Our view and your view of the Virginia business firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright 20162016-09-23T19:43:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Dan_Doran_Headshot.jpeg
Strategic partnerships = magic math
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/strategic-partnerships-magic-math#When:19:43:00ZWe all know the old adages: “team work makes the dream work” and “many hands make light work.” However, sometimes in business we get so caught up in our own numbers and our desire to grow that we forget the value that can be reaped when we partner with others.
Sometimes it pays to find strategic partnerships. These partnerships can add real value to your business and can be both formal and informal. The key is building and sustaining relationships that enable the collaboration to be greater than the sum of the parts. When we think about value, consider the benefits of an effective strategic partnership focused on key areas of building your business: marketing and finance.
Strategic marketing partners
Effective marketing is one of the most important keys to a successful business development strategy. Without a proper marketing strategy, customers will never be aware of a business or its location, products, or services. The problem with marketing is that it can actually hurt a business if done incorrectly.
Developing strategic marketing partners can help you grow your business at a very low cost. For example, if the partner is in a complementary business, you could refer clients between one another. Both partners would increase revenues with no additional advertising costs. Take it to the next level by co-marketing to one another’s client base!
Strategic financial partners
Strategic partners can fill a number of financial roles: accountants, bankers, investors or financial advisers. Their purpose is to help monitor the flow of your company’s money and come up with new solutions that increase the amount of money available to you.
Creating these relationships with strategic financial partners can take some real trust, but remember, you want to maximize your ROI. You will benefit greatly from having an extra set of eyes, perhaps more objective than your own, keeping tabs on your financial status. Finding ways to protect and grow wealth is their business. Allowing them to make suggestions and give guidance to you can open new paths to prosperity.
Summing it up
The strategic partnerships you cultivate will keep your business growing and keep you aware of new opportunities. Working together broadens the horizons and potentially builds more wealth for everyone involved.
Effective strategic partnerships take less time, energy, and money to create a greater presence in the market — for both you and your partner. This magic math happens when the team created generates more value than the individual players could on their own.
About the Author:
Dan Doran, CVA is the Founder and Principal of Quantive Business Valuations, a certified valuation practice serving privately held businesses nationwide. He consults on hundreds of valuations each year, ranging from cases of divorce litigation or SBA 7(a) lending requirements to buy-sell agreements or purchase and sale proceedings. Learn more at quantivevaluations.com.2016-09-23T19:43:00+00:00
Mach37 announces five new companies
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mach37-announces-five-new-companies#When:18:33:00ZThe Herndon-based Mach37 Cyber Accelerator has selected five cybersecurity startups to participate in its three-month, mentorship-driven program.
With the latest group, Mach37 will have helped launch 40 cyber companies in three years.
"The cybersecurity industry is growing at an extraordinary rate as we work tirelessly to keep up with looming threats across the globe. The need for new innovative cyber products to combat these threats has never been greater,” Rick Gordon, the managing partner of Mach37, said in a statement. “We have developed an ecosystem to accelerate these innovations into the mainstream while also helping reduce startup risks for both entrepreneurs and investors.”
The companies selected for the Fall 2016 Cohort are:
• Adlumin - (adlumin.com) — founders Robert S. Johnston and Timothy Evans.
• Intelligence Framework Inc (infrascan.net) — Andrea Bodei.
• NS8 Inc - (ns8.com) — Adam Rogas and Paul Korol.
• Steel Mountain Systems Corp. - (steelmountain.io) — Will Butler and Thomas Maarseveen.
• ThreatSwitch - (threatswitch.com) — John Dillard.
Mach37brings together domain experts, successful cybersecurity entrepreneurs and investors familiar to the security market to work with innovators and their startups.
Applicants selected to participate in the program receive a $50,000 investment to develop and launch their ideas as emerging, investable companies. The program concludes on Dec. 6 with a Demo Day where companies will have the opportunity to pitch and demo their technology to an audience of external mentors, investors and stakeholders.2016-09-23T18:33:00+00:00
Top 10 highest paid CEOs in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/top-10-paid-ceos#When:18:11:00ZEach October, Virginia Business publishes its annual survey of executive compensation for Virginia CEOs at public companies with revenue of $1 billion or more. Below are the top 10 highest paid CEOs, based on total compensation received in 2015. Next Friday we will reveal the full list, which also appears in the October issue of Virginia Business.
Dominion names new chief nuclear officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dominion-names-new-chief-nuclear-officer#When:17:23:00ZDavid A. Heacock, president of Dominion Nuclear and the Dominion Resources’ chief nuclear officer, will retire on March 1.
Beginning Oct. 1, Daniel G. Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations, will become senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. Heacock will remain president of Dominion Nuclear until his retirement.
Stoddard, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor's degree in marine engineering, earned his master's degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Virginia. He joined Dominion in July 2006.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 25,700 megawatts of generation, 14,400 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,500 miles of electric transmission lines.2016-09-23T17:23:00+00:00
Virginia Tourism Corp. begins effort to attract LGBT travelers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tourism-corp.-begins-effort-to-attract-lgbt-travelers#When:14:30:00ZVirginia Tourism Corp. (VTC) has begun a marketing effort aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visitors.
VTC said LGBT travelers are an important market for tourism, making up nearly 10 percent of the U.S. market. LGBT travelers spend an estimated $57 billion in the U.S. annually
The program includes a new landing page for LGBT travelers on the state tourism website and Virginia is for Lovers PRIDE merchandise.
The project is the result of recommendations by Gov. Terry McAuliffe's LGBT Tourism Task Force.
The group, which included 21 people, met in 2015. The task force was asked to come up with ideas that would encourage LGBT travelers to visit Virginia.
LGBT travelers can visit http://www.virginia.org/LGBT for listings of lodging, restaurants, retail stores, and other attractions that have designated themselves as LGBT-friendly.
The landing page also features places for LGBT couples to get married or honeymoon, as well as family-friendly destinations.
VTC has also created an LGBT Tourism Resource Guide for the travel and tourism industry in Virginia.
Robert Powell2016-09-23T14:30:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpegGeorge Fox courtesy Divaris Real Estate
George Fox appointed vice president at Divaris Real Estate
George Fox has been appointed vice president of sales and leasing in the Virginia Beach office of Divaris Real Estate Inc.
Fox brings to the job 13 years of commercial real estate and retail brokerage experience working for publicly traded and private shopping center investment companies.
He will focus on developing and executing leasing strategies to accomplish the business and investment goals of clients.
DRE said that Fox played a key role in the planning and implementation of numerous leasing initiatives and operational efficiencies that led a private Virginia Beach real estate company, Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, to become the first publicly traded retail real estate investment trust (REIT) headquartered in the state of Virginia.
Before joining Divaris, Fox served as director of leasing for Hackney Real Estate Partners and was a senior vice president of business development and director of leasing for Wheeler. In this position, he was responsible for creating new strategic partnerships, with a focus on shopping center acquisitions, development, re-development, third-party leasing and management, and big-box retail leasing.2016-09-22T21:05:00+00:00
JLL Expands agency leasing team in Northern Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/jll-expands-agency-leasing-team-in-northern-virginia#When:20:52:00ZJLL has announced that Brian Tucker has joined the firm’s Northern Virginia agency leasing team as a Managing Director to support the firm’s growth in the region.
Tucker brings more than 30 years of experience in representing corporate, institutional, public and private sector clients in structuring commercial lease and sale transactions.
According to JLL, he has leased more than 20 million square feet and been involved in many of the largest and most complex lease deals in the Washington region.
Prior to joining JLL, Tucker held a number of positions in the commercial real estate industry most recently as an xxecutive director at Cushman & Wakefield.
Virginia Beach announces four business expansions and a corporate relocation.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-announces-four-business-expansions-and-a-corporate-relocatio#When:20:39:00ZVirginia Beach will soon get 177 new jobs, as the result of four business expansions and one relocation.
The city said that the Virginia Beach Development Authority has approved incentive grants totaling $165,000 to the five businesses.
The biggest job creator is expected to be Chantel Ray, a woman-owned residential real estate company founded in 2011. It plans to launch a national franchise from a new headquarters location in Virginia Beach, with the expansion creating 87 new jobs.
The company’s headquarters curreuntly is in Virginia Beach in the Hilltop area on Republic Road. It has purchased a 3,652-square-foot building at 5308 Indian River Road. The company plans to continue to operate its other Hampton Roads offices in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Newport News.
Chantel Ray has 125 real estate agents and 24 salaried employees. It will add 70 new real estate agents and 17 new salaried employees with salaries above $39,117 for the expanded franchise program.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $20,000 based on the number of jobs created. Additionally, Chantel Ray plans to make a capital investment of $620,000 for real estate, fixtures, equipment, machinery and tools.
Chantel Ray says its has grown because of its focus on the customer and consistent levels of service. The company guarantees to sell homes in 90 days or the commission is free.
Architectural Graphics Inc. (AGI) plans to expand into an additional 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space at 2600 International Parkway. That will bring the company’s total square footage in the city to 320,208 square feet. The company also has locations in Atlanta; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Cypress, Calif.
Founded in 1969, Architectural Graphics provides signage and other onsite branding solutions for some of the world’s leading brands, including General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Firestone, FedEx, Bank of America, CVS and others. It has 580 employees nationwide, with more than 420 in Virginia Beach. Within four years of the expansion, it expects to add 45 jobs in Virginia Beach, with average annual salaries of $43,000. AGI also plans to make a $750,000 capital investment in real estate improvements, property and equipment.
The city’s development authority awarded an APZ-1 Economic Development Investment Program grant of $50,000, based on the capital investment because the location is within the YesOceana footprint.
Sunrise Global Marketing LLC, the marketing and distribution arm of Globe Tools, a Chinese manufacturer of electric lawn and garden tools and consumer power tools, also plans an expansion. Headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., the company has leased 218,000 square feet of warehouse space at 2600 International Parkway in the Oceana West Corporate Park and will move its distribution operations to Virginia Beach.
That move is expected to create 25 jobs in Virginia Beach. This will be in addition to the 70-plus employees in its U.S. operations and more than 4,000 in Europe, Russia and China.
The city’s development authority awarded an APZ-1 Economic Development Investment Program grant of $20,000 based on the $229,000 capital investment in real estate improvements, property, machinery and tools. The location sits within the YesOceana zone.
Anchor Innovation Inc., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business with 42 employees nationwide, will expand its small-craft maintenance operations in Virginia Beach. As part of the expansion, the company will create 15 new jobs.
It has purchased 532 Central Drive a 9,432-square-foot building that will support the growth of its small-craft maintenance and repair business. Anchor plans to add technicians and mechanics at the new facility, and the company will also add Navy simulator flight instructors at NAS Oceana, creating 15 new jobs. Average salaries for the new personnel are expected to be $80,000.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $55,000 based on the number of jobs created. Additionally, Anchor Innovation will make a capital investment of $825,000 for real estate, fixtures, equipment, machinery and tools.
Young Veteran’s Brewing Company, established in Virginia Beach in 2012, will triple the size of its footprint. Its location at 2505 Horse Pasture Road is currently 2,000 square feet. It will expand by an additional 6,000 square feet, and the company will add five new jobs in the city. The expansion will include a 750-square-foot tasting room, a 400-square-foot cooler, office space, manufacturing space and storage space.
The city’s development authority awarded an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $20,000 based on the company’s capital investment of $669,000, which includes real estate improvements, business property and machinery and tools.2016-09-22T20:39:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Untitled.pngPreston Court Apartments courtesy of Commonwealth Commercial Parnters
Historic Preston Court Apartments sell for $7.5 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-preston-court-apartments-sell-for-7.5-million#When:20:15:00ZPreston Court, a historic, 35-unit apartment building in Charlottesville, has sold for $7.5 million. According to Henrico County-based Commonwealth Commercial Partners LLC, which brokered the sale, the new owner is Neighborhood Properties, also located in Charlottesville.
The brick building at 1600 Grady Ave. was constructed in 1928 at a cost of $220,000. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built by Leonard and Frank Hartman in the Classic Revival style, Preston Court has been owned by members of the Hartman family since construction. It was one of the first multi-story apartment buildings in the city.
According to Commonwealth Commercial, the building has original flooring, working fireplaces, large patios and a sunken courtyard. Terraces on the top level offer views of the University of Rotunda, a short walk away.
Also included in the sale were seven vacant lots and Wyndhurst, an adjacent home built in 1857 listed as one of Charlottesville’s Individually Protected Properties. A Greek Revival-style home of around 4,000 square feet, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The Commonwealth Commercial team selling the property was Jim McVey, Sam Worley, and Ryan Fanelli. It says Neighborhood Properties plans historically appropriate improvements.2016-09-22T20:15:00+00:00
Trump cuts Clinton’s lead in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trump-cuts-clintons-lead-in-virginia#When:20:05:00ZDonald Trump has made up lost ground in the past month but still trails Hillary Clinton by seven percentage points in Virginia, according to the The Roanoke College Poll.
The survey of 841 likely voters, released on Thursday, shows Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, leading Trump, the Republican, 44 percent to 37 percent.
Since August, Clinton's vote share declined by 4 percentage points while Trump's share has increased by 5 points.
Libertarian Gary Johnson remained steady with 8 percent of likely voters, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein dropped to 1 percent, while 9 percent remain undecided.
In a two-way matchup, Clinton leads by 11 points (51 to 40 percent).
Clinton led by 16 points in the August poll (48 to 32 percent).
The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percent.
The changing numbers reflect shifting support among ideological moderates, where Clinton's lead has declined from 57 to 22 percent in August to 45 to 29 percent, and partisan Independents, where Clinton still leads 37 to 29 percent but by a smaller margin than in August (43 to 25 percent).
Clinton still claims the support of 88 percent of Democrats, while Trump is backed by 81 percent of Republicans (81%). Both of those are within the margin of error with August.
"Donald Trump has reduced Hillary Clinton's lead overall, particularly with ideological moderates and political independents," Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research, said in a statement. "Still, he has not fully consolidated support among Republicans, and his favorable ratings, though improved, remain extremely low for any candidate.
"Clinton appears to have weathered a very bad couple of weeks on the campaign trail. That said, she needs to stop her slide. If those reluctant Republicans return to Trump and he continues to make inroads among other groups, then her lead could disappear."2016-09-22T20:05:00+00:00
Sotherly acquiring hotel part of Florida development
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sotherly-acquiring-hotel-part-of-florida-development#When:17:27:00ZWilliamsburg-based Sotherly Hotels Inc. has entered into an agreement to purchase the hotel part of a Florida development for $4.25 million.
The agreement includes the hotel commercial unit of Hyde Resort & Residences, a condominium-hotel project slated to open in January in Hollywood, Fla. The hotel unit will include the lobby and front desk areas, offices and other spaces.
In addition, the company will lease the hotel’s 400-space parking garage and meeting rooms. Sotherly also will operate and manage the condominium association.
“The Hyde Resort & Residences is a first-class luxury development that we are thrilled to add to the Sotherly portfolio,” Drew Sims, Sotherly’s CEO, said in a statement,. “Our management team has experience with the condo-hotel model and we believe it is an attractive opportunity to turn a modest investment into tremendous value for our shareholders.”
The Hyde project will have 407 units, including 367 use-restricted units and 40 residences.
The units feature one-, two- and three bedroom layouts with kitchens, floor-to-ceiling glass doors with private terraces and ocean views.
Founded in 2004, Sotherly Hotels is a real estate investment trust focused on full-service hotels in the Southern U.S. Currently, the company’s portfolio includes investments in 12 properties with a total of 3,011 rooms.
Most of Sotherly’s properties operate under the Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts brands2016-09-22T17:27:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/claire2.jpgClaire Forcier-Rowe
Virginia Association of Realtors elects Claire Forcier-Rowe
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-association-of-realtors-elects-claire-forcier-rowe#When:20:36:00ZClaire Forcier- Rowe, manager of Long & Foster Real Estate’s Hanover and Bay/River offices, has been elected to serve as the 2017 President of the Virginia Association of Realtors.
Forcier-Rowe will succeed Bill White as the elected leader of VAR, the largest trade association in Virginia with more than 32,000 members.
Forcier-Rowe will assume her new VAR post in November 2016. “I am truly honored to serve as the 2017 resident of an organization that creates impact for our business members and for Virginia’s homeowners,” she said in a statement.
Forcier-Rowe has held leadership positions at the state and local levels including VAR’s Strategy Committee, legislative management team and
Strategic Funds Committee.
She was the 2011 president of the Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors. At the national level, she has served as a National Association of Realtors director and was a member of both the Conventional Financing and Policy Committee and the Leadership Academy Advisory Group.
The VAR represents Realtors engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. It serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners and represents the interests of property owners in the state.2016-09-21T20:36:00+00:00
$600 million HDL bankruptcy trustee lawsuit casts a wide net
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/600-million-hdl-bankruptcy-trustee-lawsuit-casts-a-wide-net#When:20:22:00ZThe net keeps getter wider as the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy liquidation of Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. sues the company’s insiders and top executives along with a wide range of other players.
And it appears that even doctors are not going to be off the hook as the bankruptcy case of one of Richmond’s former star startups continues to play out.
In a 205-page lawsuit filed Friday by trustee Richard Arrowsmith in federal bankruptcy court in Richmond, Arrowsmith says he seeks to recover losses to unsecured creditors that are estimated at more than $600 million.
The complex lawsuit alleges 76 counts against 105 defendants — from HDL’s top officers, shareholders and directors on down to third-party sales contractors and others who benefitted from what the suit describes as “fraudulent business practices.”
Heading the list are HDL co-founders Tonya Mallory, Joseph McConnell and Russell Warnick along with Robert Bradford Johnson and Floyd Calhoun Dent III, the executives at BlueWave Healthcare Consultants, HDL’s former sales contractor.
Among the 76 counts against the various defendants are allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, corporate waste and unjust enrichment.
“HDL’s officers and directors breached their duties of due care and loyalty to HDL, engaged in repeated acts of self-dealing and willfully and continuously violated the law … “ the suit says. “They squandered tens of millions of dollars through a series of self-dealing and improper transactions. They were aided and abetted in these breaches of fiduciary duty by BlueWave, its principals, and many others, who provided support for HDL’s improper business practices.”
These actions, the suit continues, “caused catastrophic damage to HDL, leaving creditors holding the bag.”
Mallory, the company’s former CEO, could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Michael E. Hastings of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston in Roanoke, said he had no comment on the suit, except to say that “we will be defending the claims against Ms. Mallory.”
At the heart of the fraud allegations was HDL’s practice of paying a $20 process and handling fee to doctors who referred patients to HDL for an extensive panel of blood testing for cardiovascular and metabolic risks. This $20 fee, in exchange for ordering tests, prompted an earlier investigation by the U. S. Department of Justice on grounds that it violated state and federal anti-kickback statutes. That investigation led to a $49.5 million settlement in April 2015 that helped plunge HDL, one of Richmond’s fastest-growing private companies, into bankruptcy in June that year.
In September 2015, Richmond’s bankruptcy court approved the sale of the HDL to True Health Diagnostics, based in Frisco, Texas, for $37.1 million. Of those proceeds, $21.3 million were paid to secured creditors, with the HDL estate receiving only $5.8 million, according to the suit.
Altogether, the bankruptcy case involves claims against the estate of $2.8 billion, including the unsecured debtors represented by Arrowsmith.
While Arrowsmith’s suit does not name doctors, an online medical news service, Medpage Today, posted on Tuesday a story by Larry Husten of CardioBrief saying many doctors who ordered tests from HDL and received the $20 fees, are being sent letters demanding repayment, which in some cases run into thousands of dollars. According to the story, the letter offers physicians a settlement proposal, representing 90 percent of "fraudulent transfers received." Physicians who don't pay could be subject to civil action in bankruptcy court, the letter reportedly says.
According to the story, the letter is from Wolcott Rivers Gates, a law firm with offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach that is serving as co-counsel for Arrowsmith in its lawsuit.
When asked about the letters, Cullen Speckhart of Wolcott Rivers Gates, who’s listed as one of three legal counsels to Arrowsmith in the complaint, said she could not comment.
While the story behind HDL’s unraveling has been going on for some time, Arrowsmith’s lawsuit does contain some new figures. And it alleges that HDL failed because it was insolvent much of the time due to its business practices and the incurrence of debts that it lacked the ability to pay.
For instance, the suits says that from January 2010 to 2014, HDL paid BlueWave $220 million in fees to sell doctors on its blood tests, some of which were alleged to have been unnecessary, another purported element of the fraud. The illegal P&H fees, the sales agreement with BlueWave and the company’s waiver of copays helped to sink the company into insolvency, the suit says.
“HDL’s apparent success was based on a business model that used kickbacks and improper referrals to encourage and induce HCPs [health-care practitioners] to order unnecessary tests. That created a ticking time bomb that was destined to explode,” the suit says.
The suit also claims that HDL “squandered” more than $18 million forming and funding Global Genomics Group. The Delaware company was formed to discover genetic biomarkers for cardiovascular disease, a move that the suit says caused a cash drain on HDL.
The suit also characterizes HDL’s charitable contributions of $2.3 million to the Science Museum of Virginia and a pledge of $4 million to Virginia Commonwealth University’s athletic programs as “inappropriate.”
It also points out that Mallory, McConnell and Warnick were each paid more than $7 million, including base salary and bonuses, from the start of their employment in late 2008 through 2015.
When Mallory resigned her seat on the board of directors in November 2014, she should have been terminated “for cause,” the suit says, because of “misconduct injurious to HDL and breaches of fiduciary duty.” Instead, the suit says the board agreed to pay her a severance package of $2.7 million, representing 36 months of her salary.2016-09-21T20:22:00+00:00
Port of Virginia signs new long-term lease of Portsmouth terminal
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-signs-new-long-term-lease-of-portsmouth-terminal#When:20:01:00ZThe Port of Virginia announced Wednesday it has an almost 50-year lease of the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) marine terminal in Portsmouth.
The lease, which takes effect Nov. 1, and lasts until 2065, will give the port oversight of the terminal and its operations.
Plans also include a $320 million investment to double the capacity of the highly automated terminal. The expansion will create longer berth, an expanded rail operation, larger container yard and four new cranes.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin this year and is expected to take three years.
“This sends a very clear message – world-wide — that The Port of Virginia is investing for the long-term and we will be able to service the vessels of any ocean carrier here at what will be one of the most modern and efficient container terminals in North America for decades to come,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.
The lease was signed between the port and Virginia International Gateway Inc., which is owned by Alinda Capital Partners and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
APM Terminals built the Portsmouth terminal in 2007 but failed to attract enough cargo to remain sustainable. In 2010, the Port of Virginia signed a 20-year lease of the terminal.
APM sold the terminal in 2014 to VIG, and the port has been in negotiations since then to extend lease of the facility.
The deal means the port will be handling the expansion of its two largest terminals at one time. Construction also is set to begin this year on the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals, a $350 million project that will allow the port’s biggest terminal to increase its capacity by 46 percent.
“We believe that the continued investment in people, technology and those capacity projects being undertaken here during the next three-to-four years are positioning The Port of Virginia to become the US East Coast’s premiere port: a true gateway to world trade and a catalyst for commerce in Virginia,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the VPA, said in a statement. “We are seeing vessels in the 10,000-plus TEU range, we are processing more rail cargo than ever and the demand for our services is growing. We have momentum and our timing coincides well with the changes in the industry.”2016-09-21T20:01:00+00:00
Atlantic Coast Pipeline signs construction contract
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/atlantic-coast-pipeline-signs-construction-contract#When:19:48:00ZAtlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, a proposed 600-mile, natural-gas pipeline, has signed a construction contract with Spring Ridge Constructors LLC (SRC), a joint venture involving four companies.
If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), pipeline construction is scheduled to begin in the fall 2017.
The pipeline would run from Harrison County, W.Va., through Virginia into eastern North Carolina.
SRC, the lead construction contractor, includes Price Gregory International Inc., U.S. Pipeline Inc., SMPC LLC and Rockford Corp.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline also announced that, in early August, FERC set up the timeline for the project's federal environmental review process.
Based on the schedule, the pipeline expects to receive a FERC certificate in the late summer or fall next year, with construction beginning shortly thereafter.
The pipeline expects to complete construction and bring the pipeline into service in late 2019.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline said it is working with contractors to determine if it can complete construction sooner.
The pipeline’s partners are four energy companies: Richmond-based Dominion Resources, Atlanta-based Southern Co. Gas, and Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas, both based in Charlotte, N.C.2016-09-21T19:48:00+00:00
Private equity firm buys controlling interest in TechLab
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/private-equity-firm-buys-controlling-interest-in-techlab#When:19:44:00ZPharos Capital Group, LLC (“Pharos”), a private equity firm, has acquired a controlling interest in Blacksburg-based TechLab, Inc.
TechLab is the developer and manufacturer of rapid, non-invasive diagnostic tests for gastrointestinal disease.
Founded in 1989, the company has a manufacturing facility in Radford in addition to its headquarters in Blacksburg.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Pharos, which has offices in Dallas and Nashville, Tenn., acquired its stake in the company from Waltham, Mass.-based Alere Inc. and TechLab founders Dr. Tracy Wilkins and Dr. David Lyerly. They will remain with the company and hold a minority stake.
Wilkins will become a TechLab board member and adviser. Lyerly also will join the board and continue to be chief scientific officer.
Daniel Delaney will become TechLab’s CEO. He was president of Alere North America and a TechLab board member.
Pharos Managing Partner Bob Crants, Partner Joel Goldberg and Principal Joseph Acevedo will join TechLab’s board.
Alere will remain the principal global distributor of TechLab products.
HHHunt acquires senior living community in Henrico County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hhhunt-acquires-senior-living-community-in-henrico-county#When:17:41:00ZHHHunt, a regional real estate developer, has acquired a senior living community in western Henrico County for $11.5 million.
The former New Dawn Memory Care facility will be the company’s third community in the Richmond area and seventh in Virginia. Its new name will be Spring Arbor Cottage of Richmond.
HHHunt plans to make $700,000 in improvements to the facility and open it this winter.
The 28,600-square-foot facility will serve 48 residents in three cottages. Each cottage will have 16 residents and be designed exclusively for residents with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss.
Each cottage features a living room anchored by a stone hearth, kitchen, dining area and other areas for activities and events.
“We believe this ‘small-house’ model enables us to offer a totally different service that’s unique to the industry and meets a growing demand for innovations in the care of those with Alzheimer’s and memory care needs” Rich Williams, senior vice president of HHHunt Senior Living, said in a statement. “We have been researching this type of new memory care model for years, so the ability to purchase this existing community, already designed and built for memory care, in a great location, will be a wonderful complement to our current senior living portfolio.”
Spring Arbor Cottage is located approximately two miles from HHHunt’s Spring Arbor of Richmond community. Spring Arbor of Salisbury, located in Midlothian, is developing a 48,275-square-foot, freestanding memory-care community, which is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
HHHunt opened its first Spring Arbor senior-living community in North Carolina in 1992. It now owns and manages 22 communities in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland, with more in various stages of development.2016-09-21T17:41:00+00:00
Northern Virginia Chamber forms partnership with George Mason University
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-virginia-chamber-forms-partnership-with-george-mason-university#When:15:59:00ZThe Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and George Mason University on Wednesday announced the creation of a partnership designed to help drive the regional economy.
Under the agreement, the chamber and GMU will work together in developing degree programs that address regional workforce needs. The chamber and the university also will co-host events, share office space and connect businesses with Mason faculty and researchers.
The two organization say the collaboration will help position the region for an increasingly diversified local economy.
“George Mason University was created first and foremost to serve the educational and economic needs of Northern Virginia – and that’s what we have done for the past half-century,” GMU President Ángel Cabrera said in a statement. “We value our role as an economic engine, and by working closely with the Northern Virginia Chamber, together we can lead the region into its next prosperous era.”
Representatives from the chamber and GMU signed the agreement on Wednesday at the chamber’s board of directors meeting. They plan to establish a working group that will focus on integrating research, programming and thought leadership around government contracting, entrepreneurship and innovation, public policy, cybersecurity, hospitality and other fields.
“We are thrilled to join with George Mason University on this unique, new partnership to strategically connect business and academia,” Jennifer Aument, group general nanager, North America, Transurban, said in a statement. She is chair of the chamber’s board of directors. “The Northern Virginia Chamber is constantly looking for innovative ways to leverage our regional resources for the benefit of our members and our region’s world-renowned business community. There is no doubt that a partnership with our colleagues at George Mason University will help us to continue doing just that.”2016-09-21T15:59:00+00:00
Ashburn-based OneGlobe LLC opens second office in Reston
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ashburn-based-oneglobe-llc-opens-second-office-in-reston#When:20:18:00ZAshburn-based OneGlobe LLC, an IT and professional services consulting firm, has opened a second office in Reston to accommodate plans for an expansion.
The new office at 12110 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 652, in Reston will provide capacity for engineering, sales and leadership functions across the company.
"OneGlobe's new office will help us to align with our current and future business plans. This space in the Dulles Technology Corridor gives us a more central location, offering a variety of local amenities, and a close proximity to serve our existing and future client base," Michael Harrington, the firm’s managing partner, said in a statement. "This space will provide the flexibility to accommodate the high growth rate we expect in the next 6-12 months."
Founded in 2005, OneGlobe's core competencies include IT architecture and system development using Agile and DevOps development practices.2016-09-20T20:18:00+00:00
Virginia unemployment rises slightly
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-rises-slightly1#When:20:16:00ZVirginia’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 3.9 percent.
The August number represents an increase of two-tenths of a percentage point from July’s rate of 3.7 percent.
The unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, meaning that the numbers take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor force.
While up from July, August’s jobless rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than the rate posted 12 months before in August 2015.
Virginia’s unemployment rate also is a full percentage point lower than the national jobless rate for August, 4.9 percent.
During the month, the number of unemployed rose by 5,805 people.
The commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment rose by 13,100 jobs in August to a total of 3,933,200.
August’s increase represents the third consecutive monthly rise and set a record high for nonfarm employment.
During the month, employment increased in nine major industry sectors and fell in two others.
The biggest increase occurred in professional and business services, up 3,100 jobs to a total of 723,000, a new record high.
The two sectors losing jobs during the month were information and mining, which each lost 100 jobs to 69,200 and 8,200 jobs, respectively.
Virginia has gained 72,500 jobs in the past 12 months, an increase of 1.9 percent.
The biggest gains have taken place in Northern Virginia, 26,000 jobs (up 1.9 percent), and the Richmond area, 24,200 jobs (an increase of 3.7 pecent).2016-09-20T20:16:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_New_downtown.jpg
Major developer, architect seek options on Hampton downtown parcels
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/major-developer-architect-seek-options-on-hampton-downtown-parcels#When:19:50:00ZA developer that has built more than $300 million in projectsthroughout Virginia is seeking a deal to gain options on several downtown parcels in Hampton, the city said Tuesday.
The WVS Cos., based in Richmond, and Virginia Beach-based Saunders+Crouse Architects, submitted an unsolicited proposal for a six-month purchase and development option on publicly held real estate. Some of those parcels are on the waterfront, said Robin McCormick, the marketing director for Hampton. "Until the deal is worked out, we don't know exactly what parcels it will be. It will be some selection of those most ready for development."
According to the city, the six-month period allows the developer to conduct studies to identify market potential for residential and commercial development downtown. The proposal includes property held by the Economic Development Authority (EDA), the Hampton Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the city.
During a public meeting Tuesday, the EDA passed a resolution directing its staff to move forward and negotiate the details of the deal.
The WVS. Cos. has developed mixed-use urban and dense suburban real estate projects across Virginia. These projects have included Rocketts Landing in Richmond, a major project on the James River with retail, apartments and condominiums, and The Bridges, a $150 million, 10-year project across 23 acres in Roanoke that’s currently under development. It already includes apartments and some retail.
“This is a major coup,’’ EDA Chair Eleanor Brown, said in a statement. "Rather than piecemeal, separate projects in Hampton, we could be looking at an integrated, planned mixed-use concept that could
be spread across the downtown area. The EDA wants to be clear that downtown is still open for proposals for any and all development during this study period,” she added.
Housing Authority Chair Steve Brown said, “This project has great, great potential to change the face of our downtown. I foresee a vibrant downtown where people come and enjoy the waterways, live, work, dine and play.’’
According to the city, WVS has developed more than $300 million of projects. Jason Vickers Smith, a principal and co-founder of the company, could not be reached for comment.
Burrell Saunders of Saunders+Crouse has served as the lead architect for millions of square feet of mixed-use projects including
Oyster Point (Newport News), Virginia Beach Town Center, Rocketts Landing, the Innsbrook Corporate Center in Henrico County and The Bridges.2016-09-20T19:50:00+00:00
New Mexico credit union to merge with PenFed
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-mexico-credit-union-to-merge-with-penfed#When:21:17:00ZMembers of New Mexico-based High Plains Federal Credit Union have voted to merge with Alexandria-based PenFed Credit Union.
Under the merger, more than 6,000 members will join PenFed, which has 1.4 million members worldwide and $20 billion in assets.
PenFed was established in 1935 as the War Department Credit Union.
High Plains Federal is located in Curry County, New Mexico, home to more than 10,000 active duty personnel and military family members at Cannon Air Force Base. Civilian workers employed by the base, military retirees and veterans account for an additional 13,000 members of the county's military-affiliated population.
High Plains Federal has two branches and almost $39 million in assets.2016-09-19T21:17:00+00:00
Western Virginia localities join forces to buy developable tract.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/western-virginia-localities-join-forces-to-buy-developable-tract#When:20:28:00ZRoanoke County, Roanoke and Salem announced plans Monday to jointly acquire about 106 acres along Interstate 81, near Exit 143, that will help fill the region’s need for larger sites for development.
The property is on Wood Haven Road in Roanoke County.
The site consists of five parcels that already were on the market and are under option to the Roanoke Valley Development Corp. for a purchase price of $5.25 million. The corporation has a long history of key, short-term investments for economic development.
It represents the first project of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA). Formed in 2013, WVRIFA, came into being because of the Virginia Regional Industrial Facilities Act, which allows members to share in tax revenue produced by the eventual user.
“This is such a big step in a deliberate process to acquire much-needed land and make the region more competitive,” Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership and executive director of the WVRIFA, said in a statement.
“The median acreage requirement in our inquiry database is around 50 acres, and about 54 percent of site requirements are 51 acres or more. Contrast that to our inventory, which currently has no sites above 50 acres that are identified as ready to go. This site, while not ready-to-go today, is closer than most.”
The region’s recent string of successes with Deschutes Brewery, Eldor Corp., and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits all coming to the Roanoke area made the need for large, ready-to-go sites more compelling, added Doughty.
“This is a gateway property whose high visibility will help us make a statement about the region,” said Roanoke County Board Chairman Jason Peters. “We will target high wage, high-value projects that help us achieve high-quality development compatible with the location.”
The three governments plan to take action at upcoming meetings to approve agreements that will facilitate acquisition and financing through the WVRIFA. A loan to the Authority from Union Bank & Trust will provide financing for the project.
Other WVRIFA members are Botetourt County, Franklin County, and Vinton. Each locality is offered the opportunity to opt into an authority project and assume a share of the expense and revenue.
Roanoke County and the city of Roanoke will own 44.2 percent of the property, and the city of Salem will have an 11.6 percent interest. The cost of acquisition and early development is estimated at $10 million. The WVRIFA will pursue grants and transportation funds to help pay for additional infrastructure. 2016-09-19T20:28:00+00:00
Lyft to open regional headquarters in Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lyft-to-open-regional-headquarters-in-arlington#When:20:00:00ZRide-sharing company Lyft is opening a mid-Atlantic regional headquarters in Arlington County.
The San Francisco company’s $350,000 investment will create 32 new jobs to provide driver support and marketing for the company.
"Lyft is thrilled to open our new office in the emerging innovation center of Crystal City," Lyft General Manager Steve Taylor said in a statement. "… Building a strong presence in the D.C. area is crucial to Lyft's growth, and we look forward to strengthening our ties to this area for years to come."
The headquarters, at 2011 Crystal City Drive, currently has about 15 employees. The full build out should be completed in December.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe met with Lyft officials during a marketing mission in March.
“Today’s announcement is another strong testament to Virginia’s competitiveness for an innovative and recognizable brand like Lyft to select the commonwealth for its mid-Atlantic regional headquarters,” McAuliffe said in a statement.2016-09-19T20:00:00+00:00
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports transactions in Hampton Roads
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-transactions-in-hampton-roads#When:15:44:00ZUnited Parcel Service Inc. has leased 6.3 acres of land at Ashley Capital’s Bridgeway Business Center in Suffolk. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, the site will be used by UPS for a cross-dock facility. Bobby Phillips and Patrick Mumey handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.
In other transactions in Hampton Roads:
Pacific Best Inc. renewed a 33,600-square-foot lease at 713 Fenway Ave. in Chesapeake. Thalhimer’s Tony Weiss and Mumey handled the lease negotiations for the landlord.
Auxiliary Systems Inc. leased 20,000 square feet at 3933 Holland Blvd. in Chesapeake. Christine M. Kaempfe and Mumey handled the lease negotiations.
Willard Marine Inc. renewed its lease of 12,800 square feet in Oceana South Industrial Park at 1412 Taylor Farm Road in Virginia Beach. Janet Whitbeck handled the lease negotiations for the landlord.
The Mike Bell Co. Inc. renewed a 12,500-square-foot lease at 2301 Tidewater Dr. in Norfolk. Robert M. Thornton handled the lease negotiations.
Diamond Beauty also renewed its lease of 12,000 square feet in Chesapeake Crossing on South Military Highway in Chesapeake. Chris Good and David Machupa handled the lease negotiations.
Albeder PC Center expanded in its current space to lease a total of 11,000 square feet at 800 Florida Ave. in Portsmouth. Tom Dana handled the lease negotiations.2016-09-19T15:44:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ledbury_SIGN.jpgVeronica Garabelli photo.
Inside Ledbury’s new Richmond headquarters, store
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inside-ledburys-new-richmond-headquarters-store#When:15:34:00ZMenswear brand Ledbury has found a new home in Richmond’s Arts District.
The Richmond-based retailer, best known for its dress and casual shirts, recently moved its headquarters and storefront from Shockoe Bottom to 315 W. Broad St. It is occupying 11,700 square feet of space — three floors out a four-floor building. The building, owned by Presidents’ Walk Properties LLC, previously housed apartments. Ledbury hired Richmond-based SMBW to lead the design and architecture.
The first floor houses Ledbury’s 2,000-square-foot retail store, triple the size of its old retail shop in Shockoe Bottom.
The retail store includes a made-to-measure shirt making lounge. This allows clients to choose from an existing pattern that's tailored to a customer’s size and made in Europe. It also has a bespoke production workshop, which has moved from the company’s Patterson Avenue store, where tailors create custom shirts by hand.
The second and third floor is being used as Ledbury’s office space.
The new location also includes an outdoor courtyard and a parking lot for customers.2016-09-19T15:34:00+00:00
How the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule will impact businesses offering 401(k)s
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/how-the-department-of-labors-new-fiduciary-rule-will-impact-businesses-offe#When:14:56:00ZIn April 2015, after nearly 40 years of no significant modifications to the rules that govern the retirement investment industry, despite great changes in retirement savings vehicles over time, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed regulations to curb conflicts of interest in this marketplace. After a long public comment period, lobbying efforts and subsequent revisions, the final rule became law on June 7 and is set to go into effect on April 10 next year.
This regulatory development makes it imperative that businesses providing 401(k)s to their employees oversee plan advisors to ensure that they are in compliance with the new law. According to the DOL, under the new rule, firms advising 401(k) plans and plan participants will be required to:
… make prudent investment recommendations without regard to their own interests, or the interests of those other than the customer; charge only reasonable compensation; and make no misrepresentations to their customers regarding recommended investments.
Historically, certain retirement investment advisors (such as broker/dealers) have been allowed to invest retirement dollars in stocks and funds they deemed to be suitable for a client —even if the investment was not in their client’s best interest per se — while accepting commissions and fees from the sponsors of those investment products. The DOL asserts that the resulting conflicts of interest amounted to an estimated $17 billion in lost wealth annually for American retirement savers.
The new regulation requires that when offering retirement advice, all financial advisors must now meet the higher “fiduciary standard” — that is, working in the client’s best interest. In addition, the fees charged to investors and 401(k) plan providers must be both reasonable and clearly disclosed.
When all is said and done, what the new law boils down to is how the word “recommendation” is defined by the DOL. If an investment advisor is recommending a retirement product, then he/she must do so in the individual client or business client’s best interest. Customization of advice is what qualifies a communication as a recommendation. The DOL’s threshold of whether advice is considered a recommendation is explained below:
A ‘recommendation’ is a communication that … would reasonably be viewed as a suggestion that the advice recipient engage in or refrain from taking a particular course of action. The more individually tailored the communication is to a specific advice recipient or recipients, the more likely the communication will be viewed as a recommendation.
The DOL further specified what is not considered retirement investment advice and, therefore, not impacted by the rule. A few of those exceptions are “… education about retirement savings and general financial and investment information…,” marketing materials and general communications such as newsletters and speeches. (For a more detailed description of what is not covered investment advice under the rule, see the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Fact Sheet. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/fact-sheets/dol-final-rule-to-address-conflicts-of-interest)
During the rule’s public comment period, prior to its finalization, two important exemptions to the rule were developed and ultimately adopted. The Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE) states that advisors are permitted to receive commission-based compensation as long as they meet the fiduciary standard for the investment. The financial institution must “...[give] prudent advice…, [avoid] making misleading statements…and [receive] no more than reasonable compensation.” Additional requirements of the BICE are that the financial institution must disclose conflicts of interest, must clearly state the cost of their advice and may not compensate their advisors for making recommendations that are not in the best interest of the individual or business clients. Therefore, if a retirement plan advisor recommends investment products or rolls over investments to an IRA for which he will receive a commission, he will be required to sign a Best Interest Contract, guaranteeing that his recommendations are in the best interest of the client.
The second exemption, the Principal Transactions Exemption (PTE), makes it permissible for fiduciaries “to sell or purchase certain recommended debt securities and other investments out of their own inventories to or from plans and IRAs” — as long as they uphold the same standard as described above for the BICE.
Many experts have asserted that the requirements of the new regulation will make it impossible for smaller broker/dealers to profitably advise smaller businesses and investors. They predict that robo-advisors (defined as online, automated, algorithm-based wealth advisors) will grow as a result of this new fiduciary law. But even robo-advisors will be required to meet the fiduciary standard and prove that their fees are reasonable.
Those businesses that already use a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) to manage their 401(k) are in luck because RIAs will be compelled to make only small operational adjustments as a result of the DOL’s new rule. RIAs have always been held to the fiduciary standard, so they are accustomed to meeting the higher requirement of working in their client’s best interest and have the necessary systems in place to do so.
One year after the publication of the final rule, on April 10, plan sponsors and retirement investment advisors will be legally bound to comply with the rule’s requirements. Financial institutions will have a phased in implementation period for the BICE and PTE with fewer requirements – until the exemptions are fully applicable on Jan. 1, 2018. With the new rule and exemptions in place, businesses will need to ensure that 401(k) plan advisors are in compliance with the DOL’s fiduciary regulations. And their employees will be able to rest a bit easier knowing their retirement plans are better protected.
Despite assertions by some financial industry groups that the new DOL rules will cause costs for qualified plans to rise, it is more probable that the opposite will occur. Under the bright light of more clear disclosure, costs for qualified plans will likely fall. And, after all, is there anything wrong with acting in the best interest of financial consumers?
Michael Joyce, CFA, CFP, is founder and president of JoycePayne Partners of Richmond and Bethlehem, Pa. He is responsible for overall invest¬ment strategy, management of investment portfo¬lios and financial counseling services. Joyce can be reached at email@example.comT14:56:00+00:00
Wal-Mart closes on purchase of 40-acre site in Caroline County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wal-mart-closes-on-purchase-of-40-acre-site-in-caroline-county#When:14:50:00ZWal-Mart Stores Inc. and Blackwood Development have concluded the purchase of about 40 acres in Caroline County at the intersection of Route 639 and Green Road.
Richmond-based Blackwood will build a superstore for the giant retailer at the Ladysmith site and plans to develop several outparcels for retail and commercial investment.
According to Caroline County’s Department of Economic Developer and Tourism, the start date for the project has been pushed back to 2018. Blackwood plans to deliver the developed site to Wal-Mart in 2019 with the superstore opening in 2020.
The county said in a press release that the delay is due to Wal-Mart’s internal deliberations and decision-making process. The county continues to press for an opening at the earliest possible date.
Upgrades of Route 639 still are scheduled to proceed in support of the project and for the overall development of the corridor.
Wal-Mart announced in January that it’s closing 269 stores worldwide, including Express format stores, so that it can concentrate on its supercenters and e-commerce business. In the U.S., 154 stores will be closed, but none of the stores on the January list were located in Virginia.2016-09-19T14:50:00+00:00
IKEA Industries renews lease in Ringgold
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports that IKEA Industries Danville LLC renewed its lease of 152,379 square feet at 240 Factory Lane in Ringgold near Danville. George Lupton and Norman Moon handled the lease negotiations.
In another transaction, World Help leased 15,300 square feet at 1191 Venture Dr. in Forest. Lupton and Moon handled the lease negotiations.2016-09-19T14:37:00+00:00
Carter Myers Automotive to open Subaru dealership
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/carter-myers-automotive-to-open-subaru-dealership#When:00:53:00ZCarter Myers Automotive will add its fifth dealership in the Richmond market with the opening of Colonial Subaru in Chester in November.
Carter Myers is a family and employee-owned dealer group that has served Central Virginia since 1924. The now represents 16 brands at 13 locations in the Richmond, Charlottesville and Staunton.
The new dealership is expected to create 38 new jobs this year. Carter Myers is currently hiring and training employees.
The dealership will be run by general manager Ed Nicol, who also oversees the dealer group’s Colonial Kia and Gateway Hyundai stores.
Carter Myers Automotive originated in 1902 as Stockdell-Myers Hardware Co. in downtown Petersburg. The hardware business was liquidated and reincorporated in 1924 as Petersburg Motor Co. Inc.2016-09-19T00:53:00+00:00
Premier Store Fixtures to occupy 216,000-square-foot warehouse in Richmond
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/premier-store-fixtures-to-occupy-216000-square-foot-warehouse-in-richmond#When:19:07:00ZBecknell Industrial has fully leased a speculative warehouse building currently under construction at the Airport Distribution Center on the southeast side of Richmond.
Premier Store Fixtures will be the sole occupant of Building E, a 216,000-square-foot building. Completion of the shell construction is scheduled for early October. Premier offers fixture and display services to retail stores such as design & engineering, manufacturing and support & logistics.
Joe Thomas, Premier's chief operating officer, said the new facility will house more than 150 employees. “The addition of the facility is an integral part of our consolidation and facilities upgrade,” he said.
Clifford B. Porter of Porter Realty Co. Inc. represented both Premier and Becknell in this transaction, and is handling the marketing of the remaining sites in the park.
With Building E now leased, Becknell announced its intention to begin construction of the 153,480-square-foot Building B at the Airport Distribution Center. Construction will commence Nov. 1 with a scheduled completion in May.2016-09-16T19:07:00+00:00
Eight portfolio mistakes you don’t want to make
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/eight-portfolio-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make#When:14:05:00ZFor Virginia's top-earning execs, they’ve already done the hard work of building a successful career. The next step is leveraging and protecting their earnings. For the past few years, they've likely been able to get away with a few mistakes when it comes to managing their money. With the market going basically straight up from 2011 until 2015 with no correction and the Fed on the gas, it was almost difficult to go wrong.
But with stretched stock valuations, the potential for higher interest rates, and of course, an interesting pending election to say the least, the investment landscape has become more challenging. To protect earnings, executives and their families can no longer afford to make mistakes that their portfolio might have easily overcome a year and a half ago.
Unlike a single investment decision gone wrong, these portfolio mistakes typically have a much bigger impact. As a professional portfolio manager, here are the most common mistakes I see top earners make and how to avoid each one.
1. Investing without a financial plan.
Investing without a clear idea of what you want your portfolio to accomplish is the most common mistake. Many executives think, “I just want to make as much money as possible.” But that doesn’t count as a strategy or a viable financial plan, because it doesn’t take into account the risk required to achieve that goal. Without a plan, you have no idea how much risk you can afford to take on, whether you should be in stocks or bonds, or how much you should have in cash. It’s difficult to design an effective portfolio without these details.
2. Having a random collection of investments and calling it a portfolio.
Do-it-yourself investors are the biggest violators of this mistake. They’ve bought different things over the years and end up with a stack of stocks and no sector discipline. There is a big difference between sales people and financial advisors, and a random collection of these one-time purchases is not the same as a cohesive, integrated portfolio.
3. Lack of discipline.
Intelligence should go into where you have money. The ratio of 60 percent stocks to 40% fixed income is a common portfolio structure, but it is not right for everyone. You have to figure out what makes sense for you, and then you have to stay true to that balance. Overconcentrating in one type of equity or one sector is a bad idea. For example, holding a bunch of different mutual funds is not diversifying, because they all hold pretty much the same stocks. You have to be disciplined about avoiding portfolio overlap and make sure that you don’t have a few stocks that could sink the whole thing.
4. Rear-view or momentum investing.
Rear-view investing is an easy mistake to make — you look back at those asset classes that have been showing great returns and want to get in on it. It’s a natural inclination for investors, and very easy to get into risk that you don’t properly understand. If everything in your portfolio is “working,” you are doing something wrong. Rear-view mirror investing over the long-term is a return killer and a risk enhancer.
5. Chasing yield.
In a low-interest rate environment, people often make investments they might not otherwise in an effort to get the returns they believe that they need. Unfortunately, this often involves taking on risk that they don’t properly understand. Be careful trying to generate excess yield in your investments while in a low-yield environment. There is always a reason for the higher yields, and that usually involves increased risk, which is almost always going to be bad for your portfolio over the long-term.
6. Satellite investments with no core.
Similar to that random collection of one-time purchases, many investors make the mistake of building up a portfolio of satellite investments without any real core. These satellite investments might be interesting companies or funds that the investor read about, or heard about from friends and family. These investments can be smart additions to a portfolio, but it’s best to keep them reserved for a section of your portfolio designated for experimentation. They should be separate and complementary to your core investments that keep your portfolio on track towards your goals as defined by your financial plan. Start with your core and diversify from there — not the other way around.
7. Trying to match cash flow to income.
Many investors get caught up in how much income they need their portfolio to earn each year. It is important to remember that portfolio cash flow is different from the income you draw from your portfolio. It does not have to be matched up 1:1 to be successful. You do not need to get all of the income from the cash flow. Instead, focus on staying ahead of inflation and building a portfolio that appreciates over time.
8. Not even knowing what you own.
Not knowing what you own is perhaps the biggest portfolio mistake you can make. If you can't explain the rationale for an investment on the back of a cocktail napkin, you shouldn't buy it. This includes investments such as target date funds and annuities — if you don’t know what’s in them or how they work, you probably shouldn’t add them to your portfolio. When it comes to your life savings, being boring is not a bad thing.
To avoid these mistakes, it all comes down to simplicity. With all the investment options available in today’s market, it is easy to become disillusioned by complexity. The idea that the more complicated an investment is, the better, is a misconception. Keep things simple and you’re more likely to be able to manage risk and avoid making mistakes that your portfolio can no longer afford.
A partner with The Wise Investor Group, Hamilton leads the team’s Portfolio Management department and is an instrumental voice in investment policy, asset allocation and client management decision making. A managing director at the firm with more than 20 years of experience, he is also the frequent host of “The Wise Investor Radio Show” that airs weekly on WMAL 105.9 and AM 630, as well as host of the “Midweek Update” podcast..2016-09-16T14:05:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/IMG_1826.JPGPat Collins, Richmond TowneBank president; Richard Cullen, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and TowneBank CEO G. Robert Aston Jr.
TowneBank celebrates new Richmond headquarters with a big party and a big donation
When G. Robert Aston Jr., chairman and CEO of TowneBank, started the community bank in his garage 18 years ago, he dreamed of having a nice headquarters space in downtown Richmond one day.
Fast forward to September 2016, and Aston was telling that story Thursday to a crowd of about 300 who turned out for a splashy grand opening and reception for the bank’s Richmond headquarters space at Gateway Plaza in the city’s business district.
Amid towering floral displays, tables of food and plenty of dignitaries, Aston told of how his bank had grown from 90 employees to more than 2,000. The Hampton Roads-based bank leases about 39,000 square feet in the building — Richmond’s newest office tower — on two floors. A retail banking branch and commercial and private banking office are located off the lobby on the first floor, and the company’s Richmond headquarters is located on the seventh floor.
True to the bank’s community roots, it capped off the party with a check for $500,000 to the YMCA of Greater Richmond. “We are here to make good things happen,” Aston said.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones welcomed TowneBank to what he called the “resurgence” of Richmond. “This is a first-class building with a first-class bank. You can’t beat that,” Jones said.
Jones helped cut the ribbon and said he had spent the previous day helping to celebrate the grand opening of the former Central National Bank building on Broad Street, which has been converted to the Deco CNB apartments. Two hundred apartments are in the 23-story tower, and 100 of them have been leased, he said. “Everywhere you go there’s excitement in the city of Richmond. And now TowneBank is bringing the up close, personal service that makes you feel like your name matters. That's what they are about."
Tim Joyce, president and CEO of the Richmond YMCA, was on hand to accept the bank’s donation. He called the $500,000 a “stunning investment” in the nonprofit’s community programs and said it would help create “equity for all of us.”
TowneBank has grown largely thorough a series of acquisitions, including its merger in June with Chesapeake-based Monarch Financial Holdings Inc., and its bank subsidiary. With the Monarch acquisition, total assets for the combined companies were about $7.58 billion.
The bank got into the Richmond-area market with its acquisition of Franklin Financial Corp., the parent company of 80-year-old Franklin Federal Savings Bank.
Chicago-based developer Clayco built the 18-story Gateway Plaza and one of its executives, Larry Chapman, attended the reception. He said it was exciting to see the 330,000-square-foot building getting closer to the point of full occupancy. The law firm of McGuireWoodsLLP leases most of the space at Gateway Plaza. There's still some space on the eighth and ninth floors, Chapman said.
Greater Richmond Partnership receives recognition
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/greater-richmond-partnership-receives-recognition1#When:22:28:00ZThe Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has recognized the Greater Richmond Partnership as one of 52 Accredited Economic Development Organizations (AEDO).
Created in 1993, the AEDO program recognizes the professional excellence of economic development organizations in North America, providing them independent feedback from national peers.
The accreditation process included two phases in which information is collected about structure, funding, programs and staff of the organization.
A documentation review is submitted before a site team visit. The review team interviewed stakeholders and investors during its two-day visit to the Richmond area in August.
The review team praised the Greater Richmond Partnership’s strong stakeholder support and its success recruiting international firms to the Richmond area.
“The Greater Richmond Partnership displays the professionalism, commitment and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor,” Jeff Finkle, IEDC’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Formed in 1994, the Greater Richmond Partnership represents the city of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico.2016-09-15T22:28:00+00:00
Greater Richmond Partnership receives recognition
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/greater-richmond-partnership-receives-recognition#When:20:32:00ZThe Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has recognized the Greater Richmond Partnership as one of 52 Accredited Economic Development Organizations (AEDO).
Created in 1993, the AEDO program recognizes the professional excellence of economic development organizations in North America, providing them independent feedback from national peers.
The accreditation process included two phases in which information is collected about structure, funding, programs and staff of the organization.
A documentation review is submitted before a site team visit. The review team interviewed stakeholders and investors during its two-day visit to the Richmond area in August.
The review team praised the Greater Richmond Partnership’s strong stakeholder support and its success recruiting international firms to the Richmond area.
“The Greater Richmond Partnership displays the professionalism, commitment and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor,” Jeff Finkle, IEDC’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Formed in 1994, the Greater Richmond Partnership represents the city of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico.2016-09-15T20:32:00+00:00
Tanglewood Mall has a new owner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tanglewood-mall-has-a-new-owner#When:20:00:00ZTanglewood Mall, a 797,524-square-foot regional mall in Roanoke, has a new owner.
Cushman & Wakefield and Thalhimer (an alliance partner with C&W) announced Thursday that Blackwater Resources, an investment group based in Birmingham, Ala., purchased the property for an undisclosed price. The commercial real estate firms represented the seller in the transaction.
The 58-acre mall is located on Electric Road, just off I-581, near downtown Roanoke.
Built in 1973, with renovations completed in 2006, the mall is anchored by JC Penney and Belk. Other tenants including TJ Maxx, Steinmart, Staples, AC Moore, Carmike Cinemas, Kroger, and Barnes & Noble. According to Thalhimer, the mall was 88 percent occupied at time of sale.
The sale was completed by a group including Tom Salanty of Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group in Dallas along with Eric Robison of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group in Richmond. Other members of the Thalhimer team were Alex Wotring (Richmond) and John K. Nielsen, managing broker for Thalhimer’s Roanoke office.
“Through a very active marketing and competitive bidding process we were able to attract multiple offers that served to support our initial opinion that Tanglewood Mall represented a major redevelopment opportunity for the greater Roanoke region and will spark future development and investment along the Electric Road corridor,” Nielsen said in a statement.2016-09-15T20:00:00+00:00
American University given Airlie Center in Warrenton
American University in Washington, D.C., has received an unusual gift, the historic Airlie hotel and conference center in Warrenton.
The university announced on Thursday the gift by the Airlie board of directors. The center includes the historic Airlie House, a village of guest rooms and meeting facilities set on more than 300 acres of countryside.
For more than half a century, the Airlie Center has welcomed global leaders, heads of state, and diplomats who have met at the Virginia estate, an hour from Washington D.C, for conferences and programs dedicated to social progress, education, environmental research and public health.
Airlie, originally a farm, was one of the first conference facilities of its kind in the country. From its inception, it has focused on advancing social change and environmental leadership.
Airlie was the venue for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s first annual conference in 1962; the place where, in 1969, Sen. Gaylord Nelson made public his concept of Earth Day; as well as the site of significant gatherings aimed at peace in both Northern Ireland and the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
"The university is honored to have been selected for this wonderful gift. It is our intent to carry on the very impressive and important legacy of Airlie, while leveraging this marvelous facility for American University’s academic initiatives," Neil Kerwin, the university’s president, said in a statement.2016-09-15T19:39:00+00:00
Poll shows presidential race tightening in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poll-shows-presidential-race-tightening-in-virginia#When:15:25:00ZA new poll shows the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is tightening in Virginia.
A University of Mary Washington statewide survey released on Thursday showed 40 percent of likely voters backing Clinton while 37 percent favor Trump.
Libertarian Gary Johnson received the support of 8 percent of the likely voters in the survey of 1,006 adult Virginians.
The university said the 3 percentage point difference between the top candidates is within the poll’s margin of error.
By contrast, a Washington Post poll of likely voters gave Clinton a 7 percentage point lead.
“Mary Washington’s latest survey demonstrates that Virginia remains one of the nation’s most purple states,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at UMW and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies that sponsored the poll, said in a statement. “This survey demonstrates that the Trump campaign is wise to focus its resources on Virginia, and that the Clinton campaign is making a mistake by directing its attention elsewhere.”
The poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for Mary Washington on Sept. 6-12.
Other candidates receiving support in the poll include Independent Party candidate Evan McMullin, 3 percent; and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 1 percent. The survey is one of the first to include all five candidates who have qualified for the Virginia ballot.
Clinton had a larger margin among registered voters, 38 percent to 33 percent, with 10 percent for Johnson. Among all adults surveyed, Clinton had the support of 37 percent, compared to 31 percent for Trump and 10 percent for Johnson.
Virginians expressed considerable dislike for both major party candidates: 51 percent of likely voters had a strongly unfavorable impression of Trump, and 50 percent felt the same about Clinton. For both candidates, 21 percent of likely voters had a strongly favorable impression.
Thirty-nine percent of likely voters rated Donald Trump “honest and trustworthy,” while 33 percent of likely voters believe those terms apply to Hillary Clinton.
Among likely voters, 54 percent said Clinton had the “right kind of temperament and personality to be a good president,” compared to 34 percent who said that about Trump.
Among likely voters 36 percent said Trump was “prepared for the job of president,” compared to 56 percent who said the same thing about Clinton.
Male registered voters in Virginia favored Trump by a margin of 35 percent to 32 percent, with 14 percent favoring Johnson. Female registered voters favored Clinton by a margin of 44 percent to 31 percent, with 6 percent favoring Johnson.
White registered voters favored Trump by a margin of 42 percent to 29 percent, while African-American registered voters favored Clinton by a 70 percent to 5 percent margin. Hispanic registered voters favored Clinton by a 43 percent to 28 percent margin. Johnson had the support of 13 percent of the Latino registered voters, 11 percent of the white voters and 5 percent of the African-American voters.
“The large number of voters not prepared to commit to either of the two major party nominees demonstrates that the Democratic and Republican campaigns still have a lot of persuading to do in Virginia this fall,” Farnsworth said.
Among likely voters, 32 percent of those surveyed described themselves as Democratic, 30 percent described themselves as Republican and 35 percent described themselves as independent.
The survey included 397 landline interviews and 609 cell phone interviews. The margins of error are plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for results based on full sample, 3.9 percentage points for results based on registered voters and 4.4 percentage points for results based on likely voters.2016-09-15T15:25:00+00:00
Help offered to stranded ITT Tech students
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/help-offered-to-stranded-itt-tech-students#When:21:13:00ZThe state government has launched an online portal offering students affected by the closure of ITT Technical Institute.
Meanwhile, Virginia Beach-based ECPI University has announced it will offer a “trial period” for eligible students displaced by the closure of the ITT Tech.
In a statement, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the state portal offers information about steps students can take to continue their education at other institutions or seek student loan forgiveness.
The ITT Tech’s nationwide closure shuttered Virginia five campuses — in Salem, Chantilly, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Richmond.
The web portal, located at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/ITT offer,s a resource for students with questions about how to proceed in the wake of the ITT closure.
The governor said he has directed the Virginia State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) to assist ITT students.
ECPI said former ITT Tech students meeting admissions and assessment requirements will be allowed to take classes at ECPI for two 5-week terms (10 weeks) before being considered for acceptance.
“ITT Tech students have been put in a serious predicament,” ECPI President Mark Dreyfus said in a statement.
“The U.S. Department of Education has advised former ITT students to not rush into a decision and review all options before continuing their education. ECPI University’s trial period allows them to do just that.”
ECPI has locations in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond, Roanoke and Manassas. The school has six more campuses in North Carolina and South Carolina. Online it has students in about 45 states.
To learn more about transfer requirements and procedures at ECPI, students may visit http://www.ecpi.edu/itt-transfer-credits or email firstname.lastname@example.orgT21:13:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/lobby-view-2_final.jpgRendering of The Main's lobby. | Photo courtesy LB PR Media
Construction is 75 percent complete on Norfolk’s newest convention hotel
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/construction-is-75-percent-complete-on-norfolks-newest-convention-hotel#When:21:11:00ZThe Main, Norfolk’s new $150 million hotel and convention center, is heading into the home stretch. With just more than six months to go before its scheduled March 2017 opening, construction on the 300-room, 23-story tower is 75 percent complete.
About 400 construction workers are on site daily as the project continues to go up at the corner of Granby and Main streets in the city’s downtown.
The city and Gold Key | PHR property, based in Virginia Beach are developing the property.
The Main is being promoted as Norfolk’s premier meeting center, because it will have luxury hotel accommodations, meeting spaces, three restaurants and bars at one address.
One of its most prominent architectural features will be a 100-foot-tall ground floor atrium that will serve as a focal point.
“The large central atrium — coined the ‘Grand Central Station’ of the property — ties together all the public spaces, including the food and beverage outlets, hotel spaces and event spaces, creating a dynamic experience for the guest and onlooker,” Rob Uhrin said in a statement. He is a principal in Cooper Carry’s Hospitality Studio and one of the lead architects on the project.
In terms of meeting space, The Exchange at The Main will have 42,000 square feet of high-tech meeting space with 39 meeting room spaces, making it the largest conference space in Norfolk.
The Exchange also will include a collaboration room and two boardrooms as well as technology from audio/visual equipment to soundproof rooms. For larger groups, The Main ballroom will be able to accommodate 1,200 seated guests, making it the largest ballroom in Virginia with 18,500 square-feet of space.
“The Main is a transitional moment for Norfolk, filling a void in the downtown scene offering both locals and visitors a comprehensive hospitality experience,” said Gold Key | PHR CEO Bruce Thompson.
The lobby of the hotel, Hilton Norfolk The Main, will be located on the second floor. Eleven suites on the top floor will offer sweeping views of the city and the Elizabeth River. Other amenities at include a modern fitness facility and indoor pool.2016-09-14T21:11:00+00:00
Thirty finalists announced in statewide business plan competition
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/thirty-finalists-announced-in-statewide-business-plan-competition#When:21:06:00ZThe Virginia Velocity Tour Business Plan Competition has announced the finalists that will compete for $25,000 business grants in pitch events throughout Virginia from Sept. 19-23.
The events will take place in Roanoke, Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Charlottesville.
The Virginia Velocity Tour is a weeklong event designed to provide visibility and seed funding to promising startups throughout Virginia.
The event is a partnership involving the Commonwealth of Virginia and Village Capital, a nonprofit that trains and invests in seed-stage entrepreneurs.
The Virginia Velocity program will highlight industry sectors of regional strength, including biotech, health, energy, agriculture and security.
The Virginia Velocity Tour committee has selected 30 finalists to participate in the pitch competitions:
• Roanoke/Blacksburg Region:
o The Energy Control Group
o Aesop Technologies
• Richmond/Williamsburg Region:
o Glass Smith
o Card Isle
o Hamilton Perkins Collection
• Hampton Roads Region:
o GOGO Bands
o Adartis Animal Health
o Sanyal Biotechnology
o Track Patch 1 Corporation
o Cardinal Mechatronics
o Attention Point
• Northern Virginia (NOVA) Region:
o Tensor Wrench Inc.
o Hill Top Security Inc.
o UnMEZ Inc.
o J&F Alliance Group Inc.
• Charlottesville Region:
o Seasonal Roots
o Hungry Marketplace
o Bonomuse Biochem LLC
o Edible Edu
o Tellus Agronomics LLC2016-09-14T21:06:00+00:00
Highwoods Properties to build a medical office building in Richmond
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/highwoods-properties-to-build-a-medical-office-building-in-richmond#When:21:55:00ZHighwoods Properties Inc. announced Tuesday that it has signed a long-term build-to-suite lease with Virginia Urology.
Highwoods said it will develop a $29 million, 87,000-square-foot, three-story building that will serve as Virginia Urology’s headquarters and medical facility in Richmond’s Stony Point submarket, not far from one of VU's current facilities.
VU will be the only tenant. The investment on the 100 percent pre-leased development includes structured parking and the value of the company-owned land.
Construction is expected to be completed the end of the third quarter in 2018.
“We are pleased to have been selected by Virginia Urology to build their new headquarters,’’ Ed Fritsch, the president and CEO of Highwoods Properties, said in a statement.
Brigette Booth, Virginia Urology’s CEO, said the new space “will enable us to provide our services in a more cost-effective manner, ensure the highest-quality care and better equip us to respond to ongoing and rapid changes in health care. The location is a perfect fit given its access from major roadways, visibility and convenient location to our existing facility.”
Highwoods, a publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Raleigh, N.C., owns four buildings encompassing 460,000 square feet in Stony Point that it said, on average, are 96 percent
occupied. The Highwoods Stony Point buildings are adjacent to the 669,000-square-foot Stony Point Fashion Park mall, located off of Chippenham Parkway. Highwoods also owns and manages many of the office buildings at the Innsbrook Corporate Center in Henrico County.
With the addition of this project, Highwoods said its development pipeline includes 1 million square feet, representing an investment of nearly $520 million that is more than 70 percent pre-leased.
Virginia Urology (VU) has operated in the greater Richmond area for more than 75 years. VU has seven office locations throughout the area and two licensed and accredited ambulatory surgery
centers. The practice currently has more than 45 providers including physicians that specialize in urology, urogynecology, anesthesiology, pathology, radiation oncology, and radiology.2016-09-13T21:55:00+00:00
BWX Technologies names three new directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bwx-technologies-names-three-new-directors#When:19:55:00ZThe Lynchburg-based company announced the appointments of Barbara A. Niland, James M. Jaska and Kenneth J. Krieg.
Niland retired this year after being vice president, business management and CFO of Huntington Ingalls Industries for more than five years. She previously spent more than 30 years with Northrop Grumman Corp. and the former Westinghouse Electronics.
Jaska is president and managing director of Nova Global Services, an operations and advisory firm. He previously held executive roles with AECOM and Tetra Tech. He also held leadership roles at Alliant Techsystems, Honeywell and Ecolab.
Krieg is the founder of Samford Global Strategies, a consulting practice. He has more than 20 years of experience with the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition activities, including working directly for the defense department from 2001 to 2007. Previously he worked for 11 years for International Paper. He also has held defense and foreign policy assignments at the White House.2016-09-13T19:55:00+00:00
Weis Markets Inc. plans to convert 38 Food Lion supermarkets
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/weis-markets-inc.-plans-to-convert-38-food-lion-supermarkets#When:19:42:00ZPennsylvania-based Weis Markets Inc. plans to convert 38 Food Lion supermarkets in three states, including Virginia, to Weis stores by the end of October.
The stores include 13 in Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania. The other stores are in Maryland and Delaware.
Weist announced the purchase of the 38 stores in July. Financial details about the acquisition were not disclosed.
"Once the conversions are completed over the next two months, we will have nearly doubled our Maryland store count and expanded into Virginia and Delaware," Kurt Schertle, Weis' chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Weis, which has its headquarters in Sunbury, Pa., plans to hire more than 2,000 current Food Lion employees to staff the converted stores.
The July acquisition was the company's second major deal this year. In August, it completed the conversion of five Mars Super Markets in Baltimore County, Md.
Once the conversions are complete, Weis will increase its number of stores by more than 25 percent, operating 204 in seven states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia.
The Virginia Food Lion stores affected by the conversion are located at:
505 Meadowbrook Shopping Center, Culpeper
540 Culpeper Town Mall, Culpeper
905 Garrisonville Road, Stafford
2612 Jefferson Davis Highway, Stafford
282 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg
4153 Plank Road, Fredericksburg
515 Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg
736 Warrenton Road, Fredericksburg
10871 Tidewater Trail Fredericksburg
10611 Courthouse Road, Fredericksburg
10601 Spotsylvania Ave., Fredericksburg
7100 Salem Fields Blvd., Fredericksburg
9801 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania2016-09-13T19:42:00+00:00
McLean-based Gannett invests in Digg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mclean-based-gannett-invests-in-digg#When:19:35:00ZMcLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. has invested in the digital media company Digg.
Digg helps users find content on the internet. It has a monthly web, mobile and social audience of 40 million.
“Our team looks forward to working with Digg as we continue on our journey as a forward-thinking and innovative media company,” Bob Dickey, president and CEO of Gannett, said in a statement. “Digg has an engaged audience, an impressive ability to discover the best content on the web, and analyze content in real-time. Working together, we will be able to quickly develop new content discovery products and bring them to market.”
Gannett led Digg’s recent Series C investment round with an undisclosed sum. The deal will give Gannett’s USA Today Network access to Digg’s data.
USA Today Network currently has an audience of more than 100 million unique digital visitors a month.
Gannett described the investment as being part of its commitment to expand the network’s content distribution capabilities and improve user experience.
The companies said Gannett's investment will allow Digg to accelerate development of content discovery products. Earlier this year Digg released its first integrations with Facebook Messenger and Slack. Digg will also have access to local content from USA Today Network.2016-09-13T19:35:00+00:00
Study released by environmental groups pans new pipelines
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-released-by-environmental-groups-pans-new-pipelines#When:20:35:00ZA new study commissioned by two environmental groups says two proposed interstate pipelines — that would cut through a combined 850 miles of mid-Atlantic countryside — are not needed because existing pipelines can supply enough fuel to power the region through 2030.
The study commissioned by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Appalachian Mountain Advocates concludes that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be financially beneficial to utility companies and investors while burdening customers with higher bills to cover the cost of the unnecessary construction.
The report from Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics was released today at a press conference in Nelson County by the SELC, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance.
Many Nelson residents have expressed strong opposition to the ACP pipeline, because of disruption they say it would cause.
“The dilemma for communities up until now has been figuring out where these pipelines would be built,” Greg Buppert, an SELC staff attorney, said in a statement. “But today we know they don’t need to be built at all. Despite what we have heard from the utilities, we will have plenty of power and heat without them.”
The report’s authors studied the capacity of the existing network of pipelines and the region’s projected demand for energy. They concluded that, with some pipeline upgrades, “the supply capacity of the Virginia-Carolinas region’s existing natural gas infrastructure is more than sufficient to meet expected future peak demand.”
The researchers also wrote: “Additional interstate natural gas pipelines, like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley projects, are not needed to keep the lights on, homes and businesses heated, and existing and new industrial facilities in production.”
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cannot approve any pipeline project unless it is absolutely necessary,” Joe Lovett, executive director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates, said in a statement. “And in cases like this, where the government allows for-profit companies to take private property — family farms, people’s homes — that protection is especially crucial. This report shows the pipelines are not needed, so there should be no eminent domain for private gain. To do so would violate the law and the private property traditions of Virginia."
The groups also voiced concern about increasing the region’s reliance on natural gas. “An investment of billions of dollars in natural gas will further discourage these utilities from moving towards renewable energy, like solar and wind power that could save their customers more money,” Buppert said.
The two proposed pipelines would transport fracked natural gas from wells in West Virginia to customers in Virginia and the Carolinas. The groups allege that the pipelines would transect valuable natural and recreation areas, along with cities, towns and farms. A number of citizen groups and businesses in several states have formed to oppose the pipelines.
Other business organizations, companies and utility players, though, support the pipelines as a way to keep Virginia competitive in terms of economic development, create new construction jobs and meet future energy demands as coal-fired power plants are shuttered.
According to studies commissioned by the project’s developers, the pipeline is expected to generate economic benefits across a three-state region (Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia), including more than 17,000 jobs, $2.7 billion in economic activity and $4.2 million in average annual local tax revenue during construction.
The studies have said that in Virginia alone, construction would support 8,800 jobs and result in $1.4 billion in economic activity. Once in operation, the pipeline is expected to result in nearly $38 million in economic activity, support 1,300 jobs and, by 2022, generate $10.4 million in local tax revenue in 13 counties and cities along the route.
The new report raises the possibility of what it says is another utility-driven incentive to push for these projects. Since the supply of natural gas is abundant, utilities are exploring options to export the fuel overseas. That would require more capacity to move natural gas to the mid-Atlantic’s coastal ports. Therefore, “pipeline developers … have an additional motivation to expand their ownership interests in natural gas supply infrastructure,” the researchers said.
In that case, those living along the pipeline’s route would face extensive disruptions during construction — and the loss of land use. “To safeguard public interests, a determination of need for new pipeline infrastructure requires a detailed, integrated analysis of natural gas capacity and demand for the region as a whole,” the researchers wrote.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is evaluating the proposals. Last month, it released a schedule setting a timeline for the environmental review of the ACP. At this point, FERC plans to issue a final environmental impact statement by June of 2017, and a federal decision deadline has been set for Sept.28 of that same year.2016-09-12T20:35:00+00:00
Tourism revenues reached $23 billion in 2015
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tourism-revenues-reached-23-billion-in-2015#When:16:44:00ZThe Virginia Tourism Corp. reports that the state’s tourism revenues topped $23 billion in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase over 2014. In 2015, tourism in
Virginia supported 223,100 jobs. The tourism industry also provided more than $1.6 billion in state and local revenue.
The state’s tourism marketing agency largely attributed the increase to Virginia's authentic, local travel experiences, diversity of tourism product
and the efforts of the destination marketing organizations and their leadership in their communities.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corp., tourism is an instant generator for the commonwealth. For every dollar invested, tourism returns $5 to
the general fund, it said. Tourism also is the fifth-largest private employer in Virginia.
The data on total figures was updated from forecasted data previously provided in June. The Virginia Tourism Corp receives its annual economic
impact data from the U.S. Travel Association. The information is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the U.S. ) from
per person trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.
Detailed economic impact data by locality is available on http://www.vatc.org under Research.2016-09-12T16:44:00+00:00
Groundbreaking Wednesday for The Boro in Tysons
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/groundbreaking-wednesday-for-the-boro-in-tysons#When:15:49:00ZA groundbreaking ceremony will be held Wednesday as construction moves forward on The Boro, a 4.2 million-square-foot development in the heart of Tysons.
The Boro will include a mix of office, residential, entertainment and retail space, including a Whole Foods Market and a cinema. The development will be located within steps of the Greensboro Metro station on the new Silver line.
Representatives of The Meridian Group and Kettler, the project’s developers, will attend. Also scheduled to speak are: Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors; and Jim Corcoran, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. with speakers beginning at 4:40 p.m. It will be held at the corner of Greensboro Place and Solutions Drive in Tysons, near the site of the demolished Enterprise Building, a 13-story office building that once stood at the former SAIC campus in Tysons.
The Meridian Group acquired the former SAIC campus in 2013. The Bethesda, Md., investment firm renovated the three exiting office buildings and demolished the fourth.2016-09-12T15:49:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1911_W_Main_St.jpg
Mixed-use project sells in Richmond for $2.1 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mixed-use-project-sells-in-richmond-for-2.1-million#When:15:29:00ZA 26,137-square-foot, mixed-use project in Richmond has sold for $2.1 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The portfolio of properties is located at 1903, 1911, 1917 W. Main Street and 9 S. Meadow St.
1911 Main St LLC purchased the buildings from Nineteen Hundred Main St LLC for as an investment. District 5 will continue to occupy the existing restaurant space.
Thalhimer’s Alicia Farrell handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the purchaser. James Ashby IV and Reilly Marchant, also with Thalhimer, handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.2016-09-12T15:29:00+00:00
S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. reports on transactions
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/s.-l.-nusbaum-realty-co.-reports-on-transactions#When:15:21:00ZS.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. reported recent transactions totaling about $22 million in sales and lease volume on 304,747 square feet and 5.7 acres for the Norfolk and Richmond offices.
In Richmond, Roseleigh Partners LLC purchased warehouse buildings totaling 70,000 square feet on 2.6 acres at 1408 Roseneath Road and 1508 Belleville St. from Belleville St. Associates for $3.4 million. Nathan Shor and Reid Cardon represented the seller.
Summit Suites LLC purchased four office buildings totaling 50,000 plus square feet at 3117 W. Clay Street and 3105-3122 W. Marshall Street for $2.7 million. Shor and Cardon represented the seller.
In Norfolk, 244 Granby LLC has purchased a 26,925-square-foot retail building at 244-250 Granby St. from Leans Partnership for $1.7 million. Mike Zarpas represented the seller.
In the largest reported lease transaction, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen has ground leased 25,154 square feet of outparcel space at Towne Square Shopping Center in Roanoke.2016-09-12T15:21:00+00:00
Virginia Beach unveils new property search tool
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-unveils-new-property-search-tool#When:14:40:00ZGetting information on properties in Virginia Beach just got easier. The city has released a new online tool and mobile app called Virginia Beach Property Search that provides information on more than 159,000 properties throughout the city.
The inventory, at vbgov.com/property-search or via the mobile app for iOS and Android, includes residential, commercial, agricultural and tax-exempt properties. People can conduct a search from a computer, tablet or phone using a street address, neighborhood name or ZIP code.
The city said the search tool is part of Virginia Beach’s ongoing effort to use technology to be more innovative, open and transparent to residents and business owners. That effort will soon include a new open-data portal, offering online access to many city databases.
“Virginia Beach Property Search offers all of the city’s property information in one easy-to-use location,” City Assessor Jerald Banagan said in a statement. “Residents, prospective residents, Realtors, appraisers and anyone looking to locate a business in Virginia Beach can use the tools to find just what they need.”
According to the city, Virginia Beach Property Search includes more information than most commercial search sites. For every property, the tool offers a detailed sales history, year-by-year assessments, tax rates, annual taxes, year built, square footage of land and buildings, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and total rooms, internal and external features, schematics, aerial images, zoning, watershed, soil type, flood and noise zones, a downloadable plat and more.
The tool also provides information not available on the city’s old property search site, including the nearest library, recreation center, park, fire station, police station and voting location and districts for the City Council and state legislature.
Users also can view subdivision boundaries and get sales information for homes within a subdivision and surrounding area.
What they can’t get is property owners’ names. To protect the privacy of property owners, Property Search does not include individual owner names.2016-09-12T14:40:00+00:00
CBRE’s Mid-South offices expand building services division
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cbres-mid-south-offices-expand-building-services-division#When:13:38:00ZCBRE’s Mid-South Offices (Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Raleigh, and Greensboro) are expanding their Building Services Division. The goal behind the expansion is to provide a broader scope of services to current clients and others in need of building services, including properties not managed by CBRE.
Typically commercial real estate firms contract out maintenance work for their properties, and most don’t offer such services to nonmanaged properties.
The expansion includes a wider variety of maintenance offerings and new leadership with the promotions of Jessica Butterworth to regional director of building services and John Thomas to regional engineering operations manager.
Butterworth will oversee about 40 building services technicians through CBRE’s mid-South area as well as in Maryland, Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta, Pennsylvania and Delaware. She also will oversee general building services practices in Norfolk, Raleigh, and Greensboro, N.C. In this role, she will be in charge of schedules, business development, assignments, billing and compliance with federal state and local building codes.
Thomas will manage a team of 25 mechanics supporting about 6.8 million square feet of office and retail space in Hampton Roads. He also will oversee technical support and training in CBRE’s Mid-south offices.
Building services include preventative maintenance, electrical, plumbing, lighting, emergency power, HVAC and general maintenance as well as energy management and sustainability.2016-09-12T13:38:00+00:00
Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School receives reaccreditation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/newport-news-shipbuildings-apprentice-school-receives-reaccreditation#When:20:11:00ZThe Council on Occupational Education has reaccredited The Apprentice School of Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.
The apprentice school, which has operated for 97 years, has been reaccredited through 2022. The school.
In a letter to the school, the council’s commission executive committee wrote: “The school excels at its primary mission to instruct students to such competency levels essential to success, making them a center for training excellence. The team found that students were enthusiastic about their career possibilities, program progression and continuing education opportunities.”
The school offers four- to eight-year apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs. Apprentices work a 40-hour week and are paid for time the work in addition to their time in academic classes.
Through partnerships with Old Dominion University, Thomas Nelson Community College and Tidewater Community College, apprentices can earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.2016-09-09T20:11:00+00:00
Calibre Systems names new board member
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/calibre-systems-names-new-board-member#When:20:10:00ZAlexandria-based Calibre Systems Inc. has named Kimberly K. Horn to its board of directors, effective Oct. 1.
Horn, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States Inc., oversees a region that serves more than 500,000 members and operates 30 medical centers in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Calibre is an employee-owned management consulting and information technology solutions company supporting government and industry.2016-09-09T20:10:00+00:00
George Mason Mortgage names managing director
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/george-mason-mortgage-names-managing-director#When:20:08:00ZDick Koch has joined Fairfax-based George Mason Mortgage as managing director, strategic growth & acquisition.
Koch will be responsible for growing the company’s market share and business development teams.
Koch was regional sales executive for Bank of America in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. He was responsible for all mortgage production, as well as cross promotion of mortgage and banking services throughout its 135 banking center network.
George Mason Mortgage is a subsidiary of Cardinal Bank.2016-09-09T20:08:00+00:00
Richmond-area businesses to compete for $10,000 prize
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-area-businesses-to-compete-for-10000-prize#When:18:00:00ZUnitedHealthcare will award $10,000 to a Richmond-area small business with a promising idea for improving community health and wellness.
The health insurance company is partnering with two area business organizations, BizWorks and RVA Works, in selecting the winning project.
Businesses in Richmond with two to 100 employees are eligible to submit project ideas. Submissions using an online application are being accepted through Sept. 30, at http://www.bit.do/ccarichmond Each .projects must benefit a local nonprofit organization.
Judges, including government officials and business leaders, will evaluate the submissions, selecting the top five. The selection criteria include potential community impact, creativity/uniqueness and feasibility.
The top five applicants — and representatives from nonprofits benefiting from their proposals — will be invited a pitch and networking event in October.
A panel of government officials, business leaders and health-care experts will pick the UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award winner.
Contest Rules are available at http://www.bit.do/ccarichmond.2016-09-09T18:00:00+00:00
Omni Homestead Resort selects new director for sales and marketing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/omni-homestead-resort-selects-new-director-for-sales-and-marketing#When:20:45:00ZThe Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs has announced four appointments
to its sales and marketing team. Alex Gregory is the new director of sales and
marketing. He will lead a team developing strategies to increase revenues from all market segments with a focus on
meeting and events clientele.
Gregory joined The Omni Homestead from the five-star Sea Island resort in
Sea Island, Ga., where, as director of sales and marketing, he oversaw
meetings, golf and travel industry sales. Previously, Gregory spent 12 years
with Destination Hotels, serving as director of sales and marketing for the
four-diamond Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz.,
and as director of sales and marketing at Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms in
Chris Long will head up the resort's group sales effort as director of sales.
Long comes from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, S.C.,
where he served as director of Midwest sales for 11 years. He previously
held sales positions at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida and
The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.,
As a senior sales manager, Maritza Gabriel will be responsible for
maintaining and growing relationships with associations, corporations and non-profits.
Her appointment follows 18 months of work as the wedding & catering sales
manager at The Omni Homestead, where her performance earned her
recognition as Omni's 2015 Sales Rookie of the Year.
The new wedding and catering sales manager is Rachel Withrow.
Withrow previously held the position of catering sales manager at the resort.2016-09-08T20:45:00+00:00
JLL retained to lease 880 North Military Highway in Norfolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jll-retained-to-lease-880-north-military-highway-in-norfolk#When:20:42:00ZJLL has been retained to lease the former JCPenney building at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk. The Norfolk Economic Development Authority (EDA) purchased the property at 880 North Military Highway in 2015 and is redeveloping it for office occupancy.
Movement Mortgage recently signed a lease to relocate and expand its operations center at the building, taking 90,000 square feet. The mortgage company plans to move into the space in the first quarter of 2017.
The assignment for JLL comes as Norfolk is looking at ways to transform the Military Circle and Military Highway area into a vibrant, walkable urban center. The recent announcements expected to drive traffic to the area. IKEA is opening its Virginia second location in the area, and the Norfolk Simon Premium Outlet Center will be located nearby with 90 new stores.
The city also has identified potential to extend light rail service to the area and support mixed-use along Military Highway for greater density.
There is about 100,000 square feet of office space available on the second floor of 880 North Military Highway, which JLL said can be divided into 25,000-square-foot increments. The property has more than 1,400 parking spaces.
“JLL is thrilled to work with the EDA on this project,” Deborah Stearns, senior vice president at JLL, said in a statement. “More and more office prospects are seeking large floor plans that complement higher density operations.’’
Stearns and Vice President Gregg Christoffersen are leading the JLL team leasing the building.2016-09-08T20:42:00+00:00
Richmond-area project aimed at increasing exports
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-area-project-aimed-at-increasing-exports#When:20:40:00ZA new project aimed at increasing exports by local businesses in Richmond launched Thursday.
The goal of the Metro Richmond Exports Initiative is to increase international trade activity by small and medium businesses in the area by 40 percent by 2020.
The program will track its progress by monitoring the number of companies exporting for the first time and the number of existing exporters entering new foreign markets .
The project will include
• the creation of a Metro Richmond Exports website,
• monthly luncheons featuring experienced exporters,
• the development of an “Exporting 101” curriculum,
• export assistance grants to potential exports, and
• collaboration with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to develop export-ready companies.
The initiative is being implemented at a time when the commonwealth is creating a new agency, Virginia International Trade Corp., to promote trade.
The Richmond-area initiative grew out of a desire to explore long-term economic development strategies to create jobs and new capital investment. While the Richmond area is home to number of exporters, the region trails other metro areas in export activity, according to program organizers.
Thursday’s launch of the initiative was the result of two years of work involving the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, the Greater Richmond Partnership, Virginia’s Gateway Region, JPMorgan Chase and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
“Metro Richmond has a diverse array of industries, ranging from agriculture, to manufacturing, to engineering and management services. Every one of these industries has companies that make products and services that can be exported to a world that is eager to buy ‘Made in America’,” John Accordino said in a statement. He is director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis and the interim dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU. “Through the initiative, these companies will find the services and resources that help them realize their export potential, and that will help to grow the region’s economy.”
The Brookings Institution and its Global Cities Initiative provided technical support for the initiative. JPMorgan Chase provided funding for the planning plus a $150,000 grant to support implementation of the initiative, including assistance grants to Richmond businesses that need support in their export growth activities.2016-09-08T20:40:00+00:00
New investment announced for Danville
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-job-investment-announced-for-danville#When:19:42:00ZA manufacturer of high-performance cutting tools is establishing a North American technology and strategic manufacturing hub in Danville.
KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool Inc. will spend $9.5 million to open an operation in Cyber Park, which is owned by the Danville-Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority. The investment will create 35 new jobs.
The operation will be called the KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub LLC.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe met with company officials during the 2015 Paris Air Show and a 2016 marketing mission in Europe.
“Under the encouragement of Governor McAuliffe, KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool visited the state of Virginia and the city of Danville, where we instantly connected with a location and a population of people that are in the early stages of a renaissance that perfectly aligns with our own internal evolution,” Alan Pearce, CEO of KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub, said in a statement. “…The history of the Danville area and its people, coupled with the high level technical skill development and engineering advancement efforts driving Virginia into an industrial leading position in the future, is the essence of why the KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub is being created in Danville, Virginia.”
KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub has joined the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) as an organizing member, the highest level of membership.
“As a strategic supplier to Rolls-Royce and an organizing member of CCAM, we are confident that the company can serve as a hub to attract additional local machine tool operators and suppliers operations to the region,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $350,000 for the project.
The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will also be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool, was founded in Ohio in 1951 as SGS Tool Co. and is now a wholly owned division of KYOCERA Corp., which is based in Japan.
“We are excited to forge the next chapter of our future success alongside our new home of Danville, Virginia,” said Jason Wells, chief technical officer of KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub. “The support and investment the elected officials have demonstrated complement the emphasis they have placed into developing a skilled workforce starting at the high school level, networking world class University level engineering programs, and supporting industry changing research at facilities such as CCAM and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.”2016-09-08T19:42:00+00:00
VMI campaign raises more than $300 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vmi-fundraising-campaign-raises-more-than-300-million#When:19:35:00ZThe Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Foundation has raised more than $300 million, exceeding its goal by 33 percent.
The goal of the fundraising effort, "An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI," was $225 million.
More than 14,000 donors have participated in the campaign, which included 53 gifts of $1 million or more and two gifts of more than $20 million each.
The fundraising campaign is the largest in VMI's 177-year history.
The funds will be used for scholarships, faculty development, academic support, leadership programs, intercollegiate athletics and support of VMI's heritage programs.
Armada Hoffler plans $45 million project in Charlotte
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/armada-hoffler-plans-45-million-project-in-charlotte#When:19:32:00ZVirginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. plans to develop and own a $45 million multifamily property in Charlotte, N.C.
“The Charlotte MSA is a major market of 2.4 million people with a median household income exceeding $50,000. It presents a natural geographic point of expansion for our company,” Armada Hoffler CEO Louis S. Haddad said in a statement.
The real estate company will be the majority partner in a joint venture with Southern Apartment Group.
Situated in midtown Charlotte, the project is expected to include 225 apartment homes on eight floors and have 350 parking spaces.
The development is near to the Carolinas Medical Center, the flagship hospital of Carolinas HealthCare System and one of the largest employers in Charlotte.
The company expects to break ground during the fourth quarter, with completion targeted for mid-2018.2016-09-08T19:32:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1338051_20_z.jpeg
Excel Hotel Group buys Fredericksburg hotel
Hunter Hotel Advisors Wednesday announced the sale of the 148-room Hilton Garden Inn to Excel Hotel Group for an undisclosed price.
The Arlington-based company purchased the five-story hotel from a New York private equity firm.
According to Hunter Hotel Advisors, the Hilton Garden Inn was built in 2005 and completed a $2 million renovation in February 2016. The hotel is located on Interstate 95 between Washington, D.C., and Richmond.
Hunter Hotel Advisors, whose headquarters is in Atlanta, is a hospitality investment firm for clients ranging from REITs and private equity firms to regional hotel owners. Since Jan. 1, 2015, Hunter said it has sold more than $1.5 billion in single assets and portfolio transactions.2016-09-07T21:00:00+00:00
Northern Neck senior living community to expand
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-neck-senior-living-community-to-expand#When:20:39:00ZCharlottesville-based Commonwealth Assisted Living plans to spend $900,000 in expanding the memory unit at its Farnham senior living community.
Commonwealth Assisted Living at Farnham is located near Warsaw on the Northern Neck.
The new wing will include six new memory-care suites, expanded activities areas and a dedicated dining room for memory-care residents.
The expansion is expected to create more than five new jobs.
Commonwealth Assisted Living operates 23 senior living communities throughout Virginia.2016-09-07T20:39:00+00:00
Tegna Inc. plans to spin off Cars.com
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tegna-inc.-plans-to-spin-off-cars.com#When:20:36:00ZMcLean-based Tegna Inc. plans to spin off Cars.com, its online automotive marketplace, as a separate publicly traded company.
Gracia C. Martore, Tegna’s president and CEO, plans to retire when the spinoff is completed next year.
She will be succeeded by Dave Lougee, the president of Tegna Media, which oversees the 46 television stations the company owns or services.
Alex Vetter, the head of Cars.com, will be president and CEO of the new independent company.
In addition to the Cars.com spinoff, Tegna also said it is evaluating strategic alternatives for the employment website CareerBuilder.
In a statement, Martore said spinning off Cars.com is a logical next step in Tegna’s evolution, which over the past 4.5 years has included the acquisition of broadcast stations from Belo Corp. and London Broadcasting and the spin-off of the Gannett Co. publishing business. Tegna is the former broadcasting and digital division of Gannett.
“Spinning off Cars.com from TEGNA will establish two strong, industry-leading companies that are well positioned to compete and to continue to profitably grow in their targeted markets,” she said. “Each business will have increased strategic, operating, and financial flexibility at a time when the broadcast and digital sectors are both rapidly evolving – presenting both companies with a wealth of opportunities.”
Martore expects to retire when the spinoff is completed in the first half of 2017. She has worked for 31 years for Tegna and its predecessor, Gannett.
After the spinoff, Tegna will continue to be based in McLean. Cars.com’s headquarters will remain headquartered in Chicago.
Martore’s successor, Lougee, was named president of Gannett Broadcasting in July 2007 and previously served as executive vice president, media operations for Belo Corp.
Vetter is one of the original members of Cars.com management.
Tegna owns a 53 percent controlling interest in CareerBuilder; minority owners are Tribune Media and The McClatchy Co.
Options being explored for the employment website include its possible sale. Tegna cautioned, however, that there is no guarantee that any of the options under review will result in a transaction.
Virginia law firms merge
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-law-firms-merge#When:20:02:00ZTwo Virginia law firms, Roanoke-based Woods Rogers PLC and Lynchburg-based Edmunds & Williams PC will join forces in Lynchburg on Oct 1.
The combined firm will operate as Woods Rogers Edmunds & Williams PLC in Lynchburg but will remain as Woods Rogers in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Danville and other markets.
The merger brings 15 Edmunds & Williams attorneys to Woods Rogers' roster. Four new associates are scheduled to join the Woods Rogers Roanoke office in September.
In the coming weeks, both firms are working to integrate practice teams, client matters, employees, and systems. The largest practice groups in the combined firm will be banking and corporate, labor and employment, health care, litigation, and tax and estates.
After Oct. 1, Woods Rogers will have five Virginia offices and 78 attorneys.2016-09-06T20:02:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sudley.jpg
Korth Cos. buys four-building office center in Manassas
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/korth-cos.-buys-four-building-office-center-in-manassas#When:19:50:00ZKorth Cos. Inc., a commercial interior construction and remodeling firm, has purchased the Sudley North Business Center, a four-building office center in Manassas, for an undisclosed price.
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank announced Monday that it completed the sale of the property. Executive Managing Director Larry FitzGerald and Associate Director Cole Spalding of NGKF provided advisory services and facilitated the sale on behalf of an institutional landlord to Korth, based out of Gaithersburg, Md.
Korth retained NGKF to negotiate the leasing for the 31,457 square-feet of office space currently available.
“Sudley North Business Center is a well located, Class-B office complex with easy access to I-66, the Rt. 234 bypass and retail in one of the fastest growing suburbs in Virginia,” FitzGerald said in a statement.
The center, located at 7699 Ashton Ave., is comprised of three one-story buildings and one two-story building for a total of 120,764 square feet.
Situated within Prince William County on 11.5 acres, the property provides a campus-style setting with surface parking. It’s surrounded by commercial and residential developments and is within walking distance to one of the largest power retail centers in the county, Bull Run Plaza. The center has more than 40 retailers.2016-09-06T19:50:00+00:00
Richmond Fed president: Indicators suggest rates should be higher
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-fed-president-indicators-suggest-rates-should-be-higher#When:21:33:00ZThe president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond says economic indicators suggest that short-term interest rates should be higher.
Waiting too long to raise that could pose problems for the economy, he believes. “The way the data is playing out, I think the longer we wait there is a material increase in risks that we run," Lacker told reporters Friday in Richmond after speech to Virginia economists.
The Fed Reserve reduced rates to nearly zero in December 2008 during the Great Recession. Rates didn’t change until last December when the Fed increased them a quarter of a percentage point.
That move was expected to be the first of four quarter-point increases this year, but those plans were derailed by the economy’s slow performance during the first half of the year.
A voting member of the rating-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) last year, Lacker twice dissented when rates weren’t raised at two meetings before December. He is not a voting member this year, but still will have a chance to offer his perspective at the next FOMC meeting on Sept. 20-21.
Lacker shot down speculation that the Fed might avoid making any changes at the meeting because of the upcoming presidential election. “That’s a misconception,” he told reporters. “I don’t see the election having any effect.”
He also didn’t buy the idea that a Labor Department’s jobs report released on Friday might make the Fed more hesitant to act. The report showed 151,000 jobs were added to the economy in August, fewer than some observers had predicted, but “still a strong report,” Lacker said. The national unemployment rate remained 4.9 percent.
The direction of the U.S. jobless and inflation rates were central to Lacker’s message Friday to a combined meeting of the Virginia Association of Economists and the Richmond Association for Business Economics on the 23rd floor of the Richmond Fed.
Lacker noted how the “Taylor rules,” an algebraic formula created by Stanford University professor John Taylor in 1993, demonstrate the effectiveness of Fed policy decisions since the 1960s. The formula shows that the Fed responded in a timely fashion to inflationary pressures from the early 1980s to 2007, helping to keep inflation under control. By contrast, the Fed failed to react strongly to inflationary warning signs in the 1960s and 1970s.
“This was a period in which the Fed succumbed to political pressure to keep policy too accommodative,” Lacker said. “When inflation surged as a result, the Fed raised rates precipitously enough to send the economy into recession. This period of ‘go-stop’ monetary policy, as it was called, was brought to an end by the strong anti-inflation policy stance of the [FOMC led by Fed Chairman Paul Volcker].”
Failure to act decisively also can undermine the Fed’s credibility, he said.
“Indeed, a major lesson (perhaps the major lesson) that emerged from the macroeconomic experience of the 1970s is that expectations can become unhinged when the public loses confidence in the willingness of the central bank to take the actions necessary to keep inflation under control,” he said.
The current inflation and unemployment rates have reached levels that indicate rates should be higher, Lacker said but added he had not decided what his position will be at the next Fed meeting.2016-09-02T21:33:00+00:00
Meat processing company expanding in Harrisonburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/meat-processing-company-expanding-in-harrisonburg#When:21:26:00ZT&E Meats is investing more than $600,000 to expand its meat processing facility in Harrisonburg. The project is expected to create seven new jobs.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Harrisonburg will match with local funds.
As part of the deal, T&E Meats has agreed to increase its capacity by one third and source 90 percent of its meat from Virginia livestock producers.
The company will invest in building improvements and equipment in expanding its facility.
T&E Meats will process meat for private labels and also provide custom processing services to larger customers.
Protection 1 names Richmond general manager
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/protection-1-names-richmond-general-manager#When:20:57:00ZProtection 1 says it has promoted Will Jackson to general manager for its Richmond district, reporting to the company’s Regional Vice President Rick Speidell.
Before his promotion, Jackson was operations manager for the office. Jackson joined Protection 1 through its acquisition of ASG Security last year.
Protection 1 provides installation maintenance, and monitoring of security systems for single-family homes, businesses and multi-family residences.2016-09-01T20:57:00+00:00
Southwest Virginia Community College gets grant to retrain displaced coal miners
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southwest-virginia-community-college-gets-grant-to-retrain-displaced-coal-m#When:20:44:00ZSouthwest Virginia Community College will receive a $1.4 million federal grant to provide fast-track re-employment services to displaced coal miners.
Money from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission is being awarded through the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grant program.
An additional $1.9 million in funding was awarded to projects that will benefit communities in Virginia and other states.
The $1.4 million grant will fund the Retraining Energy Displaced Individuals (REDI) Center for Dislocated Coal Miners program at the community college.
The goal of the REDI program is to equip displaced coal miners with the skills to find work in a high-demand field, earning wages comparable to their previous employment.
Through an intensive, accelerated program of coursework, workers can obtain skill credentials in a new field in as few as four months.
Training will focus on three sectors with local employment opportunities, including advanced manufacturing, construction and health technology.
The program will certify 165 new trainees over the life of the grant. The program also will be supported by funding from the Thompson Charitable Fund and the Virginia Tobacco Commission.
In addition to the REDI program, Virginia is also part of two other successful grants, including Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor and the Cool and Connected Initiative led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Appalachian Sustainable Development is a five-state, 43-county project that will develop a coordinated local foods distribution network throughout Central Appalachia and connect producers in Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky to wholesale distribution markets.
The Cool and Connected Initiative will assist 10 Appalachian coal-impacted communities in getting broadband service to revitalize small town main streets and promote economic development.
Participating communities will receive technical assistance for strategic planning, as well as initial implementation support for the first steps of their plans. Communities participating are located in Virginia, Alabama, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.
The Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration awarded nearly $38.8 million in POWER grants for 29 large-scale projects to help Appalachian communities negatively affected by changes in the coal economy, including mining, coal-fired power plants, and related transportation, logistics, and manufacturing supply chains, to strengthen their economies and workforces.2016-09-01T20:44:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/gundersen.jpgDan Gundersen is VEDP's interim president and CEO.
Shakeup at Virginia Economic Development Partnership
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shakeup-at-virginia-economic-development-partnership#When:21:15:00ZWhile it is still searching for a new CEO, the state’s primary business recruitment organization, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, has implemented a major reorganization plan.
VEDP’s restructuring includes reassignments of some key staffers and the departure of two longtime vice presidents, Liz Povar and Mike Lehmkuhler. Their jobs were eliminated when the restructuring integrated the divisions they headed into a new Business Investment Division that will be led by a yet-to-be-hired new vice president.
The shakeup of the VEDP’s internal operations has been in the making for “a good 18 months to two years,” said interim President and CEO Dan Gundersen, and is designed to keep Virginia competitive with other states.
Nonetheless, the restructuring and loss of two senior staffers caught at least one board member off guard. David Hudgins, a director on the 24-member VEDP board, questions why the change is taking place before a new CEO is hired.
In September, the VEDP expects to begin reviewing resumes from an executive search firm, with hopes of naming a permanent CEO by the end of the year. Asked if he was applying for the job, Gundersen said, “That’s a professional and personnel decision that is between me and the search committee.“
The reorganization, which took effect on Aug. 15, also comes three months before the state’s oversight agency, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), is expected to deliver a report on the VEDP’s operations and performance.
Gundersen emailed a memo to about 800 VEDP officials and partners throughout the state on Aug. 18 and Aug. 23, detailing the reorganization and noting that the first phase of changes includes “new faces and names in some key leadership roles …”
The later email also said that “after many years of service,” Povar, the former vice president for business expansion, and Lehmkuhler, the former vice president for business attraction “are moving on from VEDP.”
Lehmkuhler and Povar declined to comment for this story, but Povar confirmed her last day was Aug. 26. Povar, 63, had worked for the VEDP for 21 years. Lehmkuhler had worked there for 19 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Hudgins said he was not shown a copy of the full restructuring plan until the day it was sent out. “As a business guy, it violates every management principle I was taught in school. Why would they proceed with a reorganization with an acting CEO is beyond me. I asked the same questions of the leadership …. earlier this year.”
Hudgins said he had gotten calls from other board members asking, ‘Why is this being done?’”
Hudgins, director of member and external relations for the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative in Henrico County, said he also was surprised by the departures of Povar and Lehmkuhler. “That’s [40 years] of experience that left the building. Everyone has a different management style, but at the end of the day you need a transition so that knowledge remains in the organization.”
Gundersen said he could not comment on personnel issues other than to say “one of the key challenges and expectations was that we dismantled the separate Business Attraction and Business Expansion divisions.” Asked if any staffers were demoted, he said, “Some staff were reassigned so that we took advantage of their skill sets in the new organization. I believe, in most cases, it was a lateral move. In one case, a promotion.”
Gundersen and recently elected VEDP Board Chairman Dan Clemente described the reorganization as well planned, forward thinking and responsive to concerns voiced earlier this year during a listening tour with more than 100 local economic development officials and others around the state.
“There was a view that VEDP needed to be more proactive and aggressive in its approach to economic development, and that the very structure needed to change to keep up with the times,” said Gundersen, who has been the agency’s chief operating officer since 2014.
VEDP had stuck to “its tried and true approach,” he added. “Other states are cleaning our clock in terms of being nimble and finding new ways to fund their operations so they can take the revenue and funnel it into marketing approaches and get in front of the business clientele from around the world.”
What has emerged, he said — with the full engagement of the board — is a more collaborative, streamlined approach that brings Virginia up to date with approaches being taken by other states. “We integrated services. By doing that we were able to develop teams of professionals around industry sectors critical to our economy. Before you had individual project managers in different divisions that were trying to work on projects,” he said.
Gundersen said the restructuring plan was discussed with the board at its June meeting, which Hudgins did not attend. Also, he said he sent board members a memo on July 14 with a plan of the reorganization that provided the conceptual changes of how the organization would be put in place. All of the information was there, he continued, “but names were not in boxes at that time.” The staff reassignments were included in the organizational chart that Gundersen sent out with his memos in August.
The changes did not require a formal board vote. According to Suzanne Clark, VEDP’s communications manager, the agency’s organizational management is the responsibility of the CEO.
The board is expected to amend its fiscal 2017 operating plan to reflect the structural changes at its September board meeting.
Gundersen said the reorganization — the first of the VEDP since 2012 — was the result of 30-, 60- and 90-day action plans resulting from the listening tour.
Following the tour, Clemente says the group came up with a list of changes it wanted to see in the organization and presented them to Martin Briley, VEDP’s CEO. Briley stepped down on March 10 following a closed session of the board to discuss personnel issues. Gundersen took over as interim CEO the next day.
Clemente, a commercial real estate developer from McLean, conducted the tour earlier this year, while he was vice chairman with then-Chairman Chris Lumsden and Gundersen. Clemente said he chartered a plane at his own expense, meeting with local officials from the economic development community over three days in seven regions around the state.
Armed with feedback on how best to fine-tune the agency, the board wanted to move forward, he said. As for the timing of the reorganization without a new CEO in place, “If we had waited to hire somebody [as CEO], we would have had uncertainty as to how long it would take to make these changes,” Clemente said.
“Then that person would have to spend a considerable amount of time getting a feel for the entity,” he said. “So we’re talking a year and a half going with no changes after we had just been out on this tour. We felt we better have something going on that’s constructive.”
Gundersen said, “It would have been incredibly irresponsible for an organization … after having a listening tour in January to sit on its hands and let one part of the moving process dictate the whole. The board did not do that.”
Clemente said much of the feedback on the tour came from officials in rural or lower-income regions who felt they weren’t getting enough attention. Clemente said rural regions often got left behind as VEDP tried to meet job and investment targets. “If you are focused just on metrics, then there are other parts of the state that go hurting. For example, the coal country, the Valley.”
Barry Matherly, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, said the changes taking place at VEDP reflect concerns expressed by Central Virginia economic development officials during the listening tour.
"Some of the major comments were that they needed to get more back to a cluster-focused business attraction approach, which the new structure does reset, and that’s how VEDP used to be until about three years ago,” said Matherly.
Economic development officials often target specific industries where they have had success in attracting new businesses. For example, he said, the Richmond area does well in the food and beverage category, having recently announced major investments and job creation commitments by Stone Brewing and Niagara Bottling.
"It’s a very smart way to target your resources and try to ensure a higher success in recruiting businesses by using a targeting structure,” said Matherly.
The new structure reflects these sentiments, creating industry-based teams and putting more emphasis on business recruitment efforts in distressed areas.
The reorganization creates three new divisions. The Business Investment Division will include three broad industry teams: products, services and technologies. Vince Barnett, vice president of communication and promotions, is serving as the interim vice president.
The new structure also creates a Competitive Initiatives Division. It will focus on providing help to all of Virginia’s regions, especially rural communities and distressed economic areas. The vice president of this division has not yet been named.
A new Workforce Development Division will build on the VEDP’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Tim Stuller, formerly a managing director in the Business Expansion unit, will be vice president of the division.
VEDP’s international trade division will be spun off next April as the Virginia International Trade Corp. As a separate state agency, it will house the state’s export-assistance programs. A CEO for that organization, which will be a gubernatorial appointment, is scheduled to be named in December. Paul Grossman, the longtime vice president of international trade for VEDP before the restructuring, is expected to be in the running for the new top job.
Described as phase one of a reorganized structure, Gundersen said in his memo that changes were the results of “hundreds of hours of review and analysis by and with our board, staff, key stakeholders, independent management consultants and public officials over the better part of this calendar year.”
General Assembly members including Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, and Del. Kathy Bryon, a Republican representing the Lynchburg area, called for a review last fall of state economic development incentives and the way they are administered.
VEDP came under scrutiny after Virginia paid $1.4 million in incentives to a Chinese company, Lindenburg Industry. The company failed to keep its pledge to invest $113 million in opening a factory in Appomattox and creating more than 300 jobs. A series of stories first reported by The Roanoke Times raised questions about VEDP’s vetting process for the project.
In a January Roanoke Times article on the failed deal, Briley defended the organization's track record. Since 1992, 25 of the 629 companies that received money from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund have been asked to repay incentives and did not, Briley told the newspaper. That equated to a loss of $5.87 million out of total grants that were nearly $230 million. And in all but four of those cases, Briley said, the money had been spent on assets such as worker training or infrastructure.
VEDP has made JLARC aware of its operational changes under the restructuring, said Drew Dickinson, principal legislative analyst for JLARC. The purpose of JLARC’s report, scheduled to be ready in mid-November, is to evaluate VEDP’s operations, the effectiveness of its initiatives, its accountability structure, coordination with local and state economic development entities, and structures and approaches used by other states.
A second phase of VEDP’s reorganization is expected to be announced this fall. Phase II will focus on improving operational units of the organization, such as human resources and legal functions.2016-08-31T21:15:00+00:00
Port City Brewing to invest more than $2.68 million in Alexandria
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-city-brewing-to-invest-more-than-2.68-million-in-alexandria#When:19:49:00ZPort City Brewing will invest more than $2.68 million to expand its operations in Alexandria.
The company will create 26 new jobs and source 75 percent of its agricultural product needs from Virginia producers.
The city expects to gain nearly $300,000 in new tax revenue in the next five years as a result of the project.
Port City currently distributes throughout Virginia, Washington, D.C., and other mid-Atlantic states. Its expansion will allow the company to more than double production.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Alexandria will match with local funds.2016-08-31T19:49:00+00:00
Metro-area unemployment rates show little change
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/metro-area-unemployment-rates-show-little-change#When:19:42:00ZUnemployment rates in Virginia’s metro areas remained largely unchanged in July.
In six of the commonwealth’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), jobless rates did not budge from June.
In four other MSAs, rates rose slightly, by one-tenth of a percentage point in each case.
The New River Valley (Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford) was the only area to see its rate drop, again by one-tenth of a percentage point
Five metro areas had unemployment rates of less than 4 percent in July, with Northern Virginia leading the pack at 3.3 percent.
No MSA had a rate above 4.8 percent, the number recorded in the Bristol area.
A breakdown shows:
Bristol: 4.8 percent in July, up from 4.7 percent in June.
Charlottesville: 3.6 percent , unchanged.
Hampton Roads: 4.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent.
Harrisonburg: 4.4 percent, unchanged.
Lynchburg: 4.7 percent, unchanged.
New River Valley: 4.6 percent, down from 4.7 percent.
Northern Virginia: 3.3 percent, up from 3.2 percent.
Richmond: 4.1 percent, up from 4 percent.
Roanoke: 3.9 percent, unchanged.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 3.7 percent, unchanged.
Winchester: 3.5 percent, unchanged.2016-08-31T19:42:00+00:00
Virginia wine, cider sales continue to grow
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-wine-cider-sales-continue-to-grow#When:17:57:00ZVirginia’s wine and cider industries continue to gain momentum, according to figures released by the state’s Wine Marketing Office.
The commonwealth’s 285 wineries sold more than 556,500 cases in fiscal year 2016, an increase of 6 percent from the previous f year. Since 2010, Virginia wine sales have grown 34 percent.
The state’s 16 cideries sold 416,750 cases during the fiscal year, more than double the sales from the previous year.
Virginia wine sales at wineries also increased 7.3 percent over the previous year, up by more than 25,500 cases. Visitation to the state’s wineries also increased to more than 2.3 million in 2015, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
The commonwealth is now the fifth state with the most wineries in the nation and the fifth-largest wine grape producing state in the U.S. It ranks sixth in the nation for number of cideries.
According to a 2012 economic impact study, the Virginia wine and cider industries employs more than 4,700 and contributes almost $750 million annually to the Virginia economy.2016-08-31T17:57:00+00:00
Comstock to begin sales at two townhome projects
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/comstock-to-begin-sales-at-two-townhome-projects#When:21:49:00ZReston-based Comstock Holding Cos. Inc. acquired the Totten Mews project in Washington, D.C., and plans to acquire and develop The Towns at 1333 in Old Town Alexandria.
Totten Mews includes 40 townhomes near the Fort Totten Metro in northeast Washington. The Towns at 1333 includes 18 townhomes on Powhatan Street in Alexandria. Both communities are expected to begin development and construction this fall.
The projects are being funded by the proceeds from a $14.5 million private placement by Comstock Investors X, a company subsidiary.
Totten Mews will offer three-story townhomes priced from the low $600,000s while The Towns at 1333 will offer four-story townhomes priced from the low $900,000s. Sales are scheduled to begin next month.
Comstock is a multi-faceted real estate development and services company that builds a wide range of housing products under its Comstock Homes brand through its subsidiary, Comstock Homes of Washington LC.2016-08-30T21:49:00+00:00
Instor Solutions opens East Coast office in Ashburn
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/instor-solutions-opens-east-coast-office-in-ashburn#When:21:46:00ZFremont, Calif.-based Instor Solutions, a data-center infrastructure company, has opened an East Coast office in Ashburn.
Instor has been involved in the design and installation of infrastructure for new and expanding data centers since the 1980s.
The company began its international expansion in August 2015 with the opening of an office in Ireland.
Its East Coast office recently opened at 43940 Digital Loudoun Plaza, Building G, Suite 144 in Ashburn.
“It’s not a secret that the East Coast, and Virginia in particular has become one of the fastest growing areas of data center expansion in the United States,” Jack Vonich, Instor’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. “There has been a rising need for mission critical expansion throughout the Eastern United States as rapid movement to the cloud and steadily increasing IT activity are taxing existing data center infrastructure. Instor is well-positioned to meet this demand through our new office and seasoned personnel.”
The Ashburn office will be led by Jim Levin, Gary Wong and Eric Linden.
Levin is the newly appointed vice president of business development. He was most recently a principal with JAL Consulting.
Wong, director of applications engineering, is a former director with Digital Realty.
Linden is director of sales, East. He has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry within multiple sectors, including: banking, pharmaceutical and government.
Instor works with manufacturers who produce the solutions for data centers, including intelligent power distribution and monitoring, environmental monitoring, asset management, air containment and custom server enclosures.2016-08-30T21:46:00+00:00
Capital Square 1031 acquires multi-family community in San Antonio
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-square-1031-acquires-multi-family-community-in-san-antonio#When:20:27:00ZGlen Allen-based Capital Square 1031 LLC has acquired The Canopy, a 220-unit multi-family community in the San Antonio area.
With the deal, Capital Square now has more than $500 million in assets under management.
Capital Square specializes in creating and managing commercial real estate investment programs for Section 1031 exchange investors and other investors using the Delaware statutory trust structure.
When a business or investment property is sold at a profit, the seller generally has to pay tax on the gain at the time of sale. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code provides an exception, allowing the seller to postpone paying tax on the gain if the proceeds are reinvested in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange.
Delaware statutory trust investments are offered as replacement property for accredited investors seeking to defer their capital gains taxes through the use of a 1031 tax deferred exchange.
The Canopy was approximately 97 percent leased at the time of acquisition. The property includes 13 two- and three-story residential buildings, as well as a clubhouse, located on 8.6 acres of land.
“The Canopy is a very well-located multi-family community in a growing metropolis that has been recognized for vocational development, comprehensive lifestyle amenities and overall economic performance,” Louis Rogers, the founder and CEO of Capital Square, said in a statement. “The property has a high occupancy level, expansive amenity package and was recently upgraded. We’re pleased to add this property to our increasing portfolio of assets under management, now valued at more than $507 million, based on investment cost.”
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, well-known for its Riverwalk and theme parks. In 2014, San Antonio received three number one rankings by Forbes magazine on its lists of “Best Cities for Millennials,” “U.S. Metro Area Gaining College Graduates Most Rapidly” and “Best Cities for Young Graduates.” That same year, it also ranked second on Forbes’ list of “Large Cities Stealing Jobs from Wall Street” and New Geography’s “Best Large Cities for Finance Jobs.”
As of July 31, Capital Square oversees a national portfolio of more than 50 real estate assets valued at approximately $507 million.2016-08-30T20:27:00+00:00
Eight candidates compete in mayoral election
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/eight-candidates-compete-in-mayoral-election#When:10:00:00ZEight candidates are vying in a November election to be the next mayor of Richmond.
One of the top issues in the campaign is improving Richmond City schools.
The candidates include:
1st District City Councilman Jonathan T. Baliles (son of former Gov. Gerald Baliles);
John F. “Jack” Berry, former director of Richmond Ventures;
Bobby J. “BJ” Junes, a retired real estate consultant;
Joseph D. Morrissey, a former state delegate and Richmond commonwealth’s attorney;
City Council President Michelle R. Mosby;
Levar Stoney, former secretary of the commonwealth under Gov. Terry McAuliffe;
Bruce W. Tyler, an architect and former councilman;
Architect Lawrence Williams.
Many city schools have struggled. In August, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that overall pass rates on Standards of Learning tests in the school district declined in history, science, writing and math. The district’s writing pass rate, for example, declined from 48 to 45 percent.
School districts across the state meanwhile saw a 1 percentage point increase in the number of students showing proficiency in reading, math and science.
A high concentration of poverty among Richmond students is one cause cited for the schools’ performance. About 25 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty, and the poverty rate for children is even higher, 39 percent, according to the 2016 Kids Count Data Book, a report produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
School officials told the Times-Dispatch they were disappointed by the latest SOL pass rates but point to an academic improvement plan now in place that is designed to boost the district’s performance.
The winner of the mayoral election will succeed Dwight Jones, a former state legislator who has led the city since 2009.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Group_shot.pngRoundtable discussion participants. Photos by Adrienne R. Watson
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pragmatic-pros#When:10:00:00ZRichmond-area economic development officials say the UCI Road World Championships, an international cycling race, held in the city last year should help them land international business prospects.
They, however, don’t see much benefit in a proposed mega-region linking the Richmond area and Hampton Roads.
Those are just a couple of thoughts that emerged from a roundtable discussion at the offices of Virginia Business in late June.
Participating in the discussion were: Jane Ferrara, chief operating officer of economic and community development for Richmond; Edwin Gaskin, director of economic development for Hanover County; Garrett Hart, director of economic development for Chesterfield County; Barry Matherly, president and CEO of Greater Richmond Partnership; Gary McLaren, executive director of the Henrico County Economic Development Authority; and Mark Kilduff, economic development consultant for New Kent County.
The economic development officials say site selection consultants and representatives from international companies were in town for the race a year ago. The event resulted in the region getting good reviews from business prospects and making it a contender for a number of upcoming projects.
The mega-region idea, however, doesn’t make sense to a pragmatic group of economic development pros.
“At some point, the locality has to get a deal done, and I think when you have these conversations about mega-regions, you lose sight about what are really the nuts and bolts of economic development,” McLaren says.
The following is an edited transcript of the discussion.
Virginia Business: What sort of results have you seen from the international bike race here last September?
Matherly: We hosted four days’ worth of events for economic development, even bringing people in early. We ended up with four consultants from around the U.S. that attended. We also ended up with companies from Brazil, Germany and South Korea also participating in the activities, and it was probably about 12 people with that delegation … None of the companies have made a commitment yet, but two international companies are in the final stages of a decision. One of the consultants that visited has recommended the Richmond region to several companies, and they are currently in the pipeline. One international company was already a prospect, had not visited the region and could not attend the UCI event. After watching it on TV, they decided to visit and did. We are currently working with them.
Ferrara: The city did host a company that is based in Korea during the bike event and had them join us for the various hospitality venues occurring throughout the event. [A German company also visited the city during the races.] … I’ll have to share you with my favorite story about the race. It was the day that the races began at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens … Evidently, there was a lot of traffic so Lewis Ginter was concerned that any tourists in the area might stay away from the gardens that day. So they tweeted out, “Please come to Lewis Ginter. We have plenty of parking. We’d love for you to come and visit us today.” Not long after the tweet, they received a tweet back that said, “Lewis Ginter looks beautiful on TV this morning, and I would love to come and visit; however, I’m in China.” I thought: How do you put a value on that?
Matherly: To her point, that event would be more important to us than the NFL because the markets it picked up were Europe, South America and Asia. Almost 70 percent of our prospects are currently international looking at Richmond. International sporting events are better for us to market this region with than the NFL, NBA and baseball combined, as far as the viewership.
Gaskin: When we are courting international companies our chief challenge is just being known … To have that TV coverage, to have citizens, consumers, business owners, managers, employees say, “Oh, Richmond. That’s where that cycling event was.” That’s priceless. You can’t put a value on that.
McLaren: One of the byproducts of the event in the region was all the first-responder community came together. There was a tremendous amount of planning and incident management planning that frankly had never been done across the spectrum of all the localities in the region. This gave them an opportunity to do that, and I think as a result of that we have a really good model in place and the first-responder community as it relates to working with large events like this. I think that was a very positive outcome.
VB: The state is putting a big emphasis on international trade this year including the creation of a separate agency. What effects do you expect from that?
Matherly: We actually started our own regional export initiative almost three years ago and to our knowledge was the first region in the state to do that ... We were able to go to JPMorgan Chase and actually get a grant to pull in VCU and do a study. That study is wrapping up right now … JPMorgan Chase is interested in funding part of that implementation just for this region and the state is interested in partnering with us on that. So we might be a model region for regional export initiatives, but we really see that more to help existing businesses expand their overseas markets than actually as an attraction [of new businesses].
Kilduff: I think export promotion is a legitimate function of government, but it’s much more of an educational function than an economic development function. I don’t mean that it won’t cause an improved economy because it certainly can, but … the bottom line to me is: If you put a million dollars into [a new state agency] or a million dollars into marketing attraction, which produces more long-term benefit for the commonwealth? … I think if you put a million bucks into true marketing attraction, finding new projects for the commonwealth, you’ll come out much better.
McLaren: I tend to agree with Mark. I think [exporting is] an important function … I do think that some of the current trade programs promotions and programs are very effective at educating and networking these companies with the right resources … There’s a short-term and a long-term value. When you locate a facility that employs 50 to 100 people, that’s a long-term, year-after-year benefit that’s really important. Like in most cases, it comes down to there’s a scarce number of resources and where are you going to best employ those resources in my mind.
VB: It sounds like you wouldn’t have voted for the separate agency. Is that correct?
Kilduff: Yeah, I would not have voted that way.
VB: One of our recent cover stories was about a proposed mega-region between Richmond and Hampton Roads. [The reasoning behind mega-regions is] that people and businesses will migrate to large population centers over the next two decades. Do you think a mega-region between Richmond and Hampton Roads would help or hinder economic development?
McLaren: What does it mean? Obviously, you’ve already got the Golden Crescent that’s basically coming together from Northern Virginia to Richmond to Hampton Roads. That’s where most of the population in the state lives already, but I don’t know what a mega-region is … I know that, to land a project, you’ve got to have a local economic development organization that has product in place, that has answers to the key location questions — access to market, labor force, operating cost — and you’ve got to have product that that the company is looking for … At some point, the locality has to get a deal done, and I think, when you have these kind of conversations about mega-regions, you lose sight of what are really the nuts and bolts of economic development …
Kilduff: I’d like to build on Gary’s point. I’m a firm believer that economic development is regional. The things a prospect is looking for — whether it’s labor or transportation, markets or services that would be provided — are regional … If you just took labor, I don’t think it’s reasonable to think that a labor market stretches from Virginia Beach to Goochland. I think regional [size] is important, but the size we’ve got right now maybe is all you want to say grace over.
Hart: Who are you trying to compete with when [you create a mega-region]? Do you think you’re going to be Shanghai? … We look at the Hampton Roads market because we compete against it. We look at the unique opportunities in our market, in our region, and they’re different in a way.
Gaskin: Definitely stuck in a room of pragmatists not philosophers. [While] a mega-region is philosophically interesting … here we have a regional, collaborative group that, for all the fussing we sometimes do to each other, has multiple decades of success. It is highly functional, yet some days it feels like we’re barely keeping it together. To make that bigger is hard to really contemplate. It doesn’t make sense.
Hart: Improved transportation link-ins between the Hampton Roads area and Richmond is a good thing. Working together with the universities in that area and our universities is a great thing. The interchange of knowledge and information is a great thing. The populations of both of the regions will grow, and we may become a mega-region [sometime in the future]. We are pragmatists. We look at: Can we get [goods] from the port quicker? Can we get a specialized labor out of Hampton Roads up here faster? Can we get our goods down there quicker? We look at what things we can do to make us act more efficiently on a regional or a greater regional basis. The idea of saying it’s a mega-region doesn’t change anything for us.
Matherly: I think you have two distinct regions. Regions are defined by certain economic characteristics, and you can’t just brush over those … We could collaborate a lot more with the Hampton Roads region, and that is different. It’s two different regions deciding that it’s best if they work together … We’ve got something good that’s working here, but I think as a growing region maybe it’s our turn to step out and build some collaborations with other regions [including Hampton Roads, Charlottesville and Northern Virginia].
VB: Let’s talk for a moment about economic development incentives. There’s been some criticism lately about the use of them. Should there be reform? Should there be a limit to incentives?
Hart: I think there’s somewhat a misperception about incentives. We just don’t go and say, “Well, let’s just throw a bunch of money at it.” We have a formula, and it’s not a formula I’m going to share with any of my friends in here. I know how we do our math to determine what the incentive package is going to be. We have performance agreements that ensure that we’re going to get what we’re supposed to get so that my return on investment is exactly what I tell the board it’s going to be. It’s a business decision. It’s not, “Let’s roll the dice and see what happens.” …
In most cases, you’re actually working with the company to make sure that the deal works. Everybody is participating as a team, and we’re covering some of the external costs of labor, recruitment or training. Things that make a move costly, we’re helping with that … At the end of the day, if we don’t do it, our competition does do it.
Ferrara: You can look at an incentive as really an investment by the locality, and there’s a return on investment. You invest in order to create a long-term revenue stream in your locality. I agree with my comrades here that, if we want to be competitive, we have to be in the incentives game, but we have to be smart about how we offer those incentives and how we structure them. There’s accountability on the part of the company to do what they say they’re going to do, and if they don’t, these performance agreements have provisions where those incentives are paid back.
McLaren: JLARC [the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission] did a study on incentives across Virginia and basically JLARC’s conclusion was they’re working pretty well in Virginia.
Gaskin: That doesn’t mean there won’t be failures. That doesn’t mean that some companies won’t fail or do some things that in retrospect look suspect.
Kilduff: You’ve got to limit your exposure to failure … One of the ways you limit that is in that performance agreement. What a performance agreement means is: You perform, and then we deliver the goods. The building has to be built or refurbished. The jobs have to be created and then you get paid. That’s the best way of doing it that there is.
VB: Let’s talk a little bit about the inventory of sites. How much does the locality need to prepare a site even before you have the prospect? How much of an investment do you need to make?
McLaren: I started in this business a long time ago. Those are the days when literally you could have a relationship with the project that could last two years. You could show somebody a cornfield on the edge of town that was close enough to water and sewer that they’d work with you … That’s a laughable scenario today. Somebody’s going to be looking at you on your website, and if they haven’t determined by looking at your website that you have product enough to interest them or a site well enough along to interest them, you’re never even going to know they were looking at you. Much of the site selection process today is different. We’ve gone from a selection process to an elimination process in terms of site selection. A [business prospect] has a check list, and they’ve got different parameters based on quality of labor, quantity of labor, site, utilities, tax structure, utility costs — all of those things are on a spreadsheet. They’ve got a matrix they’re going through, trying to eliminate as many communities and states as quickly as they can to get down to three maybe five sites that then they begin to negotiate with. If you don’t have your ducks in a row, you give them an opportunity to eliminate you.
Ferrara: Along those lines, the top three [issues] in my mind are: time, money and risk. If you don’t have a site that’s ready to go, it’s going to take more time, it’s going to cost more money, and there’s risk associated with the unknown. The more you can eliminate that and create some predictability in the mind of a consultant or a company, the more competitive you’re going to be.
Hart: The site selection process used to be six months or so ... Now you’ve got 90 days to figure out where [the business will be located], and then they’ve got nine months to get it under production … They’re going to hit the market in a year, and if you don’t have sites that are ready to go, then you are not playing in that game.
McLaren: We’re talking about sites here, but that’s probably a pretty small percentage of the projects that we are looking at. Most of the projects we are looking at are looking for an existing building.
Matherly: Gary is absolutely right; 80 percent of our prospects want buildings, not sites… One negative outcome of our success in this region is that a lot of those buildings that were vacated during the Great Recession are all full now. We’ve been burning through an inventory of existing buildings with each success, and we’re to a point now where we look out there, and we do not have a lot of modern buildings … We need more modern shell buildings up and being built. Certain regions we are competing against might have nine or 10 shell buildings up at a time, and we’re lucky to have one up at any given time.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RICH_PortofRichmond.pngThe Port of Richmond now is operated by the Port of Virginia>br> as Richmond Marine Terminal. Photo courtesy Port of Virginia
Where North meets South
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/where-north-meets-south#When:10:00:00ZThe Richmond region is gaining a reputation as a logistics hub because of its position as a midpoint on the East Coast where three major interstate highways — I-95, I-85 and I-64 — converge.
“The region has identified six core clusters that we’ll recruit out of, and supply chain and logistics is one of those six core clusters,” says Barry Matherly, the president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, who notes that Richmond International Airport already handles a lot of cargo for FedEx and UPS.
Companies establishing major distribution centers in the region in recent years have included: online retailer Amazon in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties; medical supply company Medline Industries, also in Chesterfield; and retailer The Vitamin Shoppe in Hanover County.
In addition, McKesson Medical-Surgical, the medical-supply division of San Francisco-based McKesson Corp., relocated and expanded its headquarters in Henrico County last year.
In August, German grocery retailer Aldi announced plans for a division headquarters and 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Dinwiddie.
“This is where the North meets the South,” says Edwin Gaskin, Hanover’s economic development director. “There’s just the sheer lucky benefit of sitting right in the middle of the mid-Atlantic and having 95 run right through us. Distribution centers run their data models and want to be here.”
Lower costs in the Richmond area play a role in making that choice, says Garrett Hart, Chesterfield’s economic development director. Chesterfield was recently ranked as the top location on the East Coast and one of the best places in the nation for logistics-related businesses in a study by The Boyd Co., a Princeton, N.J.-based corporate site-selection consulting firm.
“We’re the first area where the labor costs are not influenced by Northern Virginia or the upper East Coast states,” Hart says. “When Boyd did their analysis … it was not based just on location, but also was based on cost of labor, cost of transportation and fuel, all those associated costs.”
An additional logistical advantage is the Port of Richmond, now operated by the Norfolk-based Port of Virginia as the Richmond Marine Terminal.
“The Port of Virginia views the Richmond Marine Terminal as an extremely strategic asset for them in terms of logistics in moving product,” says Jane Ferrara, chief operating officer for economic and community development in Richmond.
“For every barge that comes up the James River, 180 trucks are taken off the road … We’re just at the beginning of the opportunity that the Richmond Marine Terminal represents for this region and, quite frankly, for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Gary McLaren, executive director of the Henrico County Economic Development Authority, notes companies such as Toano-based Lumber Liquidators now are using the Richmond port to bring imported products up the James River from the Port of Virginia for distribution rather than store the materials in Hampton Roads warehouses and then transport them by truck. “All of a sudden it makes sense that Richmond is becoming the logical place for the hub because of 95, 64 and 85 all coming together here,” he says.
Mark Kilduff, economic development adviser for New Kent County, believes that Virginia may see the development of other river ports.
“It’s a very good way of getting those containers out of congested areas fast,” he says. “The Pamunkey River is a possibility. We had [the Virginia Department of Transportation] fund a study about five years ago and the numbers are phenomenal … You can take 47 percent of the truck traffic off 64 between the ports and 295 by having something there on the Pamunkey … I think going up the Potomac is another possibility.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RICH_Ukrops1.pngTed and Katie Ukrop co-own the Quirk Hotel and an art gallery next door. Photo by Jay Paul
Ready for a close-up
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ready-for-a-close-up#When:10:00:00ZTed Ukrop sips a cup of coffee in the vaulted lobby of his design-driven Quirk Hotel on West Broad Street in Richmond where the ceiling towers 20 feet above his head.
“I always felt that Richmond needed a cool hotel. I always knew somebody was going to do it, and I would regret it if it wasn’t me,” says Ukrop, a scion of the Ukrop family that for decades operated the most successful group of grocery stores in the region.
Housed in a century-old building that once was a luxury dry-goods store, the hotel has 74 guest rooms, with art in all of them. Half of the rooms are painted an eye-popping color — a Benjamin Moore “Love and Happiness” pink. Each hotel floor features a papier-mâché portrait of an animal or a person.
Ukrop and his wife, Katie, co-own the hotel with a group of investors. The couple also own an art gallery next door.
Ukrop says his family and other investors spent more than $20 million in transforming the building into a hotel, including the addition of a seventh-floor to accommodate four terrace suites and a two-tier rooftop bar.
Condé Nast Traveler has named Quirk one of the best new hotels in the world, with one of the best rooftop bars in the U.S.
Quirk made its debut a year ago, just in time for the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond. The international cycling races, which had not been held in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, proved to be something of a coming-out party for the changing culture and economy for a region once known as a staid cigarette manufacturing center.
A study estimated the 10-day event, which drew cycling fans from around the world, had an economic impact of $161 million in the region. More important, however, was the exposure the area received from international television coverage.
“Almost 70 percent of our prospects are currently international companies looking at Richmond. Only 30 percent are domestic,” says Barry Matherly, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, an economic development organization that markets Richmond and Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties. “International sporting events are better for us to market this region with than the NFL, NBA and baseball combined, as far as the viewership.”
Edwin Gaskin, economic development director for Hanover County, concurs. “When we are courting international companies, our chief challenge is just being known … To have that TV coverage, to have citizens, consumers, business owners, managers, employees say, ‘Oh, Richmond, that’s where that cycling event was.’ That’s priceless. You can’t put a value on that.”
The region’s international close-up came at an opportune time. In several areas, the region has been on a roll.
Foreign investment announced in the Richmond area in recent years has included: Mavalério, a Brazilian candy and confectionary product company, which has established its first U.S. production operation in Hanover; Polykon
Manufacturing LLC, a French joint venture that will make cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredients in Henrico; and the biggest of all, Tranlin, a Chinese company subsidiary that plans to build a $2 billion paper plant in Chesterfield County.
“We’ll see dirt fly in the spring of ’17 when the weather gets right,” says Garrett Hart, Chesterfield’s economic development director.
Growth in jobs, retail sales
The Richmond metro area saw net growth of 26,121 jobs last year, an increase of 4.1 percent compared with 2.7 percent in Virginia and 2 percent nationwide.
Chesterfield’s employment, for example, last year grew 6 percent to more 140,000 jobs, ranking it fourth in the nation in employment growth among large counties. The county expects to add another 76 jobs soon. Niagara Bottling plans to invest $95 million to establish a manufacturing and bottling facility at the Meadowville Technology Park.
Retail development also continues, especially in Henrico. Wegmans, an upscale grocer, recently opened its first stores south of Fredericksburg in Midlothian and Short Pump. “Henrico is basically the number one locality in the state in terms of sales per capita,” says Gary McLaren, executive director of the county’s economic development authority. “We’re number two in terms of total retail sales behind Fairfax [County], which has over a million people.”
The Richmond area also now has eight Fortune 500 companies, up from six last year. Goochland County-based food service company Performance Food Group and Henrico-based specialty insurance company Markel Corp. joined Altria Group (Henrico), Dominion Resources (Richmond), CarMax (Goochland), Genworth (Henrico), Owens & Minor (Hanover) and WestRock (formerly MeadWestvaco, Richmond).
Back from the dead
Ted Ukrop has been a witness to the revival of downtown Richmond, now one of the fastest-growing areas in the region.
In the 1990s, his family bought eight buildings around the Quirk site, creating loft apartments in some of them while hoping for a revival throughout the Broad Street corridor.
At the time, vacant and deteriorating buildings in the area were like tombstones. Downtown’s decline was driven in part by waves of suburban flight and the closing of the city’s two landmark department stores, Miller & Rhoads (in 1990) and Thalhimers (in 1992).
From 1970 to 2000, the city lost more than a quarter of its population, shrinking from nearly 250,000 to fewer than 200,000, according to the U.S. Census. Today, the population has rebounded to an estimated 220,000.
In 2000, there were only 6,000 people living downtown. By 2010, there were 15,000. Now, there are more than 20,000.
In 2014, a study by VCU and Venture Richmond, a promotion and marketing group, found that various parts of downtown experienced dramatic growth in recent years, fueled in part by state and federal tax credits as well as the city’s tax abatement program for rehabilitated properties.
Lucy Meade, Venture Richmond’s director of marketing and development, estimates that overall investment during the past 10 years totaled about $4.5 billion.
Recent downtown development, completed last year or underway this year, has amounted for more than $1.04 billion, the organization says. That includes 2,149 loft apartments, 369 hotel rooms as well as more than 2.1 million square feet of commercial and arts and education, and medical space.
One reason for downtown’s comeback is a renewed interest in urban living, especially among millennials, taking place nationwide. Forbes magazine last year ranked Richmond as the fastest-growing rental market for millennials in the country. Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate and rental research firm, recently reported that more millennials live alone in Richmond than in any other U.S. metro area, in part because they have the income to support themselves.
Quirk is not the only talked-about property on Broad Street. East of the hotel, at North Third and East Broad, is one of Richmond’s most dramatic Art Deco landmarks, the 87-year-old former Central National Bank building. Now known as the Deco at CNB Apartments, the 23-story tower has begun renting 200 apartments after a $36 million, multiyear renovation project.
In the other direction, at the corner of West Broad and Belvidere streets, construction is underway at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. The $37 million building at one of downtown’s main gateways is expected to become a cultural linchpin when completed next year.
The city also is getting its share of new skyscrapers. The $124 million, Gateway Plaza, an 18-story tower in the financial district, was completed last year. Its main tenant is the law firm McGuireWoods LLP.
A few blocks away, a $93 million, 21-story office and apartment building is under construction. SunTrust Banks Inc. will move its Richmond division main office into the high rise, at 10th and East Byrd streets, while much of the remaining space will be used for 187 luxury apartments.
Dominion Resources has begun the demolition of an existing office building, Richmond Plaza, to make way for a 20-story office tower at 111 S. Sixth St., that will replace that existing building.
Existing buildings also are seeing new use. Chester-based Shamin Hotels spent more than $40 million converting a downtown office building into two hotels with a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Used-car retailer CarMax has turned a former music venue on the city’s Canal Walk into a technology and innovation center for 80 to 120 employees.
Cycling and lunching
Jane Ferrara, chief operating officer with Richmond’s Department of Economic & Community Development, says the UCI championships and the newly completed Capital Trail between Richmond and Williamsburg, have put the focus on cycling in the city.
“Millennials are attracted to cities with things like bike lanes and bike trails, different ways of getting to work,” Ferrara says.
People from other generations also are discovering attractions in the city. At Quirk, Ukrop says some of his best lunch customers are “older ladies” who remember a time when a meal at a downtown department store was an elegant treat.
Quirk’s Maple & Pine restaurant, however, will never be mistaken for the Miller & Rhoads Tea Room.
“The second week we were open we had a really prominent Richmond family having dinner and next to them were these four girls, their arms all tattooed up,” Ukrop says. “That’s what we wanted to have — this diverse, eclectic mix — and I think we’re doing pretty well at this.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Baisden-2087.pngJamie Baisden of QMT Windchimes. Photo by Mark Rhodes
Building a labor force
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-a-labor-force#When:10:00:00ZOne of just a handful of manufacturers of hand-tuned wind chimes left in the U.S., Manassas Park-based QMT Windchimes is seeking an assistant maintenance supervisor.
In fact, Jamie Baisden, the chief executive officer of QMT, has been looking for someone to fill the new position for about 18 months. The problem is he can’t find anyone with the training and skill set to meet the company’s needs.
“We’re not talking about building maintenance; we’re talking about maintenance of our industrial equipment that we use, some of which we design and fabricate and automate using our own equipment, because we have very specific processes we use that don’t exist in industries other than ours,” says Baisden. “We need individuals who are competent with electrical, with pneumatics, with hydraulics … and certified in those types of areas, and they’re very difficult to find.”
Baisden is now considering filling the job with an employee from within the company and helping that person get the necessary training, a task that should be considerably easier thanks to the General Assembly’s passage this year of the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program.
As of July 1, the state government will fund two-thirds of the cost of workforce credential programs for students who successfully complete vocational certification programs and earn industry-recognized credentials and certifications. The grants cover 124 different community college training programs in Virginia that lead to certifications for 170 in-demand jobs. Eligible professions range from welding and commercial truck driving to advanced manufacturing, energy, health care, information technology and cybersecurity.
“People see this and they say, ‘Ah, it’s another grant’ or they say it’s just workforce training, but it really is much, much more than that,” says Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, adding that Virginia has never before invested in workforce credentials for individuals in this way.
Virginia has long offered financial support and scholarships for students pursuing two-year and four-year college degrees but has never really devoted any significant resources to noncredit vocational credentials. “It’s been an afterthought at best,” Vassey says. “This is one of the most important workforce development higher education bills that has been passed in a decade.”
“Higher education is not just about college degrees,” says Wendy Kang, SCHEV’s director of higher education innovation. “We recognize that higher education includes workforce credentials as well as a college degree and that [credentials] are just as meaningful in the marketplace.”
Students pay one-third of the enrollment fee upfront, and the state government reimburses Virginia’s community college system for the rest upon completion. The credentials are stackable, meaning they can build on each other, and are available to anyone who wants to enroll.
“These kinds of professions really offer an alternative [route] to success for the majority who won’t earn a baccalaureate degree and need another way to get family-sustaining wages,” says Elizabeth Creamer, adviser for workforce development in the Virginia Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “We still have about 35 percent of our high school graduates who don’t go on to any type of secondary education, and there haven’t been sufficient vehicles to train them for jobs that offer them good wages. … We needed workforce training that could be delivered in weeks or months instead of years, as is the case with traditional college instruction.
“The fact that a young person can come out of [high] school and for a third of the cost they used to be facing take a fairly short welding course and get hired … that’s a real victory.”
This new workforce development grant program is “providing a good opportunity for adult education students, for high school graduates, for our veterans” and anyone who wants to pursue a new career path or add to their existing vocational credentials, Creamer says.
The Virginia Board of Workforce Development, an advisory body appointed by the governor and largely made up of business leaders, developed the list of qualifying professional credentials that are eligible for reimbursement.
The certification programs, which do not earn college credit, are taught at Virginia’s state community colleges and higher education centers. Students who don’t complete the programs must pay an additional one-third of the enrollment cost.
The grants program is being overseen by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), which also will begin tracking related data such as how many students earn noncredit credentials, in which vocational fields, and the change in their wages after earning credentials. Virginia is believed to be the first state in the nation to begin collecting such data.
Virginia’s program also is the first in the nation to be performance-based, requiring that a student successfully earn the industry credential before the community college can be reimbursed, says Craig Herndon, vice chancellor for workforce development services for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). This ensures that the community colleges and the individual seeking certification both have motivations to see the program through to a successful conclusion. (Nineteen other states offer reimbursement programs for noncredit vocational credentials.)
So far the General Assembly has allocated $4 million in grant funding for the program’s first year and $8.5 million for its second year.
Because the program is so new, there are no data yet for how many students are participating, let alone successfully earning credentials. And the community college system is still putting together its outreach and marketing plans for the initiative, says Jeffrey Kraus, VCCS assistant vice chancellor for communications.
The legislation for the grant program enjoyed bipartisan support as well as the backing of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Groups that lobbied in support of it included the Virginia Manufacturers Association (for which Baisden serves as vice chairman), the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and various Virginia electric cooperatives. As the legislation was being crafted, more than 1,500 business leaders across Virginia offered their input on the workforce needs of businesses at a series of 22 statewide town hall meetings sponsored in 2015 by the Virginia Community College System.
A December 2014 JLARC report had stated that Virginia’s workforce development programs were “fragmented, complex and disjointed” and that credential programs that were available were not aligned with the employment needs for businesses regionally and statewide. The report’s major recommendations were adopted in the new legislation.
In 2013 the Virginia Chamber of Commerce issued the results of a survey that found that the most pressing issue of concern among its membership of 25,000 Virginia-based businesses was workforce readiness.
In 2015 Burning Glass Technologies conducted a study for Capital One that showed Virginia had 175,000 vacancies for so-called “middle-skills” jobs — those that require more education than a high school diploma but less than an associate or bachelor’s degree. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, those jobs paid an average $58,000 in annual salary. And it took an average of 26 days to fill each vacancy, resulting in 36 million hours of lost productivity, Creamer says.
Some studies estimate that Virginia will need to fill about 1.2 million new middle-skills jobs during the 2020s, and McAuliffe has set a goal for the Virginia workforce to earn at least 460,000 new high-demand vocational credentials by 2030.
“We know that these jobs, with the right training, can improve our competitiveness” as a state, says Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Says Kraus, with the community college system: “Increasingly you’ll find economic development professionals will tell you tax breaks are great, new roads are beautiful, but if you don’t have the talent, if we don’t have the pipeline to the talent, we can’t close the deal.”
Workforce credentials, he adds, are “a big deal now.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Liotta-2107.pngLance A. Liotta says that a pilot breast cancer program is showing promise. Photo by Mark Rhodes
GMU research addresses world issues
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gmu-research-addresses-world-issues#When:10:00:00ZForget about those clichéd images of professors closeted in ivory towers, working away on obscure subjects with no practical purpose. Research at George Mason University is aimed at producing results that have real-life repercussions.
In the past 20 years, research has become the university’s growth industry. In fiscal year 2007, it spent $67.6 million on research. By 2015, that figure had increased by 49 percent to $101 million. The school now ranks among the top 20 public universities in the country for its research in the social and economic sciences and among the top 50 for math and computer science. It further has been elevated to the tier of “highest research activity” by the prestigious Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
“Research has grown in leaps and bounds,” says Deborah L. Crawford, vice president of research for Mason. “What distinguishes us is that it is woven into the learning environment at all levels, from undergraduate to postdoctoral.”
Terry L. Clower, director of the GMU’s Center for Regional Analysis, says that “very much like a business, we are creating jobs, not just through our spending, but because of how business and government benefit from the research we do.” Economic data supplied by the center help public and private entities in the region make more informed decisions.
Work at Mason covers the social, biological and physical sciences, with concentrations that include sustainability and the environment; regional, national and international policy; technology and information; and homeland and global security. The school has almost 100 research centers devoted to fields ranging from computational fluid dynamics to women and gender.
That’s a lot of irons in the fire, and Crawford says that the university intends to concentrate on expanding in “three multidisciplinary areas that align with the economy of the area.”
Biotech and health
The first, and, arguably, most important, is biotech and health. Northern Virginia is seeking to position itself as a locus for personalized medicine, and George Mason is joining with Inova Health System at the forefront of that ambition.
On the former ExxonMobil campus in Fairfax, Inova is opening a huge complex that will be largely devoted to translational medicine, which uses knowledge from research to develop new treatments and drugs. There and elsewhere, the health-care system will collaborate with Mason on innovative treatments, particularly for cancer and heart and metabolic diseases. In addition, Inova and the university will form the Institute for Biomedical Innovation, which Crawford describes as “an intellectual community” that will facilitate the interaction of scientists and clinicians.
The university already is doing intensive work in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics, with many of its labs located on or adjacent to Mason’s recently designated science campus in Prince William County.
At its Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine in Prince William, for instance, scientists are identifying biomarkers in body fluids that might predict disease. Co-director Lance A. Liotta says that a pilot breast-cancer program, currently in its third round of testing, is showing positive results.
Of particular interest in a state in which Lyme disease is endemic, his team also has developed a more accurate test for the tick-borne disease. “Thousands of patients under conventional testing get a wrong diagnosis 50 percent of the time,” Liotta says. The accuracy of the center’s new test is more than 90 percent.
At Mason’s MicroBiome Analysis Center, the role of the microbial environment in the human gut, mouth, and urogenital and respiratory tracts is being examined.
“We’re so clean that the body doesn’t get exposed to the proper antigens anymore,” says Director Patrick Gillevet. He noted that an imbalance or maladaptation of microbes in the body is suspected of having links to conditions as different as inflammatory bowel disease, cirrhosis of the liver and autism.
In the near term, the center is working on replacing the invasive colonoscopy procedure currently in use with a test that would reveal the presence of polyps through a test of stool samples.
The Center for Neural Informatics, Neural Structures, and Neural Plasticity, part of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, puts the human brain under the microscope.
“We are at the very beginning,” says Giorgio Ascoli, the center’s founding director. “We don’t know the code yet for neurons.”
To remedy that, Ascoli’s scientists have been compiling a database of neurons, 50,000 so far. The long-term application of the center’s efforts would be to understand the effects of aging on the brain and to build artificial brains or computers that more closely mimic humans.
The quest at the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases is no less sweeping. The animal research facility seeks to come up with strategies for fighting airborne bioterrorist attacks. Additionally, it contracts with commercial companies to evaluate antiviral drugs.
Executive Director Charles Bailey says the center’s latest target is the Zika virus. At the invitation of the Costa Rican ambassador to the United States, Bailey’s scientists are traveling to Central America to engage in a joint investigation of this burgeoning threat to human health.
The center’s influence at home, too, is significant. “We are serving as a magnet for biotech industry in Northern Virginia,” Bailey says.
Security and resilience
The second prong of future research at Mason will be what Crawford calls security and resilience, which includes engineering, cybersecurity and the social sciences. As with the biotech and health care, the intention is to do “research of consequence,” she says, with outcomes that address existing needs.
An outstanding example of just that has been done at Mason’s Center for Clean Water and Sustainable Technologies. Thanks to its work, uncounted numbers of people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal now have access to clean water. The center’s founding director, Abul Hussam, has developed an innovative filter, which removes arsenic from ground water. The filter won a $1 million prize from the National Academy of Engineering — money that subsequently funded the manufacture and distribution of 350,000 of the devices.
Faculty members at Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering hold 80 patents, and at the school’s six centers and six labs, dozens of studies are being conducted on topics ranging from air transportation to secure information systems.
One project, overseen by David Lattanzi, has been to develop a drone to safely and inexpensively inspect civil infrastructure, especially bridges, which are in notoriously bad shape across the country.
“We don’t get great data right now,” Lattanzi says. With his drone, however, the assistant professor of structural engineering can capture a previously unmatched level of detail, down to the micro-millimeter level. The images then can be assembled into a 3-D virtual reality model of the structure.
Lattanzi took his drone to Haiti after the devastating earthquake there in 2010. “A major part of our research is the post-disaster assessment,” he says. He is gratified that his drone has attracted significant interest from local communities and private businesses. Getting it “into the hands of practitioners,” is his ultimate goal, he says.
Information, communication and entertainment
Mason’s third research priority will be information, communication and entertainment. Because so much of the work underway at the school is interdisciplinary, many projects could fit into more than one of Crawford’s categories. This third area is broad enough to encompass studies as diverse as the effects of digital media on African-American families to the reaction of a population to a nuclear attack.
Mason’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence deals with information and communication. Its analysts examine how data is amassed and disseminated about everything from physical features and man-made structures to people and events.
Information used to flow from the top down, says Director Anthony Stefanidis, but no more. Technology has forever changed that age-old paradigm. Information today is, instead, generated and gathered through multiple outlets, including crowdsourcing, social media, digital images and sensor networks. One of the center’s recent projects looked at how activity on Twitter provided information about an earthquake. In that study of the 2011 earthquake on the East Coast, tweets, the study found, functioned as a human sensor network.
Because the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is in Springfield, “NoVa is the epicenter of geospatial intelligence,” Stefanidis says, and his center has positioned itself to be a crucial part of that.
At the university’s Institute for Immigration Research, the goal is to provide accurate data about immigrants, despite a highly politicized environment.
Executive Director Monica Gomez Isaac says her institute is creating a data base using statistics from the American Community Survey, which is conducted annually. Through the survey, the institute is able to create maps of immigrant populations in specific communities. If, say, a Fairfax official wants to know the median income of immigrants in the county or the level of their educational attainment, that information can be found on the center’s Data on Demand.
In June, the institute co-authored a report that showed the prominent role that immigrants play in health care. Although immigrants make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, the institute found that they represent 40 percent of all medical scientists and 28 percent of physicians and surgeons.
Gomez’s organization, like so many others at Mason, sees itself playing a dual role. Its work not only is aimed at bolstering the NoVa economy, but, is as appropriate for a nonprofit institution, at advancing the public good.
“We are pushing to translate our research outcomes, not necessarily commercialize them,” Crawford says. “At Mason, we want to be globally renowned and regionally relevant.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
Aetna to reduce exchange offerings
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aetna-to-reduce-exchange-offerings#When:10:00:00ZAdding to the merger controversy is an announcement by Aetna in early August that it would withdraw from 11 of the 15 states where it sells health insurance on Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Virginia is one of the four states where the insurer will continue to sell policies on a health exchange.
Aetna’s action has become a flashpoint in the 2016 presidential campaign, sparking debate between Republicans and Democrats over the viability of Obamacare. (In addition to Aetna, other insurers, including UnitedHealthcare and Humana have announced cutbacks in their exchange offerings.)
Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurer, blamed its decision on losses from the exchanges. Those losses have totaled $430 million since 2014, including $200 million in the second quarter of this year.
Democrats, however, question the company’s motives, pointing to a July 5 letter from Aetna’s CEO, Mark T. Bertolini, to the U.S. Justice Department, which was first reported in The Huffington Post.
The letter responded to a DOJ question about how Aetna’s participation in exchanges would be affected if its merger plans were thwarted.
A DOJ challenge to the merger “would have a negative financial impact on Aetna and would impair Aetna’s ability to continue its support [of the exchanges], leaving Aetna with no choice but to take actions to steward its financial health,” the letter says.
Noting the company’s losses since 2014, the letter says, “Our ability to withstand these losses is dependent on our achieving anticipated synergies in the Humana acquisition.”
Bertolini says in the letter that, with the merger, the company had planned to expand its participation in exchanges from 15 to 20 states next year. If the merger is blocked, however, “instead of expanding to 20 states next year, we would reduce our presence to no more than 10 states.”
Some Democrats see the letter as a threat by Aetna in response to DOJ’s opposition to the merger.
The Wall Street Journal, however, says that Bertolini simply was stating financial facts in response to the DOJ’s questions. “Public companies have a responsibility to shareholders, and the wonder is that any insurer is still part of the exchanges,” the newspaper said in an editorial.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HEALTH_MarkHerring.pngVirginia Attorney General Mark Herring called the proposed mergers “illegal, anti-consumer moves.” AP photo/Joe Mahoney
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/merger-muddle#When:10:00:00ZIn the long-running war between insurance companies and health-care providers, each side makes the same claim: Our mergers are better than your mergers.
Federal and state regulators don’t seem very fond of either argument, which is a main reason that for at least the near-term the status of the health-care business is in limbo.
The current front line in that fight is the proposed mergers of insurance giants — a $54 billion Anthem and Cigna deal and a $37 billion combination involving Aetna and Humana. Announced last year, both now are on hold, facing challenges on antitrust issues from the U.S. Department of Justice and some state attorneys general, including Virginia’s Mark Herring.
What the mergers might mean for Virginia’s health-care sector and for consumers is complicated and for now, uncertain if not confusing. The State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance, for example, reported in March that it didn’t recommend opposition to the Aetna-Humana merger.
Herring, however, is against both mergers. In late July, he joined the legal challenge against them. In a statement, he called the proposed deals “illegal, anti-consumer moves that would reduce competition, eliminate choices, stifle innovation, and drive up costs by allowing four of the largest health insurers in the nation to merge into two exceptionally large providers.”
A week later, the Bureau of Insurance recommended the SCC oppose the Anthem-Cigna merger, saying it would hurt competition in the large-group market, with the potential to harm policyholders and the general public. In Virginia, Anthem is the largest commercial carrier in the large-group insurance market, which offers plans for companies with 50 or more employees. Combined, Anthem and Cigna would have about 25 percent of that market.
Anthem Virginia spokesman Scott Golden said in a statement that the company disagrees with the insurance bureau’s decision but expects “to have continued constructive dialogue with the commonwealth.” He said Anthem is “confident we can address their concerns, complete the transaction and deliver its benefits at a critical time when American consumers are seeking high-quality health-care services with greater value at less cost.”
The insurance bureau recommended Anthem get 30 days to propose changes “that may alleviate the competitive concerns” cited in its report.
The SCC has authority only over the business that Anthem and Cigna do in Virginia. While the insurance bureau recommended that the SCC reject the merger, the SCC hasn’t scheduled a vote yet. The three-member commission eventually will rule on the merger application, SCC spokesman Ken Schrad said in an email.
The Anthem-Cigna deal is obviously complicated by the federal and state-level opposition. The terms of the merger are very likely to change as Anthem and Cigna try to get past regulators’ criticisms. If changes are made, the companies can resubmit their plans to the SCC. If the merger proceeds without satisfying the objections raised in Virginia, the SCC has the option of suspending the combined company’s license to operate here.
Business case for deal
Doug Gray, executive director for the Virginia Association of Health Plans, says the Anthem-Cigna deal “should be good for employers” because Anthem would gain more customers and could negotiate a better deal with health-care providers on the employers’ behalf.
Self-insured companies hire insurers like Anthem to manage their insurance coverage, and they want “the best deal they can get, because they pay every bill out of their pocket,” Gray says. If there weren’t advantages for insurers that have a larger market share, “we’d have many more health plans, with a smaller number of enrollees.”
He says health-care providers — including hospitals and physicians groups — also have been merging, proof that size matters. “The health industry has one big challenge, which is that in every sector, someone with an MBA comes along and says bigger is better when it comes to revenue and profit,” Gray says. “There’s always going to be a natural tension between providers and payors.”
Gray acknowledges that the Anthem-Cigna merger would mean fewer choices for some companies. “But the choice they do have will have a lot more leverage,” he says. “The bottom line for them is: How much is this going to cost me, and am I going to get access to a good network? They want somebody who is equipped to get a good deal.”
Gray offered this example: Say, you have a company with locations in six states. Today, it might be able to get a bid from Anthem in three states and a bid from Cigna or one of the few other major insurers in the remaining states. “If this merger happens, in all the places where Anthem is and where Cigna is, they can get one deal, which is more efficient and more effective. That’s the business case for the merger.”
Hospitals, physicians opposed
A major voice in the commonwealth against the Anthem-Cigna merger is the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Chris Bailey, the group’s executive vice president, made the VHHA argument at a May hearing before the SCC. Anthem already has “a significant concentration in Virginia’s self-insured and fully-insured commercial market,” he told the commission.
Plus, Bailey argues that mergers among hospitals and other health-care providers are different from combinations among insurance companies. Health system “integration” has helped improve medical care in a number of areas, Bailey says. “There are many opportunities for further improvements, but Virginia health-care delivery is moving in the right direction,” he said during his testimony.
Health-care providers already have the weaker hand in many parts of the state when it comes to negotiating fees or getting insurers to help them find new ways to deliver care, Bailey says. “There is no evidence in Virginia’s history, or in other markets, to indicate that allowing an already dominant insurer to gain greater market share and become even more protected against competitive pressures will result in” lower costs or more insurer support for new ways to deliver care, Bailey said in written comments to the SCC.
He also argued that there has been a steady drop in the annual rate of hospital price increases in recent years, while productivity has increased. “It is evident that a decade of provider integration has shown measurable improvement in quality and safety” while allowing the Anthem-Cigna merger “will make an already untenable situation that much more problematic for the insured, the public and health-care providers.”
The Medical Society of Virginia isn’t a fan of the merger, either. It polled 198 physicians in Virginia on both mergers and says that 79 percent “felt they had to contract with Anthem” and 55 percent felt that way with Cigna. Only 6 percent of doctors felt they could find enough new Medicare or Medicaid patients to replace the lost income from commercial insurance. Medicare and Medicaid payments are generally lower than what commercial insurers pay.
Scott Johnson, an attorney from the Richmond office of Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle, spoke on behalf of the medical society before the SCC, saying that the Anthem-Cigna merger would lessen competition over prices and discourage other insurers from entering Virginia.
Johnson says providers already face “a sort of take-it-or-leave-it type of contract” from Anthem and Cigna. “The concern that our folks have is that, if these companies merge, it gets even more arduous and puts more pressure on them.” He also raises the specter of some physicians facing exclusion. “We’re frankly concerned that, if it’s only one large company, for those physicians who advocate furiously for their patients, perhaps they wouldn’t be offered a contract” by Anthem.
Physicians with small practices in particular get squeezed by dominant insurers, Johnson says, and they get tired of the fight. “They have no choice; either retire or move out of state, or be consumed or hired by some type of health system in order to hang on.”
He cites his own law firm as an example of the problems some businesses face. In 2015, Johnson says, Anthem took in $300,000 more in premium payments than it paid out in claims to the firm’s employees. But when the coverage renewal came up last December, “they said, ‘We want to bump your premium another six figures.’”
Somewhere in the middle of this battle are consumers. Karen Cameron, director of the Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare, believes that claims that the mergers will save consumers money is a worn argument. “It won’t cut costs. Those systems are already very large systems, with advantages of economies of scale,” she says.
Cameron says large, self-insured firms might be convinced that the Anthem merger could help drive down costs, but smaller companies usually aren’t in that position. Smaller companies could face higher costs without competition, and, if it drives them to drop insurance coverage, then their employees will turn to the insurance exchanges of the Affordable Care Act. There, the federal government could wind up paying part of their costs.
Meanwhile, Anthem is making clear that it plans to fight. In full-page newspaper ads published days after federal regulators announced their lawsuits, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said the Justice Department’s analysis reflected its “fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamic, competitive and highly regulated health-care landscape.”
Swedish argued that the merger would save its self-insured customers $2 billion annually. “These savings are a direct pass through to consumers and will greatly improve the affordability of care,” he said.
Johnson, the Richmond attorney, says health-care providers feel the pressure from a lot of directions. “The practice of medicine right now is very fragile, and everybody is on edge for any type of change,” he says. “In the meantime, it’s somewhat status quo,” he says, though “everybody is waiting with bated breath for their renewal contracts.” But nobody expects a quick resolution of the merger fights. “Things just don’t happen that quickly.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
Drawing a line
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/drawing-a-line#When:10:00:00ZFor the second straight term, the U.S. Supreme Court plans to examine how the Virginia General Assembly drew the state’s election district maps after the 2010 U.S. Census.
The cases could have longlasting effects on Virginia elections, but political observers don’t expect either to dramatically shift the balance of party power in the U.S. House of Representatives or the state House of Delegates.
Last May the justices voted unanimously to reject an appeal by three Virginia Republican congressmen — Reps. Randy Forbes-4th District, Dave Brat-7th and Rob Wittman-1st — who objected to the way a federal appeals court had redrawn their district boundaries.
Months earlier, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond imposed a new congressional map after the General Assembly failed to meet a deadline to submit its own plan.
In 2014, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had ruled that state lawmakers had packed the 3rd District with African-American voters to diminish their voting power in surrounding districts, violating their equal-protection rights under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat, represents the 3rd District and is the sole African-American in the 11-member Virginia congressional delegation.
During the 2016-2017 term, which begins in October, Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear an appeal on a second case, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, which challenges district maps for the Virginia House of Delegates.
The plaintiffs in that case claim the General Assembly violated the rights of African-American voters in using a racial quota, 55 percent of the voting-age population, to pack voters into a dozen of the state’s 100 House districts. In a 2-to-1 vote, a three-judge federal court panel had ruled that the districts were constitutional and that race had not been the main motivation in creating the House map.
Given the high court’s 2015 ruling in Alabama Black Legislative Caucus v. State of Alabama and this year’s 3rd District case, some local political analysts believe there is a good chance that the court will rule against the General Assembly, forcing state lawmakers to redraw many, if not all, of the districts used to elect the lower house.
“The challenge to the existing lines are likely to prevail in court … The plaintiffs are more likely than not to win,” says Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington.
“Gerrymandering for partisan purposes is constitutionally defended, but what I would call over-gerrymandering for racial purposes, the Supreme Court has ruled against that. My impression is the congressional case and the Bethune-Hill case are being fought on similar grounds,” he says.
“We’ll have to see what the court decides … This could be a case where the line-drawers overplayed their hand, and there will be some modest adjustments” to the state’s election maps, Farnsworth adds.
However, Quentin Kidd, chair of the Department of Government and director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, has some reservations about how the Supreme Court will rule.
“Not being a lawyer or legal expert in any shape or form, in my mind the Supreme Court has twice made rulings that essentially say that you can’t racially gerrymander in a way that is designed to suppress the one-vote-one person power of minority voters. The [Virginia] case is essentially the same argument. In my mind, it has to have some legs in order for the Supreme Court to agree to hear it,” he says.
“But who knows what will happen. The court could come back and say that, in the case of the states, there are different rules that are applied here,” Kidd says.
The congressional district map imposed by the Fourth Circuit judges radically redrew the 3rd District and the neighboring 4th District. The changes reduced the number of African-American voters in the 3rd while increasing their number in the 4th.
Estimates differ, but the Newport News-based Daily Press reported in May that the federal court’s ruling reduced the number of nonwhite voters in the 3rd District from 60 percent of the voting-age population to fewer than 50 percent, while increasing the nonwhite electorate from 30 to 40 percent in the 4th District.
Along party lines, the difference is even more stark, according to research compiled by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Geoffrey Skelley, the center’s media relations coordinator, says voters now living within the borders of the new 4th District voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. Four years ago the old 4th District voted 51-49 for Republican nominee Mitt Romney. While 79 percent of voters in the old 3rd District voted for Obama in the last presidential election, 68 percent of voters living in the new 3rd did so, Skelley says.
That huge swing in Democratic voters persuaded Forbes, the 4th District’s Republican incumbent, to abandon plans to run for re-election although he had held the seat since 2001. He hoped to take over the 2nd District seat of fellow Republican Scott Rigell, who plans to retire in January after six years in office. In the June Republican primary, however, Forbes lost to Delegate Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach.
The candidates vying to succeed Forbes in the 4th District seat are Republican Mike Wade, the sheriff of Henrico County, and Democrat Donald McEachin, an African-American legislator who has represented the Senate’s 9th District — covering Charles City County and parts of Richmond and Henrico and Hanover counties — since 2008.
The Democratic makeup of the redrawn 4th appears to favor McEachin, who says he decided to run for Congress after it became apparent that the courts would uphold the state’s new election map. “There are no parts of my Senate district that are in the old 4th. There are huge portions of my Senate district that are in the new 4th,” he says.
Little change in balance of power
Virginia’s Democrats are encouraged by their prospects of gaining a seat in Congress — the party would have four of 11 seats if McEachin wins. A change in one district, however, won’t mean much on Washington’s Capitol Hill.
“Nationally, Democrats have to pick up 30-plus seats to take back the House [of Representatives], which will be a tall order for them. But I’m sure they’re happy to take a relatively easy one here,” says U.Va.’s Skelley.
If the General Assembly is forced to redraw the boundaries for House of Delegates districts, there probably won’t be much of a change in the balance of power on Richmond’s Capitol Square, either.
“Historically the court tries to adjust the lines as minimally as possible … Favorable court decisions to any challenge to the current lines are likely to change the dynamics of a district here and there, but a wholesale reconfiguration of lines across the state doesn’t seem like a likely outcome even if the plaintiffs win,” says Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington.
“When you talk about modest changes, you’re likely to have modest impacts, a seat here or there might flip if the plaintiffs win, but the Republican majority is large enough in the House of Delegates to sustain the loss of seats here and there,” he says.
CNU’s political analyst Kidd thinks maybe all 100 of the state’s House of Delegates districts may be changed in some fashion if the plaintiffs in the Bethune-Hill case prevail, but he also predicts little change in the Republican majority in the state legislature.
“It would require an entirely new [election] map,” said Kidd. “You can’t adjust the lines of 12 districts without impacting on the first order, three times that many districts or more … Will it fundamentally change the Republican majority of the House? I’m skeptical of that … The so-called ‘worst-case’ scenario for Republicans is that they do lose seats, but they probably don’t lose their majority.”
List: 50 largest Virginia law firms
2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DJI_0051.pngMOL Benefactor traveling through the expanded Panama Canal. Courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority
A rising tide?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-rising-tide#When:10:00:00ZNext year, all of Virginia’s harbor pilots will undergo specialized training in Louisiana. The purpose behind the out-of-state trip is to gain skills in handling the next class of immense ships expected to visit Hampton Roads’ ports.
These mammoth ships, seven feet wider than a football field and nearly as long as the Empire State Building is high, are capable of handling 40 percent more cargo than the largest container ships now calling on the Hampton Roads harbor.
“[These training centers] have scaled-down models like the real ship,” says Bill Cofer, president of the Virginia Pilot Association. “The pilots actually practice on a lake that has a contour very similar to our actual port, so it simulates how the ship would react in the channels.”
Harbor pilots, who guide commercial ships from the Atlantic Ocean through the region’s channels, undergo extensive training and continuing education to ensure they can safely navigate these massive vessels through Hampton Roads’ harbors.
Cofer thought the harbor’s 45 pilots wouldn’t need additional training for three or four years. Yet now he’s fielding calls from shipping lines who say Virginia’s ports could see ships with a cargo capacity as large as 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, known as TEUs, as soon as late 2017 or 2018. Today the largest ships visiting the port can carry about 10,000 TEUs. (TEUs are a standard size in containerized shipping. Two TEUs is the equivalent of about one normal truckload.)
“When we were preparing for 8,000 and 10,000-TEU ships to visit the port, everyone told us they wouldn’t come to Virginia and they did,” says Cofer. “Now we’re hearing the same thing about 14,000-TEU ships. And we know they’re coming because the shipping lines are asking us about bringing them.”
In late June, the long-awaited Panama Canal expansion officially opened with much fanfare. The $5.4 billion project expanded the locks of the canal and added a third lane, tripling the size of the container ships that can pass through its locks.
Now, 14,000-TEU ships can use the canal, and some industry experts think that could mean bigger ships and more cargo are headed for the East Coast.
Ports along the Eastern seaboard have spent millions preparing their channels and infrastructure to handle the larger ships that would traverse the canal. In a horse race among the ports, Virginia lost its edge as the deepest on the East Coast. It is now tied with ports in New York, Miami and Baltimore, which offers a 50-foot depth at one berth. Charleston is in the early stages of a project to dredge its channels to 52 feet.
But the shipping industry is heavily in flux, leaving experts guessing whether the expanded canal will have the impact anticipated by East Coast ports. Shipping capacity continues to outpace demand, and shipping lines are merging and creating alliances in an effort to save money.
In Virginia, port officials have long believed that the canal’s widening would not suddenly bring a flood of new, larger ships. In fact, many big ships already are calling on Virginia’s marine terminals, traveling from Asia through the Suez Canal.
Nonetheless, many signs — like the shipping lines contacting the pilots — now point to a positive, long-term effect in Virginia from the canal’s expansion, particularly when international trade rebounds.
In preparation, Virginia is expanding its terminals, working on landside improvements and studying whether to dredge its channels another five feet — again giving it the distinction as the deepest port on the East Coast.
“Every port on the East Coast will take a certain degree of traffic from the Panama Canal, but the question of how much is very much up to the discretion of individual ports that are really in a good position to increase their competitiveness,” says Peter Ulrich, a managing director and partner with The Boston Consulting Group. It conducted a study showing East Coast ports likely would benefit from an expanded Panama Canal.
It looks like even bigger ships are coming. Is Virginia ready?
Short-term shift/long-term gain
Just two weeks after the Panama Canal expansion opened, Virginia saw the largest ship ever to reach its terminals. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. launched the first Neo-Panamax vessel to transit the expanded canal in a new service rotation connecting ports in China and South Korea with New York, Norfolk and Savannah.
The MOL Benefactor, a 10,100-TEU ship, began calling at the Port of Virginia as part of a weekly rotation that includes ships as big as 10,300-TEUs. Previously, the largest ships Virginia handled were 9,600 TEUs.
“We have been handling the larger ships for quite some time, those that have transited through the Suez Canal,” says Art Moye, executive vice president of the Virginia Maritime Association. “The expanded Panama Canal opens up additional opportunities because some of the carriers will find an all-water service to the East Coast could be more economical than … calling on the West Coast and having the East Coast cargo [transported by rail].
“It definitely opens up opportunities for us, but I think a lot of people were anticipating a huge tidal wave of cargo and ships on the day it opened,” says Moye.
The global container industry has been facing sluggish growth, and so East Coast ports are unlikely to see a huge short-term surge. The Port of Virginia itself saw only a 1.1 percent growth in the number of TEUs it handled in the first seven months of 2016, a drop from the 10 percent growth it saw the previous year.
In the short-term, there are signs the expanded canal is shifting trade patterns.
Maersk Line, the world’s biggest shipping line, already has shifted one of its services visiting the East Coast ports of Newark, Norfolk and Baltimore through the Panama Canal. The change will shorten transit times between the East Coast and Far East Asia, possibly by close to a week, according to the Journal of Commerce. The service, however, already was visiting the Port of Virginia.
In addition, more shippers are using the Panama Canal for its all-water routes between Asia and the U.S. — and that could be a good sign for the future of East Coast ports. In July, the Panama Canal already was the leading route for all-water container services between the Far East and the East Coast, capturing 57 percent of the market share, according to maritime industry analyst Alphaliner, compared with 48 percent at the beginning of the year.
Long term, the expanded Panama Canal could have a profound impact on East Coast ports, according to a 2015 study by The Boston Consulting Group and the transportation company C.H. Robinson. The study found that the expanded canal could shift as much as 10 percent of container traffic between East Asia and the U.S. from West Coast to East Coast ports by 2020. A shift of that size would be double the cargo volume the ports of Savannah and Charleston are handling now, the study points out.
The study found the three ports most likely to see a positive effect are the biggest on the East Coast: New York, Georgia and Virginia. And as shipping lines move to larger and larger ships, ports with deep channels, such as Virginia, should benefit in the long run.
Also important for Virginia, the study concluded that “the battleground on which U.S. ports compete with one another for customers will likely expand and move several hundred miles west, toward Chicago and Memphis.”
That’s a key advantage for Virginia, which competes mostly on its rail connections with the Midwest since the population in its direct market, Hampton Roads, is smaller than many of its East Coast rivals.
Virginia’s port terminals have access to two major railroads: Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Corp. Since 2010, Norfolk Southern has provided double-stacked container train service to the Midwest, and CSX hopes to offer similar container service on one of its tracks by the end of the year and other tracks by 2018.
“We have extraordinarily good rail service,” says John Milliken, chairman of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners. “We have the largest proportion of our product moving by rail of any other port on the East Coast, and that’s a good thing.”
Virginia could see another big break once the raising of the Bayonne Bridge is completed by the end of next year. The bridge, which connects Bayonne, N.J., and Staten Island, currently blocks some big ships from visiting the Port of New York/New Jersey’s busiest terminals. Most shipping rotations visit multiple ports on the East Coast, particularly the populous New York region, so raising the bridge could create new opportunities for Virginia.
“One of the hang-ups, of course, is the Bayonne Bridge still needs to be raised,” says Mike Coleman, president of CV International, a freight forwarder based in Norfolk.
Coleman predicts carriers will deploy larger ships to the East Coast in a slow, methodical shift. “The carriers are going to continue to move toward larger ships,” says Coleman. “They need to. The bigger the vessel, the lower the [transportation] cost for each container, and they need to find ways to reduce costs.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. I think the carriers are going to be very pragmatic in the deployment of these larger vessels.”
Virginia faces the same difficulties confronting most ports today — congestion at the terminals and on the surrounding roads. Bigger ships dump a larger number of containers at terminals at one time.
To prepare for growth, the commonwealth is making a historic investment in the port. The General Assembly and Gov. Terry McAuliffe agreed this year to issue $350 million in bonds to pay for a major expansion at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), the port’s largest terminal. The expansion will increase NIT’s capacity by 46 percent. “In recent years, we had not maintained a level of investment in our facilities that we should have, and this sends a message to the global shipping world that Virginia is definitely serious about being a major player as far as East Coast ports are concerned,” says Moye with the Virginia Maritime Association.
Construction is expected to begin on the three-year project this fall, which will allow container stacks at NIT to be higher and denser.
The port also is planning to expand the privately owned Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal in Portsmouth, which it currently leases. VIG and the port are involved in ongoing negotiations to lengthen the port’s lease of the terminal. “It’s quite a complicated deal when you’re talking about a major change in the lease terms and a significant, roughly $320 million new investment by the private owners,” says Milliken. “We’ve agreed on an overall term sheet, but like most major economic business deals, there are details that one has to work through, and we’re not quite there yet.”
Another congestion relief project is construction of a new gate complex. It will provide 26 new lanes, doubling the gate capacity at NIT. The complex is scheduled to open this fall, and will eventually tie into an Interstate 564 connector, keeping trucks off the frequently busy Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk.
Motor carriers have advocated a gate complex at the port’s north end for years, says Frank Borum, president of Tidewater Motor Truck Association. The project “should help eliminate bottlenecks at this main gate when trucks back up. It’s definitely going to help, but there’s still a question of whether or not it will help during rush hour.”
Another challenge is ensuring trucks can move containers from the terminals efficiently. Hampton Roads, an area that has long been plagued with traffic congestion, finally has received regionally dedicated transportation money under a new state law. The Virginia Department of Transportation has begun a number of projects in the region, including expansion of Interstate 64 on the Peninsula.
VDOT in early August released an environmental impact study and cost estimates for plans for four water crossings. Creating an additional water crossing is seen as vital to tackling the region’s traffic problems. “As far as the competitiveness of the port, I think we’re positioned pretty well, but we just need to work on our infrastructure around the harbor,” says Borum. “I think it will be good for the port if they will be able to increase volumes 46 percent at NIT, but you’ve got to have the roads and rail to get it out of the port.”
The port is exploring new ways to move cargo out of its terminals. Earlier this year, the port signed a 40-year lease at the Port of Richmond — now called Richmond Marine Terminal. The port also is making investments in the river terminal and has expanded the barges hauling containers from Hampton Roads to Richmond.
The port is pitching the Richmond terminal’s advantages to overseas shipping lines. The facility reduces “some of the surface transportation uncertainties of coming out of Hampton Roads [such as traffic jams],” says Milliken. “That will be of growing importance.”
The port authority also is considering additional river terminals or inland ports, such as its intermodal transfer facility in Front Royal.
Going deeper, wider
Perhaps the most significant undertaking includes plans to dredge the Port of Virginia’s main channels to 55 feet.
That depth would give Virginia an edge over other East Coast ports, officials say. Not only would the project allow Virginia to reclaim the status of being the deepest port on the East Coast, but it also would be more likely to be chosen as a “first-in” or “last out,” port, because it could handle massive ships when they are fully laden. “The deeper you are in the channel, the more likely you are to get the heavily laden ships,” says Milliken. “If you’re the first or last port of call, [the ship sits] lower because [it has] more cargo.”
The project also would widen part of the channel to about 1,400 feet at certain places to ensure the port maintains two-way navigation. “It definitely is a game changer for our port from our standpoint,” Moye says of the project.
Dredging to 55 feet and widening the channel would help Virginia ensure it could handle the next class of ships. The channel mostly would need to be widened along a 6- to 8-mile stretch from the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel to Thimble Shoal Light, a lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay. “We’ve done a lot of simulation on the next class of ships,” says Cofer. “The 14,000-TEU ships will require one-way navigation at that stretch because simulations have shown the interaction of ships to be problematic. It’s challenging, but it’s the prudent thing to do to protect the waters of the commonwealth.”
A potential bottleneck could hinder schedules at the busy port, which also hosts naval vessels and a wide variety of non-containerized cargo. Virginia’s channels actually compare well with other East Coat ports, whose channels are shallower or narrower. “We’re sharing these issues because these ships are so mammoth,” says Cofer.
The port received congressional authorization in 1986 to dredge its channels to 55 feet. At first, however, only the outbound channel was dredged to 50 feet because of budgetary concerns. That project was primarily done to accommodate massive coal exports from Virginia harbors. At that time, the largest container ships in the world carried 3,000 to 4,000 TEUs. The inbound channel eventually was dredged in the mid-2000s to accommodate the growing size of container ships.
Now the Port of Virginia and the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers are jointly paying $3 million to re-evaluate the economics and engineering aspects of dredging to 55 feet. The study should be completed in June 2018.
Under the study, the corps will analyze whether the channel could be dredged even further, says Richard Klein, program manager at the Army Corps of Engineers. “We’re looking at the economics and benefits of dredging incrementally from 54 to 58 feet,” says Klein.
Dredging the main channel is estimated to cost $300 million to $400 million, a cost that would be shared equally by the state and the federal government. The project timeline would include about two years for engineering and three to five years for construction, according to Klein. But the timeline also would be dependent on congressional funding.
Cofer says it makes sense for the federal government to invest in dredging at the Port of Virginia. “If you’re doing an objective comparison to all the other ports, our dredging needs and dredging costs are much less,” says Cofer. “In New York, you’re blasting rock … In Hampton Roads you’ve got good clean sediment, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to everywhere else.”
A potential ‘gold mine’
An important — but less publicized — part of the dredging project includes efforts to dredge the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.
The port and the Corps of Engineers are spending another $3 million to study efforts to dredge part of the Southern Branch from 40 feet to 45 feet and other areas from 35 feet to 40 feet. The project would cost between $150 million to $200 million. Because of its depths, under the Water Resources Act, the federal government would be responsible for 65 percent of the funding.
The Southern Branch is home to the port’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal — reopened to container traffic last year to help manage congestion — but mostly includes private terminals. These facilities move commodities mostly through bulk — not containerized — cargo. The commodities they handle include wood pellets, grain, salt, minerals and aluminum sulfate.
Like container ships, the size of bulk-cargo ships also are growing, so more channel depth would help these terminals. “There are many bigger ships out there that could use the additional draft on the Southern Branch,” says David Host, chairman and CEO of T. Parker Host, which serves as the agent for many ships serving terminals on the Southern Branch. “The more cargo you can put on that ship, the cheaper the freight rate is. You’re going to be more competitive, selling grain or wood pellets for less.”
In addition, the new depths could attract new investment. “I think the Southern Branch is the gold mine of the port for everything else other than coal and containers,” says Host. “And there’s room for expansion for somebody to come in and make an investment. It’s going to be a lot more attractive if you have 5 feet more of water depending on where you are on the river.”
So far, Virginia’s channel depths haven’t given it a major edge over its East Coast competitors. For example, the ships in the same rotation as the MOL Benefactor also are visiting Savannah, where port depth now is only 42 feet.
Cofer, however, points out that a few years ago, large ships were coming in almost full, requiring a draft of 49 feet and three inches of water. That means, he says, going deeper will help the port keep up with the growing size of container ships.
“If you look at the global fleet, and what’s being built in the shipyards around the world, this is the future,” says Cofer. “This is going to be transitioning the ports of the world.
“I really believe when we look back in 10 or 15 years, we are going to recognize that we were living through this period that was unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history with the explosion of the size of ships and the maritime community trying to respond to it.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SOVA_Denham.pngPaul Denham, the new president of Southern Air, had been executive vice president. Courtesy Southern Air
New president named at 70-year-old Southern Air
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-named-at-70-year-old-southern-air#When:10:00:00ZLynchburg-based Southern Air this year is marking its 70th anniversary with the appointment of a new president, Paul Denham.
Denham, who previously served as executive vice president, has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He succeeds Ronnie Kidd, who is the company’s CEO.
“It’s been a very smooth transition,” says Ben Wilkinson, vice president of business development. “Paul is a professional engineer. He worked his way up through the company. He started as a project manager.”
Engineer George Costan founded Southern Air in 1946. Over the years it has grown from a residential heating company to a full-service design/build mechanical and electrical contractor.
The company employs 750 to 800 people, depending on the time of year, and averages $115 million in sales volume annually. “We focus on slow, controlled growth,” Wilkinson says.
He credits that growth to Southern Air’s attention to detail and focus on customer service. “We take care of our customers. We service what we sell, and we make sure it’s right. We have a lot of repeat customers. Our service retention rate is over 90 percent.”
Southern Air has a 60,000-square-foot fabrication facility in Lynchburg and construction offices in Roanoke, Mechanics­ville, Charlottesville and Bluefield, W.Va.
The company also has service locations in Winchester, Newport News, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg and Greensboro, N.C.
Most of the company’s business comes from commercial and industrial customers, but it also handles residential replacement work in Lynchburg and Charlottesville.
Wilkinson says Southern Air was the first Lynchburg-area contractor to start a four-year, state-approved apprenticeship program.
“One of the problems facing the industry today is finding qualified individuals that want to get into the construction industry,” he says. “Our apprenticeship program is trade specific. All of the instructors are certified by the state. People in the program work during the day and go to class at night. Up to 80 employees go through the program every year.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
Neustar to split its operations into two companies
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/neustar-to-split-its-operations-into-two-companies#When:10:00:00ZIf all goes as planned, Sterling-based Neustar will divide itself into two companies next year.
“We did some analyses and determined that segregating the services into two separate groups and spinning one off would unlock shareholder value,” says Lisa Hook the company’s president and CEO.
One company, which has not yet been named, will include the majority of Neustar’s information services business, which provides marketing, security and data services. Revenue from these businesses totaled $470 million last year, with a compounded annual growth rate of 25 percent during the past four years.
The other company, which will keep the Neustar name, will provide order management and numbering services to wireline, wireless and cable communications providers as well as to social media and messaging platforms. Revenues from these services were $580 million in 2015, with a four-year growth rate of 8 percent.
Revenues, however, could be affected by the loss of a U.S. number portability contract that Neustar has held since 1997.
The New York Times reported in July that the FCC has decided in a closed-door session to award the contract to Telcordia, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Ericsson. Neustar has been fighting to keep the contract since an advisory group recommended the switch to Telcordia in 2014.
The contract involves the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC), which allows U.S. consumers to keep their phone numbers if they switch providers.
Neustar will continue to provide number portability services for the Canadian telecommunications industry. The company announced in early August that it has signed a deal with the Canadian LNP Consortium Inc. that lasts until the end of 2018.
Hook says one reason for splitting Neustar is that the two business groups tend to develop and grow differently. “The service industry is a different industry with different skill types. The separation will enable management of each company to have a better focus and move more quickly than today.”
Hook will become president and CEO of the information services company. Paul Lalljie, Neustar’s current senior vice president and CFO, will be president and CEO of the numbering services company.
In late July, Neustar reported second-quarter revenues of $297.6 million, up 16 percent from the same quarter last year. Adjusted net income rose 12 percent to $69.4 million.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Hotel_Rendering_1.pngThe Western Front Hotel will be developed the Willis and Dye buildings. Rendering courtesy Cornerstone Hospitality
Hotel to capitalize on St. Paul’s outdoor attractions
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hotel-to-capitalize-on-st.-pauls-outdoor-attractions#When:10:00:00ZThe new Western Front Hotel being developed in St. Paul is a symbol of the transformation taking place in the Southwest Virginia town.
Creative Boutique Hotels, MB Contractors and Cornerstone Hospitality broke ground on the $7.3 million, 33-room hotel in June.
“We will be designing the hotel to accommodate eco and environmental tourists, those who enjoy the outdoors,” says Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality and a partner in Creative Boutique Hotels, the development group for Western Front. “The town and its citizens are focused and driven in making St. Paul a destination in Southwest Virginia, and it’s happening.”
Many visitors travel to the area to take advantage of Spearhead Trails, an extensive system of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails. They also visit the Clinch River, second only to the Amazon among the most bio-diverse rivers in the world.
“With our ATV-friendly trails we feel that we are now a destination for people to come, stay and play,” says Bob Harrison, chairman of the St. Paul Industrial Development Authority. “We don’t have enough places for these people coming in to town and wanting to stay multiple days.”
In addition to tourists looking for outdoor adventures, the nearby Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, a Dominion power plant, draws workers to St. Paul when it undergoes maintenance each spring and fall. “We have about 200 people come in,” Harrison says.
The Western Front, which incorporates two historic St. Paul buildings, will have a restaurant and music venue, rooftop dining room and bar, and outdoor entertainment spaces.
To finance the project, Creative Boutique Hotels is using federal historic tax credits as well as federal grants. The company also has received a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund and several low-interest loans.
The hotel follows the development of the Mountain View Lodge, Copperhead Road Rentals, Saint Paul Suites and Cottages, Fat Boy’s BBQ and Sugar Hill Brewing Co. All have opened in St. Paul in the last year.
The Western Front project was a group effort, says Harrison. “There were several people involved.”
One of them is Lou Wallace, co-founder of the nonprofit St. Paul Tomorrow. She had read about the Craddock Terry Hotel in Lynchburg, a former shoe factory that was converted by Cornerstone Hospitality.
“I said. ‘This is what we want to do.’ If you want to be seen as a visionary, you have to dream big,” she says. “We choose to be different and think differently. We want to be a model to other communities.”2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2015IMSA-1824.png“Nissan gets what we do,” says Kerrigan Smith, VIR’s chief operating officer. Photo courtesy Virginia International Raceway
Nissan uses VIR as a testing ground for its autos
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nissan-uses-vir-as-a-testing-ground-for-its-autos#When:10:00:00ZVirginia International Raceway’s automotive partner, Nissan North America, is very involved in its events. The company became a sponsor last year.
“Nissan has a motorsports division, and they understand racing,” says Kerrigan Smith, VIR’s chief operating officer. “It’s not like somebody buying a billboard here to show off their brand. Nissan gets what we do.”
Many automobile manufacturers race their cars to help with their research and development. Results on the racetrack can lead to new features on cars sold to the public.
“VIR is an exceptional track to test Nissan technology and performance,” says Rick Kulach, senior planner of motorsports marketing communications for Nissan North America. “It is a beautiful, demanding, exhilarating road course unlike anywhere else, especially in the mid-Atlantic. We’re proud to officially partner with VIR and look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship celebrating racing and innovation.”
Built in 1957 in Halifax County, VIR shut down in 1973 and remained dormant until being reopened in 2000 by investors Connie Nyholm and Harvey Siegel. Today, Nyholm is the owner and CEO of the 1,370-acre motorsport resort, which includes a hotel, spa and restaurant in addition to the racetrack.
Nearby is the VIRginia Motorsport Technology Park, home to Virginia Tech’s Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation.
The racetrack’s reputation has continued to grow. “Car & Driver rates us as one of the top six road courses continually each year,” Smith says.
VIR hosts 12 spectator events that include three televised races — MotoAmerica, the Biscuitville 125 and the IMSA Weather­Tech SportsCar Championship.
“We feature open-concept racing. You buy a ticket, and you have free range to roam around,” says Smith. “Before the race, we open Pit Lane, and everybody can walk out to the Fan Walk. That’s where you can feel the heartbeat of the race. It’s the kind of thing that television can’t capture: racing warriors going out to do battle.”
The track draws a diverse group of drivers, including actor Patrick Dempsey, a longtime star on the television series “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“We get lots of NASCAR drivers and a lot of the top European drivers,” Smith says.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VAL_VistaLinks_facebook.pngThe Vista Links golf course has failed to live up to expectations. Photo courtesy Facebook/The Vista Links Golf Course
Golf course bonds leave Buena Vista in the rough
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/golf-course-bonds-leave-buena-vista-in-the-rough#When:10:00:00ZBuena Vista and New York-based ACA Financial Guaranty Corp. are locked in a legal battle over $9.2 million in bonds issued 11 years ago to build a municipal golf course.
The course, Vista Links, was envisioned as an economic stimulus for the city of about 6,600 people, but it hasn’t lived up to expectations. The city stopped making payments on the bonds in January 2015.
ACA, which insured the bonds, filed suit in Buena Vista Circuit Court June 13, threatening to take over city hall, the police department and the golf course, all of which are listed as collateral on the bonds. The city has asked for the suit to be dismissed.
Under a forbearance agreement negotiated in 2011, ACA reduced the city’s payments by 50 percent through Jan. 1, 2016, with the deferred amount to be paid back interest free over five years after the bonds’ original maturity date.
“Everybody knew going in that these bonds were subject to annual appropriations every year,” says city attorney Brian Kearney. “The payments are $660,000 a year, and that is a lot for real estate development that didn’t work.”
Kearney says the city is willing to talk with ACA at any time to try to resolve the issue. “The city has done everything it can to negotiate in good faith, but ACA refuses to negotiate. If the only negotiation is to make all of your payments in full, that’s not a negotiation.”
ACA argues that the city unilaterally broke the 2011 agreement by failing to make payments. The company says it is willing to resume negotiations with the city but it would “require guarantees from the city that would prevent it from breaking whatever agreement might be reached going forward,” says ACA director James M. Capruso. “However, if the city continues to fail to meet its financial obligations and properly serve its taxpayers, ACA looks forward to responding to the city through additional court filings.”
Buena Vista, he says, “is trying to have it both ways and is taking great risk by failing to fulfill its financial commitments. The city claimed at the time bonds were issued that it had the authority to present a mortgage. Now the city is conveniently claiming that it doesn’t have to pay its bonds because it didn’t really have the legal authority to grant a mortgage to secure the bonds. This is not the appropriate way to conduct business or represent taxpayers.”
In a news release issued when the company filed suit, it said Buena Vista offered last year to settle its bond obligations by paying the value of city hall, the golf course and the police department building. Together, those assets represent “a value prohibitively less than” what the city owes on the bonds, the company said.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
People - September 2016
Andre Fischbach has been appointed president and CEO of Yupo Corp. America, Chesapeake. Fischbach held the same role at Quadrant Polypenco Korea. (News release)
Betsy Francis has been named vice president and general manager for the mid-Atlantic market at AT&T. She was vice president of AT&T Ohio. She will oversee sales and operations of more than 85 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. (Inside Business)
Scott Kennedy, headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate, has begun a two-year term as president of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. (Inside Business)
Norfolk Councilwoman Andria P. McClellan, named to the local Government Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council. (News release)
C. Evans Poston Jr., appointed to the Board of the Virginia College Building Authority. He is commissioner of the revenue in Norfolk. (News release)
Blythe Ann Scott has been named chair of the Norfolk Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. The board’s former vice chair, she is general counsel at Norfolk-based PRA Group. She succeeds Gus J. James II who is of counsel at Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk. (SouthsideDaily.com)
Andrea Sykora has joined the Norfolk-based law firm Vandeventer Black LLP as chief information officer and assistant executive director. Before joining Vandeventer Black, Sykora was the senior director of information technology for Norfolk Public Schools. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Katrice Hardy, managing editor of The Virginian-Pilot, is leaving the newspaper after 21 years for a position with Gannett Co. in South Carolina. Hardy will be executive editor of The Greenville News. She also will be one of Gannett’s 15 regional editors, leading the southeast and overseeing three other newspapers in Asheville, N.C.; Anderson, S.C.; and Staunton, Va. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Dr. Shadi Ayyas has joined Medics USA Primary and Urgent Care Center in Winchester. He has 17 years of medical experience around the world. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Strasburg has hired New Market native Michelle Bixler as its new economic development and marketing manager. She has returned to the Shenandoah Valley after a career in public relations. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Carrie Hileman Chenery was reappointed to the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park Authority. She is executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership. (News release)
Steve F. Elkins has been named president and CEO, DuPont Community Credit Union, Waynesboro, effective March 2017. Elkins, DuPont’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed Gerald B. Hershey. (News release)
Melissa Hensley, principal of Central High School in Woodstock, is one of three people nominated for the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Principal of the Year award. The Reston-based group will announce its winner in October. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)
Leigh Ann Schultz has been elected to the board of directors of Shenandoah Telecommunications Co., Edinburg. She is managing director for MorganFranklin Consulting. (News release)
Bo Wilson has been reappointed to the state Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board. Wilson is vice president of Dr Pepper of Staunton. (News release)
Westover Christian Academy in Danville has named Terry Moffitt as its new administrator, succeeding Shawn Weeks. Moffitt has been in his position since July 1. He brings 25 years of Christian education experience to the job. (Danville Register & Bee)
South Hill-based CCB Bankshares Inc. has named Christy F. Quesenbery executive vice president and chief operating officer. Quesenbery has more than 30 years of experience in banking and other industries. She joined the bank as enterprise risk manager. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Bruce R. Scism has been reappointed to the A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership Board of Trustees. He is president of Danville Community College. (News release)
Litz H. Van Dyke has joined Martinsville-based Carter Bank & Trust as executive vice president. Van Dyke was a practice manager for CCG Catalyst Consulting Group in Phoenix. (Danville Register & Bee)
Former Chatham Star-Tribune Editor Tim Davis was honored for his 25 years of service to county residents with a General Assembly resolution presented to him July 28 by Del. Les Adams. Adams, of the 16th House District, offered House Joint Resolution No. 106 in January commending Davis for his decades of service as editor of the Star-Tribune. (Chatham Star-Tribune)
Vance W. Adkins has been named chief financial officer of HomeTown Bankshares Corp., the parent company for Roanoke-based HomeTown Bank. He joined the company in 2010 as the senior risk officer. Adkins succeeds Charles W. Maness Jr., who retired from the company Aug. 5. (News release)
Nancy Howell Agee, CEO of Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic, will lead the American Hospital Association’s board of trustees in 2018. About 5,000 hospitals and health-care systems and 43,000 individuals belong to the association. (The Roanoke Times)
Nathaniel Bishop has been appointed to the State Board for Community Colleges. He is president of Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke. (The Roanoke Times)
George Sherman stepped down Aug. 13 as president of Advance Auto Parts Inc. He will remain with the Roanoke-based company through the end of the year to help with the transition, the company said. Sherman came to Advance in April 2013 from Best Buy, where he was a senior vice president. He served as interim CEO from January to April. (The Roanoke Times)
Nathaniel Varano has been promoted to chief operations officer, Aeroprobe Corp., Christiansburg. He was the company’s technology director for measurement solutions. (News release)
Sterling-based information services provider Neustar has named Venkat Achanta chief data and analytics officer. He was Wal-Mart’s chief data officer. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Joseph L. Boling has retired as chairman of Middleburg Financial Corp., the parent company of Middleburg Bank. The board of directors appointed John C. Lee IV, a director since 2006, to succeed Boling, who was named chairman emeritus. Boling had served as chairman since 1997. Lee founded Lee Technologies in 1983 and sold the company in 2011 to Schneider Electric. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Kent Carstater and Lori Childers have been name d senior executives at Reston-based John Marshall Bank. Carstater is senior vice president/market risk management, and Childers is senior vice president/consumer lending manager. This year marks the bank’s tenth anniversary. (News release)
C. Daniel Clemente has been named chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). Clemente, chairman and CEO of Tysons-based Clemente Development Co. Inc., succeeds Chris Lumsden, CEO of Halifax Regional Health System in South Boston. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Arlington-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts has promoted Emily Lynn and Sherry Serio from vice president to senior vice president. Patrick Beron has joi ned the company as senior vice president, sales and marketing. He was vice president of sales and marketing for Millennium Hotels in New York. (News release)
John G. Dane , reappointed to the board of the Virginia College Building Authority. He is vice president, regional manager, Community Bankers’ Bank, Midlothian. (News release)
Michael J. Early has joined the Capital Markets Group at Richmond-based Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer as first vice president. He is an industry veteran specializing in the representation of investment properties. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Richard G. Johnstone Jr. has been named pres ident and CEO of the Glen Allen-based Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. He had been executive vice president since 1999. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
John E. Mason has been promoted to managing director of Richmond-based StreamCo LLC. He was senior vice president and asset manager. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
William Murray has been named chair of the Virginia Center for Health Innovation board of directors. Murray, managing director of public policy and senior adviser for regulatory and state and local affairs for Dominion Resources Services Inc. in Richmond, was the board’s vice chair. (News release)
Carrie Roth , reappointed to the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. She is executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority and president and CEO of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park Corp., Richmond. (News release)
The board of directors of the Greater Richmond Partnership reappointed Bobby Ukrop , of Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods, and Angela Kelly-Wiecek, a member of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, as chair and vice chair. (N ews release)
Anne Holton stepped down in July as secretary of education after the selection of her husband, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate. Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed former Deputy Secretary of Education Dietra Trent to serve as Virginia’s new secretary of education. (VirginiaBusiness.com)2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
For the Record - September 2016
Dollar Tree Inc. plans to spend $110 million to expand its headquarters in Chesapeake, adding 600 new jobs during the next six years. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and $5.3 million from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant program to help secure the project in competition with North Carolina. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Hill Investment Group LLC has purchased an additional 14,000 square feet of space at 1253 Jensen Drive in Virginia Beach to expand its corporate headquarters. The expansion will allow the company to add 30 positions for the two companies that operate at the location, ProLog and Top Ink LLC. Technical services provider ProLog now has 315 employees and plans to add 20 with the expansion. Top Ink is a newly formed T-shirt and custom printed apparel company that will create 10 jobs. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Toano-based Lumber Liquidators Inc. will contribute $26 million to a settlement fund that will be used to compensate investors who bought company stock from Feb. 22, 2012, to Feb. 27, 2015. It also will issue 1 million shares of its common stock to a securities class-action fund with a value of about $16 million based on the closing prices of the company’s common stock on April 27. The actions are subject to court approvals. Lumber Liquidators has been in litigation since CBS News’ “60 Minutes” aired a story last year about China-made flooring products sold by the company that may have contained formaldehyde, a carcinogen. (Work It, Lynchburg)
Toronto-based Spin Master Corp., a children’s entertainment company, has acquired Virginia Beach-based Swimways Corp. and formed an outdoor business segment. Swimways makes a wide variety of toys, games and sporting goods for the pool, beach and backyard. Its gross sales last year were about $90 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Two companies announced they are moving their corporate headquarters from Norfolk to Virginia Beach. Taste, a family-owned specialty food retailer, has purchased a light industrial building that will be used for a corporate headquarters office, catering kitchen and warehouse. The relocation will bring about 40 jobs to the city of Virginia Beach, at least eight of which will be new. BN Media, an online company with two divisions with more than 40 employees, will create 15 positions in Virginia Beach. (Virginia Business.com)
Cadence Inc. has moved into a 63,000-square-foot facility in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Staunton-based Cadence is a supplier of advanced products, technologies and services to medical, life science, automotive and industrial companies. The new facility is nearly three times the size of its previous metal-stamping facility in Sturgeon Bay. (News release)
A new condominium development has opened in Fishersville off U.S. 250. Augusta County-based Countryside Homecrafters LLC, a division of Countryside Holding Co. Inc., announced in July the grand opening of a 32-unit condominium development. The units are designed with an open floor plan with one or two bedrooms. Also offered are office floor plans ranging from 1,093 square feet to 1,419 square feet. (News Leader)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in July that Sunshine Pride Dairy Inc. will pay a $179,074 penalty to settle alleged federal environmental violations at its former cheese processing facility in Winchester. The dairy shut down cheese processing operations in December 2011 but left anhydrous ammonia, a hazardous substance, stored in its refrigeration system with only a skeleton maintenance crew at the facility. As a part of the settlement, the company did not admit or deny EPA’s allegations. (News release)
Lord Fairfax Community College has been named for the fifth straight year a 2016 Great College to Work For, according to a new workplace satisfaction survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication for colleges and universities. Because LFCC was highly rated across multiple categories, the college has also been named an “Honor Roll” institution, one of only 12 community colleges to earn this distinction in 2016. LFCC has campuses in Middletown and Warrenton. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Toray Plastics (America) Inc., a subsidiary of a Japanese company, is investing $45 million to expand its Front Royal facility. The project is expected to create 30 jobs. The company makes films for flexible and rigid packaging, lidding, graphic, industrial, optical and electronic applications and foams for the automotive and flooring industries. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Commonwealth Assisted Living in Front Royal is expanding its operation to better care for its memory-care residents along with its regular assisted-living residents. The facility currently has 72 residents. Of those, 26 are in the memory-care suites and the remaining 46 live in non-memory-care assisted living. The expansion will add room for as many as 16 new residents, said Amber Foster, Commonwealth Assisted Living’s executive director. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Averett University will start an aviation program partnership with Piedmont Airlines beginning in the fall semester. The cadet program partnership will allow future pilots a guaranteed career pathway to Piedmont and its owner, American Airlines. The program will allow cadets to become cadet instructors, then Piedmont pilots and finally pilots with American Airlines. (Danville Register & Bee)
Charlottesville-based Commonwealth Assisted Living announced Aug. 1 that it is acquiring Stratford House, a senior living community in Danville. Financial details of the transaction were not released. The deal was expected to close within the next 60 days. Commonwealth plans to invest $3.5 million in Stratford House, expanding its services and creating 25 jobs. Stratford House, which opened in 1990, has been owned and operated by a not-for-profit board since 2008. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Danville Community College plans to expand offerings for cybersecurity and networking students, including a national security and Department of Homeland Security training certification program. DCC’s CyberCenter offers two certificate programs in cybercrime investigations and cybersecurity. The programs are transferrable to several four-year universities. (Danville Register & Bee)
The Danville Regional Foundation’s Health Collaborative is offering a survey to gather input from members of the public who may be interested in a shared-use, food-processing facility and kitchen, said Ashley Nauta, chair of the collaborative’s Healthy Eating Action Team. The facility would also provide business incubation services to farmers and food entrepreneurs, Nauta said. Deadline for survey completion is Sept. 9, with the full study complete by March 2017. (Danville Register & Bee)
Danville Regional Medical Cente r (DRMC) ranked at the bottom in the state in both overall ratings and customer satisfaction in a study released in July by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In a statement DMRC officials said they were disappointed by the one-star rating and anticipate “a higher ranking when more recent quality improvement efforts and resulting progress are factored into the assessment.” (Danville Register & Bee)
Solid Stone Fabrics announced a $1.5 million expansion that’s expected to create 22 jobs in Henry County. The company, founded in 2003, now employs 60 people. Solid Stone Fabrics, which makes and distributes stretch fabrics, will add new equipment and upgrades to its Henry County facility. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Roanoke County supervisors formally approved plans July 19 to fund expansion of a government-subsidized broadband network by agreeing to pay off $3.4 million in bonds over 10 years. Supervisors agreed to repay bonds issued by the Virginia Resources Authority for the design, engineering and construction of the 25-mile expansion of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority’s fiber network into the county. Construction of the additional broadband network should start by the end of the year and be complete before mid-2017. (The Roanoke Times)
A new cybersecurity accelerator is being established in St. Paul. The University of Virginia’s College at Wise announced it has taken ownership of the Oxbow Center to establish a cybersecurity accelerator to work in conjunction with its software engineering program. (Bristol Herald Courier)
A team of Virginia Tech researchers will use super computers in an attempt to solve big problems with simulations as part of a federally funded institute. University researchers received a $19.4 million award from the National Science Foundation to found the Molecular Sciences Software Institute. The money will lead to a facility at Tech’s Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg and a dozen jobs for scientists and mathematicians. (The Roanoke Times)
The second round of layoffs this year at Volvo ’s truck manufacturing plant in Pulaski County, near Blacksburg, will eliminate about 300 jo bs, the company said in July. “We regret having to take this action, but we operate in a cyclical market, and we have to adapt to market demand,” Volvo Trucks North America spokesman John Mies wrote in an email. The announcement came after about 500 layoffs occurred in February. (The Roanoke Times)
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced an agreement that aims to create cybersecurity employment and education opportunities in Southwest Virginia. Founded by the Herndon-based CIT, the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator has launched 35 cybersecurity product companies in Virginia since 2013. The organizations’ goals include collaborating on research and helping students land jobs and internships at Mach37 companies. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Arlington County Board has approved a mechanism that will allow redevelopment of the aging Ballston Common Mall into the mixed-use Ballston Quarter. Board members on July 19 established the county’s first community development authority, which will permit the developer to partner with Forest City Enterprises, owner of the mall, in a redevelopment package. (Inside NOVA)
Construction on the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line is nearly one-third complete, according to Fairfax County officials. The Silver Line’s first phase, 11.7 miles connecting East Falls Church to Reston, opened in July 2014. A projected completion date for the second phase – which will take it west from Reston to Ashburn, including a stop close to Washington Dulles International Airport – has not been announced. (Inside NOVA)
The hotel-residential-retail project intended to replace the old Robinson Terminal North property along Alexandria’s Potomac River waterfront will be delayed, developers said, because of its failure to snag a “trophy-flag hotel” and the rising cost of construction. The project, approved 10 months ago after years of noisy public debate, was the third major redevelopment on the Old Town waterfront and was intended to anchor its north end. (The Washington Post)
Work was scheduled to begin this summer on the first major improvements to Interstate 66 inside the Beltway in 15 years. The Virginia Department of Transportation project will give commuters more flexibility from the Capital Beltway to the Lee Highway exit in Rosslyn. The highway will be the nation’s first roadway with dynamic tolling on all lanes during peak-period traffic, keeping traffic moving at highway speeds by adjusting toll prices based on traffic volume. Contracts totaling $60 million were awarded to Fort Myer Construction for tolling infrastructure construction and to TransCore for tolling equipment installation. The plan also is to widen a 4-mile segment of eastbound I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive to provide congestion relief. (News release)
Richmond-based Dominion Virginia Power said in July that 800 local jobs in the construction trades will be created as it prepares to build three separate large-scale solar energy facilities in Virginia. However, once construction is done, there would be no permanent jobs. The State Corporation Commission approved the projects in Isle of Wight, Louisa and Powhatan counties on June 30. They are part of a commitment by Dominion Virginia Power to develop 400 megawatts of solar energy in Virginia by 2020. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Hilb Group, an insurance broker based in Richmond, has acquired NPB Insurance Services Inc. in Bristol. Financial terms of the deal, finalized July 1, were not disclosed. NPB sells personal, business, disability and life insurance to individual and commercial clients throughout Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee and surrounding states. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
International City Management Association - Retirement Corp. (ICMA-RC), a Washington D.C.-based financial services firm, is expanding to Richmond. The company plans to hire about 100 employees initially and bring more than 100 employees from its D.C headquarters when it moves to Riverfront Plaza in downtown Richmond. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Shares of Henrico County-based Kinsale Capital Group, the parent company of specialty insurer Kinsale Insurance, rose nearly 15 percent from the company’s initial public offering price on its first day of trading in late July. Kinsale raised $106 million in its initial public offering, selling 6.6 million shares at $16. Shares are trading under the ticker symbol KNSL on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Florida-based high-end supermarket chain Publix will take over 10 Martin’s Food Markets stores in the Richmond region. The remaining nine stores would operate for six months to a year until those locations can be sold. But Martin’s does not expect to operate them a year from now, the company announced in July. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The Commonwealth of Virginia and Village Capital will hold the weeklong Virg inia Velocity Tour the week of Sept. 19. The business plan competitions will provide a total of $125,000 to five startups across Virginia in the biotechnology, health, energy, agriculture and security sectors. Village Capital is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that trains and invests in seed-stage companies providing business solutions in agriculture, energy, education, financial inclusion and health. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
“Permanent,” a movie starring Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson, began filming in Central Virginia in August. The film is a comedy set in the early 1980s. It is eligible to receive a Virginia film tax credit and grant, which is based on the number of Virginia workers hired, Virginia goods and services purchased, and deliverables, including Virginia tourism promotions. (VirginiaBusiness.com)2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/EVAart-museum-rendering.pngA $35 million gift from Richard and Carolyn Barry will be used to create the 24,000-square-foot museum. Courtesy ODU
Plans for new ODU art museum are taking shape
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/plans-for-new-odu-art-museum-are-taking-shape#When:10:00:00ZEven though it’s still in the planning stages, a new art museum being built at Old Dominion University is creating quite a buzz in Hampton Roads.
The 24,000-square-foot museum, which has not been named, will include art donations from benefactors Richard and Carolyn Barry. The Barrys also will provide operating support through pledged annual gifts and a permanent endowment from their estates.
Richard Barry is a former Landmark Media Enterprises executive. Carolyn Barry serves on the Chrysler Museum of Art board of trustees.
The Barrys’ gift is valued at more than $35 million. It is the largest in the university’s history.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the university,” says Robert Wojtowicz, dean of the ODU graduate school. “We couldn’t be more pleased that the Barrys selected us. We are thrilled to have the collection.”
Two Barry art collections will be showcased at the museum: early modern American paintings (1900 to 1960) and Studio Art Glass works.
“There are nearly 60 paintings in the early modern American collection,” says Wojtowicz. The collection includes works by Arthur Carles, George Luks and Wolf Kahn.
The glass art collection contains work from top artists in the Studio Art Glass movement, which started in the 1960s. “The works range from mixed-media sculptures that are 13 feet high to small-table glass works,” says Wojtowicz. “The glass movement evolved on the Pacific Coast and has become a national phenomenon.”
The Barrys’ glass collection includes about 100 works from internationally renowned artists such as Dale Chihuly, Harvey Littleton and Lino Tagliapietra. ODU also will select some works from its existing collection to fill out the museum, Wojtowicz says.
The new museum will have at least four major galleries. “We are still refining the design of the building,” Wojtowicz says.
It will be constructed on the southeast corner of Hampton Boulevard and 43rd Street, across from the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Saunders + Crouse Architects is creating the initial concepts, which show a two-story building with room for expansion. The cost is still being determined.
One of the museum designs includes exterior cladding with a curving wall of glass. “It looks like a curtain of translucent glass,” says Wojtowicz. “They will be using a relatively new material that will allow diffused light into the interior. From the outside you can look in and discern shapes and the movement of people. It creates a visual metaphor for the collection inside.”
The museum will be near the university’s arts district, which includes art studios, a black box theater, an outer performance shell and an existing art gallery.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bassett-1524.pngJohn Bassett stands in front of a kiosk promoting their new Artisan Choices Collection. Photo by Mark Rhodes
The ‘Factory Man’
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-factory-man#When:10:00:00ZJohn D. Bassett III knows about the decline of American manufacturing all too well, but he refuses to give up.
“Yes, there’s less … manufacturing today in this state [and in the United States] than there used to … but that doesn’t mean it’s zero,” says the chairman of family-owned Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. “Don’t turn your back on manufacturing. Manufacturing still has a part to play in our society.”
Bassett and his sons, Doug and Wyatt, represent the third and fourth generations of their family to run the Galax-based business.
John Bassett led, and eventually won, an anti-dumping campaign against China, which resulted in duties being placed on Chinese-made wooden bedroom furniture imported into the U.S. Companies “dump” a product on the market when they export it at a price that is either below its manufacturing costs or its home-market value. The money received from the duties enabled Bassett to keep 700 people employed at the company’s factory in Galax, a city of about 7,000 people that once had six furniture plants.
Today, Vaughan-Bassett prides itself in making all of its furniture in the U.S. and being the largest manufacturer of wood bedroom furniture in the nation. The company shouldn’t be confused with Bassett Furniture Industries Inc., a separate, publicly traded furniture company based in Bassett, a Henry County community. Bassett’s grandfather, J.D., co-founded Bassett Furniture in 1902 as well as Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. in 1919.
“It was a very tight-knit family,” John Bassett says. “They just spawned furniture factories everywhere … then it all changed with globalization and all that, and we’re virtually the only thing [left].”
His story led former Roanoke Times reporter Beth Macy to write “Factory Man,” which became a New York Times best-seller and brought the company more exposure.
The book “created an entrée for us to meet some retailers who wouldn’t have darkened our door otherwise,” says Doug Bassett, who is president of the company. “I think it’s also very helpful in that it’s created a brand for us, and that is we are, ‘The All-American, Made in America.’”
Macy’s book also attracted the attention of Tom Hanks’ film production company, Playtone, and HBO, which is developing the story into a miniseries. Earlier this year John Bassett released his own book, “Making It In America,” billed as a 12-point plan for developing a business and keeping jobs in the U.S.
While offshoring had the biggest impact on the company during the last decade, a bigger issue this decade has been recovering from the Great Recession. New housing sales and construction have not returned to prerecession levels, says Doug Bassett.
“When the Chinese first got into this, they put tremendous subsidies on everything to do with making bedroom furniture,” the younger Bassett says. “They’ve moved on to other industries. … They’re not as strong of a competitor as they were 10 years ago.”
For the last few years, Vaughan-Bassett’s annual revenue has ranged from $80 million to $90 million, the company says.
One way the company hopes to increase sales is through its Artisan & Post Division, a new solid-wood furniture division it introduced in the spring. The division, which now offers bedroom furniture, will add dining-room furniture in October. Vaughan-Bassett hasn’t made dining-room furniture in the last half-dozen years.
“We’re really expanding our line to give us a shot at more slots on a [furniture] dealer’s floor,” Doug Bassett says.
Virginia Business interviewed John Bassett at Vaughan-Bassett’s headquarters in Galax. An edited transcript of the conversation is below.
Virginia Business: What made you decide to write the book, “Making it in America”?
Bassett: [Beth Macy’s] agent saw me. I was in New York, and he said, “I want you to write a book.” I said, “I’m not an author.” He said, “We’ll get a ghostwriter. [Macy] wrote about the story of your family. It’s really the story of globalization. OK, but she did not say how you guys did it, and virtually the whole industry closed” …
Mine was a business book that we did this, this, this, this and this … What you must understand is I don’t tell anybody, regardless of what you did with your factories or your companies, that you made a mistake, that you did this thing wrong. I don’t do that at all. What we say is, “This is what we are doing. This is why we were able to survive”…
I say her book is a book about globalization. My book is a book about survival. How did we survive this tsunami? …
When I give talks, I say, “Look, innovation is important. Entrepreneurship is important. Education is important, but here’s something else that I think people leave out of the equation and is what helped us to survive.” Maybe it will help other people to survive …
My book is not for the ladies’ book club. If you want another way to run a company, maybe you want to consider this, maybe you don’t. That’s it.
VB: [Your book is a 12-point plan for growing a business and keeping jobs at home.] If you had to pick the most important thing— can you pick one?
Bassett: No, I’m not going to pick the most important thing. I’ve told them from the very beginning there were five great rules … They said we need more than five so we ended up with 12, but what you really want is those five rules.
Rule No. 1 is attitude. If you think you are going to lose, I’ve got news for you, baby — you’re going to lose. … My son-in-law and my two sons are all MBAs … I say we need more football coaches than we need MBAs, and I say that facetiously for this reason: If you are an underdog and you’re talking to the team, and you’re a 14-point underdog, if you lose by 10 points, the MBA and the economists will say, “We covered the spread.” We covered the spread? Tell me any football coach who is going to keep his job if he keeps losing by 10 points. Football coaches have to win. American business has to win…
The second rule is leadership. I’m not talking about the golden parachutes, the guy at the top getting all of the stock options and all that. No, no, no. I’m talking about teamwork and leadership that they teach in the United States military … If you’re a young second lieutenant or first lieutenant … you have to lead your troops. If you lead your troops, you have to get in there with them. You can’t sit in some office 300 miles away and tell somebody, “Close that factory down in Alabama.” We went and worked with our people. … Every day [our workers] were seeing factories [in Virginia and in North Carolina] close. [The employees] look at you and say, “Do you really think you can do this?” We had to get them in the right frame of mind, attitude. We had to lead them, and we led them by example.
No. 3 is you have to be willing to change and improve again, again and again … Right now we’re spending $2 million on our boilers to reach all the EPA standards they want us to reach between now and January, and we’re doing it. [The company is complying with Environmental Protection Agency’s Boiler MACT rule, designed to curb emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers and process heaters.] But if you’re going to have all this, you can’t have a poorly organized and inefficient operation.
No. 4 is don’t panic. They love to tell you what you can’t do. The easiest battle you’ll ever win is when your opponent surrenders before the first shot is fired …
No. 5 is teamwork and [good] communications. You’ve got to constantly tell your team where they are. When I went out to talk to people in the factory, I would say, “I’ll give you the good news, I’ll give you the bad news, but I’ll never lie to you.”
VB: How has your life [and the company] changed since “Factory Man” was published?
Bassett: I think we have a higher profile now …
People knew Bassett [Furniture Industries Inc.], and they many times still think we’re Bassett … At first they would say, “There goes John, there goes Don Quixote, he’s fighting windmills again,” and etc., but, as this went along, people started paying attention and said, “Wow, maybe these people are on to something.” So I think, overall, it changed people’s opinion of what we are.
VB: [Is there] anything Virginia can do specifically to help keep jobs in America or that we could do better?
Bassett: Retraining. … Western Virginia had a lot of furniture factories, wood-furniture factories. You had a lot of apparel factories, textile factories. All of those types of factories basically disappeared, and those people need jobs, and we need to do a better job of retraining people.
When I’m saying retraining people, I’m not talking about going back to a two-year college and learning how to write software. These are people who ran complicated equipment. They would make excellent certified welders or electricians or plumbers or carpenters. That’s something you can teach in six to nine months in school, and then, if they get a gainful job with a construction company or whatever, they’ll take that and move on with it. But the people here want to work. People say, “I hear all they want to do is be on the dole.” No, they don’t! …
I’m not opposed to the community colleges and all that, but not everybody needs to get a college degree. A perfect example, look at Germany. Germany does have excellent universities, but they also have wonderful programs to teach people mechanics and other things. They have a wonderful program because that’s where Mercedes, BMW and all these [companies] get a lot of their highly skilled employees. They’re trained in vocational [skills.] So we need both. I don’t know if the federal government’s going to do it, but the state of Virginia should do it … [Southside and Western Virginia need] infrastructure. … It would be great if we’d finish Route 58 … [in North Carolina] you have this beautiful highway that goes right through Asheville, …
Interstate 40, but when you go east or west in [Southwest]Virginia, there are no interstates. You’ve got 81; you’ve got 77, now that helps some but … when you get west of Wytheville [on 77] you’re into West Virginia …
A.L. Philpott, who was from Bassett, when he was speaker of the House [of Delegates] pushed for 58 [to have four lanes] all the way to the Kentucky border. We need to do that. We need good infrastructure going west because roads make all the difference in the world. You’ve got to get stuff in. You’ve got to get stuff out.
VB: Our audience is [made up of] executives, CEOs. What in your opinion makes a good leader?
Bassett: Don’t ask your people to do anything that you’re not willing to do yourself. In the Army, they call it “set the example.” You don’t tell that soldier to get out of the foxhole. You get out first and [then] tell him.
VB: Are you involved with the community college or do you have any apprenticeships?
Bassett: We do not have a formal program … I’ll tell you where we get a lot of our young people. Their fathers or uncles will come in and say, “I have a young man I want y’all to [hire]…,” and they mentor that person, family members and that type of thing.
We’re beginning to grow again. We weathered the tsunami. We could have gone under. This thing was … brutal, but they didn’t get us, and we fought tooth and toenail … [Now] we’re back into solid furniture and … being a company that really knows how to use real wood. There are techniques that you need. I mean you just don’t go and slap this stuff together. … We do it with very modern equipment, don’t misunderstand me, but it is beginning to have real traction.
VB: Are you having to replace a lot of older workers like a lot of other manufacturing industries?
Bassett: Sure, we replace them. I mean people retire like they retire everywhere else. … You have to remember there were six furniture factories in this town at one time, and we’re down to one. So, for years we had a reservoir of trained people that were looking for jobs. We’re approaching a more normal [situation in replacing retiring workers.]
VB: [When there were six plants here,] how many people were employed?
Bassett: I would guess something over 2,000, maybe 3,000, … and it’s not only those [six factories]. It’s all of your auxiliary plants. For example sawmills. I mean we had to have lumber, so you had all these different sawmills. You still have the sawmills today. The majority of what the sawmills cut now all [goes] to Asia … I mean some of the biggest mills we had around here [that] used to supply us don’t supply us a foot. Now they’re beginning to supply us again because we’re buying cherry [wood], and you don’t sell much cherry in Asia …
Think how much lumber went down to Henry County. Bassett had seven plants, Hooker [Furniture] had five, Stanley [Furniture] had three. I mean, it went on and on. Now you don’t have one board foot going in there. It’s gone …
Then you have all the different people. The suppliers. The people that supplied the hardware. The people that supplied the finished material. The people that supplied the cartons. Martinsville used to have like five carton plants for all of this … When you say a plant closes, if you go look at your suppliers, if the plant gets rid of 500 people, generally, there’s 500 people somewhere else that lose their jobs, too. Gone. So it was interesting, it really was.
VB: What was it like when you first read “Factory Man?” What was your reaction?
Bassett: That this is going to upset some people … I knew she had touched some nerves.
VB: [You said you agreed to be interviewed for “Factory Man” but refused to talk about your family]. Were you afraid that bad stuff was going to come out?
Bassett: I didn’t contribute to it; a lot of people think I did … The story I wanted to tell all along is what I just read to you in two pages [the last two pages of his book]. That is my message. My message is about America and the future. Now, to get [readers] interested, you’ve got to go through all the “Peyton Place” stuff. [“Peyton Place” was a novel, which later was turned into a primetime soap opera.]
I don’t criticize other people for what they did, but I hate to see America turn tail and run all the time. I mean we can do this if we’re willing to believe in ourselves again. We think the only thing we can compete in is maybe a brand-new product that nobody’s heard of before, but then we’ll invent it, and then we’ll run over to Asia and get it made over there. We don’t even give the guys over here a chance … People say, “We got to be an innovator.” Do you know where a lot of innovation comes from? Right off that [factory] floor out there.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie1412.pngPhoto by Mark Rhodes
Tim Kaine, it’s about time
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/tim-kaine-its-about-time#When:10:00:00ZIn 2005, Democrat Tim Kaine ran for governor of Virginia in a three-way race against Jerry Kilgore, a conservative Republican, and Russ Potts, a moderate Republican turned Independent. In what was perhaps a prototypical race of urban versus rural interests in modern Virginia politics, the race pitted Kaine, a Richmond resident, against Kilgore from Southwest Virginia and Potts from Winchester.
In those days, my view of Kaine was largely influenced by the fact that he’d been mayor of Richmond from 1998 to 2001. Then as now, Virginia’s capital city had long been politically and otherwise dysfunctional. It was hard to see how having served as a mayor of Richmond was a great qualification.
After the ballots were counted, Kaine won with 52 percent of the vote, garnering 113,000 more votes than Kilgore. Potts, arguably one of Virginia’s last moderate Republicans, was not exactly a spoiler, receiving fewer than 44,000 votes.
In hindsight Kaine’s early political career is instructive.
In Richmond, city politics have long been a politics of race. In 1998, city council chose the mayor from its own ranks. Kaine was elected by a black-majority council to be the first white mayor in 10 years, one of only two in the previous 20 years. This speaks well of Kaine’s ability to work successfully across the lines of a racially divided electorate.
Eight years ago, as Kaine’s days in Virginia’s Executive Mansion were winding down, he was high on Barack Obama’s short list of potential vice-presidential running mates but was ultimately passed over in favor of Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. This choice was reportedly a result of Biden’s long-term congressional and foreign policy experience.
After a successful 2012 race to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate, Kaine quickly began to burnish his credentials, joining Senate committees on armed services, the budget and foreign relations.
One of Kaine’s signature efforts in the Senate has been the attempt to repeal and replace the War Powers Resolution with new legislation designed to ensure greater consultation between the president and Congress before committing troops to war.
The proposed legislation, introduced in 2014 and co-sponsored by Republican Sen. John McCain, is designed to restore the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. The War Powers Resolution was originally passed in 1973 in an attempt to constrain the executive branch’s ability to fight an undeclared war in Vietnam.
On foreign trade, Kaine has been a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and has also supported fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Fast tracking would allow the president to put the entire agreement before Congress for an up-or-down vote rather than dealing with its terms on a piecemeal basis.
Most recently, Kaine has said that he does not support the TPP in its current form. Among the many oddities of the 2016 elections is the fact that Republicans and Democrats alike have been reversing their support for free trade, historically an area of rare agreement between the two parties.
An important distinction exists between support for trade agreements and Kaine’s support for fast-tracking TPP. Much like the War Powers Resolution, fast tracking of trade agreements preserves the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. Kaine’s work on preserving this bedrock principle of our Constitution should be admired.
Since his selection as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, various pundits have chided Kaine as being either too moderate or too progressive. It is somewhat hard to imagine that a candidate who has received a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and an “F” from the National Rifle Association might be considered too moderate. I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective.
Perhaps Kaine comes across as moderate because he’s learned his Virginia manners well. He’s confident in his positions, doesn’t shy away from engagement and works well across the aisle. This is called statesmanship — a quality that of late has been in short supply.
Despite being known as the mother of presidents, Virginia hasn’t seen one of its own selected as a major party candidate in 100 years. Staunton-born Woodrow Wilson was nominated and elected to his second term as president in 1916.
Wilson spent his early years in Georgia and South Carolina and was serving as governor of New Jersey in 1912 when elected to his first term as president.
Kaine, born in Minnesota and raised in Kansas, came to Virginia in 1983 by virtue of his wife, Anne Holton, the daughter of former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton. Surely by now we can call him one of our own.
After a century-long drought for Virginia, with Tim Kaine — it’s about time.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LETTERS_BlueRidgeMts.pngPhoto courtesy Virginia Tourism Corp.
Don’t forget the environment in listing Virginia’s assets
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/dont-forget-the-environment-in-listing-virginias-assets#When:10:00:00ZTo the Editor,
Publisher Bernie Niemeier is correct when he lists many of the assets that make Virginia a great place to do business (“Why Virginia?” August issue). However, he omits a key Virginia asset, and perhaps the most obvious one to those who look outside their doors: the environment.
Blessed with diverse natural resources ranging from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s natural landscape supports the largest industry in the state by far: agriculture. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, agriculture accounts for a $52 billion economic impact annually, in addition to supporting 311,000 jobs.
In a related vein, tourism was expected to generate $23 billion in domestic visitor spending and support 222,600 jobs in 2015, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp. While high-tech, energy and other industries grab headlines, Virginians must always remember the importance of our state’s environment to its well-being, economic and otherwise.
David C. Perry
Blue Ridge Land Conservancy
The August issue of Virginia Business incorrectly reported that Wolseley plc, the parent company of Ferguson Enterprises, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It is traded on the London Stock Exchange.
In the July issue, a list of Virginia Values Veterans (V3)-certified companies included the former name of one company. The Fairfax-based company is now Salient CRGT.2016-08-30T10:00:00+00:00
NRTC to acquire Missouri-based Pulse Broadband LLC
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nrtc-to-acquire-missouri-based-pulse-broadband-llc#When:21:06:00ZHerndon-based NRTC plans to acquire Pulse Broadband LLC.
Financial details of the transaction were not released.
NRTC, the National Rural Telecommunications Council, serves 1,500 electric and telephone members in 48 states.
NRTC said the deal will accelerate its efforts to provide a full range of technology solutions to its electric and telephone members in the areas of broadband and communications services.
"It takes multiple technologies to overcome the broadband and communications connectivity challenges in the more rural areas served by our members", Tim Bryan, NRTC's CEO, said in statement. "Adding fiber to our portfolio of infrastructure services, including wireless and satellite, allows us to meet the broadest set of member needs. Working with Pulse over the past year, we have come to appreciate their deep knowledge, talent, and customer focus."
Pulse is based in Chesterfield, Mo. Its entire staff is expected to remain after the acquisition. It offer a wide range of fiber services, including financial feasibility modeling, design and engineering, and construction management.
In addition, NRTC will provide its members with a full range of telecom services, including managed network services, ISP (internet service provider) support, video solutions and marketing.
"Many areas of this country still lack sufficient broadband, and we believe our electric and telephone members are best suited to deliver that vital connectivity," Greg Santoro, NRTC's chief marketing and strategy officer, said in statement. "We want to help our existing broadband providers enhance their offering, through services like next-generation video, and we want to enable new fiber investments, especially those forged through electric-telco member partnerships, to reach into areas currently under-served."
The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks.
Pulse Broadband was founded in 2008 to bring fiber technology to underserved areas.2016-08-29T21:06:00+00:00