1518852991 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en rpowell@va-business.com Copyright 2018 2018-02-16T21:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_running_guy_V3_WLogo.png Photo courtesy Vibrent Health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study Vibrent provides technology for national health study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study#When:13:58:00Z A fast-growing Fairfax County company’s technology is at the heart of an ambitious nationwide health study to collect and analyze data from 1 million people. Vibrent Health won a $74 million, five-year contract in 2016 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has received an additional $5 million in funding for the program since. The goal of NIH’s All of Us Research Program is to accelerate research and to improve health outcomes by creating a first-of-its-kind database. It would take into account differences in lifestyle, environment and biology of Americans across the country. Vibrent will supply data collection methods, such as wearable devices and web-based platforms, and the ability to analyze the data. Volunteers will have access to their own information. So while the program won’t provide medical advice, it may, for example, help a participant identify diet triggers for migraines. “Our job is to convert their data into insight using machine learning and algorithmic approaches,” says CEO Praduman Jain. Providing useful data may persuade volunteers to submit even more data, he adds. Jain started Vibrent Health in 2009 after holding executive roles at Sprint Nextel, AOL, Time Warner and VTech. He saw a need to develop a consumer-centered platform to collect and interpret health data.  The company received $6.5 million in grants from the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop its platform and started to work with several clients. When NIH was looking for a platform for its personalized medicine program, Vibrent Health applied for its first federal contract, beating out several major research institutions. “We applied against all odds, which were heavily against us,” says Jain. Since then, the company has won contracts with the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute to provide readiness information for active-duty military personnel and care management for cancer survivors, respectively. Vibrent, which employs about 65 people, expects to have a total of 100 by the end of the year. It also plans to expand into a larger headquarters of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. Vibrent seeks IT workers skilled in areas such as machine learning, data sciences, analytics, product management and user interface design. “I can’t hire fast enough,” Jain says. 2017-09-06T13:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia Inc. 500 companies located in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia#When:09:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0202; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Company City 3-yr. growth rate Revenue1 Industry 10 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 12,621% $25.8 Government services 49 Interactive Government Holdings Springfield 5,058 7.1 Government services 55 ByteCubed Arlington 4,768 11.6 IT services 56 Excel Group Arlington 4,694 34.4 Real estate 70 Talteam Herndon 4,053 5.0 IT services 77 Ecology Mir Group Manassas 3,856 3.9 Government services 100 Inoventures McLean 3,255 3.9 Government services 128 Mosquito Joe Virginia Beach 2,700 8.1 Consumer products & services 200 LLB Enterprises Stafford 1,900 2.0 Business products & services 205 Health Warrior Richmond 1,887 9.8 Food & beverage 212 Darkblade Systems Stafford 1,848 4.0 Government services 215 Preting Consulting Alexandria 1,827 5.2 Government services 222 Pro-Sphere Tek Alexandria 1,795 45.7 IT services 223 AegisCorp. Chantilly 1,794 4.2 Government services 247 Tenica and Associates Alexandria 1,591 9.1 Government services 254 Hosted Records Springfield 1,557 3.3 Government services 280 American Pillowcase Richmond 1,400 6.5 Retail 295 Potomac River Holdings Alexandria 1,337 16.6 Retail 308 GuidePoint Security Herndon 1,276 111.1 Security 312 Axis Global Enterprises Virginia Beach 1,237 6.1 Construction 324 SSi Virginia Beach 1,194 12.0 Human resources 326 Oasys McLean 1,182 5.0 Government services 348 Davis Defense Group Stafford 1,102 30.9 Government services 369 Trigent Solutions Chantilly 1,046 6.1 IT services 392 Open Systems Technologies Gainesville 976 5.4 IT services 394 Perfecta Federal Springfield 972 5.9 Government services 405 Favor TechConsulting Vienna 949 19.2 IT services 408 Avertra Herndon 944 8.7 IT services 451 Sequoia Holdings Reston 847 5.6 Government services 462 The Hilb Group Richmond 820 36.8 Insurance 477 SeKON Enterprise Herndon 798 23.9 Government services 479 Cynet Systems Ashburn 797 31.4 IT Services 480 Wholesale Screening Solutions Purcellville 795 32.4 Business products & services 486 Metronome Fairfax 779 9.8 Government services 1 In millions in 2015 Source: Inc. magazine   2017-02-28T09:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-medical-office-building-included-in-portfolio-sale Richmond-area medical office building included in portfolio sale http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-medical-office-building-included-in-portfolio-sale http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-medical-office-building-included-in-portfolio-sale#When:21:19:00Z A Richmond-area medical office building is one of 17 structures in seven states recently acquired by a Chicago-based real estate investment firm. Heitman LLC said Friday that it had acquired the PHT Medical Office Portfolio, which includes 1.4 million square feet of space in Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and North Carolina. The Forest Medical Plaza in Henrico County was the sole Virginia property on the list. The 91,000-square-foot, four-story building is located at 7611 Forest Ave. near the Forest Campus of Henrico Doctors' Hospital. The acquisition price for the portfolio and the identity of the seller were not disclosed. Heitman described the portfolio as including properties located in sought-after, high-population-growth markets. “The majority of the properties were built after 2005 and are affiliated with highly-rated, market-leading, and academic health systems,” the company said. Denver-based NexCore Group advised Heitman in the acquisition and will provide operating and property management services for the portfolio under a long-term contract. Founded in 1966, Heitman is a global real estate investment management firm with approximately $39 billion in assets under management. 2018-02-16T21:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-names-new-chief-financial-officer TowneBank names new chief financial officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-names-new-chief-financial-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-names-new-chief-financial-officer#When:20:45:00Z Portsmouth-based TowneBank has promoted William B. Littreal to senior vice president and chief financial officer. Littreal, a certified public accountant, will succeed Clyde E. McFarland Jr., the bank’s founding CFO, who is retiring in March. G. Robert Aston Jr., the bank’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that Littreal has played a major role in many acquisitions in the company’s banking, insurance and real estate segments. Littreal joined the bank in 2008 and has been chief strategy officer and director of investor relations since 2016. His previous executive positions at the bank have included chief operating officer and finance director. Before joining TowneBank, he had been the CFO of another publicly traded financial institution. Littreal holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Christopher Newport University and a master’s degree in information technology management from the University of Virginia. He and his family live in Toano. TowneBank operates 40 offices in Virginia and North Carolina. The bank recently acquired Raleigh, N.C.-based Paragon Commercial Corp. raising its total assets to $10.5 billion. 2018-02-16T20:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-may-create-ombudsman-to-help-with-student-loans Virginia may create ombudsman to help with student loans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-may-create-ombudsman-to-help-with-student-loans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-may-create-ombudsman-to-help-with-student-loans#When:19:16:00Z Virginia legislators are seeking to mitigate the personal and economic consequences of their constituents’ student loan debt by creating a state-level ombudsman to troubleshoot problems and educate borrowers regarding college loans. In 2017, more than 1 million Virginians owed more than $30 billion in student loan debt, state officials say. Nationally, student loan debt is more than $1.3 trillion and climbing. “Virginians owe more on student loans than we do on credit cards or car loans, but only student loans lack consumer protections,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, a liberal advocacy group. This week, the Senate and House each passed bills to create the Office of the Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman and establish a Borrower’s Bill of Rights. SB 394 passed the Senate unanimously on Monday; HB 1138 cleared the House, 94-5, on Tuesday. Supporters say the ombudsman’s office would help college students secure loans and understand how to pay them off. They said the office also would establish a culture of transparency, fairness and open communication between loan providers and borrowers. Besides reviewing and resolving borrower complaints, the ombudsman would educate loan borrowers about their rights and responsibilities and about potential problems such as late payments. By December 2019, the ombudsman would develop a course for borrowers, half of whom are under 25. “Too many student borrowers sign their names on the dotted line at only 18 or 19 years old without fully comprehending their rights and responsibilities associated with that debt, but also knowing that without those loans they would not be able to earn their degrees,” said Del. Maria “Cia” Price, D-Newport News, who sponsored HB 1138. In addition, the Senate unanimously approved SB 362, which would require companies that handle the billing and other services on student loans to obtain a license from the State Corporation Commission. Virginia is not the first jurisdiction to experiment with measures to protect student loan borrowers. Washington, D.C., established a student loan ombudsman and Borrower’s Bill of Rights a year ago. The bipartisan approval of the legislation marks a win for Gov. Ralph Northam, who included the creation of a student loan ombudsman among his top priorities for the 2018 session. Price also sponsored a bill that aimed to create a state agency to help Virginians refinance their student loan debt. HB 615 was killed on a 5-3 party-line vote in a House Appropriations subcommittee. 2018-02-16T19:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/openpublicdocument.do.jpg Photo of Cuisine Solutions courtesy of Loudoun County Economic Development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cuisine-solutions-expands-in-loudoun-county Cuisine Solutions expands in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cuisine-solutions-expands-in-loudoun-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cuisine-solutions-expands-in-loudoun-county#When:21:37:00Z   Cuisine Solutions in Loudoun County is expanding. The company is adding 63,000 square feet of space to its Sterling headquarters and investing nearly $70 million in equipment, technology and construction.    “This is great news for an important Loudoun company, but it’s also great news for the diversity of the Loudoun economy,” Phyllis Randall, chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.    According to Loudoun County Economic Development, Cuisine Solutions is the largest “sous vide” company in the world.  Bruno Goussault, the company’s chief scientist, pioneered the  technique “sous vide” technique, which allows the company to offer gourmet food that can be shipped and stored without harmful preservatives or the loss of flavor or texture.   The company produces a range of food items sold to the military, cruise ships, airlines and resorts. “Cuisine Solutions’ clients are international brands with household names,” Buddy Rizer, Loudoun Economic Development’s executive director, said in a statement.   The county is working with the company to finalize an incentive package that will come before the Board of Supervisors at its Feb. 22 meeting.   When the company opened in 2013, its staff included about 80 employees. Since then, it has hired more than 700 employees, including 500 new hires since the beginning of 2017.   “Over the last several years, we have worked closely with various groups within Loudoun County to expand our production capabilities. These resources, coupled with the proximity to multiple means of transportation, have made Loudoun County an ideal headquarters location,” said Mark Kujawa, Cuisine Solutions’ chief financial officer.                 2018-02-15T21:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/20180109_102106_copy.jpg One of the KISS office warehouse suites courtesy ACO Development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/final-phase-of-office-warehouse-suites-opens-in-hampton Final phase of office warehouse suites opens in Hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/final-phase-of-office-warehouse-suites-opens-in-hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/final-phase-of-office-warehouse-suites-opens-in-hampton#When:19:48:00Z ACO Development (ACO) has completed the fourth and last of its office warehouse suites in Hampton. The 10,000-square-foot building, which offers space designed for startup companies, is located on Incubator Road in the Copeland Industrial Park, not far from Interstate 664.  Clay Culbreth, one of the partners in the venture, says a couple of the units already have been leased. “We’re going for those small, owner operators who are coming out of their kitchens, their pickup trucks, and they want to establish their first legitimate business location and business address,” he says. ACO will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the final phase of a private commercial development that began more than a decade ago. In 2006, ACO Development partners Culbreth, Tom Atherton, and Bill Overman purchased a 14-acre parcel from the city of Hampton. While the city had initially slated the land to be saved for a future large manufacturer, the ACO partners persuaded the city to sell to them with a promise of new development, increased employment and taxes — with no city incentives. “We saw a need for an incubator-style office warehouse project as well as ancillary services to benefit the prospective new tenants and the existing business in Copeland Industrial Park, “says Culbreth. ACO subdivided the parcel and sold tracts to companies such as 7-Eleven and Langley Federal Credit Union who built their own buildings.  For the remaining six-acre tract, the group came up with the concept of KISS: Keep It Simple Suites for office warehouse clients. ACO built three buildings of about 10,000 square feet each. The first two buildings went up in 2007, while the third building was completed in 2016.  “All of them have been full ever since,” says Culbreth. “We finished the fourth building in December at a cost of about $1.1 million, including site work.” For $895 a month, clients get a 900-square-foot unit with two parking spaces. Rent includes real-estate taxes, stormwater management fees, grounds maintenance, fire inspection and use of a dumpster. Short-term leases are available. “We’ll do a month, a year. If a company is growing, it doesn’t want to be locked into 900 square feet,” says Culbreth. 2018-02-15T19:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/plywood-manufacturer-to-invest-1-million-in-pittsylvania-county Plywood manufacturer to invest $1 million in Pittsylvania County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/plywood-manufacturer-to-invest-1-million-in-pittsylvania-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/plywood-manufacturer-to-invest-1-million-in-pittsylvania-county#When:19:10:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Eastern Panel Manufacturing Inc. will invest $1 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Pittsylvania County. The custom plywood producer will create 15 jobs. As part of the expansion, Eastern Panel Manufacturing will move to a 55,000 square-foot facility in the Chatham Industrial Park. The company supplies furniture manufacturers with plywood made to clients’ specifications. The firm also serves customers in the architectural millwork and cabinetmaking industries. Eastern Panel Manufacturing has been operating in Chatham for more than 20 years. “During those years, Chatham has proven to be an excellent place to conduct business and offers us all the support we need to operate efficiently,” Keith Van Asch, president of Eastern Panel Manufacturing, said in a statement.  “The combination of our experienced local workforce, along with being centrally located to our customer base and vendors, produce a natural fit to remain in Pittsylvania County.” The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $30,000 in funds for the expansion. Eastern Panel Manufacturing will be eligible to receive Sales and Use Tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program also will provide funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities. 2018-02-15T19:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sv-warehousing-renews-64000-square-feet-lease-in-newport-news S&V Warehousing renews 64,000-square-feet lease in Newport News http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sv-warehousing-renews-64000-square-feet-lease-in-newport-news http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sv-warehousing-renews-64000-square-feet-lease-in-newport-news#When:17:12:00Z S&V Warehousing LLC renewed its lease for 64,000 square feet of space at 5601 City line Road in Newport News. Clay Culbreth of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled lease negotiations. In other transactions for Thalhimer in Hampton Roads: Lift Off Distribution LLC renewed a 20,000-square-foot lease at 550 Woodlake Circle in Chesapeake.  Geoff Poston handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. Family Dollar Stores of Va. Inc. renewed an 11,300-square-foot at 3400 George Washington Highway in Portsmouth. Tom Dana handled the lease negotiations. Futura Marketing Ltd. renewed a lease for 10,200 square feet at 1228 Cavalier Blvd. in Chesapeake. William Throne handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. Huntington Ingalls Inc. Facility Dept. renewed a 10,090-square-foot in Maritime Square at 2600 Washington Ave. in Newport News. Teresa Nettles handled the lease negotiations. 2018-02-15T17:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/39369689715_106ae24f2d_z.jpg Steven Olikara (at podium), president and co-founder of the Millennial Action Project. CNS photo by Brandon Celentano http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/young-lawmakers-form-group-to-address-millennials-concerns Young lawmakers form group to address millennials’ concerns http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/young-lawmakers-form-group-to-address-millennials-concerns http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/young-lawmakers-form-group-to-address-millennials-concerns#When:10:04:00Z A bipartisan, nationwide organization seeking to involve young people in politics has established a chapter in Virginia, focusing on such issues as student debt relief and government transparency, officials said Wednesday. The Millennial Action Project has created the Virginia Future Caucus, consisting of young lawmakers who vowed to work across party lines. “When we are able to bond together, we are able to see past the tribalism that has divided us for so long,” said Democratic Del. Sam Rasoul, 36, of Roanoke. Republican Del. Emily Brewer, 33, of Suffolk, said the caucus reflects a generational change in Virginia. “Going forward, we’ve got to focus on key issues,” such as technology, she said. “We need to make sure we’re looking at providing opportunities for our generation and the next generation to stay here.” Brewer and Rasoul were among a dozen state legislators who attended a news conference Wednesday to announce the formation of the Virginia Future Caucus. Steven Olikara, president and co-founder of the Millennial Action Project, said this is the organization’s 22nd state chapter. “We want to empower the next generation of leaders to make our democracy function better,” Olikara said. “Today the status quo is insufficient. Trust is declining. Partisanship is rampant. We think the next generation can be part of the solution.” At the news conference, speakers noted that young Americans are more likely to be unaffiliated with a political party. They said these voters are concerned about issues such as: ·         Clean energy ·         The “staggering” cost of college and student loans ·         The “gig economy,” in which temporary employment is common as organizations hire independent contractors for short-term work, such as with Uber drivers Olikara said 30 members of Congress have joined the project. He said the effort has especially focused on state legislatures, “which is really where a lot of young leaders are taking their first steps in politics including here in Virginia.” The average age in the Virginia House of Delegates is 52. But several young people were elected to the House last fall, including Jay Jones, 28, of Norfolk; Lee Carter, 30, of Manassas; Chris Hurst, 30, of Montgomery County; and Danica Roem, 33, of Prince William County. Rasoul and Del. Christopher Peace, R-Hanover, will co-chair the new caucus. Peace said he was the youngest delegate when he was elected 13 years ago. Now 41, Peace said there can be an “issue of translation” between young legislators and their older colleagues who may be unfamiliar with terms such as Airbnb and Bitcoin. Peace said the new caucus can “provide some real leadership on policies that would benefit people in the millennial generation.” Olikara said Virginia has a history of young political leaders making their mark: Thomas Jefferson was just 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. 2018-02-15T10:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Northlake_D_8.31.171_copy.jpg Devon's facility at Enterchange at Northlake in Ashland courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devon-usa-wants-to-build-a-new-warehouse-in-chesterfield-county Devon USA wants to build a new warehouse in Chesterfield County. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devon-usa-wants-to-build-a-new-warehouse-in-chesterfield-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devon-usa-wants-to-build-a-new-warehouse-in-chesterfield-county#When:22:25:00Z    Devon USA announced plans Wednesday for a 320,853 square-foot warehouse facility at James River Logistics Center in Chesterfield County. The project, dubbed “Project Lightning 2, ” would be identical in size and scope to a building developed by Devon in 2017 at Enterchange at Northlake in Ashland that was later leased by Amazon.com.  That project was completed in 6 months following the start of construction, and, was the largest industrial transaction in the Richmond market last year, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.   Site plans for the new project in Chesterfield County have been approved. However, Devon is working with Ashland-based McKinney & Co. to modify the existing plan for re-submission to Chesterfield County based on its “Project Lightning” prototype.  At this time, the Richmond-based company does not have a tenant lined up. “It’s a spec project.  We have had lots of interest, but we don’t have anyone who has committed to the building. But its enough interest that the owner is convinced that it’s a good time to do the project,” says Evan Magrill, an executive vice president for Thalhimer. The project would be located in the Bermuda District, which is represented by Dorothy Jaeckle, chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors. “I would like to thank Devon for their continued investment in Chesterfield County. The proposed new development will add the type of product that is currently in short supply in the region,” Jaeckle said in a statement.” We are anxious to see the building developed so that we can attract the kind of high quality national tenants that typically lease these buildings.” James River Logistics Center is located about 12 miles south of Richmond on Bellwood Road. Devon completed two buildings at the center in 2002 that are 100% leased.  A third building would close out the center, and boost the total square footage to 1.1 million square feet of distribution space. The new building would offer 32’ clear ceiling heights, a sprinkler system, eight drive-in doors, and 96 truck-height dock doors. Sustainable building design also is planned with skylights, R-30 roof insulation and LED lighting.  Parking will be provided for up to 467 automobiles and 64 trailers.  There is enough space for the building to be expanded to 500,000 square feet, depending on a tenant’s needs. The park has access to I-95 and I-895 via US Route 1. Its current zoning (heavy industrial) allows for many commercial and industrial uses including office, warehouse, and manufacturing. Thalhimer’s Magrill and Dean Meyer would be the new building’s exclusive leasing representatives.   2018-02-14T22:25:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/MBAPHOTO.jpg Bill Bergman with his morning marketing management class. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/early-morning-class-awakens-instructor-to-the-challenges-of-market-driven-p Early-morning class awakens instructor to the challenges of market-driven pedagogy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/early-morning-class-awakens-instructor-to-the-challenges-of-market-driven-p http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/early-morning-class-awakens-instructor-to-the-challenges-of-market-driven-p#When:21:35:00Z MBA programs are trying to better meet student needs by offering classes at times that are more attuned to their busy lifestyles. That is one reason why the University of Richmond's Robins School of Business is offering a 7 a.m. marketing management course for early risers who would rather have class first thing in the morning rather than after work.  As one who awakens early every morning, I enthusiastically agreed to be the instructor of this maiden early- morning class that meets at the crack of dawn on Mondays and Thursdays. The first two weeks were exciting. It was a whole new routine that seemed to easily fit my early morning routine. But, by week three, some pretty strange things started to happen: Arriving on campus by 6:30 a.m. The first week, I arrived at the business school a few minutes before class started but found myself agonizingly hungry by 7:15 a.m. So I decided I needed to get to campus by 6:30 a.m. so I could casually eat a bagel and yogurt before class started. It is spooky arriving that early. There are no cars in the parking lot that is usually packed. Also, the normally bustling business school is dark and eerily quiet. I found myself fearful of being mugged by a former student who I had given a bad grade to the previous semester. The first 15 minutes of class are grueling I don't need much time to warm up for an afternoon class. However, at 7 a.m., my brain connections are badly in need of a memory supplement. While caffeine helps, it takes a little bit longer to dive into the principles of marketing theory than at 3 p.m. Also, the paranoia of sitting in a dark and soundless building for a half hour takes a few minutes to shake off. Early morning, caffeinated graduate-level maturity The part-time MBA classes are usually taught one night a week for three hours. Since students arrive after a full day of work, they are usually comatose by the break when the limited class participation goes silent. It is just the opposite for highly caffeinated graduate students at 7 a.m. who suffer from the same sleep patterns as I do. They are vibrant, active and quick to share their thoughts. They are so energetic that many times I have to tell them to speak one at a time. This is the kind of class every instructor dreams about teaching. Because it is so early in the morning, sometimes I'm not sure if I'm dreaming or it is really happening. Starbucks or Chick-fil-A reveals the toll of a 7 a.m. MBA class Every Thursday morning, the students have to be prepared to discuss a case study. The cases are listed in the syllabus by the date that they are due. One of my favorite cases is about  Starbucks' transition to digital ordering, so I was particularly excited that we were going to discuss the case this past Thursday. When I began my "warm-up" to the Starbucks case at 7 a.m., my caffeinated students, many of whom were drinking out of Starbucks' grande cups, told me the case assignment for today was Chick-fil-A. One of my reoccurring nightmares is that I walk into class and I am totally unprepared to teach. So, for a split second on Thursday, I didn't know if this was a dream I was having before my alarm went off or if the past couple of weeks of getting up so early finally had driven me to actually misread my own syllabus. Unfortunately, I had misread my own syllabus. The good news was Chick-fil-A was my second all-time favorite case. After a brief moment of panic, I was able to quickly adjust. It was no problem spending 90 minutes actively engaging the manic MBA students in a discussion about the fast food industry and Chick-fil-A's unique role and brand promise. Meeting the needs of today's students can unnerve the instructor This 7 a.m. MBA class has disrupted my usual routine and placed me well outside of my comfort zone as an instructor. After a couple of weeks of class, I understand why it is so challenging for higher education to become more market driven. Even with all of the discomfort, the past few weeks have also been exhilarating. I have had the opportunity to teach remarkably bright young professionals who wake up early for class so they can be home for dinner with their spouses and children. Our class discussions are much more vibrant than in any MBA evening class I have previously taught. Plus, I confronted one of my biggest nightmares about not being prepared for class and found that it wasn't that scary after all. Adapting to change is never easy, especially in the traditional higher education classroom. But sometimes you have to push beyond the conventional to realize that exciting things can happen simply by making a class more convenient for students than for the instructor. Bill Bergman is president of the Bergman Group in Richmond and a full-time marketing instructor of at the University of Richmond Robins School of Business. 2018-02-14T21:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/171010_VADistilleryAssociation_007_preview.jpeg Photo courtesy the Virginia Distillers Association. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/proposals-seek-to-spur-growth-in-virginia-distillery-industry Proposal seeks to spur growth in Virginia distillery industry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/proposals-seek-to-spur-growth-in-virginia-distillery-industry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/proposals-seek-to-spur-growth-in-virginia-distillery-industry#When:23:50:00Z Virginia distillers may soon be toasting the General Assembly after the Senate passed a bill to let liquor manufacturers keep more of the money from selling their spirits in tasting rooms. Currently, distilleries must sell their bottles to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, then buy them back at full retail price before pouring samples inside their tasting rooms. The markup for bottles averages 69 percent and can be as high as 93 percent, according to ABC. But distilleries could keep the price markup under Senate Bill 803, introduced by Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg. The Senate voted 23-16 in favor of the measure Friday. It is now before the House Appropriations Committee. ABC currently takes about 55 percent of the gross revenues that distilleries make in their tasting rooms, said Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in the Loudoun County town of Purcellville. After overhead and worker pay, he said, most Virginia distilleries lose money on such operations.  Distilleries are a growing enterprise in Virginia, which considers itself the birthplace of American spirits. After serving two terms as president, George Washington returned to Mount Vernon to brew his own whiskey. The industry does more than $160 million a year in business in terms of creating jobs, buying agricultural products and selling spirits, according to the Virginia Distillers Association. Still, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared with neighboring Kentucky. Distilleries there have an annual economic impact of $8.5 billion, the Kentucky Distillers Association says. Kentucky is one of the country’s largest producers of distilled spirits and, unlike Virginia, the industry is not controlled by the state government. Harris said Virginia distilleries are hampered by a “punitive landscape.” Curtis Coleburn, a lobbyist for the Virginia Distillers Association, said SB 803 could  spur major growth in the commonwealth’s spirits industry. “When the distilleries make a sale, half of the money goes to the state through taxes and profits because it’s managed through ABC,” Coleburn said. “Senate Bill 803 would allow the distillers to keep more of the proceeds for sales at the distillery stores and will enable them to hire more Virginians and expand their plans and grow the industry.” Virginia distillers say they would like to make and sell their products on their premises at the cost of production. This would allow them to have profitable tasting rooms and generate tourism, said Amy Ciarametaro, executive director for the Virginia Distillers Association. “We have to educate our legislators that, in order for the distilled spirits industry to really be a powerful economic generator for the commonwealth -- and it can be -- we’ve got to make these distillery stores profit generators for their operators,” Ciarametaro said.  Belle Isle Moonshine in Richmond does not have a store on premise, but co-founder and CEO Vince Riggi said reducing the regulations on tasting room sales would benefit all distillers in the commonwealth.  “We want to market Virginia spirits,” Riggi said. “We want to elevate the brand and showcase it to the consumers in the state.”   2018-02-13T23:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/3160_Fairview_Hero_preview_copy.jpg 3160 Fairview Park Drive courtesy NKF http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/3160-fairview-park-drive-in-falls-church-undergoing-major-renovations 3160 Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church undergoing major renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/3160-fairview-park-drive-in-falls-church-undergoing-major-renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/3160-fairview-park-drive-in-falls-church-undergoing-major-renovations#When:19:23:00Z Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) has been selected as the exclusive office leasing agent for 3160 Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church. Recently purchased by Washington Property Company, based in Bethesda, Md., and partner Bailard, the property is currently undergoing renovations to transform it into an opportunity for a corporate headquarters location. When the renovations are complete, the 118,000-square-foot building will have a new lobby, fitness center, conference facility and tenant collaboration area with lounge seating. According to NKF, the improvements also include the complete replacement of all building systems. Located in Northern Virginia’s Fairview Park, the building offers 2.5 miles of jogging trails, a parking garage and proximity to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station, the Mosaic District, Tysons and I-495. “Given its location and new improvements, we believe 3160 Fairview Park Drive is an ideal corporate headquarters opportunity in the highly sought after Fairview Park setting,” NKF’s Executive Managing Director Mike Pepper, said in a statement. Current tenants at Fairview Park include General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Computer Sciences Corp., HITT Contracting and Booz Allen & Hamilton. Pepper and NKF Managing Director John Henschel will handle leasing for the office space. 2018-02-13T19:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/go-virginia-board-approves-a-second-round-of-grants GO Virginia board approves a second round of grants http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/go-virginia-board-approves-a-second-round-of-grants http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/go-virginia-board-approves-a-second-round-of-grants#When:19:09:00Z   A pharmaceutical accelerator at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, a seed fund in Hampton and a water and sewer project in Roanoke were among a second round of nine grants totaling $2.68 million  announced Tuesday by GO Virginia.  The state’s new regional economic development initiative, GO Virginia awards state funds to projects intended to grow and diversify regional economies across the state. The board has approved 18 projects so far with more than $5 million in state funds. In addition, Go Virginia said the projects also have leveraged $8.5 million from other sources to assist with economic diversification efforts. “With this second round of projects approved, GO Virginia continues to make progress in addressing our state’s economic challenges and in lifting up our communities. We look forward to carrying out this important work to boost Virginia’s economy and create more higher-paying jobs over the next months and years,” GO Virginia Board Chairman John O. “Dubby” Wynne said in a statement. The approved projects are: VCU pharmaceutical accelerator: $500,000. The project will help to create a sustainable pharmaceutical, manufacturing cluster, with research activity based in Richmond and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Petersburg, through a partnership between VCU and several private sector partners. 757 Seed Fund: $140,000. This project will help initiate the 757 Seed Fund in Hampton Roads. The fund fills a gap in the region’s entrepreneurial community by providing seed-stage investments in promising technology startups. Hampton Roads Unmanned Systems Facility: $150,000. The facility will provide a place -- at a newly developed site in York County -- that can be used by public institutions, private companies and individuals to develop, test, and demonstrate various surface, aerial, and underwater unmanned systems. Hollyleaf grading: $150,000. This project will allow the creation of a pad-ready site to accommodate new industrial development in the Southwest part of the state. Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority Wood Haven Road water and sewer infrastructure enhancement: $200,150. This project will improve site readiness and marketability by making water and sewer utility connections to the 109-acre site being developed at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 581. It is joint project among the cities of Roanoke and Salem, along with Roanoke County, to have sites shovel-ready for future business prospects. CCAM Apprentice academy: $430,000. Designed to expand GO Virginia Region 4’s advanced manufacturing workforce development ecosystem, the project will provide two new pilot apprenticeship programs: the mechatronics Workforce Training Center and the New Transitioning Military Program. Once fully operational, CCAM’s Apprentice Academy in Central Virginia will graduate about 200 students a year in mechatronics, machining, and welding to create a pipeline of these workers to fill jobs across the region. Region 2 Talent Collaborative: $300,000. The collaborative will serve the town of Amhertst, city of Lynchburg, and surrounding counties to stimulate economic growth by closing the skill and interest gaps in middle-to-high skilled occupations in manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology. GO-TEC Talent Collaborative: $648,000. The project will expand existing curriculum offered by six higher education partners in Region 3 (counties of Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania and the city of Danville), build a regional training system of scale for career training for careers in IT and focused areas in advanced manufacturing, and develop a pipeline beginning in middle school to increase the number of students entering the five targeted areas:  (precision machining, welding, IT/cyber security, robotics, automation and mechatronics; and advanced materials). Rockbridge Area Advanced Manufacturing: $100,000. With light manufacturing  a target industry sector for Region 8 in the Shenandoah Valley, this project is designed to supply talent for that industry. Through a partnership with Byers Technical Institute, RAAMP will have a particular emphasis on welding and other high-demand occupations. 2018-02-13T19:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-solar-project-approved-for-gloucester-county New solar project approved for Gloucester County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-solar-project-approved-for-gloucester-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-solar-project-approved-for-gloucester-county#When:18:59:00Z The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a permit for Strata Solar Development to construct and operate a solar facility, Gloucester Solar LLC, in Gloucester County. The 19.8 megawatt (MW) project will supply enough electricity to power more than 4,000 homes. “Once complete, the new Gloucester facility will allow thousands of Virginians to sustainably power their homes and businesses,”  Gov. Ralph Northam, said in a statement announcing the project.  “This latest announcement is proof that Virginia’s solar sector is growing. We will continue to support investments in solar energy infrastructure that will bring low-cost, renewable energy to all corners of the commonwealth.” The project is expected to offset the generation of tons of 39.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 26,908 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 31,254 pounds of sulfur dioxide. According to the governor’s office, the commonwealth has seen a dramatic increase in its installed solar capacity during the past five years, growing from 17 MW in 2014 to more than 300MW at the end of last year. DEQ has granted permits to more than 600MW of renewable energy since 2015 and has received notification for an additional 2,300 MW. 2018-02-13T18:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Pembroke_Four2_copy.jpg Pembroke Four courtesy CBRE | Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-to-lease-pembroke-park-in-virginia-beach CBRE|Hampton Roads to lease Pembroke Park in Virginia Beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-to-lease-pembroke-park-in-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-to-lease-pembroke-park-in-virginia-beach#When:18:55:00Z Suburban Capital has selected CBRE|Hampton Roads as the exclusive leasing agent for Pembroke Park, a 300,000-square-foot, six building campus in Virginia Beach.  Suburban Capital has completed capital improvements at the property and has additional improvements planned for the park. Pembroke Park is in the TownCenter submarket of Virginia Beach with access to Interstate 264 at Independence Blvd. Immediately adjacent to Pembroke Mall, the property is located within walking distance to banking, restaurants, and retail shops. It offers a newly renovated conference room available to all tenants and a workout facility. According to CBRE, Suburban Capital plans to break ground on a 137-room Hyatt Hotel in April 2018 that will deliver in spring of 2019. “We are excited to be working with Suburban Capital and look forward to executing their vision,” Perry Frazer, managing director of CBRE |Hampton Roads, said in a statement. Frazer and Brian Davidson will handle  the park's leasing and marketing. 2018-02-13T18:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-launch-place-announces-200000-investment The Launch Place announces $200,000 investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-launch-place-announces-200000-investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-launch-place-announces-200000-investment#When:21:51:00Z Danville-based The Launch Place said Monday it has made a $200,000 seed investment in mesur.io, which provides agriculture-based businesses with automated data tracking and analytics. As part of the deal, the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based company has opened an office in Danville, where it plans to create several new jobs. The Launch Place also has an equity stake in mesur.io. This is the 13th company that The Launch Place has invested in since its launch in 2012. Its investments have totaled more than $3 million. The nonprofit group seeks to stimulate economic growth in Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C. The latest investment recipient, mesur.io, provides customers with in-ground sensors that collect data on ground conditions. This information enables customers to manage their turf or crop, reduce labor costs and maximize output. Users can receive recommendations on water consumption, fertilization, and potential threats. The concept was born from the struggles of the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Mike Prorock, who bought a farm in Carrboro, N.C. As he cultivated his land, Prorock searched for a tool that would show him what was going on below the surface of the soil. With no suitable device on the market, he decided to create one. The company’s technology has been used for golf and turf management as well as small farms and gardens. Mining and vineyard management are possible future applications.  “Our core focus is to help the small to mid-size farmer,” Tom Rump, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. 2018-02-12T21:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-to-acquire-csra General Dynamics to acquire CSRA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-to-acquire-csra http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-to-acquire-csra#When:20:50:00Z Defense contracting giant General Dynamics plans to acquire government IT services company CSRA. The offer is $40.75 in cash for each CSRA share.  Including assumption of $2.8 billion in CSRA debt, the transaction is valued at $9.6 billion. Both companies are based in Falls Church. CSRA has annual revenue of about $5 billion and employs 19,000 workers. The company was created in 2015 when it was spun off from CSC and merged with SRA International. General Dynamics is a global defense and aerospace company with annual revenue of $31 billion. It has nearly 99,000 employees. “The acquisition of CSRA represents a significant strategic step in expanding the capabilities and customer base” of General Dynamics's IT division,  Phebe Novakovic, the chairman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics said in a statement. “CSRA’s management team has created an outstanding provider of innovative, next-generation IT solutions with industry-leading margins," she said. "We see substantial opportunities to provide cost-effective IT solutions and services to the Department of Defense, the intelligence community and federal civilian agencies. The combination enables GDIT to grow revenue and profits at an accelerated rate.” General Dynamics expects the transaction to generate estimated annual pre-tax cost savings of approximately 2 percent of the combined company revenue by 2020. An acquisition agreement has been approved by the board of directors of both companies. Under the terms of the agreement, a General Dynamics subsidiary will purchase all of the outstanding shares of CSRA common stock for $40.75 per share in cash. The offer is subject to customary conditions, including antitrust clearance and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of CSRA common stock. General Dynamics expects to complete the deal in the first half of 2018. Stone Key Group LLC served as exclusive financial adviser to General Dynamics, and Jenner & Block LLP served as legal counsel. Evercore and Macquarie Capital served as financial advisers to CSRA, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel. 2018-02-12T20:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Village_at_Leesburg2_copy.jpg Village at Leesburg photo courtesy Avison Young http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/office-component-of-village-at-leesburg-is-for-sale Office component of Village at Leesburg is for sale http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/office-component-of-village-at-leesburg-is-for-sale http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/office-component-of-village-at-leesburg-is-for-sale#When:16:40:00Z Avison Young has been retained as the exclusive adviser in the sale of two Class A office buildings totaling more than 120,000 square feet that are part of a mixed-use development in Leesburg.  The buildings at 1602 and 1608 Village Market Blvd. comprise the office component of the 55-acre Village at Leesburg. The main building offers 107,642 square feet of office space on three floors above one retail floor, which is not included in the offering. The second building, occupied by a single office tenant, has 12,494 square feet of office space on two stories.  In addition to the office space, the 1.2 million-square-foot, development includes more than 550,000 square feet of retail space and 335 apartment units.  The project’s developers are Rappaport (retail) and Kettler Inc. (multifamily). According to Washington, D.C.-based Avison, the buildings are 93 percent leased. The property is surrounded by retail outlets, including Wegmans, Cobb Theatres, Bowlero Bowling and LA Fitness. The property is located on the Route 7/Leesburg Pike, with access to Interstate 495, I-395 and Washington Dulles International Airport. 2018-02-12T16:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/twenty-acre-site-in-york-county-approved-for-288-apartments Twenty-acre site in York County approved for 288 apartments http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/twenty-acre-site-in-york-county-approved-for-288-apartments http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/twenty-acre-site-in-york-county-approved-for-288-apartments#When:16:38:00Z Work is continuing on a new apartment and single-family residential development in Lightfoot. Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate in Norfolk announced the closing of the first of four sites in Arbordale, a new 83-acre residential development in York County. Harvey Lindsay represented the landowner, Bulifants LP, in the $2.4 million sale of the 20.3-acre site approved for 288 apartment units to the master developer, Bulifants Residential LLC, controlled and managed by Peter V. Henderson. According to Harvey Lindsay, Bulifants Residential LLC successfully rezoned Arbordale last year and has broken ground on the infrastructure needed for the apartments and single-family and townhome portions of the project. Simultaneously with its purchase of the apartment site from Bulifants LP, Bulifants Residential LLC sold the apartment site for $6.1 million to DE Arbordale LLC, an affiliate of Bonaventure Realty Group LLC. Trip Ferguson and Jay Joseph of Harvey Lindsay represented Bulifants LP in this transaction. 2018-02-12T16:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LF_ChurchHill-12_%281%292_copy.jpg David Gragnani, Brian Haug and David Seibert courtesy of Long & Foster Real Estate http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-foster-to-open-new-office-in-richmonds-historic-church-hill Long & Foster to open new office in Richmond’s historic Church Hill http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-foster-to-open-new-office-in-richmonds-historic-church-hill http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-foster-to-open-new-office-in-richmonds-historic-church-hill#When:16:26:00Z   Long & Foster Real Estate continues to expand in the Richmond market with a new office that will open in Church Hill this spring. Long & Foster, based out of Chantilly, has leased space at 313-315 N. 24th Street. The company says that initially about 12 sales associates will work from the location. Set to open in April, the office will be Long & Foster’s 17th location in the greater Richmond area. “The Church Hill area is a prime spot for a new Long & Foster office, because it’s in the middle of one of the fastest growing markets in the Richmond region,”  Brian Haug, senior vice president for real estate and mortgage, said in a statement.  “We are always looking for opportunities to grow Long & Foster in key locations where agents can engage directly with their community and clients.” The new office is located a mixed-use development that includes apartments, commercial space and a community center. Part of the project made use of a renovated 90-year-old former industrial building known as Nolde Garage. It sits across the street from historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, a landmark that dates to 1741 and was the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “liberty or death” speech. David Gragnani will serve as the office's managing broker. He also oversees two other Richmond-area Long & Foster offices. David Seibert, a Long & Foster agent since 2008, also has assisted Long & Foster in establishing the new office. Gragnani is a lifelong Richmond resident who grew up in the nearby Fan District. Seibert lives in Church Hill.   2018-02-12T16:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-one-arena-getting-40-million-in-renovations Capital One Arena getting $40 million in renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-one-arena-getting-40-million-in-renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-one-arena-getting-40-million-in-renovations#When:15:44:00Z Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., is getting a $40 million facelift. According to the arena’s owner, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the renovation will be privately funded. “Capital One Arena is part of the heartbeat of Washington, D.C.,” Ted Leonsis, Monumental’s chairman said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to be making this investment in a building that has played a key role in shaping our city, and that has been home to so many great memories for people … These upgrades will ensure that the fan experience at Capital One Arena remains second to none.” The renovations will begin at the end of the 2017-18 NBA and NHL seasons and are expected to be completed by this fall. They include new padded seats, a new sound system, modernized concourses including new flooring, new lighting and new décor, two destination lounges, including a new premium club for floor and glass row-seat members, and new designed concessions. The updated concessions, lounges and clubs will offer culinary talent from the D.C. area that Monumental says will bring locally sourced upgrades to traditional arena fare. The renovation also will include the updating of the flagship retail store at Capital One Arena, which will be open to fans year-round.  Capital One Arena is one of the few privately owned arenas in the country. Throughout its ownership, Monumental Sports & Entertainment said it has made more than $100 million in investments to ensure the arena remains a top facility. With a capacity of more than 15,000, Capital One Arena is ranked 9th in the nation and 22nd worldwide among top-grossing venues. 2018-02-12T15:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Stay_Over_Suites_Front_WoodlawnSt_Hopewell_copy.jpg Stay Over Suites courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hotel-property-in-hopewell-sells-for-8.5-million Hotel property in Hopewell sells for $8.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hotel-property-in-hopewell-sells-for-8.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hotel-property-in-hopewell-sells-for-8.5-million#When:15:35:00Z Stay Over Suites in Hopewell, a 108 all-suite property, has sold for $8.5 million to Touchstone Place LLC. According to  Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, Touchstone made the acquistition as an investment. The 80,400-square-foot property is located at 4115 Old Woodlawn St. on 4.3 acres. Thalhimer's David Butchello handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller, 4115 Old Woodlawn LLC & Hopewell-Oaklawn LLC.  2018-02-12T15:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fight-against-gerrymandering-advances-at-capitol Fight against gerrymandering advances at Capitol http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fight-against-gerrymandering-advances-at-capitol http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fight-against-gerrymandering-advances-at-capitol#When:21:10:00Z Two bills moving forward in the General Assembly, and two court cases challenging how political districts are drawn in Virginia, could chip away at gerrymandering in the commonwealth, according to redistricting reform proponents.    Gerrymandering, in which politicians redraw electoral districts to their favor, is under fire in legislatures across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to stop a Pennsylvania state court from requiring lawmakers there to redraw districts it had declared were products of the practice. In Virginia, the Senate has passed a redistricting bill, SB 106, introduced by Sen. David Suetterlein, R-19th. On Friday, a similar measure – HB 1598, sponsored by Del. Chris Jones, R-76th –cleared the House Privileges and Elections Committee 21-1 and will be considered next by the full House. Both bills seek to provide standards for drawing districts, with attention to equal population, racial and ethnic fairness, and respect for existing political boundaries, borders, size and communities of interest. Jones said lawmakers must avoid the extreme configurations that have been used by political parties to gain an advantage in the past. Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021, the state’s leading redistricting reform group, said he was encouraged by the progress of the legislation. He sees it as a step toward the ultimate goal of redistricting reform—a constitutional amendment to establish an independent redistricting commission. Under the group’s timeline, the amendment could receive required legislative approvals in 2019 and 2020, before being submitted to voters that fall. Districts could then be redrawn in 2021 with 2020 census data. “The most important thing they (the bills) do is define some sort of good-government criterion, such as respect for local political boundaries,” Cannon said. “As a building year for us, this conversation is excellent. This is exactly where we want to be.” But Cannon said the bills don’t go far enough. He said they “are missing explicit anti-gerrymandering language, though, and that’s a big miss.” According to a poll by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, more than 60 percent of Virginians support amending the state constitution to put a nonpartisan commission in charge of drawing political lines. Although legislation establishing test-run redistricting commissions has died this session, Cannon said there is still a chance for the governor to appoint an advisory commission with the same responsibility as result of two court cases: ● One, in the federal courts, centers on whether black voting strength was diluted when Republicans placed too many African American voters in certain districts. The U.S. Supreme Court last year ordered a lower court to re-examine the case. Cannon said he has been expecting a decision for weeks. ● The other case, pending in the state court system, focuses on whether some districts were drawn in a partisan way. In many cases, for example, a city or county is divided between one or more legislative districts.  The case will be heard by the Virginia Supreme Court in March. Cannon said decisions in those cases could “put a wind under the sails” of the fight against gerrymandering by requiring  some districts to be redrawn. Courts have historically been reluctant to strike down redistricting plans because of concerns over favoring a party in a political process. But recent decisions in Pennsylvania and North Carolina have been cause for optimism, Cannon said. “I think the odds of real redistricting reform this time next year are pretty high,” Cannon said. “We’ll see what the governor does, we’ll see what the courts do, we’ll see how much further the House Republicans are willing to go—but the conversation is great.”   2018-02-11T21:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/westernfront.jpeg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/boutique-hotel-in-st.-paul-opens-next-week Boutique hotel in St. Paul opens today http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/boutique-hotel-in-st.-paul-opens-next-week http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/boutique-hotel-in-st.-paul-opens-next-week#When:09:57:00Z The new Western Front Hotel in St. Paul will open today, Feb. 12.  Creative Boutique Hotels and Cornerstone Hospitality partnered with Interior Image Group to turn the 1920s-ara building into a destination for outdoor tourists. “Since guests from all over will be staying at the Western Front, we knew we had to strike a delicate balance,” Patti Tritschler, president of IGG, stated. “Our goal was to preserve the authenticity and history of the building while also creating something new that would add value to the community.” Cornerstone Hospitality financed the $7.76 million project with federal historic tax credits and federal grants. The company also received a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund and several low-interest loans. The hotel has 30 rooms, a music hall and outdoor areas, all featuring rustic décor.  Martin’s Restaurant, serving farm-to-table Appalachian cuisine, is inside. Cornerstone Hospitality plans to open two more hotels in the spring, The Virginian in Lynchburg and The Weyanoke in Farmville. 2018-02-09T09:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nonpartisan-initiative-targets-legalized-corruption-in-virginia-politics Nonpartisan initiative targets ‘legalized corruption’ In Virginia politics http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nonpartisan-initiative-targets-legalized-corruption-in-virginia-politics http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nonpartisan-initiative-targets-legalized-corruption-in-virginia-politics#When:09:48:00Z Efforts to fight what some call “legalized corruption” in the Virginia General Assembly were announced Thursday by the Clean Virginia Project, a new nonpartisan initiative seeking to curb Dominion Energy’s financial influence on Virginia lawmakers. The group called on lawmakers to refuse donations from Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, and offered to make political contributions to those who pledge to do so. The project’s organizers said they hope to curb the energy giant’s political influence and hold lawmakers accountable for “representing their constituents - not corporate interests.” Delegates who sign the pledge would receive an annual political donation of $2,500 while senators would receive $5,000 — a fraction of what they might otherwise receive from Dominion. Donating more than $11 million over the past decade to Democratic and Republican candidates alike, Dominion’s influence on the Virginia’s General Assembly is unparalleled by any other corporations. For comparison, Altria — one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco and headquartered in Henrico — donated less than $7 million over the same period of time. Legislators from both parties, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and House Speaker M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, received donations from Dominion throughout the 2017 election season. While Northam accepted more than $100,000 in campaign and inaugural donations from the company in 2017 alone, Cox has accepted donations totaling more than $220,000 between 1998 and 2017. Dominion’s funding efforts are primarily derived from the corporation’s political action committee but often come together with donations by corporate executives like Tom Farrell, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, and Thomas Wohlfarth, the senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Michael Bills, a Charlottesville-based investor and prominent Democratic donor, is the key funder behind the nonpartisan group, which is housed within former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello’s new political action committee, New Virginia Way. The Clean Virginia Project is only one instance of a statewide attitude change toward the relationship between major corporations and lawmakers. It coincides with national efforts to encourage politicians to reject financial support from the energy industry. This pushback has caused tension between Dominion officials and the group, with officials arguing that their company is being unfairly targeted for making campaign donations that are legal. “Isn’t democracy great?" Dominion spokesman David Botkins said in an email to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "People can do whatever they want to with their money — as long as it’s transparently disclosed on Virginia’s Public Access Project website, which we helped start in 1997 and have supported ever since." But Bills calls the initiative “common sense” that will level the playing field in politics. “Virginians should no longer have to pick up the tab for backroom deals like the one Dominion and its allies are trying to ram through our legislature,” Bills said. The announcement comes in the wake of Senate Bill 966, a bill that would repeal a 2015 rate freeze and provide Virginia customers with a refund on what Northam has called an “overcharging” for power rates. In addition, SB 966 would require Dominion to reduce power rates by an additional $125 million as well as invest more than $1.1 billion in energy-efficiency projects and energy assistance to low-income communities throughout the next 10 years. The text of the Clean Virginia Pledge reads: “I will take no money or gifts from Dominion Energy or its Political Action Committees (PAC), lobbyists or executives; and will divest from any personal stocks or investments in Dominion Energy.” As of Tuesday, Activate Virginia reported that 21 Democrats running for Congress this year have signed the pledge. “Everyone will tell you that Dominion’s money doesn’t impact their vote, but given the fact that almost nobody says no to Dominion, I think that’s pretty obvious it has a large aggregate effect,” said freshman Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas. 2018-02-09T09:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lighthouse-instruments-investing-4.8-million-in-albemarle-county Lighthouse Instruments investing $4.8 million in Albemarle County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lighthouse-instruments-investing-4.8-million-in-albemarle-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lighthouse-instruments-investing-4.8-million-in-albemarle-county#When:18:54:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that Lighthouse Industries will invest $4.8 million to expand its medical manufacturing operation in Albemarle County. The project will create 10 jobs. As part of the project, Lighthouse Instruments plans to consolidate two locations in the county and build a new headquarters and manufacturing facility. Lighthouse Instruments is a global supplier of laser test and measurement systems for pharmaceutical and contract manufacturing industries. The company has operated in Virginia since it was started in 1995. It currently has 30 employees in the state. “The central Virginia region with its strong community colleges and universities as well as manufacturing support has been an ideal place to operate an advanced manufacturing facility,” James Veale, president of Lighthouse Instruments, said in a statement. The VJIP will grant Lighthouse Instruments up to $8,500, based on the number of jobs created. Albemarle County will match the funds provided by the VJIP. 2018-02-07T18:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-panel-rejects-net-neutrality-bill House panel rejects ‘net neutrality’ bill http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-panel-rejects-net-neutrality-bill http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-panel-rejects-net-neutrality-bill#When:10:18:00Z A bill to prohibit internet service providers from prioritizing or blocking certain websites based on content or hosting platform was killed Tuesday in a House subcommittee. The House Commerce and Labor subcommittee voted 5-0 against the bill, with one abstention. HB 705 was introduced by Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, who argued that Virginia should maintain the principle of net neutrality despite a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to reverse such rules. “The internet, since its inception, has been run by agreement as content neutral,” Carter said. “In 2015, the federal government set in place regulation to codify what was already being done, and those were overturned in December.” Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, chair of the subcommittee, argued that the bill would prompt broadband providers to pull out of Virginia. “We are so desperate in parts of the area that I represent to get broadband, that any barrier to entry in that market that we impose is a risk to prevent them from coming,” Habeeb said. “I can’t imagine supporting a bill that may lead to a broadband provider not considering entering the Craig County market, for example.” Carter disagreed that net neutrality would discourage internet service providers from providing services to Virginia residents. “If the broadband providers are willing to forego 8.5 million customers because they can’t impose additional charges on services rather than offering all-inclusive packages,” Carter said, “that would greatly surprise me.” Habeeb also argued that the FCC ruling would override the bill, restricting Virginia’s ability to create its own net neutrality law. Carter disagreed, saying that instating net neutrality rules is within the state’s purview. “This is not dealing with interstate commerce,” Carter said. “We are discussing explicitly the point of sale, and the point of sale is between a Virginia resident and a Virginia company offering broadband service.” Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and GreenSmith Energy Management Systems, as well as a few private citizens, told the subcommittee they supported Carter’s bill. They said it will prevent corporations from deciding what online information Virginians receive. The bill was opposed by representatives of internet service providers such as T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless as well as the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “This bill will increase cost to consumers,” said Ray LaMura, president of the Virginia Cable of Telecommunications Association. “It will stifle investment in new technologies, and it will stifle investment in rural telehealth, which will also chill investments to unserved areas of the commonwealth.” 2018-02-07T10:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-jobless-rates-fall Virginia metro jobless rates fall http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-jobless-rates-fall http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-jobless-rates-fall#When:00:48:00Z Unemployment fell in Virginia’s metro areas during December. The Virginia Employment Commission reported on Tuesday that the commonwealth’s 11 metropolitan statistical years saw their jobless rates decline from two-tenths of a percentage point to a half percentage point during the month. All of the metro jobless rates were under 4 percent. The lowest rate, 2.7 percent, was recorded in Northern Virginia. Charlottesville’s rate also was under 3 percent. The highest number 3.9 percent, was found in Hampton Roads. The figures released by the VEC are not seasonally adjusted, meaning that they do not take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor force. During December, the overall unemployment rate for Virginia was 3.4 percent while the national rate was 3.9 percent. The biggest decline in unemployment occurred in the New River Valley, where the rate fell a half percentage point to 3.3 percent. A breakdown of the numbers shows: Bristol: 3.6 percent in December, down from 3.9 percent in November. Charlottesville: 2.9 percent, down from 3.2 percent. Hampton Roads: 3.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent. Harrisonburg: 3 percent, down from 3.5 percent. Lynchburg: 3.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent. New River Valley: 3.4 percent, down from 3.6 percent. Northern Virginia: 2.7 percent, down from 3 percent. Richmond: 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent. Roanoke: 3.3 percent, down from 3.6 percent. Staunton-Waynesboro: 3.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent. Winchester: 3 percent, down from 3.2 percent. Among all localities in Virginia — counties and independent cities— Arlington had the lowest jobless rate, 2.2 percent, while Petersburg had the highest, 7.3 percent. 2018-02-07T00:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-launches-50-million-campaign Hampden-Sydney launches $50 million campaign http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-launches-50-million-campaign http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampden-sydney-launches-50-million-campaign#When:15:54:00Z Hampden-Sydney College has announced the launch of a $50 million campaign focused on the school’s endowment. President Larry Stimpert said that $26.8 million has already been raised to date. The campaign’s chief priorities are to develop Hampden-Sydney’s scholarship endowment to ensure that qualified students have access to the college regardless of family income and to provide funding distinctive curricular and co-curricular programs. The campaign anticipates raising $25 million for scholarship and financial aid. The school recently received a $4 million grant from the Carpenter Foundation that requires a four-for-one matching component. The second component of the campaign involving raising $25 million for a variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities. Key priorities include the arts, the  Center for Rhetoric and Communication, experiential learning (including undergraduate research, study abroad and internships),  entrepreneurship, (the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation), leadership, (the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest),  outdoor programs and athletics. 2018-02-06T15:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebanks-founding-cfo-to-retire-in-march TowneBank’s founding CFO to retire in March http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebanks-founding-cfo-to-retire-in-march http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebanks-founding-cfo-to-retire-in-march#When:15:52:00Z Clyde E. McFarland Jr., the founding chief financial officer of Portsmouth-based TowneBank, plans to retire next month. McFarland joined TowneBank organizers on a part-time basis in 1998 when they began operating from the garage of G. Robert Aston, Jr., the company’s founding chairman and CEO. McFarland joined the bank full time on March 1, 1999. After his retirement, McFarland will be retained by the company on a consulting basis through March 2022. He also will serve as a member of the TowneBank Outer Banks board of directors in Southern Shores, N.C., where he maintains a seasonal residence. Aston said the bank expects to name McFarland’s successor before his retirement. Based data as of Sept. 30, 2017 and reflecting the recently completed merger with Paragon Commercial Corp., TowneBank would have total assets of $10.5 billion, gross loans of $7.3 billion and total deposits of $7.8 billion. 2018-02-06T15:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-acquires-two-hotels-for-63-million Apple Hospitality REIT acquires two hotels for $63 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-acquires-two-hotels-for-63-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-acquires-two-hotels-for-63-million#When:15:13:00Z Richmond-based Apple Hospitality REIT said Tuesday it has purchased two hotels for a total of $63 million. The REIT said it acquired Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Atlanta and Memphis, Tenn. “Each of these hotels is well located within the business district and in close proximity to a multitude of amenities and attractions including restaurants, shops, museums and entertainment venues,” Nelson Knight, the company’s executive vice president and chief investment officer, said in a statement. The 119-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Atlanta is located at 161 Ted Turner Drive N.W. It is convenient to several attractions, including the Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center and the World of Coca-Cola. The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Memphis has 144 rooms. It is situated downtown at 175 Peabody Place near numerous corporate offices, healthcare facilities and colleges. Area attractions include the Beale Street Entertainment District, FedExForum and AutoZone Park. Apple Hospitality owns one of the largest portfolios of upscale, select-service hotels in the United States. The company has 241 Hilton and Marriott-branded hotels in its portfolio and more than 30,500 guest rooms. 2018-02-06T15:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Pantops_Plaza_SC1_copy.jpg Pantops Plaza courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pantops-plaza-shopping-center-in-charlottesville-sells-for-6.7-million Pantops Plaza Shopping Center in Charlottesville sells for $6.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pantops-plaza-shopping-center-in-charlottesville-sells-for-6.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pantops-plaza-shopping-center-in-charlottesville-sells-for-6.7-million#When:20:38:00Z   CooperQuincy LLC has purchased the Pantops Plaza Shopping Center in Charlottesville for $6.7 million, or about $638 per square feet. The company acquired the 10,518-square-foot strip center on Feb. 1, as part of a larger 1031 exchange, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group, which represented the seller, Riverbend Development.      Thalhimer said the center is 100 percent leased to a variety of national tenants including Starbucks and Chipotle.  “The asset garnered significant interest in the marketplace …” Thalhimer said in a press release on the sale.    Thalhimer’s Catharine Spangler in Richmond handled sale negotiations with the assistance of Ed Kimple in Thalhimer’s Virginia Beach office.  Thalhimer’s Charlottesville office has retained property management of the asset on behalf of the new ownership. 2018-02-05T20:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-ninth-in-the-country-for-green-building Virginia ranks ninth in the country for green building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-ninth-in-the-country-for-green-building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranks-ninth-in-the-country-for-green-building#When:17:00:00Z Virginia is a leader in green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED, or Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, and Virginia made the 2018 list, coming in at No. 9 The list ranks states in terms of certified square feet per resident in 2017. Now in its eighth year, the list is based on 2010 U.S. census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout last year. Massachusetts retained its top position for the second year in a row with 130 LEED certifications representing 4.48 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident, the highest since 2010. The mid-Atlantic continues to show strong regional leadership, with Maryland and Virginia returning to the list for the seventh year. The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, a 38,500-square-foot, historic multiuse space in Charlottesville, is one of the most recent buildings in the state to achieve a LEED rating of silver. Also notable, Washington, D.C., which is not included in the official list of top states because of its status as a federal territory, tops the nation with 39.83 square feet of space per resident certified in 2017. Illinois and Colorado are the only states to have made the list every year since the inception of the ranking in 2010. 2018-02-05T17:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blue-ridge-contractors-buys-60000-square-foot-industrial-building-in-lynchb Blue Ridge Contractors buys 60,000-square-foot industrial building in Lynchburg for $1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blue-ridge-contractors-buys-60000-square-foot-industrial-building-in-lynchb http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blue-ridge-contractors-buys-60000-square-foot-industrial-building-in-lynchb#When:16:50:00Z Blue Ridge Contractors LLC purchased a 60,000-square-foot industrial building on 10 acres in Lynchburg from Carter Bank and Trust for $1 million as an investment. According to Cushman & Wakefield |Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, the property, the former Waytec building, is located at 1104 McConville Road in Lynchburg. Blue Ridge plans to renovate the building and then lease the entire building or subdivide it for a combination of users. Thalhimer’s George Lupton handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer. 2018-02-05T16:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Grant_Bates_01.22.20181_copy.jpg Grant Bates courtesy CBRE|Charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-bates-joins-cbrecharlottesville-as-vice-president Grant Bates joins CBRE|Charlottesville as vice president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-bates-joins-cbrecharlottesville-as-vice-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/grant-bates-joins-cbrecharlottesville-as-vice-president#When:16:05:00Z Grant Bates has joined the CBRE|Charlottesville office as vice president. According to CBRE, Bates has more than five years of experience in property management, commercial leasing, sales and development. Before joining CBRE, he was the managing director of an asset-based funding, merger and acquisition firm specializing in consulting and strategic planning. Bates is a graduate of the University of Virginia and a member of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. 2018-02-05T16:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DEB700C8-5D36-4DEE-B40D-57B3444DF8D3.png 4900 Seminary Road courtesy of PRP http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prp-buys-two-office-buildings-in-alexandria PRP buys two office buildings in Alexandria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prp-buys-two-office-buildings-in-alexandria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/prp-buys-two-office-buildings-in-alexandria#When:16:02:00Z PRP, a Washington D.C.-based real estate investment management company, has acquired two office buildings in Alexandria totaling 420,000 square feet for an undisclosed price.  The seller was Clll. The buildings are located at 4900 Seminary Road and 4825 Mark Center Drive. Built in 1986 and 2000, they are located within the Mark Center submarket, an amenity-rich location situated along I-395 across the street from the Mark Center Transit Center. The center provides regional and local bus service as well shuttle service to two nearby Metro stations. The location offers about 150,000 square feet of walkable retail amenities and is adjacent to the Mark Center Hilton and Conference Center, Alexandria Hospital and Alexandria Community College. The building at 4825 Mark Center Drive offers 220,000 square feet on eight floors. The structure at 4900 Seminary Road is smaller, with 200,000 square feet on 12 floors. PRP said it expects to complete renovations at 4900 Seminary Road, including new elevators and an HVAC system while upgrading bathrooms, lobbies and common areas.  “We acquired and fully capitalized this transaction to be able to quickly respond to the dynamic office and retail leasing opportunities in Northern Virginia,” Paul Dougherty, president of PRP, said in a statement. PRP, a private company, focuses on multifamily apartments, office and corporate headquarters facilities leased to investment-grade companies on a long-term basis. Since its formation in 2005, PRP said it has invested more than $1.5 billion in all property sectors. 2018-02-05T16:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herring-joins-11-state-attorneys-general-in-opposing-offshore-drilling Herring joins 11 state attorneys general in opposing offshore drilling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herring-joins-11-state-attorneys-general-in-opposing-offshore-drilling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herring-joins-11-state-attorneys-general-in-opposing-offshore-drilling#When:10:40:00Z Twelve attorneys general, including Virginia’s Mark Herring, called on the federal government Thursday to halt its plans for gas and oil drilling off their coasts. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, the attorneys general said the offshore drilling proposal “represents disregard for vital state interests, economies, and resources.” Drilling off Virginia’s coast would pose a risk to the state’s marine environment, industries, revenue and military assets, Herring said. "The Commonwealth of Virginia and our coastal communities have made it abundantly clear that we are not interested in putting our economy and citizens at risk as part of President Trump's giveaway to oil and gas companies," Herring said in his statement accompanying the letter.  “The federal government should not force this risk upon us.” The letter follows Gov. Ralph Northam’s call last month that Zinke exempt Virginia from the drilling plans.  Like Herring, Northam, a Democrat, cited ecological and financial costs.  Northam also noted that Zinke had exempted Florida at the request of that state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott. The language used by the attorneys general is more forceful, promising to challenge the proposal “using appropriate legal avenues.” In addition to Herring, the letter was signed by attorneys general from North Carolina, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Oregon. The letter also follows comments made by Herring and five other attorneys general to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Monday.  The group criticized the proposed revisions to the Interior Department’s regulation of safety systems for offshore gas and oil production.  These regulations were put in place in 2016 after the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig led to the deaths of 11 people and the spilling of 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. 2018-02-02T10:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/republicans-kill-election-law-bills-proposed-by-democrats Republicans kill election-law bills proposed by Democrats http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/republicans-kill-election-law-bills-proposed-by-democrats http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/republicans-kill-election-law-bills-proposed-by-democrats#When:10:31:00Z Bills that would ban political contributions from utilities like Dominion Energy, start a pilot program for voting by mail and extend polling hours were killed on party-lines votes in a House subcommittee Thursday. The Privileges and Elections subcommittee met at 7:30 a.m. to vote on 15 bills that could have affected the way future elections are run. Republican Dels. Steven Landes of Augusta; Israel O’Quinn of Washington County; Gregory Habeeb of Salem; and Mark Cole of Spotsylvania outvoted Democratic Dels. Joseph Lindsey of Norfolk and Cheryl Turpin of Virginia Beach to kill 12 of the bills. Among the legislation defeated on a 4-2 vote was HB 562 by Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, which sought to prohibit candidates from soliciting or accepting a contribution from any public service corporation or its political action committee. Roem said that would have brought a “fresh start” in Virginia. Critics have complained about the role of Dominion, the largest corporate donor in Virginia politics. Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, urged members of the subcommittee to pass HB 230, a bill seeking to start a pilot program for voting by mail. She said it would give Virginia voters a fair and equal chance to submit their ballots. “Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to vote,” Rodman said. Currently, three states allow voting by mail: Oregon, Colorado and Washington. The bill was “passed by indefinitely” – effectively killed – by a 4-2 vote. Opponents cited concerns over the reliability of postal delivery. Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, wanted to repeal the requirement for photo identification when voting. She said it could discriminate against minorities and others who may not have access to such an ID. Cole responded that he did not consider the requirement discriminatory because a photo ID could be obtained when registering. HB 1079 also failed on a 4-2 vote. Dels. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke, and Turpin advocated extending polling by one hour, until 8 p.m., on Election Day with HB 568 and HB 265. Both bills were passed by indefinitely by a 4-2 vote. “It’s fair for people to come home from work and vote,” Gooditis said. Several states, including California, Montana and Maryland, keep polls open until 8 p.m. Gooditis said she plans to study how that policy has worked there. The panel killed HB 99 by Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, which would have entered Virginia into an interstate compact to elect the president by popular vote. The panel amended and backed HB 553 by Del. Nicholas J. Freitas, R-Culpeper, which would create a ranking system for electing certain officials. The so-called “instant runoff” measure passed 5-1. 2018-02-02T10:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crutchfield-corp.-has-gone-to-the-dogs Crutchfield Corp. has gone to the dogs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crutchfield-corp.-has-gone-to-the-dogs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crutchfield-corp.-has-gone-to-the-dogs#When:20:30:00Z Virginia Business recently stopped by Crutchfield Corp., one of the magazine’s Best Places to Work. The Charlottesville-based company’s perks include allowing employees to bring their dogs to the office. To learn more about Crutchfield and other companies on this year’s Best Places to Work list, turn to page 26. Share photos of special events at your company with Virginia Business. E-mail your candid photos with identifications to Adrienne R. Watson, arwatson@va-business.com. Photos not used in the magazine may be posted on our web site at VirginiaBusiness.com 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Warner-3112.png The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Brigitte Bélanger-Warner. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rethinking-charlottesville Rethinking Charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rethinking-charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rethinking-charlottesville#When:20:30:00Z A violent rally held in Charlottesville last summer hasn’t significantly affected Helen Cauthen’s work at the Central Virginia Partnership, but it has impacted her personally. “I live near where all that happened,” says Cauthen, president of the partnership, which helps attract new businesses to the Charlottesville region. “It’s still disturbing.” The “Unite the Right” rally brought white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park. The event resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, who was killed by a car driven into a crowd. Two state troopers on the way to assist the city, Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates and Lt. Pilot H. “Jay” Cullen III, also died in a helicopter crash. Months after the rally, the violent clash of opposing groups in the streets of Charlottesville remains part of the national conversation. The city’s business leaders, however, are working to move forward, stressing that the violence seen in news clips around the world isn’t an accurate depiction of the community. “I think people … when they keep seeing photographs and negative media, they are just a little leery about coming downtown. We’re now in the process of trying to change that image,” says Susan Payne, president of Blue Ridge Group, a local advertising and public relations agency and head of the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville’s (DBAC) marketing committee. The association is working with City Council on an economic recovery plan in response to the rally and a recent downturn in business. Unrelated to the August events, DBAC also is seeking increased funding for the downtown mall in the city’s fiscal year 2018-2019 budget, which will be adopted in April. When comparing the latter half of 2016 versus 2017, local data don’t provide a clear picture of how businesses have been impacted by the rally. The latest available figures show a downward trend in sales tax revenue and mixed results in meals tax revenue. Occupancy rates were down from August to October and increased in November. Data may be a mixed bag, but merchants on the downtown mall say continuing publicity about the event has had a dampening effect. Nonetheless, other developments during the  last half of the year also may have impacted the foot traffic. Paid parking, for example, was in effect in the mall area for 72 days before being suspended by the city. Also, hurricanes and floods on the Gulf Coast, Florida and Puerto Rico may have prompted visitors from those areas to cancel plans to visit Charlottesville. Letter to consultants Following the August events, The Central Virginia Partnership wanted to change the narrative about Char­lottesville, so it sent a letter to site selection consultants. “We are a supportive and inviting community working daily to bring new innovation, build business relationships and provide greater opportunities for our citizens,” the letter said. “Thus, we will not allow the feelings of outsiders to tarnish the region we know can provide wonderful opportunities to companies from across the nation and the world.” The letter was well received by the consultants. Didi Caldwell, the founding principal at Greenville, S.C.-based Global Location Strategies, says the rally hasn’t changed her perception of Charlottesville. She also hasn’t heard concerns about the city from her clients.   “I am confident that qualified location strategy consultants would counsel their clients to not let the events in the news scare them away,”  Caldwell says. “However, there are many projects that are not guided by an experienced professional ... It is difficult to tell how much [this incident] may have had on those types of projects.” While the partnership is addressing the city’s image among major economic development prospects, Chris Engel, Charlottesville’s economic development director, is focused on small retailers and service providers. “Longer term, we have some concern that investors and decision makers may think twice before committing to a project here,” which wasn’t an issue before due to the city’s positive reputation, Engel says. “Now, there’s a whole other group of people that have a very different kind of understanding, or perception, of Charlottesville based upon what they saw on the news over the summer.” Social media campaign The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau continues to remind travelers of Charlottesville’s attractions by working with travel bloggers and journalists. After the August events, the bureau and Virginia Tourism Corp. (VTC) encouraged the public to share the hashtags #StandForLove and #CvilleStandsForLove on social media along with a picture or video. VTC also installed a giant LOVE sign (tied to the commonwealth’s longtime tourism slogan, “Virginia Is For Lovers”) to Charlottesville’s downtown mall as well as banners displayed on lampposts with the #standforlove hashtags.  Additionally, the state tourism agency helped the visitors bureau craft talking points to help local tourist attractions field questions after the rally. These efforts aim to build on a positive vibe generated by a star-studded concert held in September at the University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium, organized by the homegrown Dave Matthews Band. The free event gathered donations for rally victims, first responders and organizations promoting “healing, unity and justice locally and nationwide.”  The event, attended by thousands of music fans, was  available online through a live stream.  “It is wonderful to have had so many talented artists take the time to come here and shine a better light on our city and region,” says Miriam Dickler, Charlottesville’s director of communications.  “I would also note that we continue to work with our local convention and visitors bureau as well as Virginia tourism to highlight our area and its many charms.” U.Va. applications rise Meanwhile, U.Va., where white supremacists marched with burning torches the night before the rally, hasn’t seen a drop in applications since August. Undergraduate applications to the university increased 1 percent from last year.  U.Va. formed a working group looking at ways the university could have responded more effectively to the torch-lit march. The university already has taken steps, including increasing safety and security personnel at large public events; hiring outside firms to review its safety and security infrastructure; and prohibiting open flames on campus, or campus facilities, with the exception of outdoor cooking and laboratory equipment. “In response, the group is also contemplating a number of long-term investments and initiatives to advance our commitment to being a diverse and welcoming community,” says U.Va. spokesperson Anthony P. de Bruyn.  “The university remains confident these efforts will further enhance its learning and living environment as we move forward.”   Also drawing increased interest is the Tom Tom Founders Festival. Tom Tom hosts a weeklong downtown festival each spring and a two-day block party in the fall. Fourteen thousand people came downtown for the block party in late September, up from roughly 10,000 the year before. Paul Beyer, the festival’s founder, believes the community was looking for an opportunity to come together and celebrate the Charlottesville it knows. That includes a city that, in recent years, has built an identity as a fertile place for startups. “In light of this, Tom Tom has a renewed commitment to fostering conversations that illustrate economic and entrepreneurial opportunity for all members of society, especially those that have historically been marginalized,” Beyer says.  The upcoming spring festival, for example, will include a panel discussion on how to best honor African-American history.  When asked whether the community has become stronger since last August, Blue Ridge Group’s Payne says it has in some ways and not in others.  However, she has hope for the future. “This is a very heartbreaking chapter, but I do think that in the end this community will come together,” she says. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_9743_copy.png Randolph-Macon College President Robert Lindgren. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/providing-a-better-opportunity Providing ‘a better opportunity’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/providing-a-better-opportunity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/providing-a-better-opportunity#When:20:30:00Z Burke Estes, the starting quarterback on Randolph-Macon College’s football team and a presidential scholar, described the defining difference between going to a large state university and attending the Ashland school. “My best friend is at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill [which has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students]. He walks across campus every morning with his headphones on and never sees anyone he knows. “At Randolph-Macon [with an enrollment of about 1,500] I’ll walk across campus every morning and see at least five people I know, right away,” including some of his professors, says Estes, a 19-year-old from Wilmington, N.C. When Estes was looking at colleges as a high-school senior, he asked himself a crucial question: If he got hurt and couldn’t play football, where would he still be happy? Where would he still feel comfortable?  “Randolph-Macon,” Estes concluded. That assessment is music to the ears of Robert Lindgren, now  in his 12th year as president of the school, the oldest Methodist-related college in continuous operation in the U.S. His previous positions included serving as vice president for developmental alumni affairs and chief development officer at the University of Florida and vice president for development and alumni relations at the Johns Hopkins Institutions (which includes The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System). “I think one of the challenges we face today is helping young people, prospective students and families understand that just because you don’t have thousands of students walking around and large flashy buildings, it doesn’t mean you can’t provide the kind of educational experience that will be meaningful to them,” Lindgren says. “In fact, we think we have a better opportunity of providing that, because if a student knows who his professor is and the professor knows who his student is, there’s a better opportunity for good learning to take place than in a large anonymous lecture hall or online,” he says. Lindgren adds that every year the college surveys seniors to determine what they valued most about their experience at Randolph-Macon, now in its 187th year. Invariably, he says, what rises to the top of the survey is the student’s relationship with a faculty member. $125 million campaign Lindgren, 63, with the help of major donors, has transformed the college’s campus through an ambitious $125 million fundraising campaign that was highlighted recently with the dedication of a new $17.5 million science building. It was named for the college’s major donor, the late Macon F. Brock Jr., a member of the class of 1964. Brock, a co-founder of the Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree Inc., was a Latin major at his alma mater. Brock’s name also is on other major buildings, such as the student center and the sports and recreation center. “If you look at the history of higher education … the most successful places have had a major benefactor or benefactors,” Lindgren says, noting that Macon Brock and his wife, Joan, set an example that led other donors, large and small and 12,000 in all, to contribute to the college’s comprehensive campaign. Brock died in mid-December, after building Dollar Tree into a retailing juggernaut with more than 14,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada. “He was a constant, warm and vibrant presence on our campus and a friend to everyone he knew. The impact of Macon and Joan’s generosity can be seen and felt everywhere on our campus,” Lindgren says, in reflecting on Brock’s passing. The college’s successful fundraising campaign, which included construction of new residence halls, athletic facilities and a student center, was ultimately focused on a single theme. “Growing the college,” says Lindgren, who emphasized throughout the campaign that every gift counted, noting that Randolph-Macon ranks 15th in the country in alumni loyalty. Creating ‘a little more commotion’ For about 20 years, Randolph-Macon held steady at approximately 1,100 students. But Lindgren says that to operate successfully and compete against large public institutions and private competitors, the college needed to scale up enrollment and “create a little more commotion on campus.” That push also included adding majors including engineering/physics, behavioral neuroscience and communication studies. Lindgren says the college also improved its pre-med program, adding a pre-med coach for students and providing scholarship opportunities, all thanks to a donor who left half of his estate to Randolph-Macon. The past few years have been upbeat for Randolph-Macon as new buildings and new programs have sprung up. It’s also been a a successful time for  chemistry professor April Marchetti, R-MC ’97. In 2015, she led a team that won the largest grant ever received by the college, nearly $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation, to establish a program to train STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers for high-need local school districts. The program will support 16 to 18 full scholarships for the students, who then agree to teach for at least four years in area high-need school districts, where STEM teachers have been hard to recruit. Marchetti says she was adamant that the students get full scholarships, so they wouldn’t graduate with student debt  — a major deterrent for students who might want to go into teaching, which historically provides only modest salaries. “There’s a shortage of STEM teachers, especially in high-risk school districts,” Marchetti observes, adding that  teachers are the conduit for capable students who can fill much-needed STEM jobs. This year Marchetti and her team won a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit and identify Hispanic girls in their freshman year of high school who show an interest in STEM disciplines. The program is known as “Pathways to Science.” Students go through a competitive selection process. Those who were chosen and had completed a science-based summer program last year received a $2,500 scholarship that will go toward the college of their choice. The science camp will be offered again this summer, and students who attend both camps receive $5,000 scholarships for college. Marchetti says having those programs shows that a small school like Randolph-Macon can compete successfully for major grants from the National Science Foundation. One of the payoffs: “Maybe they’ll think of us again, because now they know we can do it,” Marchetti says. Battling misconceptions Fraser Mayberry, a 21-year-old Randolph-Macon senior from Midlothian majoring in psychology with a minor in elementary education, says a lot of her friends went to big research universities. She’s had to battle some misconceptions about what a liberal arts education at a small college means. “I think a lot of people [believe] that a small liberal arts school means ‘easy.’ That you sit out under the trees all day. “What I try to show them is that we have a focused, rigorous academic program. It’s not easy,” Mayberry says. The success of the college’s most recent strategic plan — involving new and renovated facilities totaling $80 million and a 25 percent jump in new student enrollment — prompted the college to extend the plan until 2020. Lindgren says the intent is for Randolph-Macon to grow even larger, in enrollment and facilities, though the exact goals have yet to be announced. “The key is we want to grow, but we don’t want to change the culture of Randolph-Macon,” Lindgren says. That means adding more faculty, so that students continue to interact with their professors in classes. Students in these classes are called on frequently, write more extensively and are monitored for measureable outcomes. The Randolph-Macon president says he has the job he had often thought about, and he wants to remain in that position as long as he is able, and as long as the college wants him. “I always had in mind that a college like this, a residential liberal arts college, would be a great place to be because of the impact, the kind of personal impact it has on students. And that happens at every level,” Lindgren says. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP9577.png Thomas R. Bagby of Woods Rogers says, “The key is that any claim of harassment is taken seriously.” Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-safe-environment Creating a safe environment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-safe-environment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-safe-environment#When:20:30:00Z In October, The New York Times and The New Yorker published stories detailing sexual assault and harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The revelations inspired a Twitter campaign, #MeToo, encouraging other women to speak out. The movement unleashed an avalanche of harassment accusations that resulted in the firing or resignation of a number of powerful men, including U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, U.S. Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Blake Farenthold of Texas, and television figures Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. In December, the departure of Joe Alexander, the award-winning chief creative officer of The Martin Agency in Richmond, attracted the attention of The Wall Street Journal.  The agency said that Alexander, who had worked on advertising campaigns for clients such as Walmart and Geico, was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint by a female employee. Alexander denied the allegation. Virginia labor and employment lawyers say these high-profile incidents have put a new emphasis on efforts by employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describes harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,” conduct that “explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” Training to combat sexual harassment has been conducted in workplaces for decades. Nonetheless, an ABC News-Washington Post poll released last fall found that three in 10 U.S. women say they have put up with unwanted sexual advances from male co-workers, and a quarter say they have endured advances from men who had influence over their work situation. Attorney Thomas R. Bagby urges employers to focus not only on avoiding sexual harassment claims, but on creating an atmosphere that embodies “a safe and comfortable working environment.” To keep everyone safe, companies should have an up-to-date, well-enforced anti-harassment policy, says Bagby, a partner with Woods Rogers in Roanoke. He reports that his firm is seeing more clients who are seeking to bring harassment cases against their employers. “The key is that any claim of harassment is taken seriously,” he says. “The best way to defend yourself is to be able to say that when we became aware of the problem, we took steps and made sure not to have it again.” Gregory Branch Robertson, a partner with Hunton & Williams in Richmond, adds that each company needs to have “a statement of policy [on sexual harassment] written in plain understandable English — or Spanish” or any other language prevalent in the workplace. He says companies should have employees sign the policy to acknowledge that they’ve read it and make sure the document is widely circulated by posting it in the workplace and by including it on the company intranet. Companies should promise employees who make a complaint that it will be handled discreetly but “be careful about promising anonymity, because sometimes you can’t do it. You can be as anonymous as possible, but I don’t think you can promise it,” Robertson says. Bagby and Robertson emphasize that companies also need to provide every employee with more than one avenue of complaint. Reporting an incident to an immediate supervisor may be the usual step, but not if the supervisor is the one being accused of harassment. Company policy should outline various alternatives: human resources, the legal department or an outside hotline. And “once you’ve got the policy out there, you need to revisit it on a periodic basis,” Robertson adds. Anti-sexual harassment policies, like many other policies, often are included in an employee handbook that “sits in a pile of paper. Employers have to be diligent.” The right training Employers also have to be diligent about providing proper training so that employees understand how to voice harassment claims and managers know how to respond to them, says Karen A. Doner, founding partner of Doner Law PLC in McLean. “Training is a smart investment and not overly pricey,” Doner says.   For example, the cost generally starts at $1,500 for her firm to conduct training. “Attendance by all levels of employees and management, including the president of the company, should be required,” she says. The participation of upper-level management “sends the message that the company takes these matters seriously.” Doner also recommends in-person training instead of conducting a class online.  “Online programs lack meaningful interaction and the ability to ask questions or engage in discussion,” she says. “In-person training by a professional, with hypotheticals and a Q&A session are ideal.” Robertson also sees in-person training as more successful because it allows for more than a “check-the-box” experience. Training that affects people’s behavior “requires everyone to step up, pay attention and participate.” Good training costs time and money, but harassment, he notes, “has consequences. It’s tragic for victims” and harmful to the organizations. Bagby believes that the publicity about sexual harassment cases has resulted in the issue being taken more seriously. “Right now, one thing that is making it more effective is that people are seeing that powerful people are having their careers ruined,” he says. Policy applies to all When considering anti-sexual harassment policies, lawyers say, employers also must consider customers, clients and third-party vendors. “If somebody who comes in to fill the soda machine is harassing an employee, then the employer has the same obligation as if that person was an employee,” says Robertson. “At end of the day, if a third party engaged in that conduct, then the employer is in a position to say to that person’s employer: ‘Do not send that person to our workplace. We need to meet. This causes me to reconsider whether you are the proper vendor.’” Robertson says he’s seen few examples of employees harassing outside vendors, but the same rules apply. “That type of conduct is not conduct that has a place in the workplace, no matter who it is directed at.” Worries about sexual harassment extend beyond the physical workspace into social media, Robertson says. Employers should encourage employees to report alleged incidents of harassment not only if they occur on the work site, but also if they occur on social media. One company’s path Virginia’s largest industrial employer, Huntington Ingalls Industries, has taken the anti-sexual harassment steps recommended by legal experts. The Newport News-based shipbuilder has policies and procedures to address sexual harassment complaints, says William R. Ermatinger, the company’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer. HII provides its own annual training that walks employees through what they can do if they have complaints. And it has an outside hotline that employees can use anonymously. “If it happens, we take it seriously; we will address it,” Ermatinger says. But more important than responding to complaints, he says, is preventing them in the first place. That is accomplished by fostering a corporate culture that has zero tolerance for such behavior. “What is the tone at the top, the tone in the middle, the tone on the ground? Employees listen with their eyes, not their ears. I can say, ‘Do the training, publish the poster.’  We do,” he says. “But more importantly: What experiences are we creating in our workplace that formulate people’s beliefs? Is our behavior consistent with our core ethics?”  2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Lloyd-Harrison_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-2.png Lloyd B. Harrison III, the president and CEO of Fredericksburg-based Virginia Partners Bank. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-step-with-fintech The next step with fintech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-step-with-fintech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-step-with-fintech#When:20:30:00Z Technology firms that bankers once saw as rivals are now becoming business partners. For many years bankers have embraced the speed and lower costs that technology such as ATMs, websites and smart phones brought to their retail business. Now they are exploring, and beginning to embrace, the possibilities fintech brings to lending. The relationship is evolving so quickly that bankers report the rapid development of new financial technology, or fintech, can be dizzying. “The pace of change in technology is so rapid, sometimes it’s really hard to keep up,” says Lloyd Harrison III, head of Virginia Partners Bank, a nearly $390 million, 9-year-old bank based in Fredericksburg. “By the time that technologies are well enough developed … to consider adopting, then the next best iteration is already on the horizon.” Dean Withers understands the dilemma. The CEO of Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M), based in Timberville near Harrisonburg, says he gets a sales pitch from a fintech vendor “almost every day.” Along with ATMs and check-imaging technology that permits his customers to make deposits from anywhere with their phones, Withers also credits electronic customer statements and steady improvements in F&M’s core operating systems for helping him to cut costs and extend his brick and mortar branch network to neighboring counties during the last 15 to 20 years. Nonetheless, he remains a careful shopper because new technology doesn’t always deliver on its promises. “Technology is expensive,” says Withers. “We’re not usually the first to adopt financial technology. We’d like someone else to get the bugs out of it. Like anything else, when it first comes out, it’s expensive. But wait a couple of years and the price comes down and the bugs are out of it.” Since the 1980s, when ATMs became ubiquitous at banks nationwide, financial technology has evolved steadily to meet customers’ increasing demands for the same one-click delivery of products and services they get from almost every other industry. For most of the past 30 years, the focus of financial technology has been on increasing the speed and lowering the costs of low-margin banking activities, such as balance inquiries, deposits, withdrawals and bill payments. Customers’ demand for more convenience has driven the development of more sophisticated ATMs, reduced the need for large brick-and-mortar branches, spurred the adoption of check-imaging, introduced better websites for internet banking and created more secure mobile applications for smartphone banking from anywhere at any time. “I like to call it omni-channel delivery,” says John Asbury, CEO of Richmond-based Union Bank. “Banking when you want, how you want and where you want is important to our customers.” Withers adds, “Customers demand more convenience today, so you have to have the technology to retain them and bring in new customers, especially on the younger side of the spectrum … We’re trying to cover the 21-year-old and the 91-year-old.” One of the newest technologies at the drive-through windows across the nation are personal-teller machines, or PTMs. They connect customers to bank tellers sitting in remote locations via live-action video. Bankers say PTMs help banks reduce their employee headcount while keeping branches open longer for less cost. The Fauquier Bank (TFB) has installed PTMs for drive-through customers at a few of its Prince William County branches. Chip Register, the bank’s chief administrative officer, and Marc Bogan, the CEO, are pleased with the PTMs’ performance and plan to outfit them in all branches in Prince William by the end of 2018. Adding PTMs to the bank’s branches in Fauquier County will come later, they say. Online lending With new technology enabling banks to serve retail customers more efficiently, many bankers are beginning to focus on how fintech can help them with loans, the highest-margin segment of their business. That change in approach, say senior banking executives across the state, has been a long time coming. After the 2008-2009 banking crisis and Great Recession, new laws passed by Congress and much stricter regulations imposed by the Federal Reserve severely restricted the U.S. banking industry’s ability to make some loans. That crackdown on banks large and small coincided with the rise of online lenders, such as Lending Tree, Lending Club and Rocket Mortgage. These new players were able to provide customers with much quicker approvals on lending services ranging from car loans to five- and six-figure credit lines for small businesses and startups with less-than-stellar credit scores. Many online upstarts predicted their loan-making and pricing models soon would bury the traditional banking industry. They did not. Instead, fintech firms and banks are now becoming partners. “In the beginning, fintech companies saw themselves as [industry] disruptors, and banks saw them as competition,” says Matt Bruning, senior vice president for government and member relations at the Virginia Bankers Association. “Over time, each side has seen that they have strengths that can overcome the other’s weaknesses, and there is a lot more opportunity for collaboration. It has definitely evolved into a space where it is more collaborative and partnership-oriented,” he says. As a result, many Virginia banking companies have begun testing the fintech waters with modest initial investments in online lending applications. Others are still watching this evolving technology with caution. Tools to generate all sorts of online lending have caught the eye of Union Bank, Virginia’s largest community bank. Pure online lending “companies like Lending Club have proven customers are willing to use, willing to pay for a seamless, easy [loan] experience,” says Asbury, the bank’s CEO. “It’s going to cost you more than if you came to Union Bank, but people do it any way. People have demonstrated they are not as price sensitive as you might think. What they value is the ease of experience, the quick decision you can get from a company like Lending Club. “We are very interested in this,” he says. Steve Yeakel, president and CEO of the Virginia Association of Community Banks, says many of his member banks are now ready to make investments in online lending. “The banks that are interested in doing something substantial are just now coming to the end of a solid due-diligence process,” he says.   Slightly ahead of the pack, The Fauquier Bank has introduced two fintech platforms in the past eight months. The first, MinuteLender for small, unsecured loans, began in mid-2017. Barring any last-minute snags, the bank planned to activate the second platform, SuperNova, in January. Using predetermined credit limits of up to $30,000 for consumer loans and $75,000 for business loans, The Fauquier Bank’s version of MinuteLender uses an existing customer’s FICO score (a credit score used to determine lending risk) and deposit history to approve a loan request in minutes, making the money available to customers within three days. The Fauquier Bank’s version of the SuperNova secured lending platform allows the bank to connect with high net-worth individuals who want to borrow $25,000 to $250,000 against their portfolios of secure financial assets — including real estate, stocks and bonds — without having to sell part, or all, of their nest egg. Bogan, the bank’s CEO, wants to use different fintech tools to enter other unsecured lending markets, like credit card fulfillment. He also is eager to use technology to streamline and expand the bank’s burgeoning secondary mortgage business and attract deposits to grow its capital base, which stood at about $650 million at the end of last year. “That’s something we can logically look at going into the future,” he says. Looking ahead, some Virginia bankers want to explore lending and payment businesses that got their start in cyberspace. “A topic that has my interest is peer-to-peer payment solutions,” for consumers and businesses involving banks, says Harrison of Virginia Partners Bank. The bank now offers its customers in the Fredericksburg area and in La Plata, Md., the option to open bank accounts and apply for consumer loans online. “There are a lot of nonbank applications out there,” with at least one prototype platform being organized by a consortium of large U.S. banks, says Harrison, “but we have yet to find one we are comfortable with.” Choosing a fintech product likely won’t get easier. Vendors constantly offer banks a steady stream of new products and updated variations of older ones. In fact, some officials find it difficult to pick which banking business line will be most affected by new technology “Change has been so rapid to date,” says Yeakel of the community bankers association. “I’d have to say, nothing would surprise me.”     Banks & thrifts table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0404; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }   Institution Headquarters Phone Website Va. offices 2017 deposits ($000)1 1 Capital One Bank USA2 Glen Allen (804) 967-1000 capitalone.com 1 $66,210,077 2 E*Trade Bank3 Arlington (800) 387-2331 us.etrade.com 1 40,344,566 3 Wells Fargo & Co. San Francisco; regional HQ in McLean (800) 869-3557 wellsfargo.com 281 38,959,059 4 Bank of America Charlotte, N.C. (800) 432-1000 bankofamerica.com 132 28,545,160 5 BB&T Corp. Winston-Salem, N.C. (800) 226-5228 bbt.com 344 23,236,086 6 SunTrust Bank Atlanta (800) 786-8787 suntrust.com 193 19,526,606 7 Capital One National Association2 McLean (804) 967-1000 capitalone.com 57 16,732,557 8 United Bank Fairfax (703) 502-7180 bankwithunited.com 74 7,062,429 9 Union Bank & Trust Richmond (800) 990-4828 bankatunion.com 111 6,770,565 10 TowneBank Suffolk (757) 391-3500 townebank.com 32 6,092,824 11 PNC Bank National Association Pittsburgh (888) 762-2265 pnc.com 96 3,833,114 12 Carter Bank & Trust Martinsville (276) 656-1776 carterbankandtrust.com 88 3,431,839 13 Burke & Herbert Bank Alexandria (703) 549-6600 burkeandherbertbank.com 25 2,342,964 14 Access National Bank Reston (703) 871-2100 accessnationalbank.com 18 2,201,088 15 Xenith Bank4 Richmond (804) 433-2200 xenithbank.com 31 2,131,149 16 First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. Raleigh, NC. (888) 323-4732 firstcitizens.com 46 1,770,065 17 E*Trade Savings Bank3 Arlington (800) 387-2331 etrade.com 1 1,724,769 18 Sonabank Tappahannock (888) 464-2265 sonabank.com 40 1,720,703 19 TD Bank National Association Cherry Hill, N.J. (800) 462-3666 tdbank.com 22 1,624,479 20 Citibank National Association New York (212) 559-1000 citibank.com 6 1,440,000 21 First Bank & Trust Lebanon (276) 889-4622 firstbank.com 18 1,242,759 22 WashingtonFirst Bank Reston (703) 840-2410 wfbi.com 12 1,193,126 23 Citizens and Farmers Bank West Point (800) 296-6246 cffc.com 25 1,128,799 24 National Bank of Blacksburg Blacksburg (540) 951-6228 nbbank.com 26 1,062,447 25 American National Bank and Trust Co. Danville (800) 240-8190 amnb.com 18 996,701 1 As of June 30, 2017  2 Subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corp. Capital One Bank is located in Virginia, but it provides banking across the U.S. 3 E*Trade Bank is located in Virginia, but its office provides online banking across the U.S. 4 Xenith Bank was acquired by Union Bank & Trust in January 2018. Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Deposit Market Share Report, June 30, 2017 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-designing-duo A designing duo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-designing-duo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-designing-duo#When:20:30:00Z What would you have been if you hadn’t become an architect? Rohit: a professional cricket player Smita: a foreign-service officer. What’s on the bucket list? Rohit: helping people build their careers Smita: seeing the Northern Lights. What’s on the nightstand? Rohit: The Wall Street Journal Smita: “All the Light We Cannot See.” As principals of a large architectural firm, Rohit and Smita Anand of the Tysons office of KTGY have their fingerprints on lots of projects. The impact of their firm can be spotted from the Washington suburbs to a new development in Reston. In the multifamily sector alone, Rohit Anand estimates that he has built more than 20,000 rental units during his long career. The husband and wife team are central players in KTGY, an international architectural firm with about 400 employees and offices as far-flung as Denver and Pune, India. KTGY has won hundreds of awards, including the Great American Living Awards for Best Design and Architecture in 2016 for developments in Stafford, Manassas, and the Potomac Yard district of Alexandria. The Anands strive to bring a fresh vision to the firm’s designs. “A lot of stuff looks and feels the same,” says Rohit, whose focus is multifamily dwellings. “But an apartment is not a commodity, a product. It has to work in a particular location for a particular tenant. It has to be meaningful.” Smita tries “to push boundaries,” too, she says in plans for single-family residences. She views town houses and stand-alone homes as a “stage, a setting in which different events happen.” The Aperture in Reston is an example of the Anands’ approach. Rohit envisioned the 421-unit luxury apartment building as a home for older millennials, now hitting their 30s, and younger Generation X’ers in their 40s, and he made sure that it checked all the boxes to attract those age groups.   The Aperture has easy transit access, sitting across the street from the Wiehle-Reston East stop on Metro’s Silver line. It brims with trendy amenities, such as an outdoor kitchen, dog park and the kind of open gathering spaces where millennials expect to mingle. A striking lobby with a bronze and stainless-steel sculpture and a dramatic double elliptical staircase gives the project flair. Like many developments near mass transit, plans for this area of Reston include 1.3 million square feet of mixed uses that will eventually include office buildings, restaurants, shops and a hotel.  Smita’s new town houses at Crown Farm in Gaithersburg, Md., catch the eye as well. With their off-center windows and mix of heights and surfaces, they resemble a playful jumble of children’s blocks. In another recent project, The Brownstones at Chevy Chase Lake in Chevy Chase, Md., Smita tries to incorporate “the notion of wellness,” she says, by including ground-floor bedrooms for aging in place, spa baths and exercise rooms, and integrated indoor and outdoor spaces. Jeff Kayce, senior vice president and managing director of the Bozzuto Group, a Maryland-based real estate development company that has worked with KTGY on The Aperture and other developments, has high praise for the firm’s Tysons office.  “Rohit’s team believes in great design and that has proven out in a variety of projects.” Natives of India, the Anands met as undergraduates at the Indian Institute of Technology. Both then pursued master’s degrees in architecture in the U.S. – Rohit at Virginia Tech, and Smita at UCLA. The couple has two children, ages 19 and 24. Running a busy architectural firm doesn’t leave a lot of leisure time. When they aren’t working, Smita enjoys hiking and trying new restaurants, while Rohit is passionate about golf and tennis and watches a lot of cricket on TV.   Being together at the office as well as at home might be a strain on some marriages, but the Anands seem to have it figured out. “Over the years, we have built up a degree of honesty,” Rohit says. “We can be professionally critical about the work without fear of offending.” For this pair of architects, that development has to be as satisfying as any they have crafted out of bricks and mortar.  2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Clemente-1008.png Developer Dan Clemente has proposed an apartment project at Tysons. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-missing-middle ‘The missing middle’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-missing-middle http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-missing-middle#When:20:30:00Z If Fairfax County developer C. Daniel Clemente has his way, more middle-class and hourly workers in the county’s fast-growing downtown Tysons area will one day have the option of walking to work instead of spending hours battling Beltway commuter traffic. “If you’re a secretary, you can’t [afford to] live at Tysons. If you’re a waiter, you can’t [afford to] live at Tysons,” says Clemente. He wants to build a 1,400-unit multifamily apartment building at Tysons, near the Spring Hill Metro Station, where all units would be affordably priced for workforce housing in exchange for the county waiving proffer fees of about $35 million on the development. Currently, Fairfax County requires that 20 percent of units in new multifamily housing be dedicated to affordable housing. Nonetheless, in a desirable area like Tysons — where rents can easily exceed $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment — there are no incentives for developers to create much-needed affordable housing, Clemente says. If the county approves his unorthodox proposal, Clemente hopes the building, to be called Evolution, would be open to tenants within five years. As more and more millennials (and, to a lesser extent, baby boomers) move to downtown areas in search of walkable, cosmopolitan environments, corporations are following them in search of young educated workers. This phenomenon has created a scramble for affordable, workforce-priced housing in cities across America. In downtown Norfolk, where New Jersey-based Fortune 500 human-resources firm Automatic Data Processing (ADP) recently invested more than $32 million to locate an office with 1,800 employees, rents are prohibitive for some workers. With the average renter in Norfolk earning about $33,000 a year “not many of those people … can afford to live downtown where rents are very high,” says Ed Ware, director of communications for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. While developers are trying to meet the burgeoning demand for affordable rental housing, Ware says, it takes time to obtain permits, financing and tax credits. Rents triple in trendy district Downtown Richmond also is drawing more residents. “We’re seeing a lot of people moving back into the city, moving into parts of the city … where people haven’t lived since the mid-1900s,” says Lee Downey, director of Richmond’s Department of Economic and Community Development. In the popular Scott’s Addition area, not far from downtown, residential rents have more than tripled over the past decade to as much as $1,700 for a two-bedroom apartment.  In the city’s recently released North of Broad/Downtown Redevelopment Project, it has included a “meaningful” mixed-income housing component as a requirement in a request for proposals from developers. The 20-acre project also calls for replacing the 47-year-old Richmond Coliseum as well as building a new convention center hotel and a bus-transfer plaza. “We want to make sure that our teachers and our firefighters, the working class, that they can have an opportunity to live in the city that they work in,” says Downey. The city wants to see a full slate of housing options in the project, ranging from subsidized, low-income apartments to workforce-priced homes for sale. City planners and developers have largely been unprepared for the influx of millennials. “People were a little bit asleep at the wheel in terms of demographics shifts … and the rate at which [millennial migration] has been increasing has caught people off guard,” says Daniel Parolek, principal of Opticos Design Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based architecture and urban design firm. Not keeping pace A majority of millennials, who now outnumber baby boomers, want to live in walkable, urban environments, but developers aren’t building affordable housing fast enough to keep pace with demand, he adds. In 2010 Parolek coined the phrase “the missing middle.” It describes the type of workforce-priced housing that has been largely absent from cities for the past several decades. Such housing is particularly sought by older millennials who may be starting families and who may be forced to consider a move to the suburbs or to less-expensive cities if they can’t find available housing stock at an affordable price.  American planning and zoning policies since the 1950s have been successful at enabling the development of single-family housing projects and high-density multifamily apartment buildings, Parolek says. Yet, they haven’t prioritized the construction of “missing middle” options such as duplexes, triplexes, courtyard apartments, town houses and live/work/play communities. Faced with increased demand for affordable housing, cities and developers now must meet this need with creative options, Parolek adds, including a mix of for-sale and rental properties in the same developments. Other options may include governments relaxing off-street parking requirements in recognition that millennials are less likely to own as many cars as previous generations. Additionally, developers may consider “communal” housing designs aimed at millennial roommates. These arrangements would offer individual bedrooms and bathrooms but shared common areas. Seniors aren’t selling Another problem contributing to the lack of available workforce-priced housing is that some senior citizens aren’t selling their homes, says Richmond Association of Realtors CEO Laura Lafayette. That’s because what could be a next option for them isn’t affordable. According to a recent study commissioned by Lafayette’s association, about 70 percent of seniors in the Richmond area owning homes valued at less than $200,000 aren’t moving because the age-restricted housing communities in the area start at more than $300,000. That’s keeping an estimated 9,000 starter homes off the local market. When these homes do go on sale, Lafayette says, they’re often under contract within a day because demand is so high. Without available affordable rental or sale options, “millennials will pick up and move” to another market, she adds, creating a problem for corporations that want to retain talent. Millennials “are much more courageous than their parents in that regard. They will go where they want to live, and then they’ll figure out the job.” One unexpected side effect of the downtown migration is that, with millennials and baby boomers vacuuming up available affordable housing, people who make less than the area median income are left with even fewer options in cities. With millennials and baby boomers moving back in, “our cities have gotten safer and more vibrant, and that’s all great news, but the bad news is our lower-wage workers are not finding housing there as easily anymore,” says Nina Janopaul. She’s the CEO of the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, which helps provide apartments to low-income families in Northern Virginia. Disappearing housing stock In recent local studies, Arlington County and Alexandria determined that more than 85 percent of their areas’ naturally occurring affordable housing stock has disappeared during the past 15 years. Investors have bought up older and distressed properties and remodeled them to appeal to millennials with amenities such as fitness centers and granite countertops, Janopaul says. “New developments are always going to be geared toward the highest payers, and the folks that are often the most desirable demographics. And millennials usually tick that box because they can pay higher rents and want to live downtown,” says Washington, D.C.-based developer Jeff Wainwright of West End Capital Group, which has redeveloped aging apartment complexes in Richmond and Hampton Roads. However, with rents rising, “people are getting priced out of downtown. Not everybody can afford it,” he says. Affordable housing advocates  are relieved that the country’s recently passed tax reform bill retained tax credits for low income housing. However, there is concern that the  the reduced corporate tax rate,  from 35 to 21 percent, could  decrease the value of the housing credit for investors. With a recent study showing that seven affordable housing units are needed for every unit built, it’s an issue that’s not going away, notes Robert Sheppard, managing director of CBRE’s Affordable Housing Group. “Cities are proactively and aggressively trying to come up with solutions to this problem,” he says. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BPTW_AccountingPrinciples.png Jen Dodge (at left on the front row) celebrates with the Glen Allen staff at Accounting Principals. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beyond-compensation Beyond compensation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beyond-compensation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beyond-compensation#When:20:30:00Z Accounting Principals promotes a workplace philosophy that can be summed up  in three sentences: Love what you do. Love the people you work with. Be proud of where you work. “We focus more on our culture and creative perks so we can offer something to our employees that extends beyond just compensation,” says managing director Jen Dodge. Senior leaders put a lot of effort into building and maintaining that culture. “Passion and team spirit are two very important corporate values of ours,” says Dodge. “I don’t know how to say it other than we always have each others’ backs. We have such a tenured team, and we’re more like a family than we are co-workers.” The formula appears to be working. Accounting Principals has ranked as the top company among large employers in the Best Places to Work list four times in the past six years. The professional recruitment and staffing firm includes the company’s Ajilon and Parker + Lynch divisions. Accounting Principals specializes in accounting staffing while Ajilon focuses on corporate office recruiting, and Parker + Lynch’s area is executive search and professional consulting. The company dates back to the 1991 formation of Accounting Solutions, which was sold to Accounting Principals in 2005. In 2010, Accounting Principals became part of The Adecco Group, an international staffing company. Accounting Principles now has more than 75 locations and about 1,000 employees nationwide. The Richmond-area office in Glen Allen has approximately 20 employees.  “Our parent company was ranked as the No. 2 most attractive company to work for on Fortune’s 2017 25 World’s Best Workplaces List, so you can see that the tone really does start at the top for us,” Dodge says. Accounting Principals continually solicits feedback from employees on the perks and programs they want.  This year the company has initiated the “new normal,” which allows employees increased flexibility in their work schedules when they can get their job done — and get results — with fewer office hours.  “This was our answer to try to give more flexibility without sacrificing our strong focus on the quality and service we’ve become known for with our clients,” Dodge says. The company has a strong paid time-off policy. It also offers other programs and contests in which employees can earn additional time off when they exceed expectations. The benefit package includes a wellness perk that helps employees pay for gym memberships, yoga classes and sessions with personal trainers as well as smoking-cessation and weight-loss classes. Accounting Principals’ Win4Youth program motivates employees and clients to participate in fitness and sports as a way to raise money for children’s charities around the world.  “We all participate in sporting events with co-workers and clients, and our parent company makes a donation for every kilometer logged throughout the year,” Dodge says, adding that donations have reached millions of dollars since the program began in 2010. “It shows that our company takes the commitment of social responsibility very seriously.” The company annually conducts employee surveys regarding the workplace and spends a good deal of time going through the feedback. “So many of our policies, benefits and programs come from the feedback in those surveys,” Dodge says. “We take that feedback to heart. We are constantly changing and trying to be ahead of the curve on what they need.” 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Collins-2860.png Patrick Collins is president of Chesbay Distributing, which sells over 7 million cases of beer a year. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-tears-in-their-beer No tears in their beer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-tears-in-their-beer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/no-tears-in-their-beer#When:20:30:00Z Chesbay Distributing’s business is beer. That is apparent in one of the company’s employee events, a craft-beer competition. In addition to brewing beer, teams from company departments develop marketing plans and labeling systems. “Then they are judged and a trophy is awarded to the winner,” says Kathrine Wylie, the company’s marketing manager.  “All of our departments are represented [in the contest]. It’s turning into something fun.” The contest is just one way that the Chesapeake-based wholesale beer distributor connects with its employees and maintains morale. Chesbay officials say the company appeals to jobseekers because of the opportunities it offers. “In the last year or so we have attracted a lot of employees from competitors,” says Jerry Fortner, Chesbay’s director of human resources. “We are known in the area as having the strongest compensation package and raises for sales, delivery and warehouse employees [among] beverage distribution companies.” Delivery drivers are paid in the upper $50,000 range while merchandisers and warehouse workers make $16 an hour. Chesbay traces its roots to Norfolk Beverage, which was founded in the mid-1980s. The name was changed in 2000 to reflect the company’s growing footprint. “We felt like Norfolk Beverage was too narrow,” Fortner says. The company’s territory grew outside the Chesapeake area three years ago when it acquired Kozak Beverages, a Miller beer distributor based in Petersburg. Chesbay’s  territory now stretches north to Petersburg, west to Amelia County and south to North Carolina. The company distributed Miller beer until 1999 when it added a Coors portfolio. In 2012 it joined Reyes Holdings, a family-owned conglomerate of beer distributors representing import, craft and domestic beers. Today, Chesbay distributes around 35 beers, ranging from Miller to Virginia craft beers such as Hardywood, Ardent and Lickinghole Creek. The company sells  just over 7 million cases of beer a year. “Beer is a good business to be in because it’s pretty much recession proof,” Fortner says. The company now has around 170 employees. None is pigeonholed in one job or one segment of the business, Fortner says. Employees can move from one department to another during their careers. “We work hard on employee engagement,” Fortner says. “We want people to develop and grow as promotions become available.” The company’s management, including company President Patrick Collins, maintains an open-door policy in listening to employees’ concerns. “We have a hotline number that employees can call if they feel an issue has not been addressed properly,” Fortner says. Chesbay organizes a variety of employee activities such as Family Fun Day. The event includes carnival rides, music, food, a beer garden and door prizes. “Last year we topped out at about 450 people,” says Wylie. In addition, the company holds an annual awards banquet to recognize top performers in each department, awarding them $1,000 each. In 2013 Chesbay started its “Hunger Action Month Initiative” during which it conducts a food drive at its warehouse to support the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia. “Every department gets involved, and this year we competed internally, our sales department versus our operations department. We were able to collect and donate 5,205 pounds of food and necessities,” Wylie says. “This is double what we collected in 2016.” Chesbay is always looking for ways to retain employees, company officials say. “Warehouse, merchandising and delivery jobs are tough, physical jobs,” Fortner says, noting that a yearly attrition rate of 15 percent is typical in the industry.  “We think we have done a good job of hedging our turnover.”  2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2018_red_BPTW_logo.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multiple-year-winners Multiple-year winners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multiple-year-winners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multiple-year-winners#When:20:30:00Z Below are the 2018 Best Places winners that have made the list many times since 2011. table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0606; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } EIGHT YEARS Carfax Centreville Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Arlington Damuth Trane Chesapeake Edward Jones St. Louis Healthcare Distribution Alliance Arlington Segue Technologies Inc. Arlington Vaco Richmond Richmond     SEVEN YEARS Cassaday & Co. Inc. McLean Cortek Inc. Fredericksburg Davenport & Co. LLC Richmond Knight Point Systems Reston SRC Inc. North Syracuse, N.Y. Trusted Mission Solutions McLean Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer PC Norfolk WellsColeman Richmond     SIX YEARS Accounting Principals, Parker + Lynch and Ajilon Glen Allen CBRE|Hampton Roads, CBRE|Richmond, CBRE|Charlottesville, CBRE|Fredericksburg Norfolk Concept Solutions LLC Reston Independent Container Line Glen Allen Kearney & Co. Alexandria MercerTrigiani Alexandria SimVentions Inc. Fredericksburg     FIVE YEARS Burns & McDonnell Kansas City, Mo. Corps Solutions Stafford Defense Point Security LLC Reston Definitive Logic Arlington Dynamis Inc. Fairfax Endurance IT Services Virginia Beach Marathon Consulting LLC Virginia Beach Markon Solutions Falls Church Resonate Reston RiverFront Investment Group Richmond Signature Family Wealth Advisors Norfolk ThunderCat Technology Reston Williams Mullen Richmond   2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_0103x.png Tim Kelly says Macedon Technologies will have about 130 employees by the end of summer. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-growth-trajectory High-growth trajectory http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-growth-trajectory http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-growth-trajectory#When:20:30:00Z Tim Kelly describes Macedon Technologies as an “employee-centric company.” The Reston-based IT software firm hires job applicants who want to “be more than a coder that sits in a dark room and works with specifications,” says Kelly, Macedon’s vice president of professional services and operations. “They have the opportunity to work directly with clients” in developing solutions for their needs.” Austin Rosenfeld founded the business in 2009. Using the Appian platform, Macedon services range from architecture and analysis to design implementation and deployment. Macedon writes software for a variety of industries, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, finance, education, energy and entertainment. Its customers are spread across the U.S. and Canada. During the past eight years, Macedon has grown from one employee to 90 employees. “We will be roughly around 130 employees by the end of the summer,” Kelly says. “Every 18 months we have outgrown our facility.” The company moved recently into a new 25,000-square-foot facility that, based on its current growth trajectory, it will outgrow in a year and half, Kelly says. “We continue to grow headcount and client base while maintaining our unique culture.” The company experiences consistent year-over-year growth. In 2014, it was the 842nd fastest-growing company in the country on the Inc. 5000 list. “We have more than doubled in size since then,” Kelly says, noting the firm is preparing to open an office in Austin, Texas, where it has a strong concentration of work. Macedon recruits from the top U.S. universities but makes offers to less than 1 percent of job candidates interviewed. “We want to ensure that people coming in will not only technically be able to do what we do but will also fit into our culture,” Kelly says. In addition to recruiting for strong technical abilities, Macedon also looks for people who have a good understanding of how the world “works outside of being a programmer,” Kelly says. “Are they good human beings? Are they someone we want to work with? Are they someone we can trust will add to the culture we have here?” The company rewards employees based on their demonstrated ability and accomplishments. “As a result, people’s careers tend to be accelerated,” Kelly says. New employees joining the company are offered corporate housing for their first month. Since most are not Northern Virginia residents, the idea of finding a place to live in an unknown area can be daunting. “Corporate housing allows them the opportunity to assimilate to the area and to decide where they want to live and with whom they wish to live,” Kelly says. “We want to make their life easy and the transition easy.” About a month before starting with the company, each employee is assigned a Macedon buddy who serves as a resource. “The buddies are similar in title but with enough experience as to how the company works to help new employees in their transition to Macedon,” Kelly says. “It provides a level of comfort — someone to help you out but they are not your boss.” Employees receive a comprehensive benefits package and are eligible for various monthly and yearly bonus programs. The company pays 100 percent of health-care insurance premiums for each employee. Macedon also holds a variety of corporate events that range from baseball games to charity fundraisers. “Every year we throw an over-the-top family and friends picnic,” Kelly says. “We will hold our fourth annual picnic this June.” Each month Macedon also hosts a company-wide meeting where Rosenfeld talks about “where the company is going and what we are doing. That’s when we celebrate promotions and work anniversaries,” Kelly says.   2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_5478x.png Employees at Concept Solutions have access to a room with pool, air-hockey and foosball tables. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/positions-with-perks Positions with perks http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/positions-with-perks http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/positions-with-perks#When:20:30:00Z When employees of the Best Places to Work in Virginia talk about what their companies do for them, a lot of interesting perks float to the top. Nexus Services in Verona, which provides services to immigrants in detention, hosts private concerts for its employees. Shows have included performances by the band Fall Out Boy and singers Nate Ruess and Prince Royce. Nexus also hosts a family movie night at a local theater, inviting employees and their families to watch a film with popcorn and free drinks. Free drinks of another type are available at Virginia Distillery in Nelson County. Employees are entitled to a bottle of whisky  every month, along with regular tastings. Airrosti Rehab Centers, a San Antonio-based company with centers in Virginia, gives employees and their dependents free treatments.  “We fix pain fast,” the company says on its website. If you work in Northern Virginia at the government division ALKU, a national security defense contractor, you can receive up to $7,500 to help pay down your college loan. Also, on Thursdays the company provides bagels. The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union offers a series of celebrations and contests. Its event list includes: a chili cook-off and summer barbecue, Thanksgiving Potluck and Gala, dessert exchange and Halloween soiree, Valentine’s Day celebration, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations, baby and bridal showers. The company also reports that it “just started our second Biggest Loser Challenge for the year because everyone enjoyed the first one so much.” Bart & Associates, a technology firm in McLean, celebrates wins and successes with social and teambuilding events that don’t seem to fit the standard model. To name two, Wine & Painting and Escape Room Murder Mystery. On a more traditional scale, the firm acknowledges a job well done with club-level Washington Nationals tickets, among other thank-yous. At the Business Benefits Group in Fairfax, you can celebrate at the annual chili cook-off and maybe win a trophy. If you stay with the company for your 10th anniversary, the prize gets a little better: a Rolex watch. If you missed breakfast, you won’t have to worry if you work at CBRE, a real estate and investment service firm with multiple Virginia offices. Each morning, fresh cut-up fruit, yogurt, granola bars, bagels and fresh fruit juice are provided to all staff. In addition, the company has a fully stocked coffee bar that includes various coffees, teas and hot chocolate to have throughout the day. In other words, you can skip Starbucks. Want to chill out? There’s a room for that. Employees at Concept Solutions, a technology company in Reston, have access to a room outfitted with pool, air-hockey and foosball tables plus a big-screen TV. It’s always nice to get something on your birthday. At Cortek Inc., it’s even more special. The Fredericksburg-based engineering, technology and security company gives its employees money on their birthdays. Here’s the special part: the money is folded in origami. Endurance IT in Virginia Beach last year took employees and their families to a Hampton Roads Admirals hockey game at the Norfolk Scope. Salty and Hat Trick (Admirals’ mascots) came to say hi. All the kids received goodie bags that included hockey pucks and cowbells. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Dogs-3083.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dog-days Dog days http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dog-days http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dog-days#When:20:30:00Z Some of Virginia’s best workplaces are going to the dogs. Companies are allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. Executives say the practice reduces employees’ stress while helping to build morale. At Charlottesville-based Crutchfield Corp., for example, dogs are a constant presence and have become a reflection of the company’s corporate culture. “We’re pretty quirky,” says Chris Lilley, Crutchfield’s chief human resources officer. Allowing pets at work is just one of the many steps taken by the Best Places to Work in Virginia to make their offices more welcoming. Research has found that workplace stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, low morale and burnout, all of which can cause reduced productivity. This is the eighth year that Virginia Business has compiled the Best Places to Work in Virginia list in cooperation with Pennsylvania-based Best Companies Group. This year, 175 entrants vied to be named one of the Best Places to Work in Virginia. A hundred were selected for the list in three categories: small (15-99 U.S. employees); midsize (100-249); and large, (250 or more). The Best Companies Group made its selections based on surveys conducted with the companies and their employees. Employee surveys, for example, were used to benchmark companies on a list of core values: leadership and planning, corporate culture and communication, role satisfaction, work environment, relationship with supervisor, training and benefits, pay and overall engagement.   Founder fond of dogs Crutchfield’s connection with dogs is — like its business — a reflection of the interests of its founder. William G. “Bill” Crutchfield started the company in 1974. When Crutchfield planned to sell a Porsche 356 coupe, he was unable to find anyone to help install an after-market car stereo. That gave him an idea for a mail-order, car-stereo business. Since then, the company has expanded to offer a variety of consumer-electronic products. As the company has evolved, its workforce has grown from one employee to about 600. Crutchfield, which launched a website in 1995, claims to be the first retailer to sell consumer electronics on the internet. But let’s not forget the dogs. Bill Crutchfield is a dog lover. A photo of him being licked by a dachshund is prominent on the company’s website. Other dogs on the site, under the rubric “Crutchfield’s Furry Family,” run the gamut of breeds. Just as Crutchfield evolved as a company, it has morphed into a dog-friendly environment. “It creates an informal atmosphere,” Lilley says. Employees who bring their dogs to work tell him they are happier, and that positive attitude helps when the work starts piling up. The company seems to be on solid ground in crediting pets with reducing stress. A number of studies, including one by Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012, have found that the presence of dogs in the workplace can make a difference in lowering an employee’s stress. “On a daily basis we have dozens of dogs out here. They are really part of most departments,” says Kelly Greenstone, the company’s employee relations manager. But, Lilley says, dogs don’t just roam the building. Some employees are allergic to dogs, and others simply are not dog people. They may be afraid of dogs and become nervous around them. That’s where empathy and tolerance comes in. There are dog-free spaces and fur-free departments. Employees also check with their cubicle mates and other co-workers before they bring in their dogs, Lilley says. “That’s what I really like: watching employees take care of each other. It’s very self-policing,” he says. Crutchfield also strives to relieve stress through a variety of wellness programs, including exercise and mindfulness classes. The company also has a “gratitude board” where employees can post comments about what they are most grateful for. But it’s the presence of dogs that gets everyone’s attention. Sticking to the stairs  Crutchfield is not the sole company on the Best Places to Work list using dogs to lower workplace stress. Centreville-based Carfax brags about its dogs in the Best Places to Work survey.  The company provides vehicle history information for buyers and sellers of used cars. “Dogs are great stress relievers,” the company says in the survey. “Having dogs in the office creates excitement and a loving environment. Some of our dogs come dressed in a different outfit every day — people can’t wait to see what they’re wearing.” Adrienne Webster, vice president of human resources at Carfax, says dogs also provide their human handlers with a health benefit. Walking the dog helps to keep the owner fit. Webster says that the company’s employee handbook emphasizes “no jerks” in the workplace. The same policy applies to dogs. Employees are responsible for making sure their pets are well behaved. “Dogs aren’t allowed on elevators. They have to take the stairs,” is one of the company rules that Webster says help keep dogs in line. “We haven’t had any incidents,” of misbehaving dogs, she adds. Flexible schedules Allowing pets in the office is not the only way to keep stress under control. For example, Virginia Distillery Co. in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Nelson County uses flexible scheduling to permit employees to handle personal concerns, such as attending a child’s school event or keeping a doctor’s appointment. Having that flexibility is important to employees who are working to build the company’s brand. At the World Whiskies Awards last year, one of the distillery’s products was named the Best American Single Malt Whisky. Meanwhile, the distillery’s flagship American Single Malt is still aging, with a release date set for 2019. In addition to its flexible scheduling, the company also does well by doing good. Its community projects include volunteering at the local food pantry and producing a special single-barrel release of whisky whose proceeds went to the Nelson County first-responder teams. The company’s CEO, Gareth H. Moore of Charlottesville, says Nelson was chosen for the distillery for a compelling reason. “Nelson County has a long tradition of manufacturing craft beverages — we are surrounded by great businesses like Devil’s Backbone brewery, Bold Rock cidery and a plethora of wineries.  The community has a heritage of building these industries locally to create world-class products and also a culture of hospitality in welcoming people to their facilities to experience their products in person,” Moore says. Pajamas and flip-flops Sometimes you can reduce workplace stress by the clothes you wear. That’s one of the practices followed by Health Quality Innovators (HQI) in Richmond. Employees, for example, are permitted to wear shorts to work when the temperature gets above 90 degrees in the summer, and the company celebrates National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day, which will be held April 16 this year. “We wear business-like pajamas. It’s a lot of fun,” says Jenni Brockman, vice president, organizational growth and communications for the nonprofit, health-care quality consulting firm. Brockman says the company strives to be creative in coming up with innovative ideas that help health-care providers and patients. Some of the company’s creativity exercises for employees also involve  clothing. For example, HQI held a contest in which employees were invited to create their own flip-flops. One employee developed small, blow-up pools for flip-flops; another created platform-shoe flips-flops. The big winner was flip-flops made out of bacon. “We try to have fun. It goes a long way toward relieving stress,” adds Heidi White, the company’s director of human resources. Finding the right dress Sometimes customers’ tension can trigger employees’ stress. That’s an issue that Ashley Kimberl tries to address. Kimberl is president of All the Rage Stores, a special occasion dress shop that has locations in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. In addition, she operates a prom and bridal business, Studio I Do. Customers include brides searching for wedding gowns and teenage girls looking for prom dresses.  Finding the right look can be stressful for employees as well as customers. Kimberl lowers the tension for employees by using a team approach to sales, “so they don’t have a bunch of quotas.” In hiring for her sales team, she looks for people who are not only outgoing but are also adaptable. “We have to be chameleons,” she says. “A big part of our training is talking about how you have to be able to mold yourself to every customer’s needs and wants.” To boost employee morale, Kimberl holds staff meetings outside the shop and buys employees coffee or lunch. Sometimes she splurges on stress relief. “We had a spa day. Everybody got their nails and feet done,” she says. “It was great.”   Virginia Business Best Places to Work 2017 Best Places to Work Multiple Year Winners Top Small Employer: Macedon Technologies and List of small employers Top Midsize Employer: Chesbay Distributing and List of midsize employers Top Large Employer: Accounting Principals and List of large employers Related story: Positions with perks Employers explore a variety of ways to keep workers happy by Gary Robertson #bestplacesva Tweets !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Please enjoy a gallery of photos from our Best Places to Work awards luncheon.  If you would like a copy of your company's photo, please contact Adrienne R. Watson at arwatson@va-business.com with the photo number. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-february-2018 People - February 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-february-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-february-2018#When:20:30:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Nick Bates has been named chief financial officer of Liberty Tax in Virginia Beach. Bates will follow Kathleen Donovan, who resigned last year. Bates was vice president of finance at Liberty Tax. (The Virginian-Pilot) Robert P. Giordano has been named chief operating officer of Top Guard Security in Norfolk. He was chief operating officer of Kwantek. (News release) The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has added two new members to its leadership team. Ghislain d’HumiПres has been named executive director and senior vice president, core operations, and Paul Scott has been named senior vice president of hospitality. The positions were created to improve operations and efficiency. D’Humières was director and CEO of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. He previously was director and chief curator of the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman. Scott joins the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation from the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, that city’s largest hotel. Before joining Hilton in 2013, he worked for Starwood Hotels and Resorts as vice president of food and beverage for North America and as general manager of the Swan and Dolphin in Orlando. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Toano-based Lumber Liquidators named Famous P. Rhodes to its board of directors. Rhodes is executive vice president and the chief marketing officer with Bluegreen Vacations Corp., a vacation ownership company. Lumber Liquidators is North America’s largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, with more than 385 locations. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Thomas R. Benzing has been reappointed to the Virginia Museum of Natural History board of trustees. Benzing is a professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology at James Madison University.  (News release) Kim Blosser has been named president of Lord Fairfax Community College. Blosser was vice president of academic and student affairs of the community college, which has campuses in Middletown and Fauquier County. Blosser was one of more than 100 candidates who applied during a nationwide search. She is the institution’s fifth permanent president. She succeeds Cheryl Thompson-Stacy, who is retiring. (FauquierNow.com) Eastern Mennonite University head men’s basketball coach Kirby Dean will resign at the end of the current season. He has accepted a position as the director of parks and recreation for Rockingham County. (News release) Michael Post will become vice president for enrollment management of Bridgewater College on July 1. He has been vice president for enrollment at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. (News release) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot retired Jan 1. He had led the city police force for 14 years. (Danville Register & Bee) Tonya Milling, executive director of The Arc of Southside for seven years, has been named executive director of The Arc of Virginia. She began her new position with the state organization in January. (Work It, SoVa) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Roanoke-based Hollins University has appointed   Ashley Browning   vice president for enrollment management. Browning joined Hollins in 2009 and previously served as the university’s director of admissions. A 2007 graduate of the University of Virginia, she holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Hollins and earned a doctorate from Vanderbilt University in 2016. (News release)     Ken McFadyen  , the director of economic development for Botetourt County, has been elected president of the Virginia Economic Developers Association. McFadyen has nearly 20 years of experience in economic development and public administration. (News release)   Jonathan D. Puvak   and  Daniel R. Sullivan  have been promote d to partner at Gentry Locke in Roanoke. Puvak practices on the firm’s Business & Corporate team. Sullivan works on the firm’s Business Litigation team. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Tim Smoot, an agent with Long & Foster Real Estate’s New River Valley office, has been appointed to a two-year term on board of directors of the New River Valley Association of Realtors. (News release)  Jonathan D. Puvak  and Daniel R. Sullivan have been promote d to partner at Gentry Locke in Roanoke. Puvak practices on the firm’s Business & Corporate team, assisting businesses, business owners and governmental entities with corporate governance, commercial transactions, employee benefits, and tax and real estate matters. Sullivan works on the firm’s Business Litigation team. His experience includes business, insurance, product liability and professional liability lawsuits. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTWEST VIRGINIA  Bradley C. “Butch” Lambert  and Donnie W. Rife have been appointed to the  Virginia Gas and Oil Board. Lambert is deputy director at the Big Stone Gap-based Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Rife is former chairman of the Dickerson County Board of Supervisors. (News release) Larance Eugene Middleton, of Big Stone Gap, has been appointed to the Board for Coal Mining Examiners. Middleton is a belt examiner at Contura Energy’s Deep Mine 41. Douglas E. Deel, Phillip W. Hale and Bennie B. Johnson have been reappointed to the board. Deel is a retired heavy equipment operator from Breaks; Hale is a surface safety manager from North Tazewell, and Johnson is a shift supervisor at Kingsport, Tenn.-based Alpha Natural Resources. (News release) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP has named    LaVerne H. Council    as the firm’s national managing principal for Enterprise Digital Strategy and Innovation. Council is based in Alexandria. Her past experience includes serving as senior vice president and general manager at Mitre Corp.; chief information officer (CIO) and assistant secretary for the Office of Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs and corporate vice president and global CIO at Johnson & Johnson. (VirginiaBusiness.com)    Victoria D. Harker    has been named to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Harker is executive vice president and chief financial officer at McLean-based Tegna Inc. (News release)  HITT Contracting Inc.  announced a new generation of leaders in December. Co-Presidents    Jim Millar    and   Brett Hitt   will become co-chairmen of a newly fo rmed board, and  Russell Hitt  will become chai rman emeritus. E xecutive Vice President   Kim Roy   has been named CEO, becoming the first woman CEO of a top 100 U.S. construction company, as defined by ENR (Engineering News Record), an industry trade magazin e. Executive Vice Presidents    Jeremy Bardin  and Drew Mucci will be co-pres  idents.  (VirginiaBusiness.com) Kevin Phillips is the new CEO of Herndon-based Mantech International Corp. Phillips, ManTech’s former president, succeeds George Pedersen, now the company’s executive chairman. (Washington Business Journal) Atif Qarni, most recently a teacher at Beville Middle School in Woodbridge, is Virginia’s new secretary of education. Qarni’s December appointment was unusual.  A teacher hasn’t stepped directly from the classroom into the Cabinet for at least a decade, according to the Virginia Education Association, one of the state’s confederation of teachers. (The Washington Post) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Todd P. Haymore, Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade under Gov. Terry McAuliffe, will join the law firm Hunton & Williams in March to lead its new Global Economic Development, Commerce and Government Relations Group. (News release) Angela Inglett has joined the Virginia Association of Counties as director of program development. She was a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th. (News release) Gena McGroarty was promoted to vice president of MWCAdvocacy at McGuireWoods Consulting in Richmond. A former congressional aide, she joined the firm in 2016 after working for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina Department of Commerce. (News release) 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-february-2018 For the Record - February 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-february-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-february-2018#When:20:30:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Blue Ridge Lumber Co. LLC plans to invest nearly $2.7 million in its Essex County lumberyard. The project is expected to create 17 jobs. The company is adding dry kiln capacity to increase hardwood exports. Blue Ridge Lumber has been selling Appalachian hardwoods since 1981, operating six facilities throughout Virginia and exporting products around the world. The company has committed to purchase more than $5.2 million of Virginia logs and lumber during the next three years. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Fairlead Integrated has started construction on a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach. It will be larger than the company’s existing manufacturing site in Chesapeake. Fairlead said the project at 561 London Bridge Road will extend its manufacturing footprint and allow the Portsmouth-based company to prepare for increased demand from military customers for hardware and software. Fairlead makes products that are part of mission-critical systems in the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz and Ford-class aircraft carriers, Virginia-class submarines, all classes of surface combatants and amphibious ships. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Insurance firm Geico said it plans to hire about 500 people in Virginia Beach now that the regional office will be handling all the sales, service and claims for the state of Tennessee. The office, which oversees the company’s Virginia and North Carolina operations, employs 2,985 people. Geico had a growth spurt in December 2016, too, when it expanded by 500 people in Virginia Beach. Director of Human Resources Beth Roberts said the hiring will take place in the next few months and some of the jobs will replace people who have earned promotions and transferred to other locations. (The Virginian-Pilot) Global Technical Systems (GTS), a Virginia Beach-based provider of advanced engineering solutions for the defense and homeland security industries, plans to build a $54.7 million, 500,000-square-foot manufacturing center that would create 1,100 jobs.  GTS plans to build an electro-mechanical energy storage system operation. It would produce and distribute 100 percent green energy storage systems using advanced composites and engineering technologies. The building will be located on about 30 acres of land currently owned by the city of Virginia Beach, at the site of the former Owl’s Creek Golf Course. (VirginiaBusiness.com) More than 75 people are losing their seats on the board of directors for the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. The board will shrink to 23 people, down from more than 100. Alliance President and CEO Rick Weddle said the smaller board and other changes will improve the organization and modernize the way it’s governed. The alliance’s governance model was designed in 1997 and received minor updates in 2005. (Inside Business) Biotechnology packaging company Instant Systems is expanding in Norfolk. The company plans to invest more than $900,000 to purchase equipment for new product lines and training related to its packaging technology.  The project is expected to create 72 jobs and retain 26 positions, nearly tripling the size of the company’s workforce.  Founded in 2005, Instant Systems makes custom, medical-grade bags for the processing, storage, and transport of biological materials. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The $169 million, four-lane Interstate 564 Intermodal Connector in Norfolk opened in December, making it easier for motor carriers to move cargo to and from The Port of Virginia’s Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). The connector is a dedicated ramp that provides a direct link between the NIT’s North Gate and I-564. The roadway was designed to speed the flow of truck-borne exports and imports while reducing the volume of vehicles on Hampton Boulevard, one of Norfolk’s busiest thoroughfares. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Richmond-based law firm Sands Anderson PC has opened an office in Williamsburg, its sixth location. Leading the office will be Williamsburg-based attorney Elizabeth L. White, who specializes in community association law. The law firm said the location will allow it to more efficiently serve clients in those markets. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Smartmouth Brewing Co., based in Norfolk, opened its second brewery in Virginia Beach. The company leased the former U.S. Post Office building and renovated it to include a small-batch, 10-barrel brewery system, a private event space and an 8,000-square-foot tasting room with a back deck. Smartmouth worked with several Hampton Roads companies during the construction phase, including WPA Architects, Spacemakers and Benevolent Design. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Virginia Beach has reduced its tax rate for data-center equipment, joining Henrico County in a bid to attract data centers with tax incentives. The city’s new rate drops the tax on computers and peripherals used in data centers from $4 to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value, a reduction of 90 percent. In April, Henrico dropped its business property tax rate on computers and related equipment for data centers from $3.50 to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value. (VirginiaBusiness.com)          SHENANDOAH VALLEY          Verona-based Nexus Services plans to add 200 workers nationwide during 2018, doubling its workforce, with many of the new jobs created in the Shenandoah Valley.  Nexus is a family of companies and charities offering services to immigrants. Nexus says an improved business outlook and tax reform by the U.S. Congress have enabled the expansion.  (VirginiaBusiness.com) A new boutique hotel plans to open in downtown Staunton this spring. The 49-room Blackburn Inn is scheduled to open on the grounds of the Villages of Staunton at 301 Greenville Ave.   Robin Miller, a principal of Richmond-based Miller & Associates, is the developer behind the project. He and a partner, Dan Gecker, also developed the 80-acre Villages of Staunton, the original site of Western State Hospital. Miller is known for the adaptive re-use of architecturally significant buildings in Richmond, Petersburg and Staunton. He said in a statement that state and federal historic tax credits made the Blackburn project financially feasible. He did not disclose the investment cost. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority hired consulting engineering firm Draper Aden Associates to help attract businesses to the county. The consulting firm will perform land surveys, wetlands planning, due diligence work, borings to investigate soil grade and the potential for sinkholes, and other activities to prepare IDA-owned land for businesses to move in. (Northern Virginia Daily) More than $250 million in construction projects will be underway on the James Madison University campus in Harrisonburg during the spring semester. Projects include an expansion and renovation of the College of Business, the new Union Bank and Trust Center and two new parking decks. (News release)          SOUTHERN VIRGINIA          Tanker truck manufacturer Amthor International will invest $7.1 million to expand its Pittsylvania County operations, adding 70 jobs. The company will build a 115,000-square-foot plant to accommodate increased demand for fabricated tanker trucks and will designate the new Gretna facility as its corporate headquarters. In addition to creating 70 jobs, the project will retain 110 positions. The company has operated in Pittsylvania County for 25 years. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $255,000 from its Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund. The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority also provided assistance. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Bassett Furniture is growing again. The company has acquired outdoor furniture specialist Lane Venture, a division of North Carolina-based Heritage Home Group for $15.5 million in cash. “Lane Venture has been an important player in the outdoor furniture market since its inception in 1972,” Rob Spilman, Bassett’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We have been contemplating our entry into the outdoor market for some time, and we believe that Lane Venture is the appropriate platform to become a serious participant in this growing category.” (Martinsville Bulletin)  Pioneer Hospital in Patrick County is one of two closed hospitals in rural Virginia that have been sold. Virginia Community Capital purchased Pioneer Hospital for $5.7 million in a foreclosure auction. The bank had loaned Pioneer Health Services $6.7 million to renovate the building before Pioneer, based in Mississippi, filed for bankruptcy. Lee County meanwhile sold its shuttered hospital for $2 million to Americore, a Florida startup that is expected within months to seek state approval to reopen it. (The Roanoke Times) As Danville’s River District continues to see buildings under development, it is expected to see an increase in overall property values. Bridge Street is an example of how development is raising assessed values in the River District. Most of the buildings along its five-block length have seen redevelopment during the past 10 years. The most recent project — River District Tower in the former Dan River Research Building — was assessed at $405,000 in 2007. Its current assessment tops $12 million. (Danville Register & Bee) Telvista sent a notice to Danville Mayor John Gilstrap  in early January informing the city of the upcoming closure of its call center. It said the company “will cease operations and release its approximately 300 employees on March 7, 2018.” The closure will be permanent, Telvista Vice President of Human Resources Loren Rosario-Maldonado wrote in the letter. The company plans to offer severance benefits and transition programs to employees. Lisa Wallace, site director at the Telvista Danville location, said the company plans to consolidate its U.S. operations at its headquarters in Dallas. (Danville Register & Bee)          ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Atlantic Credit and Finance (ACF) it is expanding into downtown Roanoke, a move expected to create 115 jobs during the next two years. The company will invest $4 million as it moves into a 54,000-square-foot office at 111 Franklin Road. Construction on its new space in the Franklin Plaza building will begin immediately, and the company expects to be in its new offices this year. The company is now located at 3353 Orange Ave.  Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project. ACF is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.   (VirginiaBusiness.com)   Volvo Trucks in Dublin has signed a 20-year lease on a 221-acre tract next to its existing plant, with a purchase option. The Pulaski County Industrial Development Authority bought the land for $2.7 million in November, which opens the door to a future expansion by one of the region’s largest employers. Volvo Trucks currently employs 2,600 people at its 300-acre site. The development authority already has conveyed 49 acres to the company as part of a previous performance agreement. Volvo acquired that land in exchange for fulfilling a commitment to create 32 jobs while investing $38.1 million in plant upgrades and a new customer center. Volvo plans to use the 49 acres to extend a 1.1-mile customer experience track, where potential buyers can test drive vehicles without getting on public roads.    (Th   e  Roanoke Times)     Wells Fargo has donated the iconic bank building sitting dark on a downtown Roanoke street corner to Christiansburg-based Virginia Community Capital, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution and for-profit bank. The organization plans to open a dialogue with residents about what the 105-year-old structure could become. Leah Fremouw, director of community impact at VCC, said the organization will announce a series of community meetings on the bank building in coming months. The city’s assessment of its value is $3.47 million. VCC intends to eventually sell it. The purchaser would be encouraged but not obligated to follow the vision, Fremouw said. The money that would be paid for the building will be reinvested in the economic development of the Roanoke region, Fremouw said. (The Roanoke Times)  SOUTWEST VIRGINIA A downtown Bristol building that once housed the historic Cameo Theatre has been sold, and its new owner has plans to bring the space back to life. Brent Buchanan, manager of Oakley-Cook Funeral Home, bought the building in October. The 550-seat theater at 703 State St. was built in 1925 and ranks among the 15 oldest in Virginia, according to the League of Historic American Theatres. Established as a vaudeville theater, it primarily attracted audiences and performers from passenger trains that once stopped nearby. Buchanan hopes to present a mix of live entertainment and movies. (Bristol Herald-Courier) The Heart of Appalachia Collaborative Economic Transition Project in Tazewell County has been awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant. The project aims to help transition coal industry-related businesses in 16 counties and three cities in Southwest Virginia. The initiative will provide direct counseling, training, mentoring, business service plan development and other targeted technical assistance to approximately 58 coal industry-related businesses, retaining about 200 existing jobs in Southwest Virginia. The project is expected to create 10 businesses and 30 jobs. The federally funded program is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. (Bristol Herald Courier)  The Hunter Smith Family Foundation has given the University of Virginia’s College at Wise the largest gift in the college’s history. The $10 million gift will be matched by U.Va.’s Bicentennial Fund program, bringing the total to $20 million for U.Va-Wise students. The $20 million endowment will provide significant access to scholarships for more than 100 qualified students each year. The scholarship program will commence immediately to qualified high school and community college students who plan to attend U.Va-Wise in the 2018 fall semester. (Bristol Herald Courier)  Five contractors are currently working to renovate the former Bristol Inn at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Gate City Highway. Plans call for the hotel to reopen in spring 2018 as a Rodeway Inn — as part of the Choice Hotels chain — Raj Patel said. His father, Jay Patel, who also operates a hotel in Gastonia, N.C., is the owner. The property, developed in the 1960s, has been a Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn and Howard Johnson hotel. It closed a couple of years ago and had fallen into disrepair. The building includes a restaurant space, which the owners hope to lease. (Bristol Herald Courier)  NORTHERN VIRGINIA Media startup Axios, launched in January 2017, is growing fast and ready to put down roots in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington County. The company currently has its own wing of the MakeOffices Clarendon co-working space and has signed a 10-year lease for a floor in the same building. Axios will soon start the build-out process for its new space on the 13th floor of the office building at 3100 Clarendon Blvd. It expects to move out of MakeOffices and into the new space by mid-2018. (ARLNow.com)  Cathay Pacific Airlines will launch nonstop service Sept. 16 between Hong Kong and Washington Dulles International airports. The airline will offer four nonstop, roundtrip flights per week.  Cathay Pacific offers more than 100 flights per week from six cities in the U.S. and two in Canada. The airline offers flights to Hong Kong and beyond, including more than 22 destinations in mainland China. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Defense Technology Equipment Inc., a provider of aviation logistics and procurement solutions, plans to expand in Loudoun County, a $866,500 project expected to add 20 jobs to its workforce. Defense Technology Equipment provides aftermarket sales and distribution of spare parts for military aircraft. Its offices are located 15 minutes from Washington, D.C., and it has a distribution center and warehouse near Washington Dulles International Airport. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Tegna Inc. has agreed to purchase Midwest Television Inc.’s radio and television holdings in San Diego for $325 million in cash. The deal with the family-owned Midwest includes CBS affiliate KFMB-TV, CW affiliate KFMB-D2 and radio stations KFMB-AM 760 and KFMB-FM 100.7. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter. Tegna is a television and digital media company with 46 television stations in 38 U.S. markets. San Diego is the 29th-largest U.S. TV market with 1.1 million households and the 17th-largest radio market. (Washington Business Journal)  CENTRAL VIRGINIA   Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp.   plans to buy two additional FM radio stations in the region and reformat its news and music programming. The Chesterfield County-based nonprofit said it has agreed to buy radio stations WBBT (107.3 FM) and WWLB (93.1 FM), from Portland, Ore.-based Alpha Media. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. Commonwealth Public Broadcasting said it has submitted an application to the FCC and expects to complete the acquisition in the first quarter of 2018. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Lynchburg’s long-awaited   Community Health Center   opened to patients and the media in January at 800 Fifth St. It is expected to serve about 3,000 patients annually and act as a second location for the Free Clinic of Central Virginia on Main Street. The clinic serves the uninsured, underinsured and individuals with an income less than 200 percent of the Federal poverty level, which is $24,600 for a family of four. The $8 million clinic provides immediate and primary care as well as mental health and other services.  It is the result of collaboration between Centra Health, Free Clinic of Central Virginia and the Community Access Network, which consists of medical professionals and others who seek to increase residents’ access to health care. (The News & Advance)  The co-founder and former CEO of   Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc.   is suing  LeClairRyan  for malpractice, accusing the law firm of giving bad legal advice  that contributed to the Richmond-based blood-testing company’s downfall. The lawsuit, filed by Tonya H. Mallory, seeks at least $150 million in damages personally for Mallory from LeClairRyan, a national law firm with its largest office in Richmond. The lawsuit centers on what Mallory claims was “incorrect legal advice given to her by several LeClairRyan lawyers over a several-year period of time from 2008 through 2013,” according to the court filing. In a statement, LeClairRyan called the lawsuit “nothing more than an attempt by Mallory to avoid taking responsibility for the actions that she took on her own at HDL.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)  Virginia Tourism Corp.  has selected The Martin Agency as its advertising age ncy of record. The Richmond-based agency was selected after a competitive bidding process that attracted more than 20 applicants. It’s familiar territory for the agency, which invented the enduring Virginia is for Lovers slogan in 1969 and which has done creative work for the state tourism division over the years. “The Martin Agency is known for representing global brands,” said Rita McClenny, Virginia Tourism president and CEO. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1717_Lobby_12.13.17.png The 42,000-square-foot 1717 Innovation Center will house Startup Virginia plus Capital One offices. Rendering courtesy SMBW http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-center-will-provide-space-for-entrepreneurs Innovation center will provide space for entrepreneurs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-center-will-provide-space-for-entrepreneurs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-center-will-provide-space-for-entrepreneurs#When:20:30:00Z Startups soon will have a new hub in the River City, thanks to a partnership between a Richmond incubator and McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. Last spring, the banking giant purchased a former tobacco warehouse at 1717 E. Cary St. for $1.84 million from Will Loving and Brad Cummings, two co-founders of Startup Virginia, a business incubator currently located in a 5,000-square-foot building at 27 N. 17th St. The 42,000-square-foot Cary Street building will reopen by March as the 1717 Innovation Center, which will serve as the new location of Startup Virginia as well as space for Capital One. Startup Virginia will lease and occupy the first three floors of the six-story building.  The fourth and fifth floors will house Capital One’s product research lab and conference and programming space.  Capital One will have a group of rotating employees on-site in addition to 10 permanent workers. “This is really about bringing Richmond together, supporting the blooming startup ecosystem that we have here,” says Rasheeda Creighton, the center’s director. “Being a founder-led company, I think that’s really important for us.” Each floor is named after a Richmond neighborhood and will include elements of that area. The first floor, for example, is named after Scott’s Addition, a former warehouse district now home to breweries, apartments and restaurants. The floor’s décor will incorporate wood and metal, mimicking the neighborhood’s industrial feel. Capital One added a sixth floor to the building, which will function as meeting and event space. The addition, dubbed the “Sky Lounge,” has a glass wall offering a sweeping view of Richmond that leads to an outdoor patio. The center’s membership packages range from $150 to $1,600 per month, depending on the amount of space and resources needed. Amenities include 24/7 building access; use of event space, conference rooms and research lab and access to a network of vetted mentors. Startup Virginia now has 31 members but plans to expand. “As we scale, we anticipate 75 high-growth companies will hold memberships at any one time,” says Bryan Bostic, Startup Virginia’s executive director and co-founder.     2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_Bezos.png Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon, which attracted 238 proposals for its second headquarters. Photo courtesy Amazon http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-remains-in-the-hunt-for-amazon-headquarters Region remains in the hunt for Amazon headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-remains-in-the-hunt-for-amazon-headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-remains-in-the-hunt-for-amazon-headquarters#When:20:30:00Z Northern Virginia has made it to the next round of competition for Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters. Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md., also remain in the hunt for the project, known as HQ2, giving the Washington area three prospects, more than any other region in the country. Two other Virginia contenders, Richmond and Hampton Roads, did not make the initial cut. In mid-January, Amazon announced the 20 cities that are still under consideration for HQ2, which would create 50,000 high-paying jobs during the next 15 to 17 years. A final decision is expected later this year. Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In addition to the three metro Washington contenders, the other areas now in the second phase of the bidding process are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; and Toronto. In its September request for proposals (RFP), Amazon said it would prefer metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people that had access to mass transit, a stable and business-friendly environment and the potential to attract and retain technical talent. The company also said the initial site requirement would be 500,000 square feet with total build-out for the headquarters expected to be 8 million square feet. Amazon made clear it wanted the headquarters to be within 30 minutes of a city center and 45 minutes from an international airport. Virginia business leaders and economic development officials were giddy when news broke that NoVa made the short list.  The region’s official proposal included sites in Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

 Michael Forehand, senior vice president for government and public affairs for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says that, to continue being a serious contender, the region needs to focus on dedicated funding for Metrorail. Business leaders have been meeting to address how to fix the transit system, which has suffered from declining ridership and deteriorating infrastructure.

 “That effort is currently taking place in Virginia, Maryland and D.C., and the business community is fully committed to getting that done,” says Forehand. “If we could, it would be a tremendous demonstration that leaders in Virginia are committed to one of Amazon’s key priorities spelled out in the RFP, access to reliable public transit.” 
 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BHC_12132017_American_Merchant_12.png Diagrams and photos illustrate the production of hand and bath towels. Photo by Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herold Courier http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturer-expects-to-create-more-than-400-jobs-in-bristol Manufacturer expects to create more than 400 jobs in Bristol http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturer-expects-to-create-more-than-400-jobs-in-bristol http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturer-expects-to-create-more-than-400-jobs-in-bristol#When:20:30:00Z Bristol took a big hit in 2016 when Ball Corp. closed its 260,000-square-foot beverage packaging plant, eliminating 230 jobs. That facility, however, now has a new owner who plans to create 405 manufacturing jobs. “We are getting back what we lost,” says Bart Poe, executive director of the Bristol Virginia Industrial Development Authority who also is the city’s interim director of economic development. “This was a great shot in the arm for us. We needed this.” The Bristol plant now is owned by American Merchant, a newly formed company that is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Merchant House International Ltd. Merchant House makes home textiles, seasonal décor products and leather shoes. American Merchant is investing $19.9 million to convert the plant for the production of embroidered hand and bath towels. Until 1998, the plant was owned by Richmond-based Reynolds Metals Co. “Reynolds did a great job when they were here,” Poe says. “They patented a lid that they made for the tops of cans.” Before Ball left Bristol in 2016, the company spent six months conducting repairs and maintenance on the facility. “When we started showing the property, it was pristine,” Poe says. “The company did a fantastic job. They did the groundwork, making it easier for us to market the building.” American Merchant’s equipment should start arriving in March. “They are estimating six to eight months for the upfit to be ready for production,” Poe says. The company is ready to start hiring and training employees. “We’ve not had textiles in Bristol for a while, and we’re looking forward to this,” Poe says. During the site selection process, Bristol competed with sites in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island and South Carolina. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $300,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s  Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $590,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity funds. American Merchant also is eligible to receive additional grants and state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program and Appalachian Regional Commission, both administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. “American Merchant was pleased with what we could do and what we had available,” Poe says. “When we get something like this we go all out to make sure we get the business. It’s nice to have what a prospect needs and bring it home.”  2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP9684.png Jason Hartman is managing partner of Brown Edwards & Co., which marked its 50th anniversary last year. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-accounting-firm-expands-its-size-and-expertise Roanoke accounting firm expands its size and expertise http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-accounting-firm-expands-its-size-and-expertise http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-accounting-firm-expands-its-size-and-expertise#When:20:30:00Z When Roanoke-based Brown Edwards & Co. became a top 100 CPA firm last year, Managing Partner Jason Hartman told INSIDE Public Accounting he expected the firm to keep growing “while continuing to look for strategic acquisitions.” So far, those acquisitions have included the absorption of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s 18-person Roanoke office last February and a merger completed in January with Charleston, W.Va.-based accounting firm Gibbons & Kawash. The first deal increased Brown Edwards resources and deepened its expertise, Hartman says in a statement. He also says it strengthens Brown Edwards’ position as “the largest independent certified public accounting firm in our geographic footprint.” The Roanoke firm’s footprint already included Charleston among its nine offices. The Gibbons & Kawash deal, however, triples the size of that office to nearly 60 partners and associates, making it Brown Edwards’ second-largest. Brown Edwards marked its 50th anniversary last year. It was created with the merger of Fred P. Edwards Co. and C.A. Brown & Co. when each of those firms was about 40 years old. In addition to its Roanoke and Charleston offices, Brown Edwards has Virginia offices in Bristol, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Wytheville and the New River Valley. There are also Brown Edwards offices in Bluefield, W.Va., and Kingsport, Tenn. Valerie Ellis, Gibbons & Kawash’s managing director, says in a statement the expanded Brown Edwards offers “more comprehensive business advice tailored to our clients, while enabling us to focus more on our specialized niche areas as well.” One of those niche areas is expertise in West Virginia government agencies, says Hartman. That’s an area where Brown Edwards had limited resources. He says Brown Edwards brings “banking, construction, wealth management and other areas of expertise that Gibbons & Kawash did not have.” Hartman also says the merger creates “much more depth and resources” than Gibbons & Kawash had on its own. “The combination of these factors, we believe, will lead to significant growth of the combined firm.” During the next five years, Hartman predicts 7 percent annual organic  growth for the firm — growth in its client base and in its “geographic footprint.” That may eventually mean development outside of Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, but Hartman says, “Continued expansion in these states is our more immediate goal.”   2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Alexis_Ehrhardt_1.jpg Alexis Ehrhardt previously was an executive director at Averett University. Photo by Steven Mantilla http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-takes-the-helm-at-danville-pittsylvania-chamber New leader takes the helm at Danville Pittsylvania chamber http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-takes-the-helm-at-danville-pittsylvania-chamber http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-takes-the-helm-at-danville-pittsylvania-chamber#When:20:30:00Z Alexis Ehrhardt began this year with a new title and a new career focus as CEO and president of the Danville Pittsylvani­a  County Chamber of Commerce. Ehrhardt had worked with the chamber in her previous position as executive director of the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness at Averett University.  Heading the chamber is an opportunity for her to “do similar work in terms of thinking about talent development at a regional scale,” she says. Ehrhardt grew up in Rockville, Md. In 2000, she moved to Pittsylvania County where she initially worked as director of admissions at Chatham Hall, a private girls’ boarding school. “I moved here right out of college and fell in love with Chatham,” she says. Ehrhardt later worked for Danville Community College before moving to Averett. Much of her work in higher education was focused on strategic planning and team recruitment. “I also worked with community engagement,” she says. “It helps that I know most of the stakeholders and because I’ve built relationships we can pick up where we left off.” The chamber board began its search for a new CEO in September. “My final interview was just after Thanksgiving,” says Ehrhardt. In her first year, she plans to get acquainted with the chamber’s 650 members and learn how “we can work across all aspects of our community to help them reach their goals … I want to let the membership drive the goals.” She predicts that the chamber’s high priorities will include talent development and assistance to small businesses. “The talent development piece is crucial,” she says. “How can we support our schools so they can produce the graduates we need for our workforce?” Ehrhardt wants to come up with a long-term approach for providing opportunities for young people. “It all goes back to education and talent,” she says. “We have great relationships with the superintendents in the school system. We want to find out what we can provide to their schools, starting with early childhood and continuing through workforce development.” 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VALLEY_TruckVault.png TruckVault products are used to store equipment securely in vehicles. Photo courtesy TruckVault/Facebook http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/west-coast-company-establishing-operation-in-the-valley West Coast company establishing operation in the Valley http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/west-coast-company-establishing-operation-in-the-valley http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/west-coast-company-establishing-operation-in-the-valley#When:20:30:00Z TruckVault, a West Coast company, liked what it found in Shenandoah County when it was searching last year for an East Coast manufacturing and assembly site. The company’s decision to locate in the Mount Jackson Industrial Park and invest $1.5 million in its new operation is expected to create 60 jobs in the next few years. Since 1995, TruckVault, which is based in Washington state, has made secure storage compartments for equipment kept in vehicles ranging from sedans to pickups. The company compares its manufacturing process to cabinet making, says Jenna French, Shenandoah County director of tourism and economic development. Before talking to local economic development officials, the company “had scouted out some properties that could have worked for them. Going off that information we sought out additional properties,” says Courtland Robinson, business development director for the Shenandoah Valley Partnership. The company also looked at possible sites in Kentucky. It chose Mount Jackson because of its access to major transportation arteries. “They liked the location along Interstate 81,” Robinson says. “Being on I-81 offers a host of advantages.” The area also is accessible to Interstates 66 and 64, the Capital Beltway and Washington, D.C. TruckVault will be moving into the One Stop Deli building, which was previously used for food processing and preparation. The existing cold storage units will be removed during renovation. TruckVault plans to use 14,664 square feet of the more than 18,000-square-foot building for manufacturing. “It’s hard to find an up-to-date building in today’s market. They saw that as an opportunity to invest,” Robinson says. In addition to interstate access, the company cited other factors that drew it to the region. One was Virginia’s business friendly environment “and ability and eagerness to provide assistance to a company like that from start to finish,” Robinson says. TruckVault is a natural fit, he adds. “We have a lot of similar industries in the area that employ similar workers. They would be able to find their workforce in or around Shenandoah County by being able to pull from Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Staunton and Waynesboro.” Being part of a community also played into the company’s decision. “They are down-to-earth folks, and they are excited to call Shenandoah Valley home,” French says. 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Weisel-3140.png Eric Weisel, executive director of ODU’s Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/odu-wins-grants-from-new-economic-development-initiative ODU wins grants from new economic development initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/odu-wins-grants-from-new-economic-development-initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/odu-wins-grants-from-new-economic-development-initiative#When:20:30:00Z Old Dominion University will receive grants totaling nearly $1.3 million from a new Virginia economic development initiative for two workforce programs. The grants come from Virginia Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia), which aims to boost private-sector growth and job creation in regions throughout the commonwealth. In its first round of funding, the 24-member GO Virginia board approved grants for five projects, including two at ODU. The university will receive $647,540 for a digital shipbuilding workforce training program and $642,713 toward the Hampton Roads Cybersecurity Education, Workforce and Economic Development Alliance (HRCyber). ODU’s projects, which are expected to be up and running by March, aim to create about 2,000 jobs within five years. The grants will “allow us to collaborate within the industry and create jobs that are geared towards the digital enterprise,” says Eric Weisel, executive director for ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), which is handling the projects. The shipbuilding and workforce program will work with companies to create an industry board, promote workforce development and develop a curriculum for training a digital labor force of about 8,500 people. Other funds not tied to GO Virginia already have been earmarked to create a digital shipbuilding lab at VMASC’s facility in Suffolk. HRCyber meanwhile is a pre-existing partnership aimed at educating Hampton Roads’ cybersecurity workforce. Last year, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe identified 36,000 unfilled cyber jobs in the commonwealth. HRCyber is working to address that skills gap. During the past few years, federal grants and in-kind matching funds have been used to expand an existing VMASC facility, the HRCyber Collaboration Laboratory. It promotes regional innovation in the fields of cybersecurity, data analytics, virtual technologies and autonomous vehicles. The $642,713 GO Virginia grant will be used for workforce development and innovation programs administered through the lab. The project is expected to help create digital jobs through internships and incentives with startups and other businesses, while crafting a “Cyber Arena,” a virtual environment to test new technologies within the network.    2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie1389.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-mad-men-to-metoo From ‘Mad Men’ to #MeToo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-mad-men-to-metoo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-mad-men-to-metoo#When:20:30:00Z In July 2007, just over a decade ago, though it doesn’t seem that long, the AMC series “Mad Men” premiered on cable television. Created by Matthew Weiner, the series covered the Madison Avenue advertising culture of the 1950s and 1960s.  The title sequence featured a man falling past skyscraper reflections of period advertising images. For a guy like me, this was irresistible.  Advertising was cool again!  Not just the digital stuff, but real advertising — the kind that built our biggest brands.  Bowties reappeared — and not just in Richmond!  Gray fedoras began showing up on the heads of businessmen everywhere. Lurking beneath the glory of the protagonist’s white maleness, the plot explored a darker theme — the plight of women at work. Long before terms like the “glass ceiling” were coined, career success was limited by predictable rules of gender, race and sexual preference. During the past few months, this hierarchy may possibly have met a deservedly  infamous end with revelations of sexual harassment in multiple industries — high tech, entertainment, politics, media and advertising. Few, if any, have been left untouched. Coming out of the shadows, the social media hashtag #MeToo has burned like a torch.  Secrets no longer kept, settlements disregarded, inconvenient truths exposed, and names named. For business, this isn’t just about what’s legal. It’s about protecting the goodwill and reputation of the company.  Due process is largely the realm of the legal system.  Sometimes, companies and the CEOs just need to part ways for the good of the organization.  This has happened quite a bit lately. What if “Mad Men” were on television today?  That’d be a House of Cards (Kevin Spacey pun intended).  Much like the falling man in the show’s opening credits, outdated views of gender roles in the workplace are falling from grace. Much has changed.  On the political front, Republicans and Democrats alike have proven so dysfunctional that we now have a self-proclaimed “very stable genius” in the White House. In Virginia, Republicans have lost all three statewide offices for a second four-year cycle.  Despite heavily gerrymandered districts, the GOP also very nearly lost a 17-year lock on a majority in the House of Delegates. It’s often said that business and politics don’t mix, and that remains pretty good advice.  But quite unexpectedly, being a Democrat is now a thing — even in business. Heretofore, businesspeople generally were assumed to be Republicans.  That’s pretty one-note and patently unfair, but it’s been the reality.  Businesspeople who are perhaps fiscally conservative but socially liberal have largely just kept quiet. Today, that shoe is on the other foot.  Republicans are being rebranded in a way that might just not be good for business.  It’s kind of hard to distance yourself from the Trump effect when your party put him in office.  Democrats, on the other hand, are for the first time in a long time finding themselves socially acceptable, even in business circles. Not too long ago an acquaintance lamented in casual conversation, “Sometimes, I just wonder what this world’s coming to?  Will my two young sons have the same opportunities that I’ve had?”  He had a point, but one should also ask, “What if your sons were daughters?  What if they were black?” The madness of “Mad Men,”  both real and rhetorical, is perhaps best captured by a quote from Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” “Greed — for lack of a better word — is good.” Until the #MeToo movement, a counter narrative to greed is good went largely unrecognized.  Thinking back, you might recall the opening line of “Howl,” Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”  Substitute corporation for generation and unfairness for madness, and you have the bitter lament of far too many workers.  Today, corporations are being destroyed by unfairness.  More than just being marginalized in terms of opportunity, many employees have watched their companies fail at goodness, fail at inclusion and fail to adequately use the skills of many in their own ranks. There’s an inclusiveness in the #MeToo movement that goes beyond just acknowledging victimization; #MeToo also means,  “I can be CEO, too.” Welcome to February’s Virginia Business.  This is our eighth annual Best Places to Work in Virginia issue.  Enjoy! 2018-02-01T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-may-get-authority-to-open-before-labor-day Schools may get authority to open before Labor Day http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-may-get-authority-to-open-before-labor-day http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-may-get-authority-to-open-before-labor-day#When:10:10:00Z Summer vacation may be cut short for some Virginia students after two bills rescinding the so-called “Kings Dominion law” – which restricts schools from starting before Labor Day – passed the House this week. House Bill 372 and HB 1020 would allow school districts to decide whether classes start before or after Labor Day. The difference between the two measures is that HB 372 would require districts to give students a four-day Labor Day weekend. Delegates approved both bills on split votes Tuesday. Democratic Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg of Henrico, a co-sponsor of HB 36, which also sought to give school districts that authority, said there are academic benefits to starting school before Labor Day. “We lose roughly two weeks of the school year that other localities get for things like advanced placement testing,” said VanValkenburg, who has been teaching for 12 years and is currently at Glen Allen High School. Under the current law, school districts are required to start after Labor Day unless they obtain a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education. To get a waiver, school districts must have been closed an average of eight to 10 days per year during any five of the last 10 years because of weather or other emergency situations. According to the department, 86 public school districts in Virginia have the waiver and already start before Labor Day. They include Virginia’s largest school district, Fairfax County, and most districts in the western part of the state. Other large school districts in Virginia, such as Virginia Beach and Richmond, do not have a waiver to adopt a pre-Labor Day start date. Opponents of the bill include members of the tourism industry who argue an earlier start date takes away from their business. A later start date means a longer season for attractions like Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens. Both theme parks employ teenagers who would have to quit if school began earlier. The “Kings Dominion law” was put in place in 1986 and has been challenged several times. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe supported the law and opposed an earlier start date to the school year. Gov. Ralph Northam has yet to take a position on the topic. “We support the ability of local school boards to determine the start date and the end date of the school year,” said Andy Jenks, director of communication and public relations for Henrico County Public Schools. Jenks said that while he does support bills that give them this authority, the next step is to consult with the community to see what opening school date will work best for them, a process Jenks said could take up to a year. HB 372 passed by a vote of 76-22. HB 1020 passed 75-24. The legislation will move to the Senate for consideration. 2018-02-01T10:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie1389.jpg Bernie Niemeier http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-named-to-virginia-communications-hall-of-fame Virginia Business publisher named to Virginia Communications Hall of Fame http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-named-to-virginia-communications-hall-of-fame http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-named-to-virginia-communications-hall-of-fame#When:22:27:00Z Bernie Niemeier, the publisher and owner of Virginia Business magazine, has been named to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU will induct seven communications professionals into the hall of fame at an awards ceremony on March 29 at the Altria Theater. The award recognizes communications professionals with exceptional careers in advertising, journalism, public relations, new media and other media fields, and who have made outstanding long-term contributions in the field of communications and who were either born in Virginia or became distinctively identified with Virginia. “The seven new laureates being inducted this year have all made tremendous contributions to the field of communications, and it will be a privilege to honor them at our Hall of Fame event, Montse Fuentes, dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, said in a statement. Niemeier has more than 40 years of experience in the publishing business, including 17 on the corporate staff of now-defunct Richmond-based Media General Inc. In September 2009, Niemeier led a private-equity-funded purchase of Virginia Business magazine from Media General. In 2017, he acquired full ownership of the magazine and is now its sole owner. Virginia Business is the only statewide publication dedicated to covering economic activity and business news in every region of the state. Since it began publishing in 1986, the magazine has won many state and national awards. Since 2010, the magazine has won more than 20 national awards including several for Niemeier for editorial writing. The other inductees are: Joseph Cortina, founding partner and creative director of Cortina Productions in McLean.  A media design and production company, it creates interactive multimedia for museums such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Newseum and the College Football Hall of Fame. Pamela K. El, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the National Basketball Association. El is responsible for the NBA’s global marketing operation, directing brand development, overall marketing and advertising for the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League. Jane Gardner, a retired award-winning health reporter and local news anchor who worked in Roanoke, her hometown of Richmond and in Norfolk. During her television career, Gardner won seven national and eight state broadcast journalism awards and numerous other honors for community service. Gene Herrick, a retired photographer for The Associated Press, who documented major news stories of the 20th century, including the civil rights movement and the Korean War, as well as photographing such luminaries as Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley. Jesse Vaughan, an Emmy Award-winning director and producer, Richmond native and VCU alumnus. Currently, the creative director of the Advance Creative Service Group at Virginia State University, he has won 29 Emmy awards. Dwayne Yancey, editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times, has more than 30 years of experience in the news industry as a reporter, editor, Virginia political analyst and, more recently, a journalism entrepreneur, helping to launch local news sites and publications for The Roanoke Times. He also is the author of the 1988 book, “When Hell Froze Over:  The Untold Story of Doug Wilder: A Black Politician’s Rise to Power in the South.” 2018-01-31T22:27:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chaos-mountain-brewing-is-expanding-in-franklin-county Chaos Mountain Brewing is expanding in Franklin County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chaos-mountain-brewing-is-expanding-in-franklin-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chaos-mountain-brewing-is-expanding-in-franklin-county#When:22:26:00Z Chaos Mountain Brewing LLC said Wednesday it’s spending $250,000 to expand in Franklin County. The project will create five jobs. “We look forward to purchasing new equipment, increasing production, and making improvements to our facility, including adding more parking,” Chaos Mountain Brewing’s owners, Joe and Wendy Hallock, said in a statement. The company, which began operation in 2014, also has committed to sourcing nearly half of its agriculture purchases from Virginia farms over the next three years as part of the deal. “Virginia agricultural products will play a large role in increasing our production and extending our distribution out of state,” the Hallocks said. Gov. Ralph Northam approved an $8,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), which Franklin County is matching. 2018-01-31T22:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/3_Courtesy_of_Williamsburg_Inn_6x41_copy.jpg The Williamsburg Inn courtesy of The Wlliamsburg Inn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-williamsburg-inn-has-earned-the-aaa-caa-five-diamond-rating-for-the-fir The Williamsburg Inn earns the AAA/CAA five-diamond rating for the first time http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-williamsburg-inn-has-earned-the-aaa-caa-five-diamond-rating-for-the-fir http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-williamsburg-inn-has-earned-the-aaa-caa-five-diamond-rating-for-the-fir#When:22:21:00Z The Williamsburg Inn has earned the AAA/CAA five-diamond rating for the first time. In winning the coveted ranking, the inn joins an elite circle of two other five-diamond properties in Virginia, the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond and the Inn at Little Washington in Washington. AAA Inspectors characterized the Williamsburg Inn, within walking distance of the city's historic area,  as an experience that takes guests back in time with richly canopied beds, silk drapes and bedding, antiques and fine artwork. AAA first began inspecting hotels and restaurants in 1937, the same year Virginia’s Williamsburg Inn opened. “It is exciting to see the Williamsburg Inn make the AAA/CAA Five Diamond Rating list this year,” Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.  “To achieve this level of hospitality is a significant accomplishment.” According to AAA, hotels receiving a five-diamond rating undergo a number of checks and balances including in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and review by a panel of experts to ensure credibility. Fewer than half of 1 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA inspected and approved hotels receive five diamonds. 2018-01-31T22:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-legislators-ask-congress-to-improve-interstate-81 State legislators ask Congress to improve Interstate 81 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-legislators-ask-congress-to-improve-interstate-81 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-legislators-ask-congress-to-improve-interstate-81#When:10:07:00Z More than a dozen members of the Virginia General Assembly urged their counterparts in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to fund improvements in safety and congestion on Interstate 81, which runs from Tennessee to the Canadian border. The state lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine as well as to U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Barbara Comstock, whose congressional districts include I-81. The letter was signed by three state senators (Charles Carrico, Creigh Deeds and Mark Obenshain) and 14 state delegates, all from the western part of the state. Fifteen of the legislators are Republicans, and two are Democrats. They asked Congress to support several bills to improve I-81. “I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for common sense solutions for our pressing safety problems on I-81,” Obenshain, a Republican from Harrisonburg, said in a press release. “We are coming together as a bipartisan group of Senators and Delegates urging our congressional delegation to fight for funding for I-81.” Obenshain has two bills on this issue before the General Assembly: ·       Senate Bill 561 would direct the Department of Transportation to conduct a pilot program to establish zones on I-81 where tractor trucks would be required to travel in the right lane. SB 561 has been referred to the Committee on Transportation. ·       SB 971 would direct the Commonwealth Transportation Board to develop an I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan that may include tolling heavy commercial vehicles to finance the improvements. SB 971 has been referred to the Committee on Rules. Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, who also signed the letter, has proposed creating a joint subcommittee to study the possibility of adding lanes to I-81 between Wytheville and Bristol. “There are real safety problems that need real solutions,” Obenshain said, “and I am confident that these legislative proposals will present these solutions.” 2018-01-31T10:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-lawyer-named-president-of-the-virginia-bar-association Staunton lawyer named president of the Virginia Bar Association http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-lawyer-named-president-of-the-virginia-bar-association http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-lawyer-named-president-of-the-virginia-bar-association#When:21:45:00Z C.J. Steuart Thomas III has been installed as the 2018 president of the Virginia Bar Association. Thomas is a partner at TimberlakeSmith in Staunton, where he focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense and civil litigation. He succeeds David S. Mercer of MercerTrigiani in Alexandria. Thomas is the first VBA president from Staunton in 52 years and the fourth since the association was organized in 1888. Also elected to leadership roles were: Richard E. Garriott Jr. of Pender & Coward PC in Virginia Beach as president-elect. Alison M. McKee of Kaufman & Canoles PC in Virginia Beach as chair of the VBA board of governors. 2018-01-30T21:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/nci-names-chief-artificial-intelligence-officer NCI names chief artificial intelligence officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/nci-names-chief-artificial-intelligence-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/nci-names-chief-artificial-intelligence-officer#When:21:26:00Z NCI Inc. announced Tuesday it has named Brad Mascho its chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO). He is responsible for leading a new corporate division focused on artificial intelligence initiatives. Before joining NCI, Mascho co-founded Columbus, Ohio-based CrossChx, whose artificial intelligence automates repetitive, high-volume tasks and workflows for health-care clients. The company partnered with hundreds of health systems and developed the first secure global identity layer of more than 70 million unique patient IDs, identified millions of medical record errors and helped combat prescription opiate abuses. Brad will remain a member of the CrossChx board of directors. “Artificial intelligence is a generation-changing technology with the potential to improve productivity in ways we have not seen for decades,” Mascho said in a statement. “NCI has made a very conscious decision to prioritize innovation and is perfectly positioned to bring game-changing solutions to the federal sector. I could not be more excited about the opportunity to spearhead these efforts and join the NCI team.” Mascho also spent a decade in Washington, D.C., as an adviser to several members of Congress and as an executive at a leading insurance association. Mascho earned a B.A. and M.A. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. NCI is a leading provider of enterprise solutions and services to U.S. defense, intelligence, health and civilian government agencies. 2018-01-30T21:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-cfo-awards-nominations Virginia CFO Awards nominations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-cfo-awards-nominations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-cfo-awards-nominations#When:21:08:00Z Virginia Business is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Virginia CFO Awards. Each year, Virginia Business presents awards to chief financial executives in five categories:  Publicly traded company Small private companies (fewer than 100 employees) Large private companies (more than 100 employees) Small nonprofit organizations (fewer than 100 employees) Large nonprofit organizations (more than 100 employees) CFOs can be nominated using a written form or by using our online form. The deadline for submission is April 27, 2018.  All nominees will be invited to attend an awards presentation at The Jefferson Hotel in June.   2018-01-30T21:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-committee-unanimously-kills-netflix-tax House committee unanimously kills ‘Netflix Tax’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-committee-unanimously-kills-netflix-tax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-committee-unanimously-kills-netflix-tax#When:10:04:00Z A bill nicknamed the “Netflix tax” was unanimously defeated Monday in the House Finance Committee, ending the possibility of taxing streaming services in Virginia in 2019. Introduced by Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, HB 1051 would have applied the state’s 5 percent communications sales and use tax not just to Netflix but to all online streaming services – among them Hulu, Spotify and HBO Go – that have skyrocketed in popularity, especially among millennials. While the current communications tax applies to cable TV, satellite radio, landlines, cell phones and even pagers, streaming services are not included. Watts said her bill was needed to modernize the state’s communications tax. “Obviously, the way we have continued to communicate has changed,” she said. Watts told the committee that her bill would apply equal taxes to all forms of communication. “The best we can hope for is a fair tax structure,” she said. According to the bill’s impact statement, the tax would generate nearly $8 million in revenue for the state – potentially allowing Virginia to become less dependent on other forms of taxes, like those collected through income and real estate levies. The bill is not the first of its kind: Pennsylvania and Florida have passed laws that tax internet transactions and digital streaming services. But the tax has faced opposition from taxpayers, streaming services and industry trade groups. The Finance Committee voted 22-0 against the bill. Watts voted against her own legislation, acknowledging that while the measure was not ready to be passed, she wanted to spur a larger conversation about Virginia’s tax structure. Republicans said they were opposed taxing the heavily used services. “Let’s be real clear in what we’re talking about here,” said Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, chairman of the House Republican Caucus. “This is a Netflix tax. This is a Hulu tax. If you’re under 30, this is a tax on how you get your information, how you watch your TV, how you consume everything every day.” Representatives from T-Mobile, Verizon and Sling TV attended the meeting and spoke against the bill, while the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties were in favor. Neal Menkes of the Municipal League commented that he had “yet to hear a pager go off,” echoing Watts’ sentiments about the need to modernize tax law around a quickly changing communications landscape. 2018-01-30T10:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CAVALIER_on_the_Hill_Horizontal_preview.jpg The Cavalier Hotel will reopen to the public on March 7. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cupid-at-the-cavalier-hotel Cupid at The Cavalier Hotel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cupid-at-the-cavalier-hotel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cupid-at-the-cavalier-hotel#When:22:30:00Z Call it a publicity stunt, but it sure is a sweet one and right at Valentine’s Day, too.  Seventy-five couples, who either were married or honeymooned at the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, have been selected to renew their vows in a private ceremony at the property on Feb. 14, before it reopens to the public on March 7. The event is part of the pre-opening festivities to celebrate the more than $80 million renovation of the historic Cavalier. Other special events include public tours that will begin on Feb. 16 and run through March 2. The tours will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 11 a.m. on March 2.  Gov. Ralph Northam has been lined up to officiate the renewal ceremony, and the couples have been invited to stay at the hotel free of cost. The Cavalier originally opened in 1927. Some of the romantic stories behind the couples include multiple generations marrying on the property, engagements on The Cavalier’s iconic hill, meeting at the hotel and former employees meeting at work and falling in love. Among the selected participants, the oldest couple to renew their vows honeymooned at The Cavalier in 1940.  The youngest couple wed on October 2014. Two couples share an anniversary, and their weddings were the last events hosted at The Cavalier before the restoration began three years ago. While many of the participating couples returning in February are longtime locals or summer residents of Virginia Beach, others have not been back to the area since their special day. According to the Cavalier’s public relations team, former military couples who were stationed briefly near Virginia Beach and residents from cities in Virginia and other states such as Connecticut, Arizona and Tennessee will journey back to The Cavalier  for the reopening to reaffirm their vows. As the first official guests of the newly renovated hotel, the 75 couples will receive: ·       Complimentary hotel accommodations ·       Complimentary lunch served in the Chrystal Ballroom ·       A hosted vow renewal ceremony ·       A hosted cocktail reception with live entertainment in the Raleigh Room ·       Dinner for two in Becca, the hotel’s restaurant ·       Big band dance party in the ballroom ·       Complimentary photographs ·       Complimentary copy of The Cavalier Love Stories, a hardbound compendium of the selected couples’ love stories  The Cavalier will reopen as a Gold Key | PHR property. Its CEO, Bruce L. Thompson, is the developer behind the restoration, which he is doing as a public/private project with the city of Virginia Beach. The opening date for the property has been pushed back several times due to complications from structural defects that came up during construction.     2018-01-29T22:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/channel-deepening-project-hits-another-milestone Channel-deepening project hits another milestone http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/channel-deepening-project-hits-another-milestone http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/channel-deepening-project-hits-another-milestone#When:19:04:00Z Efforts to deepen and widen the Norfolk harbor met a new milestone last week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the National Economic Development (NED) benefit plan for the project, which estimates the value of civil works projects to the nation. The project would be partially funded by the federal government. The project now is expected to move forward to a final review in June. In anticipation of a positive outcome, $20 million is currently in the state budget that would allow preliminary engineering and design work to being immediately. A longtime priority of the maritime community, the port and Army Corps’ Norfolk District officially began a study to deepen and widen the Norfolk channel from 50 feet to 55 feet in 2015. The Port of Virginia currently can handle the largest ships calling on the East Coast ports, but deeper channels would allow the cargo loads to increase on the biggest carriers visiting the port today. The project would also widen the channel at some spots to 1,300 feet. Now when the ultra-large container vessels (ULCV’s) come through the channel, part of the channel is temporarily closed to other commercial traffic. “Widening the channels allows for two-way traffic, increase the pace of commerce and makes way for the expeditious movement of Navy vessels in a time of need,” John Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Port of Virginia, said in a statement. Virginia Business reported on the widening project in the cover issue of its September issue.  2018-01-29T19:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Perry_Frazer_-_2015_copy.jpg Perry Frazer courtesy CBRE|Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-promotes-perry-frazer-to-executive-vice-president CBRE|Hampton Roads promotes Perry Frazer to executive vice president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-promotes-perry-frazer-to-executive-vice-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-promotes-perry-frazer-to-executive-vice-president#When:16:38:00Z CBRE|Hampton Roads has promoted Perry Frazer to executive vice president effective immediately. He also will continue as the managing director of CBRE’s regional office. Frazer has been in commercial real estate for more than 20 years and has been a consistent top regional producer. According to CBRE, he has successfully closed 15 million of square feet of office and flex space leases in the region. A graduate of University of Virginia, Frazer has twice been awarded the Hunter A. Hogan Award for being the region’s highest producing broker. In 2016, CBRE|Hampton Roads completed 502 lease transactions involving 4.7 million square feet and totaling $322 million in value. In addition, the office, which employs 116 people, completed 113 sales transactions with a total value of $644 million. 2018-01-29T16:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Tampa_Storefront_copy.jpg Tampa storefront courtesy of CarLotz. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/carlotz-opens-its-first-location-in-florida CarLotz opens its first location in Florida http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/carlotz-opens-its-first-location-in-florida http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/carlotz-opens-its-first-location-in-florida#When:16:13:00Z   CarLotz, a Richmond-based used vehicle consignment business, is opening its sixth retail store in a new venue. On Monday, the company opened its first store in Florida in Tampa. “We’re excited to expand the CarLotz footprint and bring our unique retail experience to the Tampa Bay area,” Michael Bor, CarLotz CEO, said in a statement.  “We’re looking all over the country to expand our business, and while we plan to open stores in many new states, Florida and, in particular Tampa, felt like the right fit for our first step into larger markets.” Since it began in 2011, CarLotz has opened five locations in Virginia and North Carolina. The company said it has seen increasing demand for its vehicle consignment business in the Florida area in recent years. “We are thrilled to bring our consignment model to Tampa … and become a member of the community,” Bor said. At 10,000 square feet, the Tampa store will have room for nearly 300 consigned vehicles. CarLotz plans to initially hire 15 to 20 full-time people to work in sales, administration, and reconditioning. 2018-01-29T16:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/skanska-to-complete-virginia-tech-carilion-biomedical-research-addition-in Skanska to complete Virginia Tech Carilion Biomedical Research addition in Roanoke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/skanska-to-complete-virginia-tech-carilion-biomedical-research-addition-in http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/skanska-to-complete-virginia-tech-carilion-biomedical-research-addition-in#When:16:04:00Z     Skanska USA said Monday that it has been awarded a $68 million contract to complete the Virginia Tech Carilion Biomedical Research Addition, a 140,000-square-foot building begun last fall on the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke.   The project is a collaboration between Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech. The primary focus of the four-story building is to provide modern research facilities for enhanced biomedical research programs in five major t areas including:   ·         Body device interfaces ·         Brain health and disorders ·         Cardiovascular science ·         Infectious diseases and immunology ·         Metabolism and obesity   “This building will allow Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic to build on a successful partnership in Roanoke, in which we’ve played a significant role,” Greg Peele, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska’s building operations in Virginia/North Carolina said in a statement.  “The end result of our efforts will be an expansion of the biomedical research they’ve been conducting, greater learning opportunities for students, and expanded business opportunities for a highly-trained technical work force in the region.”   The building will house next-generation core instrumentation facilities including molecular, cellular and whole-body imaging and powerful computing facilities. Wet laboratories requiring direct ventilation and specialized piped utilities for water and various gases, MRI and CT scanning, high-resolution electron microscopy, necropsy, and pathology will be added. An atrium and multiple green roofs also are part of the project.   The expansion will be connected by an elevated walkway to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, previously constructed by Skanska and completed in 2010. That four-story, 152,850-square-foot building comprises a medical school, research institute and 52,000-square-feet of lower level parking.   AECOM is the architect for the addition, which is expected to be completed in February 2020.   Skanska said it has built more than 250 projects in Virginia. During the past 10 years, it has completed  projects worth $2.7 billion and now has about $1.3 billion of work in progress work in Virginia and North Carolina region. Based in New York, Skanska has offices in 31 metro areas, with 10,000 employees.     2018-01-29T16:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-parcels-bought-for-assisted-living-center Virginia Beach parcels bought for assisted-living center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-parcels-bought-for-assisted-living-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-parcels-bought-for-assisted-living-center#When:15:33:00Z EBY Realty Group LLC has purchased two parcels to be combined for the construction of an assisted -living center in Virginia Beach. The 60-unit Bickford Senior Living facility, which would include a memory-care unit, would be located on Princess Anne Road. The site includes 2.8 acres of land acquired from Larry B. Slipow and Princess Anne Road Investments LLC for $1.3 million and 7,841 square feet of unimproved land from Courthouse Marketplace Station acquired for $60,000, according to Divaris Real Estate. The combined property will include a storm-water retention pond for the facility. Levi Thomson of Divaris Real Estate brokered the sale on behalf of the buyer. 2018-01-29T15:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Karen_1_BW_small.jpg Costello photo courtesy The Martin Agency. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-martin-agency-names-first-female-chief-creative-officer The Martin Agency names first female chief creative officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-martin-agency-names-first-female-chief-creative-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-martin-agency-names-first-female-chief-creative-officer#When:10:04:00Z Richmond-based The Martin Agency said Friday it has named Karen Costello as its first female chief creative officer. The advertising agency has made several leadership changes after the December departure of former CCO Joe Alexander following sexual harassment allegations. Costello and Jerry Hoak took interim lead creative roles following Alexander’s departure. That month, the agency also tapped Kristen Cavallo as its first female CEO, who replaced Matt Williams. “This isn’t overcorrection or an optics play. This is earned. This is preparation. This is opportunity, grabbed. I’m so excited for what’s ahead, I can’t stop grinning,” Cavallo said in a news release about Costello’s appointment.  Costello joined Martin in mid-2017 as executive creative director in charge of the agency’s Mondelēz account, which includes brands such as Oreo, Ritz and Chips Ahoy. She will continue to lead that account as well as the agency’s overall creative efforts. In addition to Costello’s new role, Hoak has been promoted to executive creative director and managing partner. Prior to joining Martin, Costello was executive creative director for Deutsch in Los Angeles, where she helped grow their office from 13 people to more than 400 in its first few years and more recently had led creative for accounts including Target, Georgia-Pacific and Zillow. Martin said Costello repeatedly appears on top creative lists. She was named No. 3 on Business Insider’s list of top creative women in advertising. 2018-01-29T10:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Lee_Hill_-_second.jpg.jpeg Photo of Lee's Hill Medical Plaza courtesy Avison Young http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lees-hill-medical-plaza-in-fredericksburg-sells-for-28-million Lee’s Hill Medical Plaza in Fredericksburg sells for $28 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lees-hill-medical-plaza-in-fredericksburg-sells-for-28-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lees-hill-medical-plaza-in-fredericksburg-sells-for-28-million#When:23:46:00Z Avison Young has arranged the sale of a 72,255-square-foot, Class A-medical office building in Fredericksburg.  The buyer, a medical office REIT, purchased Lee’s Hill Medical Plaza for $28 million, according to a source close to the deal. The seller was a joint venture partnership between Flagship Healthcare Properties with Drake Real Estate Partners. According to Avison Young, Flagship and Drake acquired the property in 2014 and increased occupancy by more than 20%, bringing it to 91% at the time of the sale. Tenant additions included the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and multiple expansions as well as the long-term lease extension of the hospital anchor tenant, Mary Washington Healthcare System & Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg. “The Drake/Flagship joint venture has proven to be a fruitful one. The successful lease-up of the asset has allowed us and our investors to achieve our financial goals and also bring shared value to our tenants and the surrounding community by securing a long-term home for Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg,” Jonathan Garonce of Drake Real Estate Partners said in a statement. Leading the Avison Young team was Jim Kornick and Chip Ryan,  principals in the Washington, D.C., office; Mike Wilson and Erik Foster, principals in the Chicago office and Mark Johnson, an executive vice president in the Chicago office. “This asset represents a very unique opportunity in the national marketplace for a core-plus medical office building,” Wilson said in a statement.  “A Class-A facility with a long-term hospital anchor, along with some vacancy for growth and expansion, is tough to find. That was evident in the very strong buyer activity and aggressive pricing.” Completed in 2008, Lee’s Hill Medical Plaza sits on five acres at 10401 Spotsylvania Ave. and offers 314 parking spaces. The property is located off the I-95 interchange with U.S. Route 1, south of downtown Fredericksburg. The property is also near two major hospitals, five miles from Mary Washington Hospital and two and a half miles from HCA Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. Flagship Healthcare Properties will be retained as property manager. 2018-01-28T23:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Fortuna_copy.jpg Fortuna Center Plaza courtesy of NKF Capital Markets http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fortuna-center-plaza-in-dumfries-sells-for-20.2-million Fortuna Center Plaza in Dumfries sells for $20.2 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fortuna-center-plaza-in-dumfries-sells-for-20.2-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fortuna-center-plaza-in-dumfries-sells-for-20.2-million#When:22:41:00Z NKF Capital Markets has announced the sale and financing of Fortuna Center Plaza in Dumfries. The 104,694-square-foot shopping center is anchored by Shoppers Food Warehouse, along with Starbucks, Panera Bread, Five Guys and Rite Aid. Mosaic Realty Partners purchased the asset for $20.2 million. The center is located along Dumfries Road, which provides visibility to more than 44,000 vehicles per day. Adjacent to Target, the location also provides access to Interstate 95. Executive Managing Director Geoffrey Millerd, Managing Director Mat Adler and financial analysts Christian Brannelly and Chris Huesgen of NKF Capital oversaw the transaction on behalf of the seller. “The excellent visibility, strong demographics, and continued population growth were significant drivers in the sale of Fortuna Center Plaza,” said NKF’s Adler. “This was a unique opportunity in Northern Virginia to acquire a grocery anchored shopping center with a quality tenant mix.”     2018-01-28T22:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/globalinx-data-centers-plans-data-center-campus-in-virginia-beach Globalinx Data Centers plans data center campus in Virginia Beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/globalinx-data-centers-plans-data-center-campus-in-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/globalinx-data-centers-plans-data-center-campus-in-virginia-beach#When:22:29:00Z Globalinx Data Centers, Virginia Beach's first and only carrier-neutral cable landing and connection point for connectivity to Europe, Africa and South America, has announced a 150,000-square-foot, data center campus in proximity to the Telxius Cable Landing Station in Virginia Beach. The campus is located in Corporate Landing, a 300-acre business park. Phase I is a 10,750-square-foot facility built upon a privately owned 11.5-acre campus. The data center is equipped with high-capacity space for network carriers, subsea operators, enterprises and hyper scale providers to colocate their networking equipment in a secure location. The facility offers direct access to multiple subsea cable systems and terrestrial networks, and has access to more than 30 megawatts of power provided by Dominion Energy through two independent substations. According to Globalinx, Dominion Energy has certified Corporate Landing Business Park as a data center site. "This further advances our goal of making Virginia Beach a truly digital port city and will help attract additional subsea projects for true diversity from the subsea cable systems in the New York-New Jersey region,” Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren Harris said in a statement. Globalinx said it has started on the design and planning work for Phase II of the campus. Once completed, it will offer more than 150,000 square feet of colocation data center space with variable power densities to meet customers' requirements. The city of Virginia Beach recently reduced the business property tax rate on computer and peripheral equipment used in data centers to 40 cents per $100, at 40 percent of assessed value. Also, new businesses to the city are entitled to receive a reduced business license fee rate of $50 for each of their first two taxable years in the city. Performance grants also may also be available based on new capital investment made by new and existing companies. "Virginia Beach offers some of the most attractive incentives for data centers in the country," Greg Twitt, founder and president of Globalinx, said in a statement.  "The appeal of competitive tax rates and local incentives combined with robust power capabilities at truly reasonable rates is amplified by access to two of the most modern subsea cable systems ever to be built.  No other location along the Eastern Seaboard offers this opportunity, making Virginia Beach the number one destination for mid-Atlantic connectivity between North America, South America, Europe and North Africa." 2018-01-28T22:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/16381211865_17bcd36ec7_z.jpg House Speaker Kirk Cox, VCU Capital News Service http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-republicans-announce-election-review-panel Virginia Republicans announce election review panel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-republicans-announce-election-review-panel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-republicans-announce-election-review-panel#When:10:05:00Z In the wake of a tied contest and other issues in last fall’s elections, Republican leaders in the General Assembly announced Thursday that they will form a panel to address such situations at the polls in the future. “There were numerous questions raised during the 2017 elections,” said House Speaker Kirk Cox, who made the announcement alongside Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment. “This subcommittee will have the ability to broadly review these questions and determine what, if any, steps should be taken.” Cox and Norment said the joint subcommittee will deal with concerns such as absentee ballots, the assignment of voters in split precincts and recount law and procedures. “These issues are not about who wins or loses elections but about the confidence of the public in our elections,” Norment said. “We never go through an election without a contentious result in a closely fought contest. Citizens expect us to protect and ensure the integrity of the process.” The subcommittee will be co-chaired by two Republicans – Del. Mark Cole of the 88th District and Sen. Jill Vogel of the 27th District. Cole chairs the House Privileges and Elections Committee, and Vogel chairs the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. “We need to examine these issues comprehensively, using a process that takes all viewpoints into account,” Vogel said. The announcement did not include how many Democrats would be on the subcommittee. Republicans hold a slim majority in both the House and Senate. Some Democrats have their own ideas how to address the election issues. Backed by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Del. Marcia Price, D-95th, introduced a bill that called for a special election in the case of a tie vote. A House subcommittee killed that proposal, HB 1581, on a 4-2 vote early Thursday morning. The panel was split along party lines, with Republicans in favoring of killing the measure and Democrats against. 2018-01-26T10:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/39003051155_124c506217_z.jpg Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-24th. VCU Capital News Service http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senate-republicans-reject-medicaid-expansion Senate Republicans reject Medicaid expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senate-republicans-reject-medicaid-expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senate-republicans-reject-medicaid-expansion#When:09:58:00Z Republicans in the Virginia Senate on Thursday tabled legislation that would have expanded Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of lower-income residents of Virginia. Voting along party lines, the Senate Education and Health Committee indefinitely postponed action on the proposal. The eight Republicans on the panel voted to kill the measure; the seven Democrats voted to keep it alive. The federal Affordable Care Act encouraged states to expand Medicaid. Democratic Sen. Richard Saslaw of Fairfax noted that Virginia’s neighboring states – including West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky – have done so. Saslaw said the federal government has promised to pay most of the costs of Medicaid expansion. “If someone came up to me and said, ‘Saslaw, we’ll pick up 90 percent of your medical insurance costs if you pay the other 10, and we think we have a way around that 10,’ I would have to be a lunatic to turn down that offer,” Saslaw said. However, Republican senators said they fear that Medicaid expansion would put a hole in the state budget. “The federal level, they can just raise the debt ceiling,” said Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield County. “We can’t do that at the state level.” She said the state has limited resources. As Medicaid takes up more of the state budget, others services would have to be cut back, Chase said. “It doesn’t take long to see we have major infrastructure needs,” Chase said. “We have bridges in my district that you can’t even drive ambulances over or fire trucks over because of the crumbling infrastructure.” A fellow Republican, Sen. Richard Black of Loudoun County, said Medicaid costs are escalating out of control. “I think it’s premature to move forward on this and potentially get ourselves stuck in a situation where we’ve expanded, and all of a sudden we’re having to do this thing on our own dime,” Black said. The legislation at hand was SB 572, sponsored by Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger of Augusta County. A similar measure – SB 158, filed by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke – had been folded into Hanger’s bill. Democrats, including newly elected Gov. Ralph Northam, have made Medicaid expansion a top priority. It was also a priority for many of the people who attended Thursday’s committee meeting. They included Julien Parley, who has a son with autism. She said Medicaid expansion would help mothers like her. “There was a time that I worked three jobs, and I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor,” Parley said. “I resorted to going to the emergency room, which racked up bills, and it also was a hardship on my credit.” People without health coverage often resort to the emergency room, said Julie Dime of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. “Countless Virginians that don’t have access to health care find their only option to be the hospital emergency room,” Dime said. 2018-01-26T09:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-tout-bills-they-say-would-help-workers Democrats tout bills they say would help workers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-tout-bills-they-say-would-help-workers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-tout-bills-they-say-would-help-workers#When:09:45:00Z Democratic lawmakers are urging passage of legislation to boost wages paid on state construction projects, increase overtime pay for public and private employees, and prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Those proposals were among a slew of bills discussed at a news conference held by the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. Del. Paul Krizek, D-44, said the bills concern “one of the core issues that defines us as Democrats – our commitment to jobs and the people who need those jobs, who man those jobs.” He is sponsoring HB 667, which would require contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to pay the “prevailing wage” set by the federal government. He said the measure would increase the supply of apprenticeships and skilled workers and keep jobs in the community. Many Republicans oppose laws mandating prevailing wages on government-funded projects. They say such requirements inflate construction costs. Krizek disputed that, saying higher wages are usually offset by greater productivity, better technologies and other employer savings. Krizek’s bill is pending in the House Rules Committee. Also at the news conference, Del. Sam Rasoul, D-11th, discussed his bill to prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history. Under HB 240, an employer could not obtain an applicant’s pay history from current or previous employers, either. Rasoul said employers use applicants’ salary histories to lowball the salaries they offer. “Both young workers and those workers that are in a career transition are experiencing real discrimination because of this,” he said. Under his proposal, Rasoul said, employers could ask applicants their minimum salary requirement but not how much money they previously earned. The bill has been assigned to the House Commerce and Labor Committee. That committee also is considering legislation by Del. Kathy Tran, D-42nd, to increase overtime pay for workers in Virginia. Under HB 1109, employees would be entitled to twice their regular pay in certain circumstances. That is more than what the U.S. Department of Labor requires. “This bill ensures that workers are fairly compensated for overtime if they work more than 12 hours a day, 40 hours a week or 7 consecutive days a work week,” Tran said. 2018-01-26T09:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/smart-grid-key-to-unlocking-richmond-regions-growth-potential Smart grid key to unlocking Richmond Region’s growth potential http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/smart-grid-key-to-unlocking-richmond-regions-growth-potential http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/smart-grid-key-to-unlocking-richmond-regions-growth-potential#When:00:36:00Z The Richmond Region is coming off a year of tremendous job growth as companies have invested millions of dollars and brought thousands of high-paying jobs to the region. These gains are the result of years of diligent planning centered on growing our talent pool, creating a favorable business climate and ensuring companies looking to expand or relocate have sites ready to suit their needs. That's not to say there aren't areas in which our region can improve its competitive positioning. One area that is of growing importance to large employers is access to a robust energy grid, enhanced security and viable renewable energy solutions. The new transatlantic cable connecting Virginia with Europe requires a solid energy grid. In addition, the Greater Richmond Partnership recently revised its industry clusters with a heavy emphasis on information technology companies (data centers, cybersecurity and digital sciences), which are all big power users where a smart grid is of utmost importance.  The availability of clean energy, provided with high standards for reliability at a competitive price, has become a key driver for companies in site selection. Companies are keenly focused on ways to meet their corporate sustainability goals through renewable energy sources. The high-tech sector in particular, which Virginia has embraced with a rapidly growing roster of data centers, is very interested in considering environmental impact as part of its siting process. However, renewable energy and rate options alone will not be enough to continue our string of successes. This is why Dominion Energy's plans to transform the power grid to better serve its customers are of critical importance. In addition to continuing to lower customers' carbon footprints, a smart grid will allow for enhanced reliability as well as greater voltage stability and power quality. Investments in new energy storage technologies, intelligent grid devices and infrastructure improvements will provide better reliability and resiliency and reduce the risk posed by cyber and physical threats. All of these are of great consequence to the commercial and industrial businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and key to attracting the jobs of the future. Every business is negatively impacted when power goes out, no matter how briefly. Using automated devices and control systems will reduce the number of power outages and create a "self-healing" grid by isolating outages and rerouting power so impacts are smaller and restoration comes faster. Infrastructure improvements also are needed to help harden critical facilities and protect the grid from escalating cyber and physical threats. The integration of secure communication networks and digital devices will ready the grid for new and emerging technologies and also provide asset protection through better monitoring. The bottom line will be greater resiliency and fewer energy-related concerns for businesses across the region. This effort will create a completely transformed smart grid and lay the foundation for continued prosperity in our region. Transforming the power grid will ensure customers will continue to enjoy stable rates below the state, regional and national average, strong service reliability and extensive renewable energy options. An enhanced smart grid will be a valuable asset in recruiting more companies to our area, which in turn will bring more high-paying jobs across the region. Just as years of wise planning and collaborative efforts have fueled our recent success, wise investments today will undoubtedly lead to many more headline-making economic development deals in the years to come. Barry I. Matherly is the president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, the lead regional economic development organization for the city of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. He is a certified economic developer with more than 30 years of leadership and economic development experience. 2018-01-26T00:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1700_Jeff_Davis-Former_AP_Distribution1_copy.jpg Photo of 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway courtesy Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-property-sells-for-2.5-million-in-richmond Industrial property sells for $2.5 million in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-property-sells-for-2.5-million-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-property-sells-for-2.5-million-in-richmond#When:22:03:00Z NAPA Holdings Richmond LLC has purchased a 230,000-square-foot industrial property in Richmond from Keck Realty for $2.57 million. The property is situated on 13.5 acres at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, the buyer acquired it as an investment. Thalhimer’s Isaac DeRegibus Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2018-01-25T22:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-names-executive-vice-president Norfolk Southern names executive vice president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-names-executive-vice-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-names-executive-vice-president#When:20:57:00Z John M. Scheib has been named executive vice president law and administration and chief legal officer at Norfolk Southern Corp. The appointment is effective on March 1. Scheib will succeed William A. Galanko, who will retire after 28 years with the railroad. Scheib joined Norfolk Southern in 2005 as an attorney. He was named vice president law in 2016 and senior vice president law and corporate relations last year. In his new position, Scheib will oversee law, government relations, corporate communications, human resources and labor relations. Before joining the railroad, Scheib was chief of staff and counsel to the chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and as counsel to the railroad subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Villanova University. Scheib completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2015. 2018-01-25T20:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image003.jpg.jpeg Center at Innovation photo courtesy of JCR Cos. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-cos.-buys-manassas-shopping-center-for-31-million JCR Cos. buys Manassas shopping center for $31 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-cos.-buys-manassas-shopping-center-for-31-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-cos.-buys-manassas-shopping-center-for-31-million#When:17:11:00Z   The JCR Cos. has acquired the Center at Innovation in Manassas for $31 million. According to the Washington, D.C.-based firm, the center is more than 90 percent leased to a mix of national, regional, and local tenants including TJ Maxx, PetSmart, Chick-Fil-A, Verizon Wireless, and Red Robin. The 101,990-square-foot shopping center also is shadow-anchored by a Target. JCR said it plans to sell the three pad sites currently leased to Chick-Fil-A, SunTrust Bank, and Red Robin and to fully lease the inline space. The Center at Innovation is located on Nokesville Road (VA-28) just west of the interchange with Prince William Parkway (VA-234), a key intersection in Manassas. More than 1,000 residential units and 1 million square feet of commercial development are planned or under construction within three miles of the center. Completed in 2008 on a 14-acre parcel, the property offers five modern buildings with 482 parking spaces.  “We are more bullish than ever on necessity-based neighborhood retail,” JCR Principal Joe Reger said in a statement.  “In fact, we hope to acquire over $100 million of retail property in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region in 2018.” Reger added that JCR likes the fundamentals and rapid growth rate of Manassas. Center at Innovation is JCR’s second shopping center acquisition in Manassas, and its ninth suburban retail center acquisition since 2012. In the national capital region. JCR’s growing portfolio focuses on the area’s core submarkets including Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, Old Town Alexandria, Georgetown, and several fast-growing suburbs.  Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented the seller, EDENS, in the sale of the center.     2018-01-25T17:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/39847877312_547b261dab_z.jpg Del. Marcia Price, VCU Capital News Service http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bill-calls-for-a-special-election-if-a-recount-ends-in-a-tie Bill calls for a special election if a recount ends in a tie http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bill-calls-for-a-special-election-if-a-recount-ends-in-a-tie http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bill-calls-for-a-special-election-if-a-recount-ends-in-a-tie#When:10:09:00Z The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday called for a law requiring a special election if an election recount ends in a tie – as it did in the state’s 94th House District last fall. That tied election in Newport News between Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds was decided by a lottery – film canisters pulled out of a bowl. That is what prompted Del. Marcia Price, D-95th, to propose House Bill 1581. “When it was announced that the winner of the 94th District House race was to be determined by lot – by drawing a name out of a bowl – there was an instant reaction,” Price said at a news conference attended by the caucus chair, Del. Lamont Bagby, D-74th, and other legislators. Yancey, the incumbent delegate, won the lottery held by the State Board of Elections on Jan. 4. Price said that regardless of party, Virginians deserve a better way of settling deadlocked elections. Price said she was holiday shopping for her nephew in December when both Republican and Democratic residents of the 94th House District approached her about the upcoming lottery. Price recalled one man saying, “I know we don’t agree on much, but tell me you agree that this just isn’t right.” “So HB 1581 takes into account the feelings of disenfranchisement and serves as a fix. It says if the court finds that each party to the recount has received an equal number of votes, it shall issue a writ promptly ordering a special election be held to determine which candidate is elected to office,” Price said. The proposed rule would apply to all elected offices except governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The Virginia Constitution says the General Assembly must settle any tied election for those statewide offices. Price’s idea to hold a special election received support at the news conference from Dawnn Wallace, who lives in the 94th House District. 2018-01-25T10:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/construction-company-names-three-employees-partners Construction company names three employees partners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/construction-company-names-three-employees-partners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/construction-company-names-three-employees-partners#When:22:27:00Z Tysons-based Bognet Construction, a 20-year-old commercial general contracting firm, has named three long-time employees equity partners. Founded in 1998, Bognet had revenue of more than $120 million last year. The company specializes in large interiors and building renovations. The new partners are Tracey Gardiner, Trevor Hirst and Carlo Stalteri Gardiner joined the firm in 2008, rising from marketing coordinator to the director of preconstruction operations. Hirst joined Bognet in 2011 and now is vice president of construction. Stalteri started as an intern in 2006 and now serves as a senior project manager. Jim Bognet is president of the company. 2018-01-24T22:27:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/chesapeake-businesswoman-named-chair-of-virginia-chamber Chesapeake businesswoman named chair of Virginia Chamber http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/chesapeake-businesswoman-named-chair-of-virginia-chamber http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/chesapeake-businesswoman-named-chair-of-virginia-chamber#When:22:21:00Z Suzy Kelly, CEO of Chesapeake-based Jo-Kell Inc., has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Kelly has been a member of the chamber board since 2009 and a member of its executive committee since 2010. She succeeds Dennis Treacy, president of the Smithfield Foundation. Founded in 1977, Jo-Kell is a woman-owned small business specializing in Navy shipboard and high-tech industrial automation products, systems and services. The company has more than 60 employees working in Chesapeake; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Diego; Atlanta; and Charleston, S.C. Kelly has been a member of the Chesapeake City Council since 2010. The chamber’s board of directors also elected Charlie Meyer as first vice chair. Meyer is a partner with the Richmond law firm O’Hagan Meyer, where his practice focuses on employment litigation and counseling. 2018-01-24T22:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/usa-distribution-catoctin.png Catoctin Creek products will be available in 25 states and Washington, D.C. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/catoctin-creek-distilling-co.-expanding-to-10-additional-states Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. expanding to 10 additional states http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/catoctin-creek-distilling-co.-expanding-to-10-additional-states http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/catoctin-creek-distilling-co.-expanding-to-10-additional-states#When:21:11:00Z Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville is adding 10 states to its distribution map. Starting in February the distillery’s products will be available in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The growth is due in part by Total Wine’s decision to carry all of Catoctin Creek’s products. The national retailer now will carry its Braddock Oak Rye whiskey, Roundstone Rye – 92 Proof, Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof, and Watershed Gin. The following markets will now be part of Catoctin’s distribution: Arizona – Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits of Arizona California – Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits of California Florida – Cavalier Distributing Illinois – Burke Beverage Kentucky – Heidelberg Distributing Co. Minnesota – Phillips Wine & Spirits Missouri – Vintegrity Wine & Spirits Nevada – Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits of Nevada New Mexico – National Distribution Co. South Carolina – LKN Distributors Texas – Virtuoso Wine & Spirits 2018-01-24T21:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/901_Main_Street_reduced_for_flyer_copy.jpg Lynchburg National Bank building at 901 Main Street in Lynchburg courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-lynchburg-national-bank-building-in-lynchburg-sells-for-1-million Historic Lynchburg National Bank Building in Lynchburg sells for $1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-lynchburg-national-bank-building-in-lynchburg-sells-for-1-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-lynchburg-national-bank-building-in-lynchburg-sells-for-1-million#When:15:30:00Z     The historic Lynchburg National Bank building has sold for $1.08 million to a buyer who plans to renovate the 26,718-square-foot building.   According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, Bailey Grey Holdings LLC purchased the building from Downtown Enterprises LLC.   Located in the Central Business District at the center of the city’s downtown revitalization efforts, the building was constructed in 1916. One of its distinctive features is the stained glass that was used throughout the dome roof structure during the construction phase.    The building received the Merit Award from the Lynchburg Historical Foundation. Thalhimer said the buyer plans to completely renovate the building into a mix of retail and office space,  along with an event center.   Thalhimer’s George Lupton and Norman Moon handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2018-01-24T15:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/38965384465_162a0edaca_z.jpg Del. Lee Carter (D-50) giving his final argument for HB 462. Photo by Caitlin Barbieri http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/workers-compensation-bills-die-in-subcommittee Workers’ compensation bills die in subcommittee http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/workers-compensation-bills-die-in-subcommittee http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/workers-compensation-bills-die-in-subcommittee#When:10:39:00Z Legislation aimed at protecting and improving employees’ worker compensation rights were struck down Tuesday by a House subcommittee. Freshman Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, proposed three bills in an effort to reform the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act after he was inspired by his own experience filing a claim. All three bills were passed by indefinitely by a subcommittee of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, effectively killing them for the session. One of the bills, HB 460, would have prevented employers from firing someone based on the belief that the employee had filed or was planning to file a claim for workers compensation. Currently, Virginia law only protects employees from being fired solely because they have made or are planning to make a claim. However, this bill would have protected employees from being fired for any reason that was motivated by the knowledge or belief that the employee was planning to file a claim. Ryan Dunn from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce said the bill was too general. “This is really a golden ticket to allow somebody, even after they are fired for due cause or decide to quit, (that) they can at any point come back and say that this was related to their workers’ comp claim that they put in in 1985,” Dunn said. The second measure, HB 461, known as the timely notice bill, would have required employers to respond to a workers’ compensation claim within 10 days of the initial claim and explain why it was denied. The bill would cut employers’ response time in half; Joe Hudgins of the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia said that is not enough time to investigate a claim. Carter’s third bill, HB 462, would have ensured that Virginia employees injured while working outside the state could still file for compensation from their employer in Virginia, increasing their employers’ liability. Again this bill was met with opposition. Subcommittee Chairman Gregory Habeeb, R-Salem, agreed with Carter that “our system is not super-claimant friendly,” but disagreed with the proposed solution.  “I believe that there are some changes that Virginia could make to the benefit of the claimants that would be more than reasonable,” he said. “I just don’t think this is one of them.” Carter was not available for comment after the subcommittee meeting. 2018-01-24T10:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Jennifer_Scanlon_Norfolk_Southern_Corporation.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/usg-corp.-ceo-to-join-norfolk-southerns-board-of-director USG Corp. CEO to join Norfolk Southern’s board of director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/usg-corp.-ceo-to-join-norfolk-southerns-board-of-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/usg-corp.-ceo-to-join-norfolk-southerns-board-of-director#When:10:31:00Z Jennifer F. Scanlon has been elected a director of Norfolk Southern Corp. Scanlon, 51, is president and CEO of USG Corp., a Chicago-based manufacturer of construction materials. Prior to being named CEO in 2016, Scanlon was president of the company's international business; president of its L&W Supply Corp., and chief information officer and chairman of the board for USG Boral Building Products. Scanlon joined USG in 2003 as director of supply chain management and customer relationship management strategy and implementation. She holds a bachelor's degree in government and computer applications from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago. Scanlon serves on the boards of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and of SHORE Community Services Inc. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, The Chicago Network, and the Executives' Club of Chicago. 2018-01-24T10:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/APPRENTICESHIPBILL.png Left to right: Del. Jeffrey Bourne and Sen. Glen Sturtevant. Photo courtesy VCU CNS. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/businesses-may-get-tax-credits-to-train-high-school-students Businesses may get tax credits to train high school students http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/businesses-may-get-tax-credits-to-train-high-school-students http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/businesses-may-get-tax-credits-to-train-high-school-students#When:22:18:00Z Juniors and seniors in Richmond City Public Schools would receive paid apprenticeships and training with local businesses, and participating employers would get tax credits from the state, under legislation filed by a bipartisan pair of lawmakers. Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant and Democratic Del. Jeffrey Bourne, who both represent the city in the General Assembly, are seeking to establish a pilot program for the 2018-19 or 2019-20 academic year. Under the program, up to 25 Richmond students would receive “competitive compensation” while being trained in high-demand fields. Sturtevant and Bourne say it is important to help students who do not pursue traditional college degrees prepare for the workforce. “This pilot program will provide a great opportunity for bright and hardworking students to get hands-on experience,” Sturtevant said. Participating local businesses would receive a $2,500 tax credit per student per semester. Student compensation would equal “no less than the value” of that credit. The total tax credits awarded by the state could not exceed $125,000 a year under the legislation. Sturtevant and Bourne previously served together on the Richmond School Board for four years. The lawmakers have submitted companion bills to create the apprenticeship program. Sturtevant has introduced SB 937 in the Senate; Bourne is carrying HB 1575 in the House. Both measures are awaiting committee hearings. 2018-01-23T22:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-remains-unchanged2 Virginia’s jobless rate remains unchanged http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-remains-unchanged2 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-remains-unchanged2#When:22:01:00Z Virginia’s unemployment rate in December was 3.7 percent, unchanged from November. The December 2017 rate represented a decline of four-tenths of percentage point from December 2016, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The national rate for December 2017 was 4.1 percent. The numbers are seasonally adjusted, meaning that they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor force. The lowest jobless rate in Virginia last year, 3.6 percent, occurred in October. That rate was the lowest seen in Virginia since March 2008. Virginia’s nonfarm employment fell by 2,100 jobs in December to 3,966,500, the third consecutive monthly decline. In December, employment decreased in three industry sectors, increased in seven others and was unchanged in mining at 7,800 jobs. The largest job loss during the month occurred in professional and business services, down 4,600 jobs to a total of 725,300. The biggest employment gain occurred in trade and transportation, up 2,800 jobs to 659,200. From December 2016 to December 2017, Virginia had a net gain of 30,200 jobs, with the biggest increases in Northern Virginia (20,900 jobs) and the Richmond area (11,100). 2018-01-23T22:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senators-suggest-charging-tolls-on-trucks-on-i-81 Senators suggest charging tolls on trucks on I-81 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senators-suggest-charging-tolls-on-trucks-on-i-81 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/senators-suggest-charging-tolls-on-trucks-on-i-81#When:09:58:00Z Two state senators are calling for a study on the feasibility of imposing tolls on large trucks using Interstate 81. The potential toll revenue would fund safety improvements on the highway, according to Republican Sens. Mark Obenshain of Rockingham and Bill Carrico of Grayson, who filed a bill Friday to launch such a study. “We need to focus our efforts and money on improving I-81. It has been overlooked for too long, and Virginians in Southwest Virginia and the Valley deserve better,” said Carrico, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. “This bill is an innovative approach, and I look forward to seeing the results of this study.” Kansas and Rhode Island have similar truck-tolling programs. In 2017, revenue from commercial vehicle tolls in Kansas totaled $48 million. In Rhode Island, such tolls may generate $60 million in annual revenue for transportation needs, according to an economic impact study. I-81 runs 855 miles from Tennessee to the Canadian border. The Virginia segment is 325 miles long, from Bristol to Winchester. Obenshain said that I-81 carries nearly half of statewide truck traffic and that about a fifth of the traffic collisions on the interstate involve a heavy truck. “With over 2,000 crashes per year, and 30 crashes a year with a clearance time greater than six hours, we must be willing to look at creative methods to find substantive solutions to this problem,” Obenshain said. The bill would set several stipulations for the proposed tolling program. Under the stipulations, the Commonwealth Transportation Board would: • Identify how to improve specific parts of I-81. • Develop a tolling policy that minimizes effects on local traffic and the diversion of truck traffic from I-81. • Use all funds generated by the tolls for the benefit of I-81. No matter what the study might find, tolls on I-81 may be a long way off. Any tolling program on the highway would require approval from the General Assembly, Obenshain noted. “I believe that a willingness to explore innovative and unconventional funding sources can be a part of a bipartisan solution to the problems faced by those who travel Interstate 81 every day,” he said. Obenshain has filed another bill aimed at truck safety on I-81. SB 561 calls for the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a pilot program requiring tractor trucks to travel in the right lane only. 2018-01-23T09:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/JANAF_SY_0262_copy.jpg JANAF shopping center courtesy Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wheeler-real-estate-investment-trust-acquires-janaf-shopping-center-for-85 Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust acquires JANAF shopping center for $85.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wheeler-real-estate-investment-trust-acquires-janaf-shopping-center-for-85 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wheeler-real-estate-investment-trust-acquires-janaf-shopping-center-for-85#When:22:46:00Z Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc., a company with a primary focus on grocery-anchored centers, said Monday that WHLR-JANAF LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm, has purchased JANAF Shopping Yard shopping center in Norfolk for $85.6 million. At 887,917-square-feet, JANAF is the largest open-air shopping center in the region. According to CBRE broker Ryan Sciullo who, along with Bill Kent handled the sale, the transaction represents the largest non-mall retail sale in Hampton Roads in the past five years. When it opened in 1959, JANAF Shopping Yard was one of the first large suburban shopping centers in the U.S. The property’s original investment group was composed of retired and active-duty military personnel who named the center JANAF, an acronym for Joint Army Navy Air Force. “JANAF Shopping Yard is a key shopping district serving Southside Hampton Roads, and this growing area is attracting robust investment,” Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander said in a statement.  “The city’s vision for this area is building on various assets and will play an important role in defining our future. We appreciate that Wheeler is increasing its corporate portfolio to include one of Norfolk’s commercial destinations. And, we are proud to have local ownership of this valuable asset.” Jon S. Wheeler, chairman and CEO of Virginia Beach-based Wheeler, describes JANAF as “an iconic property located nine miles from our corporate headquarters. This asset aligns perfectly with our business strategy of owning the dominant center in secondary and tertiary markets. We expect JANAF to be a long-term play for WHLR as we believe there is tremendous value in the underlying real estate,” Wheeler said in a statement. JANAF is located at the intersection of Military Highway and Virginia Beach Blvd., one of the area’s most traveled intersections. It is easily accessible to Interstates 64 and 264. Chuck Rigney, Norfolk’s director of economic development, noted that the area surrounding JANAF is experiencing an economic boom with the recent opening of the Norfolk Premium Outlets and with IKEA’s planned second store in Virginia. Since its opening, JANAF Shopping Yard has undergone numerous transformations with the last major renovation in 2006. As of Sept.  30, 2017, it was 94% occupied, according to Wheeler Real Estate. Tenants include BJ’s Wholesale Club and Fuel Center, 151,345 square feet; Big Lots, 42,500 square feet; T.J. Maxx, 37,383 square feet; and Petco, 17,000 square feet. JANAF also is home to a number of restaurants including Hooters, Logan’s Roadhouse, Olive Garden, Cici’s, Panera Bread, Popeyes, Applebee’s and Firehouse Subs. Additionally, there is a six-stall Tesla supercharging station. 2018-01-22T22:46:00+00:00