1537839776 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en jsabbath@va-business.com Copyright 2018 2018-09-24T14:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia Inc. 500 companies located in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia#When:09:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0202; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Company City 3-yr. growth rate Revenue1 Industry 10 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 12,621% $25.8 Government services 49 Interactive Government Holdings Springfield 5,058 7.1 Government services 55 ByteCubed Arlington 4,768 11.6 IT services 56 Excel Group Arlington 4,694 34.4 Real estate 70 Talteam Herndon 4,053 5.0 IT services 77 Ecology Mir Group Manassas 3,856 3.9 Government services 100 Inoventures McLean 3,255 3.9 Government services 128 Mosquito Joe Virginia Beach 2,700 8.1 Consumer products & services 200 LLB Enterprises Stafford 1,900 2.0 Business products & services 205 Health Warrior Richmond 1,887 9.8 Food & beverage 212 Darkblade Systems Stafford 1,848 4.0 Government services 215 Preting Consulting Alexandria 1,827 5.2 Government services 222 Pro-Sphere Tek Alexandria 1,795 45.7 IT services 223 AegisCorp. Chantilly 1,794 4.2 Government services 247 Tenica and Associates Alexandria 1,591 9.1 Government services 254 Hosted Records Springfield 1,557 3.3 Government services 280 American Pillowcase Richmond 1,400 6.5 Retail 295 Potomac River Holdings Alexandria 1,337 16.6 Retail 308 GuidePoint Security Herndon 1,276 111.1 Security 312 Axis Global Enterprises Virginia Beach 1,237 6.1 Construction 324 SSi Virginia Beach 1,194 12.0 Human resources 326 Oasys McLean 1,182 5.0 Government services 348 Davis Defense Group Stafford 1,102 30.9 Government services 369 Trigent Solutions Chantilly 1,046 6.1 IT services 392 Open Systems Technologies Gainesville 976 5.4 IT services 394 Perfecta Federal Springfield 972 5.9 Government services 405 Favor TechConsulting Vienna 949 19.2 IT services 408 Avertra Herndon 944 8.7 IT services 451 Sequoia Holdings Reston 847 5.6 Government services 462 The Hilb Group Richmond 820 36.8 Insurance 477 SeKON Enterprise Herndon 798 23.9 Government services 479 Cynet Systems Ashburn 797 31.4 IT Services 480 Wholesale Screening Solutions Purcellville 795 32.4 Business products & services 486 Metronome Fairfax 779 9.8 Government services 1 In millions in 2015 Source: Inc. magazine   2017-02-28T09:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bennington_Crossings_email_copy.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/morgan-properties-purchases-alexandria-apartments-for-62.3-million Morgan Properties purchases Alexandria apartments for $62.3 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/morgan-properties-purchases-alexandria-apartments-for-62.3-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/morgan-properties-purchases-alexandria-apartments-for-62.3-million#When:14:39:00Z Morgan Properties has purchased the Bennington Crossings Apartments in Alexandria for $62.3 million. The 308-unit multifamily apartment building is located on 13.1 acres at 441 N. Armistead St. inside the Capital Beltway just off Interstate 395. Morgan Properties is a national real estate investment and management company headquartered in King of Prussia, Pa. It owns 150 apartment communities in 10 states. It acquired the apartment building from JBG Smith. The property includes 22 three- and four-story residential buildings with one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Community amenities include a swimming pool, playground, fitness center and on-site DASH bus site. Morgan Properties plans to renovate and update the units, according to Berkadia, which financed $47.9 million of the transaction in partnership with Freddie Mac. Berkadia is a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group. Walter Coker and Brian Crivella of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented the seller. 2018-09-24T14:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/UNIONPIC.png More than 200 employees will move to Union's office building in Innsbrook. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-expanding-richmond-area-footprint Union Bank & Trust expanding Richmond-area footprint http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-expanding-richmond-area-footprint http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-expanding-richmond-area-footprint#When:14:12:00Z Union Bank & Trust is expanding its Richmond-area footprint, while consolidating from three to two corporate locations. Union is increasing the square footage of its Richmond offices by 20,000 square feet in six major phases. The bank currently has offices downtown in the James Center and in Henrico County’s west end at 4355 Innslake Drive in Innsbrook and at 3900 Westerre Parkway. By May 2019, the bank plans to vacate the location on Westerre Parkway. The bank said the move will help integrate Union and former employees of Xenith Bank, following the merger earlier this year. It also will accommodate anticipated future growth, including expansion of the bank’s enterprise data warehouse and digital strategy teams. The first three phases of the reorganization are expected to be complete by the end of 2018. In the first phase, 125 employees moved this week to the third floor of the building in Innsbrook. By November, 80 employees will be moving to the 8th floor of James Center Tower 3. This will include commercial, business banking, treasury and some of the wealth management department. In addition, 90 employees will move to the first floor of the Innsbrook location. Photo courtesy Union Bank & Trust. 2018-09-24T14:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2nd-charles-to-occupy-a-former-staples-in-chantilly 2nd & Charles to occupy a former Staples in Chantilly http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2nd-charles-to-occupy-a-former-staples-in-chantilly http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2nd-charles-to-occupy-a-former-staples-in-chantilly#When:13:54:00Z 2nd & Charles is opening a store in Chantilly. The company has signed a 25,401-square-foot lease in Chantilly Plaza. The building formerly was a Staples store. 2nd & Charles allows customers to buy, trade and sell used items. It currently has stores in Woodbridge, Midlothian, Richmond and Newport News. The store is slated to open in early 2019. Bethesda, Md.-based H&R Retail’s Principal Ray Schupp and Associate Bryan Davis represented 2nd & Charles in the transaction. Andrew Iszard of Combined Properties represented the landlord in the transaction. 2018-09-24T13:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million Henrico office building sells for $1.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million#When:13:14:00Z An 11,061-square-foot office building in Henrico County has been sold for $1.4 million. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said the building, 4201 Park Place Court, is located in the Innsbrook office park. The buyer, 4201 Park Place Court LLC, purchased the office building from Banks Park LP. N. Dean Meyer and Evan M. Magrill of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. Immediately adjacent to 4201 Park Place Court are seven, single buildings ranging in size from 10,400 to 19,335 square feet. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is marketing those properties for sale for Banks Park. 2018-09-24T13:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/easley-hedrick-insurance-financial-acquires-multiple-insurance-agencies Easley Hedrick Insurance & Financial acquires multiple insurance agencies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/easley-hedrick-insurance-financial-acquires-multiple-insurance-agencies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/easley-hedrick-insurance-financial-acquires-multiple-insurance-agencies#When:18:46:00Z Easley Hedrick Insurance & Financial announced Friday that it has acquired multiple insurance agencies throughout Virginia.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company acquired the following agencies Sept. 1. •          Moncure Insurance Agency Inc. in Mechanicsville •          Sam Nichols, a Nationwide agent in Gretna and Bedford •          Roy R. Yeatts, a Nationwide agent in Farmville •          Brandon Scearce Insurance Agency Inc. in South Boston •          Eric Arthur Jr. Insurance Services Inc. in South Boston Prior to the acquisitions, Easley Hedrick had 15 employees. “We are pleased to report that all 12 employees from the impacted agencies are now part of our expanded team,” Brandon Hedrick, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. “We nearly doubled in employees and, due in part to these acquisitions, we expect to double our revenue this fiscal year.” Easley Hedrick agency offers personal and corporate insurance from dozens of carriers in Virginia and North Carolina.   2018-09-21T18:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sonabank_logo.png Sonabank had the 17th highest amount of 2018 deposits for Virginia banks. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-cfo-at-bank-holding-company-in-mclean New CFO at bank holding company in McLean http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-cfo-at-bank-holding-company-in-mclean http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-cfo-at-bank-holding-company-in-mclean#When:17:00:00Z A bank holding company in Northern Virginia has a new top executive. Southern National Bancorp of Virginia announced on Friday that Jefferey L. Karafa was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer effective Sept. 19. Sothern National Bancorp of Virginia is the bank holding company for Sonabank, which is headquartered in McLean. Sonabank had the 17th highest amount of 2018 deposits for Virginia banks - $1.72 million - and is traded on NASDAQ. Karafa has more than 31 years of financial experience in the banking industry and in accounting. He most recently worked as CFO of The National Capital Bank of Washington in Washington, D.C. 2018-09-21T17:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Turning_Basin_092018.png The Turning Basin property in downtown Richmond. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-downtown-property-turns-to-new-owners Richmond downtown property turns to new owners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-downtown-property-turns-to-new-owners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-downtown-property-turns-to-new-owners#When:16:46:00Z A downtown Richmond office and restaurant property has dropped anchor with new owners. Jewell Capital of Miami, Fla., recently bought the Turning Basin property at 111 Virginia St. for an undisclosed sum. The property, purchased Sept. 17, most recently was assessed at $10 million but Richmond’s property records had yet to record the recent sales price Friday. The office and restaurant property sits in the heart of Shockoe Slip, the capital city’s cobblestone-lined historic district. The Turning Basin property consists of a newer 92,814-square-foot, five-story office building that connects to a historic 12,436-square-foot, two-story building. The two-story building is home to the restaurant Southern Railway Taphouse and a new arcade the eatery opened this year. The office building almost is fully leased and home to Salem Web Network, Kaleo, SMBW Architects and Morton’s The Steakhouse. The Turning Basin was on the market for six weeks, according to Eric Robison, a senior vice president for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group, which represented the seller of the property. He said the property had been foreclosed on about six years ago. “Our downtown office market is performing very well,” Robison says. 2018-09-21T16:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Tucker.png Tucker has been an active member of the Business Law Section for years. | Photo courtesy of Hunton Andrews Kurth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-lawyer-to-lead-american-bar-association-group Richmond lawyer to lead American Bar Association group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-lawyer-to-lead-american-bar-association-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-lawyer-to-lead-american-bar-association-group#When:21:07:00Z A Richmond lawyer has been picked to lead a business law section of a large legal association. Vicki O. Tucker of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has started a one-year term as chair of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section. Tucker’s practice focusses on secondary market transactions involving residential mortgage loans and mortgage servicing rights, representing banks, servicers and others on many transactions. Tucker has been an active member of the Business Law Section for years. She recently completed a term as the section’s chair-elect and has served as its vice chair, secretary and a member of its council. She’s also had other section leadership roles. The Business Law Section is one of the American Bar Association’s biggest groups. It has almost 50,000 members and about 60 committees covering a range of business practice areas and interests like commercial and consumer finance, corporate and securities laws and commercial litigation. Founded in Richmond, Hunton Andrews Kurth has offices around the world. 2018-09-20T21:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/asheel-shah-named-senior-managing-director-at-ejf-capital-llc Asheel Shah named senior managing director at EJF Capital LLC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/asheel-shah-named-senior-managing-director-at-ejf-capital-llc http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/asheel-shah-named-senior-managing-director-at-ejf-capital-llc#When:20:48:00Z Arlington-based EJF Capital LLC has tapped a former Kettler executive to lead its real estate investments. Asheel Shah will join the firm Oct. 1 as senior managing director and head of real estate at the asset management firm. He was president and chief investment officer of the multifamily division of Kettler, a real estate company based in McLean. As of Aug. 31, EJF manages about $6.9 billion in various hedge-fund and private-equity fund investments. Since its inception in 2005, EJF has focused on investments in the financial sector, including real estate.     2018-09-20T20:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-opens-second-freestanding-richmond-area-emergency-center Bon Secours opens second freestanding, Richmond-area emergency center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-opens-second-freestanding-richmond-area-emergency-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-opens-second-freestanding-richmond-area-emergency-center#When:20:47:00Z A two-story, 50,000-square-foot emergency medical center has opened in the Short Pump area of Henrico County. The Bon Secours Short Pump Medical Plaza at Broad Hill Centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new center, located at 12320 W. Broad St., is Bon Secours’ second freestanding emergency center in the Richmond area. The Bon Secours Westchester Emergency Center opened in 2011 at the corner of Midlothian Turnpike and Route 288. The Short Pump facility houses a 12-bed emergency department, a medical imaging center including CT, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray equipment, and the Bon Secours Short Pump Primary Care practice. 2018-09-20T20:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/1-million-gift-will-create-scholarship-endowment-at-richard-bland-college $1 million gift will create scholarship endowment at Richard Bland College http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/1-million-gift-will-create-scholarship-endowment-at-richard-bland-college http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/1-million-gift-will-create-scholarship-endowment-at-richard-bland-college#When:20:46:00Z A former chairman of CSX Corp. and his wife have donated $1 million to create an endowment for scholarships to the Richard Bland College of William & Mary. The contribution by Hays and Betty Watkins will support the Promise Scholars program, a joint initiative of Richard Bland and the College of William & Mary. The program is designed to reduce financial barriers for high achieving Virginia students . Watkins, who led CSX while it was based in Richmond, is a former rector of the William & Mary board of visitors. The Watkins Endowment will be used for scholarships for the Promise Scholars program in perpetuity. Debbie Sydow, the president of Richard Bland, said the Watkins’ gift is the largest the college has received in its history. The gift put the college beyond its half-way mark in achieving  a $2.2 million Promise Scholarship campaign goal. 2018-09-20T20:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/dont-let-cyber-attacks-hold-your-patients-hostage Don’t let cyber attacks hold your patients hostage http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/dont-let-cyber-attacks-hold-your-patients-hostage http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/dont-let-cyber-attacks-hold-your-patients-hostage#When:19:23:00Z As our society has become increasingly reliant on IT services, our ability to protect our personal, financial and health-care data has become equally important. According to the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, the health-care sector fell prey to more cyber incidents through data breaches than any other critical infrastructure area in 2015. The health-care industry is rife with vulnerabilities for exploitation given the complexity and diversity of the health-care ecosystem, which includes public and private players large and small as well as connected medical devices and software systems. In May 2017, Britain’s National Health Service made headlines when its networks succumbed to the global WannaCry ransomware attack, which infected more than 400,000 computers worldwide and demanded payments of $300 to $600 to restore access to data on each scrambled system. While IT and executives deliberated on what to do, doctors and health practitioners were forced to revert to pen and paper after the attack impaired key systems. The New York Times reported that some affected hospitals turned away patients, delayed lab results and even cancelled surgeries, revealing just how acutely cybersecurity issues in the health-care industry become patient safety issues. IT spending in health care has increased, and governments are taking action to establish measures to protect our most vital data, yet cyber-attacks continue to increase. Symantec’s annual Internet Security Threat Report found that security incidents within health care were the second-highest contributor in affected services industries in 2016, outweighed only by incidents in business services. Moreover, cyber criminals are escalating demands. The report also found that average ransoms in 2016 rose to $1,077, a $294 year-over-year increase. To help protect health-care systems, patients and staff from cyber-attacks, executives should employ the following proactive methods. Recognizing an attack Ninety-one percent of cyber-attacks start with a phishing email, according to a study by PhishMe. Email scams frequently attempt to trick a target into clicking an email link, which launches malicious software that compromises the security of the network. The FBI estimates that compromised email accounts for $3.1 billion in losses per year worldwide. To prevent an attack, it’s important to train your workforce to look for the three most common types of email hacks: • Fake email coming from a company executive or colleague • Fake invoice from a supplier whose email address has been spoofed • Fake email from an attorney requesting funds or information about a deal Even if the target doesn’t send a payment or transfer funds in response to the email, simply clicking a link in a phishing email can cause a chain of events that compromise the network. How data gets held hostage Ransomware is a malicious type of software used by cyber attackers that can harm or disable computer systems until hackers receive a payoff. The health-care industry is especially targeted because it is “rich in personally-identifiable information… and the results of a successful attack can be dire    including risk to patient care,” noted the Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry. According to PhishMe, these types of attacks are up 400 percent since 2016. Ransomware works by tricking the target into opening a fake email and then clicking on a link or attachment that infects the system and locks the user out of the computer system or network until a ransom is paid. Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t ensure a fix, as evidenced by the Petya ransomware attack, which hit 65 countries in June 2017. In the case of ransomware attack, it’s important to increase health-care industry readiness through improved cybersecurity awareness and education, including: • Implementing security patches – Every time the operating system or security software asks if it can run a system or security update, promptly follow through. • Backing up data – Back up files remotely every day on an external hard drive not connected to the internet. • Using an antivirus program – Antivirus programs can scan files to see if they might contain ransomware. Run the program automatically before downloading files. Bolstering defenses The best protection against email fraud is to employ multiple lines of defense. While upgrading software and backing up data is critical, training the health-care workforce to spot warning signs is the most important proactive measure. Empower your staff to: • Be cautious. Flag suspicious emails to IT. Additionally, never reply or open links and files within suspicious emails. • Remain cognizant and alert your bank to unusual requests. It’s essential to inform your bank of suspicious activity so proper action is taken to stop or prevent a financial transaction. • Remove every “dirty” PC. If a laptop or PC is compromised, remove it from the company’s network until it has been cleansed of malware. Ideally, every health-care organization should develop processes to teach its workforce and patients to recognize potential cyber-attacks via trainings and simulations. According to PhishMe, susceptibility to phishing email drops almost 20 percent after an organization runs just one simulation. Proactive education across the health-care ecosystem is a necessary line of defense to recognize a potential cyber-attack or ransomware intrusion, and can prevent compromised private patient information, prevent monetary losses, and ultimately, spare organizational delays in delivering care. Ashish Khosla is senior vice president and Washington, D.C., market executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 2018-09-20T19:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2018-09-19_at_5.53.45_PM.png Charles Rigney is leaving Norfolk for Hampton | Photo courtesy of Hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-economic-development-veteran-taking-the-reins-in-hampton Norfolk economic development veteran taking the reins in Hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-economic-development-veteran-taking-the-reins-in-hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-economic-development-veteran-taking-the-reins-in-hampton#When:23:33:00Z A veteran of the Norfolk economic development scene is again jumping ship to lead a neighboring locality’s efforts at attracting investment. Charles E. “Chuck” Rigney Sr. will start as Hampton’s director of economic development on Oct. 8 with a salary of around $144,000. Rigney currently works for Norfolk’s economic development arm where he makes $134,732. “It’s a really exciting time,” Rigney says. “I can’t wait to start over there.” Rigney was named Norfolk’s economic development director in 2015. In March this year, however, he became assistant director of development and took a $8,528 pay cut. Norfolk’s former planning director, George Homewood, is Norfolk’s interim economic development director. Asked about recent changes in Norfolk, Rigney said the focus of the city’s efforts are shifting from traditional urban economic development to redevelopment of public housing complexes in the St. Paul’s area. “Norfolk is going to be having a specialist in the sensitive complexities of all things involved in St. Paul’s,” Rigney says. “The opportunity to go over to Hampton was too good not to take.” Rigney was assistant director for Norfolk’s economic development arm from 1997 to 2014, a period that included a stint as temporary director from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, he was named Portsmouth’s director of economic development, but he left the post less than a year later to return to Norfolk. Rigney says in Hampton he will focus on what he does best: business attraction, retention and recruitment. While in Norfolk, Rigney helped recruit businesses like ADP, Tegra, Movement Mortgage and IKEA. He first plans to conduct a listening tour of sorts to hear what members of the Hampton community have to say about its economic development. Rigney expects to examine on a number of issues in Hampton. They include ensuring the costs of urban redevelopment don’t discourage investment, updating older buildings to meet today’s needs, and improving the city’s workforce. Redevelopment and revitalization of Fort Monroe will be an important challenge, Rigney says. “We have to do it right,” Rigney says. “It is one of the greatest redevelopment opportunities in the country.” Rigney says working toward regional cooperation will be important, but he doesn’t shy away from the fact that localities are often competing for similar deals. “It’s the nature of the beast,” he says. 2018-09-19T23:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-foods-adding-300-jobs-in-henry-county Monogram Foods adding 300 jobs in Henry County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-foods-adding-300-jobs-in-henry-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-foods-adding-300-jobs-in-henry-county#When:21:16:00Z Monogram Food Solutions LLC is once again growing in Henry County. The company announced Wednesday a $30 million expansion of Monogram Snacks, a move that is expected to add 300 jobs. This is the Memphis-based food manufacturer’s fourth expansion since coming to the county in 2009. The company will expand its product lines to accommodate new and expanding contracts. Virginia competed against six other states for the project. Founded in 2004, Monogram Foods’ products include meat snacks, corn dogs, bacon and pet treats. Its brands include Wild Bill’s, O’Brien’s and Trail’s Best. The company also provides co-packer and private label services. In addition to Virginia, it has facilities in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $350,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Henry County with the project. The governor also approved a $300,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing companies. Monogram Foods is eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, as well as state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The company is also eligible for sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2018-09-19T21:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/graves-light-private-wealth-management-begins-independent-operation Graves-Light Private Wealth Management begins independent operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/graves-light-private-wealth-management-begins-independent-operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/graves-light-private-wealth-management-begins-independent-operation#When:21:03:00Z Graves-Light Private Wealth Management LLC, a Harrisonburg-based firm, has become an independent registered investment advisor. Five of firm’s six staff members previously worked for Wells Fargo Advisors. The firm serves individuals, families and businesses in Northern Virginia, the Richmond area and the Shenandoah Valley. The firm includes four advisors — Asa W. Graves VII,  J. Douglas Light, Jeffrey D. Lenhart and A. Wesley Graves VI — and two senior associates, Angela Moats and Kara Morgan. Before joining Graves-Light, Lenhart was a founding member of the law firm Lenhart Pettit, which has about 25 lawyers in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville. 2018-09-19T21:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kaufman-canoles-adds-to-municipal-and-public-finance-team Kaufman & Canoles adds to municipal and public finance team http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kaufman-canoles-adds-to-municipal-and-public-finance-team http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kaufman-canoles-adds-to-municipal-and-public-finance-team#When:09:36:00Z Eric E. Ballou and Megan Martz Gilliland have joined Kaufman & Canoles as of counsel in the firm’s Richmond office. They formerly were partners at Christian & Barton. Ballou’s practice focuses on public finance, transportation and local government.  He also serves in a general counsel capacity to governmental entities. Gilliland specializes in complex business transactions including public finance; local government; business tax; and general corporate business matters. She also represents governmental bodies on governance matters. Ballou received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Gilliland received a bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary, a law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law and a master of laws degree in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She is the immediate past president of Virginia Women in Public Finance. Peyton Stroud also joined the firm as an associate. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in 2011 and a law degree from the University of Richmond in 2016.   2018-09-19T09:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Gary_Wallace.jpg Gary Wallace, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-names-new-managing-partner Keiter names new managing partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-names-new-managing-partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-names-new-managing-partner#When:21:01:00Z Gary Wallace, CPA, has been named the new managing partner of Keiter, a major Richmond-based certified public accounting firm. Wallace’s appointment is effective on Jan. 1. He succeeds L. Michael Gracik Jr., who has been managing partner since 2014. Gracik will become a director with the firm, providing clients with tax advisory and succession planning consulting. Wallace has more than 30 years of accounting experience in the private and public sectors. He has been tax department leader at Keiter. In his new role, Wallace will oversee the firm’s strategic direction.  He also will continue as a partner in the firm’s tax practice. Prior to joining Keiter in 2010, Wallace was the chief financial officer for The Riverstone Group LLC and CCA Industries Inc. 2018-09-18T21:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dollar-tree-moving-700-jobs-from-north-carolina-to-virginia Dollar Tree moving 700 jobs from North Carolina to Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dollar-tree-moving-700-jobs-from-north-carolina-to-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dollar-tree-moving-700-jobs-from-north-carolina-to-virginia#When:19:32:00Z Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree is moving 700 jobs from North Carolina to Virginia. Dollar Tree said Tuesday that it’s closing Family Dollar’s Matthews, N.C.-based headquarters next fall. This will result in the transition of 700 employees to its new Summit Pointe headquarters, a 12-story office building in Chesapeake’s Greenbrier area. "We've given associates a few months window so they can decide if they want to relocate," says Randy Guiler, Dollar Tree's vice president of investor relations.  Two-hundred jobs also will be eliminated in Matthews due to the closure of Family Dollar’s headquarters but a local distribution center will remain open. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar more than three years ago for about $9.1 billion. Impacted employees will be offered job transition benefits and outplacement services. The discount retailer will start moving Chesapeake employees to Summit Pointe early next month. Consolidation of operations is expected to be completed in fall 2019. 2018-09-18T19:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-federal-grants-to-predict-tobacco-product-regulation-outcomes VCU receives federal grants to predict tobacco product regulation outcomes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-federal-grants-to-predict-tobacco-product-regulation-outcomes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-federal-grants-to-predict-tobacco-product-regulation-outcomes#When:08:43:00Z Virginia Commonwealth University has received a $19.78 million grant to conduct a five-year study to predict the effects of government regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The university’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products is receiving the grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. The center is one of nine across the country that provide research to the federal agencies.  The grant follows a five-year, $18.3 million grant awarded to the center in 2013 to study tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, and to develop evaluation methods to help inform regulatory policy. “We’re trying to inform regulations that protect the health of nonsmokers who might be encouraged by marketing to try electronic cigarettes or other tobacco products, and also protect the health of smokers by making sure that if they were to use an electronic cigarette in an attempt to get off tobacco cigarettes, that they're not using something that is also harmful to their health,” Thomas Eissenberg, director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products and a professor in the Department of Psychology, said in a statement. As part of the grant, the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products will test potential regulations of tobacco products in a series of lab studies, some focused on engineering and the mechanics of the product, some focused on “abuse liability” — or how likely users are to become dependent on a product — and some focused on the effects of tobacco products on people who use them. Under the new grant, the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products will test potential regulations to predict their intended and unintended consequences. As an example, the center has undertaken preliminary work on a possible rule to limit the nicotine content of an e-cigarette’s liquid to no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter, a current regulation in the European Union. In the center’s engineering lab, researchers look at how much nicotine comes out from a device filled with e-liquid that has low levels of nicotine. Then what happens when a user ramps up the e-cigarette’s power. “We have preliminary data that shows the nicotine emission of electronic cigarettes is closely aligned with the power, such that when you double the power you increase the nicotine by more than four times,” Eissenberg said. “Most electronic cigarettes that you see at the drugstore operate at around seven or eight or maybe 10 watts of power, but you can buy some at a vape store that are 70 or even more than 100 watts. You take a 70-watt device and put a 5 milligram liquid in it, you can get way more nicotine from it than you would from a combustible cigarette.” The engineering lab can analyze what else gets emitted when a user increases an e-cigarette’s power. As it turns out, when e-liquids get overheated, they produce volatile aldehydes, like formaldehyde, which is dangerous for human lungs and also a known carcinogen. “So the unintended consequences of a regulation like the European Union’s, if you just look at the engineering lab results, is that you get none of the intended effect — because people can ramp up the power and get as much nicotine as they want — and an unintended consequence of dangerous volatile aldehydes, like formaldehyde,” Eissenberg said. In the abuse liability lab, the regulation is tested to understand how hard people are willing to work an 2018-09-18T08:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/matrix-capital-markets-group-adds-new-consulting-group Matrix Capital Markets Group adds new consulting group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/matrix-capital-markets-group-adds-new-consulting-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/matrix-capital-markets-group-adds-new-consulting-group#When:20:41:00Z Richmond-based Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. said Monday it has formed a new consulting group focused on the oil and petroleum industries and convenience stores. Melvin L. Strine will serve as the director of the new endeavor, Matrix Consulting Services Group. Matrix is an independent investment bank with offices in Richmond, Baltimore, Chicago and Dallas. Since 1988, the company has provided merger & acquisition and financial advisory services for companies. It serves clients in various industries, including industrial, building and consumer products. 2018-09-17T20:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-smithfield-foods-executive-joins-reed-smith Former Smithfield Foods executive joins Reed Smith http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-smithfield-foods-executive-joins-reed-smith http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-smithfield-foods-executive-joins-reed-smith#When:19:12:00Z Dennis H. Treacy, the recently retired executive vice president and chief sustainability officer at Smithfield Foods, joined the law firm Reed Smith LLP as senior counsel in its Government Relations and Administrative Law Group in Richmond. Treacy, who also was president of the Smithfield Foundation, is rector of the Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors. He is immediate past chair the Virginia Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Before joining Smithfield in 2002, Treacy was director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Treacy currently chairs VIRGINIAforever, an organization that advocates increased state funding for water quality and land conservation. He earned an undergraduate degree in forestry and wildlife at Virginia Tech in 1978 and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1983, which in 2010 named him a Distinguished Environmental Law Graduate. 2018-09-17T19:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rockford-capital-acquires-hampton-office-building Rockford Capital acquires Hampton office building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rockford-capital-acquires-hampton-office-building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rockford-capital-acquires-hampton-office-building#When:21:07:00Z Wilmington, Del.-based Rockford Capital Partners has acquired a 100,632-square-foot office building in Hampton. The single-story building on 400 Butler Farm Road is totally occupied by a division of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corp. The seller is an affiliate of Lexington Realty Trust. The sales price was not disclosed. The deal is the first acquisition for the recently-launched Rockford Fund IV. “The Butler Farm Rd transaction provides Rockford Fund IV with excellent in-place yield coupled with long-term upside potential,” Doug Motley, principal of Rockford Capital, said in a statement.   “This investment is consistent with our approach of acquiring high-quality, well-located office assets in submarkets with limited supply and positive business activity.” The seller was represented in the transaction by J. Scott Adams of CBRE Hampton Roads. Rockford Capital is a private real estate firm specializing in the acquisition, repositioning, and management of commercial real estate assets throughout the eastern U.S. 2018-09-14T21:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/store-subleases-space-in-blacksburg Store subleases space in Blacksburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/store-subleases-space-in-blacksburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/store-subleases-space-in-blacksburg#When:21:01:00Z Sleep Mattress & Furniture Plus Bedding has subleased 13,281 square feet. of retail space in Blacksburg. The store location is University Mall at 833 University City Blvd. in Blacksburg. John K. Nielsen of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the sublessor. 2018-09-14T21:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lease-transactions-reported-in-hampton-roads Lease transactions reported in Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lease-transactions-reported-in-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lease-transactions-reported-in-hampton-roads#When:18:21:00Z Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports the following recent lease transactions in Hampton Roads: Albeder PC Center renewed its lease of 15,000 square feet at 800 Florida Ave.,  in Portsmouth. Tom Dana handled lease negotiations. CoStar Group expanded its office space by 13,178 square feet at 150 S. Main St. in Norfolk.  Christine Kaempfe and Rob Wright handled lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. Rain for Rent renewed its lease of 11,500 square feet at 701 Shields Road in Newport News. Bobby Phillips handled lease negotiations. 2018-09-14T18:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/law-firm-renews-lease-for-office-space Law firm renews lease for office space http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/law-firm-renews-lease-for-office-space http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/law-firm-renews-lease-for-office-space#When:18:20:00Z The law firm Batzli Stiles Butler PC has renewed its lease on office space in Henrico County. The lease is for 11,901 square feet in Westerre II at 3957 Westerre Parkway. Dean Meyer and Mac Wilson of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations. 2018-09-14T18:20:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-buys-two-virginia-beach-properties Shamin Hotels buys two Virginia Beach properties http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-buys-two-virginia-beach-properties http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-buys-two-virginia-beach-properties#When:16:18:00Z Chester-based Shamin Hotels has bought two Hilton-branded hotels in Virginia Beach formerly owned by Hampton Roads developer Bruce Thompson. The total sales price was not disclosed. The Aug. 31 sale included the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront at 3001 Atlantic Avenue and the Hilton Garden Inn at 3315 Atlantic Avenue. CBRE Hotels, which represented Thompson’s company, Gold Key/PHR Hotels, in the sale said the hotels have a combined 456 rooms. They are located on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk which extends 42 blocks along the Atlantic Ocean, stretching nearly three miles. The Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, built in 2005, has 289 rooms, more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space and two full-service restaurants, Catch 31 and Salacia. The hotel’s rooftop bar, Skybar, overlooks the ocean. Built in 2014, Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach has 167 guest rooms including 24 suites with private balconies. It has two restaurants, Logger Heads and the Garden Grill. CBRE Hotels said Gold Key recently completed a $13 million renovation of the hotels.   Doug Henkel and Lewis Miller of CBRE Hotels representated Gold Key/PHR Hotels in the transaction. 2018-09-14T16:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/first-watch-chain-to-open-second-richmond-area-restaurant1 First Watch chain to open second Richmond-area restaurant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/first-watch-chain-to-open-second-richmond-area-restaurant1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/first-watch-chain-to-open-second-richmond-area-restaurant1#When:19:58:00Z First Watch has signed a lease for its second restaurant in the Richmond area. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said the restaurant chain has leased 6,300 square-feet at The Shoppes at Westgate, 11721 W. Broad St., in Henrico County. The new restaurant will occupy space formerly held by Bertucci’s. First Watch’s first location in the area is on West Huguenot Road in Midlothian. The University Park, Fla.-based company operates 240 restaurants. David Crawford of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represented First Watch, and Alex T. Wotring, also Thalhimer, represented the landlord. 2018-09-13T19:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-job-growth-loses-steam-across-the-nation IT job growth loses steam across the nation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-job-growth-loses-steam-across-the-nation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-job-growth-loses-steam-across-the-nation#When:19:55:00Z IT job growth in the U.S. stalled in August, according to Alexandria-based TechServe Alliance. The group, a national trade association for the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry, said total U.S. IT employment stood at 5.34 million jobs in August, virtually unchanged from the month before. “After months of decelerating growth rates, IT employment completely stalled in August,” Mark Roberts, TechServe Alliance’s CEO, said in a statement. “As previously observed, this is totally a supply side phenomenon. There are simply not enough qualified workers to meet demand ­ with the shortage only further exacerbated by restrictive immigration policies.” On a year-over-year basis, IT employment grew by 0.54 percent since August 2017, adding 28,900 workers. Engineering employment increased by 0.09 percent sequentially to 2.6 million. On a year-over-year basis, growth in engineering employment increased by 2.12 percent since August 2017 or 54,200 workers. 2018-09-13T19:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edgecore-acquires-land-in-sterling-for-data-center-campus Edgecore acquires land in Sterling for data-center campus http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edgecore-acquires-land-in-sterling-for-data-center-campus http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edgecore-acquires-land-in-sterling-for-data-center-campus#When:19:54:00Z Denver-based EdgeCore Internet Real Estate has acquired 36.8 acres of land in Sterling where it plans to build a data-center campus. EdgeCore plans to begin site work and installation of utility infrastructure to support four, 36-megawatt data centers. The company said the Northern Virginia data-center represents the continued execution of its business plan. Since closing its initial capital raise in February, EdgeCore has acquired property for data center campuses of at least 100 MW each in  Dallas, Phoenix, Northern Virginia and Reno, Nev. EdgeCore expects to substantially complete the first phase of its Phoenix campus in the first quarter of next year. 2018-09-13T19:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/stjamesvero.png Photo courtesy The St. James. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-st.-james-opening-saturday-in-springfield The St. James opens in Springfield http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-st.-james-opening-saturday-in-springfield http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-st.-james-opening-saturday-in-springfield#When:19:44:00Z A massive sports and entertainment center has opened in Springfield. The St. James, a 450,000-square-foot complex, includes a FIFA regulation-sized turf field; two NHL regulation-sized ice rinks and an Olympic-sized pool. It also offers a health club and spa. The 20-acre St. James was co-founded by Kendrick Ashton and Craig Dixon and backed by real estate investment firm Cain International. A second location is expected to open in the Chicago suburbs in early 2021. The goal is to bring the concept to other places around the country. A restaurant and café, water park and retail store also are scheduled to open in November. Additionally, a health and sports medicine center will open next spring. MedStar will provide general and non-emergency health care services, including sports medicine and sports rehabilitation. 2018-09-13T19:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-based-evolent-health-inc.-to-acquire-massachusetts-company Arlington-based Evolent Health Inc. to acquire Massachusetts company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-based-evolent-health-inc.-to-acquire-massachusetts-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-based-evolent-health-inc.-to-acquire-massachusetts-company#When:21:17:00Z Arlington-based Evolent Health Inc. plans to acquire Massachusetts-based New Century Health for up to $217 million. Evolent said the deal would combine two companies that support provider organizations and health plans with clinical management and operational capabilities. The combined company would serve more than 3.5 million patients through more than 40 long-term customers. The purchase price is up to $217 million. The offer includes 3.1 million shares of Evolent Class B common stock and $120 million in cash at closing. Founded in 2011, Evolent support health-care providers in moving to a population-health model of care delivery and manage performance-based payment arrangements. Founded in 2002, New Century Health is a specialty care management company focused primarily on cancer and cardiac care. Utilizing its proprietary technology platform. New Century Health manages approximately 462,000 Medicare Advantage lives under performance-based arrangements and provides administrative services to several partner organizations. 2018-09-12T21:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/texas-company-building-data-center-campus-in-ashburn Texas company building data center campus in Ashburn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/texas-company-building-data-center-campus-in-ashburn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/texas-company-building-data-center-campus-in-ashburn#When:20:26:00Z Plano, Texas-based Aligned Energy is creating a 26-acre, 180-megawatt data center campus in Ashburn. When completed, the campus will offer about 880,000 square feet of space, drawing redundant power from two on-site substations to service the IT operations of its customers. The campus’ initial 80 MW data center will have 370,000 square feet of space. It will be followed by a 510,000-square-foot, 100 MW facility. Aligned also has data centers in Dallas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. 2018-09-12T20:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-names-new-president Union Bank & Trust names new president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-names-new-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-names-new-president#When:19:55:00Z Maria P. Tedesco has been named president of Richmond-based Union Bank & Trust. The appointment will take effect on Sept. 28. John C. Asbury, the president and CEO of parent company Union Bankshares Corp., will relinquish his position as president of the bank. Tedesco, 58, is the first female president in the bank’s 116-year history. She previously was chief operating officer for retail at BMO Harris Bank based in Chicago. Before that position, she was senior executive vice president and managing director of the retail bank at Santander Bank, N.A. At the Union Bank & Trust, she will be in charge of commercial banking, business banking, consumer banking, and wealth management teams as well as marketing, digital strategy and customer experience. Tedesco was named one of most powerful women in banking, team award by American Banker in 2012 and 2017. In 2015, she was named one of the most powerful women to watch by American Banker. Tedesco received her M.B.A from Northeastern University and her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College. 2018-09-12T19:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-being-hunted-to-hunting-the-hunter From being hunted to hunting the hunter http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-being-hunted-to-hunting-the-hunter http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/from-being-hunted-to-hunting-the-hunter#When:17:35:00Z Data is everywhere and plentiful today. The cost of storage and memory has allowed us as a society to capture everything if we like it or not. With this bounty, including data from our network infrastructure from monitoring, cybersecurity professionals are using data to assist in the defense of their environments. For the longest time, cybersecurity professionals defended their networks reactively. Now, with big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, they are defending their networks proactively. Today, it is not a matter of if, but when your organization will be compromised. The goal is to prevent as many breaches as possible before they occur. So, let’s look at the latest advances in cybersecurity practices and tools that can move us from being the hunted to hunting the hunter. In the beginning, cybersecurity professionals designed their networks using layering techniques throughout the network. Starting at the user’s devices, virus and malware scanners were used to defend against these threats. A local firewall prevented unwanted traffic from entering users’ devices. As you moved out to the perimeter of the network, you had a firewall installed to prevent unwanted traffic from entering your network. Businesses also created demilitarized zones (DMZs) to isolate public-facing servers from internal servers. But hackers got smarter, adapted their techniques and were able to penetrate networks with the best defenses in place through applications and users. Thus, there are application-layer firewalls that help with filtering out application-layer threats as much as possible. Also, businesses have used virtual private networks (VPNs) to connect remote users and sites to the internal network. In addition to these perimeter-type defenses, organizations installed monitoring devices such as intrusion detection (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to help alert and/or stop intrusions before they happen. Operating systems have the ability to monitor operating system traffic through different kinds of logging. Now, however, cybersecurity professionals have access to mounds and mounds of data to sift through.  They need help to be able to find a needle in a haystack. This is where machine learning and artificial intelligence become valuable additions to a cybersecurity professionals’ toolkit. Machine learning, the ability of systems to learn with data without programming, increasingly is being applied to cybersecurity tools. In the area of IDS/IPS, the ability of these systems to stop intrusions as they are happening is the goal. First step is to create machine learning models of normal traffic in a network, honing that model, and using it in IDS/IPS systems to stop abnormal network traffic as it is happening. The biggest issue with using machine learning in these systems are false positives, but that is improving. Hence, this is allowing cyber defense to evolve from reactive to a more proactive approach. Lockheed Martin has created what is called the Cyber Kill Chain, which is a framework for the identification and prevention of cyber intrusion activities. The goal is to intercept and eliminate cyber threats as early in the Cyber Kill Chain as possible. During the last several years, there has been a new role introduced in cybersecurity called Cyber Threat Hunting. The goal of Cyber Threat Hunting is to gain visibility of an organization’s vulnerabilities, detect threats early in the chain and improve its overall defense posture. The threat hunting project is a good resource for learning about different cyber threat hunting procedures being current employed. But, what does cyber threat hunting look like? Sqrrl has defined a threat hunting cycle as illustrated in the following graphic. Big Data and data analytics techniques are being used to assist in this area. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are good at automating repetitive tasks, and recognizing and classifying patterns in data. With so much data for the cyber threat hunter to sift through, they are increasingly being used to assist. What’s more, there is a wide array of open source and commercial tools to assist a cyber-threat hunter today. The latest technology that is emerging is Blockchain. Traditionally, blockchain enables secure transactions with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in a distributed peer-to-peer computing environment. That same technology can be used to help prevent cyber-attacks through preventing identity theft, data tampering and potentially stopping denial of service attacks. Here’s how it works: Now, let’s look at preventing identity theft. There are companies that are utilizing blockchain to protect identities through the blockchain-based Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). In this implementation, it acts as a distributed ledger of domains and their associated keys. There is no single point of failure. Traditional, PKI implementations rely on centralized authorities that we must be able to trust with our certificates. Blockchain removes the need for these centralized authorities since it handles this in a decentralized manner. The next application of blockchain is in preventing data tampering. Since blockchain uses PKI, users can verify the data they’re handling. Also, there are companies that are creating decentralized storage using peer-to-peer computing techniques where data is stored on multiple peers and has algorithms to make sure the data is not corrupted. The data is encrypted throughout the whole storage and retrieval process.             The third application of the blockchain is in protecting the Internet’s critical infrastructure such as the Domain Name Service. A blockchain used in a distributed DNS system would never fail under extreme loads, thus removing distributed denial of service attacks from crippling the DNS system. There is currently a project exploring that. Blockchain technology appears to be on the verge of revolutionizing the cybersecurity industry with new startups and approaches that will transform the way we look at cybersecurity in the future. And the future of cybersecurity does looks promising. For the longest time, cybersecurity was all about defending networks and recovering from breaches reactively. Now, with AI, machine learning and blockchain technologies, cybersecurity professionals will have more tools in their tool chest to protect and defend their organizations from cyber threats. Will we ever have 100 percent secure systems? Not likely. Cyber attackers will always find ways to penetrate defenses. The user is still, and will continue to be, the weakest link, so we will have to continue to educate our users on good cyber hygiene to help prevent cyber-attacks before they happen. Keith A. Morneau is dean of Computer and Information Science at ECPI University. He can be reached at KMorneau@ecpi.edu. 2018-09-12T17:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-expands-parental-leave U.Va. expands parental leave http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-expands-parental-leave http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-expands-parental-leave#When:08:51:00Z The University of Virginia and the UVA Health System plan to provide employees with eight weeks of paid parental leave. The benefit can be used within six months of the birth, adoption or foster placement of child. The number of hours granted will be pro-rated for part-time, eligible, salaried employees. Virginia Tech approved the same expansion in August. The universities’ announcement follows an executive order issued by Gov. Ralph Northam in June. The order provided eight weeks of paid parental leave to state employees, including mothers and fathers. Previously, the benefit was available only to those who had given birth, requiring them to use vacation time, sick time or short-term disability. With Northam’s executive order, the paid benefit was immediately available to classified employees at U.Va. but not to other groups of employees. The new announcement expands the policy to other staff. Part-time staff will have a prorated benefit based on the hours they work. “Spending time with a child who just joined your family is incredibly important,” U.Va. President Jim Ryan said in a statement. “Besides giving parents and children a chance to bond, studies have shown that paid parental leave makes children healthier, raises productivity at work and prevents parents from having to parents from having to choose between taking care of a child and keeping their jobs.” 2018-09-12T08:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-states-cooperative-sells-henrico-county-headquarters-but-will-rema Southern States Cooperative sells Henrico County headquarters but will remain there http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-states-cooperative-sells-henrico-county-headquarters-but-will-rema http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-states-cooperative-sells-henrico-county-headquarters-but-will-rema#When:21:45:00Z Southern States Cooperative has sold its Henrico County headquarters for $14.7 million but plans to remain inside the 206,068-square-foot property. Thalhimer Realty Partners Inc., the investment and development subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, bought the office building at 6606 W. Broad St., which will be known as Brookfield Place. Southern States has signed a long-term lease and will be renovating their office space. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer will provide leasing representation and commercial property management services for the site. Other tenants in the building include Virginia Urology, Wiley Wilson and Keener Communications. The property is 70 percent leased and currently offers 3,000 to 50,000 square feet of office space. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Evan M. Magrill and Baker Lynn are the exclusive leasing representatives. Lindsay Mujacic, also with Thalhimer, is the portfolio manager assigned to the property.   Photo courtesy Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer 2018-09-11T21:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-medical-office-building-is-purchased-for-1.1-million Suffolk medical office building is purchased for $1.1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-medical-office-building-is-purchased-for-1.1-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/suffolk-medical-office-building-is-purchased-for-1.1-million#When:20:50:00Z Divaris Real Estate announced that Justin T. Bush has purchased Main Street Center in Suffolk for $1.1 million. The 16,340-square-foot medical office building is located at 114 N. Main St. George Fox represented the seller. Divaris also said that Binn’s Fashion Shop leased 10,802 square feet of retail space in WindsorMeade Marketplace, located at 4900 Monticello Ave. in Williamsburg.  Divaris’ Missy Martinovich represented the tenant. 2018-09-11T20:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/familydollar.png Photo courtesy Divaris Real Estate. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-sells-building-in-richmonds-southside-for-1.4-million Divaris Real Estate sells building in Richmond’s southside for $1.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-sells-building-in-richmonds-southside-for-1.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-sells-building-in-richmonds-southside-for-1.4-million#When:20:45:00Z High Summit Partners LLC has bought a commercial building in Richmond for $1.4 million from Jaginder P. Jassal. Virginia Beach-based Divaris Real Estate announced the sale. Family Dollar occupies half of the 16,376-square-foot building located at 1200-1209 Westover Hills Boulevard. John Madures and Eric Hammond represented the seller.     2018-09-11T20:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2018-09-11_at_4.10.26_PM.png Christopher Morello now leads Isle of Wight's economic development department | Photo courtesy of Isle of Wight http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-for-isle-of-wight-economic-development New leader for Isle of Wight economic development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-for-isle-of-wight-economic-development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-for-isle-of-wight-economic-development#When:20:07:00Z Isle of Wight County has tapped one of its own to oversee its economic development department. Christopher Morello began as economic development director for Isle of Wight County Sept. 1. Morello has worked in local government for more than two decades. He previously worked as Isle of Wight’s assistant director of economic development – a job he started in July 2017.  Prior to Isle of Wight, Morello worked for Newport News from 2000 to 2017 and in North Carolina for the City of Albemarle from 1992 to 1995. Morello has a Master of Public Administration from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and did his undergraduate work at James Madison University. 2018-09-11T20:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/healthsavings-administrators-names-chief-revenue-officer HealthSavings Administrators names chief revenue officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/healthsavings-administrators-names-chief-revenue-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/healthsavings-administrators-names-chief-revenue-officer#When:20:46:00Z Chesterfield County-based HealthSavings Administrators said Monday it has named E. Craig Keohan its chief revenue officer. HealthSavings offers investment health savings accounts (HSAs). It manages nearly $600 million in investments for clients in all 50 states, including employers, brokers, financial advisers and individuals. Keohan most recently was chief growth officer at Further, a Minnesota-based administrator of health-care financial service products. The company formerly was known as SelectAccount. Keohan is a board member of uQontrol Inc., a cybersecurity company, and serves as strategic adviser for BEE Inc., an investment platform in the agriculture and biofuel sector for Latin America. He has provided counsel to former President George W. Bush and other congressional leaders and is chairman emeritus of the American Bankers Association HSA Council. 2018-09-10T20:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2018-09-10_at_4.12.26_PM.png SAIC plans to acquire rival company Engility Holdings | Photo courtesy of SAIC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/saic-acquires-competitor SAIC to acquire competitor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/saic-acquires-competitor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/saic-acquires-competitor#When:20:07:00Z A large information technology company in Northern Virginia has agreed to acquire a nearby competitor in a deal valued at more than $2 billion. Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced on Monday plans to acquire Engility Holdings Inc., which is based in Chantilly. The two publicly traded companies have agreed to an all-stock transaction worth $2.5 billion, according to an SAIC press release. “The highly complementary portfolios, combined with our similar cultures, operating models, and histories, make this transaction a compelling combination,” SAIC’s CEO Tony Moraco said in a stateent. “We look forward to welcoming the Engility team into SAIC, as together we create a market leader in government services with more than 23,000 employees.” SAIC and Engility provide technology services for state and federal agencies. SAIC has a contract with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which oversees IT services, cybersecurity and governance for the commonwealth. As of July, SAIC had more than 3,000 employees in Virginia. SAIC will expand its board of directors to include two additional members from Engility’s board. 2018-09-10T20:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-port-shows-8-percent-volume-growth-in-august Virginia port shows 8 percent volume growth in August http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-port-shows-8-percent-volume-growth-in-august http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-port-shows-8-percent-volume-growth-in-august#When:19:43:00Z The Port of Virginia reported its second-busiest month on record in August.     The port handled 258,821 TEUs, or 20-foot-equivalent units last month, an 8 percent increase above August 2017.     “In addition to peak season volumes, we are seeing some inbound cargo that is moving in anticipation of expanded tariffs on select imports,” Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart said in a statement.     Much of August’s growth was driven by exports: loaded exports were up 11 percent, while import volumes grew by 3.4 percent.     The port’s inland operations also grew, as volumes at Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) were up 21 percent and 58 percent, respectively.     Truck volume was up 5 percent, rail was up 10 percent and total barge volume increased 27 percent.      August Cargo Snapshot         • _Loaded export TEUs – 83,512, up 10.7 percent     • _Loaded import TEUs – 117,042, up 3.4 percent     • _Total containers – 146,726, up 7.2 percent     • _Breakbulk tonnage – 19,001 (tons), up 13 percent     • _Virginia inland port containers – 3,924, up 21.1 percent     • _Total rail containers – 54,961, up 9.9 percent     • _Total truck containers – 86,874, up 4.7 percent     • _Total barge containers – 4,891, up 27 percent     • _Richmond barge containers – 2,899, up 58.3 percent     • _Vehicle units – 2,940, up 2.4 percent         In October 2017, the port processed 265,490 TEUs, which to date is highest volume month on record. 2018-09-10T19:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-land-sells-for-5-million Fredericksburg land sells for $5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-land-sells-for-5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-land-sells-for-5-million#When:15:59:00Z A new apartment complex is being planned in Fredericksburg, according to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. The Norfolk-based commercial real estate company said Monday that Oxford Kingson Apartments LLC purchased 9 acres from Southpoint II LLC for the development of 240 apartment units. Nusbaum’s Bill Overman and John Wessling represented the buyer in the $5 million deal. Nusbaum also said that ROTB LC has purchased a 5,034-square-foot commercial building in Virginia Beach from The Innate Co. LLC for $2 million. The .32 acre property is located at 210 25th St. Nusbaum’s C. Cheyney Cole represented the seller. 2018-09-10T15:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-breaks-ground-on-musculoskeletal-center U.Va. breaks ground on musculoskeletal center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-breaks-ground-on-musculoskeletal-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.-breaks-ground-on-musculoskeletal-center#When:15:14:00Z University of Virginia Health System held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for a $105 million comprehensive musculoskeletal center. The approximately 195,000-square-foot facility will consolidate U.Va.’s outpatient orthopedic care in a single location. It will include six outpatient operating rooms, where orthopedic and sports medicine surgeries will be performed. The center also will consolidate almost all of UVA Orthopedics outpatient clinics. Imaging services will include MRIs, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound and fluoroscopy. Comprehensive physical and occupational therapy services also will be available on site. The center is expected to open to patients in February 2022. 2018-09-10T15:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-county-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million Chesterfield County office building sells for $1.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-county-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-county-office-building-sells-for-1.4-million#When:13:40:00Z An office building in Chesterfield County has been sold for $1.4 million. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said 2700 Polo Parkway LLC bought the 17,017 square foot building at 2700 Polo Parkway. The property is situated on 4.16 acres of land.  Pete Waldbauer and John Pritzlaff of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller, who was not identified. 2018-09-10T13:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hhhunt-announces-promotions HHHunt announces promotions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hhhunt-announces-promotions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hhhunt-announces-promotions#When:13:33:00Z HHHunt has promoted seven members of its apartment living team. The company develops and manages apartments in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Those being promoted include: •                     Lance Goss, named director of operations. •                     Gabrielle Bouknight, named assistant director of training and development, a new position. •                     LaCole Gadson and Donna Gresh, named senior regional property managers. •                     Melinda Dunford,  Ashleigh Fisher and Casey Viator, named area property managers. 2018-09-10T13:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/pagnatokarp-names-chief-legal-officer PagnatoKarp names chief legal officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/pagnatokarp-names-chief-legal-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/pagnatokarp-names-chief-legal-officer#When:09:36:00Z PagnatoKarp has named a chief legal officer. Wayne M. Zell will join the firm Sept. 20. He will serve as in-house general counsel and will oversee business succession planning and client estate and tax planning. He will help PagnatoKarp clients with legal matters through his law firm, Zell Law PLLC. Zell previously worked for the law firm Odin, Feldman & Pittleman PC.  He has practiced tax and corporate law for 33 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from William & Mary Law School. PagnatoKarp is an independent wealth management firm and family office based in Reston with more than $3.8 billion assets under advisement. 2018-09-10T09:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Green_Flash_Brewing_Co._in_Virginia_Beach.jpg New Realm Brewing Company has opened in the former Green Flash Brewing Co. site. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-realm-brewing-open-in-virginia-beach New Realm Brewing open in Virginia Beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-realm-brewing-open-in-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-realm-brewing-open-in-virginia-beach#When:19:34:00Z A new realm has opened in Virginia Beach’s beer scene after a green flash fizzled out. New Realm Brewing Co. opened in August at 1209 Craft Lane in Virginia Beach. The site was previously the short-lived East Coast location for the California-based Green Flash Brewing Company. Bob Powers, a New Realm co-founder, says expanding to Virginia Beach from Atlanta was enticing.  “This was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up,” Powers says. New Realm had the winning private bid for Green Flash’s equipment and has leased the 58,000-square-foot location, Powers says. He would not say how much the winning bid was but said New Realm plans to invest millions in the Virginia Beach brewery. Powers said Virginia Beach and New Realm didn’t enter into any incentive agreements. The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development worked on marketing efforts with the owner of the brewery location, The Miller Group, to attract New Realm to Virginia Beach, said Michelle Chapleau in an email. Chapleau is a business development coordinator with the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development.  "New Realm is going to add significant capital investment to the facility," Chapleau said. "Virginia Beach anticipates increased revenues from real estate taxes and sales taxes." New Realm’s Virginia Beach location can make up to 40,000 barrels annually. It has a tasting room with 15 different beers on tap and a 44,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden. A 400-seat restaurant is planned to open in early 2019. Beginning Thursday, festivities are being held to celebrate the opening at Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach brewery opened under the Green Flash banner in 2016 and closed 16 months later. Observers said at the time that expanding too quickly can be risky for craft beer makers. Powers says New Realm’s business model is to be a southeastern brewer without growing too fast. “We don’t really have national aspirations,” Powers says. “Unless we have a facility on the ground, we won’t go into the market.” Powers, Carey Falcone and Mitch Steel formed New Realm in 2016 in Atlanta, where the company has a 20,000-square-foot operation. New Realm has entered a distribution agreement with Hoffman Beverage to get its beers in bars, restaurants and retailers around Southside Hampton Roads. Based in Chesapeake, Hoffman Beverage’s craft beer portfolio includes Bold Rock Hard Cider and Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Powers says in the next year or two New Realm will work on establishing its brand around Virginia. “We’ll expand around this state when it’s the right time,” Powers says. “It’s building brands the right way – one pint at a time.” 2018-09-06T19:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-apartment-community-sells-for-4.45-million Danville apartment community sells for $4.45 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-apartment-community-sells-for-4.45-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-apartment-community-sells-for-4.45-million#When:20:54:00Z A 168-unit apartment community in Danville has been sold for $4.45 million. CBRE|Richmond and CBRE Affordable Housing announced that Northpointe Apartments in Danville was sold to Northstar Equity Partners. Northpointe is a 149,664-square-foot affordable housing complex, which offers a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. All of the apartments are restricted to residents making 60 percent or less of area median income. Charles Wentworth and Peyton Cox of CBRE|Richmond, and Alex Medeiros, Mike Canori and Jeff Kunitz of CBRE Affordable Housing represented the seller. CBRE Affordable Housing is a specialty group within CBRE Group. 2018-09-05T20:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-and-mercy-health-complete-merger Bon Secours and Mercy Health complete merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-and-mercy-health-complete-merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-and-mercy-health-complete-merger#When:19:51:00Z Bon Secours Health System and Mercy Health have completed their merger, forming Bon Secours Mercy Health. Bon Secours, based in Marriottsville, Md., includes Bon Secours Virginia, which operates health-care facilities in the Richmond area and Hampton Roads. Mercy Health is based in Cincinnati. The combination, which creates one of the largest health care systems in the country, took effect Wednesday. The merged health system employs more than 57,000 people in Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia. Its network has more than 1,000 care sites, including 43 hospitals, more than 50 home-health agencies, hospice agencies, and skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities. When merger plans were revealed in February, the health systems said their combination would create an organization with $8 billion in net operating revenue and nearly $300 million in operating income. John M. Starcher Jr., the former head of Mercy Health, is the new president and CEO of Bon Secours Mercy Health. His leadership team includes executives from both health systems. 2018-09-05T19:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2018-09-05_at_3.36.31_PM.png An Infomart Data Centers facility recently built in Ashburn | Photo courtesy of Infomart Data Centers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/data-center-leasing-surges-in-northern-virginia Data center leasing surges in Northern Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/data-center-leasing-surges-in-northern-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/data-center-leasing-surges-in-northern-virginia#When:19:30:00Z Northern Virginia saw more data center leasing activity in the first half of 2018 than the rest of the primary data center markets combined, according to a new report. A total of 100 megawatts worth of data centers was leased in Northern Virginia, compared with a tally of 77 megawatts in leases across Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Atlanta and the New York Tri-State area. The findings were published Tuesday by CBRE. Northern Virginia is the biggest data center market in the U.S. and the world. Jamie Jelinek of CBRE says the growth is rooted in Loudoun County, home to what has been nicknamed “Data Center Alley.” “It’s primarily due to the robust activity that exists in Ashburn,” Jelinek says. Larger lease deals termed “hyperscale deployments” have accounted for 65 percent of the Northern Virginia market’s leasing in the first half of 2018, says Jelinek. Northern Virginia data centers available for lease have a vacancy rate of 6.6 percent — the second-lowest rate in the country behind Silicon Valley. Since July 2017, Northern Virginia has added 198 megawatts to its market and another 297.2 megawatts are under construction. Prince William County also is home to millions of square feet of data center space. Elsewhere in Virginia, localities are seeing more investment in data centers. Henrico County lured Facebook to build a massive data center there after cutting the local business property tax rate on computers and related equipment for data centers from $3.50 to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value. Virginia Beach recently lowered the same tax to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value as well. The city is seeing increased interest following the addition of high-speed subsea cables. At the state level, data centers are incentivized with an exemption from retail sales and use tax for computer equipment bought or leased for use in a data center. To be eligible, a facility must be located in Virginia, generate a capital investment of at least $150 million and create 50 jobs at wages 50 percent above the prevailing local wage (a requirement reduced to 25 percent in high-unemployment areas). Proponents of such incentives say that data centers add more money to public coffers and come with a relatively low demand for services. Critics argue that data centers don’t bring as many long-term jobs as other industries do. Jelinek says growth should continue apace in Northern Virginia. “I think we’ll see this rate of demand increase of the next couple of years,” he says. “Beyond that is anybody’s guess.” 2018-09-05T19:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-opens-richmond-office Gentry Locke opens Richmond office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-opens-richmond-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-opens-richmond-office#When:08:39:00Z Former Del. Gregory D. Habeeb will lead a new Richmond office for law firm Gentry Locke. Habeeb announced his retirement from the House of Delegates this summer. He was first elected to the chamber in 2011, representing a district that included Salem. In addition, John G. “Chip” Dicks also has joined the firm as a partner in the Richmond office. Dicks, also a former delegate, has been a lobbyist in Richmond since he left the chamber in 1990. First elected in 1982, his House district included Chesterfield and Colonial Heights. The attorneys will move into a renovated office in the SunTrust building in downtown Richmond later this year. Habeeb and Dicks are launching the firm’s Government and Regulatory Affairs Practice Group, which will focus on regulatory and administrative representation, public policy advocacy, economic development and procurement, and strategic communications. Gentry Locke has 58 lawyers with offices in Roanoke and Lynchburg. 2018-09-05T08:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bluefield-shopping-center-sells-for-2.5-million Bluefield shopping center sells for $2.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bluefield-shopping-center-sells-for-2.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bluefield-shopping-center-sells-for-2.5-million#When:20:34:00Z A shopping center in Bluefield has been sold for $2.5 million. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group said America’s Realty LLC, based in Pikesville, Md., acquired the College Plaza Shopping Center in Bluefield in a cash transaction. The commercial real estate company said the 62,461-square-foot retail center was 78 percent leased to six tenants at the time of the sale. An Ollie’s discount store is the anchor tenant for the shopping center, which also is near a Sam’s Club store. The seller was not identified. The transaction was completed by Catharine Spangler of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group, along with leasing adviser Jessica Johnson from Thalhimer’s Roanoke office. 2018-09-04T20:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/two-historians-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board Two historians named to Colonial Williamsburg board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/two-historians-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/two-historians-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board#When:20:33:00Z Two historians, Edward L. Ayers and Walter B. Edgar, have been named to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation board of trustees. Ayers is the former president of the University of Richmond. He is an author and the Tucker-Boatwright professor of the humanities at the university. Ayers received the National Humanities Medal in 2012 for his work to make American history more accessible. He cohosts the syndicated public radio history show and podcast “BackStory.” Edgar founded the public history program at the University of South Carolina, where he is distinguished professor of history emeritus and Claude Henry Neuffer professor of southern studies emeritus. He is the author of books including “Partisans and Redcoats” and he hosts “Walter Edgar’s Journal” and “South Carolina from A to Z” on South Carolina Public Radio. 2018-09-04T20:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-joins-morrison-foerster-law-firm Fairfax joins Morrison & Foerster law firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-joins-morrison-foerster-law-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-joins-morrison-foerster-law-firm#When:20:24:00Z Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has joined the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., offices of Morrison & Foerster. Fairfax will be a partner in the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Trials and Investigations + White Collar Defense groups. He will continue to perform his duties as lieutenant governor, which is a part-time role. Fairfax is a former federal prosecutor who served as an assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He also has worked at national and international law firms. While a federal prosecutor, Fairfax was part a major crimes and narcotics unit, where he prosecuted a wide range of federal felony offenses, including embezzlement, fraud and human trafficking. In private practice, he litigated a variety of commercial and white-collar cases in federal and Virginia state courts. He worked on matters relating to securities litigation, Foreign Agents Registration Act investigations, and wire -fraud prosecutions. Fairfax is the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia. The first was L. Douglas Wilder, who was elected lieutenant governor and governor. 2018-09-04T20:24:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/its-open-enrollment-season-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-benefit- It’s open enrollment season – here’s how to make the most of your benefit plan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/its-open-enrollment-season-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-benefit- http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/its-open-enrollment-season-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-benefit-#When:16:11:00Z We all know what back to school means for parents of grade-school children — buying new supplies, adjusting schedules and making sure your kids are prepared for success.  Fall is the perfect time for employees to take stock and make sure they are set up for success as well. Each fall, many employers offer open enrollment for their benefit plans. And while a lot of employees just check the same boxes on the enrollment form each year, they often are not aware of all aspects of their benefit plan. These days, companies provide a myriad of benefits that go beyond traditional savings.  Advanced planning can help you take advantage of discounted services and savings vehicles that reduce taxable income or save you money outright. Maxing out the employer-sponsored savings plan and making sure health-care benefits meet your and your family’s needs should be the priority. Here are a few of the other areas that you should review during open enrollment to make sure that you are taking full advantage of your benefits: Ensure appropriate investment selection A balanced, diversified 401(k) account is important to your financial wellness. Proper diversification helps manage investment risk. A well-diversified account should be long-term oriented. It is likely to contain bonds and stocks, as well as investments in different types of businesses. How much you invest in each of these categories should be based on your appetite for risk. If you are unsure how to construct a well-diversified account, take the time to review your plan’s fund menu and talk with your financial adviser. Maximize the employer match Employers today commonly match employee contributions up to a percentage of annual income. And while many employees have heard about matching programs, far fewer fully understand how these programs work. A common match, for example, is 50 cents for every dollar employees save, up to 6 percent of their salaries. So, if an employee earning $60,000 saves 6 percent, or $3,600, towards a retirement plan, the employer would contribute $1,800. An employee saving only 3 percent would be missing out on half the matching amount.   If you’re unsure how much you need to save to take advantage of the match, talk with your HR department — and then aim to save that much towards your retirement plan. If you’re not taking advantage of the company match to the fullest, you are leaving free money on the table, and that’s a huge mistake. Take advantage of tax-free accounts Flex-spending accounts (FSAs) are tax-free accounts offered by some employers. Money saved in an FSA can go towards health or dependent-care spending but must be used by the end of the year. Otherwise, this money is forfeited. If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health-care plan, then you may be eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA). These accounts can be set up at the financial institution of your choice. Money goes into the account pre-tax, grows tax-free and, when used towards medical expenses, it is not taxed. The main difference between HSAs and FSAs is that money saved in an HSA rolls over year to year. Because the balance rolls over, what you contribute to a Health Savings Account now can help pay for medical expenses in retirement. This makes it a very attractive long-term retirement savings vehicle. Voluntary benefits meet diverse needs Companies today offer a wide variety of voluntary benefits that are outside of the norm of health care, retirement savings, life insurance and disability. These expanded offerings tend to focus on improving quality of life – ranging from support towards college debt or pet insurance coverage. Review these options carefully so that you understand the full benefits available to you and if it’s worth it. Don’t create a need for loans Many employer benefits are important to take advantage of – but there are also elements that you may want to use sparingly. Some employer-sponsored retirement plans allow you to take a loan from retirement savings for almost any reason. The process is generally simple, but don’t be tempted to create a need for this money. The assumption should be that you truly need a loan. A college tuition bill is a legitimate reason to look into a 401(k) loan.  Using the loan to fund a vacation — not so much. Borrowing from your 401(k) can have a very real negative effect on your retirement savings. As soon as you receive information from your employer for open enrollment, or before, think about what your life will look like in the next few years. Open enrollment is an ideal time to review what is available to you and discuss how it fits into your overall financial plan with your financial adviser. The decisions you make during open enrollment can lower your tax liability. By arranging for pretax or — better yet — tax-free deductions for certain expenses, you can reduce your taxable income. David Mount is a director with The Wise Investor Group at Baird in Reston. 2018-09-03T16:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-business-school-receives-10-million-gift William & Mary business school receives $10 million gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-business-school-receives-10-million-gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-business-school-receives-10-million-gift#When:19:17:00Z Virginia Beach philanthropist Jane Batten is giving $10 million to the College of William & Mary to create an online learning center for its business school. As a result of the gift, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business is expected to increase its online graduate programs. The business school first offered an online MBA program more than four years ago. It added an online master’s degree in business analytics program this summer. Both programs are now housed in the new Center for Online Learning. The business school expects to see a four-fold increase in its online offerings in coming years. As the number of programs grows, the school expects to add faculty and staff dedicated to the new center. Batten and her late husband, Frank Batten, have made other gifts to William & Mary in many areas, including scholarships, the Fund for William & Mary and the Mason School’s residential MBA program. 2018-08-30T19:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NView_govs_in_Danville.png Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/danville-refuses-to-be-debate-talking-point Danville refuses to be debate talking point http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/danville-refuses-to-be-debate-talking-point http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/danville-refuses-to-be-debate-talking-point#When:08:00:00Z In February, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, toured Danville’s workforce training facilities. The stops included the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining, the Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training, and the precision machining programs at George Washington High School and Danville Community College. In July, officials from Watertown, Wis., paid a visit to learn how Danville has transformed its downtown and former tobacco warehouse area into the River District with loft apartments, restaurants, a brewery and other new businesses. These out-of-state visitors came to Danville because they saw it as a model of revitalization in an area that has been hard-hit by economic change in recent decades. What they didn’t come to see, and probably would not recognize, is the Danville that Corey Stewart, Virginia’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, described in a televised July debate with his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. “It’s boarded up. People have left. Young people have left. The opiate crisis is completely out of control. The murder rate is way up. All crimes are way up. Suicides are up. It’s sad,” Stewart said, blaming the city’s demise on Democratic trade policies. That assessment got a rise out of Lee Vogler, the city’s Republican vice mayor. In a tweet, he wrote, “We’d be happy to show you, or anyone, the great work that is being done by many ppl. We’re a great city. Not a talking point.” Volger’s tweet was repeated in a Danville Register & Bee editorial titled, “Stewart’s Cheap Shot at Danville.” The editorial traced Stewart’s talking points to an article in Breitbart News, “Left for Dead in Danville: How Globalism is Killing Working Class America.” “Has Danville undergone traumatic changes in the last 40 years? Absolutely,” the editorial said, noting the economic body blows the city suffered from the collapse of the U.S. textile industry and the demise of the tobacco warehouse auction system. “What Stewart and the Breitbart writer don’t acknowledge, because it doesn’t fit their predetermined narrative, is that this city and its residents are far from dead,” the newspaper said. “Rather, we are re-examining ourselves, tallying our strengths and weaknesses and determining where we fit in in the 21st-century economy. And we are rebuilding and repurposing ourselves for that new economy.” Joining the chorus a few days later was an op-ed piece in the Register & Bee by two Danville-area natives, Whitt Clement, a former Virginia secretary of transportation, and Todd Haymore, a former state secretary of commerce and trade. They noted that, while still higher than the state’s jobless rate of 3.2 percent, Danville’s unemployment rate fell from 15.3 percent in 2009 to 5.4 percent in May. Economic projects recruited to the Danville area since 2010, they said, have included investments of nearly $210 million, promising nearly 1,400 additional jobs. “No, Danville is not boarded up, desperate and facing a bleak future,” Clement and Haymore said. “Danville is open, excited and ready to take on all the new opportunities the future will undoubtedly bring.” There may be more at stake in this dispute than wounded civic pride. Site selection for economic development projects is a process of elimination. Companies looking to relocate or expand often want to move quickly in finding the right site and setting up production.  Unless they are challenged, disparaging comments about a potential location can cause it to be culled from the finalists. Stewart followed up the debate with a news conference in Danville in late July. Facing a crowd of supporters and protesters, he acknowledged that the city has made progress in recent years but blamed the demise of the city’s textile industry on “unfair trade agreements that the Washington elite like Tim Kaine supported.” The delegation from Watertown arrived just three days later. Their visit mirrored a similar trip Danville leaders made in 2010 to Greenville, S.C. Once called the “Textile Capital of the World,” the city has revamped its economy in recent decades, becoming, for example, the North American headquarters for Michelin. The Greenville trip led to the development of the River District, an area that has seen $150 million in private investment and $35 million in public spending in the past seven years. Instead of heading south eight years ago, the Danville delegation could have headed north to a Rust Belt city that also is undergoing revival, Duluth, Minn. Duluth’s port on Lake Superior once was the busiest port in terms of gross tonnage in the U.S., shipping ore from the Iron Range to plants in other states. Beginning in the 1950s, however, industrial jobs began to vanish and the city’s population fell. In the 1980s, someone put a billboard on I-35 asking, “Will the last one leaving Duluth please turn out the light?” Since then, the economy and the population have rebounded, thanks to recent developments in tourism, education, health care, aviation and advanced manufacturing. In 2014, Outside magazine named the city No. 1 in its annual list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. Stewart no doubt knows the city well. He was born there. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/22b_6th_street_north.png This rendering shows development around a proposed 17,500-seat arena in Richmond. Rendering courtesy NH District Corp. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-killer-arena A ‘killer arena’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-killer-arena http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-killer-arena#When:08:00:00Z NH District Corp., a group of corporate leaders headed by Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II, wants to reinvent a section of downtown Richmond with a $220 million arena as its centerpiece. At the group’s planning sessions, one topic inevitably is discussed, and it has nothing to do with bond initiatives or blueprints:  “It comes up in every meeting: This can take Beyoncé,” says Jeff Kelley, the group’s spokesman. Major entertainment acts, such as Beyoncé’s, tend to skip the city because the drab, 47-year-old Richmond Coliseum can’t accommodate them, Kelley says, but “these acts [would be able to] stop in Richmond now. … They can stop right here and be in an amazing neighborhood in a killer arena.” The city is considering NH District’s proposal for a $1.4 billion mixed-use, residential and business project in which a 17,500-seat arena would replace the 12,000-seat Coliseum. The entire project, built on city-owned real estate, would be funded via a mixture of publicly backed bonds, private investment and the creation of a special tax district. Kelley says, “People ask, ‘Why do we need to have an arena?’ And, you know, I think our answer is: We deserve it. Richmond is becoming a world-class city, and world-class cities have amenities like this, and, in my personal view, I think it’s time. We’re due.” The proposed redevelopment project is just the latest evidence of the Richmond area attempting to take a larger spot on the nation’s stage as a greater lure for corporate relocations and investment. “Quality of life is becoming more important for companies in attracting talent to this region,” says Barry Matherly, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. And as companies look at factors that would attract desirable millennial and Gen Z workers to the region, they are noting that Richmond lacks a facility for larger music and pro-sports events. “In economic development, workforce is the No. 1 issue, and young professionals are the biggest concern of companies because that’s their current and future workforces,” Matherly says. “Areas that can attract and retain young professionals are going to be the most successful in bringing in businesses.” The arena proposal would give Richmond the ability to create a new neighborhood from scratch. “These are once in 30- to 40-year projects. And so the ability to shape an area with a major project with a coliseum … is what other cities are doing in venues that can be used for entertainment or concerts or sports,” Matherly says. NH District’s proposal would transform a 21-acre, 10-block downtown area that, in addition to a new arena, would include a 527-room hotel, a bus transfer plaza, condominiums, 2,800 apartment units and 176,000 square feet of retail. The project also includes a $10 million renovation of the city-owned Blues Armory building, which may include a new food court. The neighborhood, which is surrounded by Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, the VA Bio+Tech Park and the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College downtown campus, now is virtually devoid of housing or retail. The effort would “create a walkable urban center” and connect the city’s economically depressed East End with new employment opportunities, Kelley says. And, he adds, “If it goes forward, it will be the biggest minority-business opportunity in Richmond history. Somewhere around $170 million will be set aside for minority contractors.” The plan would create a special tax increment-financing district around the arena. Tax revenues from the area would be used to cover debt service on bonds used to finance the public facilities in the project, including the new arena. Dominion has suggested that the district include its two downtown office towers a half mile away, one of which is under construction. The towers would generate an estimated $165 million in tax revenues during the next 30 years. The Richmond City Council initially was expected to consider the NH District proposal in September. In mid-August, however, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the city still was negotiating with NH District on some key issues. “We’ve made significant progress on several of the deal points that I’ve said are absolute must-haves for the city —especially on affordable housing and minority participation,” Stoney said in a statement.  While there are “details to iron out before we take it to City Council,” the mayor said he remains “confident we will get this done.” In its statement, NH District said it “will meet the Mayor’s vision and address Richmond’s need by delivering the community’s largest commitment to affordable housing, the largest level of minority participation Richmond has ever seen, thousands of jobs and training opportunities for Richmonders, and new tax revenue for core services.” Rapid bus transit Another way that Richmond is working to become more appealing to younger professionals, Matherly says, is with transportation projects such as the Greater Richmond Transit Co.’s recently launched Pulse rapid bus transit service. The Pulse runs for 7.6 miles along Richmond’s Broad Street corridor from Rocketts Landing in the east to the Willow Lawn shopping center near the Henrico County line in the west. Combined with dedicated bike traffic lanes that the city has added downtown in recent years, the Pulse provides transportation alternatives to millennial and Gen Z workers who eschew driving and car ownership. While the Pulse bus lanes and transit shelters were under construction, the project disrupted traffic, angering some local merchants whose shops became difficult to reach. Nonetheless, the new service appears to be a hit. In the first month after its launch in late June, Pulse had already exceeded its ridership expectations, says GRTC spokesperson Carrie Rose Pace. “We’ve done at least a thousand better than the goal every day,” she says. Pace added that the GRTC expects an even more significant spike in ridership with VCU students returning to school in this fall. In a one-year pilot program, Virginia Commonwealth University is paying the transit system $1.2 million to allow VCU students and employees to ride GRTC buses for free. Upgrades at river port, airport Economic development opportunities for the region also have been aided by recent infrastructure upgrades to Richmond International Airport and the Port of Virginia’s Richmond Marine Terminal on the James River, Matherly says. One recent business prospect, a maker of technical devices, was pleased to learn that Richmond offered the company an opportunity to receive raw materials by barge and to ship finished products out by air. In September, Richmond International Airport began work on a $35 million extension of Concourse A, adding six gates to meet growing passenger demand. The project will increase the total number of gates at the airport to 28. “Increasingly, RIC is seeing growing demand for overnight aircraft parking positions. Late-night arrivals become the next morning’s kick-off flights,” says Jon E. Mathiasen, president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Commission. “While the airport can meet current requirements, the goal is to stay a bit ahead of the demand curve to meet foreseeable future needs.” The airport is also planning a $4 million expansion of its Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Concourse B. Expected to begin in October, the expansion will offer more room for increased flow of passengers at the airport. An expansion of the airport’s Concourse A security checkpoint is expected to follow. “Facility expansion at Richmond International Airport is a reflection of the Richmond region’s growth,” Mathiasen says. “If the economy continues its current trends, I see nothing but growth ahead for RIC and the community it serves.” In recent years, the Richmond Marine Terminal also has made a host of multimillion-dollar infrastructure improvements. The changes include a new harbor crane and an improved 409-foot river cargo barge equipped to carry refrigerated cargo. The changes allow the port “to provide a more comprehensive level of barge service to current and potential customers and continue to serve as a catalyst for commerce in the Richmond metro area and beyond,” says John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, which leases and operates the Richmond Marine Terminal. In response to the terminal’s ability to handle more cargo, the Greater Richmond Partnership and area economic development officials have launched an export initiative. The goal is to have every cargo container arriving at the terminal bearing imported goods returned with exports from Virginia. “Every container that comes in here, we want something else from a Virginia or Richmond company to go back the other way,” Matherly says. “Trade is a two-way street.” Construction boom Driven in part by the upgrades to the Richmond Marine Terminal and by what some real estate industry analysts are calling a “golden age” of distribution warehouse construction, there is an explosion of commercial development along the Interstate 95 corridor around the river port. “That wouldn’t be happening,” Matherly says, “if the port had not been upgrading and able to attract more volume.” Newport Beach, Calif.-based Panattoni Development Co. is building a million square feet of speculative warehouse space on 62 acres. And Richmond-based Hourigan Development is erecting 1.5 million square feet of high-bay warehouse buildings called Deepwater Industrial Park on the 110-acre Alleghany Warehouse Co. site near Philip Morris USA’s Richmond Manufacturing Center. Hourigan Development President Joseph Marchetti says the warehouse park “is a significant stride for economic development and the positioning of Richmond as a trade leader.” Just a few years ago, Matherly notes, Richmond didn’t have any speculative warehouse space. Now warehouses are being built at a steady pace, spurred on by demand from internet businesses and developers’ confidence in Richmond’s strong, diverse economy. For example Richmond developer Devon USA, which last year built a 328,000-square-foot spec warehouse that became an Amazon distribution center in Hanover County, now is building a $20 million, 321,000-square-foot spec warehouse at the James River Logistics Center in Chesterfield County. This year, Richmond’s industrial warehouse market is expected to expand its high-bay inventory by more than 2.7 million square feet, a 13 percent increase, according to CBRE. All of these indicators point to a healthy economic outlook for the Richmond region, Matherly says. But, he adds, the people planning new projects need to remember to keep one question in mind: “Is this going to help us keep the young professionals?” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VCU_White.png Real estate developer Brian White recalls being mugged in an area near VCU in the 1980s. Photo by Shandell Taylor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/an-architect-of-a-rebuilt-city An architect of a rebuilt city http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/an-architect-of-a-rebuilt-city http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/an-architect-of-a-rebuilt-city#When:08:00:00Z “Over the past 20 years, VCU’s capital projects have sustained neighborhoods during economically difficult times. Between 1996 and 2013 — beginning near the peak of a violent crime epidemic and extending through the nadir of Richmond’s population loss and the Great Recession — VCU invested more than $1.6 billion in its Monroe Park and MCV campuses.” — Draft of Virginia Commonwealth University’s new strategic plan, “Quest 2025: Together We Transform” In 1968, Richmond Professional Institute merged with the Medical College of Virginia, forming the state’s first truly urban university. This year is the 50th anniversary of that unlikely merger. RPI was known largely for its quirky art school, while MCV was a sober bedrock of the state’s medical heritage. It took years to make the marriage work, but it has. In the process, VCU — with a total enrollment of more than 31,000 students — has changed the face of Richmond, especially since the 1990s when the university’s building efforts began in earnest. Brian White, a real estate developer with the local firm Historic Housing, remembers his hometown before VCU began an almost block-by-block reinvention of its campus in central Richmond. “I grew up in Richmond and graduated from [high school] in the late ‘80s when Richmond was just a mess,” White says. He recalls venturing onto a block of West Grace Street next to the VCU campus that then featured an X-rated theater and a biker bar. “I was mugged on Grace Street when I was 15,” White says. Now, West Grace is one of VCU’s success stories, with dormitories, a campus theater and eateries. The street has become a symbol of the construction campaign at VCU begun by Eugene P. Trani, who became the university’s president in 1990. ‘Trani Town’ Trani almost immediately began pushing through a remake not only of Grace Street, but also the West Broad Street area paralleling the VCU campus. One VCU official recalled finding bullet casings, drug paraphernalia and other detritus on a preliminary walk-through of the area. Some in the media began calling Broad Street’s remake “Trani Town.” The West Broad Street initiative signaled that, amid a tide of homicides — peaking at 161 in 1994 during a crack cocaine epidemic — and a cratering of Richmond’s central business district, VCU was placing a bet on better times. Replacing old buildings and filling vacant spaces, VCU largely used proceeds from general obligation bonds to build a 114,000-square-foot School of the Arts building, which was dedicated in 1999. The school has since become a flagship for VCU’s ambitions. In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, VCU tied UCLA for the top spot for graduate fine-arts programs at U.S. public universities. The two public schools ranked second overall behind Yale. The arts school was part of a VCU initiative along a six-block corridor of West Broad Street. The corridor also includes the Stuart C. Siegel Center (the consistently sold-out arena for VCU’s men’s basketball team), a sports medicine building, a 396-bed dormitory and the university bookstore. VCU has become the city’s largest developer, and its expansion continues unabated. In October, VCU President Michael Rao told Richmond’s Forum Club that since 2009, when he succeeded Trani, the university has had construction projects totaling 5 million square feet worth $2.1 billion. “The university has an obligation to participate in the solution of urban problems,” Rao said. “We’re very proudly a public university, and our public university was built to be a public good for Richmond and beyond.” Over the years, VCU’s expansion efforts occasionally have encountered opposition from its neighbors.  Perhaps the best-known example occurred nearly 30 years ago when the university was planning to expand into the historic Oregon Hill area. University Architect Mary Cox recalls that, when Oregon Hill residents learned of those plans in 1989, the disclosure set off a furor. When Trani became president the following year,  he established community advisory boards and began developing relationships with the neighborhoods surrounding the university, Cox says “One of the first bold gestures of the 1996 master plan was to move VCU north toward Broad Street,” Cox adds. Another prickly problem came as the VCU Health System’s expansion began encroaching on the Museum of the Confederacy and the adjacent White House of the Confederacy, a 200-year-old structure where Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived during the Civil War. Last year, the Heath System purchased the museum building for $6.25 million, as the museum consolidated its holdings with those of the American Civil War Museum.  The White House of the Confederacy was not affected by the purchase. ICA and other projects VCU’s golden anniversary has unleashed a new series of projects. Its capital projects spree began in April with the opening of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) — the biggest funded project in the university’s history. The $41 million structure, designed by renowned architect Steven Holl, was named one of the most highly anticipated buildings of the year by Architectural Digest. In the spring and early summer, VCU and its health system began other projects, including: A $93 million engineering research building on its Monroe Park campus; A 16-story, $349 million tower for outpatient services on VCU’s medical campus, the largest capital construction project in the history of VCU Health; and A $95 million rehabilitation hospital in Goochland County in a joint venture with Sheltering Arms. In August, the university opened the doors on a $96 million residence hall that will house 1,518 students on 12 floors. Texas-based American Campus Communities — in a public-private partnership with VCU — designed and built the residence hall and will run it under a 50-year operating agreement. The university says that the partnership will allow the university to preserve VCU’s debt capacity for other projects. “If we can get a private developer to come in and operate it … then, that’s debt capacity that we can use for other things,” says Dave Goodwin, director of financial services for the university’s division of facilities management. As of late July, VCU’s outstanding debt was about $450 million. A March 2017 credit report from Moody’s Investors Service, a credit rating agency, concluded that VCU’s debt was “manageable” and gave the school a favorable credit rating, Aa2.(The university is constantly repaying debt as well as borrowing, so its debt numbers are in constant flux.) Rebound since 2000 VCU’s building boom has helped Richmond regain its momentum after the city’s population fell from 250,000 in 1970 to 197,000 in 2000, a 21 percent decline. By 2017, Richmond’s population had rebounded to an estimated 227,000, with a median age of 33 — a reflection of the torrent of millennials who have swept into the city in recent years. Growth on the university’s downtown Medical College of Virginia campus and the creation of the nearby Virginia Bio-Technology Research Park also have helped stabilize downtown after the loss of many businesses in the 1990s, including two major department stores, Thalhimers and Miller & Rhoads. “VCU has gone from a commuter to a residential college. That’s been huge for the university and for the urban core,” says Lucy Meade, marketing and development director for Venture Richmond, a city promotional group. Meade says that VCU students, along with empty nesters and working-age millennials, helped fuel a surge in downtown’s population. That change, in turn, she says, has made the city an attractive place for companies, especially those searching for millennial talent. Time magazine reported last year that Richmond ranked second in the nation in terms of millennial move-ins during 2010-15. The number of millennials in the city grew 14.9 percent, or by 5,176 people, during that time. The Urban Land Institute, which developed the study, defined millennials as people between the ages of 25 and 34. Architect Robert Mills, a pioneer in the use of historic tax credits, says VCU was an early advocate of rehabilitating existing buildings. “At the time, this philosophy was operating in unchartered waters,” he says. Today, Mills says, developers cannot rehabilitate enough downtown buildings to accommodate the demand of people wanting to live in the city. The stock of viable, historic structures for rehabilitation is running short. “We are facing a new situation in downtown that I never thought would happen in my lifetime — the development of new, contextual infill structures on the empty lots between the rehabilitated historic buildings to meet the demand for downtown housing,” Mills says. “Weaving contextual infill development within the framework of the existing structures is creating a new, unexpectedly dynamic community in downtown Richmond. VCU is at the forefront of this new wave,” he says. Trying to fit in VCU has made a determined effort to house more students on campus. About 83 percent of its freshmen live in VCU housing, and more than 6,600 students reside on campus overall. In addition, private developers have built apartment complexes nearby because of increased demand for housing that the university has been unable to meet. Architect Sanford Bond, co-founder and principal of the Richmond firm 3north, says VCU has made enormous progress over the years in the design of its buildings. “In the ’60s and ’70s there are some unfortunate buildings from an architectural point of view that VCU built. I think now they’re much more sensitive to what they’re building to the urban environment, and I think they’re trying to fit in better,” he says. Cox, the university architect,  says that because VCU is an urban university in an old city, its two campuses encompass a variety of architectural styles. They range from restored Victorian-era homes to the cutting-edge edifices. “We will never have a cohesive architectural language like you would find at Virginia Tech or the University of Richmond … and part of the reason for that is, a lot of our buildings we inherit,” Cox says. “We choose not to take land by eminent domain. We don’t really know where we will be as our footprint grows. We tend to purchase land as it becomes available, and we get what we get.” Cox says the university once acquired a grocery store and remade it into classroom space. “You would never know,” she says. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DrLee_CarolineMartin.png Dr. Jennifer Lee is director of the state Department of Medical Assistance Services. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-healthier-state A healthier state? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-healthier-state http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-healthier-state#When:08:00:00Z A former construction worker was in such despair that he got down on his knees in George Washington University Hospital’s emergency room and begged Dr. Jennifer Lee for help. The man had been to the ER in Washington, D.C., many times before, desperate for a hip replacement. He told Lee that he didn’t want to go on disability.  He wanted to go back to work. But she had to tell him that his debilitating condition was not life-threatening, and without health insurance she couldn’t help. “I thought about him so many times because it was really distressing to me as a doctor that I could not help him to get what he needed,” she says of the incident, which occurred before the District of Columbia expanded its Medicaid program. Now director of the state Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), Lee is overseeing the expansion of Medicaid health coverage on Jan. 1 to as many as 400,000 Virginians — including low-income adults of working age without children. Lee is optimistic that the new benefits will improve their health and the state’s economy, too. Budget compromise Medicaid expansion in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act has been a slow and contentious process, long-thwarted by state lawmakers who saw it as a break from the commonwealth’s conservative fiscal policies.  But a budget compromise in May ended the impasse, allowing Virginia to accept more than $2 billion in federal funds to pay for about 90 percent of the expansion costs. The state’s share of the cost will be financed by new assessment fees — essentially a tax — on hospital revenues. Until now, Virginia has had one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the nation, ranking 46th among states in per-capita spending, according to DMAS.  Expansion under ACA will increase the income eligibility level to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and extend coverage to adults without dependents. Before expansion, a childless adult without a disability was not eligible for Medicaid.   Beginning next year, an adult with an annual income at or below $16,754 can sign up for the program. A family of three will be eligible with an income at or below $28,677, quadrupling the previous threshold of $6,900.  For a disabled person, the eligibility level goes from $9,700 to $16,754. Virginia joins 32 other states and the District of Columbia in agreeing to expand Medicaid coverage. Originally a key component of ACA, Medicaid expansion became optional for each state in a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the health-care law’s legality. Work/training rule Lee says her office is “working very intensely” on two tracks to gain federal approval of the state’s Medicaid plan.  In addition to amendments to the existing plan, the state is seeking approval of a waiver that would tie recipients’ bene­fits to work, study or civic engagement requirements. The addition of the Training, Education and Employment Opportunity Program for Medicaid beneficiaries was part of the budget compromise. The requirement would apply to some current Medicaid recipients as well as new ones. In November, the commonwealth will ask for federal approval for a waiver, known as the 1115 Demonstration Waiver, that would allow the requirement to take effect. While Medicaid expansion is on track for the Jan. 1 launch, Lee says the timetable for implementing the waiver provisions is less certain.   In a potential complication, a federal judge in June struck down a similar work/training requirement in Kentucky. Lee points to the man with chronic hip pain she met in the ER to explain her view on the requirement. “People want to be well. People want to work.  They want to pursue more opportunity,” she says. “But they need some help to deal with an injury or an illness to get them back on their feet.” Net savings? With Medicaid expansion, the commonwealth will receive $2.4 billion in federal funds for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 to pay for 90 percent of the costs of caring for newly eligible recipients. That federal infusion, Lee says, will result in net savings of $355 million to the state’s General Fund for those years.   “Medicaid expansion actually results in net savings to the commonwealth,” she says.  “I know that sounds counterintuitive.”  Uninsured people, she notes, often put off seeing a doctor or taking medications until they have a medical crisis. Then they end up in emergency rooms and are unable to pay for costly treatments. “Someone still pays that bill,” she says, “and those costs are absorbed by the system and increase costs for everybody else.” Expansion is expected to close the “Medicaid gap” that leaves many low-income Virginians without insurance options. These are adults who are ineligible for the existing Medicaid program but did not earn the minimum income required for receiving insurance subsidies under ACA.  With the higher income threshold under expanded Medicaid, some people who received subsidized insurance on the health exchange may now qualify for Medicaid.  Lee says DMAS is trying to determine how many people fall in each of those groups. Doug Gray, executive director of the Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP), says he has seen estimates that as many as 90,000 people now insured through the ACA exchange may be eligible to move to Medicaid plans. Also uncertain is the health status of new Medicaid enrollees who will make up the risk pools for six managed-care plans offered by insurance companies under Medicaid. The plan providers can earn a profit up to 3 percent above their underwriting gain, Gray says, with any percentage above that being shared with the state.            For example, if profits exceed 3 percent — an event Gray says is unlikely — half of the amount up to 10 percent would be returned to the state. Premiums are to be based on a sliding scale not to exceed 2 percent of monthly income for those between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level. “Part of the challenge is to develop a rate to pay for the new enrollees,” Gray says.  “Some are going to be much sicker than others.” But the state will benefit, he says, as a large number of people with chronic conditions — diabetes, asthma, heart disease — will get treatment early on “instead of having to go to the ER for help after it’s too late.” Health exchange effects Gray says it is too soon to gauge the impact of Medicaid expansion on premiums paid on the health exchange.  Some very sick patients may leave the exchange for Medicaid, but healthier people now on the exchange also may move to Medicaid. Either move could affect the exchange risk pool. “It will be a mix. The question is: When the mix is all said and done, is the net effect a reduction for premiums?” he says. In July, insurance companies told the State Corporation Commission that rates for individuals covered under ACA’s Virginia exchange are expected to increase by an average of about 13 percent next year. Lee says a 2016 study found that states with expanded Medicaid plans saw an average drop of 7 percent in premiums for health insurance policies bought through marketplace exchanges. But that study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service predates the election of President Donald Trump and subsequent cuts to federal cost-sharing reduction payments that subsidize ACA policies. Assessment fees The General Assembly approved two provider assessment fees as part of Medicaid expansion. The assessments on hospital revenue will be imposed on 69 private, acute-care hospitals, according to Julian Walker, vice president of communications for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Exempt are children’s and specialty hospitals, such as psychiatric and rehabilitative facilities, and the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University medical centers. One assessment fee, which will pay for Virginia’s 10 percent share of Medicaid expansion, is expected to yield $281 million during the two-year budget cycle and up to $300 million annually in subsequent years, Walker says. The second assessment will be used to increase the reimbursement rate for treating Medicaid patients. The reimbursement rate now is 71 percent, or 71 cents for each dollar of care, despite state law that sets the acceptable level at 78 percent, Walker says. The rate will increase to 88 percent with the second assessment fee, which is expected to bring in about $250 million. However, Walker says the exact numbers remain uncertain because the implementation process is ongoing. The state is expected to begin collecting the assessment payments in October. Although hospitals are paying the state’s cost for Medicaid expansion, Walker says, they will receive only about 36 percent of revenue that will be generated.    Other health-care providers such as pharmacies, home health-care businesses, medical equipment companies and labs are among beneficiaries that won’t be subject to the tax, he notes. Hospitals will benefit as a result of the increased Medicaid reimbursement rates as well as from a reduction in the uncompensated care of uninsured patients, Walker says.   But, it’s still not clear how many people will actually enroll in Medicaid. “The challenge of uncompensated care will not vanish,” he says.   The association historically has opposed provider assessments but agreed to the bipartisan proposal to facilitate Medicaid expansion and to improve reimbursement rates, Walker says. ‘In-reach program’ Getting Medicaid expansion up and running requires a multi-partner push, says VAHP’s Gray. “People aren’t going to be just magically enrolled” on Jan. 1, he says. At community health centers that treat people across the state regardless of their ability to pay, officials are contacting patients who might be Medicaid eligible to walk them through the enrollment process. “We have what we call an in-reach program,” says R. Neal Graham, CEO of the Virginia Community Healthcare Association. The centers see about 106,000 uninsured patients, the majority earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, he says. As many as 70,000 might qualify for Medicaid under the 138 percent income level cutoff, with about 75 percent of those enrolling. “Most of our people — the vast majority who are uninsured — are employed or working part time. They just don’t earn enough,” he says. Many earning under 200 percent of the poverty level can’t afford insurance, he explains. “So, we’re worried about that group that is at 138 percent to 200 percent that won’t qualify for Medicaid but still won’t be able to afford insurance.” Many others in the state won’t be eligible for Medicaid because of their immigration status. Undocumented immigrants do not qualify, and immigrants with legal status are not immediately eligible. “We’re still going to need our safety net system, our free clinics to fill in the gaps,” Lee says. “But those gaps are going to be a lot smaller.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BUSLAW_ChipNunley.png Hunton Andrews Kurth attorney Chip Nunley finds many pro-bonocases through JusticeServer. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/offering-a-helping-hand Offering a helping hand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/offering-a-helping-hand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/offering-a-helping-hand#When:08:00:00Z Cheryl Brown now is living in a newly repaired apartment in Richmond, thanks to legal assistance provided without charge by attorney Chip Nunley. Brown, a heart transplant recipient who uses a wheelchair, had told the management of her apartment complex that her ceiling was leaking and water was seeping into the kitchen. Eventually, the ceiling began to bow. “She was in her kitchen cooking dinner one night, when the ceiling collapsed and sent her to the hospital,” says Nunley, a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth in Richmond. “The apartment complex didn’t do anything about it.” Nunley learned about Brown’s predicament through JusticeServer, a custom-designed online case management system. It is an example of Virginia programs designed to provide pro-bono legal services to people who can’t afford attorneys. In November, Nunley filed suit on Brown’s behalf in Richmond General District Court. In April, the apartment complex was ordered to move her and her belongings to another apartment in the complex, providing suitable alternative housing until repairs in the new unit were completed. “They were additionally required to cover the cost of moving her from the old to the new apartment,” Nunley says. The attorney has represented about 40 residents in Brown’s complex. Several of those cases came from JusticeServer. “The vast majority of these people suffered in silence,” he says. “There is a tremendous need for lawyers in private practice to do pro-bono work for people who have real and fundamental legal problems like housing and can’t afford to hire an attorney.” 2010 conference JusticeServer automates the process of matching lawyers to cases. “It cuts out all of the inefficiencies so lawyers can spend their time representing people rather than tracking down information,” Nunley says. To gain access to the JusticeServer, attorneys sign up with legal-aid societies that use it and specify the type of cases they are interested in handling. Once they are in the system, lawyers have secure, confidential access to files. They can subscribe to an email notification service that alerts them when a case matching their experience is listed. The creation of JusticeServer resulted from the Supreme Court of Virginia’s 2010 Pro Bono Summit, which examined the need to improve legal services to underserved clients. Capital One Financial Corp. developed an information management and case referral system, leading a project team that included the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation, the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Virginia Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force. JusticeServer was launched in 2012. The portal went public the next year. “This year we have rolled out JusticeServer 2.0, which is the next generation to improve performance,” says Harry M. “Pete” Johnson III, a Hunton Andrews Kurth partner who was a member of the committee that organized the 2010 Pro Bono Summit. “My firm alone has handled well over 1,000 cases through JusticeServer since it started.” More than 1,000 lawyers and law students in the Central Virginia area have registered for JusticeServer since its launch, and more than 10,160 cases have been handled. “That includes legal-aid clients and our nonprofit assistance program,” says Alexandra “Ali” Fannon, executive director of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation. A hotline provided by the Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division also uses JusticeServer to find cases. Volunteer attorneys contact callers to see whether they can provide limited answers to their questions. “Young attorneys love JusticeServer. Instead of going to legal aid and getting a list of people, they can log onto the system at home or on their lunch break to see what calls need to be made,” says Johnson. “It makes things more efficient. It makes our ability to provide service easier.” Tackling veterans’ issues The aim of another Virginia pro-bono program is helping veterans, military service members and their families. They can find assistance through the Veterans Issue Task Force of the Virginia Bar Association (VBA). The task force evaluates requests for legal help, matching them up with Virginia lawyers who provide their services for free or reduced fees. “We support veterans and service members in all branches of the military, including activated National Guard members and reservists,” says attorney Bob Barrett, chair of the task force. “We take a broad approach.” Barrett, a veteran himself, is keenly aware of veterans’ needs. When veterans return to civilian life, they no longer have access to a variety of resources, including the services of Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers on their base. “Veterans don’t know where or who to turn to,” says Barrett, associate general counsel at Performance Food Group in Richmond. The task force also can help active-duty service members when JAG officers are not licensed in the service members’ state or don’t have the expertise needed for their problems. “They are not always available to provide support,” Barrett says of JAG. The task force grew out of a talk by Major Joseph Geraci, a United States Military Academy psychology professor, at a 2009 VBA meeting. Geraci highlighted the psychological and legal problems many veterans face. “He gave a very meaningful speech that resonated with a lot of the VBA leadership,” Barrett says. Bar association members decided “this is a problem we are facing as a society” and they should help. They started the task force that year. More than 280 attorneys are listed with the task force, which gets requests on issues ranging from housing and divorce to civil rights and employment. “Some days we get five requests, and then there are days when we don’t receive a request,” Barrett says, noting that people can ask for help through vba.org/veterans. “It comes in waves.” The task force handles only Virginia cases. Currently about 20 percent of the requests are placed with attorneys. “I wish the percentage was better, “ Barrett says. “Sometimes we don’t have an attorney in their geographic area, and sometimes we just don’t have attorney volunteers and coverage for certain types of cases.” The task force works with other groups such as William & Mary Law School’s Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic. “We have an informal partnership with them. They can help with veteran’s benefits sometimes,” Barrett says. The task force also offers training sessions for lawyers and veterans. “I have done training seminars over the years,” Barrett says. “I will be giving one on hiring veterans to try and provide some insight into the laws that apply when you hire veterans or service members.” In addition, the task force provides training on the challenges that military service members often face in returning home. “We also do veteran’s advocacy, looking at what legislation can be passed to help veterans as well as service members and their families,” Barrett says. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/opioid_image.png File graphic http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/combating-the-opioid-crisis Combating the opioid crisis http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/combating-the-opioid-crisis http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/combating-the-opioid-crisis#When:08:00:00Z Virginia businesses are teaming up with health-care providers in an effort to break the cycle of opioid addiction. Last year, Virginia saw 1,227 opioid-related overdose deaths, according to the governor’s office. Dr. Hughes Melton, the state’s commissioner of behavioral health and developmental services, told a Virginia Chamber of Commerce health conference in June the economic impact of opioid addiction in the commonwealth is about $1.4 billion a year. At the conference, Dr. Dheeraj Raina, Anthem’s medical director, said those costs include absenteeism, tardiness, turnover, theft and increased workplace conflict. The opioid epidemic also reduces the pool of potential employees. In June, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed a lawsuit accusing Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma of violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act with “false claims about the purported safety, efficacy and benefits of its opioids, including OxyContin.” The company has denied the allegations. A growing number of Virginia localities — including the city of Alexandria and Dickenson, Bland, Caroll, Smyth and Washington  counties — also have filed suit against opioid manufacturers. In August, Gov. Ralph Northam, a physician, began a series of lectures on the opioid crisis to students at four Virginia medical schools. The lecture tour was scheduled to end Sept. 5 at Liberty University. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) have begun a “Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative” to address community health needs. Jeff Stover, the VDH’s acting deputy commissioner for population health, says “opioids are high on the agenda” of the initiative. Opioids include prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl. The group’s advisory committee includes nearly two dozen representatives of companies, hospitals, foundations and local health departments. “We’re trying to catalog the various projects in communities,” Stover says. “We’re creating a puzzle, then finding where there are missing pieces. We plan to evolve into specific projects.” Need for top-notch safety Fredericksburg-based Quarles Petroleum Inc. is acutely aware of the dangers of prescription drug misuse, says Danîs Brown, the fuel company’s manager of health and safety. “A propane truck has a bomb on the back. Your health and safety program needs to be top notch,” he says. In addition to complying with Department of Transportation drug-testing requirements, “we make sure we go above and beyond what’s required by law,” Brown says. The company conducts pre-employment testing, quarterly random testing and post-accident testing. “People are truly vetted,” he says. “We haven’t had a positive on random testing.” In safety-sensitive jobs, employees cannot use opioids, even those prescribed by health-care providers, Brown says. If  workers must be prescribed opioids, they are put on short-term disability or moved to other positions. Quarles strives to educate all employees about the dangers of over-reliance on opioids, he says. “If they have a personal health issue or an injury outside of work, we expect them to talk to their doctor about maybe forgoing an opioid prescription for something less dangerous.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend non-opioid therapy for chronic pain outside of cancer, palliative and end-of-life care. The CDC says that “when opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.” The agency suggests alternative strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, medical massage and physical therapy for treating chronic pain. Drawn into the crisis Alex Shaw, a risk performance specialist with Scott Insurance in Richmond, and Stephanie Wesolowski, a Scott health-risk management consultant, advise companies on ways to prevent employee misuse of prescription drugs. Many companies don’t even realize they have been drawn into the crisis, Shaw says. “We’ve heard from people who say, ‘We don’t see it in our company.’” These businesses, however, often don’t see the problem because their drug testing is too limited. “Many drug-testing panels do not capture all opioids, just morphine, codeine, and heroin,”  Shaw says. “So, you need to find out: What drug testing are you using? Specify what you want to test for. It’s a huge blind spot for many organizations.” He also recommends that employers build strong relationships with their occupational medicine providers. “Talk with physicians and make sure opioids aren’t the first drug of choice. Let them know your preference is something other  than an opioid,” he says. Wesolowski emphasizes the importance of educating supervisors, managers and HR directors as well as employees about effective alternatives to opioids. “Behavior change through physical therapy is seen as more difficult than ‘just give me a pill,’” she says. “The view often is: ‘Isn’t there something I can take?’” Dr. Robert Trestman, chair of the department of psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, says that businesses and society must address addiction as a chronic disease that needs to be managed, not punished. “If we can reconceptualize that it is akin to something like diabetes, that makes it easier to understand” and provide appropriate treatment, Trestman says. “Three EAP [employee assistance program] visits will not be enough.” In contrast to the stereotypical drug addict, the majority of people addicted to opioids “are employed or employable,” Trestman says. He also notes that many people using opioids started with legitimate pain prescriptions. Employees must understand that the goal of treatment is not to eliminate pain completely, but to manage it at a tolerable level, says Trestman. “Sometimes doctors just write a prescription — people take it even when it is unnecessary.” People on opioids for more than 30 days are at risk of becoming addicted, he notes, because in addition to relieving pain, opioids activate regions in the brain causing euphoria, a high. “Our brains were never designed to cope with this,” Trestman says. “The challenge we need to recognize is that even really solid employees are at risk. But it is treatable — with appropriate support.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/10690-037%2C_31MB.png The One Stork, an ultra-large container vessel, calls on the Port of Virginia in July. Photo courtesy Port of Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/full-steam-ahead Full steam ahead http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/full-steam-ahead http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/full-steam-ahead#When:08:00:00Z Despite a tumultuous international trade environment, the Port of Virginia is driving ahead with game-changing projects on land and sea. In June, the U.S. Corps of Engineers gave final approval for plans to deepen and widen the channels leading to the port’s Hampton Roads terminals. Just a month earlier, the Virginia General Assembly had approved the $350 million needed to fund the project. The start of the project is a major milestone for Virginia’s maritime community, which has made deepening the channel to 55 feet a priority for more than a decade. “Our members keep asking when dredging is going to start,” says David White, executive vice president of the Virginia Maritime Association. “There’s a lot of excitement.” Expanded channels are vital to the port’s growth as ocean carriers continue to deploy increasingly large container ships. Last year, East Coast ports, including Virginia, began to handle ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs), which hold more than 14,000 TEUs, or 20-foot-equivalent units. These massive ships displace so much water that the Coast Guard limits the Thimble Shoal channel in the Chesapeake Bay to one-way traffic as the big ships pass through. That can be a major issue for channels that handle both commercial and Navy ships. “The significant impacts will be getting us back to the point where we can offer two-way vessel transits … 24-7,” says White. The change also will allow ocean carriers to more fully load large vessels coming to the port. The project will give Virginia the opportunity to again become the deepest port on the East Coast. For years, the Port of Virginia’s 50-foot depth gave it that status, but in the past decade ports in New York and Miami have dredged their channels to that level. Charleston, S.C., is dredging its channels to 52 feet. Having the deepest port assures ocean carriers that Virginia can handle big ships. The port expects it soon could see even larger vessels, 16,000 TEUs. Preliminary design and engineering work on the project began this summer. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and be complete in 2024. The project, a partnership involving the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the port, should be partly funded by the federal government. Funding for this type of project, however, is determined in the federal budget each year. Nonetheless, the General Assembly’s support allows the project to move forward. The federal government could pay the state back at a later date for its share. “That kind of support shows them how serious we are about it — that we’re not solely reliant on the federal government,” says Joe Harris, spokesman for the Port of Virginia. “It shows how progressive Virginia is with these kinds of projects.” On land, the port is expanding its two largest terminals. Two projects, totaling nearly $700 million, will increase cargo container capacity by 40 percent. The $320 million expansion of Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth is on schedule for completion next June. The terminal already has received rail-mounted gantry cranes, or RMGs, which are used to organize container stacks. Six of 13 new container stacks are in service. By January, all of the container stacks and four new ship-to-shore cranes should be ready. Expansion of the terminal’s rail capacity should be complete in February. Expansion of the port’s largest terminal, Norfolk International Terminals, is scheduled to be complete by June 2020. The $350 million project is being funded entirely by the state. In July, the first six RMGs were delivered. The first three new container stacks should be in service by October. New stacks will open incrementally until the project is finished. “The future here is exceptionally bright,” says Harris. “We’re going to be the deepest port on the East Coast, and we’re going to have the most modern and technologically advanced terminals. It’s going to drive job creation and economic investment in Virginia, and it sets us up to be the premier mid-Atlantic gateway for trade.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Soybean-8240.png The price of soybeans has dropped 16 to 20 percent since China announced retaliatory tariffs. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shifting-trade-winds1 Shifting trade winds http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shifting-trade-winds1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shifting-trade-winds1#When:08:00:00Z Companies worried about a possible trade war are importing more goods, building their inventories before more tariffs take effect. That trend includes some Virginia importers, says Venetia Huffman, vice president and general manager for Norfolk-based CV International Inc., who handles logistics for companies moving freight around the world. “They are trying to get as much inventory imported as they can right now because, yes, there is certainly a level of nervousness about what the future holds for them because there [could] be so many business sectors affected, particularly the furniture industry,” says Huffman. As a result, ports around the country — including the Port of Virginia — actually have seen a recent surge in cargo volume, which also has been driven by a strong economy and consumer demand. But while Virginia’s maritime and logistics companies may be seeing a short-term increase in activity, the long-term consequences of a trade war could be widespread, damaging the entire national economy. “This is such an ever-changing situation,” Huffman says of the escalation of trade tensions. “It’s difficult to keep our clients informed properly and to know what lies ahead … We don’t know how the wind is going to change. We can’t predict that.” Short-term effects International trade disputes have erupted in recent months, particularly between the U.S. and China. After President Donald Trump instituted steep aluminum and steel tariffs this spring, he added tariffs on more than $34 billion in Chinese goods. Now the administration is proposing a far more wide-reaching wave of tariffs on 6,000 Chinese products worth more than $200 billion. At the same time, President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are meeting in November in hopes of easing tensions. China is the Port of Virginia’s biggest foreign trading partner in total value and volume of exports and imports. The port, for example, handled $11 billion in imported goods from China last year. China is not the only country in Trump’s crosshairs. Steel and aluminum tariffs also affect European Union countries, Canada and Mexico. Negotiations with Canada and Mexico over revisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are ongoing. Effects of the trade disputes so far have been muted at the Port of Virginia and Virginia companies involved in the international supply chain. “The industry is uncertain, and the ones that really are going to take the brunt of it, I think, are the farmers and others in the agricultural area,” says David White, executive vice president of the Virginia Maritime Association. (So far, China has mostly targeted U.S. agricultural products with retaliatory tariffs.) “Most of our members are part of the supply chain, and they are involved in the transportation of goods. So, they have exposure to it, but I don’t think that anybody from a transportation supply-chain perspective has the sense that it’s going to have a huge impact now.” Virginia soybean farmers already are feeling the pinch. In 2017, soybean farmers produced almost 26 million bushels of soybeans each year, accounting for $187 million in economic output. Much of the commonwealth’s soybeans are grown in the eastern and southeastern portion of the commonwealth. Since the spring, prices have dropped 16 to 20 percent. In July, President Trump announced $12 billion in relief for farmers affected by the trade war, but the funding still hasn’t been finalized. While some importers are hedging against future tariffs, many are hoping the trade spats end soon. That group includes Martinsville-based Hooker Furniture, which gets many of its products from China. “For now, we are monitoring the situation closely, evaluating the potential effects, communicating our concerns to Washington and our trade association, and, like everyone else, hoping cooler heads will ultimately prevail,” says Scott Prillaman, Hooker’s vice president of casegood operations. Officials at Virginia Beach-based Stihl Inc., the U.S. headquarters of the German power-tool manufacturer, say it’s too early to measure the potential effects of more tariffs. “We understand some of the issues the administration is trying to address with their recent decisions, and while we benefited from favorable tax changes earlier this year, any new tariffs on raw materials like steel and aluminum will have an impact on Stihl Inc.,” says its president, Bjoern Fischer. “As for long-term implications, we believe it is too early at this time to predict the full extent and implications of the tariffs.”  At the heart of the commonwealth’s maritime commerce is the Port of Virginia, which says so far it hasn’t seen any negative effects from tariffs. In its fiscal year ending June 30, the port handled a record 2.8 million 20-foot equivalent units [TEUs], the standard shipping measure for containerized cargo. The port is analyzing the situation, but it says tariffs already announced will affect only a small percentage of cargo moving through its terminals. Tariffs, for example, impact about 0.7 percent of the port’s loaded exports on goods such as meat, vehicles, cotton, fruit, nuts, dairy, fish, soybeans and other grains. Likewise, tariffs affect about 1.6 percent of loaded imports, including machine and electric parts, medical equipment, vehicles and auto parts. “We are closely monitoring the current trade environment and the effects that additional tariffs are having on our business,” says Joe Harris, spokesman for the Port of Virginia. The port does not have an analysis available on the impact of additional tariffs threatened by Trump. “We are focused on what we know, and we’re always concerned when there’s a shift in the trade policy,” says Harris. “But right now we have our eye on what’s happening, and we’ll have to address any changes as they come. Our focus at this point is completely on the expansion of our terminals.” (See related story on the port’s expansion). Long-term harm? But as tensions continue to rise, observers believe a trade war could harm the U.S. supply chain as well as the entire economy. The 6,000 tariffs under consideration could have a much bigger impact. Importers are nervous, Huffman of CV International says. Their worries are focused not so much on what is happening right now “but what the future holds … there will be a more far-reaching impact if the next round of tariffs goes into effect.” Those tariffs, Huffman believes, could affect traffic at ports around the country. The American Association of Port Authorities agrees. It says a trade war could hamper the $6 billion worth of goods that move through the U.S. seaports each day. The association says enacted and proposed tariffs would affect almost 9 percent of total U.S. trade by value and almost 14 percent of containerized trade. Global Port Tracker says the biggest impact would be on West Coast ports, which handle the majority of Chinese trade. But a trade war still could make a big difference on the East Coast. Last year, about one-quarter of containerized cargo and one-fifth of exports handled by Virginia’s port were to and from China. Some negative side effects of a tariff war will be difficult to quantify, says Paul Bingham, vice president, trade and logistics, of Boston-based Economic Development Research Group Inc. Virginia, and other states, could miss out on investments from other countries. “If they think there’s more risk attached to that trade in the United States, they’re likely to look to other countries that they think are going to be more stable in terms of the tariff and trade barriers situation,” says Bingham. Ultimately, a trade war’s biggest threat to the U.S. economy is uncertainty, he says. If businesses are unsure of what their costs are going to be, executives may delay investment. If prices increase, consumers may be reluctant to spend. “That’s really the biggest-picture risk,” he says, “that you push the overall confidence and the attitudes of people engaged in commerce down enough that then you end up in a recession.” Is a recession likely because of trade disputes? It depends, Bingham says. “Do you take some of the members of the administration at their word that they truly are believers in free trade and all of this is an attempt to negotiate stronger positions for the United States?” says Bingham. “Or is this just somebody trying to punish certain countries because they’re our enemies … on a geopolitical basis? It’s hard to sort through all that to know what to expect.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-september-2018 People - September 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-september-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-september-2018#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Stephen Abbitt has been named executive vice president of the Newport News-based Abbitt Group, the parent company of Abbitt Realty and Abbitt Management. He will serve under the company’s president, Charles Wornom. He previously was the managing broker for the real estate division’s Newport News office. Abbitt joined the company in 2006. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Chris Crouch has joined RRMM Architects as director of business development. Crouch comes to RRMM Architects from S.B. Ballard Construction where he served as the marketing and business development manager. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Billy Samra has been named chief financial officer of Elizabeth River Crossings LLC. Samra was formerly finance director of the infrastructure development unit at Skanska (Skanska ID), one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups, active in Europe and North America. (News release) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Economic and business development consultant Faith McClintic was hired as the GO Virginia Program Director for Region 8. McClintic is the principal and owner of Spectrum Growth Solutions LLC. GO Virginia’s Region 8 covers the Shenandoah Valley. (News release). CENTRAL VIRGINIA Damien Cabezas, CEO of Lynchburg-based Horizon Behavioral Health, has been appointed to the 21-member Virginia Latino Advisory Board. (The News & Advance) Beth Doyle has been named executive vice president for the Centra Foundation in Lynchburg. She succeeds Dr. Kathryn Pumphrey, who retired earlier this year. Doyle was director of development at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg. (News release) Chris Faraldi has joined the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance as director of public policy and special programming. He previously was the director of correspondence for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). (News release) Brett Harn has joined Williams Mullen’s Richmond office as the law firm’s director of finance and accounting. He was director of finance for Keller and Heckman LLP in Washington, D.C. (News release) Bethany Miller has been promoted to vice president of domestic investment at the Greater Richmond Partnership Inc. (GRP). Miller has worked for GRP since 2013. (News release) Leigh Sewell has been named CEO of three Richmond-area medical facilities, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital and Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing. Sewell has been senior vice president of strategic operations for Bon Secours Virginia.  (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA During its annual re-organizational meeting in July, Tazewell County’s Industrial Development Authority chose Kyle Hurt to serve as chairman and Darrel Addison as vice chair.  Ann Robinson assumes the role of treasurer. Economic Development Coordinator Pam Warden serves as clerk for the authority. (SWVAToday.com) Beth Rhinehart, president and CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, has been selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives for The Fellowship for Education and Talent Development. She’ll participate in the program with 20 chamber of commerce professionals. The Bristol Chamber serves both Bristols, in Virginia and Tennessee. (News release)  ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Nancy Howell Agee, the president and CEO of Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership. Agee, who started her career at Carilion as a nurse in 1973, has led the organization since 2011. She was named Business Person of the Year for 2017 by Virginia Business. (News release) Hallema Sharif is the new public relations and communications director for the Office for Inclusion and Diversity at Virginia Tech. She was interim executive director of communications for Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts in Qatar. (News release) Andrew Warren has been named Christiansburg’s assistant town manager. He was the town’s planning director. (The Roanoke Times) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Allison Felix has been promoted to president and principal of Cassaday & Co. Inc., a McLean-based wealth management firm. Stephan Cassaday, the firm’s founder and current president, will transition to chairman while remaining CEO. Felix will retain her responsibilities as the firm’s chief operating officer. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Chantilly-based OGSystems announced the recent promotion of executive partners Aarish Gokaldas and Lorinda Ayling to chief growth officer and chief services officer, respectively. (News release) Information services company Neustar has appointed private-equity executive Charles Gottdiener as CEO, replacing Lisa Hook, who led the company for nearly a decade. Hook oversaw the company’s transition to new ownership. Private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital and its minority partner, GIC Private Ltd., bought the Sterling-based company last year for $2.9 billion. (Washington Business Journal) Bryan Rich has joined Arlington-based Accenture Federal Services as director for artificial intelligence solutions. He was senior vice president of analytics strategy for McLean-based Novetta Solutions. (Washington Business Journal) Cheryl Williford has been named president and chief operating officer at Reston-based Modus Create Inc. She was the global vice president at Vienna-based McFadyen Digital. (News release) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Dr. A. Ahsan Ejaz has joined the Centra Medical Group Nephrology Center in Farmville. He was a faculty member at the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida. (The Farmville Herald) Dr. Chelsie Church Novitske has joined Ridge Animal Hospital in Farmville. She is a graduate of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. (The Farmville Herald) 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-september-2018 For the Record - September 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-september-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-september-2018#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA 757 Angels – the first and only organized angel group in Hampton Roads – has invested $36 million in 16 companies. According to the organization’s 2018 Impact Report, it is making a significant difference for startup and early stage businesses across the state. Since its launch, in excess of 90 percent of its capital has stayed in Hampton Roads and 70 percent of portfolio companies are earning revenue. (Inside Business) A tourism task force has agreed to recommend a transition plan that would allow the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance’s Tourism Council to begin operation. Created by Senate Bill 942, the council will utilize the Historic Triangle Marketing Fund to market attractions in Williamsburg, James City and York counties to overnight tourists. It’ll do so with revenue generated through a 1-percent sales tax increase created by SB 942 and the existing $2 transient occupancy tax.  (The Virginia Gazette) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved its final authorization to dredge and widen the channels leading to the Port of Virginia. The report allows the project to be included in the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, which is a larger list of projects eligible for federal matching funds. The projects in WRDA that receive funding are determined during the federal budget process. The largest ships in the Atlantic trade already are calling Virginia, but the added depth will allow for even bigger vessels to visit and for ships to come in and out more fully loaded. The dredging project will deepen the channels to 55 feet and widen them in certain areas to allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels. That will allow the port to reclaim its status as the deepest port on the East Coast. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare will increase its financial support dramatically for Eastern Virginia Medical School, with a commitment of $130 million during the next five years. Sentara’s annual funding to EVMS will rise from $9 million to $26 million for 2018 through 2023. EVMS said it will use the additional Sentara funds to establish new programs, bolster existing ones and continue advancing the status of the medical school. Under a longstanding agreement, Sentara hospitals provide clinical teaching environments for EVMS students and residents, especially at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The 468-room Sheraton Norfolk Waterside is finishing a multimillion-dollar renovation. The hotel said its new design, using a nautical palette of blues and metallic-accented grays, is seen throughout the hotel’s lobby, guest rooms, meeting rooms and fitness center. Renovations include the hotel’s Club Lounge, its 1,100-square-foot Presidential Suite and its 46,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The 24-hour fitness center is being doubled to 1,400 square feet, and new equipment is being added. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded $1 million to James Madison University to strengthen the school’s ability to engage students of all backgrounds in science. With this grant, JMU will begin this fall to implement an innovative plan for biology majors. JMU is one of 57 schools nationwide to receive a five-year Inclusive Excellence grant, following two rounds of competition that attracted applications from 594 institutions. Tim Bloss, associate professor of biology in the College of Science and Mathematics, will lead an implementation team of 21 faculty members and student representatives in collaboration with a university leadership group. Together, they will work to ensure that all biology majors, whether they come to JMU through traditional or non-traditional pathways, develop a sense of belonging in the college and an identity as future scientists.  (News release) A Marriott Springhill Suites Hotel is coming to the Rutherford Crossing area, according to Frederick County planning documents. A site plan for the 2.13-acre property, located on the southeast side of Market Street, calls for the construction of a 63,503-square-foot, four-story hotel with 96 rooms, a lounge/dining area, a fitness center and an indoor pool. There would be 98 parking spaces. Frederick County tax maps indicate the site is owned by BTB Hospitality LLC located at 2224 Wilson Blvd., which is the address of Pine-Burke Realty. Glen P. Burke is listed as the registered agent for the LLC on the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission website. In 2003, a limited liability corporation headed by Burke bought the historic George Washington Hotel in downtown Winchester for $600,000 and did a massive renovation of the property. (The Winchester Star) Since the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail passport marketing program began in December, 1,254 passports have been redeemed. With visits to six different breweries needed to redeem the cards, that means visitors and local residents have made 7,524 brewery visits in the past seven months. Not bad for a program with modest beginnings whose outcome was anything but assured. Once people have visited at least six of the 14 breweries on the trail, they can mail the passport in for a free T-shirt. With those 7,524 visits, program participants have come from 40 states and at least one person from overseas. (The News Virginian) Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. has boosted the internet speed of its existing business customers without raising prices. Typical business customers now have internet speeds that are three times higher than what they had before June, the company said. The change took place in June for thousands of Shentel business customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. As an example, the company said a business with 25 Mbps speed in May was upgraded to 101 Mbps speed in June for the same price. At the same time, Shentel said it eliminated slower speeds that no longer met business customer needs. Earlier this year, the company also introduced a new top-speed internet tier — 150 Mbps. (Virginia­Business.com) CENTRAL VIRGINIA An effort to boost broadband internet to rural areas of Amherst County is picking up speed. The Amherst County Broadband Authority is working with SCS Broadband to provide wireless service through the towers scattered across the county. The Arrington-based company submitted a proposal to the county and would have its equipment on the towers, which are owned by the Region 2000 Radio Board, fully up and running by summer 2019, according to a schedule outlined in a proposed agreement. (The News & Advance) The Bon Secours Richmond Health System’s effort to prime the Westhampton School property for redevelopment — and walk back a commitment it made as part of the Washington Redskins training camp deal — received a green light from the Richmond City Council in late July. A split council voted 5-4 to approve the health system’s request to rezone the school property in the city’s West End from a residential to a mixed-use business district. The request also covered 10 residential properties the health system owns along the Henrico County line, abutting the school property. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) A Canadian paper company plans to invest $275 million and create 140 jobs to manufacture recycled paper products at the Bear Island paper mill, a 600,000-square-foot plant in Hanover County that closed more than a year ago. Cascades Inc., a maker of packaging and tissue products based in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, is acquiring the mill for $34.2 million from its owner, White Birch Paper Co. Connecticut-based White Birch will temporarily operate the site as a newsprint mill under a 27-month lease, after which Cascades will convert equipment at the mill for its own production needs. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) SCANA shareholders agreed in late July to sell the South Carolina utility to Richmond-based Dominion Energy, which has agreed to swallow billions of dollars in debt from the company’s failed nuclear construction project and other operations. The deal gives Dominion — already one of the nation’s largest utility companies — more of a foothold in South Carolina. The company operates a pair of solar farms in the state, as well as gas pipelines purchased from SCANA in years past. SCANA has about 1.6 million electric and natural gas residential and business accounts in the Carolinas. The combined company would operate in 18 states, providing energy to about 6.5 million regulated customer accounts. (The Washington Post) Innovairre Communications LLC, a manufacturer of direct-mail fundraising materials for nonprofits, plans to invest $4.85 million in upgrading its equipment and expanding operations in Bedford County. The project is expected to add 12 jobs to its existing workforce of 72. (News release) Flooring retail giant Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. is moving its corporate headquarters to the Richmond region. The company said in late July that it will move its offices to the former Southern Season gourmet grocery store space in the Libbie Mill-Midtown mixed-use development off Staples Mill Road in Henrico County during the fourth quarter next year. Lumber Liquidators will take over the vacant 53,000-square-foot Southern Season store, which closed in April 2016 after opening less than two years earlier. The specialty flooring retailer will combine its corporate employees working in Toano, near Williamsburg, with those working in a satellite office on West Broad Street near Willow Lawn Drive into the Libbie Mill-Midtown space. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Forest-based Moore & Giles, a leather design business, plans to purchase a 50,000-square-foot distribution center in the Amelon Commerce Center in Madison Heights. Plans are in place to begin operations in the new location, located off Virginia 130, in September. Previously, the facility was owned and operated by Old Dominion Footwear. (The News & Advance) Sabra Dipping Co. LLC broke ground on July 31 on an expansion of its hummus-making facility in Chesterfield County. The company said the 40,000-square-foot expansion will enable Sabra to expedite product delivery to retailers.  The addition more than doubles the company’s finished goods storage capacity and lays the groundwork for future packaging customization capabilities. Sabra expects to add 12 full-time positions upon completion of the expansion, which will be designed to maintain Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. (News release) Two Charlottesville companies are partnering to grow their business and raise the city’s profile as a hub for the renewable energy industry. Sigora Solar’s residential customers will receive a free Lumin Smart Panel, a device that allows residents to remotely control appliances and analyze their energy usage and bills. The companies connected through the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance, of which both companies are members. (Charlottesville Tomorrow) When it was established in 1982, the University of Virginia’s apprenticeship program was the first of its kind at a major public university. It has become a model for other programs and changed many lives, including those of the 10 who graduated in July. Each year, the program accepts students who spend four years learning from mentors while working full time for UVa Facilities Management, earning a salary and full university employee benefits. After work, they take courses in their trade. By the program’s end, they complete 400 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. All of this year’s apprenticeship graduates, who learned trades such as plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical work and carpentry, are taking jobs with U.Va. (The Daily Progress) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Bristol Compressors announced in late July that its Bristol plant will be shuttered over the next couple of months, putting 470 employees out of work. The company — which produces hermetically sealed compressors for air-conditioning units, heat pumps, geothermal units and refrigeration units — blamed loss of business in the Middle East as the most significant contributor to the plant closing. Because of that, the business could not maintain profitability, a company representative said earlier. The manufacturer has operated in Washington County since 1975 and is the county’s third-biggest employer.  (Bristol Herald Courier) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission halted all work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in August after judges suspended two key permits for the 600-mile project. FERC sent a letter to Dominion Energy, which has led the pipeline’s construction, saying work must stop until the permit issues are resolved. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit vacated a National Park Service permit allowing the pipeline to tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway. The court also vacated a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit governing impact on endangered wildlife. In July, the same court revoked a permit for the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross about 3.5 miles of the Jefferson National Forest. FERC also stepped in to halt work on that pipeline, as well.  (The Washington Post) After years of preparation and a number of delays, the long-promised Sessions Hotel in Bristol is about to move from drawing board dream to a full-on construction project. Developers held a groundbreaking ceremony in July, even though some work had occurred at the site. The hotel is to be created inside three vacant, historic buildings — the former Jobbers Candy factory and the Service Mills building along Goode Street and the Owen Equipment building — formerly Bristol Grocery — on State Street.  Roanoke-based Creative Boutique Hotels is developing the $20 million, 70-room project, which is expected to open in 2019. (Bristol Herald Courier) The Southwest Times office complex building in Pulaski is being sold — but the newspaper isn’t going anywhere. The South­west Times is relocating to the end unit of the same complex — 42 Fifth St. NW. (The Southwest Times) Sugar Hill Cidery LLC plans to open a hard cidery and restaurant in Norton. The project, which represents almost half a million dollars in new investment, is expected to create at least 36 jobs. The cidery is a sister company of Sugar Hill Brewing Co. LLC, a craft brewery and restaurant in St. Paul. Sugar Hill Cidery will be located in a soon-to-be renovated former auto dealership owned by the Norton Industrial Development Authority. The city has been working with the state for several years to make the site a center of downtown activity. (VirginiaBusiness.com) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Developers hoping to revive the desolate Christiansburg Marketplace shopping center say design work is underway now and three anchor tenants are interested in locating there. Chris Carlsen’s group, RC Christiansburg, purchased the shopping center in December with plans to invest $30 million in renovations, developers said at the time. Carlsen declined to name the companies his group hopes will sign leases soon, but he said they’re in negotiations with retailers in the food, sporting goods and soft goods — such as clothing — industries. (The Roanoke Times) The 110-year-old Liberty Trust office building in downtown Roanoke has been sold. Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group in Roanoke reported the new owner, JS Project LLC of Fairfax, plans a historic restoration of the 36,000-square-foot building, turning it into a boutique hotel. The building, constructed in 1908 by the Liberty Trust Co., is located at 101 S. Jefferson St. In 1982, the property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and as a Virginia Historic Landmark. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Montgomery County is calling on more than a dozen localities across Southwest Virginia to begin taking steps toward a goal of connecting the major trail networks between the Roanoke and New River valleys. In a letter sent to localities in July, Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman Chris Tuck discussed the establishment of a regional committee to explore the ambitious idea of a system from Roanoke to Galax — which could create at some point 100 miles or more of linked primary trail. The plan, if completed, would connect the Roanoke Valley’s greenways system to Blacksburg’s and Christiansburg’s Huckleberry Trail, which would then — via the Radford area — link to the New River Trail that runs from the town of Pulaski to the city of Galax. (The Roanoke Times) The National Bank of Blacksburg lost $2.4 million to Russian hackers, and its insurer wants to reimburse it only $50,000, according to a lawsuit the bank filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. Filed on June 28, the bank’s lawsuit against Everest National Insurance Co. describes two incidents in which the bank’s computer systems were compromised and security controls disabled. This allowed weekend-long sprees in which “hundreds of ATMs across North America” were used to loot accounts, the lawsuit said. According to the lawsuit, National Bank of Blacksburg, which has 25 offices throughout Southwest Virginia, lost about $570,000 in May 2016 and more than $1.8 million in January 2017. Investigators tied the computer break-ins to Russia, the lawsuit said. There is an ongoing criminal investigation of the thefts, according to court filings. (The Roanoke Times) The New River Valley Mall announced a major tenant shakeup in late July, as Ulta Beauty and Kirkland’s prepare to move in. Leasing agency CBL Properties also announced DISH Network will join the mall as it downsizes and relocates the Christiansburg call center that has been in the Falling Branch Corporate Park for 18 years. That office previously employed 600 people. Now, between 75 and 125 will work in the space between Kohl’s and New River Community College, according to a news release. The news is the latest sign of an effort to diversify the mall that has served as the retail hub of the New River Valley for a generation — but faces an uncertain future as big box retailers struggle against online competitors. (The Roanoke Times) The New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization plans to re-submit to the state an estimated $215 million proposal to complete a long-awaited connection of Virginia Tech’s Smart Road to Interstate 81. The proposal’s application received a unanimous 7-0 vote of support from the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in late July. The vote covered a package of resolutions backing several Smart Scale applications. The MPO, which includes Montgomery County officials, plans to submit the proposal to Smart Scale, a program that scores — and hopefully later funds — competing transportation projects from across the state.  (The Roanoke Times) A national provider of telemedicine services announced in July that it will offer its services in several Virginia nursing homes with the goal of keeping residents from unnecessary hospitalizations. TripleCare plans by year-end to bring virtual physician supported services to three of Commonwealth Care of Roanoke facilities: Radford Health and Rehab Center, Abingdon Health and Rehab Center and Carriage Hill Health and Rehab Center in Fredericksburg. TripleCare’s physicians will be able to connect to Commonwealth Care’s patients during overnights and weekends when the facilities’ physicians are not on site. Patients can be treated in place or should be transferred to a hospital. (The Roanoke Times) The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine welcomed its ninth class to be part of Virginia Tech’s ninth college in late July. It is the first new class to join since the Roanoke-based medical school became an official college of Virginia Tech on July 1.  The medical school’s Class of 2022 has 43 members selected from almost 4,000 applications. From that, 312 participated in the school’s Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) process, held on seven Saturdays throughout the fall and winter months. The class, almost evenly split, has 22 men and 21 women. The class represents 11 states and 32 undergraduate institutions. Almost half — 20 — are Virginia residents. (News release) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Unmanned aircraft company Aurora Flight Sciences plans to build a $13.75 million robotics facility at its headquarters in Manassas, creating 135 jobs. The facility will include a manufacturing unit, a research and development lab, a hangar and office space. The company was acquired by The Boeing Co. last year. Aurora Flight Sciences is a developer and manufacturer of advanced aerospace platforms and autonomous systems. (Virginia­Business.com) McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. has been tapped by Walmart Inc. to be the exclusive issuer of the retail giant’s credit cards, the two companies announced in July. Capital One will take over Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart’s private and co-branded credit card programs from Synchrony Financial beginning Aug. 1, 2019. More details of the program will be released later. (Washington Business Journal) Manassas-based Ennis Electric is expected to move its headquarters to Prince William County’s Innovation Park as part of a $20 million project that will add 65 jobs during the next several years. Ennis is the latest company to choose the 1,500-acre technology and research park anchored by George Mason University for its operations after a lull in development activity there during and after the recession. (Washington Business Journal) Herndon-based Magnet Forensics has acquired Tracks Inspector, a digital investigation software product. The financial details about the deal with Tracks Inspector B.V., which is based in The Netherlands, were not disclosed. Tracks Inspector will join the Magnet Forensics product portfolio under the new name Magnet Review. Magnet Forensics develops digital investigation software that acquires, analyzes and shares evidence from computers, smartphones, the cloud and other sources. The company’s tools are used by more than 4,000 agencies in 93 countries. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Thompson Hospitality Corp., a large Northern Virginia food service and restaurant company, has acquired a stake in Matchbox Food Group and will begin operating the chain of 11 restaurants immediately. Reston-based Thompson invested an undisclosed amount to recapitalize the company. Matchbox operates eight of its pizza restaurants in the D.C. area and three in other markets — Richmond, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The company ran into financial trouble in the past few years as it expanded rapidly in the D.C. area and other markets. (Washington Business Journal) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA A new aluminum welding class at Danville Community College is helping students find good local jobs after just a few weeks of study. Six students who recently completed the first eight-week class already have been hired by Amthor as the company expands its operations in Gretna. Amthor Operations Manager Ronnie Farmer, who started with the company as a tank welder 25 years ago, teaches the non-credit welding course. (Danville Register & Bee) The Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority has given the go-ahead to plans by the Institute to Advanced Learning and Research to expand the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. The 13,700-square foot expansion will consist of two rapid-launch labs that will allow manufacturers moving to the area to have space to create their products and train staff while their permanent buildings are being constructed or renovated. Mark Gignac, executive director of the institute, said the new building will be entirely funded by the state. (Danville Register & Bee) The Hardide Coatings production facility in Martinsville has been certified to coat U.S. aerospace components, a development that the company expects will give it access to new markets. Hardide develops, manufactures and applies advanced tungsten-carbide coatings for a wide range of engineering components. The company said its material offers dramatic improvements in component life, particularly when applied to components used in extreme environments. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Press Glass, the largest independent flat glass processing operation in Europe, will invest $43.55 million and bring 212 jobs to Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre. Press Glass will be the first facility to locate to CCBC. Construction should begin near the end of 2018, and production is scheduled to begin at the end of 2019. (Martinsville Bulletin) The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center is partnering with Radford University and New College Institute to offer a new cybersecurity program for working IT professionals. Through this partnership, Radford University’s Innovative Mobile Personalized Accelerated Competency Training (IMPACT) will be available through the SVHEC this fall. Cybersecurity is a growing field, with the commonwealth estimating 36,000 job openings in 650 companies. (The Gazette-Virginian) It could be several months before anyone knows what caused a July 25 explosion at the Thomas Industrial Fabrication plant in Woolwine. The Roanoke office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed the next day that an investigation has been launched into the incident. Three employees were injured in the explosion, which also caused internal and external damage to the building. (Danville Register & Bee) VCU Health in Richmond is seeking $50,000 from the Tobacco Commission to study the reuse of the former Community Memorial Healthcenter facility in South Hill as a disaster preparedness and training center. The commission’s next scheduled meeting is Sept. 19. The old CMH facility, built in 1954, was shuttered in November 2017 when VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital moved to its $93 million medical campus on the north end of South Hill. (SoVaNow.com) 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/davis_1.png Halifax County Supervisor J.T. Davis (left) and Interim County Administrator William Sleeper. Photo by Steven Mantilla http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/some-halifax-solar-projects-receive-stormy-receptions Some Halifax solar projects receive stormy receptions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/some-halifax-solar-projects-receive-stormy-receptions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/some-halifax-solar-projects-receive-stormy-receptions#When:08:00:00Z J.T. Davis is concerned about the rapid increase in the number of solar energy projects being proposed in Halifax County.  “There is always the fear of the unknown and unintended consequences. Where do we pump the brakes? Where do we draw a line in the sand?” says Davis, a member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and chairman of its finance committee.  The most recent project approved by the county is Foxhound Solar LLC, a 91-megawatt solar farm in the county’s Clover area. It will have solar panels covering 589 acres of a 1,479-acre tract. Halifax’s abundant sunlight and the number of transmission grids and substations throughout the county make it an attractive location for solar projects. The county has approved six solar energy projects this year, and at least four more are pending. Tax incentives also are a major draw for solar energy companies. Solar projects of 20 megawatts or more, for example, receive an 80 percent tax abatement from the state, plus federal incentives. Solar projects also generate income for the county. The proposed 80-megawatt Water Strider project on 900 acres of land is expected to yield $175,000 in annual real estate and personal property taxes.  Even though solar farms have an upside, they come with controversy. Three lawsuits filed on behalf of Halifax landowners — one against the Urban Grid project and the board of supervisors and the other two against the Water Strider project and the board. “The major complaint is that the projects will devalue their land,” Davis says. The county’s solar project ordinance is the most stringent in the state, says Davis. “We have setbacks, rigorous screening requirements, the creation of a pollinator habitat and decommissioning costs if the project is not renewed.” The supervisors recently changed the ordinance with regard to how many projects can exist in a 5-mile radius. Matt Kearns, chief development officer for Boston-based Longroad Energy Partners, which is working on the Foxhound project, says the company is fine with the county’s requirements. “The county has very strong standards for solar projects, and we were willing to meet those,” he says. “We try to be good neighbors.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VIEW03.png City officials hope a new baseball stadium will serve as a site for games, concerts and other community events. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-foresees-many-uses-for-baseball-stadium Fredericksburg foresees many uses for baseball stadium http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-foresees-many-uses-for-baseball-stadium http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-foresees-many-uses-for-baseball-stadium#When:08:00:00Z The Potomac Nationals plan to head to Fredericksburg, a move that backers expect will bring more than minor-league baseball to the city. A key component of the plan for a 5,000-seat, $35 million baseball stadium in Fredericksburg is its intended multipurpose use, says Bill Freehling, the city’s director of economic development and tourism. “It will bring in sports competition; it will bring in groups. It will be a good venue for concerts and holiday and light shows and community events,” Freehling says. “It will be important for the quality of life of our residents and also give people another reason to visit Fredericksburg.” The Fredericksburg City Council voted 7-0 in July to approve a preliminary agreement with the Potomac Nationals, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, to relocate the team. A letter of intent between the city and the club set in motion a four-month study period with the target date for opening the Fredericksburg stadium set for spring 2020. The P-Nats have played in Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge since 1984. The new stadium would be privately financed, maintained and operated by the baseball club, but the city would pay $1.05 million annually to the club for 30 years, the minimum amount of time that the club would be required to remain in Fredericksburg. The city’s payment would come from revenue generated by the stadium. Matt Kelly, an at-large member of the Fredericksburg City Council, says the city has worked carefully with financial advisers. “One of the biggest factors is that this is not standard stadium financing,” he says. “We’re using revenue to pay our portion; we’re not looking to other sources of revenue to pay for it. We’re comfortable with the numbers.” He adds, “This is our second time through for baseball.” Five years ago the city held talks with another Washington Nationals farm team, the Hagerstown Suns, but the Suns stayed in Maryland. Freehling and Kelly tout the Fredericksburg location, about halfway between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, just off Interstate 95. “We would get more exposure in the D.C. market, which is a target market for us,” Kelly says. Freehling notes that the stadium location, known as Celebrate Virginia South, already has an expo center and three hotels. Does the move mean a name change for the team? “Nationals is a strong brand, but we have had conversations about having a contest to name the team,” Freehling says. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP8152.png Jonathan Sweet (left) and Michael Solomon. Photos by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pulaski-county-is-ready-to-court-international-companies Pulaski County is ready to court international companies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pulaski-county-is-ready-to-court-international-companies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pulaski-county-is-ready-to-court-international-companies#When:08:00:00Z Pulaski County might not be the first Virginia community people associate with international business, but maybe it should be. The county, with a population of 35,000, is home to eight companies based outside the U.S. “We’ve got Sweden, Australia, Colombia, Poland, Mexico, Canada, Germany and Brazil, and we’ve got more in the pipeline,” says County Administrator Jonathan Sweet. Sweden is the big contributor on that list. Located in Dublin, Va., Volvo Trucks’ largest manufacturing plant has more than 3,000 employees. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, that’s more workers than any other industry sector in the county. Altogether, Sweet says, international companies account for more than 4,000 Pulaski County jobs. Those are direct jobs, Sweet emphasizes, not a number generated by a multiplier formula. “That is huge,” he says. “In fact, there are some communities that don’t have 4,000 jobs in Southwest Virginia … That’s the statistic. We’ve got more jobs associated with international companies than we do with national companies. “Some of it we’ve been fortunate to have a little luck on our side, but what we’re trying to do is parlay our success and market our success and increase our success when it comes to international business.” One of those international companies grows vegetables indoors. In addition to making trucks, the others manufacture siding, Keurig cups, candles, high-tech fabrics, and industrial foam and tape. Volvo came to Dublin first as a partner with White Motor Co., then as the owner of the former White plant. Now the Swedish company is an important part of the region’s economy. And it’s presence makes a good argument for courting international investment. “We’ve got the foundation,” Sweet says. “We’re just looking to build more blocks, put more stories on the foundation.” Experience with foreign companies has helped Pulaski County be sensitive to “nuances and specifics” of other cultures. Good relationships with foreign companies already doing business in Pulaski County mean the county has good ambassadors for international prospects. Another very important ingredient, Sweet says, is “a board of supervisors and an economic development authority that get it.” The supervisors have committed funds to establish an International Baccalaureate program in county schools. “We’re really working to build an ex-pat community,” says Economic Development Director Michael Solomon. Many things have contributed to Pulaski County’s ability to attract foreign investment, says Sweet. The U.S. is stable, and there’s relatively little corruption. Recent tax changes that favor corporations help, he says, along with the recent threat of tariffs on foreign goods. Some companies are considering moving operations to the United States so they can keep their piece of the U.S. market. Sweet and Solomon say Pulaski County’s people are also important assets, as workers and as neighbors. “We just have really good people,” Solomon says. “People are kind here. They’re welcoming, and I think sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle. … I really feel like that’s a big thing to our secret sauce. I think that goes for the whole region.” Before he came to Pulaski County, Sweet was Carroll County’s economic development director. He also has been a project manager for Danville. In Bland and Grayson counties, he served as county administrator and chief economic development officer. His international interests began early. Sweet’s mother was born in Spain, and he grew up traveling to Europe to visit family. Sweet now travels for Pulaski County. On a visit to Volvo headquarters in Sweden, he and his team met with 15 companies. He also met with U.S. ambassadors and U.S. Virginia trade officials. In less than two years as Pulaski County’s administrator, Sweet also has visited Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia and Brazil. Those trips, Sweet says, are not about county-to-business contacts. They’re about people-to-people connections. “A lot of these communities, particularly in Southwest Virginia, are waiting for a knock at the door,” Sweet says. “That’s not what we are doing.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SW_Speyside_rendering.png A rendering of the stave mill planned for Washington County. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/barrel-maker-to-open-two-plants-in-southwest-virginia Barrel maker to open two plants in Southwest Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/barrel-maker-to-open-two-plants-in-southwest-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/barrel-maker-to-open-two-plants-in-southwest-virginia#When:08:00:00Z A Scottish barrel maker owned by a French company is opening two plants in Southwest Virginia, investing a total of $35 million and creating as many as 185 jobs. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, which opened a stave mill in Bath County in July, plans to invest $9 million in another stave mill in the Highland Business Park in Washington County.  The staves will be turned into bourbon barrels at a former woodworking plant in the Smyth County community of Atkins, a $25 million investment. General Manager Darren Whitmer says natural resources helped draw Speyside to Southwest Virginia. (The new plants will get about 80 percent of the white oak they use from Virginia.) Location mattered, too. In addition to the Bath County stave plant, Speyside has facilities in Ohio. Most of its customers are in Kentucky. Finding an empty, available, 270,000-square-foot building that used to be a cabinet factory in Smyth was a bonus. Whitmer says the coop­erage there can be turning out barrels 12 to 18 months sooner than if the plant began as an open field. The building was “somewhat tailor-made for a cooperage,” Whitmer says, “because we’re nothing more than woodworkers at the end of the day.” But they’re a very specialized kind of woodworker. “You’re fitting wood sticks together with no nails or glue or anything,” he says. “Six metal hoops holding the barrel together — so it does take some skill and understanding.” Coopers aren’t exactly commonplace, but Speyside has a remedy for that. “We train our own,” Whitmer says. “I’ve got 15 to 20 years in the business, and my right hand, Alberto Ramirez, my production manager, probably has 20-plus years in the business. We teach it ourselves, the two of us … When we opened up our stave mill in Millboro a couple of months ago, I was there in gloves and jeans and safety glasses with a smile on my face, teaching guys how to run a stave saw and make a stave.” Each 53-gallon barrel is more than a container, according to Whitmer. It’s integral to whiskey’s character. “All of the color comes from the white oak,” he says. “And probably 50 percent of the flavor comes from the white oak.” Incentives for the Speyside project include a $325,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund and $510,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/180727_LedburyVince_004.png Belle Isle Moonshine CEO Vince Riggi. Photo by Kate Magee, courtesy Golden Word Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-year-old-belle-isle-moonshine-sees-rapid-growth Four-year-old Belle Isle Moonshine sees rapid growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-year-old-belle-isle-moonshine-sees-rapid-growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-year-old-belle-isle-moonshine-sees-rapid-growth#When:08:00:00Z The makers of Belle Isle Moonshine are “just boatloads of fun and energy,” says Amy Ciarametaro, executive director of the Virginia Distillers Association. They’re also producing boatloads of premium moonshine. Since its beginning in 2014, Belle Isle has grown to become the fifth-largest craft distillery in Virginia by volume. It also ranks 164th among the craft distilleries in the U.S., according to IWSR, a provider of data for the alcohol industry.  The Richmond-based company is on pace to sell about 12,500 cases of moonshine this year. Sales were up more than 150 percent during the first half of 2018 when compared with the same time period last year, says Belle Isle co-founder and CEO Vince Riggi. Its biggest seller is Honey Habanero, moonshine infused with Virginia honey and organic Virginia peppers. Belle Isle also produces moonshine infused with grapefruit and moonshine infused with cold brew coffee along with two proofs of straight moonshine. Blood orange moonshine will be out soon. Belle Isle’s founders have learned a lot in the five years since Riggi and Brian Marks sat drinking Tito’s vodka and soda while talking about an event they’d just left at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond. “The atmosphere at Hardywood was just electric,” Riggi says. He and Marks wanted the same kind of atmosphere at a distillery. “We don’t come from the distilling industry,” Riggi says. “We don’t have any distilling background. We don’t have any prior knowledge of the space.” Riggi considers that to be an asset. No prior knowledge means no preconceived notions of how a distillery is supposed to produce and market its product. Belle Isle, Riggi says, is “looking to do things as they should be done, not as they have always been done.” After its initial run of liquor sold out, Belle Isle got big eyes. The company started spreading distribution as far away as China. “That sounds cool,” Riggi says, but it wasn’t practical. “Where maybe a couple of years ago, we wanted to be in 50 states and international, we’ve really honed in our focus and stopped chasing the shiny objects … We don’t want to just scratch the surface in a market. We really want to become the local brand in every market we’re in.” Belle Isle now distributes its products in 12 states. Virginia is still its top state, but sales in other states have grown rapidly. Even as Virginia’s sales doubled, its percentage of total sales has fallen. “We feel like we’re really barely scratching the surface. We’re just starting to find our stride,” Riggi says. “It’s that age-old adage: Surround yourself with people smarter than you and hire well. And we’ve certainly been fortunate enough to have done that in spades.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sawin_3.png JMU plans to hire nurses that will be based at local clinics, says Erika Metzler Sawin. Photo by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-address-nursing-shortage-in-rural-areas Project aims to address nursing shortage in rural areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-address-nursing-shortage-in-rural-areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-address-nursing-shortage-in-rural-areas#When:08:00:00Z The James Madison University School of Nursing has begun a project it hopes will help increase the number of nurses serving rural communities. The school is training nursing students in the Undergraduate Primary Care and Rural Education Project (UPCARE). The project, which will focus on Page County, is the result of a four-year, $2.7 million federal grant JMU received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention program. The federal program provided 42 grants nationwide. JMU was one of three Virginia universities among the recipients. The other two were George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University. “We are the only school in Virginia that will be focusing on rural areas,” says Erika Metzler Sawin, the director of UPCARE at JMU. UPCARE’s project partners will be Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital’s rural health centers and JMU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. UPCARE is designed to address nursing shortages for primary-care, mental-health and substance/opioid abuse treatment at the health clinics. Page County was chosen because it is a rural, medically underserved area. “From the viewpoint of the hospital, this relationship will help with recruiting nurses,” says Benjamin Dolewski, Valley Health’s operations manager. “Since nursing shortages are becoming more widespread over the county, any contact or relationship to bring quality employees to our organization will be beneficial.” Nationally, rural health and primary-care medicine are not emphasized in many nursing programs, Sawin says. “This will help us to incorporate those topics into the curriculum in general.” In Page County, the project will work with two health clinics in Luray, one in Stanley and another in Shenandoah. The nursing school plans to hire nurses that will be based at the clinics. “We will additionally be hiring a liaison nurse to oversee the nurses in the clinics and work with us at JMU,” Sawin says, noting a JMU-based team of four faculty members will help with the project. Students applying to the project before entering JMU’s nursing program will become UPCARE Scholars. During the four-year funding period, 56 scholars are expected to receive training. “Hopefully this will help students learn more about non-hospital areas where they can work and also about working in primary care,” Sawin says. Graduate psychology students also will work with the students on the treatment of mental-health and substance-abuse disorders. Sawin expects the project to benefit “our students, who will learn so much, and I think we will be able to give the community a lot, too.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Oder-8140.png Executive Director Glenn Oder. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fort-monroe-authority-seeks-redevelopment-partners Fort Monroe Authority seeks redevelopment partners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fort-monroe-authority-seeks-redevelopment-partners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fort-monroe-authority-seeks-redevelopment-partners#When:08:00:00Z Once headquarters for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe now is being redeveloped as a mixed-use community. The site’s history at Old Point Comfort on the tip of the Peninsula dates back more than 400 years to a fort created in 1609 by Jamestown colonists. The first Africans in British North America arrived at Old Point Comfort 10 years later. A star-shaped, stone fortress completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was deactivated as a military installation and designated as a national monument by President Obama in 2011. Today, the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) oversees redevelopment of half of the fort’s 561 acres, while the National Park Service is in charge of the other half. In June, FMA issued a request for qualifications from companies interested in adaptive reuse of its buildings for hospitality, retail, mixed-use and recreational purposes. The redevelopment area includes four sites on 100 acres including 900,000 square feet of building space. By early August, the request had been downloaded more than 300 times. The deadline for companies submitting their qualifications and statements of interest is Oct. 11. Currently, 90 percent of the fort’s residential properties is occupied, as is 90 percent of its 100,000 square feet of office and flex space. More than 95,000 square feet of retail space also is occupied. The community’s businesses include two restaurants, a craft brewery and a 300-slip marina. Fort Monroe also is home to Liberty Source, which assists businesses needing backroom help. The company, which employs 200 people, has expanded several times since opening in Fort Monroe in 2014. It was drawn to the fort’s central location in Hampton Roads as well as its historical significance. “We have a social mission to provide long-term sustainable careers for military spouses and veterans, throughout and after their military service,” says Robert Siegel, the company’s president and COO. “I can think of no better place for Liberty Source to call home than a former army fort known as the Freedom Fortress.” The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has signed a lease for a 20,000-square-foot building that is being renovated. “We are also doing a $7.5 million renovation of the original Coast Artillery School Library and turning it into the Fort Monroe Visitors and Education Center,” says Glenn Oder, FMA’s executive director. “The plan is for it to be completed in August 2019 as a legacy project for the 2019 Commission commemorating the first arrival of Africans at Point Comfort in August 1619.” 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Brian_Ball_-_Secretary_of_Commerce__Trade_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-27.png Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-deal-maker A deal-maker http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-deal-maker http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-deal-maker#When:08:00:00Z Brian Ball, Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade, has plenty of experience in the nuts and bolts of completing deals. Before joining Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, Ball, 67, was a Richmond-based partner with Williams Mullen, Virginia’s largest law firm, for nearly 30 years. Calvin W. “Woody” Fowler Jr., the firm’s chairman, president and CEO, describes Ball as “not only a good lawyer, he’s also a good businessperson.” Ball’s legal practice focused on securities law, corporate governance matters, and mergers and acquisitions. He represented many companies that were locating or expanding operations in Virginia, helping them with issues such as tax incentives and workforce development. Fowler believes Ball’s background serves him well in his new position. “I think he has valuable experience in seeing how deals really come together — what it takes to do a transaction. And not just the bigger-picture stuff, but also the finer points of what it takes to get a deal done,” Fowler says. “In his role as secretary of commerce and trade, that is what we want him doing, getting deals done for the commonwealth.” Ball’s secretariat oversees 13 state agencies, including the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). VEDP, the state’s principal economic development group, underwent reorganization after a highly critical review issued by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) in late 2016. JLARC criticized VEDP’s handling of financial incentives for economic development projects, saying a lack of policies and procedures put the state at risk of fraud and wasted money. Stephen Moret, Louisiana’s economic development secretary under former Gov. Bobby Jindal, became president and CEO of the VEDP early last year. “I have a huge amount of confidence in Stephen Moret, and he’s got a very good staff there, too,” Ball says. He has known Northam, a pediatric neurologist, since the Democrat was a member of the state Senate. The governor, Ball says, is “just a wonderful guy.” Ball served on the governor’s transition committee. In January, Northam named him special adviser to the governor for economic development and deputy secretary of commerce and trade.  Three months later, Ball succeeded Esther Lee as secretary of commerce and trade when she resigned for family reasons. A co-founder of the Council for Korean Americans, Lee was a former technology executive who had served in the Obama administration and as vice chair of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. In addition to his Cabinet post, Ball serves on the board of Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The avid outdoorsman was a member of the board of Virginiaforever, a coalition of businesses and conservation groups that seeks state funding for land preservation and improved water quality. He also was president of the Richmond Chapter of the Association for Public Growth. Ball is a native of Washington, D.C., whose father was an intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. “We were actually overseas a lot, including nine years roughly in England, and that’s where I fell in love with the outdoors,” he says. “We lived in a rural part of England. No TV, no malls. You had to make your fun, so I made my fun outside.” Ball attended McLean High School and graduated with high distinction from the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. From 1981 to 1982, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California. He and his wife, Jennifer, who is from Waynesboro, have two adult children, Kitty, who works in marketing for a Richmond law firm, and Bobby, who is an accountant for a small company in Goochland County. “My wife’s family is from the Valley so we have a place up there and a place in Deltaville,” Ball says. “I grow oysters on the weekend, and I have a vegetable garden in The Valley.” Virginia Business talked with Ball at his office on Capitol Square in Richmond in early July. The following is an edited transcript. Virginia Business: Why did you decide to join the Northam administration? Brian Ball: Because the governor asked me to. I never worked in state government before, but my wife and I got to a place where we were supportive of people that we thought really had the best interests of Virginia in mind. I had gotten to know him when he joined the Senate, and then he became lieutenant governor and ran for governor. So, I had a long [relationship] with him, of getting to know him and working with him. He’s just a wonderful guy. VB: Now, I understand you were involved with economic development with your practice at Williams Mullen. Ball: I was. I did corporate work virtually all of my career — a lot of mergers and acquisitions, and those weren’t necessarily in Virginia … In particular, in Virginia, there’s two projects I worked on that I’m real proud of. One was the [$400 million] Chaparral Steel mill in Dinwiddie [County, built in the 1990s]. I got involved with them before the first spade went into the ground to build it. … George Allen had just become governor. I worked on that and continued to work for that company even though it changed hands two or three times during the course of the rest of my time practicing law. That was a very satisfying experience. In a more recent [deal], I got to work with Canadian Bank Note. They did the facility [CBN Technologies] in Danville [in 2008] that makes driver’s licenses, the very secure driver’s licenses that we have now. That’s been another great company. VB: Do you feel like you have a different approach to economic development coming from the private sector than, say, someone who has been in state government? Ball: I don’t know — it’s hard to compare …  But I know how to make deals, and that’s what I love to do. In this secretariat, we are all about economic development in Virginia. So, we are constantly interacting with companies that are prospects or companies that are here that are interested in expanding. [We see] how can we secure [their projects] for Virginia within the parameters that we operate, with fiscal conservativism and that sort of thing. I love what I’m doing just because … a lot of it is very transactional … I’m working with people who have been in state government far longer than I have, getting their input. It’s really fun to … blend the two disciplines, if you will. That’s been another part of the joy of the job — being here with all these really bright and energetic people working through what’s possible, A through Z. It’s the sort of thing I did in private practice. VB: What are companies saying that they need? Are there workforce issues? Tax relief? What is their biggest issue right now? Ball: I’d say the biggest common issue is making sure there’s a good workforce. That defines itself differently depending on where you are in the state. Northern Virginia wants computer scientists; they want engineers. Then you get to other areas of the state, you are talking about really qualified kids coming out of apprentice programs at community colleges and things like that. I would say a skilled workforce [is the biggest need]. A company isn’t coming here if they aren’t comfortable that they can have that. You get to the rural areas and broadband access, or the lack thereof, is a constant message we receive. Education, health care, those sorts of things all come up. Also, transportation, particularly in Northern Virginia, [is an issue]. We need to continue to figure out how that large population can move around. VB: How would you describe the administration’s economic strategy? Ball: Governor Northam is very committed to economic development. He’s from the Eastern Shore. I would say … he wants to see us work as hard as we can to get economic development in the areas that have not prospered as much as other areas in the state. While we will continue to do deals in the areas that are prospering, we are really doubling down in the rural and underserved areas. And … we got some cities that are struggling, too. It’s both. VB: Now one of the biggest prospects out there is Amazon’s second headquarters. Everybody’s competing for that. Ball: We would love to have Amazon as part of our Virginia community. We think that it would be a great fit for them to be here. VB: How would it change the [the state’s] economy if it came? Ball: Well, it will have immediate impacts in the areas where we have [proposed sites for the headquarters]. It’s a little known fact that Amazon already has about 10,000 employees in Virginia, so it’s no small employer for our state. It would be a substantial employer if they pick one of our sites. That has benefits in those areas. It also has challenges. We’ve got to make sure we have the infrastructure, schools, roads, housing and that sort of thing. So, we are talking about all of those things. But as far as elsewhere in the state, there will be indirect impact. There will be suppliers that will be involved. You’ve got substantial enhancements in your payroll and your collections off of income tax and things like that. It’s sort of a rising-tide-raises-all-ships scenario for the state. It would be a very significant project for us. VB: Virginia hasn’t disclosed its incentive package; some other states have. Why has Virginia decided not to disclose? Ball: Because that’s our policy not to disclose negotiations with companies that we would love to have here. Amazon is no different from any other company. You do know that we go through an MEI [Major Employment & Investment Projects Approval Commission] and a legislative process [to approve state incentives], so there are partners involved in the conversation if we are blessed with the opportunity. There will be a bill that goes through a General Assembly to address whatever package we come to an agreement on with Amazon. VB: Do you have any idea when [Amazon] might be making a decision? Ball: No. You hear a lot of speculation. We hear that both here in Virginia and in other states. We think it will be sometime this year. There may be a next step. We don’t know what that next step might be. VB: [Would the next step be] culling the group of 20 down to a group of finalists? Ball: One scenario is where they have a short list and start engaging with more than one [site] on their short list. They are going to assess community receptivity and that sort of thing. We feel really good about our sites. We think Virginia would embrace Amazon. VB: [The U.S. has just imposed tariffs on China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union] and China, in particular, has retaliated. What kind of effect will these escalating tariffs have on Virginia’s economy? Ball: I majored in economics. I was basically taught that tariffs are not good things. Trade wars are even worse. As far as how it’s going to affect Virginia businesses specifically, the one area we are most concerned about is agricultural products; soybeans; pork and all that … I guess there can always be winners and losers in tariffs, but at the end of the day, I do not think, and [the Northam] administration doesn’t think, that tariffs are the right way to get at some of the problems that have been identified, such as the inappropriate transfers of technology. There are other ways of dealing with that than a trade war. VB: In general, how does Virginia stack up to other states right now in competing for economic development? Ball: I’d answer that in two ways. There are states that are far more aggressive than we are in putting together incentive packages. I don’t know that we will or should ever get to that point. On the other side of the coin, we have a wonderful state with wonderful natural resources. We’ve got a great transportation infrastructure in terms of our interstate system, our rail system, our world-class port. We’re in the mid-Atlantic. [Fifty-six percent of all U.S. consumers live within 750 miles of Virginia, making it a logistics hub.] We are proud of our schools, our top-drawer universities. We are proud of our business environment. Our tax burden is very manageable, we think. Could we do some things to make us more attractive in that space? Sure we could, and we are going to look at that. It’s just a great place to do business; we are very proud of what we have to offer here. VB: One department under your [oversight] is the [Virginia Economic Development Partnership]. It’s gone through a lot of reforms and changes in the past couple years. How do you think it’s performing today? Ball: I would say it’s a high performer. I wasn’t there, of course, for the period that you are referring to. I knew that they had some challenges. The General Assembly got really focused on them, and there has been some work done. I have a huge amount of confidence in [VEDP’s CEO] Stephen Moret, and he’s got a very good staff there. Naturally, because we are all about economic development, we’re spending a lot of time with VEDP, and I’m very happy we’re working with them. VB: [One of your interests has been Virginiaforever, a bipartisan coalition including businesses and environmental groups.] Do you think that kind of cooperation can be instilled in other deliberations in the state? Ball: We’re not as polarized as some other parts of this country and Washington, D.C. In the economic development area, I work very collaboratively with folks of all sides of the political spectrum. I’m an ardent outdoors person, conservationist and sportsperson. I just have always found that working together, when you talk about land preservation or water quality, you get a whole lot more done. We do see data on what’s important to employers, particularly significant employers, and those attributes are important to them. They want their people to have places to go for recreation, to be outdoors, and so we’re strong in that space. I guess I’m promoting the conservation side of things, and you’re talking about the collaboration kind of things. The things I have done in that space have translated in working in government — getting everyone together and trying to find good solutions. That’s what our governor is all about. That’s set him apart even in this early part of his term. That’s what allowed us to get some resolution on Medicaid expansion, and things like that. It’s the reason I’m working where I’m working because of the way he approaches things like this. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-meet-the-editors-hampton Out & About - Meet the Editors Hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-meet-the-editors-hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-meet-the-editors-hampton#When:08:00:00Z Virginia Business staff members met with Hampton business and city leaders in late July to gather input for an upcoming community profile. The luncheon was part of a series of “Meet the Editors” events held throughout the commonwealth. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie-8126.png Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/you-dont-have-to-take-the-bad You don’t have to take the bad http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/you-dont-have-to-take-the-bad http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/you-dont-have-to-take-the-bad#When:08:00:00Z At one time or another we’ve probably all heard the phrase, “You’ve got to take the bad with the good.”   It’s a saying that’s generally offered as unquestioned wisdom. Such seemingly simple truths are often worthy of a challenge.  A few years back, I used this exact phrase with a friend, who immediately shot back, “No! You don’t have to take the bad!”  At the time, this turned out to be pretty good advice.  Let’s not take the bad. Unfortunately, this conundrum is highly prevalent in our current political landscape. As tempting as it may be to take bad with good, this apparent tradeoff is one that not everyone is quite ready to swallow — and rightfully so. This dichotomy manifests itself in a variety of ways, the most common of which can be identified as “false equivalence.“  Take gerrymandering.  If one party crafts voting districts in their political favor while in control of the General Assembly, does that make it right for the other party to do the same when control changes? Of course not!  If Obama or Hillary did it, does that make it OK for Trump? Of course not! False equivalence is more than an easy way to justify taking the bad; it’s weak logic.  Take Trump’s statement after the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year, “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” The presence of extremes does not mean anything goes.  You don’t have to take the bad.  Right is different from wrong.  Truth is not the same as a lie.  Real news cannot be replaced by fake news.  Good is not the equal of evil. If this isn’t already obvious, think back to when you were a teenager.  How did your mother react when you said, “Everybody does it”?  Call this the mom test.  Most likely, her reply was, “You’re not everybody!” Another popular rhetorical device is deflection.  It’s similar to false equivalence.  If you can’t justify one candidate or party’s actions, just pivot to the real or perceived faults of the other side, “They did it, too. Right?”  Put that to the mom test. Wrong!  No, let’s not take the bad. It really doesn’t matter if the perpetrators are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or whatever.  Our moms were right.  False equivalence and deflection are poor excuses for ethical lapses; they are weak logic. From a business perspective, justifications such as these inevitably lead to failure.  No business owner can expect to get away with poor service or shoddy products on an excuse like “Everybody does it.”  Customers respond speedily to an ethical lapse, and it’s rarely a good response. In Virginia, what a difference a year makes.  For one weekend in August 2017, Charlottesville was crawling with Klansmen, Nazis and various other Alt-Right types.  U.Va.’s Lawn and the city’s downtown mall were under siege.  Lives were lost.  A year later, even for a march in Dee Cee, it’s hard to find as much as a busload of such reprobates.  That’s a good thing. The business community knows this, and voters are most certainly recognizing it.  The General Assembly saw massive change last November, foreshadowing numerous tumultuous party primaries across the country.  November’s general elections are unlikely to be much different.  Perhaps we are moving past the blithe acceptance of the bad. Business is different from politics.  There’s not a lot of difference between knowing your niche and playing to your base.  But a business only needs enough customers to be profitable.  Most companies are well aware of the pitfalls of trying to be all things to all people.  Values like being genuine, authentic, knowing your craft and your brand are important. Politicians would do well to take note of this.  Whether they need to be profitable is debatable.  But, they do need to win by a majority, and voters can always choose not to take the bad. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-september-2018 Followups - September 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-september-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-september-2018#When:08:00:00Z GE confirms plans to close Salem plant GE Power has decided to cease production at its Salem plant. The Roanoke Times reported in early August that the company announced its decision after negotiations with an employees union failed to produce enough savings to keep the facility open. The union’s proposal would have cut expenses by $6 million a year, according to the newspaper. GE expects to end manufacturing at the plant in one to two years. The shutdown will affect the jobs of about 265 employees. Virginia Business looked at the possible effects of the plant closing in its August issue. The GE facility, which opened in 1956, once employed 3,500 workers.    Proposed tax regulations issued for pass-through entities In early August, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued proposed regulations for “pass-through” entities entitled to receive 20 percent deductions under the federal tax reform law passed by Congress last year. Pass-through businesses don’t pay income taxes at the corporate level. Instead, their income is distributed to their owners, and taxes are paid at their individual level. About 30 million U.S. businesses are organized as pass-through entities. Qualifying business owners will receive a full 20 percent deduction on business income up to $315,000 for married couples and $157,500 for individual filers. Virginia Business looked at the potential effects of the tax reform bill in its March issue. 2018-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/unemployment-falls-in-virginia-metro-areas1 Unemployment falls in Virginia metro areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/unemployment-falls-in-virginia-metro-areas1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/unemployment-falls-in-virginia-metro-areas1#When:00:06:00Z Unemployment fell in metropolitan areas throughout Virginia in July. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) reported Wednesday that jobless rates were down in all of commonwealth’s 11 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The highest rate was 3.6 percent in the Lynchburg area. The lowest was 2.4 percent in Northern Virginia. Three other MSAs — Staunton-Waynesboro, Charlottesville and Winchester — also had rates below 3 percent. The VEC numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do account for seasonal adjustments in the labor force. Using that standard, Virginia’s jobless rate in July was 2.9 percent while the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. The decline in metro-area unemployment in July follows upticks in May and June. A breakdown of the MSA results shows: Bristol: 3.4 percent in July, down from 3.7 percent in June. Charlottesville: 2.7 percent, down from 3.1 percent. Harrisonburg: 3 percent, down from 3.5 percent. Hampton Roads: 3.2 percent, down from 3.5 percent. Lynchburg: 3.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent. New River Valley: 3.3 percent, down from 3.7 percent. Northern Virginia: 2.4 percent, down from 2.7 percent. Richmond: 3.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent. Roanoke: 3 percent, down from 3.4 percent. Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.7 percent, down from 3.1 percent. Winchester: 2.5 percent, down from 2.8 percent. Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, Arlington had the lowest unemployment rate in July, 1.9 percent, while Petersburg had the highest rate, 6.3 percent. 2018-08-30T00:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HARNETT.jpeg Harnett photo courtesy Commonwealth Commercial Partners. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/commonwealth-commercial-names-national-director-of-property-management Commonwealth Commercial names national director of property management http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/commonwealth-commercial-names-national-director-of-property-management http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/commonwealth-commercial-names-national-director-of-property-management#When:21:11:00Z Henrico County-based Commonwealth Commercial Partners has named Paul Harnett senior vice president, director of property management. Harnett will oversee the company’s tenant services and nationwide property management portfolio of more than 15 million square feet. Most recently Harnett served as managing director at Gemini Real Estate where he was responsible for a 4 million-square-foot shopping center portfolio spanning 11 states and several Northeast hotel assets. He’s also worked at Madison Marquette, Kane Realty Corp. and The Related Cos. 2018-08-29T21:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dhg-names-managing-partner-of-norfolk-office DHG names managing partner of Norfolk office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dhg-names-managing-partner-of-norfolk-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dhg-names-managing-partner-of-norfolk-office#When:20:03:00Z DHG has named Tom Hazelwood managing partner of its Norfolk office. Hazelwood previously was office managing partner in DHG’s Winston-Salem, N.C., and High Point, N.C., offices. Hazelwood has served a variety of clients representing a wide range of industries, including manufacturers, distributors, real estate entities and various other closely held companies, many of which are owned by private equity groups. As an assurance partner, he has assisted clients with complex accounting issues, including mergers and acquisitions. He also has extensive experience with not-for-profit organizations. Hazelwood earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 2018-08-29T20:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/micron-technology-to-expand-manassas-semiconductor-plant Micron Technology to expand Manassas semiconductor plant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/micron-technology-to-expand-manassas-semiconductor-plant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/micron-technology-to-expand-manassas-semiconductor-plant#When:20:02:00Z Micron Technology plans to invest $3 billion in expanding production at its Manassas semiconductor plant by 2030. The move is expected to create 1,100 additional jobs during the next 10 years. The plant now employs about 1,500 people. Micron is eligible to receive a state performance grant of $70 million for site preparation and facility costs. The grant is subject to approval by the Virginia General Assembly. In addition to the plant expansion, the Micron Foundation said Thursday that it will establish a $1 million fund to support a variety of industry-related programs at Virginia colleges. In the semiconductor plant project, initial expansion of its clean room is expected to be completed in the fall 2019 with a ramp-up in production during the first half of 2020. Micron also will establish a research and development center in Manassas for the development of memory and storage solutions. The R&D center, which will include laboratories and test equipment, will employ approximately 100 engineers.  "Micron's Manassas site manufactures our long-lifecycle products that are built using our mature process technologies, and primarily sold into the automotive, networking and industrial markets," Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in a statement. " He added that these products are used in a variety of applications such as industrial automation, drones and IoT (Internet of Things). "Micron's expansion in the City of Manassas represents one of the largest manufacturing investments in the history of Virginia and will position the commonwealth as a leader in unmanned systems and Internet of Things," Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. "This $3 billion investment will have a tremendous impact on our economy by creating 1,100 high-demand jobs, and solidifies Micron as one of the Commonwealth's largest exporters.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Manassas and the General Assembly's Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project. In addition to the state grant from the commonwealth, Manassas and utility companies are expected to provide a support package for the expansion, including infrastructure upgrades and other incentives. The $1 million foundation fund will support programs in the area of clean-room and nanotechnology labs, unmanned and autonomous automotive systems, robotics, big data, embedded systems and networking applications. Faculty members, program directors and student groups from universities and community colleges in the commonwealth will be eligible. With a focus on women and underrepresented minorities, programs that support low income and first-time college student programs will also receive special consideration. 2018-08-29T20:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-grant-to-expand-stem-female-faculty-recruitment-and-retention VCU receives grant to expand STEM female faculty recruitment and retention http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-grant-to-expand-stem-female-faculty-recruitment-and-retention http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-receives-grant-to-expand-stem-female-faculty-recruitment-and-retention#When:20:02:00Z The grant’s goal is to raise participation and advancement of women in science, technology, engineering and math careers at VCU through structural and cultural change. It will be led by Montse Fuentes, dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. “ADVANCE IT VCU will decrease structural and cultural barriers that prevent the diversification and advancement of faculty in STEM fields and it will infuse great energy into VCU, an institution already primed to achieve inclusive excellence,” Fuentes, who is also a professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research, said in a statement. “It will transform VCU in ways that will effectively and systematically diversify its faculty.” VCU exceeds national averages for female faculty in STEM studies, Fuentes says, but the university has insufficiently increased the number of diverse women faculty promotions into advanced positions. It also will consider work-life balance issues. Specifically, the project will involve strengthening VCU’s recruitment processes, while exampinin career-life integration policies and practices, improving promotion and tenure policies, procedures and practices and facilitating professional development opportunities for women. 2018-08-29T20:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-regulators-approve-bank-merger State regulators approve bank merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-regulators-approve-bank-merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-regulators-approve-bank-merger#When:21:13:00Z The merger of Fairfax-based FVCBankcorp and Rockville, Md.-based Colombo Bank has been approved by the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions and the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation. The merger, announced May 3, still must be approved by Colombo shareholders and meet other closing conditions. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond approved the deal on July 26. The banks expect to complete the merger during the fourth quarter. FVCBankcorp would acquire Colombo in a cash and stock transaction valued at about $33.3 million. The merger has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both institutions. Founded in 2007, FVCBankcorp is the parent company of FVCbank, which has $1.1 billion in assets. It has offices in Arlington, Ashburn, Fairfax, Manassas, Reston and Springfield. Colombo Bank, initially called Apicella Bank, opened in 1914 in the "Little Italy" area of Baltimore. In addition to Baltimore, it has offices in Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring in Maryland and the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. 2018-08-28T21:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Unknown-1.jpeg Need Supply Co. is opening a new headquarters in Richmond | Photo courtesy of Need Supply Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/need-supply-co.-expanding-with-new-hq Need Supply Co. expanding with new HQ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/need-supply-co.-expanding-with-new-hq http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/need-supply-co.-expanding-with-new-hq#When:20:54:00Z A high-end retailer is expanding its operations with a new headquarters in a Richmond neighborhood known for its new offices, apartments and breweries. Need Supply Co. is moving into a 20,700-square-foot office in the Handcraft Cleaners Building, which sits at the corner of Roseneath Road and West Moore Street in Scott’s Addition. Need Supply will use 13,000 square feet as office space and more than 7,000 square feet as photo studio space. “This move is imperative to support our planned growth trajectory and the dozens of new roles we will hire over the next few years,” Christopher Bossola, Need Supply’s CEO, said in a press release announcing the company’s plans Tuesday. “Our office space will triple, adding ample meeting rooms, collaborative workspaces, and lounge areas for our teams.” The new headquarters will consolidate two offices and a photo studio that Need Supply has in Richmond. The Scott’s Addition office will house Need Supply’s e-commerce, marketing, copywriting, development, operations, human resources, finance, administrative and executive staff. Need Supply will be adjacent to Vasen Brewing at 3301 W. Moore St., which was previously occupied by Evatran Group Inc. Need Supply’s flagship retail store is in Carytown, a commercial district in Richmond. In 2017, Need Supply expanded its fulfillment operations and moved into a 60,000 square foot warehouse in Sandston. The company opened in Richmond in 1996 as a seller of vintage apparel but has since expanded its offerings to include clothing and accessories for men and women and life items for homes. In 2008, Need Supply launched its e-commerce site. 2018-08-28T20:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-ceo-testifies-about-potential-impacts-of-tariffs-on-cranes Port of Virginia CEO testifies about potential impacts of tariffs on cranes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-ceo-testifies-about-potential-impacts-of-tariffs-on-cranes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-ceo-testifies-about-potential-impacts-of-tariffs-on-cranes#When:20:17:00Z Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart told the U.S. Trade Representative last week that proposed tariffs on Chinese-made cranes could potentially slow a terminal expansion project. Four ship-to-shore cranes are part of the port’s expansion project at the Virginia International Gateway marine terminal in Portsmouth. The Trump administration is currently considering additional tariffs on more than 6,000 Chinese-made products. Under the proposals, the Chinese-made cranes could be subject to a 10 or 25 percent duty. “In August of 2017, our Board of Commissioners approved spending $40.9 million to cover the cost of the cranes, parts, their delivery to Virginia from China and installation at our Virginia International Gateway terminal – well before tariffs of this nature were being contemplated,” Reinhart said in testimony before U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Reinhart pointed out the cranes do not address China’s violations of intellectual property. Instead, the cranes are low-tech. A Virginia-based company is supplying the technology drives that will control the cranes. The port is purchasing the cranes from Shanghai Zenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. It is one of only three manufacturers of this crane in the world, Reinhart said. None are based in the U.S. The cranes are scheduled for delivery in early 2019. In his testimony, Reinhart described the port’s $700 million expansion projects at Virginia International Gateway and Norfolk International Terminals. Together, the projects will increase capacity of the port by 40 percent. “Inclusion of gantry cranes on the product list subject to tariffs poses a direct threat to this major infrastructure project, which the nation can ill afford,” Reinhart said. “It is the speed to market and flow of cargo that keeps our economy, statewide and nationally, healthy and growing.” 2018-08-28T20:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/JerryGordon2016.jpg Gerald Gordon is leaving Fairfax County after a 35-year run. | Photo courtesy of Fairfax County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gerald-gordon-stepping-down-in-fairfax Gerald Gordon stepping down in Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gerald-gordon-stepping-down-in-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gerald-gordon-stepping-down-in-fairfax#When:20:07:00Z After more than three decades with Fairfax County’s economic development arm, its top leader is heading south. Gerald L. Gordon is stepping down as president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). Gordon joined Fairfax’s economic development arm in 1983 and has led it since 1987. “Without any doubt, my greatest accomplishment has been the assembly of an extraordinary team of professionals who – individually and collectively – represent the finest economic development team in America, perhaps in the world,” Gordon said in a news release announcing his plans. “We have been extremely fortunate to have been strongly supported by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the FCEDA Commission, and the business community at large.” In January, Gordon will serve as a fellow in the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities in South Carolina and teach in the college’s Master of Public Administration program. Gordon has a bachelor’s degree from The Citadel, a military college in Charleston. The FCEDA commission will lead the search for Gordon’s successor. He will still consult for organizations in Northern Virginia and serve on a local board. Gordon’s tenure in Fairfax occurred as the county saw massive growth in office space and jobs. With 117 million square feet of office space, the county today is home to one of the largest suburban office markets in the nation. It is home to 10 Fortune 500 headquarters and companies across various industries like information technology, aerospace and defense and cybersecurity. Jobs in Fairfax grew from 243,000 to more than 600,000 in Gordon’s time. The real estate tax rate has decreased from $1.47 to $1.15. Gordon oversaw the launch of several efforts touching on promoting equity and attracting investment. The FCEDA created a division for small and minority business development and a division to attract and retain foreign-owned businesses. Gordon has racked up numerous industry awards such as the International Economic Development Council’s Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award in 2015. He’s penned 13 books including most recently “Understanding Community Economic Growth and Decline: Strategies for Sustainable Development." 2018-08-27T20:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/willowtree-to-relocate-and-expand-in-albemarle-county WillowTree to relocate and expand in Albemarle County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/willowtree-to-relocate-and-expand-in-albemarle-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/willowtree-to-relocate-and-expand-in-albemarle-county#When:18:54:00Z WillowTree Inc., a mobile applications developer, will invest $12.3 million to relocate and expand its headquarters in Albemarle County. The company plans to renovate and lease 50,000 square feet in the former Woolen Mills factory. The expansion is expected to create 200 jobs, doubling the workforce at WillowTree. WillowTree was founded in 2007. Its clients include Regal Cinemas, Wyndham Hotels, BabyCenter (a Johnson & Johnson company), GE, AOL, PepsiCo and the University of Virginia. Virginia competed against North Carolina for the project. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Albemarle County and the Central Virginia Partnership to secure the project. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Albemarle County. The governor also approved $1.5 million in funds from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant. WillowTree also is eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit. Funding and services to support the company’s expansion will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2018-08-27T18:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/belle-isle-craft-spirits-renews-lease Belle Isle Craft Spirits renews lease http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/belle-isle-craft-spirits-renews-lease http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/belle-isle-craft-spirits-renews-lease#When:15:12:00Z A Richmond-based distillery has ordered another round for its current location. Belle Isle Craft Spirits has renewed its lease of 14,400 square feet at 615 Maury St. in Manchester. Isaac DeRegibus of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations. He said Belle Isle moved into the location in 2014. Vince Riggi, Brian Marks and Alex Wotring founded Belle Isle Craft Spirits in 2013. The Richmond-based company is on pace to sell about 12,500 cases of moonshine this year. 2018-08-27T15:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/jll-names-new-vice-president-in-richmond-market JLL names new vice president in Richmond market http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/jll-names-new-vice-president-in-richmond-market http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/jll-names-new-vice-president-in-richmond-market#When:14:06:00Z JLL has named a new vice president to lead its Project and Development Services team in Richmond. Stephen Jayjock has more than 12 years in the real estate and construction industries. Jayjock previously worked for Cushman & Wakefield and rand* Corp. His previous clients included LMI, PBS, OneWeb, Custom Ink, CALIBRE Systems Inc. and Facebook. Jayjock holds a bachelor of business administration from Radford University. He also is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. 2018-08-27T14:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/velocity-urgent-care-opens-health-facility-in-norfolk Velocity Urgent Care opens health facility in Norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/velocity-urgent-care-opens-health-facility-in-norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/velocity-urgent-care-opens-health-facility-in-norfolk#When:14:00:00Z Velocity Urgent Care has opened its 11th health facility in Virginia. The latest urgent care center, in the Wards Corner area of Norfolk, is the fourth that Velocity has opened this year. The new location, Velocity’s second in Norfolk, is adjacent to the Sentara Internal Medicine Physicians and Physical Therapy Center. The facilities are equipped to treat cold and flu symptoms, coughs, earaches, headaches, sprains, strains, fractures, minor cuts, scrapes and rashes. They also perform on-site x-rays and common lab tests. The company said that, in coming months, it plans to expand into Northern Virginia while continuing to add locations in Hampton Roads. Velocity Urgent Care’s other locations are in Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Carrollton, Gloucester, Newport News, South Boston and Suffolk. 2018-08-27T14:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-names-co-lead-of-ports-group Cushman & Wakefield names co-lead of ports group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-names-co-lead-of-ports-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-names-co-lead-of-ports-group#When:13:49:00Z Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm, has announced William Throne as co-lead of the company’s Ports & Intermodal Advisory Group. Throne has 23 years of experience marketing land and industrial properties with Cushman & Wakefield and Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. In his new role, he will be responsible for leading the firm’s ports practice on the East Coast. The group specializes in locating, procuring and marketing properties in deepwater and inland port markets. Throne’s co-lead Kevin Turner, based in Irvine, Calif., leads Cushman & Wakefield’s ports practice on the West Coast. The group also partners with New Harbor Consultants, an independent management consulting firm that specializes in ports, ocean and inland transport, and logistics solutions, to advise clients on real estate decisions. Throne was an officer and fighter pilot in the Navy for 10 years. After leaving the Navy in 1985, he began working with Cushman & Wakefield in California. He relocated to Virginia in 2003 and joined Cushman & Wakefield’s alliance partner, Thalhimer. Throne will remain in his position as first vice president of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer in the Virginia Beach office. 2018-08-27T13:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wells-fargo-purchases-retail-buildings-in-richmond Wells Fargo purchases retail buildings in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wells-fargo-purchases-retail-buildings-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wells-fargo-purchases-retail-buildings-in-richmond#When:13:48:00Z Wells Fargo Bank/Financial Management LLC purchased a two-building, 5,616-square-foot retail property in Richmond for $2.35 million. The properties are located at 8131 and  8137 Brook Road. Peter Vick and Harrison Hall represented the seller, EMC North Park Center LLC, in the negotiations. 2018-08-27T13:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-report-sea-level-rise-already-affecting-virginia-home-values New report: sea-level rise already affecting Virginia home values http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-report-sea-level-rise-already-affecting-virginia-home-values http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-report-sea-level-rise-already-affecting-virginia-home-values#When:20:03:00Z A new study finds Virginia has lost $280 million in total property value from 2005 through 2017 because of sea-level rise. The report analyzed home values in eight coastal states, including Virginia. It was conducted by First Street Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the impacts of sea-level rise. The foundation said coastal flooding had affected 47,035 properties in Virginia. The study found sea level rise had reduced the value of 819,526 properties by $14.1 billion in eight states. In addition to Virginia, the foundation analyzed Georgia, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey and Florida. The foundation offers a flood-risk tool, Flood iQ, which allows users to find property-specific value loss and the aggregated loss for their city.  The study was conducted by Steven A. McAlpine, head of data science at First Street Foundation, and Jeremy R. Porter, a Columbia University professor and statistical consultant to the foundation. The analysis is an expansion of their peer-reviewed study on how home values in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., market have been affected by sea level rise. They analyzed 9.2 million real estate transactions and extrapolated those results to 20 million values. Researchers isolated sea level rise by controlling for economic trends such as the 2008 recession and comparing similar properties whose main differences were home or road flooding. The foundation plans to expand the research project to all U.S. coastal states by the end of the year. 2018-08-24T20:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/employee-ownership-can-be-a-successful-alternative-to-consolidation Employee ownership can be a successful alternative to consolidation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/employee-ownership-can-be-a-successful-alternative-to-consolidation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/employee-ownership-can-be-a-successful-alternative-to-consolidation#When:17:58:00Z Virginia’s business-friendly policies are well-known. In fact, it recently ranked fourth in CNBC’s “Best States for Business” analysis. But the state has another unique claim to fame: it is home to 299 businesses structured as employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) — ranking Virginia sixth in the country. Only New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois have more ESOPs. This unusual ownership model is increasingly being leveraged to propel business growth, retain high-quality employees and operate independently within industries where consolidation is the norm. In the last few months, several local businesses have announced or completed M&A deals: Bon Secours Health System moved forward with its merger to Mercy Health; Marsh & McLennan Agency acquired Insurance Associates; Citizens National Bank merged with Old Point Financial Corp., and Verizon Communications acquired Straight Path Communications. According to Deloitte, these industries — health care, technology and financial institutions — are among the hottest for consolidation. But with the new corporate tax laws and tightening labor markets, many are considering the ESOP model to gain a competitive edge and achieve growth without consolidation. Our own firm, Graham Company, recently turned down acquisition offers to become a 100 percent employee-owned ESOP. Based on our professional and personal experience, here are some things to consider when determining if an ESOP model is right for your company: Expect an ESOP to strengthen your culture – but not fix a broken system. It’s true that giving employees full or partial ownership helps them to think like owners – and boosts their productivity, engagement, and spirits. Research studies show ESOPs typically promote a strong culture and company identity, leading employees to work harder. In our own experience, Graham colleagues feel even more pride in the company and are eager to make an impact and share their ideas. This was demonstrated recently when one of our long-time executive assistants asked how she could use her skills to help our expansion efforts. While an ESOP can enhance a company that is already strong, it is not a band-aid — and it can fail. If the company has a poor culture to begin with, it is not likely that employees will suddenly feel pride and motivation with a new ownership structure. The most successful candidates for an ESOP are typically businesses that have a strong culture, high-value employees, low turnover, expert management teams and strong cash flow. With the right culture and management, your company will grow. Numerous research studies have documented the surprising growth of ESOP businesses. A Rutgers University study found that companies grew about 2.4 percent more quickly after adopting an ESOP model than comparable businesses, and researchers out of the University of Iowa, Indiana University and Villanova University found that employee-owned businesses are about 4 percent more profitable.  Additional research by Washington State found that individual employees at an ESOP earned anywhere from 5 to 12 percent more than peers in non-ESOP companies, and held nearly three times the amount of retirement assets. Employee ownership gives you an advantage in retention and recruitment. Today’s labor market is highly competitive, and an ESOP structure is a benefit that few other companies will be able to offer your recruits. We have found it to be incredibly enticing for potential hires, especially for people who work in industries with high consolidation, such as insurance. Many individuals are hoping to build longevity in their career, and an employee ownership structure is an assurance that the company won’t be suddenly bought out next year. And once those individuals join your company and see how their ESOP statement grows, they’ll be reluctant to leave just to get a higher salary with a competitor. Their share of the company is essentially another retirement account, and it takes a lot to walk away from that. In fact, research out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business found that ESOPs contribute $14 billion in new savings annually to employees, above and beyond their income and benefits. Unsurprisingly, the study found that employees felt greater stability and satisfaction in their jobs because of this benefit. Virginia has embraced ESOPs more quickly than all but five states — which means there is already a strong community of local organizations eager to share lessons learned and successful strategies. For the right company, the transition to an ESOP model can be a competitive advantage that benefits not just the employees, but the company’s own bottom line and the satisfaction of its clients. Ian Mitchell oversees the Washington, D.C., metro area as a producer at Graham Company, one of the country’s largest insurance brokers. Karen Boyle serves as the vice president of human resources at Graham Company. 2018-08-24T17:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hilton-names-executive-vice-president Hilton names executive vice president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hilton-names-executive-vice-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hilton-names-executive-vice-president#When:15:10:00Z Danny Hughes has been named executive vice president and president, Americas at McLean-based Hilton. Hughes will oversee Hilton’s interests in North, Central and South America with a focus on enhancing the managed portfolio. Since 2014, Hughes has led Hilton’s Revenue Management and Sales team as senior vice president and commercial director in the Americas. Hughes previously served as senior vice president, Latin America and Caribbean. He will be based at the company’s global headquarters in McLean. Hilton has  a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,400 properties with nearly 880,000 rooms, in 106 countries and territories. 2018-08-24T15:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-under-development-in-stephens-city Community under development in Stephens City http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-under-development-in-stephens-city http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-under-development-in-stephens-city#When:15:06:00Z Richmond American Homes of Virginia Inc., a subsidiary of M.D.C. Holdings Inc., is developing Southern Hills, a new community in Frederick County. The company scheduled a grand opening for prospective homebuyers and area agents on Aug. 25. Southern Hills is located off Interstate 81 at 553 Town Run Lane in Stephens City. The community will feature ranch and two-story homes in the upper $200,000 price range. Homes with three-to six- bedrooms will range from 1,610 to 2,930 square feet. M.D.C.’s homebuilding subsidiaries have built more than 195,000 homes since 1977. The subsidiaries have operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington. 2018-08-24T15:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wegmans-begins-hiring-full-time-employees-for-virginia-beach-store Wegmans begins hiring full-time employees for Virginia Beach store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wegmans-begins-hiring-full-time-employees-for-virginia-beach-store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wegmans-begins-hiring-full-time-employees-for-virginia-beach-store#When:14:21:00Z Wegmans Food Markets has begun hiring and training full-time employees for its Virginia Beach store, which is scheduled to open next spring. The 113,000-square-foot supermarket will be located near the intersection of Virginia Beach and Independence boulevards. The store will employ about 500 people, 185 of whom will fill full-time positions. The company said a majority of store employees will be hired locally. The full-time positions range from entry-level management jobs to customer service positions and culinary roles such as chefs and line cooks. Hiring for part-time positions will begin at a later date. The Virginia Beach store is one of three Wegmans stores scheduled to open next year. The other two are in Raleigh, N.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company said the Virginia Beach store will be its furthest south in a supermarket chain that currently includes 97 stores. Wegmans, which is family owned, employs 48,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. 2018-08-24T14:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/snag-appoints-coo Snag appoints COO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/snag-appoints-coo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/snag-appoints-coo#When:08:35:00Z Arlington County-based Snag announced Thursday it had promoted John Frederick to chief operating officer. Ferderick joined Snag in January as chief administrative officer. Frederick previously served in administrative roles at Synchronoss Technologies, Avid Technology and Open Solutions. He is a member of the board of directors for SenSanna and Maryvale Prepatory School. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland and is a CPA. Snag is a technology platform for hourly workers, connecting 60 million job seekers with employment opportunities at 300,000 employer locations in the U.S. and Canada. 2018-08-24T08:35:00+00:00