1573892007 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en rfoster@virginiabusiness.com Copyright 2019 2019-11-15T22:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shenandoah-university-installs-largest-rooftop-solar-array-among-va.-univer Shenandoah University installs largest rooftop solar array among Va. universities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shenandoah-university-installs-largest-rooftop-solar-array-among-va.-univer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shenandoah-university-installs-largest-rooftop-solar-array-among-va.-univer#When:22:00:00Z With 1,337 solar panels spread across three buildings, Shenandoah University in Winchester now has the largest rooftop solar power system among the state's colleges and universities, the university announced Friday. “We are proud to highlight Shenandoah University’s belief in and dedication to environmental stewardship,” Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons said in a statement. “With this installation, Shenandoah demonstrates not only the power of solar energy but also the power of people working together to create a better tomorrow.” Shenandoah's solar panels have the capacity to generate 500 kilowatts of electricity, or 675,000 kilowatt hours per year. The panels are installed on the Alson H. Smith Jr. Library, the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre and the James R. Wilkins Jr. Athletics and Events Center. The university estimates the solar panels will net $1.5 million in electricity savings per year during the next 35 years.  It's funded in part by Virginia's first solar crowdfunding campaign, which is being led by Staunton-based Secure Futures LLC.  “On-campus solar energy at Shenandoah University is being funded in part through Virginia’s first solar crowdfunding campaign,” said Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures. “Through this innovative program, members of the community are able to invest in the development of solar projects at five different nonprofit institutions around Virginia, starting with Shenandoah University.” 2019-11-15T22:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schev-state-needs-to-spend-more-to-become-best-educated-state SCHEV: State needs to spend more to become ‘best-educated’ state http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schev-state-needs-to-spend-more-to-become-best-educated-state http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schev-state-needs-to-spend-more-to-become-best-educated-state#When:21:54:00Z In 2014, Virginia set a goal to be the best-educated state by 2030, which requires that 70% of its working-age population will need a workforce credential or degree. A report released Friday by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia says the state will need to spend $400 million more annually to achieve that goal.  According to 2017 demographics, 53.9% of Virginians between the ages of 25 and 64 have a postsecondary school certification or degree, and numbers vary widely among race, income and region. In some areas of the state, more than 80% of the work-aged population have degrees, so many of the gains in the next decade must come from underrepresented regions and from low-income and minority populations. Statewide, 68.4% of Asians and Pacific Islanders, 52.2% of whites, 34.4% of blacks and 33.1% of Hispanics have a postsecondary certificate or degree, according to “Strategic Finance Plan for Virginia,” prepared by Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs for SCHEV. Virginia’s cost per degree year, at $19,400 (based on a 10-year average from 2006-2015), is lower than the national average of $23,350 — showing that the state’s students get a good return on investment. However, to close significant gaps in access and success, SCHEV estimates the state must allot $400 million more in additional annual expenditures to reach its 70% goal by 2030. The report suggests that Virginia can align existing funding with completion priorities, increase college affordability and provide support to target populations, including Virginians older than traditional college age. After 2025, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds will decline, so the state’s colleges and universities will have to market themselves to older students, a relatively untapped opportunity according to the report. The report acknowledges the importance of private institutions in Virginia, which granted more than 17,000 bachelor’s degrees, nearly 1,300 associate degrees and nearly 400 certificates in the 2017-18 school year, but focused on operations at state-funded colleges and universities. 2019-11-15T21:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ferrum-sets-out-path-for-transfer-students-with-associate-degrees Ferrum sets out path for transfer students with associate degrees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ferrum-sets-out-path-for-transfer-students-with-associate-degrees http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ferrum-sets-out-path-for-transfer-students-with-associate-degrees#When:21:08:00Z Ferrum College is making a pledge to transfer students who have graduated from Virginia community colleges. Starting next fall, students with appropriate associate degrees will be able to finish their bachelor’s degrees within two years or they’ll pay no tuition for their remaining coursework.  “Today, nearly forty percent of students who graduate from a Virginia community college need three or more additional years to finish a bachelor's degree because their new college will not accept many of their credits. This is not what they expected — it's frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive,” Ferrum College President David Johns said in a statement outlining the policy the college is calling the “Ferrum Promise.” The college in Franklin County already guarantees admission from all community colleges in Virginia. The new policy applies to students who are enrolled full-time, enter with an appropriate associate’s degree from a Virginia community college and meet certain academic requirements. The arrangement applies to many majors offered by the college, including agriculture, business, criminal justice, ecotourism,  environmental science, recreation leadership, social work and teacher education. 2019-11-15T21:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-trade-delegation-visiting-israel-and-united-arab-emirates Virginia trade delegation visiting Israel and United Arab Emirates http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-trade-delegation-visiting-israel-and-united-arab-emirates http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-trade-delegation-visiting-israel-and-united-arab-emirates#When:20:24:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam is leading a six-day international trade and marketing mission to Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The goal of such trips is to promote Virginia’s advantages as a business location and tourist destination while developing markets for agricultural exports. Northam was scheduled to leave Friday night for Tel Aviv with Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. Also on the trip are representatives from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Tourism Corp. and the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. In addition to Tel Aviv, the group will visit Jerusalem in Israel and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. “We live in a competitive global economy and it is important that we share the Virginia story with businesses and trade partners around the world who are interested in buying our goods and services,” Northam said in a statement released Friday. “International trade and marketing missions are critical tools to recruit new investment to the commonwealth and maintain the relationships that will lead to new jobs, more exports by Virginia companies and shared economic growth.” The Virginia delegation is expected to participate in nearly 30 meetings. Northam will host a Virginia reception in Tel Aviv, speak at a Dubai Chamber of Commerce luncheon and meet with U.S. embassy officials in both countries. The trip follows Wednesday’s unveiling of the commonwealth’s strategic plan for international trade. The plan’s goal is to increase Virginia exports 50% within the next 15 years. 2019-11-15T20:24:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-395-express-lanes-to-open-sunday-in-nova I-395 Express Lanes to open Sunday in NoVa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-395-express-lanes-to-open-sunday-in-nova http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-395-express-lanes-to-open-sunday-in-nova#When:19:19:00Z Newly completed Interstate 395 Express Lanes will open Sunday in Northern Virginia. The $475 million project creates eight miles of toll lanes on I-395, part of the highly congested traffic corridor between Fairfax County and Washington, D.C. Developers expect the lanes to save drivers an estimated 30 minutes during morning rush hour. The I-395 project is the result of a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban, the current operators of the 95 and 495 Express Lanes. The I-395 project, which began construction in August 2017, was completed on time and on budget, according to the governor’s office. Construction was led by Connecticut-based Lane Construction. 2019-11-15T19:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iqos-shop-opening-in-richmond IQOS shop opening in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iqos-shop-opening-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/iqos-shop-opening-in-richmond#When:19:15:00Z In a minimalist-chic storefront in Richmond's Carytown shopping district, Henrico-based Altria Group and Philip Morris USA are launching their second U.S. market — and the first in Virginia — for the IQOS heated-tobacco device on Saturday. With its light wood-and-glass displays of multicolored holders and other accessories, the IQOS (pronounced eye-kōs) boutique at 3402 W. Cary St. resembles a cell phone shop or perhaps an Apple Store. It conveys a sense of respectability, avoiding the neon lights, funky logos and dark walls common among the vape shops that have popped up across the state in recent years.  That’s by design, as Altria Group and its Philip Morris USA subsidiary are marketing the product to current smokers over the age of 21 — not to teens or to nonsmokers of any age, company officials emphasized Friday during a media preview for the Richmond IQOS store. Customers will be carded at the door to make sure they’re 21 and salespeople will ask if they’re current smokers. The system, which retails for $80, includes an IQOS holder, the electronic device that heats a cigarette-like tobacco stick called a “HeatStick,” a charging device and plug, and 10 packets containing 20 HeatSticks each. Packaged in Marlboro-branded packs, HeatSticks come in two flavors: regular tobacco and smooth menthol, soon to be joined by fresh menthol. “That’s what the FDA has authorized,” said David Sutton, director of media affairs at Altria Group. “It’s not an e-vapor or e-cigarette product.” In other words, the heated-tobacco product will not feature any of the fruit or candy flavors that have been blamed for luring underage vapers, particularly products sold by the San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc., in which Altria holds a 35% stake. IQOS, by contrast, is “not significantly appealing to youth or to nonsmokers,” according to a statement from Philip Morris International Inc., which sells the product in more than 50 markets worldwide. Through an agreement with PMI, Altria has exclusive commercial rights to the IQOS system in the United States, and PM USA is responsible for marketing and sales here. More than 8.8 million adult smokers in overseas markets have fully switched to IQOS, said Corey Henry, director of United States communications for PMI. It was a two-year process to bring the product to the U.S. market this year, including a large chunk (which Henry declined to specify) of the companies’ $6 billion budget dedicated to research and development of non-cigarette products. In October, Altria and Philip Morris USA launched its first IQOS store in Atlanta. Richmond is the second U.S. market. In its approval, the Food and Drug Administration said that IQOS produces “fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes,” although the companies are prohibited from making any health claims yet about the device’s impact compared with that of cigarettes. The FDA is still considering an application submitted for IQOS in December 2016, a year before its sales application was submitted, Sutton said. Boxes of HeatSticks will cost about $5.75 each in Richmond, roughly the same as a pack of cigarettes. HeatSticks “closely mimic the cigarette-smoking experience,” with a blend of three types of tobacco, Sutton said. Although the boutique will be the only location locally where customers can buy the device, soon there will be 170 retail locations — such as 7-Eleven, Wawa and Sheetz — where customers can buy packs of the HeatSticks. Specific retail locations are still under discussion, Sutton said, as the company wants to hear Richmond-area customers’ preferences, but over the past couple of months in Atlanta, he noted, “We’ve had a lot of adult smoker interest.” 2019-11-15T19:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/van_vlissigen_em_hen_CROP.jpg John van Vlissingen received an honorary degree from Emory & Henry in May. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/emory-henry-receives-5-million-gift Emory & Henry receives $5 million gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/emory-henry-receives-5-million-gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/emory-henry-receives-5-million-gift#When:18:18:00Z Emory & Henry College has received a gift of $5 million from a Dutch businessman. The donation by the van Vlissingen Student Foundation will be used to create the van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development at the private liberal arts college in Southwest Virginia. College said the center will work closely with its academic departments in helping its 1,300 students prepare for careers. The van Vlissingens founded one of the world's largest private trading groups, SHV, in Utrecht in 1896. One member of the family, John van Vlissingen, is the founder and chairman of the board of BCD Group. He received an honorary degree from Emory & Henry in May. “Mr. van Vlissingen has great empathy for students who thirst for the guidance and skills that will lead them to the working world. His support to build and staff this professional development center will leave a legacy to the college and the region," Emory & Henry President John W. Wells said in a statement. Utrecht-based BCD is the third-largest business travel company in the world. Employing more than 14,500 people, the company operates in 109 countries and has annual sales of more than $27 billion. Business Travel News, a trade publication, last year named van Vlissingen one of the 25 Most Influential People in World Business Travel. For the past 35 years, van Vlissingen has been a major investor in U.S. real estate, including Roanoke's Valley View Mall. Emory & Henry said the career and professional development center is only one of many initiatives on its drawing board. The college said a business school and entrepreneurial incubator will open by fall 2020. 2019-11-15T18:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shareholders-approve-1.13-billion-gatehouse-media-gannett-merger Shareholders approve $1.13 billion Gatehouse Media-Gannett merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shareholders-approve-1.13-billion-gatehouse-media-gannett-merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shareholders-approve-1.13-billion-gatehouse-media-gannett-merger#When:21:15:00Z New York-based New Media Investment Group, the parent company of Gatehouse Media, expects to complete its $1.13 billion acquisition of McLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. next week, following Thursday’s approval of the deal by shareholders. The Nov. 19 merger of Gannett and Gatehouse will create the nation’s largest publisher, with more than 260 dailies, including USA Today, and hundreds of weeklies. The daily papers have a total circulation of 8.7 million. The combined company will be called Gannett. The merger is expected to result in $275 million to $300 million in reduced annual costs. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Gannett shareholders will receive $6.25 in cash and 0.5427 shares of New Media stock for every share they own. In Virginia, Gatehouse owns Virginia Lawyers Weekly in Richmond and The Progress Index, a daily newspaper in Petersburg. In addition to USA Today, which is based in McLean, Gannett owns The News Leader, a daily paper in Staunton. 2019-11-14T21:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nottoway-chairman-elected-president-of-the-virginia-association-of-counties Nottoway chairman elected president of the Virginia Association of Counties http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nottoway-chairman-elected-president-of-the-virginia-association-of-counties http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nottoway-chairman-elected-president-of-the-virginia-association-of-counties#When:20:14:00Z The chairman of the Nottoway County Board of supervisors is the new president of the Virginia Association of Counties. Stephen W. Bowen was elected 2019-20 president during VACo’s 85th Annual Conference in Bath County. He succeeds Wythe County Chairman Timothy A. Reeves. Bowen was first elected to the Nottoway County Board of Supervisors in 2008 to represent the county’s Burkeville area. He also serves on the Nottoway planning commission, the Piedmont Geriatric Association and the Piedmont Regional Jail Authority. Other members of the association’s executive committee are: President-elect: Jeff C. McKay, Fairfax County First vice president: Meg Bohmke, Stafford County Second vice president: Jason D. Bellows, Lancaster County Secretary-treasurer: Donald L. Hart Jr., Accomack County 2019-11-14T20:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/esports-company-to-relocate-its-hampton-roads-venue Esports company to relocate its Hampton Roads venue http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/esports-company-to-relocate-its-hampton-roads-venue http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/esports-company-to-relocate-its-hampton-roads-venue#When:16:42:00Z San Francisco-based GameWorks Inc. plans to move its Chesapeake esports venue to downtown Norfolk's MacArthur Center mall. The 19,000-square-foot Norfolk site is expected to open next spring at the 1 million-square-foot mall. The company said its 50 employees at Chesapeake’s Greenbrier Mall will have the opportunity to relocate to the MacArthur Center site, which will employ about 60 people. GameWorks now operates seven locations across the country. In addition to Chesapeake, the other sites are in Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago and Seattle. The company is scheduled to open a Silicon Valley site early next year. Each GameWorks site has an esports lounge is equipped with 20 to 40 computers and a library of about 100 popular video games. GameWorks also hosts esports tournaments and events, which attract thousands of participants and spectators. Each location also features a restaurant, called The Works Kitchen at GameWorks. MacArthur Center, managed by Starwood Retail Partners, has more than 120 stores and restaurants. 2019-11-13T16:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northam-unveils-virginia-trade-plan Northam unveils Virginia trade plan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northam-unveils-virginia-trade-plan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northam-unveils-virginia-trade-plan#When:16:13:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam's administration has adopted an international trade strategic plan aimed at boosting Virginia exports 50% during the next 15 years. In unveiling the plan at the 71st Virginia Conference on World Trade in Norfolk on Wednesday, the governor said his goal is move the commonwealth into the top 20 states in terms of exports per capita by 2035. Virginia now is No. 41 among the 50 states. The commonwealth also is ranked 38th in imports as a share of gross state product. “Maintaining Virginia’s position as the best state to do business and ensuring that all regions of the commonwealth can participate in our economic growth requires that we boost our international trade,” Northam said in a statement. The strategic plan identifies 26 initiatives in three categories to support existing companies involved in international trade, while attracting and expanding trade-intensive businesses.  The plan aims to adding nearly $18 billion in annual exports and more than 150,000 jobs. 2019-11-13T16:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-buys-massachusetts-insurance-agency Hilb Group buys Massachusetts insurance agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-buys-massachusetts-insurance-agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-buys-massachusetts-insurance-agency#When:22:10:00Z The Hilb Group, a rapidly growing insurance broker based in Henrico County, has acquired a Massachusetts-property and casualty agency. Hilb said it bought Gould & Naimoli Partners LLC, based in Southborough, Massachusetts, in a deal that closed on Nov. 1. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2010, G&N primarily provides personal lines of insurance to New England real estate owners. Hilb said G&N will continue to operate out of its Massachusetts location under the leadership of Zack Gould and Matt Naimoli. Founded in 2009, Hilb now has more than 90 offices in 21 states employing more than 900 people. The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.,-based global investment firm, announced in late October that it will acquire a majority interest in Hilb by the end of the year. Hilb has been a portfolio company of Abry Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, since 2015. When the Carlyle deal was announced, an Abry partner said Hilb had completed for than 60 acquisitions in the past four years. 2019-11-12T22:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-real-estate-firm-buys-portsmouth-apartments-for-43.35m Arlington real estate firm buys Portsmouth apartments for $43.35M http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-real-estate-firm-buys-portsmouth-apartments-for-43.35m http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-real-estate-firm-buys-portsmouth-apartments-for-43.35m#When:21:12:00Z Arlington-based Blackfin Real Estate Investors has purchased The Myrtles at Olde Towne, a 394-unit multifamily community in Portsmouth, for $43.35 million, the company announced Tuesday. Adjacent to the Naval Medical Center, the nearly 14-acre Myrtles at Olde Towne includes two separate communities and eight buildings, plus two pools, a clubhouse, fitness center and cyber cafe. Olde Towne-I was built in 2006 and is a garden-style complex with elevators serving 246 apartments with 9-foot ceilings. Built in 1972 and renovated in 2006, Olde Towne-II includes 148 apartments in two eight-story buildings. "The Myrtles at Olde Towne offers a tremendous opportunity to invest in a stable and growing metropolitan area," said Leslie Furst, Blackfin's chief operating officer, in a statement. "With the presence of federal agencies, expanding medical services, a strong student population and the growth of data and technology sectors, this property is well positioned to support the growing need for housing." Founded by Andrew Buchanan and Doug Root in 2016, Blackfin has assembled a portfolio of nearly 4,500 apartment units along the East Coast. 2019-11-12T21:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-based-lifenet-acquires-san-diego-company Virginia Beach-based LifeNet acquires San Diego company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-based-lifenet-acquires-san-diego-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-based-lifenet-acquires-san-diego-company#When:21:09:00Z Virginia Beach-based LifeNet Health, a regenerative medicine company, has acquired the assets of Samsara Sciences, a San Diego-based life sciences company. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Samsara specializes in human primary liver and kidney cell isolation. The acquisition includes Samsara's equipment, inventory and associated technology. "These assets complement our primary cell programs, which provide vital resources for discovering safe, effective new therapies," Rony Thomas, LifeNet’s president and CEO, said in a statement. "We continue to invest in this area and collaborate closely with pharmaceutical and biomedical research organizations to support breakthroughs in patient care."  Founded in 1982, LifeNet is the federally-designated organ procurement organization for Virginia. Its services range from organ procurement to new innovations in bio-implant technologies and cellular therapies. The Samsara assets will be incorporated into LifeNet's San Diego facility, which opened in May. The San Diego location is part of a network that includes research facilities in North Carolina and Virginia where more than 30 scientists and subject-matter experts focus on recovering and isolating a range of human primary cells. LifeNet said primary cells represent an important resource for advanced biomedical research. These cells, the company said, are a critical means of understanding how therapies affect organs and systems in the human body. 2019-11-12T21:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-warehouse-sells-for-3.5m Richmond warehouse sells for $3.5M http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-warehouse-sells-for-3.5m http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-warehouse-sells-for-3.5m#When:22:11:00Z A South Richmond warehouse located near Interstate 95 South and the Port of Virginia's Richmond Marine Terminal has sold for $3.5 million, Colliers International announced Monday. The property at 3310 Deepwater Terminal was purchased by a limited liability corporation named after the property that was incorporated in September. The seller was Alloy Properties LLC. Matt Anderson, executive vice president, Harrison McVey, associate, and David Wilkins, senior vice president, represented the seller on behalf of Colliers.   2019-11-11T22:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harbors-edge-hires-new-marketing-vp Harbor’s Edge hires new marketing VP http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harbors-edge-hires-new-marketing-vp http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harbors-edge-hires-new-marketing-vp#When:21:00:00Z As it plans to double in size, Harbor’s Edge in Norfolk has hired Christine Carruthers as its vice president of marketing, the company announced Monday. Carruthers has more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, and has worked with more than 100 retirement communities across the country. She previously worked as vice president of strategic services/health service marketing for Love & Co. Harbor’s Edge is a full-continuum retirement community with assisted living, memory support and nursing services. In 2021, the complex will expand with the scheduled opening of the $200 million River Tower, a 24-story luxury waterfront residential building with 147 apartments and 75,000 square feet of common areas. Construction started in April for the tower on Colley Avenue in the Fort Norfolk area. 2019-11-11T21:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/private-school-plans-to-boost-graduation-in-tech-fields Private school plans to boost graduation in tech fields http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/private-school-plans-to-boost-graduation-in-tech-fields http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/private-school-plans-to-boost-graduation-in-tech-fields#When:16:48:00Z While state universities gear up to provide 31,000 additional computer science graduates during the next 20 years, a private, for-profit school has begun its own effort to add to the tech pipeline. Virginia Beach-based ECPI University has announced a program designed to boost the number of computer science graduates it produces in coming decades by 3,000. “This means ECPI University will produce more than 18,000 graduates over the next 20 years,” ECPI President Mark Dreyfus said in a statement. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced an agreement with 11 state universities, which will use $1.1 billion in state funds produce to 31,000 more bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields during the next two decades. The state plan grew out of Virginia’s successful bid to Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., which is creating its second headquarters in Arlington. One facet of ECPI’s program is attracting more students by building their confidence in tackling a computer science curriculum. ECPI plans to begin a series of “IT confidence camps” where prospective students can gain a better understanding of the field. During these events, students will engage in a series of exercises designed to gauge their aptitude for programs such as cybersecurity, network security and software development. ECPI said its initiative will include scholarships for students who commit to working in Virginia for at least two years after graduation and subsidized vouchers for students and graduates seeking professional certifications 2019-11-11T16:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commercial-real-estate-agents-receive-ccim-designation Five Virginia commercial real estate agents receive CCIM designation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commercial-real-estate-agents-receive-ccim-designation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commercial-real-estate-agents-receive-ccim-designation#When:15:13:00Z The Mid-Atlantic CCIM chapter recognized five Virginia members who recently earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation from the CCIM Institute. They are among 228 industry professionals who earned the designation during the organization's fall business meetings in San Diego: Thompson Brown, Colliers International, Norfolk David Crosby, SunTrust Bank, Glen Allen Ebony Landon, JBG Smith, Arlington Jerad Nielsen, Capital Square, Glen Allen Brian Shahkarami, Long & Foster, Vienna "Our new designees have shown immense determination and dedication to achieve the CCIM designation, which will pay off throughout their entire commercial real estate career," Brian Ginter, president of the Mid-Atlantic CCIM chapter, said in a statement. To earn the designation, commercial real estate professionals must complete more than 160 hours of case-study driven education covering interest-based negotiation, financial analysis, market analysis, user decision analysis, investment analysis and ethics. 2019-11-11T15:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farm-credit-of-the-virginias-buys-staunton-building Farm Credit of the Virginias buys Staunton building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farm-credit-of-the-virginias-buys-staunton-building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farm-credit-of-the-virginias-buys-staunton-building#When:15:07:00Z Farm Credit of the Virginias purchased an 18,750-square-foot building in Staunton for $1.2 million from Atlantic Union Bank. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced the deal last week. The building, a former bank operations center on 6 acres at 102 Industry Way, will be used in the operation of Farm Credit’s business. Will McGoogan, Kent Roberts and John Pritzlaff of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations. 2019-11-11T15:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/markel-buys-fire-safety-and-security-company Markel buys fire safety and security company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/markel-buys-fire-safety-and-security-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/markel-buys-fire-safety-and-security-company#When:14:58:00Z Markel Corp. plans to buy an Ashland-based fire safety and security company. Glen Allen-based Markel, a diversified financial holding company, has entered a definitive agreement to acquire VSC Fire & Security Inc. by the end of the year. Financial details were not disclosed. "VSC provides solutions that help minimize damage if something bad happens — a concept we've learned a lot about over our 89 years in the insurance industry," Tom Gayner, Markel’s co-CEO, said in a statement. Markel’s primary business is specialty insurance. The company’s Markel Ventures subsidiary invests in businesses outside the insurance industry. VSC provides fire protection, life safety and low voltage services to customers throughout the Southeast. Founded in in 1958, the company has grown to more than 1,200 employees working from 21 offices in nine states and the District of Columbia. "When thinking about the next 60 years at VSC, we knew we needed a partner that shared our values and would allow us to continue running VSC the way we have for so long,” Michael Meehan, the CEO of VSC, said in a statement. “We are confident Markel is that partner." 2019-11-11T14:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mechanicsville-shopping-center-is-sold Mechanicsville Shopping Center is sold http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mechanicsville-shopping-center-is-sold http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mechanicsville-shopping-center-is-sold#When:14:54:00Z A Hanover County shopping center has been sold for $2 million. In its recent report of October transactions, S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. said that Arihant Steven Kent Mart LLC has bought Mechanicsville Shopping Center. The 64,000-square-foot retail center is located on 5.65 acres at 7506-7528 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Mechanicsville. The seller was Mechanicsville Investment & Trading Corp. Reid Cardon of S. L. Nusbaum represented the buyer. In addition, Nimmo Properties LLC has purchased a 14,814-square-foot Virginia Beach office building for $2.75 million. The 1.34-acre property at 2117 McComas Way was sold by JFS Real Estate LLC. Pierce Jacobson of S. L. Nusbaum represented the buyer. In lease transactions, A&M Enterprises Inc. has leased 25,854 square feet of industrial space at 1157 Production Road in Norfolk. Michael Myers of S. L. Nusbaum represented the landlord. In addition, Taco Bell has leased a half-acre outparcel at 29th Street and Pacific Avenue in Virginia Beach. Bill Overman and John Wessling of S. L. Nusbaum represented the landlord. Also, Big Lots has exercised its option on 33,599 square feet of retail space at Suffolk Plaza Shopping Center in Suffolk. Chris Hucke of S. L. Nusbaum represented the landlord. 2019-11-11T14:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-buys-computer-related-services-and-consulting-firm DXC buys computer-related services and consulting firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-buys-computer-related-services-and-consulting-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-buys-computer-related-services-and-consulting-firm#When:20:49:00Z Tysons-based DXC Technology has acquired Virtual Clarity, a computer-related services and consulting firm. Financial details for the deal were not disclosed in Friday's announcement. Founded in 2008, Virtual Clarity has offices in London and New York. It provides services to customers in industries such as financial services, health care, manufacturing and telecommunications. DXC, a Fortune 500 IT services company, said the acquisition would help position it as a major provider of IT modernization services for applications and infrastructure. Company officials said the move also strengthens its ability to assess, design and manage transformations to cloud. “Virtual Clarity is a solid fit with our growth strategy with proven expertise in IT transformation and cloud migration,“ Mike Salvino, DXC’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The company complements and enhances DXC’s capabilities in cloud, platforms and IT modernization, enabling DXC to help our clients with their digital transformation journey and improve their business outcomes. DXC said Virtual Clarity builds on its June acquisition earlier this year of Luxoft Holdings Inc., a Switzerland-based digital strategy and software engineering firm, as it provides services to customers seeking industry-specific application development and innovation as part of their IT modernization. DXC has more than 6,000 customers in 70 countries. 2019-11-08T20:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ralph-sampson-stars-in-regional-bank-commercial Ralph Sampson stars in regional bank commercial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ralph-sampson-stars-in-regional-bank-commercial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ralph-sampson-stars-in-regional-bank-commercial#When:22:09:00Z A commercial for Atlantic Union Bank featuring University of Virginia basketball legend Ralph Sampson launched this week, showing the 7-foot-4 Harrisonburg native back on the basketball court — sort of. The spot, which will air statewide on broadcast and cable channels, is titled “Loyalty,” begins with a boy supporting his brother, who has a bit to learn about shooting hoops. The 59-year-old Sampson then shows up on the outdoor basketball court, praising the boys for their loyalty to each other. Richmond-based West Cary Group, Atlantic Union Bank’s advertising agency, created the TV spot, which was shot earlier this year in Los Angeles. In a phone interview Thursday, Sampson said that the idea for the commercial came up after he had done appearances for the past couple of years for the Richmond-headquartered bank and had built relationships with its executives. “It became something special,” he said. As for what else he's been up to lately, Sampson says his 2019 has been “surreal," beginning with his former team’s NCAA basketball championship win in April and followed by the May demolition of University Hall, which was nicknamed “Ralph’s House" during his record-setting early 1980s tenure at U.Va. “I watched some of the process, when they gutted the inside out,” he said, and then he helped push the button at the implosion of the arena, a “very surreal and emotional” moment for him. After winning three Naismith Awards as the National Player of the Year, Sampson graduated from U.Va. in 1983 and played for the Houston Rockets through 1987. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in the 1983-84 season, but knee and back problems started to plague him after the ’87-88 season. Over the years, Sampson played for the Rockets, the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Bullets in the NBA, and he served stints as coach for James Madison University, the Richmond Rhythm and the Phoenix Suns. Earlier this year, Sampson returned home to Virginia from Los Angeles and he splits his time between Harrisonburg and Newport News. His mom and dad are in their 80s and are healthy, Sampson says, and he has various business interests, including with Atlantic Union. He also is a brand ambassador for Puma, which in March re-released his signature basketball shoes from the 1980s, then called the Majesty and now named after him. One pair in the sneaker line, the "Virginia Lo" model, is bedecked in U.Va. blue and orange and sports the Virginia state seal on its heels. “It’s been a wild ride for me,” Sampson says, with the shoe attracting young, obsessive sneakerheads and the attention of GQ magazine, which named it the “sneaker of the week” in October. He stays in touch with “pretty much all” of his former U.Va. teammates — Ricky Stokes, Othell Wilson, Jeff Jones, Jeff Lamp and others — and he relished being at every single NCAA tournament game the Cavaliers played last spring. His advice to the players from the 2018-19 squad who have gone on to play in the NBA: “You have to go back where you were made. You’ve got to come back and build that relationship with the university. The loyalty program is what I’m about.” 2019-11-07T22:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gop-speaker-coxs-chief-of-staff-joins-gentry-locke GOP House Speaker Cox’s chief of staff joins Gentry Locke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gop-speaker-coxs-chief-of-staff-joins-gentry-locke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gop-speaker-coxs-chief-of-staff-joins-gentry-locke#When:21:50:00Z Roanoke-based law firm Gentry Locke has tapped Matthew S. Moran, the former chief of staff to Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, as its government affairs director.  Moran will join the firm's government and regulatory affairs practice in its Richmond office, which opened in late 2018 with partners Gregory Habeeb and John "Chip" Dicks, both former members of the state House of Delegates. The Richmond office has also added litigation associate Jeffrey Miller and former Williamsburg Vice Mayor Daniel Scott Foster Jr., a commercial associate. “Gentry Locke is now the only firm than can offer clients the capabilities of two former legislators, one Democrat and one Republican, a senior legislative and political staffer, and a former elected local government official,” said Gentry Locke Managing Partner Monica Monday in a statement. “Matt’s tremendous experience in state policy and strategic communications will be a great asset to our clients and Scott’s experience in local government will be key to supporting our clients’ needs at the local level.” Moran will provide strategic communications services, helping clients nagivate the state's changing political landscape. Prior to serving as Cox's chief of staff, Moran worked as an adviser to House Speaker Bill Howell, and also worked for U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, and 2017 gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. Moran holds a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Virginia. Cox was re-elected on Nov. 5 but will lose his position as speaker in the next General Assembly session, due to the Democrats taking majority control of the state legislature. 2019-11-07T21:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hubbard-peanut-company-expanding-in-franklin Hubbard Peanut Company expanding in Franklin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hubbard-peanut-company-expanding-in-franklin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hubbard-peanut-company-expanding-in-franklin#When:21:34:00Z Southampton County-based Hubbard Peanut Company Inc. will invest $1.6 million to establish a new production and retail facility in a former grocery store in the city of Franklin, creating 10 new jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday. “Our administration is focused on creating jobs and stimulating economic development across the commonwealth, particularly in our agriculture sector, Virginia’s largest private industry,” Northam said in a statement. “We are proud to support quality, family-owned businesses like Hubbard Peanut Company that are growing opportunity and helping to revitalize our rural communities. With this new venture and their commitment to using Virginia-grown peanuts, the company will ensure their success is shared with farmers and producers throughout the region.” Celebrating its 65th anniversary, the company was founded in 1954 by Dot and HJ Hubbard and is known for its Hubs Virginia Peanuts brand.  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Franklin city officials and Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. to secure the project. Northam approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) fund for the Hubbard Peanut Company expansion, which will also receive matching funds from the city. Hubbard is also eligible to receive state benefits through the Virginia Enterprize Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.  2019-11-07T21:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-agree-to-boost-tech-talent-pipeline Virginia schools agree to boost tech talent pipeline http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-agree-to-boost-tech-talent-pipeline http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-agree-to-boost-tech-talent-pipeline#When:16:49:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam has signed an agreement with 11 universities that is designed to boost the commonwealth’s tech talent pipeline. The goal of the Tech Talent Investment Program is to confer 31,000 more bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields during the next 20 years. The plan grew out of Virginia’s proposal to Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., which is creating its second headquarters in Arlington. Funding for the program was provided in the Virginia budget approved earlier this year, the governor’s office said. In a statement, Northam said the project represents “an investment in Virginians.” “Virginia’s tech sector will continue booming only if we can train the workforce those jobs require,” he said. “With today’s announcement, we are educating a workforce that will fill jobs at hundreds of tech companies around the commonwealth, including at Amazon, helping boost our economy and quality of life in every corner of Virginia.” The following is a list of 11 schools participating in the program, with the number of degrees in tech fields above their current baselines the schools are committed to produce: Virginia Tech: 5,911 bachelor’s degrees and 10,324 master’s degrees. George Mason University: 2,277 bachelor’s and 5,328 master’s degrees. University of Virginia: 3,416 bachelor’s degrees. College of William & Mary: 930 bachelor’s degrees. Old Dominion University: 765 bachelor’s degrees. Virginia Commonwealth University: 722 bachelor’s degrees. James Madison University: 467 bachelor’s degrees. Radford University: 394 bachelor’s degrees. Christopher Newport University: 392 bachelor’s degrees. Virginia State University: 186 bachelor’s degrees. Norfolk State University: 126 bachelor’s degrees. 2019-11-07T16:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-economy-grew-1.9-in-the-second-quarter Virginia’s economy grew 1.9% in the second quarter http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-economy-grew-1.9-in-the-second-quarter http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-economy-grew-1.9-in-the-second-quarter#When:15:13:00Z Virginia’s economy grew 1.9% during the second quarter of this year, a pace that placed it 21st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The growth rate of Virginia’s gross domestic product was slightly below the 2% GDP figure for the entire U.S. during April-July period, according to figures released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The commonwealth’s first quarter GDP growth rate was 2%. GDP is the market value of goods and services produced by the labor and property located in a state. It is the federal government’s most comprehensive measure of economic activity. Virginia’s second-quarter GDP totaled $551.8 billion, up from $546 billion the previous quarter. The commonwealth’s GDP represents 2.6% of the value of the total U.S. economy. Virginia’s second-quarter GDP growth this year represents a drop from 2.5% during the same period last year.  The overall 2018 growth rate in the commonwealth was 2.6%, ranging from a high of 3.5% in the third quarter to a low of 0.5% in the fourth quarter. While Virginia ranked 21st in the nation in GDP growth during the second quarter, its economy still grew faster than most surrounding states. Maryland’s GDP rose 1.5%; Delaware, 1.8%; Kentucky, 1%; North Carolina, 1.6%; Tennessee, 1.3%; and West Virginia, 1.7%. The growth rate for the District of Columbia was 2.1%. The average rate for the 12 Southeastern states was 1.7%, while the average in the Mideast region (which includes D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) was 1.8%. Nationally, Texas ranked first with a growth rate of 4.7%, followed by Wyoming, 4.2%; Alaska, 4.1%; New Mexico, 4.1%; and Washington state, 3.2%. 2019-11-07T15:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-aquarium-names-new-chief-operating-officer Virginia Aquarium names new chief operating officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-aquarium-names-new-chief-operating-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-aquarium-names-new-chief-operating-officer#When:21:10:00Z The city of Virginia Beach has promoted Caryl Thompson as chief operating officer of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Thompson previously worked as vice president of marketing and public relations for the city-owned facility. A Virginia Beach municipal employee since 1992, she joined the city's Virginia Aquarium department in 2016. "Caryl is a proven leader," said Cynthia Spanoulis, president and CEO of the Virginia Aquarium, in a statement released Wednesday. "She has strong technical skills and great business insights, with the ability to understand and further our mission. ... Our senior leadership team has never been stronger." Thompson holds a master's degree in human resource development and organizational development from George Washington University and earned her bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University.   2019-11-06T21:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-take-control-of-general-assembly Democrats take control of General Assembly http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-take-control-of-general-assembly http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/democrats-take-control-of-general-assembly#When:10:03:00Z As anticipated by political analysts, Virginia Democrats regained control of the General Assembly for the first time in 26 years after Tuesday’s pivotal election, which saw a record number of women running for the legislature. The move paves the way for House Minority Leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax County to become the first female speaker of the House. (Though Democratic Del. Lashrecse Aird of Petersburg said Tuesday she will challenge Filler-Corn for the post.) She would replace the current Republican speaker, Del. Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, who was re-elected Tuesday. And it opens the door for a Democratic agenda expected to include gun legislation (such as universal background checks and monthly limits on handgun purchases), criminal justice reforms and increasing the minimum wage. Democrats also will be in a power position to determine the boundaries of state legislative and congressional districts for the next decade. "Tonight,Virginia Democrats have once again made history. Starting this January, for the first time in decades, Democrats will control the House, Senate, and the Governor’s Office," Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker said in a statement issued Tuesday. "This landmark victory is a tribute to our candidates, their commitment to the issues that matter, and the work of a strong Democratic Party of Virginia and our partners. And most importantly, we owe this vicictory to the people of Virginia, who with their votes spoke loudly and clearly in placing control of the House and Senate into Democratic hands. Virginia voters made it clear that the time is now for common-sense gun violence prevention, a raise in the minimum wage, the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and all the progressive reforms we campaigned so hard on this year." Many Republican incumbents’ seats became vulnerable this election following a June federal court decision that redrew the boundaries of 25 legislative districts to correct what judges deemed racial gerrymandering. For instance, Republican Del. Chris Jones, chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, was unseated Tuesday, losing to Democrat Chris Jenkins in Suffolk. After the redistricting decision, the racial makeup of Jones’ district went from being 26% black and 68% white to 45% black and 50% white, moving the district from solidly Republican to giving Democrats a 15-point advantage. The election also saw Del. Tim Hugo, the last Republican standing in Northern Virginia, lose his seat to Democratic challenger Dan Helmer. The Democratic sweep also extended to some local races. Democrats also took control of Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors, which had been helmed by controversial Republican Corey Stewart, who lost a 2018 U.S. Senate race to incumbent U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. 2019-11-06T10:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-technology-acquires-australian-consulting-company DXC Technology acquires Australian consulting company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-technology-acquires-australian-consulting-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dxc-technology-acquires-australian-consulting-company#When:20:21:00Z Tysons-based DXC Technology has acquired Bluleader, an Australian consulting company focused on customer experience solutions. Financial details were not disclosed. DXC is a Fortune 500 IT services company with more than 6,000 private- and public-sector customers in 70 countries. Bluleader, which is based in North Sydney, said it helps businesses to deploy customer experience technologies such as customer relationship management, marketing automation and field service management. “We are excited about expanding the reach of Bluleader into DXC’s diversified client base, so that our employees are engaged in interesting, challenging and career-enhancing projects,” Robin Apfel, Bluleader’s managing director, said in a statement “This combination will enable us to leverage DXC’s market presence, intellectual property and expertise to expand the size and scale of Bluleader as part of DXC Oxygen’s Integrated Practice.” Bluleader has more than 80 customer experience specialists serving more than 40 customers in Australia and New Zealand. DXC said the deal strengthens its ability to help clients acquire and retain customers as well as grow market share. 2019-11-05T20:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-institute-of-autism-to-open-new-facility-for-adults-with-autism Virginia Institute of Autism to open new facility for adults with autism http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-institute-of-autism-to-open-new-facility-for-adults-with-autism http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-institute-of-autism-to-open-new-facility-for-adults-with-autism#When:15:48:00Z On Wednesday, the Charlottesville-based Virginia Institute of Autism will announce plans for a new facility for adolescents and adults with autism. The Center for Adolescent and Autism Services (CAAAS) will renovate a 21,788-square-foot space now occupied by The Center, a nonprofit-owned facility for senior citizens on Hillsdale Drive that VIA is acquiring. The nonprofit plans to close on the purchase April 1, according to Larry Garretson, VIA’s director of communications and foundation relations. The Center for seniors, meanwhile, will move to Belvedere, a neighborhood in Charlottesville. The Center, built in 1991, is listed at $3.2 million by Colliers International. Details — including cost of the project — are still being nailed down, but VIA expects the rehab and renovations to be finished by next fall, and for all staff and services to be fully moved in by early 2021, Garretson says. Part of the expansion is to provide a home for VIAble Ventures, a candle-making business that provides adults with autism an opportunity to earn income, he added, with other new businesses in the center’s future. Cathy Purple Cherry, principal of Purple Cherry Architects and Purposeful Architecture, will design the renovations; she specializes in special-needs architecture and is the mother of an adult son with autism. She will discuss her plans at an open house VIA is hosting Wednesday at The Center to announce the plans. “We know that as people with autism age and graduate from high school, their opportunities for learning, for jobs and for social connection diminish severely,” Ethan Long, VIA’s president, said in a statement. “VIA has been focused on finding solutions to that problem for a number of years. As our programs have developed, they’ve grown beyond the capacity of our existing facilities.” 2019-11-04T15:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/dasilva_cyber_CROP.jpg Luiz DaSilva | Courtesy Virginia Tech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/researcher-to-lead-virginia-cyber-initiative Researcher to lead Virginia cyber initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/researcher-to-lead-virginia-cyber-initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/researcher-to-lead-virginia-cyber-initiative#When:20:17:00Z Ireland-based networks expert has been named head of Virginia’s Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). Luiz A. DaSilva will join CCI in March as its first executive director. He will be based at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington.  DaSilva is currently working as professor of telecommunications at Trinity College in Dublin and director of CONNECT — the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Future Communications and Networks. He is known for pioneering the application of game theory to analyze and design wireless networks and authored the first book on the topic. CCI was established in the 2018-20 state government budget, which will support it with $20 million annually. The project’s goal is to create a highly connected network involving higher education, industry, government and other organizations. CCI includes regional nodes throughout the commonwealth — each led by an institution of higher education — that are expected to become centers of research, learning, and innovation. “Building trust among all our stakeholders and fostering inter-institution collaborations will be key to the success of CCI, as will articulating the impact of our research, including scientific breakthroughs, as well as commercialization success, to foster and maintain economic vitality in Virginia,” DaSilva said in a statement. As the director of CONNECT, DaSilva leads a multiuniversity initiative focused on networks that support the internet of things. The project, which involves 250 researchers in 10 universities in Ireland, has attracted more than 80 million euros in funding over a six-year period. “With an international reputation as an expert in wireless networks and experience directing a major research and economic development institute, Luiz is the right person to take the helm at CCI,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said in a statement. DaSilva’s 21 years of experience in academia includes 17 years as a professor at Virginia Tech. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for his work on cognitive networking and resource management in wireless networks. DaSilva earned his doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas. 2019-10-31T20:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-takes-writedown-on-juul-investment Altria takes $4.5B writedown on Juul investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-takes-writedown-on-juul-investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-takes-writedown-on-juul-investment#When:19:57:00Z In the wake of growing national concerns about vaping, Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. on Thursday announced a $4.5 billion writedown on its investment in e-cigarette leader Juul Labs Inc. Altria last year invested $12.8 billion in San Francisco-based Juul as it looked for growth alternatives in the face of a steadily declining market for cigarettes. Altria is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, the world’s leading brand. Since capturing a dominant share of the emerging vaping market last year, Juul has been buffeted by rising health concerns related to e-cigarettes, which have had high usage rates among teens, drawing crackdowns from U.S. regulators. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that the number of vaping-related lung illnesses has risen to 1,888 cases and 37 deaths nationwide and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The CDC has yet to determine a cause for the illnesses, which have not been linked to Juul, and says that some data indicates that black-market vaping products containing THC may be to blame for many cases. Last month, K.C. Crosthwaite, an Altria executive, replaced Kevin Burns as Juul’s CEO. The vaping controversy has been blamed for a drop in Altria’s stock promise and its decision to abandon a proposed reunification with Philip Morris International, a former cigarette subsidiary Altria spun off in 2008. In its third-quarter earnings report, Altria said it had taken noncash pre-tax impairment charge of $4.5 billion related to its Juul investment. In taking the charge Altria considered a variety of factors, including increased likelihood of U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) action to remove flavored e-vapor products from the market, as well as potential e-vapor bans by some cities and states in the U.S. and in some international markets. In a conference call with analysts, Altria CEO Howard Willard said, “The e-vapor category faces a critical inflection point. We must address underage use while also preserving options for the more than 20 million adult smokers who are interested in less harmful tobacco products. We continue to believe that raising the legal minimum age to purchase all tobacco products to 21 at the federal and state levels is the most effective action to reverse the rise in youth vaping.” Despite the impairment charge, Willard said, “We remain committed to Juul's success. We are pleased with the recent decisions by Juul to change leadership, and we are optimistic about Juul's focus and prioritization in key areas such as establishing industry-leading responsible practices and pursuing regulatory authorization of their products.” Meanwhile, Philip Morris USA is rolling out another smoking alternative, IQOS, a product that heats but doesn’t burn tobacco. Sales began last month in the Atlanta area and are expected to expand to the Richmond area before the end of the year. 2019-10-31T19:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/itech-ag-purchases-arlington-condo-for-new-headquarters iTech AG purchases Arlington condo for new headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/itech-ag-purchases-arlington-condo-for-new-headquarters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/itech-ag-purchases-arlington-condo-for-new-headquarters#When:19:28:00Z A 7,660-square-foot condominium in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood recently sold for $3.65 million to iTech AG LLC, an IT federal contractor that plans to relocate its corporate offices to the site at 1220 N. Fillmore Street. Edge, a commercial real estate company based in Washington, D.C., represented both the buyer and the seller, Fillmore Partnership RLLP. iTech AG plans to move before the end of the year. Its clients include the IRS, the U.S. Census Bureau, the secretary of defense’s office and commercial customers; its current location is also in Arlington, but it had outgrown the space, said Walter Antezana, iTech’s COO. 2019-10-31T19:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-will-offer-nuclear-engineering-minor-in-2020 Virginia Tech will offer nuclear engineering minor in 2020 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-will-offer-nuclear-engineering-minor-in-2020 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-will-offer-nuclear-engineering-minor-in-2020#When:18:36:00Z Virginia Tech announced Thursday it would launch a new minor in nuclear engineering in January through its mechanical engineering department. Students in the colleges of engineering and science will be able to take the course-load of 18 credit hours, as well as students in other majors that meet course requirements. Naval ROTC students in particular will be encouraged to obtain the minor if they plan to go into the nuclear Navy. Mark Pierson, associate professor of practice in mechanical engineering, said in a statement Thursday that students who take the courses will be prepared for “careers at nuclear engineering-related companies, nuclear power plants, state and national government positions, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Navy, naval shipyards that build nuclear-powered ships and submarines, and for graduate students in nuclear engineering.” The minor will have four required courses in differential equations, fundamentals of nuclear engineering and radiation detection, protection and shielding. Electives will cover power plant operations, the nuclear fuel cycle and reactor thermal hydraulics. Virginia has two nuclear power plants — North Anna in Louisa County and Surry in Surry County, both owned by Dominion Energy — and the Navy has a concentration of 97 nuclear reactors in Hampton Roads, according to the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium. Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News is the nation’s sole producer of nuclear-powered  aircraft carriers and one of only two producers of nuclear-powered submarines. Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University also offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in nuclear engineering. 2019-10-31T18:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/glaxosmithkline-set-to-expand-gsk-consumer-healthcare-in-richmond GlaxoSmithKline set to expand GSK Consumer Healthcare in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/glaxosmithkline-set-to-expand-gsk-consumer-healthcare-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/glaxosmithkline-set-to-expand-gsk-consumer-healthcare-in-richmond#When:17:33:00Z GlaxoSmithKline, the global health care company that concluded a merger with Pfizer in August, is expanding in Richmond, with plans to hire 150 people for a research and development hub. Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced the expansion of the GSK Consumer Healthcare center on Sherwood Avenue — known to Richmonders as the old A.H. Robins facility — near Interstate 95. GSK Consumer Healthcare announced its merger with Pfizer’s consumer research division last December and has moved the joint venture’s operations into Pfizer’s former global R&D headquarters in Richmond, which will be expanded to make room for the influx of new employees. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Greater Richmond Partnership and the city of Richmond worked together beginning last December to retain the facility after the merger was announced, according to the GRP. Northam said that GSK Consumer Healthcare plans to invest $16.7 million to expand its consumer research center in Richmond, which will be one of three R&D laboratory hubs run by the new joint venture between GSK and Pfizer. The company did not announce a timeline for hiring, according to the GRP. “This project is the best of both worlds,” said Lara Fritts, president and CEO of the GRP. “When we’re able to retain high-paying talent as well as expand jobs and capital investment, then it really becomes a win-win for the community.” Gov. Northam approved a $675,000 grant from the state’s Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project, and the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, created by VEDP and the Virginia Community College System earlier this year, will provide training support for the center. The no-cost program, which will also assist in training employees for Morgan Olson LLC’s truck assembly line in Pittsylvania County, is geared toward providing specific, customized learning for companies creating significant numbers of jobs in Virginia. “The greater Richmond region has emerged as a hub for leading biosciences companies, offering world-class education institutions, research assets and a pipeline of skilled talent, and GSK’s consumer health care joint venture and expansion will further its position as a powerhouse in this industry,” Northam said in prepared remarks. 2019-10-31T17:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hemp-processing-facility-planned-for-wythe-county Hemp processing facility planned for Wythe County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hemp-processing-facility-planned-for-wythe-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hemp-processing-facility-planned-for-wythe-county#When:16:56:00Z Wythe County will be home to Virginia’s first commercial industrial hemp fiber processing facility. Rural Retreat-based Vitality Farms LLC, operating as Appalachian Biomass Processing, expects to invest $894,000 in the project and create 13 jobs. Appalachian Biomass plans to purchase more than 6,000 tons of Virginia-grown industrial hemp during the next three years, at a value of more than $1 million. The company’s founder, Susan Moore, is a native of Wythe County. State officials said the Appalachian Biomass announcement represents a major step for Virginia’s industrial hemp industry. “Industrial hemp holds the potential to be an important crop for our farmers, especially those in the southern and southwestern regions of Virginia,” Bettina Ring, Virginia’s secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, said in a statement. “Having the infrastructure to process industrial hemp and strong markets in which to sell it are critical to seizing its potential. With more than 1,100 registered industrial hemp growers in Virginia, I am pleased to see the local market for industrial hemp fiber begin to grow.” In March, Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation passed by the General Assembly that legalized the commercial growth and processing of industrial hemp in the commonwealth and conforms Virginia law to the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Wythe County to secure the project. Northam approved a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) fund for the project, which Wythe County will match with local funds. Appalachian Biomass will use a specialized decorticator, a machine used to strip plant material, to process bales of hemp stalks into two raw products. The company will sell bast fiber to a North Carolina company for further processing and sale to the textile industry. The woody core of the plant, called hurd, will be sold to a Virginia company for use as animal bedding. 2019-10-31T16:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rates-dip-in-virginia-metro-areas Jobless rates dip in Virginia metro areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rates-dip-in-virginia-metro-areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rates-dip-in-virginia-metro-areas#When:19:30:00Z Unemployment rates declined slightly in Virginia’s metro areas during September. The Virginia Employment Commission reported Wednesday that jobless figures ranged from 2.1% to 2.9% in the commonwealth’s 11 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The VEC numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning that they don’t account for seasonal fluctuations in the labor force. The biggest decline in jobless rates occurred in the Harrisonburg and Charlottesville areas, both down four-tenths of a point from August. The smallest decline occurred in Northern Virginia, down two-tenths of a point. Nonetheless, NoVa and the Winchester area tied for the lowest jobless rate among MSAs during the month, 2.1%. The Lynchburg area had the highest unemployment rate in September, a still-low 2.9%. Using numbers that are not seasonally adjusted, Virginia jobless rate for September was 2.5%, down from 2.7% in August. The VEC said 4.3 million Virginians were employed during the month in a civilian workforce of 4.4 million. A breakdown of MSA numbers shows: Bristol: 2.8% in September, down from 3.1% in August. Charlottesville: 2.2%, down from 2.6%. Hampton Roads: 2.7%, down from 3%. Harrisonburg: 2.3%, down from 2.7%. Lynchburg: 2.9%, down from 3.2%. New River Valley: 2.6%, down from 2.9%. Northern Virginia: 2.1%, down from 2.3%. Richmond: 2.6%, down from 2.9%. Roanoke: 2.5%, down from 2.8%. Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.2%, down from 2.5%. Winchester: 2.1%, down from 2.4%. The figures for small micropolitan areas around the state were: Bluefield: 3.8%, down from 4.2%. Big Stone Gap: 4.3%, down from 4.8%. Danville: 3.5%, down from 3.9%. Martinsville: 3.1%, down from 3.4%. Among Virginia localities, Arlington continued to post the lowest employment rate, 1.7% in September. Buchanan County had the highest rate during the month, 5.3% 2019-10-30T19:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-carlyle-group-to-take-majority-stake-in-henrico-based-insurance-broker The Carlyle Group to take majority stake in Henrico-based insurance broker http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-carlyle-group-to-take-majority-stake-in-henrico-based-insurance-broker http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-carlyle-group-to-take-majority-stake-in-henrico-based-insurance-broker#When:18:03:00Z The Carlyle Group has entered an agreement to acquire a majority interest in The Hilb Group, a rapidly growing Henrico County-based insurance broker. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The Carlyle Group is a Washington, D.C.-based global investment firm with $223 billion in assets under management as of June 30. Founded in 2009, Hilb has more than 900 employees working in 91 offices through the country. It has been ranked as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies by Inc. magazine and one of the top 10 fastest-growing brokers by Business Insurance magazine. Since 2015, Hilb has been a portfolio company of Abry Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm. Brent Stone, an Abry partner, said Hilb’s annual revenues have increased dramatically during the past four years and the brokere completed more than 60 acquisitions during that time. Hilb that, under the Carlyle agreement, its existing management team and employees are expected to remain significant company shareholders. in a statement, Richard Spiro, Hilb’s CEO, said that the broker has “a rich pipeline of partnership opportunities” and expects to continue expand under Carlyle. “This investment by Carlyle is a strong endorsement of our growth strategy and represents the next exciting chapter for Hilb,” he said. “Carlyle's additional capital and resources will significantly benefit our company and associates as we grow our business organically and through targeted M&A opportunities.” In another statement, John Redett, managing director and co-head of Carlyle Global Financial Services, said his firm has “long admired the Hilb franchise and are extremely impressed with what Ricky Spiro and the Hilb management team have accomplished during the past several years.” Equity capital for Carlyle’s investment will come from Carlyle Partners VII, an $18.5 billion fund that focuses on buyout transactions in the U.S., and Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners III LP, a dedicated financial services buyout fund. The deal is expected to be completed before the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. 2019-10-30T18:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/The_View_-_SW_Aerial.png The View project in Tysons will feature the 600-foot-tall Iconic Tower building. Rendering courtesy Clemente Development Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-place-for-placemaking The place for placemaking http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-place-for-placemaking http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-place-for-placemaking#When:04:00:00Z It must be nice to be Fairfax, where affluence has been the norm for decades, and where a continuous line of better days is anticipated to stretch ahead. The D.C. suburb of 1.2 million — at 400 square miles, Fairfax is the big kahuna of the region — boasts an average household income of more than $150,000, just about the highest in the nation, and a barely there unemployment rate of 2.3%. Housing prices are up 1.5% in the past year alone, with the average cost of a house in the county now standing at $542,000. The good fortune of being located next to the national seat of government has played a big part in Fairfax’s prosperity, of course, but the county also has become an increasingly active agent in shaping its own prosperity. The catalyst was the government spending cuts of a dozen years ago. When Uncle Sam turned tightfisted, Fairfax’s slew of federal contractors felt the pain, and what hurt them hurt the county — big time. Local leaders realized that they needed to get serious about diversifying their economy, and the result has been an ambitious, two-pronged plan to refashion Fairfax into a center of the knowledge economy. Innovation pipeline In the knowledge economy, the capital is intellectual, and the products are not wheat, or steel, but innovative ideas, especially in the technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Examples of businesses that fall under the term include cloud computing, aerospace, cybersecurity, genomic medicine, autonomous vehicles and data analytics — all white-collar, future-looking enterprises. The county’s laser focus on these industries has paid big dividends. Fairfax now has almost 9,000 such technology companies based within its borders, and white-collar jobs make up 28% of its employment, a figure that is four times the national average. The workforce is young, too — a third are just 19 to 34 years old.Those are impressive stats for any jurisdiction, but Fairfax wants more, and that’s where its two-pronged plan kicks in. The first prong is to produce more of these workers close to home. “We need to double the tech talent pipeline in 20 years. It is one of our highest priorities,” says Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax Economic Development Authority. “If we had everyone we needed with the right skill sets, we could add 12,000 to 16,000 jobs” to the regional economy, concurs Terry Clower, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and director of Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis. Fairfax recently allocated $1 million to figure out how best to get the talent pipeline flowing. “Concepts don’t get things done,” Hoskins says, explaining that $200,000 of that money will go to research to find out how to be most effective. The county already spends 53% of its budget on schools. It has 1.9 million square feet of school construction in the works, according to school spokesman John Torre, and it’s busily retooling its curricula to align with the exploding need for tech talent. That effort has to start in pre-K, Hoskins says. One way the county is accelerating change in its schools is by partnering with other educational institutions, regional entities and the private sector. “It’s always about partnerships,” says Rachel Flynn, deputy county executive. For example, Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason and Amazon Web Services joined forces recently to establish a bachelor’s degree in cloud computing. By spring 2020, NOVA expects to have 300 students in its program. Their credits will be transferable to GMU, which began offering classes in cloud computing this fall and is launching a degree program in 2020. At the Inova Center for Personalized Medicine on the 117-acre former Exxon campus near Fairfax Hospital, collaboration on medical research will be ongoing with both GMU and the University of Virginia. Personalized medicine is seen by the county as a huge field of opportunity. The new partnerships will focus on cutting-edge research into treatments for cancer, as well as metabolic and heart diseases. GMU also is investing $250 million in its Arlington campus to turn it into an “innovation district.” The university will add 1,000 professors and expand to 1.2 million square feet. The site will be home to the Institute for Digital Innovation and Virginia’s first-ever School of Computing. (See related story, Page 76.) Mason officials expect these changes eventually will more than double its number of computing majors to more than 15,000. Placemaking’s poster child The second prong of the county’s master plan is more visible to the naked eye — a concentration on “placemaking.” By that term, Fairfax means the physical transformation of a number of its hubs to appeal to the workers of the knowledge economy — mostly millennials and Generation Zers. “The knowledge worker does not want to be in a business park,” says Christopher B. Leinberger, professor of urban real estate at George Washington University. “Seventy percent of all net new occupied space since 2010 is walkable urban. That’s the future.” The placemaking going on at Tysons — formerly known as Tysons Corner — is remarkable. The suburban crossroads, once notorious for its concrete lack of character and hostility to all modes of transport other than the automobile, is envisioned to be the location of 200,000 jobs, 100,000 residents and 150 million square feet of development by 2050, mostly clustered around its four Silver Line Metro stops. Already, the in-process city is home to five Fortune 500 tech companies. Matt Calkins, founder and CEO of Appian, recently moved his software company’s 700-person headquarters to Tysons. The attraction was multifold, he says. “Everything you need to build a tech company is right here in Fairfax,” he says, including great education, local capital, savvy business leaders and — unexpectedly for those who picture the Tysons of the past — green space. Plus, Tysons is at the crossroads of excellent transportation options, Calkins says, with easy-on/off to a network of sophisticated multilane highways and good access to Washington Dulles International Airport, which will get even better when the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line opens next year. Tysons’ poster child of what it wants to become when it grows up — literally up, as it now possesses the tallest buildings in the region — is The Boro, a mix of luxury residences, high-end office space and retail, including a Whole Foods supermarket that sits on 18 walkable acres hard by the Greensboro Metro station. It eventually will encompass 4.25 million square feet of development. Also new at Tysons is a 32-story luxury apartment tower called The Lumen and a Wegmans grocery store at the Capital One site. A $120 million performing arts center with a rooftop park is slated to open nearby in fall of 2021. More huge projects are in the works, as well. In July, county supervisors approved plans for The Mile, a development near the Tysons Corner Metro station. The Mile will feature 10 acres of parks and more than 3 million square feet of mixed-use development on 38-plus acres. And in October, the supervisors approved Clemente Development Co.’s The View, a 3-million-square-foot mixed-use development near the Spring Hill Metro station that will include the 600-foot-tall Iconic Tower building as its centerpiece. When complete, the skyscraper will be the tallest structure in Virginia, as well as the metro D.C. region — rising higher than the Washington Monument. Such overwhelming numbers combined with such soaring ambitions may well be unprecedented. “It will be a decades-long evolution to a 24-7 urbanized area,” says Sol Glasner, president of the Tysons Partnership. “It is the greatest placemaking experiment in America.” Fairfax’s official bird? Placemaking on a smaller scale is going on at other Fairfax locations, as well. The Mosaic District in the Merrifield area of the county, for instance, is exactly the kind of mixed-use development that Fairfax wants. Thirty acres of what had been a suburban desert has been turned into an oasis of cool, with 1,000 residential units, 500,000 square feet of retail and 73,000 square feet of Class A office space, all complemented by two parks and a multiplex theater. Property that was valued at $38 million before redevelopment is now assessed at $615 million. Christine Richardson, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, says the Mosaic District is “doing extremely well.” That success has made it difficult for the local schools to keep up with demand. “The millennials are having kids, but they still want that urban neighborhood,” Flynn says. Reston is yet another hot spot for placemaking. Robert E. Simon founded the suburb in 1964 along the very mixed-use principles that are being so fervently embraced 50-plus years later, but the Silver Line is spurring a new surge in development even in this long-established community. Around the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop, which opened in 2014, the Metro Commerce Center will include two apartment buildings, a 22-story office building, and a hotel, along with retail space, a civic center and pocket parks — small green spaces that will feature public art, terraces and open lawns. Nearby, the transformation of an aged office complex called Isaac Newton Square also is under consideration. Plans call for 2,100 residential units, along with about 68,000 square feet of retail, as well as an athletic field. Near the yet-to-open Reston Town Center Silver Line station, projected to be in service next year, growth is likewise go-go. The 36-acre Reston Crescent mixed-use development is envisioned as eight urban blocks that will encompass 1.5 million square feet in office space, 1,721 residential units, a 200-room hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail, including a Wegmans. A neighboring development called the Reston Gateway additionally promises 4.8 million square feet in offices, apartments, hotels and retail. Even more placemaking development is in the works at two farther-out, under-construction Metro stations expected to open next year on the Silver Line. At the Herndon station, Amazon Web Services’ prominent presence is expected to spur mixed-use development. “Nothing grows a crowd like a crowd,” says Clower. And at the Innovation Center Metro station, development is expected to piggyback on the presence of the nonprofit Center for Innovative Technology, which helps tech entrepreneurs develop business strategies. “The construction crane could be our official bird,” quips Hoskins. Even the Inova Center for Personalized Medicine wants to jump aboard the placemaking bandwagon. What originally was planned as an exclusively research and medical site now is being pitched to county planners to include commercial and residential projects. Given its bona fides, only a fool would bet against that request being approved by Fairfax, a county that is so wholeheartedly committed to making the future happen now. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_4945x.png Eric Lofgren is studying federal acquisition of weapons systems. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-engine Innovation engine http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-engine http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/innovation-engine#When:04:00:00Z When Eric Lofgren finishes his work as an Emergent Ventures fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, he hopes to provide a “socially useful” analysis of U.S. weapon systems acquisition. Emergent Ventures Fellow Shruti Rajagopalan plans to help develop better property rights laws in India. Both are members of a new incubator fellowship and grant program launched with a $1 million grant from the Thiel Foundation, the private foundation created and funded by billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The program’s stated goal is to allow entrepreneurs “to jump-start high-risk, high-reward ideas that advance prosperity, opportunity and well-being. The fellowship provides participants with the short-term resources and support to quickly develop and test their ideas.” Emergent Ventures is a step toward making “moonshots a reality,” Tyler Cowen, faculty director of the Mercatus Center, said when the program was announced in July 2018. “By finding and taking chances on risk-taking, talented people with bold ideas, I believe we can reinvent the capacity for an intellectually oriented philanthropy to improve the world.” Rajagopalan, who received her Ph.D. in economics from George Mason in 2013, says the fellowship allows her to pursue “ideas off the usual path. My big goals are for a more free, prosperous India.” She’s currently studying government use of eminent domain to seize private property for public use. “There’s a tension that has existed. How can we design a system that will actually help govern people better,” she asks, balancing public interest and individual rights? Lofgren, who worked as a consultant at the Pentagon, studied dissenting voices on weapon systems procurement from the mid-20th century. Finding “a gaping hole in the literature,” he’s at work on a book, a podcast and a blog on the subject and plans to return to the defense industry when his fellowship is finished. “I think I have a socially useful book here about the budget process. Usually we talk about contracting reform, but we’re not really addressing the crux of the problem: the flow of funds [and] how do you justify those funds.” Those are just two examples of the scholarship that the program cultivates. At a recent meeting of fellows, Lofgren says he found “there are lots of interesting people doing different things. Some are doing neuroscience, chemistry, social activity, small satellite development. It’s a heterogenous group. There are a lot of under-21-year-olds.” Emergent Ventures builds on more than 35 years of student fellowships awarded by the Mercatus Center to graduate students at Mason and other universities throughout the world. The not-for-profit research organization does not receive any financial support from the university or state. ‘Thinkers, doers and problem-solvers’ The Emergent Ventures program’s goals support Mason’s overarching strategic goal of meeting “the demands of the commonwealth, the region and the world for dynamic, creative, collaborative thinkers, doers and problem-solvers.” Mason, the largest public university in Virginia, states that it is committed to contributing “to the economic and civic vitality of the region by driving entrepreneurship and innovation and by creating learning partnerships with private and public organizations.” One prominent partnership is with Amazon.com Inc., which announced plans last November to locate its second headquarters in Northern Virginia. Mason now projects it will enroll more than 10,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students in computing-related degree programs by 2024. The university has launched a new School of Computing to meet the growing demand. Mason pledged to invest more than $250 million over the next five years to grow programs, hire faculty and expand its Arlington campus. That includes the creation of the multidisciplinary Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), a university think tank and incubator for the digital economy. IDIA’s new, 400,000-square-foot building will house graduate programs and research as well as entrepreneurs, technologists and business leaders. Bringing together students, faculty, researchers, entrepreneurs, technologists and business leaders creates conditions conducive to “innovation ferment,” says Deborah Crawford, Mason’s vice president for research, innovation and economic impact. “If you have a certain density of talent, it will attract more companies who are tapping into that talent. Then you’ll be able to create new companies,” Crawford says. “My job is to enable and support that type of ecosystem, to provide the wraparound support that new businesses need to succeed.” “An ecosystem requires many species to make it healthy,” she adds, and Mason is committed to working with the other universities in Northern Virginia. “We contribute different assets and benefit from each other. We have natural day-to-day interaction and work closely together.” All this research, innovation and cooperation is happening in the context of the global economy, Crawford notes. Mason has established a branch campus in Songdo, South Korea, and a “global [perspective] is highly integrated into everything we do. We think about preparing our graduates to work in multinational companies. They need to be culturally sensitive about how tech is used around the world.” George Mason has been in the process of searching for a new president, with former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton acting as interim president. “The presidential transition has not changed our priorities at all. Our highest priority is tech talent, tech talent, tech talent,” Crawford says. “We need to provide successful graduates for the tech talent pipeline. This is about graduating more students and attracting talent to the region.” Diverse stakeholders Mason’s commitment to tech talent is not limited to faculty and traditional university students but embraces entrepreneurs of all types, adult learners and even youngsters, according to Crawford. The Mason Enterprise Center offers programs, services and resources for entrepreneurs of all experience levels — aspiring, start-up and established. The center is particularly focused on small-business services, she notes. The university works with young students, preparing them to enter the talent pipeline. Its Early Identification Program focuses on middle school and high school students who would be the first in their families to go to college. They participate in weekend and summer programs designed to help them to have a more productive college experience.  Mason has established a partnership program with Northern Virginia Community College called ADVANCE that lets community college students “declare as Mason students and get access at NOVA and at Mason. They do the majority of their first two years at NOVA, and the credits transfer,” Crawford says. “It’s an important option for students who are worried about the cost of a four-year degree. It can almost cut the cost in half by taking courses at NOVA first.” The university also has programs tailored to adults who want to complete their education or change career paths. “Someone might have an associate degree and be interested in entering the tech workforce. We provide them with an academic pathway. We allow individuals who want to upskill in particular market sectors to improve their business positions,” she says. Mason offers a variety of approaches, such as online courses and certificate programs, “because people make their way differently.” George Mason University has been growing “by leaps and bounds,” Crawford says. “Mason reflects the region overall — growing, multicultural, diverse, with respect for the great value diverse communities bring.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-colleges-november-2019 Community colleges http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-colleges-november-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/community-colleges-november-2019#When:04:00:00Z 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: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }   Institution Main campus Phone Website President Part-time students 1 Full-time students 1 Total 1 1 Northern Virginia Annandale (703) 323-3000 nvcc.edu Anne Kress2 34,204 16,725 50,929 2 Tidewater Norfolk (757) 822-1122 tcc.edu Marcia Conston2 13,542 7,399 20,941 3 John Tyler Chester (804) 796-4000 jtcc.edu Edward "Ted" Raspiller 7,711 2,433 10,144 4 J. Sargeant Reynolds Richmond (804) 371-3000 reynolds.edu Paula P. Pando 6,284 2,453 8,737 5 Thomas Nelson Hampton (757) 825-2700 tncc.edu John T. Dever 5,238 2,447 7,685 6 Germanna Fredericksburg (540) 891-3000 germanna.edu Janet Gullickson 5,008 2,200 7,208 7 Virginia Western Roanoke (540) 857-8922 virginiawestern.edu Robert H. Sandel 4,969 1,858 6,827 8 Lord Fairfax Middletown (540) 868-7000 lfcc.edu Kimberly Blosser 4,831 1,967 6,798 9 Piedmont Virginia Charlottesville (434) 977-3900 pvcc.edu Frank Friedman 4,287 1,158 5,445 10 New River Dublin (540) 674-3600 nr.edu Patricia B. Huber 2,766 1,653 4,419 11 Blue Ridge Weyers Cave (540) 234-9261 brcc.edu John A. Downey 2,908 1,191 4,099 12 Central Virginia Lynchburg (434) 832-7600 centralvirginia.edu John S. Capps 2,654 1,393 4,047 13 Southside Virginia Alberta (434) 949-1000 southside.edu Alfred A. Roberts 2,339 1,091 3,430 14 Rappahannock Glenns (804) 758-6700 rappahannock.edu Elizabeth H. Crowther 2,341 741 3,082 15 Danville Danville (434) 797-2222 danville.edu Jacqueline M. Gill 1,841 987 2,828 16 Wytheville Wytheville (276) 223-4700 wcc.vccs.edu Dean Sprinkle 1,653 861 2,514 17 Mountain Empire Big Stone Gap (276) 523-2400 mecc.edu Kris Westover 1,554 951 2,505 18 Virginia Highlands Abingdon (276) 739-2400 vhcc.edu Adam Hutchison2 1,505 882 2,387 19 Southwest Virginia Cedar Bluff (276) 964-2555 sw.edu Tommy F. Wright 1,291 1,082 2,373 20 Patrick Henry Martinsville (276) 638-8777 ph.vccs.edu Angeline D. Godwin 1,064 1,202 2,266 21 Paul D. Camp Franklin (757) 569-6700 pdc.edu Daniel W. Lufkin 905 383 1,288 22 Dabney S. Lancaster Clifton Forge (540) 863-2800 dslcc.edu John J. Rainone 576 405 981 23 Eastern Shore Melfa (757) 789-1789 es.vccs.edu James M. Shaeffer 499 155 654 1 Fall enrollment 2018            2 Starts in January 2020                Source: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, individual schools 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-public-november-2019 Colleges & universities (public) http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-public-november-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-public-november-2019#When:04:00:00Z 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: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }   Institution Location Phone Website President Part-time students1 Full-time students1 1 Virginia Tech Blacksburg (540) 231-6000 vt.edu Timothy Sands 2,710 32,140 3 George Mason University Fairfax (703) 993-2400 gmu.edu Anne Holton2 11,632 26,045 2 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond (804) 828-0100 vcu.edu Michael Rao 5,461 25,615 4 University of Virginia Charlottesville (434) 924-0311 virginia.edu James E. Ryan 2,220 22,419 5 James Madison University Harrisonburg (540) 568-6211 jmu.edu Jonathan R. Alger 1,835 19,916 6 Old Dominion University Norfolk (757) 683-3000 odu.edu John R. Broderick 7,497 16,679 7 Radford University Radford (540) 831-5000 radford.edu Brian O. Hemphill 1,245 8,090 8 William & Mary Williamsburg (757) 221-4000 wm.edu Katherine A. Rowe 828 7,989 9 Christopher Newport University Newport News (757) 594-7000 cnu.edu Paul S. Trible Jr. 88 4,869 10 Norfolk State University Norfolk (757) 823-8600 nsu.edu Javaune Adams-Gaston 697 4,507 13 University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg (540) 654-1000 umw.edu Troy D. Paino 733 3,994 11 Virginia State University Petersburg (804) 524-5000 vsu.edu Makola M. Abdullah 441 3,944 12 Longwood University Farmville (434) 395-2000 longwood.edu W. Taylor Reveley IV 982 3,929 14 Virginia Military Institute Lexington (540) 464-7211 vmi.edu J.H. Binford Peay III3 0 1,685 15 U.Va.'s College at Wise Wise (276) 328-0100 uvawise.edu Donna Price Henry4 912 1,153 16 Richard Bland College5 Petersburg (804) 862-6100 rbc.edu Debbie L. Sydow 1,517 841 1 Based on fall 2018 enrollment numbers        2 Interim president         3 Superintendent         4 Chancellor       5 Junior college of William & Mary Source: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-private-nonprofit-november-2019 Colleges & universities (private, nonprofit) http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-private-nonprofit-november-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colleges-universities-private-nonprofit-november-2019#When:04:00:00Z 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: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } College or university Location Phone Website President Part-time students1 Full-time students1 Liberty University Lynchburg (434) 582-2000 liberty.edu Jerry Falwell Jr. 37,649 41,503 Hampton University Hampton (757) 727-5000 hamptonu.edu William R. Harvey 270 4,051 Regent University Virginia Beach (800) 373-5504 regent.edu M.G. "Pat" Robertson2 7,025 3,834 University of Richmond Richmond (804) 289-8000 richmond.edu Ronald A. Crutcher 563 3,439 Shenandoah University Winchester (800) 432-2266 su.edu Tracy Fitzsimmons 908 2,909 Marymount University Arlington (703) 522-5600 marymount.edu Irma Becerra 732 2,686 University of Lynchburg Lynchburg (434) 544-8100 lynchburg.edu Kenneth R. Garren 636 2,445 Washington and Lee University Lexington (540) 458-8400 wlu.edu William C. Dudley 5 2,215 Roanoke College Salem (540) 375-2500 roanoke.edu Michael C. Maxey 58 1,975 Bridgewater College Bridgewater (540) 828-8000 bridgewater.edu David W. Bushman 7 1,850 Randolph-Macon College Ashland (804) 752-7200 rmc.edu Robert R. Lindgren 24 1,464 Eastern Virginia Medical School Norfolk (757) 446-5600 evms.edu Dr. Richard V. Homan 0 1,383 Mary Baldwin University Staunton (540) 887-7019 marybaldwin.edu Pamela Fox 524 1,376 Virginia Wesleyan University Virginia Beach (757) 455-3200 vwu.edu Scott D. Miller 159 1,279 Emory & Henry College Emory (276) 944-4121 ehc.edu Jake B. Schrum 55 1,185 Virginia Union University Richmond (804) 257-5600 vuu.edu Hakim J. Lucas 395 1,165 Ferrum College Ferrum (540) 365-2121 ferrum.edu David Johns 15 1,104 Hampden-Sydney College Hampden-Sydney (434) 223-6000 hsc.edu Larry Stimpert 2 1,070 Averett University Danville (434) 791-5600 averett.edu Tiffany M. Franks 487 1,053 Bluefield College Bluefield (800) 872-0175 bluefield.edu David W. Olive 181 1,009 George Washington University (Virginia Science & Technology Campus) Ashburn (571) 553-8200 virginia.gwu.edu Christopher J. Deering3 724 1,001 Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg (540) 432-4000 emu.edu Susan Schultz Huxman 458 986 Southern Virginia University Buena Vista (540) 261-8400 svu.edu Reed N. Wilcox 37 942 Jefferson College of Health Sciences4 Roanoke (888) 985-8483 jchs.edu Nathaniel L. Bishop 271 857 Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Blacksburg (540) 231-4000 vcom.edu Jan M. Willcox5 0 732 Hollins University Roanoke (800) 456-9595 hollins.edu Pareena G. Lawrence 96 709 Randolph College Lynchburg (434) 947-8000 randolphcollege.edu Bradley W. Bateman 15 608 Christendom College Front Royal (540) 636-2900 christendom.edu Timothy T. O'Donnell 78 508 Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar (434) 381-6100 sbc.edu Meredith Woo 5 325 Appalachian College of Pharmacy Oakwood (866) 935-7350 acp.edu Michael G. McGlothlin 1 220 1 Based on 2018 fall enrollment numbers 2 Founder, chancellor and CEO 3 Interim dean, Virginia Science and Technology campus 4 The Jefferson College of Health Sciences will become part of Radford University in August 5 Dean, Virginia Campus Source: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_9200x.png Using technology helps when teaching Gen Z students, says NVCC history professor Charles Errico. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/brilliant-diversity Brilliant diversity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/brilliant-diversity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/brilliant-diversity#When:04:00:00Z Students at Northern Virginia Community College aren’t much different than they were when he started teaching 30 years ago, says history professor Charles Errico. But then again, they are.  “They all tend to be facing enormous obstacles. That has not changed,” Errico says. “What is different is that many of our students are visual learners. Many of them use technology. … They get most of their information from the internet, and so you have to speak their language. You have to use technology to reach them a little more effectively.” The oldest members of Generation Z will turn 22 this year, putting them firmly in the traditional college-age bracket. Those first Gen Zers were born the same year as Netflix. They were just 10 years old when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. They have grown up in a very digital world. “They’re online all the time,” says Errico, who is chairman of the Virginia Community College System’s Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee. “They’re on their phones all the time … so they’re very comfortable in using the technology.” Educators in turn have been becoming more adept at using technology to teach these digital natives. Digital classrooms At the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Human Development, “a virtual classroom interface” allows teacher candidates to practice in simulated classroom situations long before they’re in charge of a real-life classroom. “And they get to do this from the comfort of their own home,” says Julie Cohen, assistant professor of curriculum, instruction and special education at the Curry School. “They do everything over Zoom,” a video communications platform. Students react to what they see onscreen. Coaches interrupt to evaluate and give advice. The students try again. “We found it to be really effective at getting them [to perform] better more quickly,” Cohen says. “But it’s also engaging for them in a totally different kind of way. The technology, I think, meets their needs to be able to do things from their living room. There is this kind of desire to be able to work from wherever, to be able to complete assignments and do things from a distance.” U.Va.’s Curry School has used the simulator for three years, Cohen says, but this is the first year every candidate will take part. When Cohen demonstrated the simulator for introductory classes this year, students “just came alive,” she says. “As soon as the digital classroom came on the screen, they took out their phones. They started taking pictures.” The simulator also lets students lead virtual parent-teacher conferences. Traditionally, they wouldn’t lead a conference until they’ve become teachers. The simulator has other advantages, too, according to Cohen: “They’re not practicing on real kids. The analogy we make is flight simulators. People don’t learn to fly in real planes.” Change is a certainty Kim Filer, director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, says pedagogy is evolving all across campuses. “Most of our faculty have moved away from the stand-and-deliver lecture,” she says. “They spend a lot of time thinking through how do they actually get students to process the information and become active learners, even in a very large lecture hall.” That’s not just because students are changing. The working world they’re graduating into is changing too, and it’s likely to continue to change throughout those students’ careers. “We’re really challenging our students to get comfortable with uncertainty,” Filer says, “and understand the world isn’t as linear as it is presented in a book or in a traditional lab report.” Students not only need to become comfortable with uncertainty; they need to navigate their way through it. “The bottom line is, we’re training young people for a world that we don’t know what it’s going to look like,” says Thanasis Rikakis. “That’s a critical difference between now and say, 40 years ago. We, of course, need to teach specifics … but we also need to teach our students — we need to give them space to develop their own paths.” The keys for effectively educating Gen Z, Rikakis says, are three C’s and one S: co-creation (programs partly structured by faculty and partly designed by students); collaboration (working in diverse teams); cross-cutting (working across disciplines and across sectors); and sustainability (focusing on solutions that balance technology, business, people and the planet). A professor of bioengineering and performing arts at Virginia Tech, Rikakis is also the founding chair of the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program and the Calhoun Center for Higher Education Innovation. The program, made possible through a donation from Tech alum David Calhoun, is experimenting with new ways of teaching, learning and collaborating across 11 disciplines, ranging from  business management to computational modeling and data analytics to electrical and computer engineering, and smart and sustainable cities. It’s important, Rikakis says, to involve business, government and nonprofits in teaching so students can connect their university-gained knowledge to the real world. It’s a world where students will need a different attitude as well as a different set of skills and increased flexibility to succeed. “It used to be, 30 years ago, if you were a musician or a mechanical engineer, primarily, you would just go ahead and work with other musicians or mechanical engineers,” Rikakis says. “It’s not the case anymore. We’re saying to our students, if you don’t have the policy knowledge, the humanities knowledge, the arts knowledge in the room, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to develop things that have unintended consequences, and they see that from the beginning.” Next-gen teaching Students in the Calhoun program have a traditional major, but they learn by working to solve real-world problems in teams of other students, industry partners and faculty. When students realize they need more information to collaborate with members of their team from other disciplines, they can take one-credit study modules. Much of the learning in these modules is done online, but the modules also include weekly in-person meetings with faculty. Students can revisit the modules to learn more about a particular discipline, even after graduation. “After a while,” Rikakis says, “you can’t even tell what is your disciplinary education, what is your general education, and what is your experiential learning. They’re one thing.” The structure helps students develop the habits of lifelong learners. It also aims to do more than prepare people for employment. “If, as a university, all we do is prepare good employees, not only are we failing our students, we’re failing our society,” Rikakis says. The school’s leaders, he adds, emphasize that “this is not about you making a quick buck or being a good employee. It’s about how to understand this idea of developing the technology, the business, the people and the planet together — and that is a very complex personal and professional development paradigm. You don’t understand those four things together unless you’re developing both personally and professionally.” The most important outcome, Rikakis says, the main goal, is “graduating a generation that understands the best solutions to complex problems lie in a negotiated space. They don’t lie in binaries. They don’t lie in out-shouting the other person, or shutting down the other person’s difference. They lie in being able to come [into] a complicated space where the majority of the things you’re hearing you’ve not heard before, you’re not comfortable with, and learning to be comfortable with the difference and learning to be comfortable in that space and negotiating something that works for all. “I think, as a society, we need that to be sustainable. And creating a negotiated space between brilliant but different people is exactly what we’re aiming for.” Higher education charts Colleges & universities (private, nonprofit) Colleges & universities (public) Community colleges 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1939-Alessi-Nov2019-.png Jeremy Alessi was co-founder of Bcause LLC, which shut down followingbankruptcy proceedings. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-kids-on-the-blockchain New kids on the block(chain) http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-kids-on-the-blockchain http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-kids-on-the-blockchain#When:04:00:00Z Jeremy Alessi was a gamer and software developer in Norfolk about a decade ago when he first heard of Bitcoin, the mysterious and complicated cryptocurrency. “I thought it was a dumb idea,” he says. Four years later, after his father-in-law mentioned hearing a National Public Radio story about the currency, Alessi decided to take a second look. He read a white paper about Bitcoin and immersed himself in its details well into the night. He was a convert. His timing was good. In 2012, Alessi would help launch Virginia Beach-based Bcause LLC, a speculative bitcoin mining business. Bcause would receive more than $12 million from investors, attract a $500,000 Virginia Beach economic development grant and employ 36 people at its height, before it was ordered by a federal judge to liquidate its assets in October, following the company’s voluntary bankruptcy filing earlier this year. For Bcause and other Virginia companies that have entered the cryptocurrency space, this volatile new financial sector has been a roller coaster journey of high hopes, altered plans and sobering realizations. Despite the fact that cryptocurrency remains largely bewildering to the general public, it has emerged further into the mainstream this year amid reports of Facebook’s controversial plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, libra. Already facing scrutiny from U.S. and European officials, the project hit a serious snag in October, after it lost support from seven high-profile financial partners, including PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. Down the rabbit hole “It’s a new industry, it’s a new business model. Not a lot of people understand how this works,” which has made it difficult for some startups to attract venture capital investments, says Richmond attorney Alex Mejias. He has specialized in representing startups focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain-based models. Mejias fell down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole in 2017. Soon, he began helping startups through the regulatory maze. One client, Louise W. Reed, a Richmond-based certified public accountant, runs Afloat, a blockchain-based marketplace for tax-credit transfers. Another out-of-state client developed a cryptocurrency-based social network similar to Instagram that rewards users for posting photos. Some of his clients haven’t been able to stay in business. While Mejias is a believer in the technology, he’s not a cryptocurrency market player. “I tell people, ‘Do not trade Bitcoin.’ I don’t,” he says. “It’s such a volatile market that you have to really know what you’re doing and have a high tolerance for risk.” Mejias saw his cryptocurrency practice fall off this year, he says, after the Securities and Exchange Commission issued regulations that made it a lot more difficult for companies to issue initial coin offerings (ICOs) on which many startups had depended for capital. In late September, the SEC ordered one of the largest blockchain technology companies, Block.one, to pay $24 million in penalties for conducting an unregistered ICO of digital tokens that raised a record $4.1 billion in 2017 and 2018. Block.one, which was co-founded by Virginia native and Virginia Tech graduate Dan Larimer, recently announced plans to locate its $10 million U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, creating 170 jobs. Registered in the Cayman Islands with offices in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, Block.one has an operation center in Blacksburg that employs more than 80 engineering and research and development workers.  Larimer will be one of the featured speakers at Blocksburg Summit 2019, a blockchain conference hosted by the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science on Nov. 10-12 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg. If Block.one is the big kid in town, RoundlyX is the new kid looking to latch onto the buzz. Will Trible, a web designer with a degree from James Madison University, invested in Bitcoin early on. He reconnected in Richmond with a boyhood friend, Andrew Elliott, who served as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and earned an MBA from Georgetown University, and they started looking for a gap in the startup landscape. Cryptocurrency seemed like a worthwhile opening. In 2017, they founded Coin Savage as a cryptocurrency news and analysis website with a leaderboard that tracks its analysts’ investments, much like Morningstar, the investment research firm. After two years, they’re changing focus, folding that into a new venture, RoundlyX, which they launched in April. RoundlyX allows users to buy cryptocurrency by rounding up their credit card purchases automatically. Elliott says it’s a low-risk way to enter the cryptocurrency market, which has fluctuated wildly. “We had so much volatility, it scares mainstream folks away sometimes,” Elliott says. “You’re making it so people can’t really overextend. … It’s a great way to get people in.” Coin Savage’s content and leaderboard will be integrated into RoundlyX. So far, the company has more than 700 users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Elliott and Trible make their money with site subscriptions and affiliated products. Still, despite promising startups like RoundlyX and success stories like       Block.one, the cryptocurrency world “is very much unproven ground,” Mejias cautions. People seeking a way to get rich quick should “be very, very careful.” The race is on So how does cryptocurrency work? Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency today, is “a really elegant system. It’s a combination of math, game system and economics — the whole setup of Bitcoin is really cool,” Mejias says. Unlike traditional currency, you can’t hold a Bitcoin or any of the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies in your hand. They exist only on the internet and most cryptocurrencies run on blockchain technology, which was invented in 2008. What’s blockchain? Put simply, it is a digital ledger that stores transactions in virtual blocks. Every block contains a record of thousands of transactions and a blockchain is a cumulative ledger, composed of a continually growing number of blocks. Blockchain technology is expected to have applications for a number of industries, ranging from accounting to real estate. Cryptocurrency proponents say the system is superior to and more secure than the traditional monetary system. For one thing, the traditional banking system can sometimes take as long as a few days to transfer money to a retailer following a debit transaction, but cryptocurrency financial transactions are virtually instantaneous. Additionally, larger blockchains are practically hacker-proof, and peer-to-peer financial transactions cost much less because there are no middlemen such as bankers or brokers involved. Transactions on Bitcoin’s blockchain are verified by miners who earn bitcoins for the service. Bitcoin miners use high-powered computers stacked in warehouses requiring vast amounts of electricity to solve — some descriptions say it’s by guessing — complex math problems to update a blockchain ledger of transactions. Think of it as a high-tech version of a guy wearing a green visor making an entry into a dusty ledger, except everyone — including you — can see the ledger instantly. The theory is, this makes the transactions more secure. Bitcoin mining is a race — the first miner to finish verifying a block of transactions earns about 12.5 bitcoins, which are now worth around $8,200 U.S. apiece. New blocks are created roughly every 10 minutes. When Bitcoin was founded a decade ago, a miner could run the software on their home computer. Now, in order to compete, it takes powerful — and expensive — computers solely dedicated to mining. A work in progress Bcause opted to enter the cryptocurrency market through mining, and it provides a cautionary tale about the industry’s volatility.  In 2009, the payout for mining a block was 50 bitcoins, but that has dropped over time to 12.5 bitcoins. The real-world value has also fluctuated wildly, with the currency reaching a high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017, then crashing to about $3,330 in December 2018. For Bcause, mining was up and down. There were some early dry holes due to problems with the companies supplying computers to Bcause. But the company also earned returns on some investments within weeks. “We learned, OK, this mining thing is sort of risky, but you can make money if you’re partnered with the right [hardware] manufacturer,” says Bcause co-founder and former acting CEO Tom Flake.  A round of financing raised $5 million. BMG, a mining company, advanced Bcause nearly $7.8 million in November 2017 as part of a hosting agreement to mine cryptocurrency. Following the mining market’s late 2018 crash, Bcause filed for bankruptcy in April 2019 in federal court in Illinois, declaring debts of more than $14 million, including $4 million in arrears. The bad news continued, though. In June a power surge at the Virginia Beach facility destroyed or damaged 325 mining computers owned by BMG, according to a settlement agreement filed with the bankruptcy court. As a result, BMG says it’s owed nearly $7.8 million and it terminated its hosting agreement in October, pulling its computers.  Flake was still optimistic that the company could work through reorganization, but in early October a federal bankruptcy court judge ordered the company to liquidate its assets and Bcause ceased operations. As for Alessi, although he did some programming for Bcause in the early days and is listed as a co-founder, he hasn’t been in touch with executives there for months. He has a decidedly more reserved view of cryptocurrency these days and no longer invests in it.  Alessi has hopes for the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry, though. “It’s still a work in progress,” he adds. “I think people are developing cool things with it that at one point you’ll be like, ‘I can’t live without it.’ Once that happens — maybe once you can pay your taxes with it, stuff like that — it’ll change commerce. “I went from this point of being very skeptical to being very onboard with it. And now I take a little bit more of a balanced view. Some people will say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is a Ponzi scheme. And some people will say that it’s the future, [that] this is how we will transact. I just think it’s both.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Dr.-Karen-Rheuban-UVA-Telehealth_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-1.png The University of Virginia’s Rheuban Center for Telehealth has served more than 100,000 patients. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/screen-side-manner ‘Screen-side manner’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/screen-side-manner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/screen-side-manner#When:04:00:00Z For more than a decade, Betty Lowe counted carbs, attended diabetes classes and faithfully took her prescribed medications, yet she was unable to get her blood sugar under control. Frustrated, the 59-year-old Hillsville resident readily agreed when her primary care physician suggested a telehealth consultation with a University of Virginia endocrinologist. “I would have tried anything,” she says. “I was desperate.” Lowe’s virtual appointment with U.Va.’s Dr. Richard Santen took place last December at the Tri-Area Community Health Center in Laurel Fork, nearly 200 miles southwest of Charlottesville in remote Carroll County. Lowe expected the video consultation with Santen would be impersonal, but she was pleasantly surprised. “He was very warm,” Lowe recalls. “I felt like I was actually sitting in the room with him. As he talked to me and asked me questions, he learned where my lack of knowledge was and filled in the gaps pretty quickly.” Santen adjusted Lowe’s medication to her lifestyle and gave her a telecare monitor to check her sugar levels. The device runs on cellular signals and transmits the numbers to Santen’s office in Charlottesville. Today, Lowe’s diabetes is under control, and she regularly speaks by telephone with Santen, whom she has never met in person. “I feel like I know my doctor and have a relationship with him,” she says. “He’s not that person four hours away from me. He’s my doctor, and he knows me.” Lowe is among thousands of rural Virginians living hundreds of miles from specialized care providers. Budget constraints and low patient volumes often limit the ability of community hospitals and medical facilities in less-populated areas to attract primary care physicians. Recruiting specialists, such as neurologists, neonatologists, psychiatrists and cardiologists, is even tougher, meaning patients must travel to distant sites for specialized care. However, travel time has substantially dwindled as a growing number of health care systems harness broadband and wireless technology to deliver critical medical care to patients regardless of their locations. Telehealth electronically transports doctors to remote clinics, community hospitals and even patients’ homes, where they can review test results, including radiologic images and CT scans, make diagnoses and recommend treatment. Stroke victims can be quickly diagnosed and administered lifesaving drugs, premature infants can be sent home earlier from neonatal intensive care units, diabetes patients can undergo vision screenings for diabetic retinopathy and psychiatrists and counselors can provide mental health therapies. According to the American Hospital Association, more than half of U.S. hospitals use video and other technologies to reach patients. That number is projected to grow over the next few years due to increased demand for accessible health care services and technological advancements that make it easier than ever for patients and physicians to connect remotely. Bridging the miles “Telemedicine bridges the miles between patients and care,” says Dr. Karen Rheuban, director of the University of Virginia’s Karen S. Rheuban Center for Telehealth, which she co-founded in 1996. The U.Va. center has served more than 100,000 patients in 60-plus clinical disciplines at 150 sites across Virginia, one-third of which are in rural areas. Rheuban estimates that telehealth has saved Virginia patients more than 20 million miles of driving.  Initially focused on rural areas, U.Va.’s telehealth program has expanded to wherever there is a shortage of specialists. For example, hospitals in Northern Virginia and Waynesboro, as well as Southwest Virginia, participate in U.Va.’s telestroke program. Through video conferencing, U.Va. neurologists review CT scans of possible stroke patients and talk to the patient and emergency room personnel to determine a diagnosis. One recent stroke patient was diagnosed remotely by U.Va. doctors and received the clot-busting drug tPA within 27 minutes of arriving at a community hospital. “The longer it takes for a stroke patient to get access to medical treatment, the poorer the outcome,” she adds. “We’ve seen amazing outcomes in more than 10 years of doing telestroke services. Patients are evaluated and treated as quickly as if they had come to the U.Va. emergency department.” U.Va. recently launched a remote monitoring program to check on patients dealing with heart disease, diabetes and stem cell replacement. “It’s an incredible opportunity to better manage patients outside bricks-and-mortar facilities,” Rheuban says. “We can track their vital signs and intervene before they have a critical situation and have to be admitted to the hospital.” Remote monitoring also decreases the time premature babies or newborns with health issues spend in neonatal intensive care units. “Ordinarily, they would have to stay in the NICU to gain more weight,” Rheuban says. “But we can monitor infants once they get home using iPads. It’s better for the family and lowers the cost of medical care.” iPatients Sentara Home Health, which implemented telehealth about 10 years ago, was the first Hampton Roads health care group to do remote patient monitoring, leading to a decrease in emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Patients use a laptop computer or iPad to measure their blood pressure, pulse, weight and blood glucose. The results are sent to home care nurses who electronically monitor their vital signs. “We really view telehealth as a way to improve quality, improve service and help lower costs, thus increasing the value of the service we deliver,” says Jordan Asher, senior vice president and chief physician executive for Sentara Healthcare. With Sentara MDLIVE, a cloud-based software platform, patients can have virtual appointments with physicians and therapists without leaving home. Another service, MyChart, lets Sentara hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care sites have secure, electronic access to patient medical records. “We look at telehealth as a way of solving logistical issues,” Asher adds, noting that MDLIVE has about 100 visits per month, while 413,000 users access MyChart. “We think about it as how do I keep you well and how do I take better care of you when you’re really sick. It gives patients options.” Ellen Powers used MDLIVE when she could not get in to see her primary care physician for what she feared was a recurrence of impetigo, a highly contagious skin infection. “I would absolutely do it again,” says the Virginia Beach resident, who works with babies at risk for developmental delays. “Speed is what made a difference to me and why I so appreciated it.” Technology also helps Sentara treat nearly 10,000 of its sickest patients in ICU beds annually through eICU. Intensivists and specially trained nurses working at a central location use high-resolution cameras, monitors, alerts and two-way communication links to check vital signs, X-rays and lab results and communicate with physicians, hospital staff, patients and family members.  A growing number of telehealth services also focus on mental health. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center in Virginia Beach offers virtual counseling for individuals, couples and families, and telehealth group therapy may be added in the future. “Some people feel more comfortable being in their own home,” says Iman Williams Christians, the clinic’s director. “It makes them more willing to enter therapy.” Telemedicine has also alleviated the scarcity of psychiatrists in rural areas. “Telemedicine extends psychiatrists’ reach,” says Steve Morgan, chief medical information officer for Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic. “A rural patient’s primary care doctor initiates a psychiatric consult over telemedicine. It’s a learning opportunity for the primary care doctor in treating mental health.” Etiquette lessons Carilion implemented telemedicine in 2016 and has expanded it to include skilled nursing facilities, telestroke and pediatric specialties. “This is a way to extend care in a more collaborative way to our communities and patients,” Morgan says, noting that most U.S. health systems place digital health among their top three priorities. “It saves travel times, and communities are starting to ask for this service.” To bring physicians up to speed on technology and virtual etiquette, Carilion has begun teaching how to practice medicine on-screen, via video. “It’s a learned skill to some degree,” Morgan says. “The folks who do this more frequently teach others.” Telehealth education has not been required in any medical or nursing school curriculum, notes Tina Gustin, director of Old Dominion University’s Center for Telehealth Innovation, Education and Research. “Most people realize that’s a problem. You have practitioners suddenly using telehealth who have never been trained in it. Everybody is scrambling to catch up.” Health care students from ODU, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Virginia Wesleyan University and Hampton University participate in interprofessional education at the center, learning telehealth etiquette — or what Gustin refers to as “screen-side manner.” That includes wearing neutral colors, engaging in small talk with patients and refraining from shuffling papers or looking down. “We remind students that they are not text-chatting with friends,” she says. “Little movements are incredibly distracting on telehealth.” Along with etiquette, ODU also teaches state policies governing telehealth. “The policies and regulations are changing rapidly,” Gustin notes. “New graduates and providers in the community need to know them.” Connectivity is also an issue in many rural areas. More than 600,000 Virginians do not have broadband internet service in their homes, says U.Va.’s Rheuban, adding  that the Federal Communications Commission has a $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to help defray costs of bringing broadband technology to selected rural areas. “We think this will be a transformative opportunity for us to evaluate the delivery of remote monitoring tools in homes for underserved populations.” In addition, the Virginia General Assembly created the Broadband Infrastructure Loan Fund to help remote communities improve their broadband availability. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill requiring insurers to cover remote patient monitoring. State employee health plans have included telehealth coverage for years, notes Gene Raney, director of the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management’s Office of Health Benefits. Two of the state’s three self-insured plans contain telehealth options. “The only challenge is to help people understand it’s available in a way they will recall and try when they are sick,” he says. “A lot of times for something like this, it’s a matter of a co-worker trying it and having good success.” For Betty Lowe, who was able to have brain surgery for a malformation after getting her sugars under control, that success was lifesaving. “I’m doing awesome,” she says. “Telemedicine saved my life.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_3904.png Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hope-f.-cupit-cpa Hope F. Cupit, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hope-f.-cupit-cpa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hope-f.-cupit-cpa#When:04:00:00Z How is the economy faring in your part of the state? In Southwest Virginia, we have many challenges. We have the weakest economic growth of all the regions in the state. We have declining populations … not to mention [that we] have lost jobs in certain industries, e.g., coal. … We are [also] losing jobs in the water and wastewater sector as well. This makes it hard for us to find qualified workers. What local industry/sector do you think has potential for growth? Strong private-sector growth is needed, and several industries come to mind. We can’t put our eggs in one basket because having a diverse economy is essential for Southwest Virginia. Industries with growth potential are information technologies, energy, minerals, manufacturing, agriculture, and food and beverage. … The craft beer industry has exploded in our region.  What’s the biggest challenge to doing business in your area? We live in such a rural and remote area that finding a job close by that pays enough to support your family is not happening for most [people who] live here. It is also difficult to find skilled workforces for any industry. What are the top two factors that have had the biggest impact on attracting business to your region? The top two factors that have the biggest impact on attracting business to Southwest Virginia are having existing skilled labor or a pipeline of skilled labor ready to work and having a tax structure that entices businesses to operate in the area. The other consideration for attracting business is to make sure that there is adequate housing for the workforce. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_3957x.png Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aaron-l.-peters-cpa Aaron L. Peters, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aaron-l.-peters-cpa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aaron-l.-peters-cpa#When:04:00:00Z How is the economy faring in your part of the state? In the D.C. area, there’s always a concern around what happens with the government, but in general, it’s faring very well, and one of the areas of significant growth and opportunity is in small business, which is where I spend most of my time. What local industry/sector do you think has potential for growth? The technology space in this area has a huge opportunity. We’re definitely not Silicon Valley or New York yet in that aspect, but we have a highly educated population and a young workforce that can really make a huge impact. What’s the biggest challenge to doing business in your area? I’ve have to say that regulation is really stifling on local businesses — with people who cross from D.C./Maryland/Virginia each day, businesses are often responsible for administration in the three jurisdictions, as well as many localities that also have requirements (and costs) for businesses. What impact would a recession have on businesses in your area? Small businesses are dependent on demand — they can often create it through innovation, but a recession in an area such as ours that has such a high cost of living could make it really tough for businesses to survive and would likely have a negative impact on the growth of businesses and innovation. What are the top two factors that have had the biggest impact on attracting business to your region? This one is pretty simple to me — 1) tax policy/incentives and          2) availability of an educated workforce. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Gary_Thomson.png Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gary-r.-thomson-cpa Gary R. Thomson, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gary-r.-thomson-cpa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gary-r.-thomson-cpa#When:04:00:00Z What local industry/sector do you think has potential for growth? I see those best chances in biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, general technology, health care, advanced manufacturing and logistics. What’s the biggest challenge to doing business in your area? It’s a good problem to have — a decreasing availability of qualified labor due to very low unemployment. This presents challenges to employers … in terms of finding the human capital needed, in paying competitive wages to attract/retain your valuable people and feeling comfortable with growth/expansion in terms of having the people necessary to support growth. What impact would a recession have on businesses in your area? Most businesses don’t operate well in uncertainty, and recessions create uncertainty. The impact, beyond the obvious challenges of maintaining revenue levels and supporting personnel levels, is the impact on investments in the future. It’s difficult to “broad brush” this answer, as some industries lead a recession and others trail. But uncertainty impacts everyone. What impact do you think U.S. trade policy has had on businesses in your area? Clearly our manufacturing base is impacted. Agricultural, forest and paper products keep our ports very busy, and trade policies can have both a positive and negative impact, depending on the country with which we are changing policies. With the recent trade policy discussions with China, we are seeing consumer goods being more and more impacted. What are the top two factors that have had the biggest impact on attracting business to your region? Our region is home to a well-skilled and trained group of talented workers. … Secondly, an attractive cost of doing business … not only the direct business costs of taxes, natural resources and personnel, but also our pro-business environment mitigates some of the other business risks costs associated with some of our neighboring states. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Michie_2.png Photo by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cathryn-michie-cpa Cathryn Michie, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cathryn-michie-cpa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cathryn-michie-cpa#When:04:00:00Z What local industry/sector do you think has potential for growth? The advanced manufacturing sector, in terms of both employment and wages, as manufacturers continue to improve their efficiency through the use of automation. Growing up, I remember visiting my dad when he worked at a General Electric plant. The manufacturing plants today look nothing like that plant; they are significantly cleaner, sleek and highly automated.  What’s the biggest challenge to doing business in your area? The mismatch of skills between the individuals looking for employment and the skills required for the job openings. To overcome this, our organization assists businesses with work-based learning, prescreening and recruitment, creation of apprenticeship programs, soft-skills training to address the lack of basic work skills and workforce upskilling. What impact would a recession have on businesses in your area? Some businesses would struggle with weak cash flows and declining profitability. Those that continue to invest while looking forward rather than focusing solely on cost cutting will be the most successful during times of economic downturns. All businesses should have a recession plan in place to focus on the future health of the organization. What are the top two factors that have had the biggest impact on attracting business to your region? The availability of a skilled workforce is the top factor; the region has embraced providing funding for training and skills development that aligns the needs of the businesses with the needs of individuals to ensure a pathway for career development. The second factor is the proximity to transportation, as the region is well connected to the U.S. and international markets. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1729-Phelps-Nov2019-.png Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amanda-phelps-cpa Amanda Phelps, CPA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amanda-phelps-cpa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amanda-phelps-cpa#When:04:00:00Z How is the economy faring in your part of the state? The economy in Hampton Roads is thriving. As a staffing manager, I have seen a demand for skilled talent. Unemployment is low, and the market for skilled labor is tight.         What local industry/sector do you think has potential for growth? Opportunities are available for growth in the logistics and supply-chain management industry. We are responsible for delivering goods to consumers across the nation and globe. Expansion and automation of the [Port of Virginia's] terminals are necessary. Mental health care is another opportunity. More companies are offering benefits that include access to mental health care and our health care facilities will need to meet demands.  What’s the biggest challenge to doing business in your area? Finding and retaining a talented workforce is challenging. It is a [job] candidate’s market right now, and candidates have their choice of employment. The Hampton Roads area is working hard to lure many Virginia college grads to remain or move to the Hampton Roads area. Sea-level rise is another threat to infrastructure in Hampton Roads and may discourage business.  What impact would a recession have on businesses in your area? A recession could negatively affect Hampton Roads, since our economy is heavily dependent on federal spending. Defense spending cuts could slow down business.   How did the 2018 tax reform laws affect returns in 2019? The 2018 tax reform resulted in a higher standard deduction and eliminating personal exemptions. As a tradeoff for ease, some taxpayers may have been less inclined to take advantage of previous tax incentives like charitable contributions and mortgage interest deduction. Many businesses have reported benefiting from the tax reform, leading to a thriving economy. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CPA_REPORT_cover_-_November_2019_copy.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-society-of-cpas-2020-virginia-economic-expectations-survey Virginia Society of CPAs’ 2020 Virginia Economic Expectations survey http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-society-of-cpas-2020-virginia-economic-expectations-survey http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-society-of-cpas-2020-virginia-economic-expectations-survey#When:04:00:00Z The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants’ (VSCPA) Economic Expectations report highlights several key issues impacting Virginia businesses, ranging from the economy to taxes and workforce. The survey was sent to 8,439 VSCPA members in August. The survey had 292 respondents, yielding a 3.5% response rate. About 44% of the respondents work in public accounting. The rest work in corporate finance and other sectors. A majority of people taking the survey (48%) represented businesses with 51 or more employees; 40% represented companies with two to 50 workers; and the rest had sole proprietorships. INSIDE A strong defense Cybersecurity is a top concern for Virginia’s CPAs. by Joan Tupponce   We asked five Certified Public Accountants for their take on the state of their region. This is what they had to say. Answers have been edited for length and clarity. Amanda Phelps, CPA, Recruiting manager, Robert Half International, Norfolk Cathryn Michie, CPA, Chief financial officer, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board Inc., Harrisonburg Gary R. Thomson, CPA, Managing partner, Thomson Consulting LLC, Richmond and Chairman, Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants board of directors Aaron L. Peters, CPA, President and CEO, Peters & Associates PC, Falls Church Hope F. Cupit, CPA, President and CEO, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Inc., Roanoke Click below for full PDF. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1743-ChiefBob-Nov2019-.png Robert Gray was elected chief of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in 2015. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/betting-on-success Betting on success http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/betting-on-success http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/betting-on-success#When:04:00:00Z Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief Robert Gray lives on a quiet stretch of land in rural King William County by the Pamunkey River. But he’s at the center of a whirlwind of activity as his tribe has proposed building Virginia’s first casino, a $700 million project in Norfolk. There are still questions about when or whether the casino will be completed, but in late September, Norfolk City Council approved a land deal that would allow the project to move forward on the city’s waterfront. In October, Virginia Business spoke with Gray at the Pamunkey tribal reservation in King William County about the casino, the Pamunkeys’ goals and how federal recognition has affected life for the tribe.  Under current state law, the federally recognized tribe can operate a tribal casino, which would contribute 4% of its annual net revenues to Norfolk’s coffers, paying a minimum of $3 million per year. Only Indian tribes are allowed to run tribal casinos, which typically take a long time to gain federal approval. However, in its upcoming 2020 session, the Virginia General Assembly will consider whether to allow independent operators to open commercial casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond. If state lawmakers greenlight the commercial casinos, the Pamunkey tribe will have a second, faster option for building its casino. Vinod Agarwal, deputy director of Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, worries that if two casinos are built in Norfolk and Portsmouth, “then they’re going to be fighting with each other,” and the presence of just one casino could take income from other Norfolk entertainment businesses and restaurants, reducing the overall positive impact. Regardless of what happens, it seems likely the Pamunkey will face some competition from other casinos across Virginia, not to mention the four existing Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations. A retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, Gray was deployed to Iran to assist Operation Eagle Claw, the U.S. Special Forces’ failed April 1980 rescue attempt of the 52 U.S. hostages who were held in Iran. After the hostages were released in 1981, Gray saw them in Greece, where he was then stationed, as their plane stopped to refuel on the way back to the United States. Gray also worked in the Virginia Air National Guard’s military technician program and has served on his tribe’s council for more than 30 years. He was elected chief in 2015. Growing up in Philadelphia, the 60-year-old Gray had been well aware of his Pamunkey heritage on his mother’s side and visited the tribal lands during the summers. Many Native Americans, he says, moved from Virginia to other states in the 1920s because of the commonwealth’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly to prohibit interracial marriages. The law classified all non-whites, including Native Americans, as “colored.” It was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 with the Loving v. Virginia ruling, but by then, the dispersal — Gray calls it a “diaspora” — of Virginia’s tribes had been in place for decades. With the income from a casino, Gray hopes to bring more Pamunkey Indians back to Virginia, where 85 tribal members currently live on the reservation. He wants to educate younger members about their heritage, which stretches as far back as 10,000 years and includes Chief Powhatan and his daughter Matoaka, also known as Pocahontas. Virginia Business: A lot of Virginians know about your tribe because of your work to become federally recognized. Can you talk about that process and the part you played in it? Robert Gray: It was probably about a 30-year process, helping them gather information, working with the lawyers, reaching out to tribal members to gain their records for enrollment issues. Basically, we had to prove our existence as a tribe, as a government entity. … We have been a government entity with control over our people and our land for hundreds of years. VB: Was it difficult because you had to assemble paperwork that went back to colonial days? Gray: That did make it hard. King William County courthouse records had burned during the Civil War. Our lawyers reached all the way back to … records that were in the archives in England, because our treaties were with the crown of England. Then [we were] just poring through newspaper articles, General Assembly actions and such and pulling all that together to show that we were constantly on the scene since 1607. We didn’t disappear and then come back 50 years later or something. At   least every few years, there was some record of us. VB: What has changed since 2015, when the Pamunkey tribe received federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs? How does it impact the tribe? Gray: Right now, basically we have greater access to federal agencies and the ability to seek funding and grants that are available only for federal recognized tribes. Those funds we’re using to improve the lives of our tribal members [with] housing aid, wells, septic systems. This is just a start. We’ve also done things environmentally to protect the eroding shoreline. … The Natural Resource Conservation Services are … doing a field study to help provide us options for land usage here in the reservation. VB: The Pamunkeys’ federal designation is different from other Virginia tribes, which were recognized through an act of Congress and agreed not to pursue gaming interests. How long have you been thinking about casinos and gaming? Gray: During all the years we were working for federal recognition, that was so much work, it’s a part-time unpaid job. We spent so much attention on that. Then we started looking at [casinos], and once [federal recognition] came through, we were reading and hearing and talking to other Native Americans around the country, that it’s been very successful for other tribes. Obviously, it’s not our expertise, but the federal government would oversee it and bring in the right people. It made us feel comfortable that this is something that we could pursue and then work with Virginia and localities as well to make sure that we did something that was good for the tribe and good for Virginia. VB: How did you choose Norfolk as the location for the casino, out of all of your tribe’s ancestral homelands? Gray: There were no clear lines between tribes. Ancestral homelands are where we live, where we hunted, trapped, traded with other tribes. So, for all the tribes of the Powhatan confederacy — Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Rappahannock — ancestral homelands would safely include Virginia east of [Interstate] 95 from the Potomac River down to North Carolina, even into North Carolina, because of the fall lines. All of our people relied heavily on the waterways for sustenance, for travel. Norfolk just fit. … We feel confident because what we want to bring to Norfolk — in partnership with the city of Norfolk — is a project that will benefit Norfolk and the surrounding communities. If my children were walking down the streets of Norfolk wearing a T-shirt saying “Pamunkey Indian Tribe Member,” I want people to be able to come up to them and say, “Thank you.” I truly believe that will be the case, that we will help the city and they will help us. It’s a mutual partnership for their benefit and for ours. VB: The General Assembly is also pondering legislation that could result in other commercial casinos opening across Virginia. How do you feel about that? Gray: The state will do what they do, but we bring a different perspective. We’re local. We’re not a nameless corporation where all this revenue just leaves Virginia. It stays here in Virginia. It stays here to provide jobs, but the revenue is invested back in the community. We want to buy local. We want to use local vendors, local contractors. Then, even with the revenue that the tribe makes itself, it’s basically spent here for projects that we want to do for ourselves. We want to help the other tribes in Virginia in any way possible. We see that as being good neighbors. VB: Do you have a preference of building a federally approved tribal casino — the only option available now — or a commercial casino, which the General Assembly could allow? What are your thoughts on that? Gray: We’re looking at the two paths. We started down the tribal casino path because that is what was open to us. That is still a goal. … [However,] the federal process will take a little bit of time. VB: What specific benefits do you think that the tribe will receive if the casino moves forward and is successful? What are your plans for the income? Gray: Improving the lives of our tribal members. … In the ’20s, with the Racial Integrity Act, a lot of Pamunkey Indians, a lot of members of other tribes, left Virginia. I call it the diaspora. We would like to encourage those people to come back to Virginia with some of the revenue to buy additional land for housing for our people. We [also] see other economic opportunities. We want to pay for housing, education. I would love to send our young people to college and have them come back and work for the tribe. Those are the type of things that we would like to do for benefiting the tribe, [while also] helping the local community with good [casino] jobs, with excellent benefits. VB: How many people are part of the Pamunkey tribe? Gray: We have a little over 400 enrolled citizens. Like most tribes throughout the country, we have a core group of members that date back to history … [and] you have to show you’re a descendant. We also have a social connection to the tribal body. If they don’t have it now, it’s something that can be built and such. That’s primarily because we don’t consider tribal citizenship a racial issue — it’s political; it’s a sovereign right. We’re also not just a genealogy tree. Our tribe is a community, and that is what we focused on [instead of just genealogy] — a community. VB: The Nansemond tribe, which is based on the Nansemond River and lives on land in Suffolk and Chesapeake, has voiced some concerns about the casino and preserving their own history and heritage in the region. Have you had any conversations with them? Gray: Several months ago, I traveled to Chesapeake and met with their chief and council, and we had a discussion. Basically, we in no way want to interfere with their telling of their story in history. We would love to help them in the future to do that. If and when we have the means, we’d like to help them, like we would any other tribe. The boundary issue — like I said, I believe [the] Nansemond [tribe] could [also] claim up to this part of the state as their ancestral homelands. We don’t see any one tribe as having exclusionary land, because that’s more a European model of boundaries: “I own this land; you own that land.” We just shared the land together. Going forward, that’s what I would say — that we continue to share in any way possible. VB: Does everybody in your tribe support the idea of the casino? Gray: It is looked upon favorably. We’ve explained what is going on. We’ve explained the limitations of federal funding [for the Pamunkey reservation], and I would like to get off the federal funding if at all possible, which is why the federal government established the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Its primary purpose is for tribes to achieve financial independence. When you think federal money, there’s so much red tape. I would almost say for every dollar you get from the federal government, there’s a significant portion of that dollar being spent to track and report that dollar. VB: How do you plan to raise the $10 million needed to purchase the casino land? Gray: We found an excellent partner … [Tennessee billionaire and venture capitalist] Jon Yarbrough. … He’s been involved in Indian gaming for decades. We did have a whole lot of people and companies approach us [and] we approached people, but we never felt comfortable with anyone until someone introduced us to Jon Yarbrough. He did his due diligence on us, we did our due diligence on him, and it’s an extremely friendly, personal relationship. I am fully confident that he will help us achieve our goals. VB: Are there improvements to the Pamunkey reservation that are high priorities for you in the next five years, even before the casino is finished? Gray: First, our members and their housing needs. Other things like our museum, it was built about 1980, and it needs a makeover. Our fish hatchery, our old schoolhouse that was built in 1908 — in 2008, it had a cosmetic makeover, but it still needs some additional structural work because we want to maintain that history of the tribe. Internet service is dismal. That’s a project we’re working on with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission — the tribe serving as an internet service provider in the entire Middle Peninsula region. That’s both an economic opportunity for us, and it [would give] us high-speed internet. Our TV is satellite for the most part. Our internet is satellite or cell service, but cell service is dismal. In my house, if I’m in the front of the house, I pick up a tower in King William, barely, and if I’m in the back of the house, I pick up one in New Kent, barely. I’ve had discussions with Congressman Rob Wittman. He has a broadband task force. VB: You talked a little bit about the waterways and protecting them. What are some of the concerns? Gray: Shoreline erosion was one, and we’ve been working with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on uplifting the shoreline. We’ve been having conversations with the [Virginia Commonwealth University] Rice Rivers Center, partnering with them. The issues we’re seeing is our shad, that our people have used for sustenance for 10,000 years, the shad populations have been so low for a number of years. [The state of] Virginia ran a hatchery, but even Virginia has given up the shad hatchery business. It just hasn’t been working. We see a problem with blue catfish in the river … gobbling up all the shad … [and] also the pollution in the water and fish advisories because of the mercury and PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls]. We’re also working with the Environmental Protection Agency, gaining certification to manage our own environmental program that will give us in the federal government’s eyes equal standing with the state. VB: If the casino goes forward, when do you think it would open? Gray: I really can’t set a timeline, but the Virginia [casino] legislation can move things forward a little quicker. We’ll see what happens in this General Assembly session. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_3938.png “Pulaski is a real gem,” says Luke Allison. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-takes-a-tribe It takes a Tribe http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-takes-a-tribe http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-takes-a-tribe#When:04:00:00Z Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 30 miles northeast of Wytheville and 30 miles southwest of Blacksburg, small-town Pulaski has a charming Mayberry feel, with its picturesque downtown and 19th-century architecture. But it’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere. And that, says Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan Sweet, is exactly why millennials should be clamoring to move there. “What makes this place unique is that Pulaski is totally a blank landscape,” Sweet says. “It’s a blank canvas that has the ability to be developed. … It’s not local government trying to force a transformation. It’s young, talented millennials — they’re going to say, ‘There’s an opportunity here.’”  Sweet has reason to hope young, tech-friendly entrepreneurs discover and adopt the county and its seat, the town of Pulaski. By almost every measure, Pulaski faces tough times. Incomes, health quality, job opportunities, education — all are notably below state and national averages. Pulaski County’s population has dwindled over the decades to its current 34,500. The Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia projects it will drop further, to 31,000, by 2040. A few years back, The Washington Post ran a big article about Pulaski headlined, “Can rural America be saved?” (Its conclusion: a doubtful maybe.) The problems confronting Pulaski are common to rural areas throughout Virginia. Jobs are scarce, aging residents have health problems and, as manufacturing shifts elsewhere, their economy is faltering. Now, with the largest generation in the nation’s history flooding the U.S. workforce with as many as 85 million millennials, regions around Virginia are fighting to attract them, their income and their investments. If they succeed, their regions could thrive. If they fail, their slip down the economic ladder will likely continue. That’s what inspires Sweet. He argues, in fact, that Pulaski can reverse its decline by importing thousands of millennials and Gen Zers. He rejects the Weldon Cooper Center’s dire economic outlook for Pulaski and says he plans to grow the county’s population to 40,000 by 2030. “It’s like a doctor telling us we’re prediabetic and we refuse to accept the prognosis,” he says. “We think that if we work hard, exercise and change our habits, we can reverse that trend, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” The county plans to do this by creating jobs, diversifying its housing stock, investing in public education and improving local quality of life — factors Sweet says will be key to attracting young professionals. One big complication to this plan is that millennials are flocking to cities like Austin, Denver, San Francisco and, to a lesser degree, Richmond — places with personality, job opportunities, arts scenes and fun. Some data suggests that as millennials age into their later 30s, a smaller but significant number of them are moving out of the largest cities and into nearby suburbs, in search of better schools and larger homes, according to a 2018 Wall Street Journal analysis of  U.S. Census data. But most analyses indicate that millennials aren’t headed to the Pulaskis of the world. Still, Sweet argues that his little community has a real shot at attracting younger people. And the proof is a group of young entrepreneurial locals he has dubbed the Tribe — a moniker that has caught on with the regional media. The group of more than a dozen 20-somethings, some still in college, call themselves the Pulaski Crew, however. One of them, Tyler Clontz, was elected to Pulaski Town Council last year.  Over the last three years, advised by their mentor, local real estate developer and entrepreneur Steve Critchfield, the Crew has leveraged federal development grants and historic tax credits into a portfolio of 15 single-family rental properties valued at over $1 million. “This group is top-notch,” Critchfield says. “This would not work if you did not have these talented and responsible entrepreneurs. They have taken these blighted homes and put in sweat equity … and put them on the rental market.” The Pulaski Crew’s unofficial leader, Luke Allison, a 28-year-old native of nearby Tazewell, says that he and his buddies are committed to revitalizing the town and reversing its decline. “Pulaski is a real gem,” he says. The group intends to entice more Virginia Tech graduate students, already their top renters, to Pulaski by offering a lower cost of living than Blacksburg. They’re in discussions with Habitat for Humanity, the Virginia Housing Development Authority and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to discuss how they might develop a stock of affordable homes for sale in the community. To make the town more millennial-friendly, they plan to open a coffee shop, a beer taphouse, a virtual-reality center, a business center with meeting spaces and an indoor arena to play low-power air-gun games known as airsoft. “The best way to get … [younger residents] here is to give them an experience,” explains Radford University senior Jacob Prine. He intends to open a marketing company and IT consultancy in Pulaski. Partly due to the Tribe’s investments, Sweet says, housing values in downtown Pulaski have increased more than 30% since 2017. Austin Stromme, a 21-year-old student at New River Community College, is the property manager for the group’s real-estate arm, Kethanos. “It’s been a great experience,” he marvels. “I’m taking everything in from Steve [Critchfield] and Jonathan [Sweet].” Meanwhile, the county is working on infrastructure. In 2017, Pulaski residents voted for a $47 million bond issue to pay for a new middle school. Pulaski officials have announced 1,400 new jobs in the last 2½ years, with more than 1,000 of those jobs still unfilled. The plans go on. Along with solar and wind projects, Sweet says, Pulaski aspires to become the largest producer and processor of hemp in Virginia. “What we know about millennials is, they want to be part of something,” the county administrator adds confidently. “Well, this is really something to be part of. We’re going to change the course of an entire community. Read more about millennials in the workplace in November 2019's cover story. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/7-requirements-to-attract-and-keep-younger-workers 7 requirements to attract and keep younger workers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/7-requirements-to-attract-and-keep-younger-workers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/7-requirements-to-attract-and-keep-younger-workers#When:04:00:00Z We asked our November cover story’s interview subjects to suggest top requirements to attract and keep younger workers. Here are their suggestions: Have a purpose. If your business’s only cause is to improve shareholder value or increase its margins, say workforce experts, you’re all but dead to younger talent. Connect your work to a higher purpose. “Our best people are driven to be part of an organization that is changing a norm or a cause,” says Dominion Payroll CEO Dave Gallagher. Encourage collaboration. Forget top-down commands; start crowdsourcing ideas. “They want to network with peers and solve problems,” says Judith Pahren of Capital One. That means more open work spaces, more team-building and volunteering together, and a lot more open discussions. Be flexible. Focus on how well the job gets done, not on the hours someone is working or where. If someone wants to come in later or trade a weekday for a weekend, make that possible, advises Isabelle Tobe, 22, marketing coordinator at Dominion Payroll. Don’t limit your thinking about what an office means: Your best employees could be working from home in another state. Be transparent. Share good news, but also be upfront about bad. Millennials and Gen Zers don’t want to hear it from someone else. They’ll find out anyway, so be the first to tell them. Let them grow. Training to improve the job they have is essential to younger workers. So is offering ways to expand their skills, from online training to mentorship programs. Capital One brings inspiring speakers to its McLean campus, ranging from primatologist Jane Goodall to the rapper and activist Common. Millennials “want to explore,” says Reggie Leonard II, associate dean for career connections and community engagement at the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science. Be inclusive. Younger workers demand workplaces that are welcoming to all races, genders, religions and sexual orientations, says SIR’s Martin. To attract and keep younger workers, be sure to stamp out any indication of discrimination and unfairness. Bring feedback. Be clear and direct about what is expected, what is working and what is not. While sensitivity is valued, clarity is more so. Be sure to make the feedback regular and specific, “but be open to using different communications tools,” says U.Va.’s Leonard. Younger people might be happier with a quick text or Slack message rather than meeting in person or over a phone call. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CM_Richmond_Business_1011192261.png Millennials are poised to dominate and define workplace culture starting in the 2020s. Photo by Cade Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-rise-of-the-millennials The rise of the millennials http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-rise-of-the-millennials http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-rise-of-the-millennials#When:04:00:00Z Millennials. You know the type. Oversensitive, phone-obsessed, selfie-snapping, “Friends”-binge-watching, kombucha-guzzling, influencer-obsessed complainers.  If that sort of thing drives you crazy, here’s your trigger warning: Millennials are taking over the workforce. Get used to it. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials include everyone born between 1981 and 1996, which, at 73 million, surpassed the aging baby boomers this year as our largest living generation. No matter how you count them, millennials and those following them will dominate the workforce starting in the 2020s. Boomers are retiring — within a decade they’ll make up less than 10% of the workforce. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981, number about  66 million — not insignificant, but not as large — and will also be beginning to reach retirement age by the end of the 2020s. The next decades will belong to the millennials and their young­­­­er Gen Z siblings, who are expected to eclipse the millennials in size and are just now entering the career labor pool. Employers and localities who want to replace their aging workforces will need to embrace that fact. “This is probably the biggest workforce challenge we face as a commonwealth,” says Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the state’s main economic recruitment arm. “We need to be competitive and appealing to young professionals if we are going to continue to be a top state for business.”  Creating culture Across Virginia, economic development officials and companies are laser-focused on attracting millennials. If a community isn’t a millennial magnet like Denver or San Francisco, it’s going to need to work harder to appeal to in-demand younger workers. “When you have a low unemployment rate like we do now, it’s hard to attract companies unless you have a talent pipeline,” explains Jared Chalk, interim economic development director for Norfolk. “Talent is what everybody’s going for these days, whether it’s attracting millennials or retaining our military.” In the case of Norfolk, this means encouraging a millennial-friendly atmosphere with breweries, bike lanes and other amenities, Chalk says. “People look at bike lanes as a transportation solution, and it is, but it’s also creating the sort of place millennials want to come,” adds Chalk, who is 37. Indeed, the city of Norfolk and nonprofit tourism booster Visit­Norfolk are in the early stages of creating a campaign to market the city as a college town — “Campus Norfolk”  or “Campus 757”— because university-dominated cities such as Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Richmond draw millennials, Chalk says. (There are five higher education institutions in Norfolk, including Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities.) In nearby Isle of Wight County, where the median age of the county’s 37,000 residents is about 45, recruiting millennials is also “a top priority,” says Jess­ica Jones-Healey, president and CEO of the county Chamber of Commerce. “Succession is a huge topic here,” says Jones-Healey, who is 33. “If we don’t have a succession plan, businesses will close.” The county Chamber of Commerce has begun hosting co-working spaces for the many freelance workers in the county and last year launched a business networking group for millennials. The town of Smithfield in Isle of Wight now throws three big festivals a year, Jones-Healey says, including one celebrating bacon and bourbon. “It’s all about creating a culture,” she explains. In Southside Virginia, Danville officials have arrived at a different conclusion. Rather than attempt to lure millennials to the former textile-manufacturing hub in Southwest Virginia, the city of about 41,000 people is working on training programs for middle school and high school students that will prepare them for jobs sought by regional employers. By leveraging high-tech training offered by the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining, a partnership between the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Danville Community College, teens can start learning skills such as machining, IT security and precision welding. “We are very acutely aware that the most important incentive we can offer … is a sustainable source of trained workers,” says Linwood Wright, a former Danville mayor and consultant to the city’s economic-development division. Danville has lost major sectors of its economy, including textile manufacturing and tobacco processing, in recent decades. “We could sit here and cry in our beer,” Wright says, “or do something about it.” ‘A war for talent’ That litany of millennial stereotypes at the start of this article? Amanda Green has heard them all. “Everybody has an opinion on millennials and who they are and what they want,” says Green, 29, youth program coordinator for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. “But they never ask us.” “We destroyed the economy, apparently,” scoffs Jack Weisbrod, 26, a sales associate at Dominion Payroll in Richmond. Employers and economic development professionals will have to move past stereotypes and insults to understand what drives millennial workers, workplace experts say. “The future is going to be a war for talent. Companies are going to be fighting for these people,” says John M. Martin, CEO of Richmond-based Southeastern Institute of Research, a management consultancy, and managing partner at Institute for Tomorrow, a think tank focused on demographic trends. McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. is ready for that challenge, says Judy Pahren, senior vice president for human resources at the Fortune 100 credit-card and banking giant. “Our No. 1 principle is to attract really talented people,” Pahren says. “We know our success is dependent on talent.” Recruiting younger workers like millennials, she adds, “is key to that strategy.” Pahren declines to say how many workers the company recruits each year but observes that, with almost 50,000 employees, Capital One views retaining young technology-savvy workers as vital. And “not just for their skills and abilities,” she adds. “They’re also our future leaders.” To bring them in, Capital One emphasizes the values these younger workers find important — for example, flexibility and a sense that their work can have real impact. Rather than using its sizable credit business to attract potential employees, Capital One is positioning itself as a technology company. Recruitment videos present workers as cool, savvy young people of various hues and interests — no neckties, no mention of bankers’ hours or even retirement benefits. “Let’s do something great together,” a narrator says. Raised amid recession While baby boomers “came from a lifetime of rising incomes, expecting an improving world,” millennials learned from the 2008 recession to expect that their futures will depend on their own abilities to adapt and change careers, says Robert T. Sumichrast, dean of the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Millennials are laden with debt from the skyrocketing cost of college — in the first quarter of 2019, the average college debt held by millennials was $34,500, according to Experian — and their incomes are still stunted by the recovering economy. (In Virginia, median income for millennials was $41,400 in 2018, compared with $60,000 for Gen Xers and $64,700 for boomers, according to a Business Insider study.) While homebuying among millennials rose to about a third of all purchasers in 2017 and 2018, a higher proportion of millennials rent, compared with Generation X and baby boomers. Millennial home ownership still remains 5 percentage points below Gen Xers and 8 percentage points lower than baby boomers at the same ages, according to a National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study and a 2018 report by the Urban Institute. Raised by doting helicopter parents and monitored by world-spanning social media for much of their lives, millennials are simultaneously confident of their own value, comfortable in diverse groups of people and anxious that they won’t fulfill their promise. This has led to a shift in what people think is important. While boomers lived to work, explains SIR’s Martin, “millennials see work as a way to live.” Instead of climbing the corporate ladder, “millennials want a life of purpose,” Martin says. The search for meaning That’s reflected in the workforce at human resources firm Dominion Payroll, which could easily be mistaken for a Silicon Valley-style startup. It’s headquartered in Richmond’s trendy Scott’s Addition neighborhood, which in the past half-decade has gentrified from a region of run-down warehouses into one of artisanal coffee shops, microbreweries, co-working spaces and tattoo parlors. (Almost half of millennials have tattoos, compared with 36% of Generation X and 13% of baby boomers, according to a 2015 Harris Poll.) A clutch of company-owned bikes are parked in Dominion Payroll’s lobby, available to any employee who wants one. Workspaces include desks, glass-walled conference rooms and scattered chairs, without a single cubicle or solid office wall in sight. Employees move about, laptops in hand, working wherever they like. It’s so … millennial. Caroline Kobasa, 26, recalls arriving for her interview: “I knew the minute I walked in that I wanted to work here.”  It wasn’t just the polished concrete floors or the pingpong table in the meeting area, adds Kobasa, who left a high-pressure insurance position in Connecticut to move to Richmond. “It was that from the first minute you heard about the core values, the expectations from the bosses and the team were that we are here for a bigger purpose.”  Dominion Payroll co-founder and CEO Dave Gallagher has one of the company’s few offices — but even that space, modest by boss standards, is glass-walled like a terrarium. His office guest chairs look like they’re made out of skis. A guitar case leans against a standing desk. “We want people to work here who are passionate about what they do, just like we are,” Gallagher says. “If they’re 70 years old or if they’re a millennial, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the way they see the work.” (Millennials make up 65% of Dominion Payroll’s workforce, says the company’s director of community engagement.) Dominion Payroll emphasizes community support and volunteerism, including for the nonprofit Gallagher and his wife, Grace, founded in honor of their daughter, Cameron, who five years ago collapsed after a half-marathon and died at age 16 of an undiagnosed heart condition. Volunteering is also meaningful to Richmond-based Fortune 500 company CarMax’s large millennial workforce. “Giving back is very important to our associates and we support their passions and efforts by investing in the organizations they choose to support through our volunteer programs,” says Leslie Parpart, director of community relations. Last year, more than 1,100 CarMax associates participated in volunteer activities, including building a new playground at the nonprofit Peter Paul Development Center in Richmond.   Flexible and less formal Unlike millennial-magnet businesses peddling software or ride-share apps, Dominion Payroll has turned a profit every year since its founding in 2002, Gallagher says. (“We are accountants,” he notes.) The firm’s been on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies for 10 years straight, growing to 200-some employees working in offices in Richmond; Nashville, Tennessee; Tampa, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dallas. Dominion Payroll’s community engagement director, Kevin Wilson, 37, points to Business Roundtable’s recent call for corporations to widen their priorities from simply increasing shareholder value to include other goals such as investing in employees and the environment. “That feels like a positive outcome for the world, to face what might be existential threats to the world,” Wilson adds. “The death rattle of Milton Friedman makes me very happy.” If a higher purpose is millennials’ top value, flexible workplaces come a close second. The workplace is “a lot less formal than it used to be,” observes Lisa DeNoia, co-owner of Virginia Beach co-working space 1701. DeNoia also co-owns Port & Starboard, a Virginia Beach technology consulting company, and Fathom Coffee. She was named 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year by Inside Business journal. Millennial flexibility can provide real value for employers, DeNoia points out. “Millennials are just not that into the corner office. They’re happy with a water bottle, a laptop and headphones.” Shared desks for people who like to work different hours can save costs. And having millennial employees who prefer multitasking means multiple projects can be moving at the same time. On the other hand, a lot of younger workers lack the office experience of older generations, says John M. Garrett, a 28-year-old vice president of commercial lending at TowneBank in Norfolk. Garrett mentors fellow Virginia Military Institute graduates, advising them to adopt the communication styles of their older bosses — more phone calls and notes, no texts on weekends or at night. Garrett has heard the criticisms of millennials. “In the grand scheme of things, I think every generation goes through this period of stereotypes,” he says. “I hear people say we’re too obsessed with social media, that we’re selfish, not working hard. “It’s certainly not the majority. Most of us are passionate — about the environment, about making a mark on the world, about leaving the world better than we found it.” How you feel about that perspective probably depends on when you were born. And what about employers who would rather not deal with these millennials and their nontraditional work preferences? “Good luck,” says SIR’s Martin. “That is no longer a sustainable model. And that’s the bottom line.” More on millennials in the workplace: A group of 20-somethings is transforming Pulaski.  Seven requirements to hire and retain younger workers. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1865-Dotti-Nov2019-.png High-speed internet availability sealed the deal for a new call center, says Michael Dotti. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mecklenburg-co-op-aids-regional-broadband-expansion Mecklenburg co-op aids regional broadband expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mecklenburg-co-op-aids-regional-broadband-expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mecklenburg-co-op-aids-regional-broadband-expansion#When:04:00:00Z High-speed fiber-optic internet service still eludes about 50% of Virginians, but the state’s Southside region is making progress. In the town of Lawrenceville, the former Bank of America branch on Main Street has sat empty for two years. However, in late September, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Bedford County-based Echo World Communications LLC is set to locate a call center in the former bank building next year. It’s expected to create up to 152 new jobs. It never would have happened if the building couldn’t have been equipped with high-speed, reliable internet, says Michael Dotti, business director of the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority. “It’s a huge amount of technology. This was like small-town guys getting it done.” Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) is wiring the bank building this fall at no cost to Brunswick, with funding from Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp., which started in 2004 as a cooperative to bring fiber-optic networks to rural Virginia. The broadband cooperative also has installed about 90 miles of fiber cables in six Southern Virginia counties, with 45 more miles planned by the end of 2020. MEC also has proposed the purchase of Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative (BIT) by MEC affiliate Empower Broadband. The merger is contingent on BIT’s 4,500 customers, who have been asked to submit votes by Nov. 13. “We expect it will speed up the process of putting fiber in this area,” says David Lipscomb, MEC’s vice president of member and energy services and vice president of Empower. MEC’s customer base averages only seven properties per mile, he says, so the greater population density around BIT’s service area in Lake Gaston will provide more revenue and help fund high-speed internet expansion in the region. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, which has awarded MEC nearly $3 million in grants, also has been instrumental in building local network infrastructure. MEC was in a position to help Lawrenceville install high-speed internet at the bank branch, even though it’s not in its service area, Lipscomb notes. As a result, the county was able to attract the call center. Broadband is “the tool that you need in this world for businesses to want to be in a rural community,” says Carthan Currin III, former director of the tobacco commission and now Brunswick County’s director of economic development. “I think Mecklenburg is really at the forefront of the commonwealth, but we’re coming. We’re making every effort.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CEC_1009_Rendering_2.png Expected to open in April, the complex will include a first-run multiplex, mini golf and go-karts. Courtesy Madison & Main http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-neck-set-for-its-first-multiscreen-movie-theater-in-2020 Northern Neck set for its first multiscreen movie theater in 2020 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-neck-set-for-its-first-multiscreen-movie-theater-in-2020 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-neck-set-for-its-first-multiscreen-movie-theater-in-2020#When:04:00:00Z The Northern Neck is getting its first multiscreen movie theater as part of a larger entertainment center that is expected to open in late April. Compass Entertainment Complex will be built on seven acres of a 22-acre wooded lot between the towns of Kilmarnock and Irvington. The developers — Julien Patterson and his wife, Terri Wesselman — live in Lancaster County but are better known as the former owners of Omniplex World Services, a security and investigative firm based in Fairfax County. In 2012, they sold the business, which had an annual revenue of more than $100 million. Since retirement, the couple has invested in Northern Neck businesses, starting an art gallery, a clothing boutique and a coffeehouse. After researching the market, Patterson says, the couple quickly concluded that a movie theater, along with other family-friendly entertainment options, was what the Northern Neck was missing. The closest movie multiplexes are more than   30 miles away in Gloucester and Yorktown.  “The Northern Neck is a wonderful place to live, work and play in many ways,” Patterson says. “In all of the many things it had to offer, it didn’t have this.” The theater will show first-run movies, and screens will be available for corporate rental. Patterson also hopes to host team-building activities for businesses, especially during the off-season. The complex will also include go-karts, mini golf and batting cages. The groundbreaking took place in September, and Connemara Corp. of White Stone will serve as the project’s general contractor, along with JKRP Architects, Amusement Construction Co. Inc. and Harris Miniature Golf Courses Inc. The couple don’t plan to develop the remaining 15 wooded acres on the site, which is near the Hills Quarter community. First Bank & Trust Co., a subsidiary of Lebanon-based First Bancorp Inc., provided financing for the complex. Patterson declines to give a specific cost of the project, but says he does anticipate that the entertainment complex will employ 35 to 40 people year-round and up to 70 people during the summer high season; they expect to begin interviewing prospective employees in January. “We’re trying to be thoughtful in our approach and our execution,” Patterson says. “When we look at what makes this area so unique, it’s because it’s such a wonderful community for families and young couples.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Potomac_Yard_Metro_Station_DSUP_2018.png The Potomac Yard Metro station is slated to open in spring 2022. Rendering courtesy City of Alexandria http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-searches-for-solution-to-potomac-yard-metro-station-access Alexandria searches for solution to Potomac Yard Metro station access http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-searches-for-solution-to-potomac-yard-metro-station-access http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-searches-for-solution-to-potomac-yard-metro-station-access#When:04:00:00Z Alexandria officials continue to search for a way to satisfy future Potomac Yard Metro station riders from both sides of the tracks without breaking the budget. Although the state announced an additional $50 million in funding for improved access, a solution has yet to be found. The station — which would provide transportation access near Amazon’s HQ2 and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus — was originally designed to have two entrances on the west side of the tracks and another entrance, farther south, on the east side of the tracks. When initial construction bids in 2017 exceeded the project’s then-$320 million budget, “the only practical way to keep the station financially viable was to reconfigure the entrances,” Craig Fifer, director of the city of Alexandria’s office of communications and public information, said in late September. Some residents on the east side of the track protested the changes. Even after the state announced the additional funding last November, city officials said that amount might not be enough. “We are revisiting that proposal and working to identify a design that further enhances access from that … location. Several updated designs have been proposed to date; however, they have come in far above the $50 million mark,” Fifer says. “Our latest design is undergoing cost analysis by the contractor,” he adds, and the city expects to present the results to the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group by the end of November. Part of the station will be built on wetlands, which requires two permits. The State Water Control Board has approved the project and city officials said in early October that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was expected to complete its review within a few weeks. The station is being built on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines, between the Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport stations. The location is already used by Metro, so construction has to be completed alongside active tracks. Officials say the station is set for a spring 2022 opening, but the project has been in the city’s plans for more than two decades. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Greg_Campbell_4.png Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Executive Director Gregory W. CampbellPhoto by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/passenger-numbers-taking-off-at-shenandoah-valley-regional-airport Passenger numbers taking off at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/passenger-numbers-taking-off-at-shenandoah-valley-regional-airport http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/passenger-numbers-taking-off-at-shenandoah-valley-regional-airport#When:04:00:00Z Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave is the state’s smallest commercial service airport, but its passenger numbers have skyrocketed over the past year and a half. After changing its commercial flight provider in April 2018 to Utah-based SkyWest, the airport saw its passenger numbers that first month climb to 1,368 from about 250 passengers the previous month — a 453% increase. It’s good news for the airport, which suffered a decline in passengers beginning in 2014, due in part to a pilot shortage that hit small regional carriers especially hard, says Gregory W. Campbell, the airport’s executive director.  “We made a change in 2016 to Via Airlines in Florida, but their reliability started to erode over 18 months,” Campbell says. “It led us to go to the [Virginia] Department of Transportation and make the change to SkyWest.” In May, ViaAir suspended the majority of its commercial airline operations and now operates as a charter service. Campbell attributes Shenandoah’s current passenger boost to SkyWest’s greater dependability and additional flight options. SkyWest, Campbell says, “is a part of the United network, and it offers direct service to Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles. It’s the first time we’ve had dual hubs with a network carrier.” Long-distance travelers appreciate the direct flights to O’Hare and Dulles, which are set to expand by two new flights starting in December, the airport announced. “We’re globalizing at an increasing rate, and a part of the valley’s success is having an international presence,” says Jay A. Langston, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership.  “We have 12 different nations — including Brazil, China, the United Kingdom and Germany — that do business in the valley. Having the ability to get to Dulles in one step provides one more asset to compete on the world stage.” Shenandoah’s changes aren’t limited to a new air carrier. The airport is slated to get a fifth corporate plane hangar and replace its aging bulk fuel-storage tanks. The $3 million project is scheduled to start early next year, and Campbell expects to accept bids by the end of 2019. “The airport commission has secured long-term financing, and the improvements will produce revenue that will more than cover the costs,” Campbell says. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/AP_19154102580340.png The IQOS device heats paper-wrapped tobacco sticks to generate an aerosol containing nicotine. AP Photo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-brings-iqos-heated-tobacco-product-to-u.s Altria brings IQOS heated tobacco product to U.S. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-brings-iqos-heated-tobacco-product-to-u.s http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-brings-iqos-heated-tobacco-product-to-u.s#When:04:00:00Z In the wake of their aborted reunion, Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. embarked on a new venture with spinoff company Philip Morris International Inc. to introduce its IQOS heated tobacco products for sale in the U.S. market. “After much deliberation, the companies have agreed to focus on launching IQOS in the United States as part of their mutual interest to achieve a smoke-free future,” Philip Morris International CEO André Calantzopoulos said in a late September announcement acknowledging that merger talks had ended between the two companies. The companies launched IQOS for U.S. sale in early October out of a mall storefront in Atlanta, where they are test-marketing the device. IQOS, which heats tobacco into an aerosol, produces “fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes,” according to the Food and Drug Administration, which approved it for sale in the United States in April. Popular in Russia and Japan, IQOS was introduced by Philip Morris International in 2014. Available in 48 overseas markets, it has about 8 million users. IQOS’ introduction into the U.S. comes amid uproar over an epidemic of teen use of vaping products that has largely been blamed on San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc., a company in which Altria holds a 35% stake. In September, Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns stepped down and was replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, Altria Group’s former chief growth officer. There has also been a wave of mysterious lung ailments partly linked to vaping THC via bootleg devices that by mid-October had resulted in 33 deaths in 24 states (including Virginia) and nearly 1,500 illnesses nationwide, with many occurring among teens and young adults. In a statement, Philip Morris International noted that global data, based on four years of international sales, demonstrates that IQOS is “not significantly appealing to youth or to nonsmokers.” Unlike Juul’s marketing practices, Altria says it has no plans to sell IQOS online or advertise it via social media influencers. Also, it’s only available in tobacco flavor and two menthol flavors. A longtime Fortune 500 company listed among the S&P 500, Altria is the parent company of Richmond-based tobacco products manufacturer Philip Morris USA, best known for its Marlboro cigarettes brand. Altria spun off Philip Morris International in 2008. Based in New York, it is also a Fortune 500 company and manufactures Marlboro cigarettes and other tobacco products and brands for sale in more than 180 nations outside the United States. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Payne_with_legislators_at_InvestSWVA_launch.png Coalfield Strategies LLC's Will Payne spoke during the InvestSWVA launch event in September. Courtesy InvestSWVA http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-powered-marketing-initiative-investswva-launches-in-coal-country High-powered marketing initiative InvestSWVA launches in coal country http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-powered-marketing-initiative-investswva-launches-in-coal-country http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-powered-marketing-initiative-investswva-launches-in-coal-country#When:04:00:00Z InvestSWVA, a public-private Southwest Virginia marketing initiative launched in September, is about more than marketing — because sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. “This is absolutely leveraging relationships,” says Will Payne, project leader for InvestSWVA and managing partner of Coalfield Strategies LLC, an economic development consulting firm he formed in April. “This is the value of Hunton, the value of members of our team who have relationships, and we’re going to leverage those relationships to get in meetings with decision makers. It’s rolling up your sleeves and attacking our goals.” “Hunton” is Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Virginia’s second-largest law firm. InvestSWVA team member Todd Haymore heads the firm’s global economic development, commerce and government relations group, after having served two state administrations as secretary of commerce and trade, and agriculture and forestry. Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, and Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington, are on the team, and Payne was recently chief deputy of the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. With a timeline of two years, InvestSWVA has $800,000 in funding from various sources, including the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Georgia-based internet service provider Point Broadband. Working with local, regional and state economic development organizations, InvestSWVA is working to make the most of GO Virginia, the statewide business-led initiative that encourages private-sector growth and new jobs via state incentives. The team also aims to market the region as a “hotbed of energy innovation, and particularly renewable energy innovation,” Payne says. Already, InvestSWVA has partnered with the Northern Virginia Technology Council to promote remote employment with the NVTC’s 1,000 member companies and organizations. “It would be really nice to think there would be so many successes and victories in a two-year period that you could wrap it up in two years and say ‘mission accomplished’ and move on,” Haymore says, but he expects this project to be longer term. “I believe that the things that we will generate … will grant enough momentum, and this will be something that will last beyond the two years that are being discussed now, because the things that you do today on behalf of a locality or a region sometimes don’t come to fruition in these nice prescriptive timeframes that you try to live your life by and conduct your business by.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_5003x.png The Excella Extension Center co-founder Steve Cooper. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/excella-extension-center-plans-expansion Excella Extension Center plans expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/excella-extension-center-plans-expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/excella-extension-center-plans-expansion#When:04:00:00Z It’s a classic conundrum. Software developers can’t get a job unless they have experience, but they can’t get experience if they can’t get a job. For the past decade, the Excella Extension Center at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg has bridged that gap, training Virginia Tech students as they work on projects for Excella clients. “We’re really trying to un-‘Catch 22’ the system,” says Excella co-founder and partner Steve Cooper. “What we do there is pretty exciting, and what we’re about to do is even more exciting.” What they’re about to do is expand the project in a big way. “We’re actually spinning off and carving out this extension center model into its own company that I will run,” Cooper says. “It will provide talent and virtual workforce to not just Excella but to other employers. So we’re working to put alliances in place with other employers who want us to run their talent pipeline.” About 80 students have come through the program since it began in 2009, Cooper says, and 30 of them have gone to work at Excella, a 300-person, $70 million Arlington consulting firm that advises clients on advanced data and analytics, agile transportation, modernization and digital service delivery. Its clients include National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Compressed Gas Association and the Department of Homeland Security. This year, Vault, a website that ranks businesses, rated the Extension Center fourth-highest in tech and engineering internships, fifth in employment prospects and ninth in career development. The spinoff company, set to open by the end of this year, will be based at the Corporate Research Center, but Cooper is working on plans to expand the concept to other campuses, including Radford University, Howard University and the University of North Carolina. Like the students at Tech, they’ll work 10 to 15 hours a week during the academic year and full time in the summer, in teams supervised by an Excella software engineer. “They’re learning the best practices of software engineering because they’re building software for our clients,” Cooper says. “What the students are learning is how to be effective software engineers in the real world so that by the time they graduate, they’re ready to hit the ground running and they’ve been trained not only in academic software development, but real hands-on software development practices.” 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-november-2019 People - November 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-november-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-november-2019#When:04:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Dorothy McAuliffe, wife of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has been appointed to the board of Armada Hoffler, the real estate investment trust and developer based in Virginia Beach. She is the national policy adviser for Share Our Strength, a nonprofit focused on ending childhood hunger and poverty. (The Virginian-Pilot) In October, Tidewater Community College announced that its sixth president will be Marcia Conston, a vice president at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. TCC has been without a permanent president since July 2018, when Edna Baehre-Kolovani announced her retirement after six years. (The Virginian-Pilot) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Northern Virginia Technology Council President and CEO  Bobbie Kilberg will be retiring on June 30, 2020, after 22 years at the helm of the membership and trade association for the region’s tech industry. The NVTC Board of Directors has engaged Los Angeles-based management consulting firm Korn Ferry to oversee the search for her successor. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Chris Boies was hired in October as Clarke County’s next county administrator. Currently assistant vice president of business operations for facilities administration at George Mason University, he is New Market’s former town manager. Boies succeeds David Ash, who is retiring after nearly 29 years with the county. (The Winchester Star) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Janice Underwood has been named Virginia’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion, charged with improving practices throughout the staffing and activities of state government. She previously was in charge of diversity initiatives at Old Dominion University. (The Washington Post) McGuireWoods has hired Richard Davis as its new chief operating officer. Davis was formerly a managing director for New York-based Navigant Consulting Inc., which provides specialized consulting, outsourcing and technology services primarily to clients in the health care, energy and financial services industries. Davis succeeds McGuireWoods Executive Director Robert Couture. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Jennifer Wakefield, who served as Greater Richmond Partnership’s interim president and CEO earlier this year, has been promoted to chief operating officer. Wakefield joined GRP, the regional economic development organization for Richmond and its surrounding counties, in 2017 as senior vice president of marketing. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA William E. Callahan Jr., who previously worked at LeClairRyan, joined Gentry Locke’s Roanoke office as a partner in its business litigation group in September. His law practice primarily involves bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, and the majority of his work has been in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia. He has served on the Panel of Chapter 7 Trustees in Virginia’s Western District since 1999. (News release) Christopher Finley, communications manager for BAE Systems in Radford, was named the new executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Set to start in late October, he replaces Vicki Gardner, who stepped down in July due to health complications from gunshot injuries sustained in the August 2015 shooting at Bridgewater Plaza that left WDBJ journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward dead. (The Roanoke Times) Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, currently the Lieberman Professor of Neuroscience at George Washington University and director of the GWU Institute for Neuroscience, is moving to Virginia Tech as a professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in December, the university announced. LaMantia, acclaimed for revealing the genetic clockwork of complex developmental disorders in children, will be joined by two GWU colleagues, researchers Thomas Maynard and Daniel Meechan. (News release) 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-november-2019 For the Record - November 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-november-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-november-2019#When:04:00:00Z SOUTHERN VIRGINIA A new community learning center is coming to Cardinal Village in southern Danville, city officials announced in September. The 6,000-square-foot facility will be on Chatham Avenue and will include a library/computer room, a commercial kitchen, exercise room, 2,000 square feet of recreation space and four offices. Construction is expected to start in November, with completion set for August 2020, according to the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which will own and operate the center. (Danville Register & Bee) Danville Vice Mayor Lee Vogler says the city should reexamine parking space requirements for businesses because the rules are outmoded and complex. One big issue is there are 54 categories of businesses in the city code, which is used to determine how many parking spaces an establishment must have at minimum to operate. “Reading it is like reading a novel,” Vogler says. The city manager says his staff, including the planning office, will look into the matter. (Danville Register & Bee) A $711,000, three-year grant from the Danville Regional Foundation will expand the River District Association business pitch competition to the rest of Danville and Pittsylvania County. The grant will also fund an entrepreneurial ecosystem coordinator at The Launch Place and help develop local efforts, including entrepreneurial programs for women, minorities and young people. (Danville Register & Bee) A subsidiary of Dominion Energy Inc. has acquired the 80-megawatt Greensville Solar facility in Greensville County near Emporia, which is expected to come online in late 2020. Dominion Generation purchased the project and a second site in Suffolk from Savion LLC, a subsidiary of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, in September. Power generated at the two sites, as well as the renewable energy credits, will go to telecommunications company T-Mobile USA Inc. under long-term contracts. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Halifax County administrators and school officials are pitching a 1-cent local sales tax to voters in a Nov. 5 referendum. If the tax is approved, the revenue will be required to be dedicated to the construction and renovation of schools in Halifax County. The county’s high school is in the most need of revamping, with cost estimates for renovation beginning at $73 million, or up to $100 million for a replacement high school. The tax is expected to be in effect for 30 years. (South Boston News & Record) In September, Canadian wood products company Teal-Jones Group purchased two lumber mills in Virginia, including Pine Products Inc. in Henry County, with plans to invest $31.75 million and create 126 jobs. At Pine Products, the company says it will spend $21 million and create 67 jobs. The other purchase was Potomac Supply LLC in Westmoreland County. Teal-Jones, a family business, has committed to source 100% of its net new timber purchases from Virginia, totaling about $100 million over the next four years, according to the governor’s office. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality issued permits approving four new solar farms across Virginia, the governor’s office announced in October. The four projects include two in Southern Virginia: Danville Farm, a 12-megawatt facility in Pittsylvania County from Strata Solar Development, and Grasshopper Solar Project, an 80-megawatt solar farm in Mecklenburg County developed by Dominion Energy Services. The other projects are in Henrico and Campbell counties. Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order in September setting a goal for the state’s electric power to be completely generated from carbon-free sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, by 2050. (VirginiaBusiness.com) South Boston has asked the Virginia Department of Transportation to approve traffic roundabouts that would prevent heavy truck traffic from rolling through its commercial district. Although two-way downtown traffic has long been a goal of town officials and business owners, South Boston currently has no way to keep the big trucks out, which would need to occur for Main Street to become two-way again. (South Boston News & Record) EASTERN VIRGINIA Dominion Energy has filed a proposal to build 220 turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach by 2026, building on its offshore wind pilot project under construction. If approved, the estimated $7.8 billion project would be the largest wind energy development in the nation and is expected to produce 2,600 megawatts of energy — enough to power 650,000 homes. Dominion began construction on its $300 million Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project in June, to erect two 600-foot-tall, 6-megawatt wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach by the end of 2020. (VirginiaBusiness.com) A federal lawsuit refiled Oct. 15 says a problem with the Navy’s Virginia-class submarines shedding their sonar-absorbing outer skin has remained unsolved and casts blame on shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, alleging the company falsified testing, inspection results and certifications on multi-billion dollar submarine contracts. The case is being brought by a former company engineer who says he was fired for raising concerns about hull coating processes and procedures. The company will vigorously fight the charges, said Jennifer Boykin, president of HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. (Daily Press) An auxiliary runway at Norfolk International Airport that consultants have called a “hamstring” to airport growth is one step closer to extinction. As the airport maps out a master plan looking 20 years into the future, its board has approved several changes suggested by consultants, including removal of that shorter general aviation runway that crosses the main 9,000-foot runway. (The Virginian-Pilot) Virginia Beach-based Optima Health Plan will become the majority owner of Richmond-based Virginia Premier, a nonprofit managed-care organization. Virginia Premier was founded in 1995 by VCU Health System. The Richmond-based health system will retain a 20% ownership stake in Virginia Premier. Together, Optima and Virginia Premier will serve nearly 800,000 members. Optima is a subsidiary of Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare. Company officials said Virginia Premier and Optima will continue to operate as separate entities, retaining their names and brands. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Grammy-winning rapper and singer Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native, hit a home run with his inaugural Something in the Water Festival at the beach last April, according to survey results and an economic analysis the city released in late September. Now, festival planners are ramping up for a 2020 event April 20-26. Technology, health and wellness events may be added early in the week at the Convention Center, said Brian Solis, festival coordinator for the city manager’s office. Tickets will go on sale Nov. 15. (The Virginian-Pilot) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Anyone looking to land a job at Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters in Crystal City should become familiar with its leadership principles. That was just one lesson that thousands of attendees at an Amazon career day event heard from company officials in September. Held near the company’s future headquarters, the event was billed as an opportunity for people to learn about the company and talk to those who already work for Amazon. Similar events were held in five other cities. (Washington Business Journal) Block.one, a blockchain software developer backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and co-founded by Virginia native Daniel Larimer, announced in late September that it will locate its new $10 million U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, creating 170 jobs. Block.one currently has a major operational center at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg that em­­ploys more than 80 engineering and research and development workers. It has additional locations in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. (VirginiaBusiness.com) DivvyCloud, a fast-growing automated cloud and container security and compliance company, moved into its new corporate headquarters in Arlington in late September and announced plans to double its workforce to at least 120 within the next year. The tech firm’s new 13,000-square-foot offices in the Court House neighborhood on Wilson Boulevard are a big leap from the 2,000-square-foot space it originally occupied in Rosslyn in 2018. DivvyCloud has grown from 20 to 55 employees since 2018, according to a news release. (VirginiaBusiness.com) High Purity Systems Inc., a provider of mechanical piping systems, plans to expand its Manassas manufacturing operation, a move that is expected to create 105 jobs. The Manassas-based company plans to invest about $8.5 million in expanding into a new, 30,000-square-foot facility, the governor’s office announced. According to the city’s Department of Economic Development, the new jobs’ average salaries will exceed $100,000, and the new facility will allow the company to triple its production. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Northrop Grumman Corp. secured a pair of contracts worth $1.88 billion to modernize GPS systems and several surveillance aircraft for the Air Force. The contract follows a February award of $59 million for engineering and manufacturing development work, which will include new GPS receivers capable of transmitting a new secure, jamming-resistant signal known as M-Code. (Washington Business Journal) Tysons-based Tegna Inc. has completed its $740 million cash acquisition of 11 television stations from Texas-based Nexstar Media Group. The 11 stations were among 19 divested by Nexstar for a total of $1.32 billion to meet federal antitrust requirements as it acquires Chicago-based Tribune Media for $7.2 billion. In addition to the 11 stations sold to Tegna, Nexstar sold eight stations formerly owned by Tribune Media — including WTVR in Richmond and WTKR and WGNT in Norfolk — to E.W. Scripps Co. for $580 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Augusta County’s Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 in September to move forward with the purchase agreement of 111/113 S. Augusta St. for a new courthouse, but the purchase could be up in the air with a revelation that came out after the vote. Marion Ward rushed to the front of the room, saying that she only learned about the vote shortly before the meeting. She explained that she renovated the building in the early 2000s, that it likely cannot be demolished and that she has right of first refusal. The purchase agreement has a 120-day contingency to ensure permits can be obtained, and the closing date is listed as Dec. 31. (News Leader) Clarke County planners are considering a telecommunications infrastructure company’s proposal to replace a wireless phone antenna mast in southeastern Clarke with one more than twice as tall. Crown Castle asked the Planning Commission to approve a special-use permit for the 185-foot monopole off U.S. 17/50 in the Pine Acres Area. The existing monopole, built in 2003, is 84 feet tall. If approved, AT&T antennas would be installed 181 feet up the pole, and T-Mobile antennas would be installed 10 feet lower, and there would be room on the structure for antennas used by emergency services providers. (The Winchester Star) Seven new defendants and $4 million were added in October to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority’s civil lawsuit that alleges a series of embezzlements and financial misappropriations during the tenure of Jennifer McDonald, the authority’s former executive director, who faces 28 felony criminal charges, including embezzlement. Two of McDonald’s family members, husband Samuel D. North and mother Linda Hassenplug, were added to the lawsuit. Little Rugratz Daycare LLC, which is registered to Hassenplug, was another new defendant, along with former EDA administrative assistant Michelle “Missy” Henry and former B&G Goods store owner William Lambert. The lawsuit now seeks $21.3 million in damages. In late September, the Virginia State Police announced that 14 current and former local officials — including all five Warren County supervisors — were charged with misdemeanor misfeasance and nonfeasance “based on the individuals’ knowledge of and inaction [regarding] the EDA’s mismanagement of funds.” (The Northern Virginia Daily, The Washington Post) Woodstock’s Walton & Smoot Pharmacy announced it would close Oct. 23 after 113 years in service. Pharmacy owners Charles French and Nancy Miller said the closing has to do with a number of changing factors, including the influence of insurance companies and mail-order pharmacies. After the pharmacy closes, prescriptions will be transferred to the CVS in Woodstock. (The Northern Virginia Daily) Winchester Public Schools received a nearly $4 million Education Innovation and Research Early-Phase grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a “whole school immersion approach to computer science” at John Kerr and Garland Quarles elementary schools, the school division announced in September. The five-year grant will give students the opportunity to learn more about computational thinking, officials say. The program will be fully implemented at the two schools for the 2020-21 school year. Both schools are designated Title I, serving a combined 914 high-need or disadvantaged students in kindergarten through fourth grade. (The Winchester Star) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Heirloom Development has proposed a 101-foot-tall mixed-use building on Charlottesville Downtown Mall, in a space currently occupied by The Artful Lodger on Market Street. In mid-September, the city’s Board of Architectural Review approved a special-use permit application, and the city Planning Commission is expected to take up the matter in November or December. If approved, the Charlottesville developers plan a mix of commercial space and apartments. Pharmaceutical Product Development LLC (PPD) expects to create 200 jobs in a $63.7 million expansion of its bioanalytical lab in Henrico County. Wilmington, North Carolina-based PPD provides drug development, laboratory and lifecycle management services, and has more than 22,000 employees working in    46 countries, including more than 1,000 people in Henrico. PPD’s existing facility there covers more than 250,000 square feet. (VirginiaBusiness.com) True Health Diagnostics LLC is laying off more employees in Richmond as it winds down business and sells off its assets after filing for bankruptcy in July. The blood-testing company occupies space in the Virginia Bio+Tech Park in the same building as Health Diagnostic Laboratory, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015. About 130 True Health employees were still working in the lab in early October, collecting receivables and helping liquidate assets, the company said. About 250 already have been laid off, and most will be gone by the end of the year, officials say. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Just in time for fall, pumpkins have moved onto the list of Virginia’s top 20 agriculture commodities. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says pumpkin sales in Virginia reached an estimated $11 million in 2018. Wholesale pumpkins generated $10.3 million, while sales of pick-your-own pumpkins brought in an estimated $700,000. (The Associated Press) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Abingdon Town Council discussed the future of the sites of two former big-box stores, both owned by Marathon Realty Corp. What was once Magic Mart at Washington Crossing shopping center is now slated for demolition to make way for a 98-room Hampton Inn, which could take up to 16 months to construct. It would replace Abingdon’s current Hampton Inn, which is set to be demolished. Options for the former Kmart, however, are up in the air after spawning a debate between Town Council and Washington County supervisors, who have proposed making the Kmart the new location for the county courthouse. It’s on the  Nov. 5 ballot for the county. (Bristol Herald Courier) Virginia received six grants totaling $4.2 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnership and Workforce Revitalization (POWER) program, Gov. Ralph Northam announced in October. The grants will support efforts including broadband and solar power expansion, workforce development and water systems improvements. The projects include: $1.5 million to the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board for a substance-abuse program; $1 million to BARC Electric Cooperative to expand broadband in Goshen; $588,072 to create a fast-track curriculum to train auto technicians; $1.04 million to Appalachian Community Capital for the Opportunity Appalachia Project. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Blackjewel LLC has proposed selling two of its mines in Wyoming, and as part of the sale, more than $3.44 million would be paid to former employees at Blackjewel’s Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia mines. When the mines closed and Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy in July, employees reported that their most recent paychecks were bouncing, and direct-deposit pay was pulled out of bank accounts. Nearly 1,100 people worked for the company. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that more than $2.75 million in wages were owed to Virginia employees. The company proposed the deal in early October in a West Virginia federal bankruptcy court. (The Coalfield Progress) Dickenson County officials kicked off the first of 10 pilot projects under the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s Abandoned Mine Land Program in October. In March, Gov. Ralph Northam and U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith identified the Splashdam water line extension project among recommendations for funding from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The project received a grant of $356,500, which will go to the Dickenson County Public Service Authority for expansion of water service in the Splashdam area, including a campground. Other projects include a solar energy system in Wise County and Norton’s Project Intersection to develop an industrial site to attract capital investment and jobs. (The Dickenson Star) Abingdon’s Harbor House restaurant closed Oct. 28, after its lease was up on Main Street. The building is set to be sold, and the restaurant ended service after 28 years. How­­­­ever, the 200-seat seafood and steak spot may find a new location, manager David Shreeves says. (Bristol Herald Courier) The University of Virginia at Wise asked the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) to start a master’s in education program by fall 2020, which could help 30 more teachers in Southwest Virginia earn advanced degrees every year. There’s a statewide teacher shortage, but there’s an added challenge in the region, because only about 20% of teachers have advanced degrees. Under current policy, students get an undergraduate degree in the subject area they want to teach and then have to enter a graduate program to get an education degree. Only Bluefield College and Radford University offer master’s programs in education in the region. (Virginia Mercury) A six-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Botetourt County reopened on Oct. 8, a month after federal officials deemed that part of the scenic road unsafe. Pavement had settled in at least five spots, making the road dangerous for certain types of vehicles, especially motorcycles and automobiles with low road clearance. The closure happened at a bad time for the National Park Service, with leaf-peeping season on the horizon and the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.  (The Roanoke Times) Carilion Clinic announced in late September it will spend $30 million to convert part of Tanglewood Mall into a hub for its growing children’s health care services. Carilion signed a lease to take over 150,000 square feet, which includes the spaces vacated by J.C. Penney and Miller-Motte Technical College. The mall’s owner and Roanoke County officials expect retailers, restaurants and other businesses will follow, as Carilion Children’s brings an estimated 200 employees and 500 families a day to Tanglewood. (The Roanoke Times) The Community College Access Program in the Roanoke Valley turned 10 in September, having helped 752 students obtain post-high school degrees and certifications. The initiative pays up to three years of tuition at Virginia Western Community College, and Roanoke city public schools has sent the most students to the program in the state. Roanoke schools Superintendent Rita Bishop says she’s seen a more engaged student body since her school system joined the program in 2009, following Salem City Schools’ successful pilot year. (The Roanoke Times) Roanoke County planning commissioners unanimously recommended a rezoning sought by LewisGale Medical Center to build a standalone emergency room off U.S. 460 in Bonsack. The project would be similar to the facility created near Tanglewood Mall in 2017 and would offer eight exam rooms. Residents voiced concerns about the prospect of more traffic at a busy intersection at the entrance to their neighborhood, but the hospital said the new facility would generate about 40 patient visits per day and 10 ambulance trips per week, a relatively low impact. (The Roanoke Times) State transportation officials joined a handful of local and area lawmakers in early October to encourage a push to establish new passenger rail service in Montgomery County. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine and Ray Smoot, a Commonwealth Transportation Board member, spoke at an event in Christiansburg about the New River Valley Rail 2020 campaign, an extension of the passenger rail service launched in Roanoke two years ago. (The Roanoke Times) A former Kmart store in Salem was sold for $3.66 million in August by The Keith Corp., a Charlotte, North Carolina-based commercial real estate firm. The 86,000-square-foot building at 1355 W. Main St. was owned by Sears Holdings, the Illinois-based parent company of the Sears and Kmart retail chains. The store was one of 78 Kmarts and 26 Sears stores that the company announced it was closing in 2017. Virginia Beach’s Divaris Real Estate represented Sears Holdings in the deal. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHAH Development purchased the old Steer House building in Pulaski for $250,000 in September, according to president David Hagan, who has invested elsewhere in the county. He says he’s open to selling or renting to a long-term tenant, but isn’t sure what type of business would occupy the building, which housed the steak house for more than 40 years before closing in August. However, Hagan says he considers a family restaurant one of Pulaski’s greatest needs. (The Roanoke Times) Roanoke’s Valley View Mall has lost its Sears anchor tenant, part of Sears Holding Corp.’s plan to close 26 Sears and Kmart stores this fall after filing for bankruptcy. Mall owner CBL Properties says it will work with the store’s corporate owner to redevelop the property into “something more productive,” which may or may not mean another department store. CBL has turned other vacant spaces into retail, dining and entertainment destinations. Experts stressed that the closure of the department store is not an indicator of the mall’s overall health. (The Roanoke Times) The Virginia Outdoors Foundation announced in September six grants totaling nearly $4 million to restore and protect woodlands in Bland, Botetourt, Charlotte, Roanoke and Rockbridge counties as part of an effort to offset environmental damage caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline. This is the latest disbursement from a fund established last year when Mountain Valley agreed to pay a total of $27.5 million to compensate for the forest fragmentation and water pollution that was expected from clearing land and digging trenches for the massive buried pipe. Virginia then passed the company’s payments on to four conservation groups, including the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. (The Roanoke Times) Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business launched a new program this fall for students to participate in writing actual loans to commercial borrowers with money from the Virginia Tech Foundation. Credit Corps is aimed at enhancing students’ skills in credit risk analysis, business analytics, teamwork and portfolio management. At the same time, the program seeks to earn a competitive return for the foundation, which is committing $2 million over four years to sponsor the program. Atlantic Union Bank has signed on as the program’s inaugural partner. (News release) 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Barkin_WelcomeRemarks_5x7_300dpi.png Photo courtesy Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-tale-of-two-economies A tale of two economies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-tale-of-two-economies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-tale-of-two-economies#When:04:00:00Z On a September trolley tour of Danville’s revitalizing downtown, the city’s economic development director, Telly Tucker, recounted to me a memory of his first day on the job, back in 2014. Stopping into a local bakery to grab a cup of coffee and a pastry, he introduced himself to the young lady behind the counter, prompting her to respond, “Why’d you move to Danville?” Tucker, needless to say, was taken aback. “With all of the assets I see and our potential for future growth, if we as residents and stakeholders don’t speak well of ourselves, how can we expect others to?” Tucker asks. “We all know we have challenges, but overwhelmingly, the good outweighs the bad, and the good doesn’t get enough attention.” This anecdote came to mind a week later when I was in Harrisonburg covering the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s inaugural Investing in Rural America conference, held Oct. 2 at the Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Convention Center. Speaking on the importance of rural communities and small towns changing their narratives, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said that’s necessary not only to promote themselves to outsiders, but to retain the people who already live there. “Changing the prospects of a town, it seems to me, starts with aligning the mindsets of the people in that town,” Barkin said. “And a great metric is whether the kids who grow up and go to school there choose to come back.” In this month’s cover story, we’re examining how the American workforce is about to undergo a seismic shift in the next decade, as millennials and Generation Z become the dominant working population. Attracting and retaining these younger workers is top of mind in economic development circles, but nowhere are they more desperately needed than in small town America. Rural population growth has been stagnant or shrinking for decades while urban growth has been skyrocketing. However, rural people account for about 60 million people in the United States, or one in five Americans, a not-at-all insignificant percentage. And rural workforces are dwindling and aging, as localities grapple with how to grow — and harvest — a crop of young workers with 21st-century skill sets. In his first 18 months as Richmond Fed president, Barkin has learned that there are two economies in the Fed’s Fifth District, which includes Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas — “one in bigger cities and one in smaller towns.” While larger metro regions are thriving in Virginia’s Golden Crescent, which stretches from Northern Virginia through Richmond to Hampton Roads, the commonwealth’s rural areas are struggling — with everything from graduation rates to access to medical care and broadband. In some areas of Southside and Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, as many as 60% of households have no internet subscription. But increasing its usage and availability is critically important: “Like rural electrification 80 years ago,” Barkin said, “the benefits — in terms of opportunity identification, skill-building, telemedicine and the like — are too big to pass up.” Also contributing to the rural economic gap and social isolation are the closures of local banks, hospitals and colleges, Barkin said, not to mention the ravaging impact on small-town workforces of opioid addiction. Faced with all that, “I’ve encountered arguments that the challenges of distressed rural communities are too difficult to solve,” Barkin said. “They’re not.” Fixing these challenges, he said, will require focus, persistence, regional cooperation and a concerted effort from residents and local leaders to improve educational offerings and seek out and take advantage of funding opportunities. I saw those traits in abundance among the four dozen or so community and business leaders who participated in Virginia Business’  Sept. 24 Meet the Editors luncheon at Danville’s high-tech Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, where they’re focused on solutions such as innovative workforce development programs that begin as early as middle school. Millennials can find a lot to like in Danville, with its attractive turn-of-the-century buildings, affordable cost of living, breweries, Minor League Baseball team, high-speed internet, stunning riverfront YMCA and        11.5-mile Riverwalk Trail — not to mention outdoor activities like kayaking, paddleboarding and ziplines. But for Danville — and other small towns like it — a major challenge of the next decade will be convincing these in-demand young adults that they have a future there. For Tucker, that effort started with the cashier at the bakery. Now, whenever he sees her, it’s a running joke for him to ask her to say three things she likes about Danville. She always comes up with answers. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Wing_drone_delivery.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-takes-off Drone delivery takes off http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-takes-off http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-takes-off#When:04:00:00Z Wing, a division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., launched the nation’s first commercial drone delivery service as a pilot program in Christiansburg on Oct. 18. The drones made their historic first deliveries in three suburban yards, witnessed by dignitaries from the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration, Wing and Virginia Tech. Flying at more than 70 mph, the 10-pound drones lower cargo from FedEx, Walgreens and area retailer Sugar Magnolia into customers’ yards, making deliveries in as little as five to 10 minutes. Virginia Business reported in July that Wing partnered with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership to develop the service, which will eventually take flight in other cities across the nation. 2019-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-new-york-agency2 Hilb Group acquires New York agency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-new-york-agency2 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-acquires-new-york-agency2#When:19:33:00Z The Hilb Group LLC, an Henrico County-based insurance broker, continued its expansion with the acquisition of Avanti Associates Ltd. in New York state. With locations in Armonk and Pelham, New York, Avanti includes Associated Insurance Agency of Westchester Inc., Comprehensive Insurance Brokerage Inc. and Bruce Farnham Associates Ltd. The deal became effective Oct. 1. Avanti is a full-service agency providing personal and commercial insurance as well as life, health, disability, employee benefits, pensions and estate planning. The agency will continue to be led by John D’Amato, Ann Marie Papa, Anthony Villani and Peter O’Brien. The Hilb Group now has more than 85 offices in 21 states. The middle-market insurance broker is a portfolio company of the Boston-based private equity firm Abry Partners. 2019-10-29T19:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newport-news-building-sold-for-3.75-million Newport News building sold for $3.75 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newport-news-building-sold-for-3.75-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newport-news-building-sold-for-3.75-million#When:19:13:00Z Solo Inc. has bought a 64,264-square-foot building in Newport News for $3.75 million. The commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported the sale of the office/warehouse building 201 Enterprise Drive. Solo plans to occupy the building, which sits on 10.7 acres. The company makes sprayers, mist blowers, air blowers and cut-off saws plus parts and accessories. The seller was DCD-201 Enterprise LLC. Clay Culbreth of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the purchaser.  William W. Hamner Jr., president and COO of Hamner Development Co., handled the negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2019-10-29T19:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-roanoke-building-sells-for-3.1-million Downtown Roanoke building sells for $3.1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-roanoke-building-sells-for-3.1-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/downtown-roanoke-building-sells-for-3.1-million#When:18:55:00Z The former First Federal Building in downtown Roanoke has been sold for $3.1 million. The Roanoke-based Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group said the 48,000-square-foot office building on the corner of Church Avenue and First St. SW was bought by Kalyan Hospitality. Constructed in 1958, the building served as the headquarters of First Federal Savings and Loan. The structure also has been used by Valley Bank and BNC Bank, and it is currently occupied by Pinnacle Bank.  Next year, Pinnacle plans to relocate to a newly constructed building on Campbell Avenue. Poe & Cronk said Kalyan Hospitality is exploring options for the property as a downtown hotel or office space. The building was marketed for sale by Dennis Cronk, Matt Huff, and Stephen Pendergrass of Poe & Cronk. 2019-10-29T18:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Baliles6.png Former Gov. Gerald Baliles | Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-gerald-l.-baliles-dies Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles dies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-gerald-l.-baliles-dies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-gerald-l.-baliles-dies#When:16:10:00Z Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles died Oct. 29 at the age of 79. Baliles, a Democrat, served as governor from 1986-90. He entered palliative care in September after a long battle with cancer. Baliles' tenure is perhaps best remembered for a massive transportation funding bill passed by the General Assembly during a special session in 1986. The legislature would not pass another comprehensive transportation funding bill until 2013. In a statement, Gov. Ralph Northam praised Baliles, saying the former governor “understood and valued the role government can play in improving citizens’ lives. He transformed Virginia’s transportation infrastructure, signed Virginia into the Chesapeake Bay agreement under which we still operate today, and focused on expanding access to higher education, among many other accomplishments.” Northam also said that Baliles “promoted civil discourse, and was the epitome of a true public servant.” U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, also a former Virginia governor, called Baliles “one of the most accomplished governors of the 20th century.” In addition to improving the commonwealth’s transportation system, Kaine said in a statement that Baliles “pushed environmental policies [with the understanding that] economic growth and conservation go hand-in-hand, and led unprecedented international missions that laid the groundwork for Virginia to become the global trade hub it is today.” Retired Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Hugh Keogh directed Virginia’s economic development efforts during Baliles’ administration. Keogh said the former governor had “an enormous impact in raising the visibility of economic development in the commonwealth and around the nation and making Virginia a star.” Baliles “thoroughly enjoyed selling Virginia in the global economy,” Keogh said. “He got right into prospects’ mindset and enjoyed telling them about the advantages of Virginia as a business location.” In an interview with Virginia Business in 2016, Baliles said trade missions were a high priority during his tenure, resulting in foreign businesses announcing more than 100 new ventures in the commonwealth, representing investments of $650 million to $700 million. Baliles also focused on the growth of Virginia exports, which accounted for 25% of the commonwealth’s economic growth in 1989, the last full year of his term. After Baliles left office, he practiced law, largely focusing on aviation and international law. He later became director of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, which specializes in presidential scholarship and public policy. Baliles retired from the Miller Center in 2014. Survivors include his wife, Robin; his two children, former Richmond City Council member Jon Baliles and Laura Baliles Osberger; his stepdaughters, Katherine Stone Walsh and Danielle Deal Hudak; and four grandchildren. State flags will be flown at half-staff for 30 days in Baliles' memory. From the Virginia Business archives: Former governor recalls the issues of 1986 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/1986-versus-2016     2019-10-29T16:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/september-home-sales-up-in-loudoun-fairfax September home sales up in Loudoun, Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/september-home-sales-up-in-loudoun-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/september-home-sales-up-in-loudoun-fairfax#When:14:44:00Z Home sales were a mixed bag in the Northern Virginia region in September, according to the Long & Foster Real Estate Market Minute Report, with some localities seeing more sales and others fewer. Loudoun County saw the biggest increase, racking up 17% more home sales than last September, and Fairfax County saw a 13% year-over-year increase. Arlington County and the city of Alexandria, however, saw decreases in September sales, with a 13% drop in Arlington and a 10% decline in Alexandria. Sales in Prince William County increased by 8% compared with September 2018. Arlington’s median sale price rose 15% to $590,000 last month, up from $515,000 a year ago, a boost likely helped by Amazon.com Inc.’s forthcoming East Coast HQ2 headquarters and low interest rates, said Larry “Boomer” Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. He noted that more people are refinancing or buying homes so as not to miss out on low rates. Inventory of homes in Arlington and Alexandria also continue to shrink, with only about 300 new listings each in September. In all five localities, house inventory fell considerably from September 2018, with Alexandria seeing a 54% decrease and Arlington at 52%. 2019-10-28T14:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-massey-cancer-center-names-new-director VCU’s Massey Cancer Center names new director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-massey-cancer-center-names-new-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcus-massey-cancer-center-names-new-director#When:20:40:00Z Dr. Robert Winn, an expert in lung cancer and community-based health care, has been named director of the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, the university announced Friday. Winn comes to Richmond from the University of Illinois Cancer Center, where he served as director, and as associate vice chancellor of health affairs for community-based practice at the university’s hospital and health science system. “Dr. Winn is a passionate leader with vision, compassion and a commitment to service,” said Dr. Marsha D. Rappley, senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System. At UIC, Winn oversaw research and clinical activities at 13 federally qualified health centers and created an integrated health care delivery and research system, according to VCU. He is a pulmonologist with a medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and received training at the University of Colorado, where he later served in leadership roles at its Health Sciences Center and School of Medicine. Winn replaces Dr. Gordon Ginder, who has served as Massey’s director for 22 years. He starts Dec. 2. 2019-10-25T20:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-lands-325m-cybersecurity-and-telecomm-contract General Dynamics lands $325M U.S. emergency telecomm contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-lands-325m-cybersecurity-and-telecomm-contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-dynamics-lands-325m-cybersecurity-and-telecomm-contract#When:20:18:00Z A division of Falls Church-based defense contractor General Dynamics will provide priority telecommunications services to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under a contract worth up to $325 million with federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency's (CISA) Emergency Communications Division (ECD). CISA, which falls under the purview of Homeland Security, was created in November 2018 as a standalone federal agency to reduce and eliminate threats to the nation's critical physical and cyber infrastructure assets. General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) will provide services allowing Homeland Security to provide priority voice, data, video and information services in order to maintain continuity of government operations during natural emergencies, acts of terrorism and war. GDIT has provided support to the federal government's priority telecommunications services program for the last 25 years, providing critical services so that hundreds of thousands of registered users, including the White House, are able to communicate during times when communications systems are congested by increased traffic or physical damage. The new contract will allow GDIT to continue its support work for the program, including integrating 5G cellular network technology. 2019-10-25T20:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Morgan_Olson_truckCROP.jpg A Morgan Olson van was parked in front of the Institute for Advanced Learningand Research in Danville Friday. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delivery-van-manufacturer-to-create-700-jobs-in-pittsylvania Delivery van manufacturer to create 700+ jobs in Pittsylvania http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delivery-van-manufacturer-to-create-700-jobs-in-pittsylvania http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/delivery-van-manufacturer-to-create-700-jobs-in-pittsylvania#When:19:29:00Z Morgan Olson LLC, North America’s largest manufacturer of walk-in delivery vans, will take Ikea’s place in Pittsylvania County, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday. The move is expected to create 703 new full-time jobs on the company's truck assembly line, which would make Morgan Olson the largest private employer in Pittsylvania. Morgan Olson plans to invest $57.8 million in the 925,000-square-foot plant currently owned by Swedish furniture maker Ikea. The company expects to begin hiring in May, according to Danville city spokesperson Arnold Hendrix. “Securing a project of this magnitude is a big win for Danville-Pittsylvania County, Southern Virginia and the entire commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “Not only will Morgan Olson ensure the future of this plant for many years to come, they will also provide valuable new jobs to hundreds of hard-working citizens of this region.” Representatives from the Michigan-based company said “this would be a rapid process,” with the first truck going off the assembly line by mid-2020, said Alexis Ehrhardt, president and CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. The new jobs, Ehrhardt said, are expected to be full-time and would pay well. While she couldn’t give exact figures, Ehrhardt said she heard that Morgan Olson’s average salaries would be higher than Pittsylvania’s median household income, which was $41,824 in 2017.  Ikea is set to shut down its Cane Creek Centre facility in December, with an expected loss of about 300 jobs, but the governor’s office says that current Ikea employees will receive priority during Morgan Olson’s hiring process. Many of the Ikea assembly line jobs are analogous to those that Morgan Olson will hire for, Ehrhardt said, adding that the company’s representatives said they are committed to fully training local employees, including those who had never assembled a truck. According to the city of Danville, the company also intends to purchase 188 acres of surrounding property owned by the Danville Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority to create a storage yard for finished trucks and vans. The Cane Creek Centre industrial park is a collaboration between Danville and Pittsylvania. Founded in 1946, Morgan Olson produces aluminum step vans that deliver online purchases across the continent. In 2003, Morgan Olson was purchased by J.B. Poindexter & Co. Inc., a diversified manufacturing company headquartered in Houston. Morgan Olson is eligible for several state grants, including a $7 million custom performance grant from the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission, to be paid post-performance. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission has approved a $1.195 million grant, and the company is also eligible for state tax credits, including through the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. A new state workforce initiative, the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Community College System, will support job creation at the plant, with free recruitment and training services specifically customized to the company’s products, processes, culture and other specifications. Morgan Olson is the first company to benefit from the program, which was launched this year, according to the governor’s office. Ehrhardt said that she hopes other manufacturers in the region will be able to work together and capitalize on opportunities to gain new business connected with Morgan Olson. “I think we have a track record of success locally in building a supply chain.” 2019-10-25T19:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/should-you-spend-money-now-or-save Should you spend money now or save? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/should-you-spend-money-now-or-save http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/should-you-spend-money-now-or-save#When:20:05:00Z Consumers across Virginia struggle with this question daily: “Do I buy this [insert expensive item you’ve had your eye on for months] now or wait to see if it goes on sale? Or wait to see if I get a bonus?” A recent consumer sentiment survey by Roanoke College shows consumers are leaning toward spending now instead of later because of uncertainty about prices increasing in the future. Increased tariffs are driving up prices on consumer goods. On Sept. 1, the government imposed a 15% tariff on $109 billion in Chinese imports including footwear, clothing and consumer tech products like speakers, TVs and printers. The tariff increase could potentially rise again in the coming months if the disagreements between the two countries are not resolved. The next possible price hike would happen in December and include more consumer goods like smart phones, toys and video game consoles just in time for the big holiday season. More than half (58%) of Virginia consumers surveyed believe that now is a good time to buy large durable items because of both rising income and concerns that prices will rise with tariffs. More than three quarters (81%) believe prices are going to increase in the next five to 10 years. Although we cannot predict whether or not these tariffs will in fact rise or in turn be lowered, some financial institutions have warned their clients that the tariff war could cost households approximately $1,000 annually. Not sure about how you and your family should navigate these increasing prices and prepare your finances? Here are some tips and recommendations for why spending now could actually save you money down the road: 1.      Make sure you have saved before you spend. Even though you should be considering making large purchases now before prices may rise, be sure to have money set aside for emergencies and refrain from using that money for these items. It's recommended that a family should have at a minimum three months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund. 2.      Price vs. quality. In the case of purchasing large items, make sure you are purchasing these items based on quality. Ensure quality items such as a washer and dryer, kitchen appliances or a car include long life spans and are energy efficient to last longer and will not need to be replaced soon after buying.  3.      Avoid impulse purchases. With any purchase, especially big-ticket items, employ the “24-hour rule.” This rule is important to follow for any purchase and allows you to consider the item and decide whether it is still a good idea to buy after waiting 24 hours. You can come out of this waiting period confident that it is a solid purchase or that you should wait. Be sure to follow these three tips when considering making large purchases in the midst of economic uncertainty or visit your local bank to discuss your finances with a knowledgeable financial adviser. As always, do not purchase the first big ticket item you come across or actually do not need. Discuss financial decisions with your partner and make sure the purchase is the correct one for your needs and future. Maria Tedesco is the president of Atlantic Union Bank, the first statewide Virginia-based regional bank in over 20 years. Recently, Atlantic Union Bank was named No. 1 in customer satisfaction with retail banking in the Mid-Atlantic region by J.D. Power. In 2012 and 2017, Tedesco was named one of the most powerful women in banking by American Banker. 2019-10-24T20:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/droneup-expansion-in-virginia-beach-will-create-41-jobs DroneUp expansion in Virginia Beach will create 41 jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/droneup-expansion-in-virginia-beach-will-create-41-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/droneup-expansion-in-virginia-beach-will-create-41-jobs#When:19:08:00Z A Virginia Beach-based web and mobile platform helping clients find and hire drone pilots is expanding its headquarters and creating 41 new jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday. DroneUp, founded in 2016, created Mission Match to connect clients, including commercial, government and military organizations, to drone pilots on demand. Virginia competed with North Carolina for the project, according to the governor’s announcement. The company plans to invest $130,000 to expand its headquarters on Newtown Road, near the intersection of interstates 64 and 264, where it moved in January. Construction is expected to conclude for the most part by the end of the year, the company says, although there will likely be minor projects in 2020. This year, DroneUp added Chief Revenue Officer Tripp Shannon to its leadership team to oversee sales and marketing and has also made hires for other managerial positions. By year end, they expect to hire more salespeople, according to the company. The new jobs in 2020 will be in the areas of sales, marketing, app development and flight operations, according to Amy T. Wiegand, DroneUp’s marketing and communications director. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program is supporting the company’s addition of jobs with consulting services and state funding. In August, DroneUp announced it had been awarded a state contract to provide drone services to state agencies, universities and other public entities. 2019-10-24T19:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Tablee_Brent_CROP.jpg Tablee co-founder Brent Dillie at HostMilano 2019.Photo courtesy Tablee. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-startup-places-second-in-international-contest Richmond startup places second in international contest http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-startup-places-second-in-international-contest http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-startup-places-second-in-international-contest#When:19:05:00Z A Richmond startup placed second in a worldwide contest last Sunday in Milan, Italy. Richmond-based restaurant tech company Tablee took second place in the 2019 Start Me Up Innovation Awards for its Tablee Tap, a device that allows restaurant patrons to page their waitstaff using a smartwatch provided by Tablee. Sponsored by Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), a global food service and hospitality industry group, the contest recognizes innovative new products from industry startups. The announcement was made during HostMilano 2019, an annual international trade fair for catering and hospitality businesses. Tablee competed against two German companies: SCRAEGG, which took first place for a steam nozzle that whisks and heats eggs at the same time, and Print2Taste, which took third place for a 3D food-printing system. The panel of judges included FCSI professional members and the design director of Electrolux Professional, an international provider of professional kitchen appliances and commercial laundry machines. Co-founded by engineer and former waitress Wendy Jiang, Tablee was part of Richmond-based Lighthouse Labs’ 2018 accelerator cohort. The Tap has expanded to six countries, including the United States, and has won several accolades this year, including being named by the Nation’s Restaurant News trade publication as one of nine tech innovations to watch for. Tablee co-founder Brent Dillie said they’re proud of the win in Milan, but added, “right now, our energy is focused on growing the business.” Tablee plans to end its seed fundraising round early next year. “We’re very healthy financially,” he said, while declining to disclose the company’s net worth. Currently the business has eight full-time workers, and a fluctuating number of part-time workers, as well as contract consultants. Tablee Taps are built in China to keep costs down, Dillie said, and the company has placed 4,000 to 5,000 of them in restaurants, with clients paying about $250 to $300 a month for the devices and connected services, which include collecting data on the kinds of requests customers make regularly so managers can address them. Recently, Tablee hired distributors in Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia, although much of their focus remains stateside. Before Sunday’s final, 27 companies entered their products, which were produced since Jan. 1, 2018, and entries came from Brazil, Egypt, Malaysia, France and the U.S., among other countries. Each of the three finalists had 10 minutes on stage to present their products and then answered judges’ questions. First-place winner SCRAEGG will receive coverage on the FCSI website and its magazine, as well as on Electrolux’s media channels. SCRAEGG will also receive mentoring and consulting from FCSI members and Electrolux executives. Tablee mainly gets bragging rights for landing second place, Dillie said, although he said it was good to present their product in a room full of food service professionals from around the world. The judges were encouraging, saying Tablee’s product could have a global impact and could scale up quickly, Jiang said. “It was really exciting to me that the judges said the product would be applicable in a European market,” Dillie said. 2019-10-24T19:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-tourism-to-virginia-hits-new-record International tourism to Virginia hits new record http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-tourism-to-virginia-hits-new-record http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-tourism-to-virginia-hits-new-record#When:23:38:00Z Virginia's international tourism visitation surpassed 1.1 million in 2018, with more than $2 billion in economic impact, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday. “Virginia’s doors are open, and we are welcoming record numbers of visitors from around the world,” Northam said in a statement in Wednesday. “International visitors play an important role in building and maintaining our strong economy by shopping at our local businesses, dining at our restaurants and taking in our world-class attractions. It is these diverse tourism assets that make Virginia a premier destination for global travelers and drive economic prosperity and job creation throughout our commonwealth.” The state has seen a 22% increase in international tourism since 2009, and the number of visitors from overseas increased by 5% from 2017 to 2018. Nearly half of Virginia's international tourists hail from Canada, 29% from Europe and 17% from the Asia-Pacific region.  “Love is at the heart of every vacation. That’s one reason our brand resonates so well — even across continents,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corp. “Whether our beaches, mountains, music, wine, craft beer or oysters, there’s something for everyone to love in a Virginia vacation.” Virginia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its "Virginia is for Lovers" campaign.   2019-10-23T23:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mexican-packaging-company-building-65.3m-plant-in-chesterfield Mexican packaging company building $65.3M plant in Chesterfield http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mexican-packaging-company-building-65.3m-plant-in-chesterfield http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mexican-packaging-company-building-65.3m-plant-in-chesterfield#When:22:05:00Z Mexican packaging solutions company Cartograf will invest $65.3 million to build its first U.S. folding and micro-corrugated package printing facility in Chesterfield County's Meadowville Technology Park, according to an announcement Wednesday from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. The manufacturing plant will create 63 jobs. Virginia competed with North Carolina and Georgia to land the project, which will serve industrial customers in the northeastern U.S. and Canada. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Chesterfield County, the Port of Virginia and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the factory. Northam approved a $750,000 grant from the Commonwealth's Opportunity Fund to assist Chesterfield with the project. Cartograf is also eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia's Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. VEDP will provide the company with employee training funding and services through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Charlotte, North Carolina-based commercial real estate firm The Keith Company assisted Cartograf. “Securing Cartograf’s first operation in the United States is a significant win for Virginia and is a strong testament to the outstanding global connectivity that we offer manufacturers of all sizes,” Northam said in a statement. “By locating in the greater Richmond region, Cartograf will have access to major markets and the Port of Virginia, which will support the company’s continued growth for years to come. We thank the company for choosing to locate in Chesterfield County, and we are honored to welcome Cartograf to our commonwealth.” Based in Mexico City and founded in 1986, Cartograf provides packaging solutions to international customers in more than 40 industrial sectors, including food and beverage and personal hygiene.  “For the past 30 years, Cartograf has partnered with worldwide brands across a diverse group of industries and our products are part of people’s everyday lives through a large array of packaging solutions,” said Cartograf's president, Juan Jose Páramo Riestra. “Cartograf’s main facilities are located in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and as a result of constant organic growth and a substantial market share increase, the company is proud to announce its first overseas expansion, consisting of a new manufacturing facility located in the Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. This would not have been possible without the cooperation and support from Chesterfield County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and The Keith Corporation. Cartograf looks forward to this new venture and contributing to the growth of the surrounding community.” 2019-10-23T22:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-smithfield-join-venture-becomes-largest-supplier-of-renewable-natu Dominion, Smithfield joint venture becomes largest supplier of renewable natural gas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-smithfield-join-venture-becomes-largest-supplier-of-renewable-natu http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-smithfield-join-venture-becomes-largest-supplier-of-renewable-natu#When:17:32:00Z Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that they would double their investment to $500 million in a joint venture converting methane to clean natural gas, creating the nation's largest supplier of renewable natural gas. The two companies created Align Renewable Natural Gas in November 2018, allocating $250 million to the project over 10 years. With the additional funding, Align RNG is expected to power more than 70,000 homes and businesses in Virginia, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona and California by 2029. Its first project in Utah is expected to be operational this year, providing power to more than 3,000 customers at full capacity. Align RNG captures methane gas from manure lagoons at Smithfield’s company-owned and contract hog farms, which is transferred via a biogas transmission line to a conditioning facility. After processing, the gas is delivered through underground pipelines to end users. Smithfield pledged in 2016 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 across its entire supply chain. According to the companies, the fully implemented project will prevent more than 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, including methane, which has been identified in some studies as having a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. 2019-10-23T17:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-international-promotes-two-norfolk-execs Colliers International promotes two Norfolk execs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-international-promotes-two-norfolk-execs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-international-promotes-two-norfolk-execs#When:19:25:00Z Colliers International announced Tuesday that it has promoted two executives in its Norfolk office. Mac Weaver has been promoted to vice president. A University of Virginia graduate who joined the brokerage team in 2014, Weaver has participated in more than 250 transactions totaling over $200 million, representing clients including defense contractors, REITs and national corporations. Tyler Brooks, who has been promoted to assistant vice president, has represented Colliers in more than 100 lease transactions, with a total value of more than $40 million. Properties represented by Brooks have included The Railyard at Lambert's Point and Lynnhaven North. 2019-10-22T19:25:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-names-faraaz-yousuf-richmond-market-president Bon Secours names Faraaz Yousuf Richmond market president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-names-faraaz-yousuf-richmond-market-president http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bon-secours-names-faraaz-yousuf-richmond-market-president#When:18:42:00Z Bon Secours has named Faraaz Yousuf its Richmond market president, starting Dec. 1. Yousuf joined Bon Secours Mercy Health in July as chief strategy officer of the health system's Atlantic Group, responsible for strategic planning efforts across five states, including Virginia and Florida. In his new position, Yousuf will oversee Richmond market operations, which includes St. Mary's Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital and Memorial Regional Medical Center, as well as Rappahannock General in Kilmarnock. He succeeds Toni R. Ardabell, who stepped down in July after three years as president of Bon Secours Richmond Health System to return to Inova Health System, where she is now associate chief, clinical enterprise. “Faraaz is an integrative and dynamic leader with strong interpersonal skills that will drive business and community outcomes while ensuring the patient is at the center of every decision,” Brian White, Bon Secours Mercy Health Atlantic Group president, said in a statement released Tuesday. “He has the benefit of building upon a firm foundation of excellence in Richmond and the market’s strong commitment to the health and well-being of our patients and the Richmond community.” “I am honored to join the Richmond team and work with our physicians, community partners and associates to serve the distinct needs of our patients across Richmond,” said Yousuf. “I see this new role as an opportunity to make a significant impact on the communities we serve.” A Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus who holds a master's degree in healthcare administration, Yousuf previously served as president and senior vice president of Maryland-based LifeBridge Health, a $1.8 billion health system. He also formerly worked as chief operating officer for Sutter Health and Hospital Corporation of America. The Richmond-based Bon Secours is part of Maryland-based Bon Secours Mercy Health System. One of the top 20 health systems in the United States, Bon Secours Mercy Health was formed in 2018 following the merger of Bon Secours Health System and Cincinnati-based Mercy Health. 2019-10-22T18:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-1250-it-software-jobs-coming-to-roanoke-new-river-valley Survey finds 1,250+ IT/software jobs coming to Roanoke/New River Valley http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-1250-it-software-jobs-coming-to-roanoke-new-river-valley http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-1250-it-software-jobs-coming-to-roanoke-new-river-valley#When:15:22:00Z More than 1,250 IT and software-related jobs are being created over the next 18 months in the Roanoke/New River Valley region, according to the results of a newly released survey of 315 area employers conducted by the nonprofit Valleys Innovation Council.  The jobs are being created by more than 40 employers with workforces ranging from very small businesses to the region's largest employers. “We must be proactive in our outreach to show people living outside our region that there is an excellent depth of IT and software development professional opportunities in our region, which offers unparalleled beauty, affordability and cultural amenities. VIC will now turn its attention to working with stakeholders on devising strategies to identify and attract the needed talent,” Greg Feldmann, interim executive director and CEO of the Valleys Innovation Council, said in a statement released Tuesday. Council co-chiair Doug Juanarena, said,“We wanted hard numbers to better understand the near-term outlook in this sector, so that we can work with regional employers, support organizations, and communities to devise strategies to help develop and recruit this talent. ... We’ve been hearing for some time now that regional employers have a growing, unmet need for IT and software talent. For example, the Advance Auto headquarters move to Raleigh, N.C. for better access to talent should serve as a wakeup call for the region on this issue. Almost no business today can grow and scale without IT and software development talent.” Designed by Valleys Innovation Council with input from regional employers, the survey was distributed by the council and other groups, including Onward NRV, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The council plans to release a full report on the survey data by the end of the year.   2019-10-22T15:22:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Navy_Hill.png Richmond's proposed $1.5 billion Navy Hill redevelopment project is located withinan opportunity zone. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-virginia-website-launches1 Opportunity Virginia website launches http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-virginia-website-launches1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-virginia-website-launches1#When:14:41:00Z A new website geared toward matching small property and business owners in Virginia with big-time investors officially launched Tuesday with an announcement from Gov. Ralph Northam. Under development since April, Opportunity Virginia lists potential opportunity zone projects, designated low-income areas that carry federal, state and local tax incentives, including tax deferral, tax reduction through long-term investment and exclusion of certain capital gains tax. The opportunity zones are located on land tracts approved last year by the U.S. Treasury as part of the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “As governor, one of my highest priorities is ensuring that every Virginian has access to a good job and the skills to be successful, no matter who you are or where you’re from,” Northam said in a statement. “This initiative will help Virginia use the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program created by Congress almost two years ago to bring needed investment to important projects being developed across the commonwealth. We are focused on pursuing economic growth that is inclusive and equitable, not just market-driven, and this partnership will bolster our efforts to improve economic opportunity for people in communities that have traditionally been underserved.” Virginia has 212 opportunity zones, and right now, says Opportunity Virginia Executive Director Adam Northup, there are about 150 development ideas “in the pipeline” statewide that would qualify. Many need financial backing to move forward. “We’re seeing a nice mix of rural and urban,” Northup says. “That’s all very positive. The challenge is that 20 [projects] maximum are ready for discussions with investors. There’s quite a bit of work to get the investments to that stage.” Virginia Community Capital and LOCUS Impact Investing launched the site with help from Opportunity Exchange, a Cleveland-based consulting firm that helps communities create opportunity zone websites to help connect investors with land owners in federally designated opportunity zones.  In early 2018, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) contacted each city and county administrator in the state to prioritize local land tracts that qualified to be opportunity zones. To qualify, a land tract had to be in an area where either 20% or more of the population was living below the poverty line or 80% or more of the population had a lower median income than surrounding land tracts, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 and 2016 American Community Surveys. In Virginia, there were 901 qualifying tracts, and the state could nominate no more than 212 tracts. After localities sent their surveys to the DHCD and VEDP, the governor’s office made its nominations. The U.S. Treasury Department approved all 212 nominations in June 2018. This year, representatives from DHCD and Opportunity Virginia explained the opportunity zone process at workshops and town halls across Virginia.  Kristen Dahlman, a senior policy analyst at DHCD who ran the “war room” collecting localities’ recommendations for opportunity zones, says the Opportunity Virginia website is run by four staff members “educating people and connecting investors with projects.”  The federal program doesn’t have a reporting requirement, which would allow states and localities to see how opportunity zones are benefiting residents, so the website serves as a record of the projects, she says. One significant point is that in order to receive the maximum 15% tax reduction, opportunity zone projects must be approved by local planners by the end of 2019. If they wait until 2020, investors in the projects will receive only 10%. The Dec. 31 deadline is very important to smaller investors to whom the extra 5% in tax incentives matters more, Northup says. “I’m observing a certain kind of investor class that is rushing to get the money in,” he says. “I am seeing some patience too. The cool part of this program is you can combine any kind of incentives you want.” For instance, if a developer invests in a historic building that’s in a state-designated Enterprise Zone that provides local and state tax relief, the developer could benefit from historic tax credits plus incentives connected with opportunity zone and Enterprise Zone programs. Depending on what incentives are available, says Northup, an investor could receive up to 50% in tax breaks. As for the Dec. 31 deadline, Dahlman says, “there was kind of this panic at the beginning of the year, but not as much now. I don’t think it’s going to slow down at all.” Opportunity zones cover the whole state — and that’s by design, Northup says. They have many different characteristics, from big metropolitan cities to coal land in Southwest Virginia. In the city of Richmond, the booming Scott’s Addition neighborhood, which is filling fast with breweries, restaurants and high-end apartments, is an opportunity zone. So is the plot of land where the $1.5 billion Navy Hill/Coliseum project has been proposed north of Broad Street. Susan Eastridge, CEO of Fairfax-based development company Concord Eastridge and one of the master developers of the Navy Hill project, came up with the idea 3 1/2 years ago, she says. “The Coliseum was functionally obsolete,” Eastridge says. “Also, the land [around it] wasn’t being used. There’s kind of this dead zone. We started studying it from a real estate perspective.” During the process, Eastridge and her business partner, Michael Hallmark of Future Cities, got to know local leaders, including Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell, who leads the NH District Corp., which is heading up the proposed Navy Hill redevelopment project. Because their project dated before the Opportunity Zone program, Eastridge says the tax incentives don’t have a big effect on their plans, but it would impact those of minority investors — likely local business owners who might locate near the development. “Our timing is tight, and it’s dependent on the [Richmond] City Council,” says financial adviser Greg Derby, principal of Story Street Advisors LLC, who is working with Concord Eastridge. Eastridge says that if the Council takes its full 90-day review period, which is being conducted by a commission named in early October, it could vote Dec. 23, eight days before the deadline. Nationally, the opportunity zone program has come under scrutiny for benefiting wealthy investors who aren’t necessarily helping disadvantaged communities produce new jobs and businesses. An August New York Times article describes fancy projects in already hot neighborhoods in Houston, Miami and New Orleans, some backed by friends and advisers of President Trump. Investors’ money is “going to those places like Scott’s Addition,” says Dave McCormack, the Petersburg-based developer and owner of Waukeshaw Development, which specializes in adaptive reuse of historic buildings. “There seems to be very little interest in using the zones for their intended purpose” — propelling development in underdeveloped, impoverished areas. “Instead, it’s an added incentive to be in an area that is already hot.” Adds McCormack: “It’s difficult to [imagine] a scenario where one would make a decision on an investment in a disadvantaged community based solely on the [opportunity zone]. It’s too niche, and the underserved areas also don’t have a market solid enough to get investors the return they would expect to make it worthwhile.” However, Northup says that about 25% of the 150 potential opportunity zone projects he’s learned about are in Danville and Martinsville, and others listed on the Opportunity Virginia site are in Harrisonburg and Bristol. “Virginia took a very deliberate approach,” Northup says. “They really wanted the localities to stand up and say, ‘Hey, catalytic impact.’ Maybe there is already investment and stuff going on.” 2019-10-22T14:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-mcauliffe-joins-hunton-andrews-kurth Former Gov. McAuliffe Joins Hunton Andrews Kurth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-mcauliffe-joins-hunton-andrews-kurth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-gov.-mcauliffe-joins-hunton-andrews-kurth#When:13:33:00Z Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has joined Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Virginia's second-largest law firm, as the global strategy advisor for the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL), the firm's Washington, D.C.-based global privacy and cybersecurity think tank.  “Gov. McAuliffe brings a depth of understanding of global business, the challenges and opportunities facing it and emerging issues related to cybersecurity and privacy matters that is hard to match,” Wally Martinez, managing partner of Hunton Andrews Kurth, said in a statement released Tuesday. “His business acumen, coupled with his public service experience, will be very valuable for Hunton, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership and our clients.” McAuliffe, who served as Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018, will provide strategic counsel with a focus on cybersecurity and privacy issues and will aid in developing policy initiatives aimed at helping companies address and mitigate data security and privacy risks. He will also support the development of privacy principles that will facilitate the secure global exchange of digital information. The former Virginia governor made cybersecurity a top priority during his tenure as chairman of the National Governors Association, and he was awarded the 2017 Technology Champion award from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. Following his gubernatorial term, McAuliffe has served as a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, and he's been a frequent commentator on CNN. He's also released two books: "Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism" and the political memoir "What A Party!" “I am honored to be working with Hunton and CIPL on data protection and cybersecurity issues,” said McAuliffe. “Cyber risks are some of the most serious threats to our nation’s security. By 2020, 200 billion networked devices are expected to be connected across the globe. Domestic and foreign actors target sensitive information and systems that, if compromised, could have significant economic and political consequences for all Americans.” Established by Hunton in 2001, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership works with industry leaders, regulatory authorities and policy makers to develop global solutions and best practices for privacy and data usage. In addition to its Washington, D.C., headquarters, it has offices in Brussels and London. 2019-10-22T13:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-homes-under-contracts-up-30 Hampton Roads homes under contracts up 30% http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-homes-under-contracts-up-30 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-homes-under-contracts-up-30#When:14:16:00Z The number of Hampton Roads homes placed under sales contract In September rose 30.14% from the same period last year, according to Real Estate Information Network Inc. (REIN), the regional Multiple Listing Service. Regional closings were also up, rising 13.07% from September 2018. The median sales price also rose in September, up to $249,000 — a 6.34% increase over the same period in 2018. And the number of distressed home sales (foreclosures and short sales) were at the lowest level since July 2008, accounting for 4.27% of all residential settled sales. “Major factors affecting our regional marketplace and increased sales this month include lower interest rates and the outstanding opportunities for employment due to our strong military presence, shipbuilding and technology growth,” said Barry Nachman, a regional broker and member of REIN’s Board of Directors. “This leads to a positive environment where members of our communities feel confident in moving forward in their decision to purchase a home.” Overall residential homes listed for sale dropped by 13.46% year-over-year in September, marking the 50th consecutive month of active-listing declines.   2019-10-21T14:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/florida-buyer-acquire-two-norfolk-office-buildings-valued-at-18.9m Florida REIT acquires Norfolk office buildings valued at $18.9M http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/florida-buyer-acquire-two-norfolk-office-buildings-valued-at-18.9m http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/florida-buyer-acquire-two-norfolk-office-buildings-valued-at-18.9m#When:13:39:00Z A Tampa, Florida-based REIT, Generation Income Properties Inc., has acquired two Norfolk office buildings valued at $18.9 million via an UPREIT transaction brokered by Colliers International. The buildings are: The 71,774-square-foot General Services Administration NAVSEA building at 2510 Walmer Ave., which is primarily occupied by the GSA, as well as global container ship operator Maersk. A 34,847-square-foot office building in Riverside Corporate Center at 130 Corporate Boulevard, which is occupied by PRA Group Inc., a debt collection firm. Robinson Development Group, a Virginia Beach-based development and investment company, contributed the two buildings to Generation Income Properties through an Umbrella Partnership Real Estate Investment Trust (UPREIT) transaction, which allows property owners to convert real estate assets into share interest in the UPREIT. This UPREIT is managed by Generation Income Properties. The transaction was brokered by a team from Colliers | Virginia, including: J. Scott Adams, president; Patrick Mugler, executive vice president; Gray Randolph, executive vice president; and Will Bradley, senior vice president.  2019-10-21T13:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-medical-building-sold-for-2.75m Virginia Beach medical building sold for $2.75M http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-medical-building-sold-for-2.75m http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-medical-building-sold-for-2.75m#When:13:26:00Z A 15,054-square-foot medical office building in Virginia Beach has sold for $2.75 million. The property, which is located on 1.34 acres at 2117 McComas Way, was acquired as an investment by Nimmo Properties LLC from JFS Real Estate LLC.  Janet Whitbeck of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of JFS Real Estate.   2019-10-21T13:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-unemployment-rate-drops-to-2.7 Virginia’s unemployment rate drops to 2.7% http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-unemployment-rate-drops-to-2.7 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-unemployment-rate-drops-to-2.7#When:21:49:00Z Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 2.7% in September, down 0.1% from last month and the same time a year ago, Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Friday. The national unemployment rate for September was 3.5%. The commonwealth's labor force expanded for the 15th consecutive month in September by 10,132 workers, or 0.2%, to set a new record of 4.41 million workers. The number of unemployed people in Virginia decreased by 3,555. Household employment in Virginia is also at a new high of 4.29 million workers. Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among Southeast states. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 66 consecutive months. “I am pleased to see the commonwealth’s unemployment rate drop to its lowest point in more than 18 years, a clear signal that our economy is strong and our efforts to attract 21st-century jobs to Virginia are paying off,” Northam said in a statement. “With more and more companies from diverse industries choosing to locate and invest in Virginia, we are showing the country and the world exactly why we are the best state for business. My administration will stay focused on creating economic opportunity so that every Virginian can share in our success, no matter who they are or where in the commonwealth they live.” 2019-10-18T21:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-service-takes-off-in-christiansburg Drone delivery service takes off in Christiansburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-service-takes-off-in-christiansburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drone-delivery-service-takes-off-in-christiansburg#When:21:06:00Z Wing, a division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., launched the nation's first commercial drone delivery service as a pilot program in Christiansburg Friday. Flying at more than 70 mph, the 10-pound drones will deliver orders for FedEx, Walgreens and area retailer Sugar Magnolia. The drones lower cargo weighing up to three pounds into customers’ yards, making deliveries in as little as five to 10 minutes.  Wing partnered with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) to develop the service, which will eventually take flight in other cities across the nation. The drones made their historic first deliveries in three suburban yards Friday, witnessed by officials from the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration, Wing and Virginia Tech, including Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “When Wing first began talking with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, we knew immediately this was a project the university should support,” said Sands. “We like bold, visionary ideas, strong partnerships, and the challenge of doing something that’s never been done before.” “This is a big day for Wing, MAAP, and Virginia — another first in this industry that is happening right here in our commonwealth," said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner in a statement. “I believe that unmanned systems have the potential to be a real game-changer, and I’m proud that Virginia is leading the way in testing and safely integrating this technology.” According to MAAP and Wing officials, the drones can transport packages quicker than ground transportation with far less of a carbon footprint. “This is a pivotal moment in aviation,” said Mark Blanks, MAAP’s director. “Package delivery has been one of the most sought-after applications for unmanned aircraft, but doing it well requires solving some of the hardest problems in the industry. It’s a privilege to partner with Wing to enable a service that we believe will transform the industry and bring real value to our communities.” 2019-10-18T21:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-virginians-named-appalachian-leadership-institute-fellows Four Virginians named Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-virginians-named-appalachian-leadership-institute-fellows http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/four-virginians-named-appalachian-leadership-institute-fellows#When:21:12:00Z The Appalachian Regional Commission has named four Virginians to the inaugural class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, the organization's intensive, multistate leadership development program. Joining 37 other members from 12 other states will be: Mary Anne Holbrook, director of community relations for the United Way of Southwest Virginia Lydeana Martin, community and economic development director, Floyd County Josh Sawyers, innovation center manager at The University of Virginia's College at Wise Charles H. "Chuck" Slemp III, commonwealth's attorney, Wise County and Norton In a statement released Thursday, United Way of Southwest Virginia President and CEO Travis Staton congratulated Holbrook, saying, “I believe Mary Anne is a perfect fit for the institute because of her passion for Southwest Virginia. Mary Anne plays a critical role in our efforts to convene cross-sector partners to address the most complex issues in our region.” The nine-month program's curriculum will be anchored by six multiday sessions held around the Appalachian region, beginning in Morehead, Kentucky, on Oct. 21-24, and culminating in a July graduation event in Washington, D.C. The program's curriculum was developed by the commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. The annual program's 40 fellows will focus on developing skills such as designing effective economic development proposals; integrating community assets into long-lasting economic development strategies; learning how to locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources; learning how to prepare competitive grant applications; and creating strong community coalitions. 2019-10-17T21:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/navy-awards-bwxt-806m-contract Navy awards BWXT $806M contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/navy-awards-bwxt-806m-contract http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/navy-awards-bwxt-806m-contract#When:20:21:00Z The U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has awarded a contract with options totaling about $806 million to a subsidiary of Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc., the company announced Thursday. Related to a previous $2.1 billion contract, the newly awarded contract to BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. will fund the procurement of long-lead materials needed for the manufacture of naval nuclear reactor components that will be used in Virginia--class submarines and next-generation Columbia-class submarines and Ford-class naval carriers. BWXT is a federal defense contractor specialzing in the supply of nuclear components and fuel.  “BWXT remains committed to fulfilling our mission to deliver the highest quality nuclear propulsion components to the U.S. Navy,” said Rex Geveden, BWXT president and CEO, in a statement. In February, BWXT announced an agreement with the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program on new contracts totaling approximately $2.1 billion, including future-year options. The contract announced Thursday is in addition to that award, The base material procurement contract for fiscal year 2019 is valued at $75 million and is the first of seven annual options available through 2025. The remaining six options have an average annual value of about $122 million, contingent on U.S. congressional appropriations. 2019-10-17T20:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/path-foundation-makes-1.2m-grant-for-food-hub PATH Foundation makes $1.2M grant for food hub http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/path-foundation-makes-1.2m-grant-for-food-hub http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/path-foundation-makes-1.2m-grant-for-food-hub#When:20:03:00Z The PATH Foundation announced Thursday that it has awarded a $1.2 million grant to Warrenton-based 4P Foods, a farm-to-table consumer food subscription service, to construct a food hub in the Vint Hill community aimed at assisting area nonprofits focused on food insecurity issues. Also headquartered in Warrenton, PATH is a nonprofit foundation promoting healthy communities in Faquier, Rappahannock and northern Culpeper counties. In addition to helping area nonprofits with food distribution infrastructure, the food hub, which is expected to be completed in 2020, will also connect local farms to regional buyers, including schools, health providers and food banks. Working with more than 220 farms, 4P Foods' delivery network reaches from the Washington, D.C., region to south of Richmond. The company recently added a wholesale division selling to restaurants and schools. 4P Foods employs 26 workers. “Our community is heavily rooted in agriculture, but many of its residents lack access to fresh food,” said Christy Connolly, PATH Foundation president and CEO, in a statement. “Food impacts all four of the PATH Foundation’s health priorities and plays an important role in overall community health. By improving access to healthy food, the food hub will play a key role in accomplishing our mission: to strengthen the health and vitality of our community.” “The 4P Food Hub is a game changer,” said Kirsten Dueck, senior program officer at the PATH Foundation, “In the past, we’ve seen promising programs struggle without a reliable, affordable way to get products from farms to tables. We are excited about this collaboration with ... the great team at 4P Foods, and we look forward to the impact that it will have on our community.”   2019-10-17T20:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/german-manufacturing-firm-relocating-sales-office-to-henrico German manufacturing firm relocating sales office to Henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/german-manufacturing-firm-relocating-sales-office-to-henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/german-manufacturing-firm-relocating-sales-office-to-henrico#When:17:58:00Z German packaging solutions manufacturer BRANOpac GmbH has relocated its Orlando, Florida, sales office to Henrico County, the Greater Richmond Partnership announced Thursday. The office will grow to five employees by 2020 and invest up to $500,000 in the relocation. “Our office in Greater Richmond will provide closer proximity to business partners, existing customers and target markets/industries,” said Nico Choczko, BRANOpac USA’s general manager, in a statement. “The Greater Richmond Partnership was an invaluable resource during this relocation from start to finish. From initial meetings, introductions and ongoing advisory roles, the GRP supported BRANOpac and allowed for a seamless transition from Florida to Virginia.” Headquartered in Lich, Germany, BRANOpac is an international manufacturer of protective packaging solutions, including volatile corrosion inhibitors and high-quality food-grade papers and technical papers for shipping. The Greater Richmond Partnership worked with Henrico County Economic Development to facilitate the relocation. Commercial real estate agent Tom Langston of S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., assisted BRANOpac with locating the office space in Glen Allen.    2019-10-17T17:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-virginia-technology-council-ceo-retiring Northern Virginia Technology Council CEO retiring http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-virginia-technology-council-ceo-retiring http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-virginia-technology-council-ceo-retiring#When:19:31:00Z Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg announced Wednesday that she plans to retire on June 30, 2020, after 22 years at the helm of the membership and trade association for the region's tech industry. Kilberg has served as president and CEO since 1998. The NVTC Board of Directors has engaged Los Angeles-based management consulting firm Korn Ferry to oversee the search for her successor. A longtime Republican White House appointee, she worked in the Nixon and Ford administrations and served as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under President George H.W. Bush. She also was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. During her tenure at NVTC, the council has grown to represent about 1,000 Northern Virginia technology firms representing more than 350,000 employees.  “Bobbie was instrumental in shaping NVTC into one of the largest technology councils in the U.S. and into the regional tech powerhouse that it is today,” said Richard Montoni, chairman of the NVTC Board of Directors, in a statement released Wednesday. “Bobbie is an icon in the industry. Her extraordinary leadership over two decades positions NVTC for its next phase during this very exciting time.” Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said, "No one has done as much as Bobbie to knit the regional technology community together. By convening the tech community in so many ways over so many years, she really has helped raise the profile of Northern Virginia as one of the world’s technology capitals.” “It’s been my great honor to serve an organization that is so deeply committed to this region’s vibrant and diverse technology ecosystem. I’m grateful to have worked alongside some of the region’s most passionate tech luminaries and government officials who have shared the same vision of Northern Virginia as a major tech hub. I am especially grateful to NVTC’s dedicated and talented staff who made this all possible. Under the direction of our board of directors, we’ve accomplished so much together over the last 22 years,” Kilberg said. “I am confident that NVTC’s board will choose a leader who will maintain NVTC’s values while building on and expanding the organization’s impact in the coming years.”   2019-10-16T19:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apex-clean-energy-breaks-ground-for-charlottesville-office Apex Clean Energy breaks ground for Charlottesville office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apex-clean-energy-breaks-ground-for-charlottesville-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apex-clean-energy-breaks-ground-for-charlottesville-office#When:19:28:00Z Apex Clean Energy, a wind and solar power developer, broke ground in Charlottesville Tuesday on its new eight-story office building, a 187,000-square-foot structure on Garrett Street, south of the Downtown Mall. William McDonough + Partners designed the eight-story office, which will be the state’s tallest timber building, according to Apex’s press release. McDonough, Riverbend Development and Hourigan Development, the project’s general contractor, will all have their corporate headquarters there. John Pritzlaff of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represented Apex Clean Energy. The building will use 875 solar panels expected to produce 364 megawatts of energy per year, which Apex expects will equate to zero net energy use, as well as a green roof terrace and sustainably harvested timber. Apex says the structure will produce a total potential carbon benefit of about 3,000 metric tons compared to a traditional concrete-and-steel building. Apex was founded in 2009 in Charlottesville and has grown quickly. It currently has 170 employees locally, who work in three offices around the Court Square area and at the former Martha Jefferson Hospital. They will be able to work under one roof when the project is completed.  Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2021. 2019-10-15T19:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/stik-pak-solutions-breaks-ground-on-14.3-million-manufacturing-facility Stik-Pak Solutions breaks ground on $14.3 million manufacturing facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/stik-pak-solutions-breaks-ground-on-14.3-million-manufacturing-facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/stik-pak-solutions-breaks-ground-on-14.3-million-manufacturing-facility#When:17:21:00Z Contract food-packaging company Stik-Pak Solutions broke ground Tuesday on its $14.3 million new manufacturing facility at Franklin County's 550-acre Summit View Business Park in Rocky Mount.  The company plans to move from its current location in the Franklin Commerce Center into the first 50,000-square-foot phase of the new facility by mid-2020. Stik-Pak plans to add 50 to 60 more employees at the facility, which is expected to expand to 100,000 square feet by 2025. Started in 2015, the subsidiary of North Carolina-based M&H Holdings provides flexible pouch packaging to the food industry. “This is an example of how an existing business can be successful and continue to create jobs and investment in Franklin County,” said Cline Brubaker, chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors, in a statement. “We’re delighted to help Stik-Pak grow with a strong workforce, great business climate and now a marquee project like Summit View Business Park that is accommodating the company’s growth while redefining our economic future.” In addition to numerous business and industrial sites, the county-owned Summit View Business Park is expected to eventually include pavilions, athletic fields, a BMX bicycle course, a festival area, a tourist visitor center and multiuse trails. Martinsville-based ValleyStar Credit Union began construction on the first building in the park, a 19,000-square-foot administrative campus, in September. 2019-10-15T17:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consumer-goods-supplier-relocating-warehouse-operations-to-virginia-beach Consumer goods supplier relocating warehouse operations to Virginia Beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consumer-goods-supplier-relocating-warehouse-operations-to-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consumer-goods-supplier-relocating-warehouse-operations-to-virginia-beach#When:16:50:00Z Colorado-based consumer goods supplier SRP Companies is investing $1.16 million to relocate its warehousing and distribution operations from Philadelphia, Utah and Oklahoma to Virginia Beach next year, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced in a press release Tuesday.  Founded as a sunglasses distributor in 1969, SRP Companies, a subsidiary of parent company Soloray, is consolidating and expanding its warehousing, storage and distribution services. SRP provides a variety of consumer goods, including eyewear, apparel, jewelry and travel items, to international retail outlets, including convenience stores, travel centers, amusement parks and resorts. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Virginia Beach city officials, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Port of Virginia to secure the project, which is eligible for benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. “SRP Companies’ decision to move its operations to Virginia is a significant win for the distribution industry in Hampton Roads and the entire commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “With access to major population centers and the Port of Virginia as an international gateway, leading companies like SRP continue to recognize the advantages of locating in our commonwealth. We are confident that SRP’s new Virginia Beach facility will help the company grow on the East Coast.” “We are very excited to be expanding our warehouse and distribution operations into Virginia Beach in 2020,” said Darrin Eisele, CEO of SRP Companies. “We are excited to be in such high-quality facilities close to the Port of Virginia. This enables us to improve the efficiency of our import activities and better serve our customers. Virginia Beach provides an excellent work environment for our employees and operations.” 2019-10-15T16:50:00+00:00