1419054270 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en rpowell@va-business.com Copyright 2014 2014-12-19T19:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-sentara-hospitals-receive-high-marks-for-their-nursing-staffs Two Sentara hospitals receive high marks for their nursing staffs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-sentara-hospitals-receive-high-marks-for-their-nursing-staffs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-sentara-hospitals-receive-high-marks-for-their-nursing-staffs#When:19:42:00Z The American Nurses Credentialing Center has designated two Sentara Healthcare hospitals in Virginia as meeting the high standards of its Magnet Recognition Program. Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg received the official announcement of their designations this week. Designations are granted to only about 7 percent of U.S. hospitals. “Magnet is the most rigorous designation there is for a hospital nursing program,” Donna Wilmoth, nurse executive at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, said in a statement. Hospitals applying for Magnet recognition must filed more than 3,000 pages of reports documenting that they meet 88 quality measures. Hospitals meeting the criteria, receive three-day site visit to validates the documentation. Nurses are interviewed to test their clinical knowledge and knowledge of the process.  A commission reviews the findings and decides whether to admit the applicant as a Magnet hospital. Sentara Williamsburg and Sentara RMH are the third and fourth Sentara hospitals to receive Magnet recognition. Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital received their designations in 2006 and 2008, respectively. 2014-12-19T19:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/thomas-automation-management-will-invest-1-million-in-carroll-county Thomas Automation Management will invest $1 million in Carroll County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/thomas-automation-management-will-invest-1-million-in-carroll-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/thomas-automation-management-will-invest-1-million-in-carroll-county#When:19:26:00Z The automation firm Thomas Automation Management LLC will invest $1 million to expand its operation in Carroll County, creating 15 new jobs. Thomas Automation Management was founded in 2010 by Ricky Thomas, a former employee of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. His company provides updates for control systems and builds new systems to replace obsolete technology. The company represents International Tobacco Machinery from Poland and currently conducts business in at least six countries. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Carroll County, the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority, and Virginia’s aCorridor to help secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $60,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2014-12-19T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-fort-monroe-buildings-to-be-rehabilitated-and-leased-to-the-public Two Fort Monroe buildings to be rehabilitated and leased to the public http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-fort-monroe-buildings-to-be-rehabilitated-and-leased-to-the-public http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-fort-monroe-buildings-to-be-rehabilitated-and-leased-to-the-public#When:18:57:00Z Two buildings at Fort Monroe will be rehabilitated and leased to the public as commercial and residential properties. The Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees voted to approve the $1.1 million project at its meeting on Thursday. It is funded by a state allocation to the Fort Monroe capital improvement budget. The authority described the move as another step in the execution of a master plan, which calls for the shuttered Army installation to be repurposed into a mixed-use community. The buildings were each constructed in the late 19th century. Construction on the buildings is expected to begin in January and be completed by the spring. The fort’s Building 83 will receive $550,000 in renovations and become the new office space for the Fort Monroe Authority staff, which is now in Old Quarters 1 inside the fortress. Building 83 was a post office for the military installation. Another building, Building 80, was built in 1897 as a Visiting Officers’ Quarters. The building’s eight units were reconfigured into apartments in the 1920s. In 1927, a two-story wing was added, which housed kitchens and bathrooms. It was known as the Old Bachelors’ Quarters until around 1933, and it was converted to VIP quarters in 1972. 2014-12-19T18:57:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-lee-ranks-no.-4-on-best-values-list Washington & Lee ranks No. 4 on best values list http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-lee-ranks-no.-4-on-best-values-list http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-lee-ranks-no.-4-on-best-values-list#When:18:35:00Z Washington & Lee University ranked in the No. 4 spot of Kiplinger’s annual list of Best College Values rankings, and ranked No. 2 on its list of liberal arts colleges. Total annual cost of attending Washington & Lee is $58,062, with the total cost after need-based aid averaging $18,212. For the first year, Kiplinger’s provided a combined ranking of best values at public and private colleges. On Kiplinger’s list of best values for liberal arts colleges, Washington & Lee ranked No. 2 behind Swarthmore College. The combined list used the out-of-state tuition for public schools, while the public colleges list ranked in-state costs. The University of Virginia secured the No. 2 spot on Kiplinger’s list of best values at public colleges and landed in the No. 42 spot on Kiplinger’s new combined list. Four of Virginia’s colleges ranked in the top 100 of Kiplinger’s combined list for best values. In addition to Washington & Lee’s No. 4 ranking, the University of Richmond ranked No. 18, University of Virginia No. 42 and the College of William & Mary was No. 62. Kiplinger’s list ranks colleges on the level of education and affordability. The list measures admission rate, test scores and student-to-faculty ration to determine a quality score. The  financial side measures tuition as well as need-based aid. Here is how Virginia schools fell in the rankings (those in top 100 are the only ones included.) Combined list No. 4: Washington & Lee University, Lexington $58,062 total cost per year $39,850 average need-based aid No. 18: University of Richmond, Richmond $58,570 total cost per year $36,192 average need-based aid No. 42: University of Virginia, Charlottesville $53,706 total cost per year (out-of-state) $18,635 average need-based aid No. 62: College of William & Mary, Williamsburg $50,954 total cost per year (out-of-state) $13,417 average need-based aid Liberal arts colleges No. 2 Washington & Lee University $58,062 total cost per year $39,850 average need-based aid No. 10 University of Richmond $58,570 total cost per year $36,192 average need-based aid No. 57: Christendom College, Front Royal $33,100 total cost per year $7,924 average need-based aid Public colleges (based on in-state tuition) No. 2 University of Virginia, Charlottesville $24,520 (in-state) total cost per year $5,885 cost after need-based aid No. 7 College of William and Mary, Williamsburg $29,250 in-state total cost per year $15,833 cost after need-based aid No. 21 James Madison University, Harrisonburg $19,366  in-state total cost per year $11,806 cost after need-based aid No. 26 Virginia Tech, Blacksburg $21,071  in-state total cost per year $14,583 cost after need-based aid No. 89 Christopher Newport University, Newport News $23,178 in-state total cost per year $17,499 cost after need-based aid No. 92 University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg $22,326 in-state total cost per year $15,155 cost after need-based aid 2014-12-19T18:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-names-new-executive-director Richmond Academy of Medicine names new executive director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-names-new-executive-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-names-new-executive-director#When:21:39:00Z James G. “Jim” Beckner has been named next executive director of the Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM), effective Feb. 2. Beckner will succeed Deborah Love who is retiring on Dec. 31 after 20 years at RAM. Beckner, 52, has been president of IVNA, the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association, since 2007. Before IVNA, he was executive director of RX Partnership Inc., which brokered free medications for use in Virginia’s free clinics and health centers. From 1989 to 2005, Beckner was executive director of the Fan Free Clinic Inc. Under Love’s leadership, RAM grew from 700 members in 1995 to more than 2,500 members today. 2014-12-18T21:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpeg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-will-lease-downtown-norfolk-office-tower CBRE|Hampton Roads will lease downtown Norfolk office tower http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-will-lease-downtown-norfolk-office-tower http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbrehampton-roads-will-lease-downtown-norfolk-office-tower#When:21:14:00Z CBRE|Hampton Roads said Thursday that it has been selected by Harbour Group Management Co. as the exclusive leasing agent for Dominion Tower at 999 Waterside Drive in Norfolk. Located downtown, the 26-story, Class A office building has 360-degree views of the Elizabeth River and the Norfolk skyline. Built in 1997, the 403,084-square-foot office tower is located just off of Interstate 264 and is near hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. “Dominion Tower is a tremendous asset that is home to many of the leading firms in Hampton Roads,” Perry Frazer, managing director of CBRE|Hampton Roads, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with the existing tenants and the ownership to identify new opportunities to strengthen the tenant base.” Building amenities include conference rooms, a YMCA, multiple shops and a restaurant. CBRE|Hampton Roads’ Perry Frazer and Matt Wilbricht will handle the leasing and marketing of the property. 2014-12-18T21:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/studio-center-in-virginia-beach-launches-new-division Studio Center in Virginia Beach launches new division http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/studio-center-in-virginia-beach-launches-new-division http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/studio-center-in-virginia-beach-launches-new-division#When:20:52:00Z Virginia Beach-based Studio Center, the country’s largest commercial production company, announced Thursday the formation of Studio Center Entertainment, which will be dedicated to the development and production of original non-fiction television and online content. Studio Center, in business for 40 years, said the new division is the next chapter in the company’s evolution. Studio Center’s CEO, William “Woody” Prettyman, will head the new division along with Christine Cipriani Jones, the company’s newly appointed vice president. With more than 20 projects currently in development, Studio Center Entertainment said it is accepting ideas for new original programming at http://www.studiocenterentertainment.com. With six locations in five cities, Studio Center said it produces more than 15,000 radio and TV commercials each year.  It also produces websites, including design and development, online videos and corporate training videos for clients in America and 23 countries around the world. 2014-12-18T20:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seven-hills-food-to-open-meat-processing-facility-in-lynchburg Seven Hills Food to open meat processing facility in Lynchburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seven-hills-food-to-open-meat-processing-facility-in-lynchburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seven-hills-food-to-open-meat-processing-facility-in-lynchburg#When:19:45:00Z Seven Hills Food LLC plans to revitalize and open a meat processing facility in Lynchburg, creating 43 new jobs.  The company will invest $3 million and has committed to buying all of its beef and pork from Virginia sources. Seven Hills will renovate the former Dinner Bell Meat processing facility in Lynchburg, a 100-year-old property.  The company plans to  process meat for its own label and private labels, in addition to providing custom processing services to larger customers.  "Seven Hills Food's new investment in Lynchburg is a game changer for our Virginia beef and pork producers, addressing the scarcity in the market for local meats and processing facilities," Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, said in a statement. Gov. Terry  McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist the city with the project.  Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.  The company also is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.  Seven Hills plans to buy 12,000 cattle and hogs in Virginia during the next three years. 2014-12-18T19:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northrop-grumman-renews-111557-square-foot-lease-in-richmond Northrop Grumman renews 111,557-square-foot lease in Richmond. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northrop-grumman-renews-111557-square-foot-lease-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northrop-grumman-renews-111557-square-foot-lease-in-richmond#When:19:40:00Z Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. has renewed a 111,557-square-foot lease lease at Patriot Tower at Gateway in Richmond. Joe Marchetti, David Wilkins and Rebecca Barricklow of CBRE/Richmond represented the landlord in the transaction. In other transactions announced by CBRE/Richmond: Merit Medical Systems Inc. renewed a 33,661-square-foot lease at 837 Liberty Way in Chester. Marc Allocca, Matt Anderson, Trib Sutton and Scott Durham represented the landlord in the transaction. EdgeConneX Richmond Holdings LLC leased 18,057 square feet at 1450 East Parham Rd. in Richmond. JMarchetti, Wilkins and Barricklow represented the landlord and Wood Thornton represented the tenant in the transaction. Reynolds Group Holdings Inc. sold 128,877 square feet of office space at 4915 Norman Rd. in Sandston to 4915 Norman Road LLC for $2.9 million. Rob Dirom represented the seller in the transaction. 2014-12-18T19:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Short_Pump_Town_Center_11.JPG http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/short-pump-town-center-completes-multimillion-dollar-renovations Short Pump Town Center completes multimillion dollar renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/short-pump-town-center-completes-multimillion-dollar-renovations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/short-pump-town-center-completes-multimillion-dollar-renovations#When:19:36:00Z Just in time for the holidays, Short Pump Town Center in western Henrico County has completed a multimillion dollar renovation that took place over the course of this year. The project added new landscaping, walkways lit with hanging lanterns, gathering spaces with seating under heated pavilions, fountains, a pedestrian bridge spanning the Main Plaza, updated restrooms and a centrally located glass elevator. For children, there’s a new play village in the Food Court and an outdoor play area in the Main Plaza. To ward off the cold, shoppers can stop by a new outdoor fireplace. In addition to its new look, the center has added new stores and restaurants. More than 20 new retailers opened their doors this year, including: kate spade new york, Michael Kors, Madewell, Free People, True Religion, Oakley, Sephora and Soft among others. Recently opened restaurants include Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant & Winery and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. The Boathouse, a local Richmond restaurant with two locations, also announced recently that it would open a restaurant at Short Pump Town Center in the spring of 2015. To celebrate the season, the center added a new 60-foot, walk-thru holiday tree, decorated with more than 60,000 lights on the new Main Plaza Bridge. “With these superb renovations, as well as the many new retail and restaurant offerings, Short Pump Town Center is poised for an exciting new chapter of growth …’’ E. Kemel Blue, the center’s vice president/general manager, said in statement. 2014-12-18T19:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-new-vez-designations-approved Five new VEZ designations approved http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-new-vez-designations-approved http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-new-vez-designations-approved#When:19:35:00Z Virginia has approved the creation of five new Virginia Enterprise Zone (VEZ) designations, which provide businesses with state and local incentives. The new zones include Bristol, Newport News and Page County. Two new regional zones were also created — one including the Galax and Carroll and Grayson counties and the other zone making up Accomack and Northampton counties. The VEZ program, operated by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, offers incentives for businesses, including the Job Creation Grant and the Real Property Investment Grant. Eligible businesses can earn up to $200,000 over five years in real property grants and up to $800 per position over five years for the job creation grant, if the jobs pay twice the federal minimum wage. Twelve applications were submitted for the five VEZ spots available. Zones are designated for a 10-year period and may receive two five-year renewal periods. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday that Hampton, Hopewell, Petersburg, Bedford and Wythe County received VEZ renewals. The VEZ program has supported more than $1 billion in investment and the creation of more than 40,000 jobs since 1995. 2014-12-18T19:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copper-fox-distillery-expanding-to-williamsburg Copper Fox Distillery expanding to Williamsburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copper-fox-distillery-expanding-to-williamsburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/copper-fox-distillery-expanding-to-williamsburg#When:22:12:00Z Sperryville-based Copper Fox Distillery announced Wednesday plans to invest more than $2 million to open a second location in Williamsburg, which is expected to create 28 jobs in the city. Copper Fox will locate in a vacant 62-year-old motor court buildings on Capitol Landing Road, a site it bought from the city for $600,000. It will invest in site improvements, buildings, and equipment needed to renovate the nine-building motel into malting, production, aging and tasting facilities. The company was started in 2000 by Rick Wasmund and currently sells rye and single-malt whiskies.  In addition to producing its own malts, Copper Fox will malt barley and grains on a custom basis for other distillers and craft brewers. An official opening date for the distillery has not been set. Copper Fox received a $50,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. Copper Fox also has committed to purchase 100 percent of its grains from Virginia producers. According to the Virginia Tourism Corp. there currently are about 15 distilleries in the commonwealth, up from five distilleries in 2008. 2014-12-17T22:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/New_Castelli_Alex.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-profitable-exit-think-sustainable-long-term-growth A profitable exit? Think sustainable, long-term growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-profitable-exit-think-sustainable-long-term-growth http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-profitable-exit-think-sustainable-long-term-growth#When:19:03:00Z Attracting millions or even billions of investment dollars is the dream of every business owner. But it is not going to occur overnight — and it may never occur if the primary goal is to sell, rather than build the business. The surest path to achieving a successful, sustainable business is to focus on long-term growth, and the investment interest will follow in due time. Investors do not want companies that are built to flip. They want companies that are built to last and that can sustain revenue growth. Investors are willing to pay top dollar for such companies. There are measures companies must take to position themselves for sustainable success, foremost of which is to instill a focus on long-term growth and profitability rather than short-term liquidity. Such a strategy will inevitably make a company more attractive to investors. Here are four issues that companies can focus on to maximize the long-term value of their business. 1. Know your market niche and competitors Companies should know how their product or service fills a need in the marketplace. They should know the size of their potential market, the size of their current market share, who their customers and competitors are and how they are changing. By staying informed, companies can remain relevant in the midst of fierce competition. Market knowledge is also an important avenue to growth. Organic growth is ideal, but at some point acquisition may become necessary to maintain or accelerate growth. Companies should be familiar with their competitors, large and small, and should consider building relationships with them. These relationships can eventually lead to synergistic business opportunities. The best acquisitions do not come from business brokers, but because the business owner or management team knows the market and has personally identified targets they are interested in acquiring.   2. Drive sustainable revenue Sustaining customer and revenue growth are vital for companies. Horizontal revenue means one thing to investors — that they will not get the return they want from their investment. To sustain revenue and minimize customer churn, companies must innovate and add services and products. They must continually introduce new, appealing features for their customers. Granted, a subscription model is a good way to sustain revenue, but subscribing customers also expect regular updates. These updates do not have to be new, blockbuster releases, but they should at least be useful and worthwhile.   3. Build a scalable business Scaling requires action on a number of business fronts. In summary, it means adding products, services and customers. It means keeping in mind that past results are no guarantee of future performance. In other words, the accomplishments that got companies to where they are will not get them to where they need to go. Companies must ensure that their business model guarantees long-term growth and they must be up to the challenge. 4. Focus on profitability It is usually those companies that are not in dire need to sell that receive the highest valuation. Those companies are well-managed, have products in demand and are profitable. Arriving at this desirable position means continuing to innovate to stay relevant and maintain a competitive advantage. Conclusion Growth is an alluring word in almost any industry, but creating profitable growth is the key to turning a small company into a large company. To fuel long-term profitable growth, companies must invest in a competitive advantage. Companies can grow in a competitive market by cutting prices or increasing promotions, but those maneuvers do not increase competitive advantage and, therefore, do not fuel long-term profitable growth. They require a company to trade margin for revenue growth — and driving revenue growth for its own sake rarely creates the success that entrepreneurs want. Alex Castelli, CPA, is the office managing partner for CohnReznick’s Tysons Corner office and a member of the Virginia Society of CPAs. He has nearly 25 years of experience managing the audit, accounting and reporting issues of entrepreneurial companies. Contact Alex at alex.castelli@cohnreznick.com or (703) 744-6708. 2014-12-17T19:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-president-named-at-hopewell-prince-george-chamber-of-commerce New president named at Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-president-named-at-hopewell-prince-george-chamber-of-commerce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-president-named-at-hopewell-prince-george-chamber-of-commerce#When:18:17:00Z Tim Webb has been named president of the Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce for 2015. Webb’s term begins Jan. 1, but will ceremonially take the gavel at the Annual Membership & Awards Breakfast on March 4. Webb, who is chief operating officer for Container First Services, is a retired battalion chief with the Hopewell Bureau of Fire. Founded in 1920, the Hopewell/Prince George Chamber advocates for manufacturers, businesses, professionals, recreational and hospitality facilities, and historic attractions in Hopewell and Prince George County. 2014-12-17T18:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-assemblage-completed-for-west-broad-marketplace-in-henrico-county Land assemblage completed for West Broad Marketplace in Henrico County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-assemblage-completed-for-west-broad-marketplace-in-henrico-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-assemblage-completed-for-west-broad-marketplace-in-henrico-county#When:17:36:00Z The developers of West Broad Marketplace in Henrico County have completed s $20 million purchase for the development’s large land tract. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the transaction, Excel West Broad Marketplace acquired the nine-parcel, 61-plus acre assemblage of land. The development, located on West Broad Street just west of Short Pump Town Center near the Goochland County line, will be the home of the area’s first Cabela’s and Wegmans’ stores, which will serve an anchor tenants. Cabela’s, a retailer of outdoor gear, plans an 82,000-square-foot store, and Wegmans has said it will build a 140,000-square-foot store, along with another store in Midlothian. Site clearing and other work is underway on what will be a 444,000-square-foot, mixed-use project that will also feature shops, restaurants, office and medical space. The project is scheduled to open in spring 2016. Thalhimer’s Mark E. Douglas handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer.  Douglas and Connie Jordan Nielsen are the exclusive leasing representatives for West Broad Marketplace. 2014-12-17T17:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hamilton-beach-brands-acquires-ohio-based-weston-products Hamilton Beach Brands acquires Ohio-based Weston Products http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hamilton-beach-brands-acquires-ohio-based-weston-products http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hamilton-beach-brands-acquires-ohio-based-weston-products#When:22:12:00Z Richmond-based Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. has acquired Weston Products LLC from Highgate Capital LLC. Weston Products, based in Strongsville, Ohio, makes specialty food processing products, including meat grinders, vacuum sealers, food dehydrators and meat slicers.  Weston Products will become Weston Brands under Hamilton Beach. Hamilton Beach acquired substantially all of the assets and assumed certain liabilities of Weston Products for cash consideration based on a multiple of Weston's estimated 2014 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).  The final purchase price is subject to customary post-closing adjustments based on net working capital and EBITDA calculations.  Hamilton Beach funded the acquisition with cash on hand and borrowings under an existing revolving credit facility. Hamilton Beach said the acquisition allows it to expand beyond its small-kitchen and commercial-appliance businesses into the growing hunting, wild-game processing, specialty-food processing and specialty-housewares industries.  For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, Weston had revenue of approximately $32.7 million, pre-tax income of approximately $3.2 million and EBITDA  of about $3.3 million. Hamilton Beach is a subsidiary of Cleveland-based NACCO Industries Inc. 2014-12-16T22:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gymnastics-athletic-wear-company-to-add-45-jobs-in-expansion Gymnastics athletic wear company to add 45 jobs in expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gymnastics-athletic-wear-company-to-add-45-jobs-in-expansion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gymnastics-athletic-wear-company-to-add-45-jobs-in-expansion#When:21:53:00Z Virginia Beach-based Dreamlight Inc. will expand its corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations, adding 45 jobs. Dreamlight specializes in the design and manufacture of high-end athletic wear for high school, college and national gymnastics athletes. The company is credited with being the first to introduce textiles such as metallic fabrics and sheer mesh to the gymnastics athletic wear. Founded in 1989, Dreamlight now has 15,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space at 1620 Centerville Turnpike in Virginia Beach. It plans to purchase the adjacent building at 1618 Centerville Turnpike, which will give the company an additional 10,000 square feet. Dreamlight currently has 60 employees. Five of the additional 45 jobs planned with the expansion will be at management level positions. The expansion represents a $1.1 million capital investment. The Virginia Beach Economic Development Authority has awarded an Economic Development Investment Program grant in the amount of $20,000 based on the capital investment. The company’s customers include the University of Georgia, University of Arkansas, University of Arizona, North Carolina State, Arizona State, Kellam High School, Tallwood High School and Ocean Lakes High School. In another expansion announcement for the city, govSolutions Inc., a Virginia Beach company founded in 2004, announced plans to build a 4,000-square-foot headquarters building to serve its growing operations. The new building will be located at 108 S. Birdneck Road. govSolutions is a full-service office furniture and interiors service provider serving the corporate, government, health care and hospitality business sectors. 2014-12-16T21:53:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-avizia-inc.-combines-with-emerge.md Reston-based Avizia Inc. combines with Emerge.MD http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-avizia-inc.-combines-with-emerge.md http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-avizia-inc.-combines-with-emerge.md#When:21:27:00Z Reston-based Avizia Inc., a telemedicine hardware solution-provider, has merged with Arizona-based Emerge.MD, a telemedicine software provider.   The merger combines Avizia's telehealth devices and video conferencing offerings with Emerge.MD's software. The merged company is named Avizia. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Company officials said the combined platform will allow telemedicine to be used to expand access to providers, quickly diagnose patients and improve their overall delivery of care. "Health-care providers are rapidly integrating telemedicine into their clinical workflows as a means of improving health-care outcomes, dramatically extending the reach of medical practitioners, and improving the efficiency of care delivery," Mike Baird, CEO, Avizia Inc., said in a statement. "Providers today don't have what they need to quickly get telemedicine pilots off the ground,” he said.  “They are forced to cobble together various in-house and vendor hardware and software.  Providers are clamoring for a packaged, whole solution that tightly integrates carts, peripherals, and software — all tied to their [electronic health records] and systems of record." Avizia official said its telemedicine solution combines video devices with clinical workflow management and HIPAA compliant communication software.  The software integrates with hospitals' existing electronic health record systems as well as provider and patient cell phones, tablets and laptops. 2014-12-16T21:27:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-2.6-million-federal-grant-for-new-health-care-models Virginia receives $2.6 million federal grant for new health-care models http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-2.6-million-federal-grant-for-new-health-care-models http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-2.6-million-federal-grant-for-new-health-care-models#When:19:35:00Z Virginia has been awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to develop new health-care models. The one-year grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will provide financial and technical support for the Virginia Health Innovation Plan. The goal of the plan is to improve health outcomes for all of the commonwealth’s residents, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance. The goals of the initiative include: • Lowering rates of tobacco use and obesity • Preventing and managing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and high-risk pregnancy • Creating better care for certain mental-health and oral-health conditions through improved integration with primary care The Richmond-based Virginia Center for Health Innovation (VCHI) will develop the innovation plan in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders. More than 800 individuals and 300 organizations already are involved in Virginia Health Innovation Network. “Through this incredible collaboration, we expect to transform Virginia’s health care system using a Triple Aim Strategy,” Beth Bortz, the president and CEO, of VCHI, said in a statement.  This strategy includes: • Activating consumers and communities • Developing person-centered, integrated, accountable delivery systems • Aligning infrastructure, workforce and quality incentives Seven regional accountable care communities will be created across the state, each with its own partners. Each group will work on the development of integrated delivery systems and the improvement health in its area. In developing its health transformation plan, Virginia will seek a Delivery System Reform Incentive Program Medicaid Innovation Waiver. The waiver allow the state to provide Medicaid incentive payments that reward hospitals and health systems adopting  innovative delivery systems innovations and achieving significant quality improvements. 2014-12-16T19:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-to-create-cardiac-surgery-program Children’s hospital to create cardiac surgery program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-to-create-cardiac-surgery-program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-to-create-cardiac-surgery-program#When:19:30:00Z The Children’s Hospital of Richmond  at VCU on Tuesday announced a gift of $28 million from Children’s Hospital Foundation that will be used to build a children’s cardiac surgery program. VCU officials said the program would create specialized heart services for children that have not been available in the region before now. The gift was described as the largest dedicated to children’s health in VCU’s history, and is the second largest publicly announced gift ever to VCU’s MCV Campus. VCU Medical Center announced it would supplement the $28 million gift with $14 million to provide the technology and equipment needed to run a full cardiac thoracic surgery program. In announcing the gift, the school noted that Dr. Thomas Yeh was hired in October as director of the newly named Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center, and chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at the hospital. Yeh trained at VCU Medical Center for his general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery residencies, and also obtained his doctorate in physiology at the university. 2014-12-16T19:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cape-henry-associates-to-expand-adding-36-new-full-time-jobs Cape Henry Associates to expand, adding 36 new full-time jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cape-henry-associates-to-expand-adding-36-new-full-time-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cape-henry-associates-to-expand-adding-36-new-full-time-jobs#When:15:51:00Z Virginia Beach-based training solutions company Cape Henry Associates Inc. plans to expand its headquarters and create 36 new full-time jobs during the next 36 months.  The company will consolidate operations now at two locations, moving into 20,000 square feet of office space at 2877 Guardian Lane in the Lynnhaven area. The company, founded in 2004, currently has 108 employees, 90 percent of whom are veterans. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $65,000. Cape Henry. is a privately held, service-disabled veteran-owned small business. It specializes in manpower estimate reports, front-end analysis, job/task analysis, billet training profiles and preliminary manpower documents. Its customers include the Naval Sea Systems Command, Space and Naval Warfare System, Naval Service Warfare Center, U.S. Coast Guard and other departments and agencies. The company said the expansion also will assist it in increasing its civilian market base. The new jobs that will be created include project managers, logistic specialists, technical writers, training and human system integration analysts. The expansion will generate $150,000 in new capital investment in the city. The Virginia Beach Economic Development Authority has awarded an Economic Development Investment Program grant in the amount of $75,000 based on the number of jobs created in the city. 2014-12-16T15:51:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-acquire-carolina-gas-transmission-for-493-million Dominion plans to acquire Carolina Gas Transmission for $493 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-acquire-carolina-gas-transmission-for-493-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-plans-to-acquire-carolina-gas-transmission-for-493-million#When:15:18:00Z In another move to expand its holdings in natural gas, Richmond-based Dominion Resources Inc. announced Tuesday plans to acquire a natural gas transportation company for $492.9 million. Dominion has agreed to purchase Carolina Gas Transmission (CGT) from SCANA Corp. CGT owns and operates nearly 1,500 miles of natural gas pipeline in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia. The company expects to complete the acquisition in January 2015. "Carolina Gas Transmission is a great fit for our well-run, regulated natural gas businesses as we expand our operations into the Southeast,” Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion and chairman and CEO of Dominion Midstream, said in a statement. Dominion said in a news release it plans to keep CGT’s 120-person workforce and is committed to an extended period of rate stability for current CGT customers.The transaction would include no assumption of debt and, upon closing, would be immediately accretive to Dominion's operating earnings per share. Subject to board approvals by Dominion and Dominion Midstream Partners, Dominion expects to contribute CGT into Dominion Midstream for a combination of debt and units by mid-2015. Through some of its subsidiaries, Dominion currently owns  a 68.5 percent limited partner interest in Dominion Midstream, in addition to its general partner, and all associated incentive distribution rights. The CGT acquisition will require Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust clearance and must be approved by the boards of Dominion and Dominion Midstream Partners LP. Dominion – and other energy companies – have committed to build and own the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 550-mile natural gas pipeline would run through parts of West Virginia,  Virginia and North Carolina.   2014-12-16T15:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-ranked-second-in-national-study Virginia Economic Development Partnership ranked second in national study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-ranked-second-in-national-study http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economic-development-partnership-ranked-second-in-national-study#When:21:46:00Z The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) has been named No. 2 in a national ranking of the 10 top state economic development organizations. The ranking by the American Economic Development Institute (AEDI) and Pollina Corporate Real Estate is based largely on information from the second stage of the AEDI/Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States 2014 report released earlier this year. The report examines each state’s incentive programs and economic development marketing efforts.  It analyzed the resources devoted to the state agencies, their ability to respond to new company inquiries and existing company needs, and the functionality of their website. “VEDP’s recognition as the second-best state economic development organization in the country is tremendous validation of their critical work,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. Missouri took the No. 1 spot with a score of 112, followed by Virginia at 110. South Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, and Utah rounded out the top 10 list. While praising the work on the top 10 states, Ronald R. Pollina, chairman of the American Economic Development Institute and president of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc., had a sobering assessment of national economic development efforts “The national effort at economic development is failing. American companies, if they are to survive in a global economy, must be located in the most pro-business locations possible,” he said in a statement. “Leaders of economic development organizations throughout the country need to do a far better job of understanding that their primary objective to create new jobs and retain those already located in their state.” VEDP, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The organization is a state authority, which is governed by a 24-member board of directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly.VEDP has offices in Virginia, Germany, Shanghai, Mexico, Japan, India and the United Kingdom. AEDI is a nonpartisan public policy and economics research institution whose mission is to improve the American economy by fostering economic growth and prosperity through employment creation and international trade. AEDI also seeks to improve federal, state and local economic development planning in the United States. Through research, training, conferences, demonstration projects, publications and multimedia, AEDI provides the highest quality, nonpartisan analysis and evaluation for federal, state and local economic development planning and policy decisions. 2014-12-15T21:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aes-raises-quarterly-dividend AES raises quarterly dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aes-raises-quarterly-dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aes-raises-quarterly-dividend#When:21:38:00Z The board of directors of The AES Corp. has raised its quarterly common stock dividend from 5  to 10 cents a share. The Arlington-based, global power company said it expects the dividend to grow at  about a 10 percent annual rate, consistent with a free cash-flow growth rate of 10 to 15 percent  year on average through 2018. The 10-cent dividend is payable on Feb. 17 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 3. Andrés Gluski, AES’ president and CEO, said in a statement that the decision to raise the dividend “reflects our strong and growing free cash flow, which is being driven by our $9 billion construction program underway. Through 2018, we will commission more than 7 [gigawatts] GW of new or upgraded capacity, with most of our equity commitments already funded.” Tom O’Flynn, AES’ executive vice president and CFO, said the company is allocating more of its cash towards its dividend to maximize shareholder return. AES, a Fortune 500 company, provides energy to 20 countries through a diverse portfolio of distribution businesses as well as thermal and renewable generation facilities. The company, which employs 17,800 people, had revenues of $16 billion in 2013. 2014-12-15T21:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/ceo-of-virginia-society-of-the-american-institute-of-architects-to-retire CEO of Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects to retire http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/ceo-of-virginia-society-of-the-american-institute-of-architects-to-retire http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/ceo-of-virginia-society-of-the-american-institute-of-architects-to-retire#When:21:22:00Z John Braymer is retiring at the end of December as executive vice president/CEO of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects, a position he has held for 28 years. "Dr. Braymer’s leadership brought a quality of professionalism that was revealed through important strategic thinking and actions that have ultimately sustained one of the most involved and leading architectural organizations of its type in the country,” Jack Davis, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, said in a statement. During Braymer’s tenure, the society’s membership has almost doubled. He led the $1 million renovation of the 1844 Barret House — the society’s former home —developed the annual convention now called Architecture Exchange East and launched Inform magazine. He conceived and developed the Virginia Center for Architecture, now headquartered along with the society at the Branch House on Monument Avenue. Braymer has been a leader in the American Institution of Architects, serving on its national board and as president of the Council of Architectural Component Executives, which awarded him its top award in 2004. He also received honorary membership in the AIA, was named a Richard Upjohn Fellow of the AIA and, in 2006, was awarded the VSAIA Architecture Medal for Virginia Service. In retirement, Braymer expects to consult with nonprofit organizations in transition and to continue organizing architectural tours offered in collaboration with the VSAIA and the Virginia Center for Architecture. 2014-12-15T21:22:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-office-warehouse-properties-sell-for-1.9-million Fredericksburg office/warehouse properties sell for $1.9 million. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-office-warehouse-properties-sell-for-1.9-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-office-warehouse-properties-sell-for-1.9-million#When:21:03:00Z   Creative Color Real Estate LLC purchased three office/warehouse properties in Fredericksburg from JPI-1410 Caroline St. for $1.9 million. The properties, which have19,766 square feet of space, include the Creative Color Building located at 1409 and 1411 Princess Anne St. and 1410-1414 Caroline St.  According to Cushman & Wakefield |Thalhimer, which brokered the sale, the company made the purchase as an investment and for the operations of Creative Color LLC, a local printing company. Berkley M. Mitchell and Mike Degen of Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. In another transaction in the area, the Stafford Baseball League leased 14,586 square feet of industrial space in Spotsylvania County. Virgil Nelson of Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations. 2014-12-15T21:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/telvista-renews-lease-in-danville-and-plans-to-expand Telvista renews lease in Danville and plans to expand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/telvista-renews-lease-in-danville-and-plans-to-expand http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/telvista-renews-lease-in-danville-and-plans-to-expand#When:21:00:00Z The commercial real estate company JLL said Monday that Telvista Inc., has renewed its lease and plans to expand employment by about 300 people at its call center in Danville. Telvista is a Dallas-based call center outsourcing firm.  It will continue to occupy 62,000 square feet of office space at 119 Cane Creek Blvd., which is owned by Danville’s Industrial Development Authority. The company also plans to bring about 300 new jobs to the area. Speaking about JLL’s announcement, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement,  “Telvista has thrived in Danville since opening its facility in April 2005, and we celebrate the addition of 300 new jobs in a region that continues to rebound economically.  Creating jobs of the 21st century that are not tied to federal contracts will help us build a new Virginia economy …” Telvista's decision to put the new jobs in Danville came down to the center’s location and labor availability, as well as its investment in the property. "Since launching the Danville operation in 2005, the Danville community has provided the right mix of labor availability, quality and cost structure," David Arellano, Telvista’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. "These conditions made the placement of these jobs in Danville a straightforward, optimal decision." JLL’s Jim Clarke, Allen Tucker, Steve Thelen and Rachel Brown represented Telvista in the lease transaction. The landlord, the Industrial Development Authority of Danville was self-represented. JLL is a professional real estate services and investment management firm with more than 200 offices and annual fee revenue of $4 billion. 2014-12-15T21:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-company-adds-two-more-acquisitions Reston-based company adds two more acquisitions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-company-adds-two-more-acquisitions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-company-adds-two-more-acquisitions#When:20:31:00Z Reston-based Vistronix Intelligence & Technology Solutions has acquired Herndon-based ExaTech Solutions Inc. and Maryland-based Objective Solutions Inc. to enhance its intelligence services capabilities. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed. ExaTech is a an IT company providing software, systems, and network engineering support. Objective Solutions’ key mission areas include big data, cyber, collection and advanced analytics. Vistronix announced last week the completion of its acquisition of Maryland-based Agency Consulting Group. The company said the tree deals enhance Vistronix’s position in the intelligence services and create scale in key technology areas, permitting greater innovation in top growth sectors such as big-data analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and enterprise computing and mission IT. Founded in 1990, Vistronix provides national security information systems, solutions and services. It is a portfolio company of Washington, D.C.,-based Enlightenment Capital, an aerospace, defense and government-focused investment firm. 2014-12-15T20:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harvey-lindsay-announces-several-leases-in-hampton-roads Pacorini Global Services (USA) leases 150,000 square feet of industrial space in Suffolk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harvey-lindsay-announces-several-leases-in-hampton-roads http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/harvey-lindsay-announces-several-leases-in-hampton-roads#When:16:46:00Z         Pacorini Global Services (USA)  has leased 150,000 square feet of industrial space in Suffolk.  Charles L. Dickinson of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate in Norfolk represented the tenant in the transaction and Ashton Williamson of CBRE/ Hampton Roads represented the landlord, Duke Realty Limited Partnership. Pacorini Global Services, based out of New Orleans, offers services in logistics, including transportation, warehousing,  freight forwarding, and it  specializes in customized door-to-door solutions. In other deals for Harvey Lindsay in the Hampton Roads market, Pacific Best leased 33,600 square feet of industrial space  at 713 Fenway Ave. in Chesapeake. Glenn Gibson handled the lease negotiations.  Pepperidge Farm leased 11,772 square feet of industrial space at 1240 Scholastic Way in Chesapeake. Peter Abraham and Chip Worley handled the lease negotiations. Secured Network Solutions Inc. leased 11,500 square feet of industrial space at 912 Executive Court in Chesapeake. Jim Owens handled the lease negotiations. Jo-Ann Fabrics renewed its 11,318 square-foot lease of retail space at 1733 Parkview Drive in Chesapeake. Susan Pender handled the lease negotiations. 2014-12-15T16:46:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/signal-construction-names-patrick-thomas-vice-president-of-project-developm Signal Construction names Patrick Thomas vice president of project development. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/signal-construction-names-patrick-thomas-vice-president-of-project-developm http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/signal-construction-names-patrick-thomas-vice-president-of-project-developm#When:16:07:00Z SIGAL Construction Corp., a general contractor based in Arlington, has named Patrick Thomas its vice president of project development. Thomas will be responsible for the company’s business and relationship development. He has more than 29 years of experience in the construction industry, spending the last 19 years in preconstruction, executive operations,and business development. He is active in the commercial real estate industry in the Washington, D.C. area, serving as a board member for the Associated General Contractors in Washington and being active with such associations as Bisnow. 2014-12-15T16:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salamander-resort-spa-gears-up-for-construction-of-estate-homes Salamander Resort & Spa gears up for construction of estate homes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salamander-resort-spa-gears-up-for-construction-of-estate-homes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salamander-resort-spa-gears-up-for-construction-of-estate-homes#When:16:03:00Z With a first anniversary under its belt, Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg is gearing up for a second phase of development that will bring 49 luxury homes in and around the 340-acre resort. “Launching the residential real estate component at Salamander Resort & Spa has always been contemplated for 2015. We are currently in a preliminary marketing phase, and will open a real estate showroom in Middleburg early next year,” said Matt Owen, corporate director of public relations.  Sheila C. Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, opened the $100 million plus resort in Virginia’s horse country in August 2013. The 168-room property, the first new luxury resort to open in Virginia in years, quickly became a site for weddings and conferences. The company plans to extend its brand with the new home homes by offering owners a Salamander Residence Club membership, which would provide access to many of the resort’s amenities, including Salamander’s equestrian facilities. According to Owen, the estate and village homes will range in price from $1.5 million to $3 million. Estate homes will offer 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, while village homes will be 2,700 to 4,000 square feet. The larger estate homes will back up to 200 acres that Johnson put into a conservation easement to guard against future development. The village homes would be closest to the small town of Middleburg.  Owen said the company also has the right to build a limited number of smaller cottages in the future, but it has not formalized that pricing yet. Construction of the first phase of the home development is expected to begin in 2016. 2014-12-15T16:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regulators-approve-townebank-franklin-financial-deal Regulators approve TowneBank-Franklin Financial deal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regulators-approve-townebank-franklin-financial-deal http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regulators-approve-townebank-franklin-financial-deal#When:22:48:00Z Federal and state regulators have approved TowneBank’s plan to acquire the parent company of Franklin Federal Savings Bank. The deal, valued at $275 million when announced in July, is expected to close in early January. Hampton Roads-based TowneBank and Richmond-based Franklin Financial Corp. said Friday that regulatory applications for the proposed deal have been approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The stockholders of the two institutions also have endorsed the deal in separate stockholder meetings. Under the terms of the deal, Franklin shareholders will receive 1.40 shares of TowneBank common stock for each common share of Franklin. TowneBank, founded in 1999, operates 28 banking offices in Hampton Roads and North Carolina. It had total assets of $4.97 billion on Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter. Franklin, begun in 1933, operates eight banking offices in the Richmond area and has assets of $1.1 billion. 2014-12-12T22:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-bio-names-two-new-board-members Virginia Bio names two new board members http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-bio-names-two-new-board-members http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-bio-names-two-new-board-members#When:22:45:00Z The Virginia Biotechnology Association (Virginia Bio) has named Charles Pennington and Carrie Roth to its board of directors. They will serve three-year terms. Pennington is president of TechLab Inc., a manufacturer of medical diagnostics products targeted at intestinal diseases. It has  locations in Blacksburg and Radford. Roth is executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority and president/CEO of the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond. In addition, two board members were re-elected for their second terms. They are Andrew Krouse, CEO of Cavion in Charlottesville and William Stilley, CEO of ADial Pharmaceuticals, also in Charlottesville. 2014-12-12T22:45:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-companys-expansion-to-add-97-jobs-in-leesburg Medical device company’s expansion to add 97 jobs in Leesburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-companys-expansion-to-add-97-jobs-in-leesburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/medical-device-companys-expansion-to-add-97-jobs-in-leesburg#When:22:39:00Z K2M Group Holdings Inc., a medical device company, will relocate its headquarters and research and development operations to a new 146,000-square-foot facility in Leesburg. The approximately $28 million expansion project is expected to create 97 jobs and retain 268 positions. The company has operated in Leesburg for 10 years. The project will be financed with funds from Trammell Crow Co., Keane Enterprises Inc., and K2M, as well as the Town of Leesburg, Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $450,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Loudoun County with the project. The governor also approved a $400,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. K2M designs, develops and commercializes technologies used to treat patients suffering from degenerative spinal conditions. 2014-12-12T22:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bae-systems-plans-purchase-to-expand-intelligence-offerings BAE Systems plans purchase to expand intelligence offerings http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bae-systems-plans-purchase-to-expand-intelligence-offerings http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bae-systems-plans-purchase-to-expand-intelligence-offerings#When:20:37:00Z Arlington-based BAE Systems has announced it plans to acquire advanced technology company Eclipse Electronics Systems from Esterline Corp. for $28 million. Texas-based Eclipse employs 90 people and provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services and products to the U.S. Defense and intelligence community. The proposed acquisition will broaden BAE Systems' ISR offers and its customer base. “By combining Eclipse Electronic Systems’ products with BAE Systems’ existing ISR capabilities, we will be able to support our customers’ requirements for reliable, smaller, lighter and more power-efficient sensor solutions to capture and harness actionable intelligence," Tom Arseneault, chief operating officer at BAE Systems Inc., said in a statement. The acquisition is conditional on regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. 2014-12-12T20:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-second-law-firm-leases-space-in-richmonds-suntrust-building A second law firm leases space in Richmond’s SunTrust Building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-second-law-firm-leases-space-in-richmonds-suntrust-building http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-second-law-firm-leases-space-in-richmonds-suntrust-building#When:21:41:00Z Another law firm is leasing space in the SunTrust Center in downtown Richmond. Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC has leased 13,228 square feet in the office tower at 919 East Main Street.  Currently located about a block away at 707 East Main St., the law firm, based out of Pittsburg, was the second one to announce this week that it was going to SunTrust. Richmond firm LeClairRyan has signed a 10-year-lease for about 50,000 square feet, and plans to relocate in August 2015 from its location in downtown’s Riverfront Plaza tower.   Russell Wyatt and Jamie Galanti of Commonwealth Commercial represented the landlord in the Eckert Seamans transaction while Wood Thornton with CBRE/Richmond represented the law firm. 2014-12-11T21:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/tax-attorney-joins-williams-mullen-as-partner Tax attorney joins Williams Mullen as partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/tax-attorney-joins-williams-mullen-as-partner http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/tax-attorney-joins-williams-mullen-as-partner#When:21:40:00Z International tax attorney Anna K. Derewenda has joined Williams Mullen as a partner in the tax law section in the firm’s Richmond office. She previously worked at accounting firm KPMG, serving as manager of international corporate services. Derewenda has provided international tax consulting and planning services to corporate and pass-through entities in many industries, including private equity, real estate, financial and insurance services, retail, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. She received her master of laws in taxation degree from New York University School of Law and earned a law degree  from the Hofstra University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude. She also has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia. 2014-12-11T21:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-vistronix-completes-acquisition-of-agency-consulting-group Reston-based Vistronix completes acquisition of Agency Consulting Group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-vistronix-completes-acquisition-of-agency-consulting-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/reston-based-vistronix-completes-acquisition-of-agency-consulting-group#When:21:36:00Z Reston-based Vistronix has completed its acquisition of Agency Consulting Group (ACG), a Maryland-based premier provider of enterprise mission information technology solutions to the intelligence agencies Vistronix, founded in 1990, provides  intelligence and technology services to federal security agencies. Terms of the deal were not announced. “With this key strategic acquisition, Vistronix is extremely well positioned to provide high-priority solutions in supporting organizations across the national intelligence community in major areas such as technology, signals intelligence, information assurance and research,” John Hassoun, president and CEO of Vistronix, said in a statement. Founded in 2004, ACG provides solutions in the areas of cloud computing analytics, critical systems infrastructure and specialized mission solutions. Based in Columbia, Md., the company is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. Vistronix  said ACG is a primary architect of the intelligence community’s edict to migrate applications, software and infrastructure to cloud-based, virtual environments. 2014-12-11T21:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pilot-program-aims-to-boost-workforce-credentials Pilot program aims to boost workforce credentials http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pilot-program-aims-to-boost-workforce-credentials http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pilot-program-aims-to-boost-workforce-credentials#When:21:00:00Z Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday a pilot program to help 500 Virginians earn credentials in high-demand industries. The program includes $500,000 in Federal Workforce Investment Act funding that will be used to pay for noncredit programs and courses at seven of Virginia’s community colleges.  The pilot program is part of McAuliffe’s New Virignia Economic Strategic Plan, which includes the goal of having an additional 50,000 credentialed Virginians by the end of his term. Participating colleges include Blue Ridge, Germanna, Thomas Nelson, and Virginia Western community colleges, and the three colleges that make up the Southern VA Works collaborative — Danville, Patrick Henry and Southside Virginia community colleges. The program will support only high-demand credentials, which will be determined by data from workforce investment boards and input from businesses. Some of the high-demand credentials that will be supported by the plan include: -Project Management Professional (PMP) certification -American Welding Society (AWS) certification -Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) certification 2014-12-11T21:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-asks-court-to-dismiss-84-million-cigna-lawsuit Health Diagnostic Laboratory asks court to dismiss $84 million Cigna lawsuit http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-asks-court-to-dismiss-84-million-cigna-lawsuit http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-asks-court-to-dismiss-84-million-cigna-lawsuit#When:19:48:00Z Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) has filed a motion asking a federal district court to dismiss an $84 million lawsuit filed by Cigna, a national health insurer, against the Richmond-based company.  In a 43-page motion filed Dec. 8 with the U. S. District Court in Connecticut, HDL says Cigna’s suit has no standing. “Under the mistaken guise of an ERISA fiduciary claim, Cigna attempts to use this suit to circumvent clear ERISA regulations governing benefit coverage denials, to obtain funds on its own behalf and to serve its own business ends,” HDL says. ERISA refers to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which sets standards for employee benefits plans and provides an opportunity to be heard when claims are denied. Cigna filed suit against HDL in October, accusing the company of a “fraudulent fee-forgiving scheme.” Cigna’s suit alleges that HDL encouraged Cigna plan members to use its out-of-network, diagnostic blood-testing services by not charging patients for their share of the cost. The result, said Cigna, were “exorbitant and unjustified charges” that defrauded the company out of $84 million. In its motion to dismiss, HDL says, “In reality, this suit is motivated by Cigna’s personal desire to limit out-of-network providers of health-care services, such as HDL, that Cigna refused to allow to operate in-network. Cigna seeks to advance this goal by demanding compensatory damages for all of the money it has purportedly paid to HDL and by refusing to pay pending claims for health-care services already provided, without following regulatory requirements. “ Furthermore, the motion says, “Cigna claims it is somehow entitled to this windfall because HDL allegedly waived patients’ co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance obligations” but Cigna’s suit doesn’t point to any ERISA provisions that were violated —the very essence of an ERISA claim.” 2014-12-11T19:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/warren-county-power-station-begins-commercial-operation Warren County Power Station begins commercial operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/warren-county-power-station-begins-commercial-operation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/warren-county-power-station-begins-commercial-operation#When:19:24:00Z Dominion Virginia Power’s Warren County Power Station entered commercial operation this week. The $1.1 billion natural gas-fired power station came in on time and under budget, the Richmond-based company said in a news release. “It is built to be both environmentally and economically efficient, promoting quality of life as well as economic development,” David A. Christian, CEO of Dominion Generation, said in a statement.   According to Dominion, the facility will employ 40 full-time workers. It also is expected to support about 100 jobs, directly and indirectly. Located north of Front Royal, the plant can produce enough electricity to power about 325,000 homes at peak demand. The plant is now the largest natural gas-fueled generating station in the state, but not for long. Dominion’s 1360-megawatt Brunswick Power Station will steal that title when it comes on line in 2016. 2014-12-11T19:24:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/italian-maker-of-evaporators-and-condensers-to-create-45-jobs-in-augusta Italian maker of evaporators and condensers to create 45 jobs in Augusta http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/italian-maker-of-evaporators-and-condensers-to-create-45-jobs-in-augusta http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/italian-maker-of-evaporators-and-condensers-to-create-45-jobs-in-augusta#When:18:53:00Z Italy-based Provides Metalmeccanicawill invest $6.1 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Augusta County, creating 45 jobs. The U.S. operation, Provides US Inc., will co-locate with Daikin Applied in a 40,000-square-foot space in Verona. Provides makes evaporators and condensers used by HVAC companies worldwide.  The company says its U.S. location will enable it to grow its business and reduce product time to market for North and South American customers. “This project is a great example of what is possible when companies work to create opportunities for international suppliers in the U.S. market and receive mutual benefit. Daikin Applied’s invaluable assistance offering Provides with space to launch its first U.S. manufacturing operation made this announcement possible,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. Provides began operation in 1968 as a producer  of metallic office furniture. Between 1973 and 1980, it also specialized in the construction of racks, aluminum telephone booths and step ladders, and, finally, in the production of pressurized gas tanks. In 1991, the company began working in the air conditioning sector and, in 1996, it designed and manufactured the first series of heat exchangers. Since then, Provides has grown and has become a leader in the heat exchanger sector. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Augusta County to secure the project for Virginia. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program and will be matched by Augusta County. 2014-12-11T18:53:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-17.5-million-federal-preschool-expansion-grant Virginia receives $17.5 million federal preschool expansion grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-17.5-million-federal-preschool-expansion-grant http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-receives-17.5-million-federal-preschool-expansion-grant#When:23:10:00Z Virginia is one of 18 states that has received a $17.5 million federal grant to expand and improve preschool programs in the commonwealth. According to a news release issued by Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office, the grant will allow Virginia to serve 1,600 additional 4-year-olds in new, high-quality preschool classes. It also will fund enhanced services to approximately 1,400 children in existing pre-kindergarten classrooms. The grant will support the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) in 11 high-needs school divisions beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year. VPI is a state-funded program that supports preschool programs for approximately 18,000 at-risk 4-year-olds. The participating school divisions are: ·         Brunswick County ·         Chesterfield County ·         Fairfax County ·         Giles County ·         Henrico County ·         Norfolk ·         Petersburg ·         Prince William County ·         Richmond ·         Sussex County ·         Winchester The divisions were selected based on poverty, number of Title I schools, percentage of children entering kindergarten below the state’s literacy readiness benchmark and the number of unserved at-risk 4-year-olds. 2014-12-10T23:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-advisory-board-to-acquire-royall-co.-for-850-million The Advisory Board to acquire Royall & Co. for $850 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-advisory-board-to-acquire-royall-co.-for-850-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-advisory-board-to-acquire-royall-co.-for-850-million#When:23:09:00Z The Advisory Board Co. plans to expand its presence in the higher-education services market by acquiring Richmond-based Royall & Co. for $850 million. The Advisory Board, a Washington, D.C.-based, publicly traded technology, research and services company, has focused on health care for much of its 35-year history but branched out into education seven years ago. Royall  is a Richmond-based student recruitment and enrollment management services company with 350 college and university customers. The deal will include $750 million in cash and $100 million in Advisory Board stock, which is traded on Nasdaq. “Our combination with Royall & Co., the clear leader in providing strategic, data-driven student engagement and enrollment solutions, accelerates the extension of our model into higher education and gives us a fantastic platform for growth, expansion, and member value creation,” Robert Musslewhite, chairman and CEO of the Advisory Board, said in a statement. Founded by Bill Royall in 1983, Royall & Co. has moved from nonprofit fundraising to student recruitment services in 1989. Royall is chairman of the company. Its  president and CEO is John Nester. The Advisory Board had a net income of $15.4 million for the 12 months ending Sept. 30 while Royall and Co.’s net income was $9.7 million. The Advisory Board has relationships with 3,900 hospitals and health systems through more than 50 programs. It also has a 7-program higher education portfolio serving more than 600 colleges and universities. 2014-12-10T23:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-food-solutions-expansion-to-create-200-jobs-in-henry-county Monogram Food Solutions’ expansion to create 200 jobs in Henry County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-food-solutions-expansion-to-create-200-jobs-in-henry-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/monogram-food-solutions-expansion-to-create-200-jobs-in-henry-county#When:22:59:00Z Monogram Food Solutions LLC, a Memphis-based manufacturer of processed meats, will invest $36.5 million in expanding its meat-snacks production operation in the Henry County Patriot Centre Industrial Park. The project is expect to create 200 new jobs.  The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. to secure the project for Virginia in competition with two other states. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $400,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also approved $835,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The company will also be eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit and sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Monogram was founded in 2004 when a group of Memphis investors bought the King Cotton and Circle B Brand Meats business from the Sara Lee Corp.  The company bought the Henry County building for its Monogram Meat Snacks division in 2009. This latest expansion is the third at the Virginia plant.  “When we purchased the facility in 2009, there were about 125 associates. This expansion will take employment to over 600,” Karl Schledwitz, chairman and CEO of Monogram Food Solutions, said in a statement.  Monogram Meat Snacks is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of meat snacks, including jerky, meat and cheese snacks, kippered beef sticks and pickled sausages. The meat snack brands include Wild Bill’s, O’Brien’s, Trail’s Best, Hannah’s, Bull’s and licensed brands Bass Pro Shop’s Uncle Buck’s, Johnsonville and Butterball. Monogram Food Solutions also produces a wide variety of private-label meat snacks, smoked meats, corn dogs and pre-cooked bacon. In addition to the Henry County plant, the company operates facilities in Minnesota, Indiana, Texas and Iowa. 2014-12-10T22:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/corporate-office-properties-trust-announces-build-to-suit-project-in-ashbur Corporate Office Properties Trust announces build-to-suit project in Ashburn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/corporate-office-properties-trust-announces-build-to-suit-project-in-ashbur http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/corporate-office-properties-trust-announces-build-to-suit-project-in-ashbur#When:22:40:00Z   Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) said Wednesday that it has executed a long-term lease with a subsidiary of an investment-grade Fortune 500 company to deliver a 120,000-square-foot shell building on land COPT owns in Ashburn. According to the Columbia, Md.-based real estate investment trust (REIT), this will be the third building of a three-building campus for the undisclosed customer, who now leases 430,000 square feet at Ashburn Crossing.  Construction is underway with COPT anticipating the lease to start in the second quarter of 2015. COPT is an office REIT that focuses on serving the specialized requirements of U.S. government agencies and defense contractors, most of which are engaged in defense information technology and national security-related activities. As of September, COPT said it derived 77% of its annualized revenue from its strategic tenant niche properties and 23% from regional office properties. The company acquires, develops, manages and leases office and data center properties concentrated in large office parks primarily located near knowledge-based government demand drivers and/or in markets in the greater Washington, D.C./Baltimore region. As of September 30, the company’s consolidated portfolio consisted of 174 office properties totaling 16.9 million rentable square feet. 2014-12-10T22:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-apartment-complex-sells-for-24.7-million Virginia Beach apartment complex sells for $24.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-apartment-complex-sells-for-24.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-apartment-complex-sells-for-24.7-million#When:22:35:00Z   Harbor Group International has sold Bancroft Hall, a 244-unit apartment property in Virginia Beach, to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. in Norfolk for $24.7 million. Bancroft Hall is located in the First Colonial corridor of Virginia Beach, near the Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. Built between 1968 and 1972, its units range from one-bedroom, garden-style apartments to two- and three- bedroom garden and townhome units. Community amenities include a dog park, swimming pool, newly remodeled fitness center, children’s playground and media room with WiFi. Dan W. Johnson, senior vice president ,and Hank Hankins, first vice president, for CBRE|Hampton Roads represented the seller in the transaction.
 "This is a classic value-add scenario,” Johnson said in a statement.  “Bancroft Hall is an older property in an A+ location where the property stands to be improved dramatically by the interior renovations that S.L. Nusbaum is planning." 2014-12-10T22:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/15320243103_e3cfa63436_b.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmville-shopping-center-near-colleges-sells-for-8.7-million Farmville shopping center near colleges sells for $8.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmville-shopping-center-near-colleges-sells-for-8.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/farmville-shopping-center-near-colleges-sells-for-8.7-million#When:21:55:00Z The Shoppes at College Park, a 106,000-square-foot shopping center in Farmville, has sold for $8.75 million to an investor. S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. in Norfolk said it completed the sale earlier this month. The company’s vice president and regional director, Nathan Shor, represented the seller, Farmville Partners LLC, in the transaction. The property is located on Southj Main Street, near Longwood and Hampden-Sydney colleges. Tenants at the center include Rite Aid, Dollar General, Goodwill, Advance Auto Parts and Buffalo Wild Wings. “The potential for future growth and development with well-known national brands at The Shoppes at College Park is extremely favorable given its close proximity to two area colleges,” Shor said is a statement. Renovations are planned over the next year, and a national tenant is expected to close a deal for a new 15,000-square-foot space, according to X Team International, an alliance of retail real estate advisors, with whom S. L. Nusbaum is a partner. 2014-12-10T21:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/preferred-systems-solutions-acquires-government-contract-solutions-inc Preferred Systems Solutions acquires Government Contract Solutions Inc. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/preferred-systems-solutions-acquires-government-contract-solutions-inc http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/preferred-systems-solutions-acquires-government-contract-solutions-inc#When:21:03:00Z Tysons Corner-based Preferred Systems Solutions (PSS) — a provider of IT, enterprise resource planning, program management and financial consulting services —  has acquired Arlington-based Government Contract Solutions Inc. (GCS). Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. GCS’ services include engineering and technical services, acquisition support services, program management, and quality assurance and safety. PSS said the deal strengthens its position as a contractor of choice in the intelligence, defense, and civilian federal markets. “PSS is committed to providing world class support to the men and women charged with upholding our national security in their important mission to defend our country and preserve our democracy at home and abroad,” Scott Goss, the CEO of PSS, said in a statement. “The acquisition of GCS, with an 18-year successful track record of outstanding customer support within the intelligence and civilian federal communities, expands our commitment to those men and women.” PSS currently provides services to government and commercial clients, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Transportation Command, and the Departments of Homeland Security and State. 2014-12-10T21:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-leadership-proposes-100-gift-cap House leadership proposes $100 gift cap http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-leadership-proposes-100-gift-cap http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/house-leadership-proposes-100-gift-cap#When:21:01:00Z Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates said Wednesday they will propose a $100 gift cap for both tangible and non-tangible gifts to government officials. Although the governor's ethics panel recently proposed a $250 gift cap, Gov. Terry McAuliffe told Virginia Business in November that he supported a cap closer to $100, the same limit he put on his administration and their families through an executive order when he took office. The General Assembly passed ethics reform legislation in the 2014 session, but Gov. Bob McDonnell's conviction on 11 federal corruption charges has renewed efforts this year for stricter laws. The 2014 ethics reform package imposed a $250 limit on tangible goods but did not restrict non-tangible items, which include travel, meals and tickets. Legislation has already been submitted by  state Sens. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Richard Stuart (R-Stafford) that would put a $100 limit on tangible gifts and require the  Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council to review intangible gifts. “As we have said before, the ultimate responsibility to enact the needed reforms rests with the General Assembly," Republican House leaders said in a statement. "The actions we take will be an important step toward our goal of regaining the trust and confidence of the citizens of the commonwealth." 2014-12-10T21:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-legislation-to-reform-states-process-on-public-private-p Governor announces legislation to reform state’s process on public-private projects http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-legislation-to-reform-states-process-on-public-private-p http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-legislation-to-reform-states-process-on-public-private-p#When:18:52:00Z While announcing the upcoming opening of one public-private transportation project on Wednesday – the 95 Express Lanes on I-95 — Gov. Terry McAuliffe used the occasion to unveil his plans for reforming the state’s process on such projects. The new lanes on I-95 in Northern Virginia will open on Dec. 14 to drivers. They can use the lanes for free until tolling begins on Dec. 29. McAuliffe also announced that he would offer legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session that makes key reforms to the process the state uses to procure projects under the Public-Private Transportation Act.  This public-private partnership (P3) process allows the private sector to invest in and deliver highway projects such as the 95 Express Lanes. Yet it has come under criticism recently as a result of discontent over two projects in Hampton Roads: the U.S. 460 highway improvement project and the Midtown Tunnel toll project. Using the 95 Express Lanes as an example, McAuliffe noted Wednesday that large transportation projects represent an investment in Virginia’s economy.  “Not only did the project create thousands of jobs during construction and put more than 500 businesses to work, the new infrastructure will also support future economic development and job growth in the region,” he said in a statement. According to the governor, construction of the 95 Express Lanes supported nearly 12,600 jobs and generated about $1.54 billion of economic impact statewide. The project also exceeded its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business goals and created nearly $200 million in contracts to more than 180 small and disadvantaged businesses.   It also converted the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes.  The express lanes will operate from I-95 near Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395 in Fairfax County (approximately 29 miles).  Carpoolers and vehicles with three or more people ride the express lanes for free, while vehicles with one or two people pay a variable toll to ride the Express Lanes. Until Dec. 29, travelers can continue to travel the regular lanes for free. Between Dec. 14 and Dec. 29, existing rules will remain in effect during rush hours requiring three or more occupants for a vehicle to use the express lanes for free. The 95 Express Lanes are being delivered through a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and Transurban. Fluor-Lane 95 LLC constructed the lanes. “The 95 Express Lanes project is a model of how P3 projects should be done,” McAuliffe said. “Transurban shared in the risk, bringing private capital to the table and putting the money to work for motorists and ultimately Virginia’s economy.  I want to congratulate Transurban and thank them for completing this project early and on budget.” Yet as Virginia celebrates the opening of a project expected to decrease congestion on one of the state’s busiest highways, McAuliffe said, “We must also work together to ensure that every single P3 project is negotiated in a way that puts taxpayers first.” In what has been a collaborative effect with Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, McAuliffe plans to back legislation to reform the P3 process. Jones, who will sponsor the legislation, said the reforms retain Virginia’s ability to execute P3 projects while protecting taxpayers. “I believe the P3 system must be reformed to strengthen accountability and improve transparency,” he said in a statement. Many taxpayers were outraged last spring when it came to light that the state had spent $300 million for design and other work on the U.S. 460 project, a 55-mile highway project stretching from Suffolk to Petersburg, without first obtaining the necessary federal environmental permits – permits that were in question due to the project’s ability to destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands. The governor and Jones’ P3 reform legislation would require the following: Earlier involvement by lawmakers. Staff from the House and Senate transportation committees will be on the P3 steering committee to determine if a project meets the criteria for a public/private project. This should increase transparency and reduce political risk and uncertainty. Minimize risk to taxpayers by putting in place new procedures for high-risk projects that will shield the public from unexpected liabilities. Establish clear lines of accountability. The secretary of transportation would be required to sign a document attesting that the project qualifies as a P3 project, meaning risk has been transferred to the private sector and that the original purpose of the procurement has not changed. “This legislation is good government,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.  “There will be no way to duck responsibility for transportation decisions.  It will protect taxpayers from undue risk, while using the P3 process in the right way to deliver projects, like the 95 Express Lanes, that move Virginia’s economy.” 2014-12-10T18:52:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-three-health-systems-begin-program-on-end-of-l Richmond Academy of Medicine, three health systems begin program on end-of-life care http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-three-health-systems-begin-program-on-end-of-l http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-academy-of-medicine-three-health-systems-begin-program-on-end-of-l#When:22:40:00Z The Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM) and three regional health systems have begun a program designed to help patients make plans for end-of-life care. The program, Honoring Choices, will begin in January at Bon Secours Richmond Health System, HCA Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. Ken Faulkner, coordinator of VCU Health System Advance Care Planning and assistant professor in the School of Allied Health Professions, said the three competing health systems “did not hesitate and joined hands” in working on the project. Honoring Choices is designed to begin a conversation with patients — and their families — about how they want to be cared for at the end of their lives. Dr. Richard A. Szucs, chair of the RAM’s Core Group on Palliative and Hospice Care and the medical staff president at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond , notes that many families agonize over medical decisions for a loved one who, because of illness or severe injuries, cannot make their own care preferences known. A survey of 600 Richmond-area residents by Southeastern Institute of Research on behalf  of RAM found that 90 percent say they have discussed future health-care wishes with the families or loved ones, but only half have documented those wishes and only 35 percent have had in-depth conversations about the subject. Honoring Choices follows Respecting Choices, a model developed by the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis. That program makes discussion of future health-care preferences a part of routine health-care visits with patients of any age. The patient’s preferences  are committed to electronic medical records, which can be updated at the patient’s request. 2014-12-09T22:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-slover-library-in-norfolk-to-open-on-jan.-9 New Slover Library in Norfolk to open on Jan. 9 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-slover-library-in-norfolk-to-open-on-jan.-9 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-slover-library-in-norfolk-to-open-on-jan.-9#When:19:37:00Z The new $65 million Slover Library in Norfolk will open to the public on Jan. 9 amid celebrations showcasing its innovative features. The 138,000-square-foot building is being hailed as a new model for public libraries because it will offer much more than books. Patrons will be able to reserve rooms for events and meetings, use touchscreens for researching their family trees and have access to computer and lab rooms, including space and equipment for producing videos. “Today’s exceptional libraries are more than books, history and technology,” Harry Lester, president of Slover Library Foundation, said in a statement. ”The Slover provides our region with a centrally located, extraordinary place that will encourage community engagement and promote thoughtful conversations on issues important to our 1.7 million residents. It will be a place to participate in local democracy.” The library at 235 E. Plume St. in Norfolk encompasses three centuries of downtown architecture: the historic Seaboard building (1800s), the Selden Arcade (1900s) and a new six-story tower that connects them all. Newman Architects from New Haven, Conn. designed the building. The library also will offer: ·        A place to dine with Slover, a 52-seat casual bistro with additional outdoor seating, •      More than 160,000 books, •      Digital Media Lab to design and produce digital content, •      Multi-touch interactive experience showcasing the Sargeant Memorial Collection, the premier source for local history on the East Coast, with thousands of pieces of searchable photos and artifacts, •      130 public access computers with Internet access, •      Free Wi-Fi and •      Self checkout In 2008, Frank Batten Jr. donated $20 million for a new main public library to be named after his uncle Col. Samuel Slover to recognize his contributions to Norfolk. The Batten Foundation later donated an additional $20 million. Slover was the founder of Landmark Communications and a former mayor of Norfolk. The city of Norfolk committed $22.6 million to Slover Library, and the remainder was collected from private contributions through the Slover Library Foundation. 2014-12-09T19:37:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-to-break-ground-on-new-childrens-psychiatric-facility VCU breaks ground on new children’s psychiatric facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-to-break-ground-on-new-childrens-psychiatric-facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-to-break-ground-on-new-childrens-psychiatric-facility#When:19:34:00Z Virginia Commonwealth University Health System broke ground Thursday, Dec. 11, on the new Virginia Treatment Center for Children. The 120,000-square-foot facility will replace the current 50-year-old facility located on VCU Medical Center’s downtown campus and provide increased access to clinical care for children from across the state. A $56 million appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly will fund the relocation and expansion of VTCC from its current location in downtown Richmond to a new location on Brook Road at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The new pediatric behavioral health center is slated to be completed by fall 2017, and will house inpatient units, an outpatient behavioral health office, a Children’s Mental Health Resource Center and the Commonwealth Institute for Child and Family Studies. The 32-bed facility will be designed to meet the age-specific, special needs of children and adolescents and to support the needs of families. A ground-breaking ceremony washeld  Dec. 11 at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s Brook Road Campus, 2924 Brook Rd. 2014-12-09T19:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/marriott-opens-new-courtyard-and-residence-inn-hotels-in-richmond Marriott opens new Courtyard and Residence Inn Hotels in Richmond. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/marriott-opens-new-courtyard-and-residence-inn-hotels-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/marriott-opens-new-courtyard-and-residence-inn-hotels-in-richmond#When:22:23:00Z Marriott International Inc. opened the first new Marriott hotels  in downtown Richmond Monday in 20 years. A combined 135-room Courtyard Hotel and 75-suite Residence Inn hotel, an extended-stay property, opened for business at 14th and Cary Streets in the city’s historic Shockoe Slip district. The properties are on the site of a temporary capital where the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786. The complex includes the First Freedom Center, a 1,500-square-foot gallery that documents the history behind the statute. It opens on Jan. 16. Apple Hospitality REIT owns the new properties, which will be managed by White Lodging Services of Merrillville, Ind. The hotels share a lobby, a fitness center and 2,862 square feet of meeting space, which can accommodate functions of up to 210 people. They also offer a grocery delivery service and onsite food and beverage market. They properties are close to the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, Brown’s Island, the Valentine Museum and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. "Attracting both business travelers as well as tourists, this historic area of Richmond is an ideal location for the dual opening," Janis Milham, a senior vice president for extended stay brands for Marriott International, said in a statement. "Each brand offers distinct amenities and services that tailor to all visitors." The hotel’s general manager is Aaron Pellitt, most recently an employee of the Courtyard Richmond Airport, while Julia Raftery, who previously worked at the Omni Richmond, is director of sales. The Courtyard Richmond Downtown offers a business lobby environment, where guests can enjoy an open area outside of their rooms. It is equipped with media pods, complimentary Wi-Fi and a variety of seating zones.  A business library features several computer terminals, along with a printer and separate computer stations dedicated to printing airline-boarding passes and checking flight status. 2014-12-08T22:23:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-group-inc.-and-capital-one-named-to-list-of-top-community-minded-com Altria Group Inc. and Capital One named to list of top community-minded companies http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-group-inc.-and-capital-one-named-to-list-of-top-community-minded-com http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-group-inc.-and-capital-one-named-to-list-of-top-community-minded-com#When:20:50:00Z Two Virginia companies, Richmond-based Altria Group Inc. and McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. have been named to a list of the 50 most community-minded companies in the country. The Virginia companies are part of The Civic 50, a list compiled by the volunteer service organization Points of Light in partnership with business and financial information company Bloomberg LP. The objectives of the program, begun in 2012, are to recognize the most community-minded companies in the nation and provide a model for business managers and corporate social responsibility leaders. All U.S. companies with revenue of $1 billion or more were invited to participate in 2014. The 2014 survey consisted of quantitative and multiple-choice questions.  To calculate a corporation’s score, points are assigned in the following area: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact. Investment looks at how extensively and strategically a company applies its resources to community engagement. Integration examines how a company’s community engagement program supports business interests and integrates into business functions. Institutionalization spotlights how the company supports community engagement through its institutional policies, systems, and incentives. Impact scrutinizes how a company measures the social and business impact of its community engagement program. 2014-12-08T20:50:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/illinois-based-broker-acquires-the-titan-group Illinois-based broker acquires The Titan Group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/illinois-based-broker-acquires-the-titan-group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/illinois-based-broker-acquires-the-titan-group#When:20:43:00Z Illinois-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired The Titan Group, a Richmond-based human resources consulting firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Gallagher, an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, is headquartered in Itasca, Ill. It has operations in 30 countries and also offers services in more than 140 countries through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants. “Titan is well-known and well-respected in the industry for its human resource expertise.  Over the years, they have focused on creating specialty HR products and services for their middle-market clients, which will fit well within our national practice group,” Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Gallagher, said in a statement.  “Their East Coast presence and specialization will be a wonderful addition to our human resource consulting operations. Founded in 2001, Titan provides human-resources consulting services for private, public, nonprofit, education and state government clients throughout the Eastern U.S. The firm specializes in compensation consulting, leadership development, organizational development and human resource advisory products and services. Titan Group partners Genevieve Roberts and Lee Weisiger and their staff will continue to operate in Richmond under the direction of William Ziebell, head of Gallagher’s North Central region employee benefits consulting and brokerage operations.   2014-12-08T20:43:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-touts-report Health Diagnostic Laboratory touts report http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-touts-report http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/health-diagnostic-laboratory-touts-report#When:20:42:00Z After a series of recent setbacks, Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. (HDL) in Richmond announced some good news Monday: an independent analysis showed positive results from its model of health-care management. A group of nearly 7,400 patients receiving laboratory testing paired with personalized lifestyle consulting from HDL saw a 41 percent decrease in incidence of heart attacks and significantly lower occurrence of diabetes complications, according to an analysis of insurance claims data. Optum – UnitedHealth Group’s health services arm – and University of Richmond researchers examined how well HDL's biomarker risk testing paired with direct patient engagement and physician promoted positive health and cost outcomes. The study spanned a mean follow-up period of 27 months (with a range of 12 to 42 months). "The results provide strong evidence that Health Diagnostic Laboratory's model of health management is associated with positive health outcomes. There were very interesting patterns in the data,” Steve Thompson, associate professor of management at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond and lead author of the study, said in a statement.  “First, improvements in outcomes emerged in a relatively short time frame. Second, although laboratory costs increased, the costs were entirely offset by an expenditure shift away from other medical costs such as emergent care.” The study follows a tumultuous series of events.  HDL Co-founder and CEO Tonya Mallory stepped down suddenly in September, citing family reasons. Her departure came while HDL is under investigation as part of a federal investigation into reimbursement practices in the clinical laboratory industry. In October, Connecticut-based health insurer Cigna sued the company, seeking to recover $84 million in insurance claims paid to HDL. Last month, in a bid to return to its core mission of diagnostic testing, HDL announced that it was cutting its overall staff by 132 people, or about 15 percent of its work force nationwide. Before the layoffs, more than 700 people worked at the company’s downtown Richmond headquarters. The study results announced Monday involved 7,396 patients receiving HDL services who were matched by demographic, clinical and cost parameters to a group patients who did not receive testing or health management from the Richmond-based company. In addition to the reduction in heart attacks – 49 in the HDL group compared with 83 in the control group – clinical outcomes for strokes trended lower by 17 percent, while diabetes complications were 15 percent less frequent. In addition, inpatient admissions fell by 21 percent  and ER visits were 6 percent less frequent in the HDL group. The key finding was that individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases or risk factors for disease by HDL experienced fewer adverse events and better health outcomes at no additional cost: total cost of care was $950 per patient per month in the HDL group compared to $957 in the controls. 2014-12-08T20:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Dr._Sheldon_Retchin_Wex_Med2.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-health-system-ceo-departing-for-ohio-state VCU Health System CEO departing for Ohio State http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-health-system-ceo-departing-for-ohio-state http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-health-system-ceo-departing-for-ohio-state#When:20:05:00Z The CEO of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System is leaving for a job at Ohio State University. Dr. Sheldon Retchin has been tapped to lead Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center starting next spring. His base salary will be $1.1 million.  Retchin, 64, succeeds Steven Gabbe, who announced in February that he is stepping down as CEO. Retchin will become Wexner Medical Center’s CEO and executive vice president of health sciences starting March 2. However, the appointment must be approved by Ohio State’s board of trustees, which is meeting Jan. 30. According to an Ohio State news release, the Wexner Medical Center has almost doubled in size in the past 12 years. Last year it had operating revenues of $2 billion. Since 2003, Retchin has served as senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of the VCU Health System. He is a practicing internist with added qualifications in geriatric medicine and holds the Ruth and Seymour Perlin Professorship of Medicine and Health Administration, the release says. Retchin has been with VCU Health System since 1986, serving as the chief operating officer before becoming as CEO. He also is on numerous national and international panels related to managed care, costs of care and assessments of the Medicare program. He has testified before Congress as a recognized authority on the role of the safety net in health services delivery, and published more than 90 articles, chapters and books on the costs, quality and outcomes of care. “With a broad understanding of national health policy and future challenges to academic health sciences, he is exactly the right leader to lead a transformational agenda to drive meaningful financial and operational efficiencies while steering us through a time of great change both on campus and within the national health care environment,” Leslie Wexner, chairman of the Wexner Medical Center Board, said in a statement. Retchin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health and medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2014-12-08T20:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/counterpart-international-in-arlington-expands-headquarters-space Counterpart International in Arlington expands headquarters space. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/counterpart-international-in-arlington-expands-headquarters-space http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/counterpart-international-in-arlington-expands-headquarters-space#When:16:55:00Z Counterpart International has signed a new lease for more space at its Arlington headquarters at 2345 Crystal Drive. According to Ezra Co., the real estate firm that brokered the transaction, the new lease brings the organization’s total occupied space to nearly 19,000 feet. Counterpart is an international development organization with partners in 25 countries that works to enhance the economic wellbeing of communities. The Ezra Cos. Senior Vice President Kenneth King and Associate Vice President Erica King represented Counterpart International. Vornado/Charles E. Smith owns the 11-story, 499,000-square-foot property at 2345 Crystal Drive in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood. 2014-12-08T16:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-tech-companies-account-for-more-than-one-fourth-of-washington-regions High-tech companies account for more than one-fourth of Washington region’s office leasing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-tech-companies-account-for-more-than-one-fourth-of-washington-regions http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-tech-companies-account-for-more-than-one-fourth-of-washington-regions#When:16:31:00Z Technology firms in the Washington, D.C. metro region leased more than 4.1 million square feet of office space between the first and third quarter of 2014, accounting for 27 percent of the region’s total leasing volume, according to report from CBRE Inc. The D.C. Tech Pulse: Metro Office Leasing Activity Snapshot research shows that technology leasing is expected to grow in the near term as companies continue to expand their business and real estate footprints. According to the report, tenants such as Blackboard, Opower and WeddingWire all are seeking potential office space expansions in 2015 and beyond. The D.C. metro region distinguishes itself from other tech markets by its high concentration of tech firms that support the federal government. Government contractors drove the bulk of tech leasing activity and were responsible for 2.8 million square feet of office transactions during the period studied. The report found that the suburban markets propelled the metro region’s tech leasing activity, as Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland accounted for 70 percent and 19 percent of total tech leases, respectively. Northern Virginia contributes the lion’s share of tech leasing activity in the D.C. metro and accounted for 70 percent of the region’s tech leases in 2014, totaling close to 3 million square feet of office leases. This was propelled by the high-tech services and aerospace/defense sectors. Technology firms also play a vital role in suburban Maryland’s office leasing activity, accounting for 24 percent of all office space leased between the first and third  quarters. High-tech services, engineering and biotech were the three most active tech sectors within that market. Other highlights of the report include: ·         The D.C. metro region has become one of the nation’s most active markets for venture capital investment. Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia raked in more than $1.5 billion in total venture funding in 2013, more than doubling the amount invested in 2012. ·         State and local governments continue to offer a variety of incentives aimed to boost capital investment financing and attract more tech firms to the region. These incentives include tax credits and exemptions, grant and loan programs, as well as expanded tech zones. 2014-12-08T16:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Front-portrait1web.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commonwealth-assisted-living-opens-first-chesterfield-county-facility Commonwealth Assisted Living opens first Chesterfield County facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commonwealth-assisted-living-opens-first-chesterfield-county-facility http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commonwealth-assisted-living-opens-first-chesterfield-county-facility#When:15:56:00Z Commonwealth Assisted Living LLC, based in Charlottesville, has opened its newest project, Commonwealth Assisted Living in Chesterfield County. The company spent the last six months and $2.5 million renovating the 33,152-square-foot property it acquired in April at 4931 Ridgedale Parkway. The most dramatic change, according to the company, is the addition of a new memory-care section for residents experiencing memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The program offers a resident-centered approach with home-like environments designed to provide care as residents progress through the stages of dementia. Chesterfield’s Commonwealth Assisted Living has 36 private and companion-assisted living suites, each with a private bathroom, and 18 memory-care suites. Residents receive assistance with activities of daily living as well as meals, housekeeping, transportation and ongoing social activities. The company plans a second-phase, $1.2 million project that will add more beds to the property. Commonwealth Assisting Living now has 20 communities throughout Virginia, 15 of which provide Alzheimer’s and memory care. 2014-12-08T15:56:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CH_Tasting-RoomWEB.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coopers-hawk-winery-restaurants-opens-first-virginia-location Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants opens first Virginia location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coopers-hawk-winery-restaurants-opens-first-virginia-location http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coopers-hawk-winery-restaurants-opens-first-virginia-location#When:15:30:00Z A new restaurant, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, opens today, Dec. 8, outside Short Pump Town Center at 11792 W. Broad St. in Henrico County. The 300-seat, casual-dining restaurant with a Napa-style tasting room is the company’s’ first Virginia location. “We’re thrilled to be opening our 18th Cooper’s Hawk location in Richmond,” Matt Foody, general manager at Cooper’s Hawk, said in a statement. The chain, which opened its first restaurant in 2005 in Chicago, now operates in seven states.  The concept behind the growing chain is to offer a modern, casual-dining experience with a menu designed to pair with Cooper’s Hawk handcrafted wines.   The Short Pump location also offers a tasting room where guests can sample the company’s wines. There’s also a bar area, a private dining room and outdoor seating. The restaurant is the second new one announced for Short Pump in recent months. Richmond restaurateur Kevin Healy said in September that he plans to open what would be his third Boathouse concept restaurant in the area in the spring. 2014-12-08T15:30:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leclairryan-will-relocate-to-suntrust-center-in-downtown-richmond LeClairRyan will relocate to SunTrust Center in downtown Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leclairryan-will-relocate-to-suntrust-center-in-downtown-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leclairryan-will-relocate-to-suntrust-center-in-downtown-richmond#When:15:26:00Z LeClairRyan, one of Virginia’s largest law firms, has signed a 10 and a half-year lease for about 50,000 square feet on the top three floors of the SunTrust Center in downtown Richmond. The firm, currently located in about 80,000 square feet in the downtown Riverfront Plaza tower, plans to relocate to its new space in August 2015 following renovations. “We are excited to have finalized our plans for our new home in downtown Richmond,” LeClairRyan CEO David C. Freinberg said in a statement. He said the smaller space will foster “cohesion, collaboration and teamwork.” The 458,229-square-foot SunTrust Center is located at 919 E. Main St. “It is exciting to have LeClairRyan join our other long-standing anchor tenant, SunTrust Bank, and to have two best in class corporations with significant commitments to the building,” John Davidson, managing partner at Parmenter Realty Partners, said in a statement. Parmenter is the center’s owner and manager. Andrew Ferguson, Robert S. Parsley, Bob Chodos and Steve Levitas with Colliers International handled lease negotiations for LeClairRyan.  Russell Wyatt and Jamie Galanti at Commonwealth Commercial led the negotiations on behalf of Parmenter Realty Partners.   LeClairRyan provides business counsel and client representation in corporate law and litigation.  It has a staff of about 375 attorneys and offices in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Parmenter Realty Partners is a real estate investment, management and development firm, based in Miami, Fla. It has three regional offices in Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. 2014-12-08T15:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/uva-medical-center-names-chief-medical-officer UVA Medical Center names chief medical officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/uva-medical-center-names-chief-medical-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/uva-medical-center-names-chief-medical-officer#When:14:11:00Z The University of Virginia Medical Center has promoted Dr. Chris Ghaemmaghami to chief medical officer. Ghaemmaghami has worked at U.Va. since 1998 and has held a variety of positions in the Department of Emergency Medicine, including medical director and vice chair. As CMO, Ghaemmaghami is the medical center's senior physician, overseeing medical staff and patient care and service. He is also the liaison for clinical activities at the U.Va. School of Medicine, U.Va. School of Nursing, U.Va. Medical Center and the U.Va. Physicians Group. 2014-12-08T14:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-communities-to-receive-grants-under-new-small-business-development-pr Three communities to receive grants under new small business development program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-communities-to-receive-grants-under-new-small-business-development-pr http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/three-communities-to-receive-grants-under-new-small-business-development-pr#When:22:35:00Z Three Virginia communities will receive up to $100,000 each for small business development under a new state project. The grants announced Friday for Staunton, Hopewell and Gloucester Courthouse are part of Virginia Community Business Launch, a new initiative of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration. The program is designed to help communities pursue a small business development strategy.  Virginia Community Business Launch uses a local business competition to find and nurture entrepreneurs that fit with each community’s economic goals. The program will offer tools to prepare entrepreneurs to operate businesses and allow them to compete for funding to start their enterprises. 2014-12-05T22:35:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-joins-commonwealth-center-for-advanced-manufacturing VCU joins Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-joins-commonwealth-center-for-advanced-manufacturing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-joins-commonwealth-center-for-advanced-manufacturing#When:22:12:00Z Virginia Commonwealth University has joined the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) as a new academic member. CCAM, based in Prince George County, is a collaborative research organization involving public universities and industry representatives. VCU joins the University of Virginia, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University, becoming CCAM’s fifth university partner. CCAM’s goal is to bridge the gap between research and commercialization, accelerating new manufacturing technology developments to market. CCAM's 21 industry and government members include Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus, Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Oerlikon Metco, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens,  Blaser Swisslube, EOS, Hermle Machine Co., Mitutoyo, Paradigm Precision, Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, GF AgieCharmilles, Mechdyne, National Instruments, SIS and the NASA Langley Research Center. 2014-12-05T22:12:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-new-online-workforce-courses Governor announces new online workforce courses http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-new-online-workforce-courses http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/governor-announces-new-online-workforce-courses#When:18:53:00Z Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday the launch of five work readiness online courses that will be free for the public. The courses are based on five of 21 readiness courses identified by University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service as those needed by employees for career entry and advancement. The topics include Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, Locating Information, Internet Use and Safety-Digital Citizenship and Understanding Health, Wellness and Safety. The online courses will be available through SkillsOnline, WHRO's professional development and workforce training portal that offers almost 3,500 courses in 19 different industry categories. WHRO is a Virginia Beach-based public TV station. WHRO plans to make the courses available for all Workforce Investment Boards, social services agencies, community colleges and employers in Virginia. The workforce “modules” are partially funded by grants from the Hampton Roads’ Community Foundation and Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the American Graduate program. Additional funding is being sought from foundations and other private sources to produce the remaining courses and collateral materials. “The work readiness modules are an example of the public-private partnership that is increasing access for Virginians to workforce training, will help employers put more Virginians to work, and will provide no-cost resources for educators and local government training providers,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. Additionally, course content will be distributed through eMediaVa(SM), which WHRO operates through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education and serves more than 145,000 Virginia teachers in public, private and home schools across the state. 2014-12-05T18:53:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/department-of-justice-clears-proposed-atk-orbital-merger Department of Justice clears proposed ATK, Orbital merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/department-of-justice-clears-proposed-atk-orbital-merger http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/department-of-justice-clears-proposed-atk-orbital-merger#When:15:00:00Z The Department of Justice (DOJ) has cleared a proposed merger between Arlington-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) and Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corp., the companies announced earlier this week. In April, ATK and Orbital announced plans to merge ATK’s Aerospace and Defense Groups into Orbital after ATK spins off its sporting group. The transaction is expected to be completed in February 2015. It is subject to closing conditions, including the approval of both companies’ stockholders. ATK and Orbital said in a news release that the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ terminated the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period, effective Dec. 4. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act says the FTC and DOJ must be informed about large mergers and acquisitions before they happen. 2014-12-05T15:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/citizens-community-bank-declares-its-first-dividend Citizens Community Bank declares its first dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/citizens-community-bank-declares-its-first-dividend http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/citizens-community-bank-declares-its-first-dividend#When:22:08:00Z South Hill-based Citizens Community Bank has declared its first dividend. The 15-year-old bank will pay an annual cash dividend of 5 cents per share on Jan. 12 to common shareholders of record on Dec 15. "We are proud to celebrate our fifteen-year anniversary milestone by declaring the bank's first annual cash dividend,” James R. Black, president and CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to further enhancing shareholder value, as we are consistently gaining positive momentum on various fronts."  Citizens, a state-chartered bank, opened in December 1999. It operates five branches — three in south Central Virginia and two in northern North Carolina, as well as a loan production office in Raleigh, N.C. The bank reported net income of $165,493 after preferred stock dividends at the end of the third quarter, or 11 cents per diluted share. Total assets at the end of the quarter were $166.3 million and deposits totaled $142.4 million. 2014-12-04T22:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/siemens-names-first-coo Siemens names first COO http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/siemens-names-first-coo http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/siemens-names-first-coo#When:20:42:00Z Barbara Humpton has been promoted to senior vice president and chief operations office of Siemens Government Technologies (SGT) Inc. Humpton joined the firm in 2011 as senior vice president for business development. Her responsibility will be to ensure Siemens has effective and efficient processes, including identifying business opportunities and ensuring Siemens delivers high quality work to its federal customers. Humpton previously held leadership positions at Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton. 2014-12-04T20:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mortgage-rates-dip-on-weak-economic-news Mortgage rates dip on weak economic news http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mortgage-rates-dip-on-weak-economic-news http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mortgage-rates-dip-on-weak-economic-news#When:20:41:00Z   Average mortgage rates fell Thursday to their lowest level since May 2013 amid weak economic news. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.89 percent this week, down from 3.97 percent from last week, according to McLean-based Freddie Mac's weekly survey. That compares to an average of 4.46 percent last year. The average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.1 percent, down from 3.17 percent last week. That rate a year ago was 3.47 percent. The rates dipped after economic news failed to meet expectations. "Mortgage rates were down across the board on a week of underwhelming economic releases," Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement. "New home sales missed consensus expectations by selling at an annual pace of 458,000 units in October and the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales dipped in October by 1.1 percent. The ADP's estimate for payroll growth in November was 208,000 jobs, under expectations of 225,000." 2014-12-04T20:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engilitys-1.1-billion-acquisition-of-tasc-proceeds Engility’s $1.1 billion acquisition of TASC proceeds http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engilitys-1.1-billion-acquisition-of-tasc-proceeds http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engilitys-1.1-billion-acquisition-of-tasc-proceeds#When:20:40:00Z Chantilly-based Engility Holdings Inc. has cleared a hurdle in its plan to acquire professional services firm TASC for $1.1 billion. The Federal Trade Commission has ended early a required waiting period in the transaction under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Termination of the waiting period was one of the conditions that had to be satisfied in closing the deal. Engility is a government services contractor. Privately held TASC, which also is based in Chantilly, provides services to national security and public safety customers. The companies announced a definitive agreement allowing the acquisition in late October. The $1.1 billion all-stock transaction includes the assumption of debt. In addition to meeting  antitrust provisions, the deal is also subject to the approval of the stockholders at both Engility and TASC, consummation of the contemplated financing, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the  first quarter of 2015. 2014-12-04T20:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-launches-bioscience-initiative McAuliffe launches bioscience initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-launches-bioscience-initiative http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-launches-bioscience-initiative#When:20:33:00Z Gov. Terry McAuliffe has begun a campaign designed to boost the commonwealth’s bioscience industry. The governor announced the Virginia Bioscience Initiative during a roundtable discussion on the commercialization of university bioscience research Thursday at the state Capitol.  “The bioscience industry in Virginia is strong, and can be even stronger with this focused initiative,” McAuliffe said in a statment.  “Our charge today is to use the commonwealth’s extensive assets, including our excellent research universities and world class businesses, to catalyze the growth of this strategic sector and the new Virginia economy.” He described the initiative as a collaborative, multi-year effort involving state agencies, Virginia universities and private research organizations. The program’s goals include raising the profile of the Virginia bioscience industry, enhancing incentives for bioscience businesses, using existing assets to create new opportunities, developing a bioscience workforce, and promoting commercialization of university research. Another aim is creating a Virginia Ag Bio Initiative with a Virginia Ag Bio Advisory Committee helping industries that use bioscience in producing food and fuel. According to a Battelle Bio study completed this year, Virginia’s biotechnology industry employed more than 26,500 industry workers in 1,451 businesses in 2012.  The study shows the agricultural feedstock and chemicals subsector in Virginia had double-digit employment gains from 2007 to  2012. The subsector involves industries that are using biochemistry and biotechnology for producing products ranging from food to fuel. 2014-12-04T20:33:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/general-dynamics-names-executive-vice-president-for-its-information-systems General Dynamics names executive vice president for its Information Systems and Technology group http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/general-dynamics-names-executive-vice-president-for-its-information-systems http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/general-dynamics-names-executive-vice-president-for-its-information-systems#When:16:48:00Z Falls Church-based General Dynamics Corp. has named S. Daniel Johnson executive vice president for the company’s Information Systems and Technology group. He will succeed David K. Heebner, who is retiring Dec. 31. Johnson will also continue in his role as president of General Dynamics Information Technology. As executive vice president for the Information Systems and Technology group, Johnson will be responsible for General Dynamics Information Technology and General Dynamics Mission Systems. Johnson, 67, has been president of General Dynamics Information Technology and a vice president of General Dynamics since March 2008. Before that, he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics Information Technology. Johnson was chief operating officer of Anteon Corp, when it was acquired by General Dynamics  in 2005. 2014-12-04T16:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wellpoint-changes-its-name-to-anthem-inc WellPoint changes its name to Anthem Inc. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wellpoint-changes-its-name-to-anthem-inc http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wellpoint-changes-its-name-to-anthem-inc#When:16:42:00Z Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. has changed its corporate name to Anthem Inc. The company on Wednesday began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ANTM. Shareholders approved the name change at a meeting on Nov. 5. “The change to Anthem will help us better communicate our values and simplify the way we connect with our associates, consumers, investors, and the communities we call home,” Joseph Swedish, president and CEO of Anthem,  said in a statement. Anthem is the parent company of Richmond-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, the largest health insurer operating in the commonwealth, and Virginia Beach-based Amerigroup, which provided managed care for public health insurance programs in 19 states. 2014-12-04T16:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/local-governments-can-exert-control-over-fracking Local governments can exert control over fracking http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/local-governments-can-exert-control-over-fracking http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/local-governments-can-exert-control-over-fracking#When:22:49:00Z by Paula C. Squires When it comes to fracking, local governments have power through their zoning laws to control the environmental impacts, a panel of energy officials said Wednesday. Now is the time for localities to review ordinances before the industry gears up in Virginia, Greg Buppert, a senior attorney in the Virginia office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, said during a panel discussion on energy and the environment sponsored by the Associated Press during its annual Day at the Capital. The event, held at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building, drew members of news organizations around the state. As drilling for natural-gas picks up, the Taylorsville Basin near Fredericksburg has drawn interest with a Texas company acquiring about 86,000 acres in gas and oil leases.  Today, many companies use fracking to get at the natural gas trapped in shale formations. Fracking  involves injecting water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressures. Fracking can result in such environmental impacts as large wastewater pits of as many as 40 acres, Buppert said. Localities can exert control by dictating where such pits can be located and by preventing fracking activities to occur near schools or residential areas. “Before the modern shale-gas drilling gets underway in Virginia, we have time to get our regulations tuned up and in place,” Buppert said. Some environmental groups have raised concerns that fracking can harm local water supplies. Molly Ward, the state’s secretary of natural resources, said fracking is a topic of “great concern” to the McAuliffe administration. The Taylorsville Basin is located in a coastal aquifer that, she said, “is important to 50 percent of Virginians in terms of their water. The water quality there cannot be compromised. “ Before drilling could occur, a company would have to obtain a state permit, a process that could take up to two years.  “Our concern is more long-term. We need to establish parameters on what happens in local areas. Some of those decisions can’t be made from Richmond. They need to be made at the local level,” she said. Buppert suggested that localities might have the power under the state’s gas and oil act to ban fracking, although that power would have to be upheld by a court. The panel also discussed a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that Dominion and other companies want to build. It would cut through some of the highest ridges of Virginia and through 30 miles of national forests. Buppert said his organization questions whether the proposed route would have the least environmental impact, compared with other possible routes. Pam Faggert, chief environmental officer and vice president of corporate compliance for Dominion Virginia Power, said the company is in the process of doing surveys for the pipeline, which will help determine the final route. “We’re still defining the route. The surveys will help identify if the land is appropriate for the pipeline. They will help us identify any environmental concerns.” According to Faggert, most residents in Virginia whose property needs to be surveyed have agreed.  “ A few have said no,” she said.  A small group of residents in Nelson County have filed a lawsuit over the issue. The suit seeks to find a Virginia statute unconstitutional that allows Dominion to conduct surveys on residents' properties without the residents' permission. 2014-12-03T22:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/webb-says-democratic-party-has-lost-its-message1 Webb says Democratic Party has lost its message http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/webb-says-democratic-party-has-lost-its-message1 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/webb-says-democratic-party-has-lost-its-message1#When:22:06:00Z   Former U. S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., gave a preview of his possible stump speech Wednesday during an annual media gathering in Richmond.  Webb, who has formed a presidential exploratory committee, fielded questions on topics ranging from national security to immigration, while refusing to draw comparisons with presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.  Webb told the media who gathered at the Richmond Times-Dispatch for the annual Associated Press Day at the Capital that he would decide over the next few months whether to mount a campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.   The decision, he said, would be based on “our own analytics” and not on what Clinton decides to do.  The former senator, who did not seek reelection when his first term ended in 2012, said the Democratic Party has “lost the message that made it great for so many years. That message was to take care of the working people, take care of the people who aren’t in the corridors of power … The Democratic Party has basically turned into a party of special interest groups,” he said. Asked what would make him a different candidate than Clinton, Webb refused comment, saying he didn’t want to compare himself to other candidates. Webb, who defeated Republican Sen. George Allen in 2006, gave a brief outline of his platform. “We need to revamp our national security. It’s been on autopilot since 9/11,” he said. After the terrorist attacks, it was understandable that a lot of powers moved to the presidency, he added, but that needs to be re-examined.  Webb also wants to reform the nation’s criminal justice system to promote economic fairness, and see America take a stand on immigration. While he said President Barack Obama’s recent executive order on immigration appears to fall within his presidential powers, more work needs to be done. Obama's plan allows about 4.4 million people, who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, to stay in the country temporarily, without threat of deportation. “We need to match our immigration policies with the needs of the U.S. economically and in terms of our views on humanitarian issues,” Webb said. 2014-12-03T22:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-state-senator-named-to-virginia-board-of-health Former state senator named to Virginia Board of Health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-state-senator-named-to-virginia-board-of-health http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-state-senator-named-to-virginia-board-of-health#When:21:55:00Z Gov. Terry McAuliffe has named former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple to the Virginia Board of Health. She is regional director for community and member outreach for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Whipple will fill the seat vacated by Eric Deaton, who resigned to take a position outside of Virginia. She represented the 31st District in the Virginia State Senate from 1996 until her retirement in 2012. She is currently president of the Alliance for Housing Solutions; vice chair of the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission and a member of the board of trustees of the Arlington Community Foundation. 2014-12-03T21:55:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/venable-llc-lawyer-named-president-elect-of-virginia-state-bar Venable LLC lawyer named president-elect of Virginia State Bar http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/venable-llc-lawyer-named-president-elect-of-virginia-state-bar http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/venable-llc-lawyer-named-president-elect-of-virginia-state-bar#When:17:31:00Z Michael W. Robinson has been elected president-elect of the Virginia State Bar (VSB). Robinson, a partner with Venable LLC in Tysons, will assume the post after VSB’s annual meeting in June 2015. He was chosen by active bar members during a month-long election, beating Raymond B. Benzinger and Thomas A. Edmonds to the position. Robinson’s practice focuses on commercial disputes, business torts, and the protection of intellectual property rights. He is a 19th District representative on the VSB Council and is chair of the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics. He previously served as chair of the Special Committee on Bench-Bar Relations and has been on the faculty of the Professionalism Course. He also is a member of the Fairfax County Bar Association. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from George Mason University in Fairfax. 2014-12-03T17:31:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/frozen-food-company-to-begin-operations-in-warren-county Frozen food company to begin operations in Warren County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/frozen-food-company-to-begin-operations-in-warren-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/frozen-food-company-to-begin-operations-in-warren-county#When:16:36:00Z Canada-based Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods will invest $1.8 million to establish its first Virginia operation in Warren County, creating 25 jobs. The company imports fruits and vegetables and distributes its frozen food products across the U.S. Nature’s Touch, founded in 2004, has the private-label frozen fruit accounts of all major grocery chains in Canada. The company established its first U.S. operations in Vermont in 2009. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA), and the Interchange of Front Royal to secure the project for Virginia. The company is eligible to participate in the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2014-12-03T16:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-firm-buys-henrico-county-shopping-center New York firm buys Henrico County Shopping Center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-firm-buys-henrico-county-shopping-center http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-firm-buys-henrico-county-shopping-center#When:20:10:00Z   Cohen Equities, a New York City-based commercial real estate firm, recently acquired six retail properties across the U.S., including The Shoppes at Twin Oaks in Henrico County.     The property sold for $5.3 million, according to local property records, and was part of a deal that Cohen said contributed to a total of $100 million in new assets in 2014.  The 39,117-square-foot shopping center, built in 2006, is located across from the Innsbrook Corporate Center and faces Westerre Parkway. It is 69 percent occupied. According to Cohen, there is currently 12,264 square feet available at the center with asking rents of $20 plus per square foot. The other shopping centers in the portfolio are located in St. Louis, Miss.; Lahaska, Pa.; Cary, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn; and Columbus, Ohio. 2014-12-02T20:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/open-for-business Open for business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/open-for-business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/open-for-business#When:16:18:00Z CyrusOne, a Dallas-based data center provider, said Tuesday the first 30,000 square feet of colocation space was commissioned in mid-November at its 124,000-square-foot building in Loudoun County. As the first phase of what will be a multiphase data center, the building will have 15,000 square feet of office space and up to 12 megawatts of critical load. Northern Virginia is home to one of the world’s largest clusters of data center real estate, with an estimated 70 percent of Internet traffic passing through Loudoun County. “This new data center in Northern Virginia will enable us to effectively address customer demand in this valuable market. By expanding our footprint on the East Coast, we can better meet the expectations of our future and existing customers in this region,” Tesh Durvasula, chief commercial officer of CyrusOne, said in a statement. CyrusOne specializes in enterprise data-center services and colocation solutions. At full build, the 14-acre site in Loudoun County is expected to accommodate a shell of approximately 400,000 square feet — with up to 240,000 square feet of colocation space, 36,000 square feet of Class A office space, and up to 48 megawatts of critical load. 2014-12-02T16:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Untitled.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-marketplace-opens-in-suffolk-on-dec.-3 Kroger Marketplace opened in Suffolk on Dec. 3 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-marketplace-opens-in-suffolk-on-dec.-3 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-marketplace-opens-in-suffolk-on-dec.-3#When:16:13:00Z The Kroger Co. is opening its third marketplace store in the Hampton Roads region on Wednesday, Dec. 3, in the Harbor View area of Suffolk. According to the company, the 123,000-square-foot store at 1017 University Blvd. in the Hampton Roads Crossing Shopping Center will employ nearly 350 full- and part-time workers. In addition to grocery selections, the store also offers 30,000 square feet of non-grocery items, ranging from apparel to home décor. There’s also a cheese shop with more than 175 varieties of cheese, a natural foods department, drive-thru pharmacy, Starbucks kiosk and a Kroger Fuel Center where customers can redeem earned fuel points on goods purchased. Like the other super stores in the region, this one has a section devoted to Fred Meyer Jewelers, a subsidiary of Ohio-based Kroger and the third-largest fine jeweler in the nation.   “We could not be more excited to open up a third store in the Hampton Roads area,” Ricky Green, store manager at the Suffolk Kroger Marketplace, said in a statement.  Green, a Virginia Beach native and 39-year-veteran of the grocery business, opened the first Hampton Roads location at the Holland Road Kroger Marketplace in Virginia Beach in July 2013. A second super store opened in Portsmouth in October. As part of the grand opening festivities, Green will present four area nonprofit and community organizations with a donations. “From new opportunities to additional shopping options, the Kroger Marketplace will be a welcomed addition to our community,” said Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson. The Kroger Mid-Atlantic division operates 121 stores in the region, which includes North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. The Kroger Co., headquartered in Cincinnati, focuses charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives and local organizations in the communities it serves. 2014-12-02T16:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ntelos-exiting-hampton-roads-richmond-markets-next-year NTELOS exiting Hampton Roads, Richmond markets next year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ntelos-exiting-hampton-roads-richmond-markets-next-year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ntelos-exiting-hampton-roads-richmond-markets-next-year#When:14:49:00Z             Waynesboro-based NTELOS said Tuesday it plans to pull out of its Eastern markets next year, a move that will impact Hampton Roads and Richmond. The telecommunications company said it aims to exit the Eastern market by November 2015 and focus on its markets in West Virginia and western Virginia.               "In an effort to strengthen our retail sales performance and leverage our strategic relationship with Sprint, we are right-sizing our business and redirecting our resources on our Western Markets, which provide us the greatest opportunity for sustained, profitable growth.  At the same time, we are exiting markets that have become increasingly competitive and where we have been unable to achieve acceptable financial returns," Michael A. Huber, chairman of the board of NTELOS, said in a statement.                 NTELOS plans to sell its Eastern market wireless licenses to T-Mobile for $56 million in cash. The transaction - which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval by the Federal Communications Commission - is expected to close April 2015.  NTELOS also will wind down its network and retail operations in its Eastern Markets over the next year.  This is expected to include a transition of its subscribers to another carrier.                 In its Western markets, NTELOS intends to expand 4G LTE services, improve retail performance and enhance service.  The wind down and eventual exit from the Eastern market will give NTELOS more flexibility to invest in the Western market, the company says.   The firm also is looking at opportunities to monetize other non-core assets, including the sale of owned towers and undeployed spectrum.                 According to NTELOS, it currently has a total of 457,200 retail subscribers, 59 percent which are in the Western market. Sixty nine percent of its total cell sites are also in the Western market.                 NTELOS expects to have an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) between $128 million and $132 million in 2014. It anticipates its capital expenditures this year will be about $105 million. For 2015, it expects to have an adjusted EBITDA between $100 million and $108 million. 2014-12-02T14:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-fiduciary-standard-benefits-investors The fiduciary standard benefits investors http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-fiduciary-standard-benefits-investors http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-fiduciary-standard-benefits-investors#When:14:36:00Z When choosing a financial advisor, investors are well-advised to consider carefully the ethical standard to which different categories of advisors are held. These legal standards vary greatly within the investment industry — and can directly impact investors’ returns and overall wealth-management plans. The advisors who are held to the highest ethical standard in the investment industry are Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs).  RIAs are legally obligated to meet the “fiduciary standard”: that is, their investment recommendations must be solely in the best interest of their client.  When an RIA is developing a wealth management plan, he or she must ensure that the client’s interests come first.  Brokers, on the other hand, have a considerably lower threshold of accountability to clients when compared to RIAs.  Brokers are required to recommend products they view as “suitable” for their clients.  Unlike the fiduciary standard followed by RIAs, this “suitability” standard means that a broker may suggest higher-priced investment products to a client — even if the broker is aware of lower-priced options. Most investors do not realize this difference in standards, even though it can be an important consideration when making investment decisions. Since many brokers make a commission on the products they sell, potential conflicts of interest can impact the quality of advice the investor receives. Some possible conflicts of interests in the commission model of broker compensation that many investors are unaware of include: • A commissioned advisor may be tempted to make recommendations that pay higher commissions when a less expensive and/or more profitable alternative is available. • A commissioned advisor might be motivated to recommend that a client convert non-cash assets such as real estate and collectibles to cash that can be reinvested so that the advisor can collect commissions. • A commissioned advisor might be incented to advise a client to make investments so that the advisor may collect a commission, when in actuality holding cash may be a better recommendation at the time.  • A commissioned advisor may be tempted to unnecessarily buy and sell securities to generate commissions. (This practice is often referred to as “churning.”) It is expected that the Securities and Exchange Commission will extend a stricter fiduciary standard to brokers within the next five years.  In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that those who support adopting a fiduciary standard for brokers do so because they believe the average investor does not understand the differences in the ethical standards that apply to different types of advisors. They argued, this “leaves the door open to abuses by brokers intent on selling products that pay them a commission, whether those investments are the best option for the buyer or not.” Until this stricter fiduciary standard is required for brokers, though, investors seeking advice on their wealth-management plans might be better served by someone who is already held to the fiduciary standard, has no incentive to promote less-than-ideal products and is legally obligated to work in the client’s best interest. When it comes to your financial future and security, having the additional protection of a fiduciary standard is a wise investment. Michael Joyce, CFA, CFP,  is the president of Richmond-based JoycePayne Partners. He is responsible for the firm’s overall investment strategy, management of investment portfolios and financial counseling services. Joyce can be contacted at mjoyce@joycepaynepartners.com. 2014-12-02T14:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-says-property-tax-payments-from-atlantic-coast-pipeline-would-exce Dominion says property tax payments from Atlantic Coast Pipeline would exceed $25 million a year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-says-property-tax-payments-from-atlantic-coast-pipeline-would-exce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-says-property-tax-payments-from-atlantic-coast-pipeline-would-exce#When:22:25:00Z Richmond-based Dominion said Monday that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project will eventually create more than $25 million in local property tax payments per year. Dominion will build and operate the natural gas pipeline, a $5 billion project which is pending regulatory approval. The pipeline would stretch 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The joint venture includes Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources. "The local benefits of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for the host communities -- including new property taxes paid by the pipeline -- will be very real and very significant," Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, said in a statement. "At a time when many local governments are challenged to fund schools and provide other essential services, this new revenue can make a big difference." Although the project has received support, including that of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, it also has drawn opposition. “Dominion's proposed pipeline is the wrong energy choice for Virginia. It will negatively impact the agricultural, cultural, and natural resources in the region, especially water,” says an online petition on MoveOn.org titled Gov. McAuliffe: Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The petition, created by Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, has been signed by more than 2,400 people. According to Dominion estimates, property tax payments may begin as early as 2016 once construction of the pipeline is approved by federal regulators and installation begins as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline joint venture spends dollars on construction-related costs. If approved by federal regulators, construction will begin in 2016 and the pipeline is projected to be in service by late 2018. Dominion predicts annual property tax payments will increase during the construction period, based on tax formulas in each state and locality. Dominion estimates that counties and municipalities along the proposed route would receive $23 million in property tax payments in 2020 and increase to more than $25 million starting in 2021, when the full value of the project is ultimately reflected in tax payments. The energy company says that the property tax estimates are based on the latest available tax rates and assessment ratios by each county and are subject to change.  Changes in the construction schedules for the pipeline also may affect the amount and distribution of the property tax payments in any given year, Dominion says. Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond projects that the pipeline would inject an annual average of $456.3 million into the economy of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The venture would support about 2,900 annual jobs in the region from 2014 to 2019, Chmura Economics & Analytics says. When fully operational, the project’s estimated annual impact in the three-state region would be $69.2 million, supporting 271 regional jobs from 2019 and beyond. 2014-12-01T22:25:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-build-202-apartments-in-loudon-county Project aims to build 202 apartments in Loudoun County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-build-202-apartments-in-loudon-county http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/project-aims-to-build-202-apartments-in-loudon-county#When:20:16:00Z Three organizations — TM Associates, Windy Hill Foundation and Trident Properties Inc. — are working together to build The Woods of Brambleton in Loudoun County, which will offer 202 apartments charging below market rate rents. The developers said the new units will be targeted to working families with limited incomes.  The complex will include studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units in garden style and town home floor plans. Construction is expected to be completed next March. The Woods at Brambleton will provide rental housing in Virginia’s wealthiest county with rental rates that are 13 to 44 percent lower than comparable market-rate apartment complexes, the developer said.  Amenities will include a pool and clubhouse. Financing for the project is being provided through $17.2 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, a tax-credit equity investment of $7.3 million from EagleBank through Hudson Housing Capital and a substantial contribution from the developer in the form of cash and land donation.  The Windy Hill Foundation  is a private, Middleburg-based foundation started in 1981 with the modest goal of improving living conditions at the town’s Windy Hill neighborhood. The foundation’s other projects have included Virginia Lane, a 14-unit multifamily development, and  Levis Hill House, a 20-unit building for the low-income elderly and disabled, and Piedmont Lane in The Plains, a development was built to look like a row of Virginia farmhouses to fit with the ambience of the  picturesque village. 2014-12-01T20:16:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commercial-metals-co.-to-relocate-and-expand-in-king-george Commercial Metals Co. to relocate and expand in King George http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commercial-metals-co.-to-relocate-and-expand-in-king-george http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commercial-metals-co.-to-relocate-and-expand-in-king-george#When:19:09:00Z Texas-based Commercial Metals Co. will invest $12 million to relocate and expand its manufacturing operation in King George County. The project will retain about 40 existing jobs and create another 20 new positions, the governor’s office said. Commercial Metals, founded in 1915, is a Fortune 500 company based in Irving, Texas. The company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and market steel and metal products, related materials and services. Its holdings include steel minimills, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, metal recycling facilities and marketing and distribution offices in the U.S. and abroad. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with King George County and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to secure the project. The company is eligible for rail access funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2014-12-01T19:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NEW_Childrens_Pavilion_Day_view_from_Broad-v1-1_trees-small_%281%29.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-of-richmond-at-vcu-celebrates-construction-milestone Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU celebrates construction milestone http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-of-richmond-at-vcu-celebrates-construction-milestone http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/childrens-hospital-of-richmond-at-vcu-celebrates-construction-milestone#When:17:04:00Z The Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR) at Virginia Commonwealth University on Monday “topped out” its new Children’s Pavilion, marking the placement of the highest steel beam of the pavilion’s 15-story frame. With the  beam in place, the project is one step closer to completion. The $168 million, 640,000-square-foot facility will serve as the region’s most advanced outpatient facility dedicated to children when it opens in 2016. It will house 72 exam rooms, a surgical area with two operating rooms, areas for diagnostic testing and imaging and laboratory services, as well as family amenities, retail space and faculty offices. Construction also will include an attached parking garage with more than 600 spaces. The new structure is being built adjacent to the existing Children’s Pavilion, across the street from VCU Medical Center in downtown Richmond. Construction of the pavilion has created 150 skilled trade jobs, and that number is expected to grow to nearly 500 when interior construction is fully operational. The pavilion spans 170 feet from the ground level to the top of the penthouse, contains 2,500 tons of steel and 41,000 cubic yards of concrete (4,000 pounds per cubic yard). Since breaking ground in 2012, CHoR said in a release that it has hired nearly 40 new pediatric specialists, increased research funding by 30 percent and developed two new advanced training fellowship programs. “While construction crew members worked together to build the structural frame you see today, groups of CHoR team members from all disciplines have been collaborating to develop new programs, implement process improvements and enhance the patient experience we provide now – and that we will provide within the walls of the new pavilion,” Leslie Wyatt, the hospital’s executive director, said in a statement. The pavilion’s design by HKS Inc. recently won a 2014 American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Healthcare Design Award for its visionary strength, which addresses aesthetic, civic, and urban concerns. 2014-12-01T17:04:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/riverstone-group-to-invest-12-million-in-new-medical-office-space-in-cheste Riverstone Group to invest $12 million in new medical office space in Chesterfield County http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/riverstone-group-to-invest-12-million-in-new-medical-office-space-in-cheste http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/riverstone-group-to-invest-12-million-in-new-medical-office-space-in-cheste#When:17:01:00Z Call it a case of good timing. Richmond-based Riverstone Group plans to add six medical office buildings to its CenterPointe development in Chesterfield County, with work beginning on the first buildings early next year. “We are building Brandermill Parkway from its current terminus at the Powhite Parkway all the way up to Charter Charter Parkway,” said Chris Corrada, a principal at Riverstone. That one-mile, $3 million project will open in 2015. The road extension, combined with Riverstone’s construction of CenterPointe Crossing, a neighborhood of 700 residences, also planned for next year, convinced the company that the time was right to move forward on $12 million in new medical office space on a 7.5-acre parcel near Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center.  Riverstone Group plans six, one-story buildings of 10,000 square feet each for a complex that will be called CenterPointe Station.  “ Right now, there’s nothing around the hospital that exists that’s a drive-up type of product. This is more suited to neighborhood style medical,” said Corrada. While Riverstone hasn’t signed any tenants yet, it is seeing interest in the medical project. “It will probably take two to three years to build based on interest,” Corrada said. The health-care sector has been one of the Richmond region’s busiest commercial real estate sectors. “Hospitals are growing, and practices are growing and you’ve got a lot of medical in old, 20- to 30- year-old spaces. They can’t function there like they can in a brand new space designed for their practice,” said Corrada. A multi-family development also is in the works for the CenterPointe development. Although the deal hasn’t closed yet, Corrada said Riverstone Group is selling 26 acres to HHHunt Properties, which plans a 271-unit apartment community. “It’s called CenterPointe for a reason,” he added, about the area that sits in the middle of northern Chesterfield County that’s bordered by the Powhite Parkway and Route 288. “There’s development all around it. There’s great transportation, great schools, and the hospital is a huge driver.” 2014-12-01T17:01:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-prepares-for-new-investor-rules Richmond firm prepares for new investor rules http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-prepares-for-new-investor-rules http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-firm-prepares-for-new-investor-rules#When:16:08:00Z Steve Sadler, CEO of Allegiancy, a Richmond-based commercial real estate asset manager, foresees a new era for investors when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announces new rules for what is known Regulation A+. The rules are expected to be released shortly as part of the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Allegiancy said in a press release that it plans to be one of the first companies in the nation to offer $20 million in preferred equity securities under the new rules. “Reg A+ is about giving regular folks access to investments that private-equity funds and only a handful of accredited investors have enjoyed up until now,” Sadler said in a statement. According to Sadler, Reg A+ will increase the amount a private company can raise through a public securities offering from $5 million to $50 million in a year, as well as allowing non-accredited investors to buy in.  Reg A+ also eliminates limits that have prevented smaller investors from gaining access to private security offerings. An earlier entry point under the new regulations means that investors won’t have to wait for the mega initial public offerings (IPOs), like Facebook’s in 2012. Sadler said: “If you look at the investors who make most of the money in these mega-IPOs, it’s the venture capitalists and private equity funds who got in before the company went public. Their basis price for Facebook was around 38 cents. Facebook’s IPO price was $38, and today it’s around $73.” “Those early investors made some serious money. The average investor didn’t have the opportunity,” Sadler said. “With Reg A+, we believe they will.” 2014-12-01T16:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VNG3.JPG http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-natural-gas-building-sells-for-8.9-million-in-virginia-beach Virginia Natural Gas Building sells for $8.9 million in Virginia Beach. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-natural-gas-building-sells-for-8.9-million-in-virginia-beach http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-natural-gas-building-sells-for-8.9-million-in-virginia-beach#When:15:17:00Z Armada Hoffler Properties has sold the Virginia Natural Gas Building in Virginia Beach to an undisclosed purchaser for $8.9 million or about $287 per square foot. The 31,000-square-foot office building is still occupied by the gas company. According to Divaris Real Estate Inc., the real estate firm that brokered the sale, Armada Hoffler constructed the building as a build-to-suit for Virginia Natural Gas Inc. in 2010 for its headquarters operations. The company was under a long-term lease at the time of sale and plans to stay in the building located at 544 S. Independence Blvd. in the Lakeview Corporate Park. Virginia Natural Gas serves more than 275,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Southeastern Virginia Alex Divaris, vice president, and Jason Oliver, senior associate of Divaris Real Estate's Investment Sales Group, together with President Michael Divaris represented the seller, Armada Hoffler Properties. The sale reflects a capitalization rate of 6.25 percent. Armada Hoffler Properties is a Virginia Beach-based real estate investment trust that develops, builds, owns and manages office, retail and multifamily properties throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. 2014-12-01T15:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ECON_open.png Will Davis, Chesterfield County’s director of economic development Photo by Jay Paul http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/foreign-affairs Foreign affairs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/foreign-affairs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/foreign-affairs#When:08:00:00Z Virginia began with international investment. English investors funded a joint stock company to establish a colony in the New World. One of the earliest sites settled was the Citie of Henricus, now part of Chesterfield County. Will Davis, Chesterfield’s economic development director, likes to tell that story, with good reason. Chesterfield is getting one of the state’s largest international investments. Tranlin Inc., a subsidiary of China’s Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. Ltd., said in June that it would spend $2 billion to create an advanced manufacturing paper plant in Chesterfield that eventually will employ about 2,000 people. The announcement is another building block in Virginia’s portfolio of international companies. From the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads to the office towers of Northern Virginia — and points in between — international companies have helped Virginia shine. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership reports that Virginia now is home to more than 700 international companies. From 2009 to 2013, they invested about $4.4 billion in the commonwealth, creating 13,000 jobs. Chesterfield’s targets In Chesterfield, Virginia’s fourth most populous county, the strategy has been to pursue international companies in targeted industries. “One of our target areas is the food sector,” Davis says. For example, Sabra Dipping Co., the world’s largest hummus maker, has established a plant and research facility in the county.  Sabra announced in September that it would double its production capacity, which currently is more than 4,000 tons a month. All told, Sabra has invested $150 million in Virginia and now employs more than 500 people. The company is a joint venture involving Israel-based Strauss Group and PepsiCo. Another food firm, Maruchan Inc., a subsidiary of a Japan-based company, employs about 450 in Chesterfield. Maruchan  is one of the world’s biggest producers of ramen noodles and soups. International companies serving the food industry also have come to Chesterfield. For example, BluePrint Automation Inc., a Dutch company, makes packaging machinery. Altogether, Chesterfield has more than 40 international companies, representing 12 countries. “Success does breed success,” Davis says. “We’re headed on the right path, and we’re focused on what we want, very focused.” Foreign focus Ryan Losi, the executive vice president of the Midlothian-based accounting firm Piascik, agrees with Davis that recruiting one international company can encourage others to locate in an area. Favorable legislation also helps. During its last session, the General Assembly passed a bill to help international exporters in Virginia reduce their taxes. Losi believes the move enhances the commonwealth’s status as a leading economic contender in international trade. Forty percent of Losi’s 200 clients are international companies. His international practice soared during the recession as international companies poured money into the U.S., either to establish subsidiaries or to buy existing American assets. “A lot of these buyers were paying cash,” Losi says. “They were able to acquire assets at low prices.” He believes investments in Virginia by China, already the major exporter and importer out of the Port of Virginia, could increase. Losi cites the Tranlin announcement and last year’s $4.7 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork producer and processor, by Shuanghui International Holdings. “They’re looking to see how these deals go,” Losi says of major Chinese investors still on the sidelines. The Fairfax factor A beacon for international investment in the commonwealth is Fairfax County. Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), says the county began exploring opportunities for international investment in the 1980s, hoping to take advantage of the county’s location between Washington Dulles International Airport and Washington, D.C. In 1997, fewer than 20 foreign companies had Fairfax-based operations. Today, there are more than 400 companies from 40 nations operating in Fairfax. Gordon says the tipping point occurred in 1998 when FCEDA held the World Congress on Information Technology, which drew representatives from 96 countries After the conference, a half dozen companies established offices in Fairfax, helping to launch a technology boom in the county. Fairfax now boasts 6,700 technology firms. About the same time as the conference, the county established its first international office in Tokyo. Today, FCEDA has offices in five countries. Gordon says there was no precedent for a Virginia county establishing a development office overseas. “It was mostly the domain of states and major cities,” he says. “There was no model for local government to do, and we just stumbled along.” Gordon believes international investment is the result of relationship building, making connections with the right people in foreign governments and business. “A lot of [Fairfax] residents have helped us make those connections, especially in Korea,” he says. “Law firms and accounting firms that have offices around the world have also helped.”   Danville digs out The Danville area has suffered some of the state’s highest unemployment rates since its textile and tobacco industries collapsed. Danville, a city of 43,000, is now trying to rejuvenate itself, in part by attracting international companies. “International business has become a major part of the Danville economy. We have 10 international companies from nine countries in Danville currently,” says Telly Tucker, Danville’s director of economic development. “We’re focused on diversifying the Danville economy, so we’re not beholden to one large industry,” Tucker adds, recalling the approximately 15,000 jobs that were lost with the closing of Dan River Mills operations in the area and the downsizing of tobacco interests. By bringing high-speed broadband into the region and beginning a revitalization of the city’s River District, community leaders are hoping to spur a renaissance. Linwood Wright, a longtime consultant on economic development, says Danville has a long history with international companies. He says executives with Dan River Mills and the former Dibrell Brothers Tobacco, once the second largest independent processor of leaf tobacco in the U.S., traveled the globe meeting with customers and searching for new markets. In 2008, Danville made big news when Swedwood, the industrial group within IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, located here. The 930,000-square-foot factory became the Swedish furniture maker’s first U.S. manufacturing facility. Wright says IKEA then helped recruit two of its suppliers, EBI of Poland and AXXOR of the Netherlands, to locate to Danville. EBI produces upholstered furniture and bedding accessories for IKEA, and AXXOR makes a honeycomb core that is used by Swedwood. Port of opportunity The same type of help by an existing company occurred in Virginia Beach, says Darryl W. Gosnell, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. He says one of the area’s longtime international companies — Stihl Inc. of Virginia Beach, a German company perhaps best-known for its chainsaws and other power equipment — assisted in recruiting two of its suppliers to the state’s largest city. One of those suppliers was BMZ of Germany, the world’s largest producer of rechargeable battery pack systems, which opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Virginia Beach in 2011. The other Stihl recruit was Prufrex, a German manufacturer of digital ignition systems, which announced last year it was opening its first U.S. plant, in part because its two major customers — Stihl and BMZ Batteries — were already there. Stihl has 1,900 employees in Virginia Beach and recently marked its 40th anniversary as a Virginia company. “We have 140 international companies from 26 countries, and they employ over 21,000 local residents. That’s a big chunk of folks,” Gosnell says. One of the biggest attractions to the region is the Port of Virginia, which had a record-breaking year in terms of volume in 2013. For example, the Mediterranean Shipping Co. has made Norfolk its first and last port of call for Asia, according to Mike Lehmkuhler, vice president of business attraction for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Mediterranean Shipping, based in Geneva, Switzerland, was operating 465 container vessels worldwide at the end of September. Lehmkuhler says that in the past two years Virginia has enjoyed a surge in international investment — $3.3 billion, and the creation of 6,700 jobs as a direct result. Many foreign companies face stagnant economies in their own countries, he explains, and they’re looking overseas. “They’re trying to build market share in the U.S.,” Lehmkuhler says. One of Virginia’s big challenges in attracting more international investment is the state’s own budget problems. The state faces a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall during the next two-year budget cycle. State employee layoffs and deep agency budget cuts have been announced. With limited state funding, the commonwealth can’t expand into more countries, and advertising has to be curtailed. “It handicaps us [internationally] from having a louder voice and a bigger footprint,” Lehmkuhler says. 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bristol_countrymusic.png The $11 million museum opened in August about a block off of State Street in Bristol, Va. Photo by Tim Cox http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-birthplace-of-country-music The Birthplace of Country Music http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-birthplace-of-country-music http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-birthplace-of-country-music#When:08:00:00Z Bristol’s hills are truly alive with the sound of music. “That’s kind of our heritage — our music and our art,” says Catherine Brillhart, the mayor of Bristol, Va. Recognized by the U.S. Congress as the official Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol celebrates the arrival of a talent scout named Ralph Peer in Bristol in the summer of 1927 to record hillbilly music performers. That recording session included established singers such as Henry Whitter and Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman. But it also led to the discovery of country music’s first long-lasting stars: Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Wanting to make their music immortal, they wandered into Peer’s makeshift recording studio on the Tennessee side of State Street. For more than a decade, Bristol’s Mountain Music Museum has allowed visitors to get an up-close look at artifacts and instruments associated with the fabled Bristol Sessions, considered the “Big Bang” of country music. The museum resided in various locations at the Bristol Mall. Last year it relocated to a retail space on the Tennessee side of State Street. Then in August, the splashier Birthplace of Country Music Museum opened its doors about a block off State Street near Cumberland Square Park in Bristol, Va. Its $11 million cost was paid with a mix of tax credits, donations and grants. “The states of Tennessee and Virginia have given money,” says Jessica Turner, the museum’s curator, “and the cities of Bristol, Va., and Bristol, Tenn., have given operations support.” Inside the museum, you can hear 87-year-old recordings by a variety of acts — with subjects that range from drinking and dancing to love and longing, disaster, hardship, death, faith or betrayal. The museum includes rare photos, instruments, interactive displays and videos. “Certainly in this part of the state, cultural assets are economic development,” Turner says. “And a lot of businesses are investing in cultural products, whether that be music or arts or entertainment or crafts and things like that. Those kinds of cultural arts projects bring in a lot of visitors, who bring in a lot of dollars. And I think you will see that boost Bristol’s economy. We’re already seeing that with at least one boutique hotel choosing to locate here because of this museum.” Impact studies suggest the museum will attract about 75,000 visitors a year, Turner says. “In the month of September, our revenues were about $22,000 in admissions to the museum. And then, on top of that, just in the month of September, we have had about 55 new members to the museum. We’ve been thrilled. People all over the world are coming to see it.” 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BRISTOL_Clock.png A sign shows a countdown to kickoff in 2016. Photo courtesy Bristol Chamber of Commerce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/border-war Border war http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/border-war http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/border-war#When:08:00:00Z Bristol Motor Speedway began simple enough: The oval track was built in 1961 — sketched out, initially, by a couple of businessmen on a napkin at a restaurant. It has since grown to 160,000 seats, with NASCAR races held during spring and summer. The hulking track stands just a few miles south of the Tennessee-Virginia line. Still, its Volunteer State location does not put the brakes on many in the Old Dominion wanting to claim it as their own: Just ask any Virginia politician who has ever entertained someone in a suite. In less than two years, “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” will host more than just racecars. The track has announced plans for a football game pitting the Virginia Tech Hokies against the University of Tennessee Vols on Sept. 10, 2016. The track’s general manager, Jerry Caldwell, is hoping for a sellout. “A lot of people talk about border wars or border battles. But this truly is that,” Caldwell says. “This is truly right in the middle of two institutions that are the face of college football for their respective states.” Track officials like Caldwell are obviously excited. But so are members of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. On Bristol’s State Street, outside the chamber’s offices at the Tennessee-Virginia line, you’ll find a clock counting down the days, hours and minutes to kickoff. “I think it’s going to be one of those special events to list, ‘I was there,’” Caldwell says. “Everywhere I go, that’s what people talk about — this battle at Bristol. Time and time again, I’ll hear people say, ‘I have to be here for that.’” Dollar-wise, Caldwell theorizes that this football game will have a financial impact “equal to another NASCAR week in the region.” And that’s huge, according to Caldwell, who says the Bristol Motor Speedway has a $400 million direct impact each year on the greater Bristol region. “You have a tremendous investment coming to a NASCAR event, especially to Bristol,” Caldwell says. “We’re a destination-type facility. Sixty percent of the people coming to our events are coming from six-plus hours away. And a lot are in RVs or campers.” Racing in Bristol is “great for the Bristol economy as a whole,” says Christina Blevins, the director of Bristol’s Main Street program. “Those people stay at our hotels and eat at our restaurants.” The August race, especially, pulls in people for Food City Family Race Night, when Bristol’s State Street is closed to become a pedestrian mall, and thousands gather for an all-day party of business promotions, concerts, book signings and a chance to meet NASCAR drivers. From mid-November to early January, thousands more come to the speedway complex to tour Speedway in Lights, powered by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Here, you’ll see colorful animations of Santa Claus, Rudolph and the Three Wise Men. You can also drive down the Bristol Dragway and even on the actual track of the Bristol Motor Speedway. 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/bristol_open.png Catherine Brillhart, mayor and Andrew Trivette, assistant city manager. Photo by Tim Cox http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seeing-double Seeing double http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seeing-double http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/seeing-double#When:08:00:00Z It takes two states to hold the diversity and bustle of Bristol, a historic community straddling a state line — with one foot in Virginia, the other in Tennessee. Technically, there are two cities, both named Bristol and connected like Siamese twins — with two mayors, two police departments and two school systems. In this “Twin City,” look for one of each in either: a large library in Bristol, Va., and a tiny branch in Tennessee plus a large post office in Tennessee and a smaller one in Virginia. Bristol, Tenn., boasts King University. Bristol, Va., unfortunately, lost its institution of higher education: the century-old but financially challenged Virginia Intermont College, which shut down after the spring 2014 semester. There is one Bristol Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Tennessee, but it serves both sides of Bristol. Similarly, the Bristol Herald Courier, the daily newspaper, circulates in both cities, though it has an office in Virginia and is published in Tennessee. Settled in the mid-1800s and reached by railroad in 1856, Bristol has long been known as the “Shopping Center of the Appalachians.” Famous for its dual identity and shouldered by scenic mountains, it’s a community where it feels like you’re in a state stretching from Norfolk to Memphis. “You are living in two states at once,” says 35-year-old Christina Blevins. “But I think Bristolians don’t see the state line. You don’t see the differences.” All merge on State Street, Bristol’s version of Main Street — with brass plates at the center marking Virginia on one side, Tennessee on the other. This historic thoroughfare was once actually known as Main Street in the late 1800s, but, back then, it was more commonly called “Mud Street” because it was often prone to wash-outs. Today, Believe in Bristol is the Main Street program for both Bristols. “And, yes, our Main Street is called State Street,” says Blevins, the program’s director. “But that doesn’t matter. It’s the same program.” The Main Street district has about 160 businesses in a 10-block area. That group includes restaurants like the Burger Bar, Macado’s and the Quaker Steak and Lube; large antiques stores; trendy clothing stores; a gallery by nationally known photographer Benjamin Walls; and the 756-seat Paramount Center for the Arts, a theater in Bristol, Tenn., that, ironically, has been the setting for Virginia-based beauty pageants. “People are wanting to invest in this downtown,” says Jessica Turner, the curator of the newly opened Birthplace of Country Music Museum. “New restaurants are coming, one hotel, possibly a second. And that’s really exciting from a business perspective to see that.” Tourism is picking up, too, says Karen Hester, who owns a gift shop called Cranberry Lane on State Street. “There are art galleries, jewelry stores, antique stores, tons of great restaurants. It’s a great place to spend a day or weekend. But, most especially, it’s a great place to live, too.” State Street rarely has empty storefronts, Blevins says, and enjoys healthy foot traffic. “Our current success is a product of all of the different plans and efforts that have come before today,” says Andrew Trivette, the assistant city manager of Bristol, Va. “The people who are here now are really enjoying the fruit of that early effort.” It hasn’t been easy, and it’s far from an overnight success story for the Twin City — with nearly 18,000 residents of Bristol, Va., and about 24,000 living in Bristol, Tenn. “Our community 20-plus years ago was like me, me, me,” Blevins says. “Everybody wanted to get credit for this, that or the other. I really feel like we’ve changed so much, and we’re all trying to work together and partner together and promote each other.” Downtown jewel True to the name of her organization, Blevins and her husband, Eric, definitely believe in Bristol. “We were just volunteering for the organization. And we really put our money where our mouth is,” Christina Blevins says. “We have bought four buildings here in downtown, and we’ve revitalized three of them. We’ve built several lofts, and we have storefronts.” Such a commitment has been appreciated by the storeowners of State Street, who say they see Blevins as one of them, even as she works to promote everyone. “And they know I’m going to work hard,” she says. “I felt like Bristol forever has been this jewel and that it just needed to be polished. And so many people feel that way. Everybody’s working really hard to polish that jewel.” The community had sparkled before in the mid-1900s, when passenger trains stayed busy at the Bristol Train Station, a stately structure built in 1902 that has been recently renovated and restored. “Obviously, in the 1930s, Bristol’s downtown was a central business district,” Blevins says. “It was a place where everybody bought their goods and services. It was the economic and social hub — the focal point, basically, for the counties and the region.” But downtowns like Bristol fell into disrepair by the 1960s and 1970s. “And it wasn’t just downtown Bristol,” says Blevins. “It was all Main Streets across America.” Change came with the elimination of passenger trains, the opening of the interstate highway system and a shift in shopping habits. “That was where the mall came in,” Blevins says. “The mall was this newfound thing, and [for] all these businesses, that was the new thing. They moved to the mall.” The survivors of the outward migration tried to make themselves more like a mall, Blevins says. On top of the movement to the mall came a natural disaster — “the flood of 1977, where all of downtown was in, like, four feet of water.” The flood wiped out businesses. “About 40 or 50 percent didn’t reopen,” Blevins says. “So, between the Bristol Mall and I-81 being completed and then the downtown flood, it was just a really, really sad time for Bristol.” Rising up from the ashes, the musically rich heritage of Bristol today attracts an estimated 50,000 each year for September’s three-day “Rhythm and Roots Reunion” plus thousands more for a series of summertime concerts called “Border Bash.” “It definitely did not happen overnight,” Blevins says. “We’ve been working on downtown revitalization since the early 1980s.” Despite the recent downtown developments, it’s still been a tough year for the city, with the shutdown of Virginia Intermont College and its loss of faculty, staff and nearly 1,000 students. “We have been aiding Virginia Intermont since before its closure to try to find ways to invigorate the campus and, now, to find a new tenant,” says Trivette. “It’s an unbelievable asset. I think a lot of people who will come and tour the property will be surprised by what it has to offer.” The Falls Beyond State Street, the cityscape changes along I-81. For the past 20 years, retail growth has been healthy and relatively steady in the Exit 7 area on the north side of Bristol, Va. A Wal-Mart store opened here in 1995, signaling the start of a boom that has included a ribbon of restaurants, shops and hotels — with some flanking the banks of Beaver Creek, a watercourse that flows from the lush woods of the 400-acre Sugar Hollow Park to the downtown district. Now, city officials are creating The Falls, a multimillion dollar development near I-81’s Exit 5. And they’re doing it by themselves on 140 acres of publicly owned land. “A large portion of it was vacant,” Trivette says. “There were some different small businesses that have, for the most part, been relocated.” By October, the city had logged $45 million in general obligation debt but announced plans to issue revenue bonds to pay for the project. “The decision was made to proceed at the city’s cost largely because in the world of tenant attraction for a retail project, the competition is fierce,” Trivette says. “We are and have been competing with a development in Tennessee that’s less than five miles away from our location. And we felt like it would be detrimental to our project to delay construction.” That other project, The Pinnacle, enjoyed the August grand opening of its anchor store, Bass Pro Shops, just south of the Virginia line. Other stores also have been announced for The Pinnacle, including the relocation of the Belk department store from the Bristol Mall in Bristol, Va. A new state statute has allowed the city of Bristol, Va., to pay for the The Falls’ construction through sales tax collections, because it’s a development of regional impact, says Trivette. “What it allows us to do is to capture the sales taxes generated within the development boundary to pay development costs.” A similar law in Tennessee was passed “to erode Virginia’s historic competitive advantage for attracting retail along the border,” Trivette says. “And that competitive advantage has long been the sales tax differential. In the state of Tennessee, they have a sales tax that’s higher than ours. [Tennessee’s states sales tax rate is 7 percent compared to Virginia’s general sales tax rate of 5.3 percent].” The first business at The Falls plans to open next year — the anchor store, Cabela’s. “We’re going to have unique retail stores that normally would not be in this area,” says Catherine Brillhart, the mayor of Bristol, Va. Other tenants on board include restaurants like Calhoun’s, Smoky Mountain Brewery and Zaxby’s, plus the relocation of a Lowe’s home improvement store from just outside the city limits in Washington County, Va. In future phases, still to be announced, Trivette says, “we have done a very good job at attracting retailers that would not commonly be attracted to our market.” Those retailers “want to know who else is going to be here with me,” Trivette says. “And so you have to demonstrate that they won’t be on an island by themselves. It’s hard to attract a shopper to just one store. But if you have a plethora of complementary stores, then they can do a lot of shopping at one time, and the development flows better.” Meanwhile, Bristol Mall has seen less and less foot traffic. First, blame the renaissance of the downtown and the Exit 7 boom. Then it was the recession in 2008. And, now, the mall is being squeezed by The Pinnacle on the south and The Falls on the north. In recent months, JC Penney shut its mall store. Now, Belk is leaving to open a new store at The Pinnacle next year. With those losses, it would be easy to forecast doom. Yet Trivette is optimistic for the mall’s survival: “I do think that the Bristol Mall has opportunities that maybe it hasn’t explored yet,” he says. “There are tenants that prefer a closed mall to an outdoor shopping center, so those tenants will be ripe as they look for a way to get into this market to look at the Bristol Mall.” Mayor makes history Brillhart, a former banker, became Bristol, Va.’s first female mayor on July 1. “People say it’s historic,” the 54-year-old mayor says with a smile. “But I don’t think a whole lot about it. I just think this is a new position for me. And I tend to learn from what leaders have done in the past.” A native of Big Stone Gap, Brillhart moved to nearby Abingdon in the 1980s, then relocated to Bristol in the 1990s. “When I moved to Bristol, our downtown was dilapidated,” she says. “It wasn’t in very good shape.” Now, that’s changed. Practically all of Bristol has changed. “I tend to think that we have a very vital downtown compared to other cities. And I think there’s been a change since I moved here,” Brillhart says. “A big change.” Bristolians have seen the power of working together, Blevins suggests — and especially in the downtown district, which Trivette says remains the key to the city. “Exit 7 and Exit 5 are very important to the strategic economic health of the city, just because of the taxes and revenues that they represent. But, really,” Trivette says, “what makes Bristol a place is our downtown.” 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Hosn3559_smile.png General Manager Sam Hosn says new restaurants at Potomac Mills include Bahama Breeze and the Cheesecake Factory. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wrapping-up-bargains Wrapping up bargains http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wrapping-up-bargains http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wrapping-up-bargains#When:08:00:00Z Outlet malls used to be a dumping ground. They were a place where major retail chains sent odd lots and flawed merchandise.  Shoppers had to cull through a lot of poorly displayed dreck on the chance of scoring a designer jacket at a deep discount. Today, these malls are the hottest success story in retailing, both nationwide and in Virginia. They’re still a place to find bargains, and they are much more high-end. Since 2006, 50 new outlet malls have opened across the country, according to Linda Humphers of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Compare that with the paltry three regional malls built during the same time frame. Jeffrey Was, president of the Was Group — a real estate consulting firm that represents landlords and retailers nationwide — says he knows of 30 outlet malls in the pipeline now, making continued growth a given for this sector during the next few years. Virginia currently has three major outlet centers: Potomac Mills, a 220-store mega mall in Woodbridge that mixes straight retail with discounters; Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (110 stores); and Williamsburg Premium Outlets (135 tenants).  A fourth, the plain Williamsburg Outlet Mall, closed in 2013. “It got old and outdated,” says Tony Nero, president of development for Armada Hoffler Properties in Virginia Beach. Nero’s company is razing the old 230,000-square-foot mall and replacing it with a traditional suburban shopping center anchored by a Harris Teeter supermarket. Two more on the way Yet that outlet mall’s demise is an anomaly. In fact, in Maryland, just across the Potomac River from Alexandria, Tanger Outlets opened in late 2013 at National Harbor and now has about 85 tenants with plans to expand. Two more outlet centers also are in development in the commonwealth. Simon Property Group, the country’s biggest player in this area of retailing, owns 70 outlet malls in the U.S., including all three in Virginia. It is currently in negotiations to build a fourth, $75 million mall in Norfolk, at the site of the now defunct Lake Wright Golf Course, which abuts Virginia Beach. Les Morris, director of corporate public relations for Simon Property Group,  says his company does not have a date to start construction, and he provided no particulars.  All the tax revenue from the mall would go to Norfolk, while initial parking and plans for access roads around the mall fell on Virginia Beach property, causing a dustup between the two localities. In an effort to keep Virginia Beach politicians out of the mix, Norfolk revamped sections of the project to bypass Beach property, although the route on one access road is still to be determined. Simon’s outlet malls typically have about 90 stores, and an occupancy rate of 96.5 percent or better.  That’s higher than the 93 percent national occupancy rate for open (as opposed to enclosed) shopping centers in 2013, reported by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). According to an overview Simon presented to the Norfolk City Council, the Lake Wright development should generate at least 300 construction jobs and 800 retail jobs and produce estimated annual tax revenues of $3.3 million. The other outlet project in the works in Virginia is the 350,000-square-foot The Outlets at Richmond near the Bass Pro Shops off Interstate 95 in Hanover County. It falls into the typical size range for outlet malls these days. Costar, a commercial real estate research and analytics company, reports that in 2009 outlet malls averaged 270,000 square feet. By the end of 2012, that size had ballooned to an average of 380,000 square feet. Groundbreaking on the project has been delayed by land issues, but the developer, California-based Craig Realty Group, expects to begin construction in 2015. The mall is projected to have at least 75 stores, which probably will include retailers such as Nike, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger, which are regular tenants at other Craig properties. High sales per square foot What makes outlets so “white hot,” as Was describes them? The obvious answer is money. The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that a square foot of outlet space at a mall generates an average of $532 in sales, while a regional mall generates an average of $480 per square foot. This elevation of outlets’ earnings has come about thanks to a uniquely American trait: the talent for reinvention.  As recently as 20 years ago, the stock-in-trade of outlets was seconds and wrong-sized or faulty merchandise, Was says.  “The outlets were a dumping ground for retailers,” he says bluntly. Although outlet malls still target savvy bargain hunters, known in the industry as “value shoppers,” for the past decade or more they have been luring them with promises of a much more high-end experience. Today shoppers have a pick of first-quality products and lots of designer and luxury goods.  Upscale department-store retailers such as Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have followed the money, moving into discounting in a big way. Costar reports that the number of retailers with outlet stores grew since 2008 by nearly14 percent, to about 15,000. Nordstrom, for example, was planning to open only one full-service department store in the country this year, but Costar predicted that it could add as many as 60 off-price Nordstom Rack stores by the end of 2015.  Today’s outlet malls rely heavily on brand-name stores, such as DKNY, Jones of New York, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Theory, Kate Spade and Michael Kors. That trend toward fashion labels is going to continue. “We are seeing a bigger influx of new brands that want to open in outlets,” Humphers says, adding that about 85 percent are apparel companies. “We’ve added 40 or 50 brands in the past couple of years,” she says, and even more high-end retailers are on the way, such as jeweler David Yurman; couturiers Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen; and European luxury good purveyors such as Tod’s and Brunello Cucinelli. Upscale amenities Amenities are going upscale, too.  At Potomac Mills, General Manager Sam Hosn says new restaurants include Bahama Breeze and the Cheesecake Factory. At Tanger, General Manager Juan Carlos says customers can dine at Johnny Rockets or take a short shuttle ride to National Harbor’s array of steakhouses, seafood restaurants, and Italian and Thai restaurants. “Amenities are huge,” Morris says. Simon is pushing to provide healthier and varied eating options at its outlet malls, such as Great Salads, Green Leaf’s and Far East Asian Fire. Other common upgrades include renovated restrooms, children’s play areas and bag stores to provide shoppers with a convenient way to haul home the loot. Increasingly, those shoppers won’t have to travel as far anymore to get to outlet malls, either. Once upon a time, discounters kept their distance from regional malls so as not to cannibalize their business.  “The old model was to have outlet malls located 45 minutes outside city centers,” Morris says. “Now, more are being located in denser areas.” That move represents a shift in the targeted demographics of outlet shoppers. While tourists continue to be the mainstay, tapping into the permanent population has become the new growth area. Yet with all these upgrades can outlet malls still provide deals this holiday season? And what about e-commerce? Why fight the crowds when consumers can find discount deals online? Not surprisingly, mall managers say deals are still to be had at outlet stores. Hosn, who expects a 3.8 percent increase in business for the holiday shopping season, says 70 percent off is not uncommon at Potomac Mills, while Carlos says everyday discounts combined with special promotions can mean as much as 75 percent off at Tanger Outlets. Morris cites discounts of 25 percent to 65 percent off at the Leesburg and Williamsburg outlet centers. Was, however, says that “prices are not dirt cheap now, not a giveaway.” Regardless of whether shoppers can get a steal anymore, outlet malls expect to be bustling this holiday season. The thrill of the hunt for high-end goods at low-end prices is a lure that value shoppers just can’t resist. 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TECH_openinggraphic.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-frontier The next frontier http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-frontier http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-next-frontier#When:08:00:00Z A 90-year-old man swallows a pill. It includes a sophisticated sensor that sends data to his smartphone and his doctor, who can use the information to monitor the man’s vitals and check to see if he’s taking his medication as prescribed. A car tells a network about a pothole, and other cars automatically adjust their driving patterns or even raise their suspensions to compensate. A coffee shop monitors the average temperature of coffee its customers are drinking, surveying live data as its patrons sip away. A mother of three checks her smartphone and finds out that her kids left the lights on and forgot to lock the front door, so she does it for them — remotely. These are all examples of how the Internet of Things will — or already is — changing our daily lives. Until recently, computers were pretty much the only “things” connected to the Internet. That was followed by a wave of additional devices ranging from tablets and smartphones to TVs and game consoles. Now we’re experiencing a third wave of connected devices that are unlike what has come before — ranging from home thermostats to car sensors, industrial controls, medical devices and wearable technology. “The Internet of Things really expands the device universe. … [It’s] a fairly recent development, but its potential is obviously very large,” says Ferhan Hamid, CEO of McLean-based INADEV Corp. By 2020 the Internet of Things will include more than 26 billion connected objects, according to projections by Gartner, a Connecticut-based information technology research and advisory firm. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. consumers will own at least one in-home Internet-connected device by 2019, such as a thermostat or home security camera, according to a study by Acquity Group, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. “Definitionally, it’s when ordinary items have [an Internet] connection that they didn’t have before,” says David Rose, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab and author of “Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, & the Internet of Things.” “Where it gets interesting and surprising is when those things are the things that we already surround ourselves with, like clothing or jewelry or desks or curtains or furniture,” says Rose, who explained the concept of the Internet of Things to a baffled Jon Stewart in an August interview on “The Daily Show.” The Internet of Things also opens up a wide array of new business options for manufacturers and retailers, says Rose: “It changes anything that was a product into a service immediately.” Take for example, he says, a luggage manufacturer. “Samsonite has been struggling with how to differentiate its product for decades,” Rose says. The company added wheels, a bevy of new colors and hard shell versions. “But then you sort of run out of ideas, right?” he asks. What if you add a Bluetooth chip that can send alerts to your smartphone when your bag enters the baggage carousel or if someone mistakenly grabs your luggage? Then it becomes a service, he says — one that could even be supported with subscription or usage fees. Similarly, he points out that Yale Lock is coming out with a line of Internet-connected house door locks that will allow users to lock or unlock doors remotely. Adding new functionality to old products such as luggage or door locks creates new customer demands and revenue streams, Rose says. Along with this proliferation of new Internet-connected devices comes the problem of needing to analyze the reams of data being collected. Businesses “struggle with the challenge of how they can manage, control and act upon the anticipated tsunami of data and events that [the Internet of Things] will undoubtedly create,” says John Crupi, vice president of visual analytics for German enterprise software firm Software AG, which has its North American headquarters in Reston. Software AG has developed a software package called the Internet of Things Solutions Accelerator to display real-time analytics from Internet-connected devices. The Internet of Things isn’t a new concept, Crupi says. Once known as machine to machine, the idea of a wider network of Internet-connected devices communicating with each other and their users first took hold back in the early 1990s and 2000s. The surge of new connected devices is being driven by falling prices for hardware sensors, some of which are so cheap and small that they can be placed on disposable products designed for one-time uses so that companies can determine how, when or where their products are being used. Devices to assist with home automation, health care and fitness are especially fast-growing sectors of the Internet of Things, Crupi says. However, security concerns also come with the increasing number of connected devices in our lives. “Anything on your network, if it’s not protected, somebody will hack into it,” says Ted Brown, vice president of IT operations for Reston-based Network Alliance. Any devices that are connected to a network should be integrated into a company’s overall IT security strategy, Brown says, or hackers could find a back door to commit corporate sabotage or access sensitive data. The federal government, in particular, is concerned about the vulnerabilities created by connected devices, and many Northern Virginia and D.C.-area contractors are working on this issue for the Department of Homeland Security, says Hamid with INADEV. “There’s obviously a significant national security risk if these Internet-connected devices get hacked or compromised,” Hamid says, adding that the U.S. government is also able to take advantage of such connected devices for offensive espionage and cyber war. Because of the vast number of government technology contractors in the Washington, D.C., region, Northern Virginia companies are especially well positioned to be leaders in the analytics field associated with the Internet of Things, industry professionals say. Says Crupi: “I know a lot of people think about Silicon Valley as the epicenter of innovation but when it comes to processing data and the Internet of Things, the No. 1 producer of Internet of Things data is the government. … and the D.C. … Northern Virginia area … is a hotbed for engineers both on the hardware side … and the software side.” 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LE_Chinn-Gilstrap-2884.png Sandra T. Chinn-Gilstrap Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2014-virginia-legal-elite-family-law-domestic-relations 2014 Virginia Legal Elite - Family Law/Domestic Relations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2014-virginia-legal-elite-family-law-domestic-relations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2014-virginia-legal-elite-family-law-domestic-relations#When:08:00:00Z Sandra T. Chinn-Gilstrap Woods Rogers PLC, Danville Title: Of counsel Other legal areas of concentration:  Mental health law, elder law, guardianship and conservatorships for adults, personal injuries, criminal/traffic, general corporate, real estate. Birthplace:  Miami, Fla. (although Virginia has always been home) Education: Bachelor’s degree with distinction, University of Virginia; law degree, University of Miami. Spouse:  John B. Gilstrap Jr. Children: Jake Vincent de Paul Gilstrap, 16, and Lynden Victoria Gilstrap, 12  Hobbies or pastimes: Reading, drawing, exercising, playing card/board games with the family and traveling First job as a lawyer:  I opened the doors to the Law Office of Sandra T. Chinn as a solo practitioner the very first day of my legal career. Fan of: Phil Jackson, NBA’s Zen master, and U.Va. coaches O’Conner and Bennett. Favorite vacation spot:  Puerto Rico’s quiet beaches where I can devote my undivided attention to my family, exercise and reading.  Recently read books:  “Technopoly” by Neil Postman and “Thank you for Arguing” by Jay Heinrichs  Career mentor:  The late Lewis “Red” E. Goodman Jr. of Danville was a part of my everyday practice from the commencement of my career until his death. Red was a cheerleader from states away while I was in law school, sending trial technique handbooks, words of encouragement and trial strategy or pointers by dictation. What trends are you seeing in family law? Fortunately, many of today’s family law clients are open to a pragmatic approach, mindful of the economics of litigation. Nevertheless, there is also a perilous tradeoff; more people, including those with extensive resources, are trying to resolve matters without the advice of counsel. Unfortunately, they later learn that the DIY or “cheap” divorce and/or property settlement agreements found online or in classified ads are ultimately more of an expense than an experienced attorney versed in family law. 2014-12-01T08:00:00+00:00