appeared on VirginiaBusiness.com2016-12-30T09:00:00+00:00
Civil engineering and survey firms to merge
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/civil-engineering-and-survey-firms-to-merge#When:21:37:00ZTwo Virginia civil engineering and survey firms, Hurt & Proffitt (H&P) and Anderson & Associates Inc., are merging.
Both firms are employee owned.
On Jan. 1, Anderson & Associates will join Hurt & Proffitt's operation and do business as H&P. The office will remain in Montgomery County.
Jessica Littlejohn, who joined Anderson & Associates in 2013, has been named vice president of Blacksburg Engineering for the newly consolidated company. Chris Kaknis, who joined Anderson & Associates in 1985, will be the vice president of Blacksburg Survey.
Founded in 1968, Anderson & Associates is a professional design services firm specializing in civil engineering, surveying, and GIS.
H&P was founded in 1973. It has offices in Lynchburg, Roanoke and Wytheville. 2016-12-29T21:37:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WoodTracyheadshots.jpgAuthors: John B. Wood (left) and Rick Tracy
Cybersecurity predictions for 2017
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/cybersecurity-predictions-for-2017#When:20:30:00ZProtecting cloud-based services and industries’ supply chains from cyber threats will become increasingly important in 2017.
Those are two assessments for cyber threats next year from top executives at cybersecurity firm Telos Corporation. The Ashburn-based company creates and develops cybersecurity solutions and services for global commercial organizations, as well as military, intelligence and civilian government agencies in the U.S. and its allied nations.
As cyber attacks continue to threaten individuals, government agencies, and businesses both big and small, John B. Wood, Telos’ chairman and CEO, and Rick Tracy, chief security officer and senior vice president at the company, provide their predictions on cybersecurity trends for 2017:
• Cloud security is paramount: With heavy adoption of cloud-based services, organizations are challenged to continuously assess new cloud-based security controls in order to manage the aggregate cyber risk associated with relatively new hybrid IT environments. Cyber risk and compliance management activity has been going on for many years, with regard to legacy on-premises IT systems. However, the use of cloud-based infrastructure, platforms and software make this effort more complex. Moving forward into 2017, it will be necessary for organizations to account for cloud-based risk in order to understand their overall, aggregate cyber risk.
• Securing the supply chain is key: Many industries have enormously large supply chains. Just think about how many parts are used to build an airplane, for example. These parts and components are provided by many if not hundreds of different vendors; the supply chain for an airplane is gigantic. Supply chain security has become an important consideration, and both the public and private sectors are in the process of incorporating cybersecurity controls into their acquisition processes to ensure all members of their supply chains have sound cybersecurity practices. Having this data for all participants in the supply chain will help organizations better understand their aggregate supply chain risk. Again, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework (CSF) can be a helpful method for organizing, viewing and communicating aggregate supply chain cyber risk.
• No jeopardy for cybersecurity funding: Cybersecurity isn’t an ideological or partisan issue where a change of administration will automatically lead to a change in regulatory policy. Although there will certainly be a big push by the Trump administration to roll back or modify overly burdensome regulations, this unlikely will affect cybersecurity regulations, like the NIST Cyber Security Framework that has been developed in consultation with the private sector.
• Cooperation is essential: President-elect Trump has been vocal about the need for a stronger and more aggressive cybersecurity posture, and I’m confident that he’ll work with leading members of Congress, including Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., and John McCain, R-Ariz., and U.S. Reps. Will Hurd of Texas and Barbara Comstock of Virginia, who are active on cybersecurity matters. Many non-political cyber experts throughout the government, various agency CISOs and [Federal Chief Information Security Officer] General Touhill also will be great resources to further refine cybersecurity policies to protect U.S. interests in the face of constantly changing threats.
• A renewed focus on U.S. Cyber Command: The President-elect has promised to eliminate the threat of defense sequestration and to spend more on the military. This needs to include working to roll back the budget caps for defense spending and providing additional resources for cybersecurity, including more money for U.S. Cyber Command, the centralized cybersecurity command for the U.S. military, which is grossly underfunded.
• Cyber insurance needs to mature: Cyber attacks have increased over the past few years and will only get worse. Because cyber is so new, relatively speaking, there isn’t a great deal of actuarial data to help insurance carriers underwrite cyber risk. The aggregate effect of cyber risk and the financial liability it poses are critical concerns for the insurance industry. For example, as bad as the Target breach was, what if there had been multiple, similar breaches that occurred simultaneously? What impact would this have had on the insurance carriers providing cyber liability coverage to these companies? Moving forward, not only will it be important for insurance companies to better understand the risks facing individual clients, but they will need to view this data over their entire portfolios to understand aggregate risk and ensure they are not over extended. The good news is that the insurance industry is beginning to rely on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework (CSF) to help standardize the view of cyber risk and ultimately manage aggregate, or portfolio, risk.
About John B. Wood:
John has been CEO and chairman of the board of Telos since 1994. He is a leading voice on cyber security and recently testified before Congress about what the federal government can learn about cybersecurity from the private sector and serves on the Virginia Cyber Security Commission, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2014.
About Rick Tracy:
Rick is chief security officer and senior vice president at Telos. A 30-year cyber security veteran and key driver in the evolution of the information security marketplace, Rick is a leading expert in the areas of information security, IT risk and compliance management and security process automation.2016-12-29T20:30:00+00:00
Keiter announces leadership changes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-announces-leadership-changes#When:19:29:00ZRichmond-based CPA firm Keiter announced that Gary G. Wallace has been named Tax Practice leader and will also serve on the firm’s executive committee.
Wallace has 30 years of accounting experience in the private and public sectors. Before joining Keiter, he was chief financial officer for The Riverstone Group LLC and CCA Industries Inc.
Jennifer F. Flinchum, who previously was Tax Practice leader, will head a new practice at Keiter, Family Executive & Entrepreneurial Advisory Services. It will offer expertise in areas such as strategic planning, succession planning, estate planning, charitable giving planning, and exit strategies.
The firm said Harold Martin will continue to serve as the practice leader of the Valuation and Forensic Services Department as well as serve on the executive committee. Chris Wallace will continue to serve as the practice leader of the Business Assurance and Advisory Services Department, a role that he assumed in 2011.2016-12-29T19:29:00+00:00
Jobless rates down in most Virginia metro areas
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rates-down-in-most-virginia-metro-areas#When:19:26:00ZUnemployment fell in most of Virginia’s urban areas during November.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday that November jobless rates declined in nine of 11 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Rates were unchanged in two metro areas, Bristol and Richmond.
The VEC jobless rate figures are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do not take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market. Using that method of measurement, the nation had an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in November while the state rate was 4 percent.
The Virginia part of the Bristol area had the highest unemployment rate, 4.7 percent, while Northern Virginia had the lowest, 3.3 percent.
The Harrisonburg area saw the biggest change during the month, a decline of four-tenths of percentage point. Most of the declines were in the range of one-tenth to two-tenths of a percentage.
A breakdown of metro-area numbers show:
Bristol: 4.7 percent in November, unchanged from October.
Charlottesville: 3.4 percent, down from 3.6 percent.
Hampton Roads: 4.5 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
Harrisonburg: 3.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent.
Lynchburg: 4.4 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
Northern Virginia: 3.3 percent, down from 3.4 percent.
New River Valley: 4.3 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
Richmond: 4.1 percent, unchanged.
Roanoke: 3.9 percent, down from 4 percent.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 4 percent, down from 4.1 percent.
Winchester: 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent.2016-12-29T19:26:00+00:00
Virginia CFO Awards 2016 Nomination Form
Corporate giving trends and best practices
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/corporate-giving-trends-and-best-practices#When:16:03:00ZPhilanthropy is most commonly associated with individual giving. However, the philanthropic efforts of corporate America are growing.
Corporate giving in the United States directly correlates to the change in real gross domestic product (GDP). Since the 2011 recession, corporate giving has increased every year, including 4 percent in 2015 and an expected increase of nearly 5 percent in 2016, according to The Philanthropy Outlook, a report from Indiana University-Perdue University Indianapolis
Corporate giving is measured in both cash and non-cash contributions as reported by the IRS. However, some of these philanthropic efforts are not measured by the IRS, such as volunteering efforts, partnerships and other programs that allow corporations’ employees to be engaged with their local communities and charitable missions.
One reason corporations are becoming more philanthropic is tied to the changing workforce demographic. Millennials, defined as ages 20 to 35 years old, make up the largest generation in the American workforce. As such, they are quickly gaining influence over corporate culture. The result is corporations need to find ways to meet millennials’ needs, which are centered on engagement — millennials want to make a difference. This brings us full circle to corporate philanthropy. Employers need to tailor their corporate giving model to attract and retain the millennial workforce.
New giving channels are emerging in corporate philanthropy. Corporations are implementing various programs and activities to engage their employees in local communities and with other nonprofit organizations. Many corporations are starting their own foundation as a channel of philanthropy. Corporations also are closing their doors for a “Day of Service” to spend the day in the community. Not only does this give their employees the benefit of giving back, but it is also a great team-building exercise.
A tertiary effect of these large volunteer events is public relations. Organizing these events on a large scale can draw a lot of positive media attention to a corporation. However, it is important for corporations to allow their employees to contribute to their own causes. Pushing the corporate giving agenda alone will not keep morale high — the philanthropic efforts must be authentic. There needs to be time and opportunities for both professional and personal philanthropy in the workforce.
Corporations also are partnering with nonprofit organizations. Doing this normally has both financial and nonfinancial components. Partnering with a nonprofit tends to have the largest impact, as there are contributions of man-hours to go with financial contributions. However, with such a narrow focus, there may not be a full workforce buy-in. To mitigate the situation, corporations are creating committees to oversee philanthropic efforts. Having a committee comprising an eclectic group of employees covering all demographics can help build buy-in. Lastly, partnering with a nonprofit can make a big difference, including a tangible difference, and that is a winning situation for the nonprofit, the corporation and its workforce.
Another trend that is becoming more widely accepted is a corporate giving match. For every dollar an employee donates to a charity, the corporation matches the contribution. Individual giving can also be set up through payroll deductions or completed online. MillenialsMillennials donate quite differently than other generations. It is very difficult to get a $1,200 contribution outright from a millennial. However, a millennial can contribute $50 a month through payroll deduction with a corporate match, and he or she can make the same impact and feel like they made a difference.
Corporations also are implementing many of the 21st century giving tactics that many nonprofits have come to master. One example is athe “tText to gGive” drive at corporate events or on certain days, much like the American Red Cross holds after catastrophic events. Having these types of fundraising drives is particularly appealing to millennials, as it is quick, all-digital, and convenient. Another tactic is a competition where corporations hold a philanthropic competition where top performers “win” corporate contributions made to a charity of their choice. You will know you have your employees engaged when they start sharing their philanthropic efforts at work on their personal social media channels.
Although GDP is a prominent indicator of corporate giving, 2017 holds an abundance of philanthropic uncertainty with significant corporate and individual tax change propositions, among other related proposed legislative changes. However, one thing is certain — philanthropy in corporate America is changing and will continue to change as the preferences of the people who are giving continue to shift. The bottom line is that corporations must keep up with financial and non-financial giving trends to attract and retain the employees of the future.
Bo Garner, CPA, MBA, is an assurance manager at PBMares LLP and is co-leader of the firm’s notor-profit team. Bo is a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA). For more information, please contact the author at email@example.com or visit our website http://www.pbmares.com2016-12-27T16:03:00+00:00
Virginia home sales surge in November
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-home-sales-surge-in-november#When:20:30:00ZVirginia's residential real estate market saw healthy gains across the board in November compared to the year before, according to the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR).
November volume, or aggregate transaction value, totaled $2.6 billion, nearly 20 percent above November’s 2015 volume of $2.2 billion, the trade group said Thursday.
Year-to-date volume -- the sum of all sales since Jan. 1, 2016 -- totaled $34.8 billion, 7.9 percent higher than for the same time last year when sales totaled $32.2 billion and more than 20 percent higher than through the end of November 2014 ($28.7 billion).
“November sales surged on consumer response to post-election financial markets and the strong anticipation of imminent interest rate increases,” Claire Forcier-Rowe, the 2017 VAR President, said in a statement. “Buyer motivation and confidence intersected with loosened inventory to drive exceptional market performance for the month.”
Year-over-year, the number of transactions in Virginia surged by 17.8 percent, from 7,020 homes sold to 8,269. Typical of the months following the summer peak, November sales declined from October by 7.1 percent (from 8,897). Historically, sales pace tapers from June through December.
The market also saw a strong performance in median price. The statewide median sales price for November was $265,000, 5.2 percent higher than the median price in November 2015 of $251,958.
Also indicating buyer motivation, the average number of days on the market declined year-over-year by 10.3 percent, from 78 to 70.
Following the federal election, the average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate ticked up in November to 3.77 percent, 30 basis points above its October mark.
In mid-December, the Federal Reserve increased its key interest rate by 0.25%, only the second increase in a decade. The uptick indicated the Fed's confidence in the improving U.S. economy.2016-12-22T20:30:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DOEOPINION.jpgSherrod and Matney | Photo courtesy Poston Communications
Companies could have unfinished business despite uncertainty of overtime regulation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/companies-could-have-unfinished-business-despite-uncertainty-of-overtime-re#When:19:24:00ZAs most companies are now well aware, just before Thanksgiving a Texas federal judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the implementation and enforcement of regulations proposed by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to update exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements for executive, administrative and professional employees (the EAP exemptions). The DOL’s proposed rule, which would have doubled the salary level for employees to qualify for the basic EAP exemptions, was scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2016. Prior to the court’s ruling, employers across the country had spent months devoting significant time and money to prepare for the changes.
Pending further order of court, the existing EAP exemptions remain in effect. The injunction has provided a welcome breather for employers who had planned to make changes to their employee classifications based on the requirements that had been proposed by the DOL.
The ultimate fate of the rule remains in flux. The DOL quickly appealed the injunction ruling. Even though the federal appeals court granted the DOL’s motion to expedite the appeal, under the court’s order, the final brief is not due until Jan. 31, 2017, 11 days after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. The court of appeals is not expected to hear oral arguments until sometime in mid-to-late February.
The DOL has also filed a motion to stay the district court proceedings, which would ultimately decide the merits of the case, pending resolution of the appeal. As of Dec. 21, 2016, the Texas federal court had not yet ruled on the DOL’s motion to stay.
Employers should also recognize that the DOL’s strategy regarding the overtime rule may change with the new administration. President-elect Trump has announced his intention to nominate fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to serve as Secretary of Labor. Puzder has been openly critical of the DOL’s proposed rule. In an op-ed published by Forbes shortly after the DOL finalized the rule, Puzder wrote that it would “add to the extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers,” and would serve as “another barrier to the middle class rather than a springboard” for employees.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the DOL’s proposed rule, employers should bear in mind that both the rule amendment and the Texas federal court’s injunction focused solely on the salary level test for the EAP exemptions. Salary level, however, is only one piece of the EAP exemption puzzle. Each of the EAP exemptions also has an associated job duties test that must be met in order for an employee to be eligible. The DOL’s proposed rule did not make changes to the duty requirements for any exemption.
In anticipation of the Dec.1 rule change, many employers also took the opportunity to reevaluate whether their employees met the duty requirements for an EAP exemption. If particular employees were found not to meet the duties test for an EAP exemption, employers should follow through with re-classifying such workers as non-exempt and pay appropriate overtime, despite the injunction of the DOL’s proposed rule.
If an employee meets the duties tests for an EAP exemption and is being paid a salary at or above the current threshold ($455 per week, or $23,660 annually), the company does not need to make any change to the employee’s classification or compensation at this time. However, given the potential for salary requirements to change quickly based on future decisions in the pending case, employers should be prepared to re-classify such employees or to adjust their compensation to comply with any changes to the EAP exemptions.
The temporary reprieve provided by the Texas federal court’s decision surely came as welcome news to many employers, and future decisions by the courts or the DOL under the Trump administration could seal the demise of the proposed overtime rule. Nevertheless, employers still have work to do if their employees do not meet the duties test for their EAP exemption and are thus not exempt even under the current rules.
Andrew P. Sherrod and Angela R. Matney are attorneys at Hirschler Fleischer. Sherrod is a partner in the Richmond office and co-chair of the Employment Law Practice Group. Matney is based in the firm's Fredericksburg location and counsels employers on information privacy compliance.
2016-12-22T19:24:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Interior.jpgInterior of a uBreakiFix store
Tech repair company expanding in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-repair-company-expanding-in-virginia#When:18:21:00ZJust in time for the holiday season, a company that offers same-day tech repairs on small electronics such as smartphones is expanding in Virginia.
uBreakiFix opened its seventh Virginia location last week in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax. The store at 4471 Market Commons Drive joins locations in Fredericksburg, Dumfries, Falls Church, Manassas, Woodbridge and Virginia Beach.
Most locations are locally owned franchises. uBreakiFix Fair Lakes is the first location for owner Brenda Johnston, who plans to open two more stores in the area in 2017.
Based in Orlando, Fla., UBreakiFix has opened more than 100 stores this year, bringing its total to more than 260 stores across the U.S. and Canada.
The company recently announced a partnership with Google to become the official walk-in repair partner for its new phone, Pixel.
BreakiFix got its start in 2009 after founder Justin Wetherill dropped his iPhone and tried to repair it himself. He ruined that phone, but later ended up partnering with college friend David Reiff to start the company. The millennial duo started as a mail-order company on Ebay, and after demand increased moved to opening stores.
uBreakiFix specializes in same-day repair service of electronics from phones, tablets and computers, to drones, and game consoles. The company says it can repair cracked screens, water damage, software and other problems. Repairs come with a 90-day warranty.2016-12-22T18:21:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/George_Nash_Headshot2.jpgGeorge Nash Jr.
George Nash Jr. joins Branch and Associates
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/george-nash-jr.-joins-branch-and-associates#When:14:57:00ZGeorge Nash Jr. has joined Branch and Associates in its Herndon office as the director of preconstruction. Nash previously worked for Facchina Construction Co., based in La Plata, Md., where his most recent role was director of business development.
According to Branch and Associates, Nash’s 30 plus years in the industry includes experience in preconstruction, operations and business development. He has managed many projects ranging from small and large commercial buildings to public stadiums.
In his new job, Nash will be responsible for pursuing new work and expanding the company’s market presence in Northern Virginia.
Branch is one of Virginia’s largest construction firms. Some of its projects include the Roanoke College Cregger Center, Liberty University Library, VMI’s Mallory Hall and Northern Virginia Community College and Winston-Salem Firearms Training Joint Training Facility.
Its parent organization, Branch Group Inc., has its headquarters in Roanoke.2016-12-22T14:57:00+00:00
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/santas-helper#When:21:05:00ZChristmas came four days early for Bristol, Tenn.’s United Way on Wednesday when developer Steve Johnson donated $1 million to the charity’s endowment fund.
Johnson, the developer of the Pinnacle retail complex and other projects in Southwest Virginia, said that in this season of giving he wanted to give back to the communities served by Bristol’s United Way.
“It’s the season of giving and there are a lot of people in our region in need,” Johnson, president of Johnson Commercial Development, said in a statement. “These needs exist on a daily basis, and I am fortunate to be in a position to give back and help those in need.”
Johnson proposed the endowment fund several years ago as the organization’s campaign chairman and later board president. His goal was to fully fund the administration of the charity’s efforts so that 100 percent of donations to the annual fundraising effort will benefit the six organizations served by the United Way of Bristol.
“I have witnessed the need by families and children in our region and I want them to know that when the endowment is fully funded, every dime that they contribute to the United Way of Bristol will go to those in need,” Johnson explained. “It is important to note that those who donate can designate that their dollars go to the United Way of their choice in our region. Thus, donors here can help serve United Ways from Johnson City, Kingsport, Greeneville, Elizabethton or those in Southwest Virginia.”
He added that this year’s Bristol fund drive is about 20 percent short of its goal.
“Steve Johnson has been generous with his leadership for many years, and today’s donation to our endowment is only the most recent example,” said Lisa Cofer, the United Way of Bristol’s executive director.
The charity serves six organizations in the community ranging from programs to help needy individuals pay electric bills in the winter to a food pantry and a program to find permanent housing for the homeless.
Johnson made another $1 million donation earlier this month to Virginia Tech’s Indoor Practice Facility. Johnson played football at Virginia Tech and went on to play for several seasons in the NFL. Before this month's donation, he has contributed to other Tech athlertics projects.
Currently, he is the developer behind The Pinnacle, a 250-acre, one-million-square-foot, regional shopping center in Bristol, Tenn., that has brought new national retailers to the area.2016-12-21T21:05:00+00:00
Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners acquires two office buildings in South Carolina
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lingerfelt-commonwealth-partners-acquires-two-office-buildings-in-south-car#When:20:39:00ZRichmond-based Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC has acquired two office buildings in Greenville, S.C, for an undisclosed price.
The company announced the acquisition of One Liberty Square and Two Liberty Square on Wednesday. The buildings, located at 55 and 77 Beattie Place, total 445,612 square feet and are 81 percent occupied. Current tenants include anchor Resurgent Capital; Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing; Gallivan, White & Boyd; Dority & Manning and Commerce Club.
The buildings were constructed in 1983 and 1986, respectively, and received multimillion-dollar renovations in 2006 and 2014.
“The occupancy rate of the towers is expected to drop to approximately 70% after a larger tenant vacates nearly 50,000 square feet, thereby allowing us the unique opportunity to go to market offering some of the largest and most attractive blocks of space in downtown Greenville where vacancy rates continue to decline and new supply is limited,” Ryan Lingerfelt, Lingerfelt CommonWealth’s president and chief investment officer, said in a statement.
Commonwealth Commercial Partners, Lingerfelt CommonWealth’s property management affiliate, will be the property manager, while CBRE will handle leasing and marketing.
Lingerfelt CommonWealth is a real estate investment management firm with offices in Richmond; Virginia Beach; Nashville, Tenn.; Greensboro, N.C. and Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.2016-12-21T20:39:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NAVYFEDERALBUILDING.jpgPhoto courtesy Gilbane Building Co.
Navy Federal Credit Union’s expansion reaches “topping out” stage
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/navy-federal-credit-unions-expansion-reaches-topping-out-stage#When:20:37:00ZGilbane Building Co. celebrated a major milestone Wednesday at the site of the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) headquarters project in Vienna with a “topping out” ceremony. With the final beam (or its equivalent) placed atop the 244,000-square-foot structure, the Arlington-based construction company will now gear up for the next stage of an $88 million expansion that’s expected to add 600 jobs to the 3,500 jobs already provided by the credit union’s current facility.
That includes a pedestrian walkway connecting the new facility and a six-level, above ground parking garage with the existing campus. The project, designed by J3 Design Collective, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.
The parking structure will provide an additional 1,184 parking spaces to the NFCU campus. The new office building will initially house about 600 employees, with full capacity at 1,100 people.
When the office building is complete, it will have an open office floor plan and raised access floor system with the capability to re-arrange the floor and furniture layouts. This approach, according to Gilbane, provides flexibility based on the credit union’s evolving needs.
Since the corporate headquarters borders a residential area, the project also includes a green screen that will be installed on the open area portion of the parking garage to minimize disruptions to residences and pedestrians along the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad (W&OD) trail.
“Gilbane is honored to be a part of the NFCU headquarters expansion, which will allow NFCU to continue to bring economic development to the region, ” Drew Mucci, the company’s senior vice president said in a statement.
With the employee roster growing to nearly 4,600 employees who will be coming to the campus daily, he noted that the parking structure is a key part of the project. “We are working to deliver the parking garage before the completion of the expansion to help alleviate parking issues.”
The ceremony was held at 11:30 a.m. and included representatives from Navy Federal Credit Union, J3 Design Collective, Walter L. Phillips, Structural Concepts Inc., Williams Notaro Associates, Mark G. Anderson Co. and prime contractor representatives.
Virginia ranks 9th in U. S. in local foods sales
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-9th-in-u.-s.-in-local-foods-sales#When:19:25:00ZIn 2015, Virginia’s 3,415 farms reported direct farm sales of food, including value-added products, of $217.3 million, making Virginia No. 9 in the U. S. for local foods sales.
So says the first-ever nationwide Local Food Marketing Practices Survey done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The survey, released Tuesday, was designed to collect data related to the marketing of foods directly from farms and produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the U. S.
Sandy Adams, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says Virginia’s high ranking is good news. “We have known for years that local food is an important segment of Virginia agriculture; we just haven’t known how important it was statistically. This USDA survey has closed that gap and quantified the power of food and beverages made or grown in Virginia,” she said in a statement.
Herman Ellison, a Virginia state statistician, said the survey shows that farmers have taken advantage of nearby market opportunities. “Population centers in the state allow a majority of sales, 71 percent, direct to consumers. The benefit of this practice is that these farmers are capturing the full share of the food dollar. This information can help develop the local foods market and increase the available food for consumers.”
Nationwide, 167,009 U.S. farms reported selling $8.7 billion last year in edible food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions and local distributors.
Sales categories include both fresh food and value-added products (edible processed foods) such as bottled milk, cheese, meat, jam, cider, and wine.2016-12-21T19:25:00+00:00
Unanet expands in Loudoun County
Web software pioneer Unanet is expanding its Loudoun County footprint. The company is moving from its current location in Dulles to a 24,000-square-foot facility in the Loudoun Gateway office park in Sterling. The company said the $7.3 million investment will result in a larger space that allows it to add 100 more employees over the next few years.
Founded in 1988 by CEO Fran Craig, Unanet has had its headquarters in Loudoun since 2003. The company serves more than 1,000 organizations nationwide, including government contractors located in the nation’s capital area.
“We’re proud of our Loudoun roots, and are excited to continue our strong relationship with the county,” Craig said in a statement.
Since Loudoun was in competition for the expansion project, the Board of Supervisors offered Unanet an incentive package worth $125,000.
“The incentive included a waiver of permit fees, along with a cash component,” according to Buddy Rizer, executive director of the county’s economic development authority.
“Our board has specific criteria for business incentives, and this deal met all of those criteria. This is a good deal for Loudoun; per board direction, the county will be paid back in direct tax revenue in under three years.”2016-12-20T20:53:00+00:00
Smartmouth opening Virginia Beach location
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/smartmouth-opening-virginia-beach-location#When:18:48:00ZNorfolk-based Smartmouth Brewing Co. is adding a second location in Virginia Beach.
“While many regional breweries are expanding into remote new cities, our desire was simply to expand within the community where we live, work and play,” Smartmouth said in a statement on Tuesday. “Our company and customers include residents from all over the 757 [area code] and this new location is intended to solidify that bond.”
The second brewery site is expected to open in the fall 2017 at 313 32nd St. Smartmouth’s Norfolk brewery, located in the Chelsea neighborhood, will remain the company’s primary brewing, packaging and distribution facility. The new space spans 7,957 square feet inside plus a 1,500-square-foot porch/loading dock in the back.
“In addition, near term investments to improve quality and efficiency are planned for our Norfolk location, and a few surprises as we prepare for its five-year anniversary in 2017,” the company added in its statement.2016-12-20T18:48:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NORFOLKSOUTHERN.jpg
Norfolk Southern sells former regional headquarters in Roanoke
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-southern-sells-former-regional-headquarters-in-roanoke#When:17:30:00ZNearly 17 months after Norfolk Southern Corp. listed its regional headquarters building in downtown Roanoke for sale, the 11-story office property has sold to a group of local investors who plan to lease it to multiple tenants.
Both Norfolk Southern and 110 Franklin LLC confirmed that the sale had closed for an undisclosed price.
“We’re currently talking with a number of tenants who could occupy one to two floors. We’re hoping we can begin announcing tenants over the next six months,” said Blair Godsey, the managing member of 110 Franklin and a partner and the director of operations and business development at Altus Group Inc., a Roanoke construction firm.
“Generally, these are companies that are in the market, expanding in the market, some that are in downtown and some that are not,” he added. Planned Improvements iinclude a renovation to the building's main lobby, the addition of a fitness center with locker rooms and landscaping upgrades with an outdoor plaza.
Godsey said the investor group has engaged the Roanoke office brokerage group of Cushman & Wakefield |Thalhimer to handle leasing.
The 203,632-square-foot building went on the market in 2015 following Norfolk Southern’s decision to move 426 jobs from Roanoke to Norfolk or Atlanta. The building, located in the heart of the city’s downtown central business district at 110 Franklin Road SE, is one of Roanoke’s landmark office assets. Situated on 1.4 acres, it’s visible from nearly all points downtown and nearby Interstate 581.
The Class A building was built in 1992 for Norfolk Southern. It offers an elegant entrance lobby, executive offices, conference rooms and open workstations. The building has been vacant since summer of 2015 following the jobs relocation.
Poe and Cronk Real Estate Group in Roanoke and Colliers International in Richmond facilitated the sale on behalf of Norfolk Southern. At one point, the asking price for the building was $19.9 million.2016-12-20T17:30:00+00:00
LTD Hospitality Group buys Magnuson Hotel in Newport News
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ltd-hospitality-group-buys-magnuson-hotel-in-newport-news#When:15:22:00ZChesapeake-based LTD Hospitality Group has bought the 183-room Magnuson Hotel in Newport News.
The hotel is located off Interstate 64 at the gateway to City Center. LTD plans to immediately close and restore the guestrooms, lobby, restaurant and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
The hotel is scheduled to reopen by the end of 2017 as a full-service Holiday Inn.
The price of the purchase and the amount to be spent on the renovation were not disclosed.
Founded in 1983, LTD Hospitality Group has several business units including asset management, hotel management and development specializing in the lodging real estate sector.2016-12-20T15:22:00+00:00