Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright 20142014-04-18T20:50:00+00:00
Enterprise CarShare expands into Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/enterprise-carshare-expands-into-arlington#When:20:50:00ZFollowing a regional launch in Washington., D.C., last September, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is expanding its car-share service territory into Arlington.
Enterprise CarShare is adding rental locations in Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston and Courthouse neighborhoods after creating more than 80 locations in the District of Columbia.
Car share services have been growing in urban areas around the country where many people use public transit for their day-to-day commutes. Car share programs are designed to offer customers a convenient alternative to owning an car.
As an introductory offer, Enterprise CarShare is offering new members in Virginia and DC a rate of $5 an hour for economy and midsize vehicles —a fee that includes fuel and physical damage/liability protection.
Drivers can reserve a car by the hour, day or overnight. Signing up and renting a car can be done on a mobile device, tablet or desktop computer.
Enterprise entered the car-sharing market by acquiring PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia in 2011 and Mint Cars On-Demand in Boston and New York City in 2012.
In May 2013, the company acquired the business of IGO CarSharing, the first car-sharing program in Chicago, and in September 2013 launched the service in Washington, D.C.2014-04-18T20:50:00+00:00
Robb named chairman of MITRE
The MITRE Corp. has named former Gov. Chuck Robb chairman of its board of trustees.
Robb, who has been a member of the board since 2001, took over following the death of James Schlesinger, who was chairman of the nonprofit for 27 years.
Robb has been vice chairman of the board since 2006.
Robb served as Virginia’s governor from 1982 until 1986 and was a U.S. senator from 1989 to 2001.
"Senator Robb has brought a wealth of knowledge in national security to MITRE's board," MITRE President and CEO Alfred Grasso said in a statement. "We value his leadership and are working together to ensure a smooth transition of Dr. Schlesinger's responsibilities."
MITRE Corp. is a non-profit organization that operates research and development centers for the federal government. Its two main locations are in McLean and Bedford, Mass.2014-04-18T20:03:00+00:00
Virginia launches online data portal
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-launches-online-data-portal#When:18:52:00ZThe Commonwealth has announced the launch of Data.Virginia, a website that will provide easy access to Virginia’s open data and keep Virginians informed on the state’s major big data initiatives.
“Virginia is generating more data on a daily basis than ever before. Much of that information is intended for public access but is often buried and hard to find. With this new initiative, Virginians will have a one-stop shop to get access to data from a variety of sources,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. The data can help citizens make informed decisions, assist innovators who are building cutting-edge applications and aid community leaders when planning projects, he said.
Examples of open datasets that will be available through the website include the Department of Education’s State Report Card on school performances, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s database of board and commission openings, and the Department of Transportation’s traffic data from across Virginia.2014-04-18T18:52:00+00:00
Leading from the ground up
Soon after taking over at the Port of Virginia in early February, John Reinhart wanted to understand firsthand a chief complaint from truckers: Congestion had doubled the time it took for them to get in and out of the port.
“A few weeks ago, I rode with a trucker on a blind drive just to see what was going on and to see it from a trucker’s point of view,” Reinhart said during an interview with Virginia Business in March.
Soon after that, Reinhart spent Saturday monitoring rail yard operations at Norfolk International Terminals and APM Terminals in Portsmouth, speaking with laborers directly.
“I said, ‘What can we do to improve our velocity?’ ” Reinhart recalls. “Another way to build solutions is to ask people who do the job. Wisdom doesn’t just rain down from above.”
Reinhart’s hands-on leadership has been noticed in the Hampton Roads’ maritime industry. “John Reinhart is making himself available to everyone in the community,” says Captain J. William Cofer, president of the Virginia Pilot Association. “He’s trying to learn everything he possibly can…every event I go to, John’s attending. He’s listening. He wants to hear what all the issues are, and he takes them back to his team to figure out.”
Reinhart is already well known in the region’s maritime community. He led Maersk Line Ltd., the Norfolk-based U.S. flagship of Maersk Group, from 2000 until he retired at the end in January.
He comes to the helm at a pivotal time at the Port of Virginia.
The Virginia Port Authority recently revamped its organization and its longtime terminals operator, Virginia International Terminals, a move designed to eliminate redundancies and save money. The reorganization followed the port’s rejection of private bids to run the port terminals — a process many in the maritime community now refer to as a “distraction.”
And so now the focus is how the Port of Virginia can continue to grow — without losing money.
The Port of Virginia has been well positioned to compete for cargo with its deep, unobstructed channels and rail connections to the country’s heartland. In addition, the port has been attractive to the massive new Post-Panamax vessels, as the only East Coast port capable of handling these colossal ships when fully laden. (Baltimore has one berth that has been dredged to 50 feet.)
As a result, the port’s terminals have been handling record-breaking levels of cargo, growing 10 percent in the most recent fiscal year.
But the growth has come at a price.
The influx of containers has fully taxed the port’s rail and trucking operations, causing delays and congestion at its marine terminals. In addition, the number of labor hours required to unload these massive ships has sparked an unprecedented amount of overtime pay. The port has faced operating losses for the last six years, reporting a loss of $10.5 million from July through December 2013.
Reinhart has been open about problems facing the port and his eagerness to fix them. “He’s not going to describe a situation any differently than what it really is, and I think that’s comforting not only to the port community but also to port customers,” says Art Moye, executive vice president of the Virginia Maritime Association.
In his short tenure, Reinhart has put an emphasis on the port’s need to become profitable. Without making money, he says, the port can’t invest in the infrastructure needed to prepare the future.
He’s hit the ground running. Less than two months into his term, the port had started to address congestion issues, investing money and time into finding ways to improve the movement of containers to and from trucks and railroads. February’s numbers looked better, too, as monthly operating losses dropped to $1.3 million, compared with $5 million in January.
Reinhart’s focus on financial performance aligns with a focus of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who replaced five members of the Virginia Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners because of ongoing losses.
“I think, 40 years from now, we’ll look back at this time and think this was really a pivotal time for this port,” says Cofer. “There’s a great potential for growth here. For all of Virginia, not just Hampton Roads.”
Following is the full transcript of Virginia Business’ interview with Reinhart in March.
Virginia Business: I wanted to talk first about the consolidation of VIT [Virginia International Terminals] and VPA [the Virginia Port Authority] and your assessment of how that’s been going so far.
Reinhart: It’s like any integration. It’s a work in progress. The decision was to move forward with the reorganization or restructuring in 2013. I can tell you that I think we’re moving along well on the path of integration and coordination. We still have a ways to go, but when you’re taking large organizations, it takes a little time because you’re trying to blend the culture, blend the priorities and create an aligned view for all the colleagues that work in the organization. So that happens with repetition and with a clear message. We’re still working. It’s a work in progress. I’m confident we’re along the path pretty well.
VB: Is part of the goal then, to rather than be seen as two organizations to be seen as one Port of Virginia?
Reinhart: We have to brand and communicate the message of the Port of Virginia. That’s the view that we have; the view of the board moving forward. What you have within the Port of Virginia though will be distinct operating entities that have different duties and responsibilities. So under the Port of Virginia you’ll have the port authority that has a certain mandate and license in areas that the port authority has to focus on. Then you will have VIT, which has to be the consummate terminal operator, managing the best most modern terminals here in the port, as well as trying to manage the future with our labor negotiations, with working with our collective bargaining, the [International Longshoremen’s Association] to improve productivity, to implementing new gate systems. Their focus really has to be forward-looking at the terminal and day-to-day operations. We have to look at some of the long-term strategy and the services that surround some of the terminal operations.
VB: And some of organizational change got rid of redundancies, right?
Reinhart: Some redundancies also some competing priorities. If you really kind of start from the top and say, “We are the Port of Virginia,” then your strategy tactics and implementation all kind of flow down, where before there might have been competing strategies between the two organizations. So this reorganization helped clarify those lines.
VB: At the State of the Port address you talked a lot about a new focus on profitability. What do you think have been the port’s challenges in that arena, and how long do you think it will take to become profitable?
Reinhart: It’s going to take longer than it should, because we should be profitable today. So we’ve got a little bit of runway in front of us. The purpose and the mission of the Port of Virginia is really to be an economic engine for the commonwealth, expedite the flow of trade and creating a dynamic environment for business and trade to move through Virginia. So that’s really the mission.
If we did it and broke even that’d be ok, because we’re accomplishing the mission to create jobs and other opportunities in Virginia for business. But we still have to be able to cover the debt services required to continue to invest in infrastructure to be competitive. So right now, when we went into this year we weren’t making money, therefore you can’t go out and get the debt to build the new structures, so you’re not going to be able to serve the community in the future.
To use an analogy, we have a great arena here, but it’s like a farm. We can go out and harvest and harvest and harvest, and we’ll have a diminishing crop yield unless we use some good farm planning, reinvest and fertilize, move the crops around. So our goal is not to just weed out every energy today. It’s to make the port so it can be like that farm that will harvest a sustainable yield from the acres employed for the long term.
There are big muscle movements with terminals. It takes a long to build one. So you’ve got to have a fairly robust planning system in place so you’re investing to get that infrastructure 10 years from now, 20 years from now. You’ve got to be planning that today.
VB: What do you think have been the biggest struggles for the port?
Reinhart: We had a platform. We weren’t investing enough in the infrastructure. We continued to grow to where we were getting beyond the capabilities with some of that infrastructure without new equipment, new processes, new technology. We then started to overharvest the capability. In doing that, we were running 24 hours a day and doing more of our work on premium time. So we could not get our cost of doing business back to a level that was sustainable. So we’ve got to work on the model. You have to improve the velocity. If we can take our current facilities and do 10,000 containers in a day today, on a normal cycle, not on overtime, on a regular eight-hour day, can we get that to 15? If we get that to 15,000, there’s your growth, but you’re not going to need more land and you really should have systems that don’t require a lot more labor, so therefore your costs will go down on a per unit basis. That’s why ships have gotten so big.
VB: Another issue that seems to stem from the growth is congestion at both rail and truck [operations at the terminals]. Where do we stand as far as the trucking and on the rail?
Reinhart: We’re studying our handling of the rail, but we had an infrastructure review of our facilities to say how we can reorganize rail yards to be a little more productive. And that study was completed. We just recently started our implementing phase. To our trucker community, we started three weeks ago, I think it was, with the trucker task force. So now we’ve got those committees working and they’re looking at every element to come up with process improvement or simplification for what critical investments might be required to make us more effective for the truckers.
Three weeks ago I rode with a trucker on a blind drive just to see what was going on and to see it from the truckers’ point of view. There are a lot of little refinements we can do that will make us more efficient and reduce the turn times.
VB: As far as the rail yard and improving efficiencies there, where are we on that?
Reinhart: We’ve brought in the rail partners, and we’ve been meeting directly with Norfolk Southern and with CSX about what we can do to increase the velocity and turn time on our tracks. They’re professionals at running rail yards. We’re running a rail yard attached to a marine terminal, so it adds another complexity. It’s not just a pure rail yard. But if we can take lessons form how they run some of the inland facilities, maybe with the equipment and the approaches, maybe we can help improve our track turns.
If we can turn each track turn another half a time a day that makes us more effective and helps us get the cargo in, and helps eliminate the congestion that’s right by the terminal. We’ve also added some equipment that we’ve ordered to try to speed up our process in the near term. This past Saturday I was watching both rail yards work. I went from [APM Terminals] over to [Norfolk International Terminals], and I spent hours just watching. I actually talked to the laborers and I said, “What can we do to improve our velocity?” So another way to build solutions is to ask the people who do the job. Wisdom doesn’t rain down just from above.
VB: Since you’ve been on the side of being a customer of the Port of Virginia, what do you think impressions are from the users?
Reinhart: I just finished meeting with a customer, a beneficial cargo owner, so I’d rather quote them without naming them, than giving you my personal views. And what they said was they could always rely on the Port of Virginia to be their partner, and that they trust that we’ll find the solutions that are needed going forward. The congestion and some of the delays have hurt, but they know we’re working on them. They also understand that the end users, just like we said about with the rail partners or the steamship lines, the truckers and the end users are part of the solution. So we’re saying, “What can we change in the way that we do processing that can improve the turn times so that they’re more efficient and that they don’t have delays on the terminal?” So they’re giving us some ideas that they see.
VB: What are the priorities for capital investment going forward?
Reinhart: The first thing we have to see is that we’re going to slide [construction of] Craney Island [marine terminal] out on the horizon. It’s going to be needed; it’s going to be important; but it’s not in the near-term plan. There is some underlying work that will continue to be done, but it won’t consume the real capital.
So then you pull yourself back in. Of the two terminals that we’re operating as container facilities, trying to figure out how to build out [APM Terminals] is a top priority. Our design plan to figure out how to invest to improve the platform for the rail and the gates at NIT is an important priority. And thirdly, we have some underutilized assets within our portfolio: Portsmouth Marine Terminal, or Newport News. What are we going to do to optimize those assets?
We have a fairly good berth length. We have moderate cranes and sufficient cranes, so most of our capital is going to be on the upland, the intermodal interface for the near term. And then we’ll get to Craney Island, and my children will see it.
VB: As far as PMT goes, are you still looking for possible bulk and breakbulk cargo opportunities?
Reinhart: We’ve taken the disk and all the data that we have, and we’re putting it on the table. And we’re creating a new strategic plan for PMT. Part of it may be the ro-ro, the breakbulk and the mixed-cargo use. It could have some opportunity for ag, movement of agriculture and ag products. So we’re finishing those. There’s faster delivery potential for ro-ro, breakbulk and light container use. Cause you can turn that on fairly quickly without a major capital investment. If you’re going to repurpose it for something that’s more specific like an ag, you’re talking about a multiple-year investment before you get the real yield.
(Since the interview, Virginia International Terminals announced a short-term deal with Pasha Automotive to ship about 2,500 vehicles from Portsmouth Marine Terminal overseas.)
VB: Have there been any big surprises in your first couple months at the port?
Reinhart: It’s day 36 of this journey. I’m surprised and amazed at how much we’ve accomplished to this point. I’m pleasantly surprised by the capability within the organization but also within the community at large. Our trucking community, the rail community, all of those involved in the shipping business, are here to make a change.
VB: There’s a lot of discussion in the media about the race among East Coast ports for when the Panama Canal expansion happens and capturing the increased cargo. Do you see the Port of Virginia’s focus now on really getting these efficiencies down rather than going after just growth?
Reinhart: I think what we’re trying to do is articulate a more holistic view. What we have in our responsibility, what we’re stewards for, is this beautiful natural resource that we have here in the port and this incredible infrastructure that’s been invested in. And we have a long tradition of growing the business.
So what I want to do is align our efforts to make sure we’re growing responsibly, that we’re making sure that we invest in what are the most important priorities for our service and out product today, listen to the customer so we know how to plan out the facilities and the structures for tomorrow, and drive this organization to be the champion of Virginia’s port and the natural and industrial infrastructure we have.
We’ll get there, and we’ll make it profitable. Part of it is making sure we understand what our cost of goods really is, and that’s been a focus. We’re aligning our team with a sense of urgency to understand our costs, to improve our processes, to reverse the trend that started over the last number of years of losing money, the fiscal responsibility, and building the platform for profitable growth for the future.
VB: Do you have any time outside of work? Do you have any hobbies?
Reinhart: I put a lot of my hobbies on the shelf because when I assumed this job I knew it was going to be hard work. But it’s hard work that needs to be done now. So I’m deferring some of things that I like and personal interests. I’m sacrificing a little family time that I should be spending. Those are things that will come back. I love being with my family. I love being outdoors. There are other things that I like to do but right now, it might sound a little bit trite, I elected to take this job because I knew that the timing was important to Virginia and the port.
I don’t feel I can waste a minute right now until we get this on a path that’s sustainable. So some of the personal stuff will have to wait. Although my granddaughter’s birthday is coming up and everything will have to take a backseat when I go to my granddaughter’s birthday. That’s coming up in April. I’ll be gone for a few days.
I love being with my family. I can’t wait to be up there with my granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law in three weeks for a long weekend. That will be fun…
So that’s a hobby. I’ll try to golf again when the weather gets better again because I need a lot of practice.
VB: How do you think the shipping alliances out there will affect the port?
Reinhart: When you consolidate the shipping lines you’ve got to understand what’s going on. Their economies aren’t working. So we as a port have to be ready to take the larger volumes that could come with these alliances and provide the upland services that the larger ships demand. So the necessity for us is to be ready and able to handle these large alliances, and I think we are. We do have, as you said, the water depths that will match the ships requirements. We have the cranes. We need to match the requirements, but we have to fix the intermodal connectors, the gates to get the velocity that these big alliances are going to require. So we have to work hard to make sure we keep our share of the alliances as they formalize their networks, which will happen this year.2014-04-18T18:39:00+00:00
Virginia unemployment rises slightly
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-rises-slightly#When:17:35:00ZVirginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up one tenth of a percentage point in March to 5 percent, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
The change ended a seven-month streak of declines in the commonwealth’s jobless rate.
Virginia’s total nonfarm employment fell by 5,100 jobs in March from February.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate takes into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor force.
While up slightly from the February rate, the March 2014 unemployment rate represents an improvement of six tenths of a percentage point from the 5.6 percent figure recorded in March 2013.
The Virginia unemployment rate in March also was 1.7 percentage points lower than the national rate of 6.7 percent.
The commonwealth’s labor force expanded in March for the third consecutive month, rising by 28,211 people from February. Of those entering labor market during March, 24,534 reported finding jobs while 3,677 were seeking employment.
Total nonfarm employment in March was 3.8 million jobs, down 5,100 from February. However, the VEC has revised preliminary figures for the previous two months.
After the revisions, February showed a gain of 7,500 jobs, up from 4,900 while January recorded a loss of 6,000 jobs, down from an initial reported loss of 9,500 jobs.
Total nonfarm employment remains more than 27,000 below the commonwealth’s peak employment in April 2008.
During March, the private sector lost 6,100 jobs while the public sector gained 1,000 jobs.
Employment fell in seven major industries during March, while increasing in three and remaining unchanged in one, mining, at 9,900 jobs.
The biggest job loss was in professional business services, down 2,300 jobs to 663,400. The biggest increase took place in trade and transportation, up 1,600 jobs to 639,400.2014-04-18T17:35:00+00:00
Virginia General Assembly preserves competitive insurance marketplace
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/virginia-general-assembly-preserves-competitive-insurance-marketplace#When:20:24:00ZBefore making major changes to small group health plans, agents and brokers should take note of a new Virginia law. If you’ve sold or renewed a plan in 2014 for groups with 50 or fewer employees, you’ve likely run into a situation where the health carrier required the group to cover pediatric dental benefits as part of the health plan unless the group could attest to having an exchange-certified, stand-alone dental plan. This will no longer be necessary in 2015.
Bills recently passed by the Virginia General Assembly, HB33 and SB484, clarify that a carrier offering plans in the small group or individual markets is allowed to offer health plans without pediatric dental benefits as long as two conditions are met: First, there has to be a qualified dental plan available to the small group or individual and, second, the carrier must disclose that the pediatric dental benefits are not included in its health plan.
Simple. Since carriers are offering exchange-certified dental plans both on and off of the exchanges in Virginia, beginning in 2015, groups and individuals once again will be free to shop for their medical and dental benefits the way they always have.
One of the unintended consequences of health-care reform was that employers with 50 and fewer employees and people who shopped for insurance on their own effectively were required to purchase pediatric dental coverage as part of their medical plan whether or not the purchaser had children and whether or not shoppers already had a family plan with the dentist and plan design they preferred.
How did this strange rule come to be? With the launch of insurance exchanges, people have access to two distinct marketplaces in which to shop for coverage. However, there are significant differences in the rules between the on- and off-exchange markets.
Inside the exchange, people can purchase all of the required “Essential Health Benefits,” but they can choose not to purchase the pediatric dental benefit. The mere presence of a stand-alone dental carrier option on an exchange relieves medical carriers of the obligation to provide dental coverage for kids and relieves childless adults of the responsibility to purchase pediatric dental coverage. This makes sense. Nearly everyone with dental coverage gets that coverage separately from their medical plan.
Outside the exchange, individuals and small employers effectively were required to purchase pediatric dental coverage as part of their larger health insurance plan. This inequitable situation led to several negative consequences, which are true for 2014, but, in Virginia, go away in 2015 and beyond thanks to the legislature.
First, in 2014, medical carriers could imbed pediatric dental coverage into their medical plans for individual and small employers and require that a large medical deductible be met before any dental benefits are paid. In such a scenario, parents would take their kids to what they thought was a covered dentist appointment only to discover that they had failed to meet their medical deductible.
Second, medical carriers were essentially forced to sell pediatric dental coverage to adults who had no children.
Third, with children covered by a medical plan, parents might have been tempted to drop their children from the family’s current dental plan only to discover that their child’s dentist was no longer in-network.
Fourth, based on a recent statewide survey, nearly half of Virginians (48 percent) said they would be at least somewhat likely to drop their own dental coverage if their children were covered through their medical plan. Having fewer adults with dental coverage was certainly not the intention of health-care reform.
It appears clear that the unintended consequences of health-care reform will not be fixed in Washington, DC. Thankfully, in this one area, states are in a position to make a difference, and the Virginia General Assembly had the foresight to do just that.
Health plans sold to groups with fewer than 50 employees and to individuals must include pediatric dental benefits in the health plan UNLESS the carrier is “reasonably assured” that the applicant already has enrolled in an exchange-certified dental plan.
• Regardless of whether the applicant has children
• Regardless of whether the applicant’s children already are covered by another dental plan that is not “exchange- certified.”
• The dental benefits may be subject to the medical deductible.
2015 and beyond
Health plans sold to groups with fewer than 50 employees and to individuals do NOT have to include pediatric dental benefits so long as:
1. There is an exchange-certified dental plan available to the applicant, and
2. The health plan discloses that pediatric dental benefits are not included in the plan.
Chris Pyle is vice president, marketing and government relations at Delta Dental of Virginia.2014-04-17T20:24:00+00:00
Christian Nagel joins McGuireWoods’ Tysons Corner office
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/christian-nagel-joins-mcguirewoods-tysons-corner-office#When:19:42:00ZMcGuireWoods LLP announced a new addition to its Tysons Corner office. Christian Nagel will lead the firm’s government contracts litigation team and serve as senior counsel in its Commercial Litigation Department.
Nagel previously was a partner at Fluet Huber + Hoang PLLC, which has two offices in Northern Virginia and another in Easton, Md.
He regularly guides corporations through compliance issues, including internal investigations and employee training.
Nagel served for 12 years on active duty and as a reservist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, an officer-in-charge of the Quantico Legal Assistance Office and a military prosecutor.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 where he was responsible for adjudicating claims against NATO and the U.S. government.
Nagel received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in 1999 and his law degree from the College of William and Mary in 2005.2014-04-17T19:42:00+00:00
Williamsburg Outlet Mall is sold
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williamsburg-outlet-mall-is-sold#When:19:05:00Z Armada Hoffler Properties and Vistacor LLC have bought the former Williamsburg Outlet Mall with plans to create a new grocery-anchored shopping center.
The proposed Lightfoot Marketplace shopping center on Williamsburg’s Lightfoot Road will replace the 230,000-square-foot , enclosed mall, which closed last year.
The 18.5-acre Lightfoot Marketplace project is scheduled will be developed in phases.
The first phase, involving about 88,000 square feet of space, is scheduled for completion in early 2016. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.
Harris Teeter has signed a 20-year lease for a 53,000-square-foot supermarket. Other stores and restaurants will occupy an additional 35,000 square feet in the first phase.
The second phase would involve the development of another 42,000 square feet of space.
Virginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, is the majority partner in the joint venture.
Vistacor, a Hampton Roads-based development company, also has developed Landstown Commons, a 530,000-square-foot "big-box" retail center in Virginia Beach.
Mid-Atlantic Commercial Realty handled the sale of the property.
McAuliffe replaces five port board members in wake of port losses
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-replaces-five-port-board-members-in-wake-of-port-losses#When:15:53:00ZDisappointed with financial performance at the Port of Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday replaced five members of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners.
It is the most drastic change to the board since 2011, when then-Gov. Bob McDonnell replaced 10 of the 11 voting commissioners of the VPA board because of the port’s slow rebound from the recession at that time.
“The Port of Virginia is one of the commonwealth’s most important economic assets, and improving its performance is one of my top priorities,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “This team of Virginia leaders has the right experience and vision to strengthen the port financially and put it on the path toward long-term, sustainable growth."
The five commissioners being replaced include both the chairman, Jeff Wassmer, owner of Newport-News defense contractor Spectrum , and vice chairman Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry. Both were appointed to these roles after the board chose last year to dismiss private bids to take over port operations, opting instead to restructure VPA with its longtime operator, Virginia International Terminals (VIT).
The other departing board members include Norfolk lawyer James Boyd; Craig Coy, CEO of Command Security Corp. in Herndon; and Robert Stanton, chairman of commercial real estate investment firm Stanton Partners Inc. Coy was the VPA board's finance committee chairman, and Stanton chaired the board’s operations committee. Stanton also led the search committee that chose current Port of Virginia CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart, who joined the port in February. McAuliffe has expressed his support for Reinhart.
The Port of Virginia handled a record number of containers in the past year, but the port has been operating at a loss for the last five years.
A recent state audit of port finances showed that the port lost a total of $120 million during its past five fiscal years. The port reviously had predicted it will lose another $24.3 million in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, but officials believe losses will be less.
One of McAuliffe’s appointees, John G. Milliken, a partner at law firm Venable, served on VPA’s board from 2002 to 2011. He was chairman of the board when McDonnell replaced all but one commissioner.
McAuliffe’s other appointments include G. Robert Aston Jr., chairman and CEO of Portsmouth-based TowneBank; Alan Diamonstein, an attorney at Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein in Newport News; Gary T. McCollum, senior vice president and general manager for Cox Communications; and Val McWhorter, founding partner of the Tysons Corner-based law firm Smith, Patcher, McWhorter.
"We welcome the new board members, and we know they have the best interest of port members in mind and that they’ll be assets the board," Virginia Port Authority spokesman Joe Harris said Thursday.
McAuliffe has previously criticized McDonnell’s 2011 decision to replace almost all gubernatorial appointees from the board of commissioners, according to The Virginian-Pilot. A recent study on port operations by the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission included a recommendation to limit the governor’s authority to remove commissioners to instances of “malfeasance, misfeasance, or gross neglect of duty.”
JLARC’s report, which came out in October 2013, said the instability of the board appointments was disruptive to port operations. “One of VPA’s largest customers stated that the replacement of the board members in 2011 led many businesses in the shipping industry to begin ‘second guessing’ VPA’s reputation.”2014-04-17T15:53:00+00:00
National Science Foundation headquarters site is sold
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/national-science-foundation-headquarters-site-is-sold#When:08:40:00ZThe new site of the National Science Foundation headquarters in Alexandria has been sold to San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate Co.
The 2.03-acre development site is in the Hoffman Town Center, a project owned by the Hoffman family.
Financial details of the sale were not disclosed. The deal was announced by the seller's representative, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm.
The 704,571-square-foot National Science Foundation (NSF) building will include two interconnected towers, of 19 and 14 stories, respectively, plus 375 parking spaces on three underground levels and 19,437 square feet of retail space.
The NSF will occupy 94 percent of the building and has preleased it for 15 years through the General Services Administration. The property is expected to be completed in late 2016.
USAA plans to seek LEED Silver Commercial Interiors Certification for the building. The company has hired Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises to handle development of the building and assume management responsibilities when it is completed.
Hoffman Town Center occupies more than 56 acres next to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.
When completed in 2020, the center will include 3.5 million square feet of Class A office space in 10 buildings; 1.5 million square feet of housing in four residential towers; two full-service hotels; 220,000 square feet of retail stores and restaurants; and a 22-screen AMC Theater.2014-04-17T08:40:00+00:00
Tenants find new spaces in Blacksburg shopping center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tenants-find-new-spaces-in-blacksburg-shopping-center#When:21:34:00ZBlacksburg APF Partners has announced two changes at its First & Main shopping center in Blacksburg.
On A Whim, a giftware and accessories store, has relocated in the shopping center to a larger space between clothiers Talbots and Jos. A Bank.
Jennifer Ankrum, the owner of On A Whim, said the larger space will allow her to expand its line of personalized products. The store opened in First & Main in 2008.
Collegiate apparel retailer Alumni Hall Stores LLC will take the former On A Whim space plus a vacant space next to the Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill in the shopping center. The Alumni Hall store is relocating from New River Valley Mall.
Founded in 2005, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Alumni Hall has 17 locations in nine states and an online store.
David Street of Blacksburg APF Partners said he is pleased with First & Main’s performance this year. “We have strong interest from other prospective tenants and plan to have additional announcements soon,” he said in a statement.
Blacksburg APF Partners bought First & Main in June 2012.
The owners broke ground last year on the new Frank’s Theatres CineBowl & Grill, which will have 11 cinema screens. It is scheduled to open later this year.2014-04-16T21:34:00+00:00
Details released on expansion of Arlington mall
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/details-released-on-expansion-of-arlington-mall#When:20:02:00ZSimon Property Group Inc., an Indianapolis-based retail real estate company, has announced details of its expansion at The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington.
Construction is scheduled to begin soon on a 50,000-square-foot expansion of the mall along Hayes Street in Arlington. The expansion will include two levels of new shops and restaurants with outdoor seating.
The project will include a new entrance to the mall, a new office lobby and a new valet parking area.
“On the inside of the mall we are planning a number of improvements to enhance our customers' overall experience and improve the ambience of The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City whether they are here to shop, to dine or just to enjoy a welcoming and comfortable environment," Laurie VanDalen, general manager of mall, said in a statement. "This project will completely transform the look and feel of our center."
Changes will include new elevators and escalators; an interior common area renovation that will include new flooring, handrails, directional signage and updated third-floor restroom; and a redesign of the food court, including expanded seating areas and new furnishings.
Simon Property Group said the new shops and restaurants involved in the expansion will be announced shortly.
The project, designed by Omniplan Architects, is set to be completed next year..
The Fashion Centre, which opened in 1989, has more than 170 stores. Its anchor stores are Nordstrom and Macy's.2014-04-16T20:02:00+00:00
Virginia Partners Bank president and CEO announces retirement
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-partners-bank-president-and-ceo-announces-retirement#When:17:30:00ZVirginia Partners Bank’s president and CEO announced his retirement, effective June 30.
Young will be succeeded by Lloyd B. Harrison III who currently serves as the bank’s president and chief operating officer.
Young helped establish Virginia Partners Bank in 2007. Before that, he served as president and CEO of The National Bank of Fredericksburg for 13 years.
Virginia Partners Bank has three branches in Fredericksburg and plans to open a fourth full-service branch in La Plata, Md., later this year.
Virginia Partners Bank has approximately $240 million in assets, ranking No. 3 in market share of the 10 financial institutions operating in Fredericksburg.2014-04-16T17:30:00+00:00
Customer service center to create 500 jobs in Henrico
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/customer-service-center-to-create-500-jobs-in-henrico#When:15:40:00ZTeleperformance is planning to open a customer service center in Henrico County, creating 500 new jobs.
The center will lease a building at 2805 N. Parham Rd. It is expected to be operational in the second quarter.
The center will be the company’s second location in Virginia. Teleperformance currently has a location in Marion.
“Having enjoyed great success in Virginia over the past 10 years, this was an easy decision for us,” Miranda Collard, president of operational delivery, Teleperformance U.S.A., said in a statement.
The company plans to begin hiring in mid-May with an anticipated opening the first week in July. The company plans to hire the 500 employees over a period of several months.
Teleperformance is a Paris-based customer service, technical support, call center and debt collection company with 149,000 workers worldwide.2014-04-16T15:40:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WARNER.jpgABOVE: Warner at a news conference held Tuesday at LaDifference in Richmond.
New program to provide retailers with information on cybersecurity threats
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-program-to-provide-retailers-with-information-on-cybersecurity-threats#When:21:44:00ZA new program, set to launch in June,aims to help retailers fight against cyber attacks.
The National Retail Federation is moving forward with the creation of a program providing retailers access to information on cybersecurity threats identified by government and law enforcement agencies and the financial services sector.
This will be done through creation of a retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center and consultation with the already-established Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which includes firms in the banking and finance industries.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia announced the program at a news conference in downtown Richmond on Tuesday.
“We need to be able to respond in a quick, collaborative way, sometimes legislatively, but a lot of times it’s going to require good, common sense and business collaboration because, at the end of the day, these cyber criminals can appear anywhere, and they [have the] potential to rip off our system at levels that would make… the gangsters of the early 20th century seem small potatoes,” Warner said.
The Democratic senator called for establishment of the program in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year.
At the news conference, Warner also mentioned other cybersecurity legislation he is working on. That includes the Consumer Debit Card Protection Act of 2014 (introduced with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), which would give consumers equal protection in dealing with debit card fraud. Under federal law, personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card are capped at $50, whereas consumers may have to pay more than $500 for fraudulent charges on a debit card. The legislation would cap liability at $50 for debit card holders.
Warner also mentioned a piece of legislation introduced with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that would allow the Internal Revenue Service to alert taxpayers that they have been victims of identity theft. The bill also would permit the agency to alert law enforcement agencies so that they can track and catch identity thieves. According to a recent news release issued by Johnson’s office, the IRS’ interpretation of privacy laws led it to believe it cannot warn a defrauded taxpayer whose Social Security number has been stolen.2014-04-15T21:44:00+00:00
Air Station Storage plans to expand
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/air-station-storage-plans-to-expand#When:19:49:00ZAir Station Storage plans to expand, building its second storage facility on Virginia Beach Boulevard near Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
The new 71,400-square-foot facility is owned by Davenport Group Real Estate Inc. and Lefcoe Development Co. The site was purchased from the city through a Request for Proposals process.
Air Station Storage will invest more than $4 million in site improvements and construction costs.
The development replaces a former nightclub.
The project is part of the YesOceana program that takes non-conforming properties surrounding Oceana and replaces them with conforming uses.
The YesOceana program was set up in response to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s recommendation to close Oceana in 2005.
The program moves nonconforming businesses out of an area near the base and recruits businesses that meet zoning and conformity specifications.
The Air Station Storage expansion is expected to complement neighboring businesses such as Cataldo Builders Inc. and London Bridge Auto Service.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved a $80,000 Economic Development Investment Program grant based on the capital investment.
Air Station Storage offers storage services to companies and individuals in Virginia Beach.2014-04-15T19:49:00+00:00
JES to relocate headquarters and expand division
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jes-to-relocate-headquarters-and-expand-division#When:19:36:00ZJES, a company specializing in the design and installation of foundation support systems, plans to relocate its Virginia Beach headquarters and expand its software development division.
The deal will result in a total investment of $4 million and the creation of 33 new jobs.
The company, currently based on Central Drive in Virginia Beach, has purchased 1741 Corporate Landing Parkway, a 45,000-square-foot building in the city’s Corporate Landing Business Park, where it will move both of its business functions.
KBH Business Management Systems, the software development division, was begun in 2009 to develop BizWiz, an online operating system for the construction industry.
KBH plans to add 33 jobs with average annual salaries of $94,000. The new location will provide 10,000 square feet of space for customer and employee training and 13,000 square feet for new computer and software programmers, marketers and customer service professionals.
In addition to the new jobs, the move will retain 119 jobs in Virginia Beach
The company will make a $4 million investment in the expansion, including $2.5 million for the real estate purchase and $1.5 million for the buildout.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority has awarded JES a $75,000 Economic Development Investment Program grant based on the number of jobs created by the project.
JES provides engineered solutions for foundation repair, underpinning, basement waterproofing and crawl space moisture control.
It operates in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northeastern North Carolina.
JES ranked among the Fantastic 50, the commonwealth’s 50 fastest-growing companies, from 2011 through 2013.
The company was founded in 1993 by Jesse and Stella Waltz.2014-04-15T19:36:00+00:00
Virginia Intermont loses merger partner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-intermont-loses-merger-partner#When:19:22:00ZVirginia Intermont College in Bristol and Webber International University in Florida have called off plans to merge this summer.
The financially struggling Virginia college said the two schools had concluded “we do not have a viable model for merger in July.”
The two institutions had announced plans to merge in late January.
Virginia Intermont had been searching for a merger partner since losing an appeal to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC) and filing suit against the regional accrediting organization.
SACSCOC had raised concerns about the college’s finances in voting to remove Virginia Intermont from membership in the organization.
The college filed its lawsuit when an appeal of accrediting agency’s decision was denied. Virginia Intermont remains accredited by AACS until its lawsuit is settled.
The college has stressed that SACSCOC’s actions are prompted by its finances, not its academics.
Virginia Intermont said failure of the Webber International University merger will not interfere with its plans to complete the spring semester
and hold graduation on schedule.
The school also expects to offer its eight-week summer session, which concludes on June 27.
“Due to this decision, we are moving with haste to guarantee accredited options beyond July 1 for our students who are not slated for graduation,” the college said in a statement. We will also immediately call faculty and staff in to discuss plans for operating over the coming months.”
Virginia Intermont said it has kept SACSCOC apprised of its situation. The accrediting agency had consented to a court injunction barring action of the school’s membership until July 1.
The school, founded in 1884, offers a liberal arts education and bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of academic concentrations.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia lists the college having fall enrollment of 337 full-time and 41 part-time students2014-04-15T19:22:00+00:00
Liberty Tax Service to expand headquarters in Virginia Beach
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/liberty-tax-service-to-expand-headquarters-in-virginia-beach#When:15:29:00ZVirginia Beach-based Liberty Tax Service plans to expand its headquarters in the Corporate Landing Business Park, a move that will create 47 full-time jobs.
“The expansion will help us realign our call center operation into a web-based application,” John Hewitt, the founder and CEO of the tax service, said in a statement. “We are proud to call Virginia Beach home, and we are fortunate to find the perfect solution to expand in our current location.”
Liberty’s corporate campus includes three buildings: a 31,000-square-foot one-story structure, a 30,000-square-foot two-story building and a 9,814-square foot one-story building.
The company plans to expand the smallest building by 25,000 square feet. Liberty will purchase an adjacent lot from the Virginia Beach Development Authority for $674,500 to accommodate the building expansion and additional parking.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority has approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $140,000, based on the number of jobs created with the expansion. Liberty will create 47 full-time jobs within 30 months, with average annual salaries of $69,000. The grant will be used for workforce development and employee training, site work and utility upgrades.
“This expansion retains 393 full-time jobs in the city, plus an additional 400 seasonal jobs,” Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development, said in a statement. “These are high-salaried positions that include the CEO, legal advisers, technical support, managers, software designers and administrative staff. We know Liberty Tax Service looked at sites outside of Virginia Beach, and we are extremely pleased they have decided to remain here. We anticipate the company will continue to be one of our leading corporate examples of success.”
Liberty is the third-largest tax preparer in the country.
City officials note that the Liberty expansion is the third major announcement for the 325-acre Corporate Landing Business Park in the past year. In 2013, Green Flash Brewery selected the park as the site for its $20 million East Coast brewing operation, which is scheduled to open in 2015. KBH Business Management Systems, the software division of JES, announced plans to create 33 jobs at the company’s new headquarters location at 1741 Corporate Landing Parkway.2014-04-15T15:29:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/FITNET2.jpgFitnet provides users instant feedback on their performance. Photo Courtesy: Fitnet
Blacksburg app developer secures up to $1.4 million from Virginia investors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-app-developer-secures-up-to-1.4-million-from-virginia-investors#When:14:12:00ZBlacksburg-based Fitnet Corp. announced Tuesday it has received up to $1.4 million venture financing from Virginia investors.
The financing comes from two different venture funds: Radford-based Valleys' Ventures LP and Herndon-based CIT Gap Funds
Fitnet Corp. is the developer of Fitnet, a mobile fitness app that debuted in Apple’s App Store three months ago. According to Fitnet Corp., the app has helped clients from 175 countries and all 50 states burn more than 1.25 million calories collectively. Using advanced computer vision technology, the app connects clients with personal trainers, provides real-time individual feedback and workout scoring.
The financing provides capital to expand the capabilities of the Fitnet app and add more workouts.2014-04-15T14:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ALANTAYLOR.jpgAbove: Alan Taylor. Photo Courtesy: U. Va.
Incoming U. Va. professor wins Pulitzer Prize
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/incoming-u.-va.-professor-wins-pulitzer-prize#When:21:20:00ZA historian scheduled to start teaching at the University of Virginia this fall won a Pulitzer Prize today. Alan Taylor’s book, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” won a Pulitzer in the history category. The $10,000 prize in this category is awarded to a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States.
Taylor is scheduled to begin teaching at U. Va. this fall and is already a member of the university’s history department faculty. He will be the fourth Thomas Jefferson Memorial Professor In History at U.Va. The first was Dumas Malone, a Pulitzer Prize winning biographer of Jefferson.
According to the Pulitzer Prize website, Taylor’s book is “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators.”
In a news release issued by U. Va. last November, Taylor said the book “tells the story of about 3,000 enslaved Africans from the Chesapeake region who escaped slavery by fleeing to the British and helping them to wage war on the United States during the War of 1812. The book sets that story in the context of the shifting nature of slavery after the American Revolution.”
Taylor also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his book “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic.”
Taylor has taught at the University of California at Davis for the past 20 years.
The other finalists in this year’s Pulitzer Prize history category were Jacqueline Jones’ “A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America” and Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety.”2014-04-14T21:20:00+00:00
U.Va.’s Darden dean to step down next year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.va.s-darden-dean-to-step-down-next-year#When:21:18:00ZRobert F. Bruner will step down as dean of the University of Virgnia’s Darden School of Business when he completes his second term next year.
Bruner will return to the Darden faculty. He has served as dean for nearly a decade and has taught at Darden for 23 years.
“We’re on a mission at the Darden School,” Bruner said in a statement. “Each day, our global community pulls together to improve the world by developing responsible leaders and advancing knowledge. Leading this mission over the past nine years and in the year ahead has been, and is, a privilege. We have depth of leadership throughout Darden. And we have great momentum. I am proud of all that the extended community of the Darden School has — and will — achieve.”
Ken Eades, a professor of business administration at Darden, will chair a search committee for the school’s new dean.
Bruner, the Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, has been a Darden faculty member since 1982. He is Darden’s eighth dean and one of its longest-serving.
“Bob Bruner’s impact on Darden has been transformational and will carry the school forward,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said in a statement.
At the conclusion of his second term in July 2015, Bruner will return to the faculty and take a traditional one-year leave of absence. After that, he plans to resume a focus on teaching, research and writing.
During Bruner’s tenure, Darden began two new formats of the Darden MBA, targeted at executives who work full time while pursuing the degree: the MBA for Executives, which includes monthly residencies and distance learning, and the Global MBA for Executives, which combines six, two-week residencies in Brazil, China, India, Europe and the United States.
Through the executive MBA formats, Darden has become a leader in online learning, employing real-time, online classes and hosting virtual team meetings.
Bruner also is known as a pioneer in the use of social media. He started his Dean’s Blog in 2006 and is a prolific tweeter. He also oversaw the development last year of several massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform. More than half a million people registered for the courses.2014-04-14T21:18:00+00:00
Casualty Actuarial Society forming task force on cyber risk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/casualty-actuarial-society-forming-task-force-on-cyber-risk#When:21:07:00ZThe Arlington-based Casualty Actuarial Society is forming a task force to address the growth of cyber risk
The task force will promote research and analysis of cyber risk, with a focus on financial consequence of cyber attacks.
“We believe that in addressing the challenge of cyber risk analysis, it is essential to follow a multidisciplinary approach that brings together experts in actuarial science, cybersecurity and information technology, big data analytics, legal and other fields," Alex Krutov, chairperson of the Task Force on Cyber Risk, said in a statement.
Managing cyber risk exposure, the organization said, can range from employing more effective information security measures to wider use of cyber insurance.
Cyber risk is one of the key components of operational risk to which every company is exposed, the society said.
Many aspects of cyber risk remain poorly understood, the society said. With few exceptions, the expertise needed to analyze cyber-related events, such as data breaches or business interruption, is limited at companies exposed to risk and in the insurance industry, the organization said.
The 100-year-old Casualty Actuarial Society has 6,200 members, including experts in property-casualty insurance, reinsurance, finance, risk management, and enterprise risk management.2014-04-14T21:07:00+00:00
Long-term care costs growing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-term-care-costs-growing#When:19:56:00ZThe cost of long-term care continues to rise, with the median yearly cost of nursing home care in Virginia growing 3.5 percent a year to $84,315.
In addition, the annual cost of care in assisted-living care facilities in Virginia grew 5.2 percent each year to $47,880, according to an annual survey by Richmond-based insurer Genworth Financial Inc.
The Richmond-based insurer said its survey shows that at-home care can provide a less expensive option (between $18 and $19 per hour in Virginia). The cost of at-home services provided by a homemaker or home health aide in Virginia have risen 1.8 percent and 1.1. percent each year, the survey found.
Nationally, the average annual cost of nursing-home care is $87,600, with costs in assisted-living facilities coming in at $42,000, according to Genworth. Hourly rates for at-home care are between $19 and $19.75, the survey found.
"With the number of Americans over 65 projected to double over the next 40 years, continued increases in the cost of care and limited public financing options available to cover these costs, long term care is one of the most important social issues of our time,” Thomas McInerney, president and CEO of Genworth, said in a statement.
Genworth said, based on its claims history, that the average length of a long-term care claim is about three years. That means that the average cost of in-home health care would be $136,000, $143,000 in an assisted-living facility and $260,000 in a private nursing home.
Genworth’s Cost of Care survey included nearly 15,000 long-term care providers around the country and was conducted in January and February. CareScout, the company’s long-term care insurance company, has conducted the survey since 2004.2014-04-14T19:56:00+00:00
Data center opens in Hanover County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/data-center-opens-in-hanover-county#When:15:38:00ZHanover Country businessman Scott K. Brown has completed construction of a building housing the Pixel Factory Data Center Inc. near the Hanover Industrial Air Park.
The Hanover County economic development office said the 6,000-square-foot data center serves clients ranging from local large employers to national and regional IT companies based in the Richmond area.
The target market for the data center is small and mid-sized businesses in the Richmond region and throughout Virginia.
“Our data center is not going to compete against the big facilities,” Brown said in a statement. “We are going to fill a need for a market that large players don’t cater to. We’re a small, local data center with personal service on site.”
The data center is fed by four fiber-optic connections to several national carriers.2014-04-14T15:38:00+00:00
Leases announced in Spotsylvania County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leases-announced-in-spotsylvania-county#When:13:23:00ZTwo Spotsylvania County leases, each involving of 10,000 square feet more, were recently announced by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
Jawaid Kotwal has leased 14,400 square feet of office/warehouse space at 4951 Quality Drive in Spotsylvania. Virgil Nelson of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations.
Valleycrest Landscaping Maintenance has leased 10,000 square feet of industrial space at 5121 Park Drive in the county. Nelson also handled that deal.
Both leases took place in March.2014-04-14T13:23:00+00:00
Chesterfield bloggers’ collection picked up by Target
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-bloggers-collection-picked-up-by-target#When:21:39:00ZWhen Chesterfield couple Sherry and John Petersik started their “Young House Love” blog, they never imagined it would lead them to design a collection sold at Target.
“It really has been an amazing ride,” says Sherry, who started the popular do-it-yourself blog with her husband, John, in 2007 as a way to “keep our family updated.”
Today, “Young House Love” gets around 6 million to 7 million hits per month. It has yielded not only the limited-time wall decorations sold at Target (a collaboration with Winston Salem, N.C.-based Liberty Hardware) but also a New York Times-bestseller book.
Sherry says the collaboration with Liberty Hardware was very “grassroots.” Liberty Hardware, which sells decorative home hardware products, was a sponsor on their blog and asked to interview them about the DIY movement.
“They came up with the idea of ‘Let’s try to develop something and see what happens,’ and I mean, never dreamed it would be picked up by Target ... They did, but we had no idea that they had such a big goal for it,” she says of the process to develop the collection which began in 2011.
The “Young House Love” collection sold at Target is available online. It also hit most Target stores March 30 and was slated to run for 14 weeks.2014-04-11T21:39:00+00:00
UNOS chief HR officer leads with values enabling employees to give the gift of life
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/unos-chief-hr-officer-leads-with-values-enabling-employees-to-give-the-gift#When:20:39:00ZJo Anne Snyder, chief human resources officer for the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS (not the pizzeria), was recently celebrated as the 2013 Human Resources Strategist of the Year.
This annual award, sponsored by Titan Group and Richmond Society of Human Resources Management, recognizes an HR practitioner in Virginia who has implemented a strategic initiative in his or her firm.
Snyder was drawn to the field of HR early in her career while working as an EKG technician for a large health system. In that role, she was exposed to all the parts of the hospital and kept her eye on the job postings. As soon as she saw the first HR-related job pop up, she went for it and moved into a compensation role.
Being very goal-focused, she had her sights set on eventually leading a large organization HR department but realized she had a lot to learn not only about HR, but also about how business works. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited to join Friendly’s ice cream where she branched out and built skills in the area of benefits at the time COBRA was being introduced. Shortly thereafter, when Hershey acquired Friendly’s, she seized the opportunity to learn how acquisitions work.
Not content to limit her education to on-the-job training, Snyder completed her MBA at the University of Massachusetts. She felt like she needed to earn a business degree that would allow her to learn more about all the different functions of a business. This decision aligned with her goal of heading up HR one day.
She would recommend an MBA to any HR professional because it gave her a better understanding of overall business relationships and shed light on how others work together in an organization. Although her undergraduate degree in English was fine for the time, she knew from observing others in higher roles that she needed the depth and breadth of an MBA education, especially working in the HR function.
Often HR is looked at as only being a tactical function where HR professionals “police” the workplace and plan company events. She knew that she wanted to craft a different, more strategic experience for her career. Between her education and on-the-job experience, she built a lot of credibility with her business partners because she knew how to “talk their talk” and see their perspective.
Snyder’s career took her to one of her most rewarding roles at LEGO North America where she received international exposure and played with “cool toys.” She then moved to Rich Products Corp. for more HR generalist work in following her husband to Buffalo, N.Y. At Rich Products, she learned the value of affecting a huge cultural transition where every employee began to understand how they contribute to business success.
She landed in Richmond a few years later at Interbake where she got her first taste of running an HR department. There she realized the importance of implementing great processes and learned how to work with unions.
From there she went to Bon Secours and in 2012 she was recruited to a new role at UNOS. She said she was very prepared for the role and knew that her credibility would be enhanced if she knew the right questions to ask and could build effective relationships with the business leaders. She knew the best way to achieve this was by understanding their business.
For Snyder, the move to UNOS was more than a job move, it was also a move to a role that would prove to be extremely meaningful; it was not just a company focused on profits. “I walk in the building every day and know that I help people save lives, and that is where I get the sense of reward that I can influence the organization to ensure that what I do makes a difference to people inside and outside the building,” Snyder said. “One of the most fulfilling pieces and I can get to do what I love to do while giving people the gift of life.”
Snyder’s winning strategic initiative was to create the first corporate-wide set of values that would be meaningful to all UNOS’ stakeholders. When she came into the organization, she wanted to learn about it and discover the strategic goals. She held many informational meetings with every leader, and group meetings with all employees to discuss their ideas and concerns.
From these sessions, she formulated the idea to develop the core values. UNOS has a clear vision and a mission, but was missing common language and common platform. She worked with the leadership team to develop the behavior necessary to help achieve their goals. The team, led by Snyder identified the following core values:
Our values guide our behaviors as we pursue our mission and strategic goals:
• We act on behalf of those we serve to manage the resources and gifts entrusted to us, especially the gift of life.
• We work collaboratively and respectfully, guided by consensus-building, sharing responsibility, time, and abilities.
• We demonstrate integrity and reliability through consistency, openness, and honesty.
• We achieve high quality through measurement, evaluation, and continuous improvement of our standards, processes, and effectiveness.
• We take ownership of our actions and fulfill our commitments to our stakeholders and each other.
To effectively live up to these values, leaders and employees strive to maintain a culture that promotes adherence to these values.
The process to identify the values and underlying behaviors was long and involved, and Snyder received some pushback from employees who felt they already had values. She turned to the people who work in their culture and explained that their task has to make explicit expectations for specific behaviors with identified actions.
UNOS employees jumped in at all levels, at one point they had 52 values on the wall and she helped them prioritize the most important values. The five values described above were the ones all stakeholders could relate to — employees, transplant community, and patients. In her words, “these values speak to everyone whose goal it is to give the gift of life.”
One example of putting the values into action occurred in the IT security training department. It incorporated the values into its annual required training materials, and Snyder has seen how effective it have been. In 2014, Snyder wants to incorporate the values even further into the organization and blend them into the performance management, recognition, strategic planning and other processes. She has identified a Values Champion in each department to drive recognition and reinforcement on both a small and big scale.
When Snyder is not driving HR initiatives, she loves to travel, next on her travel bucket list is a trip to Australia and New Zealand. She enjoys being able to see the different cultures and yet realizing “we are all the same at some level.”
For future award applicants she suggests, “Do something that you truly have your heart in and use that as your strategic project for your organization — identify something that is not only a need for the organization but also something you have a strong desire to do.”
Genevieve Roberts is a partner at the Titan Group, a human resources consulting firm in Richmond.2014-04-11T20:39:00+00:00
Information technology, engineering jobs rising
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/information-technology-engineering-jobs-rising#When:19:54:00ZThe number of information technology jobs grew 0.38 percent during March to a total of 4.6 million, according to Alexandria-based TechService Alliance.
Over a 12-month period ending last month, IT employment rose 2.38 percent, adding 107,500 workers, the trade association said.
Engineering jobs also increased in March, up 0.09 percent in March to 2.5 million.
On a year-over-year basis, the increase was 1.65 percent from March 2013 to March 2014, an addition of 40,500 workers.2014-04-11T19:54:00+00:00
Richmond investment bank adds health-care practice
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-investment-bank-adds-health-care-practice1#When:19:27:00ZRichmond-based Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., a middle-market investment bank, is establishing a health-care practice to provide merger & acquisitions and capital-raising services.
Director David Keys will lead the practice. Keys, who joined the company last year, has nearly a decade of M&A experience in the health-care industry.
Before joining Matrix, Keys was a partner with Creswell Partners, a holding company that acquired and operated labs.
Keys also was vice president of the Healthcare & Life Sciences Group at Richmond-based Harris Williams & Co., where he worked with health-care service and medical device companies across a number of sectors.
Established in 1988, Matrix Capital Markets has offices in Baltimore and Chicago.
The firm provides merger & acquisition and financial advisory services for privately-held and private-equity owned companies, including sales and divestitures, recapitalizations, management buyouts, and debt and equity placements.2014-04-11T19:27:00+00:00
Richmond investment bank adds health-care practice
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-investment-bank-adds-health-care-practice#When:19:22:00ZRichmond-based Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., a middle-market investment bank, is establishing a health-care practice to provide merger & acquisitions and capital-raising services.
Director David Keys will lead the practice. Keys, who joined the company last year, has nearly a decade of M&A experience in the health-care industry.
Before joining Matrix, Keys was a partner with Creswell Partners, a holding company that acquired and operated labs.
Keys also was vice president of the Healthcare & Life Sciences Group at Richmond-based Harris Williams & Co., where he worked with health-care service and medical device companies across a number of sectors.
Established in 1988, Matrix Capital Markets has offices in Baltimore and Chicago.
The firm provides merger & acquisition and financial advisory services for privately-held and private-equity owned companies, including sales and divestitures, recapitalizations, management buyouts, and debt and equity placements.2014-04-11T19:22:00+00:00
West, Lane & Schlager names Brian Dickerson senior associate
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/west-lane-schlager-names-brian-dickerson-senior-associate#When:21:32:00ZWest, Lane & Schlager Realty Advisors LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based commercial real estate brokerage firm that represents tenants, has named Brian Dickerson a senior associate, as the company continues to expand its advisory group.
Dickerson specializes in commercial office tenants throughout the D.C. metropolitan area. He focuses primarily on clients in the defense and government contracting sector, primarily in Northern Virginia. In his new role, Dickerson will focus on expanding the firm’s client base in Northern Virginia.
His industry experience includes financial modeling, lease negotiations, portfolio and strategic planning, and sublease dispositions.
Before joining WLS, Dickerson served as a senior associate for four years in the D.C. office of DTZ, formerly known as UGL Equis. While at DTZ, he represented local and national clients such as Allied Communications, ATK, Dynamis, McMullan & Associates, Navigant Consulting, Rolls-Royce and Towers Watson.2014-04-10T21:32:00+00:00
Huntington Ingalls leases 41,052 square feet in Newport News
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/huntington-ingalls-leases-41052-square-feet-in-newport-news#When:20:53:00ZHuntington Ingalls has leased 41,052 square feet at 5501 City Line Road in Newport News. Clay Culbreth of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled lease negotiations.
In other transaction, Power Installations leased 11,450 square feet at 5819-5823 Ward Court in Virginia Beach. Eric Throne and Isaac DeRegibus of Thalhimer hanlded lease negotiations.2014-04-10T20:53:00+00:00
Jobless rate trends are mixed in Virginia metro areas
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rate-trends-are-mixed-in-virginia-metro-areas#When:20:52:00ZMetropolitan areas in Virginia had mixed results in the latest round of unemployment statistics.
February figures released Thursday by the Virginia Employment Commission showed six of 11 metro areas with declining jobless rates, while rates rose in three areas and two were unchanged.
The rates are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do not take into consideration seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.
The seasonally unadjusted jobless rate for Virginia during February was 5.3 percent while the national rate was 7 percent.
The Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., continued to have the lowest rate, 4.2 percent, which was unchanged from January.
NOVA was followed by the Charlottesville area at 4.3 percent, up from 4.2 percent in January.
Nine of the 11 metro areas had jobless rates of under 6 percent. The exceptions were the Danville area, 7.2 percent, down from 7.6 percent, and the Bristol area, 6.4 percent, down from 6.6 percent.
A breakdown on the rest of the metro areas shows:
• Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford: 5.3 percent in February, down from 5.7 percent.
• Hampton Roads: 5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent.
• Harrisonburg: 4.9 percent, up from 4.7 percent.
• Lynchburg: 5.9 percent, up from 5.8 percent.
• Richmond: 5.5 percent, down from 5.6 percent.
• Roanoke: 5.5 percent, unchanged.
• Winchester: 4.9 percent, down from 5 percent.2014-04-10T20:52:00+00:00
PetSmart and Ulta sign leases in Hampton Roads
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/petsmart-and-ulta-sign-leases-in-hampton-roads#When:20:51:00ZPetSmart has signed a lease for 14,286 square feet of retail space at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton.
PetSmart operates 1,289 stores that provide a broad range of pet products and in-store services including pet adoption, boarding, grooming and training.
Debbie Wake of the Richmond office of Divaris Real Estate (DRE) handled lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant. DRE is the exclusive tenant representative for PetSmart in Virginia and has secured more than a dozen locations in Hampton Roads, along with central and western Virginia markets.
PetSmart is one of more than 75 retailers nationwide that Divaris represents in their search for new sites.
Ulta signed a lease for 10,500 square feet in Crossways Shopping Center at 1412 Greenbrier Parkway in Chesapeake. David Redmond of DRE handled lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord, JLP-Chespeake LLC, while Mary McGovern and Sezin Cortinas, also of DRE’s Virginia Beach office, represented the tenant.2014-04-10T20:51:00+00:00
Titan America announces next CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/titan-america-announces-next-ceo#When:20:47:00ZNorfolk-based Titan America’s CEO Aris Papadopoulos announced he is retiring, effective Aug. 1. Titan Group CFO Bill Zarkalis will succeed Papadopoulos, who will stay on as an adviser and become executive chairman of ST Equipment & Technologies.
Zarkalis joined Titan Group in 2008 as director of business development. He previously held executive positions at Dow Chemical. Michael Colakides will take over Zarkalis’ CFO role on May 16.
Titan America LLC is a heavy building materials firm whose products include cement, ready-mixed concrete, fly ash and mineral beneficiation equipment. It is part of Titan Group, based in Athens, Greece.2014-04-10T20:47:00+00:00
Herndon-based Northwest Federal Credit Union acquires Park Place Equity
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/herndon-based-northwest-federal-credit-union-acquires-park-place-equity#When:19:30:00ZHerndon-based Northwest Federal Credit Union has acquired Park Place Equity LLC, a business loan company in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Park Place, which specializes in government-guaranteed loans, will operate as a division of Northwest Federal.
"Over the past two years, Northwest Federal has been developing a government lending platform to serve the needs of our business members,” Chris McDonald, the president and CEO of Northwest Federal, said in a statement. “By adding Park Place and the company’s expertise to our existing platform, we immediately gain a nationally known brand and substantial, additional experience in this lending field.”
McDonald said the deal will enhance the credit union’s lending products and add high-quality assets to the organization’s loan portfolio.
Seven-year-old Park Place focuses on the origination of loans under the Small Business Administration’s 7a and 504 lending programs along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Business and Industrial lending program.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP served as outside legal counsel to Northwest Federal and Sandler O'Neill + Partners LP. served as financial advisor to the credit union. Becker Peters PLLC served as outside legal counsel to Park Place Equity LLC and CrossGate Capital Funding LLC provided advisory services.2014-04-10T19:30:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CI_Lobby.JPG
CustomInk opens new headquarters in Fairfax
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/customink-opens-new-headquarters-in-fairfax#When:15:34:00ZCustomInk, a custom t-shirt company, announced the opening Thursday of its new 72,000-square-foot headquarters in the Mosaic development in Fairfax.
After 50 percent revenue growth in 2013, the company said it plans to continue to expand during the next year by creating 95 new jobs. This would be in addition to 420 local employees and 600 others around the country.
To celebrate the opening, CustomInk will hold a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, April 11, at noon. On hand will be local Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis.
Before going into politics, Warner was a telecommunications executive and venture capitalist who made investments in hundreds of startup companies. Leonsis is a former AOL vice chairman and co-founder of Revolution Growth, which invested $40 million in CustomInk last November.
“CustomInk’s business is about fostering a sense of community, so we are excited to be joining Mosaic, one of Northern Virginia’s most vibrant emerging communities,” said CustomInk co-founder and President Marc Katz.
Mosaic, located at 2910 District Ave. is a mixed-use urban retail project.
Since its founding in 2000, CustomInk has grown to be a major player in the $5 billion custom apparel market, with about $200 million in annual revenues. The company has sold over 50 million shirts.
CustomInk.com allows people to design and order custom t-shirts and accessories while enjoying enjoy free design support from CustomInk's staff.
As part of its ongoing expansion, CustomInk recently opened a new production facility in Dallas, Texas; expanded to a new location in Reno, Nevada; and plans to expand another production facility in Charlottesville.
Operations at the new location will range from software engineering to design, finance, marketing, customer care and production art. As the anchor commercial tenant for Mosaic, CustomInk will occupy three floors in a location with 50 percent more space than the company’s previous office in Tysons Corner in McLean.
“Mosaic was designed for fast-growing and innovative companies like CustomInk, and we are delighted they will serve as the anchor commercial tenant,” Jodie McLean, president and chief investment officer of EDENS, said in a statement. Edens is the developer of Mosaic.2014-04-10T15:34:00+00:00
Life-sciences firm to become first tenant of the Prince William Science Accelerator
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/life-sciences-firm-to-become-first-tenant-of-the-prince-william-science-acc#When:19:41:00ZISOThrive LLC will become the first tenant of the Prince William Science Accelerator.
The startup, life-sciences company will occupy 603 square feet of space in the facility on May 15.
The company plans to use a new patented process in the field of microbiome health to bring dietary supplements to market.
Microbiome refers to the collective genomes of the microbes that live inside and on the human body.
The Prince William Science Accelerator, located on Discovery Boulevard in Manassas, is designed to support startup and fast-growing life sciences and biotechnology companies.
The accelerator contains about 9,000 square feet of wet laboratory space, which can be subdivided into nine laboratories.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors committed $9,200 to ISOThrive from the county’s economic development opportunity fund.
The money will be used to offset a portion of the costs of equipment purchases by ISOThrive and to help it in locating in the accelerator.
ISOThrive plans to invest $143,000 in the project.2014-04-09T19:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg
Alexandria apartments get $75 million in financing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/alexandria-apartments-get-75-million-in-financing#When:19:24:00ZWalker & Dunlop Inc. said Wednesday that it has arranged $75 million in construction-permanent financing for the development of Park Meridian, an apartment community at Eisenhower Station in Alexandria.
The design for the 25-story project meets sustainable building standards and will have 505 units. Thirty-one of the units will meet affordable housing standards.
Park Meridian will be located next to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station in the Carlyle/Eisenhower East neighborhood. The project will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units as well as an amenity package including concierge services, a swimming pool, fitness facility, top-floor clubroom, and underground parking.
Walker & Dunlop, based in Bethesda, Md., worked on behalf of Paradigm Development Co. to secure the 12-year, fixed-rate, interest-only loan with Quadrant Real Estate Advisors LLC.
Executive Vice President J. Tyler Blue and Vice President Paul Wallace led the Walker & Dunlop debt placement team.
Through its subsidiary Walker & Dunlop LLC, Walker & Dunlop Inc. focuses primarily on multifamily lending.2014-04-09T19:24:00+00:00
Company to open ethanol production facility in Hopewell
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/company-to-open-ethanol-production-facility-in-hopewell#When:18:52:00ZVireol Bio Energy LLC said Wednesday that it plans to start production of ethanol this month at the former Osage Bio Energy facility in Hopewell, creating 70 new jobs.
The City of Hopewell is receiving a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) for the project. The city is also offering a rebate of its machinery and tool tax as its local match for the grant. The company also will be eligible for Virginia Jobs Investment Program employee training incentives and qualifies for the Biofuels Production Incentive Grant, which was passed by the General Assembly this year.
Vireol will spend $26.2 million to begin production at the facility, producing more than 170 million gallons of ethanol from corn, barley and other small grains. The company has agreed to buy one-third of its grain from Virginia. It plans to spend $100 million to purchase 21.7 million bushels of grain from Virginia farmers
The facility will be the largest ethanol production facility on the East Coast.
“Vireol’s decision to invest in Virginia rather than sending the plant’s assets overseas brings to life an impressive yet completely unutilized facility that will create good paying jobs right here in Virginia,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “It is outstanding that we are able to bring a new company like Vireol to Virginia by leveraging an existing asset and Virginia’s outstanding climate for business. “
Osage Bio Energy closed the Hopewell facility in 2011 before ethanol production began, putting the facility up for sale because of “unfavorable marketing conditions.”
McAuliffe met with company executives from the British firm Vireol in his first month in office to tout the state’s port and transportation facilities, and rich grain offerings.
Vireol is planning to improve the plant’s ethanol production capabilities and build new value-added processes for the site. A byproduct of Vireol’s ethanol production are dried distiller grains, a high protein feed ingredient that is popular with poultry and livestock producers. The company is also investing in a facility to capture carbon dioxide created during the fermentation that is used for beverage carbonation and food preservation.2014-04-09T18:52:00+00:00
Mars Inc. to buy Iams, Eukanuba and Natura pet food brands
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mars-inc.-to-buy-iams-eukanuba-and-natura-pet-food-brands#When:16:58:00ZMcLean-based Mars Inc. is taking a bite out of the pet food business. The company has agreed to buy pet food brands Iams, Eukanuba and Natura from Procter & Gamble for $2.9 billion.
Those brands will join Mars Petcare brands that include Pedigree, Whiskas, Banfield and Royal Canin.
"Exiting Pet Care is an important step in our strategy to focus P&G's portfolio on the core businesses where we can create the most value for consumers and shareowners,” A.G. Lafley, P&G's chairman, president and CEO said in a statement. “The transaction creates value for P&G shareowners, and we are confident that the business will thrive at Mars, a leading company in pet care."
The geographic regions included in the acquisition include North America, Latin America and other countries. The agreement includes an option for Mars to acquire the business in several additional countries. Markets not included in the transaction are primarily European countries.
The companies expect to complete the transaction in the second half of 2014. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.2014-04-09T16:58:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/0613_VBM_Cover2.png
Generous Virginians 2014
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/generous-virginians-2014#When:13:46:00ZIt's that time of year again! Virginia Business is looking for the biggest donations given/received in 2013 for this year's "Generous Virginians" issue.
In June, the cover story of Virginia Business magazine will examine the growing importance of philanthropy in the commonwealth. This issue will include lists of the largest gifts made by Virginia individuals, companies and foundations.
Submit your donations by April, 21, 2014.
Access the appropriate survey below depending on your organization type:
Reston-based Clarabridge Inc. acquires Market Metrix
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-clarabridge-inc.-acquires-market-metrix#When:21:49:00ZReston-based Clarabridge Inc. has acquired Market Metrix, a California feedback management firm serving the leisure and hospitality industries.
Clarabridge, the nation’s seventh fastest-growing software company specializes in customer experience management, a strategy focusing on operations and processes designed to meet customer needs.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sid Banerjee, Clarabridge’s CEO, said in a statement that customer experience management “is becoming mission critical to many enterprises.
“A common vision that emerged from our engagement with thousands of organizations is the market’s need for an end-to-end solution that integrates customer feedback from all sources, apply advanced text and sentiment analytics to identify themes and drivers of customer satisfaction, as well as surface critical operational issues, and coordinate engagement activities that ultimately help companies drive customer loyalty and profitability,” he said. “The merger between Clarabridge and Market Metrix enables us to bring this vision to reality, as the currently fragmented CEM market starts its convergence toward a complete solution suite.”
The acquisition follows the completion of an $80 million equity investment last September by investors General Catalyst Partners, Summit Partners and Unica founder Yuchun Lee.
Founded in 2006, Clarabridge uses sentiment and text analytics in development customer experience management programs for companies such as Dell, Fidelity, Wendy’s International, United Airlines, Best Buy, PetSmart and QVC.
The company said it is seeing 60 percent revenue growth this year compared with 2013.
Based in Larkspur, Calif., Market Metrix has long-standing business relationships with hospitality companies such as Wynn Resorts, Langham Hospitality Group and Red Roof Inn.
“These two companies could not be more complementary, Lenny Nash, CEO of Market Metrix, said in a statement. “The combined offerings will equip enterprises with everything they need to put the voice of the customer to work.”2014-04-08T21:49:00+00:00
U. Va., Virginia Tech join Rolls-Royce University Technology Centers network
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.-va.-virginia-tech-join-rolls-royce-university-technology-centers-network#When:21:49:00ZTwo Virginia colleges have joined Rolls-Royce’s University Technology Centers (UTC) network.
U. Va.’s UTC will focus on the study of advanced material systems, flow modelling and other fields. Virginia Tech’s UTC will specialize in the study of advanced systems diagnostics, flow modelling, power electronics and other subjects.
“Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s most successful and innovative companies,and we are very excited that it has selected the campuses of Virginia Tech and University of Virginia to award its second and third University Technology Centers in the U.S,” Richard Benson, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering said in a statement.
Together with Rolls-Royce, the universities form the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS) and are founding members of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM).
According to Rolls-Royce’s website, other universities in the network include West Lafayette, Ind.-based Purdue University, The University of Manchester in England and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
Rolls-Royce North America is based in Reston. The company also has a 1,000-acre campus in Prince George County where it has a jet engine components factory.2014-04-08T21:49:00+00:00
Port receives federal grant for new cargo-handling equipment
The Port of Virginia has received a $750,000 grant to be used toward the purchase of low-emission, hybrid cargo-handling equipment.
The port is using the money from the Environmental Protection Agency to help replace three older Tier 1 diesel-powered straddle carriers, which are used to move cargo containers around the port’s terminals. The port will use the money to help purchase Tier 4 diesel-electric shuttle carriers, another type of container-moving equipment. The carriers will be the first of its kind to be used on the East Coast.
Tier 4 engines are the cleanest-running diesel engines available to the industry. They require that certain emissions be reduced by as much as 90 percent through the use of control technologies, including advanced exhaust-gas after treatment.
The project cost is $3.4 million, and the port's portion is $2.7 million.
The hybrid equipment will be part of the port's Green Operator program, or GO program, which is a voluntary truck replacement and vessel-fuel switching program.
"This effort further integrates our cargo handling sector into the GO program," John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Port of Virginia, said in a statement. "It has been our policy for more than a decade to demonstrate and incorporate clean-diesel technology into our operation. This effort will produce immediate environmental improvements through reduction of emissions, fossil fuel consumption and noise from port operations."2014-04-08T19:57:00+00:00
SES Government Solutions will relocate headquarters
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ses-government-solutions-will-relocate-headquarters#When:19:28:00ZSES Government Solutions Inc. will relocate its headquarters in McLean to a larger space in Reston this fall.
The firm, which provides commercial satellite services and solutions to U.S. government agencies, has signed a 30,000-square-foot lease for an expansion and relocation at 11790 Sunrise Valley Drive. The six-story, 140,000-square-foot property, known as Reston Square Office, is owned by New York-based Westbrook Partners.
Cresa Washington D.C. Managing Principal Tom Birnbach and Principal Jon Olmstead represented SES in the transaction. Cresa is an international corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants.2014-04-08T19:28:00+00:00
CyrusOne begins construction on new data center in Loudoun County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cyrusone-begins-construction-on-new-data-center-in-loudoun-county#When:18:59:00ZGlobal data center services provider CyrusOne hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new data center on property it recently purchased in the Loudoun Tech Center in Sterling.
“We’re very excited to expand our footprint to Northern Virginia in order to meet existing customer demand for space in the region. In addition, this new data center will enable us to more effectively serve our growing customer base on the East Coast,” Tesh Durvasula, chief commercial officer of CyrusOne, said in a statement.
Northern Virginia is home to one of the world’s largest clusters of data center real estate, with an estimated 70 percent of Internet traffic passing through Loudoun County.
The 14 acres Cyrus One purchased for $6.8 million at the corner of Nokes Boulevard and Ridgetop Circle is expected to accommodate a shell of about 400,000 square feet at full build out, with up to 240,000 square feet of raised floor space, 36,000 square feet of Class A office space and up to 48 megawatts of critical load.
“We are delighted that a global colocation leader such as CyrusOne has chosen Loudoun County and northern Virginia to build their first East Coast data center,” said Bob Blue, president of Dominion Virginia Power. “This is the culmination of years of concerted and focused effort between Dominion’s economic development team and CyrusOne to locate a facility that meets the business needs of CyrusOne, while ensuring that there will be a robust supply of reliable electric power available.”
The first phase of construction includes a 124,000-square-foot shell with 60,000 square feet of raised floor space, 15,000 square feet of office space, and 12 megawatts of critical load. CyrusOne expects the first phase to be complete in October.
The company, based out of Carrollton, Texas, specializes in enterprise data center services and colocation solutions. It provides facilities that protect the operation of IT infrastructure for more than 600 customers, including nine of the Fortune 20 and more than 125 of the Fortune 1000 companies. Altogether, CyrusOne has 25 data center facilities across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Deals without brokers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/deals-without-brokers#When:21:28:00ZA change is coming In May that opens the door to online transactions for commercial real estate leases. And these deals don’t require a broker.
JLL, a global real estate firm formerly known as Jones Lang LaSalle, plans to launch HiRise next month, a platform for landlord and tenants interesting in leasing space in the Washington, D.C. area,
There are a couple of caveats: these are smaller spaces – of less than 5,000 square feet-- and tenants must have eventual plans to expand their U.S. locations.
HiRise, created by a team of experienced real estate pros at JLL, is significant, because it will provide a direct line between landlords and tenants to process a transaction online. The program will be an open marketplace, available to all of JLL's competitiors in the brokerage space.
JLL says in a press release that hirise is “designed to change how people access and lease commercial real estate. This revolutionary marketplace connects tenants with available office space and gives landlords a platform to monetize and fill vacant space. The entire process – from search to lease – is completed within the platform, marking the first time online transactional technology has been applied to the commercial real estate industry’s traditional brokerage model. “
In the U.S., according to JLL, more than 500,000 tenants occupy office spaces that are less than 5,000 square feet. In the Washington D.C. metro area, small tenants outnumber large tenants three to one; yet, more than 46 million square feet of small space remains vacant because traditional leasing policies cater to large tenants.
“The vacancy rates for small spaces in D.C. have increased 83 percent since 2009. We wanted to build a solution that lets landlords monetize that dormant space,” Dave Adams, HiRise co-founder, said in a statement.
Andy O’Brien and Alex Lassar are also on the team that created HiRise. “Whether you’re a founder of a high-growth startup or an established business, we know you don’t want to waste time searching for office space,” O’Brien said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve made the process quick, simple and pain-free … This allows you to spend less time looking for office space and more time getting work done.”2014-04-07T21:28:00+00:00
Kaléo receives $150 million debt financing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kaleo-receives-150-million-debt-financing#When:20:23:00ZRichmond-based kaléo announced Monday it has entered into a $150 million debt facility with Nevada-based PDL BioPharma. The funds will allow kaléo to support the commercialization of its anti-overdose-injector EVZIO, invest in the development of key pipeline products and repay existing debt.
EVZIO, approved by the Federal Drug Administration last week, is a pre-filled, single-use auto-injector that can be used by family members or caregivers to treat a person known or suspected to have an opioid overdose.
PDL BioPharma manages a portfolio of patents and royalty assets, consisting primarily of its Queen et al. antibody humanization patents and license agreements with various biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies2014-04-07T20:23:00+00:00
Loudoun streamlines approval process for data centers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/loudoun-streamlines-approval-process-for-data-centers#When:20:01:00ZLoudoun County has streamlined the process for data centers to establish themselves in the county.
The county’s Board of Supervisors has approved a zoning amendment that adds data centers as a permitted use under five of the county’s commercial zoning districts.
“The approval of the zoning amendment will reduce the time and cost to build data centers in Loudoun County,” Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer said in a statement. “We’ve made it better – and even easier – for companies to operate in the largest data center hub in America.”
Loudoun already houses many data centers for major technology companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. “Data Center Alley” has more than 50 data centers and 1 million square feet of additional data center space is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.
More than 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic flows through the county each day, according to Loudoun.2014-04-07T20:01:00+00:00
South Hill hospital to join VCU Health System
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/south-hill-hospital-to-join-vcu-health-system#When:19:25:00ZVirginia Commonwealth University Health System is expanding in Southern Virginia.
South Hill-based Community Memorial Healthcenter (CMH) — a hospital with 99 licensed, acute-care beds — will become part of the Richmond-based health system under a deal that is expected to be completed by June 30.
As part of the deal, VCU will invest at least $75 million in CMH, including a new hospital facility, health-care technologies, clinical initiatives and physician recruitment.
The South Hill hospital will be renamed VCU Community Memorial Hospital.
“Both organizations are deeply committed to improving the health of the communities they serve, and we recognized that joining forces with the VCU Health System enhances our ability to fulfill our mission. We are excited about the future of health care for this region,” W. Scott Burnette, president and CEO of CMH, said in a statement.
One of the biggest employers in the South Hill area, CMH has 800 employees. They will join a workforce of about 9,000 at VCU Health System.
Eighty-five physicians representing 30 medical specialties have privileges at CMH.
Under the affiliation agreement, CMH will continue to have a board of directors, with local and VCU Health System appointments.
The VCU Health System already had a presence at CMH through a partnership with the VCU Massey Cancer Center that provides outpatient medical hematology-oncology and radiation oncology in South Hill. In addition, the hospitals collaborated on other clinical and educational services.2014-04-07T19:25:00+00:00
International Paper renews for 64,657 square feet in Richmond.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/international-paper-renews-for-64657-square-feet-in-richmond#When:15:59:00ZInternational Paper Company has renewed its lease of 64,657 square feet in Enterchange at Northlake on N. Lakeridge Parkway in Hanover County. N. Dean Meyer and Evan M. Magrill of Cushman & Wakefield |Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations.
In other Richmond area deals for Thalhimer, Ewaste Tech Systems LLC leased 18,500 square feet at 1407 Cummings Drive in Henrico County. Franklin Bell and Scott Douglas handled lease negotiations.
SteelFab Inc. renewed a 10,000-square-foot lease at 180 W. Pleasant Shade Drive in Emporia. Matt Braun handled those lease negotiations.2014-04-07T15:59:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Frank_2x3.jpg
Richmond marketing and research consultant joins Hall Associates in Roanoke.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-marketing-and-research-consultant-joins-hall-associates-in-roanoke#When:15:27:00ZFrank C. Martin III, a Richmond-based marketing research and marketing consulting, has joined Hall Associates Inc. in Roanoke as an agent specializing in office, retail and industrial real estate.
Martin Research, his Richmond business, will remain open. Martin said in a press release that he will continue to conduct qualitative marketing research studies for selected clients on an as-needed basis, but will devote most of his time to his new position.
“The marketing research business has evolved and will continue to evolve into something that is outside my areas of specialty and interest … I found more and more of my time was
spent in pursuing my real estate investments. I started looking for ways that I could make real estate a career ..." Martin said in a statement.
Stuart Meredith, president and managing broker of Hall Associates, said, "We are very excited to have Frank join our team ... His experience in marketing and research as well as his knowledge of the region and the companies and people who work here will be of tremendous benefit to our team."2014-04-07T15:27:00+00:00
Regional furniture retailer buys former Toys ‘R Us store in Henrico County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regional-furniture-retailer-buys-former-toys-r-us-store-in-henrico-county#When:15:01:00ZA regional furniture retailer headquartered in Fredericksburg has purchased the former Toys “R” Us location at 8700 Quioccasin Road in Henrico County for $1.9 million.
Trivett’s Furniture, a family-owned business that also operates as Ashley Furniture, bought the 43,123-square-foot store on four acres from Toys “R” Us. It also purchased an adjacent 0.3-acre parcel from another entity for an additional $75,000.
The property is situated at the corner of Quioccasin Road and Starling Drive adjacent to Regency Square mall. The Toys “R” Us building was constructed in 1981 and occupied until the fourth quarter of 2012, when the toy retailer relocated to a new store in The Corner at Short Pump.
Susan Jones of Colliers International handled negotiations on behalf of the seller.2014-04-07T15:01:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpeg
CBRE/Richmond will provide leasing for Towne Crossings Shopping Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbre-richmond-will-provide-leasing-for-towne-crossings-shopping-center#When:15:00:00ZCBRE|Richmond announces its partnership with RioCan for retail leasing services at Towne Crossings Shopping Center at 11643 Midlothian Turnpike in the Midlothian area of Chesterfield County.
The center is located across from Chesterfield Towne Center. Anchor stores and national tenants include Bed, Bath & Beyond, Michaels, Panera Bread, AT&T and Advance Auto.
Kevin South and David Crawford of CBRE|Richmond are representing the landlord in leasing transactions.2014-04-07T15:00:00+00:00
Virginia Business wins seven awards in state contest
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-wins-seven-awards-in-state-contest#When:08:51:00ZVirginia Business captured seven awards Saturday in an annual journalism contest sponsored by the Virginia Press Association.
The honors included one first-place award, five second-place awards and one third-place award in the VPA’s specialty publications category.
Fredericksburg-based writer Robert Burke won first place in general news writing for his story looking at possible changes in the allocation of donated kidneys at the Richmond-based United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Second-place winners included:
· Richmond-based artist Matt Brown for his illustration for “Mud bath,” a cover story examining the mudslinging 2013 Virginia governor’s race.
· Richmond-based writer Richard Foster in health, science and environmental writing for stories about precision farming, innovative apps and new auto technology.
Foster and Special Projects Assistant Editor Veronica Garabelli for a multimedia feature report on Tonya Mallory, CEO of Richmond-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory, the magazine’s 2013 Business Person of the Year.
Special Projects Editor Jessica Sabbath for her news writing portfolio that included stories about public-private partnership projects, competition facing the Port of Virginia and the sale of Smithfield Foods.
· Editor Robert Powell for columns about transportation funding, the governor’s race and the possible effects of a growing scandal on the commonwealth’s image.
Publisher Bernie Niemeier won third place for editorial writing for columns about state politics.2014-04-07T08:51:00+00:00
Roanoke Business wins five state awards
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-business-wins-five-state-awards#When:08:49:00ZIn its first opportunity to compete, Roanoke Business magazine took five awards in the annual Virginia Press Association journalism contest.
Photographer Sam Dean took first and third place in the feature photo category; third place in personality or portrait photo; and third place in pictorial photo.
Donna Alvis Banks won third place in the feature writing category for a story about the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.
Roanoke Business is a sister publication of Virginia Business. Edited by Tim Thornton, the magazine published its first issue in July 2012.2014-04-07T08:49:00+00:00
Accounting causes earnings to decline 7 percent at CarMax
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/accounting-causes-earnings-to-decline-7-percent-at-carmax#When:21:51:00ZTHE TAKE: Henrico County-based CarMax Inc. reported that its fourth-quarter earnings declined 7 percent because of an accounting adjustment.
Profits totaled $99.2 million, 44 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter. For the full year, earnings were $496.2 million, up 13 percent, $2.16 per diluted share.
During the fourth quarter, the company changed its accounting related to cancellation reserves for extended service plan and guaranteed asset protection products. As a result, CarMax increased its cancellation reserves, which reduced diluted net earnings per share by 8 cents in the fourth quarter.
In addition to reporting results, CarMax announced that its board of directors has approved a $1 billion expansion of the company’s share repurchase program. The authorization expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Net sales and operating revenues increased 9 percent to $3.08 billion in the fourth quarter. For the fiscal year, net sales and operating revenues increased 15 percent to $12.57 billion.
Used unit sales in comparable stores increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter and 12 percent in the fiscal year.
Total used unit sales rose 12 percent in the fourth quarter and 18 percent in the fiscal year.
Total wholesale unit sales increased 2 percent in the fourth quarter and 5 percent in the fiscal year.
THE COMPANY’S TAKE:
“We had another great year, achieving several new milestones. Our comparable store used unit sales growth of 12 percent was our strongest since fiscal 2002, and for the first time, we retailed more than 500,000 vehicles in a single year,” Tom Folliard, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “While the accounting correction…had an impact on the fourth quarter, we posted solid earnings growth in fiscal 2014, and we believe our continued geographic expansion and market share growth will drive our success in the years to come.”2014-04-04T21:51:00+00:00
Portsmouth Marine Terminal returns to business
Cargo will move through the Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) once again.
PMT is serving as a temporary home for automobiles that are being shipped to China. It is the first cargo to be handled at PMT since the port shifted container cargo after it began leasing the modern APM Terminals in Portsmouth.
The port has been seeking new business opportunities for PMT that would not compete with its containerized cargo business.
The Port of Virginia signed a short-term, six-month memorandum of understanding between Pasha Automotive and Virginia International Terminals LLC, the operator of the port.
The agreement could be the basis for a longer-term agreement, Port of Virginia CEO John Reinhart said in a statement.
So far, 700 Chyrsler SUVs, manufactured near Toledo, Ohio, have been brought to PMT.
Two-to-three additional vehicle trains are expected to arrive. Toward the end of April, a Siem vessel is scheduled to call at the PMT and load an estimated 2,500 vehicles. Labor from the International Longshoremen’s Union will be used to drive the export vehicles onto the ship.
Reinhart said the trial shipment could create additional volumes for Chrysler and other equipment manufacturers that experience increased volumes during the memorandum of understanding.
Terms of the agreement were not released.2014-04-04T20:23:00+00:00
Former transportation secretary to head hospital trade group
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-transportation-secretary-to-head-hospital-trade-group#When:19:48:00ZSean T. Connaughton, the former Virginia secretary of transportation under Gov. Bob McDonnell, has been named president of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.
He will succeed Laurens Sartoris, who will be retiring after 26 years at the helm of VHHA and 35 years in total with the association.
“Hospitals and health systems not only take care of our citizens but are major economic drivers in our communities,” Connaughton said in a statemnent. “As they continue to face numerous challenges, including closing the coverage gap in Virginia, I look forward to working with our health-care partners, business community, our state and federal policymakers and elected leaders to improve upon Virginia’s already exceptional health care delivery system.”
Connaughton is a former chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. He served as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration under President George W. Bush.
He made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2005, losing to Bill Bolling who won the general election.
Connaughton become the association’s third president in 88-year history.
The appointment is the result of a succession plan begun two years ago. The group’s board of directors worked with Sartoris in appointing a selection committee to find a successor.2014-04-04T19:48:00+00:00
Irish company purchases Aptiv Solutions
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/irish-company-purchases-aptiv-solutions#When:08:38:00ZIrish company ICON plc has agreed to buy Reston-based Aptiv Solutions for $143.5 million.
Aptiv Solutions designs and executes clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotech customers. The company has operations in 16 countries.
Aptiv’s ADDPLAN software supports the design and analysis for adaptive trials used by the Federal Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency, Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency and more than 50 top pharmaceutical and medical device companies and academic researchers.
Aptiv also owns Niphix, an oncology-focused research organization that has both Japanese and international customers. This will be combined with ICON’s current operations in Tokyo and Osaka.
“Aptiv Solutions’ adaptive trial capabilities will further differentiate and enhance our services to help our customers identify the most promising drug candidates earlier,” Dr. Nuala Murphy, president, ICON Clinical Research Services, said in a statement. “Their presence in Japan will also broaden our existing capabilities in this market.”
ICON provides development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. ICON currently has approximately 10,300 employees, operating from 77 locations in 38 countries.2014-04-04T08:38:00+00:00
FDA approves auto-injector for treatment of painkiller overdose
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fda-approves-auto-injectort-for-treatment-of-painkiller-overdose#When:21:19:00ZThe Food and Drug Administration has approved an auto-injector developed by a Richmond pharmaceutical company for emergency treatment of an overdose involving powerful painkillers.
EVZIO is a pre-filled, single-use auto-injector that works by temporarily blocking the effect of an opioid, potentially reversing life-threatening respiratory problems and allowing the patient to breathe more regularly.
EVZIO was developed by Richmond-based Kaléo (formerly known as Intelliject). It says EVZIO is the first auto-injector with the active ingredient naloxone that is intended to be available for use by family members or caregivers on a patient with a suspected opioid overdose.
Opioids are part of a class of pain medications that affect the body’s perception of pain. They can cause a fatal overdose when the drug amount in the body is too high. An overdose can cause a person’s breathing to severely slow down and even stop.
Naloxone has been used for more than 40 years for treatment of opioid overdose. However, it has been primarily used by medical professionals and in limited distribution programs. EVZIO will be available to patients and their family members or caregivers via prescription.
The new drug application for EVZIO was granted fast-track status and received a priority review by the FDA. Fast-track status accelerates the review and approval of products that fill an unmet medical need.
EVZIO is expected to be available in pharmacies this summer.2014-04-03T21:19:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/P1010342.JPG
A hotel for business
Regus opened its fourth business location in Richmond Thursday with officials on hand to show off the company’s new flexible working space on the 10th floor of the SunTrust Building in the city’s downtown financial district.
“We’re a hotel for business,” is how Paul Spellman, an operations team leader, summed up the company’s business model. At its newest center, about eight tenants have booked some of the 64 office spaces in the 12,000-square-foot business center.
Among its amenities are two fulltime administrative assistants who man a front desk, a conference room, smaller videoconference facility, and a business lounge with kitchen area.
Festooned with balloons for yesterday’s tours, the office space, painted in colorful hues, offers views of downtown Richmond, the James River and the state Capitol.
“Someone can come in and use this space for an hour for $20 bucks instead of going to a Starbucks or a Panera,” Spellman said. Another option is use of an office space for five days a month for $99.
More typically, tenants sign up to use space anywhere from one month to 36 months at rates ranging from $399 a month for a small, one-person, office without a window to $1,500 a month for a larger corporate suite with windows, a view and a furniture tailored for executives. “There’s no capital build out costs,” Spellman said. “If you walk in with a laptop, you are 100 percent functional.”
The centers provide telephones, wireless Internet, utilities, janitorial services and a front desk staff that answers the phone, sorts mail and performs other administrative tasks.
Regus, a company based in the United Kingdom, has 1,800 business centers around the world. Besides the center that opened Thursday, the three others in the Richmond market are located in Glen Allen and Paragon Place in Henrico County and at the Boulders Office Park in Chesterfield County.
So who uses the flexible space?
“We see a little bit of everything, “ said Spellman. “From startups to lawyers to financial advisers and Fortune 500s.” For instance, one of the company’s clients in its executive suite at the Paragon Place are vice presidents for the mid-Atlantic and Eastern U. S. districts of 7-11, noted Spellman.
Occupancy rates at Regus’ Richmond area offices are around 90 to 95 percent, with the space at The Boulders 100 percent filled, Spellman said.
Another source of business for Regus are swing-space deals. That refers to tenants who have to\ move from their leased space and are waiting to move into another space. These referrals frequently come from commercial real estate brokers who are paid a commission from Regus when they bring the company a deal. “We do one to two deals a month with a broker in Richmond,” Spellman said.
When it comes to flexible office space, the average term is 12 months, though Regus says the average customer stays for 7.5 years.
Besides the services, Spellman says people like the camaraderie. “It’s networking for free,” he said.
Regus, which has about 30 locations in Virginia primarily in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond, saw an uptick in business after the 2008 economic recession. James Richardson, the general manger at The Boulders center, said some small businesses gave up long-term office leases to cut overhead expenses.
Even people who work from home lease space from Regus, he adds. “It gives them a place to meet with clients. It gives them a more professional image.”
Virginia Heritage Bank opens Arlington location
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-heritage-bank-opens-arlington-location#When:21:18:00ZTysons Corner-based Virginia Heritage Bank (VHB) announced Thursday it opened its sixth branch in Arlington’s Ballston area.
Karly Tomlin is the manager of the new branch, located at 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100.
"Arlington's growth these past few years has been phenomenal,” Dave Summers, VHB’s chairman and CEO said in a statement. “As one of the fastest growing banks in the region, our people will bring even more support to a robust community, providing mutual success."
Virginia Heritage Bank’s other branches are located in Chantilly, Dulles Town Center, Fairfax, Gainesville and Tysons Corner.
VHB is a full-service bank with total assets of $895 million.2014-04-03T21:18:00+00:00
GSA renews lease in Newport News
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gsa-renews-lease-in-newport-news#When:20:09:00ZThe General Services Administration has renewed its lease for more than 40,000 square feet of space in Newport News.
The agency occupies 41,348 square feet in the SunTrust Building at 11817 Canon Boulevard.
Virginia Beach-based Divaris Real Estate Inc. manages and leases the building.
Chris Bendit of Divaris’ Newport News office handled lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord, Oyster Point Investors LP.2014-04-03T20:09:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Stephen_Close.jpg
KBS names Stephen Close senior VP for mid-Atlantic Region
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/kbs-names-stephen-close-senior-vp-for-mid-atlantic-region#When:20:27:00ZKBS Realty Advisors and KBS Capital Advisors announced the promotion of Stephen Close to senior vice president market leader for the mid-Atlantic region.
Close’s duties will include managing a portfolio of more than 2.3 million square-feet as well as identifying new acquisition opportunities.
Close joined KBS Realty Advisors in 2005. He moves to his new role after serving as a senior investment analyst in the Northeastern U.S.
Office assets in Virginia owned by the California-based KBS-affiliated companies that Close will oversee include Dulles Station East, Tysons Dulles Plaza I, II & III, Willow Oaks Corporate Center, and Redwood Plaza I, II & III.2014-04-02T20:27:00+00:00
AMCAD appoints CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amcad-appoints-ceo#When:20:21:00ZHerndon-based AMCAD, which provides software solutions to the public sector, has named a new CEO.
Rick Lowrey, a former managing partner with Purcellville-based FuseLinecx, will head the company and serve on its board of directors. Lowrey previously worked for Herndon-based Deltek Inc., most recently as executive vice president.
Prior to Deltek, Lowrey held financial positions at Titan Corp., Digicon Corp. and SRA International.
AMCAD’s work includes automating the justice and records management ecosystem that includes courts, jails, prosecutors, probation, county clerks and recorders offices, among others.
AMCAD works with over 1,000 government agencies in more than 38 states. It is a portfolio company of Boston-based Riverside Partners.2014-04-02T20:21:00+00:00
Federal agency leases more than 82,000 square feet in Sterling
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/federal-agency-leases-more-than-82000-square-feet-in-sterling#When:19:49:00ZThe U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has signed a 10-year lease for 82,116 square feet at Atlantic Corporate Park in Sterling.
The lease was announced by Bethesda, Md.-based First Potomac Realty Trust, a major owner of office and business park properties in the Washington, D.C., region.
First Potomac acquired the newly constructed property in December 2010 for $22.5 million. The lease brings the property's occupancy rate to about 82 percent.
The Washington Business Journal reported that the space in new Sterling will be 47,900 square feet smaller compared with its current home at 381 Elden St. in Herndon.
The corporate park includes two, four-story Class A LEED Gold Certified office buildings, totaling about 220,000 square feet.
The buildings offer a fitness center, conference rooms and green space.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, Potomac Realty’s consolidated portfolio totaled 9.1 million square feet.
The portfolio consists of 51 percent office properties and 49 percent business park and industrial properties.2014-04-02T19:49:00+00:00
Kroger opens Richmond area’s second Marketplace store
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-opens-richmond-areas-second-marketplace-store#When:19:44:00ZThe Staples Mill Kroger Marketplace store in Henrico County opened today amid plenty of space, a cheese shop, a Starbucks kiosk and a jewelry store.
The 123,000-square-foot store, at the intersection of Staples Mill and Hungary Spring Roads, is similar to the Kroger Marketplace at Stonebridge in Chesterfield County, which opened in December 2011.
Besides groceries, the new location offers 30,000 square feet of non-grocery selections. These departments include an apparel section, home accents, cookware, toys, and more. Also in the store is a cheese shop from Greenwich-based Murray’s cheese, offering more than 175 varieties of cheese, a Starbucks kiosk with a seating area and free Wi-Fi and Fred Meyer Jewelers, the third-largest fine jewelry retailer in the nation.
Outside, is a fuel center with 18 bays.
“Our Richmond customers have shown us that they like the Marketplace format,” Mike Witt, store manager at the Kroger Marketplace at Staples Mill, said in a statement. Witt is the former manager of the Stonebridge Kroger Marketplace.
The Kroger Marketplace at Staples Mill employs 425 full- and part-time staff.
The Kroger Co. plans to open two more superstores in the Richmond market. The company is expanding a store in Rutland Commons in Hanover County from 74,000 to 115,000 square feet, a project that should be done later this year. It also plans a 2015 opening for a 114,000-square-foot store on Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield County.
The Kroger Mid-Atlantic division, located in Roanoke, operates 122 stores which includes stores in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. The Kroger Co. is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio.2014-04-02T19:44:00+00:00
Health Diagnostic Laboratory hires investment bank as financial adviser
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-hires-investment-bank-as-financial-adviser#When:19:11:00ZHealth Diagnostic Laboratory, one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Richmond area, has hired a financial adviser, New York-based investment-banking firm Cain Brothers, but HDL’s CEO said Wednesday that the company is not for sale.
"Last year, Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. engaged Cain Brothers to serve as our financial adviser and to assist us in the evaluation of strategic partnership opportunities and growth initiatives. Cain Brothers has advised Health Diagnostic Laboratory on a variety of growth activities — none of which involve the sale of the company," said Tonya Mallory, HDL’s co-founder, president and CEO.
Cain Brothers focuses exclusively on the health-care industry. With offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, the firm provides capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and strategic and financial advisory services. Clients include investor-owned and tax-exempt providers, insurers and payers, health-care information technology and medical technology companies and private equity and venture capital financial sponsors. According to its website, Cain Brothers has one of the largest teams of experienced health-care bankers and capital markets professionals on Wall Street.
Since the first of the year, HDL has seen the departure of two of its senior executives, CFO Steve Carroll and Mark Herzog, the company’s senior vice president of corporate and governmental affairs.
Carroll retired on March 1. Reached by Virginia Business, Carroll said the parting was amicable and added that it’s not unusual for a private company at this point in a rapid-growth cycle to retain the services of a financial adviser.
Carroll had been CFO at the company since July 2011. Before joining HDL, he had been an outside accounting consultant to the cardiovascular diagnostic lab. Last June, Virginia Business presented Carroll with the 2013 Virginia CFO Award in the large private company category.
Chris Vlahcevic, an accounting director at HDL, is serving as interim CFO, and a search is underway to fill the position.
Herzog left HDL in mid-March for Richmond-based pharmaceutical company Kaleo (formerly known as Intelliject). Before joining HDL in May 2012, Herzog was executive director of Virginia Biotechnology Association.
Jeff Kelly, a marketing program manager at HDL, pointed out that the company has brought several new executives on board in the past year. They include Nuno Valentine, chief information officer (who also serves as founder/principal of C3 Nexus, an HDL partner company that specializes in monitoring patients who have been discharged after a cardiac event); Kathy Johnson, chief compliance officer; and Maciek Sasinowski, vice president of clinical affairs.
Founded in 2009, HDL’s initial mission was to provide blood test diagnostic services to physicians. Its revenues come primarily from a panel of lab tests that the company says allow early detection of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.
Mallory refers to the firm as a health management company, because in addition to diagnostic testing, it has added early detection and health coaching services for a fee to private companies.
In an interview in December, when Virginia Business named Mallory its 2013 Business Person of the Year, she said the company’s annual revenue was more than $420 million.
HDL has grown from a handful of employees to more than 800, with 700 working in the Richmond area. It has continued to expand its office facilities in Richmond’s BioTechnology Park where a $68.5 million expansion is tripling the company’s footprint to 280,000 square feet.
This week the company rolled out its latest expansion: four My HDL Hub health centers in the Richmond area. At two of these hubs, people, even without a doctor’s referral, can get blood drawn for tests that can reveal risk factors for things such as diabetes and health disease. The out-of-pocket fee is $295. The centers also expect to serve customers with physician referrals and employees from companies with corporate wellness programs.
Besides testing, the centers offer trained consultants who can talk with patients on ways to improve their health through lifestyle changes.
The company plans to rollout other My HDL Hub centers across the country, including one in the Hampton Roads region this summer. In one published report, Mallory said she expects the company to spend about $1 million per site.2014-04-02T19:11:00+00:00
Telos names James Gillie vice president and deputy manager of cyber operations and defense
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/telos-names-james-gillie-vice-president-and-deputy-manager-of-cyber-operati#When:18:40:00ZIT firm Telos Corp. announced Wednesday that it had appointed James D. Gillie vice president and deputy manager of cyber operations and defense.
Gillie will be responsible for developing strategies designed to meet corporate growth goals.
Gillie most recently spent four years at CACI, where he was vice president of business operations for the company's $600 million intelligence group. Prior to that he was vice president and director of corporate projects at Alion Science and Technology.
He began his career as a project management analyst, working more than 12 years for SAIC, eventually becoming vice president and senior project control director.
Telos, which is headquarters in Ashburn, is a government IT contractor that has focused on cybersecurity since 1997.2014-04-02T18:40:00+00:00
Vectrus will be the name of Exelis spinoff
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vectrus-will-be-the-name-of-exelis-spinoff#When:20:52:00ZThe missions systems division being spun off by McLean-based Exelis Inc. will be named Vectrus.
Exelis announced in December that the division, currently part of the company’s information and technical services segment, will become a new, publicly traded company.
The spinoff is scheduled for completion this summer.
Exelis is a diversified aerospace, defense, information and services company with about 17,000 employees. It had 2013 sales of $4.8 billion.
Exelis itself was created in 2011 in a spinoff from ITT Corp.
Company officials describe Vectrus is a blended name derived from the words “vector” and “trust.”
The new company will have nearly 7,000 employees operating in more than 100 locations in 18 countries.
Vectrus is well-positioned to continue to deliver its broad range of capabilities as an independent entity.
After the spinoff, Exelis will focus on four strategic growth platforms: critical networks, ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and analytics, electronic warfare and aerostructures.
It also will continue its mature business areas of networked communications and night vision.2014-04-01T20:52:00+00:00
Sotherly Hotels purchases Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sotherly-hotels-purchases-georgian-terrace-hotel-in-atlanta#When:19:54:00ZSotherly Hotels Inc. is purchasing its first hotel in the Atlanta market.
Williamsburg-based Sotherly, a real estate investment trust, announced Tuesday it was purchasing the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta for $61 million. The acquisition includes an adjacent 698-space parking structure and a 0.6 acre development parcel.
Sotherly, formerly called MHI Hospitality, is expanding its reach in the Southwest U.S. “This iconic hotel gives us a landmark property in the second largest MSA in the Southern United States,” David Sims, CEO of Sotherly, said in a statement. “Atlanta also serves as a primary feeder market to our existing hotel portfolio and therefore it has been a high priority for us. We are pleased to not only enter this market but to acquire a property of this caliber.”
Georgian Terrace is a 326-room, full-service hotel in Atlanta’s Midtown business district. Built in 1911, it's known as the “Grand Dame of Atlanta.” Rooms are more than 800 square feet in size, and the property includes more than 16,000 square feet of meeting space. For year-end 2013, the hotel was operating at about 72 percent occupancy.2014-04-01T19:54:00+00:00
Accenture wins multi-million dollar Navy contract
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/accenture-wins-multi-million-dollar-navy-contract#When:19:28:00ZAccenture Federal Services, which has offices in Arlington, has won a multi-million dollar from the U.S. Department of the Navy.
The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a one-year base contracting period with four, one-year option periods and a total ceiling of $53.7 million.
Under the contract, Accenture will provide services to support Navy information systems, conduct analytics efforts and provide international programs support to the Naval Supply Systems Command’s (NAVSUP) Business Systems Center (BSC) in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Accenture Federal Services is a subsidiary of Accenture LLP, a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing firm with approximately 289,000 employees.2014-04-01T19:28:00+00:00
Dominion acquires six solar projects from Recurrent Energy
Dominion has acquired six solar development projects from Recurrent Energy, one of North America's largest developers of utility scale solar projects. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The solar project sites are located in California's Fresno, Kern and Kings counties. "This investment is another important step forward for Dominion as we expand our renewable energy portfolio," Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a statement Tuesday. "These projects fit well within our portfolio of regulated and long-term contracted assets."
Dominion said that long-term agreements for power purchase, interconnection, engineering, procurement and construction have been executed for each of the projects. Recurrent Energy will continue to support Dominion through the completion of these projects.
Construction began in the first quarter, and all of the solar facilities are expected to reach commercial operation in late 2014 or early 2015. The projects are expected to qualify for the Federal Investment Tax Credit and support Dominion's growth plan.
Dominion currently has 41 megawatts of solar energy at sites in Georgia, Connecticut and Indiana.
In Virginia, a subsidiary, Dominion Virginia Power, plans to install more than 2,000 solar panels on the rooftop of Canon Virginia Inc.'s Industrial Resource Technologies facility in Gloucester, making it the largest roof solar system in the state.
The project is part of a program in which Dominion leases rooftop or ground space at commercial, industrial or public facilities for installation of solar panels. When operational, the panels at the Gloucester facility will generate more than 500 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power about 125 homes.2014-04-01T19:23:00+00:00
Hilton Norfolk Airport rebranded as DoubleTree by Hilton
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilton-norfolk-airport-rebranded-as-doubletree-by-hilton#When:18:51:00ZThe Hilton Norfolk Airport unveiled a new name and multi-million dollar renovations this week.
Now known as the DoubleTree by Hilton Norfolk Airport, updates to the property included a redesigned entrance and lobby and new décor in public areas, according to the hotel’s general manager Lee Severino. The hotel’s room count also increased from 247 to 250 rooms.
Located at 1500 N. Military Highway, the hotel includes a restaurant, 24-hour fitness center, business center, 11 meeting rooms, plus indoor and outdoor swimming pools.2014-04-01T18:51:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/3028_Javier.jpg
Merrifield office building sells for $5.4 miliion
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/merrifield-office-building-sells-for-5.4-miliion#When:17:36:00ZMedical group GI Partners Javier Rd. LLC has purchased a five-story, 23,360-square-foot medical building in the Merrifield area of Fairfax County for $5.4 million.
According to CBRE, which brokered the sale, GI Partners leases space nearby now and plans to occupy the building, following a major renovation. In the long-term, owning rather than leasing will save the company money. Plus the new location at 3028 Javier Road provides signage visibility near Inova Fairfax Hospital Center.
“With an exceptional location at the heart of the Merrifield business district, close to the Inova Fairfax Hospital Center and in walking distance to the Mosaic Center’s shops and restaurants, this attractive property received several competitive offers which exceeded our asking price,” CBRE First Vice President Bill Prutting, said in a statement.
CBRE’s W. Carter Byrnes collaborated with Prutting in representing the seller, the Dittmar Co.2014-04-01T17:36:00+00:00
Lumber Liquidators appoints Nancy M. Taylor to board of directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/lumber-liquidators-appoints-nancy-m.-taylor-to-board-of-directors#When:15:06:00ZThe president and CEO of Richmond-based Tredegar Corp. has been named to Toano-based Lumber Liquidators Board of Directors. Nancy M. Taylor’s appointment expands the board from eight to nine members.
Taylor has served as Tredegar’s president and CEO since 2010. Before that, she was executive vice president of Tredegar responsible for corporate business development in addition to her role as president of Tredegar Film Products.
Prior to joining Tredegar in 1991, she was an associate at the law firm of Hunton & Williams.
Tredegar Corp. is a manufacturer of plastic films and aluminum extrusions. Lumber Liquidators is a retailer of hardwood flooring in North America.2014-04-01T15:06:00+00:00
Lumber Liquidators appoints Nancy M. Taylor to board of directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lumber-liquidators-appoints-nancy-m.-taylor-to-board-of-directors#When:15:05:00ZThe president and CEO of Richmond-based Tredegar Corp. has been named to Toano-based Lumber Liquidators Board of Directors. Nancy M. Taylor’s appointment expands the board from eight to nine members.
Taylor has served as Tredegar’s president and CEO since 2010. Before that, she was executive vice president of Tredegar responsible for corporate business development in addition to her role as president of Tredegar Film Products.
Prior to joining Tredegar in 1991, she was an associate at the law firm of Hunton & Williams.
Tredegar Corp. is a manufacturer of plastic films and aluminum extrusions. Lumber Liquidators is a retailer of hardwood flooring in North America.2014-04-01T15:05:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Attachment-11.jpeg
Ghent Station breaks ground in Norfolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ghent-station-breaks-ground-in-norfolk#When:21:19:00ZRobinson Development, Stanton Partners and Norfolk city officials were among 150 people Monday who turned out for a groundbreaking ceremony for Ghent Station, a $15.5 million development with two primary tenants: Bon Secours and Fresh Market.
Norfolk’s first and only Fresh Market store will be located in the new center at 21st Street and Colley Avenue along with a multi-use Bon Secours medical facility.
The developers have completed demolition of an existing structure and started construction on the 22,500-square foot grocery store, which plans to open by Thanksgiving. Fresh Market, based out of Greensboro, N.C., and has 12 other stores in Virginia, including in the Richmond, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads markets.
The Bon Secours facility will offer many medical services, including In Motion, for physical therapy and sports medicine, urgent care, occupational health, a surgical weight loss center / metabolic center, and diagnostic imaging in a two-story building of about 26,400 square feet.
Ghent Station, located on 3.5 acres, is the former site of the Norfolk Senior Center.2014-03-31T21:19:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/JimMateo.jpg
U. Va. promotes treasurer Jim Matteo
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/u.-va.-promotes-treasurer-jim-matteo#When:20:56:00ZJim Matteo, treasurer at the University of Virginia, has added associate vice president to his title. He had been the university’s treasurer since April 2013.
Prior to that, he served as U. Va.’s assistant VP for treasury management and fiscal planning since 2008.
His new responsibilities include directing optimum asset management activities, maximizing financial resources and developing an investment model to support innovation.
Matteo will continue to be responsible for debt portfolio management, banking and cash management, short-term investment and liquidity management, in addition to administering the relationships between U.Va. and its affiliated foundations.
Prior to joining U.Va. in 2005, Matteo spent 14 years with PPL Corp., a Fortune 500 global energy company, managing treasury and finance functions and working as an internal auditor.
Matteo is a board member of the Treasury Institute for Higher Education, a member of the advisory board for the NACUBO/Commonfund Study of Endowments and a member of the NACUBO Awards Council.2014-03-31T20:56:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC_1265c.pngMike Scelzi. Photo by Rick DeBerry
The eyes and ears behind energy
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-eyes-and-ears-behind-energy#When:16:28:00ZWhen Mike Scelzi enters a client’s facility, his ears perk up. The most important thing in managing electricity costs is “listening to what a building tells you,” says Scelzi, the chief executive of Richmond-based Net Metering Inc. It provides services that help companies boost their energy efficiency. “Energy always makes noise,” says Scelzi. “Just by walking a hallway, it’s possible to detect if a system is running when it’s not supposed to be.”
Such unplanned power consumption is a huge expense for building owners and property-management firms. A report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program estimates that 30 percent of electricity in commercial buildings is used inefficiently. Virginia’s largest commercial real estate firms are tackling the problem head-on, coupling automated energy-management systems with human oversight and data analysis to diminish their carbon footprint, curtail expenses and practice sustainability.
Liberty Property Trust has installed a building-wide area network that tracks each megawatt of electricity at its 1.2 million square feet of commercial office space in Hampton Roads. The real-time system is like a stethoscope that “lets us hear the heartbeat of our buildings,” says Craig Cope, a vice president of Liberty’s Virginia operations.
The tracking doesn’t stop there. Liberty hires private rate-consulting companies to perform an annual audit of its energy usage. The audit helps in obtaining a favorable rate structure and enables the company to avoid times of peak demand, which can lead to higher electricity rates.
Another benefit of automation? Instantaneous monitoring. The real estate company can make adjustments as needed rather than waiting 60 days for a bill to detect surges in energy — and the resulting consumption charges.
Since installing a smart system in 2008, Liberty has cut energy costs at its 13 suburban office buildings in Hampton Roads by more than 25 percent. “We can’t control the price of energy, but we can control how much energy we use,” Cope says.
The rising cost of electricity generation, plus a push to “go green,” is prompting other companies to examine more closely their consumption patterns, says Dwayne Faria, a vice president in Richmond with Cushman &Wakefield |Thalhimer.
The average electricity cost for commercial buildings in Virginia is about $1.90 per square foot, Faria says, citing data from the Chicago-based Institute of Real Estate Management. Combined with Energy Star’s 30 percent estimate on inefficient use, it means Virginia companies are potentially wasting 57 cents of every $1.90 they spend on energy. “On a 100,000-square-foot building, that equates to $57,000 a year that comes right off the bottom line,” Faria says.
Automated energy-monitoring tools came into vogue in the 1980s, but the sector has seen dramatic changes since that time. For years, a handful of vendors dominated the industry, including ABB Ltd., Honeywell International, Johnson Controls Inc., Schneider Electric and Siemens. Recently, however, a spate of startups, combined with “expanding offerings from traditional providers has created an incredibly confusing market” for commercial energy consumers, according to a 2013 report by Groom Energy Solutions, a Salem, Mass.-based consulting firm. Groom’s report estimates more than 200 companies now offer energy-monitoring software products.
The sophisticated browser-based systems collect and store data on virtually every aspect of a building, including lighting, heating and air-conditioning systems, even temperatures of individual zones within a building. Should the outdoor temperature drop significantly, for instance, a system could be programmed to pull ambient air into a computer room automatically, thereby reducing the load on the cooling system.
“That cuts down on running dual systems and therefore lowers energy consumption and costs,” says Julie Alexander, director of asset services for CBRE | Hampton Roads.
Another example: motion-based occupancy sensors that activate the lights when someone enters or leaves room, or trigger the electricity to be turned off when a room isn’t in use and fires it up when events are scheduled.
High-end automated systems are a standard feature in new buildings, providing property owners and leaseholders with a single glimpse into — and greater control over — discrete systems, such as elevators, exterior and interior lighting, building security, fire suppression and others. “Everything that’s controllable and electronic can be monitored,” Faria says.
Computer automation provides a way for property managers to account for “building drift,” says Nino DiCosmo, the president and general manager of Richmond-based Tridium Inc., an open-source software company that is part of Honeywell International Inc.
“Building drift refers to how a building’s use starts to change over time. Companies alter their attendance polices so more people can work from home. They add hours or change shifts. Having an automated framework in place lets the proprietor know when the building starts to drift, so he can reset the parameters accordingly,” DiCosmo says.
Crunching energy data
The ability to analyze data incrementally is where these tools really shine, says Joyce Mihalik, director of energy management for Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, whose Virginia holdings include 700 multifamily high-rises, Ballston Common Mall in Arlington and a 34 percent interest in Short Pump Town Center in Henrico County.
“Automation enables you to act. Without it, you aren’t able to make necessary changes at a facility, even if you know what the real problem is,” Mihalik says.
To help reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent a year through 2020, or an average of 2 percent a year, Forest City uses software by EnergyCap, based in State College, Pa., to capture monthly billing and consumption data.
“We then analyze that data to look for any anomalies from past trends. We’ll make an issue tracker so we don’t lose sight of it,” Mihalik says.
In addition, Forest City has installed data loggers on its energy meters for a “microscale” view of how disparate systems behave in real time. As does Liberty Property, Forest City wants to sidestep peak energy demand, which can “make a significant mark on getting our overall bills down,” Mihalik says.
Just as commercial real estate firms do, Hilton Worldwide keeps an intense eye on its energy costs, including day-to-day — even minute-by-minute — electricity consumption. The global hospitality company, based in McLean, in 2009 implemented a proprietary energy-management platform for all properties under its flag. Known as LightStay, the system tracks 200 core disciplines around sustainability.
LightStay has earned certification for environmental management from the International Organization for Standardization. The system is a “brand standard” within Hilton, says Randy Gaines, its vice president of engineering for the Americas.
Hilton doesn’t require its hotel franchises to purchase the system — at least not yet — but at a minimum, each property must record monthly data on energy, waste and water bills. Hilton won’t disclose how much it invested in LightStay, but Gaines says the system has paid for itself through cumulative savings of $253,000.
Investment and return
Automated energy-management technologies vary widely in cost, based on the level of control and features a property owner desires. “You could do a really small project for $10,000 or spend upwards of $2 million or more. It all depends on the size and scope,” Mihalik says.
A building’s age also affects the installation price. Suburban office buildings from the 1980s or earlier are expensive to retrofit, which is why building owners often take a phased-in approach. Regardless of the project’s scope, the real goal is to recoup the investment as quickly as possible. “One to five years is usually a realistic time frame,” says Alexander, of CBRE | Hampton Roads.
The high-tech tools can play a crucial role, but only if building owners tend to them, Scelzi says. Net Metering has audited more than 1,000 commercial buildings, most with remote-monitoring technologies installed, yet “probably 900 have had some piece of equipment running that the owner didn’t know about.”
Net Metering’s energy monitoring and audits start at $150 a month. It also will install energy-management hardware in a building, including a Web server and cellular modem, for $2,500 and up, depending on the degree of sophistication and integration.
Yet despite all the technology, humans still are needed. “Building controls alone don’t save money,” Mihalik says. “Yes, the technology is fantastic, but it can’t replace human oversight needed to analyze the data.”2014-03-31T16:28:00+00:00
French company chooses Loudoun County for North American headquarters
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/french-company-chooses-loudoun-county-for-north-american-headquarters#When:16:20:00ZKoDe Software, a Paris-based IT company, wants a Loudoun County location for its first U.S. office. The company said Monday that it would launch its North American operations with five staff members and an investment of $100,000. It is initially looking to lease space in the Dulles area.
“We welcome KoDe ... ” Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer, said in a statement. “One of the great things about information, communications and telecom companies is that small businesses can make a huge impact in their industry and often grow very quickly.”
Eric Hifi, CEO of KoDe Software, said that the company considered several locations for its expansion, including sites in France and in other D.C. area jurisdictions. The company was looking for accessibility to key clients, strategic partners and markets; the availability of a highly skilled and educated workforce; and a business-friendly climate.
“ … The bottom line is that we chose Loudoun because they made things happen for us. They didn’t just talk a good game; they always did what they said they would do,” Hifi said in a statement.
For example, Loudoun’s Interim Business Development Officer Steve Hargan introduced KoDe to the Innovative Solutions Consortium, an organization that builds collaboration among U.S. federal government contractors.
KoDe Software will be the county’s ninth French-owned company. It’s the second European company to choose Loudoun this fiscal year, following BioGrund, a German company. Altogether, the county has more than 80 foreign-owned firms.
“As the home of our region’s international airport, international business development is an area of tremendous growth potential for Loudoun County,” said Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau, chairman of the board’s Economic Development Committee.2014-03-31T16:20:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DesignLab.jpg
Looking for an office of the future?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/looking-for-an-office-of-the-future#When:15:41:00ZVornado/Charles E. Smith, the Washington division of a commercial real estate investment trust that owns a lot of space in Crystal City, challenged six architects to design innovative work spaces. The program, known as DesignLab, has transformed a single floor at 251 18th Street in Crystal City into six pre-built office suites that are ready to occupy and lease.
The initiative challenged FOX, OTJ, Perkins+Will, RTKL, SmithGroupJJR and VOA to create the “office space of the future” – with no design constraints.
The challenge to the architectural firms resulted in modern, colorful, and efficient high-tech spaces. Ranging from 2,800 square feet to 5,900 square feet on the sixth floor an office building in Crystal City, DesignLab suites offer:
Fewer walls, more natural light and flexible open spaces;
Multi-purpose kitchens used for office meetings and mobile workspace;
Reception desks on wheels that can be pushed aside when more meeting space is needed.
Special paint that turns a wall into a dry erase canvas;
“We see DesignLab as a showcase for innovative new thinking about office space,” Mitchell Schear, president of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, said in a statement. “Creative companies are seeking highly collaborative, flexible workspace, and our DesignLab has produced forward-looking solutions.”
DesignLab suites are located directly above the Crystal City Metro. The neighborhood is adjacent to Reagan National Airport and also is served by Virginia Railway Express.
MPG announces sale of McDonald’s leased property in Harrisonburg.
McDonald’s is adding a fifth location in Harrisonburg in a deal that included a profitable land sale and a 20-year ground lease.
Morgan Property Group LLC (MPG) announced the sale for a future McDonald’s development at the intersection of E. Market Street and Country Club Road.
MPG, through its affiliate Market Street Realty LLC, acquired 1.2 acres at the intersection in August 2012 for a price of $1.1 million. At the time, the property was leased to and occupied by First Bank & Trust. Following the acquisition, MPG negotiated a termination of the bank's lease and secured a 20pyear ground lease with McDonald's Corp.
“This was an opportunistic acquisition for our company in 2012, and we could not be more pleased with the outcome,” MPG’s President Trey Morgan, said in a statement.
MPG sold the project to The Christopher Trust for a sales price of $2 million on March 17. The Bolder Group represented the buyer. Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Partners, Inc. represented Market Street Realty LLC. McDonald's is expected to open in the second quarter of 2014.
MPG, which has offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., focuses on neighborhood shopping center and single-tenant retail projects for repeat clients such as Walgreens, Publix, 7-Eleven, and McDonald's. The company and its affiliates are developing multiple retail, mixed-use and medical development projects throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.2014-03-31T02:09:00+00:00
Westham Golf Club to get second nine holes in Chesterfield County
Westham Golf Club – owned by iStar Financial and managed by Virginia-based Billy Casper Golf – has started construction on its second nine holes to complete the 18-hole Nicklaus Design course in the Magnolia Green development in Chesterfield County.
Westham is the only golf course in greater Richmond that's being done by the firm founded by golf legend and designer Jack Nicklaus. The new holes, crafted by Nicklaus Design in association with architect Tom Clark, will meld with the existing nine, which feature wide, Bermuda-grass fairways, scruffy-edged bunkers and levation changes.
Nine holes opened to public play in 2010. The additional nine, along with a practice facility, are scheduled to open in spring 2015. A new clubhouse is expected to open in late 2016.
Sanders Golf, known for its work at Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and Pinehurst No. 2, is doing the construction.
Westham Golf Club is the centerpiece of Magnolia Green, a master-planned community. iStar Financial assumed ownership of the club in 2009 and completed the first nine holes.
Magnolia Green is a resort-style development approved for 3,550 homes, 200 acres of commercial, an elementary school and a 28-acre county park. Westham and Magnolia Green are located on the north side of Hull Street Road (US-360 W), 6.2 miles west of Virginia Route 288.
Billy Casper is the largest owner-operator of golf courses, country clubs and resorts in the U.S., with more than 150 properties in 28 states. The company has its headquarters in Vienna.2014-03-31T02:03:00+00:00
First quarter Washington, D.C. area office market is restrained.
Persistently higher vacancy rates, driven by contractions and unhurried tenant demand, restrained office markets in the Washington, D.C. region during the first quarter, according to preliminary first-quarter research reports released by CBRE Group. Still, employment forecasts point to a brighter 2014 overall.
“Key sectors are forecast for growth, with office-using professional services and financial firms seeing improvements in 2014. As some certainty returns to the market with a long-term budget deal, we are hopeful for modest improvement in future quarters,” John Germano, executive managing director of CBRE’s Washington-Baltimore region, said in a statement.
The CBRE reports reveal first-quarter market activity dominated by contractions, renewals, and sublets:
• Washington, D.C. large government-related contractions dragged on net absorption numbers, with the vacancy rate increasing slightly to 10.8 percent. Tenant demand continues to be driven by professional services, including law and financial services firms. About 35 percent of the tenants with more than 10,000 square feet in the market are professional services firms, compared to 25 percent at the same time last year.
Key transactions included in the first quarter included:
The National Labor Relations Board contracting and moving into 143,000 square feet at 1015 Half Street SE in the Capitol Riverfront.
Millennium Challenge Corp contracting by 32,000 square feet and moving to 1099 14th Street in the East End.
The General Services Administration renewing 56,500 square feet at 1250 Maryland Ave. for the Federal Communications Commission.
The first of two CityCenterDC office projects delivered this quarter: 800 10th Street is 86 percent leased, primarily to Covington and Burling. Two other large office developments broke ground in Southwest DC: 400 6th Street (471,500 square feet) is scheduled to deliver in 2015 and The Wharf (225,000 square feet) delivers in 2017.
• In Northern Virginia, the office market is set to deliver 1.7 million square feet in 2014, down from the 2 million square feet delivered in 2013. Lerner Enterprises announced in January that it will press ahead with the office tower at 1775 Tysons Blvd. for delivery in 2015 or early 2016.
With few large deals being signed and an assortment of small- and medium-sized deals filling empty space, the vacancy rate remains flat at 16.3 percent. Large move-outs in Arlington cancelled out positive growth along the Dulles Toll Road. To inspire additional business growth, the Arlington County Board is considering an expansion of tax breaks to technology companies with less than 100 employees.
The quarter’s largest move in Northern Virginia was by Marymount University, which signed a lease for 87,000 square feet at 4040 N. Fairfax Drive.2014-03-31T02:00:00+00:00
Forbes includes Washington & Lee University in ‘Top 50 ROI Colleges’ list
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/forbes-includes-washington-lee-university-in-top-50-roi-colleges-list#When:21:06:00ZLexington-based Washington & Lee University has been named to Forbes’ “Top 50 return-on-investment (ROI)” list.
The ranking only looked at private colleges. Princeton University took the top spot.
To compile the list, Forbes’ staffer Matt Schifrin came up with a formula for measuring the value of a college degree called the Grateful Grads (GG) Index.
The index ranks colleges by median amount of private donations per student over a 10-year period and average percentage of graduates who donate each year to their colleges (aka. the alumni participation rate).
“The idea is that the best colleges are the ones that produce successful people who make enough money during their careers to be charitable and feel compelled to give back to the schools that contributed to their success,” Schifrin explains.
Washington & Lee was 23rd on the list with a GG Index of 90.5. The university’s 10-year median private donation per student was $14,018 and the average alumni participation rate was 38 percent. According to Washington & Lee’s website, the standard cost of attendance for 2014-2015 is $61,310 for undergraduates and $64,150 for law students.2014-03-28T21:06:00+00:00
MicroPact signs lease for 41,690 square feet
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/micropact-signs-lease-for-41690-square-feet#When:20:19:00ZMicroPact Inc. has signed a 10-year lease that essentially doubles the size of its headquarters at 12901 Worldgate Drive in Fairfax County.
MicroPact, a major developer of dynamic case management and business process management software solutions, will occupy 41,690 square feet, including the seventh and eighth floors of the building.
The company expects to move into the new space early this summer.
MicroPact's software is used by 97 percent of federal agencies that have more than 500 employees and a growing list of Fortune 500 and international companies.
The company has recorded a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent during the past five years.
MicroPact was represented in the lease negotiations by Brian Wood, a vice president at CBRE.2014-03-28T20:19:00+00:00
Fundraising association to present awards
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/fundraising-association-to-present-awards#When:20:12:00ZDavid M. Huffine, vice president for advancement at St. Joseph’s Villa in Henrico County, and Shannon L. Hair, executive director of the Danville Community College Education Foundation , will receive awards in April from the Virginia Association of Fund Raising Executives (VAFRE).
Huffine will receive the organization’s Nina Abady Award, which recognizes a VAFRE member who has demonstrated excellence in the field of development.
Hair is the recipient of VAFRE’s Rising Star Award, which honors a member who has shown remarkable talents at an early stage in his or her career.
The awards will be presented on April 8 at the Bolling Haxall House in Richmond.2014-03-28T20:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/REID_NV.jpgGrant Reid (right) will succeed Paul Michaels (right) as president of Mars Inc. on Jan. 2, 2015.
Mars Inc. names new president
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mars-inc.-names-new-president#When:20:01:00ZGrant F. Reid will become president of McLean-based Mars Inc. on Jan. 2.
Reid, currently global president of Mars Chocolate, will succeed Paul S. Michaels, who has served as president since 2004.
Michaels recently told the company board of directors that he planned to retire on Dec. 31.
During the transition, Reid will begin a co-office of the president role effective July 2.
Reid is a 26-year company veteran who has been part of its management team since 2007. He has worked in many functions including sales, marketing, commercial, manufacturing and general management as well as several Mars business segments.
Mars, founded in 1911, has annual revenue of more than $33 billion and more than 75,000 employees worldwide.2014-03-28T20:01:00+00:00
GMU opens modeling and gaming institute in Prince William
George Mason University and Prince William County have opened a Simulation and Game Institute (SGI).
SGI is a hub for applied research, business education and economic development. The facility is located at Innovation Park at GMU’s Prince William Campus.
The facility will offer game design research and development, simulation and game training and certification, visualization and simulation software development and rapid prototyping.
The Mason Enterprise Center will house SGI as part of the university’s Computer Game Design Program at Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The facility will also provide offices, studios, research space and a product development lab for individuals, entrepreneurs and companies in the field of simulation, modeling and game design.
Five starting companies have already been accepted into the institute: Bruxe Studios, Little Arms Studios, Zaah on Campus LLC, ProfessionsQuest and MediaShock LLC.
SGI is one of only four international affiliates of the Serious Games Institute, which is based at Coventry University in England. The other affiliates are located in Singapore, South America and Mexico.2014-03-28T19:52:00+00:00
Virginia’s jobless rate dips below 5 percent
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-dips-below-5-percent#When:17:27:00ZVirginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell below 5 percent in February, the first time it has been that low in more than five years.
February’s jobless rate of 4.9 percent was one tenth (0.1) of a percentage point below January’s rate of 5 percent and marked the seventh consecutive monthly decline.
The February rate also was seven tenths (0.7) of percentage point lower than the same month in 2013.
The last time that the unemployment rate hit 4.9 percent was November 2008.
The national seasonally adjusted employment rate for February was 6.7 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from January.
Seasonally adjusted rates take into consideration seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.
The commonwealth’s labor force expanded by 27,170 people in February, the second consecutive increase.
Employment increased in six major industry sectors and declined in five.
The largest job increase occurred in private education and health care, up 3,700 jobs to 514,100.
The biggest decline in jobs took place in leisure and hospitality, down 3,600 jobs to 363,000.2014-03-28T17:27:00+00:00
Sutron Corp. names new CFO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/sutron-corp.-names-new-cfo#When:14:20:00ZSterling-based Sutron Corp. has promoted Glen E. Goold to CFO.
He joined the company in November 2012 as assistant CFO and director of finance. He has served as Sutron's Interim CFO since October 2013.
Before joining Sutron, Goold was an associate vice president in The Carlyle Group’s fund management department. Before that, Goold worked with global accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Sutron provides data solutions for air, water, weather, oceanic and geotechnical applications.2014-03-28T14:20:00+00:00
Village Bank adds two employees
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/village-bank-adds-two-employees1#When:13:34:00ZMidlothian-based Village Bank has announced two new hires. Max Morehead has been named executive vice president of the commercial banking division. Jeff Raihall will work with Morehead’s team as vice president and relationship manager.
Morehead most recently worked for First Citizens Bank, serving the Central Virginia market. Prior to First Citizens, Morehead spent more than 25 years at SunTrust/Crestar leading commercial banking teams in the market segments on which Village Bank is now focused.
Before joining Village Bank, Jeff Raihall was managing director at Arbor Associates Inc., a business valuation and mergers and acquisitions firm. He also spent a decade as assistant vice president in commercial lending at Central Fidelity Bank.
The positions are part of a company-wide initiative to grow its commercial banking division in 2014.2014-03-28T13:34:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NView_glasses.pngThe current version of Google Glass has no lenses. Photo courtesy Neathawk Dubuque & Packett
Ad agency finds many uses for Google Glass
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/ad-agency-finds-many-uses-for-google-glass#When:10:00:00ZI have seen the future. Fortunately, I was not driving at the time, or I might have had a wreck.
Thanks to the generosity of Daniel Fell, the CEO of the Richmond-based advertising, marketing and public relations firm Neathawk Dubuque & Packett, I recently got a chance to try on the Google Glass.
This invention, as you probably have heard, puts many of the capabilities of a smartphone in devices that resemble eyeglass frames. Glass features a tiny screen over the right eye and can do amazing things: take a picture, record a video, perform a Google search, find directions or send a dictated message.
The position and size of the screen are designed to provide you with information without being distracting. Avoiding distraction, however, could take some practice. One writer reviewing the device found it difficult not to fixate on the screen. That could make walking, much less driving, a hazardous task.
In my brief trial, I was surprised not only by the range of capabilities the device offers but also the fact you can perform tasks with voice commands. I had seen news clips of people tapping or rubbing the frames to get things done, but I did not know you could summon its powers just by saying, “OK, Glass, take a picture.” Click, there you have a photo of whatever you’re seeing at the moment.
While I am convinced that Glass is an intriguing device, the question remains: Is this a toy or a tool?
Fell is exploring that question with his employees, who work in offices in Roanoke; Tampa, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Raleigh/Durham, N.C., in addition to Richmond. (The device has not yet gone on the market, but he obtained one through the Glass Explorer program, which allows some consumers to test the product and offer their feedback.)
Fell launched a companywide competition asking employees to submit ideas on ways to use Glass to help clients in various industries.
“Obviously, we are not endorsing the product or Google in any way,” he explains in an email. “Our interest is on staying ahead of the tech curve and giving our employees and our clients an opportunity to experience new devices and technologies as they come out.”
Fell thinks Glass technology is amazing, “but like any new technology like this you have to see (no pun intended) beyond the current iteration and understand the underlying advances and trends that will change our lives in the future — in this case, it’s about wearable technology, augmented reality, user-interface design, etc.”
One intriguing example of how Glass can be used is seen in a YouTube video. It follows Rocky Mount, N.C., firefighter Patrick Jackson on a training exercises in which he uses Glass to locate the nearest fire hydrant, obtain the floor plan of a burning building and find the right way to remove the roof of a wrecked car to free a trapped motorist.
Fell’s employees offered other ideas. Here are some of their responses. (These aren’t necessarily the winning entries, but they give you an idea of the wide-ranging suggestions the contest prompted.)
“Collectors of anything (antiques, coins, records, books, etc.) can quickly and easily access their personal catalog to avoid repurchasing same/similar items. Also: price check on aisle 3!”
The ghost tour
Provide Glass to guests for a “ghost” tour of a hotel to explain its history. “The app uses GPS to guide the guest through the hotel to specific spots. At each spot the wearer will be instructed to look at an image on the wall that will trigger a Glass video. In each video a person dressed in period garb will be the tour guide. They will appear as holograms and share info and stories pertaining to the historic facts they are sharing.” Guests can also take pictures and video along the tour for upload to social media sites.
The bike race
During the UCI World Road Cycling Championships scheduled to take place in Richmond next year, a rider would be asked to wear Glass. Using an app, spectators would view what the racer is seeing in real time during the competition.
The device also could be used to gather information on each rider, such as nationality, team affiliation and career record.
The memory care unit
“Glass could be incorporated into Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Glass would help stimulate the minds of patients by giving them games and puzzles to play.
“The ability to document daily life could help patients remember events that may seem cloudy.”
So will Glass be a personal technology game changer like the iPhone? Only time will tell. Remember that before Segways finally were unveiled 13 years ago, the hype was so intense that some people expected the machines to make a bigger splash than the personal computer.
My advice is to try out Glass if you get a chance but stay off the road until you’re used to it.2014-03-28T10:00:00+00:00
SHENANDOAH VALLEY GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shenandoah-valley-growth-development#When:10:00:00ZPGI expansion to create new jobs
Polymer Group Inc. plans to spend $7.4 million in upgrading and expanding its Waynesboro plant, creating up to 20 jobs.
The company will hire technical resources employees for its research and development arm, as well as production operators and line leaders.
PGI will upgrade an existing research and development machine used to create proprietary technology, as well as purchase an additional R&D machine. The company also will refurbish a section of the Waynesboro plant, including a new HVAC system, internal rooms and quality control equipment.
North Carolina-based PGI is a leading manufacturer of nonwovens used in hygiene, health-care, wipes and industrial markets. The company operates in 13 countries and has about 4,000 employees.
Pactiv announces $5 million expansion at Frederick County facility
Pactiv, a manufacturer of polystyrene products, will invest $5 million during the next three years in the expansion of its Frederick County facility.
The project will enhance Pactiv’s ability to manufacture its GreenGuard building products.
Pactiv purchased its Frederick County plant in 1996 and employs about 90 people locally.
FBI project back on the table
The fiscal year 2014 spending bill approved by Congress includes $97.8 million for the construction of an FBI Central Records Complex in the White Hall section of Frederick County.
The agency’s plans were first announced in 2004, but the project was hampered by escalating costs and the economic downturn. The FBI currently is leasing more than 100,000 square feet for temporary records storage in an industrial park near Stephens City. That 10-year lease will expire in August 2016.
City provides loan for brewery
In March, the city of Harrisonburg secured a $25,000 loan to assist with the opening of a new downtown brewery through its small-business revolving loan program, which helps new and expanding companies.
Local brewer Tim Brady, formerly of Calhoun’s on Court Square, plans to set up shop and put in up to eight draft lines in the Ice House, a mixed-use development at South Liberty and Bruce streets. Brady hopes to open the brewery in the fall with about 10 employees.
Beer will be produced for sale on-site and in restaurants and stores. The brewery’s name is not yet public.
Women’s Center opens on Sentara RMH campus
The Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center officially opened in June 2013. The freestanding facility is located on the campus of Sentara RMH Medical Center just east of Harrisonburg.
Services include mammography, breast care, an image recovery center designed to help patients dealing with the physical consequences of disease, injury or treatment, heart health, midlife, bone health, and counseling services.
Ideas fly at Startup Weekend
Nearly 40 people participated in the second Shenandoah Valley Startup Weekend held in early February at James Madison University.
During the course of the three-day event, more than 16 ideas evolved into eight business concepts.
Eight teams then conducted research, created business models and built prototypes before eventually making five-minute pitches to a panel of judges.
Task Rascal, a chore management application, took first place. Its team won annual memberships to both the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce and the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council; startup legal and accounting services from Lenhart Pettit and PBMares; and a WHSV ad campaign.
Among other teams, International Bakery was recognized for the best business plan, Hunter Valley earned an honorable mention, and PoWear demonstrated the greatest potential.
Mary Baldwin, Augusta Health team up on nursing program
Mary Baldwin College and Augusta Health are collaborating to create a new RN-to-BSN degree completion program at Mary Baldwin’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.
Augusta Health will provide a sponsorship of $60,000 a year for five years to support the new degree program, which will help Augusta Health nurses meet new rigorous national education requirements.
The Institute of Medicine’s new standards call for an increase in the proportion of hospital-based nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.
The RN-to-BSN program will be offered online, with face-to-face support provided as needed at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences campus currently under construction near Augusta Health in Fishersville. The new program will be open to all registered nurses in the region.2014-03-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VALLEY_open.pngThe Shenandoah Valley has more than 1,000 miles of scenic country roads.Photo courtesy Virginia Tourism Corp.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recreational-asset#When:10:00:00ZWhen Kyle Lawrence came to Harrisonburg in 2003 to attend James Madison University, he was quickly drawn to the local biking scene. “There are amazing riding opportunities here, and a really great community, too.”
With more than 1,000 miles of scenic country roads and an extensive network of greenways and trails that cut through the nearby George Washington National Forest, the Shenandoah Valley is gaining national recognition as a premier biking destination.
“Biking is probably the single biggest recreational asset we have,” says Lawrence, who is president of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, a local advocacy group.
The coalition was formed in 2008 with the merger of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Club, a road-cycling club formed in 1982, and the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club, which began in 1996. The coalition envisions an active and organized cycling community in the central Shenandoah Valley representing all types and levels of cycling and cyclists.
Although best known for mountain biking — the region is recognized as a bronze-level destination by the International Mountain Bicycling Association — the valley gradually is becoming a complete biking destination, Lawrence says. “What separates us from a place like Colorado, which has amazing mountain biking, is that we also have great road riding — not only the views, but the low traffic. It’s rare that an area can offer both. That’s what makes this place special from a recreational standpoint.”
Motorists in the Shenandoah Valley have long been accustomed to sharing the roadways with bicyclists, including recreational riders, area college students and members of the local Mennonite community.
“It’s such an accepted practice here already,” says Jason Burch, 31, who was born and raised in Dayton in Rockingham County. “Folks out here have been riding alternative modes of transportation since the area was first settled.”
A multisport athlete, Burch got hooked on mountain biking after returning home from college. He now rides 50 to 100 miles a week, weather permitting. “All of the country roads around here are fair game, and to have the George Washington National Forest here in our backyard, it’s just incredible,” he says.
The region’s natural beauty and challenging terrain draw hundreds of competitive back-country riders annually.
Since 1998, Harrisonburg-based Shenandoah Mountain Touring has hosted the Shenandoah Mountain 100, a 100-mile mountain bike race that begins and ends at the Stokesville Campground in Augusta County. The race is part of the Virginia Mountain Biking Trail, which links eight existing trails systems stretching 450 miles from Strasburg to Damascus, mostly on public land in the George Washington and Jefferson national forests.
In addition, events like the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, which begins in downtown Harrisonburg and loops 105 miles through West Virginia while climbing 13,000 vertical feet, are securing the valley’s place as a road-racing destination. Last year’s race drew 600-plus riders from all over the U.S. and Canada.
For visiting cyclists and local enthusiasts alike, the valley offers more than a great ride. “A lot of places have great riding and scenery, but it’s in the middle of nowhere. There are no amenities,” Lawrence says. “But here, if you’re an experienced rider, you can ride 100 miles into West Virginia, on dirt roads where you never see a car, come back, go out to eat, go to a bar. We have a vibrant downtown. That’s a huge draw.”
The ‘power of the bicycle’
With its reputation among hard-core riders seemingly secure, there is a movement afoot to create the infrastructure to encourage local residents to take up biking.
“When you’re riding a bike, you don’t have a steel shell around you, so it engages you,” Burch says. “It’s a social activity. When you ride past a jogger or another rider, you acknowledge them. Plus you notice things more than you normally would.”
The coalition is involved in designing and building trails that are more accessible to beginning and intermediate-level mountain bikers. “We’re trying to lower the barriers to entry,” Lawrence says. “A lot of us have a childlike connection with biking. It’s fun.”
Since 1996, a group of people led by Thomas Jenkins, co-owner of Shenandoah Bicycle Co. in Harrisonburg, have been working on trails at Massanutten Resort, a popular recreation area, and in 2007 they began to clear trails for riding at Hillandale Park in the city. Since 2010, the coalition has received two Recreational Trails Program grants totaling more than $125,000.
Bicycles help builds better, stronger communities, too, coalition members say.
“To be able to bring that experience into the city is huge,” Burch says. “It promotes health and it reinforces the idea that you should be able to pedal someplace and do it for more than just recreation.”
The city of Waynesboro’s bike plan grew out of its greenway master plan, which was approved in 2001. The master plan set goals and objectives to provide safe trails as an alternative to vehicular traffic to connect Waynesboro’s commercial district with surrounding recreational attractions.
Phase One, completed in early 2012, is a 1-mile stretch starting from Loth Spring/YMCA and ending at the Dominion Pavilion in Constitution Park. The 10-foot wide trail complete with trees and benches is designed to increase access to the South River and to attract tourists, residents and new businesses to downtown.
Phase Two will extend the trail by 1.2 miles, ending at North Park. It is slated for completion later this year. The greenway project has been funded with federal and state grants as well as local contributions.
“Our greenway trail has been so well received,” says city planning director Michael Barnes. “Even before it was open, people of all ages were out walking on it.”
Waynesboro’s bike plan also includes bike lanes within the city limits. “We did an assessment of our streets to determine where bike lanes could be added safely and help connect riders with destinations including downtown, parks and schools,” Barnes says. The first of these lanes were completed last year during repaving season, and others are scheduled to follow in the next three to five years.
In Harrisonburg, residents have been working with city leaders to design and build what will be known as the Northend Greenway, a 2.5-mile bicycle and pedestrian path connecting neighborhoods on the north end of Harrisonburg with the downtown district via public green space. Those riders wanting to travel farther — to JMU, for example, or Purcell Park on the other end of town — will be able to easily connect with existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure to continue their journey.
Jenkins, who has been active with Northend Greenway, says the project will not only provide children and families with safe and naturally beautiful spaces for recreation; it will serve as a model of an effective alternative transportation infrastructure for Harrisonburg. And that, he says, is what resonates with local leaders. “They’re starting to see the value.” The project is expected to break ground in 2016.
Meanwhile, JMU is busy developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan of its own. Planning efforts began in December 2012 with the creation of an advisory committee that includes JMU faculty, staff and students; representatives from bicycle coalitions, bike shops and proponents; and advisers from the city of Harrisonburg and Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission staff.
“We’re creating this big picture where you can get places easily, comfortably and safely by bicycle,” Lawrence says. “That, too, is gaining us national attention.”
Becky Johnston, a health promotion specialist at Sentara RMH Medical Center and a Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition member, works with schools in the local community to encourage walking and bicycling to and from school through the Virginia Safe Routes to School program.
So far the program has been awarded $17,000 in mini-grants for bikes, bike racks and bike helmets for low-income households, as well as for educational materials, equipment, and special events like Walk and Bike to School Day. Largely because of Johnston’s efforts, the city was able to eliminate an entire bus route.
“The ultimate goal is to increase the numbers of children who enjoy walking or biking for transportation so that they will eventually become adults who use active transportation,” Johnston says. “This model, in theory, will lead to a healthier community.”
Going forward, the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition looks for the number of bike trips in the area to double or even triple in the next five to 10 years as more people start cycling, not just to work but for recreation.
“I see the trend continuing to grow,” Burch adds. “The impacts and the benefits of the movement to date are really going to accelerate. I see folks coming to our area for a travel destination, to bike downtown or to go on a 100-mile ride.”2014-03-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TELECOM_hazlett.pngTom Hazlett Image courtesy Reason.com
Net gain or loss?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/net-gain-or-loss#When:10:00:00ZWhat if they held a war and no one showed up?
For months the media has portrayed the recent net neutrality debate as a cold war, pitting streaming entertainment giant Netflix against mega-Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast. Then abruptly in February, a peace treaty of sorts was signed when Netflix and Comcast announced a partnership to increase the performance of Netflix content over Comcast’s Internet network.
Proponents of open Internet fear that this move, combined with a recent federal court ruling against the Federal Communications Commission’s net- neutrality rules, could result in a pay-to-play landscape. Under that scenario residential broadband customers would have to pay higher fees to access multimedia content, and content providers such as Netflix and Google would have to pay broadband providers for preferred access to customers.
Nonetheless, economics and law professor Tom Hazlett, who teaches at George Mason and Clemson universities, says there’s no such thing as an open Internet.
“Every network is operated in such a way that it discriminates against certain types of traffic. It has to be. Customers would be damaged greatly were they not,” says Hazlett, former chief economist with the FCC.
For example, he says, network engineers working for Internet providers give greater priority to voice-over-Internet traffic than email. It doesn’t matter if email is delayed by a half-second, but that sort of delay could kill a conversation over Skype. Similarly, network engineers also try to filter out malware and viruses, and some universities block peer-to-peer file sharing, which can overwhelm small networks. “That’s not an open Internet,” Hazlett says. “That’s a managed Internet.”
In January, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the FCC’s 2010 net-neutrality rules. They were partly aimed at preventing broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to bandwidth-hogging streaming media services such as Netflix, Amazon or Google’s YouTube.
The FCC has vowed to draw up new net-neutrality rules that it hopes will meet court approval. The Obama White House released a statement in support of that effort: “Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.”
Hazlett, however, says that position is based on faulty logic. “The FCC … says the Internet has developed as an open ecosystem, and now we have to impose rules to keep it an open ecosystem. … The argument for net neutrality is that somehow you have to change the rules to keep things the same.” Companies such as Google and Netflix grew and thrived in a market environment without increased government regulation such as the FCC’s net neutrality rules, he points out.
And it’s not a bad thing that Netflix is paying Comcast for better delivery to its customers, Hazlett says. “Comcast is going to reposition some of its infrastructure, and Netflix is going to reposition some of its infrastructure. That’s good for the customer, that’s good for Comcast, and that’s good for Netflix. … It shows [the] … dangerously anticompetitive, anticonsumer regulation we get when we go down the road to net neutrality.”
Besides, “some of us don’t use Net­flix,” Hazlett says. “And if [Internet service providers] are going to charge all of us end users to support higher bandwidth … why not charge Netflix?”
There’s precedent for buying preferred status, Hazlett says, noting that Google made a deal in 2002 to become the default search engine for America Online, which at that time was still one of the nation’s largest Internet service providers.
When the Internet started booming in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was largely accessed through dial-up modems on existing telephone lines. Since then, telecommunications companies such as Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner have spent more than $1 trillion in building and upgrading a high-speed, fiber-optic and coaxial broadband network across the nation.
Broadband speeds are growing ever faster, but multimedia content on the Web keeps pushing bandwidth limits. Netflix already offers streaming movies in 3-D and 1080p high definition (the term refers to 1,080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution and progressive scan). And it has plans to stream 4k Ultra HD videos, which will offer four times the resolution of current HD video and will require much more bandwidth and fast connections.
Scott Cleland, chairman of broadband industry-backed group Net Competition, says it’s past time that Netflix paid its share of broadband infrastructure costs.
“Kudos to Netflix for recognizing that when one is the single biggest generator of Internet traffic and consequently one of the biggest cost causers for the Internet infrastructure upgrades, one has to contribute their fair share of the cost. The Netflix-Comcast [deal] … shows commercial negotiations work, and there is no need for government intervention in the Internet peering market that has operated well for 20 years without government regulation.”
Comcast and Netflix released a joint statement announcing “a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s U.S. broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come” but declined to reveal terms of the deal.
Netflix spokesman Joris Evers says that his company is committed to advocating for open Internet policies and notes that his company is a big driver for customers to purchase broadband.
“The primary reason people buy high-speed Internet access is to stream video. That’s evidenced by the popularity of video on the Internet and by our growing membership. Video is the killer application for broadband and helps ISPs [Internet service providers] sell higher tiers with faster speeds,” Evers says. “Our goal is to work with the ISPs to deliver the best possible experience to our joined customers, but we also feel that ISPs should deliver the Internet access their customers pay for, and many of their customers subscribe to broadband to watch video.”
Netflix has 33.4 million U.S. subscribers, about 5 million more than HBO. Some studies estimate that the service accounts for nearly 30 percent of the nation’s Internet traffic during peak usage hours. YouTube is ranked next in bandwidth usage, with about 17 percent.
There have been plenty of claims online and in the news that Verizon, which runs a competing streaming media business, is “throttling” Netflix, or intentionally decreasing Netflix’s traffic speed, which would result in a lower quality video experience for the end user.
Verizon has vehemently denied the allegations. Cleland also denies it, but he points out that even if a provider did throttle traffic, there would be nothing illegal about that since the court ruling struck down the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Cox all say they are committed to an open Internet. Their statements leave the door open for the possibility of charging higher fees to customers who use multimedia services or charging the multimedia providers for preferred access. None of the companies would address those issues directly.
Comcast is legally obligated to operate under the old FCC net-neutrality rules until 2018 as part of the FCC’s approval of its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal. It said in a joint statement it is not giving preferential treatment to Netflix.
As for Verizon, it says the court decision “will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now. The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet. Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s ruling. We look forward to working with the FCC and Congress to keep the Internet a hub of innovation without the need for unnecessary new regulations that seek to manage the explosive dynamism of the Internet.”2014-03-28T10:00:00+00:00