1527271904 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en jsabbath@va-business.com Copyright 2018 2018-05-25T09:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_running_guy_V3_WLogo.png Photo courtesy Vibrent Health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study Vibrent provides technology for national health study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vibrent-provides-technology-for-national-health-study#When:13:58:00Z A fast-growing Fairfax County company’s technology is at the heart of an ambitious nationwide health study to collect and analyze data from 1 million people. Vibrent Health won a $74 million, five-year contract in 2016 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has received an additional $5 million in funding for the program since. The goal of NIH’s All of Us Research Program is to accelerate research and to improve health outcomes by creating a first-of-its-kind database. It would take into account differences in lifestyle, environment and biology of Americans across the country. Vibrent will supply data collection methods, such as wearable devices and web-based platforms, and the ability to analyze the data. Volunteers will have access to their own information. So while the program won’t provide medical advice, it may, for example, help a participant identify diet triggers for migraines. “Our job is to convert their data into insight using machine learning and algorithmic approaches,” says CEO Praduman Jain. Providing useful data may persuade volunteers to submit even more data, he adds. Jain started Vibrent Health in 2009 after holding executive roles at Sprint Nextel, AOL, Time Warner and VTech. He saw a need to develop a consumer-centered platform to collect and interpret health data.  The company received $6.5 million in grants from the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop its platform and started to work with several clients. When NIH was looking for a platform for its personalized medicine program, Vibrent Health applied for its first federal contract, beating out several major research institutions. “We applied against all odds, which were heavily against us,” says Jain. Since then, the company has won contracts with the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute to provide readiness information for active-duty military personnel and care management for cancer survivors, respectively. Vibrent, which employs about 65 people, expects to have a total of 100 by the end of the year. It also plans to expand into a larger headquarters of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. Vibrent seeks IT workers skilled in areas such as machine learning, data sciences, analytics, product management and user interface design. “I can’t hire fast enough,” Jain says. 2017-09-06T13:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia Inc. 500 companies located in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc.-500-companies-located-in-virginia#When:09:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B0202; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Company City 3-yr. growth rate Revenue1 Industry 10 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 12,621% $25.8 Government services 49 Interactive Government Holdings Springfield 5,058 7.1 Government services 55 ByteCubed Arlington 4,768 11.6 IT services 56 Excel Group Arlington 4,694 34.4 Real estate 70 Talteam Herndon 4,053 5.0 IT services 77 Ecology Mir Group Manassas 3,856 3.9 Government services 100 Inoventures McLean 3,255 3.9 Government services 128 Mosquito Joe Virginia Beach 2,700 8.1 Consumer products & services 200 LLB Enterprises Stafford 1,900 2.0 Business products & services 205 Health Warrior Richmond 1,887 9.8 Food & beverage 212 Darkblade Systems Stafford 1,848 4.0 Government services 215 Preting Consulting Alexandria 1,827 5.2 Government services 222 Pro-Sphere Tek Alexandria 1,795 45.7 IT services 223 AegisCorp. Chantilly 1,794 4.2 Government services 247 Tenica and Associates Alexandria 1,591 9.1 Government services 254 Hosted Records Springfield 1,557 3.3 Government services 280 American Pillowcase Richmond 1,400 6.5 Retail 295 Potomac River Holdings Alexandria 1,337 16.6 Retail 308 GuidePoint Security Herndon 1,276 111.1 Security 312 Axis Global Enterprises Virginia Beach 1,237 6.1 Construction 324 SSi Virginia Beach 1,194 12.0 Human resources 326 Oasys McLean 1,182 5.0 Government services 348 Davis Defense Group Stafford 1,102 30.9 Government services 369 Trigent Solutions Chantilly 1,046 6.1 IT services 392 Open Systems Technologies Gainesville 976 5.4 IT services 394 Perfecta Federal Springfield 972 5.9 Government services 405 Favor TechConsulting Vienna 949 19.2 IT services 408 Avertra Herndon 944 8.7 IT services 451 Sequoia Holdings Reston 847 5.6 Government services 462 The Hilb Group Richmond 820 36.8 Insurance 477 SeKON Enterprise Herndon 798 23.9 Government services 479 Cynet Systems Ashburn 797 31.4 IT Services 480 Wholesale Screening Solutions Purcellville 795 32.4 Business products & services 486 Metronome Fairfax 779 9.8 Government services 1 In millions in 2015 Source: Inc. magazine   2017-02-28T09:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Pando_2.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-named-at-reynolds-community-college New president named at Reynolds Community College http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-named-at-reynolds-community-college http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-named-at-reynolds-community-college#When:09:44:00Z A community college official from New Jersey has been selected to become J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s fourth president. Paula P. Pando currently is the senior vice president for student and educational services at Hudson Community College. “Paula Pando’s life is a uniquely American success story,” Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System said in a statement. “She was very young when her family came to the U.S. from Chile. She had to learn a new language and a new culture, and she has excelled ever since. She has built an impressive career, focused on helping people find and leverage opportunity, and I expect her to be a terrific president for Reynolds Community College.” Pando was selected from 102 applicants. Pando has worked in higher education for more than 21 years. She began her career in 1994 as the director of campus activities and programs at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. Beginning in 2000, Pando worked as a consultant for a New York firm, facilitating sensitivity and diversity training, among other topics. In 2003, she joined Hudson County Community College, in Jersey City, as the associate dean for student services. She has since risen through the ranks, holding three different vice presidencies, including her current role as senior vice president for student and educational services. In 2017, Pando was among 38 leaders from across the country selected for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous 10-month applied leadership program. Pando holds a doctorate from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.; a master’s degree from Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City; and a bachelor’s degree from Stockton University in Pomona, N.J. “Reynolds was blessed to receive an array of well-qualified candidates interested in serving as the next president of the college. This made our job very difficult. We selected a person who we believe is extremely well-qualified,” said Stephen E. Baril, chair of the Reynolds Community College local board. “She received outstanding reviews from faculty, staff, community leaders, and the college board. We are delighted that Dr. Paula Pando has accepted our offer to be the next president of our college.” Gary Rhodes, the president of Reynolds for the last 16 years, will retire on Sept. 1. Serving more than 16,000 students annually, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is the youngest and among the largest of 23 community colleges in Virginia. The college operates three campuses serving residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan and Louisa. 2018-05-25T09:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-companies-seek-renewable-energy More companies seek renewable energy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-companies-seek-renewable-energy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-companies-seek-renewable-energy#When:20:54:00Z   Demand from corporate America and falling costs are the drivers behind the development of renewable energy in Virginia and around the country, Garret Bean, vice president of development for sPower, told a gathering Wednesday at the 2018 Virginia Energy Conference.   Bean was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, which drew nearly 400 people to the Greater Richmond Convention Center. It was sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.   According to Bean, it cost about $96 to develop 1 kilowatt of solar power in 1970.  Today, that cost has dropped to 40 cents. “It’s no longer just a feel-good thing. It makes economic sense to put more renewables on the grid,” he said.   Bean’s company, Salt Lake City-based sPower, is the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the U.S. It operates 160 projects and is the group behind Sustainable Power Group LLC’s proposal to develop what would be the largest solar facility in Virginia: a 500-megawatt, 3,500-solar farm in rural Spotslyvania County that would be powered by nearly 1 million photovoltaic solar panels.   The company plans to sell the power to corporations throughout the state. Microsoft announced that it wants to buy nearly two thirds of the power to fulfill its goal of powering their data centers in Virginia with clean energy.   Earlier this month, a public hearing on the project drew concerns from some residents who live near the property in Fawn Lake. According to published reports, they expressed worries about possible impacts on wetlands and streams, excess water runoff and underground aquifers and what they referred to as toxic chemicals in the solar panels.    Bean pointed out that solar projects create jobs, and there is a lot of potential in Virginia for new development, a state that currently  generates only about a half of a percent of its power from solar.   Currently, there are 212 solar companies in Virginia and 22 manufacturers, added Bean.  His company finds Virginia an attractive state to do business, he said, because 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through the commonwealth, primarily in Loudoun County, which is home to many data centers.   According to Bean, 4 percent of the nation’s power supply is used to power data centers. That number is expected to increase to 10 percent in the next five to 10 years.   Microsoft, Goggle, Apple, Facebook and more traditional companies such as Walmart are demanding clean energy sources that align with their company’s values, said Bean. They have joined an initiative known as RE100, in which the companies are committed to having 100 percent of their power generated from renewable sources.   For sPower to move forward with its massive solar farm in Virginia, the project needs special permits from Spotsylvania County and approval from the State Corporation Commission.     “Unfortunately, it comes down to whether the towns, cities and counties are willing to have these structures,” said Bean.  “We wish the governor could issue some building permits."     Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration is moving forward with developing its energy policy, said Matt Strickler, the state’s secretary of natural resources and a speaker on one of Wednesday’s panels.   There will be an emphasis on affordability and reliability, added Strickler. “The governor wants to focus on bringing more renewables online.”     To spark interest in wind, Northam announced Tuesday that the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is seeking proposals from qualified contractors to help deploy strategies that will strengthen Virginia’s position in attracting an offshore wind supply chain and service industry.   “Hampton Roads’ unmatched port infrastructure and high-quality maritime workforce make the region an ideal location for offshore wind energy development,” Northam said in a statement.   The request for proposals (RFP) focuses on expertise in port infrastructure requirements, build-out of the various offshore wind supply chain sectors and long-term maritime service needs.   “We look forward to collaborating on business partnership, business climate,and workforce development strategies aimed at fulfilling the offshore wind industry’s needs,” said Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Director John Warren.   Proposals must be submitted by June 22.   2018-05-23T20:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/roanoke-higher-education-center-makes-two-executive-appointments Roanoke Higher Education Center makes two executive appointments http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/roanoke-higher-education-center-makes-two-executive-appointments http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/roanoke-higher-education-center-makes-two-executive-appointments#When:20:04:00Z The Roanoke Higher Education Center (RHEC) announced that Lori Van Curen has been appointed director of finance and administration and Chris Meacham has been named director of facility services. Van Curen has served as senior financial reporting analyst at RHEC since February 2011, responsible for monitoring, reporting and managing financial activities.  She previously worked as an accounting supervisor for the city of Roanoke, supervising senior accountant for Parts Depot Inc., and accounting team leader for BellSouth Communication Systems. Meacham most recently worked at Bridgewater College as assistant director of facilities. He was previously employed at Radford University as the assistant director of facilities in the Mechanical Services Department. His background also includes work as a sales engineer for Hobbs and Associates and regional sales manager for Des Champs Labs. He is also a former high school math teacher for Alleghany County Schools. Meacham grew up in the Roanoke Valley and holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Military Institute. The Roanoke Higher Education Authority (RHEA) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia that is governed by a board of trustees. RHEA was formed as a nonresidential educational institution to stimulate economic growth in the Roanoke region. The Roanoke Higher Education Center functions under the umbrella of the authority, allowing access to educational opportunities that lead to degrees, certificates, endorsements and workforce skill development 2018-05-23T20:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-creates-organizational-leadership-changes Altria creates organizational, leadership changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-creates-organizational-leadership-changes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-creates-organizational-leadership-changes#When:08:51:00Z Altria Group Inc. announced Tuesday a new structure the company says will allow it to maximize its tobacco businesses while growing its noncombustible products, like e-cigarettes. The new structure includes: Establishment of two divisions – core tobacco and innovative tobacco products; Creation of a chief growth officer to accelerate speed to market for innovative products and technologies; and Alignment of product development efforts more directly to the core and innovative tobacco product businesses. “This is a dynamic time in the tobacco industry, and just as we lead in traditional tobacco products, we intend to lead in offering adult smokers more choices in innovative, noncombustible, reduced-risk products,” Howard Willard, Altria’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We expect this new structure to accelerate our innovation pipeline, maximize our core tobacco businesses and allow us to continue to reward shareholders.” Altria’s core tobacco division will include Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Middleton and Nat Sherman, a luxury cigarette and cigar business. Jody Begley, as senior vice president, tobacco products, will oversee the core tobacco businesses, as well as their product development and engineering support. Leading those businesses will be: Heather Newman, president and CEO, Philip Morris USA Shannon Leistra, president and CEO, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Ryan Bauersachs, managing director and general manager, Middleton Dominik Meier, managing director and general manager, Nat Sherman Begley has been president and general manager of Nu Mark since 2015. He brings to this role 23 years of experience in sales, marketing and strategy from Altria companies. Nu Mark, Altria’s innovation company, will focus on developing a portfolio of noncombustible products, including oral nicotine-containing products, e-vapor and inhalable products. Brian Quigley, as president and CEO of Nu Mark, will oversee the innovative products business. Quigley has been president and CEO of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. since 2012. K.C. Crosthwaite has been appointed senior vice president and chief growth officer, Altria Client Services LLC (ALCS). Crosthwaite has been president and CEO of Philip Morris USA for the past year. He joined Philip Morris in 1997. These changes will be effective June 1. 2018-05-23T08:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tourism-revenues-reach-25-billion-in-2017 Virginia tourism revenues reach $25 billion in 2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tourism-revenues-reach-25-billion-in-2017 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tourism-revenues-reach-25-billion-in-2017#When:21:06:00Z       Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that Virginia’s tourism revenues reached $25 billion in 2017, a 4.4 percent increase over 2016.   In 2017, tourism in Virginia supported 232,000 jobs — an increase of 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. The tourism industry also provided $1.73 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 2.8 percent compared to 2016. The travel industry is the fifth largest employer in Virginia.   In 2017, domestic travelers spent $68 million a day in Virginia, the factor behind the more than 4 percent bump. Domestic travel-supported employees in Virginia earned nearly $5.9 billion in payroll income during 2017, representing a 4.8 percent increase from 2016.    “Virginia’s tourism industry is an important diversifier for our economy as it continues to grow and flourish in multiple regions of our Commonwealth,” Gov. Northam said in a statement. “Travelers are coming to Virginia from across the country and the globe to experience our rich historic attractions, unmatched outdoor recreation offerings, eight oyster regions, world-class food and craft beverages, beautiful landscapes, and exciting arts and culture. These visitors are spending millions of dollars a day, injecting critical funds back into our community coffers and helping to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”     2018-05-22T21:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-college-board-is-expanding-in-fairfax-county-retaining-600-jobs The College Board is expanding in Fairfax County, retaining 600 jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-college-board-is-expanding-in-fairfax-county-retaining-600-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-college-board-is-expanding-in-fairfax-county-retaining-600-jobs#When:15:42:00Z The College Board is expanding its operation in Fairfax County. The nonprofit, formed in 1900 to broaden access to higher education, said Tuesday that it will lease an additional 74,000 square feet at Reston Town Center, a move that retains 614 existing jobs and creates 120 new ones. In announcing the expansion, Gov. Ralph Northam said, “Fairfax County continues to attract sought-after talent that enables businesses to thrive, and we are proud that this vital not-for-profit organization chose to reinvest in the commonwealth …” Virginia competed against Washington, D.C. for the project. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to secure the project . The governor also approved a $750,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the FCEDA, noted in a statement that: “The College Board is one of the best-known examples of more than 270 industry and trade associations that have a presence in Fairfax County and benefit from a highly educated workforce and location close to Washington, D.C.’’ The membership association is made up of more 6,000 of the world’s educational institutions. It said it helps more than 7 million students prepare for transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success, including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. “Fairfax County has been a great home for The College Board,” Jeremy Singer, the board’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Our team in Reston will continue to play a critical role in our efforts to a clear a path for students in Virginia and across the country to own their futures.” 2018-05-22T15:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/temperpack-expands-to-henrico TemperPack expands to Henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/temperpack-expands-to-henrico http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/temperpack-expands-to-henrico#When:08:46:00Z TemperPack has moved to a larger manufacturing facility in Henrico County as part of a $10.4 million investment that will create 141 new jobs. The company manufactures sustainable thermal insulation for the shipment of perishable goods. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership is supporting the expansion through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). The company is eligible under the program to receive $700 per new job, for a total of up to $98,700. The company previously manufactured out of a smaller facility in Richmond. The new facility is located in Eastern Henrico near the Richmond International Raceway on Carolina Avenue. The company has been manufacturing out of its new facility for several weeks. The new facility also will house the production of the company’s new proprietary material, ClimaCell, which is the first certified fully curbside recyclable box liner for perishable shipments. TemperPack has a research and development facility in the Manchester section of Richmond and second manufacturing facility in Las Vegas. 2018-05-22T08:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Exterior_View-May_20181_copy.jpg Exterior view of new Sheltering Arms Hospital that has broken ground in Goochland County. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheltering-arms-and-westminister-canterbury-expand-in-richmond Sheltering Arms and Westminister Canterbury expand in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheltering-arms-and-westminister-canterbury-expand-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sheltering-arms-and-westminister-canterbury-expand-in-richmond#When:16:01:00Z   Two well-known Richmond institutions, Sheltering Arms and Westminister Canterbury, are expanding in the region. Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System have broken ground on a 114-bed rehabilitation facility on 25 acres in the West Creek Medical Park, east of the state Route 288 interchange in Goochland County. “Today marks an important step forward in our plan to bring advanced technology, research, and evidenced-based clinical care together under one roof in order to offer our patients the best possible outcomes for success. Today we celebrate the building that will bring that goal to life,” Mary Zweifel, president and CEO of Sheltering Arms, said in a statement. The joint venture combines inpatient beds from both organizations to create a multimillion-dollar hospital focused on caring for people who have survived strokes, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, as well as those in need of general rehabilitation or various neurological diseases and disorders. The Sheltering Arms Rehab Institute is expected to open in late spring of 2020. Meanwhile, Westminster Canterbury Richmond, a continuing care retirement/life plan community, has purchased of 10.6 acres of land contiguous to its current campus at 1600 Westbrook Ave. The acreage is part of the former Azalea Mall property in Henrico County. Westminster Canterbury has developed a master campus plan with THW Design of Atlanta, in collaboration with staff, trustees and residents. The campus plan anticipates building 125 additional residences for people age 62 or older. The timeline for construction and presales will be announced at a later date. “Westminster Canterbury has been planning for this for a long time. The time is right for us to expand our mission and our campus so we can better serve seniors in our region. We are extremely blessed to have the market and financial strength to make this significant investment in the future of this great organization,” John Burns, president and CEO of Westminister Canterbury Richmond said in a statement. Westminster Canterbury is home to nearly 900 residents in independent-, assisted-, memory- support and health-care living. The campus includes a 335-seat theater and a child development center. 2018-05-21T16:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-gets-leasing-assignment-for-chesapeake-square Cushman & Wakefield Thalhimer gets leasing assignment for Chesapeake Square http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-gets-leasing-assignment-for-chesapeake-square http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-gets-leasing-assignment-for-chesapeake-square#When:15:20:00Z   Kotarides Holdings has selected Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer as the exclusive leasing representative for the redevelopment of Chesapeake Square, a 613,000-square-foot retail property. Located on 68 acres in the western Chesapeake/ northern Suffolk area of Hampton Roads, the shopping center is slated for what Thalhimer termed as a “major repositioning,” which will include restaurant, retail, office and mixed-use opportunities.  Existing tenants include Target, Cinemark, JC Penney and Burlington. The redevelopment will take place in phases. Thalhimer’s David Machupa and Ed Kimple are the leasing representatives. 2018-05-21T15:20:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpg.jpeg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-adds-five-retail-properties-in-hampton-roads-to-its-lea Divaris Real Estate adds five retail properties in Hampton Roads to its leasing portfolio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-adds-five-retail-properties-in-hampton-roads-to-its-lea http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-real-estate-adds-five-retail-properties-in-hampton-roads-to-its-lea#When:15:17:00Z Divaris Real Estate Inc. in Virginia Beach has added five retail properties to its leasing and management portfolio.  The properties represent additional retail space of 594,657 square feet located throughout the Hampton Roads region . The new properties are: Fairfield Shopping Center in Virginia Beach, 242,470 square feet; Newport Crossing in Newport News, 194,000 square feet; Victory Center in Newport News, 69,000 square feet; Elmhurst Square in Portsmouth, 66,254 square feet; and Lynnhaven Square in Virginia Beach, 22,933 square feet.  DRE’s George Fox and Kris Fuller, who specialize in grocery-anchored assets, will lease the portfolio.  With the new properties, Divaris Property Management Corp. said it manages more than 36.7 million square feet in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. 2018-05-21T15:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-april-unemployment-drops-to-3.3-percent-jobless-rate-is-at-its-lo Virginia’s April unemployment drops to 3.3 percent http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-april-unemployment-drops-to-3.3-percent-jobless-rate-is-at-its-lo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-april-unemployment-drops-to-3.3-percent-jobless-rate-is-at-its-lo#When:21:10:00Z Virginia’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.3 percent in April, its lowest level in nearly a decade. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) said Friday that the state’s jobless rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point from March. The 3.3 percent rate has not been seen in Virginia since December 2007. The April 2018 rate also represented a half-percentage point drop from April 2017. The national unemployment rate for April was 3.9 percent. The VEC numbers are seasonally adjusted, meaning that they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market. In April, the labor force expanded by 5,735 workers, the third consecutive monthly increase. At 4,331,079 workers, the labor force is at a new record high. Virginia’s nonfarm employment increased by 4,700 jobs in April to 3,993,700, the fourth consecutive monthly increase and also a new record high. The number of unemployed workers continued to drop in April, declining 3,003 to 143,991. From March to April, employment increased in eight major industry divisions and fell in three others. The largest job gain during April occurred in the private education and health services sector, which increased by 2,600 jobs to 538,600. The three losses were: 800 jobs each in construction and miscellaneous services to 200,900 and 205,100, respectively, and 600 jobs in total government to 715,300. 2018-05-18T21:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-announces-several-leases Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announces several leases http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-announces-several-leases http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-announces-several-leases#When:20:21:00Z Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced several recent leases in Richmond, including more than 50,000 square feet for a CARITAS Furniture Bank warehouse. Among the largest: CARITAS leased 50,746 square feet at 1108 Gordon Ave. in Richmond.  Isaac DeRegibus handled lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. This will be the new CARITAS Furniture Bank warehouse location. Virginia Housing Development Authority leased 38,676 square feet at 4240 Cox Road in Henrico County.  Evan Magrill and Dean Meyer handled the lease negotiations. Synergy Installation Solutions renewed its lease of 20,000 square feet. at 1125 Commerce Road in Richmond.  Isaac DeRegibus handled the lease negotiations. Russell Parsons leased 12,800 square feet at 3904 Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond.  Michael A. Shaia handled the lease negotiations. Dollar Tree Stores. Inc. renewed its lease of 10,200 square feet in Chesterfield Marketplace at 1000-1385 Carmia Way.  Richard Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant, and Jim Ashby and Alex Wotring represented the landlord. 2018-05-18T20:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mpv-properties-purchases-site-for-future-aaa-store MPV Properties purchases site for future AAA store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mpv-properties-purchases-site-for-future-aaa-store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mpv-properties-purchases-site-for-future-aaa-store#When:20:18:00Z MPV Properties has purchased 1.67 acres in Chesterfield County for a future AAA Car Care Insurance and Travel Store. MPV, a full-service commercial real estate firm based in Charlotte, N.C.., purchased the property for $1.193 million. The property is leased to AAA Club Alliance. The property is situated along 1301 Mall Drive in Chesterfield County. Bruce Bigger of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the purchaser, and David M. Smith, CCIM, also with Thalhimer, represented the seller. 2018-05-18T20:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-purchased-for-future-virginia-tire-auto.-store Chesterfield land purchased for future Virginia Tire & Auto. store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-purchased-for-future-virginia-tire-auto.-store http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-purchased-for-future-virginia-tire-auto.-store#When:20:17:00Z A buyer, 7501 Harper’s Green Way LLC, has purchased 1.64 acres of land in Chesterfield County for a Virginia Tire and Auto store. The land was purchased from Hampton Park Commercial II for $1.4 million. The land is located at The Shoppes at Harper’s Mill at 7600 Otterdale Road off Hull Street. Allyson P. Wiggins and Pete Waldbauer of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2018-05-18T20:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vita-it-contract-with-saic-to-create-40-new-jobs-in-dickenson VITA IT contract with SAIC to create 40 new jobs in Dickenson http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vita-it-contract-with-saic-to-create-40-new-jobs-in-dickenson http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vita-it-contract-with-saic-to-create-40-new-jobs-in-dickenson#When:20:16:00Z Virginia Information Technology’s Agency contract with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) is expected to create 40 jobs in Dickeson County by this fall, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday. Earlier this year, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) approved a loan up to $2 million to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to build out the second floor of a building in the Dickenson County Technology Park in Clintwood for SAIC. The 40 employees will provide IT help via telephone and email to the VITA Customer Care Center, helping the state’s employees. “The local officials and economic development leadership in Dickenson County were a huge reason we decided to locate our service desk in Clintwood. They have been welcoming and responsive to the needs of SAIC and VITA from the very beginning of our search process,” Nazzic Keene, chief operating officer of SAIC, said in a statement.    SAIC was selected to serve as VITA’s multisourced services integrator (MSI), which means the company will coordinate efforts of several suppliers providing IT infrastructure services. Those include messaging, mainframe, security, end-user, server/storage and voice/video/network services. VITA will continue to provide governance and oversight of the MSI as it coordinates, monitors and reports on IT infrastructure services. VITA is moving from a single-source, long-term IT services contract to multivendor, shorter-term contracts. SAIC is an IT contractor headquartered in Reston. 2018-05-18T20:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NE_Retail_Corner_View_copy.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hr-retail-selected-to-market-retail-component-of-200-stovall H&R Retail selected to market retail component of 200 Stovall http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hr-retail-selected-to-market-retail-component-of-200-stovall http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hr-retail-selected-to-market-retail-component-of-200-stovall#When:18:53:00Z H&R Retail announced Thursday it has been selected by PerseusTDC and Four Points to be the brokerage firm for the retail component of the redevelopment of 200 Stovall in Alexandria. The project includes developing an office building into a 635,000-square-foot mixed-use development. It will include 25,000 square feet of retail, 520 apartments and 246 parking spaces. The development will be near the Eisenhower Metro station, Hoffman Town Center, headquarters for the U.S. Patent & Trade Office and the National Science Foundation headquarters. The H&R retail team will include Principals Ray Schupp and David Ward. “The property is strategically positioned adjacent to AMC Hoffman Theater, a future Wegmans, and strong daytime generators that will allow us to curate a fantastic merchandising mix,” Schupp said in a statement. “We plan to target restaurants, banks, specialty fitness and unique-service retailers as an amenity for the future residents of the building.” 200 Stovall broke ground in March 2018, and initial units are expected to be ready in the fourth quarter of 2019. Full completion is slated for 2020. 2018-05-17T18:53:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/KrispyKorner.jpeg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-acquires-krispy-korner-shopping-center-for-6.7-million JCR acquires Krispy Korner Shopping Center for $6.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-acquires-krispy-korner-shopping-center-for-6.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jcr-acquires-krispy-korner-shopping-center-for-6.7-million#When:18:51:00Z The JCR Cos. of Washington, D.C., has acquired Krispy Korner Shopping Center in Alexandria for $6.7 million. The property, which formerly housed a Krispy Kreme doughnut bakery, is located at 6328 Richmond Highway (U.S. 1) in one of the area’s busiest retail corridors. More than 1,000 residential units are planned or under construction within 2 miles of the site, all close to the Huntingdon Metrorail station. Krispy Korner is JCR’s 10th shopping center acquisition since 2012 and its second this year. “As we continue the aggressive expansion of our retail portfolio in the greater Washington, D.C., market, we hope to expand into other major markets across the country,” JCR Principal Joe Reger said in a statement, adding that the firm recently acquired and recapitalized 11 retail assets in Florida, Oregon and Pennsylvania. 2018-05-17T18:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most1 Millennials don’t pay for advice, but they need it the most http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most1#When:18:01:00Z There is a common misconception that millennials don’t save and instead spend a lot of their hard-earned cash on things like Starbucks or avocado toast. But in reality, millennials, who were raised in part during the Great Recession, are financially conservative. I have found that millennials do in fact save, but they don’t always use the best vehicle for savings. Many members of this generation have chosen to put money into savings accounts rather than invest it. More than half of millennials — 66 percent — said they plan to rely on their savings accounts for expenses during the next 20 years, according to the 2017 Merrill Edge Report. Millennials’ attitudes towards money were shaped witnessing family and friends struggle from 2008 through the early 2010s. Fearful of another recession, 80 percent of young adults expect to live through another downturn. They value the financial security that savings accounts offer, so they embrace a “do-it-yourself” mentality towards finances. Retirement is so far off that it can be difficult for them to visualize. The reality is that millennials are missing out on significant retirement savings by keeping most of their earnings in regular savings accounts. Today, most savings accounts earn less than 1 percent a year, whereas the markets have steadily increased each year since the Great Recession. The average annual return of the S&P 500 has been between 11 and 12 percent during the past 40-plus years. Those who did not invest missed out on that growth and will need to save that much more to accomplish their retirement goals. A majority of this generation also do not have pensions, so it’s crucial to build up retirement savings elsewhere.  Luckily, millennials have time on their side. The earlier they start to save, even if it’s a small amount, the more they’ll have at retirement due in part to compounding interest. Compound interest, which is when interest earns interest, plays a major role in building up retirement savings. The money initially invested earns interest, and over time that interest is reinvested and starts to earn its own interest. I recently met with a younger client who had built up $50,000 in cash (imagine if he had invested!). He was interested in determining the best place to put this money, but we first had to prioritize his financial goals. Young investors in particular have a lot of competing financial priorities, from paying off student loan debt to saving for a down payment, putting money away for their children’s college tuition or funding their own retirement. With so many priorities, it can be difficult and overwhelming to know where to start. This client’s primary goal was to use his savings to purchase a home in the next few years. If my client had gone ahead and invested the cash on his own, he would have most likely put it into an investment that did not align with his risk tolerance or the time horizon for when he would need the money. Investing his money too aggressively would have put it at risk of not being able to withstand a large loss in the market. By prioritizing his financial goals, we were able to determine that the best course of action was to purchase high-quality bonds that would mature when the money was needed.  By working with an advisor, millennials receive a level of detailed guidance they won’t get from an app or through a savings account. Advisers can help guide them through the up, and yes, the down markets they are likely to experience in a lifetime. Advisers can help create a plan that is unique to each client’s own situation. While millennials are able to crowdsource so many other decisions — from finding the best taco joint to getting feedback on a new business idea — a financial plan shouldn’t be based on what others do with their money. I often see young clients make financial decisions based on what someone close to them does, whether that be choosing a particular investment or deciding how much to put into their 401(k). It’s important to remember that friends and family have different financial goals and circumstances. What is right for them may not be right for you. An adviser can also help address important financial decisions that far too many of us leave until it’s too late. I’ve even helped connect investors of all ages with legal advisers to establish a durable power of attorney and advanced medical directives as well as help look into purchasing appropriate long-term disability and umbrella liability policies. These might seem like decisions that can wait until someone is more established in a career and in life but setting them up early can help prevent unexpected events from wrecking finances. Financial success requires long term planning. Starting towards the beginning of a career will put millennials in the best position. The guidance they get, or choose not to get, about their financial plan will impact the rest of their lives. Matthew Anderson is a senior vice president and financial planner withThe Wise Investor Group at Baird in Reston. 2018-05-17T18:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most Millennials don’t pay for advice, but they need it the most http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/millennials-dont-pay-for-advice-but-they-need-it-the-most#When:18:01:00Z There is a common misconception that millennials don’t save and instead spend a lot of their hard-earned cash on things like Starbucks or avocado toast. But in reality, millennials, who were raised in part during the Great Recession, are financially conservative. I have found that millennials do in fact save, but they don’t always use the best vehicle for savings. Many members of this generation have chosen to put money into savings accounts rather than invest it. More than half of millennials — 66 percent — said they plan to rely on their savings accounts for expenses during the next 20 years, according to the 2017 Merrill Edge Report. Millennials’ attitudes towards money were shaped witnessing family and friends struggle from 2008 through the early 2010s. Fearful of another recession, 80 percent of young adults expect to live through another downturn. They value the financial security that savings accounts offer, so they embrace a “do-it-yourself” mentality towards finances. Retirement is so far off that it can be difficult for them to visualize. The reality is that millennials are missing out on significant retirement savings by keeping most of their earnings in regular savings accounts. Today, most savings accounts earn less than 1 percent a year, whereas the markets have steadily increased each year since the Great Recession. The average annual return of the S&P 500 has been between 11 and 12 percent during the past 40-plus years. Those who did not invest missed out on that growth and will need to save that much more to accomplish their retirement goals. A majority of this generation also do not have pensions, so it’s crucial to build up retirement savings elsewhere.  Luckily, millennials have time on their side. The earlier they start to save, even if it’s a small amount, the more they’ll have at retirement due in part to compounding interest. Compound interest, which is when interest earns interest, plays a major role in building up retirement savings. The money initially invested earns interest, and over time that interest is reinvested and starts to earn its own interest. I recently met with a younger client who had built up $50,000 in cash (imagine if he had invested!). He was interested in determining the best place to put this money, but we first had to prioritize his financial goals. Young investors in particular have a lot of competing financial priorities, from paying off student loan debt to saving for a down payment, putting money away for their children’s college tuition or funding their own retirement. With so many priorities, it can be difficult and overwhelming to know where to start. This client’s primary goal was to use his savings to purchase a home in the next few years. If my client had gone ahead and invested the cash on his own, he would have most likely put it into an investment that did not align with his risk tolerance or the time horizon for when he would need the money. Investing his money too aggressively would have put it at risk of not being able to withstand a large loss in the market. By prioritizing his financial goals, we were able to determine that the best course of action was to purchase high-quality bonds that would mature when the money was needed.  By working with an advisor, millennials receive a level of detailed guidance they won’t get from an app or through a savings account. Advisers can help guide them through the up, and yes, the down markets they are likely to experience in a lifetime. Advisers can help create a plan that is unique to each client’s own situation. While millennials are able to crowdsource so many other decisions — from finding the best taco joint to getting feedback on a new business idea — a financial plan shouldn’t be based on what others do with their money. I often see young clients make financial decisions based on what someone close to them does, whether that be choosing a particular investment or deciding how much to put into their 401(k). It’s important to remember that friends and family have different financial goals and circumstances. What is right for them may not be right for you. An adviser can also help address important financial decisions that far too many of us leave until it’s too late. I’ve even helped connect investors of all ages with legal advisers to establish a durable power of attorney and advanced medical directives as well as help look into purchasing appropriate long-term disability and umbrella liability policies. These might seem like decisions that can wait until someone is more established in a career and in life but setting them up early can help prevent unexpected events from wrecking finances. Financial success requires long term planning. Starting towards the beginning of a career will put millennials in the best position. The guidance they get, or choose not to get, about their financial plan will impact the rest of their lives. Matthew Anderson is a senior vice president and financial planner withThe Wise Investor Group at Baird in Reston. 2018-05-17T18:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/universal-broadband-plan-is-presented Universal broadband plan is presented http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/universal-broadband-plan-is-presented http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/universal-broadband-plan-is-presented#When:09:52:00Z A group examining the need for better broadband coverage in rural Virginia unveiled its plan on Wednesday. The Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition (VRBC) presented to Gov. Ralph Northam a four-year plan to achieve the goal of universal connectivity for all Virginians. The proposal will rely on partnerships, innovations and investments by local, state, and federal governments along with support and engagement from providers and communities. The VRBC represents a number of key stakeholder groups with a role in developing policies to encourage broadband expansion across rural Virginia, including: rural-area leaders, business owners, government officials, electric cooperatives and private citizens. "Today, all Virginians want a better quality of life for the next generation,” Rob Jones, executive director of VRBC, said in a statement.  “Someone’s potential for success in life should not be dictated by your zip code.  We need to bring universal connectivity to all Virginians to stay competitive globally and to provide the quality of life our residents deserve.  The previous four governors have invested significant time, energy and resources to expand broadband.  The foundation that they built provides Governor Northam the opportunity to expand upon their efforts and set a bold mission of universal connectivity for all Virginians. “ The coalition said its “Commonwealth Commitment” can serve as a roadmap for many localities hoping to expand broadband access throughout Virginia. The steps in the plan include: 1.      Defining “universal connection;” 2.      Securing resources to achieve universal coverage; 3.      Determining the need and tracking the progress of connecting rural Virginians; 4.      Evaluating best practices from other efforts to deliver broadband to rural areas; and 5.      Connecting the commonwealth by 2022. 2018-05-17T09:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/batten-donates-10-million-to-u.va.-public-policy-and-leadership-school Batten donates $10 million to U.Va. public policy and leadership school http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/batten-donates-10-million-to-u.va.-public-policy-and-leadership-school http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/batten-donates-10-million-to-u.va.-public-policy-and-leadership-school#When:20:13:00Z The University of Virginia announced Wednesday a $10 million gift from Jane Batten to the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. The gift will be matched by the university’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund. The $20 million gift will support the new Batten Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund, which benefits graduate students in the Batten School’s master of public policy program. Batten is the wife of the late Frank Batten Sr.  In 2007, Frank Batten, the former chairman of Landmark Communications, dedicated a $100 million endowment for creation of the school. It is the largest single gift in the university’s history. Earlier this year, an initial $1 million endowment, which also was matched by the Bicentennial Scholars Fund, established the Batten Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund. Fellowships distributed through the fund will impact graduate students arriving at the Batten School in fall 2019. “U.Va.’s Board of Visitors established the Bicentennial Scholars Fund to increase our capacity to make a U.Va. education accessible for talented students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial situations,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said in a statement. Through the fund, the Board of Visitors allocated $100 million to match major gifts supporting student scholarships and fellowships. 2018-05-16T20:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/droneup-completes-executive-team-with-two-additions DroneUp completes executive team with two additions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/droneup-completes-executive-team-with-two-additions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/droneup-completes-executive-team-with-two-additions#When:09:08:00Z Chesapeake-based DroneUp announced this week two additions that will complete its executive leadership team. Craig Coker will serve as chief pilot and vice president of community development. As a drone pilot proficient in technology development, Coker has guided industry leaders in product development and technical analysis, contributing directly to advancements in the drone market. He is recognized by the industry as one of the top drone operators. A former professional freestyle skier, Coker’s creative pursuits have led him to use drone imagery to photograph landscapes, streets, aerials and world-class events. Last year he was among a group of drone pilots that used DroneUp’s mobile app to assist in search and rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey. Anthony Vittone will serve as executive vice president and chief operations officer. Vittone was previously senior vice president of Swimways Corp. in Virginia Beach. At Swimways, he most recently oversaw product development, product integrity, HR, finance, IT and the company’s operations in China. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Richmond and an MBA from the College of William and Mary. Coker and Vittone complete DroneUp’s leadership team, which also includes Tom Walker, founder and CEO; John Vernon, chief technology officer; Joe Fuller, chief information officer; and Jim Harenchar, chief marketing officer. DroneUp’s mission is to connect drone pilots with certification and training to ensure safe operations and compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. 2018-05-16T09:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TomWolfe_1.png AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bestselling-author-tom-wolfe-dies-in-new-york Bestselling author Tom Wolfe dies in New York http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bestselling-author-tom-wolfe-dies-in-new-york http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bestselling-author-tom-wolfe-dies-in-new-york#When:19:11:00Z Bestselling author Tom Wolfe died Monday at a New York hospital at age 88. Wolfe, a Richmond native, was interviewed by freelance writer Martha Steger in the April issue of Virginia Business. Wolfe’s books — including “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” “The Right Stuff,” “Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full”— helped shape public perception on topics ranging from the 1960s counterculture to the lives of the first U.S. astronauts while adding terms like “radical chic” to the lexicon. Wolfe, a graduate of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University and a doctorate in American studies at Yale University. He had lived in New York City since 1962 when he joined the New York Herald Tribune. Wolfe was known as one of the principal practitioners of New Journalism, which employed novelistic techniques in telling a story. In the April interview, Wolfe described the technique as “scene-by-scene construction” of a story rather than historical narrative. He told Steger that he wrote his first novel, “Bonfire of the Vanities,” because he was unable to assemble the vast number of the sources he needed to write a multifaceted nonfiction book about New York. In addition to his distinctive writing style, Wolfe was noted for his attire. In public, he favored three-piece white suits. Wolfe never converted to writing on a computer. In the Virginia Business interview, he told Steger that he continued to use a typewriter until he was unable to find parts for it on eBay.  After that, he wrote his books by hand. Steger had interviewed Wolfe twice before. "In the first interview I did with him ... after 'The Right Stuff' was released, he told me how, at an early age  ... he'd come to regard typing on a typewriter and having the work appear in a magazine as nothing short of miraculous," she said. In the latest interview, Wolfe blamed the internet for shifting the emphasis in writing from style to brevity.  “Because of the glare of the computer screen, it’s unpleasant to be presented with something more than 800 words long,” he told Steger. At the time of the interview, Wolfe was researching a book on the medical profession. He had not decided if it would be fiction or nonfiction. 2018-05-15T19:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-bank-branch-building-sells-in-roanoke Former bank branch building sells in Roanoke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-bank-branch-building-sells-in-roanoke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-bank-branch-building-sells-in-roanoke#When:18:40:00Z A former bank branch building in Roanoke has been sold. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported that BRLR VA LLC purchased the 2,603 square foot building at 1828 Electric Road for $775,000 as an investment. The seller of the property, which is situated on 1.05 acres, is Branch Banking and Trust Co. (BB&T) Jessica Gauldin of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer, and John K. Nielsen and Norman Moon, also with Thalhimer, represented the seller. 2018-05-15T18:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williamsburg-medical-office-condominium-sells-for-1.2-million Williamsburg medical office condominium sells for $1.2 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williamsburg-medical-office-condominium-sells-for-1.2-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williamsburg-medical-office-condominium-sells-for-1.2-million#When:18:39:00Z A medical office condominium in Williamsburg has been sold for $1.2 million. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said Bolster Family Trust purchased the 5,888-square-foot office condo at 477 McLaws Circle in the Busch Corporate Center. The property, which is occupied by Sentara Medical Group, was previously owned by Gregg Klich Enterprises LLC. Bolster Family Trust bought the building as an investment. Drew Haynie of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2018-05-15T18:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-land-sold-for-multifamily-development Hampton land sold for multifamily development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-land-sold-for-multifamily-development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-land-sold-for-multifamily-development#When:18:37:00Z A nearly 5-acre plot of land in Hampton has been sold for a multifamily development. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said The Whitmore Co. purchased the 4.9-acre plot for $1 million. The land, which fronts Libby and Mallory streets in Hampton, was sold by Maida Development Co. Rob Wright of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer, and David Tunnicliffe and Drew Haynie, also with Thalhimer, represented the seller. 2018-05-15T18:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lingerfelt-commonwealth-to-buy-virginia-beach-hotel-for-19-million Lingerfelt CommonWealth to buy Virginia Beach hotel for $19 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lingerfelt-commonwealth-to-buy-virginia-beach-hotel-for-19-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lingerfelt-commonwealth-to-buy-virginia-beach-hotel-for-19-million#When:18:35:00Z Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC, a Richmond-based real estate management firm, will buy the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center for $19 million. Lingerfelt has hired Commonwealth Lodging Management LLC, a Virginia Beach-based hospitality management and consulting firm, to operate and manage the property. The 263,328-square-foot hotel and conference center at 2800 Shore Drive includes 295 suites on a 3.6-acre site along the Chesapeake Bay. Lingerfelt plans a $25 million renovation of the property, It will be rebranded as Delta Hotel by Marriott, a new, full-service brand designed for business and leisure travelers. The new hospitality brand currently has more than 12,000 rooms in 50 hotels across the U.S., Canada and China. "This investment in the Shore Drive corridor aligns with the city's vision for this dynamic Chesapeake Bay-fronted business and residential community," Warren D. Harris, Virginia Beach’s economic development director, said in a statement. The Virginia Beach Development Authority has approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $200,000 based on the company's capital investment of $25 million. The grant funds will be used toward the major renovation and reinvestment in the Shore Drive corridor. Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners has built, acquired and managed nearly 20 million square feet of commercial real estate valued at about $2 billion in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Commonwealth Lodging Management is a subsidiary of Commonwealth Commercial Partners LLC, a Richmond-based commercial real estate firm. 2018-05-15T18:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-receives-nsf-grant-to-recruit-stem-teachers William & Mary receives NSF grant to recruit STEM teachers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-receives-nsf-grant-to-recruit-stem-teachers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/william-mary-receives-nsf-grant-to-recruit-stem-teachers#When:09:34:00Z Faculty at the College of William & Mary have received $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to recruit and place 33 STEM teachers in high-need school districts. The funding is an extension of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at William & Mary. The Noyce Program is an NSF initiative to meet the need for K-12 STEM teachers in U.S. schools by encouraging science and math majors in colleges and universities to consider a career in grades 6-12 education. The NSF funding will prepare and place teachers in Newport News, Hampton, Gloucester, New Kent, York and Williamsburg-James City school districts. William & Mary’s NSF Noyce Program is a partnership between William & Mary’s School of Education, STEM departments and Office of Community Engagement. The program awards substantial scholarships to college- and master's-level STEM students who agree to teach math or science in a high-need school district. The Noyce Program also involves specialized courses, pedagogical training and in-school teaching experiences. Paul Heideman, a biology professor and principal of the Noyce program, said in a statement that the new NSF grant will allow the William & Mary team to investigate the long-term success of the Noyce placements. 2018-05-15T09:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/middleburg-names-regional-property-manager-for-new-development Middleburg names regional property manager for new development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/middleburg-names-regional-property-manager-for-new-development http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/middleburg-names-regional-property-manager-for-new-development#When:14:36:00Z Middleburg, a Vienna-based real estate investment, development and management firm, has named Danielle West regional property manager for new development. West previously was director of asset management for Northwood Ravin. Before her position with Northwood Ravin, West was director of operations for Grubb Properties. West is pursuing a master’s degree in real estate from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Appalachian State University. 2018-05-14T14:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/data-centers-bringing-billions-of-dollars-to-the-new-virginia-economy Data Centers: bringing billions of dollars to the new Virginia economy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/data-centers-bringing-billions-of-dollars-to-the-new-virginia-economy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/data-centers-bringing-billions-of-dollars-to-the-new-virginia-economy#When:09:17:00Z Did you know that Virginia is the No. 1 market for data centers in the United States? Even more interesting, the data center market in Virginia is larger than the data center market in any other entire country in the world. The impact of this market leadership is that data centers are bringing billions of dollars into the New Virginia Economy. A recent report prepared by Mangum Economics and published by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) shows how the success of data centers in Virginia is improving the quality of our lives. I call it the “Data Center Multiplier Effect.” First, there is The Jobs Multiplier. Every job in a data center creates two jobs in companies that serve the data centers. These are good jobs in engineering, technology services, software development, and operations – paying on average twice the private-sector wages in Virginia. And 25 percent of these jobs are located outside of Northern Virginia in Central Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Southern Virginia. All told, data centers in Virginia create 43,000 jobs and $3.2 billion in wages.   Next is The Investment Multiplier. Data center companies are on track to invest about $3 billion this year to construct new data centers and upgrade existing facilities. What’s even more impressive is that $3 billion figure represents about 70 percent of the total capital investment in Virginia! And for every $1 spent building data centers, another $5 is spent buying the computers and equipment that run in the data center. By the way, that computer equipment is replaced every 3 years or so, pumping even more dollars into the Virginia economy. Then there is The Tax Multiplier. Data centers pay a lot in property taxes but don’t use a lot of public services. In fact, for every $1 that data centers use in public services, they pay about $8 in property taxes! This tax multiplier helps to lower our personal property taxes. According to the Mangum/NVTC report, if you live in Loudoun County and the data centers went away, your property taxes would go up by 17 percent. One of the catalysts that sparked the growth of data centers in Virginia was some great forethought by state officials back in 2008, when they enacted a sales and use tax exemption for equipment in data centers. At the time, only five states had these incentives. Now 30 states have them. So we probably did something right. It’s important to note that this sales tax exemption is mostly a benefit to data center customers – the companies that buy computers and equipment to run in the data center. Also, in order to get the sales tax exemption, a data center company has to make a capital investment of at least $150 million and create at least 50 new jobs at one-and-a-half times the average wage in the locality. For example, let’s take one of the big 1 million-square-foot data center campuses in Loudoun County. It’s not out of line for that campus to require $1 billion in capital investment. Let’s assume that $5 billion of computers are purchased to run in that data center with a sales tax exemption of 5.3 percent. That’s a $265 million incentive to get $6 billion in purchases – a pretty good return. This all adds up to one conclusion: by bringing billions of dollars of wages for our workers, revenue for our businesses, investment in our infrastructure and tax money for our neighborhoods, data centers are a crown jewel of the New Virginia Economy. James Leach is corporate vice president of RagingWire Data Centers. He serves as chair of Northern Virginia Technology Council's Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Committee and vice-chair of the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission. 2018-05-14T09:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/booz-allen-hamilton-names-director-of-investor-relations Booz Allen Hamilton names director of investor relations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/booz-allen-hamilton-names-director-of-investor-relations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/booz-allen-hamilton-names-director-of-investor-relations#When:20:31:00Z McLean-based Booz Allen Hamilton announced Thursday it has promoted Nicholas Veasey director of investor relations, effective June 30. Veasey is Booz Allen’s director of mergers and acquisitions. He will succeed Curt Riggle as director of investor relations. Riggle will lead internal financial education efforts in the firm, while continuing to assist with investor relations through a summer transition period. In his new role, Veasey will report to Chief Financial Officer Lloyd Howell Jr. Veasey joined Booz Allen in 2015. Prior to that, he was an investment banker at Deutsche Bank in New York, executing debt, equity and merger transactions for corporate clients. Veasey previously served as a marine reconnaissance platoon commander with multiple deployments to the Middle East following his graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 2002. Booz Allen Hamilton is a major government contractor and consultant to corporations and nonprofits. It has approximately 24,750 employees and logged revenue of $5.8 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2017. 2018-05-10T20:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/three-finalists-contend-for-community-college-presidency Three finalists contend for community college presidency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/three-finalists-contend-for-community-college-presidency http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/three-finalists-contend-for-community-college-presidency#When:20:09:00Z Three finalists are contending to become the next president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. They are Genene D. LeRosen of Glen Allen, Feleccia R. Moore-Davis of Tallahassee, Fla., and Paula P. Pando of Atlantic Heights, N.J. Gary Rhodes, Reynolds’ third president, will retire on Sept. 1 after leading the college for 16 years. The State Board for Community Colleges selected the finalists from 102 applicants. LeRosen has worked at Reynolds since 2003, where she is executive vice president. She earned a doctorate from the College of William & Mary; a master’s degree from Virginia State University and a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany. Moore-Davis has served as the provost of Tallahassee Community College since 2015. She holds a doctorate from Regent University, master’s degree from Texas A&M and a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. Pando is senior vice president for student and educational services at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, N.J. She holds a doctorate from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., a master’s degree from Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J., and bachelor’s degree from Stockton University in Pomona, N.J. The finalists will each visit the college in the middle of May to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.     2018-05-10T20:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/phoenix-senior-living-will-build-two-new-communities-in-virginia Phoenix Senior Living will build two new communities in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/phoenix-senior-living-will-build-two-new-communities-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/phoenix-senior-living-will-build-two-new-communities-in-virginia#When:19:58:00Z Phoenix Senior Living, a Georgia-based senior living operator, has announced a joint venture with Connexion Development Group in South Carolina that will add five new senior living communities, including two in Virginia. The Retreat at Berryville, scheduled to open in the third quarter, will offer 51 units with 29 for assisted living and 22 for memory care. The Retreat at Fishersville will be the same size as Berryville, with construction expected to break ground this year. The five new communities will add a total of 264 assisted living and memory care units throughout South Carolina’s Low Country and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The locations include The Retreat at Lady’s Island in Beaufort, S.C., which is scheduled to open this month.  The remaining sites are in Hartsville and Camden, S. C. Headquartered in Roswell, Ga., privately held Phoenix Senior Living operates 15 communities in their Southeast footprint.  “We are very excited to expand our footprint in South Carolina and Virginia,” Jesse Marinko, founder and CEO of Phoenix Senior Living, said in a statement. “Our continued and strategic growth allows Phoenix to invest into our organization’s human capital and creates jobs throughout the Southeast for individuals who are passionate and bring a servant’s heart to our organization.” 2018-05-10T19:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/media-executive-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board Media executive named to Colonial Williamsburg board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/media-executive-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/media-executive-named-to-colonial-williamsburg-board#When:19:36:00Z Frank Batten Jr., the chairman, president and CEO of Norfolk-based Landmark Media Enterprises LLC and Dominion Enterprises, has been named to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation board of trustees. Batten has served since 1998 as chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications, known since 2008 as Landmark Media Enterprises LLC.  The company owns daily and community newspapers including The Virginian-Pilot. Last August, Batten became president of Landmark and its largest subsidiary, Dominion Enterprises, an electronic media firm. Batten also is president of the Landmark Foundation, which supports human services and educational charities in the Norfolk area. He also serves on the boards of the Access College Foundation, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the Batten School Foundation at the University of Virginia. Bastten earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and his MBA from the University of Virginia. 2018-05-10T19:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ports-portsmouth-terminal-to-have-new-capacity-next-week Port’s Portsmouth terminal opens new capacity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ports-portsmouth-terminal-to-have-new-capacity-next-week http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ports-portsmouth-terminal-to-have-new-capacity-next-week#When:18:16:00Z Monday marks a big day for the expansion of the Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth terminal, Virginia Internal Gateway. The first three new containers stacks are scheduled to come online, increasing VIG’s capacity by 20 percent, said John Reinhart, the executive director and CEO of the Virginia Port Authority. In June, an additional three stacks will be added, increasing the terminal’s capacity by 40 percent. “That will help reduce congestion. That will speed up freight,” Reinhart said during a luncheon of the Virginia Maritime Association’s International Trade Symposium in Norfolk. Also on Monday, VIG will get a new terminal-operating software, the same that is being used at its Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). The N4 terminal operating system is already in use at NIT, Portsmouth Marine Terminal and Richmond Marine Terminal. The common terminal operating system will allow for the expansion of the port’s motor carrier reservation system and more data sharing via PRO-PASS, the port’s web-based hub for motor carrier resources and operational information. The new container stacks are part of a more than $300 million project that will double the capacity of VIG. That project includes a total of 13 new container stacks, 26 new rail-mounted gantry cranes, four new ship-to-shore cranes, the doubling of its rail operation and four new truck lanes. The project also will include a wharf expansion so that the terminal can handle three ultra-large container vessels — or ULCVs — at the same time. ULCVs are the largest ships visiting port terminals today. The entire VIG expansion should be complete in April 2019. The port is simultaneously undergoing a $350 million expansion of Norfolk International Terminals. The NIT expansion includes reconfiguring its container yards to a rail-mounted gantry crane system, which will allow the terminal to stack its containers more densely. That project includes 60 new container-stacking cranes. The port also announced Thursday that its volumes are up 3.6 percent in the current fiscal year. In April, the port processed 219,281 TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent units. That is a 2.6 percent dip from April 2017. 2018-05-10T18:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Render_One2_copy.jpg Rendering of Avonlea courtesy of H&R Retail http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/peterson-cos.-selects-hr-retail-to-lease-avonlea-in-loudoun-county Peterson Cos. selects H&R Retail to lease Avonlea in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/peterson-cos.-selects-hr-retail-to-lease-avonlea-in-loudoun-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/peterson-cos.-selects-hr-retail-to-lease-avonlea-in-loudoun-county#When:17:59:00Z The Peterson Cos. has selected H&R Retail as the retail brokerage firm responsible for marketing and leasing the retail component of Peterson’s new project, Avonlea, in Loudoun County Avonlea will be a 30-acre, mixed-use development near the intersection of Route 50 and Loudoun County Parkway. Construction is expected to begin on its first phase, with a theater, 200,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of office, this year.  Phase I also will include outdoor plazas, cafe-style seating, fire pits and a water feature. The project is scheduled to be open by 2020. At full build-out, Avonlea could contain as much as 650,000 square feet of retail with additional office and residential. H&R Retail said it seek a tenant mix of retail, sit-down and fast casual restaurants, small boutiques, daily needs users, entertainment, and fitness tenants. Already signed is Cinepolis, a theater with 11 screens and 748 seats. David Ward, Ray Schupp, and Sean Harcourt will lead the H&R retail team. H&R Retail is the largest retail-only brokerage firm inthe Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area, specializing in landlord and tenant representation and investment sales. With offices in Baltimore and Bethesda, Md., H&R said it represents more than 18 million square feet of r etail space and 88 big box, specialty stores and restaurants. 2018-05-10T17:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bwxt-names-joel-w.-duling-president-of-nuclear-operations-group-subsidiary BWXT names Joel W. Duling president of nuclear operations group subsidiary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bwxt-names-joel-w.-duling-president-of-nuclear-operations-group-subsidiary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bwxt-names-joel-w.-duling-president-of-nuclear-operations-group-subsidiary#When:17:33:00Z BWX Technologies Inc. said Thursday that Joel W. Duling has been appointed to succeed retiring BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. President Joe G. Henry effective June 22. Currently, Duling serves as president of BWXT subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS)  Inc. in Erwin, Tenn. He has nearly 30 years of leadership and management experience in the manufacturing and nuclear industries including reactor operations, nuclear facility operations, armor and steel manufacturing, safety, environmental compliance and remediation. Prior to joining NFS in 2013 as director of operations, Duling was vice president of production at the Y-12 National Security Complex where he was responsible for the refurbishment of nuclear weapons components for the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Other nuclear leadership roles include serving as director of the Specific Manufacturing Capability Project at Idaho National Laboratory, Babcock & Wilcox site manager of the Naval Reactors Facility decommissioning project, and program manager for uranium and waste storage, treatment and disposal at Fernald Environmental Management Project. 2018-05-10T17:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southwest-virginia-legislator-targets-opioid-crisis Southwest Virginia legislator targets opioid crisis http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southwest-virginia-legislator-targets-opioid-crisis http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southwest-virginia-legislator-targets-opioid-crisis#When:09:55:00Z As a health care professional, state Del. Todd Pillion of Abingdon has a special perspective on the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the localities he represents in Virginia’s General Assembly. Pillion, a pediatric dentist, has successfully sponsored key legislation to address the crisis. He represents the 4th House District, which includes Dickenson County and parts of Wise, Russell and Washington counties. “Virginia has become a leader in passing not only legislation but regulations through the Board of Medicine and Dentistry,” Pillion said. “There’s no magic bullet – this epidemic isn’t going to go away no matter what we do. But we have seen improvements.” During this year’s regular legislative session, the General Assembly passed three opioid-related bills introduced by Pillion, a Republican who was elected in 2014. Gov. Ralph Northam has signed the measures into law: ·         HB 1556 will add the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone and other Schedule 5 drugs for which a prescription is required to Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program. This will allow the Virginia Department of Health to monitor whether prescribers and dispensers are following state regulations and to deter the illegitimate use of prescription drugs. By adding naloxone to the list, officials can track if it is being co-prescribed with opiates in order to prevent fatal overdoses. ·         HB 1157 will require the Department of Health to develop and implement a plan of action for substance-exposed infants in Virginia. The plan must support a “trauma-informed approach” to identifying and treating substance-exposed infants and their caregivers, explore how to improve screening of substance-using pregnant women, and use multidisciplinary approaches to intervention and service delivery during the prenatal period and following birth. ·         HB 1173. Under current law, physicians who prescribe opioids are not required to request information from Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program as long as the prescription does not exceed 14 days and is treatment for a surgical or invasive procedure. HB 1173 eliminates the exception for prescriptions related to surgical and invasive procedures to bypass the PMP. The three new laws will take effect July 1. 2018-05-10T09:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/41079559915_0ee0d9981d_z.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rural-county-accuses-drug-makers-of-fueling-opioid-epidemic Rural county accuses drug makers of fueling opioid epidemic http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rural-county-accuses-drug-makers-of-fueling-opioid-epidemic http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rural-county-accuses-drug-makers-of-fueling-opioid-epidemic#When:09:45:00Z   Tucked between news of budget meetings and beauty pageant winners published in The Dickenson Star’s 2017 “Year in Review” is a grim statistic: Dickenson County was first in the state and sixth in the nation in opioid overdose deaths per capita. In Dickenson County, in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia bordering Kentucky, residents have been dying of prescription opioid overdoses in recent years at a rate of about 40 per 100,000 people — more than seven times the statewide rate. The newspaper’s annual review is cited in the introduction of a lawsuit filed by Dickenson against 30 pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and providers including Purdue Pharma, Abbott Laboratories and CVS Health Co. Represented by the Sanford Heisler Sharp law firm and The Cicala Law Firm, Dickenson is suing for $30 million in damages. The suit says the defendants deliberately increased the flow of opioids into the county, state and country. The case is one of the latest examples of communities across the nation suing pharmaceutical companies and associated businesses and alleging that they had a role in creating the epidemic. In Virginia, the city of Alexandria is suing for $100 million while in neighboring Maryland, Montgomery and Prince George counties have also taken legal action. Joanne Cicala, founder of the Cicala Law Firm, which has offices in Texas and New York, says those who are responsible for and profited from the epidemic must be held accountable for its costs. “The opioid epidemic is not accidental. It is not a natural disaster; it is a man-made crisis,” Cicala said. “And worse — the companies that did this were not just seeking to build market share — they knew they were creating addicts.” In more than 100 pages, the lawsuit tells the story of how Dickenson County — with a population of fewer than 16,000 residents spread out over 334 square miles — was drawn into a prescription opioid overdose epidemic that claimed more than 500 lives across the state in 2017. Did manufacturers ‘push opioid as safe, effective drugs’? As with any drug that enters the prescription market, the distribution process begins with manufacturers. In the case of the opioid epidemic, one of the manufacturers is Purdue Pharma, a company known for its best-selling opioid — OxyContin. In Dickenson, the lawsuit claims, Purdue Pharma and other defendants recognized “the enormous financial possibilities associated with expanding the opioid market.” So they “rolled out a massive and concerted campaign to misrepresent the addictive qualities of their product, and to push opioids as safe, effective drugs for the treatment of chronic pain,” the suit alleges. According to the lawsuit, the drug manufacturers took part in a “campaign of deception” rooted in a since-disavowed study by Dr. Russell Portenoy published in the Medical Journal, “Pain,” in 1958. In the study, Portenoy claimed that opioids could be used for long periods of time “without any risk of addiction” to treat chronic pain unrelated to cancer. The study said patients in pain would not become addicted to opioids because their pain drowned out the euphoria associated with the drugs. Within a decade, Portenoy was financed by at least a dozen pharmaceutical companies, most of which produced prescription opioids. The lawsuit argues that Portenoy’s study — paired with the practice of spending millions of dollars on promotional activities that understated the risks of opioids — not only legitimized but normalized the prescribing of opioids in Dickenson and across the country. In the case of OxyContin — Purdue’s time-released version of oxycodone — promotional materials given to physicians included this key sentence: “Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.” The drug companies’ sales representatives marketed directly to physicians, ensuring that doctors would be advocates for certain drugs, the lawsuit said. As a result, it contended, the pharmaceutical manufacturers were able to insert their products directly into specific markets. In 2014 alone, the manufacturing defendants named in the Dickenson lawsuit spent more than $168 million on pursuing branded opioid sales contracts with doctors, the lawsuit said. Fifty-four years after publishing his study justifying the prescription of opioids, Portenoy acknowledged that he erred in understating the risks of addiction associated with such drugs. “Did I teach about pain management, specifically about opioid therapy, in a way that reflects misinformation? Well, against the standards of 2012, I guess I did,” Portenoy said in an interview that year with The Wall Street Journal. “We didn’t know then what we know now.” How pharmacy benefit managers influence drug prices As explained in the lawsuit, pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are the middleman between the manufacturers and the marketplace; they influence which drugs are used most frequently, set prices for pharmacies and control what drugs are covered by health insurance providers. PBMs include Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRX — all named as defendants in the lawsuit. These companies serve as gatekeepers through controlling lists known as “drug formularies” that identify prescription drugs with the greatest overall value. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies negotiate financial arrangements, including rebates for preferred placement on drug formularies, the lawsuit said. It said manufacturers compete for spots on the list in order to ensure greater utilization of the drugs they make. Not only do PBMs have the power to make opioids cheaper – they can make less addictive medications harder to acquire, the lawsuit said. For example, it said, United Healthcare places morphine on its lowest-cost coverage tier with no prior permission required; in contrast, Lyrica, a non-opioid drug prescribed for nerve pain, is on the most expensive tier, requiring patients to try other drugs first. Not just a health crisis but an economic one The impact of the opioid epidemic in Dickenson is multifaceted. While the county’s overdose rates are the most conspicuous consequence of the epidemic, the increased flow of opioids into the region has had a ripple effect on the county’s economy, health-care system and workforce. In 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified Dickenson as one of eight Virginia counties that are vulnerable to the rapid dissemination of HIV and hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs. L. Christopher Plein, a professor of public administration at West Virginia University, said the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis, but it also has far-reaching economic consequences. “Communities become severely stressed by having to respond and deal with this crisis, and they may lack the resources to provide treatment, engage law enforcement and provide recovery services,” Plein said. “These communities may not be as attractive to outside investors and businesses if they develop a reputation of being tied to the opioid epidemic.” The lawsuit argues that the opioid epidemic has significantly and negatively impacted nearly every aspect of the county’s $26 million budget and the public services it provides, including health care, emergency medical services, social services, law enforcement and drug prevention, education and treatment. Dickenson has had to buy opioid antagonists such as naloxone – medications that can reverse drug overdoses. Moreover, the county has lost tax revenues because of the opioid crisis, the lawsuit said. For example, the drug epidemic has affected the job market and workforce in Dickenson. The Virginia Employment Commission reported last week that Dickenson’s unemployment rate in March was 6.6 percent — double the statewide rate. Dickenson had the fifth-highest jobless rate among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities. Del. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, says these consequences can no longer be ignored. “Dickenson County is on the tipping point of having an unemployable workforce,” Pillion said. “They have difficulty recruiting industry because the only articles in the news are talking about overdoses and opioids.” Purdue responds: ‘No longer promoting opioids’ In response to the growing number of lawsuits brought against the company, Purdue Pharma announced in February that it would stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors. “We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the company said in a written statement. Purdue officials said that they cut their sales staff in half in the week following the announcement and that the remaining staff would pivot to focus on other products. Kevin Sharp, lead counsel for Dickenson County’s lawsuit, called the announcement a step in the right direction. But he said the damage already inflicted demands a more comprehensive response. “There’s a lot more that has to be done to solve this problem,” Sharp said. “They have to remedy past harm. And the parties are going to have to work together to find out the best way to minimize – and end if possible – the harm that is being caused.” Purdue Pharma has yet to file a response to the Dickenson County lawsuit but provided the following statement: “We are deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and we are dedicated to being part of the solution. As a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines with collaborative efforts to solve this public health challenge. “Although our products account for less than 2 percent of the total opioid prescriptions, as a company, we’ve distributed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, developed three of the first four FDA-approved opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and partner with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxone.” Expanding treatment for opioid addiction In April 2017, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services launched the Addiction Recovery and Treatment Services program to help increase access to treatment for Virginians battling opioid addiction. The ARTS program was established primarily to help ease the burden on hospital emergency departments in treating patients with opioid-related issues, particularly in rural areas like Dickenson County. The program expands treatment to Medicaid recipients by combining traditional medicine with counseling and other support systems. It also offers training and financial incentives to providers to encourage participation among outpatient treatment centers, doctors and hospitals. “Providers are responding to the critical need for addiction treatment,” said Dr. Katherine Neuhausen, chief medical officer for DMAS. “Today, more than 350 new organizations are providing these life-saving services to Virginia Medicaid members. The number of outpatient opioid treatment services has increased from six to 108, including 79 office-based opioid treatment programs combining medication with counseling and other essential supports.” According to an evaluation by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Health Behavior and Policy, the program has increased the number of Medicaid recipients receiving treatment for opioid addiction by more than 50 percent, and the number of opioid-related emergency hospital visits by Medicaid recipients declined by nearly one third.   2018-05-10T09:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Untitled.png Hanover Square North shopping center courtesy CoStar Group Inc. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/real-estate-investment-trust-buys-mechanicsville-shopping-center-for-12.2-m Real estate investment trust buys Mechanicsville shopping center for $12.2 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/real-estate-investment-trust-buys-mechanicsville-shopping-center-for-12.2-m http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/real-estate-investment-trust-buys-mechanicsville-shopping-center-for-12.2-m#When:18:56:00Z   Hanover Square North, a 72,440-square-foot shopping center in Mechanicsville, has been sold for $12.2 million to Medalist Diversified Holdings LLC, a real estate investment trust. According to Commonwealth Commercial Partners in Henrico County, which announced the sale, the transaction closed on May 8. Commonwealth Commercial developed, managed, leased and then sold the property at 7230 Bell Creek Road. The shopping center was built in 2007 and sits on 9.6 acres. Evan Ocheltree, Craige Pelouze and Russell Wyatt represented the sellers, COF North LLC and COF North II LLC, in the transaction. 2018-05-09T18:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bwxt-announces-new-medical-isotope-manufacturing-technology BWXT announces new medical isotope manufacturing technology http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bwxt-announces-new-medical-isotope-manufacturing-technology http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bwxt-announces-new-medical-isotope-manufacturing-technology#When:23:40:00Z Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. has developed a new medical isotope manufacturing technology. The company says the technology will create a stable North American supply of a critical diagnostic imaging radionuclide, molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The Mo-99 will be used in newly designed technetium-99m (Tc-99m) generators that are in commercial development at BWXT. The new proprietary technology features a patent-pending neutron-capture process developed by BWXT scientists and engineers. The process will use molybdenum rather than uranium targets, a move that BWXT says will mitigate radioactive waste streams, eliminate nuclear proliferation concerns and lead to a significant reduction in production and waste costs. Mo-99 is the parent radioisotope of Tc-99m, which is used in more than 30 million medical procedures around the world every year. BWXT expects to enter the roughly $400 million global Tc-99m segment through generator sales to radiopharmacies. The company’s initial focus will be on the North American market. The company expects to submit its new line of Tc-99m generators for regulatory approval next year. BWXT also plans to introduce the Mo-99 product line by the end of next year, subject to regulatory approvals, and intends to apply its expertise to a variety of other medical and industrial isotopes. 2018-05-08T23:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-newport-news-sells-for-1.9-million Industrial building in Newport News sells for $1.9 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-newport-news-sells-for-1.9-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-building-in-newport-news-sells-for-1.9-million#When:20:11:00Z   902 LLC has purchased a 32,715-square-foot building on 3.9 acres at 810 Bluecrab Road in Newport News for $1.9 million from Eagle Leasing Inc. Glenn Gibson of Norfolk-based Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate represented the buyer in the transaction. In another deal for Harvey Lindsay, Renfrow Investments bought a 21,112-square-foot building on 2.3 acres at 1429 Crossways Blvd. in Chesapeake for $2.3 million. The seller was Frederick Reames. Gibson and Clark Baldwin handled this transaction. 2018-05-08T20:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kettler-names-stephanie-polyzois-vice-president-of-debt-finance Kettler names Stephanie Polyzois vice president of debt finance http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kettler-names-stephanie-polyzois-vice-president-of-debt-finance http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kettler-names-stephanie-polyzois-vice-president-of-debt-finance#When:19:35:00Z Kettler, a real estate development and property management company based in McLean, has named Stephanie Polyzois vice president of debt finance. With more than 30 years of experience primarily in the multifamily housing market, Polyzois will lead all debt-financing activities of Kettler’s real estate portfolio. Her responsibilities include originating, negotiating, underwriting and documenting credit facilities, including secured and unsecured lines of credit, bridge facilities, construction loans and acquisition loans. According to Kettler, Polyzois has experience originating and underwriting multifamily debt through broker and banker networks. She comes to Kettler from PNC bank and has previous experience with Alliant Capital, Wachovia Multifamily Capital, Johnson Capital, and Green Park Financial. Throughout her career, Polyzois has worked for major national banks and finance and investment companies originating multifamily, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA and balance sheet loans. Kettler owns and manages residential and mixed-use projects throughout the mid-Atlantic and select locations in the south. In the Washington, D.C., region, it recently opened Highgate at the Mile, an apartment community in Tysons. 2018-05-08T19:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-gets-third-high-speed-subsea-cable Virginia Beach gets third high-speed subsea cable http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-gets-third-high-speed-subsea-cable http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-gets-third-high-speed-subsea-cable#When:18:44:00Z ACA International LLC, which recently announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Virginia Beach, has announced a partnership with South Atlantic Express International Ltd. (SAEx) to land the third high-speed subsea cable in Virginia Beach. ACA said Tuesday that it would be the landing party and neutral co-location service provider for the main trunk of the SAEx cable. According to Virginia Beach city officials, the 72 terabit-per-second bandwidth SAEx cable will be the only system connecting South Africa directly to the U.S. It will combine with a partner system from Fortaleza, Brazil, to offer a diverse transatlantic network, with a planned second phase from South Africa to Asia. "This is the third high-speed cable agreement to be finalized in Virginia Beach," Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris, said in a statement.  "This new connection from South Africa is a significant addition to our global connectivity infrastructure and strengthens the city's position as a Tier One digital community." The world's fastest subsea data cables installed by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius connect Virginia Beach to Europe and South America. Globalinx Data Centers also is building a 150,000-square-foot, three-phased data center campus close to the Telxius Cable Landing Station in Virginia Beach. Rosalind Thomas, managing director of SAEx International, said in a statement that extending SAEx to the U.S. “will boost access to the worldwide infrastructure and open up traffic diversity to increase access and service reliability, as demand from consumers and businesses grows rapidly. We are pleased to be collaborating with ACA International in the expansion of services and applications that are enabled by high-bandwidth networks, which are a catalyst for economic and social progress." SAEx, based in Mauritius with a subsidiary company in South Africa, is building the third cable to connect Mtunzini on KwaZulu-Natal's north coast to Yzerfontein north of Cape Town, with branching units in East London and Port Elizabeth. The cable will cross the South Atlantic to Fortaleza in Brazil to link to a partner system, with a direct link to Virginia Beach. ACA International previously announced plans to buy a 10.2-acre site in Corporate Landing Business Park for a 130,000-square-foot facility that will house its new corporate headquarters offices, a tier III data center providing neutral co-location services and also serve as the cable landing station. Ben Davenport, a Virginia Beach City Council member, noted that the third cable would bring local benefits as well. “… Virginia Beach has a robust broadband infrastructure that is being upgraded to support the next generation of telecommunication systems," Davenport said in a statement. "A 126-linear mile municipal fiber network provides connectivity throughout the region ensuring municipal, educational and commercial facilities have access to the best digital technology available. The digital infrastructure is also available to help private carriers provide high quality." 2018-05-08T18:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ccp-commercial-real-estate-buys-nashville-office-flex-portfolio CCP Commercial Real Estate buys Nashville office/flex portfolio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ccp-commercial-real-estate-buys-nashville-office-flex-portfolio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ccp-commercial-real-estate-buys-nashville-office-flex-portfolio#When:18:39:00Z       Virginia Beach-based CCP Commercial Real Estate has acquired a five-building office/flex portfolio in Nashville, Tenn.,  for an undisclosed price.   The company said the five-building, 413,000-square-foot portfolio in the Airport North and Metro-Center submarkets is 97 percent leased to multiple tenants. CCP acquired the property on May 4.   According to the company, CCP now owns about 1 million square feet of institutional grade commercial real estate in the Nashville market.    “We are very pleased with our continued expansion into one of the best secondary markets in the United States,” Jeremy R. McLendon, CCP’s president said in a statement. “The Nashville office and industrial markets have experienced some of the highest rent growth in the country over the last few years, creating the opportunity for attractive net operation income (NOI) growth,” he said. “We were able to purchase the property at an attractive discount to replacement cost.” CCP Commercial Real Estate owns and operates more than 3 million square feet of commercial property. 2018-05-08T18:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-based-branch-group-acquires-l.-a.-lacy Roanoke-based Branch Group acquires L. A. Lacy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-based-branch-group-acquires-l.-a.-lacy http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-based-branch-group-acquires-l.-a.-lacy#When:15:43:00Z The Branch Group Inc. in Roanoke, one of Virginia’s largest construction companies, said Monday that it has acquired the assets of L. A. Lacy Inc. in Charlottesvile for an undisclosed price. L. A. Lacy, a plumbing, HVAC and mechanical contracting company, will continue to operate under its current name. The company was founded in 1922. Jeff Lewis, who joined L.A. Lacy, in 2016, has been retained as president of the company. J. William Karbach, CEO of The Branch Group, Inc. said in a statement that the acquisition “is a sign that we are doubling-down on our mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) operations and supports our long-range strategic growth plans by significantly improving our go-to-market capabilities, scalability, and economy of scale, throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States.” Karbach added that what he described as this “modest transaction is what we hope is the first of many future, more aggressive expansions into other MEP markets, positioning us for a 20-year market trajectory and beyond.” The Branch Group, along with its subsidiaries, touches all aspects of the built environment through G.J. Hopkins, Inc. (another MEP business), Branch Civil Inc., and Branch and Associates, Inc.  The Engineering News-Record ranks The Branch Group as No. 209 among the top 400 largest construction companies in the U. S. In 2017, Branch Group, a privately held company, said it had total revenues of nearly $400 million and a workforce of more than 800 employees. It operates as an employee stock ownership Plan (ESOP), which gives employees a vested interest in its growth. 2018-05-07T15:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grubb-properties-buys-275000-square-foot-office-building-in-fairfax-for-38 Grubb Properties buys 275,000-square-foot office building in Fairfax for $38.8 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grubb-properties-buys-275000-square-foot-office-building-in-fairfax-for-38 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grubb-properties-buys-275000-square-foot-office-building-in-fairfax-for-38#When:14:52:00Z Grubb Properties, based in Charlotte, N.C., has acquired a 275,000-square-foot office building in Fairfax for $38.8 million, or about $141 per square foot. The acquisition marks the company’s first investment in Northern Virginia. The property, known as Argon Plaza, is located in the Fair Lakes master-planned community, which offers visibility and access to I-66. It’s within walking distance to numerous amenities including a Whole Foods store, a Starbucks cafe and Hyatt Regency hotel. Grubb Properties said it purchased the property from C-III Asset Management in a transaction handled by HFF and NAIGlobal. Grubb Properties plans to make capital improvements to the building to upgrade its tenant amenities, and it will conduct a leasing program for the property. The building's anchor tenant, a defense contractor specializing in military technology and intelligence, occupies more than 50 percent of the building. It recently signed a five-year lease renewal. “With its amenity-rich … location and strong anchor tenant, Argon Plaza is a perfect addition to our growing office portfolio,” Todd Williams, chief investment officer at Grubb Properties, said in a statement. Grubbs previously invested in the state’s multifamily market, including Link Apartments in Manchester and Sterling Beaufont Apartments, both in Richmond. 2018-05-07T14:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/food-lion-will-invest-168-million-in-105-stores-in-greater-hampton-roads Food Lion will invest $168 million in 105 stores in greater Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/food-lion-will-invest-168-million-in-105-stores-in-greater-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/food-lion-will-invest-168-million-in-105-stores-in-greater-hampton-roads#When:14:50:00Z     Food Lion says it will invest $168 million to remodel 105 stores in the Hampton Roads region, including some in eastern North Carolina. According to the Salisbury, N.C.-based grocer, the capital investment will go towards remodeling the stores, lowering prices, expanding the assortment of products, hiring about 5,000 new employees and promoting current employees. Additionally, the company plans additional community partnerships through Food Lion's hunger-relief initiative Food Lion Feeds. The company’s list of stores on the remodel list include 22 in Virginia Beach, 12 in Chesapeake, eight each in Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk and five stores each in Portsmouth, and Suffolk.  Stores in Nags Head, Corolla and Kitty Hawk located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina also are on the list.   The remodeling comes at the time when the grocery market is in flux and Food Lion, Hampton Roads’ dominate grocer, may be trying to protect its turf.  Supervalu announced in March that it was selling 21 of its 38 Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy Stores in Hampton Roads to Kroger and Food Lion for $43 million cash. Of the 21 stores, 10 will be sold to Kroger’s Harris Teeter brand, eight will be sold to Kroger’s  Mid-Atlantic Division,  and three will be sold to Food Lion.  With the sale, each of the three brands indicated that some of the stores would close for rebranding and renovations. The deals are expected to close this month.   Food Lion said all of the 105 stores will remain open with normal operating hours during the remodeling. Once complete, the company said, these locations will be designed for easier navigation, so customers can get in and out quickly. Additionally, they will offer an expanded variety of products, such as more local, natural, organic and gluten-free items, Food Lion said. Twelve of the 105 stores will feature walk-in garden coolers designed to keep produce fresher longer. Six stores will include expanded deli departments with handmade artisan pizza, a wing bar and a coffee and soda station. Food Lion said it has remodeled 544 of its more than 1,000 stores across its 10-state operating area in the last four years. The grocer has more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states and employs more than 63,000 associates. It is a company of Ahold Delhaize USA, the U.S. division of Zaandam-based Royal Ahold Delhaize Group.   2018-05-07T14:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/landmark-media-enterprises-donates-5-million-to-odu Landmark Media Enterprises donates $5 million to ODU http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/landmark-media-enterprises-donates-5-million-to-odu http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/landmark-media-enterprises-donates-5-million-to-odu#When:16:12:00Z Landmark Media Enterprises’ foundation is donating $5 million to Norfolk-based Old Dominion University. The donation will provide 500 in-state, undergraduate students with $2,000 scholarships for the upcoming school year. The scholarships can be renewed for up to $2,000 per year. ODU estimates that after financial aid, students are short an average of $1,700 a year. “That means that some may go without a meal or a textbook or, in the worst case, will leave Old Dominion before graduating,” the university said in a statement. Landmark Media Enterprises businesses include Dominion Enterprises and The Virginian-Pilot, both based in Norfolk. Landmark President, CEO and Chairman Frank Batten Jr. is a former rector of ODU's Board of Visitors. Batten's father, Frank Batten, who died in 2009, was the first rector of Old Dominion's board. In 2003, he donated $32 million to the University. 2018-05-04T16:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/world-distribution-services-renews-167077-square-foot-lease-in-norfolk World Distribution Services renews 167,077-square-foot-lease in Norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/world-distribution-services-renews-167077-square-foot-lease-in-norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/world-distribution-services-renews-167077-square-foot-lease-in-norfolk#When:20:46:00Z World Distribution Services has renewed its lease for 167,077 square feet of industrial space at 6969 Tidewater Drive in Norfolk.  Stephanie Sanker of S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. represented the landlord. In other Hampton Roads transactions for S. L. Nusbaum:    Food Lion modified its lease on 35,994 square feet of retail space at Kempsville Plaza in Virginia Beach. Murray Rosenbach represented the landlord.   TJ Maxx exercised its option on 29,750 square feet of retail space at Monticello Marketplace in Williamsburg. Tyler Jacobson represented the landlord.   East Pearl W Mercury Holding LLC has purchased the Greenwood Shopping Center, a 17,008-square-foot retail building at 2501-2525 W. Mercury Blvd. in Hampton from Gerry Wilkins LLC for $1.6 million.  Mike     Zarpas and Joseph Mersel represented the seller.    The Regent of Virginia Beach LLC purchased a 15,478-square-foot office building at 1851 Old Donation Parkway in Virginia Beach from Voogt Rehabilitation Center L.L.C. for $1.2 million. Ashley Bussey, Bill Overman, and John Wessling represented the seller, and Stephanie Sanker represented the buyer. 2018-05-03T20:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-virginia-company-projects-win-awards Three Virginia company projects win awards http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-virginia-company-projects-win-awards http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-virginia-company-projects-win-awards#When:20:23:00Z   Three companies with projects in Virginia have been named recipients of Trade & Industry Development’s 13th annual CiCi (corporate investment and community impact) awards. The magazine dedicated to corporate site selectors recognized American Merchant (Bristol) and Navy Federal Credit Union (Frederick County) in the Community Impact category. Facebook, which plans to build a massive new data center in Henrico County, was recognized in the Corporate Investment category. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which announced the winners Thursday, 30 companies were selected out of several hundred projects submitted, based on their announced plans for economic development in 2017. Navy Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest credit union, is investing $100 million to expand its Winchester operations. Last October, Facebook announced more than $1 billion of new investment in Virginia. The social media giant plans to directly invest $750 million to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center in Henrico County. In addition, due to a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the Commonwealth to service Facebook’s Henrico center with 100 percent renewable energy. The project is expected to bring thousands of construction jobs to the region and more than 100 full-time operational jobs.  American Merchant, Inc., a subsidiary of Merchant House International Ltd., a Hong Kong-based designer and manufacturer of home textiles, seasonal décor products and leather shoes, said in December that it would invest $19.9 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Bristol, creating 405 jobs.   2018-05-03T20:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image003.jpg.jpeg 8090 Villa Park Drive courtesy CBRE|Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/swag-partners-buys-henrico-county-office-building-for-2.8-million Swag Partners buys Henrico County office building for $2.8 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/swag-partners-buys-henrico-county-office-building-for-2.8-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/swag-partners-buys-henrico-county-office-building-for-2.8-million#When:20:12:00Z A 26,290-square-foot, office building in Henrico County has been sold to SWAG Partners LLC, an entity affiliated with Boost Promotional Branding, for $2.9 million, or about $109 per square foot. The single-story building at 8090 Villa Park Drive will serve as the new headquarters for Boost Promotional Branding. The woman-owned business is one of the largest promotional products distributors in the U.S., with more than 5,000 customers nationwide from the health-care, sports, technology and education industries. Will Bradley and Matt Anderson of CBRE|Richmond represented the seller, DAAR LLC, in the transaction along with Andrew Gibb of 7 Hills Advisors. Previously the building housed Draper Aden Associates. 2018-05-03T20:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-buys-new-hampton-inn-suites-in-phoenix-for-44-millio Apple Hospitality REIT buys new Hampton Inn & Suites in Phoenix for $44 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-buys-new-hampton-inn-suites-in-phoenix-for-44-millio http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-buys-new-hampton-inn-suites-in-phoenix-for-44-millio#When:18:36:00Z Richmond-based Apple Hospitality Inc. said Thursday that it has acquired the newly constructed 210-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Phoenix Downtown for a about  $44 million, or $210,000 per room. “The new Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown is a great addition to our portfolio of select-service hotels,” Nelson Knight, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Apple Hospitality, said in a statement.  “The hotel is sure to benefit from its prime location … Our attractive [per room] purchase price for this hotel is another example of the benefits we achieve from our ability to enter into a fixed-price contract with the developer prior to construction.” The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton located at 77 East Polk St. is adjacent to Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus and is less than a mile from the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix and Northern Arizona University’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The hotel is also close to many corporate offices and attractions including the Phoenix Convention Center, Symphony Hall, Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field. Following this acquisition, Apple Hospitality said its portfolio includes 242 hotels with more than 30,700 guest rooms throughout 34 states. 2018-05-03T18:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/metro-area-jobless-rates-show-little-change-in-march Metro-area jobless rates show little change in March http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/metro-area-jobless-rates-show-little-change-in-march http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/metro-area-jobless-rates-show-little-change-in-march#When:20:32:00Z Unemployment in Virginia’s metro areas largely remained unchanged in March. The Virginia Employment Commission reported on Wednesday that, in comparison to February’s results, March jobless rates showed no change in seven of 11 metropolitan statistical areas. The VEC numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do not account for seasonal fluctuations in the labor market. Unemployment rose by one-tenth of a percentage point in two metro areas, Harrisonburg and Northern Virginia, while falling by the same sliver of a percentage point in two others, Lynchburg and Winchester. The VEC numbers in all metro areas were down significantly in March compared to the same month last year. The New River Valley area, for example, saw its jobless rate fall from 5.1 percent in March 2017 to 3.4 percent in March 2018. Northern Virginia continued to have the lowest unemployment rate this March, 2.8 percent, followed closely by Charlottesville at 2.9 percent and Winchester at 3 percent. No area recorded a jobless rate above 3.8 percent. Virginia’s unemployment rate for March 2018 was 3.3 percent. The national rate for the month was 4.1 percent. A breakdown of the Virginia metro-area numbers shows: Bristol: 3.7 percent in March, unchanged from February. Charlottesville: 2.9 percent, unchanged. Hampton Roads: 3.6 percent, unchanged. Harrisonburg: 3.3 percent, up from 3.2 percent. Lynchburg: 3.8 percent, down from 3.9 percent. New River Valley: 3.4 percent, unchanged. Northern Virginia: 2.8 percent, up from 2.7 percent. Richmond: 3.5 percent, unchanged. Roanoke: 3.4 percent, unchanged. Staunton-Waynesboro: 3.1 percent, unchanged. Winchester: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent. At 2.2 percent, Arlington continued to have the lowest unemployment rate of any Virginia city or county. It was followed by Falls Church at 2.3 percent and Alexandria at 2.5 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, Northampton County on the Eastern Shore had the highest jobless rate, 7.2 percent, followed by Buchanan County at 7 percent and Petersburg at 6.8 percent. 2018-05-02T20:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/john-marshall-bank-names-new-president-and-ceo John Marshall Bank names new president and CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/john-marshall-bank-names-new-president-and-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/john-marshall-bank-names-new-president-and-ceo#When:19:51:00Z Christopher “Chris” W. Bergstrom has been named president and CEO of Reston-based John Marshall Bank. Bergstrom held a variety of executive positions during his 19 years with Cardinal Financial and Cardinal Bank, serving as its president and CEO before it was acquired by United Bank in April of last year. Bergstrom was United Bank’s president for the past year before joining John Marshall Bank. John R. Maxwell, who was previously John Marshall Bank’s chairman and CEO, now will be executive chairman of the board. The bank’s holding company, John Marshall Bancorp Inc., reported total assets of $1.23 billion during the first quarter of 2018 ending March 31. Year-over-year asset growth, from March 2017 to March 2018, was $151.3 million, an increase of 14 percent. The company has banking centers in Reston, Alexandria, Arlington, Leesburg, Rockville and Washington, D.C. A seventh branch in Tysons Corner is scheduled to open late summer. 2018-05-02T19:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joe-mays-family-foundation-donates-5-million-to-virginia-techs-college-of-e Joe May’s family foundation donates $5 million to Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joe-mays-family-foundation-donates-5-million-to-virginia-techs-college-of-e http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joe-mays-family-foundation-donates-5-million-to-virginia-techs-college-of-e#When:15:55:00Z     Former legislator Joe T. May and his family are giving Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering $5 million. The May Family Foundation gift will be used to create a multi-year program that aims to increase the number of first-generation engineering students who enroll and graduate from Virginia Tech. May, chairman and chief technology officer of Loudoun County-based Electronic Instrumentation and Technology (EIT), earned an electrical engineering degree from the school in 1962. “A couple of people in small ways were very helpful in getting me on track and allowed me to end up getting an engineering degree from Virginia Tech, and frankly ending up with a career that’s been very satisfying to me and I think helpful in general,” May said in a statement.   That’s one of the reasons May, his wife, Bobby, and two daughters, one of whom is a Virginia Tech alumna, made the gift, which the university announced Tuesday morning during a state of the college speech by Julie M. Ross, Tech’s dean of engineering. “As we move forward in our collective visioning of the College of Engineering, we know we must continue to make attending Virginia Tech engineering more accessible,” Ross said in a statement. “The May family’s gift will expand our ability to recruit and retain first-generation students to engineering. To address society’s greatest challenges we need to attract the best students from all backgrounds and areas of the commonwealth.” The May's had previously endowed two electrical engineering scholarships in memory of their son Philip A. May ('89). The May gift comes at a time when Ross, who began her tenure at Tech last July, has increased the focus on “inclusive excellence” — her term for supporting all students to succeed in meeting the standards of Virginia Tech engineering. “I think the timing is excellent because Dean Ross comes with a lot of new ideas and a receptive mind, and we’re presenting what we hope and think are some new, good ideas and it appears to have every chance of synergy,” May said.    Starting this year, the May Family Foundation Pathway for 1st Generation Students will begin its first round of student selections. Virginia Tech will recruit 60 promising first-generation students from Virginia (starting in the ninth grade).   Once selected, the students will connect with the College of Engineering through four programming sessions. The first session would come after their freshman year of high school, when the students will be invited to spend two weeks on Tech’s campus. They will receive an introduction to engineering disciplines through lab tours and learn about college preparation and planning. During the second session, the same cohort of students will return to Virginia Tech for a second summer camp the summer before the 11th grade. The focus of this session will include mentoring the rising 10th-grade students and SAT preparation. For the third session, students will return before their senior year of high school for the program’s final summer camp. This session will include mentoring rising 10th- and 11th-grade students, as well as providing instructions on college applications, scholarships searches, and scholarship applications. Additionally, this camp would offer a session for parents of first-generation students, which will help prepare them for the college application process. Students in their senior year of high school would be invited to participate in fall visitation. There, they will have the opportunity to submit their applications and find out their admission status. For the fourth and final session, matriculating students will participate in a five-week engineering boot camp that reinforces foundational courses, such as chemistry and math. During the academic year, they would live in a dorm that brings together female and male first-year engineering students in a residential environment and provides encouragement and support in their pursuit of engineering careers. According to Tech, the graduation rate for first-generation students who participate in such residential programs is about 85 percent, significantly higher than the 60 percent graduation rate for those who have a traditional dorm experience. Over the duration of a five-year pilot program, the project is expected to provide 300 students with the gateway to pursue engineering degrees. May is a former legislator who served in the Virginia House of Delegates as the representative of Clarke and part of Loudoun counties from 1994-2014. Through the years, he has been recognized with many honors including the Lifetime Achievement Award in Industry, the Governor's Legislative Leadership Award in Technology, the Greater Washington Area "Engineer of the Year, and the Virginia Biotechnology Legislator of the Year.     2018-05-02T15:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coconstruct-to-expand-albemarle-operations CoConstruct to expand Albemarle operations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coconstruct-to-expand-albemarle-operations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coconstruct-to-expand-albemarle-operations#When:20:59:00Z CoConstruct is expanding its Albemarle County operation, creating 69 new jobs. The company provides a web-based project management system for customer homebuilders and remodelers. It plans to spend $485,000 on the expansion. Founded in 2004, CoConstruct provides custom home builders and remodelers with web-based and mobile apps to streamline the home-building process. The company focuses on simplifying the key areas of selections, scheduling, change orders, client/vendor communication management, to-do and warranty item management, files and photos.   “My wife and I chose to relocate to Albemarle County because of the great quality of life—outdoor activities, top-ranked schools, and cultural opportunities,” CoConstruct Founder and CEO Donny Wyatt said in a statement. “And when our experience building a home prompted the idea for CoConstruct, it was only natural to want to establish the company here. As we rapidly grow our team, we leverage those same benefits of the area to help us import talent from across the country.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support CoConstruct’s job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Under the program, the company is eligible for $1,000 per job, up to total of $69,000. 2018-05-01T20:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Valor_Phase_II_Main1_copy.jpg The exterior of Phase II, Valor Apartment Homes, courtesy S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/works-begins-on-second-phase-of-affordable-housing-community-in-fredericksb Works begins on second phase of affordable housing community in Fredericksburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/works-begins-on-second-phase-of-affordable-housing-community-in-fredericksb http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/works-begins-on-second-phase-of-affordable-housing-community-in-fredericksb#When:19:39:00Z S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. has started work on the second phase of Valor Apartment Homes, a $15 million affordable housing community in Fredericksburg. The Norfolk-based commercial real estate firm said Tuesday that completion of the project would bring the total number of units to 248. The 128-unit first phase was finished early last year. The site is located on Fall Hill Avenue, directly across from a Wegman’s supermarket and within walking distance to Central Park. In addition to apartments, the community also will offer 78 townhomes for sale. They are being developed by Stanley Martin Homes. Phase II will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans with granite countertops in the kitchens and baths and washers and dryers. Valor amenities include a clubhouse, fitness center and pool.  The community has also been designed with energy-efficient features, to help lower residents’ ongoing utility expenses. Leasing for the second  phase is scheduled to begin in spring 2019. TS3 Architects designed the community. Bowman Consulting and Morgan Keller Construction of Frederick, Md., is the general contractor. S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. worked with Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), Wells Fargo, and TowneBank to secure financing for the project. Nusbaum manages about 23,000 apartment units and has developed more than 50 communities throughout the mid-Atlantic. 2018-05-01T19:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/could-renting-in-retirement-be-the-new-american-dream Could renting in retirement be the new American Dream? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/could-renting-in-retirement-be-the-new-american-dream http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/could-renting-in-retirement-be-the-new-american-dream#When:13:45:00Z Work hard, save diligently, buy a home (maybe even with a white picket fence), have kids, retire. This is the quintessential American Dream. This classic vision of the American Dream clearly doesn’t take into consideration the outrageous housing prices that exist in the DC metro area. As a Maryland native and financial adviser in the Beltway, I can assure you that the exorbitant housing prices are not a new phenomenon. Nor are the conversations I have with individuals who want to pay off their home before retirement, but then mention they have no intention of staying in the area. Like the American Dream, retirement conjures up a common image as well, where post-work life involves warmer climates, relaxing, traveling, perfecting golf games and spending time with kids and grandkids. Unfortunately, there’s often a struggle of trying to strike a balance between wanting to move to a lower cost — not to mention warmer — area, while also staying close to family. A possible solution to these retirement woes? Renting. The decision to rent or own in retirement comes down to two major factors: financial freedom and lifestyle flexibility. If you rid yourself of homeownership in your golden years, you could travel freely to spend more time with your kids and grandkids without incurring the continuous cost burdens when owning a property. Because of the high housing costs throughout the DC area, a large chunk of a couple’s net worth is likely tied up in their residences. Just a few weeks ago, The Washington Post reported that in McLean the median sales price of a single-family home was an eye-popping $1,025,000 in 2017. At that rate, if a family has lived in a similarly priced McLean property for the past 20 years and paid off their mortgage entirely, their cost of ownership is nearly $20,000 per year on average after taxes, insurance and upkeep. On the other hand, if the family in McLean sells their million-dollar-plus house and invests the proceeds into a diversified portfolio that hypothetically earns an average of 7 percent each year, they could see their economics change for the better. The potential benefit, when properly managed, may produce enough cash flow to exceed the net cost of renting in many regions. In the popular retirement hubs — the Carolinas, Tennessee and Florida — it is not uncommon to find a beautiful three-bedroom house on a golf course available to rent for less than $3,000 per month. Gone are the high property tax bills, homeowner’s insurance costs and countless hours fixing broken appliances and painting the basement. Hello, financial independence! Beyond the potential financial benefits, renting in retirement offers the flexibility to move when your personal needs change. When you rent, you are not tied to any one area of the country and will not be forced to sell a property at an inopportune time. If a child’s job takes him or her from DC to Denver, for instance, you may want to move to be closer to your kid and grandkids. This scenario is not a stretch. In the modern work environment, two-thirds of employees are actively looking or open to a new job. If your children are frequently moving, it may not make financial sense to keep buying and selling properties. Between broker fees and closing costs with each move, it often takes several years to break even on a property. Renting provides the freedom to make these kinds of changes without major financial ramifications. Another benefit of renting is the ability to “test-drive” retirement locations. If you and your spouse can’t decide on a destination or community, renting provides the flexibility to shop around without the additional costs associated with purchasing a property. There is no “one-size-fits all” retirement plan, and renting during retirement may not be for everyone. However, having conversations with your family and qualified professionals about this unconventional approach could bring you closer to a financially sound, fulfilling and carefree retirement. Because when it comes down to it, isn’t the most important aspect of the American Dream personal happiness? Drew Malay, CFP, CMFC, is a vice president at Cassaday & Co. Inc., an award winning.  independent wealth management firm in McLean, managing $2.7 billion in assets (as of April 2018). 2018-05-01T13:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/arconic1_copy.png Gov. Ralph Northam, left, welcomes Daniel Cruise, a corporate vice president for Arconic http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arconic-to-relocate-headquarters-from-new-york-city-to-fairfax-county Arconic to relocate headquarters from New York City to Fairfax County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arconic-to-relocate-headquarters-from-new-york-city-to-fairfax-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arconic-to-relocate-headquarters-from-new-york-city-to-fairfax-county#When:20:19:00Z Arconic Inc., a Fortune 500 metals manufacturer, said Monday that it plans to relocate its global headquarters from New York City to Fairfax County. The move would bring about 50 jobs to the county. No decision has been made yet on an exact location, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). The announcement came during a gathering of officials, including Gov. Ralph Northam at the Tower Club at Tysons. “We are pleased to establish Arconic’s global headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia — an area that is home to several aerospace and defense customers, a world-class talent base, and which offers a favorable quality of life for employees and a high level of connectivity to our key locations,” Arconic CEO Chip Blankenship, said in a statement. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the FCEDA to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $750,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project. Northam noted in his comments that Arconic already has multiple locations in Virginia.  The company, with more than 60 facilities in the U.S., currently has offices in Hampton, Harrisonburg and Martinsville. Arconic was created in November 2016 when Alcoa split into two public companies. Alcoa’s bauxite and aluminum products were spun off into Alcoa Corp. Alcoa Inc. became Arconic, which creates aluminum products used in the aerospace, automotive and construction industries. On the same day it was announcing relocation plans, Arconic’s share price dropped by nearly 21 percent to $17.81 by the close of the stock market. The drop followed the release of the company’s first-quarter earnings, which slashed its 2018 forecast for profit. Arconic said it expects increased operation costs, with aluminum prices expected to  remain high this year as a result of sanctions on Russian supplies and a 10 percent duty on Russian imports. President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on Rusal, Russia's biggest aluminum producer, and some other companies, in response to Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election. In terms of corporate announcements, April was a busy month for Northern Virginia. Arconic is the third corporate announcement in as many weeks with Gerber Products  announcing plans in mid April to relocate its U. S. headquarters from New Jersey to Arlington. On April 16, Appian, a fast-growing vendor of business process management software, said it was moving from Reston to the former Gannett Co. headquarters building at Tysons in a headquarters expansion that will retain 600 existing jobs in Virginia and create 600 new jobs over the next five years. 2018-04-30T20:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/subdivision-adjacent-to-proposed-megasite-in-chester-sells-for-1.4-million Subdivision land adjacent to proposed megasite in Chesterfield County sells for $1.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/subdivision-adjacent-to-proposed-megasite-in-chester-sells-for-1.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/subdivision-adjacent-to-proposed-megasite-in-chester-sells-for-1.4-million#When:16:12:00Z A local homebuilder has purchased the land for a 99-lot subdivision adjacent to a controversial proposed megasite near Chester. Commonwealth Commercial Partners, based in Henrico County, said Monday that brokers Ryan Fanelli and Sam Worley represented Stoney Glen LLC in the sale of a 99-lot subdivision at 15310 Wellspring Road. According to Commonwealth Commercial, Richmond-based NK Homes, which has built homes in the counties of New Kent, Hanover and Henrico, purchased the 63-acre property for $1.4 million. The list price for the land at Commonwealth's website was $2.2 million. The land was described as what would be Phase Two of the Wellspring development, with active new home sales in the Phase One development averaging $382,000. The Wellspring subdivision is adjacent to a 1,675-acre site near Branders Bridge Road that the Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority wants to buy to create a megasite that might attract a large industrial user. The plan has met stiff opposition from the community and some Republican state lawmakers, including state Sen. Amanda Chase, who represents Chesterfield County.  Currently, the large tract is zoned residential. For the megasite proposal to move forward, the land would have to be rezoned to industrial. 2018-04-30T16:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grtc-pulse-to-begin-service-in-june GRTC Pulse to begin service in June http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grtc-pulse-to-begin-service-in-june http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grtc-pulse-to-begin-service-in-june#When:16:12:00Z Richmond’s long-awaited bus rapid transit system, GRTC Pulse, opens to the public on June 24th. Representatives from the commercial real estate community expect the project to spur development and boost property values around the line. The 7.6-mile route will transport riders from Rocketts Landing in Richmond to Willow Lawn in Henrico County. The buses will run every 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak periods. The fare to ride the Pulse is the same as local routes, $1.50 per ride or 75 cents for reduced fare customers. “We are excited to see this project connect residents, workers and visitors in our city,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement. “One quarter of the city’s population and two thirds of all jobs in Richmond are within a half mile of the Pulse. This new service, when integrated with our new Richmond Transit Network Plan, can become the transit heartbeat of our thriving city.” The same day the Pulse service launches, significant transit improvements across Richmond will also take effect for GRTC riders. The City of Richmond’s new network with all new routes, numbers and increased frequencies launches June 24. The line is sponsored by Bon Secours Richmond and VCU health systems. According to the Greater Richmond Transit Co., the project will be completed on budget and on time with the contractual completion date of June 30. Construction began in mid-August 2016. 2018-04-30T16:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-health-options-leases-26740-square-feet-in-chesapeake Beacon Health Options leases 26,740 square feet in Chesapeake http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-health-options-leases-26740-square-feet-in-chesapeake http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-health-options-leases-26740-square-feet-in-chesapeake#When:16:08:00Z Beacon Health Options has leased 26,740 square feet at 1400 Crossways Blvd. in Chesapeake. Mark Schumacher with Cushman & Wakefield in Boston, Mass., and Christine M. Kaempfe with Thalhimer in Virginia Beach handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. In other transactions for Thalhimer in Hampton Roads: Health Net Federal Services LLC renewed a 21,100-square-foot lease at 241 Enterprise Drive in Newport News.  Bobby Phillips handled the lease negotiations. McElroy Metal Mill Inc. renewed its lease of 16,000 square feet at 3052 Yadkin Road in Chesapeake. Tom Dana handled the lease negotiations. Prologix Distribution Service renewed a 10,000-square-foot lease at 520 Woodlake Circle, Chesapeake. Tony Weiss handled the lease negotiations. 2018-04-30T16:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/FocusedUltrasound_2.png Dr. Jeffrey Ruth holding Maddi Smith, the first dog treated in the study.Photo courtesy Virginia Tech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/not-just-for-humans Not just for humans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/not-just-for-humans http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/not-just-for-humans#When:02:00:00Z Here’s another reason why dogs are man’s best friend. A research effort now underway at Virginia Tech’s Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is testing a new technology — focused ultrasound — as a way to treat soft-tissue cancers in dogs. Besides helping animals recover from tumors, the lessons learned during these treatments might help improve the use of focused ultrasound for human patients. Both dogs and humans get these kinds of sarcomas, says Dr. Jeff Ruth, assistant professor in the school’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. “So, the things we learn from these dogs could translate to people,” he says. The research is made possible through a partnership with the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Foundation, which was founded in 2006. Since then, the foundation pushed this technology forward by supporting the research, development and the commercialization of focused ultrasound technology. More than 100 conditions Dr. Neal Kassell, the foundation’s chairman and founder, says there are now more than 100 conditions being studied for focused ultrasound treatment, among them Alzheimer’s disease, essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and metastatic breast cancer. These efforts are underway around the U.S. and in nearly 60 other nations. Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive treatment that uses sound waves to destroy tissue. Most of the research still is in the early stages, though knowledge of its possible uses is growing “exponentially,” Kassell says. “The foundation is in a position to influence that trajectory” and accelerate the use of focused ultrasound. The technology is being used to treat an ever-increasing number of people: 15,000 in 2014, rising to more than 50,000 in 2016. The total for last year isn’t available yet, but Kassell hopes it will be around 100,000 patients. The foundation has an annual budget of $8 million to $10 million, with about 35 full-time and seven part-time employees. Five physicians help lead the foundation, including Dr. Suzanne LeBlang, the chief medical officer, who has more than 10 years clinical experience with focused ultrasound for uterine fibroids and bone metastases. Kassell is a former co-chair of neurosurgery at the University of Virginia. $10 million donation The foundation depends on donors, and Kassell is pretty good at fundraising. Last fall, the foundation received an anonymous $10 million donation, which is to be matched by 2022. Kassell thinks the matching funds will be in place this year or next. Private-sector investors also are interested in the technology. In December, Koch Disruptive Technologies, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, invested $150 million in Israel-based Insightec, a commercial-stage, medical-device company that uses MRI-guided focused ultrasound. The veterinary research is something of an outlier, because pretty much all the other efforts involve human illnesses. The Virginia Tech study itself is just beginning. The foundation grant is for up to $170,000, which will cover almost all stages of treatment for up to 20 dogs. That includes scans and the lab work and the surgery itself, which happens after the ultrasound treatment. Cocker spaniel treated So far, just one dog has been treated — a cocker spaniel — and the first indications are that focused ultrasound treatment has caused the dog’s own immune system to respond to the cancer, Ruth says. “The reason cancer survives and thrives in the body is basically it disguises itself to look like just any other cell,” which means the immune system won’t know to attack it, Ruth says. “However, if you take these cancer cells and break them apart, it breaks down the cell membrane and exposes the proteins inside the cancer cells to the immune system.” In October, the foundation will host its sixth International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound, this time in Reston. About 400 people are expected to attend. There’s still a lot of work to do, Kassell says. Almost too much. “The foundation’s been more successful than anybody anticipated,” he says. The challenge now is, how to focus its resources “in areas where we can be most effective. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out which can translate into treatments.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Virginia_Buisiness_at_Hall_of_Fame.png (From left) Jessica Sabbath, Veronica Garabelli, Bernie Niemeier, Hunter Bendall, Robert Powell and Paula Squires. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-is-inducted-into-hall-of-fame Virginia Business publisher is inducted into hall of fame http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-is-inducted-into-hall-of-fame http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-publisher-is-inducted-into-hall-of-fame#When:02:00:00Z Bernie Niemeier, the president and publisher of Virginia Business, was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in March. He was one of seven people recognized at an awards dinner at the Altria Theater in Richmond. The other honorees included: Joseph Cortina, creative director of Cortina Productions; Pamela K. El, executive vice  president and chief marketing officer for the National Basketball Association; Jane Gardner, a former television news anchor who lectures on resilience and cancer survival and does voice work for Studio Center; Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer; Jesse Vaughan, a film director who heads the Advance Creative Services Group at Virginia State University; and Dwayne Yancey, the editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times, who also is an author and playwright. Niemeier has been publisher of Virginia Business since 2007. In 2009, he led a private-equity funded purchase of the magazine from its owner, Media General Inc. Last June, he purchased the company’s outstanding shares from his partners, becoming sole owner of the magazine. Niemeier spent more than 30 years in the newspaper business, including 17 on Media General’s corporate staff where he served as division vice president in charge of strategic planning, market research and newspaper acquisitions. Niemeier has won a number of awards for editorial writing from the Virginia Press Association and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. He serves on the board of trustees at Sweet Briar College and is a past board member of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and a past chair of LEAD Virginia. The Virginia Communications Hall  of Fame is housed at the Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie-3535.png Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/journalism-matters Journalism matters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/journalism-matters http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/journalism-matters#When:02:00:00Z On Friday, April 6, the editorial page editor of The Denver Post published a column on the newspaper’s website titled “News Matters.”  The column was harshly critical of the Post’s owners for yet another round of staff cuts at the 125-year-old, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper. The sub-headline read, “Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves.”  Among other criticisms, the column went so far as to describe the newspaper’s New York-based hedge-fund owners as “vulture capitalists.” Eight additional opinion columns, many from former staffers, were a part of the complete online package. In any other industry, such actions would be treated as an insubordinate takeover of company assets from the factory floor.  For the Post, its publishing peers received this as a highly laudable act of courage.  At Virginia Business, we support that opinion. While this magazine is intrinsically business friendly and sympathetic to management, we agree that no publishing enterprise can or should be run with profit as the only goal.  In fact, no business in any industry can sustain itself with only profit in mind.  Employees matter, customers matter, quality matters, and, in this case, journalism matters.  When such matters go untended, profit becomes impossible. Interestingly, after local Post management consulted with executives at Alden Global Capital, the paper’s hedge-fund owner, the editorial page editor responsible was not relieved of his duties.  The digital columns also ran in that Sunday’s print edition of the Denver Post.  Credit the owners for getting that call right. It’s worth giving some context here.  Just a decade ago, when Denver had two dailies managed under a joint operating agreement, there were approximately 450 journalists serving readers.  The other paper, the Rocky Mountain News, became defunct in 2009. During the next few years, the Post saw its former owner, the newspaper chain MediaNews, go bankrupt.  The Post then was sold to Alden, who purchased several other large-market newspapers in the depth of the Great Recession. Collectively, the newspaper group  now does business under the name Digital First Media. The 30 positions axed in this latest round of cuts will take out nearly one-third of the Post’s remaining 100 newsroom employees, leaving about 60 daily newspaper journalists to cover the 21st largest metro area in the U.S.  In another cost-cutting move, the paper has decamped from its longtime downtown Denver headquarters, moving all employees to its suburban printing plant six miles from the central business district. Colorado is currently the second-fastest growing state in the U.S., driven largely by growth in the Denver metro area.  When these facts are taken all together, it’s appropriate and reasonable to think in terms of what kind of newspaper Denver deserves. Some might ask why this should matter.  It matters to our democracy, which depends on informed citizens.  There is a reason why the First Amendment is first.  In this age of false equivalence, fake news does not equal real news. Some might think this is all a result of readership declines — not true.  People consume more information today than at any time in history.  Like the Post, nearly all newspapers have a robust online presence in addition to print. What may be less apparent is that advertising fragmentation has become even greater than audience fragmentation.  The longstanding business model for media relies on support from paid advertising. Digital advertising price points don’t cover the cost of local newsgathering.  In our technology-obsessed world, it’s become far too common to see low advertising budgets chasing low-cost solutions, inevitably delivering subpar results. Click-ability is not the same as accountability.  Digital “likes” add up, but to what?  To their advertisers, new media platforms too often have said, “trust me,” while delivering bots instead of real consumers. Thomas Jefferson’s proviso, “A democratic society depends on an informed and educated citizenry,” relies largely on freedom of the press.  Let’s hope in Denver and elsewhere that such high ideals and the truth espoused by quality journalism shall remain. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DSC6243.png Mary Baldwin University is one of 14 colleges participating in an innovative retirement plan. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/retirement-plan-makes-virginia-a-national-leader Retirement plan makes Virginia a national leader http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/retirement-plan-makes-virginia-a-national-leader http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/retirement-plan-makes-virginia-a-national-leader#When:02:00:00Z The University of Virginia men’s basketball team entered the NCAA tournament as the top team in the country only to have its national championship ambitions dashed in the first round. A group of private, nonprofit Virginia colleges, on the other hand, have been recognized as first in the nation in a recent collaborative effort, and they are not likely to be dethroned. The Virginia colleges’ field of endeavor wasn’t basketball, but an employee retirement plan. That’s not an area of education that attracts much visibility, much less cheerleaders and pep bands. The colleges are members of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia.  CICV represents 28 private, nonprofit colleges in government relations and helps them collaborate on projects that can streamline their operations. CICV’s collaborative retirement plan likely will set a precedent for private higher education for years to come. Many small colleges, especially, may follow the association’s lead in an effort to lower costs, diminish administrative burdens and retain faculty. In short, this “Virginia way” may help these colleges stay competitive. About 10 years ago, CICV developed a self-insured consortium that now provides health insurance at 16 member schools. That accomplishment gave its members the gumption to attack an even more difficult issue, retirement plans. In recent years, colleges’ oversight responsibilities for their employee retirement plans have been growing nationwide. At the same time, the competition for good students has become increasingly intense, putting pressure on schools to restrain tuition increases. In this situation, adding employees to meet retirement plan regulations can become an administrative burden. The intent of CICV members was to create a 403(b) Multiple Employer Plan (MEP), a retirement plan offered by a group of colleges instead of each school having its own program. MEPs are common in the business world, allowing several employers to work together in providing 401(k) defined-contribution retirement plans to their employees. Like a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) plan gets its name from the section of the federal tax code outlining such retirement programs for nonprofit employers. CICV members soon encountered a roadblock in their MEP effort. “We quickly realized that it had never been done in the nonprofit world,” says Robert Lambeth, CICV’s president. Thus began the five-plus-year journey that resulted in the unveiling of the association plan in early April. Lambeth says the committee handling the project took its time, methodically building the plan and interviewing vendors that would handle various aspects of its operation. CICV did not hide what it was doing. Lambeth discussed the project with other colleges and made reports at national meetings. The completed MEP began in November, and 14 colleges have signed up to participate. They include Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Averett University, Bridgewater College, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin University, Randolph-Macon College, Shenandoah University, Southern Virginia University, Sweet Briar College and Virginia Wesleyan University.    They are joining the MEP in phases through the middle of next year. The first three colleges to join are Bridgewater, Ferrum and Mary Baldwin.  The combined retirement plan will cover more than 9,400 people. The MEP is the first higher-education plan of its kind, says Pete D’Angio, national director for not-for-profit markets with Pentegra Retirement Services, which is one of the plan’s vendors. He predicts many similar collaborative plans will spring up around the country in the next five years. CICV “built the playbook,” D’Angio says. One group of colleges in Wisconsin began its MEP in January. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that MEP was the result of increased fees charged by TIAA, the nation’s largest provider of retirement plans services to nonprofit organizations. (TIAA is a vendor in the Virginia MEP, but its role is largely limited to recordkeeping.) One of the principal goals of the Virginia MEP is to offer employees a better selection of investment options in addition to more guidance on retirement planning. Paul Davies, the MEP’s board chair, is vice president of administration and finance at Randolph-Macon College. He says that, by combining assets, the plan was able to negotiate reduced fees for employees while giving them individualized counseling, financial planning and access to professional asset-management services. “We really see this as a win-win across the board,” he says. “It has accomplished everything we hoped when we set the goals to put this together.” A win in developing a college retirement plan isn’t as exciting as capturing a basketball championship, but the benefits should last a lot longer than one season.  2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Stevens-4785.png “If something is not working, you should probably change it,” - Hampton RoadsChamber CEO Bryan Stephens. By Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/missing-from-the-map Missing from the map? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/missing-from-the-map http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/missing-from-the-map#When:02:00:00Z Thirty-five years after Southeastern Virginia branded itself Hampton Roads, the rallying cry has gone out for a new moniker that will put the region front and center on maps as well as the short lists of business prospects. “Subject-matter experts in the tourism industry and economic development professionals are telling us the name Hampton Roads is not working,” says Bryan K. Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber. “It doesn’t resonate with people outside the region. You have to explain what Hampton Roads is.” Stephens and other local leaders favor going back to the drawing board and rebranding the region. “If something is not working, you should probably change it,” he says. But what should the region call itself? Coastal Virginia draws the support of tourism officials, who say the name aptly describes the region’s location. (Hampton Roads, on the other hand, denotes the channel through which the waters of the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.) Other leaders back Southeastern Virginia as the region’s moniker, while some business leaders prefer Greater Norfolk Region, an identifier that calls to mind the area’s links to commerce, shipping and the military. “It should be Norfolk,” says Deborah K. Stearns, senior vice president of JLL, a global real estate services firm. “We need an identity that people can find on a map. Coastal Virginia is a great tourism label, but it’s not on a map, and it doesn’t say business.” Stearns recalls the time a New Jersey-based JLL colleague could not determine the location of Hampton Roads. “He was looking for a city on the map,” she adds. “That happens a lot. Having a name that can be found would help our economic strategy.” While Stearns contends that Norfolk is the most logical catchall name for the region, she’s not opposed to adding Virginia Beach to the label. “Norfolk-Virginia Beach would also be beneficial, but Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News is way too long.” Considering that the 17 localities that make up Hampton Roads often have jockeyed for position, would designating the entire region “Norfolk” diminish those local identities and hamper future collaborative efforts? Stearns answers by pointing to New York City’s five boroughs. They each have a strong name identity and culture, but together, all are marketed as New York. She believes the same scenario could play out locally. “Hampton Roads cities would not merge or give up their individual identities.” Improving transportation Stephens believes revamping the regional brand could be a litmus test for future collaborative efforts among Hampton Roads cities and counties. “We need a cultural change in Hampton Roads,” he says. “Sometimes our own individual bias is so ingrained that it’s hard to understand the collective impact when the entire region comes together. We have to understand that we live, work and raise our families in the region and not just one municipality.” Many, if not most, Hampton Roads residents live in one locality, work in another and shop or dine in yet another, often all on the same day. Traveling throughout the region’s network of highways, bridges and tunnels long has been a source of frustration. As multiple infrastructure projects come on line, however, the ability to get around is steadily improving. “We are building more transportation projects in the next six years than we have in three decades,” says Robert Crum, executive director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization. Those projects include widening 21 miles of Interstate 64 on the Peninsula, with the first segment completed late last year. Phase two is scheduled to wrap up in spring 2019, and the third phase is slated for completion in summer 2021. On the Southside, work is underway to improve the I-64/I-264 interchange, the second busiest in Virginia, while construction to widen nearly nine miles of I-64 in Chesapeake is set to begin in June. In addition, a new Hampton Roads crossing is just one aspect of plans to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT). The largest road project the state has ever tackled, the endeavor covers a 12-mile corridor from I-664 on the Peninsula to I-564 in Norfolk, one of the region’s most congested areas. “It’s the key project to help strengthen connections between the Southside and the Peninsula,” Crum says. “We’re really excited about that.” The construction contract is set to be awarded early next year, with a targeted completion date of 2024. Funding for the transportation projects has bolstered regional collaborations. “The 17 localities identified projects that are the most beneficial to the region and its residents,” Crum says. “It’s a model for regional cooperation.” Improving Hampton Roads’ infrastructure also will spur regional development, adds John Utterback, a district administrator for the Virginia Department of Transportation who’s set to oversee construction at the HRBT. “Increased mobility in Hampton Roads helps with tourism and is appealing to businesses considering locating to Hampton Roads.” Reinvent Hampton Roads James K. Spore retired as Virginia Beach’s city manager in 2015 and immediately became president and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads, an initiative that supports traditional business sectors while attracting new employers, entrepreneurs and industries to the region. “There’s a real difference of opinion in terms of what’s the best way to go,” he says of rebranding Hampton Roads. “That’s something that will take real time and energy to be pursued.” In the meantime, Spore believes Hampton Roads must market itself more effectively. “We have enormous assets in this region, but we need to do a better job of marketing what we’ve got.”  Reinvent Hampton Roads is targeting certain industries — such as cybersecurity, tourism, advanced manufacturing and port logistics — that could bring more higher-paying jobs to the region. “Traditionally, Hampton Roads has had three major industries — military/defense, the port and tourism,” Spore notes. “We want to add that fourth leg of the table and grow startup jobs.” Promoting the region’s entrepreneurial spirit is the mission of 757 Angels. Since 2015, the angel investment network of 120 Hampton Roads business and community leaders has injected more than $22 million of capital into 14 companies. 757 Angels is one of the fastest-growing and largest networks of its kind in the country, says Monique Adams, its executive director. “Great momentum is building in Hampton Roads’ entrepreneurial ecosystem, and 757 Angels is a key player,” she adds. “As companies grow, jobs will be created, and the economy will become more diversified.” Diversification is critical for a region whose economy stalled while the rest of the nation continued to recover from the Great Recession. Reinvent Hampton Roads and 757 Angels advocate diversity through entrepreneurial ventures. “We want Hampton Roads to be known as an entrepreneurial, innovative region that encourages startups,” Spore says. Local startups often evolve from work at established pursuits. For example, Reinvent Hampton Roads funds an entrepreneur-in-residence at NASA Langley Research Center who works with scientists to parlay their research into marketable businesses. Reinvent Hampton Roads also has partnered with Martinsville-based consulting firm GENEDGE on Industry Cluster Scale-Up, a program designed to accelerate the growth of local small and midsize businesses. “We’re emphasizing advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity,” Spore says. “Those are two we think have the highest potential.” Tackling workforce shortages Hampton Roads has had a shortage of workers in cybersecurity and information technology, but Spore says programs at Old Dominion, Regent and Norfolk State universities are helping to close the gap. Earlier this year, ODU’s Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC) was approved to receive nearly $1.3 million in funding from the Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) to develop the Hampton Roads Cyber Collaboration Laboratory focusing on cybersecurity, data analytics, autonomous vehicles and virtual technologies markets. With another almost $1.3 million in GO Virginia funding, ODU also is developing the Virginia Digital Shipbuilding Workforce Program. The program will train about 8,500 craftsmen, engineers, designers and IT professionals to work in digital manufacturing while supporting the region’s advanced-manufacturing and shipbuilding industries. “We’re really excited about both of these programs,” Spore says. “They are going to be state-of-the-art national models.”  Local colleges and universities also will play a role in sustaining Hampton Roads’ tourism industry. Demand for tourism workers spiked with the recent openings of of The Main hotel and the revitalized Waterside District in downtown Norfolk and Virginia Beach’s refurbished Cavalier Hotel. “With major new hospitality facilities opening, it’s been difficult to find qualified workers to fill those jobs,” Spore says. “We need more and better-trained folks.” Business and political leaders, including Gov. Ralph Northam, believe that could be accomplished by opening a hospitality school in Hampton Roads. With the region adding 4,000 tourism jobs annually, a hospitality school would fill a substantial need, Spore says. Reinvent Hampton Roads is working with ODU and Tidewater Community College to develop what he calls a “world-class hospitality school.” Overall, Hampton Roads’ labor force is one of the region’s strengths. “There is a wonderful mix of individuals within the Hampton Roads region,” Stearns says. “This is a wonderful place. It’s one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Miller-4645.png Scott Miller, Virginia Wesleyan University president. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/evolving-profile Evolving profile http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/evolving-profile http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/evolving-profile#When:02:00:00Z The surfboards in the administration building and the Adirondack chair in front of the John Wesley statue might help close the deal for some prospective Virginia Wesleyan University students. But that’s not what struck Nicholas Hipple when he arrived for a tour nearly five years ago, thinking there was no way he wanted to follow his older brother to the 300-acre VWU campus in Virginia Beach. “Once I got on campus, I knew that I was home,” said Hipple, a senior from Blacksburg who is a double business and theater major and serves as the student government president.  “I feel like a lot of students, when they tour, have an ‘aha’ moment like, ‘Yes, I need to go here.’”     For Hipple, whose younger sister has joined him at VWU, the “aha moment” came as he observed how students interacted with professors in class. “The one thing I hear from students is that they like how personal the school is,” he says. Individual attention is a hallmark of small liberal-arts schools, one that remains central to Virginia Wesleyan as it evolves to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive higher-education market. “We could sit here and allow those same factors to have a negative impact on us, or we can develop a new business model that celebrates our strengths and markets us to new constituency groups,” says Scott D. Miller, VWU’s president. Bringing changes In taking the job in 2015, Miller was charged with bringing innovative changes to a United Methodist college that he was told had been a well-kept secret too long. Last fall, Virginia Wesleyan added master’s degree programs in education and business administration, started an online division, welcomed the inaugural class of 40 students to the Batten Honors College and completed its transition to university status. VWU also has launched a rebranding effort — those surfboards in the administration building point to more than fun in the ocean. “We’re not just celebrating that we’re in Virginia Beach in a beach community, but we’re celebrating the value-addeds that come with being in this location,” Miller says. VWU’s location on the Norfolk city line also offers students opportunities at a range of Hampton Roads sites — from internships at the Port of Virginia to glass-blowing classes at the Chrysler Museum of Art — plus a coastal environment to study. Students use a 45-foot research vessel, co-owned with the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, to gather specimens for experiments at the 44,000-square-foot Greer Environmental Sciences Center, which opened last fall. Financed entirely by an anonymous donor, the center quickly drew accolades, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Conservationist of the Year award. The facility, which won LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, is clad with reclaimed sinker cypress, has a green roof and is surrounded by native plantings and habitats. A turtle already has made a nest in the wetlands basin out back. But for students, the center is transformative, says Maynard Schaus, the university’s associate provost who is a biology professor. “It links what we’re doing in classes with the outside environment,” he says, with labs that allow for high levels of experimentation. Other projects The building is one example of major upgrades to campus infrastructure outlined in a 10-year master plan. Ground has been broken for the 23,200-square-foot Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, which is scheduled to open next year. It will feature a $154,000 Steinway concert grand piano in a 300-seat theater. Across Wesleyan Drive, on a 12.8-acre tract of university property, VWU plans to break ground this summer on a 248-unit residential complex in partnership with a private developer. The complex will house some upper-level students in addition to faculty and staff from area schools. “Right now, with the exception of the founding of the institution in the 1960s, we’re going through the most aggressive construction period in the history of the institution,” Miller says. He plans to grow the university’s enrollment also. VWU currently has about 1,500 students. Miller would like to see the headcount climb to 1,700 students in about five years. The online program, which started modestly with 62 students, is expected to increase to 300-500 students through increased offerings during that five-year period. “For a school like us, it’s supplemental,” Miller says of the online program. “We’re never going to abandon our core mission as a university of the liberal arts and sciences. What it does is open up new markets and opportunities for nontraditional learners.” The MBA program also is taught entirely online, but the master’s in art education is offered exclusively in the classroom, “what we call seat time,” Miller says. VWU’s Frank Blocker Youth Center is a laboratory for teacher education as well as a collaboration with the YMCA’s summer camp program and Tidewater Collegiate Academy, which serves homeschool families. Scholarship program Miller also plans to expand the number of students admitted to the Batten Honors College by 40 a year to a total of 160 over four years. For this year’s class, the program provided full-tuition scholarships to 20 students and two-thirds scholarships for another 20. Miller is sensitive to the school’s tuition costs, which have risen about 3 percent a year during the past 15 years. The university has announced it will not increase tuition for the next academic year. “When a student leaves here, I asked them why, and cost has become the single-biggest reason why a student doesn’t continue,” he says.   With the help of a donor, VWU held a program last summer that let students “who might be on the margin” work off a portion of their bill. For the spring semester, the university also brought two students from storm-ravaged Puerto Rico to study at VWU, a move that “we saw as part of our mission as a United Methodist institution,” Miller says. Steven Emmanuel, a philosophy professor, has witnessed the school’s trajectory. He arrived in 1992 at the same time as Miller’s predecessor, William T. Greer, who initiated overdue construction projects and inspired more from the faculty. Now Miller “has really ramped it up,” says Emmanuel, who recently received a 2018 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. “I don’t think stagnation is an option for anybody in the kind of environment we’re in,” he says. “It’s very competitive.” The changes were necessary for VWU to flourish and make “it possible for us to continue to invest in keeping our strong, core liberal arts focus,” the professor says. That includes student access to faculty in ways that are unlikely at larger institutions. “Even though we’ve moved to university status, we’re still a small school,” Emmanuel says. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_4575x.png Devin Henderson founded the company when he was 28. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-loudest-group-in-a-crowd The ‘loudest group in a crowd’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-loudest-group-in-a-crowd http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-loudest-group-in-a-crowd#When:02:00:00Z TECHNOLOGY DH Tech Leesburg dhtech.com Owner Devin Henderson urges DH Tech employees to be “strategically rowdy.” That’s the phrase he coined to describe the Leesburg-based company’s culture. “We try to think big picture and always look to the future,” he says. “This allows us to focus on emerging technologies and evangelize the ones we believe in. We are often called the loudest group in a crowd. I don’t mind being with the loud group. In fact, I encourage it.” Henderson founded the company in 2011 at age 28. He previously worked as a consultant for the Pentagon and a government contractor in Germany for the U.S. Army. “I wanted to focus on emerging technologies such as virtualization, virtual desktops, artificial intelligence and deep learning,” he says, explaining that deep learning involves computer-learned behaviors. “It is training the computer to recognize certain algorithms and to recognize objects or words.” From 2013 to 2016, DH Tech saw 1,269.2 percent growth in revenue, making it the technology Vanguard winner in the Fantastic 50. The company offers turnkey solutions in system integrations and virtualization services that include assessments as well as planning, setting up and building a network and installing software. Ninety percent of its customer base is related to the federal government. The remaining 10 percent is commercial. The company works with the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Army along with civilian agencies such as the Justice, Energy and Commerce departments. Henderson credits much of the company’s growth to having the right culture in place. “People are excited to come to work,” he says. “We want to make sure they actually enjoy what they are doing and are passionate about it. We want them to know how they fit into our machine.”     2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_5158x.png Sujani Rangareddy is CEO of Alpha Omega Integration. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transformational-growth Transformational growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transformational-growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transformational-growth#When:02:00:00Z SERVICE Alpha Omega Integration McLean alphaomegaintegration.com Alpha Omega Integration has adopted a new name and expanded its customer base in recent years. Originally known as Znergis, the McLean-based information technology and consulting services firm was founded in 2010 by CEO Sujani Rangareddy. From 2013 to 2016 the company grew 1,610.4 percent, making it the fastest-growing service company in this year’s Fantastic 50. The last two years have been pivotal for the company. Znergis became Alpha Omega in 2016 after it acquired Trusted Mission Solutions Inc. The deal helped expand the company’s business from commercial work to federal contracting. Rangareddy says Alpha Omega President and COO Gautam C. Ijoor, a federal contracting veteran, “championed the acquisition along with the establishment of the company’s base infrastructure for growth and expansion in the federal contracting space.” Alpha Omega is a participant in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program and has been designated an economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business. The SBA programs give the company the opportunity to “gain a foothold in government contracting,” Rangareddy says. The company now has 115 employees, working in Maryland, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Nevada, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Washington, D.C., in addition to Virginia. Its customers range from IT service management company Kforce Government Solutions and business management consultant Bart and Associates to the U.S. State and Commerce departments. Over the years, Alpha Omega has added a variety of services, including big-data analytics, cybersecurity and business process management. These services support “new customer needs around digital transformation, data-driven decision and risk management,” Rangareddy says.    2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Lovern_Brandito1.png Michael Lovern puts an emphasis on creativity in his products. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/promotional-principles Promotional principles http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/promotional-principles http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/promotional-principles#When:02:00:00Z RETAIL/WHOLESALE Brandito Richmond brandito.net Michael Lovern likes to tell people he began his promotional marketing and corporate apparel company by chance. After working in the staffing and recruiting industry, he “had an itch to get out. I looked at different businesses,” he says. The promotional-products business intrigued him. “I saw an industry that needed a facelift. It was unique in the fact there were no restrictions on who our clients could be. We can sell in many industries,” he says. Lovern started Richmond-based Brandito in 2010 with a business partner who has since left the company. Lovern’s goal is to change his customers’ buying experience. But first, he had to overcome his biggest obstacle — the buyer’s mindset. To do that, he established three core principles for the firm. “The first was to focus on educating our customers,” he says. “It’s our job to be the expert on the industry. The second is the customer service piece has to always be at the forefront of what we are doing.” The third focus is creativity, changing the routine and adding products that are different.  One of the company’s customers, for example, had been handing out ink pens at trade shows. Lovern suggested using stain-remover sticks instead. “To this day, they are still the most requested item by our field workers at conventions,” he says. “It’s a handy item people are not going to throw away. They remember where they got the stick.” The company now has 14 employees and sells thousands of items. “The two items we get asked for the most are T-shirts and drinkware,” he says. Customers range from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Growth has been steady. From 2013 to 2016 revenue grew 297.1 percent, making Brandito the top retail/wholesale firm this year in the Fantastic 50.      2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/OConnor-2836.png “I think we will be fine in the long run,” says Kevin O’Connor. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/growing-in-a-crowded-field Growing in a crowded field http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/growing-in-a-crowded-field http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/growing-in-a-crowded-field#When:02:00:00Z MANUFACTURING O’Connor Brewing Co. Norfolk oconnorbrewing.com   Kevin O’Connor admits he has more gray hair now than he did when he started Norfolk-based O’Connor Brewing Co. in 2009. He attributes that change in his appearance, in part, to an oversaturated craft-beer industry. “We’re seeing a lot of fallout now,” he says of industry trends. “A lot of breweries have cut back, pulled out of markets. Lucky for us we are still growing.” Currently there are about 15 breweries in the Hampton Roads area. Nine years ago, O’Connor Brewing was the only brewery in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, and there were only two others in Hampton Roads. “This is a different world from two or five years ago,” he says. “There are more breweries, and also restaurants, hotels and bars today have a wider array of beers, so branding is more difficult. We have been resilient and persevered. I think we will be fine in the long run.” O’Connor’s conservative approach to business has served the company well. The company is the top manufacturer in the Fantastic 50. “You have to keep an eye on the business side,” he says. “Ninety-five percent is business, and the other 5 percent is about beer.” The company’s 45 employees work at its 35,000-square-foot facility in the industrial section of Norfolk’s Ghent area. In March, O’Connor Brewing won a gold medal for its Imperial Turkish Coffee Stout as well as three silver and four bronze medals for other beers at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup in Ireland.  It has 24 beers on tap and hopes to add 20 more by the end of the year. New beers are developed in its seven-barrel pilot system. That system enables the company to make and test seven barrels of a beer rather than the 90 barrels of beer it makes in its factory tanks. “This allows us to play around with new ingredients and new styles,” he says. “It’s a better experience for our customers because they can try new things all the time.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_5250x.png Paul Buede (left) and Guido Ellsworth started the company in 2011. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/we-try-to-be-awesome ‘We try to be awesome’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/we-try-to-be-awesome http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/we-try-to-be-awesome#When:02:00:00Z Highest revenue growth B.E.S. Technology Inc. Ashburn bestechnologyinc.com B.E.S. Technology Inc. specializes in information technology contracting, but it doesn’t want to be known just for that. The Ashburn-based company’s scope is much broader, says President Paul Buede. “We have a three-pronged vision of being a technical company,” says Buede, who founded B.E.S. in 2011 with Guido Ellsworth. “We do contracting, consulting and product development. We have a full stock of IT services.” From 2013 to 2016 the company’s revenue grew 2,709.2 percent, making it the fastest-growing company in the Fantastic 50 for 2018.  Buede and Ellsworth started the company after working on federal government IT projects that require high-level security clearances. “That’s a small world,” Buede says of IT workers with these clearances. “Everybody knows one another.” The founders’ goal was to build a company focused on employees. “We tend to grow fast because everyone wants to work for a small company with great benefits,” Buede says. “We try to be awesome.” For example, B.E.S. pays the equivalent of 15 percent of employees’ salaries into their 401(k) accounts even if workers don’t make their own retirement contributions.   Employees also get 37 days off a year, including 25 leave days, 10 federal holidays and two personal days. “We put all the days in one bucket so they can use it whenever they need to use it,” Buede says. The company also pays full insurance premiums for employees with either health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) or health savings accounts (HSA) and provides a $5,000-a-year training budget for each worker. “We want to help people increase their skills,” Buede says. Offering generous benefits allows the company to attract people from a small pool of workers who already have high-level security clearances. If an employee is interested in a new benefit and the numbers allow it, the company will add it, Buede says. For example, the company added a flexible-spending account option in response to a suggestion. “It’s really an employee market. We give people the best deal to get the best people to come be part of our team.” In addition to its benefits, Buede credits B.E.S.’ rapid growth to its small business-focused, family-oriented culture. Families are invited to participate in company events, such as a night out at a Washington Nationals baseball game and the annual Christmas party. “We do other events as well,” Buede says. “We realize people work all day with their co-workers. When they are going to do something after hours, they like to spend time with their families.” To help create a pipeline of new talent, the company last year started a summer intern program for college juniors, giving them the chance to work on real-life technical projects. “It’s a way we can evaluate them to see if we want to make them employees in the future,” Buede says. “If we do, we will get them into the security-clearance process through some of the prime companies we deal with. We are trying to find great people and train them.” The security-clearance process can take more than a year to complete. “We tend to keep college folks as part-timers until graduation and then put them in internal projects before they get security clearance,” Buede says. Since 2011 the company has grown from the two founders to more than 50 employees. “Most are billable employees that work on customer locations,” primarily in Northern Virginia, he says. During its first years in business, B.E.S. struggled to get major companies to take it on as a subcontractor. It landed its first large contract in March 2014. “We added our first three employees then,” Buede says. The company’s capabilities have grown as its staff increased. “At first we just offered infrastructure services, but as we’ve added people we’ve added services,” he says. During the next two years, Buede would like to diversify the company’s customer base. “We want to do work that does not require a high-level security clearance as well as lower-level-clearance security jobs,” he says. “We also want to work with other agencies at the state level.” Additionally, the company plans to create and sell two software products — a business management platform and a consumer-focused mobile app. “People used to tell me starting and running a company was hard, and it is. The challenges and difficulties change as we go through different phases of corporate growth,” he says. “But it’s all been worth it.”  2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Drucker-4804.png Wendy Drucker is bullish on the multifamily housing market. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-generation-leader Third-generation leader http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-generation-leader http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-generation-leader#When:02:00:00Z Wendy Drucker credits professional relationships, hard work and being in the right place in helping to change the face of Drucker + Falk. Once considered property management experts for older multifamily properties in need of renovation, the Newport News-based company is now the go-to firm for developers with new apartment communities, not only in Hampton Roads but through its entire footprint. Named one of the Top 50 property-management firms in the country by the National Multifamily Housing Council for many years, the company also was recognized in 2016 as one of the Top 10 Places to Work in the Multifamily Industry by the Best Companies Group. The firm, which has nearly 1,000 employees, manages all types of multifamily and commercial properties, from workforce to high-end housing. “We have done more than $30 million of renovation in our footprint in the last two years,” says Drucker, who is the firm’s managing director.  “We want to make sure we keep our properties current and desirable for rent.” Today, Drucker + Falk manages more than 30,000 apartments and up to 170 apartment communities in nine states —Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri. Other core services include commercial management, general brokerage, and commercial sales and leasing. Growing up, Drucker never planned to work for her family’s company, much less move back to Newport News after graduating from college. But now, as a member of the firm’s third generation, she’s helping to shape the destiny of the company her grandfather, Louis Drucker, started in 1938 with his business partner, Manny Falk.  She was working in California with an organization that opened group homes for children with autism when she realized the next career step was a move to an administrative position. “I’m a hands-on person and being an administrator didn’t appeal to me,” she says. “I called my father [Erwin Drucker] and asked him how he thought I would be working with Drucker + Falk.” In 1981, she moved to the company’s regional office in Raleigh, N.C., and began training with David Falk Sr., who owned the company with her father, learning every aspect of the business. “I had to prove myself, prove that I wasn’t just the owner’s daughter, that I had something to give back to the organization,” she says. She spent 13 years in Raleigh, moving up to director of the multifamily Southeast management department before heading back to Newport News to work at corporate headquarters. “It was important to my father and his partner that I come to the headquarters and get exposed to all the things we do here,” she says. These days her primary focus is client relations and business development. “I’m lucky to be able to do what I love to do.” Drucker is bullish about the strength of multifamily housing going forward, thanks to generations of renters, ranging from millennials and Gen Xers to empty nesters and seniors. “Apartments continue to have strong occupancy because of these three pockets of people. They are renters by choice,” she says, adding that developers are tailoring amenities to these groups. “It’s like living in a resort and being on vacation 365 days a year.” A Type A personality with a good understanding of her strengths and weaknesses, Drucker admittedly shies away from conflict. “I like for everybody to get along,” she says. “If we are having an issue, I want it to be win-win for both of us. I’m a collaborator. I surround myself with great people and seek their counsel and advice.” Attorney Buddy David, a partner in David, Kamp & Frank in Newport News, who represents Drucker + Falk, describes Drucker as “passionate and compassionate about everything she does. She exudes confidence. You do not get the impression it’s a sales job to her. You get the impression if you engage her firm, you are in good hands.” Drucker cherishes her family and her community work. She and her husband, Michael Piercy, have twins — Evan and Nicole Piercy, who are juniors in college. At work, she champions Shelters to Shutters, a national program that helps homeless people. It partners with apartment owners and operators like Drucker + Falk to provide full-time employment and affordable housing options to qualified homeless individuals who are referred by nonprofits. She also helped start HR3 Hampton Roads Refugee Relief, which she now co-chairs. The organization helps refugees in Hampton Roads get acclimated to their new surroundings, assisting with everything from doctors to classes in English as a second language.  When her father became ill, Drucker says, she resigned from most of the boards she served on to spend more time with him. His death, she adds, changed her focus and now she spends more time on organizations “that are hands-on and changing lives.” Where do you like to go on vacation? Everywhere. I love the experience of traveling. I love the culture. My last big trips were to Israel, Italy, Barbados and Costa Rica. What’s the one thing people don’t know about you? That I love rockabilly alt-country music, and I dance like a wild woman. What have you learned about business? The most important thing is your good name. You have to have honesty and integrity — do what you say you will do. What’s the last book you read? “How May I Help You? An Immigrant’s Journey from MBA to Minimum Wage” by Deepak Singh 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/G4A_4539x.png Sol Glasner, of Tysons Partnership, says Tysons is morphing into a walkable minicity. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transforming-tysons Transforming Tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transforming-tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/transforming-tysons#When:02:00:00Z In 1950, Tysons Corner was little more than a mom-and-pop general store at the intersection of state Routes 7 and 123 surrounded by farms with peach orchards and wheat fields. By 2050, a rechristened Tysons is expected to be a bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis of more than 100,000 residents living, working and playing beneath an urban skyline of spires and towers. “Our mantra is … ‘Building America’s Next Great City,’ and we really do believe that. It is a city on the rise. That’s what we’re aiming for, and it has all the ingredients for becoming exactly that,” says Sol Glasner, president and CEO of Tysons Partnership, a nonprofit association of stakeholders promoting growth in Tysons. Fairfax County created its Tysons Comprehensive Plan in 2010, laying out a 50-year vision for transforming the community into a full-fledged city, replete with skyscrapers and high-density residential areas. Ever since then, Tysons has been on a fast track for growth. Construction cranes dot the horizon, erecting mega-projects such as the new 5.2-million-square-foot Capital One complex. Its sleek, glass-fronted centerpiece is a 470-foot-high, 31-story corporate headquarters tower that will be the next-tallest building in the D.C. metro region, second only to the Washington Monument. About  5,000 employees are expected to work at the new campus, and they will have access to modern amenities. The Fortune 500 banking company plans a transportation terminal, a hotel, residential towers, a 1.5-acre elevated, open-air green space (called a skypark), a Wegmans grocery store and the 125,000-square-foot Capital One Center, a combination conference facility and 1,500-seat performing arts venue. “It’s a minicity,” says Glasner. Another highly anticipated project under development is The Boro, a $485 million, 4.2-million-square-foot, mixed-use project. It could be a poster child for the modern corporate workplace with a 32-story luxury apartment building, a 15-screen movie theater, a half-acre skypark and the second-largest Whole Foods grocery store in the nation. The developers behind The Boro are The Meridian Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based real estate investment and development company, in partnership with Kettler, a McLean-based development and property management firm. Other major projects proposed or underway in Tysons include: Scotts Run, a 7.7 million-square-foot mixed-use development, and Arbor Row, a 2.5 million-square-foot mixed-use project with a 3-acre park being developed by Cityline Partners. The View at Tysons, a planned mixed-use development by Tysons-based Clemente Development Co. that would include a performing-arts venue and a proposed 615-foot-tall iconic tower that would be 65 feet taller than the Washington Monument. Tysons Central, a $750 million, 2 million-square-foot, mixed-use project from Vienna-based NVCommercial Inc. As part of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, the county government has streamlined zoning in the roughly 2,000-acre area that makes up Tysons. “There’s sort of an unlimited amount of office, residential and retail that can be built here. … So there’s really no constraint other than economics to keep people from developing,” says Kettler CEO and President Robert C. Kettler. “It’s happening very, very rapidly. I mean, there’s just stuff going everywhere. And so it’s starting to look different and evolve.” Developers started building in Tysons Corner in the 1960s, drawn by the newly built Capital Beltway that ran right through it, as well as the convergence of state Routes 7 and 123 and the community’s prime location near the region’s two major airports, now called Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.   By the early 2000s Tysons was known for its corporate office parks and two sprawling, upscale shopping malls, Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. It was considered an urban “edge city,” growing in the shadow of the larger Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. With the 2014 construction of the Silver Line extension of the D.C. Metrorail system, development revved into high gear around four new Tysons Metro stations. Just as affluent Fairfax County provides about 25 percent of the state government’s income tax revenue, so, too, is Tysons an economic engine for Fairfax, generating about a quarter of the county’s tax revenues, says Gerald L. Gordon, the president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Tysons now is home to several corporate headquarters and the major national offices for companies such as Freddie Mac, Hilton Worldwide, Northrop Grumman, The MITRE Corp., MicroStrategy, IntelSat, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Booz Allen Hamilton and Cvent. It essentially already has been a city for some time now, Gordon says. “We have … 120,000 jobs, 28 million square feet of office space. … We have more space in Tysons Corner than most U.S. cities, except for the top 20 or so.” Tysons currently is the nation’s 12th largest central business district. The only difference between Tysons and other cities, says Gordon, is that Tysons currently has only about 20,000 to 25,000 full-time residents. Yet Tysons is expected to swell to a city of 100,000 residents and 200,000 workers by 2050. Attracting those residents and creating distinct neighborhoods where they can live, work and play were key topics at a recent Bisnow conference that examined the challenges of creating a city. Those challenges include affordable housing and dependable mass transit.  During the conference, Clemente Development Co. CEO Dan Clemente reminded attendees about the need for affordable workforce-priced housing, so that hourly and middle-class workers, such as waiters, bartenders and secretaries, can afford to live in Tysons instead of having to commute in Northern Virginia traffic. His project, The View, includes a 1,400-unit multifamily apartment building near the Spring Hill Metro Station, where all units would be affordably priced. “To succeed, [Tysons] has to become livable. It has to be a place you and I want to spend time in,” said Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller Institute for Research on the Washington Region’s Economic Future. “When we have as many people living in Tysons as working here, then you will know we have succeeded.” Public art and recreational space helps to draw residents, noted Stephanie Pankiewicz, a partner at LandDesign, an Alexandria-based landscape architecture and civil engineering firm. “Great cities have destination art; they have parks you want to go to; they have iconic skylines,” Pankiewicz said.  Tysons will have grown into the county’s vision for it, she said, “when people want to come here and spend three days in Tysons because they’re going to see art, restaurants and shows and have a multiday experience.” Great cities also have mass transit. In recent years, the D.C. area metro system has been in dire need of repairs and maintenance. Service has been unreliable, and safety problems have even led to deaths.  To address these issues, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., recently agreed to a cost-sharing plan to provide funds for the Metro. The 2018 Virginia General Assembly approved $154 million per year in capital funding, while Maryland has committed $167 million annually and the District has pledged $178 million. The action represents the first time the Metro has had a dedicated funding source since it opened in 1976. The financial support comes as Amazon considers NoVa, D.C. and Montgomery County, Md., as potential sites for its highly sought after second corporate headquarters. One of the caveats Amazon spelled out during its site selection process was access to public transit. Besides transit, creating a Tysons with quality dining, entertainment and recreation is “mission critical,” said Asheel Shah, president and chief investment officer of Kettler’s multifamily division. “A Tysons where everybody gets into their car and leaves [at the end of the workday] is not the Tysons we’re all planning for the future.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Thomas-Barkin_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-21.png Photos by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-businessmans-perspective A businessman’s perspective http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-businessmans-perspective http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-businessmans-perspective#When:02:00:00Z In Tom Barkin’s first weeks as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, he became a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the powerful group that sets benchmark interest rates for the nation. Barkin, formerly an Atlanta-based senior partner with the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., approached the January meeting as a challenge. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game,” he says. “You have in the room 10 or 12 of the premier Ph.D. economists of the world, many of whom have studied and written and spoken on this topic for decades. You have experienced bank supervisors and experienced bankers who know their industry better than anybody. If you have pride and a competitive spirit, which I have, you want to contribute in a meaningful way.” At his second FOMC meeting in March, Barkin joined the other voting members in unanimously raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate target a quarter of a percentage point. The meeting was the first one led by Jerome Powell, who had succeeded Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chairman in February. “We go around the room and we talk about economics conditions and policy,” Barkin says. “We have the back-and-forth debate that you’d expect we would, and at the end we vote — alphabetically. I’m one of the first ones called. When you give your first vote and even the second vote — it sounds a little corny — but I actually felt something. Here I am deciding monetary policy for the most important economy in the world.” Unlike many Fed officials, Barkin, 56, is not an economist or a banker, but he has extensive business and financial experience. During his 30-year career with McKinsey, he served as the company’s global chief financial officer, chief risk officer and a member of its board and operating committee. The Tampa native studied economics as an undergraduate at Harvard, where he earned bachelor’s, MBA and law degrees. In addition, Barkin was a member of the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 2009 to 2014, a crucial period during the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession. He served as the board’s chairman in 2013-14. “While I was there, I did fall in love with the institution,” Barkin says. “Talented people, noble mission and, you know, from ‘09 to ‘14, I felt that the folks in leadership were saving our economy.” Dennis P. Lockhart was president of the Atlanta Fed when Barkin was on the board. He describes Barkin as “very engaged and knowledgeable about monetary affairs — even-handed, calm and very thoughtful. He was a joy to work with.” Lockhart encouraged Barkin to consider the Richmond Fed job when he was contacted by an executive recruiter. “This is a golden opportunity,” Lockhart says. At the Richmond Fed, Barkin succeeded Jeffrey Lacker, who had been president for nearly 13 years. Expected to retire last October, Lacker abruptly resigned in April 2017 after admitting his involvement in the disclosure of internal Fed information to an analyst in 2012. Barkin “has unique insights on many industries that drive our nation’s economy and employ millions of Americans — as well as a well-informed perspective on issues facing the Federal Reserve and our nation,” Margaret Lewis, the chair of the Richmond Fed’s board of directors, said in a statement in announcing his appointment in December. The appointment disappointed vocal Fed critics who want more diversity in its leadership. In June, Raphael W. Bostic became the first African-American bank president in the Federal Reserve’s history as head of Atlanta Fed. Two women and an American of Indian descent currently lead three other Fed banks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since taking the job, Barkin has toured the Richmond Fed’s Fifth District, which serves Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, the District of Columbia and most of West Virginia. Much of the area was in his service territory at McKinsey. What he has found is a regional economy with many contrasts. “When you drive through small towns, you just don’t see jobs being created the way you do when you drive through Richmond,” he says. Barkin believes that the Richmond Fed can play a role in improving local economies. “One of the things we have the ability to do here, which I’m really interested in, is to bring our research into the communities that we serve,” he says. “In my time in Atlanta, I spent a lot of time in civic efforts, involved in building the city. I have a lot of passion for that.” In Atlanta, Barkin served on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He remains a member of the Emory University board of trustees. An avid golfer and a sports fan, Barkin serves on the executive board of the United States Golf Association and roots for the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barkin and his wife, Robyn, have a 21-year-old son who is in college and an 18-year-old daughter who is a high-school senior. He is commuting to Richmond from Atlanta until his daughter finishes high school. In his spare time, “I love to read mostly nonfiction and biographies,” Barkin says. “My daughter teases me that I’ve read a book on every president, and she wonders who really cares about Chester A. Arthur. But I do.” Virginia Business interviewed Barkin at his Richmond office on March 27. The following is an edited transcript. (Barkin stresses that his views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Federal Open Market Committee or his colleagues.) Virginia Business: What attracted you to this job? Barkin: I had a 30-year career in consulting at McKinsey and loved every minute of it. We have mandatory retirement at age 60, and I had signed the papers on my retirement … But I wasn’t in the mood to play a lot of golf or read a lot of books. I wanted to do something. At the same time, I had been on the board of the Atlanta Fed. While I was there, I fell in love with the institution ... I was an undergraduate in economics, so I was interested in the topic, and it’s an opportunity to give back …  I got a call from a headhunter. I didn’t reach out, and I hadn’t really thought about it. Robyn and I talked about it … I entered the process and was lucky enough to be offered the job. VB: What do you know about the economy in the Fifth District? Barkin: I’m very committed to being out in the district. While I’ve been here for two and half months, I’ve already been to Charleston, Columbia, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, Norfolk, Richmond, Northern Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore… I’ve been meeting with various business, civic and community leaders … I’m trying to get an angle on where we are and how we’re doing … It’s an interesting district. The cities are very different. Baltimore and Charleston couldn’t be more different. Charlotte is actually more like Atlanta than a town like Richmond …  While Northern Virginia isn’t a city, it’s probably the biggest economy in the district. The rural-urban [contrast] is an interesting topic that I’m digging into. I described to you eight or 10 cities, but in between those cities are a lot of folks, and honestly the employment performance, the labor participation of folks in the rural areas, is a lot different than it is in the city areas. VB: Now tell me about your time with the Atlanta Fed. Did that prepare you for this job? Barkin: First of all, I learned that the people in the Fed are really talented and committed and wake up every morning trying to do the right thing. I never worked in a governmentish agency before, and so getting the chance to learn that was a big confidence builder. It reawakened, for me, an interest in economics I had since I was in school ... I had followed it and read about it, but I hadn’t been immersed in it …  For a guy like me, who practiced economics in an amateur fashion, to be able to see people practice in a professional fashion was really very exciting. To that end, I have a big responsibility as a member of the FOMC, and [Richmond Fed economists] have been working very hard, and I’ve been working very hard, to make sure that I can deliver for the people and for this bank the perspectives that I think I was hired to do. I understood the organization and understood the system, but it would be way too arrogant to say I was prepared to deliver on monetary policy the way I expect myself to. That’s what I’ve been working on. VB: As you know, there were some critics [who say] there ought to be more diversity in the high positions at the Fed. What are your thoughts about that? Barkin: I think we ought to have more diversity at the Fed and, frankly, everywhere. I can’t speak to my own selection, but what I will say is that … the more different views you can bring into a problem, the better. It’s not the kind of diversity you are asking about, but I do think I’m bringing a different kind of diversity to the FOMC. I’m the only, let’s call it non-banker, businessperson there who comes from a managerial background. So, there are a set of questions we have on the table: Why isn’t inflation accelerating more? How much labor force participation is on the sidelines? … I think I can actually bring something that’s fundamentally additive to what others can bring. I’d like to think I bring that kind of diversity. What I can do … on the kind of diversity you are talking about is drive in our little slice of the world a real change in performance. By the way, we publish a diversity report every year. You’d be impressed by how diverse this bank actually is, but you don’t ever declare victory. Every one of the folks on my team and I are … talking about what can we do … to bring more diverse perspectives to bear on all dimensions. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think we will clearly move the needle even more fully than where it is today. VB: You’re in the unique position of having served under two different Fed chairs in your first three months on the job. How would you compare the two, Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell? Barkin: That’s a tough question. I went to one meeting with Janet and one meeting with Jay, but I knew both of them before when I was on the [Atlanta Fed] board. The first thing I’d say is that they are a lot more similar than they are different. Both, as far as I can tell, have a commitment to creating on the FOMC a team of people with diverse points of view and to hear out those points of view. I think they both are incredibly talented and smart. The obvious difference is in background. She is a really sophisticated economist. He’s an incredibly accomplished investor … I was impressed back then of how well they worked together and in the transition on how well they continued to work together. VB: How would you describe the condition of the U.S. economy currently? Barkin: Here’s my take: The fundamentals of the economy feel extremely strong right now. GDP has grown at a very nice clip over the last several quarters, and, in most projections, this year [is expected to] continue at that strong clip. You’re getting fiscal stimulus, which is helpful. You also are getting stimulus from the health of the international economy … In that context, you have almost historically low unemployment at 4.1 percent [in March]. Most projections would take that down under 4 sometime this year. You have inflation, which has been for the last six months at 2 percent, and most projections would say that, by the time we get to June, we will be at 2 percent on a 12-month basis. Very strong GDP growth, very low unemployment and normal-target inflation. That’s about as healthy a set of three metrics as you’re going to get. If you take a 50-year look at the U.S. economy, you aren’t going to find many moments when it was as sweet as it seems to be now. We do have questions on the growth side. How much stimulus will there be on the fiscal side? Some economists would say that fiscal stimulus at the time of full employment has less of a multiplier [effect] than other times. You have one-time shocks, whether they be intercountry conflict or trade or whatever. Growth looks good, but we are always looking at markets, looking at shocks. On unemployment, are we at full [employment] or is the somewhat historically low labor participation a sign that you have dry powder on the sidelines, people who are willing to come into the market? … On the inflation side, as tight as the labor markets are, we are not seeing the kind of inflation that you would expect. Is that just a delay in inflation that’s coming or is that a sign that the interaction between labor force tightness and price inflation has somehow been limited? That’s a question. You have seen from the chairman’s statements that we continue on a path to rates of normal levels. But, as we do that, how far do you go and how fast do you go? That’s still a question …  I’ll just say — it’s really complicated. VB: What about the tax cuts? Was this the right time to have federal tax cuts? Barkin: I don’t know about the policy questions. What I do know is that tax cuts are stimulative, and so these [tax cuts] are interesting. Roughly half of it is personal tax cuts, and personal tax cuts, it’s pretty clear, stimulate the economy … The corporate tax cuts are also stimulative, but here we are in a little-less proven territory. We just don’t have as much research or as many experiences with this kind of corporate tax cut. It’s a complicated tax cut. The repatriation [of overseas profits] — what does that do or not do is unclear. [What people do with the savings from corporate tax cuts,] I think is very unclear. It’s one of the questions we are watching, how stimulative does this turn out to be? I’d say the other thing that we’re watching, which is also part of your question, is: What is the impact on fiscal health of the U.S.? There are debates about what kind of change will happen in tax receipts because of this tax cut. But, obviously, if you have a reduction in tax receipts not offset by a significant amount of stimulus, then you end up with a government debt challenge in the out-years. Which is, again, what makes it so interesting and complicated to parse how all that fits together.    2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Beall_140910_8494.png Photos courtesy The Inn at Little Washington http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/haute-cuisine-in-a-tiny-town Haute cuisine in a tiny town http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/haute-cuisine-in-a-tiny-town http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/haute-cuisine-in-a-tiny-town#When:02:00:00Z An electric fry pan purchased at a yard sale for $1.89. A wood-burning cook stove. An unheated farmhouse with a big garden bought on time with a $48-a-month mortgage. A trove of old French cookbooks borrowed from a local library. A few dollars in the bank from working in restaurants, starting at age 15. Out of those simple beginnings — and the later conversion of an abandoned garage — Patrick O’Connell, a self-taught chef, has forged an internationally acclaimed restaurant and lodging. Each year, the Inn at Little Washington draws throngs of visitors from around the globe to Washington, Va., a tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a population of less than 150, there’s no stoplight. It’s a place where locals say that on Main Street you’re as likely to see a John Deere tractor as a limousine, or nattily dressed wait staff balancing dinner trays on their way to a guest’s room. A long list of luminaries have stayed at the Inn, including baseball great Cal Ripken, former Vice President Al Gore, actors Robert Duvall, Warren Beatty and his wife, Annette Bening,  and many of the Supreme Court justices, to name a few.  This year O’Connell is celebrating the Inn’s 40th anniversary.  The theme, “A Magnificent Dream,” is indicative of his theatrical flair and will be carried out in a series of events in Virginia and France.  (See box, Page 40). The Inn is O’Connell’s crowning glory. At age 72, the renowned chef and proprietor presides over an establishment that repeatedly earns top rankings from some of the most discriminating travel and dining groups in the world. This year, for example, the Inn’s restaurant won AAA’s five-diamond rating — the highest possible — for the 30th consecutive year, longer than any other restaurant in the 80-year history of AAA’s rating system, a process that involves unannounced visits. “To create an exquisite dining experience worthy of the highest praise in the land is an accomplishment, but maintaining that superb level of excellence for more than a quarter of a century is simply unmatched,” says Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of government and public affairs for AAA’s mid-Atlantic region. AAA defines a five-diamond restaurant or hotel as one, with “Ultimate luxury, sophistication and comfort with extraordinary physical attributes, meticulous personalized service, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence.” A grandmother’s influence O’Connell, who was born in Washington, D.C., learned his love of food from his grandmother. She lived in Wisconsin, where O’Connell spent his summers as a boy. He has only to close his eyes to return to her kitchen with its oilcloth counters. “It was the kind of kitchen that had several cookie jars always full [and] a wonderful breakfast nook, which we have replicated here at my kitchen at the Inn,” O’Connell says. “Outside the kitchen door was an old apple tree, a rhubarb patch, a strawberry patch and a couple of herbs, a little garden, a grape arbor that I used to read under.” His mother’s talents, on the other hand, lay not in cooking but in entertaining. “There was nothing casual or thrown together in my mother’s world,” he says. “So, if we were having company, cleaning the house usually began two weeks prior to their arrival. And for several days before, a path of newspapers was laid down, and no one was permitted to step off of it.” O’Connell says his first real job was at a hamburger restaurant on a main artery leading through Maryland. The chef, who studied theater in college before giving it up, says the culture of restaurant life made an immediate impression. “I love the duality of the restaurant people behind the scenes and the illusion they maintained in what is now called the front of the house,” O’Connell says. “It gave me the feeling of possessing a faculty that normal people didn’t have — that you could live in two worlds, that you could enter the world of illusion and [then] step back into the blood-and-guts zone,” he says. Another experience that helped shape O’Connell’s career was a yearlong visit to France. There he found that food was regarded as art and celebrity chefs as national icons. “I think you take all the influences of your life, put them in a big pot and stir, and the best rises to the top,” he says. O’Connell and a former partner, Reinhardt Lynch, raised vegetables and sold them to health food stores in Washington, D.C., before they found a way to make a living an hour away in rural Rappahannock County, a place with no major grocery store. Developing a following “There was a network of 50 local families, the landed gentry, who loved to show off their magnificent spreads but were desperate when it came to what would they serve for food,” O’Connell recalls. To fill that niche, he and his partner bought an old van for $150, cooked food they were raising on their farm and began catering parties, weddings and receptions — including one for former U.S. Sen John Warner when he married actress Elizabeth Taylor. For waiters and waitresses, O’Connell would recruit members of the local hippie culture, put together uniforms from clothes he purchased at various Goodwill shops and train the staff on the fly. In time, O’Connell and his partner developed a clientele and a reputation for the French cuisine that marked the parties they catered. That would serve them well when they decided to open a restaurant in Little Washington, a community laid out by 17-year-old surveyor George Washington in July 1749. At first, the prospective restaurateurs could not get a sufficient loan from a local bank. So they decided to go to a bank in a neighboring community, showing up without an appointment and asking for the president. The bank president turned out to be a former guest at one of their parties, and he had had a fabulous time. “He said, ‘I can start you out with $25,000, if that would help,’” O’Connell recalls with a laugh, saying he still can’t believe his luck. O’Connell and his partner subsequently rented a vacant gas station and garage in Little Washington at $200 a month, renovated the property and opened for business on Jan. 28, 1978, in the middle of a blizzard. It was a difficult start. A month or so later, though, they were catapulted into prominence when a Washington restaurant critic, John Rosson of the Washington Evening Star, dined anonymously at the restaurant. The critic described the experience as a “tour de force.” Reservations began flooding in. On opening day, you could have dined on scampi griglia a la pescadora (grilled shrimp) and escalope de veau au calvados (veal scallopini with French apple brandy sauce) for $4.95. Today, meals at the Inn at Little Washington go for $218 per person excluding tax and gratuity. Optional wine pairings from the Inn’s 14,000-bottle wine cellar are $125 per person. Rates for lodging range from $395 a night for a standard room during the non peak season to $3,575 per night for a Saturday  in high season for one of the Inn’s most luxurious accommodations, the  3,600-square-foot Claiborne House, a private event venue that includes two bedrooms, two and a half baths, a full chef’s kitchen, library and media room.  Prices vary depending on the time of year and number of occupants. They include a welcome cocktail, afternoon tea, house breakfast and valet parking. In addition to the main hotel, the Inn has a number of other properties that have been converted into sumptuous living quarters, with names such as the Gamekeepers Cottage, the Mayor’s House and The Parsonage. The Inn also has plans for opening a café and bakery in what was the town’s post office with the hope of expanding the concept in other markets, according to Robert Fasce, its business and brand development manager. New directions In 2007, O’Connell split with his partner over the direction of the Inn and borrowed $17 million to buy him out, according to The Washington Post. O’Connell says many observers predicted catastrophe, but the Inn instead began expanding, and its reputation grew with it. John Fox Sullivan, a retired magazine publisher who is Little Washington’s mayor, says the Inn is crucial to the town’s economy. “The Inn generates more than 80 percent of the revenues to the town,” through meals and lodging taxes, employment and the halo effect on other inns, restaurants and shops in the community. Altogether, the Inn has more than 140 full-time employees and often has more than 200 on the payroll, with the addition of contractors for various construction and renovation projects. Sullivan says O’Connell’s influence on the community goes beyond dollar figures. “Patrick O’Connell came to this town with nothing and built up this enterprise into a world-class enterprise. He loves this town and loves this county. He’s very sensitive to what the town is all about, its authenticity,” Sullivan says. Sullivan adds that O’Connell is gregarious and outgoing at the Inn, a posture that might hide a bit of shyness. “He’s in his own world, and it’s a slightly different world. He’s always looking at stuff as if he’s the director of a movie — he never stops thinking about how to make the place better,” Sullivan says. In keeping with his own roots as a farmer and purveyor of naturally grown food, O’Connell maintains a full-time “farmer in residence” at the Inn to produce a stream of fresh vegetables and other edibles. In addition to two gardens, a greenhouse and cherry orchard, the Inn also has arrangements with local farmers who provide agricultural products, according to the Inn’s requirements. The Inn’s future While the Inn at Little Washington has been a boon to the community and the surrounding region, concern has crept in about its future. People wonder how much longer O’Connell will be able to sustain the long, stressful hours required of a lead chef. “I don’t think the Inn is ever going away,” says Sullivan. “It comes down to who the new ownership will be.” For his part, O’Connell, who has been called “the pope of American haute cuisine” in various publications, says people should not be worried because he’s not. “Not only can it go on, it will go. And it will continue to evolve, as it is now. It is no longer dependent on one person; it is a culture that has been created,“ O’Connell says, citing a multi-generational workforce that is committed to high culinary and lodging standards, and whose talents have been forged under his tutelage in spotlight of food and lodging critics. He said the question for 40 years has been, “What if I get hit by a bus?” “So, for the last negotiation for a rather large loan, 12 bankers sat at a table and someone mentioned the risk factor and if something happened to me. “And I said, ‘You know, I’ve been dodging buses in this town for 40 years.’”      40th anniversary events June 16:  Summer garden party on the grounds of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. O’Connell will pay tribute to Washington — who surveyed the town of Washington where his business is located — with a dinner that re-creates the experience of dining at Mount Vernon in the 18th century. Tickets cost $2,500 each, and table sponsorships start at $25,000, with proceeds benefiting the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Sept. 2: The Inn will hold a two-day street party (Innstock) to celebrate former employees and chefs from the past four decades. The two-day festival with food, wines and music is open to the public at $250 a ticket, while residents of the town of Washington may attend at no charge. Proceeds will benefit the Patrick O’Connell Foundation, which supports culinary education and historic preservation. Sept. 30: The capstone event acknowledges O’Connell’s early appreciation of French cuisine. He celebrates with a lavish party at the grand Vaux-le-Vicomte. The 17th-century French chateau near Paris was once the site of a banquet for King Louis XIV, and he plans a feast fit for a king. Tickets are $3,000 each, with proceeds going to a still-to-be announced historic French charity. Recent awards presented to The Inn at Little Washington For the second year in a row, The Inn at Little Washington was awarded two stars by the 117-year old, Paris-based Michelin Guide, one of only three restaurants in the Washington, D.C., guide to earn this honor. Two stars continues to be the highest ranking awarded to any D.C. area restaurant. The Inn was named the No. 1 restaurant in The Washington Post 2017 Fall Dining Guide. In 2018, the Forbes Travel Guide recognized the Inn with two Five Star Awards, one for the restaurant and one for the hotel, for the 29th consecutive year. The American Automobile Association for 2018 bestowed its highest accolade — The Five Diamond Award — on the Inn’s restaurant for the 30th consecutive year. This puts the Inn in the top 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 restaurants rated by AAA. AAA also awarded The Inn’s accommodations Five Diamonds for the 30th consecutive year. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/FerrisWheel_waterside.png Rendering courtesy City of Norfolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/whats-new What’s new? http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/whats-new http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/whats-new#When:02:00:00Z A Ferris wheel overlooking Norfolk’s waterfront. A 31-story-high observation deck with sweeping views of Washington, D. C.  A water park on the Eastern Shore. These are some of the attractions in Virginia scheduled to open in time for the summer tourism season. Whether it’s a new outdoor attraction, like the 12-story SkyStar wheel towering over downtown Norfolk’s Waterside District, or a 70-room boutique hotel in Farmville, people are on the lookout for new adventures and places to stay.  So, grab your sun hat while you review a short list of “what’s new to love in Virginia.” That’s the name of a publication from the Virginia Tourism Corp. that contains a more expansive breakdown, by region, of the state’s attractions.  Arlington – The Observation Deck at CEB Tower  The deck is atop the Central Place office building in Rosslyn that’s soon to be the home of CEB Inc. The steel and glass building at 1201 Wilson Blvd. offers the highest public point in the Washington, D.C., area with an outdoor cantilevered terrace. At 31 stories up, the 12,000-square-foot space provides panoramic views of the District, Virginia and Maryland skylines. There are plans for beverage and dining service. Farmville – The Hotel Weyanoke Scheduled to open in late April, this 70-room boutique hotel at 202 High St. is across from Longwood University. A project by Williamsburg-based Cornerstone Hospitality, the property offers dining at two eateries — an Italian restaurant and a wood-fired pizza restaurant. Plus, there’s a coffee shop and a tapas menu at the rooftop bar. Eastern Shore    There are several new developments here. The Northampton Hotel in Cape Charles, which dates back to 1938 and fell into disrepair, has been renovated and is expected to open May 1. It has added a tearoom and small restaurant. Maui Jack’s Waterpark on Chincoteague Island is expected to open on Memorial Day with a lazy river, slides, cabanas for rent and a beach bar and restaurant. The island also has a new brewery, Black Narrows Brewing. Started by a local couple, it’s located in a renovated oyster-shucking house. New hotel openings: Hotel Madison, Harrisonburg, 230 rooms, May 18 Homewood Suites, 168 rooms, Arlington, opened in mid-February Northampton Hotel, five rooms, Cape Charles, May 1. The Blackburn Inn,  49 rooms, Staunton, late April  The Bristol Hotel, 65 rooms, Bristol, spring  The Cavalier, 85 rooms, Virginia Beach, reopened March 7. The Draftsman, 150 rooms, Charlottesville, spring The Hotel Weyanoke, 70 rooms, Farmville, late April The Western Front, 30 rooms, St. Paul, opened Feb. 12.  The Virginian Hotel, 150 rooms, Lynchburg, early May 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Salyer-4753.png Christopher Salyer expects the renovated Cavalier Hotel to draw corporate boards and legal groups. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wanted-distinctive-local-experiences Wanted: distinctive local experiences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wanted-distinctive-local-experiences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wanted-distinctive-local-experiences#When:02:00:00Z In 2018 Virginia’s meeting and convention planners say that venues offering easy access, flexible space and high connectivity are in big demand. After making sure they nail down these basics, planners then look for a space with a strong personality. “The same old setup, the same old food, isn’t cutting it anymore,” says Rick Eisenman, who owns a meeting planning business in Richmond. “More and more clients want venues with something to do nearby.” “Planners are looking for more of an experience, more local,” says Joni Johnson, national sales manager of domestic sales for the Virginia Tourism Corp., “and they have a lot more options these days.” These options include venues that have opened recently or are scheduled to open soon. The most visible would be The Cavalier, the Virginia Beach landmark hotel, which reopened in March. A local development partnership, which included Gold Key|PHR, spent four years and $81 million on renovations as it strove to preserve the 91-year-old hotel’s vintage good looks while adding a slew of amenities. Today the hotel — which nearly was sold at auction after falling into disrepair — offers 85 rooms (down from the original 195), an infinity saltwater pool, an on-site distillery, two high-end restaurants, a sunken garden and a 6,200-square-foot spa with a Himalayan salt room and a blow-dry bar. Guests also have access to a beach club across the street that is slated to open over Memorial Day weekend. Given the hotel’s level of luxury and grace, Christopher Salyer, the hotel’s sales director, expects that business guests will be mostly “niche groups,” such as corporate boards and legal groups. With 6,600 square feet of meeting space, however, The Cavalier can accommodate a conference with as many as 200 participants. The dowager hotel, part of Marriott’s upscale Autograph Collection, eventually will be coordinating with a 300-room Marriott across the street. It broke ground in February and is projected to open in 2020. That $125 million, 20-story oceanfront hotel will have a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and accommodations for 700 guests, along with its own amenities, such as a beach bar. Long-range plans for an Embassy Suites by Hilton to be built nearby will give the complex the capacity to host large conferences. Two hundred miles west in Lynchburg, another historic property also had hit rock bottom and faced possible destruction. The once grand Virginian went out of business in the 1960s and subsequently did stints as a college dormitory and as low-income housing before being shuttered in 2014. Like The Cavalier, local developers — Blair Godsey and George Stanley — came to the rescue of The Virginian. They obtained a $5 million loan from the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority, which helped finance nearly $30 million in renovations. According to Godsey, the 105-year-old, 115-room hotel will be ready to open by early May under the Hilton flag. The Virginian will be part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. Its centerpiece is a 2,800-square-foot, two-story ballroom with imposing columns and a sweeping staircase with ornate railings. Lisa K. Meriwether, tourism sales manager for Lynchburg’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, says the ballroom is part of 8,000 square feet of meeting space at the boutique hotel. In conjunction with other downtown hotels, such as the historic Craddock Terry, Lynchburg now should be able to attract larger conferences that once passed it by because of a lack of capacity.   Meriwether predicts The Virginian will be hosting many state association groups. It already has booked the Virginia Association of Museums, the state branch of the Meeting Professionals International and the Virginia Society of Association Executives. New Valley conference center Even farther west is the Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center in Harrisonburg, scheduled to open May 18. It will have 230 rooms and 21,000 square feet of meeting space. Eddie Bumbaugh, the center’s director of sales and marketing, says the complex is filling a need for larger meeting space in a region where such space has not been available. Even before officially opening its doors, bookings extend into 2021 and include groups such as the Virginia Association of Science Teachers and the College and University Auditors of Virginia. Bumbaugh calls the Hotel Madison’s ambience “rustically elegant” and says it is located close to the city’s arts and cultural district and James Madison University.  That emphasis on location, location, location remains a selling point for some of the state’s tried-and-true meeting places as well. Despite the new competition, Colonial Williamsburg and the Hotel Roanoke, among others, still are thriving by becoming more creative in their offerings. Colonial Williamsburg picked up a new marketing edge earlier this year when the venerable Williamsburg Inn received the coveted AAA Five Diamond rating for the first time. Meanwhile, the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center in Staunton unveiled a refresh of its guest rooms and public spaces in April, including the conference center. At the Greater Richmond Convention Center, a new lactation room for nursing mothers is expected to be an appreciated amenity. The Virginia Homeschool Convention is coming to the center in June, and the center also has landed  Jehovah’s Witnesses meetings for six weekends this summer. Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism, says business at the convention center was up 5 percent last year and is projected to do the same this year, thanks in part to bookings like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those meetings typically bring 6,000 people to the convention center on each of those six weekends. Richmond has been making a lot of top 10 travel lists lately, and the convention center’s marketing strategy pointedly emphasizes its proximity to the city’s trendy downtown.  Like Richmond’s convention center, The Main, which opened to much excitement about a year ago in Norfolk, is busy and will be hosting some big meetings this year. By combining forces with the nearby Marriott and Sheraton hotels, The Main, a Hilton property, can host huge groups, like the 1,000-strong Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials,  which is coming in August. The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance hasn’t met in Norfolk in a decade, Eisenman says, but it will bring about 900 people to The Main in 2019. Justin Beale, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, says business “has exceeded all expectations.” During its first year, 34 percent of The Main’s customers were corporate, and he projects that number will increase this year. The Main is located close to a lively entertainment area, including Granby Street and the Waterside District, attractions the hotel points out to planners. Meeting goers like being able to walk to dining, entertainment and cultural attractions. Planners like it, too, but Eisenman maintains that one of the most important amenities — free internet service — is lacking too often. In this highly connected world, he says, free internet really is more of a necessity than just another nice-to-have amenity, but it is still no sure thing at too many Virginia venues. “You drive by a Day’s Inn, and it is advertising free internet, but some hotels are still charging outrageous internet costs,” he says. “That’s akin to paying for air conditioning. This is a big issue that needs to be figured out.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/virginia-rural-broadband_print.png A student uses TV white space technology installed at his home to access the internet. Photo courtesy Microsoft http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-is-one-of-six-targeted-by-microsoft-techspark-plan Region is one of six targeted by Microsoft TechSpark plan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-is-one-of-six-targeted-by-microsoft-techspark-plan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/region-is-one-of-six-targeted-by-microsoft-techspark-plan#When:02:00:00Z Southern Virginia’s digital profile is getting a boost from Microsoft Corp. The company’s TechSpark initiative, begun last year, aims to create more job opportunities in economically stressed areas throughout the country. The Microsoft effort was prompted by the 2016 presidential election, during which the problems of rural America became an issue. “That brought some things in focus,” says Jeremy Satterfield, TechSpark manager for Virginia. “The country hadn’t been focusing on rural populations, and they stood up in droves. They weren’t being heard. That was a wake-up call for us as a company.” Southern Virginia is one of six TechSpark regions. Others include El Paso, Texas; the North Central Basin of Washington state; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Fargo, N.D.; and Northeast Wisconsin. The Southern Virginia region (Mecklenburg, Halifax, Charlotte, Lunenburg and Brunswick counties) was chosen because of Microsoft’s data center in Mecklenburg as well as a “plethora of opportunity” in the area, Satterfield says. TechSpark focuses on five areas: digital transformation, career pathways, rural broadband, nonprofit support, and digital-skills and computer-science education. The initiative will work with Southern Virginia businesses, startups, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to address technology challenges in the region. The program also will look at ways to help Southern Virginia schools and colleges train students in digital skills. The rural broadband program is part of Microsoft’s initiative to connect 2 million people around the country by 2020 through wireless technology as well as unused TV channels, which are called “white space.” “TV white space signals work in rural settings,” Satterfield says. “They became available when the government required the move from analog to digital on televisions.” In addition, TechSpark will provide grants to Southern Virginia nonprofits. “They have been doing wonderful things for their communities,” Satterfield says. “We want to offer help for them to continue.” He has been working on proposals for each of TechSpark’s five program areas since the initiative began in Southern Virginia in March. “None of those are in announcement stage yet,” Satterfield says. “We will be announcing something in the next few weeks or months.” Working on TechSpark is a personal cause for him. “I was born and raised in Halifax County, so I have a lot of vested interest,” Satterfield says.  2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bristol-Herald_Buliding_Ashland_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-2.png The Herald-Progress in Ashland closed on the same day in late March. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ashland-mourns-the-loss-of-137-year-old-newspaper Ashland mourns the loss of 137-year-old newspaper http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ashland-mourns-the-loss-of-137-year-old-newspaper http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ashland-mourns-the-loss-of-137-year-old-newspaper#When:02:00:00Z In an era when newspapers nationwide are struggling to survive, it should have come as no surprise that a weekly in Hanover County would close abruptly. But there was surprise and anguish when the Ashland-based Herald-Progress ceased publication in late March, after 137 years. “It’s a real loss for the community,” says Ashland Mayor Jim Foley, who moved to the Hanover town of 7,500 about 20 years ago. Foley says he has no idea whether another community newspaper will take the place of the Herald-Progress or whether an existing publication might take over hyper-local coverage of the town and Hanover County. “[It] remains to be seen … that someone else will pick up the pieces,” he says. Herald-Progress employees were informed two days before the final edition that the newspaper was closing. “We’re all kind of in shock,” says Betty Luck, a news assistant. In addition to the Herald-Progress, a sister weekly, the Caroline Progress, which covered Caroline County and its environs for 99 years, also closed March 29. The newspapers had six full-time staff members as well as a number of regional correspondents and part-timers. The papers were owned by Morristown, Tenn.-based Lakeway Publishers Inc., which has 22 other publications. In identical messages in the final editions of the Herald-Progress and Caroline Progress, R. Jack Fishman, Lakeway’s president, says the newspapers were “no longer commercially viable.” Four other Virginia weekly papers owned by the company, however, are doing well, says Steve Weddle, vice president of Lakeway Publishers of Virginia. The group includes three newspapers in the Northern Neck area — the Northern Neck News, the Westmoreland News and the Northumberland Echo — and The Central Virginian based in Louisa. Tom Harris, Hanover County’s public information officer, worked for the Herald-Progress for 16 years. He laments the national cultural shift that has made newspapers, and print journalism generally, a tough sell. “I grew up reading a newspaper,” the 60-year-old Harris says.  “But now I’m the father of children in their 20s, and picking up a newspaper is for them an old-fashioned way to learn things.” Harris says that for his generation a local newspaper was like a member of the family and an important part of daily life. “It was not just about going to a board of supervisors meeting or covering a court case. It was about knowing the people down the street and knowing their values,” Harris says, describing the role of a community newspaper. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/0404181903a.png The Pulaski Community Youth Center provides after-school activities for middle and high school students. Courtesy PCYC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-spearheads-creation-of-community-center Company spearheads creation of community center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-spearheads-creation-of-community-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-spearheads-creation-of-community-center#When:02:00:00Z Just over three years ago, investigators found the body of 5-year-old Noah Thomas in a septic tank on the property where he had lived with his parents and his baby sister. His parents were convicted of abuse and neglect, in part because they left the children alone while their mother drove their father to work at Phoenix Packaging Operations in Dublin. Phoenix Packaging CEO Carlos Tapias decided to do something to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The result is the Pulaski Community Youth Center, which welcomed the first students to its after-school programs in March. Tapias declined to be interviewed about the youth center. “He’s a very passionate individual, but he does not like to take a lot of credit for this, although he’s the one that drove it and began it,” says Kenneth Richardson, Phoenix’s U.S. director of human resources. Tapias’ original plan for a community center for very young children has evolved into a place for middle school and high school students. “Our goal was to find those gaps and fill in those gaps for the ages that didn’t have a place to be after school,” says Tina Martin, the center’s executive director. “The gaps that are in our community are for that middle school and early high school age.” Phoenix pays Martin, a program director and two part-time employees. Other companies (Martin says they want to remain anonymous) also have contributed funds. Community volunteers helped renovate the former school that houses the program. In addition to after-school services, the center plans to be open during the summer and has partnered with other organizations to begin and administer programs. So far, the center offers gym time, robotics and tutoring by Radford University students training to become teachers. “I think the biggest benefit will be they’re not going home … to an empty house,” says Radford professor Betty Dore. “They will be with their peers. They will be with adults who care about them.” Phoenix Packaging is a subsidiary of Grupo Phoenix, a Colombian company with sales in more than 30 countries. Its Dublin plant has expanded three times since its opening in 2010. When the latest expansion is completed next year, the plant will provide nearly 600 jobs. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Barter_BillieWheeler_MainExterior_March2017.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/n.c.-expansion-plan-stirs-worry-in-theaters-hometown N.C. expansion plan stirs worry in theater’s hometown http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/n.c.-expansion-plan-stirs-worry-in-theaters-hometown http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/n.c.-expansion-plan-stirs-worry-in-theaters-hometown#When:02:00:00Z Since 1946, the Barter Theatre in Abingdon has been Virginia’s State Theatre. So, naturally, talk of a Barter outpost in Mount Airy, N.C., caused consternation in the theater’s hometown. “It is absolutely the main draw to this town,” says Mitzi Smith, owner of The Peppermill restaurant in Abingdon. At least 40 percent of her customers are Barter patrons, she says. Putting a Barter Theatre in Mount Airy would “take away a huge chunk of our business” at a time when business already is challenging, she says. “If you leave my restaurant and walk down to the Barter — and it’s two blocks — there are six empty storefronts.” Richard Rose, the theater’s producing artistic director, thinks Abingdon business owners misunderstand the proposed expansion’s potential effect. “Everybody thinks, ‘If [patrons] can go there, they’re not going to come here,’” he says. But the theater already does hundreds of shows away from Abingdon every year. Wherever the players go, Rose says, audiences follow them back to their home theater. “I think people underestimate the appeal of coming to Abingdon, and the appeal of coming to the Barter in Abingdon,” he says. With the coalfields’ economy struggling and the region’s population shrinking, Rose argues, audience growth must come from outside the area. Smith, unconvinced, calls the expansion, “a win-win for Mount Airy and a win-win for Barter and a lose-lose for Abingdon business owners.” The Mount Airy plan called for spending at least $10 million to create a theater in a former textile mill. The money would come through a mixture of tax credits, capital campaigns and contributions from Mount Airy. The city also agreed to provide annual operating subsidies of up to $600,000 that gradually fall to $100,000 for years six through 15. A North Carolina commission that oversees local government debt declared that plan too risky, but Mount Airy Mayor David Rowe says the deal isn’t dead yet. “It might be in the funeral parlor,” he says, “but we haven’t loaded it up into the hearse yet.” The mayor thinks the deal can get state approval if the Barter Theatre takes on more of the costs.  “We’re still, I think, some half-heartedly committed to it and some whole-heartedly committed to it,” he says. “So, we’ll just see where it goes.”  2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/simulatorvabiz.png A tractor-trailer simulator at Lord Fairfax Community College can imitate a variety of driving conditions. Courtesy LFCC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/labor-shortage-spurs-training-for-truck-drivers Labor shortage spurs training for truck drivers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/labor-shortage-spurs-training-for-truck-drivers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/labor-shortage-spurs-training-for-truck-drivers#When:02:00:00Z Twenty-year-old Samuel Bettendorf was working in a dead-end job before he began attending commercial driver’s license (CDL) classes at Lord Fairfax Community College. “I saw there was a great need for tractor-trailer drivers,” says the Warren County native. Nationally, there is a shortage of more than 50,000 truck drivers for local, regional and over-the-road positions. “Over 800 jobs were posted in the last 90 days regionally for CDL truck drivers,” says Chris Pender, vice president of Woodford-based CDS Tractor Trailer Training. In part, the shortage has been caused by a wave of retirements by baby boomer truckers. “It’s also due to the way commerce is spread out,” Pender says. With the demise of many brick-and-mortar retailers, demand for truck drivers is rising. With online shopping, “everything is being delivered to your door,” he notes. First-year drivers can make $45,000 to $60,000 a year. “We have had a number of folks that came through eight years ago, and now they employ five to six people,” Pender says. “There’s a big push for women in trucking now,” he adds. “Women make up 15 or more percent of the industry.” Lord Fairfax is one of 10 community colleges throughout Virginia that partners with CDS on CDL classes. “We are expanding our program at Lord Fairfax. We are doing a travel program for Warrenton and Fauquier County where we will go there and train students onsite,” says Pender. Lord Fairfax and CDS began offering the CDL class 2½ years ago. Since then more than 550 students have taken the class, and 494 have earned their CDLs. Students receive 160 hours of instruction — either in a full-time, 20-day program or a part-time program that runs for 10 weekends. “Once they complete the course, they have a Class A CDL that allows them to drive Class A or Class B vehicles, everything from dump trucks to tractor-trailers,” Pender says. “It makes them more employable.” CDS helps students with job placement. “The majority of students are prehired before they complete the program,” Pender says. In January, Lord Fairfax received a new three-screen, tractor-trailer simulator that can imitate driving conditions ranging from inclement weather to road hazards. “It has everything a real truck has,” Pender says. “A lot of people see the truck, and they are overwhelmed. This puts them in a comfortable position where they are able to simulate the driving experience without the pressure of being on the road.” 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Molly__Ted_w_Charlie_Bolden.png Ted and Molly Dey have handled more than 3,000 reunions since 1988. Photo courtesy Armed Forces Reunions Inc. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/military-reunions-sustain-norfolk-meeting-planning-firm Military reunions sustain Norfolk meeting planning firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/military-reunions-sustain-norfolk-meeting-planning-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/military-reunions-sustain-norfolk-meeting-planning-firm#When:02:00:00Z Husband and wife Ted and Molly Dey have built their Norfolk-based company, Armed Forces Reunions Inc., into the largest military reunion company in the U.S. This April they hosted two prestigious military reunions — the A-6 Intruder Association in Norfolk and the Early & Pioneer Naval Aviators Association in Leesburg. “The Early & Pioneer Naval Aviators Association is made up of the top 200 of our nation’s greatest naval and Marine Corps aviators,” says Molly Dey. “They are the crème de la crème.” Ted Dey founded the business in 1988 after working at the Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau with its first national marketing campaign aimed at military reunions. He realized all of the groups had two things in common. “They weren’t professional meeting planners or contract negotiators,” he says, explaining why they needed professional planning services. Since 1988 the company has handled more than 3,000 reunions in over 150 cities nationwide. Groups include the Stalag Luft III Former POW Association (of “The Great Escape” movie fame), USS Wisconsin Association and the Marine Corps Aviation Association. “We work with small and large groups,” Ted says. “We can have a group as small as 50 or as large as 1,500. The average range is 200 to 300.” The company has never planned a convention that didn’t contain some type of military component. “We average 50 to 60 reunions a year plus 10 to 12 U.S. Department of Defense conferences,” Molly says. Washington, D.C., is the most popular reunion destination, but the company plans reunions from coast to coast. “Certain cities are popular with different military branches,” Ted says. “We like to have groups come to this area in Norfolk. We have some top-notch groups that wouldn’t consider Norfolk if we didn’t suggest they meet here.” The company has six full-time employees, three of whom are full-time meeting planners. “That includes me,” Molly says. “We travel when the reunion or conference reaches 180 to 200 people. We also have four contract people that can do oversight.” In 2014 AFR launched its BookMyReunion.com division, a web-based national network connecting reunion-friendly hotels with small-group military reunions. “We have a unique understanding of military protocol and have built a large network of military-friendly hotels and hospitality partners,” Molly says.  2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/fls_aspetto.png Abbas Haider (left) and Robert Davis. Photo by Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-produces-bullet-resistant-clothing-line Company produces bullet-resistant clothing line http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-produces-bullet-resistant-clothing-line http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-produces-bullet-resistant-clothing-line#When:02:00:00Z Not everyone can look like James Bond, but you may be able to emulate his style, thanks to a Virginia company that produces clothing fit for a secret agent. Fredericksburg-based Aspetto makes “ballistic clothing,” in addition to regular menswear. Its products include custom suits with integrated armor,  bullet-resistant T-shirts and gear ranging from vests to helmets.  The majority of Aspetto’s business is tied to government contracts. Its products are National Institute of Justice certified, the benchmark for bullet-resistant body armor. Abbas Haider, Aspetto’s founder, president and CEO, says his products have been lifesaving. He recalls that an undercover officer who was wearing the company’s bullet-resistant T-shirt survived being shot three times. His survival “was the defining moment for us,” Haider says. Haider began making clothing in 2008 while a student at Mary Washington. He added bullet-resistant clothes to his product line after exploring the concept as part of a marketing-class project. His classmate on that project, Robert Davis, is now Aspetto’s chief operating officer. “We partnered up with a local ballistic company, created a prototype and got an ‘A’ on the project,” says Haider. They stayed in Fredericksburg after graduation because it was affordable and close to Washington, D.C. Today Aspetto has six employees and hopes to hire more as the company expands. The company says it is the first to manufacture a bullet-resistant clothing line in the U.S. Civilians can buy Aspetto’s clothing but first must pass background checks. The background check isn’t required by law, but Haider says the company believes it should know why customers want their products. After the background checks, Aspetto works with customers to determine the best products for their needs. Production for custom-made ballistic items takes two-and-a-half months. Other items, such as shirts and tailored suits, take four to five weeks. In addition to clothing and ballistic gear, Aspetto offers cybersecurity education  services. It evaluates employees on their reactions to cyberattacks and provides training on fighting hackers. “Aspetto is on its way to becoming a one-stop shop for all defense needs,” Davis says. 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2018 People - May 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2018#When:02:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA  Jim Corcoran is stepping down in mid-June as president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Stacy Stathopoulos, chief operating officer, and Michael Forehand, senior vice president, will co-manage day-to-day operations during the transition. (Washington Business Journal)  Dr. J. Stephen Jones, a urological oncologist, has been named the new CEO of Falls Church-based Inova Health System. Jones was the president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals and Health Centers. Jones succeeds longtime Inova CEO Knox Singleton. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Kristi Ausberry has been named director of finance at Falls Church-based Evans Inc. Ausberry brings more than a decade of financial leadership experience to Evans, having led day-to-day finance operations at her prior firm as controller. (News release)  Mark and Vicki Fedor, owners of North Gate Vineyard in Loudoun County, announced that they reached an agreement for it to be acquired by Mike Wheeler and Nate Walsh of Walsh Family Wine. Wheeler and Walsh own Bethany Ridge Vineyard and Twin Notch Farm in Loudoun. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)  EASTERN VIRGINIA Huntington Ingalls Industries promoted Jeanne Callahan to corporate vice president, internal audit, and David “Chip” Wasson to corporate vice president, corporate strategy. Callahan has served as director, business management, contracts and government compliance, since HII formed in 2011 and has worked at Newport News Shipbuilding since 1991. Wasson was director, corporate strategy. He joined HII in January 2017. (News release) Suffolk-based TowneBank changed its management with President and Chief Banking Officer J. Morgan Davis assuming the role of CEO. Founding Chairman and CEO Robert Aston Jr. transitioned to the newly created position of executive chairman of the board. Davis, also one of the bank’s founding officers, has previously worked as president and CEO of Towne Financial Services and as president of TowneBank of Virginia Beach. (Daily Press) Bon Secours has named Paul Gaden as the chief executive officer to oversee operations for Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth and Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk. He returns to Bon Secours and to Hampton Roads after serving as the CEO of Providence Portland Medical Center and Oregon Eastern Region. (News release) David White has been named executive vice president of the Virginia Maritime Association in Norfolk. White had been vice president of the association since 2008. He took over from Arthur W. Moye Jr., who will become director of external affairs until his retirement in December 2018. (Virginia Business) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Robert D. Aguirre has been named dean of James Madison University’s College of Arts and Letters. Aguirre currently is senior associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit.  Aguirre brings to the job more than 28 years of experience as a liberal arts educator, specifically in literary and cultural studies, and has worked in academic administration at WSU for the past decade. His appointment at the Harrisonburg-based school is effective July 16. (News release) Timothy Diette has been appointed senior adviser to the president for strategic analysis at Washington & Lee University. Diette has been associate dean of the Lexington-based university’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. The appointment is effective July 1. (News release)  Mike Gochenour has been named publisher of The Winchester Star. He succeeds Thomas T. Byrd, who was the publisher of the daily newspaper for 37 years. The appointment followed the sale of Byrd Newspapers to Ogden Newspapers in April. Gochenour will continue his role as publisher of The Northern Virginia Daily in Strasburg, dividing his time between the two offices. He says there are no plans to combine the newspapers. (The Winchester Star) Tim Miller has been named vice president for student affairs at JMU. Miller is currently the associate dean of students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he has overseen the creation of the Center for Student Engagement and is responsible for many co-curricular aspects of student life. His appointment is effective June 1. (News release)  SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Rhonda Dark has been named the new executive director of The Arc of Southside. She replaces Tonya Milling, who became executive director of The Arc of Virginia. Dark was previously quality support manager with The Arc of North Carolina. (Danville Register & Bee)  SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Thomas T. Cullen has been sworn in as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Cullen is the former deputy criminal chief for the U.S. attorney’s office in Roanoke and a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of North Carolina. He was most recently a partner at Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke. (News release)  Robyn Lee has been hired as program director of GO Virginia Region One, which serves the cities of Bristol, Galax and Norton and the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe. Lee previously led Opportunity SWVA, a network of small business and entrepreneurship support organizations covering a 19-county area. (Bristol Herald Courier)  Kim Farris-Luke, president and owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory in Abingdon, has been named president-elect of the board of directors of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Farris-Luke will be the first female president since the organization’s inception 100 years ago. She will be installed during the organization’s annual meeting in October. (Bristol Herald Courier)  ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Charles W. Steger of Blacksburg, president emeritus of Virginia Tech, has been appointed to the Virginia Commission on Higher Education.  (News release)  Virginia Tech alumnus David Calhoun has donated $20 million to the school’s Honors College. Calhoun, who lives in Sunapee, N.H., is senior managing director for Blackstone Group LP and the former CEO of Nielsen Holdings. (Virginiabusiness.com)  CENTRAL VIRGINIA  Bon Secours Virginia Health System has named   Dr. Roberta C. Bogaev   as c hief cardiologist and  Dr. Robert A. Lancey  as chief cardiac surg eon of the  Bon Secours Heart and Vascular program across Virginia.  Bogaev and Lancey will report to  Dr. John McCurley , chief medical officer at Bon Secours Virginia, with Francine Barr, CEO of St. Mary’s Hos  pital, holding executive responsibility for cardiovascular services. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Allison Linney, founder and president of Charlottesville-based communications and management consulting firm Allison Partners, has been selected by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce to receive the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year award. (The Daily Progress) Aashir Nasim has been named vice president for inclusive excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University. Nasim was interim senior vice provost for faculty affairs and director of the VCU Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry & Innovation, also known as iCubed. (Richmond Free Press) David K. Paylor has been reappointed by Gov. Ralph Northam as director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the state agency at the center of the impassioned debate over the state’s handling of a pair of natural gas pipeline projects. Paylor has defended the DEQ’s actions, calling the regulatory process for the projects “the most rigorous for any pipeline in Virginia history.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Ryan White has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a financial adviser in Lynchburg as part of the Tennessee-based company’s expansion in Virginia. White previously was a market manager for the South Central Virginia region for BB&T. Pinnacle entered Virginia last year with its acquisition of BNC Bancorp. (News release) 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2018 For the Record - May 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2018#When:02:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA In March, management and IT services consulting firm  Favor TechConsulting (FTC)  celebrated its move to a 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Fairfax County. FTC is a minority- and service-disabled, veteran-owned government contractor that employs nearly 400 people, about 100 of whom are based at the company’s Tysons office. Last year, the company committed to a five-year, $1.6 million expansion plan that includes hiring up to 1,200 new employees. FTC moved into its new office in late December, leasing space in the Fairfax Square complex through 2025. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Arlington County-based  Graham Holdings Co.  has finalized a deal to transfer its Kaplan University education division to a newly created affiliate of Purdue University for $1. The school now is a part of a new nonprofit affiliated with Purdue, based in West Lafayette, Ind. The nonprofit will pay Graham to operate Kaplan University under a 30-year contract but has the option to buy out the contract after six years. Graham Holdings also will receive a share of the revenue generated from the new operation. (Washington Business Journal)  A partnership of  JM Zell  and Hines expects to be at work on  the tallest building in Alexandria — and one of the tallest in the region — as soon as late summer. Rising to 386 feet, 6 inches, at the tip of its mechanical screen, the 368-unit Carlyle Plaza South will tower over both the Capital Beltway and the Eisenhower Avenue corridor. The project is the first piece of Carlyle Plaza Two, a 6-acre site planned for four towers — office, residential or both. What comes next could depend on whether Amazon.com Inc. selects Northern Virginia, and specifically the Eisenhower Avenue corridor, for its second headquarters. (Washington Business Journal)  Chantilly-based medical design firm RSG Architects has merged into Boston-based E4H Environments for Health Architecture. RSG Architects has changed its name to E4H but is maintaining its local operation. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In addition to the new Chantilly office, E4H has locations in New England, New York, Tennessee and Texas. The E4H portfolio includes more than $6 billion in projects, including community hospitals, academic medical centers and life science laboratories. Services include health-care planning, architecture and interior design. RSG specialized in designing and delivering medical facilities since it was founded in 2000. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  EASTERN VIRGINIA The San Diego-based Green Flash brewery was sold in early April to an investment group called WC IPA LLC following a foreclosure by the company’s principal lender, Comerica Bank. Announcement of the sale came just a week after Green Flash closed its Virginia Beach brewery, which had operated for only 16 months. Green Flash had ambitious plans to become a national force in craft beer, distributing to all 50 states from its San Diego and Virginia bases, but it was unable to make payments on the $20 million loan it had with Comerica. (The San Diego Union Tribune) Harbor Group International has sold a 17-story tower in downtown Norfolk to the city’s housing authority for $12 million. The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority had leased space in the building, at 555 E. Main St., for its headquarters since June 2016. PNC Bank is one of the main tenants in the 125,000-square-foot building. The Norfolk-based real estate firm also recently bought a fully leased office tower in Northern Virginia for $226 million. The hefty price tag for One Dulles Tower, a 400,000-square-foot building in Herndon, came with the tenant: Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant. (The Virginian-Pilot) Old Dominion University plans to significantly expand its health sciences programs at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center this fall. The university said the move will complement its health-sciences presence in Norfolk, introducing graduate programs in high-demand fields, such as telehealth, in Virginia Beach while enlarging other programs in the schools of Nursing and Community & Environmental Health in ODU’s College of Health Sciences. The expansion is expected to bring 850 additional students and 62 faculty members to the Virginia Beach site. ODU also expects to open a primary-care clinic, a substance-abuse prevention center and a training center for patient simulation in Virginia Beach. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Stihl Inc. continues to expand in Virginia Beach. The U.S. division of Stihl Group has broken ground on a $25 million, 80,000-square-foot administration building. Besides the new administration space, the project will include improvements to an outdoor demonstration area for hands-on training, enhancements to the entry guardhouse and updates to traffic flow and security at the main entrance gate. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Trader Interactive has moved its corporate headquarters in downtown Norfolk to a new location. The company moved from 150 Granby St. to Dominion Tower at 999 Waterside Drive. Trader Interactive has 250 employees in Norfolk. The company says the move will allow space for staff expansion; it plans to create 200 jobs during the next five years, with the majority of those positions in Norfolk. Trader Interactive will occupy 39,081 square feet on floors 19, 20 and 21 of Dominion Tower. The building sits on the Elizabeth River with floor-to-ceiling views of the downtown waterfront. The lease is the largest office transaction in Norfolk in the past two years. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Waynesboro-based  Lumos Networks Corp.  is working on a project that will enable it to route bandwidth traffic from two undersea cables to data centers in Ashburn. Lumos plans to connect its fiber network to a building at 1632 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach, which is being converted into a co-location facility operated by Globalinx Data Centers. The Globalinx facility is a short distance from the Cable Landing Station, where undersea cables will connect Virginia Beach with Spain and Brazil later this year. The two undersea cables are MAREA, jointly owned by Telefonica (Telxius), Microsoft and Facebook, and BRUSA, which is totally owned by Telefonica. (VirginiaBusiness.com)   Shenandoah Valley Organic  has bought property across from its North Liberty Street plant in Harrisonburg. The organic chicken processing company paid $900,000 to Massanutten Street LLC to acquire the properties at 778 and 779 Massanutten St. The parcels total more than 1.7 acres. (Daily News-Record)  Valley Health  and the Winchester Cardiology and Vascular Medicine have agreed t o form a closer arrangement after years of working together. Under the agreement, starting May 1, Valley Health will share governance with Winchester Cardiology while employees of Winchester Cardiology will continue to work for the cardiology practice. While the formal agreement only came recently, the move was years in the making. The arrangement is expected to improve patient access to care and to help develop new programs, such as telemedicine. (The Northern Virginia Daily) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Travel and hospitality were the bright spots over the past decade in a down labor market in Southwest Virginia. Even as overall employment fell 2.3 percent since 2001, jobs in the leisure sector increased by 14 percent, according to a new report from the   Southwest Virginia    Cultural Heritage Foundation  and the Friends of Southwest Virginia. The report outlines growth —  travel expenditures increasing by 56 percent from 2004 to 2016 — and promises more to come. Southwest Virginia accounts for more than a fifth of Virginia’s total land area and is home to two national park s, nine state parks and more than a thousand square miles of national and state forests. (SWVAToday.com)  The Sunset-OptiNet transaction is now expected to close in May, the BVU Authority board was told in March. Officials from Duffield-based Sunset Digital Communications outlined steps they’re taking to complete the planned $50 million acquisition of BVU’s telecommunications division in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Sunset approached BVU about buying its fiber-optic network in 2015, and the deal was announced Feb. 5, 2016. Since that time, the deal has been consumed with obtaining a series of approvals from partners and funding agencies. (Bristol Herald Courier)  The board of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise has taken an initial step toward creating its first graduate degree program. In March, the board approved the creation of a master’s program in teaching. The measure must be approved by the board of visitors, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Virginia Department of Education. The earliest the program could start would be August 2019. (News release)  The first microbrewery in Wythe County is set to open this spring in the old Gerta’s House of Music location on East Lee Highway. “But this is not Gerta’s; it is a new operation,” said owner David Blair. Gerta’s closed nearly two years ago. According to Blair, Tim Winsett will brew four craft beers on site. Blair is still contemplating the hours of operation but said they will probably be open for a few hours each evening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. He hopes to open the microbrewery around May 1. (SWVAToday.com)  ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY  In its first deal in the Roanoke Valley region, Aria Legacy Group (ALG) has acquired West Creek Manor Apartments in Roanoke from the Virginia Housing Development Authority for $5.9 million. Joe Novoseller, ALG’s managing principal, said in a statement that Roanoke “is positioned among the nation’s leading mid-sized communities for economic growth and offers exceptional quality of life in terms of its location, outdoor and cultural activities, burgeoning food and music scene, and more.” Located on Westside Boulevard, the 197-unit apartment property was built in 1974 and renovated in 2010. ALG, based in Lakewood, N.J., acquires, owns and manages multifamily properties on the East Coast. (VirginiaBusiness.com)  Ed Walker, a well-known developer in downtown Roanoke, has moved on to Buena Vista. Walker’s rehabilitation of more than a dozen buildings — with the help of historic tax credits — into apartments, restaurants and music venues is credited with contributing to the growth of downtown Roanoke. Now he is hoping he can inject some new life into Buena Vista where he recently purchased 16 properties for more than $1 million. Walker recently told Buena Vista’s City Council that he plans to have businesses up and running in each of the buildings within two years. He said he chose Buena Vista, with a population of 6,400, as a spot for redevelopment primarily because it has a good location three miles from Interstate 81, along the Maury River and near the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway.  (The Roanoke Times)  The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce plans to build a new office in Christiansburg’s commercial corridor off Peppers Ferry Road. The chamber has signed a 10-year lease on a 3,000-square-foot space with the option to purchase the building. Construction will begin soon, and the chamber hopes to move in by November. It will share the space with another tenant. (The Roanoke Times)  State environmental regulators have approved an erosion, sediment and storm water control plan for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The Department of Environmental Quality said detailed site plans specify engineering designs that will protect water quality in Virginia, during and after construction of the 303-mile pipeline, which will cut through some parts of Southwest Virginia. A day after DEQ’s action in late March, environmentalists dropped petitions by Gov. Ralph Northam’s office signed by more than 70,000 people that support stricter rules for the MVP. The activists also gave Northam an online petition signed by more than 62,000 people from around the country calling on the governor to stop the MVP and the larger Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which they said would threaten the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and miles of national forest land. (VCU Capital News Service)  The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine has landed an international medical conference. In June 2019, 500 scientists and physicians from around the world are expected to come to Roanoke for the annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators. (The Roanoke Times)  CENTRAL VIRGINIA A new push to revive the shuttered    Colonial Downs    racetrack is off to a running start with legislation signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in April to allow gambling on historical — not live — horse races. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, is aimed at reopening Colonial Downs in New Kent County by sweetening the purse for the proposed buyer of the track with the opportunity to offer gambling on machines that rely on a video archive of historical races, with only the odds supplied to bettors. However, Northam also issued an executive directive that would require the Virginia Racing Commission to place “reasonable limitations on the proliferation of gaming in Virginia” as it develops regulations to carry out the law. The governor also directed the commission to include “extensive stakeholder and public engagement” in the regulatory process. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)    Framatome   , a designer and supplier of nuclear power equipment, plans to relocate its North American corporate headquarters from Charlotte, N.C., to Lynchburg. Paris-based AREVA NP was rebranded as Framatome in January. The company is known as Framatome Inc. in North America. The company has 1,300 employees in Lynchburg, 2,300 in North America and 14,000 globally. The company’s employment in Lynchburg is expected to grow with the relocation of its North American headquarters, according to the governor’s office. Framatome is owned by the EDF Group (75.5 percent), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (19.5 percent) and Assystem (5 percent). (VirginiaBusiness.com) A long-delayed merger between Henrico County-based insurer    Genworth Financial Inc.    and   China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd.   is being extended for the fourth time, this time to July 1, as the proposed deal  remains under review by some government regulatory agencies.  Genworth, an insurance company with thousands of employees in Virginia, announced in October 2016 that it had agreed to be acquired by China Oceanwide for $2.7 billion.  (Richmond Times-Dispatch)   Hardywood Park Craft Brewery LLC  , which has opened its new West Creek brewery and taproom in Goochland County, has completed a $1.3 million capital raise, according to regulatory filings. All of the company’s existing shareholders participated in this round, as well as 10 new investors, who are mostly from the Richmond area. Hardywood remains an independent, family-owned brewery. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)   High Summit Partners LLC   has set its sights on South Richmond, and the group is working with a few others to bring a small-batch brewery and tasting room for The Veil Brewing Co., plus apartments and other retail, to Forest Hill Avenue just south of the Boulevard Bridge. Until now, Birck Turnbull and Charles Bice — the duo behind High Summit Partners — have primarily focused on developments in Scott’s Addition, including The Veil’s acclaimed flagship location. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)   Hunton & William  s, which was founded in Richmond and operates its largest office here , is now called  Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP . The name chang e is part of a merger, effective in early April, between Hunton & Williams and Texas law firm Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. The combined firm will be among the top 50 largest in the U.S. by headcount and revenue, with a projected annual revenue exceeding $750 million. It has more than 1,000 lawyers at 20 offices: 15 in the U.S. and five internationally. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) A former tobacco warehouse in downtown Richmond has officially opened its doors as a business incubator. The   1717 Innovation Center   opened in Shockoe Bottom in March. The 42,000-square-foot center at 1717 E. Cary St. is a partnership between McLean-based Capital One and local incubator Startup Virginia, which moved from a smaller space in downtown Richmond into the new center. (VirginiaBusiness.com)    Lidl   plans to open a grocery store in Richmond in early May on the site of the former Colonial Downs off-track betting parlor on West Broad Street. The store will be the Germany-based discount grocer’s sixth in the Richmond area. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)   Richmond has one of the highest    eviction rates  in the country, according to  ne w data covering dozens of states and compiled by a team led by the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond. His team found records for nearly 900,000 eviction judgments nationwide in 2016, meaning landlords were given the legal right to remove at least one in 50 renter households in the communities covered by this data. That figure was one in 25 in Milwaukee and one in nine in Richmond. And one in five renter households in Richmond were threatened with eviction in 2016. Their landlords began legal proceedings, even if those cases didn’t end with a lasting mark on a tenant’s record. (The New York Times) As Charlottesville works on a future streetscape for East High Street, city planners are evaluating a layout for a five-story office building that would replace the Tarleton Oak service station. Tarleton Oak LLC has submitted a site plan for a two-phase project that would first see construction of the office building, followed by a 56-unit apartment complex. There would also be a 334-space parking structure to support both. (The Daily Progress) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph Northam announced in late March that Danville has been named a certified Work Ready Community — a nationally recognized designation by the state government and the American College Testing. In short, that means the city will attract new businesses and jobs because the city’s high school students have job-ready skills. Danville is the fifth Virginia community to receive the designation. (Danville Register & Bee) Danville Utilities’ first solar farm is officially online more than two years after the project was first discussed. Talks began with Danville City Council in January 2016 for the 76-acre solar farm that will produce up to 6 megawatts of power, about 1.5 percent of the utility’s needs. Danville Utilities will purchase all energy created at the solar farm in Ringgold for the next 25 years at a lower rate than market value. (Danville Register & Bee) Hampden-Sydney College has announced a $2 million gift from alumnus William L. Pannill for the school’s center for Rhetoric and Communication. The center will house not only the college’s 40-year-old rhetoric program but also the Ferguson Center for Public Speaking, student publications, the office of undergraduate research and a new center focused on public history. (Farmville Herald) Emergency responders soon may get help lifting obese patients after the winner of IdeaFest, a Danville business-pitch competition, works to perfect a device. Brittany Horton, a senior in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, said she has been working with a team of students to come up with such a solution. So far, her team has created a prototype of a lifting mechanism, but now the project will be closer to reality with the $5,000 first-place prize money along with 25 hours of free consultations with The Launch Place staff. (Danville Register & Bee) Microsoft Corp. says it’s making a major purchase of solar energy in Virginia. The company announced the deal in March to buy 315 megawatts from solar developer sPower, which is planning to build the state’s largest solar project. Microsoft has a data center in Mecklenburg County and has committed to getting 60 percent of its data centers’ energy from renewable sources by 2020. sPower’s proposed solar farms in Spotsylvania County will have more than 750,000 solar panels on more than 2,000 acres, according to Microsoft. (The Associated Press) Ridgeway Family Health has had about 1,720 patient encounters since the site opened Dec. 1, which is about what had been expected, according to Barbara Jackman, executive director of the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness. Ridgeway Family Health is a federally qualified health center that, like Bassett Family Practice, are “DBAs” (or “doing business as”) the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness. “We received a federal grant of $950,602, which paid for almost all the renovation and equipment,” Jackman said. “The entire project was slightly over $1M (million) and the balance was paid by the Coalition.” (Martinsville Bulletin) Southstone Behavioral Health Center in Halifax County had its formal opening in late March where it provided an early look at plans to expand services for troubled youth and grow into a facility employing up to 150 people. Southstone is a subsidiary of Acadia Healthcare, a multinational firm with 587 behavioral health facilities across 39 states as well as Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. (South Boston News & Record) 2018-04-27T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devils-backbone-to-hold-grand-opening-for-new-distillery Devils Backbone to hold grand opening for new distillery http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devils-backbone-to-hold-grand-opening-for-new-distillery http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/devils-backbone-to-hold-grand-opening-for-new-distillery#When:21:15:00Z Devils Backbone Brewery Co. in Nelson County is expanding into distilling. The grand opening of the Devils Backbone Distilling Co. will be held on Friday evening. The roughly 35,000-square-foot distillery is next to the company’s Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows. The distillery offers a lounge serving Devils Backbone spirits and beer and a retail store. Steve Crandall, co-founder of Devils Backbone Brewing Co. and part owner of the brewery and distillery, said in an interview that the brewing and distilling process is similar. “Having the distillery allows my brewers to expand the canvas they’ve been working on,” he said. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the distillery begins at 5:30 p.m. with tours of the facility starting at 6 p.m. A mixology class Saturday at 3 p.m. also is part of the festivities. The new facility opened to the public March 30th. Matt Casto is the manager of distilling operations, Brystal Sylvious is the mixologist and bar manager. Other staff will be pulled from the brewpub as needed. The distillery’s first release, Mountain Cane Silver Rum, and Nelly’s Apple Brandy are available in the distillery’s shop. Crandall expects the company’s Virginia Pine Gin to go on sale within the next couple weeks. The distillery plans to produce 5,000 cases of liquor per year. Plans are for the products to be available in stores in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland this summer. At that time, the distillery also plans to release a schnapps distilled from the brewery’s Danzig porter. Devils Backbone Distilling Co. is an extension of Devils Backbone Brewing Co., co-founded in 2008 by Steve and Heidi Crandall. The High End, a business unit of Anheuser-Busch, bought the brewery in 2016. Crandall said supporting the distillery, which had been on hold since 2014, was part of that deal. The distillery also will sell under The High End umbrella. The Crandall’s retain a minority holding in the brewery and distillery. Crandall said the company is focusing on offering accommodations to encourage destination visits to Devils Backbone’s campus in Roseland. A campground on the property, including 50 RV hook-ups, is slated to open June 1. The company also plans to build cottages, a 30-room lodge and 250-person event space. 2018-04-26T21:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/akf-expands-with-acquisition-of-henrico-county-based-bold-rock-engineering AKF expands with acquisition of Henrico County-based Bold Rock Engineering Group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/akf-expands-with-acquisition-of-henrico-county-based-bold-rock-engineering http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/akf-expands-with-acquisition-of-henrico-county-based-bold-rock-engineering#When:20:40:00Z New York-based AKF, which provides mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering among other services, continues to expand in the Southeastern U.S. with the acquisition of Henrico County-based Bold Rock Engineering Group. The terms of the deal for Bold Rock, which has operated in the Richmond region for nearly 40 years, were not disclosed. AKF said in a press release that Bold Rock’s work in higher education, workplace, hospitality, and healthcare clients complements AKF’s portfolio in these and other areas. Bold Rock’s projects include the redevelopment of Main Street Station, Richmond’s historic railroad station; the expansion and renovation of Washington Dulles International Airport's international arrivals building; Loudon County’s metro rail station parking; and the new Regattas dining hall at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. “Having collaborated with Bold Rock on successful projects,” DeFeo continued, “we felt this was an excellent opportunity to grow the AKF family by acquiring a firm with a shared vision and culture of engineering leadership,” CEO Dino DeFeo said in a statement. AKF’s said its presence in Richmond also will allow the firm to provide additional support to existing clients, such as VCU Health, James Madison University, Inova Health and Children’s National Medical Center. “This is a natural progression for AKF. We’ve experienced great success with the launch of our Baltimore office, and our new office in Richmond enhances our growing operations in the Southeast,” said DeFeo. With the addition of its Richmond office, AKF now has more than 500 team members and ten offices worldwide. 2018-04-26T20:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image006.jpg.jpeg Redesigned guest room of Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kimpton-lorien-hotel-spa-in-alexandria-completes-a-2.5-million-renovation Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria completes a $2.5 million renovation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kimpton-lorien-hotel-spa-in-alexandria-completes-a-2.5-million-renovation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kimpton-lorien-hotel-spa-in-alexandria-completes-a-2.5-million-renovation#When:20:06:00Z Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town Alexandria has completed a $2.5 million redesign. The refresh included the hotel’s 107 guest rooms, outdoor terraces, hallway corridors, public areas, and 5,600 square feet of meeting space. Design firms MONOGRAM at BBGM led the guest room, corridor and suite design concepts, and David Hill Design refreshed the living room and event space décor. At the end of 2016, the hotel’s adjacent restaurant, BRABO, expanded its bar to double in size, and it also was included in the property’s redesign. Xenia Hotels and Resorts, a real estate investment trust that invests primarily in full-service and lifestyle hotels, owns the Lorien Hotel & Spa, located at 1600 King St. 2018-04-26T20:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image003.png Doubletree Hotel by Hilton in Williamsburg courtesy of Shamin Hotels http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-acquires-doubletree-by-hilton-in-williamsburg Shamin Hotels acquires Doubletree by Hilton in Williamsburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-acquires-doubletree-by-hilton-in-williamsburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shamin-hotels-acquires-doubletree-by-hilton-in-williamsburg#When:19:44:00Z Shamin Hotels has acquired its 55th hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton in Williamsburg. The Chester-based hotel owner and operator said it purchased the property for an undisclosed price on April 25. “We are excited to add this beautiful conference property to our portfolio and look forward to becoming a part of the Williamsburg business community,” Shamin’s CEO Neil Amin said in a statement. The Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at 50 Kingsmill Rd. has 295 rooms and suites, 47,000 square feet of meeting space, 31 meeting rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. According to Shamin Hotels, it is the closest full-service hotel to the Busch Gardens theme park and numerous corporations, which makes the proeprty appealing business travelers, conferences and leisure travel. Shamin Hotels in Chesterfield County owns, operates, and develops hotels under the Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and InterContinental brands.  With 7,326 rooms in 55 properties across five states, Shamin Hotels says it is largest hotel owner and operator in Virginia, with more than 2,500 employees.  Forty-six of its hotels are located in the state. 2018-04-26T19:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-startup-receiving-investment-from-the-launch-place Medical device startup receiving investment from The Launch Place http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-startup-receiving-investment-from-the-launch-place http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-startup-receiving-investment-from-the-launch-place#When:19:47:00Z Danville-based The Launch Place has added a medical device startup to its portfolio. The business incubator is investing $75,000 in VitalFlo. The money will help the Raleigh,N.C.-based company develop a lung health analytics platform and mobile spirometer. The idea behind VitalFlo came to company cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, James Dieffenderfer, while participating in a product innovation class at North Carolina State University. Tasked with finding a solution for asthma management, Dieffenderfer and his team formulated a concept for a mobile spirometer, which would measure the air capacity of the lungs. The data from the spirometer would be recorded with an accompanying smartphone app. The Launch Place said VitalFlo is an ideal candidate for its pre-seed fund. VitalFlo has won several competitions, including NASA Tech Briefs’ Create the Future Contest, North Carolina State University’s Lulu eGames and The Launch Place’s own Big Launch Challenge. “The Pre-Seed investment program is intended to help growing companies, like VitalFlo, expedite the development process, specifically in product and market validation and business model refinement,” Eva Doss, The Launch Place President and CEO, said in a statement. “This initial investment may become a precursor to our seed fund, where a larger round of early stage funding is available.” Companies receiving pre-seed funding sign a Letter of Intent to locate meaningful operations to the Dan River region as they scale up. If The Launch Place eventually provides seed funding, the company is obligated to create at least five jobs over three years in the Dan River Region, made up of Danville and Pittsylvania County and Caswell County in North Carolina. Over the next year, VitalFlo plans to finalize their mobile spirometer design and get clearance from the Food & Drug Administration, which will allow it to go to market. 2018-04-25T19:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/portfolio-of-ocean-view-apartments-in-norfolk-sells-for-7.6-million Portfolio of Ocean View Apartments in Norfolk sells for $7.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/portfolio-of-ocean-view-apartments-in-norfolk-sells-for-7.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/portfolio-of-ocean-view-apartments-in-norfolk-sells-for-7.6-million#When:19:29:00Z Greysteel, a national commercial real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of the Norfolk Ocean View Portfolio, a 104-unit multifamily portfolio in the Ocean View neighborhood of Norfolk. Greysteel director Rawles M. Wilcox and investment associate Jared Emery from the firm’s Norfolk office negotiated the $7.6 million transaction on behalf of the seller, Boardwalk Realty & Development, and the out-of-state buyer, Brick Lane Real Estate, based in Washington, D.C. According to Greysteel, the portfolio is located on Willoughby Spit. There are nine properties, with each of them containing six to 18 units. The apartments offer new appliances, refinished cabinets and countertops, lighting packages, faux hardwood floors, and new carpet. The portfolio’s location provides access to transportation routes, including Interstate 64, U.S. Route 460, and Interstate 564.  All of the properties are within walking distance of the beach, in most cases being either beach front or less than two blocks away. “The solid financial performance of this portfolio, minimal capital expenditures required in a neighborhood with plenty of potential for growth, attracted the out-of-state buyer,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Furthermore, the extensive renovations completed by the previous ownership have positioned the portfolio to command higher rents in a location that is continuing to transform.” Greysteel, which has 11 offices throughout the country, serves and advises private and public institutional real estate investors and developers in the marketing, sale and financing of private capital and middle-market real estate assets. 2018-04-25T19:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-agency-to-work-with-hospital-association-on-improving-virginians-heal State agency to work with hospital association on improving Virginians’ health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-agency-to-work-with-hospital-association-on-improving-virginians-heal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-agency-to-work-with-hospital-association-on-improving-virginians-heal#When:19:26:00Z Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has formed a partnership with the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) aimed at improving the health of the commonwealth’s population. The initiative, called Partnering for a Healthy Virginia, will coordinate efforts between the state agency, VHHA members hospitals and other stakeholders to address population health. This project will utilize the findings of community health needs assessments (CHNA), which are completed every three years by Virginia hospitals. That information is used to assess the health needs of the communities that hospitals serve. “Virginia’s hospitals are committed to doing all we can to make the commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation,” Michael V. Gentry, outgoing chair of the VHHA board of directors, said in a statement. He is senior corporate vice president and chief operating officer at Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare. Through the partnership, VDH and VHHA plan to address population health by: • Forming a multi-stakeholder population health committee to develop strategies for improving Virginia’s rankings on population health metrics and addressing issues that impact health-care costs and well-being outcomes. • Strengthening the state’s community health improvement coalitions by identifying and supporting existing coalitions and developing new coalitions where none exist. • Focusing efforts on chronic conditions and issues such as obesity, smoking and chronic diseases, particularly in rural Virginia and distressed communities. • Developing strategies to improve issues identified in CHNAs including behavioral health and prescription drug misuse. • Identifying key strategies to combat cultural, economic, geographic and racial health disparities. • Leveraging data and analytics tools, such as VHHA Analytics and the VDH Data Portal, to provide timely population health insights. • Identifying areas where funding is needed to support implementation of programs to address community health needs, and collaborating to seek out appropriate private or public grants from foundations, government agencies and other entities. 2018-04-25T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Commonwealth_Building_copy.jpg Commonwealth Medical Building courtesy JLL http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joint-venture-buys-commonwealth-medical-building-for-4.6-million Joint venture buys Commonwealth Medical Building for $4.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joint-venture-buys-commonwealth-medical-building-for-4.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/joint-venture-buys-commonwealth-medical-building-for-4.6-million#When:18:51:00Z  Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown Partners teamed up with New York’s Red Starr Investments in a joint venture to acquire the Commonwealth Medical Building in Henrico County for $4.6 million. The partners have hired JLL to lease the 42,906-square-foot building at 7301 Forest Avenue. “We have been looking for opportunities to invest in the Richmond market for years,” Mario Levine, managing director, Georgetown Partners, said in a statement. “We’ve seen the vibrant growth in Richmond and immediately saw the Commonwealth Medical Building as a true asset within the Class A medical landscape. Its proximity to major healthcare facilities as well as its location within the West End market made this a logical entry point for us here…” JLL’s Gareth Jones and Adam Lawson will lead the leasing efforts. There is currently 26,372-square feet available in the building. “Demand for medical space remains strong in the submarket.  Coupled with major common area improvements to the building and proactive ownership, we believe the Commonwealth Medical Building will have a successful lease-up,” Jones, vice president, JLL, said in a statement. While Commonwealth Medical represents Georgetown Partners and Red Starr’s first investment in the Richmond metro market, Red Starr Investments has invested in two other projects in the state, at James Madison University and a 400-unit multifamily project in Newport News. “We continue to see Richmond and the state of Virginia as a robust and growing region,” Jared Starr, founder and managing principal, Red Starr Investment, said in a statement. 2018-04-25T18:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Brian_Hedge2_copy.jpg Brian Hedge photo courtesy Middleburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/brian-hedge-named-as-director-of-marketing-for-middleburg-real-estate-firm Brian Hedge named as director of marketing for Middleburg real estate firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/brian-hedge-named-as-director-of-marketing-for-middleburg-real-estate-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/brian-hedge-named-as-director-of-marketing-for-middleburg-real-estate-firm#When:18:12:00Z Middleburg, a Vienna-based real estate investment, development and property management firm, said Brian Hedge has joined the company as director of marketing. Hedge will be responsible for marketing multifamily communities and development properties and will focus on building Middleburg’s brand and audience engagement. Before joining Middleburg, Hedge worked for AvalonBay Communities, an REIT with multifamily holdings in Arlington, as the manager of digital marketing. According to Middleburg, Hedge has experience with strategic marketing, branding, internet marketing, budget management, website development, vendor partnerships, reputation monitoring, social media, email and display ad campaigns. Middleburg operates in Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Since 2004, the firm says it has acquired and developed more than 16,000 apartment units, executing about $2 billion in transactions. 2018-04-25T18:12:00+00:00