1508217448 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en rpowell@va-business.com Copyright 2017 2017-10-16T21:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_running_guy_V3_WLogo.png Photo courtesy Vibrent Health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study Vibrent provides technology for national health study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study#When:13:58:00Z A fast-growing Fairfax County company’s technology is at the heart of an ambitious nationwide health study to collect and analyze data from 1 million people. Vibrent Health won a $74 million, five-year contract in 2016 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has received an additional $5 million in funding for the program since. The goal of NIH’s All of Us Research Program is to accelerate research and to improve health outcomes by creating a first-of-its-kind database. It would take into account differences in lifestyle, environment and biology of Americans across the country. Vibrent will supply data collection methods, such as wearable devices and web-based platforms, and the ability to analyze the data. Volunteers will have access to their own information. So while the program won’t provide medical advice, it may, for example, help a participant identify diet triggers for migraines. “Our job is to convert their data into insight using machine learning and algorithmic approaches,” says CEO Praduman Jain. Providing useful data may persuade volunteers to submit even more data, he adds. Jain started Vibrent Health in 2009 after holding executive roles at Sprint Nextel, AOL, Time Warner and VTech. He saw a need to develop a consumer-centered platform to collect and interpret health data.  The company received $6.5 million in grants from the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop its platform and started to work with several clients. When NIH was looking for a platform for its personalized medicine program, Vibrent Health applied for its first federal contract, beating out several major research institutions. “We applied against all odds, which were heavily against us,” says Jain. Since then, the company has won contracts with the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute to provide readiness information for active-duty military personnel and care management for cancer survivors, respectively. Vibrent, which employs about 65 people, expects to have a total of 100 by the end of the year. It also plans to expand into a larger headquarters of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. Vibrent seeks IT workers skilled in areas such as machine learning, data sciences, analytics, product management and user interface design. “I can’t hire fast enough,” Jain says. 2017-09-06T13:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia Inc. 500 companies located in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia#When:09:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0202; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Company City 3-yr. growth rate Revenue1 Industry 10 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 12,621% $25.8 Government services 49 Interactive Government Holdings Springfield 5,058 7.1 Government services 55 ByteCubed Arlington 4,768 11.6 IT services 56 Excel Group Arlington 4,694 34.4 Real estate 70 Talteam Herndon 4,053 5.0 IT services 77 Ecology Mir Group Manassas 3,856 3.9 Government services 100 Inoventures McLean 3,255 3.9 Government services 128 Mosquito Joe Virginia Beach 2,700 8.1 Consumer products & services 200 LLB Enterprises Stafford 1,900 2.0 Business products & services 205 Health Warrior Richmond 1,887 9.8 Food & beverage 212 Darkblade Systems Stafford 1,848 4.0 Government services 215 Preting Consulting Alexandria 1,827 5.2 Government services 222 Pro-Sphere Tek Alexandria 1,795 45.7 IT services 223 AegisCorp. Chantilly 1,794 4.2 Government services 247 Tenica and Associates Alexandria 1,591 9.1 Government services 254 Hosted Records Springfield 1,557 3.3 Government services 280 American Pillowcase Richmond 1,400 6.5 Retail 295 Potomac River Holdings Alexandria 1,337 16.6 Retail 308 GuidePoint Security Herndon 1,276 111.1 Security 312 Axis Global Enterprises Virginia Beach 1,237 6.1 Construction 324 SSi Virginia Beach 1,194 12.0 Human resources 326 Oasys McLean 1,182 5.0 Government services 348 Davis Defense Group Stafford 1,102 30.9 Government services 369 Trigent Solutions Chantilly 1,046 6.1 IT services 392 Open Systems Technologies Gainesville 976 5.4 IT services 394 Perfecta Federal Springfield 972 5.9 Government services 405 Favor TechConsulting Vienna 949 19.2 IT services 408 Avertra Herndon 944 8.7 IT services 451 Sequoia Holdings Reston 847 5.6 Government services 462 The Hilb Group Richmond 820 36.8 Insurance 477 SeKON Enterprise Herndon 798 23.9 Government services 479 Cynet Systems Ashburn 797 31.4 IT Services 480 Wholesale Screening Solutions Purcellville 795 32.4 Business products & services 486 Metronome Fairfax 779 9.8 Government services 1 In millions in 2015 Source: Inc. magazine   2017-02-28T09:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-seeks-bids-for-renewable-energy-projects Dominion seeks bids for renewable energy projects. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-seeks-bids-for-renewable-energy-projects http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-seeks-bids-for-renewable-energy-projects#When:21:16:00Z Richmond-based Dominion Energy Virginia is looking for bids for about 300 megawatts of renewal energy generation. The company has issued a request for proposals (RFP) and is soliciting bids for new solar and onshore wind facilities ranging from 10 to 150 megawatts in size. The facilities must be in Virginia and connected to Dominion’s system. The RFP follows the recent announcement of Facebook’s plans to use renewable energy to power a $750 million, 970,000-square-foot data center tol be built in Henrico County. As part of the deal, Dominion and Facebook designed a renewable energy tariff called Schedule RF, which will be paid by Facebook and other large companies. The tariff, which must be approved by the State Corporation Commission, would be used to create $250 million in new Dominion solar energy facilities. The proposals sought in Dominion’s RFP can be for power purchase agreements, the purchase of development projects or a combination of both. The RFP outlines the proposal requirements and power and asset purchase agreement terms. Notices of intent to bid and confidentiality agreements are due by Oct. 27, with final proposals due on Dec. 1. Bidders seeking more information on the bidding process can visit: http://www.dominionenergy.com/2017solarwindrfp. 2017-10-16T21:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/5391_Virginia_Regional_Drive_Suffolk_copy.jpg 5391 Virginia Regional Drive, Suffolk. Photo courtesy Harvey Lindsey Commercial Real Estate http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welspun-leases-200800-square-feet-of-industrial-space-in-suffolk Welspun leases 200,800 square feet of industrial space in Suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welspun-leases-200800-square-feet-of-industrial-space-in-suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welspun-leases-200800-square-feet-of-industrial-space-in-suffolk#When:15:39:00Z   Welspun USA Inc. has leased 200,800 square feet of industrial space at Virginia Regional Commerce Park at 5391 Virginia Regional Drive in Suffolk.  According to Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, Welspun Group, based out of India, is a player in the pipes, plates, coils and home textiles sector. Harvey Lindsey’s Charles Dickinson represented Welspun USA in this transaction and CBRE| Hampton Roads represented the landlord. At the Suffolk facility, Welspun will manage distribution of linens and towels for its U.S. retail and hospitality customers, taking advantage of nearby Port of Virginia resources. 2017-10-16T15:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DAA_sign_preview.jpg 8090 Villa Park Drive, Henrico County. Photo courtesy Draper Aden Associates http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/draper-aden-associates-moves-headquarters-from-blacksburg-to-richmond Draper Aden Associates moves headquarters from Blacksburg to Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/draper-aden-associates-moves-headquarters-from-blacksburg-to-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/draper-aden-associates-moves-headquarters-from-blacksburg-to-richmond#When:15:26:00Z Draper Aden Associates (DAA), an engineering, surveying, and environmental services firm, has moved its headquarters office from Blacksburg to Richmond. The move gives the company a more central location as it celebrates its 45th anniversary and positions itself for future growth.  Anniversary events and philanthropic activities are planned through June 2018. Founded by Joe Draper and Bill Aden, two Virginia Tech alumni, DAA began with six employees and a small office in Blacksburg in 1972. The firm has grown to include more than 250 employees in nine offices in Virginia and North Carolina.  The Blacksburg office will remain open, but 150 of the company’s employees, including most of its executive staff, will work from the Richmond area office at 8090 Villa Park Drive in Henrico County. “Everyone at Draper Aden Associates is excited to celebrate this impressive milestone,” Jeff Lighthiser, CEO and president of DAA, said in a statement. DAA is a multidisciplinary firm that offers site development and infrastructure design, surveying and scanning, civil engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental services and subsurface utility engineering. The firm serves clients in higher education, municipal, energy, utilities, private development, healthcare, and contractors. DAA has worked on many projects with universities across the mid-Atlantic, at schools including Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, William & Mary, VCU and the University of Richmond.   The firm has experienced significant growth in the past five years, adding more than 75 team members and increasing revenue by more than 125 percent since 2012. During that time, DAA opened five new offices in Northern Virginia, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Virginia Beach. That growth spurred the firm to move its headquarters from Blacksburg to its Richmond region office, located in Henrico County. 2017-10-16T15:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/25-unit-apartment-property-in-newport-news-sells-for-4.8-million 25-unit apartment property in Newport News sells for $4.8 million. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/25-unit-apartment-property-in-newport-news-sells-for-4.8-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/25-unit-apartment-property-in-newport-news-sells-for-4.8-million#When:14:31:00Z Marcus & Millichap reports the sale of a 250-unit apartment property in Newport News for $4.8 million.  According to the firm, the asset on 41st street sold to a private-equity firm. “Soundview offers the buyer a repositioning opportunity with tremendous upside, as well as a stable tenant base of military and shipyard employees,” Altay Uzun, a Hampton Roads Marcus & Millichap investment specialist, said in a statement. Soundview is located close to several of Newport News’ top employment drivers including the Riverside Health System, Huntington Ingalls Industries and Canon Virginia. Uzun and Christopher Chadwick, first vice president investments in Marcus & Millichap's D.C., office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a private investor. “Our client utilized 4 percent low income housing tax credits issued by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) in financing the transaction,” Chadwick said in a statement. 2017-10-16T14:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iron-mountain-information-management-renews-52412-foot-lease Iron Mountain Information Management renews 52,412-foot lease http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iron-mountain-information-management-renews-52412-foot-lease http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iron-mountain-information-management-renews-52412-foot-lease#When:14:04:00Z Iron Mountain Information Management Inc. has renewed its lease of 52,412 square feet at 3530 Business Center Drive in Chesapeake. Christine M. Kaempfe of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations. In other transactions for Thalhimer in Hampton Roads: 1-800-Pack-Rat LLC renewed a 27,722-square-foot lease at 3524 Business Center Drive in  Chesapeake. Kaempfe and Patrick Mumey handled the lease negotiations. Ram Tool & Supply Co. Inc. leased 25,160 square feet at 700 Boundary St. in Chesapeake. Geoff Poston handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. Power Utility Products renewed a 15,000-square-foot lease at 1416 Ballentine Blvd. in Norfolk. Samuel W. Scott, Jr. handled the lease negotiations. 2017-10-16T14:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kappa-farms-opening-new-facility-in-loudoun-county Kappa Farms opening new facility in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kappa-farms-opening-new-facility-in-loudoun-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kappa-farms-opening-new-facility-in-loudoun-county#When:20:58:00Z Sterling-based Kappa Farms announced an $865,000 expansion on Friday that’s expected to create 21 jobs. The company will build an aquaponics facility, which will produce organic lettuces and arugula using water and nutrients derived from fish waste. Kappa Farms plans to produce more than $7 million Virginia-grown lettuces during the next three years, which it will then sell to customers in the Washington, D.C., area.   “We’re very privileged to have been born and raised in Virginia, and we’re very happy to be able to help bring this new industry to Virginia, in no small part thanks to Governor McAuliffe and Loudoun County,” Kappa Farms’ co-founder, Schuyler Milton, said in a statement.  According to Kappa Farms’ website, the company was founded in 2014.  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Loudoun County and Chrysalis Vineyards to secure this project for Virginia. McAuliffe approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Loudoun is matching with local funds. 2017-10-13T20:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bonobos-to-open-its-first-virginia-store-at-tysons-galleria Bonobos to open its first Virginia store at Tysons Galleria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bonobos-to-open-its-first-virginia-store-at-tysons-galleria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bonobos-to-open-its-first-virginia-store-at-tysons-galleria#When:19:51:00Z Bonobos, an e-commerce menswear retailer, plans to open its first store in Virginia. The 900-square-foot Bonobos Guideshop will open Oct. 19 at Tysons Galleria in McLean. Begun by Bonobos in 2011, the upscale Guideshop retail model involves providing customers with one-on-one service. Customers are assigned a “guide” upon arrival. Similar to personal shoppers, guides are trained in fit and style to assist customers with a wide range of merchandise, including suits, pants, shirts, jeans and activewear. Purchases are shipped free-of-charge directly to the customer. Tysons Galleria location is the brand’s 45th store nationwide. While the company has other stores in the Washington, D.C., area, this will be its first in Virginia. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought Bonobos for $310 million in June. The New York Times described the move as part of an effort by the giant discount retailer to revamp its business model to better compete with Amazon. Bonobos began 10 years ago in New York selling chino pants online. 2017-10-13T19:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hii-ceo-named-to-board-of-national-manufacturers-association HII CEO named to board of national manufacturers association http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hii-ceo-named-to-board-of-national-manufacturers-association http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/hii-ceo-named-to-board-of-national-manufacturers-association#When:19:51:00Z Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. CEO and President Mike Petters has been named to the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. The association has more than 14,000 members. The association says it is the largest industrial association in the U.S. The organization advocates on federal policy discussion for manufacturers. 2017-10-13T19:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/team-led-by-bwx-subsidiary-receives-4.7-billion-doe-contract Team led by BWX subsidiary receives $4.7 billion DOE contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/team-led-by-bwx-subsidiary-receives-4.7-billion-doe-contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/team-led-by-bwx-subsidiary-receives-4.7-billion-doe-contract#When:19:50:00Z A team led by a subsidiary of Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. has been awarded an approximately $4.7 billion contract to provide liquid waste services at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Savannah River Site. Savannah River EcoManagement, LLC (SRE) includes BWXT Technical Services Group Inc., Bechtel National Inc. and Honeywell International Inc.   The liquid waste services include but are not limited to: operations of existing radioactive liquid waste facilities for storage, treatment, stabilization, and disposal of waste; waste removal from tanks and tank closures; construction of additional saltstone disposal units; operation of the Salt Waste Processing Facility after facility commissioning, startup, and one year of operation; and liquid waste program and regulatory support. The period of performance includes a base period of seven years (including a transition period of 90 days) and an option period of three years. The mission of the DOE Environmental Management program involves environmental cleanup from five decades of nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. 2017-10-13T19:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lakewood-to-begin-64-million-expansion-in-henrico-county Lakewood to begin $64 million expansion in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lakewood-to-begin-64-million-expansion-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lakewood-to-begin-64-million-expansion-in-henrico-county#When:20:30:00Z Lakewood, a nonprofit continuing-care community in Henrico County, plans to begin construction next week on a $64 million expansion. Groundbreaking for the expansion on Oct. 19 will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the community, which is owned by LifeSpire of Virginia Inc. The project includes the four-story Lakeview Clubhouse and two additional buildings in the community’s Woodside Hybrid Homes. The upper floors of the clubhouse will include 44 apartments. The first floor of the building will house a fitness center, restaurant, lounge and auditorium. The facility also will have a heated indoor pool, spa, convenience store, coffee shop, beauty salon and barber shop, library, card and billiards room, art studio and woodworking shop. The new Woodside Hybrid Homes buildings will include individual garages and private outdoor spaces such as covered patios or balconies. Each building will also have a large commons area. THW Design is the architect of the project, and W.M. Jordan is the general contractor for the project. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020. 2017-10-12T20:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/intermarkets-moves-into-new-offices-in-reston-town-center Intermarkets moves into new offices in Reston Town Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/intermarkets-moves-into-new-offices-in-reston-town-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/intermarkets-moves-into-new-offices-in-reston-town-center#When:20:28:00Z Intermarkets, a Reston-based digital-media company, has moved into new corporate offices. More than 45 employees now are housed in the 11th floor of One Freedom Square in the Reston Town Center. The company’s portfolio of websites includes The Drudge Report, The Political Insider and TellMeNow. Intermarkets said the sites attract more than 30 million unique viewers per month, driving more than 1 billion page views. "One Freedom Square gave Intermarkets the space to design an office environment that aligns with our company culture and values, and affords us the space to accommodate future team members," Michael Loy, the company’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. Lease negotiations for Intermarkets were handled by Andy Klaff, executive managing director for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. The new headquarters was designed by local firm DCS Design. Founded in 1997, Intermarkets has been listed on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies eight times. The company ranked No. 4326 this year, with 2016 revenue of $33.9 million, according to Inc. Its three-year revenue growth rate was 60 percent. 2017-10-12T20:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/cache-11572-0x0.jpg VCU School of Business Dean Ed Grier (left forefront) and CoStar Group CEO Andrew C. Florance. Photo courtesy VCU . http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/costar-group-ceo-says-richmond-has-a-shot-at-landing-amazon-hq2 CoStar Group CEO says Richmond has a shot at landing Amazon HQ2 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/costar-group-ceo-says-richmond-has-a-shot-at-landing-amazon-hq2 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/costar-group-ceo-says-richmond-has-a-shot-at-landing-amazon-hq2#When:19:31:00Z If the Richmond region was looking for a cheerleader in its bid to land the massive Amazon second headquarters project, it couldn’t have found a more enthusiastic supporter than Andrew C. Florance, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based CoStar Group Inc. A year after he sat in the audience as a guest at VCU’s real estate conference in Richmond, Florance was on stage at the same conference Thursday as the keynote speaker. His company is an industry leader in commercial real estate data analytics. After giving a mostly positive overview of the commercial real estate market, Florance said CoStar’s decision to move its global research operation to a second-tier city like Richmond could be informative for other technology companies looking to make a major move, such as Amazon. “Richmond absolutely has a shot,” Florance said of the city’s chances at winning the planned 8 million-square-foot complex that would eventually employ 50,000 people.  “The deck is stacked in your favor,” he told an audience of about 1,400 people gathered at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. “You have amazing assets to offer a company: the quality of life, the education, the lack of traffic congestion, low electricity rates,” he said. Florance described Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, as a friend from college, where he said the two were physical lab partners. They also own homes in the same Kalorma neighborhood in Washington, he added, where Bezos owns the Washington Post. Amazon also has several data centers in the Northern Virginia area. “Ironically, my sister is in economic development from Canada, and she’s trying to get them to come to Canada,” Florance said, of Amazon’s public call for cities in North America to submit proposals for the headquarters project by Oct. 19.   After looking at 40 cities last year as possible sites for its research center, Florance said his company narrowed the field to five locations: Richmond, Atlanta, Charlotte, Kansas City, and Washington. However, the firm ultimately decided that it didn’t make sense to expand close to its D.C. location, four blocks from the White House, where commercial real estate rents are prohibitive. Richmond compared favorably to D.C. on several fronts. “In Richmond, you have great schools and a short commute. In Washington, you have twice the commute, you are three times more likely to be murdered, and your house would be a third of the size [that one could get in Richmond]” he said.  “In Washington, if you leave at the wrong time of the day, your commute doubles. In Richmond, if you leave at the wrong time, you extend your commute by six minutes. That adds up to 320 hours of commuting time or three years of your life. That’s the difference you can spend with friends or family or look at red-tail lights. That’s the appeal of the city of Richmond. The quality of life, the workforce.  It’s very compelling.” In weighing the other locations, Florance said CoStar’s biggest concern about Richmond – and one that Amazon would probably share -- was the size of its workforce, about 697,000. That was the smallest workforce of all sites under consideration.                              However, access to Virginia’s college and university graduates has provided CoStar with 70 percent of the 612-member workforce it has hired during its 11 months of operation in downtown Richmond. Eventually, the company plans to hire about 1,000 people. “The staff in Richmond is doing about 60 percent of the research,” for the company’s commercial real estate products, Florance said. Founded in 1987, CoStar has grown by acquiring other companies, such as Apartments.com. The company has massive amounts of content on 5.3 million properties, or about 118 billion square feet, including building comps and digital photographs. One hundred seventy of its recent hires, or nearly a third of its Richmond workforce, have come from VCU, with many of them graduates from the School of Business’ Kornblau Real Estate Program.  “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the quality of the people and the impact it’s had on our company,” Florance said. In fact, Florance said CoStar wanted to give back to the community and ended his remarks by announcing that the company would make a $2.5 million gift to VCU’s School of Business to establish the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics.  “We are thrilled and excited to receive such a generous gift from CoStar,” Ed Grier, dean of VCU’s School of Business, said in a statement.  “The VCU School of Business and CoStar are natural partners with our common focus on creativity, analytics and innovation. We couldn’t have a better partner for our university and community.” It seemed appropriate that the announcement came during the real estate conference since that’s where Grier and Florance met back in 2016. “In establishing the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics, we aim to bring the intersection of big data and real estate together to bring more transparency, velocity and efficiency to the global commercial real estate market,” said Florance. “Dr. David Downs, Alfred L. Blake Endowed Chair of Real Estate and director of the Kornblau Institute, and his team have done a tremendous job in taking a leadership role in developing the next generation of real estate professionals, and we want to provide VCU with the resources necessary to support and grow that effort.” 2017-10-12T19:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seasonings-and-stock-manufacturer-ariake-will-expand-harrisonburg-operation Seasonings and stock manufacturer Ariake will expand Harrisonburg operations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seasonings-and-stock-manufacturer-ariake-will-expand-harrisonburg-operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seasonings-and-stock-manufacturer-ariake-will-expand-harrisonburg-operation#When:09:11:00Z Ariake USA Inc., a manufacturer of stocks, bases and seasonings for the food industry, will invest $17 million to expand its manufacturing operation by 20,000 square feet. The project is expected to create 22 jobs. Virginia successfully competed against Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for the project.   Ariake’s products include bouillon, consommé, sauce bases, noodle soups and snack seasonings. Ariake’s global network includes eight facilities located in Belgium, China, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the U.S. The company is headquartered in Harrisonburg, where it opened its production facility in 1990. The company owns a 34-acre campus in Harrisonburg and has expanded its facility several times over the past 27 years. The company currently has 90 employees in the city. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $75,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. “Ariake U.S.A. values our established relationships in the vibrant Harrisonburg area business community including the proximity to raw materials from the local poultry plants. We wish to recognize our dedicated, hard-working employees who have contributed so much to the success and growth of the company,” Atsushi Moribayashi, Ariake’s director of production, said in a statement. 2017-10-12T09:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/about-us About us http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/about-us http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/about-us#When:19:59:00Z Virginia Business is the only publication dedicated to covering economic activity in every sector and every region of the state. Since its creation in 1986, the magazine has attracted loyal readers and established a reputation as a “must read” for anybody who wants to stay abreast of economic events in the commonwealth. The publication has received 17 national journalism awards since 2010. 2017-10-11T19:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edelman-financial-services-expands-headquarters-at-tysons Edelman Financial Services expands headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edelman-financial-services-expands-headquarters-at-tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edelman-financial-services-expands-headquarters-at-tysons#When:19:56:00Z Edelman Financial Services has renewed and expanded its headquarters space in Fairfax. According to JLL, the firm will now occupy 74,000 square feet at Centerpointe II at 4000 Legato Road. The financial services and investment planning firm was founded in Fairfax County by Ric Edelman and his wife, Jean.  “JLL is proud to have represented Edelman for nearly 20 years and is pleased to have played a small role in the company’s growth by providing real estate services for national expansion,” Harry Klaff, managing director, JLL, said in a statement.  “It was very important for them to achieve efficiency and expansion without disrupting operations at headquarters. Carr Properties was able to accommodate the company’s needs within Centerpointe, committing to current and future growth as well as significant upgrades …” Centerpointe II, owned in a joint venture between Carr Properties and New York Life, is undergoing renovations. They include a new lobby and common areas, a renovated fitness center and upgraded parking areas. Klaff and JLL’s Chuck Straw represented Edelman Financial Services  in the transaction. 2017-10-11T19:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/amazonSMALLPIC.jpg Amazon's headquarters campus in Seattle, Wash. Photo courtesy of Amazon. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-bid-for-amazons-second-headquarters Virginia’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-bid-for-amazons-second-headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-bid-for-amazons-second-headquarters#When:16:36:00Z This story was updated* Is Richmond’s large millennial population, lack of traffic congestion and affordable cost of living enough to attract Amazon’s second $5 billion headquarters? What about Northern Virginia with its public transit and plan to offer the world’s largest online retailer a 26-acre, state-owned site close to an international airport? Virginia Beach, viewed as the dark horse in Virginia’s quest to nab the massive project, says its access to transoceanic cables and fast internet speeds will make its bid stand out. With Seattle-based Amazon planning a second, 8 million-square-foot headquarters that would employ 50,000 people in jobs paying $100,000 a year, cities across North America are competing in a frenzied corporate Olympics to land the deal. Amazon announced on Sept. 7 that it would accept bids in response to a request for proposal that included a site-specific list of criteria. The list includes access to mass transit, a tech-savvy workforce and a location close to a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people. The site also would need to be within 30 miles of a city center and 45 minutes from an international airport. The deadline for submitting bids is Oct 19, with a decision expected sometime next year. Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Alexandria, and Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Northern Virginia are all expected to throw their hats in the ring along with the Richmond region and Virginia Beach.  These areas have been working on recruiting packages with help from multiple third-party consulting firms retained by the state’s Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). One of the consultants is McKinsey & Co., a well-known global consulting firm. “This strategic planning work will support a variety of current and future corporate headquarters recruitment projects,” says Stephen Moret, VEDP’s president and CEO.  Other than saying that Virginia has a “keen interest” in the Amazon HQ2 opportunity, Moret refuses to comment on specific packages from Virginia localities. While each locality hopes to win the billions of dollars in new investment and tax revenues that would come with recruiting the world's largest online retailer,  individual jurisdictions are banding together to compete as regions to showcase their most attractive amenities.  For instance, several news organizations in Northern Virginia reported that members of the Fairfax and Loudoun boards of supervisors will propose the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a 26-acre, state-owned site adjacent to Washington International Dulles International Airport as a possible site for Amazon.  While NoVa economic development officials refused to comment on specifics, the CIT site – valued at around $30 million – would be offered to Amazon along with two privately owned parcels and subsidies from both counties, according to a story in The Washington Post.  (Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns the newspaper.) Other sites that have been mentioned include locations in Crystal City and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, which recently landed Nestle's U.S. headquarters. Some commercial real estate officials think NoVa has the best chance in Virginia at winning the Amazon project because it meets more of the criteria. “Landing Amazon would be a game changer for Fairfax County,” Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement. “The county is going to adhere closely to the requirements laid out by Amazon in the response to their request for proposals and will put what we believe to be the best site forward based on Amazon’s strict criteria. “ Yet there are naysayers. Dan Clemente, chairman and CEO of Clemente Development Corp. in McLean, isn’t convinced that Amazon HQ2 would really be an attractive deal. “It all sounds good, but it’s not a good deal. It’s a great deal for Bezos,” who’s in the hunt for major economic incentives and tax breaks, Clemente says. Shortly after Amazon’s September call for proposals, Clemente says he was contacted about a prime 7.4-acre site his company has under contract to purchase in Tysons. The land is adjacent to the Spring Hill Metro station. Clemente’s company has submitted plans to build a 48-story building that would be the tallest tower on the East Coast. It would be part of a 2.8 million-square-foot mixed-use project. “We were approached to use our site at Tysons for the project. We could add ground and easily accommodate 50,000 jobs, but it’s not financially feasible in terms of the incentives that Amazon would want,” which Clemente says are in the neighborhood of $2 billion. “I said I was not interested in chasing that,” he says. Clemente, a member of the VEDP board of directors, isn’t afraid to weigh in with his opinion of Virginia’s chances in winning Amazon.  “It will never happen in Virginia,” he says. “We have a very conservative General Assembly.  Amazon wants billions of dollars in tax relief. Do you see that happening in Virginia?” Another concern, he says, is that some communities would be hard pressed to provide services, such as schools and affordable housing, for an influx of 50,000 new workers. Such concerns don’t seem to be dampening the mood in the Richmond area, which is fresh off a major economic development victory. Facebook announced in October that it would invest $750 million in a 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. The project is expected to create thousands of construction jobs and more than 100 full-time operational jobs once the center is operational. Barry Matherly, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, says Facebook’s project is a “stamp of approval” for the region when it comes to innovative technology firms and will boost Richmond’s profile in the quest to win Amazon’s second headquarters.  “Anytime you bring in top-tier innovation companies that builds the brand of the region,” he says. “Facebook clearly ups our profile, there’s no question about that,” adds Gary McLaren, executive director of Henrico’s Economic Development Authority. White Oak has sites with good fiber, water and dual-feed electricity, meaning power that supplies the park from two major lines. “That’s what attracted Facebook and perhaps could attract Amazon and others,” says McLaren. According to McLaren, the Richmond region will submit “a regional bid with more than one site, but I don’t know what that ends up looking like.” He would not comment on specific sites.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispach, the Richmond region plans to propose three sites: Tree Hill Farm, a 500-acre historic farm along Route 5 in Henrico County; a 60-acre, city-owned site on North Boulevard in Richmond that includes The Diamond baseball stadium  and an 160-acre undeveloped site in Chesterfield County that borders the Powhite Parkway and Chippehanm Parkway. It was considered years ago as the location for the Stony Point Fashion Mall. That project ended up at another close-in city spot,  off Chippenham Parkway.   Richmond is viewed as a second-tier city in comparison to a major metropolitan area such as Washington, D.C.  Nonetheless, McLaren says that difference could work in the Richmond area’s favor. “We’re an easy place to attract employees because of our education, K-12 as well as higher education, as well as ouir cost of living. We don’t have the congestion of larger metro areas. We’ve got a lot going for us,” McLaren says. Asked about the lack of a mass transit system, McLaren responded, “ As long as you can move people, do you really need mass transit?  If you get a major headquarters in the right location, I think we could make it work.”   Andrew Florance, the CEO of CoStar Group, is a big fan of Richmond. His Washington, D.C.-based real estate data analytics firm selected downtown Richmond last year for a new research operation. Florance says the company has been able to recruit the workforce it needs to fill more than 600 positions, with local colleges and universities providing a pipeline of millennial talent. Florance also notes the area has a good road network, attractive electricity rates and office rents that are much cheaper than what the company pays in Washington As for Amazon’s second headquarters, he thinks the Richmond region could provide the workforce to fill the 50,000 jobs, which would develop over a series of years. Yet the area would need to beef up its housing stock. “There’s not enough housing in Richmond,” he says. “If you have a large influx, it would drive rents up and housing prices up, but that’s okay. … That would be a real opportunity [to build more homes and apartments.] That would be healthy for the local economy.” 2017-10-11T16:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delta-dental-of-virginia-names-new-president Delta Dental of Virginia names new president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delta-dental-of-virginia-names-new-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delta-dental-of-virginia-names-new-president#When:23:43:00Z Frank Lucia has been named president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Virginia. The appointment is effective Nov. 13. Lucia succeeds George A. Levicki, who is retiring after 36 years. Lucia was president and CEO of Dean Health Plan in Madison, Wisc. Before joining Dean Health Plan, he worked for Price Waterhouse, WR Grace Inc. and CIGNA Corp., including Cigna Dental.  Lucia earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Binghamton University and his master’s degree of business administration from the University of Miami. Delta Dental of Virginia is a member company of the Delta Dental Plans Association, which provides dental coverage to more than 75 million people in more than 139,000 groups across the U.S.   2017-10-10T23:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-cargo-up-9-percent-in-september Port of Virginia cargo up 9 percent in September http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-cargo-up-9-percent-in-september http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-cargo-up-9-percent-in-september#When:19:28:00Z The Port of Virginia moved about 8 percent more cargo in September than it did the previous September. The port moved 237,816 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the month. For the calendar year, total TEU volumes are up 7.5 percent, rail up 4 percent, trucks up 9.4 percent and barge traffic up 26.5 percent. “Our gate volume was up nearly 15 percent, barge volume to Richmond Marine Terminal was up more than 12 percent and automobiles moving across the Newport News Marine Terminal increased more than 28 percent, on a year-over-year basis,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority said in a statement. September cargo snapshot: Loaded export TEUs – 76,794, down 6.2 percent Loaded import TEUs – 109,716, up 9.5 percent Containers – 135,042, up 9.1 percent Virginia Inland Port containers – 3,243, down 5.4 percent Truck containers – 84,520, up 15 percent Rail containers – 46,523, down 1.4 percent Total barge containers – 3,999, up 30 percent Richmond barge containers – 1,705, up 12 percent Vehicle units – 1,932, up 28.5 percent 2017-10-10T19:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/elephant-insurance-increasing-wages Elephant Insurance increasing wages http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/elephant-insurance-increasing-wages http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/elephant-insurance-increasing-wages#When:20:50:00Z Glen Allen-based Elephant Insurance is increasing wages for new hires to a minimum of $15 per hour. The changes went into effect Oct. 8. More than 300 staff members at its Henrico County and Dallas offices also are receiving salary increases this month. These changes are affecting many positions at Elephant, including entry-level and call center jobs. The move is costing the company between $1 million and $1.5 million a year. “We think increasing wages is an important action to reward our hard-working staff who take great care of our customers,” Elephant CEO, Henry Engelhardt, said in a statement. “We have big ambitions for Elephant, which we’re confident we can achieve through the dedication of our team.” Elephant provides auto, home, motorcycle and life insurance to customers nationally. The company is a subsidiary of Admiral Group plc, an insurance company in the United Kingdom. Admiral employs more than 7,000 people and has more than 3.7 million customers around the world. 2017-10-09T20:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/statewide-real-estate-association-elects-jay-mitchell-as-2018-president Statewide real estate association elects Jay Mitchell as 2018 president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/statewide-real-estate-association-elects-jay-mitchell-as-2018-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/statewide-real-estate-association-elects-jay-mitchell-as-2018-president#When:15:34:00Z Jay Mitchell, managing broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty of Virginia Beach, has been elected as the 2018 president of the Virginia Realtors. Mitchell will succeed Claire Forcier-Rowe as the elected leader of what is the largest trade association in the state of Virginia with more than 33,000 members. He will assume his new post in November. Since beginning his real estate career in 2004, Mitchel has been active with the Realtor community. He led the National Association of Realtors federal political coordinator (FPC) team for U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in 2016, and served as the Virginia Realtors FPC for former U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye. In addition, Mitchell is on the FPC team for U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott. Mitchell also has chaired the organization’s Strategic Planning Committee, Public Policy Committee, and Legislative Bill Review Committee. He has served on the Virginia Realtors board of directors since 2013. In 2016, Mitchell was selected as Broker/Manager of the Year by the Hampton Roads Realtors Association. Currently, he is a licensed real estate broker in Virginia, North Carolina, and Nebraska. 2017-10-09T15:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-jersey-company-assumes-management-of-two-independent-living-communities New Jersey company assumes management of two independent living communities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-jersey-company-assumes-management-of-two-independent-living-communities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-jersey-company-assumes-management-of-two-independent-living-communities#When:14:48:00Z As part of its expansion in Virginia, Princeton, N.J.-based Solvere Senior Living has assumed management of two independent living communities, the Cadence at the Glen in Glen Allen and Verena at the Reserve in Williamsburg. Solvere is working with a number of owners and developers to manage and build senior living communities. Solvere already manages Berkeley Oaks memory-care community in Williamsburg. In addition to Virginia, Solvere is expanding in Texas and Florida, with more in the pipeline. The company has an office in Richmond at 1600 Westwood Ave. The Cadence and Verena communities are owned by an affiliate of Chicago-based Green Courte Partners LLC. Cadence at the Glen has 118 independent living units with one and two-bedroom rental apartments. Verena at the Reserve offers 120 independent living units with one and two-bedroom luxury rental apartments for ages 55 and better. Solvere now manages communities in eight states, including Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Indiana. Its partner company, Solutions Advisors, provides marketing, sales, consulting and creative services to the senior-housing industry nationwide. 2017-10-09T14:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-suffolk-sells-for-4-million Industrial building in Suffolk sells for $4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-suffolk-sells-for-4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-suffolk-sells-for-4-million#When:14:47:00Z Northgate Commerce Center LLC has purchased a 51,435-square-foot industrial building on 9.5 acres in Suffolk for $4 million as an investment. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, the building at 1965 Northgate Commerce Parkway is leased by tenants Frito-Lay (PepsiCo) and Bon Secours Health System. William Throne and Robert M. Thornton of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer, and Ted Levin, also with Thalhimer, represented the seller. 2017-10-09T14:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/coverwithgreycrane_copy.jpg Corrugated Box Building courtesy of CBRE|Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-warehouse-in-richmond-sells-for-4.2-million Historic warehouse in Richmond sells for $4.2 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-warehouse-in-richmond-sells-for-4.2-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-warehouse-in-richmond-sells-for-4.2-million#When:14:43:00Z The Corrugated Box Building, a historic warehouse located in Richmond’s Old Manchester area, has sold for $4.2 million According to CBRE|Richmond, the 40,935-square-foot building at 201 West 7th Street was sold to Corrugated Box LLC. The seller was Corrugated Partners LLC. The warehouse has been adapted into a creative office space. Current tenants include 3North, Maxx Potential, Best Response Strategies, Circle S Studio, Epiphany Studio, Prologue Systems and Tumblr. CBRE brokers Will Bradley and Alan Vaughan represented the seller. 2017-10-09T14:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Modera_Fairfax_Ridge_-_photo_by_David_Madison_Photography_email2_copy.jpg Modera Fairfax Ridge courtesy of HFF http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hff-announces-55m-financing-for-213-unit-apartment-building-in-fairfax HFF announces $55M financing for 213-unit apartment building in Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hff-announces-55m-financing-for-213-unit-apartment-building-in-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hff-announces-55m-financing-for-213-unit-apartment-building-in-fairfax#When:14:32:00Z Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. (HFF) has announced $55 million in financing for Modera Fairfax Ridge, a 213-unit apartment building in Fairfax.  HFF worked on behalf of the borrower, a joint venture between Mill Creek Residential Trust LLC and The Olayan Group, to secure the seven-year, floating-rate loan with ING Capital LLC.  Loan proceeds were used to retire the existing construction financing. Modera Fairfax Ridge is located at 3887 Fairfax Ridge Road just off U.S. Highways 50 and 66. The property is near several Fortune 500 companies, The Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax County Government Center, George Mason University and Inova Fairfax. Completed in August 2016, Modera Fairfax Ridge offers a range of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with modern amenities. Community amenities include a swimming pool, outdoor fire pit, grilling area, fitness studio, yoga/Pilates studio, cyber café and business center with conference room. According to HFF, the property is more than 95 percent leased. The HFF team representing the borrower included Senior Managing Director Sue Carras, Managing Director Walter Coker, Senior Director Brian Crivella and Director Nicole Brickhouse. In another transaction for HFF, the company assisted in the refinancing of King Street Metro Place, a 141,253-square-foot, Class A office building in Alexandria. The HFF team represented the borrower, Stockbridge, in securing the floating-rate bank financing. 2017-10-09T14:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-seeks-partner-to-build-statewide-electric-vehicle-charging-network Virginia seeks partner to build statewide electric vehicle charging network http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-seeks-partner-to-build-statewide-electric-vehicle-charging-network http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-seeks-partner-to-build-statewide-electric-vehicle-charging-network#When:09:01:00Z Virginia is planning to build a statewide public charging network for electric vehicles. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday he is releasing a request for proposal to deploy a system as part of his initiative to support electric vehicle adoption of 15 percent by 2027. Funding for the initiative includes $14 million from a settlement with Volkswagen. The settlement, which resulted from the use of emissions testing defeat devices in Volkswagen vehicles, requires the auto company to establish a nearly $3 billion environmental mitigation trust. Virginia is expected to receive $93.6 million from this trust, and the commonwealth may spend a maximum of 15 percent on electric vehicle infrastructure. “Expanding Virginia’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure will contribute to Virginia’s economic diversification by encouraging innovation in electric-vehicle technology, making electric vehicle travel easier, and facilitating public-private partnerships throughout the commonwealth,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said in a statement. “This targeted and rapid deployment of EV charging stations is designed to jump-start adoption and generate more private investment in EV technology in Virginia.” Today, Virginia’s Direct Current (DC) fast charging network for electric vehicles consists of 100 DC stations, underscoring a significant gap in infrastructure in the state. 2017-10-09T09:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-build-solar-farm-in-king-william-county Dominion plans to build solar farm in King William County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-build-solar-farm-in-king-william-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-build-solar-farm-in-king-william-county#When:08:59:00Z Dominion Energy has received authorization from the Department of Environmental Quality to construct and operate a solar farm in King William County. Hollyfield Solar, a 17 megawatt (MW) project, is expected to supply enough electricity to power over 4,000 homes. “This latest announcement is a testament to how rapidly Virginia’s solar sector is growing," Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in statement. “Solar energy is essential to bringing the energy diversity our commonwealth needs for businesses, families, and taxpayers as we work to build a new Virginia economy.” On Thursday, Facebook announced it would build plans for a $750 million data center in Henrico County, a project tied to Dominion’s plan to build up to $250 million in solar power facilities across Virginia. The solar initiative  would be paid for through a special rate charged to Facebook and other big customers. Once complete, Hollyfield Solar farm is expected to offset the generation of 20,085 tons of carbon dioxide, 14 tons of nitrogen oxides and 16 tons of sulfur dioxide. 2017-10-09T08:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-promotes-two-employees-to-partner Keiter promotes two employees to partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-promotes-two-employees-to-partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/keiter-promotes-two-employees-to-partner#When:19:30:00Z Keiter, a certified public accounting firm, has promoted Charlotte Ann Ramage, CPA, and Andrew K. Sledd, CPA, to partner. Ramage worked for Keiter clients for more than four years. She has over 19 years of experience. Ramage is a member of Keiter’s Family, Executive and Entrepreneur Advisory Services team and works closely with individuals and family offices on various tax compliance, consulting and estate planning needs.  Sledd has over 10 years of experience providing audit and consulting services to clients in the financial services, real estate, hospitality and not-for-profit industries. Sledd is a member of Keiter’s Financial Services Industry team and specializes in auditing broker dealers in securities, registered investment advisers and investment companies and funds. 2017-10-06T19:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-based-consulting-firm-moves-corporate-office Henrico County-based consulting firm moves corporate office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-based-consulting-firm-moves-corporate-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-based-consulting-firm-moves-corporate-office#When:19:26:00Z Henrico County-based Summit Information Solutions has moved to larger corporate office in Glen Allen. The 15-year-old consulting firm now occupies 4,139 square feet at its new location at 4870 Sadler Road, Suite 102. Its previous office in the Innsbrook Corporate Center had 1,600 square feet. The company has a second office in Huntsville, Ala., which it opened in 2014. Summit has a total of 58 employees at the two sites. “Summit has been fortunate to experience significant growth over the past few years,” Shuganti Caradonna, the company’s president, said in a statement. “We realized we needed a larger corporate office to support our expanding core operations, promote collaboration and innovation, and provide a modernized environment for our associates. Like many other consulting firms, our teams spend significant time with our clients. We want our team to know they have a work/home base they can return to and comfortably hang out, share ideas, deliver on projects, and discuss lessons learned.” The company provides management services, technology services, engineering services and 3-D virtual learning. It serves customers in the banking, transportation and logistics industries as well as nonprofit organizations. Summit is a Virginia-certified small, women and minority business (SWaM), which has been named to Best Places to Work in Virginia the small business category for 2015-2017. The company was also named Business of the Year this year by the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce. 2017-10-06T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bae-systems-names-new-president-of-intelligence-security-sector BAE Systems names new president of Intelligence & Security sector http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bae-systems-names-new-president-of-intelligence-security-sector http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bae-systems-names-new-president-of-intelligence-security-sector#When:20:26:00Z BAE Systems Inc. has named Alphonse “Al” Whitmore president of its Intelligence & Security sector in McLean. The appointment is effective Oct. 16. Whitmore joins BAE Systems from General Dynamics Information Technology, where he was most recently senior vice president of the Global Solutions Division. In this role, he developed and implemented a strategic plan to invest in core division capabilities, expanded the business into new markets and established a mentoring program.. Prior to General Dynamics’ acquisition of GTE Government Systems in 1999, he spent approximately 15 years in a number of business development and strategic leadership positions with GTE Government Systems and GTE Laboratories. Whitmore holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brown University and an MBA from Northeastern University. 2017-10-05T20:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shentel-completes-system-shift-ahead-of-schedule Shentel completes system shift ahead of schedule http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shentel-completes-system-shift-ahead-of-schedule http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shentel-completes-system-shift-ahead-of-schedule#When:20:20:00Z Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel) has completed two major projects in the transformation of the former nTelos wireless service area it acquired last year. Shentel absorbed the nTelos network in May 2016 after the company bought Waynesboro based Ntelos Holdings Corp. for $640 million. The two Shentel projects, completed Sept. 30, involved the upgrade of the former nTelos network from 3G to 4G LTE and the transfer of former nTelos customers to Shentel’s Sprint billing system. Shentel is the exclusive personal communications service (PCS) affiliate of Sprint in portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The two tasks were completed in 17 months, three months ahead of schedule. Shentel said that, over the past year, it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars improving its Sprint network in Virginia and West Virginia. The company doubled the amount of 4G LTE coverage in the network by upgrading 854 sites, making all sites 4G LTE capable. The company also said it added 800 MHz coverage and more than 60 new cell sites to its local network and will continue investing in new cell sites. Shentel provides a broad range of diversified communications services, including wireless voice and data; cable video, internet and digital voice; fiber network and services; and regulated local and long-distance telephone service. 2017-10-05T20:20:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-touts-northern-virginias-strengths-in-amazon-headquarters-competitio Report touts Northern Virginia’s strengths in Amazon headquarters competition http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-touts-northern-virginias-strengths-in-amazon-headquarters-competitio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-touts-northern-virginias-strengths-in-amazon-headquarters-competitio#When:20:04:00Z Northern Virginia should be a strong competitor for Amazon’s new $5 billion headquarters, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield Research. The commercial real firm notes in its third-quarter regional report that plans for a new home for the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, a project long pursued by Northern Virginia, have been put on hold. Nonetheless, the firm said the region should be a strong competitor for Amazon’s 8 million-square-foot “HQ2,” which is expected to create 50,000 jobs. “With vital strengths to highlight such as enviable demographics, government incentives and business-friendly policies, a lower price point relative to urban cores nationwide, strong amenity bases, and a large concentration of millennials inside the Beltway, the widespread appeal of Northern Virginia should not come as a surprise to many,” the report says. Amazon’s request for proposals sets a deadline of Oct. 19 for states, provinces and metropolitan areas submiting proposals. The just-completed third quarter saw more than 2.3 million square feet of new commercial real estate leasing activity in Northern Virginia, nearly matching the total from the first half of the year, the report says. The General Services Administration has picked a Springfield site as the new home of the 625,000-square-foot Transportation Security Administration headquarters. TSA will relocate from Crystal City in 2020. The deal marked the third consecutive quarter in which the region has landed a significant relocation. The other signings have involved Nestle and Amazon Web Services. Relocations or expansions accounted for 13 of the 20 largest leases of the past three months, a sharp contrast from the first two quarters of the year. During the first three quarters of the year, the region has added a net 12,000 jobs and is expected to gain 20,000 positions by the end of the year. That annual number is in line with the region’s historical average but is down from 32,000 jobs added last year. 2017-10-05T20:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/s.l.-nusbaum-realty-announces-recent-transactions S.L. Nusbaum Realty announces recent transactions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/s.l.-nusbaum-realty-announces-recent-transactions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/s.l.-nusbaum-realty-announces-recent-transactions#When:19:59:00Z Norfolk-based S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. has announced a number of recent real estate transactions, including a new lease for more than 80,000 square feet of industrial space in Suffolk and the extension of a lease for a 42,600-square-foot grocery store in Chesapeake. New leases include: ·         Rock Bottom Golf leased 83,739 square feet of industrial space at 324 Moore Ave., Building 7 in Suffolk. Nusbaum’s Michael Myers represented the tenant. ·         A&M Enterprises leased 16,276 square feet of industrial space at 1197 Production Road in Norfolk. Myers represented the landlord.  Lease renewals, extension and expansions include: ·         Food Lion extended its lease on 42,600 square feet of retail space at The Crossings at Deep Creek in Chesapeake. Murray Rosenbach represented the landlord. ·         Jordan Young Institute for Joint Reconstruction and Sports Medicine PC renewed its lease on 20,000 square feet of office space at Cleveland Office Park II in Virginia Beach. John M. Profilet represented the tenant. ·         Dollar Tree extended its lease on 18,884 square feet of retail space at Chesterfield Meadows in Chesterfield County. Bob Butcher represented the landlord. ·         CRS Marble and Granite, LLC renewed its lease on 18,200 square feet of industrial space at 513 Viking Drive in Virginia Beach. Profilet represented the landlord. ·         Tuesday Morning extended its lease on 11,915 square feet of retail space at Warwick Village Shopping Center in Newport News,. Tyler Jacobson represented the landlord. 2017-10-05T19:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/facebook-establishing-data-center-in-henrico-county Facebook establishing data center in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/facebook-establishing-data-center-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/facebook-establishing-data-center-in-henrico-county#When:15:42:00Z California-based networking giant Facebook announced Thursday it is investing $750 million to establish a data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. The project is expected to create 100 full-time jobs. The 970,000-square-foot facility will be fully powered by renewable energy. Due to a new renewable energy tariff designed by Richmond-based Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the commonwealth to service the center. The project also is expected to bring thousands of construction jobs. The deal was made possible through a new renewable energy tariff called Schedule RF, which allows large energy users, such as Facebook, to meet their needs through the addition of renewable energy sources, which must be built in Virginia. The Henrico County Board of Supervisors approved in April a reduced tax rate for data centers’ equipment from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to 40 cents per $100. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Henrico County, the Henrico County Economic Development Authority, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project. 2017-10-05T15:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-communities-receive-boost-to-entrepreneur-programs Four communities receive boost to entrepreneur programs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-communities-receive-boost-to-entrepreneur-programs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-communities-receive-boost-to-entrepreneur-programs#When:08:56:00Z Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday that four communities will receive $60,000 each to develop entrepreneurship. The Community Business Launch (CBL) awards will provide funding to train entrepreneurs and conduct business plan competitions that align with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in Virginia’s downtown commercial districts. Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with the capacity to implement a successful campaign, alignment with regional or local strategies, and the availability of matching resources. Four of the six applicants submitted were selected for funding. The applicants receiving funding include: Main Street Lexington Downtown Wytheville inc. Smyth County Chamber of Commerce St. Paul Tomorrow Inc. 2017-10-05T08:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-based-fvcbank-names-new-cfo Fairfax-based FVCbank names new CFO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-based-fvcbank-names-new-cfo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-based-fvcbank-names-new-cfo#When:21:05:00Z Fairfax-based FVCbank has named Jennifer L. Deacon executive vice president and chief financial officer. Deacon was executive vice president, chief accounting officer and corporate secretary with Cardinal Bank. Deacon’s appointment follows the promotion of former executive vice president and CFO Patricia A. Ferrick, who was named president of the bank. Deacon helped form Cardinal Bank in 1998 and worked there as it grew to more than $4.2 billion in total assets. Cardinal was sold to United Bankshares in April. She is the latest of a string of executives from Cardinal Bank to join FVCbank. In June, Steven M. Wiltse, a former board member with Cardinal Financial Corp., was named to FVCbank’s board of directors, and Thomas W. Grantham, also a Cardinal executive, was named as senior vice president of the bank’s commercial lending team in Arlington. Formed in 2007,  FVCbank has $973 million in assets and six full-service offices in Arlington, Ashburn, Fairfax, Manassas, Reston and Springfield. 2017-10-04T21:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crystal-lakes-sells-for-37.5-million Crystal Lakes sells for $37.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crystal-lakes-sells-for-37.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/crystal-lakes-sells-for-37.5-million#When:20:38:00Z Crystal Lakes, a 716-unit townhome and apartment community in Chesterfield County, has been sold for $37.5 million. Cushman & Wakefield announced on Wednesday that  its Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Advisory Group has closed the sale. Jorge Rosa, Anthony Liberto, Marc Robinson, and John Campanella from Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller, Latitude Real Estate. The property was purchased by Emet Capital Management. Built between 1967 and 1973, Crystal Lakes is one of the largest apartment communities in the Richmond area. The property is near Chippenham Parkway and about 15 minutes from downtown Richmond. 2017-10-04T20:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranked-as-a-top-state-for-business Virginia ranked as a top state for business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranked-as-a-top-state-for-business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ranked-as-a-top-state-for-business#When:20:39:00Z Virginia ranked No. 11 in Area Development magazine’s 2017 Top States for Doing Business.   This year’s list was the first time the commonwealth was ranked in the magazine’s survey since 2010. The annual ranking, which began in 2010, increased its list from 10 to 20 states last year.   “This new ranking is evidence that the steps we are taking to build a new Virginia economy are paying off and that independent observers are taking note,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.    The commonwealth ranked in the top 10 in five of 12 subcategories that impact companies’ location and facility plans, including: Cooperative & Responsive State Government, fifth; Leading Workforce Development Programs, seventh; Competitive Labor Environment, eighth; Favorable Regulatory Environment, ninth; and Speed of Permitting, ninth.    These rankings represent significant advances for Virginia as the state has not placed in any subcategories since 2013. This year also marks the first time Virginia has ever placed in the Cooperative & Responsive State Government, Competitive Labor Environment and Speed of Permitting categories.    Area Development’s 2017 Top States for Doing Business rankings reflect the results of the magazine’s recent survey asking site selection consultants to give their top state picks in 12 categories.  2017-10-03T20:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Chip_Glover.jpg Chip Glover http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-mortgage-lenders-association-names-new-president Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association names new president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-mortgage-lenders-association-names-new-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-mortgage-lenders-association-names-new-president#When:20:23:00Z Chip Glover has been named president of the Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association for 2017-2018. He is executive vice president and director of capital markets for TowneBank Mortgage in Virginia Beach. Glover succeeds Rob Arthur, area manager and senior loan officer at Fidelity Bank Mortgage, as VMLA’s 54th president. Glover graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in real estate and urban development. He began his financial career in the savings and loan industry as an appraiser. 2017-10-03T20:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-grant-aimed-at-developing-heavy-construction-workforce State grant aimed at developing heavy construction workforce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-grant-aimed-at-developing-heavy-construction-workforce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-grant-aimed-at-developing-heavy-construction-workforce#When:19:50:00Z Heavy construction workforce development programs have opened at Northern Virginia and Lord Fairfax community colleges. On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a $453,686 Workforce Development Capacity and Technical Assistance grant to Lord Fairfax Community College to assist it with the development of the new program. The grant, administered by the Virginia Community College System, will help the college purchase heavy construction equipment simulators that enable prospective workers to train on the equipment they will be using on the job. McAuliffe’s office said the new programs will support the efforts of Northern Virginia’s heavy construction industry to identify and train talent as infrastructure improvement projects proceed on I-95, I-395 and I-66. The Heavy Construction Talent Development program was developed through a partnership with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA), Alban CAT of Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College, Lord Fairfax Community College and the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Office of the Governor. 2017-10-03T19:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-restaurant-lodging-travel-association-presents-statewide-awards Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association presents statewide awards http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-restaurant-lodging-travel-association-presents-statewide-awards http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-restaurant-lodging-travel-association-presents-statewide-awards#When:02:00:00Z The National Conference Center and Williamsburg Winery were among the winners Monday night at a hospitality and tourism awards presentation. The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA) announced its 2017 VRLTA Ordinary Awards at a dinner held at The Westin hotel in Richmond. The National Conference Center in Leesburg was named Hotel of the Year, and Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg was the Winery of the Year. Wicker’s Crab Pot Seafood in Chesapeake was honored as Restaurant of the Year. The Brewery of the Year was Blue Mountain Brewery + Blue Mountain Barrel House in Afton/Arrington.  The Distillery of the Year was Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville. The Attraction of the Year was the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company’s Chincoteague Pony Penning. During the event, VRLTA presented retiring Speaker of the House William J. Howell with the Legislator of the Year Award and Tony DiFilippo, president and CEO of VisitNorfolk with the  Golden Pineapple Lifetime Achievement Award. Other individual honorees included: Bartender of the Year: Mary Garriques, Capital Ale House Downtown Richmond Charlie Buser Award for Attraction Employee of the Year: Dana Staniunas, Massanutten Resort Hotel Employee of the Year: Rocqui Camm, Delta Hotels by Marriott Richmond Downtown Restaurant Employee of the Year: Connlan Hogan, Capital Ale House Harrisonburg Chef of the Year:  Tony Cochones, Glory Days Grill restaurants Supplier of the Year: Jo Diedrich, LeisureMedia360 Hotelier of the Year: Geoff Lawson, The National Conference Center Jim Ricketts Award for DMO/CVB Employee of the Year: Dan Cook, Discover Prince William & Manassas Jim Wordsworth Award for Restaurateur of the Year: Tony Stafford, Ford’s Fish Shack restaurants Rising Pineapple Award for Hospitality & Tourism Student of the Year: Lauren Schlenker, Virginia Tech Virginia Business was a sponsor of the event. 2017-10-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.s-darden-school-to-open-new-facilities-in-rosslyn U.Va.’s Darden School to open new facilities in Rosslyn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.s-darden-school-to-open-new-facilities-in-rosslyn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.s-darden-school-to-open-new-facilities-in-rosslyn#When:15:02:00Z The University of Virginia Darden School of Business plans to open new facilities in the Washington, D.C., area. The school will be housed on the top two floors of a 31-story building at 1100 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington’s Rosslyn area. Darden currently offers its executive (EMBA) and executive education programs in the D.C. area.  The new facilities will include tiered classrooms, offices and event spaces. Darden will occupy the 30th and 31st floors of the building, operated by Monday Properties. It is the same building in which Darden currently has an office and several Darden staff members work in the areas of admissions, executive education and alumni career services. The new 40,000-square-foot space, which will open in spring 2018, was made possible by a $5 million gift from Sands Capital Management Founder and Chairman Franks Sands Sr. and CEO and Chief Investment Officer Frank Sands Jr. Both are Darden graduates. The 31st floor will be named the Sands Family Grounds in their honor. 2017-10-02T15:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chrysalis-vineyards-to-expand Chrysalis Vineyards to expand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chrysalis-vineyards-to-expand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chrysalis-vineyards-to-expand#When:08:57:00Z Chrysalis Vineyards plans to add a creamery and bakery to its Loudoun County operations. Chrysalis xpects to spend $478,000 on the expansion and hire 12 additional people. The winery will sell locally produced cheeses and breads and will purchase 100 percent of its agricultural ingredients from Virginia farmers. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $24,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Loudoun will match with local funds for the project. “Over the last decades, unfortunately, much of the farming activity in the county has waned,” Chrysalis Vineyards owner Jennifer McCloud said in a statement. “This grant supports our mission to help restore this essential use of our lands.” 2017-09-29T08:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-conference-guide 2017 Meeting Planner Conference Guide http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-conference-guide http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-conference-guide#When:08:00:00Z Conference Guide table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Georgia, serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0F0F; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Meeting facility Location Conference space in square feet Banquet capacity Guest rooms Website BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS           Wytheville Meeting Center Wytheville 12,000 500 N/A wythevillemeetingcenter.com             HAMPTON ROADS - PENINSULA           Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg 13,534 350 405 greatwolf.com/meetings Hampton Roads Convention Center Hampton 344,000 1,800 N/A visithampton.com/hrcc             HAMPTON ROADS - SOUTHSIDE           The Exchange at The Hilton Norfolk The Main Norfolk 98,138 2,000 300 themainnorfolk.com Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront and Suffolk Conference Center Suffolk 14,000 500 150 suffolkconferencecenter.com Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront Virginia Beach 5,000 200 167 hiltongardeninnvirginiabeach.com Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Virginia Beach 12,000 540 289 hiltonvb.com Norfolk Waterside Marriott & Waterside Convention Center Norfolk 68,879 1,400 405 marriott.com             NORTHERN VIRGINIA           Dulles Expo Center Chantilly 130,000 1,500 232* dullesexpo.com The National Conference Center Leesburg 265,000 1,150 917 conferencecenter.com             SHENANDOAH VALLEY           The Omni Homestead Hot Springs 72,000 1,000 483 theomnihomestead.com             VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS REGION           The Berglund Center Roanoke 110,000 2,500 N/A theberglundcenter.com Charter Hall at the City Market Building Roanoke 5,000 240 N/A citymarketbuilding.com Hilton Garden Inn Roanoke Roanoke 2,500 108 117 roanoke.hgi.com Holiday Inn Tanglewood Roanoke 9,000 520 196 ihg.com The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Curio - A Collection by Hilton Roanoke 63,000 1,100 330 hotelroanoke.com The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center Blacksburg 24,000 700 147 innatvirginiatech.com The Natural Bridge Historic Hotel & Conference Center Natural Bridge 10,000 310 150 naturalbridgeva.com Salem Civic Center Salem 40,000 2,000 N/A salemcivicenter.com Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center Roanoke 30,000 450 320 sheratonroanoke.com Vinton War Memorial Vinton 3,795 240 N/A vintonwarmemorial.com   2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-business-meeting-planner-of-the-year 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-business-meeting-planner-of-the-year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-business-meeting-planner-of-the-year#When:08:00:00Z Tracie Grady Vice president of operations and meetings Eisenman & Associates Inc., Richmond Tracie Grady is more than an event planner to her clients. “Truly, her title should be ‘Meeting Planner Extraordinaire,’” says Lisha Reynolds, professional development manager for the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance, a member of the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE), one of Grady’s clients. “This group has high expectations and demands … Tracie consistently delivers high-quality meetings for these professional planners, hoteliers and association executives.” Grady’s expertise has earned her the Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year Award, a collaboration between Virginia Business and the VSAE, which serves the commonwealth’s association management industry. Grady was among a dozen people nominated for this year’s award and judged by a panel of hospitality industry professionals. She will be recognized at VSAE’s 2017 Educational Symposium & Expo Oct. 5 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The expo, planned by Grady, draws 500 people each year. Grady has two decades of meeting planning experience. She’s currently vice president of operations and meetings for Eisenman & Associates Inc., a Richmond-based association management and meetings consulting company. At Eisenman she’s responsible for planning more than half a dozen events for VSAE and the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia Inc. “It’s never the same day twice,” says Grady when asked what she likes most about her job. “Even though there’s a routine planning each event, and most of them are annuals, or repeats month after month, there’s always aspects that change or improvements to be made following each event.” Her first job in the industry was as an administrator at the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP) where she served more than 1,000 members and managed more than 45 conferences and conventions over five years.  Grady was fortunate to find a mentor, Harriet Harris, then-director of sales at the Fort Magruder Inn in Williamsburg, to guide her through the early stages of her career. Grady recalls Harris coming to her aid when she was planning her first event. Grady accidentally ordered food for the meeting from a grocery store in Virginia Beach instead of one in Williamsburg where the event was being held, and the reception was in two hours. Harris went to different stores to grab food for the meeting so Grady could focus on the rest of the event. Besides helping her in a pinch, Harris was “a wealth of information to have in your back pocket,” Grady says. Today, Grady has garnered the admiration of other meeting planners. David Norman points to Grady’s immaculate planning of VSAE’s Awards Luncheon and Silent Auction, which is attended by more than 250 people. “She makes it look easy, but as a fellow meeting planner, I know it’s not,” says Norman, executive director of Norman and Associates. The latter event is one of Grady’s favorites to organize. VSAE hands out Awards of Excellence to members who don’t know they’ve won until their name is announced from the podium the night of the event. The winners’ family members and colleagues also make a surprise appearance, which Grady coordinates. “It’s a very exciting and rewarding experience,” Grady says. When asked to name her greatest career achievement, Grady says, receiving the Meeting Planner of the Year Award is an honor. She also counts her work at Eisenman & Associates Inc., as a major accomplishment. “I feel like I’ve been so blessed to be able to work in this role and develop myself personally and professionally,” she says. Tracie’s Take Favorite event venue: The Omni Richmond. “The consistency of the support staff there is great,” she says. Preparation is key: When she’s packing for a multiday meeting she has planned, Grady organizes items by day and activity. “I have a box set for Monday, or box for Tuesday,” she says. “When I get to that meeting, it's organized, and I know if I need something, for example for installation, it's going to be in that box for that day.” Biggest challenge when planning an event: Food and beverage. Managing people with “food allergies or intolerant situations where you can’t have peanuts in the room because someone is so allergic that they can’t smell it” can be difficult, she says. “Those things always kind of haunt me.”  Speak up: Grady has narcolepsy, but she has been able to alter her work schedule to accommodate the condition. “It’s been a challenge and I think sometimes people are more worried about not sharing their needs, and what ails them, than allowing people to step in and help, or to make suggestions, or share experiences,” she says. Meeting planning today versus 20 years ago: “When I first started I was just learning how to use external email functionality and a fax machine,” she says. “Technology has really come a long way, with having [meeting] registrations online. Everything is more streamlined and has really produced many more efficiencies in the tasks that we do.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-of-the-year-nominees 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year Nominees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-of-the-year-nominees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-meeting-planner-of-the-year-nominees#When:08:00:00Z   BROOKE DOTY Conferences & Conventions Coordinator Organization Management Group CARLA EARNEST Conferences and Conventions Coordinator Organization Management Group TRACIE GRADY Vice President of Operations and Meetings Eisenman & Associates Inc. SHANNON MCCABE Deputy Executive Director Virginia Forestry Association LESHA NEAL Administrative Assistant Dunamis Christian Center LINDA NEWSOM-MCCURDY Education Director Virginia Society of CPAs AMY SALES Director of Association Services Virginia Association of Counties CAROLYN SPOHRER Deputy Director Virginia Community Action Partnership KAREN SURMACEWICZ Vice President of Membership and Event Management Virginia Chamber of Commerce LISA VARGA Executive Director Virginia Library Association CANDACE WILBORN Operations and Events Director Association Solutions Inc SONYA N. WILLIAMS Member Services Director Virginia Governmental Employees Association   2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-meeting-conference-planner 2017 Virginia Meeting & Conference Planner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-meeting-conference-planner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2017-virginia-meeting-conference-planner#When:08:00:00Z Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Virginia Business Meeting & Conference Planner. This publication highlights prime meeting locations in the commonwealth designed to make your next meeting a success. Scroll below to read features on Virginia’s unique meeting destinations, ranging from breathtaking mountains to sandy beaches. The list here breaks down conference venues in the state by available meeting space in square feet, banquet capacity and other useful information. Logistics are important when planning meetings, and so are the meeting planners who make sense of data to create perfect events. This year we’re continuing to celebrate the commonwealth’s top meeting planners by featuring the 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year, a partnership started last year by Virginia Business and the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE). This year’s winner is Tracie Grady, vice president of operations and meetings for Eisenman & Associates Inc., a Richmond-based association management and meetings consulting company. Grady will be honored at the VSAE’s 2017 Educational Symposium & Expo Oct. 5 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond. She is among a dozen meeting planners nominated for this year’s award. Turn to page 34 to read about what makes Grady a standout at her job.  Overall, we hope this guide will make it easier to pick an ideal meeting spot. Virginia has several venues that will provide an immaculate setting for your next event. Bernie Niemeier President & Publisher bniemeier@virginiabusiness.com 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year: Tracie Grady, Vice president of operations and meetings, Eisenman & Associates Inc., Richmond 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year List of Nominees Conference Guide BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS Wytheville Meeting Center, Wytheville HAMPTON ROADS - PENINSULA Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg HAMPTON ROADS - SOUTHSIDE Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Virginia Beach The Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Virginia Beach Suffolk Tourism Visit Norfolk NORTHERN VIRGINIA Visit Fairfax National Conference Center, Leesburg SHENANDOAH VALLEY The Omni Homestead, Hot Springs VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS Berglund Center, Roanoke Charter Hall at the City Market Building, Roanoke Hilton Garden Inn Roanoke, Roanoke Holiday Inn Tanglewood, Roanoke Salem Civic Center, Salem Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center, Roanoke The Berglund Center, Roanoke The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Roanoke The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, Blacksburg Vinton War Memorial, Vinton 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/destination-areas Destination areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/destination-areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/destination-areas#When:08:00:00Z Provost Thanassis Rikakis discusses the university’s Beyond Boundaries Destination Areas with a student group. Photos courtesy Virginia Tech Virginia Tech is preparing for 21st-century competition. “Because the knowledge game is a global game, the competition for talent in knowledge will be global,” says Virginia Tech Provost Thanassis Rikakis. “The institutions that will be able to compete in a global knowledge game will be first-rate institutions, and the institutions that won’t be able to compete in the global knowledge game will have the danger of becoming second-rate institutions.” Virginia Tech does not intend to be second-rate. It has designated five “destination areas,” spheres in which the university intends to be a global leader by developing teams aimed at solving 21st-century problems.  (See interview with Dennis Treacy, rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors) These teams will work not just across disciplines and traditional academic divides, but also across the boundary between campus and commerce, collaborating with companies and involving students in real-world challenges. A team might, for example, include engineers, designers, programmers, technical writers, marketers, company representatives and line workers. That approach to problem solving may sound revolutionary, but Rikakis calls it evolutionary. Destination areas put interdisciplinary studies on steroids and yoke them to an expansive, modern interpretation of a land-grant university’s traditional mission. New land-grant mission Since Virginia Tech’s founding in 1872, land-grant colleges have sought to bridge the gap between academic study and practical application. The most visible manifestations were research stations and extension offices that applied science to agriculture. As society evolved, so did Virginia Tech’s focus. It still tries to close that gap between the academy and the economy, but the Virginia Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg may be more representative of the modern land-grant mission. It was created in 1985 to attract existing tech companies while incubating new ones. Virginia Tech’s creation of destination areas is the next step, building on the university’s strengths to solve complex global, systematic problems. Virginia Tech still needs to do things that benefit Virginia, Rikakis says, but it needs to do them in a global context. He says 21st-century problems are too big to fit inside one discipline. The university needs to bring all its knowledge to bear on those problems. But not all of them. “You can’t be a global leader in everything, right?,” Rikakis says. “You have to choose a few things for which you can be a global leader; you can be a global destination for talent. That doesn’t mean you stop being a comprehensive university. You’re still a comprehensive university.” Choosing destination areas meant Virginia Tech had to focus in on its greatest strengths. “Nobody is going to believe you’re a leader in a complex space if you’re not a leader in the components of the space, right?” Rikakis says. But strength within the constituent disciplines wasn’t enough. The university also needed strong partnerships beyond its campus, linking up with companies facing issues the destination areas are meant to confront. The last element was faculty buy-in. It’s difficult to succeed if the people leading and coordinating the effort aren’t enthusiastic about the mission. For its first five destination areas, Virginia Tech chose: Adaptive Brain and Behavior; Data Analytics and Decision Sciences; Global Systems Science; Integrated Security; and Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities. Intelligent Infrastructure Intelligent Infrastructure provides a good example of how the destination areas were chosen and how broad they can be. This sector includes automated vehicle systems; smart design and construction; energy; and ubiquitous mobility, which the Virginia Tech website describes as the “location-agnostic promise of news communication and information technologies.” “It just so happens that we’re great in all four,” Rikakis says. “So Intelligent Infrastructure was a great area for us to claim leadership because we were very, very good in the components. We just have to put them together and then re-imagine the built environment of the 21st century.” Brian Kleiner, director of Virginia Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction, says his school, which falls under Intelligent Infrastructure, was “sort of a prototype” for destination areas. It’s clearly interdisciplinary, Kleiner says, because he reports to the engineering and architecture deans. The school combines research and education, exploring how different disciplines can cooperate on projects. That part is mirroring the real world, says Kleiner, who cites a recent visit to a construction company working with the university. A group of Tech graduates at the company included a construction program graduate but also an English major doing technical writing and another Hokie working in human resources. They told Kleiner that if they could have taken one class that had them working together before graduation, “We would have been six months ahead of the curve.” The construction program graduate almost certainly had some real-world experience before graduation. “Everything we do its designed to integrate with industry,” Kleiner says. “We have industry partners on all our projects.” The school also involves students in all sorts of projects, including Elon Musk’s ultra-high-speed travel Hyperloop competition, FutureHAUS (Tech’s prototype house of the future) and an exoskeleton designed to help Lowe’s employees lift products more safely and easily. “We’re in a lot of different places,” Kleiner says. Multidisciplinary drones The Intelligent Infrastructure Destination Area will bring students from other disciplines together in the kind of teams they’re likely to join in the working world. Drones, Kleiner says, represent a good example of the kind of projects that could use a multidisciplinary team. A group working on drones might need aerospace engineers along with people equipped to deal with policy, laws, programming and even instruction manuals. Much of Kleiner’s research deals with the interaction of humans and machines — “figuring out what the machine should do and what the human should do and not just automate because we have the ability to.” At least some of Mark Blanks’ work involves the interaction of automated machines with automatic control systems. He is director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. In June, the partnership hosted a test of a NASA-designed air traffic control system. The unmanned system is designed to manage autonomous air traffic — drones — in a chunk of airspace that traditionally had very little traffic. Below 500 feet, there has been little activity beyond medical helicopters and crop dusters, Blanks says. Now, there’s the potential for all sorts of hobby and commercial drone traffic. The test has as many as five unmanned aircraft in flight at a time, including one simulating a public-safety search, which requires other drones to adjust their flights to give the search vehicle priority. The Intelligent Infrastructure Design Area got a boost in April. The university announced a $25 million gift toward the $78.45 million the university plans to spend on facilities for Intelligent Infrastructure. As a result, Rikasis says, Intelligent Infrastructure may get state-of-the art facilities sooner than other destination areas. See Fundraising. The university’s drone program already has one new important piece of infrastructure, an 80-foot-tall netted enclosure nearly the size of a football field. Because it’s enclosed, drones can be tested there without needing to get FAA approval. That could speed up research considerably. “It’s a playground for innovation,” Blanks says. While drones get a lot of attention, they’re “just one piece of the pie for autonomous technology,” Blanks says, and Virginia Tech has its fingers in a lot of pies. Autonomous vehicles are moving on land and in water as well as in the air. Blanks says Virginia Tech is becoming the place to go for autonomous vehicle technology. “It’s more than just a test bed,” Blanks says. “We expect to see improvement in how we go about our daily lives.” Blanks is talking about self-driving Uber-style cars and other innovations appearing in Blacksburg sooner than they show up in other places. “I think we’ll see the Jetsons-type age sooner than we expected because of the work going on here,” he says, 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welcome-to-the-neighborhood Welcome to the neighborhood http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welcome-to-the-neighborhood http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/welcome-to-the-neighborhood#When:08:00:00Z You might not think the Fredericksburg region has any link to Boston, but it does. Boston is the northern end of what urban scholars call the Northeast Megalopolis, a string of cities and dense suburbs along the Interstate 95 corridor that is home to about 55 million people, all living in about 2 percent of the U.S. land area. Experts used to define this 500-mile corridor as ending in Washington, D.C. Nowadays, however, the end point is 50 miles south, in the Fredericksburg area, which has been growing rapidly for decades. Workers keep moving to the area, with most of them commuting to jobs north. The Fredericksburg region includes the city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline and King George. Here’s how fast the region’s population is expected to grow, according to forecasts from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service: between 2016 and 2040, Virginia will grow by about 21 percent, to 10.2 million people. The Fredericksburg region, however, will grow more than twice that rate — up 43 percent, adding about 151,000 people and topping half a million total residents. See detailed growth patterns for the region. In raw numbers, most of these new residents are settling in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. Those two counties make up 77 percent of today’s population and will have pretty much the same share in 2040, according to the Weldon Cooper Center. That means that out of the 151,000 new residents, nearly 119,000 will live in these two counties. It’s not hard to figure out where many of these new residents will live. Developers and the local governments generally are steering development to where the roads or rails are, or where they will be. Development along I-95 Interstate 95 dominates everything when it comes to development in the region. Spotsylvania’s most active growth is around the interstate exit at mile 126, its northernmost interchange, and that’s what the county wants. “If you look at the past comprehensive plan and the growth patterns we’re now seeing, we’ve done a good job” of guiding development, says Leon Hughes, the county’s assistant director of planning. Among the developments is Jackson Village, which hasn’t been built yet. Plans call for 2,270 residential units on 241 acres along U.S. 1 near I-95. It is a mix of apartments and condos and single-family homes. That project was approved in 2015, along with the Alexander’s Crossing, a 701-acre mixed-use development. The two developments will be linked by a four-lane bridge over the interstate if all goes as planned. Also on the books in this part of the county is the 1,060-home Heritage Woods subdivision, on 378 acres along U.S. 1. Hughes says the bigger, single-family detached housing developments are not making much progress now, but apartment projects are. Apartments have been a hot trend in real estate in a lot of urban areas in Virginia in recent years, and Spotsylvania is seeing that trend, too. A few miles east of I-95 is the southernmost station of the Virginia Railway Express, which opened in 2015. There are new apartment homes being built on land between the VRE station and the interstate, many of them projects of the Silver Cos., a major local developer. They’re pretty fancy, and a short drive to either the interstate or the VRE station. There’s also plenty of shopping and restaurants nearby, and a hospital, Spotsylvania Medical Center, which is attracting medical office projects. Buffalo Bills fans The sense among county planning staff is that many new residents have left parts of the country that have been hurting economically for years. Jacob Pastwik, a planner for Spotsylvania, is from Buffalo, N. Y., and says he’s found a lot of former Buffalo residents here, looking for work. “There’s a lot of people here who are not from here,” Pastwik says. The presence of military personnel drives up demand, too, for temporary housing along with young adults who need rental space they can afford. During football season, Pastwik helps organize a weekly gathering of Buffalo Bills fans to watch the team’s games on television. “Every Sunday there’s a whole community” of Bills fans with roots up north, he says. In general, a lot of these newcomers are coming for jobs in the region, which had an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in July. But, many will commute north to jobs in the Washington, D.C., region. So, in an important way, the new transportation improvements in the Fredericksburg region only make it easier for its residents to commute. Here are details on three transportation projects. The new VRE station in Spotsylvania has been open since late 2015, and the two-mile extension of the Express Lanes on I-95, now under construction, will bring those lanes into central Stafford County. That project is expected to be complete next year. Plus, work has begun on a new $150 million interchange on I-95 in central Stafford. That’s a big deal because it will create much better access to land that the county and the private sector want to develop. The project is supposed to be finished in 2020. That interchange and a second one about five miles away near the county’s northern boundary will welcome a lot of the region’s new residents. The Embrey Mill community is an 831-acre development on the west side of I-95 between those two interchanges. At build-out, the development could have up to 1,800 homes. 1,200 residential units Also adjacent to the new interchange is a proposed project by Stafford-based Garrett Development. The company has about 1,000 acres on the west side of I-95 and has been seeking county approval for a development called George Washington Village. It’s planned as a mixed-use development that Andy Garrett, the company’s founder and president, says would have 1,200 residential units, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, along with commercial space. “George Washington Village could be an absolute winner for Stafford County,” Garrett says. He’s been working with the county for several years to win approval. Garrett also says that, with the road improvements in his project and in the Embrey Mill development, county residents would have a major north-south route parallel to I-95 on the west side of the interstate. Currently the county has U.S. 1, on the east side of I-95, as its only other north-south corridor. While the big counties of Stafford and Spotsylvania plan for big population growth, the region’s three other localities are expecting growth, too, but at a much lower level. King George County to the east has just fewer than 25,000 residents today and is expected to grow 41 percent by 2040. And Caroline County at the region’s southern end is expected to remain significantly smaller than its northern neighbors. It is also going to grow more slowly, according to Weldon Cooper projections. Its current population of about 30,000 will rise 35 percent by 2040 to 40,000. Neighboring Spotsylvania, by comparison, is expected to have 181,000 residents by 2040. In the middle is Fredericksburg, which has experienced a building boom of sorts. Several downtown condominium projects are either completed or under construction. The city’s population is expected to rise more than 43 percent by 2040. Another prediction supported by the Weldon Cooper data is that the megalopolis likely will not get longer during the next 20 years. Shonel Sen, a research and policy analyst at the Weldon Cooper Center, agrees that this giant corridor now extends to the Fredericksburg region, but it might stop there for awhile. Between the relatively rural Caroline and the city of Richmond is Hanover County, which is expected to grow by about 20,000 people in the next 20 years, to 127,000. That’s substantial growth, but not on par with what the Fredericksburg region is going to see. “Richmond is further away and does not have a population size high enough to include it [in the megalopolis] and stretch it all the way to the Hampton Roads region,” Sen says. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-bull-market-bump The bull market bump http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-bull-market-bump http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-bull-market-bump#When:08:00:00Z A sustained bull market helped boost executive compensation in Virginia last year. Total CEO compensation at Virginia’s largest publicly traded companies increased an average of 12.1 percent during 2016 as a bull market continued to deliver higher shareholder returns. Altogether this group of 43 executives earned an average total compensation of $8.42 million. At the top of the heap was John J. Haley, CEO of Willis Towers Watson. Haley led Arlington-based Towers Watson before its 2016 merger with Willis Group Holdings of London. He had a pay package last year that eclipsed $28 million. The merger created a professional services, risk management and insurance brokerage company with 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. As CEO of the combined company, Haley received a stock award worth of $24.6 million as part of his 2016 compensation package. Haley’s pay was included in the findings of an annual study of CEO pay at Virginia-based public companies with annual revenues of more than $1 billion. Virginia Business worked on the project with Equilar, an executive compensation consulting firm headquartered in Redwood, Calif.  Equilar’s analysis is based on proxy statements filed by the companies with federal regulators this spring. Total direct compensation includes a CEO’s salary, cash bonus, stock and option awards, and other financial incentives. Equilar calculates equity awards on company-disclosed valuations made on the day the awards are granted. The financial incentives include the value of perks such as executive physicals, the use of a corporate jet and financial and tax planning services. Six Virginia CEOs on national list While Virginia’s average of $8.4 million in total compensation falls below the 2016 national average of about $13 million, six of the state’s executives earned enough to be ranked on Equilar’s list of the 200 highest-paid CEOs of large U.S. publicly traded companies. They are: Haley, $28.2 million; No. 19; Martin Barrington, Altria Group, $24.2 million, No.  35; Thomas Greco, Advance Auto Parts, $22.8 million, No. 37; Phebe Novakovic, General Dynamics, $21.2 million, No. 51; Richard Fairbank, Capital One Financial Corp., $16.9 million, No. 102; and Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman, $16.8 million, No. 106. The highest paid CEO among the top 200 was Thomas Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, who earned $98 million. Missing from the top 200 list was Virginia’s J. Michael Lawrie, the former CEO oComputer Sciences Corp. (CSC). He earned total compensation of $18.7 million in 2016.  The omission was due to the fact that CSC was completing its merger with the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and its data were not available when Equilar was creating its list. Lawrie now is chairman, president and CEO of the combined company, DXC Technology, which has its headquarters in Tysons Corner. In Virginia, the second-highest paid CEO behind Haley was Barrington, who heads Altria, a tobacco conglomerate based in Richmond. His total 2016 compensation, $24.2 million, came with a total shareholder return of 20 percent. That pay package was more than double what he received the year before, $10.7 million. The only woman in Virginia’s top 10 was Novakovic. General Dynamics, an aerospace and defense company based in Falls Church, had a strong year in 2016, seeing a total shareholder return of 28 percent.  Novakovic also received the highest bonus among all Virginia CEOs on the Equilar list, $5.2 million. Overall, CEO bonuses in Virginia were up an average of 19 percent. Thomas F. Farrell II of Dominion Energy saw the biggest percentage increase in bonus, at 415 percent. His 2015 bonus was $366,432. In 2016, it jumped to $1,887,126. The executive seeing the biggest leap in total compensation was George L. Holm, CEO of Performance Food Group. His pay package rose from $1.7 million in 2015 to $6 million in 2016, or an increase of 248 percent. On the other end of the spectrum was Donald H. Layton, CEO of Federal Home Loan Mortgage, also known as Freddie Mac.  He sustained the largest percentage loss in total compensation, 65 percent, when it dropped from $2 million in 2015 to $701,609 in 2016. Pay for performance As in recent years, there increasingly has been an emphasis on tying a CEO’s compensation to achieving performance goals. Dan Marcec, director of communications for Equilar, says the biggest trend in CEO compensation is pay for performance. “The CEO will be paid in stock or options, contingent on certain performance goals,” Marcec says. All but about half a dozen of the state’s public CEOs received performance-based equity awards, averaging $5.2 million, or about 62 percent of their total average compensation of $8.4 million. “The introduction of Say on Pay in 2011, or the right of shareholders to vote on and approve executive pay packages, brought additional scrutiny to CEO pay and its alignment with company performance and shareholder interests,” Equilar says in its survey of U.S. CEO pay. Salary has become only a small sliver of a CEO’s payday. In fact, the average base salary of the CEOs in the Virginia study declined 2.5 percent in 2016 to $980,160.  In Equilar’s national study of CEOs, median salary climbed about 1 percent and annual bonuses rose about 5 percent. Across the U.S., Marcec says, CEO pay has been going up consistently for the past eight years since the financial crisis. Looking over the Virginia list of CEOs, Marcec was struck by the number of CEOs (10) who have not been in their positions two years.  Typically, new CEOs receive a large stock grant to ensure that they will stay with their company rather than jump at the next opportunity. Competition for talent While CEO pay may seem excessive to some, Marcec says it all comes down to the criteria involved in hiring any new employee, particularly at the executive level. “You look at the pool of talent, the competition for that talent and what the market is. Companies want to say our CEO is the best of the best,” Marcec says, noting that a company’s compensation committee makes the final decision on CEO pay. Although CEO pay is up in Virginia, and across the U.S., Worldat­Work, a Washington, D.C., trade group, has forecast in its 2016-17 Salary Budget Survey that U.S. employers were expected to boost worker pay by an average of only 3 percent this year, the same as 2016. The disparity between executive pay vs. employees may become clearer next year. That’s when companies will begin reporting the ratio of CEO pay to the median employee in filings with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission. While some companies anticipated that the rule might be amended or repealed after Donald Trump’s election as president, it remains in place for now.  So next year’s proxies may reveal more about CEO pay and how it compares to the average U.S. worker. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/busting-myths-about-hsas Busting myths about HSAs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/busting-myths-about-hsas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/busting-myths-about-hsas#When:08:00:00Z “HSAs are embraced by employers of virtually all sizes, in all regions and industries,” says Bill Kite, the owner of D&S Agency in Roanoke. Photo by Don Petersen As health-care costs continue to rise, an increasing number of employers around the country are using cost-savings tools such as health savings accounts to offer affordable benefits to their employees. The accounts, known as HSAs, provide employees with both health and retirement benefits. “An HSA has a dual purpose. That’s what its biggest sizzle is,” says Bill Kite, owner of D&S Agency in Roanoke, a United Benefit Advisors partner firm. “It’s a good tool for all sizes of businesses and for individuals. It allows people to put money away for a rainy day” while helping them cover current health-care expenses. HSAs, established in federal law more than a decade ago, allow employees to save money tax-free. The accounts also permit the employers to make tax-free contributions to workers’ accounts. HSAs must be paired with qualified high-deductible health plans. The IRS defines a high-deductible health plan as any with a deductible of at least $1,300 for an individual or $2,600 for a family. A high-deductible plan’s total yearly out-of-pocket expenses cannot be more than $6,550 for an individual or $13,100 for a family. (The limit does not apply to out-of-network services.) Benefits experts laud HSAs for their triple tax advantage. Contributions are tax-deductible, and they can be invested to grow tax-free. Withdrawals aren’t taxed as long as the individual uses them for qualified medical expenses, such as doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, eye exams and dental care. “HSAs are embraced by employers of virtually all sizes, in all regions and industries,” Kite says. They also are available to self-employed persons and can be passed on to a surviving spouse tax free. Plus, “HSAs can travel with you if you change jobs or insurers.” In Virginia, Kite says, employers closest to Washington, D.C., see a need to provide benefits that can compete with those offered by the federal government. But companies in other parts of the state feel freer to offer high-deductible health plans, which allow for HSAs. According to an America’s Health Insurance Plan report, 20.2 million U.S. residents were covered through HSA-compatible, individual, small-group or large-group plans in 2016. And, according to United Benefit Advisors, a health savings account is offered in nearly 25 percent of all employer-sponsored health insurance plans, a 22 percent increase from five years ago. HSA enrollment is at 17 percent of eligible employees, a 25.9 percent increase from 2015, and nearly a 140 percent increase from five years ago.  But employers interested in joining need to educate themselves and their employees about how health savings accounts really work, says William Applegate, a vice president at Fidelity Investments. Too often people confuse health savings accounts with flexible spending accounts, of which $500 (at most) can be carried over year-to-year, depending on the plan design. All unspent contributions to HSAs roll-over from one year to the next. There are also health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), where the money is provided solely by the employer. “There needs to be a lot of myth busting. HSAs are portable, they can be rolled over, they can be invested and they can ultimately be used in retirement,” Applegate says. An employee (and employer) can contribute up to $3,400 to an HSA for individuals and $6,750 for families this year. Account holders who are 55 years old and older can contribute an extra $1,000. More than three-quarters of account holders withdraw less than they contribute, and roughly a quarter of people don’t use any money from their accounts, according to Fidelity Investments research. That extra money comes in handy later, when it can be used to cover health-care costs during retirement. In August Fidelity released its latest estimate of what a 65-year old couple needs to cover health care and medical expenses throughout retirement. The 2017 estimate is $275,000. While this year’s estimate is only a 6 percent increase over last year’s, it represents a more than 70 percent increase since Fidelity’s initial retiree health-care cost estimate in 2002. HSAs can be as much a retirement savings vehicle as a health-care benefit, Kite says, noting that the original health savings accounts legislation was “written by the people who did IRAs.” After age 65, retirees can use HSA money for nonmedical purposes. The money is taxed as ordinary income. “Employees who don’t have access to a 401(k) or a defined contribution plan can put money away. The money can be invested,” Kite says. “I have clients that started in 2004 and now have savings approaching $200,000.” Applegate urges employers to help employees better understand how to use the HSA as a retirement saving vehicle, for the short and long term. “Only 10 percent of people are maximizing their investments. You need to help them consider the next step,” he says. Give employees decision-support tools to help assess what plan might be right for them. About a third of employers now are making HSAs the only option they offer, he adds. “That strategy is not right for everyone, but it’s double where it was five years ago.” Employers who decide to go with HSAs need to design carefully to make sure that they offer the right incentives, just as they do to encourage 401(k) participation. Employers who contribute to HSAs also should be careful about the timing of their contributions, Applegate says. “If you choose to fully contribute at the beginning of the year, it can help employees’ concerns about the offset. But there’s the risk of forfeiture [if an employee leaves]. If you have higher turnover you have to think about it very carefully.” The accounts not only provide health and retirement benefits, they may offer a bit of stability during tumultuous times in Washington. HSAs were introduced in 2003 during President George W. Bush’s administration. The Affordable Care Act includes health savings accounts, and Republican plans introduced to repeal ACA would have expanded them. That’s important, Applegate says, because “employees are focused on how they can control health-care costs. They don’t have the luxury of waiting for something from Washington.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-buddy-system The buddy system http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-buddy-system http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-buddy-system#When:08:00:00Z Ross Dunlap, CEO of Ceres Nanosciences, says a grant from Virginia Catalyst helped the company attract additional funding. Photo by Stephen Gosling In 2015, Manassas-based Ceres Nanosciences was trying to commercialize its breakthrough diagnostic test for Lyme disease. The company uses the Nanotrap nanoparticle technology to detect signs of disease at extremely low levels from urine, saliva and blood. Giving the company a boost at that time was a $500,000 grant from a state-funded nonprofit corporation, Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp. — also known as the Virginia Catalyst.  “Every amount of funding is critical for a company at our stage, especially in this industry,” says Ross Dunlap, CEO of Ceres Nanosciences. “The life-sciences industry — biotechnology — is a very expensive business to set up and run.” The Catalyst grant provided more than just dollars and cents. The organization’s assistance allowed Ceres to collect more data supporting its technology and fine-tune it for the commercialization of its Lyme-detection test. The Catalyst also helped the company develop relationships with university researchers with valuable expertise. Ceres’ experience is one of many examples of how Virginia is trying to turn research into marketable products and services that will spur economic development. While funding is a big part of the process, the grants demand collaboration among industry and the state’s research universities.  Catalyst funding requires a grant recipient to develop partnerships with two of Virginia’s research universities. For its project, Ceres worked with George Mason University and Virginia Tech.  George Mason’s research focused on helping  Ceres commercialize the Nanotrap Lyme test, while Tech’s Lyme disease research provided the company with patient samples and comparison data for clinical tests. The grant also spurred more interest in the company. “[The Catalyst grant] did actually help us attract more funding, not just from the perspective that we had more data in hand, but it also gave us credibility, and it demonstrated we already had outside investment,”  says Dunlap. Fast forward to today and Ceres is in a major growth period. The company conducts its Nanotrap Lyme Antigen Test for patients and physicians around the country, and in August it announced plans to expand testing to Europe. Ceres also is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to provide testing at the “point of care,” such as a doctor’s office. Ceres, which now has 13 employees, is hiring more scientists. It has received grants from major benefactors, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to apply its technology to other diseases, such as Zika, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and Ebola. In addition, the company is going through a $9 million round of private investment, with more than $5.5 million already pledged by GreyBird Ventures, an early-stage venture fund based in Boston. “I’ve been very impressed with the results,” Jeff Gallagher says of the Catalyst program. He is CEO of Virginia Bio, the commonwealth’s life sciences trade association. “Yes, the projects that have been funded are neat, but, more so, I’ve personally perceived far more collaboration and openness to collaboration and actually doing it among research universities. The whole approach to working with business has changed, too.” Stronger together The competition for research dollars is fierce. For many major grants, Virginia’s universities aren’t as competitive on their own. But when their resources are combined with other universities, they can offer the breadth of research needed to attract major investment. And that means that collaboration has become increasingly important to turning Virginia’s university research into marketable products.  “A big part of what we are trying to do is achieve this competitive critical mass through collaboration,” says Mike Grisham, CEO of the Catalyst. This approach, he explains, “brings in outside capital to Virginia to help fuel our life-sciences industry and our life-sciences research.” Started four years ago, the Catalyst has held seven rounds of funding. Its latest recipients will be announced in early October. Member universities include George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, the College of William & Mary and Eastern Virginia Medical School. To qualify for grants of $200,000 to $800,000, projects must truly be collaborative. They are required to include partnerships with two of the seven participating Virginia research institutions and at least one industry partner. In addition, each project must have matching funds. “All we’re able to do is put enough money up to really catalyze things where they can hit meaningful milestones to attract additional outside capital from either the [National Institutes of Health], or the Department of Defense, or venture capitalists or from Big Pharma,” says Grisham. Data show the relatively young program is having an impact. In four years, the Catalyst has spent $10.4 million on 24 projects, which had just over $20 million in matching funds. Those projects have gone on to raise $80 million in outside funding. “That’s really a 10-to-1 return on taxpayer dollars,” says Grisham. “For every dollar we’ve put in, we’ve attracted 10 times that to really drive commercialization and get our innovations from our universities into the marketplace and thereby creating jobs.” Historically, about 30 percent of the projects that have applied for the grants have been funded. But demand is getting stronger, and competition is more intense. In the sixth round of funding, 30 projects submitted plans, and six were selected. In the seventh round, which focused on neurosciences, three of 12 projects were selected to receive funding. The money for these projects isn’t guaranteed. To receive the full funding, research partners must hit major milestones, which are included in their contracts. Money for Catalyst grants includes funds from the General Assembly as well as $50,000 a year from each of the  participating universities. In the current fiscal year, the program will receive $3.5 million from the state. All projects are reviewed and vetted by the Catalyst’s Project Management and Oversight Panel, which includes scientists, venture capitalists and CEOs from life sciences companies. The panel members evaluate projects on the capability of their management teams, the probability of their obtaining follow-on funding, the quality of their science and the likelihood of their research being commercialized. The panel then makes recommendations to the Catalyst’s board of directors, which selects the projects. In addition to fueling growth for early-stage companies, the program has improved relationships among Virginia’s researchers. “Somebody accused me early on of being the eHarmony of life sciences in Virginia,” says Grisham. “We’ve really changed the culture from one of being fiercely independent to highly collaborative — focused on taking our innovations out of universities and getting them commercialized.” A breakthrough facilitated by the Catalyst was an agreement among the research institutions to share core facilities. All seven agreed this summer to share specialized equipment and laboratories, charging the same rate that their own researchers would pay. “Rather than each university having to replicate each of these major investments in research tools, we’re able to allow people to share them,” says Grisham. “It’s a big breakthrough in collaboration.” Becoming ‘The Brain State’ Another big project launched by the Catalyst includes the Virginia Neuroscience Initiative. It includes a statewide Neurological Disorders Registry of patients in Virginia who have been diagnosed with disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, traumatic brain injury and mental illness. This registry can provide researchers in those fields with an important tool, says Grisham. “Let’s say you’re a researcher and you need to know how many women in the commonwealth have Parkinson’s disease between the ages of 20 and 45 who don’t have diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Well, we can give you that answer in 48 hours.” The initiative’s Clinical Trials Network includes five of Virginia’s largest medical centers and university researchers that work together to screen and enroll participants for clinical trials. The initiative also includes a directory of Virginia’s researchers, health-care providers and facilities involved in neurosciences. That information combined with promising research at several universities, such as The Roanoke Brain Study at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, could help Virginia attract a lot of research money. “NIH has a huge brain initiative, where they’ve said over the next 10 years we’re going to put $1 billion into brain research,” says Grisham. “Well, what Virginia aspires to be, we’re not there yet, but we aspire to be is ‘The Brain State.’” A new fund Another new fund set up by the commonwealth has goals similar to the Catalyst. The General Assembly last year established the Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) to encourage collaboration in commercializing research in biosciences, cybersecurity and data analytics. The fund also will be used eventually to help universities attract high-caliber researchers. Unlike the Catalyst program, the fund does not require a project to have a private-sector partner when a grant request is submitted. The proposal, however, must include a schedule for commercializing the research within the grant period, which can be up to five years. “We’re very focused on research that is nearing a point where there’s a product or service to be commercialized,” says Lynn Seuffert, associate for research investment for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), which is overseeing the application process. To be eligible for funding, a university must partner with another Virginia university, a private company or multidisciplinary groups within a university. Like the Catalyst process, a panel of scientists, venture capitalists and small business owners will review and score the projects. Matching grants also are required. The General Assembly allocated $12 million from its general fund for the VRIF. The legislature also included $29 million from a bond referendum to fund requests for equipment or renovation of facilities. This summer, the Virginia Research Investment Committee, which governs distributions of VRIF, accepted proposals for its first round of funding. The committee determined the initial round would emphasize biosciences — particularly neurosciences — and cybersecurity. The committee dedicated about $4 million for the first round. It received 10 proposals and likely will vote on winning projects in November. A shifting culture Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been a major proponent of efforts to develop the biosciences in Virginia. He has been willing to jump into major projects that can attract research dollars. In 2016, he was named the “Governor of the Year” by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade association representing biotech companies, academic institutions and related groups in the U.S. and more than 30 other nations. In addition to a focus on fueling early-stage companies, the state has provided funding to help develop major collaborative research programs, such as the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax County and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke. On a whole, some of the larger efforts to raise Virginia’s life sciences profile, like ICPH, are in their early stages, says Gallagher of Virginia Bio. “The results are just beginning to bubble up to the surface,” he says. “[The Catalyst] has attracted a lot of attention from outside the state, even though they haven’t really shown all their fruits yet. But the governor has really raised the profile of the industry in the last four years, highlighting these forward-looking initiatives to accelerate collaborative research. It makes a lot of sense and he has a good story to tell.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bikes-beer-and-brains Bikes, beer and brains http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bikes-beer-and-brains http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bikes-beer-and-brains#When:08:00:00Z Want to stand out? Create a catchy brand. That’s what some localities are doing to attract talent and business. The Roanoke region came up with Roanoke Outside while Greater Richmond goes by the moniker of RVA. Both brands are easy to remember, say branding experts, and hint at what the areas have to offer. The idea behind Roanoke’s branding was to refocus the region’s economic development efforts from the image of an old railroad town into a mecca for outdoor recreation. Back in 2008, when Roanoke began to change its efforts in business attraction, it seemed natural to look to the outdoors. “We have 1,000 acres of trails for hiking and biking, … the James River and Smith Mountain Lake, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway and 30 miles of paved urban greenway trails,” says Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, In 2009, the partnership hired a director of outdoor branding to focus on the campaign fulltime.  It also put up billboards and created a website, http://www.roanokeoutside.com that catalogs the region’s outdoor events. This includes brand-building events sponsored by the partnership such as The Blue Ridge Marathon as well as a monthly calendar of events. Visitors can check out things like Yoga for the People (some classes are held outside) and weekly bike-riding meet ups. The partnership also sends a weekly newsletter to about 9,000 people to keep them informed of upcoming events. Doughty says Roanoke Outside has given the region a new narrative. In addition to small businesses popping up that cater to the outdoors, the region has attracted Backcountry.com, a retailer of outdoor gear, and two new craft breweries, Deschutes and Ballast Point.  Add to that many regional breweries and the beer scene has exploded, with festivals, live music and food trucks.  These days, insiders like Doughty jokingly say the area’s new tagline could be “bikes, beer and brains.” The outdoor emphasis appears to be having an impact. In recent years, readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine have voted Roanoke as a Top Outdoor Adventure Town.  The city also has been named one of USA Today’s 10 Best Bike Friendly Communities and one of Expedia’s Greenest Cities in the Nation. The region picked up another accolade in July when The Penny Hoarder named Roanoke as one of “25 Cities that Millennials Can Afford and Actually Want to Live In. ” The Penny Hoarder, a money saving blog, said its list was based on an analysis of population, housing and local price data, economic statistics and something called “a coffee fanatic score.” While such lists may be more fun than pure scientific fact, they help a brand gain traction. Jill Loope, director of economic development in Roanoke, says Roanoke’s branding strategy “is producing results by elevating the Roanoke region’s profile for tourism and economic development, with increased visitor spending, new business attraction and local business growth. ‘’ Doughty, who has a background in advertising, observes that a region can’t fake a brand. “You can’t fool people. The genuiness of this brand to the Roanoke region has enabled us to create ambassadors from the people … and it’s enabled us to get a lot of corporate support.” For instance, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the primary sponsor of Roanoke’s Go Outside festival, a free three-day event of outdoor activities, demonstrations and competitions.  The partnership’s key annual event, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, draws more than 1,800 runners from 46 states and has garnered Roanoke coverage on ESPN and Runners World.  In the seven years since it began, the marathon’s direct economic impact on the region has been about $3.7 million, according to the partnership. Asked about costs in creating the brand, Doughty estimates that the partnership has spent about $420,000 a year on Roanoke Outside since 2009. That amount includes salaries for two people, (the outdoor director and an events person), but not overhead expenses, such as rent for their offices.  That rent can run from about $300,000 a year — when the partnership first began its efforts — to $650,000 in 2017. Through grants and activities such as the Blue Ridge Marathon, Doughty says Roanoke Outside generates about 75 percent of its operating costs. It also has created a nonprofit Roanoke Outside Foundation to help recruit corporate support. “I think it’s a great case study in economic development,” Doughty says of Roanoke Outside. “You could do it with higher education, arts and culture. It’s a template that could be implemented with other assets.” In Richmond, the RVA brand took off when a group of graduate students from VCU’s Brandcenter worked with some local advertising and public relation agencies to get the brand up and running as part of a class project in 2010.   Today, the city is festooned with RVA flags, and people sport bumper stickers, proclaiming they live in RVA.  “RVA was a terminology that was already in existence,” says Caley Cantrell, a professor of strategy at the brandcenter. So rather than create something new, the graduate students and people working pro bono from the local agencies came up with a logo and ran with it, she recalls.  While Richmond has long been known as  “river city,” because of its location on the fall line of the James River, the RVA brand covers more than just the presence of a river.  According to Cantrell and others, it’s more of a broad reference to the city’s resurgence, where entrepreneurs and restaurateurs are flourishing, and downtown is booming and drawing new residents and companies. Today, local businesses sport RVA stickers to share their sense of solidarity, showing an emotional connection to the city they call home. And that connection is key to making a brand successful, says Cantrell. “When I smell someone wearing Chanel No. 5, I think of my mom wearing pink,” she says.  That’s a powerful emotional connection, and that’s how brands work. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/MARS-6677.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/got-brands Got brands? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/got-brands http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/got-brands#When:08:00:00Z   Mars Inc. executive Andy Pharoah displays some of the company’s best-selling brands at the company’s headquarters in McLean. Photo by Mark Rhodes Colorful. Crunchy. Sweet. There’s probably no candy in America more iconic than M&M’s. The hard-shell, chocolate candies debuted 76 years ago.  At first, they were sold only to the U.S. military as part of soldiers’ food rations during World War II.  That’s a suitable beginning for a candy that the late Forrest Mars Sr. envisioned after observing soldiers in the Spanish Civil War. They ate small chocolates with a hard sugar coating that stood up well to heat. Mars patented his own process for that type of candy, and the rest is history.  When World War II ended in 1945, Mars Inc. rolled out M&M’s to the public.  By 1954 the candy maker added a peanut variety.  That same year Mr. Plain and Mr. Peanut M&M’s began to appear in television commercials with a slogan that still resonates with many as a childhood memory: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” By 1956, M&M’s had become the No. 1 candy in the country.  Today, it’s a billon-dollar brand available in a range of colors, fillings and flavors in more than 100 countries. This May brought another big launch: the release of Caramel M&M’s, the first with a soft and chewy center.  M&M’s is a billion dollar global brand — one of ten billion dollar brands in Mars’ food and pet-care businesses. The others include: Snickers, Twix, Orbit/Extra, Dove/Galaxy, Banfield, Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin, and VCA Inc.   Mars is Virginia-based, operating from its corporate headquarters in McLean. The two-story, brown-brick building isn’t plush as headquarters go, but there is a tasty perk: free snacks, including a cold case in the reception area stocked with Mars ice-cream confections. With so many big brands, it’s not surprising that the fourth-generation, family-owned business ranks as the sixth-largest private company in America, with $35 billion in annual sales and 85,000 employees in 80 countries. Yet when it comes to winning brands, Mars has plenty of company in Virginia. From the macho Marlboro Man to a rambunctious group of Vikings who promoted Capital One credit cards, Virginia companies have a history of standout products and slogans.   In fact, according to one national ranking, the Old Dominion is home to 15 of the 500 most-valuable brands in the country. Philip Morris USA — which makes Marlboro cigarettes — Mars and Capital One Financial Corp. all made this year’s Brand Finance U.S 500 list along with Hilton Worldwide, Dollar Tree and CarMax.  (See full list here.) Adding to that distinction is the presence of a top-ranked advertising shop. The Martin Agency in Richmond is the creative force behind hugely successful branding campaigns, including the Geico ads and their promise that “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” Martin & Woltz Inc., The Martin Agency’s predecessor, also came up with “Virginia is for Lovers,” the slogan of Virginia’s state tourism agency. The iconic catch phrase, created in 1969, remains in use today and is ranked by Forbes.com as one of the top 10 tourism brands of all time. Virginia also is home to the No. 1 ranked graduate school in brand management, the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University. With so much homegrown talent, Virginia is proof that glam brands can originate from places other than New York’s Madison Avenue.    So what is the secret behind branding?  How does it drive sales? And what is the role of social media in promoting today’s brands? The art of storytelling “Branding is all about storytelling,” says Andy Pharoah, vice president of corporate affairs and strategic initiatives for Mars. “You’ve got to engage with consumers and connect with them emotionally.” At Mars, the branding starts with quality. “If you look back historically, brands were a guarantee of quality … So that is the first thing,” says Pharoah. “You know it may seem simple to have an M printed on every M&M. But when you have thousands of these candies crossing the [production] line every second and to be able to do those kinds of things at scale, consistent quality is never easy. It’s quite an achievement.”   Next, Mars focuses on the customer and strives to keep the product relevant. Take the case of the blue M&M. In 1995, Mars invited people to participate in a color contest, weighing in on the selection of purple, blue or pink for a new variety of M&M’s. Blue captured the most votes. To help announce the people’s choice, Mars bathed the Empire State building in blue light. The company also continues to invest in research and development. Mars spent $270 million to open a manufacturing plant in Topeka, Kan., in 2014, its first new manufacturing plant in North American in 35 years. The company invested another $100 million in the 500,000-square-foot plant the next year for the Caramel M&M’s  production line. Looking to the future, Pharoah says, “Consumers are interested in not just the product itself, but the company behind it and what that company stands for.” Mars is deeply committed to sustainability. It is working to have all of its cocoa come from certified sustainable farming operations by 2020 and to have its manufacturing operations powered by carbon-free energy by 2040.  To that end, the company has built two large wind farms in Texas and Scotland to provide 100 percent renewable energy to its operations in the U.S. and the UK. Rather than power Mars’ operations directly, the wind farms provide the company with renewable energy certificates transferable for electricity use in these facilities.  In September, Mars announced another bold initiative: a $1 billion, Sustainable in a Generation Plan.   Over the next few years, the company plans to fight climate change by further reducing  greenhouse gas emissions, and it wants to reduce poverty by improving wages for the 1 million people who produce the raw materials for its products. To engage consumers in the dialogue on renewable energy, the company began running a new advertising campaign last month that shows the M&M characters championing wind power.  The release was timed to coincide with  a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York where world leaders gathered to discuss climate change.  In a release announcing Mars’ new initiative, company CEO Grant F. Reid said, “Through our much-loved M&M’s brand, we can inspire consumers on this important topic and shine the spotlight on renewable energy ...”   Pharoah won’t say what Mars spends annually on branding and marketing. Nor would he reveal which Mars’ product generates the most revenue. He did note, however, that the majority of the company’s sales now comes from its pet-product and pet-care divisions. This sector is poised for continued growth with Mars’ recent $9.1 billion acquisition of VCA Inc., a chain of 800 small veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. The Marlboro Man When compiling its 2017 list of top brands, Brand Finance, a London-based valuation and strategy consultancy, said Marlboro remains Virginia’s most valuable brand. Even with strict federal regulations on marketing and advertising, Marlboro is the most valuable tobacco brand in the world, according to the consultancy.  Asked about Marlboro’s dom­­­­­inance, Anne Bahr Thompson, a managing director of strategy in Brand Finance’s New York office, says declining demand for cigarettes in Western markets is offset by growth in other parts of the world, such as China, Indonesia and Africa, “where regulation remains weaker. “Like some other well-known tobacco brands, Marlboro may be able to rely on long-standing iconic heritage and familiarity among consumers to mitigate the effects of plain packaging. This will provide a significant competitive advantage over smaller, unknown tobacco brands who will struggle to penetrate new markets,” Thompson says in an email. Henrico County-based Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, won’t comment on outside estimates. However, spokesman George Parman confirms  that Marlboro has been the leading U.S. cigarette brand for more than 40 years and is the retail share leader in all 50 states, with about $34 billion in sales in 2016. Today, the image of a cigarette-smoking cowboy astride a horse will forever be associated with Marlboro’s tough guy image.  Ironically, Marlboro was originally marketed as a women’s cigarette. The cigarette was advertised as being as “Mild as May” until 1954 when Philip Morris decided to reposition the product for broader appeal. The company hired Leo Burnett,  a Chicago advertising executive, for the rebranding. The Marlboro campaign was conceived as a way to popularize filtered cigarettes, which until 1954 had been marketed only to women. What better way to counter a feminine image than with commercials of cowboys herding horses, men in Army fatigues or bikers riding Harleys? The Marlboro Man campaign went national in 1955 and continued in the U.S. until about 1999, when a master settlement agreement between major tobacco companies and 46 states put stringent restrictions on cigarette advertising, due to health issues associated with smoking, especially lung cancer. Asked about the brand’s continuing growth, Parman responds,  “First and foremost to brand success is our approach to responsibly growing market share.  Our companies’ products are meant for adults, and society expects us to market them responsibly.”  Secondly, he said the company strives to build relationships with adult smokers.  “One way we connect with adult smokers is through one-to-one engagement on our branded websites,” where adults must be 21 to enter. “From there adult smokers can engage with our branded content, experience special offers and more.” Philip Morris USA doesn’t use the Marlboro brand on any tobacco products except cigarettes. Keeping your promise Protecting a brand’s identity is key. “There’s no faster way to destroy a brand than to not deliver on the promise of that brand,” says Matt Williams, CEO of the Martin Agency. Just look at what happened recently to the Chipotle Mexican restaurant chain and United Airlines.  In both cases, say experts, their brand promises took deep hits when, through social media, consumers saw rodents on the floor of a Chipotle restaurant in Dallas and witnessed  a 69-year-old passenger being dragged off an overbooked United flight. “Great brands need to be as consistent as they can, not just in their messages, but in their experiences,” says Kelly O’Keefe,  a professor of brand management at VCU. When it comes to brand promises — be it fresh food or good customer airline service — companies need to be about “walking the walk and talking the talk,” adds O’Keefe. “And of these two ...  actions speak louder than words. Where brands are falling behind these days is when their actions are really not positive.”   Brands can recover from disaster if companies respond appropriately.  Williams points to the classic textbook case of the Tylenol poisoning murders in 1982. Seven people died as the result of drug tampering, with some of Tylenol’s acetaminophen capsules tainted with potassium cyanide.  Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol’s manufacturer, spent millions pulling all its product off the shelves and said,  “We’re going to do what needs to be done to make sure you and your family are safe,” recalls Williams. The incident later led to reforms in packaging of over-the-counter medications, such as tamper-proof seals. One reason the long-running Geico campaign has been so successful, Williams continues, is because the company remained true to its brand promise. The firm, which began under the name of the Government Employees Insurance Co., has a “direct” insurance model, which helps to lower prices. Customers can call the company directly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for help and information.   As the company has grown, Geico has added a few agents, but overall the model remains the same.  Helping to deliver the message of lower insurance prices is the Geico Gecko, a green lizard with a British accent and a penchant for humor who shows up in all kinds of places. When the Martin Agency started with Geico in 1994, the company ranked eighth in the industry among auto insurers. “Now it’s No. 2, with State Farm the only one ahead of them now. [They have]been the fastest-growing car insurance company for 12 years running,” says Dean Jarrett, Martin’s chief of communications. Social media Today, perhaps more than ever before, companies have a chance to engage with customers in real time through digital platforms. Yet the digital age “raises the stakes,” says Williams. When news blows up on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, companies would be advised to behave in a way ”that consumers are saying good things about you, because, if you don’t, they’re going to say bad things about you, and millions and millions and millions of people are going to hear it.” At the very least, adds Williams, “You have to understand how people talk about your brand on social media. It’s a great source of consumer insight, because consumers are going to be giving you completely honest, real-time feedback about your product. “ Kevin Rothermel, a professor of strategy at the VCU Brand Center, says that with modern brands like Apple — the No. 1 brand in the world according to Forbes — branding emanates from a company’s core. “You will feel who the company is through how they behave and how it feels to interact with them.”  This is true of Apple, he says, through its products, manufacturing, packaging and distribution.  Before the digital age, brands typically would be bolted on to the product after the fact. “It was almost the reverse of how great brands work now,” observes Rothermel. Another example of modern value-based branding is CarMax. Caley Cantrell, the head professor on strategy at the BrandCenter, points out that CarMax in Henrico County reimagined what it meant to buy a used car. With its no-haggle pricing, “I don’t think a lot of people even think of it as a place to buy a used car; they’ve evolved beyond that. It’s a place of great service,” says Cantrell. In the midst of the digital shift, advertising and marketing agencies are getting more innovative. For instance, during a 34-minute power blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, the creative team behind Oreo cookies tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet packed more of a punch than Oreo’s actual Superbowl ad. The original Twitter message was retweeted 10,000 times in one hour. “A light bulb went on for all of us when that happened,” says Jarrett. Now, before big events, some of Martin’s clients have extra content ready to go. “When we start putting stuff into the marketplace, if we need to adjust based on how things are trending … which hashtags are trending, we can make changes and additions on the spot — with the client approving, not approving — as we make edits as it’s happening.”  The Martin Agency also has won awards for its use of pre-roll ads — those ads that pop up on the Internet before people can get to the content they searched for. Many people hit the skip button to avoid such ads, but Martin did an “unskippable” pre-roll ad campaign for Geico, and tried to turn this premise on its head by making the ads so memorable and humorous that people didn’t want to skip them. Brand equity The ultimate goal for any brand is what’s known as brand equity. “Brand equity is the magical thing that happens when someone says ‘give me a Coke,’ when they mean any sort of soda,  or ‘give me a Kleenex’ — when they actually substitute the brand name for a product or service,” says David Saunders, founder and president of Madison+ Main, a branding, marketing and public relations agency in Richmond. Another example? “I’m going to Google it. When that happens, you hit the top of the mountain.” Saunders, whose company works with emerging, small and medium-size businesses, says there are basically three kinds of brands: “brands you know and love, brands you know and don’t love, and brands you never heard of.” Still, with all the change, Williams says the essence of a brand hasn’t changed.  “A good brand is still a set of images and associations attached to a company or product that appeal in a unique way to the people they want to appeal to.” Yet, how brands live in today’s world, he adds, is completely different, because there are so many consumer touch points via tablets, smartphones, social media and apps. As VCU’s Rothermel sees it, “It’s really become the Wild West again. Now there’s an opportunity to do something amazing and interesting with the different technologies that no one has ever seen before.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Treacy-5762.png Dennis Treacy is no stranger at the Virginia State Capitol. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consensus-builder1 Consensus builder http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consensus-builder1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consensus-builder1#When:08:00:00Z Dennis Treacy, an executive at Smithfield Foods for 15 years, has a lot on his plate these days. His busy schedule, however, has nothing to do with making bacon and ham. Treacy chairs the board of directors at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the water-quality advocacy group Virginiaforever.  He also is rector of the board of visitors at Virginia Tech, his alma mater. While he has retired from most of his duties at Smithfield Foods where he was executive vice president and chief sustainability officer, Treacy remains president of the company’s philanthropic arm, the Smithfield Foundation. “I didn’t plan to have all of them hit on the same year, it just worked out like that,” Treacy says of his many leadership roles. “But I enjoy it, and if you enjoy something, it makes it easier.” Treacy also is a member of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council and avid supporter of the Growth4VA campaign, which was launched in September to promote reform and reinvestment in Virginia’s higher education system. The range of concerns represented by these organizations — the economy, education, the environment and philanthropy — say a lot about Treacy’s versatility and ability to build consensus. “Dennis is well known among Virginia’s business leaders for his reputation for getting results by finding areas of common ground among many stakeholders,” says Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber. ”His personal integrity and leadership skills have been invaluable to the Virginia Chamber this year as we work toward our two top goals of assembling a bold plan for long-term economic growth with Blueprint Virginia 2025 and strengthening Virginia’s reputation as a top state for business.” Treacy surprised many people when he joined Smithfield Foods in 2002 to lead its sustainability program. He had been an assistant attorney general in the natural resources section of the Virginia Attorney General’s office and director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. In 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Smithfield $12.7 million for illegal discharges into the Pagan River, at the time the largest fine imposed under the federal Clean Water Act.  Treacy actually had sued the company — the case is titled Treacy v. Smithfield Foods — while heading the Virginia DEQ. But when he joined Smithfield, “I didn’t see a company full of polluters,” Treacy says. “What I saw was a company full of top-flight executives and top-flight employees who just missed this environmental issue. They didn’t understand how important it was. “They invited me to give my best advice over the years. I must say that they took that advice,” he adds. Smithfield allowed employees to develop “environmental solutions for things that they ran into in their everyday jobs. It saved the company millions of dollars.” C. Larry Pope, Smithfield Foods’ CEO until the end of 2015, said Treacy’s efforts “enabled Smithfield to set the standard for sustainability in our industry.” Treacy’s leadership also has contributed to the success of Virginiaforever, a nonpartisan group formed 10 years ago that advocates for increased funding for water quality improvements and land preservation in the commonwealth.  Half of the group’s members are large companies, and the other half are environmental organizations.  “There is great power regardless of where you show up, whether that be the governor’s office or the General Assembly ... if a significant member of the business community is standing there with a significant member of the environmental community asking for the same thing,” Treacy says. “We have had a great reception from everybody in the General Assembly. We’ve never been turned away.” Treacy and his wife, Donna, who have two grown children, live on a 17-acre farm in Hanover County where they have eight cows, 11 chickens and a dog.  “The cows aren’t ours, I must admit,” Treacy says. “They are owned by a farmer down the road. But as part of the deal, we get some meat at the end of the year and the enjoyment of tending to them.” The Treacys like to fly fish in Virginia and Montana. “We get a lot of enjoyment out of that,” he says. “My wife is better than I am — way better.” Virginia Business interviewed Treacy at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s offices in Richmond in late July. The following is an edited transcript. Virginia Business: What are the main objectives for the Chamber this year? Treacy: There are two big issues that we are working on. The first one is [Blueprint Virginia 2025]. Virginia is blessed to have a wonderful business climate. The fact that we have politicians from both parties who care about business is very important to us. It’s incumbent on the business community to make sure that we develop a plan that is not based on partisanship or favoritism.  It’s based on strategic thinking.  The first Blueprint … was presented [in 2013] to both [gubernatorial] candidates before the election as what the business community thought that Virginia should look like. It includes things like education, business climate, quality of life and workforce development. The 2025 effort is a remake of the first effort. … We are developing a blueprint that the business community leaders will agree upon and will present it to the candidates for governor. Our full hope and expectation is that the next governor will embrace it, because it is well thought out and has the blessing of the entire business community …. [The second issue], my favorite, is the effort to restore Virginia to the top of the rankings for best states to do business … For several years we were number one, and we were so proud of that. In recent years, you have seen us decline to number 10, number 11, number 15. We’ve been going the wrong way … [The chamber] felt that the business community needed to step up and come up with a plan to make sure that Virginia is at the top of those rankings again ... The good news is that we’ve got partners. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has a new leader, Stephen Moret ... He agrees with us about the rankings and the importance of the aura that it created [in being a top state for business] … We also have GO Virginia [a new regional economic development program]. They have panels all over Virginia. We are in sync with VEDP, we are in sync with GO Virginia, and we are working with folks in the education world to make sure we understand what the most important issues are. They will find their way into the Blueprint, but they will also be translated into our answers for surveys from these organizations that rank states. We are very hopeful that we are going to advance once again to the top of those rankings. VB: On the rankings study, when is that supposed to be completed? Treacy: It is an ongoing thing. We have partnered with Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. They are doing part of it. They are looking at the ranking systems. They have already delivered a program to us that describes how these organizations rank states. But this is not a one-shot deal. We can’t snap our fingers and have this occur overnight. Instead, I think what you’re seeing is the business community developing a path for the future. That path is intended to be sustained so that we never lose ground again. VB: Back to Blueprint Virginia, has McAuliffe followed [the first Blueprint] during his administration? Treacy:  He has. He has been a good governor for business. If you look at the kind of decisions that have come out of the governor’s office, I would say, by-and-large, they are pretty pro-business. Now there are some folks who would disagree with that. But he took on the major planks of the Blueprint and tried to help implement them, as did members of the General Assembly. We had the entire legislative and executive branches pulling the oars in the same direction on business development in this state. VB: What sort of goals do you see [as rector at Virginia Tech] that the board of visitors will be pursuing in the upcoming year? Treacy: Virginia Tech is at an exciting time in its history. We have a president [Timothy D. Sands] who is working with the board, faculty, students and alumni to create a Virginia Tech of 2047, the Virginia Tech of the future. The program is called Beyond Boundaries. (See related story on Page 76.) This reinvents what education looks like. It is intended to tackle big problems with the entire student body and with the entire research team, focused on solving big world problems, whether that would be an agricultural challenge of feeding hungry people or whether that would be cybersecurity or some other IT effort … Virginia Tech has always been a place of pride for its alums, and I think this will magnify that. We are looking for partnerships with business. We are deploying our research efforts on focused avenues that will keep us at the top of the list for research institutions. We have always been the top research institution in Virginia [in annual expenditures]. We want to advance on the world rankings. Tech is rethinking itself, but at the same time, it is mindful of the Virginia Tech we all know. It’s not as though something was wrong at Virginia Tech or something needed to be fixed at Virginia Tech. It’s just a new and exciting direction. VB: Now, you’ve been chairman of the board’s finance audit committee. What shape is Virginia Tech in financially? Treacy: It’s always tough. A friend of mine told me one time, “There’s never enough money for education.” I think there was some truth to that ... People always complain that education should be more efficient or it should cut costs. I don’t disagree with that. I will tell you that I think Virginia Tech is run very, very efficiently. We have had a big leap in students being admitted to Virginia Tech recently without any loss of quality. I think that will help the financial picture. As we are thinking about that future and our financial future, we are also looking at new places to have Virginia Tech’s identity associated with. One of them is the National Capital Region in Northern Virginia. The schools there are the top of the line as it relates to research efforts. Our business program has quite a presence there as well. You’ll see us becoming more and more and more a national player in Northern Virginia. I think you also will see us expand in the Roanoke area [where the university and Carilion Clinic are partners in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute.] I think you will see us embracing Roanoke Valley as well as Blacksburg. VB: How did you become president of the Smithfield Foundation? Treacy: I have been the full-time president of the Smithfield Foundation for about two years now. In my former job, I was executive vice president in charge of lots of different things. I was in charge of the legal department, government affairs, sustainability, environmental compliance, communications and the foundation … The foundation has three primary pillars right now. One of them is educating the children and grandchildren of our employees. We have a relationship with more than 10 colleges around the country where our employees’ children and grandchildren get to go to school, many of them for free because it is a needs-based program. After students go through the financial aid [process], our foundation comes in behind it with funding, which usually makes up for the entire cost of an education. The second pillar is feeding hungry people. We’re a food company. One of the things you see in any food bank in the nation is a real lack of protein. It is very difficult to handle and to get. Smithfield has given away pork products and protein [across the country]. The third pillar is relatively new for us, which is supporting veterans’ causes. Our CEO [Kenneth M. Sullivan] is passionate about supporting veterans and their families. About a month ago, we gave a donation to the [Virginia Veterans Services Foundation]. They are in the process of working with the governor to try to wipe out [homelessness among veterans]. It’s a moving target. It constantly needs support. We gave a fairly significant donation which was to give furniture and things like that to veterans who have found housing. Once you get in a room, you need a bed to sleep in, a couch to sit on, you need food to eat, you need lots of things. We’re working with the state of Virginia to make that happen. It is very, very satisfying to our team to be a part of that. VB: Environmental issues have become a flashpoint in many recent elections. Virginiaforever has prided itself in being able to find a consensus. As we see, even in Virginia politics, more partisanship and a drift from the center, is that going to be harder to do? Treacy: I don’t know. I will tell you that Virginiaforever is not a partisan group.  There is great power in what we do. We have only identified two things that we lobby for, and that is money for water quality improvements and land preservation. We have agreed on those two things for more than 10 years … Sometimes we don’t get all of the money we’re asking for. Last year was a tough year for us, but they know we’ll be back … Is the environment a Democratic or Republican issue? I would say neither. I think most of our elected officials and politicians view it that way. Environmental protection is vital to Virginia as a whole. The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed environmental principles and the work of Virginiaforever along with the work of the Businesses for the Bay program run by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. The first [Blueprint Virginia] had a significant section on environmental improvement. This new one will as well. The chamber has met with members of the environmental community to get their input of what that blueprint should look like.  We are unique in that regard. As I look at other parts of the country, those kinds of interactions may not be possible. But here in Virginia, they are. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ROA_LaLonde.png “We just want excellent beer,” says Michael LaLonde, the president and CEO of Deschutes Brewery. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/oregon-craft-brewer-takes-its-first-concrete-step-into-virginia Oregon craft brewer takes its ‘first concrete step into Virginia’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/oregon-craft-brewer-takes-its-first-concrete-step-into-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/oregon-craft-brewer-takes-its-first-concrete-step-into-virginia#When:08:00:00Z Just a few hours before the June opening of Deschutes Brewery’s Roanoke tasting room, President and CEO Michael LaLonde was explaining the difference between the eighth-largest craft brewery in the country and international conglomerates such as Constellation Brands and Anheuser-Busch InBev. “Our success doesn’t start with billions,” he says. The Bend, Ore-based brewery is making Roanoke its East Coast beachhead, with plans to begin shipping 190,000 barrels of beer from the Star City as far west as Kansas early in 2021. Deschutes beer has been in Roanoke stores for a while now. The company also has held two street pub events in the city, raising about $148,000 for local nonprofits. LaLonde, however, calls the tasting room just off the Downtown Market “our first concrete step into Virginia.” Defining craft beer is increasingly complicated because large brewers are buying craft breweries. Anheuser-Busch InBev, for example, last year acquired Virginia’s largest craft brewer, Devil’s Backbone. “I personally think ‘craft’ is a pretty powerful term, and I think it should mean something,” says Deschutes founder Gary Fish. But Fish seems unconcerned about the behemoths chasing his customers. “Our goals are accomplished if we do what we know how to do as well as we know how to do it,” Fish says. “Competition is strictly about us. It’s not about the other guy. It’s about how well we do what we know how to do. If we do that, we’ll get our share of the market. They’ll get their share, everybody will succeed and, quite frankly, the consumer will benefit the most.” Craft beer is traditionally a competitive yet cooperative market. Some Roanoke brewers, for instance, collaborated with Deschutes to create a beer served at the most recent Roanoke street pub. “We just want excellent beer,” LaLonde says. “We want the entire craft beer community to be at that kind of level.” Fish and his family own most of the company he founded nearly 30 years ago, but employees own about 8 percent. The company’s mantra, LaLonde says, is “Do your best. Next time, do it better.” So far, the formula seems to be working. “I’ve found that when you have an impact on a company,” LaLonde says, “it’s a better place to work.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sunset_Digital-58.png Paul Elswick (left) is CEO and his son, Ryan, is COO of Sunset Digital Communications. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sunset-digital-sees-promise-in-50-million-optinet-deal Sunset Digital sees promise in $50 million OptiNet deal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sunset-digital-sees-promise-in-50-million-optinet-deal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sunset-digital-sees-promise-in-50-million-optinet-deal#When:08:00:00Z Paul Elswick is excited. “I’ve lived in Southwest Virginia all of my adult life, and I think it’s a turning point,” the CEO of Sunset Digital Communications says. He is talking about  his company’s $50 million purchase of OptiNet, the broadband network previously owned by BVU (Bristol Virginia Utilities). OptiNet provides cable, phone and high-speed internet service to roughly 12,500 Southwest Virginia customers. “We think it’s a cornerstone for reinventing the economy in Southwest Virginia,” Elswick says. That economy has depended on coal jobs, which have been declining for a long time. In 1985, the U.S. had more than 178,000 coal miners. In June, there were a few more than 50,000. Elswick, whose company serves customers from Bluefield to Bristol and into Tennessee, says broadband can attract new jobs to the region. “Once we put it in place, all kinds of smart people will figure out how to use it, and we’ll start growing the economy,” he says. His company plans to provide nearly 160 jobs, counting the people who will help expand the network. “You’re talking about climbing poles, digging ditches, laying cable, going into people’s homes and doing professional installations without damaging their house,” Elswick says. “And then, back at the headquarters, you’ve got highly skilled people developing the virtual network, which is configuring switches and routers and stuff to route all the traffic … not to mention the back-office jobs of billing and marketing and sales and just everything it takes to run a business from soup to nuts; that’s what we’re going to do in-house.” Sunset is a partner in a Mountain Empire Community College program preparing people to begin linemen training, just one example of how the company tries to find employees in the region it serves, says COO Ryan Elswick, Paul’s son. “We’ve grown our own,” he says, “and we think there’s still a large untapped — relatively large untapped — group of people who are skilled or semi-skilled that we’ll be able to pull from.” Sunset’s plans call for another $58 million in private investment in the system during the next five years, Paul Elswick says. Government investment may push that total past $150 million in five to seven years, he says. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/OTN_Render.png The plan will include incentives to property owners to carve out space for art venues. Rendering courtesy City of Alexandria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-plan-to-include-retail-corridor-arts-district Alexandria plan to include retail corridor, arts district http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-plan-to-include-retail-corridor-arts-district http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-plan-to-include-retail-corridor-arts-district#When:08:00:00Z A recently approved plan for an Alexandria neighborhood calls for corridors where properties are required to have ground-level stores and a pedestrian-friendly arts district along the Potomac River. The plan also includes acreage for a waterfront park. The Alexandria City Council approved the mixed-use plan, Old Town North Small Area Plan, in June. It calls for development of 200-plus acres north of the city’s Old Town and guiding the neighborhood’s growth for the next 25 years. The section of land is bordered by Slaters Lane to the north, the Potomac River to the east, Oronoco Street to the south and North Washington Street to the west. The retail corridor is planned on North Saint Asaph and Montgomery streets. “Retail has more success when it’s concentrated,” says Heba ElGawish, the plan’s project manager. The area now includes the Art League’s Madison Annex and MetroStage. ElGawish says incentives will be offered to encourage property owners to carve out space for various types of arts venues. Creating an arts district “would continue to establish an identity for the area,” the small area plan draft says. At the north end is a 25-acre site that housed the coal-fired Potomac River Generating Station, which closed in 2012. That parcel has been subdivided and a portion will remain as a Pepco switching yard. The location has a number of transportation advantages, according to ElGawish. “A large portion of it is within walking distance of the Braddock Metro. And when the Potomac Yard Metro comes, it will be walking distance, too.” The Potomac Yard Metrorail station is scheduled to open in 2021. The plan recommends a circulator bus and calls for a new north-south route into the power plant site, she says, adding that “pedestrians and bikes are served very well by the Mount Vernon Trail.” Redevelopment of the power plant is considered a midterm project, to be completed in six to 10 years, ElGawish says. Work is going on to decontaminate the land and groundwater under the old plant. In the long term, she says, the city hopes to convert the rail corridor there into a ground-level version of the High Line, the 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park in New York. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/covington2.png Josée Covington and her sons, Denny and Paul, run Covington Travel, based in Glen Allen. Photo by Shandell Taylor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/covington-travel-celebrates-50th-anniversary Covington Travel celebrates 50th anniversary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/covington-travel-celebrates-50th-anniversary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/covington-travel-celebrates-50th-anniversary#When:08:00:00Z In the 1960s Josée Covington wanted to start a travel agency. There was only one problem — she didn’t have any money. To address this problem, she sent a telegram to her family in Luxembourg, saying, “Starting my own business. Need money. Send me lots.” They did.  She used the money to launch Covington Travel in 1967 in a 500-square-foot office in downtown Richmond. Fifty years later, the Glen Allen-based company has grown to 84 full-time employees serving more than 300 corporate clients.  Profitable since its third year in business, the company is on track to reach $95 million in sales this year. The challenges of starting a business in the 1960s were different than the hurdles new companies face today. Back then, banks typically required a woman to have her husband cosign a loan. Covington, however, was able to secure a loan on her own.  “They knew what kind of income was already coming in, so they didn’t hesitate to give me the rest of the capital,” she says. The firm began by planning travel for leisure customers, but today, the lion’s share of its business comes from corporations. For example, the company plans group travel for nonprofits or business trips for executives.  The rest of the business involves organizing vacations and meetings. The emergence of travel sites on the internet hasn’t been an issue for the company. “It’s done wonders for us, because people who need complicated travel arrangements are not going to find it on the internet,” says Covington. Her son, Paul, the company’s chief financial and information officer, adds that the firm also has the technology necessary to serve do-it-yourself customers who, for example, prefer to book trips using the company’s online booking system. The biggest challenges currently facing Covington Travel are geopolitical issues impacting how or where people travel. The Zika virus, for example, caused people to avoid trips to impacted countries. However, the company says it was able to find other suitable destinations. Overall, Covington credits the travel agency’s growth to its employees. “Nobody is ever successful on their own,” she says. “It takes a village, and that’s what we have.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/tim_smith.png Tom Smith is the president and CEO of Movement Bank in Danville. Photo by Steven Mantilla http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investor-brings-new-life-to-historic-danville-bank Investor brings new life to historic Danville bank http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investor-brings-new-life-to-historic-danville-bank http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investor-brings-new-life-to-historic-danville-bank#When:08:00:00Z When Tom Smith heard about plans to recapitalize First State Bank in Danville he immediately wanted to become involved in the project. Casey Crawford, a co-founder of Fort Mill, S.C.-based Movement Mortgage, made a $10 million personal investment in the bank in June, making him the majority stockholder. “This is a startup with history, and the history of the bank appealed to Casey,” says Smith, who is now president and CEO of the bank under its new name, Movement Bank. Smith formerly was the founding president of a community bank in North Carolina. The bank was founded in 1919 as Savings Bank of Danville by African-Americans wanting to provide financial services to people denied credit by mainstream banks. In recent years, however, the bank has struggled. In 2011 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions issued a consent order in an attempt to improve its financial performance. The bank’s condition “got more critical in 2016 and 2017,” Smith says. Since Crawford’s investment, the bank’s assets have grown from $28 million to $39.5 million. A native of Falls Church and a graduate of the University of Virginia, Crawford played in the NFL for three seasons. His stint included winning a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He previously played for the Carolina Panthers from 2000 to 2001. Since its founding in 2008, Movement Mortgage has grown to more than 650 locations in 47 states with 4,000 employees. The company ranked No. 1,295 in this year’s listing of the nation’s fastest-growing companies by Inc. magazine. Movement Mortgage had revenue of $579.9 million last year. Its three-year revenue growth rate was 316 percent. As part of its relaunch, Movement Bank is enhancing its existing products. In addition to banking services, it provides mortgages as well as commercial and consumer loans. “We are a full-service bank,” Smith says. The bank’s plans include opening loan production offices in Richmond, Virginia Beach and Roanoke over a period of time. Smith hopes that customers feel the new change to Movement Bank “was seamless,” he says. “We still have the same hours, the same people and the same service.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/GARBER.png Charles Garber represents the ninth generation of his family to own his 370-acre farm in Shenandoah County. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-recognizes-farms-owned-by-families-for-centuries Program recognizes farms owned by families for centuries http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-recognizes-farms-owned-by-families-for-centuries http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-recognizes-farms-owned-by-families-for-centuries#When:08:00:00Z Charles Garber is proud his family’s Shenandoah County farm is part of the Virginia Century Farm program. “Our roots run deep here,” he says. Garber represents the ninth generation of his family to own Garber Farms, a 370-acre farm established around 1775. The Garber farm joins a distinguished group in the Virginia Century Farm program. Formed in 1997, the program is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services through the Office of Farmland Preservation. To be eligible for the Virginia Century Farm designation, a farm must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, be lived on or farmed by a descendant of the original owner and gross more than  $2,500 annually from the sale of farm products. “This is an honorary designation to recognize families that have owned farms for hundreds of years continuously,” says Andy Sorrell, coordinator of the Office of Farmland Preservation. Nearly 1,400 Virginia farms have been designated as Virginia Century Farms since the program’s inception. More than 20 family farms in Virginia are recognized as being more than 250 years old. The state’s oldest Virginia Century Farm, Summer Hill Farm in Hanover County, has been owned by the Newton and Page families since 1672. The program has three farms from the 1600s, Sorrell says. Garber’s ancestors, who were German Dunkard Brethren, moved to the Shenandoah Valley during the Revolutionary War. “At the time, this area was largely uninhabited,” he says. Today the family raises poultry, specifically small broilers used for fast-food restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Popeyes.  “We also have about 125 to 150 cows, and we crop around 300 acres of corn, beans and wheat,” Garber says. The farm is also a distributor for cattle-handling equipment made in Iowa. “That’s been a good diversification,” Garber says. The Garbers believed they would qualify for the Virginia Century Farm program when they heard about it. “We are proud our farm has been around so long. A little bit of recognition makes you feel good,” he says. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Regent-1167.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regent-university-to-open-college-of-health-care-sciences Regent University to open college of health-care sciences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regent-university-to-open-college-of-health-care-sciences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regent-university-to-open-college-of-health-care-sciences#When:08:00:00Z Regent University expects its 10,000-student enrollment to swell when the university opens its College of Healthcare Sciences and School of Nursing next year. “Health care is exploding around the nation,” says the university’s founder, CEO and chancellor, M.G. “Pat” Robertson. “Demand for quality health-care graduates is three times that of other fields.” The country is seeing growing demand for health-care services at a time it is experiencing a shortage of professionals in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health-care occupations is projected to grow 19 percent through 2024, adding about 2.3 million jobs. By 2030, the number of new nursing jobs nationally is expected to grow by more than 1 million, with more than 32,000 of those jobs being created in Virginia. Regent’s current health-care programs will be included in the new college, which is expected to open in fall 2018. The college initially will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, master’s degrees in health-care informatics and health-care administration, and a doctorate in nursing practice. The college is scheduled to phase in five new programs in 2019 and continue to roll out programs in future years. “The demand is overwhelming. Health care is so important because the population is getting older,” Robertson says. The university is searching for a dean to head the college. David L. Bernd, former CEO of Sentara Healthcare in Virginia and North Carolina, is chairing an advisory board that will work with university leadership on the process. The college at first will be located in Regent’s existing buildings, but plans call for “future facilities to support clinical education and training,” says Robertson. “The university has also secured partnerships with local health-care facilities for the use of clinical spaces for hands-on training for students. The Regent leadership team, supported by our advisory board, seeks to ensure that the new college and its programs are the best in class.” Regent is one of the nation’s fastest-growing universities, currently posting 18 percent growth in enrollment compared with the same time period last year. That percentage is expected to grow by the end of the year. “Regent is a dynamic school these days,” Robertson says. “We want to be on the cutting edge of education.” 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/people-october-2017 People - October 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/people-october-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/people-october-2017#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Carolyn Carpenter has been named vice president and chief operating officer of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Carpenter is an experienced health-care executive who had a 20-year career with Duke University Health System, according to a news release. For the past three years, she has served as chief operating officer for the system’s flagship, Duke University Hospital. (Daily Press) Don Godwin has been named the CFO and vice president of business management of the Newport News Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. He most recently was CFO of Hitachi Data Systems Federal, which is based in Reston. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, was recently recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 most influential people in health care. The 16th annual Modern Healthcare ranking is based on voting by the publication’s readers and editorial staff. (News release) The Norfolk Forum named Maura Murchake as its executive director. Murchake joined the forum in June 2014 as membership manager, overseeing all aspects of subscriptions, ticket sales and direct mail. (Daily Press) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Jonathan Alger, president of James Madison University, has been appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Millennial Civic Engagement. (Augusta Free Press) Michael Creech has been named director of sales for the recently created data center business at Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks Corp. Creech was a senior consultant at TierPoint in Charlotte, N.C. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Dr. Philip O’Donnell, Shenandoah University’s physician assistant studies program medical director, received the Physician Assistant Preceptor of the Year Award from the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants.  (News release) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Tammy K. Brown has joined Martinsville-based Carter Bank & Trust as a vice president and commercial relationship manager. She will be based at the Bank’s Graves Mill Road office in Lynchburg. (News release) Robert Mills Jr. of Briar View Farm in Pittsylvania County has been named the 2017 Virginia Farmer of the Year. Mills is one of 10 finalists for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award that will be announced in October at the Sunbelt Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Connie Nyholm, the owner and CEO of Virginia International Raceway in Alton, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research board of trustees. Nyholm also serves on the board of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Roadracing Industry Council. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Diana Schwartz is the new executive director of Danville’s River District Association. She was director of business retention for the Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership in Florida. She also served as director of the Ocala Main Street Program.  (Danville Register & Bee) Carlyle Wimbish has been named the Halifax County representative on the Danville Community College board. Wimbish is retired from the North Carolina Community College System. (Danville Register & Bee) CENTRAL VIRGINIA    Richard G. Spiro    has been named CEO of The Hilb Group, a fast-growing middle market insurance brokerage based in Richmond. He succeeds Robert J. “Bob” Hilb, a co-founder, of the company, who has left “to pursue other interests.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)    Paul A. Levengood    has joined the Virginia War Memorial Foundation in Richmond as vice president for development.  He was a consultant with The Lyndhurst Group. Levengood served as president and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society from 2008 to 2016. (News release)    Dan O’Neill    has been named president of the Mid-Atlantic Division at SunTrust Banks Inc., with oversight of Greater Washington, Maryland and Virginia. He was president of SunTrust’s Greater Washington and Maryland Division. (News release) The Richmond-based accounting firm Mitchell Wiggins has announced four promotions.    Lea Rasmussen   , CPA, and   Melissa Sikes  , CPA, have be en promoted to partner.  Carman Faison , CPA, and Robert Saur,   CPA, have been named   senior managers, and Josh Morrison, CPA, was promoted to manager. Mitchell Wiggins has more than 50 employees, including 28 CPAs. (News release) John Stallings has been named president of Richmond-based Union Bank & Trust. He was president and CEO of the Virginia Division of SunTrust Banks Inc. John C. Asbury, president and CEO of the parent company, Union Bankshares Corp., remains CEO of the bank. (News release) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Northwest Federal Credit Union’s board of directors has selected Jeff Bentley as president and CEO. Bentley began his career at Herndon-based Northwest Federal in 2014 as the senior vice president of lending/chief lending officer. (News release)  Biniam Gebre has been named managing director of Accenture Federal Services’ management consulting group. Gebre joins the Arlington County-based group from Oliver Wyman, where he was a partner. Before that, he served as acting assistant secretary and commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Chantilly-based Atomicorp has added Rick Gordon as an independent board member and Dan Woolley as a formal adviser. Gordon and Woolley were both most recently at the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator in Herndon before being ousted on July 1 in a management shakeup following a failed attempt to spin the accelerator out from the Center for Innovative Technology. Gordon and Woolley oversaw Atomicorp through the accelerator program. (Washington Business Journal)   Valerie Mondelli has been named chief revenue officer at Alexandria-based Verisys. She was formerly with McKesson, leading the sales and marketing functions at RelayHealth. (News relase) Larry Prior has been named a board leadership fellow by the National Association of Corporate Directors. He is president and CEO of Falls Church-based CSRA Inc. (News release)  SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Harry Haynes, manager of Saltville’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians, retired July 31 after almost 17 years in the position. Haynes has agreed to stay on as a volunteer and will continue to share his knowledge with those who want to learn more about Saltville and its colorful past. (SWVAToday.com)  ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic, was ranked No. 23 on this year’s list of 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare compiled by Modern Healthcare. The publication cited her roles in transforming Carilion and collaborating with Virginia Tech in the creation of a medical school and research institute. Agee will chair the American Hospital Association board of trustees in 2018. (Modern Healthcare) Abney S. Boxley of Roanoke has been named to the board of directors of Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. Previously, Boxley served on the board of BNC Bancorp, based in Highpoint. N.C. Bancorp merged with Nashville-based Pinnacle in June. (News release)  Robert Smith, associate dean for engagement in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and head of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech, has been named president of the Society of Wood Science and Technology. (The Roanoke Times) Lauren Sells Walker is the new director of alumnae relations at Hollins University. Walker is a 2004 graduate of the school. For the past six years, she served as director of catering at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. (News release) 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/for-the-record-october-2017 For the Record - October 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/for-the-record-october-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/for-the-record-october-2017#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Atlantic Bay Mortgage of Virginia Beach and Virginia Community Bank of Louisa are set to merge in an all-stock transaction. Under the unanimous agreement between Virginia Community Bank’s board of directors and the manager and members of Atlantic Bay, the bank’s holding company will be terminated and will be managed as the Atlantic Bay Bank. A $20 million offering of the bank’s common stock is expected to be complete when it is closed sometime during the fourth quarter of 2017. (Inside Business) Emser Tile, a designer, marketer and producer of tile and natural stone, has opened a 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Suffolk. The building, which has the capacity to expand to 850,000 square feet, is Emser’s third distribution center in North America, joining others in California and Texas. The facility at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center will serve the growing East Coast and Midwest markets. (VirginiaBusiness.com) G2 Ops Inc. has moved to larger headquarters in Virginia Beach and will add 10 jobs. The company, founded in 2013, provides systems engineering, cybersecurity, architectural analysis and consulting services. It plans to make an investment of $446,000 for the relocation and expansion. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The Kingsmill Championship has signed a three-year extension with the LPGA Tour. The parties announced the agreement in August, contracting the event with the James City County resort through 2020. Next year’s tournament is set for May 17-20, with 2019 and 2020 planned for similar dates. (Daily Press) The Newport News Tech Center Research Park, under construction near Jefferson Lab, is attracting interest from Peninsula tech firms and out-of-state businesses. W.M. Jordan Development Co. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for an 80,000-square-foot, $18 million building across from Venture Apartments in August. Building One, slated for completion in one year, is the first of 11 planned for the $250 million research park campus that’s managed by Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. (Daily Press) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Bridgewater College will use a $1 million gift from five Smith family members and the Smith-Midland Corp. for the expansion and renovation of the college’s library. The gift by Rodney Smith, his sons Ashley, Roderick, Matthew and Jeremy and the Smith-Midland Corp., also will result in naming the first-floor café in the building the Smith Family Learning Commons Café. (Augusta Free Press) Machine and fabrication company Draftco Inc. plans to expand its manufacturing operation in Augusta County. The company will spend $450,000 to improve its quality inspection room and buy new machines and welding and testing equipment. The investment is expected to create 16 jobs, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Draftco was founded in 1965 and is based in Stuarts Draft. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently had two members confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in, giving that body a quorum of three members necessary to approve projects and orders. Among the projects FERC must consider is the final application for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile underground natural gas pipeline that would run from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina. The proposed pipeline route includes 55 miles in Augusta County. (The News Virginian) Stable Craft Brewing is investing half a million dollars to expand in Augusta County. The project will create 13 jobs. The brewery plans to add a bottling line and expand distribution to reach more consumers in more places convenient to their travels. Stable Craft products currently are available in restaurants, taverns and other dining establishments, Craig Nargi, the company’s owner, said in a statement. The company will purchase 88 percent of its agricultural products from Virginia farmers. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Danville and its emerging craft beer market were featured in the August issue of BeerAdvocate magazine. The article highlights communities such as Danville that are using the popularity of craft beer to reinvent themselves. The River District’s newly opened  Ballad Brewing  and 2 Witches Winery and Brewing Co. are featured in the article, as well as craft-beer retailer Vintages by the Dan on Main Street. A third brewery, Preservation Ale and Smokehouse, is scheduled to open near Ballad Brewing next year.  (Danville Register & Bee) Mecklenburg County will be the jumping-off point for a new program being introduced in Southern Virginia, CodeVA. Starting with the elementary schools, teachers will learn how to teach computer science and coding to the students. On Aug. 16, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner joined Chris Dovi, the executive director of CodeVA, and Tim Pfohl of the Virginia Tobacco Commission to announce a $361,625 grant to train teachers in computer science and coding to serve in rural Southside and Southwest Virginia public schools. (Mecklenburg Sun) Oran Safety Glass will expand its manufacturing business in Greensville County, creating 55 jobs and retaining 75 existing positions. The company makes specialty glass for buses, military vehicles and trains. The company will spend $4.45 million in expanding its Greensville facility. OSG, an Israel-based glass manufacturer, develops a wide range of products, including armored safety glass, such as bullet-resistant windows. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $150,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $235,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Two companies announced plans in early September that are expected to create a total of 50 jobs in the Danville-Pittsylvania County area. Unison Ltd., a British tube-bending machine company, will invest $5.2 million and create 35 jobs in establishing its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park, jointly owned by the city and the county. Meanwhile, Intertape Polymer Group, a packaging products and systems company, will invest $7 million and add 15 jobs in expanding its manufacturing and distribution capacity at its Pittsylvania facility. (VirginiaBusiness.com) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Virginia soon will have another publicly traded company. The board of directors of Cleveland-based NACCO Industries Inc. has approved the spinoff of Glen Allen-based Hamilton Beach Brands Holding Co. Hamilton Beach is a holding company for Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., a manufacturer of home appliances and commercial restaurant equipment, and The Kitchen Collection LLC, a kitchenware retailer.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Hunton & Williams LLP established the Hunton & Williams ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship in honor of Robert J. Grey Jr. The scholarship will help address the diversity gap in the legal profession by supporting and encouraging more diverse students to obtain a legal degree. Grey joined Hunton & Williams in 2002 and moved to senior counsel status in 2016. He serves as president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a position he has held since 2010. Grey served as president of the American Bar Association from 2004 to 2005.  (News release)  A 10-story hotel planned by Macfarlane Partners LLC for the Locks development just north of the James River would open up a dark section along the Kanawha Canal in downtown Richmond. A brown metal hulk of a building straddling the Kanawha Canal would be torn down to make way for the Hyatt Place Hotel at The Locks, opening up the Canal Walk on either side of the waterway.  ( Richmond Times-Dispatch)  Dallas-based sports entertainment company Topgolf is working on a deal for a location in Henrico County. The company now has three locations in Virginia — Alexandria, Loudoun County and Virginia Beach — with a total of more than 1,200 employees. Topgolf said the Henrico location would require about 12 acres.  Construction of the venue would take 10 to 12 months to complete after the property is purchased and all necessary approvals are obtained. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Tranlin Inc. will repay $5 million to Virginia, as the Chinese company resets its plans to build a paper products factory in Chesterfield County that was expected to bring $2 billion in investment and create 2,000 jobs.  In an exchange of letters with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in late July, Tranlin’s top executive promised to repay the grant from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund by Oct. 24 in acknowledgement that the company would not meet its investment and job commitments by the end of 2019. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Altamont Capital Partners has sold Chantilly-based protective and investigative services firm Omniplex to private security company Constellis, a subsidiary of private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC. A sale price was not disclosed. Omniplex has 2,100 employees and 1,700 investigators across the country and provides security personnel and investigative services to the federal government. Constellis, which has a government division based in Reston, provides risk management, intelligence and operational support services to government and commercial clients all over the world. (Washington Business Journal) Germanna Community College’s Fredericksburg Center for Advanced Technology (FredCAT) has opened in Central Park.  FredCAT offers credential programs, apprenticeship training and support services aimed at high-demand fields. The apprenticeship programs include: electrical, welding, HVAC, industrial maintenance/machinist, masonry, plumbing, gas fitter, asphalt technician and construction inspector. The center also offers training and certification in areas such as 3-D printing, fiber-optic cable technology and drone building. The center also provides a home base and work space for students and entrepreneurs to create designs, develop prototypes and collaborate in supporting local technology and manufacturing startups.  (The Free Lance-Star)  The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a lease to an affiliate of Boston Properties to build the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) a new, 625,000-square-foot headquarters as part of the agency’s planned relocation from its current home in Pentagon City. The outcome is one few could have expected two years ago, when Boston Properties protested the GSA’s award of a lease shifting the TSA to Victory Center in Alexandria. A federal judge agreed with Boston Properties, finding that the federal government exceeded its authority by awarding a lease in excess of the 625,000 square feet the House and Senate authorized for the new headquarters. The judge voided the Alexandria lease, and the bidding process reopened, prompting the latest award to the Springfield site. (Washington Business Journal)  Fairfax-based George Mason University awarded more bachelor’s degrees to minority students in the 2016-17 school year than any other institution of higher education in Virginia, according to new data. With 2,326 degrees conferred on minority students, the university was tied for 44th nationally out of more than 2,700 institutions, in a study by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The 2,326 degrees to minority students represent an increase of 10 percent from the year before, Mason officials said. Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond was next among Virginia universities (at No. 53 nationally), with 2,196 degrees awarded. (InsideNOVA.com)  HomeServices of America Inc., a Minneapolis-based Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, has acquired The Long & Foster Cos. Inc., the largest private residential real estate company in the U.S. in terms of sales volume. The acquisition of Chantilly-based Long & Foster includes its family of companies, such as Long & Foster Real Estate and its affiliated business lines in mortgage, settlement services, insurance and property management. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Wes Foster, Long & Foster’s co-founder, will remain with the company as chairman emeritus. Jeff Detwiler, Long & Foster’s current president and CEO, will become chief executive officer, managing the day-to-day operations. Founded in 1968 by Wes Foster and Henry Long, Long & Foster’s companies are among the nation’s leading real estate and financial services companies. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  More than 100 businesses moved to or expanded in Loudoun County during its last fiscal year, investing $3.3 billion. The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development said that amount from FY 2017, which ended June 30, resulted in a three-year total of more than $7.2 billion in new investment. FY 2017 was the department’s third record-breaking year in a row for investment, following $1.6 billion in FY15 and $2.3 billion in FY16. The economic development projects in Loudoun in FY17 included cybersecurity, aviation and aerospace, data centers, craft beverage producers and IT organizations of many kinds. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  A plan to build a  Metro station  in Alexandria’s growing Potomac Yard community has been postponed. A lexandria officials said transit officials determined more time than anticipated would be needed to award a contract. “The schedule is pushed back because we are considering cost-saving opportunities within the context of the procurement,” said Mitch Bernstein, director of the city’s Department of Project Implementation. Bernstein declined to speculate when construction will begin, saying the final timetable and completion date won’t be known until a contract is awarded. But Metro, which is overseeing the procurement process and construction, said it plans to award the contract next spring. (The Washington Post) Tysons IT services firm Mission Services Inc. plans to hire 400 new employees, tripling its current count, and move into an office double its current size in a few months. With 200 employees now, the IT contractor has been on a path of surging growth, reaching a turning point in 2016. In the last year, the company has grown tenfold from 20 employees with 14 new federal contracts. The company cites $4.7 billion in new contracts for the Air Force alone, including the Network-Centric Solutions-2, or NETCENTS-2, contracts to provide IT, network and telecom services to the military division. (Washington Business Journal)  Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital completed its acquisition of publicly traded Reston IT and government services firm NCI Inc. in August. H.I.G. purchased both Class A and Class B common stock shares at $20 per share, for a total price of $283 million. NCI had a net income of $13.9 million last year and has about 2,000 employees in more than 100 countries around the world. Miami-based H.I.G. has $21 billion in equity capital and has offices across the country in cities such as Boston and San Francisco. (Washington Business Journal)  Octo Consulting Group, a digital services provider for the federal government, has opened a new corporate headquarters in Reston. The 25,000-square-foot, $2 million facility represents a substantial expansion in footprint from the company’s former offices in Tysons Corner. Octo said it has hired more than 130 employees during the past 18 months as government agencies have modernized their aging IT infrastructure. It now has 350 employees. The company has additional offices in Alexandria, Fulton, Md., and Atlanta. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Dulles-based Orbital ATK successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space from Cape Canaveral, Fla. In August the satellite will deliver information to the U.S. Strategic Command through the Joint Space Operations Center. Orbital ATK designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. The company employs approximately 13,000 people across the U.S. and in several international locations. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Bristol is one of four financially distressed localities cited in August by the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (APA). The four localities, two cities and two counties, came on the state’s radar through a new warning system devised after Petersburg experienced its financial crisis last year. In June, Moody’s upgraded the Bristol’s outlook to stable and raised its bond rating after a downgrade last year. But the city of 17,000 still maintains more than $100 million in long-term general obligation bond debt with about half of it tied to The Falls commercial center in the Exit 5 area, which has yet to attract significant numbers of tenants. (Bristol Herald Courier) Bristol school officials are considering turning the vacant   Bristol Mall   into a career and technical school, according to Superintendent Keith Perrigan. The superintendent has spoken with the mall owner, Sunstar Keshav LLC, a New Jersey-based real estate investment firm, which wants to fill the property, he said. While neither the building nor the property is currently up for sale, Perrigan said he plans to stay in contact with Sunstar Keshav in hopes that the property eventually will become affordable. The real estate investment firm couldn’t be reached for comment in August. (Bristol Herald Courier)  It was a rainy morning, but those gathered were not daunted in their excitement to be celebrating the groundbreaking of a new mental health-care center in Marion.   Mount Rogers Community Services Board   broke ground July 28 for the Rhea B.  Lawrence Recovery Center , under construction on the campus of Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. The Rhea B. Lawrence Recovery Center is described as an “eight bed residential, crisis-stabilization program, repla cing the current Cornerstone facility that has operated in Marion since 2006.” (SWVAToday.com)   Tazewell County  is moving toward having a countywide chamber of commerce. Richlands and Tazewell currently have chambers of commerce, and Bluefield and Cedar Bluff have business associations. A series of community meetings to assist in the development of a countywide chamber were scheduled for September.  The meetings create an opportunity for business and community leaders to establish common goals and objectives for the future. Collectively, the input will shape a plan of work for a smooth transition to a strong, unified chamber that works for all of Tazewell County. (SWVAToday.com)   V irginia Highlands Community College  celebrated an investment in education in August that is addressing the Mountain Empire’s shortage of nurses. “Today we are dedicating one of our classrooms to Bristol Regional [Medical Center] as a symbol of our appreciation to their commitment to the education of students in the Virginia Appalachian Tricollege Nursing Program … and to the medical need for the area,” said Kathy Mitchell, the college’s dean of nursing and allied health. The dedication represents a partnership between VHCC and Bristol Regional that allowed an additional 20 students to begin their nursing studies this year. (Bristol Herald Courier)  Completion of Wythe County’s APEX Center, a 90,000-square-foot arena building, is one step closer to becoming a reality. The county was seeking proposals for the construction of the facility and adjacent site improvements by Sept. 29. Supervisors hope the APEX site will be home for regional fairs, motorsports competitions, gun shows, trade shows, equestrian events, livestock shows/auctions and more. In addition, they hope businesses will develop around the center and contribute to the county’s tax base. (SWVAToday.com)  ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Brown Edwards, a Roanoke-based regional accounting firm, was ranked among the nation’s top 100 accounting firms this year by Inside Public Accounting.  The rankings are based on 2016 U.S. net revenue. Brown, which is celebrating its 50th year in business, has a staff of more than 300 in offices in three states. It was ranked as 99th on the 2017 list with $37.4 million in revenue, five slots higher than its ranking of 104 the previous year. (News release)  James River Equipment (JRE) recently acquired the assets of the Blueridge Farm Center in Buchanan. According to JRE, based in Ashland, operations of the agriculture and turf center will continue with Josh Altice, former Blueridge Farm Center manager, serving as branch and sales manager. The center will sell, rent and provide parts and service support for new and used farm equipment and implements as well as lawn and garden equipment. The Buchanan location is the 39th for JRE, a John Deere dealer. (News release)  Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group, based in Roanoke, has opened a branch office in Blacksburg. The company said the expansion would help it serve the rapidly growing New River Valley. The office is located within North End Center at 314 Turner St. Four employees will work there, and it will be available to all of the company’s agents.  (Virginia Business.com)  The board of visitors at Virginia Tech has approved $90 million in financing for a 139,000-square-foot medical building that will be constructed on land owned by Carilion Clinic in Roanoke. The project, the Health Sciences and Technology Comparative Oncology Research Center and classroom building, will expand Tech’s footprint on the Roanoke campus. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will officially become part of Tech on July 1, 2018. The money for the expansion will come from $48.3 million in state funds, $23.7 million in bond money and $17.7 million in private gifts. (The Roanoke Times)  2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie_8056.png Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-brand-called-virginia The brand called Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-brand-called-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-brand-called-virginia#When:08:00:00Z A brand is an emotional thing; it’s how you feel about something.  A brand isn’t a name or slogan; it’s not a tagline or logo. A brand is the sum of the emotions conjured up by the mention of a company, an organization, a product or a service.  Are these emotions good or bad?  Maybe you are indifferent.  Perhaps you need to know more.  Maybe you just don’t care.  Perhaps they are just not relevant. Can a place have a brand?  Sure, why not?  Think about it.  Do you (heart) NY?  Is Florida the “Sunshine State?”  Have you stopped “Messin’ with Texas?”  Is Virginia “for Lovers?” Yes, these are the slogans and taglines, but how do they make you feel? I remember the summer vacations of my childhood.  We’d drive down U.S. 460 to the beach (these were the pre-interstate days).  Motoring past vast Southside farms with camping gear in the trunk of the car, we’d travel through Waverly and Suffolk.  There was, and still may be, a larger than life sign, a statuesque figure of Mr. Peanut standing over the fields.  Brands make lasting memories. Gotta love those peanuts! How about the “Mother of Presidents?”  Remember that one?  Virginia has been the birthplace of more presidents than any other state.  This claim may be kind of worn out — Woodrow Wilson was the last, and he was elected more than a century ago.  Today, it’s arguably doubtful any state wants to boast about being the mother of politicians.  Yes, brands can get worn down or at least a bit tarnished. Not all brands are positive, and brands are created both intentionally and unintentionally.  It’s generally best to go the intentional route, aiming for the positive. Brands are also enduring; that’s a good thing.  Let’s think about the brand of a place.  By most every measure Charlottesville is a great place.  It’s home to one of the nation’s top-ranked “public Ivy” schools, the University of Virginia.  Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, U.Va., with its  Rotunda and residential Lawn, fulfilled his vision of an “Academical Village.”  Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the “father” of the U.S. Constitution, served as the university’s first two rectors.  By history and geography, as well as intellectual proximity, the brands of Charlottesville and Virginia are inextricably entwined. Moving to the present day, however, it is impossible to forget the recent violence in Charlottesville. Television images of torch-carrying white supremacists marching through the Grounds and the confrontation in Emancipation Park, including the death of a counter-protestor, are not easily dismissed, nor should they be.  Before the August incident, Charlottesville was not a stranger to controversies that grab national attention. In 2014, Rolling Stone falsely reported a horrific rape at a U.Va. fraternity house. And in 2012, the board of visitors forced the resignation of President Teresa A. Sullivan, only to overturn the decision in the face of a revolt by students, faculty and alumni. Reaction to the August incident, however, shook the nation. Nonetheless, Charlottesville and U.Va. remain positive brands.  Why?  Because of Mr. Jefferson’s influence, of course. It makes a difference whether a place is actually known for something really good before something really bad happens.  I’m sure Ferguson, Mo., wishes it could have had even a fraction of Charlottesville’s national reputation before becoming known as ground zero for Black Lives Matter (and black lives do matter). If brands are emotions, then they are living, breathing things.  They need nurturing.  Great brands have relevance and authenticity. So, what are we doing with the brand called Virginia? One of Jefferson’s great causes was public education.  How is Virginia doing?  General fund support for education at all levels is down over the past couple of decades.  Similarly, infrastructure and economic development needs are barely being met. Is the “New Virginia Economy” really working?  Coal jobs aren’t coming back, and the craft beer jobs replacing them don’t pay nearly the same.  Is the commonwealth’s economy really diversifying away from over-dependence on Dee Cee? Rural and urban areas remain two completely different places in terms of economic success.  Health care?  Take a cue from the General Assembly; let’s not even talk about it. On the other hand, what would it mean to return to “The Virginia Way?”  Genteel statesmanship or just low-tax, low-spend, don’t rock the boat, fiscal and social conservatism?  Is that really the way forward?  Is the Virginia Way a return to socially repressive Byrd-Machine politics?  Let’s hope not. Oh, heck! I almost forgot there’s an election in November.  Virginia is one of only two states with a governor’s race the year after the presidential election — a proverbial canary in the coal mine.  Get yourself to the voting booth.  Go ahead and get emotional.  Give some thought to the brand called Virginia.  What do you want it to stand for? 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Lanpher_170828_1212.png Photo courtesy The Port of Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-october-2017 Followups - October 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-october-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-october-2017#When:08:00:00Z Bigger ships continue to arrive at Port of Virginia The biggest container ship to come to the East Coast, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, made its first stop at the Port of Virginia in late August. The Roosevelt’s cargo capacity is 14,400 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. Its arrival at the port eclipsed a short-lived record for the largest ship it has served. Increasing larger ships have arrived at the port since the recent expansion of the Panama Canal. The Port of Virginia had its busiest August on record, handling 240,605 TEUs. That is a 2.2 percent increase over August 2016. On a year-to-date basis, total TEU volumes are up 7.4 percent, and containers are up 7.7 percent. During the same time period, cargo moved via rail was up 4.7 percent, trucks up 9 percent and barge up 26 percent. In its September cover story, Virginia  Business examined the need for deepening and widening channels at the port to accommodate larger ships. Sweet Briar changes tuition and curriculum Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, Sweet Briar College plans to reset its annual cost of tuition, room, board and fees to $34,000 — a 32 percent drop compared to this year’s total price of $50,055 — and offer a more flexible curriculum. The changes at the private, women’s college came not quite four months into the tenure of new college President Meredith Woo. She has said her overarching goal was to make Sweet Briar a relevant model for the 21st century. The 116-year-old college nearly closed in 2015 due to financial challenges and dropping enrollment, but was saved when alumni and other friends of the institution donated money and went to court to keep the college open. Virginia Business interviewed Woo in its September issue. 2017-09-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-recognizes-employers-for-hiring-veterans State recognizes employers for hiring veterans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-recognizes-employers-for-hiring-veterans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-recognizes-employers-for-hiring-veterans#When:21:19:00Z The commonwealth recognized 14 companies on Thursday for their efforts in hiring and training veterans. The Virginia Values Veterans, a Virginia Department of Veterans Services program, presented awards during the 2017 Virginia Workforce Conference, hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. More than 700 businesses, government agencies and educational institutions have been certified under the V3 program and have hired 26,852 veterans since 2012. The 2017 Virginia Values Veterans Award winners are: Governor’s Award (total number of annual veteran hires) •         Small company: Blueforce Inc., Hampton (62 hires) •         Medium company: ITA International LLC, Virginia Beach (110 hires) •         Large company: Top Guard Security, Hampton (258 hires) •         Enterprise company: Sentara Healthcare, Virginia Beach (470 hires) Triumph Award (most transformative hiring process) •         Dominion Energy, Richmond Readiness Award (best workforce readiness initiative) •         FDM Group, Reston Advancement Award (best in career development) •         GBS, Virginia Beach Breakthrough Award (most innovative retention program) •         Networking Technologies + Support Inc., North Chesterfield MVP Award (most inspiring workplace culture) •         First Data, Glen Allen and Chesapeake Impact Award (community impact and advocacy for veteran issues) •         Altria, Richmond Influencer Award (best workforce readiness initiative) •         Pro-Sphere, Alexandria Trailblazer Award (best premier employer with superior efforts in recruitment, hiring, retention and more) •         ITA International LLC, Virginia Beach Phoenix Award (most inspiring success story for going above and beyond to support a Veteran hire) •         Bon Secours, Richmond V3 Grant Award (companies approved for maximum grant initiative award of $10,000 in FY17) •         Cape Henry Associates, Virginia Beach •         PD Systems, Prince George 2017-09-28T21:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-county-office-building-sells-for-8.3-million Fairfax County office building sells for $8.3 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-county-office-building-sells-for-8.3-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-county-office-building-sells-for-8.3-million#When:21:05:00Z KLNB, a Maryland-based real estate brokerage firm, has announced the sale of 5904 Richmond Highway, a 78,000-square-foot office building in Fairfax County, for $8.3 million. Joshua Simon,  principal at KLNB, represented the buyer — a joint venture of Rock Creek Property Group and Avanti Holdings Group, LLC — and has also been retained to handle leasing of the building. The property sold on Sept. 8 for nearly $106 per square foot. The structure is a newly renovated office building in Fairfax’s Huntington submarket with suites ranging from 1,800 to 15,780 square feet. The building has access to Route 1, Old Town Alexandria and National Harbor. It’s within walking distance to the Huntington Metro Station and Mount Vernon Trail. In a statement, Simon described the Huntington area as “an untapped submarket with great potential and high expected future density. As companies continue to look for lower lease rates compared to Old Town Alexandria, they will immediately see value in Huntington thanks to its prime location and anticipated growth.” 5904 Richmond Highway is currently 65 percent leased, with a remaining five office suites available. KLNB’s offices are located in Towson and Columbia, Md.; Washington, D.C.; and Dulles and Tysons, Va. 2017-09-28T21:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/james-city-county-getting-its-first-craft-brewery James City County getting its first craft brewery http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/james-city-county-getting-its-first-craft-brewery http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/james-city-county-getting-its-first-craft-brewery#When:20:27:00Z James City County is getting its first craft brewery, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced Thursday. Billsburg Brewery will invest $1.4 million to open in the county. The project is expected to create 9 jobs. McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund (VTGF) to assist with the project. The funds will be used for infrastructure improvements and tourism assets at the brewery, which will have views of the James City County Marina.  “We will offer a unique visitor experience through small- batch beer and food, educational brewery tours, and a tasting room,” David Baum, Billsburg’s owner, said in a statement. Billsburg joins more than 225 breweries in Virginia. 2017-09-28T20:27:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/astraea-to-expand-in-charlottesville Astraea to expand in Charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/astraea-to-expand-in-charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/astraea-to-expand-in-charlottesville#When:09:01:00Z Technology startup Astraea plans to expand its Charlottesville operations and create 31 jobs. The company expects to invest $1 million on the project, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Founded in September 2016, Astraea applies advanced data science and machine learning to image and sensor data gathered from earth-observing satellites. The goal is to identify and predict real-time changes in land use, traffic patterns, land and water quality and environmental trends. Virginia competed against California, Colorado and Montana for the project. “Charlottesville, and Virginia in general, are deep pools of data-science talent, which is critical to our success,” Brendan Richardson, Astraea CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming industries across the globe, and Charlottesville is an emerging leader in M.L. and predictive analytics which are the underpinning for A.I. We have a wealth of data- science talent here and it’s easy to recruit talent to Charlottesville given its strong reputation in this area and the amazing quality of life in Central Virginia.”   Astraea is eligible to receive $1,000 per job, up to $31,000, from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultation and funding for companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change. 2017-09-28T09:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/peraton-names-chief-security-officer Peraton names chief security officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/peraton-names-chief-security-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/peraton-names-chief-security-officer#When:21:32:00Z Herndon-based Peraton said Wednesday it has named Phillip Mazzocco as its chief security officer. Mazzocco comes to Peraton from Leidos, where he served as vice president, sector security. Most recently, he managed the security team fundamental to the multi-billion dollar modernization of the Defense Healthcare Management Systems for the Department of Defense. Peraton is the new name of the former Harris Corp.’s Government Services business, which was acquired by Veritas Capital earlier this year. The company has approximately 3,500 employees in the U.S. and Canada. Before joining Leidos, Mazzocco held senior security positions for several companies, including General Dynamics, CGI Federal and SAIC. Mazzocco earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the John Carroll University and completed master’s coursework in Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University. 2017-09-27T21:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-area-jobless-rates-decline-in-august Virginia metro-area jobless rates decline in August http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-area-jobless-rates-decline-in-august http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-metro-area-jobless-rates-decline-in-august#When:19:21:00Z Unemployment rates in most of Virginia’s urban areas declined slightly in August. Virginia Employment Commission figures reported on Wednesday showed that jobless rates dipped in six of Virginia’s 11 metropolitan statistical areas during the month. In four metro areas, the unemployment rate remained unchanged from July. In one urban area, Richmond, the rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point. The numbers cited in the VEC report are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do not take into account seasonal changes in the workforce. Using that type of data, Virginia’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in August, unchanged from July. The national jobless rate was 4.5 percent, down from 4.6 percent. In Virginia’s metro areas, unemployment ranged from 3.2 percent in Northern Virginia to 4.6 percent in the Lynchburg area. Here is a breakdown of metro-area results: Bristol area: 4.1 percent in August, down from 4.4 percent in July. Charlottesville: 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent. Hampton Roads: 4.3 percent, unchanged. Harrisonburg: 3.9 percent, down from 4 percent. Lynchburg: 4.6 percent, unchanged. New River Valley: 4.2 percent, down from 4.3 percent. Northern Virginia: 3.2 percent, unchanged. Richmond: 4 percent, up from 3.9 percent. Roanoke: 4 percent, unchanged. Staunton-Waynesboro: 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent. Winchester: 3.3 percent, down from 3.4 percent. 2017-09-27T19:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-of-mckenney-and-citizens-community-bank-choose-new-name Bank of McKenney and Citizens Community Bank choose new name http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-of-mckenney-and-citizens-community-bank-choose-new-name http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-of-mckenney-and-citizens-community-bank-choose-new-name#When:08:41:00Z Bank of McKenney and Citizens Community Bank announced Tuesday the merged bank will adopt the name Touchstone Bank. The merger, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year, will create a bank based in Prince George County. It will have 13 offices in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties and Franklin, Halifax and Vance counties in North Carolina. The combined bank will have assets of $441 million based on financial reporting as of June 30. 2017-09-27T08:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store1 IKEA announces contractors for Norfolk store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store1#When:21:30:00Z Rendering: BusinessWire Home furnishing retailer IKEA on Tuesday announced the contractors involved in building its 338,000-square-foot Norfolk store while revealing the store will not open until spring 2019. The Norfolk store will be the company’s second in Virginia. The other location is in Woodbridge. IKEA has picked Memphis-based Linkous Construction Co. as  construction manager. The company has built nearly 40 million square feet of commercial, industrial and institutional projects in the past three decades, including the IKEA store in Memphis that opened last December.  Other firms assisting with the project are: Divaris Real Estate for site selection support; Wilcox Savage for local land use counsel; Kimley-Horn for civil and traffic engineering; IMEG for structural engineering; ACIES Engineering Inc. for mechanical, electrical and plumbing design; Code Consultants Inc. for code consulting and fire protection; GET Solutions Inc. for geotechnical services; and GreenbergFarrow for development coordination and project architect.  The Virginian-Pilot first reported today that the 2019 opening date is a year later than originally planned. An IKEA spokesman told the newspaper that the change in the schedule was caused by challenges the retailer faced in configuring the store on the property. “With contractors onboard, plans can proceed towards opening the future IKEA Norfolk,” Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president, said in a statement.  The store will feature 50 room-settings, three model-home interiors, a children’s play area and a 450-seat restaurant. Construction of the store is expected to create more than 500 jobs. The store will employ about 250 workers when it opens. Located eight miles east of downtown Norfolk, the store, which will have 935 parking spaces, will be built on 19 acres at the northwestern corner of Interstate 64 and Northampton Boulevard.  There are currently more than 400 IKEA stores in 49 countries, including 44 in the U.S. 2017-09-26T21:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-promotes-two-executives Norfolk Southern promotes two executives http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-promotes-two-executives http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/norfolk-southern-promotes-two-executives#When:21:23:00Z Norfolk Southern Corp. has named William A. Galanko executive vice president law and administration and John M. Scheib senior vice president law and corporate relations.The new positions are effective on Oct. 1. In his new position, Scheib will have responsibility for law, government relations and corporate communications and will report to Galanko. As executive vice president law and administration, Galanko will have responsibility for human resources and labor relations, in addition to the areas reporting to Scheib. Galanko joined Norfolk Southern in 1990 as a tax attorney. He was named senior vice president law and corporate communications last year. Galanko holds an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and law degrees from the College of William and Mary and Georgetown University. Scheib joined Norfolk Southern in 2005 as general attorney and held positions of increasing responsibility in the NS law department, culminating in vice president law in 2016. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Villanova University. In 2015, he completed the General Management program at Harvard Business School. 2017-09-26T21:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store IKEA announces contractors for Norfolk store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ikea-announces-contractors-for-norfolk-store#When:21:20:00Z Home furnishing retailer IKEA on Tuesday announced the contractors involved in building its 338,000-square-foot Norfolk store while revealing the store will not open until spring 2019. The Norfolk store will be the company’s second in Virginia. The other location is in Woodbridge. IKEA has picked Memphis-based Linkous Construction Co. as  construction manager. The company has built nearly 40 million square feet of commercial, industrial and institutional projects in the past three decades, including the IKEA store in Memphis that opened last December.  Other firms assisting with the project are: Divaris Real Estate for site selection support; Wilcox Savage for local land use counsel; Kimley-Horn for civil and traffic engineering; IMEG for structural engineering; ACIES Engineering Inc. for mechanical, electrical and plumbing design; Code Consultants Inc. for code consulting and fire protection; GET Solutions Inc. for geotechnical services; and GreenbergFarrow for development coordination and project architect.  The Virginian-Pilot first reported today that the 2019 opening date is a year later than originally planned. An IKEA spokesman told the newspaper that the change in the schedule was caused by challenges the retailer faced in configuring the store on the property. “With contractors onboard, plans can proceed towards opening the future IKEA Norfolk,” Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president, said in a statement.  The store will feature 50 room-settings, three model-home interiors, a children’s play area and a 450-seat restaurant. Construction of the store is expected to create more than 500 jobs. The store will employ about 250 workers when it opens. Located eight miles east of downtown Norfolk, the store, which will have 935 parking spaces, will be built on 19 acres at the northwestern corner of Interstate 64 and Northampton Boulevard.  There are currently more than 400 IKEA stores in 49 countries, including 44 in the U.S. 2017-09-26T21:20:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/vbapts.png Photo courtesy Marcus & Millichap. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hollygreen-apartments-in-virginia-beach-sell-for-more-than-8-million Hollygreen Apartments in Virginia Beach sell for more than $8 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hollygreen-apartments-in-virginia-beach-sell-for-more-than-8-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hollygreen-apartments-in-virginia-beach-sell-for-more-than-8-million#When:21:32:00Z Marcus & Millichap has announced the sale of Hollygreen Apartments in Virginia Beach for $8.05 million.   The 96-unit complex is located at 3429 Hollygreen Drive. The seller was Virginia Beach-based N, M & H Associates, while the buyer was Yorktown-based Cjehn Beta LLC. Altay Uzun and Justin Ferguson, multifamily investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Hampton Roads office, represented the sellers, private investors who had owned the property since it’s construction in 1984. Uzun also procured the buyer, Cjehn Beta LLC. The apartments have two-bedroom, one-bathroom units. Amenities include a fitness center and an on-site pool. The apartment community is adjacent to a newly constructed Aldi grocery store and is near Virginia Beach Town Center. “Our client plans to continue interior and exterior improvements while capitalizing on tenant demand that is organically growing via local development,” Uzun said in a statement. 2017-09-25T21:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mitchell-wiggins-announces-promotions Mitchell Wiggins announces promotions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mitchell-wiggins-announces-promotions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/mitchell-wiggins-announces-promotions#When:20:39:00Z Lea Rasmussen, CPA, and Melissa Sikes, CPA,  have been promoted to partner at the Richmond-based accounting firm Mitchell Wiggins. In other promotions, Carman Faison, CPA and Robert Saur, CPA, have been named to senior manager and Josh Morrison, CPA, has been named manager. Rasmussen has over 16 years of professional experience. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. Sikes has more than 17 years of professional experience. She is a graduate of Bridgewater College. Faison joined Mitchell Wiggins in 2005, Saur has been with the firm since 2007 and Morrison has worked there since 2011. The firm has more than 50 employees, including 28 certified public accountants. 2017-09-25T20:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-participates-in-tourism-marketing-mission McAuliffe participates in tourism marketing mission http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-participates-in-tourism-marketing-mission http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-participates-in-tourism-marketing-mission#When:20:36:00Z Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has joined Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser for a two-day tourism marketing mission to Toronto. The delegation will participate in several meetings seeking to further tourism and travel connections between Canada and the National Capital Region. The governors and mayor will meet with senior government officials, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and U.S. Consul General Juan Alsace. “More than 902,000 Canadians visited the Capital Region in 2015, spending over $384 million – a 21 percent increase from 2013 visitor spending from the country,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “I am looking forward to this opportunity to work with our regional partners to grow those numbers and bring more jobs and opportunity back to the National Capital Region." He is being accompanied on the trip by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden and representatives from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Tourism Corp., Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. 2017-09-25T20:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bnc-bancorp-changes-its-name-to-pinnacle BNC Bancorp changes its name to Pinnacle http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bnc-bancorp-changes-its-name-to-pinnacle http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bnc-bancorp-changes-its-name-to-pinnacle#When:20:34:00Z BNC Bancorp changed its name to Pinnacle Financial Partners on Monday at sign unveiling events in six markets including Roanoke. High Point, N.,C.-based BNC and Nashville, Tenn,-based Pinnacle firms completed their merger on June 16. The $1.9 billion all-stock deal was announced in January. Systems and operations conversions will continue through the end of the year. The merger is Pinnacle’s first move outside of Tennessee. Sign unveilings marking the changeover occurred in High Point, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Greenville and Mount Pleasant, S.C.; and Roanoke. Pinnacle now operates in 11 primarily urban markets in the three states. The banking company began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville in October 2000. It has since grown to about $20.9 billion in assets as of June 30, becoming the second-largest bank holding company based in Tennessee. 2017-09-25T20:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/williamsburgartmuseums.jpg Photo courtesy The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/w.m.-jordan-co.-named-general-contractor-for-expansion-of-colonial-williams W.M. Jordan Co. named general contractor for expansion of Colonial Williamsburg’s art museums http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/w.m.-jordan-co.-named-general-contractor-for-expansion-of-colonial-williams http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/w.m.-jordan-co.-named-general-contractor-for-expansion-of-colonial-williams#When:16:20:00Z The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has named Newport News-based W.M. Jordan Co. general contractor for a $40-million expansion of its art museums set to begin this week. The museums – the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum – will remain open throughout construction. The project will expand the museums by 65,000 square feet and create a new façade and entrance on South Nassau Street, among other significant enhancements. “By more appropriately showcasing our outstanding collections and improving the visitor experience, we aim to attract more guests than ever,” Mitchell B. Reiss, Colonial Williamsburg’s president and CEO, said in a statement. W.M. Jordan was the successful bidder among four competitors for the project, which is designed by New York-based Samuel Anderson Architects. The museums are home to collections of American folk art dating from the 18th century through to the present day and British and American fine and decorative arts from 1670-1840. The museums’ expansion and renovation represent primary capital priority of the foundation’s ongoing $600 million Campaign for History and Citizenship. 2017-09-25T16:20:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-electric-boat-delivers-attack-submarine General Dynamics’ Electric Boat delivers attack submarine http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-electric-boat-delivers-attack-submarine http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-electric-boat-delivers-attack-submarine#When:19:52:00Z Groton, Conn.-based Electric Boat has delivered the nuclear-powered attack submarine Colorado to the U.S. Navy. Electric Boat is a subsidiary of Falls Church-based General Dynamics. The USS Colorado is the 15th ship of the Virginia Class, which the company says provides the Navy with the capabilities required to retain undersea dominance well into the 21st century. Electric Boat is sharing construction of the first 28 ships of the class with Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls-Newport News Shipbuilding. Virginia-class submarines displace 7,835 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. Electric Boat’s three primary locations are in Groton and New London, Conn.; and Quonset Point, R.I. Its current workforce is approximately 15,800 employees. 2017-09-22T19:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmers-bankshares-declares-quarterly-dividend Farmers Bankshares declares quarterly dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmers-bankshares-declares-quarterly-dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmers-bankshares-declares-quarterly-dividend#When:19:49:00Z Windsor-based Farmers Bankshares Inc., the holding company for Farmers Bank, has declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share to holders of its common stock.  On an annualized basis, third-quarter dividend is unchanged from the dividend declared in June but represents a 25 percent increase over the annualized dividend declared a year ago.  The record date for stockholders entitled to payment of the dividend will be the close of normal trading on Oct. 3, with payment to occurring by Oct 16.  The Farmers Bankshares common stock trades on the NASDAQ market as an Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board stock under the symbol FBVA.  Farmers Bank, founded in 1919, is a community bank, which operates seven branches and services areas throughout Tidewater Virginia. 2017-09-22T19:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WilliamsMullen.jpg                Kyle Wingfield and Stephanie Lipinski Galland http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/virginia-tax-amnesty-offers-rare-opportunity-for-cutting-a-no-hassle-deal-w Virginia tax amnesty offers rare opportunity for cutting a “no hassle” deal with the dep http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/virginia-tax-amnesty-offers-rare-opportunity-for-cutting-a-no-hassle-deal-w http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/virginia-tax-amnesty-offers-rare-opportunity-for-cutting-a-no-hassle-deal-w#When:19:33:00Z Your business recently may have received a notice from the Virginia Department of Taxation about the “tax amnesty” program that runs from Sept. 13 through Nov. 14, 2017.  Under the program, the department will waive 100 percent of the penalties and 50 percent of the interest on any amnesty-eligible bill.  To obtain these benefits, however, you must pay the full amount of the tax and the remaining 50 percent interest.  If the bill is not resolved by Nov. 14, the department will assess a 20 percent amnesty penalty.  The state estimates that amnesty will generate approximately $74 million in revenues this year.   As Virginia conducted its last tax amnesty program in 2009, the current program offers a rare opportunity for taxpayers to quickly reduce their tax bills without having to file an offer-in-compromise or administrative or judicial appeal or any additional expense, delay, or uncertainty.  Accordingly, there is no better time than now for businesses to clean up old tax bills or to simply do a “health check” to make sure that they are compliant with their Virginia state tax filing and payment obligations.  Amnesty covers most types of filing and payment obligations that apply to businesses, including corporate income taxes, pass-through entity returns, sales and use taxes, and employer withholding income taxes.  The eligibility dates and periods for each type of tax will vary.  Bills with an assessment date after June 15, 2007 generally are not eligible.  Also, taxpayers who are under criminal investigation are not eligible.  Other restrictions and limitations may apply, and amnesty does not apply to federal income taxes or any local taxes, such as property taxes or business license taxes.  Amnesty is not just for delinquent taxpayers with known liabilities.  For example, you may be planning to sell or acquire a business.  As part of your due diligence, you discover that the target did not file all of its returns or pay all of its taxes due to the state.  Amnesty may offer an opportunity to correct the error at minimal cost.  In other instances, you may have a distressed company that failed to remit its “trust fund taxes” (e.g., unpaid sales and use taxes or employee withholding).  Trust fund taxes are dangerous in that they can be converted into individual assessments against the “responsible persons” of the business.  Amnesty may offer an opportunity for the business to pay off the trust fund taxes, and limit the individual exposure of its owners and operators. A key part of amnesty is payment by Nov. 14.  However, if you cannot pay the full amount, guidance from the department provides that you may pay a portion of the bill (assuming multiple tax periods) and receive amnesty benefits for those amounts.  Also, taxpayers who cannot pay the full amount before Nov. 14 may enter into a payment plan with the department.  The taxpayer will not receive amnesty benefits, but it will avoid the 20 percent amnesty penalty if it stays current on the payment plan.  Similarly, taxpayers who already are on payment plans will not be penalized if they stay current on their plans. Taxpayers who have an offer-in-compromise or an administrative appeal pending with the department have a difficult choice to make.  They must choose to either (A) withdraw the offer or appeal, and pay the tax and 50 percent of the interest; or (B) continue with their offer or appeal and risk a worse result but preserve their right to a judicial appeal.  Taxpayers who withdraw their appeal waive the right to an additional administrative or judicial appeal.  However, taxpayers who continue with their appeals will not be subject to the 20 percent amnesty penalty if they pay the liability within 30 days of the final determination. The choice between continuing with the appeal or receiving amnesty benefits is even more difficult if the taxpayer requires a determination letter from the department for business certainty.  The savings under amnesty can be substantial.  However, the taxpayer also may believe strongly in its reporting positions, or it may have questions regarding its compliance with complex or ambiguous laws.  Typically, such taxpayers already have completed a lengthy and expensive audit process.  They want a determination letter from the department in order to make any necessary changes to their compliance procedures to limit their exposure on future audits.  Other taxpayers may simply want to preserve their rights to judicial appeal because they know that the same issues would come up on future audits.  Amnesty is a great opportunity for businesses to comply with their filing and payment obligations.  However, it may not be for everyone.  Due to the limited nature of the amnesty program, businesses should make an informed decision as to whether they will participate in the amnesty program.  The department has published guidelines for the amnesty program to assist with your decision-making process.  If you received an amnesty notice from the department or have questions about the program, we urge you to contact a qualified tax professional for assistance.  Kyle Wingfield is an associate at Williams Mullen (Richmond) who practices in the areas of federal, state and local tax controversy matters.  Stephanie Lipinski Galland is a partner at Williams Mullen (DC) and the co-chair of its state and local tax practice. 2017-09-22T19:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/small-richmond-businesses-complete-mentorship-program Small Richmond businesses complete mentorship program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/small-richmond-businesses-complete-mentorship-program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/small-richmond-businesses-complete-mentorship-program#When:18:04:00Z Representatives from 10 companies have completed a mentorship program sponsored by Richmond’s Office of Minority Business Development. The 2016-17 Building a Better Mentorship Program matched small Richmond-based businesses with experienced professionals for one-on-one coaching. The business/mentor teams established 12-month work plans designed to increase revenue, profit, cash flow and employee base. The people involved in the program include: Karen and Ramon Hardy, Accent Draperys Inc. Mentor:  Jullianne Moroni (Capital One Financial Corp.) Joyce M. Parker-Johnson, Abaca Business Plans Inc. Mentor: Angela Carter (Capital One) Leah and Yolanda Reed, Credential America Inc. Mentor: Talon Rice (Capital One) Derrick Alford, Fiscal Fitness Financial Services Mentor:  Michael Dodson (Entrust Federal Credit Union) Hanan Al-Emin, H & H Real Estate Development Corp. Mentor:  Grace Washington (J. G. Consulting) Cornelius Fenner, Help LLC Mentor: Robin Lancaster (RVA Works) Jamie L. Johnson, JLJ Construction LLC Mentor:  Nathalia Artus (USBPA/DSBSD) Carol Reese, ReeSources Inc. Mentor:  Latilda Owens (Virginia Community Capital) Shakeita Collins, Replica of Im-ij LLC Mentor:  Sarah Williams (Village Bank) Sandra Eddleston and Oludare Ogunde, Sandrog International Commerce LLC Mentor:  Latilda Owens (Virginia Community Capital) 2017-09-22T18:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-launches-program-for-high-potenti Virginia Economic Development Partnership launches program for high-potential companies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-launches-program-for-high-potenti http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-launches-program-for-high-potenti#When:21:26:00Z The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has picked 12 companies to participate in the Virginia Economic Gardening Pilot Program (VEGPP). These “second-stage” businesses have moved beyond the startup phase by substantially increasing their revenue or employment. VEDP partnered with the Edward Lowe Foundation, which hosts the National Center for Economic Gardening, on VEGPP. They to set up a statewide network providing each company access to a team of research specialists. The teams will devote approximately 36 hours of assistance to each company. The program aims to address growth issues, such as identifying new markets and industry trends, refining business models and raising online visibility. The participating companies are: Blue Mountain Brewery Inc., Nelson County Blue Ridge Optics LLC, Bedford County C2 Management, Clarke County Clarke Precision Machine, Wytheville Fulcrum Concepts LLC, King and Queen County Hepburn and Sons LLC, Manassas Risk and Strategic Management Corp., Manassas R&K Cyber Solutions LLC, Manassas Salatin & Cloud LC, Harrisonburg SanAir Technologies Laboratory Inc., Powhatan County Solid Stone Fabrics Inc., Martinsville VistaShare LLC, Harrisonburg To be eligible for the VEGPP, applicants were required to meet the following criteria: ·         Be a for-profit, privately held company that has been in business for at least five years and maintained its principal place of business in Virginia for at least two years ·         Generate annual revenue of $1 million to $50 million ·         Employ 10 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees ·         Show growth in employment and/or revenue during two of the past five years ·         Provide products or services beyond the local area to regional, national or global markets ·         Be referred by a participating economic development organization VEDP will follow up with the companies upon their completion of the six-to-eight-week program to determine its effectiveness addressing issues identified by each company during the application phase. VEDP staff also will monitor the companies’ increase in revenue and employment during the next 36 months. 2017-09-21T21:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-pharmaceutical-company-raises-10-million-in-financing Blacksburg pharmaceutical company raises $10 million in financing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-pharmaceutical-company-raises-10-million-in-financing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-pharmaceutical-company-raises-10-million-in-financing#When:20:15:00Z Landos Biopharma Inc. announced Thursday it has raised $10 million in financing from life sciences investment management firm Perceptive Advisors. Blacksburg-based Landos is a biopharmaceutical company focused on improving treatments for autoimmune diseases. Perceptive Advisors, based in New York, will serve as the exclusive investor for the Series A round. The company plans to partner on operational efforts with Boston-based Xontogeny LLC, a life sciences accelerator. Landos was founded by serial entrepreneur and innovator Josep Bassaganya-Riera. The company’s mission is to accelerate the development of safer, more effective therapeutics for painful and debilitating autoimmune diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Landos will focus its development efforts in a novel target pathway that has shown promise for the treatment of autoimmune diseases by engaging a unique mechanism of action that exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects. 2017-09-21T20:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Acuity_Danny_Toler_Headshot_copy.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/acuity-announces-new-executive Acuity announces new executive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/acuity-announces-new-executive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/acuity-announces-new-executive#When:08:45:00Z IT consulting firm Acuity Inc. of Reston announced Wednesday that it has appointed Danny Toler as senior vice president, diplomatic portfolio and cyber practice. Toler previously was acting assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Communications office, where he led the implementation of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. Before joining DHS, Toler spent 12 years at the State Department, holding roles including director of the Office of Enterprise Network Management and division chief of Network Engineering and Design, where he transitioned the State Department into a new mode of operations and managed a network of over 300 locations worldwide. 2017-09-21T08:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/equus-breaks-ground-on-287000-square-foot-speculative-warehouse-in-winchest Equus breaks ground on 287,000-square-foot speculative warehouse in Winchester http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/equus-breaks-ground-on-287000-square-foot-speculative-warehouse-in-winchest http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/equus-breaks-ground-on-287000-square-foot-speculative-warehouse-in-winchest#When:21:31:00Z   Equus Capital Partners Ltd., a private equity real estate fund manager based out of Philadelphia, said Wednesday that it has broken ground on a 287,000-square-foot speculative warehouse logistics facility in Winchester’s Stonewall Industrial Park. The park is located along the Interstate 81 corridor in Frederick County, about 75 miles west of Washington D.C. The Class A building will sit on a 20-acre site. According to Equus, the facility will be constructed of tilt-up concrete panels with a 32-foot clear height, energy efficient interior lighting, and an ESFR sprinkler system.  Equus said its newest project would be the largest available block of Class A industrial space along the I-81 corridor from Hagerstown, Md., down through Harrisonburg. The facility is expected to be complete in June 2018. “The I-81 region and Winchester specifically provides superior access to the Virginia Inland Port and the population centers along the east coast and Midwest,” Dan DiLella Jr., senior vice president at Equus, said in a statement. Since expanding into the I-81 corridor in 2005, Equus said it has acquired and leased about 700,000 square feet of existing industrial space and has completed an additional 1.5 million square feet of new industrial development projects.  In 2016, Equus developed two new projects in the Stonewall Industrial Park. One was a 330,000-square-foot speculative facility that it leased prior to completion to Home Depot and Max Finkelstein Inc. The second building was a 400,000-square-foot, build-to-suit for Fiat Chrysler America (FCA).  John Lesinski and Ben Luke of Colliers Internationals Tysons Corner are leading the marketing efforts for Equus’ newest project. BPG Development Co., Equus’ development operating arm, will oversee development and construction. 2017-09-20T21:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/icma-rc-celebrates-the-grand-opening-of-its-richmond-location ICMA-RC celebrates the grand opening of its Richmond location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/icma-rc-celebrates-the-grand-opening-of-its-richmond-location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/icma-rc-celebrates-the-grand-opening-of-its-richmond-location#When:20:32:00Z Top officers from ICMA-RC, one of downtown Richmond’s newest corporate tenants, came to town Wednesday for the grand opening of its Riverfront Plaza office. During a ribbon-cutting celebration and tours, the company’s CEO Bob Schultze and COO Gregory Dyson shed more light on why the provider of public-sector retirement plans chose Richmond from among 20 cities for a second location, a 55,000-square-foot office expected to hire 250 people by 2019. Schultz said 103 people now work at the company’s Richmond location on the fifth and six floors of Riverfront Plaza’s East Tower. They moved into the office in mid-June. As the company expands its workforce, it plans to lease space on the seventh floor as well. An open floor plan offers plenty of space, Dyson said, along with views of the city’s skyline and the James River. The office walls are decorated with large depictions of public-sector employees in areas such as parks and recreation and public works. Renting a similar type of Class A office space in Washington, D.C., where ICMA-RC has its headquarters, would cost a lot more than in Richmond, Schultze told a large gathering of city officials, including Mayor Levar Stoney. “We outgrew our space in D.C, and it’s really expensive to add space there,” said Schultze. “Space in Richmond is one third the cost of space in D.C.” Plus, Schultze said the two-hour drive to and from the D.C. headquarters makes it easy to attend meetings between the two offices. The company also was familiar with Richmond, he added, because the city is one of ICMA-RC’s clients.  “We’ve been serving Richmond, primarily for retirement benefits, for 30 years,” Schultze said. Another piece of history: the company’s first client hailed from Virginia. ICMA-RC's first plan was for the city of Charlottesville under the direction of then City Manager Cole Hendrix.  ICMA-RC is still the Charlottesville's retirement plan provider, Schultze said. ICMA-RC got its start in 1972 through the assistance of a Ford Foundation grant to provide portable retirement savings to public-sector employees. Today, the nonprofit organization administers and manages more than $50 billion in assets and has more than 1 million local and state government participant accounts across the country, including 130 in Virginia. ‘It gives me great pride to welcome such a mission-oriented company to the Richmond area,” Stoney said during his remarks. While he read a welcoming proclamation, the mayor joked that he wasn’t ready to turn over the keys to the city. "You all will have to do more to get the keys,” he said. ”Like move your whole headquarters, here?” 2017-09-20T20:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poll-shows-kaine-with-early-edge-in-re-election-bid Poll shows Kaine with early edge in re-election bid http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poll-shows-kaine-with-early-edge-in-re-election-bid http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poll-shows-kaine-with-early-edge-in-re-election-bid#When:20:31:00Z U.S. Senator Tim Kaine has an early lead in his quest for re-election, according to a poll by the University of Mary Washington. Kaine, a Democrat, has double-digit leads over three potential Republican rivals, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and U.S. Reps. Dave Brat and Scott Taylor. Of the three GOP officials tested in the survey, only Stewart so far is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Kaine in 2018. “The latest Mary Washington survey demonstrates that Tim Kaine remains popular in Virginia,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington and director of its Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said in a statement. “But any statewide election in ‘purple’ Virginia is likely to tighten up as the contest draws nearer.” The poll of 1,000 state residents was conducted for Mary Washington by Princeton Survey Research Associates International on Sept. 5-12. Registered voters in the survey favored Kaine over Stewart by a 53 percent to 36 percent, compared with 54-36 against Brat and 52-37 against Taylor. The university said the three Republicans suffer from limited name recognition statewide. Among registered voters, only 25 percent said they could offer a general opinion about Stewart, a  Republican gubernatorial candidate earlier this year. People who could offer a general assessment of Stewart were split, with 11 percent having a favorable assessment and 14 percent an unfavorable one. Voters also were split on Brat, with 9 percent having positive and 9 percent having negative assessments. Ten percent of registered voters were positive about Taylor, and 6 percent were negative. For Kaine, 40 percent of registered voters had a positive assessment and 29 percent had an unfavorable one. Twenty-nine percent said they were unsure about Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate in 2016. Asked which candidate they would prefer to be the Republican nominee, 20 percent of registered voters in the survey favored Taylor, 12 percent picked Stewart and 9 percent wanted Brat. Others said they were undecided. “The Republican Party had a close nomination contest for governor this year, and these results suggest that there is an opening for an alternative to Stewart in the GOP next year,” Farnsworth said. The registered voter survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. 2017-09-20T20:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herndon-based-deltek-acquires-danish-company Herndon-based Deltek acquires Danish company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herndon-based-deltek-acquires-danish-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herndon-based-deltek-acquires-danish-company#When:20:11:00Z Herndon-based Deltek, a major provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, has acquired Copenhagen-based WorkBook. Workbook provides management tools that are widely used by advertising agencies. Financial details about the deal were not disclosed. Deltek said the acquisition accelerates its momentum developing solutions for the creative industry. Founded in 2000, WorkBook now has customers in over 40 countries. “We are excited to announce that we are joining the Deltek family,” Niels Heimburger, the CEO and founder of WorkBook, said in as statement. “Our organizations have decades of experience working with advertising and marketing firms around the globe. Deltek and WorkBook share a unique focus on purpose-built software for project-based businesses – and combined, we will accelerate and improve our client’s business processes.” Deltek serves 22,000 organizations in more than 80 countries. 2017-09-20T20:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image003.jpg.jpeg Riverton Commons shopping center courtesy LHB Communications http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/front-royal-shopping-center-sells-for-17.7-million Front Royal shopping center sells for $17.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/front-royal-shopping-center-sells-for-17.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/front-royal-shopping-center-sells-for-17.7-million#When:17:30:00Z   The JCR Cos. of Washington, D.C., has acquired Riverton Commons, a 69,496- square-foot shopping center in Front Royal for $17.7 million. CBRE represented the seller, EDENS, and First Virginia Community Bank provided financing. Riverton Commons is located on about 13 acres at the intersection of Interstate 66 and US Route 522. It’s part of a 500,000-square-foot regional shopping center anchored by a 201,000-square-foot Walmart supercenter. Built in 2007, Riverton Commons is leased to local, regional and national tenants including Valley Health Systems Urgent Care, Great Clips, Mattress Warehouse, Sweet Frog and Anytime Fitness. JCR plans to lease the existing vacant space and either develop or sell the property’s five pad sites, two of which are vacant land. “With a strategic location on Route 66 and its location within Front Royal’s dominant retail center, Riverton is a perfect fit for JCR,” Joe Reger, the company’s principal, said in a statement. Situated about 70 miles west of Washington, in the Shenandoah River Valley, Front Royal’s population is growing. Since the 2000 census, the area’s population has increased by about 33 percent to a little more than 15,000. Many residents commute to jobs in or near Washington. JCR said that Riverton Commons is its eighth shopping center acquisition since 2012. “We are continuing our aggressive acquisition of urban and suburban retail properties nationwide, with a concentration in the Washington, D.C.  metro area,” Reger said. 2017-09-20T17:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/buchanan-partners-and-elion-partner-join-forces-to-acquire-large-industrial Buchanan Partners and Elion Partner join forces to acquire large industrial portfolio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/buchanan-partners-and-elion-partner-join-forces-to-acquire-large-industrial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/buchanan-partners-and-elion-partner-join-forces-to-acquire-large-industrial#When:16:02:00Z Buchanan Partners, a real estate development firm based in Gaithersburg, Md., has teamed with Miami-based real estate investment firm Elion Partners to acquire a 700,000-square-foot industrial portfolio in suburban Washington for $81.1 million. The portfolio includes 14 buildings off Route 28 in the Northern Virginia submarkets of Westfields, Chantilly and Dulles. The seller was a joint venture of Ares Capital Corp. and Adler Group. Buchanan Partners Principal Brian Benninghoff said in a statement that “Class A industrial buildings like these provide many tenants more useful options than traditional office buildings or retail centers, at a better price.” According to Buchanan, the new ownership plans to make capital improvements, including landscaping and amenities while continuing to lease and manage the properties. “This asset class aligns with our investment strategy of acquiring supply-constrained properties at or below replacement costs,” Juan DeAngulo, managing principal of Elion Partners, said in a statement.  “With sound operating fundamentals, we are excited to embark on this strategic joint venture with Buchanan Partners and look forward to continuing to grow our investments in this region.” Northern Virginia’s Route 28 corridor offers one of the nation’s densest concentrations of technology, cybersecurity and government contractor businesses due to its proximity to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the nation’s  capital. Properties lining Route 28 provide access to Washington Dulles International Airport, I-495 (Capital Beltway), and the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) leading to Tysons Corner. The portfolio is spread across three office parks along the Route 28 corridor: 3680-3863 Centerview Road in Dulles Business Park; 14420-14434 Albemarle Point Place in Westfields North; and 14280-14290 Sullyfield Circle in Sullyfield Business Park. The buildings are listed below, with the rentable square footage of each. Dulles Business Park 3680 Centerview Drive   59,767 SF 3684 Centerview Drive   55,080 SF 3750 Centerview Drive   78,820 SF 3855 Centerview Drive   43,010 SF 3859 Centerview Drive   34,309 SF 3863 Centerview Drive   45,671 SF Sullyfield Business Park 14280 Sullyfield Circle    44,545 SF 14290 Sullyfield Circle    37,845 SF Westfields North 14420 Albemarle Point Place   89,042 SF 14424 Albemarle Point Place   31,132 SF 14426 Albemarle Point Place   33,676 SF 14428 Albemarle Point Place   33,966 SF 14432 Albemarle Point Place   49,344 SF 14434 Albemarle Point Place   59,200 SF 2017-09-20T16:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lifespire-of-virginia-begins-construction-of-125000-square-foot-expansion LifeSpire of Virginia begins construction of 125,000-square-foot expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lifespire-of-virginia-begins-construction-of-125000-square-foot-expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lifespire-of-virginia-begins-construction-of-125000-square-foot-expansion#When:21:00:00Z LifeSpire of Virginia has begun construction on a 125,000-square-foot expansion of its Culpeper senior-living community. The  project, financed in part with an $18 million loan from SunTrust Bank, will allow LifeSpire to build 133 apartments at The Culpeper and offer additional care services. The new facilities will replace a building constructed in 1951. The 133 new apartments include 54 assisted-living, 32 memory-care and 47 skilled-nursing units, with 16 of those units reserved for short-term rehabilitation needs. Other enhancements to the community will include an outdoor courtyard, country kitchens, cook-to-order dining options, an on-site clinic, chapel, on-site physical therapy, wellness gym, health and beauty spa and other home-like living spaces. LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond. 2017-09-19T21:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-hilb-group-acquires-massachusetts-insurance-agency The Hilb Group acquires Massachusetts insurance agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-hilb-group-acquires-massachusetts-insurance-agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-hilb-group-acquires-massachusetts-insurance-agency#When:20:54:00Z The Hilb Group has acquired Massachusetts-based Mid-State Insurance Agency Inc. The deal, which was effective on Sept. 1, is the 37th acquisition made by the Henrico County insurance broker since its founding in 2009. Mid-State provides a wide range of property and casualty insurance and employee benefits products to businesses and individuals throughout New England. Mid-State specializes in developing risk management and insurance programs for automobile dealerships. Following the transaction, Mid-State employees, including managing partners, Jim Pietro and Paul Pietro, joined The Hilb Group while continuing to operatetheir offices in Worcester and Taunton. 2017-09-19T20:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-memory-care-facility-opens-in-henrico-county New memory care facility opens in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-memory-care-facility-opens-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-memory-care-facility-opens-in-henrico-county#When:19:50:00Z Real estate developer HHHunt has opened a senior-living community, Spring Arbor Cottage of Richmond, in Henrico County. The company describes the facility as the only all memory-care community in the West End area of Richmond. The $12.9 million, 28,500-square-foot facility can serve up to 48 residents and offers a“cottage” model for memory-care residents.  Residents can live in one of three 9,500-square-foot interconnected cottages that each serve 16 residents. Monthly fees start at $5,000. The idea behind the cottage model is to create the feeling of being at home. There are walking paths connecting each cottage to the community’s town square and a park-like area for social gatherings, community events and resident activities. The company plans to build more “cottage” memory-care communities in Virginia. HHHunt, with primary offices in Blacksburg, Richmond and Raleigh, is a real estate development firm with residential communities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland. Photo couresty HHHunt 2017-09-19T19:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-selected-to-lease-new-mixed-use-project-in-char Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer selected to lease new mixed-use project in Charlottesville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-selected-to-lease-new-mixed-use-project-in-char http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-selected-to-lease-new-mixed-use-project-in-char#When:19:37:00Z Stony Point Design/Build LLC has selected Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer for the exclusive leasing representation of the Dairy Central revitalization project in downtown Charlottesville. The 4.3-acre property, located at the corner of 10th Street and Preston Avenue, will be developed into a mixed-use urban district featuring the adaptive reuse of the historic Monticello Dairy building. Estimated to be an $80 million project, construction on Dairy Central is slated to begin summer of 2018 after the demolition of non-historic portions of the Monticello Dairy complex. Phase one development plans call for a food hall with local restaurateurs, national retailers, a craft brewery and co-working lab. These operations will create amenities for 50,000 square feet of new Class A office space. Master planning by Cunningham and Quill Architects includes future phases for multifamily housing, single-family housing and additional retail with structured parking. John Pritzlaff and Jenny Stoner of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Charlottesville office are the representatives that will handle leasing of the property. 2017-09-19T19:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-ceo-named-at-dollar-tree New CEO named at Dollar Tree http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-ceo-named-at-dollar-tree http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-ceo-named-at-dollar-tree#When:08:54:00Z Discount retailer Dollar Tree Inc. named a new CEO Monday as part of its planned leadership succession. Gary Philbin, who had been the enterprise president at Dollar Tree, was promoted to president and CEO of the Chesapeake-based company and appointed to its board of directors. Bob Sasser, 65, is now the executive chairman. Macon Brock, a co-founder of the company who had been chairman of the company, will remain on the board and become chairman emeritus. Sasser, who has been president and CEO since 2004, joined Dollar Tree in 1999 as chief operating officer. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2001. During Sasser’s tenure, Dollar Tree has grown from a company with 18,000 employees; fewer than 1,200 stores and less than $1 billion in annual sales to a Fortune 150 company with nearly 180,000 employees and more than 14,500 stores. For 2017, revenues are projected to exceed $22 billion. The company completed six acquisitions during Sasser’s tenure, including the $9.1 billion acquisition of Family Dollar Stores Inc. in 2015. Dollar Tree’s market capitalization has grown from approximately $2.3 billion to $19.8 billion during this time. Philbin, 60, joined Dollar Tree in 2001 as senior vice president of stores. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2007 and became president and chief operating officer in 2013. In July 2015, Philbin assumed the role of president and chief operating officer of Family Dollar upon its acquisition by Dollar Tree. In January, he was promoted to enterprise president with responsibility for DollarTree and Family Dollar. 2017-09-19T08:54:00+00:00