1558744706 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en moconnor@va-business.com Copyright 2019 2019-05-24T16:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-scores-pair-of-st.-louis-office-towers Richmond firm scores pair of St. Louis office towers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-scores-pair-of-st.-louis-office-towers http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-scores-pair-of-st.-louis-office-towers#When:16:36:00Z Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC announced on Thursday it had acquired two office towers in St. Louis along with a four-level parking garage. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners is a commercial real estate investment firm based in Richmond. The seller in the deal was KBS, a private equity real estate company and investment adviser based in California. The towers, dubbed Pierre Laclede Center, sit at 7701 and 7733 Forsyth Boulevard in the Clayton submarket of St. Louis. The buildings, which total 580,368 square feet, were built in 1964 and 1970. They have undergone $19 million in renovations since 2010. Pierre Laclede Center is anchored by tenants such as Centene, Lathrop Gage, Morgan Stanley, Dana McKitrick PC and the St. Louis Club. Lingerfelt CommonWealth will own the towers through a discretionary investment vehicle called Lingerfelt Commonwealth Value Fund II. Lingerfelt’s affiliated commercial real estate operating firm will manage the property. Cushman & Wakefield is handling leasing and marketing of the property. 2019-05-24T16:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/recommendations-for-national-529-college-savings-plan-day Recommendations for National 529 College Savings Plan Day http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/recommendations-for-national-529-college-savings-plan-day http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/recommendations-for-national-529-college-savings-plan-day#When:20:00:00Z With National 529 College Savings Plan Day just around the corner (May 29), a day intended to boost interest in 529 plans, I want to encourage parents to start saving for their children’s higher education. And a 529 plan is a great way to do this! Some of the benefits of these plans include tax-deferred investment growth and tax-free distributions for qualified higher education expenses. Plus, Virginia taxpayers may take a state tax deduction for contributions to their Virginia 529 accounts. Typically, this state deduction is available up to $4,000 per Virginia 529 account with unlimited carry forward.  As the parent of six children, I realize that saving for college can seem daunting. But, even small contributions can make a real difference. You can start saving into a Virginia 529 plan with as little as $25. By starting to save as early as possible for a child’s higher education expenses, 529 account owners can take advantage not only of tax savings but also benefit from the power of time and compound interest. Let’s say you’re a new parent, having just celebrated your first Mother’s Day or about to enjoy your first Father’s Day, and you choose to save $100 per month for 18 years into a 529 account. After high school, your child’s college nest egg could be nearly $40,000 (and all tax-free if used for qualified expenses). But, according to Virginia529.com, if you put off saving for even five years, your child’s college fund could be $16,000 less! There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and college savings plans. Prepaid plans allow you to lock in today’s college tuition costs. Over the years, these plans have been dwindling and are now only offered in certain states. Virginia’s Prepaid529 closed May 1, 2019. However, a new program, “aiming to make prepaying college expenses more affordable for more Virginia families,” is being developed and should be available in 2020. We look forward to seeing what the new plan has to offer. In the meantime, you can still put your money to work with the popular 529 college savings plan. It is important to remember that life changes, people move, and this type of plan can be used to cover qualified costs at most higher learning institutions. Also, if you are looking to pay for private K-12 education, some states, including Virginia, will allow you to use your 529 college savings plan. 529 college savings plans act as an investment account. Most investments are sensitive to the market and not guaranteed. Virginia’s Invest529 savings plan was rated Gold by Morningstar and ranked Top 10 by SavingForCollege.com. But, if picking investments is not your thing, I suggest choosing an age-based investment portfolio. With this option, your investment becomes more conservative as the portfolio date approaches. For example, Virginia’s Invest529 2036 Portfolio, which targets children up to 3 years old, is invested for long-term growth, with more than 75% invested in stocks. Whereas, the age-based portfolio for students approaching college (ages 16-18) is predominately comprised of more stable investments. For parents who haven’t been able to save for college until a child is in high school, it may still be advisable to save into a 529. But choosing a more conservative 529 plan investment is likely prudent, because of the shorter investment time horizon. This move enables parents to take advantage of any available tax benefits without taking on too much investment risk. For those wanting to avoid market fluctuations, the Virginia Invest529 plan even offers a FDIC-insured savings option. And finally, a word of caution. When saving for a grandchild, niece, nephew or close family friend, I generally recommend establishing the 529 plan account in your own name. If, for example, a grandparent makes contributions to a parent-owned 529 plan, the parent could potentially withdraw funds for a purpose other than a child’s college fund. If it is money you want to have control of, make sure the account is in your own name. As National 529 College Savings Plan Day approaches, consider opening a 529 account as early as possible to take advantage of compound growth and tax savings. Of course, you can also contact a trusted financial advisor for help with education planning. Jamie Malone, CFP, CPA, principal and financial strategist at Agili in Richmond and Bethlehem, Pa., manages the firm’s financial planning team while offering financial strategy and investment management to clients. He can be reached at JMalone@AgiliPersonalCFO.com. 2019-05-23T20:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-more-than-1-million Hampton Roads property sells for more than $1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-more-than-1-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-more-than-1-million#When:19:21:00Z A commercial property in Chesapeake has new owners. P&M Pet Services LLC bought the property at 915 Ventures Way for $1.16 million, according to oline city records. The seller in the deal was BP&C Investments LLC. The 1.05-acre site is home to two buildings that total around 13,000 square feet. Kimberly Worley of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate handled the transaction. 2019-05-23T19:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-company-to-be-acquired-by-idaho-firm Danville company to be acquired by Idaho firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-company-to-be-acquired-by-idaho-firm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-company-to-be-acquired-by-idaho-firm#When:19:17:00Z A Danville-based company will soon be acquired by a major producer of salad dressings and other products. Sandpoint, Idaho-based Litehouse Inc. is investing $46 million to buy and expand Sky Valley Foods in Danville. Sky Valley Foods sells dressings, condiments, sauces and organic sodas. The deal will be finalized June 1st.  Danville will become Litehouse ‘s first East Coast production facility, creating 160 jobs over the next five years. Litehouse also plans retain Sky Valley Foods’ 50 employees. Litehouse makes salad dressings, dips, cheese, herbs and other packaged products throughout North America. The employee-owned company has five other manufacturing facilities in the United States, in Michigan, Utah and Idaho. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also has approved a $340,000 grant and a $220,000 loan for the expansion. Additionally, the company is eligible for state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program and Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) will provide funding and services to train Litehouse employees. Utah and South Carolina were also considered during the site selection process. 2019-05-23T19:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/darden-receives-its-biggest-gift Darden receives its biggest gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/darden-receives-its-biggest-gift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/darden-receives-its-biggest-gift#When:18:17:00Z The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the biggest gift in its history. Frank M. Sands Sr., the founder of Sands Capital Management, is giving $68 million to the graduate business school. Sands received an MBA degree from Darden in 1963. The gift will establish the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning, which the school said will enable innovation in degree, non-degree and online programs while help retain and recruit Darden’s top-ranked faculty members. The gift also is expected to help transform Darden’s educational facilities in Charlottesville. Sands and his son, Frank Sands, who also is a Darden alum, previously gave $5 million that was used to build Darden’s new campus in Arlington’s Rosslyn district,  U.Va. Darden Sands Family Grounds. That facility opened in March. Combined with university matching funds, the Sands gift will have $82 million in total impact. That amount includes the $68 million gift and $14 million in funds from U.Va.’s Bicentennial Professors Fund, which was launched in 2017. Announcement of the gift comes at a time when Darden and the university are preparing for the public launch of Honor the Future, U.Va.’s $5 billion campaign. 2019-05-23T18:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/sva-group-discussion.jpg Founders of companies that are members of Startup Virginia in a group discussion. Source: Startup Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/startup-nonprofit-gets-100k-grant Startup nonprofit gets $100K grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/startup-nonprofit-gets-100k-grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/startup-nonprofit-gets-100k-grant#When:20:02:00Z A startup nonprofit based in Richmond has gotten a shot in the arm that will help it launch a new leadership program. Startup Virginia announced Tuesday a $100,000 grant from the Luck Companies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the mining and metals company based in Manakin-Sabot. Startup Virginia formed in 2016 as a nonprofit business incubator for companies across Virginia and is based in Richmond. The organization works with around 70 startups, more than 200 mentors and subject matter experts and a regional network of investors. Half of the $100,000-grant will pay for a new leadership development program at Startup Virginia. “Participants will learn the basic beliefs behind values based leadership, including the idea that leadership is a choice, not a title,” said a press release on the grant. The program will consist of a series of workshops led by The InnerWill Leadership Institute, a nonprofit founded by Luck Companies president and CEO Charlie Luck IV. The workshops will focus on “Values Based Leadership,” which Startup Virginia defined in a press release as “a practice that motivates and inspires leaders by connecting company goals to their core values.” Planned workshops touch on various themes. A workshop on self-awareness will help participants identify their personal style. Another workshop will look at best practices for giving and receiving feedback. The other half of the grant will be used to fund Startup Virginia’s ongoing work. 2019-05-22T20:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tire-auto-hires-first-cfo Virginia Tire & Auto hires first CFO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tire-auto-hires-first-cfo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tire-auto-hires-first-cfo#When:09:47:00Z Fairfax-based Virginia Tire & Auto has hired its first CFO. Kevin Whitton has been tapped for the role. He was most recently CFO at Cambridge Finance Holdings, a large Burger King franchisee based out of Memphis, Tenn. Virginia Tire & Auto provides automotive maintenance services. The company opened a store in Chesterfield, its first outside of Northern Virginia, in January 2019. It also opened a facility in Vienna in late March. Construction is underway at the store in Herndon, slated to open this fall, and the Tysons location, scheduled to open by the end of the year. The new store openings will bring the company’s total stores to 17. Each new location will hire about 20 people. Virginia Tire & Auto opened its first store in 1976. 2019-05-22T09:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-changes-its-name Bank changes its name http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-changes-its-name http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-changes-its-name#When:20:43:00Z Richmond-based Union Bankshares Corp. rebranded itself on the same day it completed the integration of a key piece of its expanded footprint. On Monday, Union Bankshares became Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp., and its banking subsidiary changed its name from Union Bank & Trust to Atlantic Union Bank. The company’s NASDAQ ticker symbol switched from UBSH to AUB. Atlantic Union’s wealth management and brokerage operations and the former Middleburg Trust Co. businesses are now under the Middleburg Financial brand. Also on Monday, Atlantic Union integrated the branches and operations of Reston-based Access National Bank into a regional bank that now stretches across Virginia. The acquisition closed on Feb. 1. Atlantic Union has 153 branches in Virginia and portions of North Carolina and Maryland. 2019-05-20T20:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mobile-support-platform-company-expanding-in-blacksburg Mobile support platform company expanding in Blacksburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mobile-support-platform-company-expanding-in-blacksburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mobile-support-platform-company-expanding-in-blacksburg#When:20:18:00Z A technology company is investing $200,000 to expand in downtown Blacksburg. The move is expected to create 40 jobs. The Ozmo platform helps mobile providers and consumers solve software issues. The company’s customers include Verizon and TELUS. “Ozmo is doubling down on its commitment to growing in downtown Blacksburg,” Ozmo CEO David Catalano said in a statement. “Our proximity to Virginia Tech provides us a unique advantage of access to top talent, while also being able to offer exceptional quality of life for our employees. We look forward to growing locally in order to support the increasing demand for our products worldwide.” The company will receive consulting and funding from Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). The initiative supports companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change in order to support employee training activities. 2019-05-20T20:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Presidential_Tower.jpg Presidential Tower has sold for $123.2 million. Image: Beacon Capital Partners and David Madison Photography http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-tower-near-amazon-hq2-gets-new-owner NoVA tower near Amazon HQ2 gets new owner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-tower-near-amazon-hq2-gets-new-owner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-tower-near-amazon-hq2-gets-new-owner#When:16:36:00Z An office tower in Arlington County sitting near Amazon’s HQ2 has a new owner. Presidential Tower office building at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway sold on Thursday for $123.2 million to PT Office Owner LLC, according to Arlington County’s Department of Real Estate Assessments. The 349,303-square-foot building was most recently assessed by the county for $70.45 million. PT Office Owner lists a Connecticut address for its principal office. It’s the same address as the headquarters for Starwood Capital. Beacon Capital Partners was the seller in the deal, according to Newmark Knight Frank. Presidential Tower is two blocks away from the Amazon HQ2 site announced last year in the recently dubbed National Landing neighborhood. The office building is 95% leased and has been renovated in recent years. Upgrades have been made to the main lobby, common areas and restrooms. Newmark Knight Frank’s executive managing directors Jud Ryan and James Cassidy and co-head of U.S. capital markets Robert Griffin worked on the sale. A Newmark Knight Frank team that arranged financing included vice chairmen and co-heads of capital markets debt & structured finance Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub along with vice chairmen Joe Donato and Maury Zanoff. 2019-05-20T16:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-unchanged-in-april Virginia unemployment remains unchanged in April http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-unchanged-in-april http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-unchanged-in-april#When:23:14:00Z Virginia’s unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 2.9 percent. Nonetheless, the Virginia Employment Commission’s state’s labor force, the number of workers employed or looking for work, expanded for the tenth consecutive month by 2,637, or 0.1 percent, to set a new record high of 4.36 million. The Virginia Employment Commission noted that the employment figures for April are seasonally adjusted, meaning that they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor force. The commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 8,100 jobs in April to 4.04 million. That numbers breaks down to 3.3 million private-sector jobs and 723,900 public-sector positions. In April, employment rose in seven major industry divisions but fell in three others. The largest job gain occurred in professional and business services, which grew by 3,700 jobs to 762,800. The largest loss during April occurred in the private education and health services sector, which declined by 1,500 jobs to 545,700. Mining employment remained unchanged in April at 7,900 jobs. 2019-05-17T23:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-fetches-1.6-million Hampton Roads property fetches $1.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-fetches-1.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-fetches-1.6-million#When:17:08:00Z A Virginia Beach restaurant property has new owners. Paleteq Inc. has purchased for $1.6 million the property at 1784 General Booth Boulevard, according to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. The 5,107-square-foot building sits on 1.09 acres. The sellers in the deal were JSB Partners LLC & Mulligan Bread Co. LLC. S.L. Nusbaum’s Chris Zarpas and Ross Weinstein represented the sellers in the deal. 2019-05-17T17:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-eatery-location-sells-for-1.8-million Chesapeake eatery location sells for $1.8 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-eatery-location-sells-for-1.8-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-eatery-location-sells-for-1.8-million#When:14:34:00Z A restaurant property has been taken off the menu in Chesapeake in a whopper of a deal. KH CC Pad LLC has bought for $1.875 million the Burger King building at 1901 S. Military Highway, according to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. The 3,948-square-foot building sits on 1.11 acres. The sellers of the property were William Liu and Chialing Wang Liu, trustees of the William and Chialing Liu Family Trust. Mike Zarpas of S.L. Nusbaum represented the buyer in the deal. 2019-05-17T14:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-store-sells-for-1-million Central Virginia store sells for $1 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-store-sells-for-1-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-store-sells-for-1-million#When:19:55:00Z A Midlothian parcel is set become a new location for a restaurant. Panera LLC has bought for $1.05 million a retail outparcel at the Westchester Commons at 15786 WC Main St., according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Plans call for construction of a new restaurant location. Thalhimer’s Alex Wotring, David Crawford and Kevin South represented the seller in the deal. Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen represented the buyer. 2019-05-16T19:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/one-addition-one-departure-among-state-firms-on-fortune-500 One addition, one departure among state firms on Fortune 500 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/one-addition-one-departure-among-state-firms-on-fortune-500 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/one-addition-one-departure-among-state-firms-on-fortune-500#When:19:52:00Z Virginia has 21 companies on the Fortune 500 this year, the same number as last year. But that doesn’t mean the Virginia lineup is unchanged. Fortune magazine annually ranks the nation’s largest publicly traded companies based on their revenue. New to the Fortune list this year is Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply. The company posted $6.4 billion in revenue last year, an increase of 46.6% from 2017. That boost in revenue landed Beacon the No. 464 spot on the Fortune list. Beacon becomes the 10th Fortune 500 company based in Fairfax County. While Beacon has joined the group of Virginia companies on the Fortune list, another has departed. Advance Auto Parts, founded by Arthur Taubman in Roanoke in 1932, moved its headquarters to Raleigh, N.C., last year The company ranked No. 317 on the Fortune list last year. It was the 13th largest publicly traded company in Virginia. This year, as a North Carolina company, Advance was ranked 326th. A similar shift will take place when Norfolk Southern moves its headquarters to Atlanta, a decision announced late last year. One Fairfax County-based company, DXC Technology, rose from No. 374 on the Fortune list last year to No. 122 in this year's ranking. The company, founded in a 2016 merger, saw its revenue rise 222,8% last year to reach $24.6 billion.  Overall, 13 of Virginia’s Fortune 500 companies are based in Northern Virginia, seven are in the Richmond area, and three are in Hampton Roads. Here is a rundown of the Virginia Fortune 500 companies on the 2019 list No. 40: Freddie Mac, McLean, down from No. 38 in 2018, $73.6 billion in 2018 revenue, down 1.43% No. 92: General Dynamics, Falls Church, up from 99, $36.2 billion, up 16.9%. No. 98: Capital One Financial, McLean, up from 101, $32.4 billion, up 7.9% No, 108: Northrop Grumman, Falls Church, up from 118, $30.1 billion, up 16.6% No. 122: DXC Technology, Tysons, up from 374, $24.6 billion, up 222.8% No. 135: Dollar Tree, Chesapeake, down from 134, $22.8 billion, up 2.6% No. 162: Altria Group, Henrico County, down from 154, $19.6 billion, up 0.7% No. 174: CarMax, Henrico County, rank unchanged, $17.98 billion, up 8.1% No. 176: Performance Food Group, Goochland County, down from 171, $17.6 billion, up 5.1% No. 238: Dominion Energy, Richmond, down from 233, $13.4 billion, up 6.2% No. 277: Norfolk Southern, Norfolk, up from 284, $11.5 billion, up 8.6% No. 296: AES, Arlington, down from 214, $10.7 billion, down 22.5% No. 311: Leidos Holdings, Reston, up from 292, $10.2 billion, up 0.2% No. 317: Owens & Minor, Mechanicsville, up from 318, $9.8 billion, up 5.6% No. 345: Hilton Worldwide Holdings, McLean, down from 324, $8.9 billion, down 2.6% No. 360: Genworth Financial, Henrico County, down from 348, $8.4 billion, up 1.6% No. 371: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News, up from 381, $8.2 billion, up 9.9% No. 424: NVR, Reston, up from 444, $7.2 billion, 13.7% No. 441: Markel, Henrico County, up from 464, $6.8 billion, up 12.9% No. 464: Beacon Roofing Supply, Herndon, up from 569, $6.4 billion, up 46.6% No. 475: Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, up from 482, $6.2 billion, up 6.3 percent 2019-05-16T19:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginia-business-site-locator 2019 VIRGINIA BUSINESS SITE LOCATOR http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginia-business-site-locator http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginia-business-site-locator#When:14:07:00Z Virginia Business partnering with VEDA again! Virginia Economic Developers Association is again teaming up with Virginia Business to promote the magazine’s 27th Annual Economic Development Site Locator. This special report will appear in the August issue of Virginia Business. Businesses looking for the right spot to locate use the Virginia Business Site Locator. Advertising opportunities Invest in a full or half-page display ad, and you can double your message’s impact. We’ll match the space with your detailed story that picks up where your display ad leaves off. Just send us your copy, photos (300 dpi), logo (hi-res file), and we’ll do the rest. Full-page profile = 450 words; Half-page profile = 250 words. PLUS: 2-page and 1-page Site Locator advertisers will receive a FREE 1/2-page horizontal ad in our October issue - Construction feature or in our November issue - Big Economic Development feature. For advertisers wanting to reach this audience, this is the perfect place to be! Contact one of our sales representatives: RICHMOND Hunter Bendall - (804) 225-0078 hbendall@va-business.com RICHMOND Lindsey Swain - (804) 225-9263 lswain@va-business.com NORFOLK Sara Gray - (757) 625-4233 sgray@va-business.com ROANOKE Lynn Williams - (540) 597-2599 lwilliams@va-business.com Ad Deadlines: Space - 6/28 Ad material - 7/8 2019-05-16T14:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mars-joins-foodtech-rd-partnership Mars joins ‘foodtech’ R&D partnership http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mars-joins-foodtech-rd-partnership http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mars-joins-foodtech-rd-partnership#When:20:59:00Z McLean-based Mars Inc. has formed a partnership with a Jerusalem-based venture capital fund to support companies seeking solutions to food, agriculture and nutrition problems. Mars’ research and development agreement with Jerusalem Venture Partners will fund Israeli startups and other companies pursuing “foodtech” innovations. The partnership members said it will address global sustainability issues, searching for ways to feed people in a way that protects the environment. The initiative will involve several major Israeli educational institutions, such as Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute, the Technion, Migall and Tel Hai College. “Mars is passionate about leveraging leading science and technology to innovate,” Jean-Christophe Flatin, Mars’ president of innovation, science, technology and Mars Edge said in a statement. “Our ambition is to provide people around the world with consumer centric products, services and experiences. One example is personalized nutrition solutions that fit an individual's lifestyle by reconciling the food they want with the nutrition they need. We are clear that we need forward-thinking partnerships and collaborations to do this." Mars is best known for its candy, pet food and pet-care products, with brands like M&Ms, Snickers and Whiskas. Jerusalem Venture Partners identifies foodtech as one of the most impactful fields of the future. Agriculture and foodtech startups around the world last year raised $16.9 billion, a 43% increase over the previous year, according to a 2018 AgFunder report. Israel has more than 230 foodtech tech startups. The Mars partnership is part of the venture capital fund’s initiative to transform Israel's Upper Galilee area into the global foodtech region. . 2019-05-15T20:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/THOMSON_PHOTO.jpg Thomson photo courtesy DHG. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/gary-thomson-to-become-chairman-of-virginia-society-of-certified-public-acc Gary Thomson to become chairman of Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants’ board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/gary-thomson-to-become-chairman-of-virginia-society-of-certified-public-acc http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/gary-thomson-to-become-chairman-of-virginia-society-of-certified-public-acc#When:20:38:00Z CPA Gary Thomson will take over as chairman of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants' board of directors Thursday. He succeeds Richard Groover, a CPA and shareholder at Norfolk-based Wall Einhorn & Chernitzer. As Thomson is taking on a new role at VSCPA, he’s also retiring from Dixon Hughes Goodman at the end of the month, where he’s served as a regional leader for 14 years. He’s been the firm’s partner for the mid-Atlantic region, which included Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. In a transition plan that’s been in the works for more than a year, Tricia Wilson, a partner in the firm’s Charleston, S.C., office, took over Thomson’s former territory as well as North Carolina and South Carolina last year. Wilson’s now regional managing partner of the Atlantic region. Thomson, 55, has spent more than three decades working in public accounting. He’s not completely bowing out, though, as he plans to start his own CPA consulting firm focused on leadership development, coaching and consulting. “It’s more of a transition than it is turning the light out,” he says. Thomson also will explore the possibility of serving on more boards. In addition to his VSCPA appointment, he also serves as chairman of the state’s School Readiness Committee and as a member of the boards of the Virginia Council on Economic Education and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. From 2014 to 2015, he was chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. 2019-05-15T20:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-retail-property-sells-for-1.6-million Charlottesville property gets new owner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-retail-property-sells-for-1.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-retail-property-sells-for-1.6-million#When:15:21:00Z A Charlottesville retail property is under new ownership. Riverbend Development bought for $1.6 million the building at 1617 Emmet St. North, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The 4,256-square-foot building sits on half an acre. Thalhimer’s Jenny Stoner represented the buyer in the deal, and Thalhimer’s John Pritzlaff and Will McGoogan represented the seller. 2019-05-15T15:21:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-office-portfolio-trades-for-16.5-million NoVA office portfolio trades for $16.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-office-portfolio-trades-for-16.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-office-portfolio-trades-for-16.5-million#When:17:24:00Z A pair of Loudoun County office buildings is under new ownership. A local investor has acquired the buildings at Two and Three Vintage Park in the Route 28 Corridor in Dulles for $16.5 million, according to Avison Young. The buildings have a total 166,264 rentable square feet and sit on 12.05 acres. Three Vintage Park was built in 2001 on nearly five acres at 22894 Pacific Blvd. It’s a three-story building with 82,660 square feet of rentable space, which is 100% leased.  Two Vintage Park was built in 1990 on a seven-acre site at 45365 Vintage Park Plaza. The building has 83,604 square feet of rentable space and is currently vacant. Avison Young represented the seller in the deal. The transaction team included Avison Young principals John Kevill, Chip Ryan, Rob Walters and Michael Yavinsky, and Avison Young vice president Michael Murillo. 2019-05-14T17:24:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RICHARDFOSTERPHOTO.jpg Richard Foster | Photo by Caroline Martin. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-names-next-editor Virginia Business names next editor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-names-next-editor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-names-next-editor#When:19:22:00Z Virginia Business has named its next editor. Richard Foster, an award-winning journalist, will become the magazine’s editor on May 28. Foster will succeed Robert Powell who’s retiring after a 43-year-journalism career, including nearly 15 years as Virginia Business’ editor. Powell will remain with the magazine during a transition period in an advisory role. “Virginia Business will always be in debt to Robert Powell for his many years of great editorial leadership at the magazine,” said Publisher Bernie Niemeier. “We are equally delighted to welcome someone with Richard Foster’s demonstrated talent, magazine experience and statewide reporting excellence to our staff.” “As always, our readers should continue to expect great things from Virginia Business, the commonwealth’s leading source for business intelligence.” Niemeier added. Foster’s journalism career spans nearly three decades, including 13 years as a freelance writer for Virginia Business. During that time, he’s won several state and national journalism awards. Early in his career, Foster was a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Roanoke Times. He later was assistant editor at Style Weekly, founding editor of Richmond.com and executive editor at Richmond Magazine. In recent years, he has been public affairs manager at the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth as well as a freelance writer. Foster is the author of “The Real Bettie Page: The Truth about the Queen of Pinups,” which was adapted for a 2006 HBO Films movie, “The Notorious Bettie Page.” He also is the producer and host of the “Southern Nightmare” podcast and author of an accompanying book. “Richard is an outstanding journalist,” said Powell. “He is a perfect fit for Virginia Business.”   2019-05-13T19:22:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/maryland-firm-drops-5.6-million-in-central-virginia Maryland firm drops $5.6 million in Central Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/maryland-firm-drops-5.6-million-in-central-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/maryland-firm-drops-5.6-million-in-central-virginia#When:17:03:00Z A Maryland company is the new owner of a Chesterfield County strip mall. DK Belvedere Shoppes LLC of Pikesville, Md., on Friday bought for $5.65 million The Shoppes at Belvedere at the intersection of Robious and West Huguenot roads in Midlothian, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Bogese Cos. was the seller in the deal for the unanchored strip center. The 22,577-square-foot property was 90% leased to nine tenants at the time of the sale. Thalhimer’s Catharine Spangler of the firm’s capital markets group and Thalhimer’s Pete Waldbauer and Nicki Jassy worked on the transaction. 2019-05-13T17:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-industrial-site-sells-for-1.4-million Hampton Roads industrial site sells for $1.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-industrial-site-sells-for-1.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-industrial-site-sells-for-1.4-million#When:19:38:00Z CPNN LLC bought the property at 12671 McManus Blvd. in Newport News for $1.4 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. CPNN made the deal as an investment. The seller of the 3.4-acre, 27,390-square-foot property was Luna Enterprises LLC. Thalhimer’s Clay Culbreth represented the seller in the deal. 2019-05-10T19:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-property-sells-for-1.6-million Central Virginia property sells for $1.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-property-sells-for-1.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/central-virginia-property-sells-for-1.6-million#When:14:29:00Z Stein Investment Group has bought 1.9 acres at the west corner of Forest Avenue and Glenside Drive in Henrico County, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The sales price for the combined assemblage of six properties was $1.625 million. The sellers were Glenside Drive LLC, Reynolds Holdngs LLC, Thomas Pruitt and H&R Gary LLC. Stein plans to build a climate-controlled self-storage facility on the property. Thalhimer’s David M. Smith represented the sellers in the deal. 2019-05-10T14:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hershey-to-expand-operations-in-augusta-county Hershey to expand operations in Augusta County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hershey-to-expand-operations-in-augusta-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hershey-to-expand-operations-in-augusta-county#When:19:56:00Z The Hershey Co. will invest $104 million to expand its manufacturing operations in Augusta County. The 111,000-square-foot expansion is expected to add 65 jobs to the candy company’s Virginia payroll. Hershey now employs more than 1,000 people in the commonwealth, with the majority of them working at the Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in Augusta. The expanded plant will make penuche and peanut cream, which will be distributed to other Hershey facilities on the East Coast. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Augusta with the project. Northam also approved a $400,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance program, an incentive that encourages capital investment by existing Virginia employers. In addition, the company is eligible to receive sales and use tax exemptions on new manufacturing equipment, as well as a Major Business Facilities job tax credits for new, full-time jobs created. The Hershey, Pa.-based company is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. It has operated in Augusta for more than three decades. The company has about 16,500 employees and annual sales of $7.8 billion. 2019-05-09T19:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-school-property-eyed-for-apartments-in-hampton-roads UPDATED: Former school property eyed for apartments in Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-school-property-eyed-for-apartments-in-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-school-property-eyed-for-apartments-in-hampton-roads#When:19:32:00Z A Virginia Beach real estate group with multiple deals in the pipeline has another apartment community in the works that aims in part to provide housing for local teachers. The Franklin Johnston Group plans to develop Renaissance Apartments at 273 N. Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach real estate firm plans to build a 240-unit apartment community with a mix of low-income and market-rate workforce housing. The community will have one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Franklin Johnston bought in April the 10.6-acre parcel on North Witchduck Road for $4.5 million from the Virginia Beach School Board, says Tom Johnston, Franklin Johnston’s chief development officer. The property was most recently assessed by the city at $3.6 million, according to online records. Franklin Johnston has lined up financing for Renaissance Apartments through the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Maryln Development Corporation is the general contractor. Cox, Kliewer & Company P.C. is the architect.  Development of Renaissance apartments will be done in three phases. In addition to the apartments plans call for a clubhouse, swimming pool and playground. The first phase includes 96 units financed with taxable bonds and a 9% low-income housing tax credit. Incomes for tenants at these units will range between 40% and 80% of the area median income, Johnston says. The median househould income of Virginia Beach is $70,500, according to U.S. Census data. Rents will range from $480 a month to $1,300. The second 96-unit phase will be financed with tax-exempt bonds, a 4% low-income housing tax credit and the Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing (REACH) program. REACH is a VHDA program designed to address permanent mortgage financing for a variety of rental housing opportunities and provides financing at below market interest rate. Franklin Johnston has secured a $9.3 million construction loan from VHDA to finance the second phase of Renaissance Apartments. The 30-year loan has an interest rate of 5.25% on $2.2 million and a 2.95% interest rate on $7.1 million. Tenants for the second phase apartments will have 60% of the median area income and range in rents from $760 to $1,025 a month. The third phase for Renaissance Apartments calls for 48 workforce market-rate units that would also be VHDA-financed. Johnston says these units will rent for between $1,100 and $1,300. Johnston says the structure of Renaissance Apartments was driven in part by the desire of Virginia Beach city and school officials for there to be housing for new teachers. Johnston says it’s not possible to discriminate so only teachers can rent certain units but Franklin Johnston can alert the school division when units become available. In addition, VHDA strongly encourages mixed-income communities, Johnston says. Johnston says construction on Renaissance Apartments will start by the end of May and wrap up in 2020. He says there is a lack of supply of workforce and low-income housing particularly in Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia because of high land values. Elsewhere in Virginia Beach, Franklin Johnston is developing a similar 240-unit apartment community nearby the Renaissance Apartments site called 200 West. It will open in the summer at the corner of Price and Mac streets. The firm is also breaking ground in June on a 245-unit market-rate apartment community called Coastal 61 near Virginia Wesleyan University that will have rents that run from $1,200 to $1,700 a month. Virginia Beach School Board Chairwoman Beverly M. Anderson says the North Witchduck Road parcel was property that the school division was not using. Money from the sale went into the school division’s capital improvement plan, Anderson says. Tony Arnold, executive director of facilities services for Virginia Beach’s schools, says the property was previously part of a larger tract that once housed a number of facilities. The property was part of the site of the Princess Anne County Training School, a school established by the African-American community in 1930s in response to segregation. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Robert M. Thornton represented Renaissance Apts. I L.P. in the sale of the property. 2019-05-08T19:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wm-plans-second-entrepreneurship-facility W&M plans second entrepreneurship facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wm-plans-second-entrepreneurship-facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wm-plans-second-entrepreneurship-facility#When:20:48:00Z The College of William & Mary will open a second entrepreneurship hub for students next fall. The facility will be in Tribe Square, a mixed-use property on Richmond Road in Williamsburg. Launchpad, a regional business incubator, also will relocate to Tribe Square and enter into a management agreement with the university. Development of the new hub is part of a continuing effort by the university to promote entrepreneurial approaches to all disciplines. “Entrepreneurial thinking will be our emphasis in this space — collaboration, creative thinking and judicious risk-taking — capacities that William & Mary students hone as they prepare to become change agents in any number of arenas,” W&M President Katherine A. Rowe said in a statement. “Prominently located in Tribe Square, the new hub will cultivate a culture of disciplined creativity across the university and with our regional partners.” The new facility will be supported by the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. It will offer students programming, co-working space, makerspace access, networking opportunities, mentorships and additional support. Launchpad will work in conjunction with the hub with W&M managing staffing and programming for the incubator. Funding for the renovation of the hub will come in large part from the President's Strategic Investment Fund, which was created last summer with a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous alumna. 2019-05-07T20:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Unknown.jpeg Photo: Courtesy of Colliers International http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-of-state-coworking-firm-adding-third-virginia-location Out-of-state coworking firm adding third Virginia location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-of-state-coworking-firm-adding-third-virginia-location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-of-state-coworking-firm-adding-third-virginia-location#When:16:23:00Z The coworking game is heating up in Norfolk. On Wednesday, Chicago-based City Center Novel Coworking LLC bought for $4 million City Center at 223 E. City Hall Ave. in Norfolk, according to city records. The seller of the 54,944-square-foot downtown building built in 1987 was an entity tied to Miami-based LNR Partners LLC. Novel Coworking plans to open in Norfolk this fall a coworking space after completing renovations at City Center. The company plans to convert the vacant third and fourth floors of City Center to coworking space aimed at tapping into Norfolk’s small business community. The first floor is currently retail, and the second floor is office space. “We’ve seen huge interest from small businesses and entrepreneurs with our first Virginia locations in Alexandria and Richmond, and we’re excited to continue serving the region’s businesses with even more state-of-the-art workspace,” said Bill Bennett, founder of Novel Coworking in a press release. Novel could not immediately be reached for comment. Novel opened its first location in Chicago in 2013 and later added two more locations there. Since then the company has added locations in Virginia in Alexandria and Richmond. The company also has locations in Seattle, San Diego, Denver and Charlotte. Coworking space is a growing trend in the commercial real estate industry that offers tenants shorter leases and a number of amenities. Local and national players are increasingly jockeying for market share. Novel appears to be the first out-of-state coworking firm to enter the Hampton Roads market, but it won’t be the only game in town. Richmond-based Gather Workspaces LLC plans to open a coworking space in June at 500 E. Main St. in Norfolk, less than a mile away from where Novel is opening its coworking space. Gather also has plans for a location in Newport News. Percolator is already open in downtown Norfolk at 259 Granby St. At City Center, Novel’s plans call for fully furnished workspaces with amenities, direct fiber internet and Wi-Fi. Private offices, office suites, dedicated desks and coworking memberships will be available. Pre-leasing has already begun. Colliers Virginia president J. Scott Adams and Perry Frazer, managing director of Colliers’ Norfolk office, represented LNR Partners in the deal. Norfolk online records show that the entity tied to LNR Partners, a large commercial mortgage servicer owned by Starwood Property Trust, took over the four-story property in 2016 for $4.2 million. The city last assessed the property in 2018 at $6 million. Adams says the city assessment is likely based on the value of the building if it had been fully leased. He adds that Novel’s total investment in City Center is going to be higher than $4 million. Adams says marketing for City Center started in the fall. The building has been a multi-tenant property but its biggest tenant, a division of Norfolk Southern, moved out at the end of December, Adams says. The vacancy left by Norfolk Southern and other tenants created the chance to market the building for an owner-occupant or a large tenant for the third and fourth floors. The bottom two floors are about 50% leased. Adams says Novel’s investors were looking for a building that had the right amount vacancy as well as the right economics and demographics. He said they were impressed with Norfolk’s mix of entrepreneurship, restaurants and arts scene. Adams says sometimes big blocks of vacancy creates concerns the market will soften and impact rental rates but the Novel deal is a positive sign. “It really jolts the market back into equilibrium,” says Adams of when a block of space gets taken off the market. 2019-05-07T16:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VCUSTEMBUILDING.jpg A rendering of the future STEM building. Photo courtesy: Ballinger/Quinn Evans Architects. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commonwealth-university-plans-to-construct-121-million-stem-buildi Virginia Commonwealth University plans to construct $121 million STEM building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commonwealth-university-plans-to-construct-121-million-stem-buildi http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-commonwealth-university-plans-to-construct-121-million-stem-buildi#When:19:39:00Z Virginia Commonwealth University’s Franklin Street Gym in Richmond will be demolished next year to make way for a $121 million building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.  The six-story, 168,000-square-foot building will house lab, classroom and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences. Gov. Ralph Northam signed the state budget last week that includes the $121 million in funding for the building. Work will begin in spring 2020 to demolish Franklin Street Gym. Ballinger and Quinn Evans Architects are designing the building, while Hourigan will build it. The new space will include 34 teaching labs; a new facility for math instruction; a science learning center; classrooms and computer labs. According to VCU, more than 15,000 students take STEM classes each year in the College of Humanities and Sciences. The school awards 1,500 STEM-related degrees annually. 2019-05-06T19:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/merck-plans-1-billion-expansion-in-rockingham Merck plans $1 billion expansion in Rockingham http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/merck-plans-1-billion-expansion-in-rockingham http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/merck-plans-1-billion-expansion-in-rockingham#When:19:39:00Z The pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. Inc. plans to invest up to $1 billion in stages over the next three years to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Rockingham County. The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company will add 120,000 square feet to its existing 1.1 million-square-foot operation in Elkton, to increase production of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The expansion is expected to create 100 additional jobs at the plant, which currently employs 900 people. “This record investment in Rockingham County is a symbol of Merck’s strong commitment to the Shenandoah Valley and will support further economic growth in the region,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in statement. In connection with the expansion, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University will collaborate on programs training biotechnology engineering and computer science workers to address workforce needs of Merck and other life-science industries in the Valley.  The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Rockingham County, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Subject to approval by the General Assembly, Merck will be eligible to receive a MEI performance grant of up to $7.5 million for storm water and infrastructure upgrades to support the expansion. In addition, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University are eligible to receive up to $2.5 million for the development of custom workforce solutions. Also, Dominion Energy will provide support to enable the expansion, including substantial infrastructure upgrades. Merck is also eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment, as well as a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created. Merck, which has 69,000 employees, has operated its Elkton manufacturing plant in Rockingham County for more than 75 years. 2019-05-06T19:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive Government contractors are changing habits to survive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive#When:19:12:00Z Government contractors lost millions of dollars during America’s longest partial government shutdown. The impact was felt across the country, especially among small contractors and low-income employees who are not likely to receive back pay from Congress. The damage from the 35-day shutdown during December and January has inspired many executives to change how they do business. According to AFCEA, some contractors are abandoning the traditional practice of focusing on a handful of government agencies as clients. Instead, they are broadening their scope of potential clients through a wider array of agencies and/or aiming at private-sector customers. Contrary to Vince Lombardi’s adage that “winners never quit,” these contractors are quitting to win. They are abandoning the traditional government contractor business model because of a dynamic assessment of risk versus reward in a time of uncertainty. Their wisdom will help their companies thrive when the rest of the industry struggles through the next government shutdown. These leaders are also providing an example to the rest of the business world on the value of quitting practices that are no longer of value or are detrimental to a company’s success. For example, MSD Advisors CEO Mary Sue Dahill will tell entrepreneurs at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce event on May 14 how they can scale and grow their businesses through using technology instead of working excessive hours. “I would like small business owners to quit working so hard!” Dahill told me. She said that “many small business owners fall into the trap of working excessive hours or hiring expensive staff when they can simply leverage technology to automate routine business matters.” Just as people quit bad personal habits after a heart attack or stroke, contractors who expand their client base are being self-disruptive for professional health. They are refusing to stick with ways that aren’t working and are detrimental to their futures. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is an expert at quitting to win. An entrepreneur and investor before entering public office, he told me that failing at two businesses before the age of 30 “taught me that there is something courageous about knowing when to walk away.” According to Warner, while “there is is virtue in commitment and seeing things through,” that is not always the right answer. “Sometimes, quitting means having the integrity to admit that something isn’t working, and the courage to try something new,” he said. The principles espoused by government contractors, Warner, and Dahill are those which helped Mike, the owner of an automobile services company, rapidly grow his revenue. “Mike was a client of mine, and he regularly struggled with low revenues from December to March,” Susan Trivers, CEO of Trivers Consulting Group, told me. “He finally invested in a highly-skilled front-desk representative despite 20 years of having lower-skilled staff in that position,” she said. “While that person cost twice as much to employ as past front-desk representatives, within a year that single change in staffing increased revenue by five times the extra cost.” Alas, not every company is willing to have the courage to see the writing on the wall. Sometimes these are Mom-and-Pop shops which stick with what they’ve always done. Other times, they are billion-dollar corporations like Blockbuster. Fifteen years ago, Blockbuster was the king of video. Six years later, the company declared bankruptcy because it had doubled down on what it had always done — rent videos from brick-and-mortar stores. In contrast, Blockbuster’s competitor Netflix adjusted to the changing economy. Founded as a company which mailed DVDs to homes, Netflix transitioned to a streaming service that sent movies directly to TVs. Last year, Netflix had revenue of nearly $16 billion — while as of this April, just one Blockbuster location is still open. “Many of my clients tell me, ‘we’ve always done it this way,’” said Trivers. “They so often confuse quitting ineffective business practices with ditching company or personal goals.” Unlike Blockbuster, many government contractors are setting themselves up for long-term success. They are ready to do what it takes to win -— by quitting practices which aren’t working, and by opening their minds to new ways of thinking and growing.  Dustin Siggins is owner and founder of the Kingstowne-based publicity firm Proven Media Solutions,  http://provenmediasolutions.net 2019-05-06T19:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive Government contractors are changing habits to survive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/government-contractors-are-changing-habits-to-survive#When:19:08:00Z Government contractors lost millions of dollars during America’s longest partial government shutdown. The impact was felt across the country, especially among small contractors and low-income employees who are not likely to receive back pay from Congress. The damage from the 35-day shutdown during December and January has inspired many executives to change how they do business. According to AFCEA, some contractors are abandoning the traditional practice of focusing on a handful of government agencies as clients. Instead, they are broadening their scope of potential clients through a wider array of agencies and/or aiming at private-sector customers. Contrary to Vince Lombardi’s adage that “winners never quit,” these contractors are quitting to win. They are abandoning the traditional government contractor business model because of a dynamic assessment of risk versus reward in a time of uncertainty. Their wisdom will help their companies thrive when the rest of the industry struggles through the next government shutdown. These leaders are also providing an example to the rest of the business world on the value of quitting practices that are no longer of value or are detrimental to a company’s success. For example, MSD Advisors CEO Mary Sue Dahill will tell entrepreneurs at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce event on May 14 how they can scale and grow their businesses through using technology instead of working excessive hours. “I would like small business owners to quit working so hard!” Dahill told me. She said that “many small business owners fall into the trap of working excessive hours or hiring expensive staff when they can simply leverage technology to automate routine business matters.” Just as people quit bad personal habits after a heart attack or stroke, contractors who expand their client base are being self-disruptive for professional health. They are refusing to stick with ways that aren’t working and are detrimental to their futures. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is an expert at quitting to win. An entrepreneur and investor before entering public office, he told me that failing at two businesses before the age of 30 “taught me that there is something courageous about knowing when to walk away.” According to Warner, while “there is is virtue in commitment and seeing things through,” that is not always the right answer. “Sometimes, quitting means having the integrity to admit that something isn’t working, and the courage to try something new,” he said. The principles espoused by government contractors, Warner, and Dahill are those which helped Mike, the owner of an automobile services company, rapidly grow his revenue. “Mike was a client of mine, and he regularly struggled with low revenues from December to March,” Susan Trivers, CEO of Trivers Consulting Group, told me. “He finally invested in a highly-skilled front-desk representative despite 20 years of having lower-skilled staff in that position,” she said. “While that person cost twice as much to employ as past front-desk representatives, within a year that single change in staffing increased revenue by five times the extra cost.” Alas, not every company is willing to have the courage to see the writing on the wall. Sometimes these are Mom-and-Pop shops which stick with what they’ve always done. Other times, they are billion-dollar corporations like Blockbuster. Fifteen years ago, Blockbuster was the king of video. Six years later, the company declared bankruptcy because it had doubled down on what it had always done — rent videos from brick-and-mortar stores. In contrast, Blockbuster’s competitor Netflix adjusted to the changing economy. Founded as a company which mailed DVDs to homes, Netflix transitioned to a streaming service that sent movies directly to TVs. Last year, Netflix had revenue of nearly $16 billion — while as of this April, just one Blockbuster location is still open. “Many of my clients tell me, ‘we’ve always done it this way,’” said Trivers. “They so often confuse quitting ineffective business practices with ditching company or personal goals.” Unlike Blockbuster, many government contractors are setting themselves up for long-term success. They are ready to do what it takes to win -— by quitting practices which aren’t working, and by opening their minds to new ways of thinking and growing.  Dustin Siggins is owner and founder of the Kingstowne-based publicity firm Proven Media Solutions, http://provenmediasolutions.net 2019-05-06T19:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-virginia-shop-sells-for-1.3-million Southern Virginia shop sells for $1.3 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-virginia-shop-sells-for-1.3-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-virginia-shop-sells-for-1.3-million#When:19:03:00Z A dollar store has sold more than a million dollars. DG Lynchburg LLC has purchased for around $1.3 million the 2,600-square-foot Dollar General store at 9781 Red House Road in Charlotte County in Southern Virginia, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The property was bought as an investment. The seller in the deal was Par 3 Development Group LLC. The entity has the same principal address as Rhetson Cos., a commercial construction company, and Par 5 Development Group, a commercial real estate development and management firm, in North Carolina. A person who answered the phone for Rhetson Cos. and Par 5 Development declined to comment for this story. DG Lynchburg lists its principal office at a residential property in Henrico County. Thalhimer’s Mark E. Douglas represented DG Lynchburg in the sale. 2019-05-06T19:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Gignac-May2019-_36.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturing-center-designed-to-jumpstart-operations Manufacturing center designed to jumpstart operations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturing-center-designed-to-jumpstart-operations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturing-center-designed-to-jumpstart-operations#When:20:34:00Z Mark Gignac expects to see Danville’s economic development efforts rise to a new level in 2021. That is when the $25.5 million Center for Manufacturing Advancement opens on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). The new 51,000-square-foot facility is expected to help the area attract up to 20 new businesses over 10 years while creating 3,600 to 4,200 jobs. The manufacturing center is “not a business incubator,” says Gignac, IALR’s executive director. “This is purely for existing businesses to lure them to our region and start the process quickly.” The center is designed to reduce the time it takes companies to become fully operational in a new manufacturing site. Startup time generally runs 12 to 24 months. Three of the five bays in the new building will be used as rapid-launch spaces. “They will enable new businesses to begin limited operations offsite while they wait for their factory to be constructed and equipped to support full operations,” says Gignac. “Someone could come in with machinery and get up and running almost immediately.” Local officials already have seen the benefits that a Japanese company, Kyocera SGS Tech Hub, found in using IALR’s building for a rapid-launch site. “In our main facility we had a high bay, and they began building their cutting tools in that space,” Gignac says of Kyocera. “Last September, they opened their new facility across the street from us.” Following Kyocera’s example, three British companies that are coming to Danville are using the IALR building now to jumpstart operations. “We have four examples of what we will be doing in the new building,” Gignac says. Two of the spaces in the new building will be dedicated to a process called manufacturing optimization. “Companies could rent the space to set up a piece of an assembly line to work out any kinks before they put the process on their existing line,” Gignac says. “This is a new concept. I don’t think there is anything like it in the country for advanced manufacturing.” The manufacturing center also will include an inspection lab and a training and demonstration facility. “It will be a platform to learn about new and emerging technology around manufacturing,” says Troy Simpson, IALR’s director of advanced manufacturing. “It’s being looked at as a technology-transfer facility where companies can transfer technology into their processes without disrupting operations.” 2019-05-03T20:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Michael-Lovern-Brandito-Richmond-VA_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-3.png Michael Lovern’s company sells thousands of items such as T-shirts and drinkware. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-unified-culture A ‘unified culture’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-unified-culture http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-unified-culture#When:02:00:00Z Brandito hasn’t let rapid growth change its core business. Revenue at the Richmond-based promotional products company grew 268.53% from 2014 to 2017, making it the sole retail/wholesale business on the 2019 Fantastic 50 list. “We stick to what we do well,” says owner Michael Lovern. “We have a unified culture and people that truly like working together.” Brandito sells thousands of promotional items such as T-shirts and drinkware. The company, which has 17 employees, works with a core group of 50 suppliers. Customers range from startups to Fortune 100 corporations. Apparel consistently is the biggest segment of Brandito’s business. “We are seeing the retail world shift more into our industry. It’s going to mainstream brands such as Nike, Under Armour and Patagonia more than private label. As that trend has grown, interest has grown,” he says. “More times than not, people will come in asking for mainstream brands.” The company’s biggest growth is coming from its warehousing and fulfillment segment. “A lot of what we do is warehousing and shipping for companies,” Lovern says, noting the company just opened its second facility in Richmond, adjacent to its first location. “We needed additional warehouse and office space. That will help us continue to grow our fulfillment business.” Many of Lovern’s customers are sending gifts or promotional items to their own customers. That trend represents an opportunity for Brandito. “We take them through the whole process,” Lovern says. “We box the item, insert a card and ship it to their customer.” 2019-05-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_6536x.png “The majority of what we do is IT modernization,” says Shueyb Ali, president of World Services LLC. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finding-the-right-tools Finding the right tools http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finding-the-right-tools http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/finding-the-right-tools#When:02:00:00Z Shueyb Ali knows all about the challenges of growing a business. “You have to have the proper processes in place,” says Ali, president of Alexandria-based World Services LLC. “Once you get to a specific milestone, you have to re-evaluate. You have to make sure you are putting together the proper tools to grow appropriately.” Founded in 2010, World Services has been on a growth spurt since late 2012. “We really started to grow pretty consistently since that time,” Ali says. The company provides IT engineering and solutions as well as management consulting. Services range from big data and enterprise architecture to cybersecurity and augmented reality. “The majority of what we do is IT modernization,” says Ali. “We help agencies go from legacy systems to modern technology. Enterprise data management is big for us.” The company’s largest customer is the federal government. There are rules regarding “how to go about doing business with the government,” says Ali. “One of the challenges is understanding what they are looking for.” During 2012, World Services teamed up with another firm bidding for a large government contract. That partner was instrumental in helping World Services write “the technical approach,” Ali says. “With their assistance, we won the contract. We were the main subcontractor on a $25 million contract. That helped us out a lot.” 2019-05-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_7604x.png “We grew with customers that took a chance on us when we were smaller,”says CEO Lena Trudeau. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-work-for-u ‘I work for U’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-work-for-u http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-work-for-u#When:02:00:00Z Lena Trudeau has a pat answer for people who ask where she works. “I work for U,” she says. “That always starts a conversation.” Trudeau, CEO of Arlington-based U.Group (formerly Byte­Cubed), wanted customers “up front and center” when the company rebranded in February after three acquisitions last year. “Although we have a lot of capability in the technology arena, we deploy for problems that people have,” she says. “We have a mix of technology, design, data science and consulting.” Last year, ByteCubed acquired Chief, a well-known creative firm in Washington, D.C. “We also made two smaller acquisitions,” Trudeau says. “That allowed us to expand our emerging technology.” Founded in 2010, U.Group now has close to 300 employees working in its Crystal City headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C. and Portland, Ore. “We also have teams that are embedded in client sites all across the Washington, D.C., area. Most are in Northern Virginia,” Trudeau says. The company started seeing a jump in revenue in 2013. “We had gotten to the level of size and capability that we were able to differentiate ourselves with the quality of our technology and delivery,” Trudeau says. “We had organic growth through expansion of our customers. We grew with customers that took a chance on us when we were smaller.” Last year the company was listed No. 183 on the Inc. 5000 of the fastest-growing private companies in America. It was the firm’s third time on the list. 2019-05-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_6451x.png Don Tiaga started the company in 2011 with his wife, Nina. They are both Air Force veterans. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/critical-juncture Critical juncture http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/critical-juncture http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/critical-juncture#When:02:00:00Z A $20 billion federal government contract was a turning point for FedBiz IT Solutions. In May 2015, Leesburg-based FedBiz was among the companies winning part of the 10-year NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract. “The award went to multiple resellers,” says Don Tiaga, the company’s president. “We were one of the Historically Under-utilized Business Zones companies awarded the contract.” As its part of the deal, FedBiz provides IT-related products and support services. All federal agencies and authorized contractors can order from the government-wide acquisition contract. “To date, we have done over $125 million in the three years we have had the contract,” says Tiaga. “We have received over 500 orders.” Tiaga and his wife, Nina, both Air Force veterans, started the company in 2011. While Don has an extensive IT background, Nina is CEO and CFO of the business, drawing on her background in accounting, office management, consulting and sales with various nonprofits and small businesses. The company began the bidding process for the NASA contract in 2013. Winning it two years later “changed our revenue immediately,” Don says. “We went from $1 million in the first half of 2015 to another $20 million by December.” From 2014 to 2017, FedBiz saw its revenue increase 4,375.70%, making it the company with the highest growth rate in the 2019 Fantastic 50. The NASA contract has been a blessing for Fedbiz, but Don says the company faced some early challenges in meeting its demands. “Initially, you have to buy systems to support the contract,” he says. “You have to get them in place and provide sales team training. We had to put all of this into place to support the contract and our customers. We look at these type of challenges as opportunities.” Don’s IT involvement began during his military service. He worked with large Department of Defense (DOD) contracts and also led the Air Force Small Computer Technical team, which provided technical support for more than 500,000 DOD users. After the leaving the military, Don spent more than 20 years helping Beltway companies with their technology needs. During that time, he managed several federal, state and local contracts valued at more than $50 billion. Just before the Tiagas started FedBiz, Don was vice president of business development at FedStore Corp. “We were at a point in our careers that we were ready to branch out on our own,” he says of founding the company. “We initially started as a bids and proposal consulting team. We supported other small and large business resellers as well as manufacturers with their proposal efforts.” FedBiz focused on consulting for three years before going after IT contracts. The company’s services now range from professional services and enterprise storage systems to data-center management and cloud/virtual solutions. The company also specializes in expert-level bids capture and proposal consulting services. The company, which has 10 employees,  works with hundreds of manufacturers to fill requests from agencies ordering through the NASA contract. “As we win more contracts that require more employees, we will bring them on,” Don says. When the NASA contract ends in April 2025, “they will create a new contract, and we have to bid all over again,” Don says, noting his company also will bid on other government contracts. The dramatic revenue growth at FedBiz has attracted attention beyond the Fantastic 50. The company won a spot on the Washington Technology Fast 50 in 2016 and 2017. It also was ranked on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private businesses in the U.S. from 2016 to 2018, leading all Virginia during the first two years. FedBiz also ranks as the seventh-largest veteran-owned company on the Inc. list. FebBiz supports several veteran organizations, including Veterans Moving Forward. The Dulles-based nonprofit provides service dogs and canine therapy services at no cost to veterans with physical or mental health challenges.   “As a veteran-owned company, we are committed to giving back to the veteran community by supporting veteran-focused organizations through marketing, volunteering and making donations,” Don says. “Veterans have given so much to our country and continue to contribute to our community. FedBiz IT is committed to helping people in any way we can.” 2019-05-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginias-fantastic-50-list 2019 Virginia’s Fantastic 50 List http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginias-fantastic-50-list http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2019-virginias-fantastic-50-list#When:02:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }   COMPANY LOCATION YEAR ESTABLISHED EMPLOYEES (2017) REVENUE (2017) '14- '17 GROWTH CATEGORY 1 FedBiz IT Solutions Leesburg 2011 4 WND 4,375.70% Technology 2 U.Group Arlington 2010 5 WND WND Service 3 B3 Group Inc. Herndon 2008 8 $24,475,150 2,452.35 Service 4 Alpha Omega Integration LLC Vienna 2010 1 WND 1,515.32 Service 5 Sehlke Consulting LLC Arlington 2011 12 13,054,418 1,257.13 Service 6 The Language Group Virginia Beach 1999 2 WND 1,114.11 Service 7 World Services LLC Alexandria 2010 5 WND 984.91 Technology 8 Spatial Front Inc. McLean 2008 15 WND 962.11 Technology 9 Changeis Inc. Rosslyn 2009 12 WND 760.76 Service 10 Dynamic Systems Technology Inc. (DysTech) Fairfax 1995 35 WND WND Service 11 Savan Group McLean 2006 14 WND 661.05 Service 12 SOLitude Lake Management Virginia Beach 1998 30 WND 610.14 Service 13 B.E.S. Technology Inc. Ashburn 2011 11 WND WND Technology 14 DayBlink Vienna 2013 20 WND 548.24 Service 15 Axiologic Solutions LLC Fairfax 2009 22 19,202,000 542.58 Technology 16 Enhanced Veterans Solutions Inc. Fairfax 2007 41 9,782,237 534.08 Technology 17 ITA International LLC Yorktown 2005 97 WND 517.42 Service 18 Axis Global Enterprises Inc.: ASI Security Virginia Beach 2009 27 WND 498.10 Service 19 Enterprise Knowledge Arlington 2013 3 3,595,909 465.61 Service 20 CVP Fairfax 2003 82 WND WND Technology 21 DIGITALSPEC LLC Fairfax 2005 25 WND 442.58 Technology 22 Artemis Consulting Inc. McLean 1999 10 WND 427.10 Service 23 Nationwide IT Services Fairfax 2006 33 WND 416.15 Technology 24 Advanced Concepts and Technologies International LLC (ACT I) Arlington 1998 54 WND 411.14 Service 25 HealthiVibe LLC Arlington 2014 3 WND 404.95 Service 26 Firebird AST Arlington 2011 4 WND 404.28 Service 27 Metis Solutions Arlington 2010 113 WND 401.86 Service 28 Criterion Systems Vienna 2005 122 70,733,891 399.42 Technology 29 Eagle Hill Consulting LLC Arlington 2003 56 WND 375.16 Service 30 CoSolutions Inc. Sterling 1998 36 WND 364.96 Service 31 Open Systems Technologies Corp. Gainesville 1996 42 10,764,079 360.20 Technology 32 Virginia Foundation Solutions Virginia Beach 2012 16 WND 353.90 Service 33 Capital Square 1031 Glen Allen 2012 21 52,226,232 351.79 Service 34 ValidaTek Inc. McLean 2006 87 WND 349.59 Technology 35 NEOSTEK Inc. Arlington 2010 12 5,116,837 348.51 Service 36 WillowTree Charlottesville 2008 66 WND 343.00 Technology 37 TENICA and Associates LLC Chantilly 2008 71 20,809,679 334.28 Service 38 Karsun Solutions Herndon 2009 44 WND 330.88 Technology 39 Segin Software LLC (RynohLive) Virginia Beach 2007 12 WND 320.72 Technology 40 Cynet Systems Inc. Sterling 2010 133 51,110,000 312.31 Service 41 Super Systems Inc. (SSi) Virginia Beach 2008 98 WND 310.03 Service 42 Highlight Technologies Fairfax 2008 68 WND 306.23 Technology 43 Harmonia Holdings Group LLC Blacksburg 2006 132 WND 299.17 Technology 44 Convoke Arlington 2006 15 WND 298.62 Technology 45 Validation Associates LLC Herndon 2012 71 WND 296.64 Technology 46 T. Parker Host Norfolk 1923 242 WND 295.61 Service 47 MicroHealth LLC Vienna 2006 35 WND 294.11 Technology 48 Concept Plus LLC Fairfax 2008 69 WND 274.07 Service 49 E3 Federal Solutions/Sentinel McLean 2004 167 WND 271.26 Service 50 Brandito LLC Richmond 2009 6 5,296,471.77 268.53 Retail/Wholesale WND – would not disclose for publication                 Companies in BOLD are category honorees                        Sources:  Dixon Hughes Goodman, Virginia Chamber of Commerce 2019-05-03T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hvac-company-expands-in-central-virginia HVAC company expands in Central Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hvac-company-expands-in-central-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hvac-company-expands-in-central-virginia#When:20:28:00Z An HVAC equipment company has added to its Richmond-area presence. Carrier Enterprises LLC has subleased the 12,000-square-foot, one-story industrial property at 2947 Oak Lane Blvd. in the Oak Lane Business Center in Chesterfield County. Carrier wholesales heating and air equipment to residential and commercial customers. The company also has a presence at 2401 Dabney Road. Carrier did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Rob Dirom, a senior vice president with Colliers International, represented Carrier in the leasing of the Chesterfield space. He says Carrier is trying to position itself so it’s accessible for crews installing HVAC equipment. “They just want to be in that traffic flow,” says Dirom. The landlord of Carrier’s new space in Chesterfield was represented in lease negotiations by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Gregg W. Beck and Scott Douglas. Beck says the Oak Lane Boulevard space Carrier has moved into was previously occupied by Oberweis Dairy and had been vacant for a month.  He adds the industrial market is very tight in the area. 2019-05-02T20:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/distillery-leases-space-in-hampton Distillery leases space in Hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/distillery-leases-space-in-hampton http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/distillery-leases-space-in-hampton#When:20:15:00Z A distillery has leased space  at 25 South Mallory St. in Hampton, according to Divaris Real Estate. However, the name of the company has not been released. The distillery will occupy a two-story, 3,956-square-foot brick building. Phoebus Group 2 LLC purchased the site from Thomas C. Staton for $275,000. Melissa Martinovich represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. 2019-05-02T20:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cadence-inc.-acquires-connecticut-company Cadence Inc. acquires Connecticut company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cadence-inc.-acquires-connecticut-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cadence-inc.-acquires-connecticut-company#When:21:18:00Z Staunton-based Cadence Inc. has acquired the assets of Arcor Laser Services LLC, a laser processing company based in Connecticut. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Cadence is a contract manufacturing firm providing advanced products, technologies and services to medical-device, life science, industrial and defense companies worldwide. “The addition of Arcor’s laser expertise represents our latest investment in building a broad platform of precision technologies and supply chain services for our customers,” Cadence CEO Alan Connor said in a statement.  “We continue to accelerate our efforts to provide our customers with highly technical solutions to help improve their products and are extremely pleased with the industry-leading laser processing portfolio that Arcor brings to our team.” Founded in 2004 by Gary Francoeur, Arcor specializes in precision laser welding, machining marking and drilling, as well as turnkey systems integration. Arcor is also a leader in integrating laser processes into Swiss machining centers, enabling complex fabrication at a lower cost. The company’s home in Suffield, Conn., includes two facilities totaling 30,000 square feet. “We are very excited to join the Cadence team and expand our business,” said Gary Francoeur. “Cadence is a great complement for our current manufacturing capabilities and we serve similar medical device and industrial markets. We see strong opportunities for growth and believe that Cadence has the team and the resources that will enable us to do so.” Cadence employs about 575 people in Staunton, Virginia. It has other locations in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.  Tony Freeman of A.S. Freeman Advisors, LLC, advised Cadence. Steve Pappas of Touchstone Advisors LLC, advised Arcor in the transaction. 2019-05-01T21:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rate-dips-in-virginia-metro-areas Jobless rates dip in Virginia metro areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rate-dips-in-virginia-metro-areas http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jobless-rate-dips-in-virginia-metro-areas#When:21:16:00Z Unemployment in Virginia’s metro areas trended downward in March Ten of the commonwealth’s 11 metropolitan statistical years (MSAs) saw their jobless rates improve during the month, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. In the Staunton-Waynesboro MSA, the rate was unchanged at 2.9 percent. In ten metro areas, the rate decline was one-tenth of percentage. In one, Hampton Roads, the margin was two-tenths of a point. The figures were not seasonally adjusted, meaning they did not take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market. The Bristol area reported the highest unemployment rate, a still-low 3.7 percent. All the other metro numbers for March were below 3.5 percent. As usual, Northern Virginia had the lowest unempllyment rate in March, 2.6 percent, closely followed at the Charlottesville and Winchester areas at 2.8 percent. A rundown of the jobless numbers shows: Bristol: 3.7 percent in March, down from 3.8 percent in February. Charlottesville: 2.8 percent, down from 2.9 percent. Hampton Roads: 3.3 percent, down from 3.5 percent. Harrisonburg: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent. Lynchburg: 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent. New River Valley: 3.2 percent, down from 3.3 percent. Northern Virginia: 2.6 percent, down from 2.7 percent. Richmond: 3.2 percent, down from 3.3 percent. Roanoke: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent. Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.9 percent, unchanged. Winchester: 2.8 percent, down from 2.9 percent In smaller, “micropolitan” areas, the rates were: Bluefield: 4.7 percent, down from 5 percent. Big Stone Gap: 5 percent, down from 5.2 percent. Danville: 4.3 percent, unchanged. Martinsville: 3.9 percent, down from 4 percent. Arlington County continued to be the Virginia locality with the lowest unemployment rate, 2.1 percent, while Northumberland County had the highest rate, 6.6 percent. 2019-05-01T21:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image1%281%29.jpeg Photo: Pleasure House Brewing LLC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-brewery-expanding Hampton Roads brewery expanding http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-brewery-expanding http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-brewery-expanding#When:20:09:00Z A Virginia Beach beermaker is expanding to a more pleasurable place. Pleasure House Brewing LLC is taking a five-year lease on the 6,768-square foot property at 2032 Pleasure House Road in Virginia Beach, according to co-owner Tim O'Brien. The company is currently located at a 2,505-square-foot space at 3025 Shore Drive. O’Brien says the brewery is eying an opening at the new location sometime in fall. He says the expansion was brought about by a need for more space to accommodate customers. O’Brien says the new space will be available for private parties. “We ran out of room about a year ago,” says O’Brien, adding the new address was attractive. “Being on Pleasure House Road will help with branding.” He says Pleasure House Road is named for a tavern that dates to the 1600s. Today, it’s home to a number of businesses including another brewery called Commonwealth Brewing Co. O’Brien says it makes more business sense to try to sell more product onsite as opposed to the less margins-friendly sales that come through a distributor. Pleasure House distributes statewide with Specialty Beverage of Virginia. “The distribution side of things is becoming increasingly tough,” says O’Brien. “To make money, you have to do a lot of volume.” The number of breweries in Virginia has been on the rise since 2012 legislation allowed them to sell beer on site. The top independent craft breweries by barrels of beer produced annually include Star Hill Brewery in Crozet, Port City Brewing in Alexandria and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond. O’Brien says a big market trend is demand for new products. He says the need for new packaging for new products can make it difficult to control costs. O’Brien says he and co-owner Drew Stephenson launched Pleasure House in 2014 and today the company is profitable. O’Brien is a former employee of a craft beer bar, and Stephenson is a former teacher. Both were homebrewers before becoming beer entrepreneurs. Pleasure House started with a 3.5-barrel brewhouse for mixing ingredients and 24 barrels for fermentation. Today, the brewery has a 7-barrel brewhouse and 49 barrels for fermentation. Not including the owners, Pleasure House has one full-time employee and seven part-time employees. It will look to bring on more staff at its new location. Elsewhere around the state, a new brewery is in the works for Richmond County. Lindsay Himelright of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate represented Pleasure House in the leasing of its new space.    2019-05-01T20:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/7_Flow_LineUp_08-10-18_USA2_copy.jpg Photo courtesy Flow Alkaline Spring Water . http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-water-company-adding-first-u.s.-facility-in-virginia Canadian water company adding first U.S. facility in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-water-company-adding-first-u.s.-facility-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-water-company-adding-first-u.s.-facility-in-virginia#When:21:34:00Z A Canadian producer of spring water plans to make a splash in Augusta County. Ontario-based Flow Alkaline Spring Water said it plans to open its first U.S. spring water plant in Verona this summer. The company will invest $15.5 million in the project, which will create 51 jobs. The 52,000-square-foot facility will be located at 33 Lakeview Court. According to Flow Alkaline Spring Water, most of the positions will be in the skilled trades. “Flow was drawn to the incredible and abundant mineral spring water that the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia has to offer,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “Moreover, the production location is strategically positioned along the I-81 corridor, within a day’s drive of major markets and distribution centers.” Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. The company also is eligible to receive an estimated $636,000 sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment it purchases. Additionally, it may be eligible for an up to $76,000 grant from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program, which is based on the number of jobs the company creates. Flow also may be eligible for the Virginia Port Tax Credits Program. The Commonwealth competed against New Hampshire and Wisconsin for the project. 2019-04-30T21:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_6201x.png Luiz Taifas and wife, Mitra Setayesh, are the CEO and COO of the ION International Training Center. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-olympic-skater-to-open-arena-in-loudoun-county Former Olympic skater to open arena in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-olympic-skater-to-open-arena-in-loudoun-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-olympic-skater-to-open-arena-in-loudoun-county#When:18:04:00Z An ice arena opening in Leesburg on May 31 is expected to raise Loudoun County’s profile as a sports destination. The 100,000-square-foot ION International Training Center will double the county’s capacity to host ice-related sports events. The arena is expected to attract hockey tournaments as well as speed-skating and figure-skating competitions. “This new facility will enhance our product offerings in this valuable market,” says Beth Erickson, president and CEO of Visit Loudoun. “This is the largest venue of its kind between Raleigh, N.C., and Hershey, Pa.” ION will feature two National Hockey League-size rinks. The facility also will have 3,500 seats for spectators and 1,000 parking spaces. In addition, the arena can host activities that aren’t sports related, including graduations and concerts.  ION eventually will employ up to 200 people, says former Olympic figure skater Luiz Taifas, the co-founder and CEO of ION. He and his wife, Mitra Setayesh, ION’s chief operating officer, own the company. “I never could understand why the D.C. area didn’t have a world-class ice training center,” says Taifas, a Leesburg resident who has been coaching skaters in Reston for 20 years. “I complained about it to Mitra, and she finally convinced me to open ION.” On Nov. 1, 2017, they broke ground on the facility, which is located at 19201 Compass Creek Parkway, SE.  ION sits on 16.5 acres near Leesburg Executive Airport. The project cost $24 million. “From the moment we met Luiz and Mitra, we knew they had the dedication, passion and drive to turn their vision into reality,” says Taylor Chess, president of development at the Fairfax-based Peterson Cos., the project’s developer.  The ION site is in the company’s 550-acre Compass Creek retail, office and entertainment development. “ION offers tremendous recreational opportunities and will provide Loudoun County and Leesburg with a premiere facility to attract prominent youth sporting events and tournaments from around the country and boost tourism,” he says. Tourism from sports tournaments brought more than 20,000 visitors to Loudoun in 2016 to watch or participate in 19 events, according to a study conducted by The George Washington University School of Business. Visitors spent about $20.5 million and helped generate $1.2 million in tax revenue. 2019-04-30T18:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-apartments-fetch-45.6-million Henrico apartments fetch $45.6 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-apartments-fetch-45.6-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-apartments-fetch-45.6-million#When:20:48:00Z A Henrico County apartment property is under new ownership after spending just over a month on the market. Capital Square Acquisitions LLC has bought the 20.4-acre Hickory Creek Apartments for $45.6 million, according to Colliers International. The sellers of the 294-unit property were McCann Realty Partners and Artemis Real Estate Partners. The buyer in the deal is tied to Capital Square 1031, a real estate investment and management firm based in Henrico County around the Innsbrook area. Capital Square 1031 did not immediately respond to an inquiry Monday. Payton Herschberger, a Colliers due-diligence coordinator based in Atlanta, says Hickory Creek was on the market for five weeks before it went under contract. She says there was a great amount of interest on the property in what was a competitive process. “The property was in high demand,” says Herschberger. Hickory Creek is the 74th property Capital Square has added to its investment portfolio, according to a company press release. The previous ownership group bought Hickory Creek Apartments in 2016 for $28.5 million, according to Henrico property records online, which had yet to record the recent sale. The property was most recently assessed at $34.97 million. The multifamily community, built in 1984, has 294 apartments units in 19 residential buildings. Hickory Creek’s amenities include a swimming pool with a sundeck, fitness center, lighted tennis courts, pet park and a car wash area. Since 2016, the property has seen more than $2 million in capital improvements, according to Capital Square. Capital Square specializes in so-called 1031 exchanges, which allow investors to defer paying capital gains taxes on the sale of investment properties as long as a similar property is bought with the profit gained by the sale of the first property. McCann and Artemis were represented in the deal by Will Mathews of the Colliers International East Region Multifamily Advisory Group; Charles Wentworth; Rawles Wilcox; G.S (Hank) Hankins; Victoria Pickett; and Clay Ellis of the Colliers Mid-Atlantic Team. 2019-04-29T20:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NVIEW_Nixon.png President Richard Nixon resigned from office nearly 45 years ago. AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/trip-sparks-memories-of-another-polarized-time Trip sparks memories of another polarized time http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/trip-sparks-memories-of-another-polarized-time http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/trip-sparks-memories-of-another-polarized-time#When:08:00:00Z By the time you read this, my wife and I should be back in Virginia after a 10-day trip to Eastern Europe. In preparing for the trip, I tried to think of what I might need to take to cope with the weather (a sweater and rain slicker) and the language (a German phrase book). However, I did not have a good solution for something else I might encounter: questions about U.S. politics. Why, for example, is President Trump chummy with strongmen like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un but critical of longtime European allies? And why is Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, still in office after being condemned by his party for admitting he once wore blackface? “Oh, no,” I thought. “It could be like 1973 and 1974 all over again.” In case you weren’t around then or don’t remember, those years were the climax of a tumultuous period in U.S. history. The Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal created deep divisions in American society. Parents could not have civil conversations with their children; Republicans and Democrats held each other in contempt; and anti-war activists treated U.S. soldiers like criminals. When people talk about Americans being more divided today than at any time since the Civil War, I feel compelled to object. Doesn’t anybody remember the late 1960s and early ’70s? One thing I recall vividly is my experience studying in Europe in the summers of 1973 and 1974. Being an American among European students meant being questioned frequently about American foreign policy (seen as bullying and imperialistic) and poverty programs (miserly and racist). Canadian students took pains to avoid being identified as Americans by prominently displaying the Maple Leaf flag on their backpacks. Ironically, while condemning the U.S. for its misdeeds, many foreign students at the time wore knockoffs of American college sweatshirts, sporting school names such as UCLA and Harvard. Their antipathy to the U.S. also did not extend to American movies or rock music. The Watergate Senate hearings began while I was in Wales in 1973. British students I met were absolutely sure that President Richard Nixon was involved in the scandal, but they scoffed at the idea that he would be held accountable. Americans, they believed, saw the world through rose-colored glasses. Not only were we blind to our government’s crimes, but we also were naive to believe constitutional checks and balances could save the country from a corrupt president. That skepticism persisted among most students I met the next summer in France, although signs began to emerge that Nixon was losing his grip on power. The development prompted a different concern from a group of Lebanese students . They were more worried about world stability than the ethics of America’s foreign ventures. The Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab countries had ended in late 1973, but the Middle East remained a powder keg. In an effort to ease tensions, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger repeatedly flew back and forth between Israel, Egypt and Syria, a practice that became known as “shuttle diplomacy.” The Lebanese students believed Nixon’s fall would lead to Kissinger’s departure, throwing the Middle East into chaos again. They feared new fighting could spread to Lebanon where many Palestinian refugees had fled. “Americans don’t understand how your decisions affect us,” one student told me angrily. ”Many of you don’t even vote. If you don’t want to vote, then give your vote to me.” Unfortunately, the Lebanese Civil War began less than a year later. More than 120,000 people died before the conflict ended in 1990. When Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974, I didn’t hear anything about Americans’ naiveté. In fact, I didn’t talk to an English-speaking person the entire day. On a train from Milan to Geneva, I saw newspapers in the stations with Nixon’s photo on the front page accompanied by huge headlines in Italian. There were no seats available on the crowded train, so I stood in the passageway until an Italian family invited me to join them in their compartment. From a basket, the father produced bread and cheese, which he shared with me. He then held up a newspaper and nodded at the photo. “Nixon, eh?” he asked, shaking his right hand as if it was wet. I understood his message to be: “Nixon is gone. This is unbelievable, yes?” “Yes,” I said, repeating his gesture. Maybe that’s what I should say any time I’m asked about the president or the governor. “Trump, Northam, eh?” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Stevens-May2019-_1.png Bryan Stephens, the president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/working-toward-a-common-goal Working toward a common goal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/working-toward-a-common-goal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/working-toward-a-common-goal#When:08:00:00Z Its economy is growing, its diverse municipalities are making inroads on that elusive thing called collaboration, and it could soon be home to the nation’s first urban surf park. Now, to deal with that pesky problem of how best to identify the Southeastern Virginia metropolitan region. Hampton Roads, the moniker applied to the sprawling region more than three decades ago, just doesn’t cut it, business and community leaders say. People outside the 2,500-square-mile region don’t know what or where Hampton Roads is, while few of its 1.7 million residents call it by its official name or have an affinity to the identifier. And, that hampers the local economy, especially tourism, one of Hampton Roads’ top economic drivers. “The brand of any region is either an enabler or an inhibitor,” says Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a sense of place. It’s who you are as well as where you are. It has to resonate with everyone. Hampton Roads doesn’t do that. It’s old, stale and stagnant.” One of Stephens’ goals for this year is to create a new brand identity for the region, one that evokes a sense of place for both locals and people outside the area. The chamber has organized a committee to lead a collaborative effort to rebrand the region. The process will include focus groups, roundtable discussions and surveys. “We hope to unveil and start socializing the new name by the end of the year,” Stephens says. While names such as Coastal Virginia and Norfolk-Virginia Beach have been bandied about for several years, Stephens says his group is starting fresh. “We’re being very careful not to presume any name or start with a laundry list of possible names. We’re starting with a clean slate and want this to be collaborative and the process to work.” Whatever the rebranding committee comes up with, Stephens stresses that the new identity will celebrate Hampton Roads’ assets. “Its history, water, beaches, family activities, the food scene — things that make it attractive to all people who want to live and work here as well as visit on vacation.” Shedding its cumbersome moniker is the first step in getting Hampton Roads’ story front and center and ensuring the region is on par with similar areas, Stephens says. “If you think about other regions, there’s the ‘it’ factor that’s representative of a great place to live and work and to raise a family,” he adds. “But they really don’t have anything we don’t have. Hampton Roads has history, waterways, beaches, urban areas, farmland and diversity of cultures. We’re just not telling our story well enough.” Stephens and other regional leaders believe collaboration will help with that. They say signs point to the region’s 14 cities and counties at long last banding together as rivalries slowly are relinquished. With four of the five South Hampton Roads cities coming under new mayoral leadership in the past three years, a renewed emphasis on working together appears to be crossing municipal lines. “There’s a lot more collaboration going on now than we’ve seen in the past,” Stephens says. “Elected officials understand the power of collective impact and realize that what’s good for one municipality is good for all municipalities.” Atlantic Park project As community leaders debate a new regional brand, Virginia Beach developers are betting the name Atlantic Park will become one of Southeastern Virginia’s best-known identifiers. That’s the name given to the 10.35-acre entertainment, commercial, residential and recreational development to be built at the oceanfront on the former Virginia Beach Dome site. The project’s centerpiece will be a surf park. Venture Realty Group, the company developing the property, points out that surf parks typically stand alone. The Atlantic Park surf park, however, is only one component of the $325 million mixed-use development. There also will be a 3,500-seat live entertainment venue, with a potential outdoor section bringing total seating to 5,000, more than 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 150,000 square feet of office space, 426 apartment units and parking for more than 1,900 vehicles. Entertainer and producer Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native, is one of the partners in the development, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs when it begins operations. The project reflects a push by the city to become more of a year-round destination. Another new attraction in the region is the new Ikea store in Norfolk. The  331,000-square-foot store, which opened in April, is Ikea’s second in Virginia and 50th in the U.S. The other Virginia store is in Woodbridge. Ikea sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories. Ikea officials say it already has a large number of customers in Hampton Roads and they expect the Norfolk store to attract shoppers from other parts of Virginia as well as North Carolina. The store will employ about 250 workers in a mix of full- and part-time positions. Teambuilding at HREDA Those developments are examples  of the increased economic interest in Southeastern Virginia, says Steve Herbert, interim president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, the agency charged with coordinating all business leads coming into the region. “We are actually working on 15 different projects. We’re encouraged by that.” Herbert took over the reins of the HREDA in January after previous CEO Rick Weddle retired. A former Suffolk city manager and Virginia Beach deputy city manager, Herbert wants the cities and counties that make up the alliance to consider themselves a team. “We want to make sure we’re all working together,” he says, adding that the region’s struggles to work collaboratively will not be solved overnight. “But we’re committed to working on it. That’s been our message to each of our 11 community partners. It’s teambuilding. If you’re going to build a team you have got to get everybody on board.” To do that, the HREDA is asking that each member locality approve a master economic development agreement for how the organization conducts business. “This is the first time it’s ever been more than a handshake agreement,” Herbert says. “We’re all working together. I’m very encouraged by the level of teamwork with the individual economic development directors. That is going to help a lot to make economic development activities in the region more productive.” The alliance, whose members include Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Franklin and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, also is refining its marketing efforts to increase its productivity. So far, approximately 40 marketing trips in the U.S. and overseas have been scheduled for this year. Herbert says representatives from alliance members will join the HREDA staff on these journeys. “That’s where more leads and potential marketing activities come into Hampton Roads, and all of Hampton Roads gets looked at.” In addition, the HREDA has reached out to other regional organizations interested in economic development, including Reinvent Hampton Roads and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, which recently documented the region’s infrastructure investments. “There are billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure investment in the region,” Herbert notes. “That’s unprecedented in other regions we compete with.” Norfolk Southern’s departure A recent decision by Norfolk Southern to move its headquarters to Atlanta in 2021 is far from good news for a region with only two other Fortune 500 companies (Huntington Ingalls Industries and Dollar Tree), but Herbert believes the railroad company’s departure represents an opportunity. “We are short on that kind of office space,” he says, referring to Norfolk Southern’s 22-story office tower in downtown Norfolk. “To have that building in the middle of a prosperous, bustling downtown is a huge asset for us. Nobody is happy about losing Norfolk Southern, but we will aggressively work to market that building.” Old Dominion University economist Vinod Agarwal agrees that Hampton Roads will survive Norfolk Southern’s exodus. “We will lose between 500 and 700 employees,” he notes. “There are about 800,000 jobs in Hampton Roads, so the economic impact of Norfolk Southern leaving is not going to be significant.” Agarwal adds, though, that the company’s strong involvement in philanthropic activities throughout the region will be missed. “Their presence has been very meaningful.” Agarwal, who is director of ODU’s Economic Forecasting Project, says Hampton Roads’ economy is strengthening. “For the first time in several years, we’re seeing the job market improve significantly,” he adds. “The labor force is growing, and the unemployment rate is going down. That’s really good news.” Much of that improvement comes from increased Department of Defense spending, as well as growth at the Port of Virginia, which is operating at near capacity. Agarwal, however, emphasizes that the region still needs to diversify its economy, which has long been dependent on defense industries. Like Stephens and Herbert, he emphasizes that regional collaboration is key to economic growth. “We need to realize we are a regional economy that is heavily connected, and we need to work together as a region. If we look at a regional approach, it doesn’t matter where jobs are created as long as they are in Hampton Roads,” Agarwal adds. “Collectively, we need to start thinking of Hampton Roads as a region, not a fabrication of cities and counties. Unless that happens, our growth will be slower.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DSC0924.png When Toria Knox graduates, she wants to practice in a rural area, probably somewhere in Appalachia. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-mission-of-service A mission of service http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-mission-of-service http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-mission-of-service#When:08:00:00Z The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, known as VCOM, says its mission “is to prepare globally minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.” The school, which has collaborative ties to Virginia Tech and Auburn University, focuses on recruiting students from Appalachia with the hope that many of them will return to that region — or other rural areas — to practice. A good example is Toria Knox, the college’s 2019 student doctor of the year. Scheduled to graduate in 2021, she was recognized for “leadership, professionalism, community service and dedication,” according to the school’s announcement of the honor. From Boones Mill (pop. 239 in the 2010 census) in Franklin County, Knox has participated in international service missions, but she also has worked on health-care projects in Grundy, Fincastle and her home county. When she graduates from medical school, she wants to practice in a rural area, probably somewhere in Appalachia. “I think I would really miss the mountains if I got too far away,” she says. With nearly 1,900 students studying at three campuses in Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama, VCOM is the second-largest medical school in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Blacksburg campus, which graduated VCOM’s first class in 2007, has 696 students, with 178 set to graduate in May. Those graduates are trained in osteopathic medicine — which focuses on patients rather than disease — and the importance of human touch in diagnosis and treatment. Students at VCOM and other osteopathic medical schools get much of the same training and are required to pass the same state board exams as students pursuing doctor of medicine degrees (M.D.). In fact, students earning doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine (D.O.) take about 200 more hours of coursework. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine says osteopathy’s philosophy holds that all body systems are interrelated and interdependent. That idea was developed by Andrew Taylor Still, a native of Virginia’s Lee County who served as a Union surgeon during the Civil War. He opened the first school of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, Mo., in 1892. Plans for fourth campus In the beginning, half of VCOM’s 150 spots were reserved for students from rural Virginia, North Carolina and the Appalachian regions of West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky. Those students are more likely to go – and stay – in underserved rural areas. D.O.s are more likely than M.D.s to become primary-care physicians, the kind of doctors most needed in those underserved areas. Nearly 60% of D.O.s go into primary care. VCOM, based in Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center, has a collaborative agreement with Virginia Tech that provides for joint research and faculty sharing. The agreement also allows VCOM students to use Tech’s libraries, recreational facilities and student center; participate in arts and theatre and intramural programs; and have access to football and other athletic event tickets. Because so many VCOM students came from the Carolinas, VCOM decided to establish a campus in Spartanburg, S.C., in 2011. That year, Auburn University officials began looking into establishing a medical school. Like the Appalachian areas the VCOM Virginia and VCOM Carolina campuses were meant to serve, Alabama’s rural areas needed more doctors, especially primary-care physicians. Some Auburn officials visited the VCOM campuses and decided the school was a good fit. The Alabama campus opened in the Auburn University Research Park in 2015. VCOM has an agreement with Auburn similar to the one with Virginia Tech. VCOM students can participate in Auburn student activities, events, research and the arts. They can use Auburn libraries, transportation and recreational facilities and attend some athletic events. VCOM is developing a plan for a fourth campus, on the campus of the University of Louisiana – Monroe, in Monroe La. VCOM plans to partner with UL-M as it has with Virginia Tech and Auburn. Lifelong volunteer Knox’s path to medical school developed through her interest in chemistry and biology. Her curiosity about how the human body works began earlier, sparked by her lifelong experience as a dancer. She started with ballet at 2, danced competitively in a number of styles through high school and joined a student-run dance company, the Contemporary Dance Ensemble, at Virginia Tech. “Now,” she says, “I just try to take ballet classes when I can.” Her sense of service to others also began long before she considered medical school. As a youngster, she volunteered with her parents at the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, graduating from passing out napkins to washing dishes. Knox grew up in the Church of the Brethren where “the emphasis is on the works of Jesus and how you show the light through acts of service,” she says. “So, I grew up doing service projects. That sort of was a big passion of mine since I was really little.” Knox was a counselor and later a health coordinator at Camp Bethel in Fincastle. While attending Virginia Tech, she was an EMT with the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and volunteered with local churches. At Tech, Knox was a biochemistry major, with minors in Spanish and medicine in society. “It was sort of looking at the humanistic aspects of medicine,” she says. During her freshman year in college, Knox talked to a doctor of osteopathic medicine at her church, and that seemed to set her on her career path. “It just felt like something I would love to do for the rest of my life,” she says. Knox learned of a lecture series about osteopathic medicine VCOM was offering to members of Tech’s honors college. She attended and found out she could — if she met certain criteria — be accepted into VCOM early. That meant Knox would know where she was headed after college long before earning her undergraduate degree. She was accepted early. “I was really falling in love with what osteopathic medicine was and really learning all about it,” she says. “I just felt like I really came alive when I felt like that could be my purpose.” VCOM’s interest in serving rural areas, particularly in Appalachia, especially appeals to Knox. “I love their mission and their vision,” she says. “I felt like it really aligned with my own goals about serving this area.” Physician shortage A report published last year by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians in the United States by 2030. That shortage already has arrived in rural areas, particularly in the South, according to the report. It says that, if people without insurance and people living in rural areas used medical care the same way as insured urban dwellers do, the country would have needed 31,600 more physicians in 2016. Nearly half of those would be needed in the South. “I feel like, being born in Appalachia, I have a unique skill set of how to talk to people who are from this area, how to relate to them,” Knox says. “I feel like a lot of doctors don’t have that skill who come to Appalachia. That’s one of the reasons that it’s so underserved — people don’t want to stay. People come and they don’t understand why people act the way they are, how to be friends with them. It turns them off, and then they leave and go into the cities … I feel like that’s something that, if I didn’t utilize that, it would be such a waste for everyone who has invested in my upbringing.” Knox also wants to put her foreign language skills to work, serving Spanish speakers in her medical practice. One of her service projects since coming to VCOM has been working with the Franklin County Health Fair. She helped out one year and organized the fair the next year. Knox translated fliers promoting the event into Spanish and posted them on social media. The Hispanic turnout was surprisingly large, she says. “That’s a population that’s really overlooked here — and it’s growing, a lot,” Knox says. Another Appalachian project Knox worked on through VCOM supported Mountain Mission School, a faith-based orphanage and school in Grundy founded in 1921. The school serves about 200 resident students, and some day students, from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade. VCOM students helped with sports physicals and checked to see Mountain Mission students had all the necessary immunizations. Since it was such a long drive from Blacksburg to Grundy, Knox asked, couldn’t they do something else while they were on campus, maybe a health fair? Deciding that suggestion was a good idea, doctors and school administrators assigned VCOM student groups health topics to cover with the Mountain Mission students. Knox was startled to learn her group, the family medicine students, had been assigned to lead a discussion on male puberty. “I was like: ‘I’m so glad I’m the one that gets to lead this,’” Knox says, with tongue in cheek. The program, however, turned out fine. “The whole experience was really cool,” she says. “I learned a lot.” While Knox’s volunteer experience at VCOM has focused on Appalachia, she went farther afield while studying at Virginia Tech. Through VT Engage, Tech’s center aimed at involving students in service-learning, Knox spent a spring break in the Dominican Republic and a month in Peru. In the Dominican Republic, students installed water filters and taught residents how to use and maintain them. With two years until her graduation, Knox hasn’t worked out her plans. “For now, I’m just trying to learn everything I can,” she says. “Every day, I try to meditate and think about: ‘What’s God asking me to do? How can I serve people the best? How to live a purposeful life, I guess.’” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RE_Dane.png Hopewell assistant city manager Charles Dane at Colonial Corner Shopping Center, in a designated opportunity zone. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-zones Opportunity zones http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-zones http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/opportunity-zones#When:08:00:00Z On Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in March, property owners, bankers, entrepreneurs and city officials gathered at the Beacon Theatre in downtown Hopewell for a workshop on opportunity zones, a new addition to the federal tax code that has the real estate community abuzz.  For officials like Charles Dane, Hopewell’s assistant city manager, the opportunity zone workshop was a chance to highlight development opportunities around town while showcasing completed projects. “We’re equally excited about the opportunity-zone legislation because we think that’s that next sacrifice bunt or whatever to move the runner up,” Dane said at the workshop. For members of the business community, the Hopewell workshop was a chance to see how they could leverage the newly created tax benefit. Rama Gara, president of Papi Naidu LLC, had a table display with information on 17 acres of undeveloped land for sale in one of Hopewell’s opportunity zones. “I want to meet with the developers, the bankers, the businessmen that are looking for an opportunity to develop in Hopewell,” Gara says. “Because of the opportunity zone, the developers can get great tax benefits.” Enacted in December 2018 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones offer investors the chance to defer and reduce taxes on capital gains. To be eligible for the tax benefits, their capital gains have to be invested in low-income census tracts that have been designated as opportunity zones. More than 8,700 census tracts in the U.S., including 212 in Virginia, have been officially identified as opportunity zones. The investments have to be made through qualified opportunity zone funds. The money can go toward acquiring commercial real estate, opening a new business in an opportunity zone or expanding a business in an opportunity zone. Even as they’ve generated excitement, opportunity-zone rules have raised plenty of questions. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have been clarifying regulations surrounding opportunity zone investments. Kristen Dahlman, a senior policy analyst at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, says the main requirement for real estate investments to be eligible for opportunity-zone tax benefits is that the property be located in a designated opportunity zone. More questions remain about what investments in businesses would qualify for opportunity-zone benefits. “It’s the low-hanging fruit,” Dahlman says of opportunity-zone real estate investments. “It’s something that’s tangible.” The purpose of opportunity zones is to encourage economic development in low-income neighborhoods by offering tax benefits to investors. The idea of offering tax benefits to investors to build wealth for residents of low-income communities is a familiar one with both supporters and critics. U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, has said opportunity zones mainly benefit investors, though he later appeared to walk back his criticism of the program. Mehrsa Baradaran, a corporate law professor at the University of Georgia, has argued tax benefits for investors aren’t enough to reverse the forces that created low-income communities in the first place.  Others, however, say opportunity zones have hit a rare sweet spot. There are no caps on investments in opportunity-zone funds, and the tax benefits are open to any investor with capital gains. Proponents also argue the flow of capital to low-income neighborhoods will lead to more stable housing and jobs. U.S.  Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, who included the zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has said opportunity zones are working across the country. Many localities, however, aren’t waiting around to see how the debate plays out. Instead, they are fine-tuning their development pitches to investors.  “Fund managers can invest their dollars anywhere,” says Sean Washington, a business development manager with Norfolk. “So, it’s localities’ responsibility to market themselves.” Similar to Hopewell, Norfolk is taking a proactive approach to opportunity zones. The city has hosted sessions providing general information on the zones and another session focused on how the tax program can be used to boost redevelopment in the St. Paul’s area of Norfolk. One key program benefit is that opportunity zone fund investments held for at least 10 years become tax free. (This benefit does not apply to the original capital gains, which are only eligible for a deferral or a reduction). “This tax incentive is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Jenny Connors, a partner at the law firm Williams Mullen, said at the Hopewell workshop. “It has garnered more attention than all of the tax credits combined. It is much more user friendly.” Connors added that Virginia did a good job of picking strategic areas to designate as opportunity zones. Localities recommended census tracts to the state, which then nominated the tracts for official designation at the federal level. To be eligible, census tracts had to have a poverty rate of 20% or a median family income that is 80% of statewide median income based on U.S. Census data. That meant that 901 of Virginia’s census tracts were eligible to become opportunity zones. States were only allowed to nominate up to 25% of their eligible zones. In nominating its zones, Virginia balanced evaluating census tracts with the most need and those with the most likelihood of future investment, Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, said in an email. Connors, the Williams Mullen lawyer, notes that Virginia’s opportunity zones are in places that are either already developing or are on the cusp of development. Such is the case for a deal in Scott’s Addition in Richmond, one of the hottest real estate markets in the state. John B. Levy & Company raised the equity and debt used in opportunity-zone financing for The Summit, a 166-unit multifamily project under construction in Scott’s Addition. John Levy, the company’s president, says the $35 million project was attractive even without opportunity-zone tax benefits. “The [opportunity zone] just added a little polish to an already really strong deal,” Levy says, adding he is planning more multifamily, opportunity-zone deals in Virginia. “We’re quite excited because this gives a tax incentive to real estate investments that really has never existed before.” Scott’s Addition shares a census tract that stretches east across Virginia Commonwealth University and the Carver neighborhood. The poverty rate for the census tract in 2015 was estimated at 37.2%; in 2016 it was 31.1%; and in 2017 the poverty rate was estimated to be 36.8%, according to U.S. Census data. Councilwoman Kimberly B. Gray represents Richmond’s Second District, which includes the Scott’s Addition opportunity zone where the Summit apartment project is under construction. Gray thinks opportunity zones can spur development in blighted areas, but she thinks there hasn’t been enough focus on increasing home ownership in areas of Richmond where some residents are being priced out. “I would like to see the policies shift in favor of ownership,” Gray says. “Instead of wealthy developers cycling rental properties that age out in 20 to 30 years and then we’re back at the drawing board tearing down old decrepit buildings and then rebuilding for rental.” The managers of other opportunity zone funds with Virginia ties echo Levy’s enthusiasm about the program. “You’re bringing capital into underserved areas,” Neal Wilson, Arlington-based EJF Capital’s co-founder and chief operating officer says. “How else is that going to happen if you don’t at least provide an incentive?” EJF Capital is raising a targeted $500 million opportunity zone fund that has committed to two out-of-state projects so far. The projects include a hotel in Oakland, Calif., and a logistics warehouse facility in South Carolina. “The areas that were in the designated opportunity zones provide really interesting investment opportunities from a real estate perspective,” says Wilson. “We do think the Northern Virginia multifamily housing area is a particularly interesting area because of the mismatch between demand and supply in workforce housing.” Allagash Opportunity Zone Partners is another opportunity zone fund with Virginia ties that’s raising $500 million. The fund, which has offices in Ashburn and New York, is focusing on real estate deals. Tony Barkan, Allagash’s CEO and co-managing principal, says multifamily housing has been the darling of the institutional investment community for 20 years and should have compelling returns for opportunity-zone investors looking to protect their realized capital gains. Barkan says Allagash will focus on the mid-Atlantic region, with up to two-thirds of its portfolio expected to be based in Virginia. The key for these deals is that they were already attractive to begin with, says Jamie Canup, a tax partner at the Hirschler law firm. The opportunity-zone tax benefits just give people on the fence about a deal more reason to move forward with it, Canup says. “The tax benefits basically goose it up,” Canup says. “But if a deal isn’t interesting to begin with, then I think the tax benefits aren’t going to make it into a good deal.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Hotel_Madison_2.png Harrisonburg tourism official Brenda Black at the Hotel Madison andShenandoah Valley Conference Center. Photo by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/big-meetings-in-small-cities Big meetings in small cities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/big-meetings-in-small-cities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/big-meetings-in-small-cities#When:08:00:00Z Four of Virginia’s most picturesque municipalities — Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Middleburg and Staunton — once were rather limited in their ability to attract meetings and conventions. The demand wasn’t there, and neither was the capacity. But in the past 20 years, demand has arrived. Business and leisure travelers alike have developed a big appetite for the kind of local flavor that these communities offer, and that is a trend that shows no sign of abating. Until recently, however, these communities lacked the facilities to fully leverage their charms, but that, too, now is changing. New hotels have opened, while old ones are expanding and updating in these up-and-coming markets. In Harrisonburg, the arrival of the 230-room Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center downtown has given the city’s hospitality industry a big boost. Judy Wilbur, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, says that since the complex opened last May, the Madison has hosted more than 500 meetings, the largest of which, for the Virginia Benefit Programs Organization, brought in 450 guests. State associations, corporate and academic gatherings fill beds midweek as do weddings and galas on weekends. Brenda Black, tourism and visitor services manager of Harrisonburg’s Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, says the new Madison prompted the city to emphasize its walkable downtown, accessibility to transportation options and proximity to rural attractions such as wineries. At the other end of town, the 143-room DoubleTree, under Hilton ownership since September 2017, also has done well in attracting social, military, educational, religious and fraternal groups. Last year, the hotel hosted about 50 meetings. Occupancy rates reached 69% in 2018’s final quarter, a 9% increase from the last quarter of 2017, says Lorne Taylor, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. In this year’s first quarter, business was up again by about the same percentage from the first quarter of 2018. “It’s been a wonderful start to the year,” Taylor says. Harrisonburg’s transient occupancy taxes support the hotels’ upbeat reports. Karen I. Rose, the city’s commissioner of the revenue, says that sales tax from Harrisonburg hotels was $483.3 million last year, up nearly 10% from $440.1 million the year before. In Lynchburg, the 40-room Craddock Terry Hotel & Event Center has “had a huge impact on the trajectory of the downtown,” says Anna Bentson, assistant director of the city’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism. The boutique property, which has been open for more than a decade, is housed in a former shoe factory. That quirky ambience helped it attract more than 100 meetings last year, says Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Williamsburg-based Cornerstone Hospitality, the hotel’s parent company. The Craddock Terry can handle up to 200 people for a meeting and also hosts many weddings and rehearsal dinners. Its occupancy rate, Christner says, was an enviable 80% last year. “People want to get out of the concrete jungle and big, mega-hotels,” she says. “Here, they can go downtown and walk and shop. There’s not a lot of branded-franchise stuff.” Across town, two longtime restoration efforts helping to raise Lynchburg’s profile for visitors came to fruition last year. After many years of fundraising, the Academy Center for the Arts, built in 1905, was able to host events in its restored 800-seat theater. Meanwhile, the Virginian Hotel, a property that dates back to 1913, also opened its doors after a $30 million renovation. The hotel now offers 115 rooms and 8,000 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom with a sweeping staircase and a 32-foot vaulted ceiling. Although these venues have not been open long enough to measure their effect on Lynchburg’s economy, their arrival already has begun paying dividends, Bentson says. For example, by joining forces, the Craddock Terry and Virginian hotels, the downtown Holiday Inn and the arts center were able to accommodate the Virginia Association of Museums, which brought 500 people to town for four days in March. In Middleburg, the 168-room Salamander Resort and Spa has been a game-changer for a town that traditionally has been long on hunt country charisma and short on accommodations. The resort is on a scale not seen in Middleburg before it opened in 2015. The Salamander has 20,000 square feet of indoor meeting space — including a 4,500-square-foot ballroom — with additional space available outdoors. Unlike the other burgeoning hospitality markets in Virginia, which are largely regional, the Salamander has a national and international client base, thanks, in part, to its proximity to the Dulles corridor. The Salamander’s profile was raised even higher when Forbes Travel Guide awarded the resort its top rating, five stars. The Forbes honorrecognizes “very distinguished service,” says general manager Reggie Cooper. Only 210 properties worldwide have earned the five-star distinction, and in Virginia, only three have qualified by scoring 90% or better on a list of 900 criteria — the Salamander, Keswick Hall and Golf Club and the Inn at Little Washington. Cooper says that in 2018, the resort hosted 200 meetings and 75 weddings, including five that took over the entire property. He declined to share more specifics other than to say it was a record year for the Salamander and this year looks strong. Referring to inn owner Sheila Johnson he says, “Ms. Johnson’s intention was that the Salamander would be the best of the best. … Our setting and our structures, and our very personalized service are what separates us from the crowd.” In Staunton, Sheryl Wagner, the city’s director of tourism, says that meeting planners are choosing her city because of its walkability, and its ability to offer unusual experiences, such as seminars and presentations at the American Shakespeare Center. Partly in response to this rising level of interest from event organizers, three hotels opened in the city last year — The Blackburn Inn, Tru by Hilton and Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott — while  a fourth, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, underwent extensive renovations. These properties added 237 rooms to the city’s inventory, and the metrics reflect that increase. From fiscal year 2017 to FY ’18, Staunton’s lodging taxes rose 5.8%, and the average daily rate increased by 4.5%. The city’s revenue per available room grew 5%, far outpacing the average growth for the nation (2.9%) and Virginia (1.3%). Guests at the Blackburn, housed in a renovated building dating back to 1828, “embrace the history” of the 80-acre property, says Lacy Peterson, the inn’s general manager. Right now, the 49-room inn, which opened last June, has meeting space for only about 45 people, and its clientele is mostly corporate, academic and religious groups, with retreats being popular as well. Peterson says that when a second phase of renovations is completed in 2021, the Blackburn will be able to accommodate meetings as large as 150 people. Damon Strickland, general manager of the 124-room Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, says that his property’s historic ambience also has been crucial to its ability to attract corporate guests, government agencies and associations. Group bookings account, on average, for about a third of the hotel’s revenue and almost three-quarters of its food and beverage income. Both Staunton properties are proud of the amenities they have on site, yet a look at their marketing strategies shows how avidly they promote not just their own bona fides, but also the attractions outside their doors. That split focus is equally true for the hotels in all four communities. The old chestnut about location, location, location is not limited to residential properties anymore. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TOURISM_BristolHotel.png The Bristol Hotel project involved the renovation of the Executive Plaza office building. Photo courtesy The Bristol Hotel http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/redevelopment-renaissance Redevelopment renaissance http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/redevelopment-renaissance http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/redevelopment-renaissance#When:08:00:00Z Cape Charles is far from the only Virginia locality experiencing a recent renaissance from tourism and the redevelopment of historic properties. Danville, a city hit hard in the early 2000s by the loss of its textile industry, is rebounding with a host of new restaurants, breweries, entertainment venues and loft apartments in repurposed warehouses and historic buildings in its downtown River District. One indication of the city’s revival is a Roanoke development team’s plan to redevelop two River District buildings into a boutique hotel. “This is the first hotel that is being developed in the River District,” says Linwood Wright, a former Danville mayor who is a city economic development consultant. “We are certainly excited that we will get a boutique hotel in the district where people can stay and enjoy the amenities of the district and conduct business in Danville at the same time.” Meanwhile, on the Virginia-Tennessee line, Bristol late last year saw the opening of The Bristol Hotel, the result of a $20 million renovation of the 1920s-era Executive Plaza office building. With 65 rooms and suites, the boutique hotel features street-level dining, a 3,800-square-foot ballroom and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of nearby mountains. The hotel is near the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and music venue, which opened in 2014 in a 24,000-square-foot redeveloped warehouse. The museum commemorates the 1927 Bristol Sessions, at which a number of performers, including the country music pioneers Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, were recorded by Victor Talking Machine Co. producer Ralph Peer. Michael Tall, president and chief operating officer of Charlestowne Hotels, which manages and operates The Bristol Hotel, said in a news release: “The revitalization of Executive Plaza into The Bristol Hotel serves as a catalyst for the growth of Bristol, Virginia, while preserving the influential nature of the city’s historic legacy. We aim to develop a top-tier boutique hotel and unique brand that is authentic to the city’s roots while elevating the dining, social gathering and beverage experience, attracting both visitors and the local community.” Additionally, Hotel Weyanoke has been a big draw in Farmville. The property opened in 1925 as a hotel and later served other purposes. It reopened as a 70-room hotel last year after going through an extensive renovation and expansion. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ChuckleTown-CapeCharles-May2019-_11.png Laurie Klingel and Charlene Dix’s gift shop sells Cape Charles-inspired souvenirs. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/life-has-changed ‘Life has changed’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/life-has-changed http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/life-has-changed#When:08:00:00Z In 1999, newly married and in their early 20s, Laurie Klingel and her husband, Jeff, moved to the Eastern Shore waterfront town of Cape Charles. Just starting out in a landscaping and nursery business, the young couple’s money went a long way in the faded former railroad town with a large stock of Victorian homes waiting to be fixed up. Houses “were bone cheap and beautiful,” Klingel recalls, but “there wasn’t a lot going on in Cape Charles. It was a ghost town. … I remember my husband and I were like, ‘Who are we going to be friends with? What’s around here?’” Now, she says, “Life has changed a lot, that’s for sure. Cape Charles has changed immensely.” During the past decade, Cape Charles has gone from a ghost town to a trendy summer vacation destination featured multiple times on HGTV’s “Beachfront Bargain Hunt.” It’s particularly popular with Richmond-area millennials, who have snapped up and restored many of the town’s stately old homes to serve as beach houses and vacation rentals. And Cape Charles has been discovered by Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads residents as well. “Anybody who knows it loves it, so you have a lot of people talking about it,” says Will Correll, owner of Richmond-based Buskey Cider. After hearing his customers jokingly referring to Cape Charles as “Church Hill East” (after the historic Richmond neighborhood), Correll checked it out for himself. Almost immediately, he decided to build a second location there. Buskey opened its Cape Charles tasting room in April 2018. It joins the Cape Charles Brewing Co. and the Cape Charles Distillery, which also opened in the beach town during the past two years. “That’s the trifecta for hipsters: a cidery, a brewery and a distillery. You know something’s up-and-coming when that happens,” says Richmond-area resident  Sherry Petersik. Best-selling authors and podcasters who run the influential blog Young House Love, Petersik and her husband, John, purchased and renovated two 100-plus-year-old homes in Cape Charles after first visiting in 2013. One is their vacation home, and the other, a duplex, is rented to vacationers via Airbnb. “We took a day trip out here, and we were like: ‘Why isn’t everyone talking about this?’” she says. Cape Charles is home to the Eastern Shore’s only public beach, which is family-friendly, gentle and shallow, not unlike Maui’s Baby Beach. Even though there’s no lifeguard, “you can stand up, and it’s only up to your knees or to your waist,” Petersik says. “A child would really have to try to be in trouble. There’s not a high tide; there’s not a strong force of undertow.” At the time the Petersiks first visited, about 60% of Cape Charles homes were highly affordable, vacant fixer-uppers. (One of Petersik’s friends bought a house there on a credit card.) “It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting,” she says of Cape Charles, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. “It’s so charming.” ‘Success breeds success’ These days some of the 500-plus Sears Catalog Homes and Victorians in the town’s seven-square-block historic district can fetch more than $700,000. The official population of Cape Charles is 1,009, but during the summer months it can swell to as much as 5,000 with the arrival of tourists. Remarkably, the recent growth of Cape Charles wasn’t the result of a master plan. The turnaround largely was the result of entrepreneurial restaurateurs and retailers who transformed the town one business at a time, says Town Manager Larry DiRe. “Success breeds success,” he says. In the early 20th century, Cape Charles was a thriving resort and port town, thanks to railroad shipping. But when a ferry moved south in the 1950s and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was constructed in the 1960s, the cargo and tourism traffic upon which the town depended disappeared. Cape Charles fell into decades of hard times, its economy mostly driven by fishing and crabbing. In the early 2000s, Virginia Beach developer Richard “Dickie” Foster began developing Bay Creek, a planned community that bookends the town to the north and south. Bay Creek includes upscale homes and town houses, a 2-mile-long private beach, a marina, and Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses. By 2012, new small businesses began cropping up, such as The Shanty, a waterfront seafood restaurant/bar, and the Bay Haven Inn bed and breakfast. Since then, dozens of shops, restaurants and small businesses have popped up in town, from golf-cart rentals (the local conveyance of choice) to Deadrise Pies pizzeria to the Chuckletown Productions gift shop. The store, owned by Laurie Klingel and Charlene Dix, sells Cape Charles-inspired items. 14 new shops in a year   Last year alone saw 14 retailers set up shop in town (most located along the town’s main street, Mason Avenue) and 116 new business permits (mostly vacation rental homes). Gov. Ralph Northam toured the town last summer, performing a ceremonial ribbon cutting for new retailers and taking in a golf cart parade. In addition to attracting new retailers, Cape Charles is home to two companies, WineRx and Barrier Islands Salt Co., whose products are sold in stores across the nation. WineRx makes Drop It, a product designed to reduce headache-causing tannins in wine, and Barrier Islands Salt  produces sea salt. Danny Meyer, president of Richmond-based Dallan Construction, is developing a $2 million mixed-use retail and residential project in the former Parsons Building on Mason Avenue, slated to open next year. “The majority of people are happy to see the town booming again,” says Mayor William Smith “Smitty” Dize Jr. Nonetheless, he adds, “I think for me, I’d like to see gradual growth,” though he acknowledges that may be difficult to manage with the genie out of the bottle. The local labor and housing markets also face challenges brought by the town’s revitalization.  There’s increasingly heated competition for workers during the main tourist season but not as much demand for employees in the off-season. Buskey Cider solved this by hiring teachers who work full time at the cidery during the summer and part time in the winter. Jon Dempster, who owns The Shanty and Deadrise Pies, has to lay off 45 employees every year during January and February when, he quips, “tumbleweeds would be lonely.” Job training and housing Dize would like to see a new, year-round employer come into the area, perhaps in manufacturing, to replace jobs lost when Bayshore Concrete closed a plant in the area last year. Local workers also need jobs training, he says. Toward that end, a local nonprofit has acquired the Cape Charles Rosenwald School, a segregation-era African African elementary school later used as a seafood processing plant. The nonprofit plans to turn the building into a workforce development center, providing skills training for the maritime and hospitality industries, among others, DiRe says. Affordable housing is also a problem. Dempster and DiRe say gentrification and the booming vacation-home market have pushed many of the locals into surrounding Northampton County. Regardless of how these problems are solved, the town’s leaders want to make sure that Cape Charles retains its retro, small-town ambience while continuing to attract tourists and businesses. “We don’t want to overdo it or change the charm that we have,” says town Councilwoman Tammy Holloway, who owns the Bay Haven Inn and is president of Cape Charles Main Street Inc., the town’s business association. “We know we need tourism to thrive. We know it is our economy. That’s the reality.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Warren-May2019-_24.png Gary Warren, CEO of ivWatch in Hampton. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/interview-with-an-innovator Interview with an innovator http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/interview-with-an-innovator http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/interview-with-an-innovator#When:08:00:00Z Gary Warren is president and CEO of ivWatch, a company that develops technology to improve the safety of one of the most common invasive medical procedures: peripheral intravenous (IV) therapy. While about 90% of hospitalized patients receive IV therapy, Warren says, the failure rate is as high as 50%.  And the cause of failure in more than 20% of cases is a leak outside the intended vein into surrounding tissue. The Hampton-based company’s ivWatch Model 400 is a noninvasive device cleared by the FDA to detect the leakage of a drug or fluid during therapy. Virginia Business interviewed Warren via email to gain his perspective on what it took to develop a startup into a medical device manufacturer and biosensor technology company.   Warren, who began his career as a research scientist in computational fluid dynamics at NASA Langley Research Center, says “there is no room for the ‘fake it till you make it’” mentality. Virginia Business:  What has helped ivWatch succeed? Warren:  Solving problems and developing products in the medical field is incredibly difficult. The one underlying requirement for success in this field is the relentless pursuit of solving an unmet need in health care. It is a desire to right a wrong and never giving up. This goes for the scientists, engineers, business professionals, investors and, most importantly, an innovative medical institution that will allow access to patients, data and clinicians. Being passionate is mission critical. The expectations are extremely high and scrutinized for a breakthrough technology. All of this is compounded for first-to-market innovations, as well as designing and documenting to a standard, so your team has to be hungry.   VB: Describe your technology. Warren:  ivWatch’s breakthrough technology monitors what is happening below the skin and into the tissue during drug/fluid delivery and can detect leakage within a few drops. It’s essentially “surveillance under the skin” with the ability to detect an event far before signs are visible to the human eye. But we’re not stopping there. Biosensor development comes down to the science and depth of knowledge a company’s team has on interpreting and analyzing data. Right now, it’s about watching the IV, but we plan to leverage this technology and the amount of data we are able to collect and introduce new products using the IV site to watch a person’s overall health.    VB: How has ivWatch grown since it was launched? Warren:  Since ivWatch was founded in late 2010, we’ve grown from a small group doing nothing but research and development — essentially an incubator startup type of company — to a company of nearly 40, including marketing, sales, manufacturing and clinical departments. We are addressing a huge unmet need and building a new market within the medical/health-care space. We are a Hampton Roads company with an international reach.   VB: What was an early challenge? Warren: The unique attributes of the medical-device industry require adherence to strict quality procedures and regular audits by governing agency bodies. It takes time to move from concept to commercialization, and the road was longer than anticipated. We’ve conducted [tens of] thousands of monitoring hours through clinical trials and evaluations, been awarded patent grants across the globe and have secured steady funding to get to the stage where customers include world-class health facilities. But in the beginning, we found out one very important thing — you can’t do testing on nonmobile objects for a technology that would be used on moving patients. One of our core, globally patented algorithms focuses on mitigating the effects of tissue blood volume changes during movement. It is an example of how we prospered where we almost failed.   VB: What’s on the horizon for your company?  Warren: Our growth plan consists of organically expanding our business through continued development of our direct sales team for the U.S. pediatric and adult acute-care market. We have also [formed partnerships] to expand our reach into international pediatric and adult markets. A focus this year is bringing more manufacturing in-house and bringing more high-tech jobs to the area. We’re looking at our areas of expertise and vertically integrating those areas by producing some of our own product components. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wide-ranging-category Wide-ranging category http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wide-ranging-category http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wide-ranging-category#When:08:00:00Z Medical devices can be as commonplace as blood pressure monitors or as leading edge as the artificial pancreas easing the lives of people with diabetes.    The FDA defines a medical device as an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reactant or components which are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in humans or animals or intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.   A subsector of the bioscience industry, the category includes businesses that develop and manufacture surgical and medical instruments and supplies, laboratory equipment, electromedical apparatus, including MRI and ultrasound equipment, dental equipment and supplies.   Examples include: Electromedical and electrotherapeutic devices — pacemakers, diagnostic-imaging equipment and ultrasonic-scanning devices. Irradiation apparatuses — X-ray machines and CT scanners. Surgical and medical supplies — syringes, needles and equipment for optical diagnoses, blood transfusion and anesthesia. Surgical appliances and supplies — artificial joints and limbs, stents and wheelchairs. Dental equipment and supplies — drills, amalgams and dental chairs. Analytical laboratory instruments — bioimaging and genomic sequencing equipment. The Food and Drug Administration assigns devices to one of three regulatory classes based on the level of control necessary to assure the safety and effectiveness of the product. A 2002 law authorized the FDA to charge businesses a premarket review fee as a way to ensure timely evaluation of devices. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/COVER_DrWynne.png “You have to be clear-eyed when you decide to do something like this,” says Kenneth Wynne. Photo by Rick DeBerry http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-complex-beautiful-web-of-support A ‘complex, beautiful web’ of support http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-complex-beautiful-web-of-support http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-complex-beautiful-web-of-support#When:08:00:00Z Kenneth J. Wynne is working in his Richmond laboratory on new technology to protect patients from infections linked to the use of ventilators and urinary catheters. Medical devices “too often are superhighways for bacteria to go from the skin or from a caretaker’s touch into the body,” says Wynne. WynnVision, his company in the Virginia Bio+Tech Park, is developing ways to reduce infection without the use of antibiotics that can lead to “super-bugs.” Meanwhile, in the lab of another biotech park startup, Elaine Horn-Ranney is testing a gel used in a product called Perf-Fix. Her company, Tympanogen, plans to market the gel-patch product as a way to repair perforated eardrums without surgery. She co-founded the company while working as a doctoral student at Tulane University.  In December, Tympanogen sent samples to the International Space Station to see what other ways the gel may be used to help healing. But back on Earth, the road between product concept and product launch can be daunting for a new medical device or technology. “You have to be clear-eyed when you decide to do something like this,” says Wynne, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor of chemical and life-science engineering. The development of a product, he says, involves “a very complex, beautiful web” of support and years of hard work for an idea to be researched, tested and successfully marketed. 31% increase In Virginia, that effort is showing results, even though the state isn’t top-ranked in the bioscience field. Analysis released last year found the medical-device subsector of Virginia’s bioscience industry grew four times faster than the national average. In 2016,  the commonwealth had 184 medical device and equipment companies, a 31% increase from 2014, according to a biennial report by TEConomy Partners LLC. “I think it’s increasing exponentially, almost by the month,” says Barbara D. Boyan, dean of VCU’s College of Engineering. “Richmond seems to have found its legs and is very focused on entrepreneurial activity.” A critical issue is the support of investors who can take a startup to the next level, says Boyan, a researcher and entrepreneur who holds many patents. “Virginia has a great startup climate, but it’s missing what I call the translation climate,” she says. There are exceptions.  Boyan points to Kaléo, a Richmond pharmaceutical firm that is nationally known for the opioid overdose treatment Evzio and for autoinjectors for life-threatening allergic reactions. Other success stories around the state include: In Leesburg, K2M Group Holdings Inc., which develops and commercializes spine technologies, was acquired last year by the medical technologies firm Stryker Corp. for $1.4 billion. In Charlottesville, University of Virginia startup TypeZero Technologies Inc. is simplifying the lives of people with Type 1 diabetes with smartphone-based artificial pancreas systems that automatically regulate insulin delivery. In Norfolk, Embody Inc. builds implants for tendon and ligament repair using regenerative technology to heal soft-tissue injuries. A growth opportunity? Jeffrey M. Gallagher, CEO of Virginia Bio, a life-science trade association, sees development of medical devices and technology as a major growth opportunity. Virginia might not rank among “overall high-power biomedical hubs like Boston and San Francisco,” he notes, but the state exemplifies “a dispersed proliferation of innovation, startups and university research” that has been brought about by changes in science, technology and medicine. This growth was a major focus of Virginia Bio’s THRiVE 2019 conference scheduled for May 2 in Richmond. Virginia’s bioscience industry in 2016 employed more than 24,000 people in nearly 1,900 businesses, according to the nationwide analysis by TEConomy, which was conducted for the trade association Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The industry has grown at a rate more than twice the national average, the report found. While research, testing and medical laboratories accounted for 50% of all Virginia bioscience jobs, employment growth was driven by the surge in medical device and equipment enterprises, the study noted. In 2016, the subsector employed 2,415 people, with average annual pay of $71,555.  Those numbers represent an increase of nearly 12% in employees and a 3.8% rise in pay since 2014. The direct-effect multiplier puts the total employment impact of the medical device and equipment subsector at 6,245 jobs. Less risky path? Gallagher, who will step down as head of Virginia Bio later this year, says one reason for the growth of medical device and technology companies is that they are seen by some investors as having a lower level of risk compared with drug developers. Generally, creating a device takes less time than developing a drug, which can involve “the most brilliant people in the world who have all the right data,” Gallagher says. Nonetheless, after years of testing,  “ultimately you have to inject [the drug] in the most complex thing we possibly know, the human body, and you just never know what’s going to happen,” he says. But Boyan says the time needed to develop and test a medical device, especially one used inside the body, should not be underestimated.  Two of her patented devices each took about 12 years to reach the market. People sometimes think a device “looks so small, and it looks so simple, how can it cost that much,” she says. “It’s important to realize the amount of design and manufacturing and testing that goes into it.” Her work focuses on bone and cartilage biology and musculoskeletal tissue engineering, including dental and spine implants. “I’ve had a very happy time seeing devices that I’ve participated in the development of make it to the marketplace,” she says.  “And one of them is in my back.” ‘A really big tent’ Bioscience covers a diverse mix of technologies, products and research, making the industry a challenge to define, says the TEConomy/BIO report, “Investment, Innovation and Job Creation in a Growing U.S. Bioscience Industry.” The common thread is the application of knowledge in the life sciences and how living organisms function. Gallagher says Virginia Bio, which was founded in 1992, brings together a large community of companies working on life-science innovations to address patient needs. “We purposely have a really big tent,” he says, to share ideas and resources. Horn-Ranney of Tympanogen says that she has found Virginia’s bioscience environment to be more collaborative and less competitive than the one she observed in the Northeast. “It’s an exciting time, especially in Virginia,” she says. The stepped-up pace around medical innovations helps young companies “because having a stronger community gives a lot more support.” She expects Food and Drug Administration approval for Perf-Fix will take another two years as Tympanogen focuses on safety studies and methods to streamline the product manufacture. “There are good and bad things about being involved in a very highly regulated industry,” Horn-Ranney says. “The FDA has a clear-cut description of what needs to be accomplished.” The regulatory timeline may be much longer than what entrepreneurs encounter in other fields, she says, “but there are guidelines to indicate what pathway you need to be taking and boxes to be checking in order to get approval for the device.” One step Tympanogen took to shorten its timeline was to begin its research with a gel that already had FDA approval, she says. The Perf-Fix gel acts as a scaffold that allows cells to grow across the perforated eardrum while resorbing the material. In addition to conducting the science behind the product, the 5-year-old company interviewed surgeons and patients, asking how they would prefer a ruptured eardrum to be treated — in an office or surgical  suite? Surgery now is considered “the gold standard” for treatment, but that approach has changed little since the 1960s, Horn-Ranney says. Her research found surgeons “were hungry for some innovation in that space. So that motivated us to keep working on a solution for them.” The surveys also revealed the parents of young children also wanted change. Children often suffer eardrum ruptures as the result of infections.  “That’s data we can show to investors,” Horn-Ranney says. Investor support Investor support is crucial to innovators at every stage of the development of a device or technology, but it is especially crucial at the inception of an idea. “That earliest-stage funding is the most challenging funding as you’re still trying to prove out your concept,” says Carrie Roth, president and CEO of the VA Bio+Tech Park and of Activation Capital, a nonprofit that provides mentoring resources as well as direct investment to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Virginia. “It’s the riskiest but the highest reward.” The Virginia Bio+Tech Park is seeking a new president and CEO to lead its strategic planning and outreach as well as Activation Capital, a nonprofit tied to the park. Roth will remain on staff and move into a chief operating officer role, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report. Roth has been president and CEO since 2013. Entrepreneurs rely on funding help from federal programs, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as state and regional sources. Examples include: The Virginia Research Investment Committee, which awards grants focused on commercialization of university research that is not limited to bioscience. Last year, Virginia Tech received $1.1 million to match funds for research on a device that will use low-energy electric fields to treat brain tumors. Virginia Catalyst, formerly known as Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp., which promotes health-related collaborations among state research universities and industry. The Center for Innovative Technology, which awards GAP Funds as seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean-tech and life-science companies. Tympanogen and TypeZero are among beneficiaries of early seed funding. Embody, which was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop treatment for tendon and ligament injuries for the military, last year received GAP funding to develop technology to accelerate healing for sports medicine patients. Universities also provide funding to help bring research to market. Virginia Commonwealth University in January announced creation of the Health Innovation Consortium, a three-year initiative with more than $7 million in funding that is intended to make the region a hub for the development of new health-care technology, says Nicole Monk, director of VCU Ventures. While VCU Ventures supports start­­up activity in the university, the consortium will support collaboration beyond VCU and focus solely on health care, she says.   VCU Health will finance operations and support pre-seed and seed funds.  The medical center also will serve as the “testing bed” to help an innovator determine “am I solving a problem worth solving?” Monk says. Other universities have similar programs, such as the University of Virginia’s affiliation with the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership Program in Biomedical Engineering. The U.Va. partnership, the only Coulter program in the state, each year awards about $700,000 to six to eight translational research projects. “They’re each so unique,” says David Chen, director of the U.Va. Coulter program. But the goal is the same — “science serving humanity and really helping move the needle of care.” The grants help with “the really risky, first money in,” he says. One Coulter beneficiary is Rivanna Medical, a Charlottesville-based company that produces an ultrasound guidance device designed to improve the success of epidural and spinal anesthesia. Academic role The TEConomy study underscores the importance of academic involvement in bioscience research. In fiscal year 2016, Virginia research universities contributed $736.6 million to bioscience-related R&D in the state, more than half the total expenditures, according to the report.  Another  $377 million came from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal 2017, with bioscience venture capital investments totaling just over $305 million from 2014-17. In a separate analysis for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Virginia Research Investment Committee last year, TEConomy found that, since the 2007-09 recession, the state’s research assets have underperformed in comparison with other states. That study, which was broader than the biosciences report, highlighted the need for improving the state’s “innovation ecosystem” and bridging gaps in collaboration between university researchers and Virginia-based entrepreneurs. According to the report, venture capital from 2010 to 2016 was flat in Virginia while rising nationally. And for overall research funding across industry, federal labs and universities, Virginia’s total fell by 6.3%, or nearly $500 million, from 2010 to 2015, while nationally total R&D activity increased 14.5% during the same time. The report pointed to the life sciences as one of four strategic growth opportunities for Virginia, along with cyber and cybersecurity, integrated networking and data analytics, and “system of systems” engineering. “Life sciences development in Virginia is still very much being defined through the commercialization of university research and the collaborations unfolding between academic medical centers and Virginia’s major hospital systems,” the TEConomy report says. While the upside is significant, the report adds, “life sciences development is a marathon given the longtime horizons for new product development and one that must have sustained investment to succeed.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Thompson-VaBus-May2019_54.png Warren Thompson started Reston-based Thompson Hospitality in 1992. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expanding-options Expanding options http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expanding-options http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expanding-options#When:08:00:00Z Warren Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that he runs a minority-owned business. Reston-based Thompson Hospitality regularly ranks near the top of Black Enterprise magazine’s annual list of the nation’s largest African-American companies. Nonetheless, Thompson wants his company to be defined by its performance.  “At the end of the day, the quality of our product has to be equal to or surpass our competition in order to win,” he says. “The money that we take to the bank is just as green as any other company’s money.” Thompson Hospitality has continued to grow since its founding in 1992. It now has 5,500 employees and recorded revenue of $760 million last year. The company was born when Thompson bought 31 Big Boy restaurants from his former employer, Marriott Corp., and converted most of them to Shoney’s restaurants. Today, Thompson Hospitality operates four divisions. One is a joint partnership with a British foodservice company, Compass Group. As part of that venture, the division operates 175 company cafeterias in the U.S. and abroad. A second division runs dining services, such as school cafeterias and food kiosks, at 25 colleges, while another business focuses on facilities management for universities. Additionally, Thompson Hospitality is a restaurant franchisee and also owns standalone restaurants, including Hen Quarter, American Tap Room, Big Buns and Matchbox, in which the company purchased a majority stake last year. After 27 years at the helm, the 59-year-old Thompson doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He’s now getting involved in hotel operations. “I’ve invested in hotels over the last 10 years, but this last year, we’re taking a more active role in operating the food and beverage in a hotel,” Thompson says. “We’re developing our own hotel …I think that, going forward, we’ll end up doing more of that.” Next spring, the company plans to open a 140-room Homewood Suites hotel at its five-acre headquarters campus in Reston. Thompson envisions his company running the hotel’s food and beverage operations while outsourcing management of the guest rooms. More than 200 Thompson Hospitality employees will be trained in the hotel’s test kitchen. They’ll also undergo training at Matchbox and Big Buns restaurants expected to open later this year at the Wiehle–Reston East Metro station. The station is less than 2 miles from the company’s headquarters, so it will be easy for employees to go back and forth from the Thompson sites. The move would transform the headquarters from a single office building to a campus focused on employee training and development.  In addition to the hotel project, Thompson Hospitality acquired Leesburg-based staffing firm Apertus Partners last year. It now provides staffing services to Northern Virginia hospitality and IT firms. Thompson also is considering a move into the construction business. He plans to open a restaurant every month. With that rapid pace of development, it may make sense for his company to build the restaurants, or part of them, instead of hiring someone else for the job. While Thompson doesn’t know exactly what the company will look like in a decade, he expects it to continue growing. “I think the company will be larger, more diverse.” Virginia Business sat down with Thompson in March to discuss his career trajectory and the latest developments at Thompson Hospitality. The interview took place at the company’s headquarters in Reston. An edited version of the conversation is below. Virginia Business: What shaped you into the leader you are today? Thompson: My parents; my upbringing. My father, who was my best friend and first business partner, taught me the basics that I didn’t know about business.   VB: You started some entrepreneurial stuff as a child from what I’ve read. Your father sold his hog business to you? Thompson: Right. My father and mother were both educators in the rural part of Virginia. We always had a hog business on the side. We raised hogs. We sold produce, peaches and apples that we purchased in the mountains of Virginia and brought them to the Tidewater [area of the state]. At a very early age, I got involved in those businesses and continued to do that through high school. When I returned from college after the first year, I got a job at a hardware store during the day, and I ran the concessions at a local park at night. That was my [introduction to the food service and restaurant business]. That’s what I really fell in love with.   VB: This is a family business. What has been the biggest blessing from that and some of the challenges? Thompson: [Having a family business] was a promise I made to my father. … My brother joined about 30 days after I started [the business]. My sister joined 45 days after, and they’ve been a part of the company since. It’s great because I know them better than I know anyone else, and they know me better than anyone else knows me. Because of that, we share a common background. We share common values because our parents taught those to all of us equally. I know exactly where my sister is going to come from on a particular topic or subject. There are no surprises. I can trust my brother and sister, which is very, very important in starting a business. The challenge, though, is sometimes separating business from family, especially during the holidays or family gatherings. We would have to fight and focus on not talking about business … It becomes overwhelming if you’re always talking about it, no matter what the occasion.   VB: What direction do you [see the company going in the next decade]? Thompson: We will stick to our core business. We will also diversify and vertically integrate as much as possible. Today, we’re operating a staffing business. That’s a vertical integration to support the hospitality part of the company. We may get into restaurant equipment maintenance over the next few years.   VB: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a minority business owner and what wisdom would you have for other minorities who want to start their own business? Thompson: There are more advantages today than there are disadvantages. As a minority business, you’re naturally set apart. That becomes good or bad depending on how you use it. Oftentimes, there are preconceived notions of a minority business. [It’s] perceived to be one that’s struggling, that’s having a hard time. If the owner approaches the business from [a positive] perspective, then that’s ultimately the result that will be obtained. We like to compare ourselves to the industry as opposed to as a minority firm. We don’t shy away from the fact that we are a minority company, but we don’t lead with that either. We lead with the fact that we are a [type of company, whether it’s food service, staffing or hotel business], and we happen to be minority-owned.    VB: [What new technology are you using or plan to use that you’re proud of?] Is there anything you can point out? Thompson: The biggest opportunity and challenge facing the restaurant business is takeout and delivery. It’s the fastest growing part of the industry, which puts pressure on large restaurants because they end up with a lot of empty seats in the restaurant. You’re also challenged because a lot of third-party delivery companies charge the operators an exorbitant fee, 20%  to 30% for the delivery. We’re now testing some technology that will give us more control of that delivery process, that we will continue to control the customers’ ordering process. Then, we will be able to determine from that the most efficient way to deliver it through the third party. It’ll allow us to reduce some of the cost of that delivery process. We’re excited about that.   VB: Help me picture it a little bit. Does that mean you wouldn’t [partner with the online food ordering app] Uber Eats? Thompson: We may use it, but we may use it at a better-negotiated rate because if they don’t play ball, then we will steer it in the direction of another provider. The customer will go to our website, choose our app to order, and then we will handle it from there.   VB: I know you’re big into philanthropy, so what’s the biggest motivator. How do you decide what to give to? Thompson: I am committed to my church and supporting that, but I’m also now giving back to my undergrad school [Hampden Sydney College, as well as my graduate school, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.] … The monies that I’m giving to those institutions are directed toward students who believe in diversity and who are business-oriented. Those are the two requirements that I push. It’s not saying it has to be one race or the other, but it has to be a student who is conscious of the importance of diversity and really supports that.   VB: What does diversity mean to you? Thompson: Being able to accept and to welcome people who have a different point of view, who come from a different background, [race, agenda, ethnicity or nationality]. It’s a broad definition, but it’s someone who is different from yourself. I have an issue with people who want to only associate with people who look like them, act like them and talk like them. That to me is a person who is a dinosaur. As a society, we’re evolving to the point where diversity will become the norm as opposed to the abnormality.   VB: What do you do to relax? Thompson: I’m into boating and fishing. I love to do that. I still enjoy sports. I don’t miss a U.Va. basketball game. I’m into watching sports and playing on occasion. I’m not as young as I used to be. It’s more difficult to play, but I enjoy just about all sports. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC09948_%281%29.png Casey Werderman and Dave Robertson own Wine & Beer Supply, along with a third partner, Rich Jante. Photo by Shandell Taylor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/companys-wine-bottling-service-is-booked-until-2021 Company’s wine bottling service is booked until 2021 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/companys-wine-bottling-service-is-booked-until-2021 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/companys-wine-bottling-service-is-booked-until-2021#When:08:00:00Z Wine & Beer Supply is designed to be a one-stop shop for wineries and breweries. Opened in 2016, the Ashland-based company provides a variety of supplies, including decorative glassware, bottles, cans, cardboard carriers and trays for tasting rooms. The company also has a 53-foot tractor-trailer that travels to vineyards to bottle their wines. “What takes vineyards two weeks to do will take us one day,” says Casey Werderman, the company’s chief revenue officer, who owns the company with Dave Robertson and Rich Jante. “We do right around 20,000 bottles a day. We can bottle 1,800 to 2,000 cases.” Wine & Beer Supply works with 200 vineyards and about 100 breweries in Virginia alone. In addition to the commonwealth, the company operates in North Carolina, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey.  It has plans for further expansion. “This year we are going to focus on the Pennsylvania and New York market. They are very large wine-producing states,” says Werderman. The company’s bottling service is booked until 2021. “We brought an additional truck online in March,” Werderman says. “We also will be launching a mobile filtration unit this spring so we can filter wine before we put it into a bottle along with a mobile canning service for beer and wine.”  The company’s temperature-controlled warehouse can ship directly to consumers. “We can do wine club fulfillment as well,” Werderman says. The company recently raised nearly $2.4 million in capital. “We raised $800,000 through private investors and the remaining funds through a Virginia-based equipment leasing facility, CSC Leasing,” Werderman says. “The equity we raised will support further growth outside of our current locations. We will target the market east of the Mississippi. We’ll also use the funds for equipment and inventory purchases.” Trolley Ventures was a lead investor in the recent funding round. “Trolley is excited to add Wine & Beer Supply as its [fifth] portfolio investment,” says Nick Pace, Trolley investment committee member. “Their team has a track record of success, and we believe the company is uniquely positioned to grow as the supply and logistics partner of choice for wineries and breweries.” Werderman says Wine & Beer Supply now has almost 30 employees. “We’re focusing on growing our sales team,” he says. “This year we will bring on six to eight additional salespeople.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WEN_0859.png Saundra Farmer is the director of the RN to BSN program at Emory & Henry College. Photo by Earl Neikirk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-aims-to-provide-more-training-for-nurses Program aims to provide more training for nurses http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-aims-to-provide-more-training-for-nurses http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/program-aims-to-provide-more-training-for-nurses#When:08:00:00Z Demand for nurses nationwide is on the rise, and the story is no different in Southwest Virginia. An aging population needing greater access to health care has fueled calls for more highly trained nurses. Emory & Henry College intends to help meet that need. The liberal-arts college has begun a program, called RN to BSN, in which registered nurses can return to school to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Under the program, the college’s School of Health Sciences will provide nurses who have earned associate degrees or diplomas in nursing additional training through online and hybrid-format courses. In 2010, the National Academy of Medicine set a goal of having 80% of nurses with bachelor’s degrees by 2020. Emory & Henry felt “it was only natural that we would offer this kind of program,” says Saundra Farmer, the program’s director. The average age of nurses in the U.S. is about 50, according to the National Institute of Medicine and the American Nurses Association. Training a younger generation of nurses in critical thinking and decision-making skills “is becoming more and more important,” Farmer says. She adds that studies have shown that hospitals with more highly educated nurses have fewer safety issues. “They are able to tackle problems with patients such as preventing infections,” Farmer says. In Southwest Virginia, many people with chronic ailments are treated outside of a hospital setting. Lou Fincher, vice president at the School of Health Sciences, says programs such as RN to BSN are being created as the nation grapples with a “perfect storm” of factors contributing to a shortage of health-care providers. “Many in Southwest Virginia have to look to Tennessee [for health-care services] so this program may eventually give people an opportunity to stay in Southwest Virginia, ” Fincher says. Tuition for the program will be $330 per credit hour. Farmer expects the program to receive its accreditation this summer with its first cohort of 25 to 30 students enrolling this fall. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP6567.png “We’re already thinking now about the next application,” says Michael Friedlander. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/collaborative-project-wins-multimillion-dollar-nih-grant Collaborative project wins multimillion-dollar NIH grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/collaborative-project-wins-multimillion-dollar-nih-grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/collaborative-project-wins-multimillion-dollar-nih-grant#When:08:00:00Z A collaborative project involving Virginia universities and health systems has scored a major coup. The project partners, known as the integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV), won a nearly $23 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. The members of iTHRIV include Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Inova Health System and Carilion Clinic. The grant will fund research throughout the health-care delivery chain. “It’s the whole enchilada,” Michael Friedlander says, “from discovery in a laboratory … to the first research studies in humans … to the next level where it’s done in the larger population and introduced into the health-care system.” Friedlander is vice president of health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. “For us this is particularly exciting,” he says. “As a young, growing and almost a startup academic health center enterprise here in Roanoke, we’ve just stepped into the big leagues.” The grant also pays for training clinical and translational scientists and involving the community in improving health care. This work won’t be done “in ivory towers at our institutions,” Friedlander says. “We partner with the public, and I mean public organizations — advocacy organizations for various disorders, whether it be addiction … heart disease … brain injury or breast cancer … They actually help us design studies.” The community will also benefit, Friedlander says, from having “access to an improved health system that itself has access to the most innovative concepts, technologies and ideas that are being evaluated right here.” Discussions among the iTHRIV partners began more than two years ago. They started working on coordination and data sharing a year and a half before the grant’s approval. The Fralin Institute is building a 139,000-square-foot building to accommodate an additional 25 research teams, nearly doubling the number of teams at the institute. This new influx of money, research and attention will make the institute even more attractive to researchers, Friedlander says, which will help the regional economy. “It helps us get the best and the brightest,” he says. The money helps retain these researchers who bring their talents, discoveries and in some cases, spin off companies to the community. The competition for these grants is fierce, and winning a grant doesn’t mean the end of the contest, at least not if an institution wants another round of grants to continue its programs. “We’re already thinking now about the next application,” Friedlander says. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Heimbach_1.png Dave Heimbach says the deal gives it a presence “in Kentucky where we hope to continue to grow.” Photo by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kentucky-broadband-deal-expands-shentels-footprint Kentucky broadband deal expands Shentel’s footprint http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kentucky-broadband-deal-expands-shentels-footprint http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kentucky-broadband-deal-expands-shentels-footprint#When:08:00:00Z The recent acquisition of a small broadband company is another step in the growth of Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel).  The Big Sandy Broadband deal allows Edinburg-based Shentel to expand its footprint into Eastern Kentucky. The purchase price was not disclosed. “Big Sandy is in a part of Kentucky where we hope to continue to grow,” says Dave Heimbach, Shentel’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Big Sandy had roughly 2,500 customers, but Shentel believes it can attract another 2,000 in the area. “Hopefully, we can grow our penetration rates,” Heimbach says. Shentel is a “great example of a company that has figured out a way to integrate technology into rural areas,” says Matt Polka, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based American Cable Association. “They make strategic acquisitions and revitalize communities.” Shentel provides cable television, broadband internet and voice services to customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. It also is a Sprint affiliate with wireless coverage in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. In addition, Shentel provides fiber services to commercial and wholesale customers along its 5,641-mile network in four states. Shentel has three lines of business — cable, wireline (landline telephone) and wireless. It is Sprint’s largest affiliate in the U.S. The company has more than a million wireless telephone customers and operates more than 400 stores under the Sprint brand. “We design, construct and operate the Sprint network across a big part of the East Coast,” Heimbach says. “We cover a wide swath of geography.” Cable is the company’s second-largest segment. “We cover approximately 200,000 serviceable homes,” Heimbach says. Wireline is the company’s oldest but smallest division. “We have all of our fiber-optic access in that segment along with traditional phone service,” he says. Last year, Shentel was named to Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies list of publicly traded companies. In 2018, the company re­­corded operating revenues of $630.9 million, a 3.1%  increase over the previous year. “One of the big catalysts for that designation was the regional wireless acquisition of nTelos in 2016,” says Heimbach. “When we did that, we roughly doubled the size and scope of our wireless coverage area and customer base.” The amount of data being consumed on a daily or monthly basis “has exploded,” Heimbach says. “We have to constantly reinvest in our network so people can enjoy video consumption. That’s also true for the cable segment.” 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Henderson-May2019-_7.png “We returned more than three times what taxpayers invested,” says Stuart Henderson. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-jefferson-lab-has-a-national-economic-impact Study finds Jefferson Lab has a national economic impact http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-jefferson-lab-has-a-national-economic-impact http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-jefferson-lab-has-a-national-economic-impact#When:08:00:00Z Stuart Henderson was surprised by a recent study’s findings on the wide-ranging impact of the Jefferson Lab in Newport News. “We returned more than three times what taxpayers invested,” says Henderson,  who is director of the federally funded laboratory, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. “To see this come back so strong was very exciting for us and confirmed what we thought all the time — that there is a return on investment in the basic sciences; that science is good for driving the economy.” The study, commissioned by the Southeastern Universities Research Association, found that the laboratory generated $556.9 million in national economic impact last year, providing income for 3,448 workers. “We provided 2,240 jobs in Virginia. We are a lab of 700 people so that’s phenomenal,” Henderson says. In Hampton Roads alone, the lab, whose official name is the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility,  was credited with generating $269.1 million in economic impact, resulting in 2,015 full- and part-time jobs. “The lab is a center for innovation, drawing highly skilled workers to Newport News,” says Florence Kingston, the city’s director of economic development. “It spurs the development of unique technologies, techniques and expertise that leads to the commercialization of products benefiting society.” The lab’s economic benefits are traced to its direct spending, the commercialization of lab-developed technologies and research programs benefiting universities and schools. Because it is a national facility, “more than 1,600 scientists from around the world come to the lab. Most are from universities,” Henderson says. “One-third of all nuclear physicists produced annually in the U.S. did their research at Jefferson Lab.” The lab will have even more of an economic impact if the Department of Energy chooses it for the construction of a $1.5 billion electron-ion collider.  Jefferson Lab and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York are the only sites being considered. No date has been set for a decision. “The benefits to the region that lands such a facility have a scientific lifetime measured in decades,” Henderson says. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2019 People - May 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-may-2019#When:08:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA Usha Chaudhary has joined Mitre Corp. as senior vice president for corporate operations and chief transformation officer. Chaudhary was president of McLean-based Kettler. Mitre’s principal offices are in McLean and Bedford, Mass. (Washington Business Journal) Mo Gauthier has stepped down as CEO of Alexandria-based government contractor VSE Corp. John Cuomo, vice president of Boeing Distribution Services Inc., took over in April. (Washington Business Journal) McLean-based Freddie Mac announced that CEO Donald H. Layton will retire July 1. David M. Brickman, the corporation’s president, has been named his successor. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Tony Moraco will retire as CEO of Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. on July 31. Nazzic Keene, the company’s chief operating officer, will succeed him. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Bob Ritchie has been named head of the software practice at Science Applications International Corp. Ritchie succeeds Kevin Ikeda, who retired in March. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Miah Stutts has been named chief financial officer of the HCA Virginia Health System’s Northern Virginia market. She will oversee operations at Reston Hospital Center, StoneSprings Hospital Center and Dominion Hospital. Stutts was CFO for HCA’s Medical City Denton in Texas. (VirginiaBusiness.com) EASTERN VIRGINIA Vicki Cimino was named executive director and CEO of the Williamsburg Tourism Council after a five-month search. The council is part of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance. Cimino was director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Thomas Hotchkiss has been named executive vice president and chief credit officer for Old Point National Bank in Hampton. He was chief credit officer for a financial institution in Maryland. (News release) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Dave Pastors, the director of Blue Ridge Court Services (BRCS) for 23 years, retired in March. Megan Roane succeeded him. Roane previously served as a probation officer and a court services technician at BRCS before becoming assistant director in 2015. (News release) Brian Whitson has been promoted to executive chef of Region’s 117, a farm-to-table restaurant at Trilogy at Lake Frederick. He replaces Scott Bilstad. Whitson, who has lived in Winchester since 1998, joined the Region’s team in July 2016. (The Winchester Star) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Greg V. Gordon has joined the board of directors of Kenbridge-based Benchmark Bankshares Inc., the parent company of Benchmark Community Bank. Gordon is president of Aarons Creek Farms Inc., a greenhouse operation in Buffalo Junction. He also is general manager of Gordon Brothers Farms LLC. (The Farmville Herald) Clarksville Branch Manager Todd Jones of Benchmark Community Bank has been promoted to vice president/business banker serving the South Hill and Clarksville branches. Jones joined Benchmark in 2009. (News release) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Lauded Virginia Tech water researcher Marc Edwards cannot silence critics with a federal defamation lawsuit — in part because the criticism of Edwards was so overblown, a judge ruled in March. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski dismissed the engineering professor’s lawsuit against three critics of his years of work in Flint, Mich., where Edwards and a team of students in 2015 helped expose lead contamination in the city’s water supply. (The Roanoke Times) Radford University announced that President Brian Hemphill has signed a five-year extension with the school that runs through 2026.  The new deal increases Hemphill’s base salary by 20% to $420,000 and his deferred compensation by 75% to $175,000. Additionally, his vehicle allowance increased 25% to $1,000 a month. He receives the stipend because he uses his vehicle for business purposes, according to the contract.  The university’s board of visitors approved the new contract at its December meeting despite Hemphill still having two years left on his original contract. (The Roanoke Times) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Mike Brown has been named interim police chief in Cedar Bluff. He succeeds Shawn Short, who’s now with the Richlands Police Department. (SWVAToday.com) United Way of Southwest Virginia announced the 2019 Impact Awards winners in March. The awards aim to recognize organizations and individuals who are part of the fight for the health, education and financial stability of people in Southwest Virginia. The following individuals were honored: Cathy Bolling, Women of Distinction Award; Rachel Haines, Volunteer of the Year Award; and Dr. Thomas B. Haller, Pulaski County United Way Founder Recognition. (News release) Anne Crutchfield has been promoted to director of athletics at Emory & Henry College in Washington County. She just completed her fifth year as the head women’s basketball coach, while serving the past two seasons as the interim director of athletics. Crutchfield returned to her alma mater in 2014 after spending the previous eight years as the head girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County High School. Jaclyn Dickens will replace Crutchfield as the head women’s basketball coach. Dickens completed her fourth year on the women’s basketball staff and her first year as the associate head coach. A 1999 graduate of the college, Dickens returned to E&H with nearly 15 years of coaching experience at the college and high school level including eight years as the head women’s basketball coach at Virginia Intermont College. (News release) Capt. Candice Heins of North Carolina took command of the 760th Engineer Company of the Army Reserves in Marion in March. Heins succeeds Capt. David L. Brandl, who had been commander of the 760th Engineer Company since March 2017. (SWVAToday.com) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Jeff Gallagher, CEO of Richmond-based Virginia Bio, will step down from his position later this year. Virginia Bio is the statewide trade association for the life science industry. Gallagher had led the organization for seven years. He will continue to serve the association on certain special projects. The group’s board of directors will conduct a national search for a new CEO. (News release) Frank Grosch has been named executive director of the Building Goodness Foundation, a Charlottesville-based nonprofit that connects volunteers from the design and construction industries with vulnerable communities. Grosch was president of Artcraft Development, a real estate development firm in Richmond. (The Daily Progress) 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2019 For the Record - May 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-may-2019#When:08:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA George Mason University continues to reap benefits from renaming its law school after late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A new gift of more than $50 million will support 13 new faculty chairs at the Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington. It is the largest gift in the history of the Fairfax-based university. The donation is a bequest from the estate of late Judge Allison Rouse and his wife, Dorothy Rouse, a lawyer who died in May 2018. (Washington Business Journal) Tysons-based M.C. Dean Inc. plans to expand its fabrication and distribution facility in Caroline County, creating 100 jobs. The electrical engineering firm plans to spend $25.1 million to add a product line at the Caroline facility. The expansion, which opens this summer, will double the company’s manufacturing capacity to support high-growth customers such as data centers, airports and health-care facilities. The site of the expansion was renamed the Caroline County Center for Innovation and Industry and adds more than 220 new acres of land to support future expansion. M.C. Dean opened its Caroline facility in 2006. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Loudoun County officials have given the green light for “Silver District West" in Ashburn, one of the largest developments in the county’s history. The development would include a mix of town homes, apartments, offices and shops near two planned Metro stations. The bulk of the homes are planned as apartments, with a maximum of 381 set aside for town homes and 332 for other stacked, multifamily units. Detroit-based Soave Enterprises, the company behind the even larger Brambleton community, is now allowed to start work on the 161-acre property that will likely stretch over the next few decades. (Washington Business Journal) Tysons-based Tegna Inc. is acquiring 11 local television stations in eight markets from Nexstar Media Group for $740 million in cash. Tegna said it would finance the transaction through available cash and borrowing under its existing credit facility. The stations became available after Texas-based Nexstar announced it would divest some operations to comply with ownership limits as part of a deal made late last year to combine with Chicago’s Tribune Media Co. Tegna’s purchase is contingent on the closing of the Nexstar-Tribune merger, which is expected in the second half of this year, as well as customary regulatory approvals. (Washington Business Journal) EASTERN VIRGINIA Colonial Williamsburg has shuttered Governor’s Inn, a budget hotel the foundation has operated since 1985. “Colonial Williamsburg no longer considers the hotel a strategic asset related to its core educational mission and is evaluating its options for the property,” foundation spokesman Joe Straw said in an email. While the hotel has 200 rooms, the foundation operated 128 when the hotel closed for the season. The hotel is at 506 N. Henry St. Land and improvements are valued at $5.1 million, according to the city’s online property records. The hotel was built in 1964 and Colonial Williamsburg bought the parcel for $2.2 million in 1985, according to online property records. (The Virginia Gazette) The Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg finished its $7 million renovations in March. The project includes a transformation of 405 guest rooms, corridors and stairwells. Guests visiting the resort can expect a transition from the classic, rustic log cabin look, to a more modern lodge feel with dark wood tones mixed with bright and airy accents. The resort’s 79,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, attractions and eateries remained open during the rehabilitation. Great Wolf Lodge says this is the most extensive renovation since its opening in 2005. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The commonwealth’s largest hotel operator has acquired another property on Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. Chester-based Shamin Hotels says it has purchased the 214-room Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel from Coastal Hospitality Associates LLC. The sale includes a roughly 300-space parking garage at 205 36th St. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal represents Shamin’s third recent hotel acquisition on Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. Last summer, Shamin bought the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront on 30th Street and the Hilton Garden Inn on 33rd Street from Gold Key|PHR Hotels & Resorts. Shamin now owns almost 50 hotels in Virginia, including 13 in Hampton Roads. (VirginiaBusiness.com) As the number of Medicaid patients in the state increases by an additional 400,000, the needs will grow to support them. Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health donated $5.5 million to four nonprofits that will help support community health clinics and food banks, which in turn help Medicaid patients. The grant recipients are: the Virginia Community Healthcare Association ($2 million), Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics ($1.5 million), Virginia Health Care Foundation ($1 million) and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks ($1 million). The four grants are in addition to more than $2 million donated by Sentara and Optima in 2018. (Inside Business) Towne Insurance, a subsidiary of TowneBank, has acquired Richmond-based Straus, Itzkowitz & LeCompte Insurance. The deal marks Towne Insurance’s 23rd acquisition. Straus, Itzkowitz & LeCompte, a 151-year-old agency, is led by President Fred Itzkowitz and Executive Vice President Pettus LeCompte.  (VirginiaBusiness.com) SHENANDOAH VALLEY People who want to explore a college degree now will have the opportunity to do it from downtown Waynesboro. Blue Ridge Community College has opened its online outpost in Waynesboro at 110 N. Wayne Ave. At the online outpost, people can register for classes, take placement tests, pay tuition and work on online courses. While the center is for BRCC students, the hope is it also will inspire more people to inquire about continuing education. (The News Virginian) The Clorox Co. wants to establish a kitty litter manufacturing operation in Frederick County that would create up to 100 jobs. But first the county must amend its comprehensive plan and rezone the property, according to Patrick Barker, executive director of the Frederick County Economic Development Authority. The property is off Interstate 81’s Exit 321 and adjacent to the Carmeuse Lime and Stone manufacturing facility in the Clearbrook area of the county. The facility would be Clorox’s second in Virginia. The company owns a manufacturing plant in Amherst that produces the company’s Glad-branded products. (VirginiaBusiness.com) CVS Health is expanding its efforts to combat the opioid crisis in Virginia. Through the Aetna Foundation, the company pledged a $1 million grant for a program that matches survivors of drug overdoses with a team of people who can support them in their recovery. The grant will go to the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition (NSVSAC) to help kick-start its Law Enforcement Overdose Intervention Program. State officials estimate that last year, more than 1,200 Virginians died from overdoses of opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids. According to a news release from the foundation, the partnership will reduce law enforcement, judicial and other costs while helping to prevent burnout of first responders. (WHSV) The U.S. Department of Energy recently selected James Madison University to participate in a competition designed to provide college students with real-world experience in the wind industry. A dozen schools were picked for the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition in Denver. Teams are challenged with various tasks, including building a model turbine, siting a wind plant and presenting a business plan. The Department of Energy hosts the competition to prepare students for the industry. The renewable energy sector is expected to expand further in coming years, and wind turbine technician jobs are listed among the fastest-growing positions. (WHSV) A former outdoors store in Winchester has a new owner with plans to turn the property into a fitness center. WinVA Building LLC bought for $3.6 million a 54,425-square-foot property at 251 Commonwealth Court. The property was most recently assessed at $5.3 million, according to a Frederick County property record. WinVA Building lists its registered agent as Alfred John Galiani and its principal office in McLean. The Winchester property is a former Gander Mountain location and sits in the Interstate 81 Corridor. Gander Mountain closed the location in 2017 after the company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Plans call for the property to be turned into a gym. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA The registered nursing program at Danville Community College was named the No. 1 nursing program in Virginia in March. According to the award, given by RegisteredNursing.org, nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students toward licensure and beyond. Paul Fox, dean of the college’s arts, sciences and business division, said the school has had a 100% pass rate on the state board licensure exam for many years. (Star-Tribune) With one solar farm already in operation and another four proposed, Pittsylvania County has become a hot spot for hosting renewable energy projects. The introduction of solar farms  not only has offered Danville Utilities more locally sourced energy, but also has given farmers another way to diversify their business. Of the five operating and proposed solar projects, three are contracted to send the electricity generated to power homes covered by Danville Utilities. (Danville Register & Bee) GO TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology & Engineering Careers), a workforce development approach in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, was awarded $4.9 million, the largest grant to date from the GO Virginia Competitive Funding pool. The investment by GO Virginia is matched 1-to-1 by support from more than 15 local partners. Workforce training will be provided by seven higher education institutions to address current and future market demand in areas such as precision machining, welding, IT/cybersecurity, advanced materials and robotics, automation and mechatronics. At the foundational level, K-12 systems are creating Career Connection Labs that introduce middle school students to these in-demand occupations and then connect their training opportunities to high school and ultimately to higher education institutions. And at the policy level, businesses will be included on the leadership board. (The Gazette-Virginian) A Richmond-based medical device company has been named the winner of the IdeaFest Pitch Competition in Danville. Almost 100 companies applied for the contest and 20 competed. Pocket Protector received a $5,000 cash prize in winning the competition. The Idea­Fest Pitch Competition, now in its sixth year, was held March 21 at Cottontail Weddings and Events. Pocket Protector’s device is designed to prevent pocket hematomas, or the buildup of blood, after pacemaker implantation. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The results are in for the SR Education Group’s top online community colleges in the United States, and Patrick Henry Community College ranks second in Virginia. SR, an education research publisher, has published online rankings since 2009. It took several factors into account when determining the top community colleges in each eligible state, including retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of online enrollment data and the number of online associate degrees offered. The organization considered states with at least three regionally accredited schools offering at least one fully online associate degree, with 38 states and 423 colleges represented. Northern Virginia Community College was ranked No. 24 in the country and the best in Virginia. Danville Community College was No. 10 in Virginia. (Martinsville Bulletin) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Blacksburg is moving toward a $3.3 million deal with a real estate arm of Shelor Motor Mile for two-thirds of the old Blacksburg High School — after the town decided not to pay Montgomery County about the same amount for the entire property about two years ago. The town says a key reason it’s considering a deal now is that it would not have to pay the entire added cost of demolishing the old school building — something that became a sticking point during its unsuccessful negotiations with the county. (The Roanoke Times) River Ridge Dermatology is relocating its Roanoke location to the third floor of 2110 Carolina Avenue SW in Roanoke, Krista Vannoy of Waldvogel Commercial Properties Inc. says. An entity tied to River Ridge Dermatology called KBJ Properties LLC bought for $1.77 million the three-story office building at 2110 Carolina Ave. SW, Vannoy says. The 12,980-square-foot building was most recently assessed at $1.8 million, according to online city records. River Ridge Dermatology will be relocating from an office in Roanoke at 3825 Electric Rd. The company also has locations in Blacksburg and Giles. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Roanoke is about to become just the third Virginia locality to use a land bank to facilitate revitalization of tax delinquent properties into affordable housing. The Roanoke City Council in March approved contracting with Total Action for Progress to serve as the city’s land bank partner. The vote was 6-0 with Councilman Bill Bestpitch absent. Under the land bank process, properties the city has seized for unpaid taxes can be turned over to TAP, which will clear liens against them and renovate them for affordable rental housing or home-ownership opportunities. At the same time, the process would remove blight from city neighborhoods. (The Roanoke Times) The Roanoke-based architecture firm SFCS has completed a merger with Kidwell Engineering and Design Inc. in Louisville, Ky. Kidwell’s 11 employees have joined SFCS, which now has 115 employees. The firms have worked together on more than 30 projects. Louisville is the SFCS’ fourth location. In addition to Roanoke, it has offices in Charlotte and Philadelphia. SFCS said the merger will provide clients a full range of architecture and engineering services, including design, planning, engineering, plumbing, fire protection and interior design. (VirginiaBusiness.com) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the western parts of Virginia and North Carolina, welcomed more than 14 million visitors in 2018. The parkway includes 369 miles of trails, 14 visitor centers, eight campgrounds, 10 concession operations and 15 picnic areas.  Visitation patterns on the Blue Ridge Parkway confirm that visitors use it in large numbers when it’s accessible. Weather and maintenance related closures continue to be the primary factor influencing parkway visitation through the years. (SWVAToday.com) Tennessee-based Chasan LLC has purchased the Bristol Compressors building in Bristol, Virginia and plans to turn it into a multi-tenant building with a mix of office space, manufacturing production and warehouse spaces. Chasan LLC plans to replicate the success it had in Greeneville, Tenn. It acquired an old industrial building that was transformed into a structure housing multiple businesses. The former Magnavox building in Greeneville that was repurposed by Chasan now has 14 businesses employing more than 500 people. (Bristol Herald Courier) Clarke Precision Machine Inc. is investing $750,000 to expand in Wythe County. The project will add a dozen jobs. The company provides welding, machining and fabrication services. With this expansion, Clarke will purchase new machinery and expand its Wytheville facility. The growth will enable the company to handle potential contracts in automotive, construction materials and other industries. The shop was founded in 1964 as Williams Manufacturing. Clarke acquired the company in 2015. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Highland Dairy in Glade Spring is the pilot farm for a new design by DeLaval, a Sweden-based company providing milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers. DeLaval dealers from across the country are expected to bring prospective buyers to the Glade Spring farm throughout the year to see the innovative milking parlor. The new parlor is a “double 16,” milking 32 cows at a time. (Bristol Herald Courier) A law signed by Gov. Ralph Northam earlier this year directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to conduct a study of casino gaming regulations and submit its report by Dec. 1. The legislation also establishes the framework for the Lottery Board to oversee gaming and would allow certain localities to conduct voter referendums on the subject. The law eventually could lead to the establishment of the $250 million Bristol Resort and Casino at the vacant Bristol Mall. The legislation must be re-enacted by the General Assembly during its 2020 session and, if it is, establish a series of deadlines. (The Roanoke Times) A Virginia state budget amendment request to fund a $10 million extension of Pinnacle Parkway failed to gain support from the Virginia General Assembly during its most recent session. But developer Steve Johnson won’t say that puts a roadblock on his plan to build an amphitheater, adventure park and hotel with an indoor water park in Washington County. The project would connect U.S. Highway 58 in Virginia to U.S. Highway 11W in Tennessee through The Pinnacle, a retail and recreation site developed by Johnson. (Bristol Herald Courier) The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has recommended 10 coalfield-region projects for millions of dollars in federal abandoned mine land reclamation funds, including ones with direct economic impact on Dickenson County. The big winners, if funding is approved, will be a conventional industry site development project — and an unconventional initiative to bring new residents to Southwest Virginia through a homesteading project. In a press release issued in March, Gov. Ralph Northam and Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith announced the recommendations, which still must be approved by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. “These federal funds will assist Southwest Virginia in redeveloping and repurposing lands for new uses,” Griffith said in a statement. “The cleanup and new uses of the sites will create jobs, draw visitors, and enhance the quality of life. Reclamation will usher in new opportunities for our citizens and communities. I was pleased to spearhead the inclusion of Virginia in this federal program.” (Dickenson Star) A Southwest Virginia construction company won the project of the year award for the third time in four years from the Associated General Contractors of Tennessee, Tri-Cities Branch. Quesenberry Construction, a general contractor and construction manager, won the award for the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretive Center in Duffield, Va. The interpretive center is a 10,000-square-foot facility located a few hundred yards from the original trail footpath. It houses a number of exhibits related to the wilderness trail, plus a library, meeting space and theater. (Bristol Herald Courier) Farron Smith made her last restaurant hot dog a few weeks ago, and she gets a little teary talking about it. On March 9, Smith and her husband, Bill, who have owned Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs in Wytheville for 30 years, shut the door until they can find a buyer for the business. The couple had been thinking about selling before now, but when the manager who had run Skeeter’s for several years took ill, “it was a good transition point,” Bill Smith said. (Bristol Herald Courier) The University of Virginia’s College at Wise now can offer reduced tuition to all students from the Appalachian region under legislation approved by Virginia lawmakers. The tuition offer is available to students who live in the Appalachian Regional Commission territory, which stretches from rural New York to Mississippi. The law is seen as one way for the liberal-arts college, a division of the University of Virginia, to counter the enrollment drop affecting most higher-education institutions. U.Va.-Wise is geographically closer to seven other state capitals than it is to Richmond. (Bristol Herald Courier) Virginia Business College can now begin working toward opening — possibly later this year. In March, the state Council of Higher Education for Virginia unanimously approved provisional certification for the school planned for the former Virginia Intermont College campus in Bristol. Provisional certification gives Virginia Business College up to one year to make necessary repairs to campus buildings, recruit and hire a faculty and begin recruiting students. During that year, the council will make a site visit to make sure the facilities meet all relevant codes and review the credentials of faculty members. (Bristol Herald Courier) CENTRAL VIRIGNIA The owners of Regency mall want to continue its transformation by adding residential and other nonretail uses to the property and opening up part of the mall to create outdoor plazas. Owners The Rebkee Co. and Thalhimer Realty Partners have submitted a request to Henrico County to have the 36-acre property rezoned to an urban mixed-use district, which would allow residential, office, educational, cultural and other uses. The property at North Parham and Quioccasin roads is now zoned B-3, which allows for retail and commercial uses. Regency, which opened in 1975, is being transformed physically. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Implementation of broadband is on track for several hundred residents in and around the town of Appomattox through the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. In April last year, the Appomattox County Board of Supervisors approved a tax rebate incentive for the cooperative for five years after each phase of the 450-mile network’s construction. CVEC received almost $1 million in grant funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to assist with the project, which includes bringing broadband to 13 surrounding counties including Amherst and Nelson counties. Total costs to construct the Appomattox portion of the project are estimated at $10 million. (News & Advance) Dominion Energy is offering early retirement to a third of its 21,000 employees in the wake of its January merger with a South Carolina utility. Employees who are at least 55 years old who have been with the company for at least three years are eligible for the voluntary early retirement, Dominion President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in an email to employees in March. The company would not divulge how many employees it expects to accept the offer or how much money it hopes to save. Richmond-based Dominion completed its takeover of SCANA Corp., the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., in January. The merger creates areas where Dominion now has duplicate positions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Momentum is building for a community-minded grocery store in downtown Lynchburg. More than 50 members of the community gathered in March at the Lynchburg Public Library to hear details about The Oasis Project, a citizen initiative to fill the void of fresh-food access for those who need it most. With nearly 39,000 people living in a food desert, Lynchburg has more residents living in a food desert than almost any other locality in the state — only Prince William County and Richmond and Roanoke cities have more, according to 2015 data from the United States Department of Agriculture. (News & Advance) Sweet Briar College raised more than $2.2 million in the first 10 days of March. This total exceeded previous records from the last three years. The college has raised $7 million toward its overall goal of $10 million for fiscal year 2019. (News release) 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-may-2019 Followups - May 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-may-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-may-2019#When:08:00:00Z German truck manufacturer buys stake in Torc Robotics Daimler Trucks and Buses Holding Inc., one of the world’s largest truck manufacturers, has signed an agreement to acquire a ma­jority stake in Blacksburg-based Torc Ro­­­­­botics for an undisclosed sum. Completion of the deal is subject to approval from the U.S. government. The truck company is a subsidiary of the Germany-based Daimler Group. Formed in 2005, Torc specializes in developing self-driving software. Earlier this year, Torc partnered with Transdev, a public transportation firm, to develop fully autonomous electric shuttles. The company also has developed technology for self-driving cars. Under its agreement with Daimler, Torc, which has more than 100 employees, will keep its brand and remain a separate entity in Blacksburg. Torc CEO Michael Fleming says it has been exploring opportunities to commercialize self-driving technology for trucks. Torc started working with Daimler last year. Virginia Business looked at Torc’s involvement in the development of self-driving vehicles in last year’s April cover story. Cancer center to open Inova Health System plans to open its Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax on May 13. The new facility will be a hub for Inova’s clinical, research and technological expertise and also will serve the health system’s existing locations for cancer treatment across Northern Virginia. The new building will include more than 438,000 square feet on the Inova Center for Personalized Health campus. The facility was made possible by a $50 million donation from developer Dwight Schar and his wife, Martha. Virginia Business discussed the Schars’ gift and plans for the cancer center in the June 2016 philanthropy issue. 2019-04-29T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/college-student-entrepreneurs-win-sitw-pitch-competition1 College student entrepreneurs win Something in the Water pitch competition http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/college-student-entrepreneurs-win-sitw-pitch-competition1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/college-student-entrepreneurs-win-sitw-pitch-competition1#When:18:32:00Z Severe weather forced the cancelation of musical performances at Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water Festival on Friday, but it didn’t dampen a business pitch competition organized by the festival, Old Dominion University and Cox Communications. As part of the SPLASH! pitch competition, college student entrepreneurs pitched their ideas at the Virginia Beach Convention Center to a panel of celebrity judges. The judges included producer and rapper Timbaland; Bruce Smith, a Virginia Beach-based developer and NFL Hall of Famer and Nneka Chiazor, regional vice president of government and public affairs at Cox Communications.     Congratulations to the Winners! ������ Best Female Founder- Pocket Protector Biggest Social Impact Award- BRISE-SOLETTE Boldest Emerging Technology Award- finX#somethinginthewater #splash #MoreThanTheMusic #ODU #COX ���������� pic.twitter.com/uetaJBfkvD — Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at ODU (@ODU_IIE) April 27, 2019 Six teams from James Madison, ODU, Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia Wesleyan universities each had five minutes to present to the judges followed by a five-minute question and answer session. The three winning teams were from VCU and VWU. They each won $2,500 for their startups. VCU’s Kayla Burkholder and Karli Vogt won the female founder award for Pocket Protector. The startup’s device is designed to prevent pocket hematomas, or the buildup of blood, after pacemaker implantation. Aniket Kulkarni and Chandana Muktipaty presented for Brise-Solette, which earned the social impact award.  The product, developed by VCU students, allows the light in incubators to be controlled. This helps improve the cognitive, optical and physical development of premature babies. Alex Vawter, a student at Virginia Beach-based VWU, won in the boldest emerging technology application category for FinX Mobile.  The startup FinX is developing a mobile application to teach people how to invest in financial markets. Something in the Water music festival was spearheaded by Pharrell Williams, an award-winning musician from Virginia Beach. The festival was scheduled to run from April 26-28 but severe storms forced the cancelation of performances on the first day. Shows were scheduled to go on for the rest of the weekend. The festival said on Twitter that it would refund a portion of tickets due to the cancellation on Friday. 2019-04-27T18:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Tony__Beck.jpg Tony Beck is joining CBRE. Source: CBRE http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbre-taps-new-leader-for-southern-virginia CBRE taps new leader for Southern Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbre-taps-new-leader-for-southern-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbre-taps-new-leader-for-southern-virginia#When:17:02:00Z The game of musical chairs continues in the real estate scene as a national firm brings on a new leader for its Southern Virginia operations. CBRE Group Inc. has hired Tony Beck to be the real estate company’s senior managing director and market leader for Southern Virginia. Beck is leaving behind his role as senior vice president at CenterPoint Properties in Norfolk. Beck, an Old Dominion University alum, has 21 years of experience in Virginia’s real estate markets in Richmond and Hampton Roads. His resume includes stints with First Potomac Realty Trust and Highwood Properties. Beck says he will look to recruit the best talent and grow business for CBRE. Beck will be based in Norfolk and begins his new role May 6. He will report to Kyle Schoppmann, executive managing director of CBRE’s Mid-Atlantic region. CBRE has Virginia offices in in Norfolk, Richmond and Tysons along with over 600 employees statewide.  Beck takes over after CBRE tapped long-time executive James “Jim” A. Reid to temporarily oversee the company’s ramping up of operations in the wake of CBRE ending its agreement with its Virginia affiliate. Reid will transition out of his role as planned as Beck steps in.  After parting ways with corporate, the former CBRE affiliate was picked up by Colliers International, which has cut ties with its affiliates in Richmond and Norfolk. The Colliers affiliates rebranded as Harrison & Bates Inc., which is now winding down its operations. This week, Commonwealth Commercial announced it was bringing on a number of former Harrison & Bates brokers. 2019-04-26T17:02:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ccdental.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dental-office-building-sells-for-1.75-million Dental office building sells for $1.75 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dental-office-building-sells-for-1.75-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dental-office-building-sells-for-1.75-million#When:20:36:00Z A dental office building in Chesterfield County has sold for $1.75 million. Commonwealth Commercial Partners LLC announced the sale of Harbour Point Dental Building, which houses five dental practices. The building at 5921 Harbour Lane in Midlothian is fully leased. Tucker Dowdy and Russell Wyatt of Commonwealth Commercial represented the seller, Harbour Point Medical Associates LP. The site was sold to Champagne Toast LLC, a local investor. Champagne Toast was represented by Terry Earnest of Chesterfield Commercial Realty. The transaction closed April 10th. 2019-04-25T20:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-names-management-committee-members Gentry Locke names management committee members http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-names-management-committee-members http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gentry-locke-names-management-committee-members#When:19:41:00Z The Roanoke-based law firm Gentry Locke has announced its management committee for 2019: Managing Partner Monica T. Monday leads the committee. The other members are: Partner Matthew W. Broughton Partner W. William Gust Partner Guy M. Harbert Partner K. Brett Marston Partner Maxwell H. Wiegard The committee oversees all firm operations and strategies, including decisions involving organizational structure, budget, business development, recruiting and more. Founded in 1923,  Gentry Locke has more than 55 lawyers practicing in a range of disciplines. The firm has offices in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Richmond. 2019-04-25T19:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CC-gradient-RGB.png Source: Commonwealth Commercial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/group-of-harrison-bates-brokers-joining-commonwealth-commercial Group of Harrison & Bates brokers joining Commonwealth Commercial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/group-of-harrison-bates-brokers-joining-commonwealth-commercial http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/group-of-harrison-bates-brokers-joining-commonwealth-commercial#When:16:52:00Z As a long-time real estate firm pares back its operations, a number of its brokers are swapping jerseys. Commonwealth Commercial Partners LLC has hired five brokers away from Harrison & Bates, which announced this month plans to stop providing new transactional brokerage services to clients after May 31. The Harrison & Bates brokers joining Commonwealth Commercial are David Williams, Chip Louthan, Bruce Milam, Steve Gentil and Kit Tyler. Colton Konvicka also is leaving Harrison & Bates to be a sales & leasing associate at Commonwealth Commercial. Commonwealth Commercial founder and CEO Mark W. Claud says the new hires have a deep knowledge of the industrial sales and leasing market. Bringing them on was a way of expanding further into that arena, says Claud. “We want to be a well-diversified company,” says Claud, who got his start with Harrison & Bates. “This essentially helps us round out our sales and leasing group.” The new hires bring Commonwealth Commercial’s number of Virginia brokers to 30, all of whom are based in the company’s Richmond-area office at 4198 Cox Road in Glen Allen. The company also has an office in Virginia Beach at 208 Golden Oak Court and 11 other offices spread mostly across the Southeast. Milam says that, among the nonnationally branded firms in the Richmond area, Commonwealth Commercial appears to be the largest. He says the level of support and collegiality at Commonwealth Commercial was appealing. It helps too that Commonwealth Commercial is home to former Harrison & Bates brokers. “They’ve remained friends,” Milam says, adding the change has come as something of a relief. “Things change. You roll with it.” The changes started rolling in the Virginia real estate scene late last year when CBRE Inc. and its Virginia affiliates agreed to cut ties. The former CBRE Inc. affiliate was picked up by Colliers International, which had parted ways with its affiliates in Richmond and Norfolk. The Colliers affiliates rebranded as Harrison & Bates Inc., a brand that harkens back more than a century. 2019-04-25T16:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/3950_Chain_Bridge_Road_MAIN_RESIZED.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-building-in-downtown-fairfax-on-sale-for-2.3-million Historic building in downtown Fairfax on sale for $2.3 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-building-in-downtown-fairfax-on-sale-for-2.3-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-building-in-downtown-fairfax-on-sale-for-2.3-million#When:19:33:00Z  A 19th century, mixed-use building in downtown Fairfax is on sale for $2.3 million. The Moore-McCandlish House, built around 1840, is home to Hamrock’s Restaurant and office tenants. The three-story property is located at 3950 Chain Bridge Road. S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co.’s Mike Zarpas is the listing representative for the 6,550-square-foot building, which is fully leased. 2019-04-24T19:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NN1stFL_Co-Work.png A rendering of the Newport News Gather. Source: Gather http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coworking-firm-expanding-to-hampton-roads Coworking firm expanding to Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coworking-firm-expanding-to-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coworking-firm-expanding-to-hampton-roads#When:15:22:00Z A Virginia coworking company is in expansion mode with two new locations planned for Hampton Roads and another set to open in Richmond. Gather Workspaces LLC announced on Tuesday plans to open in August a 27,341-square-foot coworking space at 630 Hofstadter Rd. at Building One of the Tech Center Research Park in Newport News. The Newport News Gather is the second location the company has planned for Hampton Roads. In June, Gather plans to open a coworking space at 500 E. Main St. in Norfolk. Savannah Bolin has been hired as the regional director of Gather’s Hampton Roads operations. Gather is a coworking firm that opened its first location in Richmond in 2014. Gather plans to relocate its original downtown Richmond location later this year to a 20,000-square-foot space at 313 E. Broad St. in Richmond. Gather added in 2016 a location in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood and in 2018 a facility in Short Pump. Coworking companies like Gather offer tenants shorter leases and provide a number of amenities. Coworking was originally associated with startup companies but more established companies have been drawn to the flexibility of month-to-month contracts, says James Crenshaw, an owner of Gather. Doug and Polly White are also owners of the company. Pricing starts at $250 a month for full access to the space and amenities at Gather. For $350 a month people can get a dedicated desk, and private offices start at $500 a month. The Gather in Newport News will have room for 400 members in more than 133 private spaces. The building will have larger suites available, opene area workspaces, event space, conference rooms and meeting spaces. On the amenities side, Gather Newport News will offer coffee and tea in a communal kitchen along with a Wednesday Cookie Hour. Gather members have access to every location so people with space in any of the Richmond area locations can use the Hampton Roads locations and vice versa. Odell Associates Inc. Architects, which has offices in Richmond and North Carolina, is leading the design of Gather Newport News. Richmond-based Campfire & Co. is the interior designer. Gather is the latest tenant to be announced for the Tech Center Research Park. Last week, the medical device manufacturer ivWatch LLC announced it had finalized a lease in the same building that Gather is going into at Tech Center. Tech Center is a large development in Newport News with a mix of retail, residential and research spaces at the corner of Oyster Point Road and Jefferson Avenue. Tech Center Research Park is planned to have 10 buildings that range between 80,000 and 100,000 square feet. The research buildings will have three and four stories. 2019-04-24T15:22:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/housepitality-group-to-open-restaurants-in-chesterfield-towne-center HousePitality Group to open restaurants in Chesterfield Towne Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/housepitality-group-to-open-restaurants-in-chesterfield-towne-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/housepitality-group-to-open-restaurants-in-chesterfield-towne-center#When:20:15:00Z CORRECTION: This story originally identified three new restaurants that were opening at Chesterfield Towne Center, based on information from a news release. Only two new restaurants are opening at the complex. Two new restaurants are opening at Chesterfield Towne Center in Chesterfield County. HousePitality Group is opening its third Casa del Barco and first Island Shrimp Co. restaurants in the shopping center's restaurant row. Chesterfield Towne Centerr, which is owned by Brookfield Properties and leased by Divaris Real Estate, is located at 11500 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County. Brett McNamee of Divaris represented the landlord in the lease negotiations.  Other tenants in the shopping center include Macy’s, Sears, Crunch Fitness, Red Robin, HomeGoods, Qdoba and Five Guys. 2019-04-23T20:15:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-firm-leases-space-in-loudoun Staffing firm leases space in Loudoun http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-firm-leases-space-in-loudoun http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/it-firm-leases-space-in-loudoun#When:19:32:00Z A staffing firm is doubling down on a mixed-used development in Loudoun County. Cynet Systems has leased for five years a 3,306-square-foot space on the seventh floor at 21000 Atlantic Blvd. in Dulles Town Center. The structure is a seven-story, 184,000-square-foot office building. Dulles Town Center is a 554-acre mixed-use, master-planned development in Loudoun being developed by Lerner Enterprises, a real estate company based in Rockville, Md. Lerner developed and owns 21000 Atlantic Blvd. In 2011, Lerner came up with what it called “an enhanced master plan” for Dulles Town Center to add a new urban center there. Elsewhere in the state, Lerner has a project called City Center Townes under construction in Dulles. The rental townhome community will see the first 30 of its 66 townhomes hit the market in June, according to Lerner. At 21000 Atlantic Blvd., Cynet Systems is moving into a new space after its lease ends for a roughly 4,000-square-foot space in the same building, says Ashwani “Ash” Mayur. Mayur says he and Nikhil Budhiraja launched Cynet Systems in 2010. and they now operate as co-CEOs for the company. Cynet Systems is an IT, engineering and health-care staffing firm. Mayur says the company’s revenue last year was $55 million, but he wants that number to reach $100 million. The company has clients around the U.S. and Canada, says Mayur. Cynet Systems had been based in Ashburn for four years before last year signing onto a one-year sublease at 21000 Atlantic Blvd., says Mayur. With the clock running out on its current lease, Cynet Systems needed to find a new space. In the end, the company decided to remain in the same building because of its prime location in relation to major roads, says Mayur. Cynet Systems has 12 employees in its Loudoun office and hopes to expand. Mayur says there is a lot of demand in the staff augmentation world. Cynet Systems originally focused on IT customers and has since been growing its health-care business. Mayur says health-care clients currently make up 10% of the company’s revenue, while engineering provides 15% and IT puts up 75%. In addition to its Loudoun office, Cynet System has about 250 employees in India and about 25 in the Philippines. Cynet Systems was represented by Vippy Bhambra of Glomo in the leasing of its new space. 21000 Atlantic Blvd. and Lerner were represented by Andy Klaff and Jeff Tarae of Newmark Knight Frank. 2019-04-23T19:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/PA_Head.jpeg Peggy Agouris | Photo courtesy Creative Services/George Mason University http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/george-mason-dean-named-provost-at-william-mary George Mason dean named provost at William & Mary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/george-mason-dean-named-provost-at-william-mary http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/george-mason-dean-named-provost-at-william-mary#When:14:56:00Z Peggy Agouris, dean of the College of Science at George Mason University, has been named provost at the College of William & Mary. Pending approval this week by the William & Mary board of visitors, she will join W&M on July 1. “Dr. Agouris brings an enormous breadth of experience as a teacher, scholar, researcher and administrator. She will be an extraordinary provost, and we are thrilled to welcome her to campus,” W&M President Katherine A. Rowe said in a statement. Agouris will succeed Michael R. Halleran, who announced in September his plans to step down as provost and return to teaching on the W&M faculty. At George Mason, Agouris oversees 4,000 students, almost 700 faculty and staff and an annual budget of more than $80 million. Agouris also is director of the Center for Earth Observing and Space Research at George Mason. She is an expert in digital image processing and analysis, remote sensing and geospatial information systems. A National Science Foundation CAREER award winner, Agouris has received more than $35 million in external research funding, including grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. The provost is the chief academic officer for the university and oversees Arts & Sciences, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, the William & Mary School of Education, William & Mary Law School, the William & Mary School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and University Libraries. Originally from Athens, Greece, Agouris received her engineering degree from the National Technical University of Athens and her master’s and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University. As an undergraduate, she also received a degree in classical music and piano from the Greek Conservatory. Agouris, her husband, Tony, and teenage daughter, Chloe, will reside in Williamsburg.     2019-04-23T14:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investment-firm-acquires-trowbridge-trowbridge Investment firm acquires Trowbridge & Trowbridge http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investment-firm-acquires-trowbridge-trowbridge http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/investment-firm-acquires-trowbridge-trowbridge#When:21:38:00Z Chevy Chase, Md.-based Enlightenment Capital has acquired McLean-based Trowbridge & Trowbridge LLC, a provider of cloud, cyber and digital solutions to the defense, intelligence and federal civilian agency markets. Financial details of the transaction were not announced. Cass Panciocco, Trowbridge’s COO, has become its president and CEO. Company founder Karen Trowbridge has become a strategic advisor and serves on the company’s board of directors. “Enlightenment is our ideal investment partner, as they understand the sector and share our vision to create a platform for service delivery excellence as we transition to the mid-tier. This partnership strengthens Trowbridge’s capacity to pursue strategic growth initiatives and to invest in new capabilities required by our customers,” Panciocco said in a statement. Enlightenment is a private investment firm, providing senior debt, mezzanine debt and equity to middle market companies in the aerospace, defense and government sector. 2019-04-22T21:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-virginias-home-insurance-rates-have-significantly-increased-in Study finds Virginia’s home insurance rates have significantly increased in the last decade http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-virginias-home-insurance-rates-have-significantly-increased-in http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-finds-virginias-home-insurance-rates-have-significantly-increased-in#When:21:19:00Z Virginia saw a 41% increase in home insurance rates between 2007 and 2016. Despite what may seem like a sharp increase, Virginia ranked 34 out of all states and D.C. for its rate increase, based on a report published by QuoteWizard.  Rankings are based on states that experienced the largest dollar increase in their average home insurance rate from 2007 to 2016. The premiums increased $283 during that time period. QuoteWizard allows consumers to compare insurance quotes online and on the phone. The organization used data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to find the percent change in home insurance rates. It found that these rate increases were primarily driven by natural disasters. The report also said that 11 out of the top 15 states were in Tornado Alley boundaries. Oklahoma came in first with a 78% increase in home insurance rates, which amounts to an extra $821 paid each year. Western states had the lowest rate increases in the country. Nevada was ranked 51 with only a 7% or $47 increase. 2019-04-22T21:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sharon_Holmstrom.jpg Sharon Holmstrom. Photo: Colliers International http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colliers-adds-to-norfolk-office Colliers adds to Norfolk office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colliers-adds-to-norfolk-office http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colliers-adds-to-norfolk-office#When:15:35:00Z Colliers International announced Monday it had hired Sharon Holmstrom as vice president of retail services in the company’s Norfolk office. Holmstrom was previously with a Colliers affiliate for four years. She has also had stints with The Shopping Center Group and Harrison & Bates. Holmstrom specializes in landlord services, tenant representation, sales and dispositions in Southeast Virginia and Northeast North Carolina. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She has served on the Virginia ICSC Planning Committee. 2019-04-22T15:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-sold-for-apartment-community Chesterfield land sold for apartment community http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-sold-for-apartment-community http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-land-sold-for-apartment-community#When:15:19:00Z Nearly 25 acres of Chesterfield County land have been sold for the development of a proposed 248-unit luxury apartment community. The commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said Dominion Realty Partners LLC bought 24.84 acres along Boulders Parkway from Union Boulders Land LLC for $3.5 million. Dominion plans to develop the Boulders Lakeside Apartments on the site. David M. Smith of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2019-04-22T15:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/IMG_20190130_080723029_HDR.JPG Thomas Industrial Fabrication is relocating to Floyd. Photo: Lydeana Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fabrication-company-relocating-to-floyd Fabrication company relocating to Floyd http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fabrication-company-relocating-to-floyd http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fabrication-company-relocating-to-floyd#When:19:29:00Z An industrial metal fabricator hopes to tap into the local workforce of the county where the company is relocating its operations. Thomas Industrial Fabrication plans to relocate 28 employees from its current location in Patrick County to Floyd County by the end of the summer. The company bought the property at 296 Commerce Center Drive NE for $735,000 from the Economic Development Authority of Floyd County. John Paul Thomas and his wife, Kelly, own the company and live in Floyd. John Paul Thomas says a big draw for the relocation was the vocational program in the Floyd school system. “It is a big deal,” Thomas says. Thomas adds the new facility is bigger than the company’s current one and gives Thomas Industrial Fabrication room to grow. Floyd’s EDA has owned the Commerce Center Drive property since December 2018 when it bought it for $825,000, says Lydeana Martin, the director of Floyd’s EDA. Floyd’s board of supervisors loaned the EDA money to purchase the 11-acre site. Floyd’s EDA can buy the property back for the price it sold it for if Thomas Industrial Fabrication tries to sell the site in the next five years, Martin says. The EDA’s purchase permitted the addition of deed restrictions to the property and reservation of access to it. Martin says the Thomas Industrial Fabrication deal made sense for Floyd because of the number of local students who graduate with welding skills; existing complementary businesses that work in metal; and the fact that the company already had roots in Floyd. “It’s a really good fit with our workforce,” Martin says. 2019-04-21T19:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/eatery-adding-charlottesville-location Eatery adding Charlottesville location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/eatery-adding-charlottesville-location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/eatery-adding-charlottesville-location#When:19:34:00Z A Florida-based restaurant chain is opening a location at the Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville. According to a news release from Federal Realty Investment Trust, First Watch will start serving breakfast, brunch and lunch on Monday, April 22nd. First Watch will occupy a 3,650-square-foot space at 1114B Emmet St. N. First Watch will be open daily from 7 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Thirty-five people have been hired to work at the location. The restaurant also will have a bar and serve craft cocktails. First Watch also operates in Roanoke, Fairfax and Henrico and Chesterfield counties in Virginia. Other tenants at the Barracks Road Shopping Center include HotCakes, Peter Chang China Grill and Five Guys. 2019-04-19T19:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bath-county-bourbon-stave-mill-adding-second-shift Bath County bourbon stave mill adding second shift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bath-county-bourbon-stave-mill-adding-second-shift http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bath-county-bourbon-stave-mill-adding-second-shift#When:20:58:00Z After one year of operation, Speyside Bourbon Stave Mill in Bath County is investing $114,000 in an expansion. The facility, which makes parts used to create bourbon barrels, had 35 employees when it opened. It plans to add a second shift over the next three years, a move that will add 45 jobs. The growth of the bourbon industry has fueled the expansion. “We want to be able to supply our bourbon distilleries with a product that they need,” says Maggie Anderson, who does project development for Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Inc., the mill’s parent company. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage also plans to open a stave mill in Washington County in September, which will employ roughly 35 people. Additionally, the company anticipates opening a bourbon cooperage in Smyth County by early 2020. That facility will hire 150 people. The company is eligible to receive up to $33,750 from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) for the Bath County expansion. VJIP provides consulting services and funding for employee training activities. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Inc. is part of France-based Tonnellerie François Frères Group. In addition to facilities in Virginia, the company has locations in Kentucky and Ohio.   2019-04-18T20:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Brookfield_Place_Cover_Photo--.jpg Brookfield Place Source: Thalhimer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-employment-commission-lands-new-hq Virginia Employment Commission lands new HQ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-employment-commission-lands-new-hq http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-employment-commission-lands-new-hq#When:15:52:00Z Updated April 18, 2019 1:12 p.m. A state agency is trading its downtown Richmond digs for a new headquarters across the city line. The Virginia Employment Commission is moving its headquarters to a 79,254-square-foot office space at 6606 W. Broad St. in a building dubbed Brookfield Place in Henrico County. The state agency will be on five floors in the eight-floor building. The agency’s 300 employees currently are based out of an office at 703 E. Main St. in downtown Richmond. Plans call for the state agency to begin moving to Brookfield Place in September, says Joyce Fogg, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Employment Commission. She says the state has a ten-year lease for its new space.  Fogg says the state has been looking for a new headquarters for the Virginia Employment Commission for about eight or nine months. She says the current downtown location is an older building in need of repairs. “The decision was made to try to find a different headquarters that was updated and in better shape,” Fogg says. The Virginia Employment Commission occupies all 114,560 square feet at 703 E. Main St. Fogg says the three story building, which includes a basement, is currently owned by the the Virginia Employment Commission. The federal governemnt has equity in the building as well because federal funds were used to build and maintain it, according to Fogg. Fogg says the title on the buildng will eventually go to the Department of General Services though the future use of the building is to be determined.  Fogg says Brookfield Place was appealing for its proximity to interstates 64 and 95 and the amount of parking onsite. The Virginia Employment Commission’s Brookfield Place lease brings the 196,610-square-foot building to 100% occupancy. The building also serves as a headquarters for Southern States Cooperative, which sold the building to Thalhimer Realty Partners last year. The sales price was about $14.7 million, according to a Henrico property record. Other tenants at Brookfield Place include Virginia Urology and Keener Communications. Thalhimer Realty Partners is the investment and development subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. “We are excited to work with the Virginia Employment Commission to build out their new headquarters space at Brookfield Place, and appreciate the Commonwealth of Virginia placing their faith in us as a long-term partner,” says Jason Guillot, a principal at Thalhimer Realty Partners. Guillot says capital improvements in the works at Brookfield Place include parking lot improvements, overhauling the HVAC system and interior renovations. He declined to put a dollar amount on the improvements. Guillot says the Virginia Employment Commission is moving into space previously occupied by Southern States. Asked about the general state of Richmond’s office market, Guillot says things are tight with limited supply and increasing demand. He says rising construction costs make it difficult for developers to justify building new office properties. “We’re going to continue to see an increase in rental rates as demand has a hard time being met,” Guillot says. 2019-04-18T15:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/high-rise-3155455_640.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-richmond-area-deals-by-divaris Recent Richmond area deals by Divaris http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-richmond-area-deals-by-divaris http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-richmond-area-deals-by-divaris#When:19:52:00Z Below are recent notable sales and leases in the Richmond area reported by Divaris Real Estate Inc. Smith & Cottingham LLC bought the 6,212-square-foot Meadowdale Square building located at 5935 Hopkins Road in Richmond from Lucky Old SSN LLC for $509,500.  Eric Hammond, Peter Vick and Harrison Hall brokered the deal on behalf of the buyer. Garrison Enterprises Inc. purchased two acres of land in the Chesterfield Air Park located at 7821 Courthouse Three Lane in North Chesterfield from Courthouse 3 LLC for $372,600. Laikyn Severson represented the seller in the transaction. Leo Salinas purchased the 4,100-square-foot retail property located at 2320 Oaklawn Boulevard in Hopewell for $319,000 from Inzaina Enterprises.  Eric Hammond and Dean Foster represented the seller, and John Madures represented the buyer. Lease Transactions B.I. Inc. leased 3,917 square feet, then expanded with a second lease of 1,315 square feet, for a total of 5,232 square feet of office space in the Divaris-leased and -managed Fountain Park located at 9321 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond.  Eric Hammond, Dean Foster and John Madures represented the landlord in the lease negotiations. Solidcore leased 2,301 square feet of retail space in the Divaris-leased Libbie Mill located at 5001 Libbie Mill East Boulevard in Richmond. Peter Vick, Harrison Hall and Brett McNamee represented the landlord in the lease negotiations. Beyond the Image Christian Counseling leased 1,200 square feet of retail space in the Divaris-leased Winterfield Crossing located at 6709 Lake Harbour Drive in Midlothian.  Peter Vick, Harrison Hall and Larry Agnew represented the landlord in the lease negotiations. Ferris Winder PLLC leased 845 square feet of office space in the Divaris-leased and -managed property located at 9327 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond. Eric Hammond, Laikyn Severson and John Madures represented the landlord in the lease negotiations. 2019-04-17T19:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/zaxbys.jpg Photo courtesy Tombras Group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/zaxbys-opening-first-location-in-mechanicsville Zaxby’s opening first location in Mechanicsville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/zaxbys-opening-first-location-in-mechanicsville http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/zaxbys-opening-first-location-in-mechanicsville#When:19:03:00Z Note: This story has been updated to reflect the restaurant's new opening date.  Zaxby’s fast-food restaurant is opening its first location in Mechanicsville on May 6th. The site at 6535 Mechanicsville Turnpike will employ about 60 people. Jon Garner owns and operates the new franchise location with his parents—Debbie and Ian Garner. Jon Garner anticipates opening another Zaxby’s in Hanover County, but an opening date has not been set. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant in Mechanicsville will accommodate 55 guests. Zaxby's is a Georgia-based chain that serves chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads. It has 900 locations in 17 states, including 19 in Virginia. 2019-04-17T19:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ivWatch_Model_400_white_background.jpg Photo: ivWatch LLC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-medical-device-firm-raising-money-expanding Hampton Roads medical device firm raised money, expanding http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-medical-device-firm-raising-money-expanding http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-medical-device-firm-raising-money-expanding#When:20:45:00Z A growing medical device manufacturer has gotten a shot in the arm and finalized a lease for a new Hampton Roads research park, where more tenants and buildings are in the works. IvWatch LLC recently raised $12.3 million toward a $16 million goal, according to a March filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company makes and sells a device called the ivWatch Model 400 that can detect when liquids leak outside of the vein during intravenous (IV) therapy. The medical device detects leaks through a small sensor about the size of a pencil eraser that sticks to the patient’s skin near an IV site. Its manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3,695. Gary Warren, ivWatch’s president and CEO, says the company is in expansion mode as it prepares to upgrade its facilities. IvWatch LLC made official on Monday a seven-year lease for a 25,500-square-foot space at Building One of the Tech Center Research Park in Newport News. The company last year had signed a letter of intent for the space. IvWatch is consolidating its headquarters and operations from facilities in Hampton and Williamsburg into the Newport News space. Warren says the new space will allow ivWatch to bring some of its specialized, proprietary manufacturing processes inhouse. Around $5 million worth of equipment is going into the new facility. “The type of space that we needed is very hard to find,” says Warren, adding it was important to find a modern building with the latest HVAC systems. “We have to be prepared for (Food and Drug Administration) auditors to show up at any time.” Most of ivWatch’s roughly 40 employees will be based out of the Newport News site. The company has plans to continue adding employees. Warren says customer growth has put ivWatch in expansion mode after forming in 2010. He would not disclose sales figures or number of units sold. Warren says ivWatch’s customers include some of the top children’s hospitals around the country. He says the company has begun growing its export business with a distribution deals for Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Qatar. Around 40% of ivWatch’s business is domestic. IvWatch got its original FDA clearance in 2016. It has received regulatory approvals in Canada and Australia and is working on getting them for Japan. Warren says ivWatch also is eyeing tapping into the adult critical care market after having focused on children’s hospitals. Warren says medical device makers have faced a slower sales cycle in a post-Theranos world. The sales cycle is the time between when a company makes contact with a potential customer and that customer agrees to make a purchase. Before the blood testing company Theranos crumbled beneath reports it was duping investors and regulators, medical devices typically had a sales cycle of three to four months, Warren says. Now, with potential customers wary of being scammed, the sales cycle for medical devices is 12 to 18 months, Warren says. Most potential customers want to evaluate medical devices before the buy to make sure everything checks out. “You can’t fake it ‘till you make it anymore,” Warren says. IvWatch plans to begin moving into the 80,000-square-foot building around the same time construction on the building wraps up in two weeks. The company will have manufacturing space on the first floor of the building, and the third floor will be used for research, development and administration. Tech Center is a massive development in Newport News composed of retail, residential and research spaces at the corner of Oyster Point Road and Jefferson Avenue. The retail section is about 285,000 square feet and includes a Whole Foods. The residential portion comprises 288 units. Newport News-based W.M. Jordan Co. is a joint venture developer on the project with Georgia-based S. J. Collins Enterprises. W.M. Jordan executive chairman John Lawson is chairman of the Board at ivWatch. Tech Center Research Park is planned to have 10 buildings that range between 80,000 and 100,000 square feet. The research buildings will have three and four stories. The first building had been planned for completion at the end of last year but weather caused delays, says Jeff Johnson, the park’s director. Johnson says the first building is almost completely leased with 4,600 square feet still available. He would not say what other tenants plan to join ivWatch at the property. An anchor tenant already has signed on for the second building, which is scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2020. The goal for each research building is to have half of one building leased before starting construction on a new one. “We want to be market driven,” Johnson says. Clarification: This story's headline has been updated to reflect the status of the company's fundraising.  2019-04-16T20:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-launches-center-for-pharmaceutical-engineering-and-sciences VCU launches Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-launches-center-for-pharmaceutical-engineering-and-sciences http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-launches-center-for-pharmaceutical-engineering-and-sciences#When:19:54:00Z Virginia Commonwealth University has launched an initiative focused on creating drug products.   The Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences is a collaboration between the university’s School of Pharmacy and College of Engineering. Pharmaceutical engineering and sciences cover all aspects of the drug production process—from preclinical studies to manufacturing, formulation and packaging. “The idea is to translate this new knowledge and discoveries into real products,” says Sandro R.P. da Rocha, a professor in the School of Pharmacy. He has been named co-director of the center with Thomas D. Roper, who teaches in the College of Engineering. The university hopes the center will produce collaborations between researchers at other universities and businesses. “Part of what we want to do is be able to have a place where researchers and industry can come together to actually apply for some of those unique grants and opportunities that the state of Virginia encourages,” Roper says. Funding is the biggest challenge in getting products from the idea stage into customer’s hands, Roper says. Seed funds often are available for the initial stages of a drug’s development, “At some point a project or therapeutic gets big,” he says. “You have to conduct a clinical trial, which is expensive or you have to scale up. …  It’s also not the place where seed money will help anymore.” The School of Pharmacy and the College of Engineering have successful records in research, VCU said in a news release. The College of Engineering recorded $18.2 million in sponsored research in 2018. The School of Pharmacy is No. 15 in the nation for research funding from the National Institutes of Health and brought in $9.85 million in research funding last year. 2019-04-16T19:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/rtcwestfamoustoastery.png Diane and Gary Reedy (center) operate Reston's Famous Toastery. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/famous-toastery-now-open-in-reston-town-center-west Famous Toastery now open in Reston Town Center West http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/famous-toastery-now-open-in-reston-town-center-west http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/famous-toastery-now-open-in-reston-town-center-west#When:15:04:00Z A North Carolina-based franchise has opened in a 3,320-square-foot space in the Reston Town Center West development. Famous Toastery will offer breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Menu items include avocado benedicts for breakfast and crab rolls for lunch. The franchise – located at 12100 Sunset Hills Road – is operated by Diane and Gary Reedy. The Reedys have opened and sold several businesses in Northern Virginia, including King Pinz in Leesburg and Planet Splash N Play in Chantilly. Famous Toastery has two other Virginia locations—in Ashburn and Roanoke. The restaurant was started in 2005 in Huntersville, N.C. in a small house-turned-restaurant. Famous Toastery’s owners Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard developed the concept into a franchise in 2013. 2019-04-15T15:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-thalhimer-richmond-area-deals Recent Thalhimer Richmond-area deals http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-thalhimer-richmond-area-deals http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/recent-thalhimer-richmond-area-deals#When:13:49:00Z Below are recent notable sales and leases brokered in the Richmond area by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Workspace 101 expanded its current space and now occupies a total of 27,000 square feet at 3904 Jefferson Davis Highway. Michael A. Shaia handled the lease negotiations. Trimech Solutions LLC leased 14,986 square feet in Cox Court at 4461 Cox Road in Henrico County. Evan M. Magrill and Dean Meyer handled the lease negotiations. Chicken Fiesta leased 3,818 square feet at 13350 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County. Annie O'Connor and Gregg W. Beck handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord. Bright Spot Coffee leased 1,500 square feet in Lakeside Town Center at 6110-6920 Lakeside Ave. in Henrico County. Richard L. Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations. 2019-04-15T13:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Southpark.jpg Photo courtesy S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seafood-buffet-opening-in-colonial-heights New restaurant coming to Colonial Heights http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seafood-buffet-opening-in-colonial-heights http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seafood-buffet-opening-in-colonial-heights#When:02:58:00Z A seafood restaurant is joining the tenants at Southpark Square Shopping Center in Colonial Heights. Bay Boil LLC has leased 9,600 square feet of space at 1865 Southpark Boulevard, according to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co.  The restaurant will have a seafood buffet and full bar.  This will be Bay Boil LLC’s first Colonial Heights location. Bay Boil’s owner operates three other restaurants in the Virginia Beach area. Additional tenants include: Party City, Gold’s Gym, Ashley Furniture, Books-A-Million, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, Sports Clips, Massage Envy and Longhorn Steakhouse. S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co.’s Nathan Shor and Graham Sheridan represented the landlord in the transaction. Andy Stein of Harvey Lindsay represented the tenant. 2019-04-15T02:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/calculator-385506_640.jpg Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-dominion-pfg-gannett-paid-no-federal-income-taxes-in-2018 Report: Dominion, PFG, Gannett paid no federal income taxes in 2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-dominion-pfg-gannett-paid-no-federal-income-taxes-in-2018 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-dominion-pfg-gannett-paid-no-federal-income-taxes-in-2018#When:20:03:00Z Some of Virginia’s biggest companies did not pay any federal income tax this year, according to a new report from a nonpartisan think tank. Dominion Energy, Performance Food Group and Gannett paid no federal income tax for 2018 U.S. income, a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows.  The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy is a nonpartisan nonprofit tax policy organization based in Washington, D.C., according to its website. The organization examined financial filings from 560 of the nation’s largest publicly-traded companies, according to The Center for Public Integrity, which first reported the story with NBC News. At least 60 of those companies didn’t owe federal income taxes for 2018 income. The report looks at the impact of corporate tax changes under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The report includes each company’s effective tax rate, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities defines as the share of income a taxpayer pays in taxes. Richmond-based Dominion reported $3.021 billion in U.S. income and received a $45 million rebate, the report shows. The power and energy company’s effective tax rate was calculated to be -1%. According to the report, Dominion used a legal tax break called accelerated depreciation. Accelerated depreciation allows companies to write off the cost of their capital investments faster than the investments wear out. Dominion also claimed $21 million in alternative energy tax subsidies and another $59 million of investment tax credits, the report said. Asked about the report, Dominion spokesman Rayhan Daudani said in an email that Dominion paid about $700 million in state and local taxes last year. He added that Dominion placed $9 billion of capital investment into service last year and is passing along its savings from federal tax reform to customers by cutting rates by $180 million . "Tax incentives, such as the investment tax credit for solar, help us reduce our costs to customers while funding projects and programs that create jobs, support the local economy, and reduce carbon emissions," Daudani said. "We have a strong compliance culture and are committed to following the letter and spirit of the tax laws and the public policy goals they support." Goochland County-based Performance Food Group had $192 million in U.S. income in 2018 and got a rebate of $9 million, according to the report. The food and beverage distributor had an effective tax rate of -4%. The report said that Performance Food Group used stock options to reduce its income tax by $20 million. McLean-based Gannett had $7 million in U.S. income in 2018 and received an $11 million rebate, according to the report. The report tallied the media company’s effective tax rate at -164%. Performance Food Group and Gannett did not respond to requests for comment.  2019-04-12T20:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-manufacturer-bringing-jobs-to-southwest-virginia Canadian manufacturer bringing jobs to Southwest Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-manufacturer-bringing-jobs-to-southwest-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/canadian-manufacturer-bringing-jobs-to-southwest-virginia#When:20:03:00Z Lured by incentives established with recent legislation, a Canadian manufacturer is bringing new jobs to Southwest Virginia. Polycap LLC, a Toronto-based manufacturer, is investing $7.7 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Russell County, creating 48 jobs, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership announced on Thursday. Polycap plans to occupy a 76,000-square-foot shell building in Lebanon. Polycap is a manufacturer of specialty caps and closures for plastic packaging used in various industries.The company could not be immediately reached for a comment Thursday. "We made the decision to choose Virginia, for what will eventually become our North American headquarters, over options in Ontario and Ohio because we believe Virginia offers the most to contribute to our success," Tom Lato, president of Polycap, said in a press release. "Government at all levels, coupled with various industry associations, provides unprecedented incentive programs such as House Bill 222, which was spearheaded by Delegate Will Morefield and Delegate Lashrecse Aird." Gov. Ralph Northam signed House Bill 222 into law in the 2018 General Assembly session. The legislation offers tax credits for up to 10 years to eligible companies that move to certain economically distressed localities.  The Russell County Industrial Development Authority was granted a $3.37 million loan by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to build out the shell building for Polycap. Additionally, Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $130,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Russell County with the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consulting services and funding for employee training activities. 2019-04-11T20:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/self-storage-company-expanding-in-roanoke Self-storage company expanding in Roanoke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/self-storage-company-expanding-in-roanoke http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/self-storage-company-expanding-in-roanoke#When:19:58:00Z A self-storage company is in expansion mode in Roanoke. Virginia Varsity Storage Inc. bought for $2.75 million the 93,000-square-foot self-storage and office facility at 1948 Franklin Road SW in Roanoke, according to John Lugar, the owner of Virginia Varsity Self Storage and Virginia Varsity Transfer. Lugar says plans call for building a three-story, 90,000-square-foot self-storage facility on top of the parking lot at the Franklin Road SW site. Lugar expects the new building to cost around $6 million to build. He says he is in the process of lining up a contractor. Lugar says the new self-storage facility will also serve commercial customers. “It’s a wonderful area,” Lugar says. Lugar says construction will begin later this year and finish in 2020. He says he plans to subdivide the Franklin Road SW property. There are no immediate plans for changing the existing facility on the site. Lugar says he hopes to make some modest improvements to it. The 2.3-acre property was most recently assessed at $1.538 million, according to Roanoke property records, which had yet to record the sale. Virginia Varsity Transfer and Virginia Varsity Self Storage have a combined six existing locations. Lugar says he is working on selling one of them. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Boyd Johnson represented Lugar in the deal. Johnson says the deal came about after he got a call from Lugar who wanted to find a building closer to Roanoke’s downtown. Johnson says the Franklin Road property wasn’t on the market but the owner proved willing to sell. The property is home to a storage business, smaller offices and retail space, Johnson says. 2019-04-11T19:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vchi-receives-grant-to-improve-vaccination-rates-for-hpv VCHI receives grant to improve vaccination rates for HPV http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vchi-receives-grant-to-improve-vaccination-rates-for-hpv http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vchi-receives-grant-to-improve-vaccination-rates-for-hpv#When:09:03:00Z The Virginia Center for Health Innovation (VCHI) has received a $225,000 grant from Merck to improve vaccination rates for human papillomavirus (HPV) in western Virginia. The HPV vaccine helps prevent cancers by HPV, one of the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted infections. Each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV causes 33,700 cancers in the U.S. The vaccination can prevent most of those (about 31,200) from developing. Due to a recent effort by the Virginia Department of Health, VCHI and other state partners, HPV vaccination rates have been improving. In 2016, Virginia Health Value Dashboard data showed 35 percent of girls and 22.5 percent for boys had received the HPV vaccine, well below a federal goal of an 80 percent vaccination rate. By 2017, Virginia’s HPV vaccination rate had improved to 53 percent. Virginia Vaccinates is designed to build on that success by improving education for providers and sharing with them their own performance data. Under the program, VCHI is coordinating with 40 pediatric and family medicine sites from Ballad Health, Carilion Clinic and UVA Health System.  Each site will have a kick-off event followed by a six-month virtual coaching and online education period. Participating clinicians will have access to the Virginia Health Innovation Network, which will house tools and resources and webinars. Participating practices will review reports from their own electronic health records to measure progress. VCHI was formed in 2012 to accelerate value-driven models of health care and wellness in Virginia. 2019-04-11T09:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/cheff-1303313_640.jpg Image by zoli gy from Pixabay http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/restaurant-group-adding-locations-in-central-virginia-hampton-roads Restaurant group adding locations in Central Virginia, Hampton Roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/restaurant-group-adding-locations-in-central-virginia-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/restaurant-group-adding-locations-in-central-virginia-hampton-roads#When:20:12:00Z A restaurant group is hungry for expansion in Hampton Roads and Central Virginia. Boil Bay, a Cajun-style seafood restaurant, plans to open this summer at 1865 Southpark Boulevard in the Southpark Square Shopping Center in Colonial Heights, says founder Raymond Xiao. The eatery has leased the 9,600-square-foot space where it plans have a bar and live entertainment. Xiao, 40, says he plans to open at the end of this month another Boil Bay location in Virginia Beach, and he has plans to open a hot pot restaurant in Virginia Beach as well. Xiao says two more ventures are in the works for Richmond and another two are planned closer to the coast. “I love to work in restaurants,” says Xiao, adding he’s working in the business since he was a teenager. “I love to cook.” Xiao says he’s opened restaurants in New Jersey and Florida. He was attracted to bite into the Virginia market because of its nice weather and the size of its population. Xiao says he’s backed by different partners who have helped him open other Virginia restaurants. Xiao opened the Captain Ray’s Buffet & Sushi, which opened in 2016 in the Military Crossing shopping center in Norfolk. Xiao says he was the original owner of the Crazy Buffet & Grill in Chesapeake before he sold it. Andy Stein of Harvey Lindsay represented Boil Bay in its lease for the Southpark Shopping Center. Southpark Shopping Center sits along Temple Avenue, a shopping, dining and entertainment area for shoppers from Colonial Heights, Petersburg and Hopewell. Other tenants at Southpark Shopping Center include Party City, Gold’s Gym, Ashley Furniture, Books-A-Million and Chipotle. S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co.’s Graham Sheridan and Nathan Shor represented the landlord in the Boil Bay lease. Sheridan says a 46,000-square-foot space is available for lease in a former Toys R Us location. He says there have been a few showings for the space. 2019-04-10T20:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-trade-supports-1-million-virginia-jobs International trade supports 1 million Virginia jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-trade-supports-1-million-virginia-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/international-trade-supports-1-million-virginia-jobs#When:20:56:00Z A Business Roundtable study found that international trade supports 1.054 million jobs in Virginia, or one out of five positions. Business Roundtable is made up of U.S. CEOs of major corporations. The organization supports congressional passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a free trade agreement to replace NAFTA. Trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports 329,100 jobs in Virginia, according to the report. Exports from Virginia to Canada and Mexico have increased by 227 percent since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the study said. The study – prepared by Trade Partnership Worldwide with the latest-available employment data from 2017 – examines the net impacts of both exports and imports of goods and services on U.S. jobs in all 50 states. It also compared 2017 data to pre-NAFTA data from 1992. The study found that trade-supported jobs in Virginia increased by 94 percent from 1992 (when NAFTA was implemented) to 2017 – four times faster than total employment. The study also revealed that Virginia exported $6.1 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico in 2017 and that goods and services exports account for 6.5 percent of Virginia’s total GDP. 2019-04-09T20:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bridgestreet-names-new-ceo BridgeStreet names new CEO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bridgestreet-names-new-ceo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bridgestreet-names-new-ceo#When:20:38:00Z Kamal Advani has been named CEO of BridgeStreet, a Reston-based hospitality platform. He succeeds Sean Worker, who’s leaving to pursue other interests. Advani is a BridgeStreet board member and managing director of Versa Capital Management LLC, BridgeStreet’s controlling shareholder. BridgeStreet’s online booking platform allows travelers book extended stay hotels, serviced apartments, homes, hostels and vacation rentals. The company offers bookings in more than 130 countries. 2019-04-09T20:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/e-cigarette-1881957_640.jpg Image by Roland Mey from Pixabay http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-hopes-to-convert-juul-interest-to-voting-securities Altria hopes to convert JUUL interest to voting securities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-hopes-to-convert-juul-interest-to-voting-securities http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-hopes-to-convert-juul-interest-to-voting-securities#When:14:49:00Z Altria Group Inc. announced on Monday it was seeking to convert its JUUL Labs Inc. interest into voting securities and have the right to designate one-third of JUUL’s board. In December, the Henrico County-based tobacco giant made a $12.8 billion investment to take a 35% stake in JUUL, a fast-growing e-cigarette company. Altria and JUUL have filed notification of the proposed conversion with federal antitrust authorities and are required to observe a waiting period before completing the conversion, according to Monday’s announcement. Altria also announced it had received a second request for information from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding the JUUL investment. Altria said it is cooperating with the investigation. “Altria continues to believe that its investment and the services Altria has agreed to provide JUUL will promote competition and have long-term benefits for adult smokers,” Altria said in a press release. “Altria continues to anticipate that the conversion of its JUUL shares will occur as planned. An earlier version of this story misstated the amount of Altria's investment in JUUL.  2019-04-09T14:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-series-in-the-walking-dead-franchise-to-film-in-virginia Third series in ‘The Walking Dead’ franchise to film in Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-series-in-the-walking-dead-franchise-to-film-in-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/third-series-in-the-walking-dead-franchise-to-film-in-virginia#When:21:21:00Z The third series in AMC’s “The Walking Dead” franchise will film its debut season in Central Virginia starting this summer. The series is a spin-off of the AMC program “The Walking Dead,” now in its ninth season. “The Walking Dead” is about characters fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The new series will feature two female protagonists who are coming-of-age during the apocalypse. “The series will provide high-paying jobs for our skilled workers and will invite economic opportunity for Virginia businesses large and small” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release.  The show will be eligible to receive a Virginia film tax credit. The exact amount will be based on the number of local workers hired, goods and services purchased and promotions of Virginia tourism. Production of the 10-episode series will be the second AMC series to film in the commonwealth. AMC’s “TURN,” which ended in 2017, filmed four seasons Virginia. The show had a total economic impact of over $217 million. Filming is expected to wrap up around late fall/early winter. The series is expected to air in 2020. 2019-04-08T21:21:00+00:00