Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business email@example.comCopyright 20132013-12-09T16:44:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/apprentice_sculptureBIG.jpgEverett Jordan, The Apprentice School's director of education, unveils a sculpture at the entrance to the new school.
Huntington Ingalls opens Apprentice School in Newport News
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/huntington-ingalls-opens-apprentice-school-in-newport-news#When:21:49:00ZHuntington Ingalls Industries has officially opened its new Apprentice School in downtown Newport News.
The 90,000-square foot building triples the school's instructional space. It includes eight computer labs, two video teleconferencing classrooms, a physics lab and a 600-seat gymnasium. The school accommodates about 850 apprentices in addition to providing office and workspace for faculty, adjunct faculty and staff.
Newport News Shipbuilding, a Huntington Ingalls subsidiary, partnered with Armada Hoffler, the City of Newport News and the Commonwealth of Virginia on a revitalization project, which includes the school, workforce housing, retail space and a parking garage.
The Apprentice School accepts about 250 apprentices per year. The school offers four- to 8-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs.
Apprentices work a regular 40-hour week and are paid for all work, including time spent in academic classes. Through partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College and Tidewater Community College, The Apprentice School's academic program provides the opportunity to earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology.2013-12-09T21:49:00+00:00
Virginia State to begin construction on $84 million facility
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-state-to-begin-construction-on-84-million-facility#When:21:32:00ZVirginia State University plans to break ground on a $84 million, 165,000-square-foot multipurpose center on Friday.
The facility at Third Avenue and Watson Street in southern Chesterfield County will seat 5,100 people for sporting events and 6,100 for concerts.
It also will include classrooms and labs; a wellness center; practice facilities and locker rooms; and a banquet kitchen that can accommodate events for up to 900 people.
University officials said the center will serve as the anchor for an effort by VSU and Chesterfield to revitalize the village of Ettrick. A mixed-use, residential and commercial corridor along Chesterfield Avenue is planned in the area.
The construction, which will cost $57 million, is expected to take 22 months. Total cost of the project is $84 million.2013-12-09T21:32:00+00:00
Cary Street Partners LLC acquires Texas wealth management firm
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cary-street-partners-llc-acquires-texas-wealth-management-firm#When:21:28:00ZRichmond-based investment firm Cary Street Partners LLC has acquired Texas-based RiverStone Wealth Management.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The RiverStone deal is part of Cary Street Partners’ strategy to acquire high-quality wealth management firms in attractive markets. The firm is targeting markets in the Southeast from Virginia through Texas.
Austin-based RiverStone, which has also an office in San Antonio, has annual revenue of $5.4 million and employs 23 people.
The firm, founded in 1995, manages more than $400 million in client assets.
Its primary businesses are financial planning, wealth management, investment banking and advisory services.
“We’re delighted to expand our business into the Texas market, and to partner with such a strong-earning, high-performing firm,” Kip Caffey, managing partner of Cary Street Partners, said in a statement. “Building on our successful partnership and the synergy of our firms, we look forward to continuing our growth, strengthening our offerings and capitalizing on significant long-term opportunities.”
Cary Street Partners provides investment banking and wealth management services. It currently has offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
RiverStone was founded as the Avantus Group. It merged with First Financial Investment Securities in 2000. The firm was renamed in 2004.2013-12-09T21:28:00+00:00
Reporting for U.S. taxpayers about foreign financial assets and accounts
We live in the age of globalization. Businesses are not confined to specific geographic boundaries. Business owners functioning either on a small scale (like the sole proprietor of a costume rental business), or other establishments (like partnerships and corporations) always look for the lower-cost option and can go offshore for this to be more successful. It may make sense to purchase materials or outsource services from outside the United States. It’s likely some of these agreements would be arranged with foreign banks or financial institutions, either in an individual capacity or as a signing authority representative.
Lawmakers are making an effort to make taxpayers worldwide compliant with their income and assets to curb tax evasion. Reporting by U.S. taxpayers for their financial assets and accounts outside the country is among one of these attempts by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Reporting of financial assets outside the United States is covered under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and reporting of financial accounts outside U.S. territories may be required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
Every business establishment has to file a federal and state tax return. The owners of these companies are also obligated to file their taxes, and if they have international trading with financial associations in other countries, they might need to report under the BSA and/or FATCA. The different filing requirements for financial assets and accounts help such taxpayers get them ready before their 2013 tax returns filing season starts are discussed below.
<b>Reporting on financial assets</b>
FATCA requires certain taxpayers — who are single or file separately from their spouse and live in the United States and hold specified foreign financial assets with an aggregate value of $50,000 or more at the end of the last day of the reporting year (or $75,000 at any time during the year) — to report these assets using Form 8938, attached with the taxpayer’s annual income tax return. Taxpayers who live abroad (filing single or separate from their spouse) are required to file the form if they have more than $200,000 of financial assets at the end of the year (or more than $300,000 at any time during the year). The monetary threshold is double for taxpayers filing jointly with their spouse.
Specified foreign financial assets include foreign financial accounts and foreign non-account assets held for investment such as foreign stock and securities, foreign financial instruments, contracts with non-U.S. persons and interest in foreign entities. These assets should not be held for use in trade or business.
As of January 2013, only individuals were required to report their foreign financial assets. At a later time a limited set of domestic entities also may have to report their foreign financial assets, but not for tax years starting before 2013.
Reporting on foreign bank & financial accounts (FBAR)
A U.S. resident who owns a foreign financial account, including bank account, mutual fund, trust, or other financial account, may be required by the BSA to report this to the IRS using Form F-TD-90-22.1. Certain officers or employees with signature or other authority over certain financial accounts are provided filing relief. These exceptions apply only where the officers or employees have no financial interest in the reportable account. Filing requirements have been deferred, with the due date for filing these for taxpayers covered under the exception having been extended to June 30, 2014. It is not relevant whether these accounts are producing any income or not.
Who must file in FBAR
Individuals in the United States are required to file FBAR if:
1. The individual has financial interest or signing authority over financial accounts located outside the United States and
2. The aggregate value of all these accounts exceeds $10,000 anytime during the calendar year under report.
This includes U.S. citizens, U.S residents, entities including, but not limited to, corporations, partnerships or limited liability corporations created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States and trusts and estates formed under the laws of the United States.
Filing Form 8938 does not relieve filers of FBAR filing requirements. The Form 8938 filing requirement does not replace or otherwise affect a taxpayer’s obligation to file Form TD F 90-22.1.These two are different reporting requirements.
Punita Ahuja CPA, FCA, DIRM is managing member of Punita Ahuja CPA PLLC. She is the author of books and is contributing profession related articles. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgT20:55:00+00:00
Poultry processing company to create 102 jobs in Harrisonburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/poultry-processing-company-to-create-102-jobs-in-harrisonburg#When:19:02:00ZA new poultry processing company is expected to bring 102 jobs to Harrisonburg. Shenandoah Processing LLC, located at the site of a former poultry processing facility, will serve the market for organically raised and “all-natural” chicken.
During the three-year project, the company will invest more than $2.2 million in capital improvements and purchase $160 million of poultry from Virginia growers.
Shenandoah Processing is owned by Corwin Heatwole who also owns Shenandoah Valley Organics, a poultry growing operation. Shenandoah Processing will process poultry for Shenandoah Valley Organics as well as growers who want to have poultry prepared for retail sale. Shenandoah Processing expects to process 50,000 birds a day by its third year in operation.
Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $50,000 matching grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund for the project.2013-12-09T19:02:00+00:00
Chesterfield Towne Center to be sold
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesterfield-towne-center-to-be-sold#When:16:44:00ZChesterfield Towne Center, a 1.2 million-square-foot enclosed mall in Chesterfield County, is under contract to be sold to New-York based Rouse Properties.
The mall is part of a $292.5 million deal between Rouse and California-based real estate investment trust Macerich to buy two of Macerich’s properties, with the other one a mall located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Macerich also owns Tysons Corner Center in Northern Virginia and the Valley Mall in Harrisonburg.
Rouse Properties said in a statement Monday, “We are under contract to acquire Chesterfield Towne Center in Richmond, Va. and the Centre at Salisbury in Salisbury, Md., and look forward to making our entry into these states. Each mall operates as the premier retail destination in its respective region and will serve as welcome additions to our growing portfolio of regional enclosed malls. Because we are under a strict confidentiality agreement with the seller we are unable to provide additional details at this time.”
According to a presentation prepared for investors, Macerich has been disposing of some of its assets in 2013 to generate equity.
Macerich said it is currently under contract to sell four assets totaling about $318 million.
Built in 1975 and renovated several times since, Chesterfield Towne Center produced sales of about $361 per square foot, with a nearly 92 percent occupancy, as of Dec. 31 according to Macerich. Anchor tenants include Macy’s, Sears, J. C. Penney and a combination T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods store.
Rouse’s presentation to investors shed some light on why it considers the mall a good buy.
Big-box retailers are continuing to move into malls, the company said, and Rouse looks for malls that offer high traffic and sales.
Eighty percent of its mall properties, including Chesterfield Towne Center, are single-story assets, which provide flexibility for changing the mall’s gross leasable area.
Rouse also noted that the Chesterfield Mall is located in an affluent submarket in Midlothian off Huguenot Road and Midlothian Turnpike. According to Rouse, the average household income in a five-mile radius is $101,160, and the mall serves a trade area of more than 550,000 people.2013-12-09T16:44:00+00:00
U.S. government shed 2 percent of its real estate space last year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/u.s.-government-shed-2-percent-of-its-real-estate-space-last-year#When:16:42:00ZIn an annual report on the state of the federal real estate market, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) spots some trends having an impact on the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan commercial real estate market.
A big one: Most federal leases executed in the last year were renewals, and federal agencies shed nearly 2 percent of their space.
As federal agencies continue to adapt to the government's budgetary environment, federal real estate will enter a transitional period, JLL — a professional services and investment management firm— predicts in its Federal Perspective report. It expects leasing decisions to focus on operational efficiency and long-term cost savings.
"The impact all these changes will have on the market remains to be seen," Joe Brennan, managing director, JLL, said in a statement. "Leases up for renewal may no longer favor the incumbent landlord, so it is imperative that ownership groups stay on top of what is happening with the federal government's leasing efforts."
What is clear is that the General Services Administration (GSA) has started to trim overhead and reduce real estate expenditures. The square footage allotted to each government employee has fallen from 280 square feet per person to about 125 square feet per person, a statistic evident at the GSA's headquarters building, where 4,400 people now work from the same amount of space that used to house 2,500.
The effects of additional workspace efficiency trends — including open floor plans, shared workspaces and telecommuting — are evident from leasing decisions in the submarket of Ballston, where two agencies have announced plans to vacate a combined 1 million square feet and relocate to lower-cost areas, downsizing by 15.9 percent in the process.
Other federal market numbers:
• 1.86 percent – 2013 drop in metro D.C. GSA-leased office inventory,
• 12.5 percent – decline in metro D.C. net effective rents from peak levels,
• 11 percent – rise in U.S. net effective rents since 2010,
• $1.7 billion – amount spent annually by GSA for properties deemed underutilized.
“The uncertainty in the market has impacted the decision making of all tenants and driven them away from long-term commitments,” said Brennan. “The leases of tenants, both private and public sector, are on average about 22.5 percent shorter today than they were 10 years ago, as they want to maintain some flexibility.”
However, JLL points out that uncertainty plaguing lease renewals has not filtered down to the capital markets. The federal government comprises about 4.6 percent of all leased space nationwide. Since government agencies tend to remain in their space for more than 30 years, federal leasing acts as a stabilizing force for the nation's office market.
Overall, though, public sector demand for space in the greater Washington, D.C., area is restrained. In Northern Virginia, the continued shift of jobs to Fort Belvoir and parts of Springfield has produced churn throughout Fairfax County, but new lease awards were sparse.
The Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) continues to exert a massive influence over the office market both inside the Beltway and in Northern Virginia, leading to the disposition of a combined total of 2.5 million square feet of space since 2005.
Going forward, the report says that bipartisan support for expense reduction and mandates to improve operational efficiency will drive federal real estate decisions in 2014. This includes replacing short-term extensions with longer-term leases for reduced space.
Federal real estate dispositions will likely grow, and the government will show an increased willingness to explore creative solutions, including public-private partnerships, to address budget shortfalls for agencies and relocations.2013-12-09T16:42:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RottenbornSWLIL2.jpg
Woods Rogers names Ben Rottenborn principal
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/woods-rogers-names-ben-rottenborn-principal#When:16:33:00ZWoods Rogers PLC in Roanoke has promoted J. Benjamin Rottenborn to principal.
Rottenborn joined Woods Rogers as of counsel in 2012 after transferring from a Chicago-based firm. He works in the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution, labor and employment and appellate practices.
Rottenborn practices at trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts across the United States.2013-12-09T16:33:00+00:00
Wind energy project passes another milestone
A federal agency has taken another step toward developing wind energy sources off the Virginia coast.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced Friday it had found “no competitive interest” in an area 24 miles off the Hampton Roads coastline where the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME ) proposes the development of an offshore wind test facility. It would involve two, utility-scale wind turbines generating a total of 12 megawatts (MW) of power.
The agency’s Determination of No Competitive Interest is part of a process leading to a wind-energy research lease.
This is the second wind energy research lease request by DMME that the federal agency is considering. The first involves meteorological facilities the much larger within the Virginia Wind Energy Area, adjacent to the new research lease site.
The data collected from the research lease would be publicly available and could influence the development of power in the Wind Energy Area.
In September, Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest utility company, won the commercial lease auction for Virginia’s Wind Energy Area. It leads the turbine demonstration project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.2013-12-06T20:34:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SANDS.jpgSands. Photo courtesy Virginia Tech.
Purdue University’s provost named president of Virginia Tech
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/purdue-universitys-provost-name-president-of-virginia-tech#When:18:56:00ZThe Virginia Tech Board of Visitors announced Friday that Tim Sands will become the university’s 16th president on June 1.
Sands is executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., a public university with almost 40,000 students . He replaces Charles W. Steger who announced his retirement in May and will step down when Sands assumes office.
Steger, a Virginia Tech graduate, has led the university since 2000.
Sands, 55, was Purdue’s acting president in the fall 2012. He currently is the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in Purdue’s School of Materials Engineering and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Sands began his professional career in 1984 at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and later became an industry fellow at the lab doing advanced materials research.
He spent nine years as a member of technical staff and as a research group director with Bell Communications Research Inc. (Bellcore) in Red Bank, N.J. From 1993-2002 he was a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Purdue in 2002 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering and later became director of the university’s Birck Nanotechnology Center.
Sands holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.2013-12-06T18:56:00+00:00
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports leases in Hampton Roads
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-leases-in-hampton-roads#When:22:23:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports recent lease transactions in the Hampton Roads area totaling more than 126,000 square feet.
The biggest deal was for Lockwood Brothers, which renewed its lease for 37,750 square feet at 814 Childs Ave. in Hampton. Bobby Phillips handled the lease negotiations.
Voguebay Mosaic & Tile also renewed its lease of 23,516 square feet in Middle Ground Center at 709 Middle Ground Blvd. in Newport News. Teresa Nettles and Bobby Phillips handled the lease negotiations.2013-12-05T22:23:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image003.png
Thalhimer Realty Partners buys Reynolds South Plant for $9.2 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/thalhimer-realty-partners-buys-reynolds-south-plant-for-9.2-million#When:21:17:00ZThalhimer Realty Partners Inc. has purchased the 17-acre Reynolds South Plant in the Manchester district for $9.25 million.
The property at 7th and Hull Streets is the former location of Reynolds Packaging Group’s foil manufacturing plant.
Zoned for mixed-use development and with a riverfront location south of the James River, the property is considered a key commercial development piece in the Manchester area.
It consists of more than seven city blocks with historic buildings that can be converted to multi-family, retail and office uses.
“This has been called one of the most significant riverfront properties in Richmond. Due to the modified zoning and relative ‘blank slate” for a developer to work with, in time, this could easily rival the North of the river financial district in mixed-use development,” Trib Sutton, senior vice president for CBRE|Richmond, said in a statement.
The CBRE team of Sutton, Rob Dirom, Scott Boyers, Scott Durham and John Carpin represented the seller, Pactiv LLC, a Reynolds affiliate, in the transaction.
The team also was responsible for the sale of the North Plant property in February 2012 for $7.3 million. The North Plant was a similar manufacturing plant situated on 6.8 acres in the central business district with frontage along the Kanawah Canal and the James River. Its buyer, Fountainhead Properties and the WVS Cos., recently finished the first phase of development – 174 apartments along with retail space.
In recent years, the historic Manchester area has been a magnet for apartment development in Richmond.
Drew Wiltshire, a vice president with Thalhimer Realty Partners, who along with associate Matt Raggi represented the firms’ investors in the deal, said a mixed-use project is planned.
In the initial phase, which should get underway in early 2014, the company plans to convert three existing warehouses into 263 apartments, he said. Another six acres of the parcel could accommodate up to 500,00 square feet of Class A office.
Plus the company, a subsidiary of Richmond-based Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, is considering retail.
“Given the size, location, the proximity to the river and the Central Business District, and nearly 3,000 housing units within a mile, there are a variety of good options. With not much retail in Manchester to serve these units, we think a part of the redevelopment plan would be to put in some retail,” Raggi said.2013-12-05T21:17:00+00:00
New study says Virginia among top three states to benefit from offshore gas and oil drilling
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-study-says-virginia-among-top-three-states-to-benefit-from-offshore-gas#When:20:49:00ZVirginia, home to one of the largest dry docks in the U.S. and a network of equipment suppliers, is poised to reap big benefits from offshore oil and natural gas development if the federal government allows drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
In fact, it is among three mid-Atlantic states that would benefit the most, according to a new study released Thursday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).
The state would gain about 5,000 jobs by 2025 and nearly 25,000 jobs a decade later. The report also says the state’s economy could grow by about $2.2 billion per year by 2035, and state government could collect $1.9 billion in revenue.
Only North Carolina and South Carolina – states with ample coastlines on the Atlantic – would fare better.
Nationally, the study estimates that oil and natural gas development would have these benefits:
Nearly 280,000 new jobs along the East Coast,
An additional $195 billion in private investment,
A contribution of up to $23.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy,
$51 billion in new revenue for the government,
1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day to domestic energy production -- about 70 percent of current output from the Gulf of Mexico.
Such estimates, while welcome by money-hungry Atlantic states, are based on decades-old seismic data provided by the U.S. government.
“It’s our best guess based on old data of what’s out there. That’s why we need new information and the opportunity to go look,” Randall Luthi, president of the NOIA, said during a press conference. More recent discoveries of oil and gas plays off the West coast of Africa and Nova Scotia, similar in geology to parts of the East Coast, also were taken into consideration, he said.
The report’s release comes as the federal government gears up for the country’s next five-year lease sale (2017-22). The Obama administration has been considering whether to allow seismic surveying in the Atlantic for the last five years. Such surveys are essential to exploring for oil and natural gas offshore, and they are used to site locations for offshore wind facilities.
The last surveys of the Atlantic OCS took place about 30 years ago.
A final decision on new surveys is expected next spring. If the first lease sales were held in 2018, the report says exploratory drilling could begin the following year, with the first production of oil and natural gas expected in 2026.
Erik Milito, API’s director of upstream and industry operations, said oil and natural gas production off the Atlantic coast, “is a potential gold mine” that is drawing public support.
Governors in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and other states have encouraged the president and Congress to open the Atlantic for offshore development, he said, and public polling has found strong support for offshore drilling both at the national level and in states along the East Coast.
In response to the study, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement Thursday, showing his support. "Today’s study is just further proof of what such a comprehensive approach to our energy issues could produce: thousands of new jobs, billions in new revenue, a stronger economy. It is time that we moved forward to responsibly develop Virginia’s offshore energy resources: wind, oil, and natural gas.”
The federal government awarded Virginia an OCS oil and gas lease sale in March of 2010 but later cancelled the sale and refused to include Virginia in the current 5-year OCS plan.
How much states could get from new development would depend on a revenue sharing agreement. Based on what’s already in place in the Gulf of Mexico, the study estimates that states would get 37.5 percent of all revenue from oil and natural gas produced off their shores with the rest going to the U.S. government. Bipartisan legislation introduced in both chambers of Congress supports revenue sharing.
“Major capital investments, job creation, and revenue to the government would all begin years before the first barrel goes to market,” said Milito. “Expanding offshore energy production would also send a strong signal to the energy markets that America is leading the world in developing energy resources, which could help put downward pressure on prices.”
The new study was conducted by Sugar Land, Texas-based Quest Offshore Resources Inc. at the request of API and the NOIA.2013-12-05T20:49:00+00:00
Anheuser-Busch to make $10 million investment in Williamsburg brewery
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/anheuser-busch-to-make-10-million-investment-in-williamsburg-brewery#When:17:15:00ZAnheuser-Busch announced Thursday that it will invest $10 million in its Williamsburg brewery to expand brewing and packaging capabilities.
The investment will add a slim package to one of the brewery's existing can lines, increase brewing capabilities and improve water and energy efficiencies at the brewery.
More than $39 million that Anheuser-Bush has been invested in the brewery since 2011.
The Williamsburg brewery, which opened in 1972, serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and the District of Columbia. It produces more than 40 different Anheuser-Busch beers, including the company's flagship brands, Budweiser and Bud Light.2013-12-05T17:15:00+00:00
Thalhimer reports uptick in transactional volume
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported a robust month of sale and lease transactions in November of more than 3. 3 million square feet.
According to the Richmond-based company, the firm’s ten Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina offices completed 164 lease transactions totaling 1,364,315 square feet with a transactional value of more than $65 million during the month of November.
Industrial building transactions of 817,574 square feet accounted for the largest amount of space leased. Office and retail leases totaled 369,353 and 177,388 square feet respectively.
In addition, Thalhimer reported 17 sale transactions in November totaling more than 1,945,000 square feet and over $86 million in sales volume.
Overall, year-to-date volume exceeds $1.37 billion, surpassing 2012 total volume of $1.15 billion.2013-12-05T15:27:00+00:00
McAuliffe vows ethics reforms
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcauliffe-vows-ethics-reforms#When:14:59:00ZGov.-elect Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday that he would push for greater transparency and ethics reforms in state government.
McAuliffe spoke to a roomful of journalists after a panel discussion on political journalism ethics and political finance and gift-disclosure organized by the Associated Press.
The Northern Virginia businessman said he “would be inclined” to “issue an executive order” to waive the fees currently charged to citizens and journalists requesting government documents under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
Under the federal FOIA, federal officials can waive the often prohibitive costs of a public records request if it pertains directly to the public good, but the state does not.
“It’s the first I’ve been asked this question,” McAuliffe said. “I think it’s a great idea. I will take it back and talk to my transition team about it.”
He said he was not aware that Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act lacks a provision to allow fees to be waived if the FOIA request is in the public interest.
Echoing President Obama’s campaign slogans, McAuliffe said he would set a new standard of “transparent, accountable, state government that is beholden only to the taxpayers who fund it.” He added, “Virginians should never have to question who their leaders are putting first.”
The best way to ensure political transparency, McAuliffe said, is to issue an executive order limiting gifts to politicians to no more than $100, increasing penalties for violating current disclosure laws and eliminating conflicts of interest; however, McAuliffe did not offer details about how the order would achieve those ends.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, said his almost-daily talks with outgoing Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell often extend into weekends, facilitating what he called “the smoothest transition ever” as he prepares to take office.
In spite of their talks, however, McAuliffe said he knew only as much as the newspapers have reported about the federal investigation of McDonnell’s relationship with a dietary-supplement manufacturer.
McAuliffe spoke to about 50 journalists at AP Day at the Capitol. The event, held at the Richmond Times-Dispatch offices, was organized by Virginia AP Managing Editors, the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association and the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Also speaking at the event was Republican Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas. He said not all secrecy is bad, citing the 1776 Constitutional Convention that took place behind closed doors without public oversight.
Marshall said people behave differently when they know they’re being watched, and limiting gifts to $100 would “force political activity underground.”
Marshall said a “no gifts” policy would lead to prosecutions for unreported golf tips, information and special discounts; for example, getting a car at half price because of a person’s status as a politician. Marshall said whether a politician received discounts is “not in the public interest.”
Revolution Growth invests $22 million in sweetgreen
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/revolution-growth-invests-22-million-in-sweetgreen#When:09:46:00ZRevolution Growth has invested $22 million in sweetgreen, the organic salad shop founded in Washington, D.C. by three Georgetown University graduates.
Steve Case, co-founder of Revolution Growth, will join the company’s board of directors and serve as an adviser to the company’s founders.
The money will be used for national expansion of sweetgreen, the building of its team and corporate culture and community programs and marketing initiatives.
The company was founded in 2007 by Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru. It features organic, locally grown food. The first store opened in Georgetown, and the company has grown to 22 locations in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia, Boston and New York City.
“The company’s trajectory is proof that innovative, high-growth companies aren’t limited to the traditional tech and internet sector, and can be created anywhere in the United States,” Case said in a statement. “And as Americans become increasingly concerned about health and wellness, we’re proud to invest in a brand that stands for healthier choices, with farm-to-table concept that supports local farmers while facilitating better diets.”2013-12-05T09:46:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VA4LOVERS.jpg
“Virginia is for Lovers” making its way onto commonwealth’s license plates in 2014
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-is-for-lovers-making-its-way-onto-commonwealths-license-plates-in#When:22:35:00ZStarting next March, Virginia will issue “Virginia is for Lovers” license plates as the standard-issue plate. The new plate will replace the plain blue and white plates which have been the standard for the past couple of decades.
“Soon, we will utilize Virginia’s timeless slogan to help promote our great commonwealth. Every time a Virginia-registered car sporting one of these tags travels outside of the state, people around the nation will be reminded that Virginia is a tremendous destination for businesses and tourists,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.
The “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign will celebrate its 45th birthday in 2014.2013-12-04T22:35:00+00:00
Five towns in Virginia make Travel + Leisure’s America’s Best College Towns list
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-towns-in-virginia-make-travel-leisures-americas-best-college-towns-lis#When:22:16:00ZFive towns in Virginia have been named to Travel + Leisure’s America’s Best College Towns ranking. The magazine’s readers voted Charlottesville, Williamsburg, Harrisonburg, Fredericksburg and Lexington to the list highlighting 20 of the best college towns in the U.S. Burlington, Vt. was No. 1.
Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia, was No. 2 on the list. The university was hailed for its diverse entertainment that includes Monticello, a “charming downtown pedestrian mall,” and music offerings ranging from the Moscow Ballet to up-and-coming bands.
Williamsburg, where the College of William & Mary is based, ranked behind Charlottesville at No. 4. “If your only experience with this town was a tour led by aspiring actors in period garb, it’s time for a repeat visit,” says Travel + Leisure’s write up on Williamsburg. The magazine touts Williamsburg’s arts district and romantic hotels, among other things.
Harrisonburg was No. 5 on the list, celebrated for its “revitalized downtown” featuring Three Brothers Brewing, Capital Ale House and bike paths. Fredericksburg ranked No. 9 with positive mentions for its dining scene and history. Lexington, home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, came in at No. 14. “Lexington is the kind of place you visit and find yourself picturing your life there,” Travel & Leisure says.2013-12-04T22:16:00+00:00
Eagle Ray acquires Kore Federal
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/eagle-ray-acquires-kore-federal#When:21:46:00ZChantilly-based Eagle Ray Inc., a strategic enterprise consulting and IT management services company, has acquired Kore Federal of Falls Church.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kore Federal provides technology services to homeland security, law enforcement and public-sector financial services clients.
Eagle Ray’s primary customers are the intelligence community, and departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
“By diversifying our client base, we will mitigate the impact of the unpredictability of the government contracting cycle,” Babs Doherty, Eagle Ray’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “While we will retain our small-company agility, we add the critical mass needed to compete for, win and execute large-scale efforts.”
Eagle Ray’s expertise includes program and project management, independent verification and validation, process and system engineering, performance and risk management, cyber compliance/information assurance, and acquisition support.
Kore Federal has expertise in key mission growth areas: enterprise mobility, applied analytics, open source platforms, and Agile software/systems engineering.
Doherty said Kore Federal’s employees will make Eagle Ray more competitive in the government marketplace because they can help Eage Ray offer a full range of business and technical services.
Kore Federal executives Brian Stygar and Greg Williams will join Eagle Ray as the chief technology officer and chief strategy officer respectively.
Operations will be consolidated at Eagle Ray’s Chantilly headquarters.2013-12-04T21:46:00+00:00
Job gap study finds hardship in Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/job-gap-study-finds-hardship-in-virginia#When:21:37:00ZAccording to an annual job gap study, Virginia and other states are struggling to offer enough jobs that pay a living wage of at least $15 an hour.
Virginia Organizing, a nonpartisan statewide organization, released the results of the 15th annual study by The Alliance for a Just Society on Wednesday via a tele-media conference. The report finds a shrinking proportion of jobs that pay enough for families to make ends meet, with the number of job seekers exceeding the number of jobs that pay a living wage.
In Virginia, there are about seven job seekers for every job that pays a living wage in a single adult household. That number increases to 16 job seekers for every living wage job available in a two-child, single parent household.
Nationally, the report found an increasing share of low-wage jobs since the end of the Great Recession. It said the share of jobs that pay below the $15-an-hour, low-wage threshold increased from 36.5 percent in 2009 to 39.4 percent in 2012. There were 51.4 million low-wage jobs in 2012.
During the press conference in Virginia, speakers expressed concern that the state has not agreed to expand Medicaid.
“This report shows what Virginians already know — we need better wages and better social safety net programs in Virginia,” Virginia Organizing chairperson Sandra A. Cook, said in a statement. “Medicaid expansion and an increase in the minimum wage can clearly help those working low-wage jobs have more financial security and add more to the economy through being able to afford to spend money in local communities. These things are good for all of us.”2013-12-04T21:37:00+00:00
New retailers for Chesterfield County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-retailers-for-chesterfield-county#When:21:34:00ZThe sweet smell of freshly baked donuts will soon waft over the parking lot at Stonebridge Shopping Center in Chesterfield County when a Krispy Kreme store
opens early next year.
A 2,300-square-foot store – Krispy Kreme’s second in the Richmond region -- is under construction across from the Kroger Marketplace off Midlothian Turnpike.
The store should open in the first quarter of next year and plans to hire about 60 people. It won’t be as large as the store at 4910 West Broad Street in Henrico County, said Brandon Clark, one of the assistant managers at the Broad Street store.
Krispy Kreme is leasing the land for the building from Crosland Southeast, the shopping center’s developer. Besides Kroger, other tenants at the center include a Sleepy’s mattress store, Subway and Sweetfrog.
Also opening in Chesterfield in the Market Square shopping center in Midlothian is Kambourian Jewelers. It will celebrate with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Dec. 5. Founded in 1966, the local company provides custom jewelry, jewelry repair and loose diamond sales among other services.2013-12-04T21:34:00+00:00
Dominion announces executive changes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dominion-announces-executive-changes#When:18:12:00ZDominion announced several promotions on Wednesday that will become effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Robert M. Blue, Dominion’s senior vice president of law, public policy and environment, was named president of Dominion Virginia Power’s business unit. In this post, he will oversee all of Dominion's electric distribution and transmission operations, customer service, customer solutions and energy conservation initiatives for Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power.
Diane Leopold, senior vice president of Dominion Transmission, will become president of the Dominion Energy business unit. While continuing to be responsible for natural gas transmission, storage and liquefaction operations, she picks up responsibility for Dominion's East Ohio and Dominion Hope natural gas distribution facilities.
P. Rodney Blevins, vice president of distribution operations for Dominion Virginia Power, will become Dominion’s senior vice president and chief information officer. Katheryn B. Curtis, vice president of retail, will be Dominion’s senior vice president of power generation. She will oversee all of Dominion's power generation fleet except nuclear.2013-12-04T18:12:00+00:00
Cyber Monday ranks as heaviest U.S. online spending day in history
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cyber-monday-ranks-as-heaviest-u.s.-online-spending-day-in-history#When:14:32:00Z Cyber Monday was the heaviest U.S. online spending day in history, according to a Reston-based analytics company that reported holiday spending from desktop computers. ComScore said Cyber Monday sales reached $1.735 billion in desktop online spending, up 18 percent from a year ago.
ComScore’s report also said that nearly half of Cyber Monday spending came from work computers. The rest of the spending came from home computers (43.5 percent) and international locations made up 7.2 percent of sales.
The fastest gaining product categories from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday were consumer electronics, video game consoles and accessories, home and garden, apparel and accessories and sports and fitness.2013-12-04T14:32:00+00:00
I-64 widening receives important federal approval
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/i-64-widening-receives-important-federal-approval#When:21:00:00ZThe Federal Highway Administration has signed a final environmental impact statement to allow future widening of Interstate 64 between Richmond and Hampton.
Currently, $100 million is available under new transportation funding passed by the General Assembly earlier this year to widen a five-mile section of I-64 in Newport News. Under the project, the highway would be widened by one lane and a shoulder in each direction.
The plan requires the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization to include funding for this segment in its transportation improvement and long-range plans. After that, the FHWA would approve a Record of Decision for the project.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is pushing for a design-build advertisement by mid-2014 for widening in Newport News.2013-12-03T21:00:00+00:00
Virginia BioTechnology Research Park names interim executive director
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-biotechnology-research-park-names-interim-executive-director#When:20:58:00ZRichmond-based Virginia Bio∙Technology Park announced that Carrie Roth will serve as its interim executive director. Roth, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade, begins the new role Dec. 4.
Virginia Bio∙Technology Park’s President and CEO Robert Skunda announced earlier this year he was stepping down from the role on Dec. 31. Skunda will then become the park’s president emeritus.
Roth has been Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade since 2010. She will serve on an interim basis while a national search is conducted to fill the permanent position.
As deputy secretary of commerce and trade for Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration, Roth oversaw policy development and implementation and economic development project management.
The Virginia Bio∙Technology Research Park is home to more than 60 public and private bioscience companies, research institutes and medical laboratories.
Information on the progress of the search for the park’s next president and CEO will be published at http://www.vabiotech.com as it becomes available.2013-12-03T20:58:00+00:00
NASA becomes CCAM’s first government member
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nasa-becomes-ccams-first-government-member#When:20:54:00ZNASA becomes CCAM’s first government member
NASA and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Prince George County announced Tuesday that the space agency would become the first government member of the applied research center.
Under the partnership, NASA will provide liaisons to CCAM’s Industrial Operations Board and Technical Advisory Council. NASA scientists will conduct research and development at CCAM and NASA Langley in collaboration with industry partners, the University of Virginia, Virginia State University and Virginia Tech.
"NASA's expertise, along with the capabilities of the CCAM members, industry and academia, is a great combination, tailor made, for advancing innovative technologies," Stephen Jurczyk, NASA Langley's acting center director, said in a statement.
CCAM provides manufacturing solutions to member companies, who guide research at the facility and leverage talent and resources within CCAM and Virginia’s top universities.
CCAM industry members include Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, Sulzer Metco, Aerojet, Hermle Machine Co., Mitutoyo, TurboCombustor Technology Inc., Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, GF AgieCharmilles, Blaser Swisslube and Mechdyne.2013-12-03T20:54:00+00:00
Dominion Virginia Power will install state’s largest solar roof in Gloucester
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-virginia-power-will-install-states-largest-solar-roof-in-glouceste#When:20:17:00ZDominion Virginia Power will install more than 2,000 solar panels on the rooftop of Canon Virginia Inc.'s Industrial Resource Technologies facility in Gloucester, making it the largest roof solar system in the state.
The project is part of a program in which Dominion leases rooftop or ground space at commercial, industrial or public facilities for installation of solar panels. When operational, the panels at the Gloucester facility will generate more than 500 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power about 125 homes.
Under the Solar Partnership Program, Dominion ultimately plans to construct and operate up to 30 megawatts of company-owned solar facilities throughout the company's Virginia service area. When fully implemented, the program will be able to generate enough power for 7,500 homes.
"The Solar Partnership Program is designed to expand Dominion's understanding of community-based solar energy by studying its impact and assessing its benefits," Ken Barker, vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Conservation, said in a statement. "The Canon project is our largest installation to date and will enable us to evaluate the benefits of distributed generation on our system."
Distributed generation is the production of electricity at or near the point of its consumption. All the electricity generated in the $2 million Gloucester project will flow to the electric grid for use by Dominion Virginia Power customers.
PowerSecure, a North Carolina-based company with offices in Virginia, has been selected as the engineering, procurement and construction company on the project. Construction is scheduled to start in December, with the panels scheduled to be installed and operational in early 2014.
Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion, one of the country’s largest producers and transporters of energy.2013-12-03T20:17:00+00:00
Norfolk named as one of inaugural 100 resilient cities
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-named-as-one-of-inaugural-100-resilient-cities#When:20:15:00ZThe Rockefeller Foundation named Norfolk Tuesday to the 100 Resilient Cities Network. Norfolk was one of nearly 400 cities across six continents to apply for the inaugural 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which the New York-based foundation holds in partnership with the Financial Times.
“Along with 32 other cities across six continents, your city will be able to better prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more effectively in the face of shocks, stresses and other vulnerabilities,” Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin said in a statement.
The designation makes Norfolk part of a global network of urban areas focused on building resilience. A panel of leaders from around the world selected the 33 cities based on how a city planned to approach and build greater resilience; how a city would incorporate a range of constituents (civil society, local businesses, and academia) in its resilience planning; and how the needs of the poor or vulnerable would be addressed.
“As you explained so clearly in your application, building resilience requires partners from every sector … My team and I look forward to working with you, starting with an agenda-shaping workshop in early 2014,” said Michael Berkowitz, managing director for 100 Resilient Cities at The Rockefeller Foundation.
As part of the network, Norfolk will receive support to hire a chief resilience officer, create a resilience strategy, and receive access to tools, technical support, and resources for implementing a comprehensive resilience plan. Initial partners for these services include the World Bank, the American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity.
"Norfolk is honored to join this prestigious, global initiative,” Mayor Paul D. Fraim said in a statement. “We see the opportunity to extend our innovative sea level rise approach to critical issues of urban resiliency through this cutting-edge program. Norfolk also seeks the opportunity to learn from the global community how to better address the shocks and stresses of the 21st century.”
For nearly a decade, The Rockefeller Foundation has been a leader in the growing field of resilience planning. It funded comprehensive planning work in post-Katrina New Orleans, and most recently, by leading New York Governor Cuomo's post-Sandy Commission.
In May of this year, it launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge to help cities around the world. Additional cities will be named to join the network in subsequent years.2013-12-03T20:15:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/vanhorn_new-web.jpg
James W. Van Horn Jr. joins Hirschler Fleischer as a partner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/james-w.-van-horn-jr.-joins-hirschler-fleischer-as-a-partner#When:17:27:00ZHirschler Fleischer is expanding its investment management and private funds practice with the addition of partner James W. Van Horn Jr. in the firm’s Richmond office.
Van Horn’s background is in advising middle-market businesses and private investment funds.
A former business owner who holds advanced degrees in law and business administration, Van Horn regularly counsels investment advisors, wealth managers, and brokers on federal and state regulations and industry best practices.
Before joining Hirschler Fleischer, Van Horn represented institutional investors, private equity firms and financial market professionals at the law firms Carrell Blanton and Hunton & Williams.
Hirschler Fleischer is a multispecialty law firm with offices in Richmond and Fredericksburg.2013-12-03T17:27:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HensleyNV2.jpg
Dewberry hires national marketing director for architectural practice
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dewberry-hires-national-marketing-director-for-architectural-practice#When:16:32:00ZDewberry has hired Elizabeth Hensley as the architectural practice’s national marketing director. She will work in the firm's headquarters office in Fairfax. Before joining Dewberry, Hensley was the Southeast regional marketing manager at AECOM in Arlington where she led 21 marketing specialists. She has more than 25 years of experience in the marketing industry.
In her new role, Hensley will manage all aspects of the architectural practice’s marketing strategies.
Fairfax-based Dewberry offers architecture, engineering and management consulting services.2013-12-03T16:32:00+00:00
Greif plans $45 million upgrade for Amherst County plant
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/greif-plans-45-million-upgrade-for-amherst-county-plant#When:15:25:00ZOhio-based Greif is planning a $45 million upgrade to its plant in Amherst County. The upgrade includes technology improvements that will significantly reduce energy used to make paper products.
Greif makes containers, packaging accessories and containerboard. It also provides packaging services for a wide range of industries and manages acreage in the United States.
Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $350,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program for the project.
The Amherst plant has been in operation since 1975 and employs nearly 300 Virginians.2013-12-03T15:25:00+00:00
Norfolk holds grand opening for passenger rail station
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-holds-grandi-opening-for-passenger-rail-station#When:22:42:00ZNorfolk held a grand opening Monday for its new, 3,500 square foot passenger rail station.
The facility near Harbor Park is the first passenger rail station in the city since 1977.
“With modern, comfortable amenities, the new passenger rail station will greatly improve the passenger experience while serving as an identifiable landmark for those arriving to and departing from Norfolk,” Mayor Paul D. Fraim said in a statement..
The station includes a waiting area, ticket counter and restrooms.
Intercity passenger service resumed in Norfolk a year ago as part of a multiyear partnership involving the Commonwealth of Virginia, Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the city.2013-12-02T22:42:00+00:00
Ingenuity Development buys Archway Sixty in Chesterfield County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ingenuity-development-buys-archway-sixty-in-chesterfield-county#When:22:36:00ZIngenuity Development LLC said Monday that it has acquired Archway Sixty Office Park, a 65,000-square-foot-office complex in Chesterfield County.
“Archway Sixty represents a unique opportunity to acquire a very well located asset with great visibility, whose value can be significantly improved. We have major plans to enhance the building systems, both interior and exterior,” company President Sanford M. “Sandy” Cohen, said in a statement. “… We plan to give the property a fresh new exterior look and a new name.”
Improvements should get underway after the first of the year. Divaris Real Estate Inc.'s Richmond office will lease and manage the property.
An affiliate of Virginia Beach-based Divaris, Ingenuity Development specializes in acquiring commercial property for development and redevelopment throughout Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas.
Archway Sixty is the company’s third acquisition in Virginia in the past 18 months.2013-12-02T22:36:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/attachment.1300_N._17th_St.%2C_Arlington_%2C_VA.JPG
Leasing investment bank signs off on relocation deal in Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leasing-investment-bank-signs-off-on-relocation-deal-in-arlington#When:22:02:00ZFBR & Co., a leasing investment bank serving the middle market, has leased 54,450 square feet of Class A office space at Arlington Tower in a move that will relocate 200 of its employees next year.
The company plans to move into its new space at 1300 N. 17th St. on or about Nov. 1, 2014. The company is currently located at 1001 N. 19th Street in Arlington.
Led by Executive Vice President Junius Tillery, a team from DTZ represented FBR in the transaction. DTZ said in a news release that proximity to Reagan National Airport and greater efficiency were key stipulations for the relocation.
Arlington Tower is a LEED-certified, 19-story, 361,991-square-foot, multi-tenant property that has recently undergone major renovation. Owned by Tishman Speyer, it offers three levels of below-grade parking and is located within minutes of the Rosslyn Metro station.2013-12-02T22:02:00+00:00
Advance names president of Autopart International subsidiary
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/advance-names-president-of-autopart-international-subsidiary#When:22:02:00ZRoanoke-based Advance Auto Parts Inc. announced Monday that Michael Creedon will join its Autopart International subsidiary as president.
Creedon was vice president and general manager, Sensormatic LLC – North America Sales and Operation.
In that role, he was responsible for the strategic direction, operational performance and financial contribution of Tyco Integrated Security’s largest North America vertical.
Prior to that position, Creedon held various leadership positions with ADT Security Services Inc. and Tyco International (US) Inc.
Norton, Mass.-based Autopart International, which Advance Auto bought in 2005, distributes its products through wholesale distributors across North America.
It has more than 200 stores in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Advance operates more than 4,000 stores in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.2013-12-02T22:02:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/PRNJDisplayImageServlet.jpg
Joint venture will develop $100 million office tower at Tysons
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-joint-venture-will-develop-100-million-office-tower-at-tysons#When:21:57:00ZAmerican Real Estate Partners and The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) announced a joint venture Monday to develop a 10-story, $100 million office tower that will anchor the Arbor Row master planned district of Tysons
Designed by KGD Architecture, the 200,0000-square-foot project, 7901 Westpark, will be built at the intersection of Westpark Drive and Galleria Drive, one block from the Tysons Corner Silver Line metro station. It will overlook the Beltway and the new 495 express lanes. According to the companies, a glass curtain wall tower will afford soaring views of Northern Virginia. Groundbreaking, though, is still a ways off with construction expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.
"We are delighted to be partnering with AMT on what will be one of the most visible and best located office developments in Tysons Corner,” American Real Estate Partners President, Brian Katz, said in a statement. "
Company CEO Doug Fleit added, "Tysons has already become the strongest and most amenity rich office location in Northern Virginia. With our project's location next to the Metro and adjacent to the HOT lanes, 7901 Westpark will be the most desirable office building in the market."
AMT's offices are currently located in the existing 7901 Westpark building, which will be demolished to make way for the new building. The association expects to occupy about 30,000 square feet in the new building.
Amenities will include a 200-seat conference center, a rooftop terrace and a ground-floor fitness center and cafe.
American Real Estate Partners, based in Herndon, focuses on commercial real estate assets in markets along the Eastern Seaboard. The firm's current holdings total about 5.2 million square feet of Class A office, flex and industrial assets.
AMT represents and promotes U.S.-based manufacturing technology and its members. Founded in 1902 and based in Virginia, the association specializes in providing targeted business assistance, global support and business intelligence systems and analysis.2013-12-02T21:57:00+00:00
Richard Bland College announces transfer agreement
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richard-bland-college-announces-transfer-agreement#When:21:00:00ZRichard Bland College in Petersburg has signed an agreement with the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) that guarantees its students admission to a number of CICV colleges and universities. Averett University, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampton University, Liberty University, Lynchburg College, Randolph-Macon College, Virginia Union University and Shenandoah University are participating in the program.
Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and graduate with an associate in art or an associate in science degree to transfer to a participating institution.
Richard Bland College is a two-year institution that enrolls more than 1,500 students. CICV is a nonprofit organization that represents 29 independent colleges and universities in Virginia.2013-12-02T21:00:00+00:00
Vistronix names chief financial officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vistronix-names-chief-financial-officer#When:20:47:00ZHolly Asher Beveridge has joined Reston-based Vistronix as chief financial officer.
Vistronix is a major provider of mission-critical solutions to national federal security agencies.
Before joining Vistronix, Beveridge was CFO of Manassas-based Trinity Technology Group for five years.
She is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and serves on the board of Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Equal Footing Foundation
Beveridge earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Old Dominion University and a master’s certificate in government contracting from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management.2013-12-02T20:47:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Remick.jpeg
CBRE|Hampton Roads promotes industrial broker
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cbrehampton-roads-promotes-industrial-broker#When:20:22:00ZCBRE|Hampton Roads has promoted Worth Remick to senior vice president.
Remick has more than 27 years of experience in industrial leasing, sales, development and tenant/buyer representation. He has leased or sold more than 10 million square feet of industrial, flex and office properties.
Remick is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and the CBRE Port Practice Group, which focuses on international trade and port-related developments.
He also belongs to the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE) and serves on the Executive Committee of the Old Dominion Center for Real Estate and Economic Development. In addition, he has been active in the South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity where he spent 13 years on the Board of Directors.2013-12-02T20:22:00+00:00
Virginia Beach receives supplier diversity award
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-receives-supplier-diversity-award#When:19:40:00ZThe City of Virginia Beach has received the Governor’s 2013 Supplier Diversity Award.
The award recognizes the city’s efforts to improve contracting for small businesses and those owned by women or minorities – known as SWaM businesses (small, women- and minority-owned). Virginia Beach won the award for SWaM innovation and best practices.
The award recognizes agencies that have made innovations or modifications to their SWaM programs that removed barriers, enhanced competitiveness or increased participation by SWaM businesses.
The Virginia Beach Minority Business Council is an advisory agency to the City Council and City Manager. It holds an annual expo to help SWaM businesses compete for government contracts, and provides information, guidance and programs to help business owners understand how to work with the city.
The City Council has set a goal of 10 percent of all city contracting for SWaM businesses. In the past year, 9.37 percent of all non-capital expenditures went to minority businesses.“2013-12-02T19:40:00+00:00
Supervalu will show off new truck fleet and fill station on Friday
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/supervalu-will-show-off-new-truck-fleet-and-fill-station-on-friday#When:16:43:00ZSupervalu Inc., one of the country’s leading grocery distributors, wanted to reduce its carbon footprint while delivering products to stores in the Eastern region. So it partnered with Trillium CNG to build and operate a fast-fill compressed natural gas station for a new truck fleet at Supervalu’s distribution center in Mechanicsville.
The trucks and station will be available for tours on Friday, Dec. 6, following a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting event. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, along with company representatives, will speak at a news conference.
The project added 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). According to Supervalu, the fleet is the largest of its kind on the East Coast, and the company plans to add another 20 trucks next year.
To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG built the fast-fill station at 8258 Richfood Rd., where the fleet is based.
According to Supervalu, the effort will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions.2013-12-02T16:43:00+00:00
Virginia Beach to seek developers for ex-Dome site.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-to-seek-developers-for-ex-dome-site#When:16:14:00ZThe Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development plans to solicit development proposals in January for the ex-Dome property between 18th and 20 streets near the oceanfront. According to The Virginian-Pilot, a Texan businessman who planned to build an entertainment complex on the site has not been able to get financing.
The Dome site today is an empty parking lot, and city officials say development of the prime parcel is key to boosting tourism.2013-12-02T16:14:00+00:00
NAIOP’s annual meeting will feature past chairmen
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/naiops-annual-meeting-will-feature-past-chairmen#When:15:47:00ZAn assessment of one of the country’s largest commercial real estate markets by people in the know will be the main offering at the annual meeting and luncheon of the Northern Virginia chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
Five of the organization’s past chairmen will participate in a panel discussion about the industry and the region on Dec. 17, at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church. Led by current Chairman Dave Millard, a principal at Avison Young, the panelists will look back, discuss today's market and provide insights to Northern Virginia's future.
The speakers are: Brian Benninghoff, partner, Buchanan Partners LLC; David Birtwistle, CEO, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance; Janet Davis, senior vice president, leasing, Metro D.C., Brandywine Realty Trust; Bob Murphy, managing principal, MRP Realty; and Jon Peterson, principal, Peterson Cos.
The cost is $80 for members and $100 for nonmembers.2013-12-02T15:47:00+00:00
McLean-based immixGroup Inc. names new CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mclean-based-immixgroup-inc.names-new-ceo#When:19:04:00ZArt Richer has been named CEO and president of McLean-based immixGroup Inc., a firm that helps technology companies do business with the government.
He has served as president since 2007. As CEO, he will assume responsibility for leading the strategic direction of the company as well as daily operations.
Jeff Copeland, a co-founder of the company, had served as chairman and CEO since 1997.
He will assume the role of executive chairman, focusing on strategic growth initiatives.2013-11-27T19:04:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/marc_deluca.jpg
KBS hires new eastern regional president
KBS Realty Advisors and KBS Capital Advisors announce the hiring of Marc DeLuca as KBS’ eastern regional president.
DeLuca, a 19-year industry veteran, will be responsible for all acquisitions, dispositions and asset management activities for KBS in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. He replaces the retiring Chuck Lindwall, who was responsible for KBS’ eastern region since the company was founded in 1992.
Since 1999, DeLuca worked for Clarion Partners in Washington, D.C., where he most recently served as managing director, responsible for acquisitions and dispositions for the Mid-Atlantic region, spanning Delaware to South Florida.
During DeLuca’s tenure with Clarion he invested in all property types, acquiring more than $4 billion in product since January 2006 and closing more than $2.2 billion of loans.
No stranger to the KBS portfolio, DeLuca has bid on many of the same properties as KBS.
KBS Realty Advisors, based out of Newport Beach, Calif., is a private equity real estate company and SEC-registered investment advisor. KBS Realty Advisors and its affiliated companies have completed transactional activity valued at more than $26 billion via 14 separate accounts, six commingled funds, five sovereign wealth funds and five non-traded REITs.2013-11-27T18:49:00+00:00
Kastle Systems buys two security system businesses from ADT
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kastle-systems-buys-two-security-system-businesses-from-adt#When:18:48:00ZFalls Church-based Kastle Systems International, a major provider of managed security solutions, has acquired Mutual Central Alarm
Services and Stat-Land Security Systems from The ADT Corp.
Under the deal, Kastle Systems will add nearly 4,000 customer sites in New York City.
Kastle Systems said Mutual and Stat-Land’s financial service clients, including upscale jewelers and other marquee retailers, will benefit from Kastle’s
products and services, including advanced monitored video solutions.
Mark Ein, the chairman of Kastle Systems, described the deal as a great fit, adding that New York City is a top priority market for the company.
Debt financing for the deal was providindg by Kastle’s existing lenders, including Capitalsource Bank and Capital One, N.A.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kastle, in operation for more than 40 years, protects more than 2,000 properties with 37,000 tenant spaces and 400 million square feet of office space nationwide and overseas.
In addition to its headquarters in Falls Church, the company has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Sydney, Australia.
The ADT Corp. is based in Boca Raton, Fla.2013-11-27T18:48:00+00:00
495 Express Lanes celebrate one year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/495-express-lanes-celebrate-one-year#When:18:44:00Z In the first 10 months of opening, the 495 Express Lanes served 855,000 people. That’s one of the facts revealed in a report released this month celebrating the 495 Express Lanes’ first year.
The report – released by 495 Express Lanes and international toll road developer Transurban – also said that in September 2013 toll revenue from the express lanes reached $4.8 million, up from June 2013 when revenue was $4 million.
Other facts :
• Three most popular Express Lanes trips: (1) I-66 to I-495N (2) Springfield Interchange to Route 267 (Dulles Toll Road) and (3) Springfield Interchange to I-495N.
• Average toll since opening: $1.63.
• Busiest day on the Express Lanes was Sept. 12, 2013 with 47,303 trips.
• 60 percent of Express Lanes customers are younger than 45.
• Most customers used the 495 Express Lanes to be on time for work or an appointment.
• The majority of Express Lanes customers are from Virginia (59 percent), followed by Maryland (29 percent) and Washington, D.C.2013-11-27T18:44:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SOVA_loft1.pngThe former Smith Seeds building in Danville has been turned into 20 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Virginia firms aid Danville redevelopment
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-firms-aid-danville-redevelopment#When:16:55:00ZA former tobacco processing center and seed warehouse in Danville is one of several buildings in Danville’s River District being turned into chic living spaces.
The 40,000-square-foot Smith Seeds building has been turned into 20 one- and two-bedroom apartments, featuring stainless steel appliances, a fitness center and exposed brick and wood. There are also plans for three commercial spaces for the ground floor of the four-story building.
“They are larger than you typically get in an apartment,” says Richard Peterson, principal at Richmond-based Cornerstone Architects PLC, who worked on the project. “There’s a lot of space, both ceiling height and space in the floor plan.”
Danville is in the third year of its River District Development Project, which aims to revitalize the city’s downtown and drive economic development. Danville’s economy has suffered in recent years because of the loss of large industries such as tobacco and textiles.
According to Danville’s Office of Economic Development, the River District has seen $78 million in private investment during the past five years. The district includes Danville’s central business and tobacco warehouse districts and manufacturing area.
Winchester-based Stone-ridge Development and Roanoke-based Brian Wishneff & Associates are also working on redevelopment projects in The River District. The firms are rehabilitating the approximately 25,000-square-foot Wise-Hundley building on Main Street. The project is still in development, but the plan is to have commercial space on the bottom floor and 12 to 14 apartments on the upper floor, says John Willingham of Stoneridge Development. He hopes to have the project finished by next fall.
Stoneridge Development and Brian Wishneff & Associates also are developing the former RJR building on Bridge Street. The bottom floor of the roughly 60,000-square-foot building would be used for commercial space, Willingham says. Plans for the rest of the building are still in development.
Richmond-based developers Garrett Shifflett and Ross Fickensher also continue to work on Pemberton Lofts on Bridge Street. The second phase will add 50 apartments to the project, which currently includes 62 units and two commercial spaces. Shifflett and Fickensher also plan to develop 610 Craghead St. into 40 apartments and one commercial space. The Craghead Street apartments will have a look similar to Pemberton Lofts, which include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors.
Peterson says Cornerstone Architects was drawn to Danville’s well-built, underutilized historic buildings. Other draws included a business-friendly atmosphere and institutions in the area such as Averett University and Danville Regional Medical Center.2013-11-27T16:55:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RobinDavis_01.pngApplication counselor Robin Davis works with a health-care applicant in Roanoke. Photo by Steven Mantilla
Healthcare website improves, but wave of cancellations upsets policyholders
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/healthcare-website-improves-but-wave-of-cancellations-upsets-policyholders#When:11:00:00ZThe October launch of the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance option was a mess, but it’s gotten better, say those who are helping people around Virginia apply for coverage.
Improvements to the healthcare.gov website, which were due to be completed by Nov. 30, also let people find out how the new insurance options will affect them. For some it’s a lot better, for others, it isn’t.
Robin Davis, an application counselor at New Horizons Healthcare in Roanoke, has been helping people trying to use the website for the past two months. She says applicants didn’t give up despite its early problems and that the flow of applicants remained steady. “They’re very understanding that there are going to be issues with something of this magnitude,” she says. “Most folks we talk to are willing to come back again and again.”
They needed to do so because the site didn’t work at all when it was launched on Oct. 1. “It was horrible. It took us almost three hours to get through our first application,” Davis says. By early November, the same task took her 40 minutes, she says. “So it’s getting better.”
Davis, who sees about five people a day, says most are older, lower income and currently without any health insurance. They’re generally pleased with the monthly premiums, and most qualify for tax credits available to low-income applicants, she says.
But because Virginia hasn’t decided if it will take part in the proposed expansion of Medicaid, some applicants fall into a gap. They’re too poor to qualify for tax credits under the health-care law but have too much income to qualify for Medicaid.
Jill Hanken is an attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, which has about three dozen “navigators” around the state helping people use the insurance exchange. She says her group has been working around problems with the website by using paper applications or the federal call center. Besides the website’s technical problems, many people are struggling to understand the “very different insurance landscape…people still have a lot to learn about it,” Hanken says.
The Obama administration revealed in November that only 27,000 people, including 1,023 in Virginia, enrolled in health plans using the federal website during its first 33 days of operation. Another 79,000 enrolled on state-run exchanges.
In response to problems with the exchange, the deadline for applying for insurance without incurring a penalty has been eased back from mid-February to March 31.
In addition to the ACA’s website problems, many individual customers’ health-care policies have been canceled because they didn’t offer coverage required by the law. The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 4 million people in 28 states had received cancellation notices by
Nov. 14. No numbers were available on those affected in Virginia; insurers aren’t required to report how many policies are being canceled.
For those facing a cancellation, it’s a big deal, says Herndon-based insurance agent Jonathan Katz. “It’s very widespread” among people who buy individual policies, he says. About 20 percent of his firm’s 2,500 clients are at risk. They started calling in early November with worried questions. “I set a personal record, I got 74 calls in one day,” he says.
Replacing the coverage is a complex decision for people to make, he says. His clients generally aren’t eligible for the tax credits to subsidize their premiums under insurance purchased on the exchange, he says. About 518,000 people in Virginia are eligible for the tax credits that would offset premium costs. The annual income threshold to be eligible is $94,200 for a family of four, and most of his clients make more than that, he says.
Without the subsidies, the pricing for plans on and off the exchange can be significantly higher. “The bigger story to me is what products and pricing are available for next year for people who don’t qualify for subsidies,” he says. “People are very upset, generally speaking. Some are happy, but not many.”
Clients who benefit are those who qualify for tax credits or have a pre-existing health condition that was making insurance expensive. They’re getting less expensive plans on the exchange, he says. But most others are not getting tax credits, just higher premiums. “It’s a real struggle. If I tell somebody their premium went to $1,200 from $600, they don’t have that money,” he says.
Admitting that his administration had “fumbled” rollout of the health-care law, President Obama announced in mid-November that insurers can extend for one year policies that had been cancelled because they failed to meet the law’s coverage requirements. At press time, it was unclear how the president’s move would affect cancelled policies in Virginia. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, has been offering customers the option to renew early for one-year policies that otherwise would be discontinued on Jan. 1, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Hanken says all the uncertainty should spur consumers to get started now. “Things are getting better,” she says. “People will need to do the work to realize they have better choices.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ROANOKE_VTCSMRI.pngIgnacio Saez is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. Photo courtesy Virginia Tech
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/manufacturing-tech-sectors-helping-to-rebuild-roanoke-areas-economy#When:11:00:00ZAs the national economy continues to rebuild from the Great Recession, the Roanoke and New River valleys have seen a manufacturing resurgence.
Once thought a casualty of globalism, industries that make stuff have made a comeback in the region. Whether it’s the Luxembourg-based food packaging company Ardagh Group announcing it would invest in a site in Roanoke County, or Virginia Tech-grown TECHLAB expanding biotech production to the Radford Industrial Park, manufacturing is helping to drive Virginia’s economic recovery.
Health care remains the region’s biggest employment sector, with Carilion Clinic as the Roanoke region’s largest employer. But “manufacturing led us out of the recession,” says Beth Doughty, executive director at the Roanoke Regional Partnership.
While job growth in the Roanoke and Blacksburg areas — home to a combined population of nearly half a million people — lags the national average, the region’s manufacturing sector has outpaced both the commonwealth and the nation.
There’s potential for more, too. The 4-year-old Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute reached its first full student capacity this fall.
Economic development boosters hope the research institute will do for Roanoke what Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center (CRC) has done for Blacksburg: Provide a supportive environment for small companies to grow and hopefully remain in the region.
An ‘exploding’ tech sector
The 230-acre CRC has 155 tenants and is at nearly 99 percent of its capacity, according to its president, Joe Meredith. The center is adding two new buildings — one for a $5.5 million expansion by Rackspace’s IT hosting operation and the other for a $3.5 million propulsion laboratory operated by Virginia Tech’s engineering department — as well as athletic fields and amenities.
Two tenants have expanded beyond the CRC. One of them, TECHLAB, a biotech firm that started at Virginia Tech before locating in the CRC, bought a 54,000-square-foot building in nearby Radford to house its manufacturing facilities.
Also, Aeroprobe Corp., which makes instruments and software used in cars, jets, wind turbines and other applications, will invest $3 million over five years into a new site in Christiansburg’s Falling Branch Corporate Park.
Derick Maggard, executive director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, says Virginia’s tech sector “is exploding right now.”
“This focus on entrepreneurship and innovation is only going to lead to greater growth,” Maggard says. “It’s not a bubble at all but the wave of the future.”
Traditional manufacturing plants have expanded as well. Celanese Acetate, which employs more than 1,000 people at its Giles County facility, launched a $150 million capital project to convert its power plant from coal to natural gas.
BAE Systems announced it will invest $240 million to upgrade its facility at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant.
A Polish company, Korona Candles, will spend $18.3 million to establish a facility in Pulaski County, creating about 170 jobs.
James Hardie Building Products expanded its Pulaski facility to nearly 1 million square feet.
In the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County history, the Ardagh Group announced it would spend $93.5 million to renovate the former Hanover Direct building into a facility that can produce nearly 4.5 million food cans per day.
Not all manufacturing news has been good, though: The Grede Holdings LLC said it would close the historic Radford Foundry, which had passed through the hands of several owners and employed 250 people when the closure was announced.
“There are always ups and downs,” says Aric Bopp, executive director of the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance. “It’s sad to see companies that do face struggles and challenges. But for the most part, the economy in the region is really firing up.”
The companies that have manufacturing facilities in the region sell to a global market, and, if the economy continues to improve, Bopp and Doughty expect to see continued investment and job growth.
No silver bullets
Manufacturing isn’t the region’s only strong point, however. Everyone wants a “silver bullet” for economic development, Doughty says. “Everyone wants the one thing that will change things and make it better. That’s an antiquated view of the economy. It’s more like spinning plates:
You have to have a lot going on to grow your economy in different ways.”
In 2012, Moody’s Analytics ranked the Roanoke region 46th out of 384 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for industrial diversity. It fell slightly this year, from 73 percent as diverse as the nation to 71 percent, but it still ranks high. In Virginia it ranks just below Richmond (72 percent) but is well ahead of the two localities tied for third in Virginia (Lynchburg and Winchester, at 58 percent each).
“We’re not putting all of our jelly beans in one bucket,” says Wayne Strickland, executive director of Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.
The localities that comprise the Roanoke Valley worked together in 2013 to collectively raise their lodging tax rates — a move that required General Assembly approval for Roanoke County — and provide a larger marketing budget for the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau to attract tourists.
The Roanoke Regional Airport invested in a makeover for its terminal, and Gov. Bob McDonnell announced in August that Amtrak would extend passenger rail service to Roanoke by 2016.
Roanoke Valley governments also teamed up with the private sector to create a regional broadband authority to help encourage the expansion of affordable high-speed Internet service. In September, gigabit Internet service arrived in Blacksburg after a successful Crowdtilt crowd-sourcing campaign by TechPad, a co-working space near Virginia Tech. (See page 15.)
Breweries bubble up
Then there’s the region’s growing food economy. The biggest news in that sector was the announcement that Mexico-based Red Sun Farms would invest $30 million to build greenhouses on 45 acres in Pulaski’s NRV Commerce Park, creating 205 jobs within five years.
Beneath the banner of that high-profile economic development victory, the local food movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade.
That includes the rapid expansion of the region’s craft brewing sector. While larger, traditional domestic beer companies have seen sales of products stagnate, craft beer labels have exploded in variety and revenue. Until 2013, however, Roanoke’s only brewer of note was Roanoke Railhouse, founded in 2009.
The 2012 expansion by Nelson County-based Devil’s Backbone Brewing to a new facility just north of Roanoke in Lexington, however, may have inspired more regional brewers to step up. Devil’s Backbone expanded the Lexington plant at the end of 2012 and again this year, increasing its production capacity to 40,000 barrels per year.
In the Roanoke and Blacksburg region, entrepreneurs launched Parkway Brewing Company in Salem, Sunken City Brewery in Franklin County near Smith Mountain Lake and Flying Mouse Brewery in Botetourt County.
The largest of the three, Parkway Brewing, is producing 3,600 barrels per year, with plans to expand to 6,000. Owner Mike “Keno” Snyder says the brewery saw about 15 percent growth its first year.
Sunken City invested $2.3 million at Westlake, where it produces canned product. The brewery is on track to produce about 3,000 barrels this year and has the capacity to produce up to about 20,000 barrels per year. Owner Jerome Parnell says he hopes to expand distribution eventually into five to seven states.
Local food loyalty
Besides beer, there’s been a surge of farming and food production in western Virginia, too. “Local products have really improved not just in quantity but in quality too,” says John Bryant, spokesman for the Roanoke Natural Foods Cooperative. “There’s been a real step up in the game.”
In 2003, Tenley Weaver’s Good Food – Good People, a Floyd County-based food aggregator, received local produce from five suppliers and maintained about eight accounts. Now, Good Food – Good People channels local products from 40 farmers and nearly 30 other suppliers to numerous restaurants, farmers markets, wholesalers, a retail outlet and roughly 385 people who paid at the beginning of the season for regular deliveries through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
“The percentile growth that our company and food system here is experiencing is off the charts,” Weaver says. “Will it hold? Of course not. It has to level at some point.”
This year has been difficult for farmers, with unseasonably cool temperatures, record-breaking amounts of rain and generally unpredictable weather. The markets and demand for locally produced food, however, are better than they’ve been in decades.
Farm-to-table restaurants, such as Local Roots, River to Rail and Bent Mountain Bistro, trumpet their commitment to local foods, while others, such as Alexander’s, regularly purchase regional goods as well.
Nearly a dozen new farmers markets have cropped up. The success of one of them, the Grandin Village Community Market, founded in 2009, inspired the nearby Roanoke Natural Foods Cooperative to grow as well, expanding with not only a second, downtown location but also the establishment of an urban farm.
The co-op’s new satellite location in the freshly renovated Center in the Square building wouldn’t have been possible without a residential development boom in downtown Roanoke.
Richmond developer Bill Chapman, who previously launched the Lofts at West Station in a redeveloped warehouse, this year opened Parkway 301, which includes 89 apartment units in the former Shenandoah Building. Another developer, Faisal Khan, plans 90 units for the Crystal Tower Building, which he has renamed the Ponce de Leon in honor of its former life as a hotel.
The rapid conversion of old warehouses and office buildings into apartments has resulted in new opportunities for retail stores. One retail area, 16 West Marketplace, was developed as a commercial marketplace aimed at the new downtown population: It includes a grocery, pizzeria, coffee shop and more.
The private sector investment has been boosted by the city government, too, which over the last decade has invested roughly $20 million into the Market Street corridor from the railroad to Elm Avenue. In October, the city reopened Elmwood Park after a $7 million renovation that included construction of a new amphitheater.
“We try with public dollars to leverage what’s happening downtown to get more private investment,” says Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill.
That’s what happened with the six- story Market Garage, which was renovated in 2009 at a cost of $6 million. That led to an announcement in 2012 by the Greenville, S.C.-based Windsor/Aughtry Co. that it would build a Hampton Inn on top of the structure. Bids came in several million dollars higher than the company expected, so it is working with city government to find ways to cut costs. The company still hopes to begin construction before year’s end.
While the region’s retail sector still struggles with online competitors, clothier Larry Davidson said the work downtown has boosted his business: “I just sense the activity level is so totally different now. For me, personally, it’s very exciting to see the quality of the things it’s instilled up and down Market Street.”
The city hopes to spin that activity into adjacent neighborhoods. Last year, the Roanoke City Council extended the downtown district south past the Roanoke River to an area that includes the Bridges, a planned $150 million development that broke ground in May. The first phase includes construction of an apartment building and the renovation of an existing structure into a coffeehouse and restaurant.
City officials also designated a district just west of downtown for targeted federal redevelopment funds. Freedom First Credit Union will open a branch in the neighborhood, and the city council voted to sell the former health department building to Ed Walker, a renowned developer who previously redeveloped the Patrick Henry, the Cotton Mill Lofts and the former Hancock Building into apartments.
One of the city’s traditional cornerstone companies, Advance Auto Parts Inc., announced in October it would acquire General Auto Parts International Inc., for $2 billion, meaning the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America will be headquartered in Roanoke.
Additionally, Virginia Western Community College offers courses in mechatronics — a combination of mechanical and electronic systems — that will prepare more workers for the kind of manufacturing companies that are making a home in the region.
“Advanced manufacturing is our sweet spot,” says Doughty. “We’re just starting to see the beginning of a trend. It’s going to continue to go up.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VT93948_201326770096.pngPhoto by Logan Wallace, courtesy Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech institute tests automated vehicle technologies
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-institute-tests-automated-vehicle-technologies#When:11:00:00ZSometime in the 2040s, your son or daughter is running late for a meeting across town. They pull up an app on their implanted smart device and find the nearest available driverless vehicle. The pod-like conveyance pulls up and waits for its passenger, like a theme park ride. The automated taxi drops the rider off at the appointed destination and then whisks away to retrieve its next client.
Except for the body cyber implant (which, really, is as good as anyone’s guess at this point) that may be a fairly accurate vision of the future of transportation, which is being pioneered at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). The institute, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in November, is road-testing and researching a variety of new vehicular technologies that are years — and in some cases decades — ahead of what one can find in today’s auto showrooms.
“Long term, things are moving towards automation … but it’s an evolutionary process,” says Thomas A. Dingus, the institute’s executive director. “There are production vehicles out this year and last year that automatically brake. There are production cars out this year and over the next year that will actually do lane centering. That’s sort of the first step toward automated steering. … We’ve tested a lot of that technology here at VTTI over the last decade. It’s all moving toward full automation, although that’s quite a ways away. … Realistically you’re talking about 25 or 30 years, but it will go fast if the last 25 years is any indication.”
This year, Dingus was honored at the White House as one of the Obama administration’s 2013 Champions of Change for his work on 21st-century transportation solutions.
Since becoming VTTI director in 1996, Dingus developed it from a 15-employee center into the nation’s second-largest university transportation research institute, now employing a staff of more than 350. Its annual budget grew from $2 million to about $40 million in just a decade as Dingus built partnerships with the federal government and the automotive industry. (About 25 percent of VTTI’s annual research budget comes from private industry; the balance is from state and federal funding.) The institute conducts more than 200 research projects a year, including testing new technologies for automotive manufacturers as an independent research facility.
VTTI operates the Virginia Smart Road, a closed, test-bed facility in Blacksburg that includes a 2.2-mile test track and the 175-foot-high Smart Road Bridge, the tallest state-maintained bridge in the state. Researchers have logged more than 16,500 hours at the facility. This year, among many other projects, Tech researchers have road-tested the driverless Google Car at the Smart Road as part of a project in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Google and General Motors. The project tests how drivers react to warnings to take control of semiautonomous vehicles.
There are different levels of automation in vehicles, explains Myra Blanco, who leads VTTI’s Automated Vehicle Systems research group, including features such as automated braking, lane changing and lane centering. Another technology has the car knowing its position relative to the car in front of it.
In the Google study, Blanco says, “We’re basically looking at the human system interaction, looking at how the driver will hand off or cede control to the vehicle, then if something happens, how they would regain control of the vehicle again.” For instance, if the car encounters an unexpected road condition such as road construction, it could signal the driver to take over. VTTI is studying how to make that transition seamless and safe.
The goal that transportation researchers are working toward is a fully automated car into which the user can input a destination and let the car safely do the rest. No company has gotten to that point yet, Blanco says, but the Google Car and projects such as CityMobil, a European pilot project testing automated mass transit, are steps toward the future.
Conceivably, automating vehicles could virtually eliminate car crashes, alleviate traffic congestion and reduce gasoline usage, Dingus says, but first there will have to be redundant, reliable systems that are beyond foolproof. “We still have 32,000 or 33,000 fatalities a year. People say once vehicles are automated, that number will drop substantially,” Dingus says, “but if you’re in an automated vehicle and it crashes, it’s going to be on the front page of every newspaper in the country.”
Toward that end, a major component of VTTI’s automated research is the ability to create a wireless network of smart vehicles sharing the road and trading data with one another.
VTTI is conducting connected vehicle tests on the Smart Road and in real-world driving conditions on its Virginia Connected Test Bed, a stretch of highway with 43 wireless networking devices located at intersections along the Interstate 66 corridor in Fairfax County near state Routes 29 and 50.
Using wireless technology, connected vehicles can build a virtual map of which cars are around them and where those cars are heading. Cars could relay information to each other such as warnings of slick roads so your vehicle will know to slow down, says Zachary Doerzaph, director of VTTI’s Center for Advanced Automotive Research. Connected vehicles also could collect information from road crews about construction hazards.
One of the studies VTTI is conducting examines how stop signs could become “virtual yield signs,” Doerzaph says, allowing you to drive through the intersection without stopping if the car knows no other vehicles are nearby. Another potential use would allow state transportation departments to improve traffic flow by directing traffic to different lanes depending on the vehicle’s destination.
VTTI is also looking at customizable software inside the car. Right now that means entertainment apps such as Pandora or Netflix, Doerzaph says, but one day the user could purchase additional software increasing the smart technology capabilities of the vehicle.
There are questions to be answered, including whether the network would compete with cellphone bandwidth or operate solely on short-range technology. Also, due to infrastructure costs, it’s more likely that fixed wireless broadcast nodes would be located at strategic locations instead of being ubiquitous on roadways, Doerzaph says. And for safety’s sake, systems must be more reliable than a cell phone connection.
Other challenges to using automated vehicles include regulatory questions and phasing out the existing fleet of non-automated vehicles. Cars with the newest automation and smart features likely will be more expensive, Dingus says, so it could take 25 to 30 years before everyone is driving a connected or smart car. VTTI also is looking into whether older cars could become retrofitted with adaptive technology, Doerzaph says, but those cars probably wouldn’t have as high a level of functionality as cars with built-in technology.
Other related research at VTTI examines “naturalistic driving” — monitoring drivers’ habits in the vehicle with technology including cameras and monitors. VTTI looks at factors such as texting (very bad), cell phone usage (surprisingly not so bad because the driver’s eyes are forward on the road when talking) and fatigue (a huge factor in crashes and near-crashes). Eventually VTTI research may be used to create more advanced, built-in monitoring applications for novice teen drivers that could send detailed report cards to parents about the teens’ driving habits, similar to current commercial products such as DriveCam and IntelliDrive.
“We want to make sure we get this right the first time,” Doerzaph says. “The worst possible outcome is for us to do all this work and when it gets deployed, it decreases safety instead of increasing safety.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CRE_SweetFrog1960.pngThe frozen yogurt chain now has 300 stores. Photo by Mark Rhodes
Frozen yogurt shops take off with more expansion planned in 2014
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/frozen-yogurt-shops-take-off-with-more-expansion-planned-in-2014#When:11:00:00ZThe proper name for a group of frogs is “an army,” and army is an apt way to describe the swelling ranks of one of Virginia’s biggest retail success stories in recent years, sweetFrog.
The frozen yogurt chain started as a single location in the Short Pump area of Richmond in 2009. Derek Cha and his wife, Annah Kim, believed that they could fill a vacant niche in the market, and they were right.
In less than five years, sweetFrogs have appeared in 28 states, Great Britain and the Dominican Republic. The company now has 300 corporate, licensed and franchised stores (franchise fee: $30,000) with 82 in the Old Dominion alone. According to the company, in 2012 the average monthly net sales for a sample of its stores was $54,902.
James Denison, who does public relations for sweetFrog, credits the yogurt chain’s phenomenal growth to two factors.
First, he says, it offers a quality product. Customers at the self-serve, sold-by-weight shops can pick from 20 flavors of frozen yogurt, ranging from tried-and-true chocolate to quirky maple bacon donut. The store’s 50 toppings include mango poppers, cheesecake bites and, of course, gummy frogs.
But just as important to the chain’s success, says Denison, is its family values. “Frog” is an acronym for “fully rely on God.” The sweetFrog chain puts that sentiment into action by participating in food drives and sponsoring charitable events. Mascots Scoop and Cookie visit children’s hospitals and make appearances at local fundraisers. “We want to be there for our community,” Denison says.
That community continues to expand. The company now is marching into New England and the Great Lakes region and reportedly is eyeing South America for its next overseas theater of operations.
Kermit may have been right when he said that it wasn’t easy being green, but, for frozen yogurt entrepreneur Derek Cha, it can be lucrative.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CRE_Kroger1986.pngKroger opened a new megastore in Virginia Beach last summer and has another one under construction in Henrico County.
Retail activity picks up in Virginia with a push from grocers and restaurants.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/retail-activity-picks-up-in-virginia-with-a-push-from-grocers-and-restauran#When:11:00:00ZVirginians do not live by bread alone. They live on sub sandwiches, ribs, doughnuts and frozen yogurt. When they opt for slow food, they want a buffet of grocery shopping options.
Restaurant and grocery options are expanding in Virginia as the retail development market continues to recover. While some major retailers, including Sears and JCPenney, are struggling, restaurant chains, fast-food outlets and major grocers are acting as anchors for small- and large-scale developments.
As is the case across the nation, renovation is more prevalent than new construction, according to Jesse Tron of the International Council of Shopping Centers. That means vacant space left over from leaner economic times is slowly being absorbed, so better times should lie ahead.
“We’re seeing a big difference,” says Brett Womack McNamee of Divaris Real Estate Inc.’s Richmond office. “Developments that were in the pipeline are starting. It’s not crazy, but it’s almost back to normal.”
In Richmond, Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer reports that the retail vacancy rate went from 7 percent in the second quarter to 6.8 percent in the third, with rental rates rising from $13.40 to $13.61. The biggest project under construction in the capital area: A Kroger mega store — expected to come in at more than 120,000 square feet — at Staples Mill Marketplace in Henrico County.
In Northern Virginia, Costar, a commercial real estate information company, reports that the retail vacancy rate dropped from 4.9 percent in the second quarter of 2013 to 4.6 percent in the third, with average rental rates rising slightly, from $23.55 to $23.78. The largest delivery of new retail space there: a 143,416-square-foot Costco in Southeast Fairfax.
The story repeats throughout the state. Wegman’s, Martin’s, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Fresh Market and Wal-Mart are either establishing a presence in Virginia submarkets or expanding the number of outlets. Restaurant and fast-food chains, including Zoe’s Kitchen, Panda Express, Chipotle, Potbelly, Noodles Express, Five Guys, Skinny Dip, sweetFrog, Café Rio and Chili’s also are proliferating.
Another trend: many of Virginia’s major malls, including Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, recently have undergone major updates, so expect some new looks and tenants during the holiday shopping season.
In brief, here’s a look at the major activity in Virginia’s retail submarkets.
When the economy took a hit in 2009, retail in Central Virginia didn’t feel as much of an impact as other areas, says John Nielsen of Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer. “There was no bubble to pop. We were never oversaturated,” he says.
The biggest new grocery store development in Charlottesville is — no surprise — a Wegman’s, which will anchor the 80-acre, Fifth Street Station shopping center near Interstate 64 just south of town. Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin late this year. Another new player in that market is California-based Trader Joe’s, an anchor at the Shops at Stonefield, a 230,569-square-foot, mixed-use development at U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road. Trader Joe’s is open along with a boutique hotel and other retailers.
In Lynchburg, another grocer, Fresh Market, opened a store this fall. It will anchor a shopping complex projected to include Petco, Panera Bread, Mattress Warehouse and Smoothie King. Nielsen says the arrival of Fresh Market shows that additional growth is sustainable in the Ward Road corridor, which already is home to a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Kroger’s.
Besides the Kroger’s at Staples Mill Marketplace in Henrico County, McNamee says, Martin’s will open a 74,000-square-foot grocery store at Midlothian Turnpike and Charter Colony Parkway in 2014.
Next year, Golfsmith, a Texas company, plans to enter the Richmond market with a 24,000-square-foot store at West Broad Village, while a Dick’s Sporting Goods opened last summer at Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights.
Village Center in South Richmond is poised to make an announcement on a major new anchor, McNamee says, and construction has begun on Libbie Mill, a mixed-use development in Henrico County that will include 160,000 square feet of office and retail space. Its first tenant is a new player in the market, gourmet food store Southern Season. It will open in mid-2014.
Lots of casual restaurants either are coming to town or expanding, McNamee says. They include American Tap Room (already at Willow Lawn), Firehouse Subs (already has three in Richmond), Moe’s Southwest Grill (all over the place), Which Wich (at Willow Lawn), Chuy’s (at West Broad Village), Saladworks (Short Pump) and Travinia Italian Kitchen (not due until early 2014).
“Lenders are lending again, so franchises can get loans,” says Connie Nielsen of Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer. “Richmond is strong as a second-tier market.”
This region is home to the most prominent example of the trend toward mixed-use development, the reimaging of the near-derelict Springfield Mall as a Reston-style town center. The first phase of Vornado Realty Trust’s $200 million redo, which includes a health club, movie theaters and a food court, is scheduled to open next year.
Forest City Washington also hopes to go the mixed-use route pending county approval for upgrading its 580,000-square-foot Ballston Commons Mall in Arlington. The redevelopment would add street-facing retail and residential towers.
A 250,000-square-foot retail space called Tysons West opened at Tysons this year and is anchored by an 80,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, which includes grocery. Next year, in addition to the Costco coming into the area, a new Wegman’s will be the centerpiece of a 350,000-square-foot retail and office development on Richmond Highway near Fort Belvoir.
After several quiet years, the market in the Interstate 81 corridor has improved, says Tim Reamer, a broker with Cottonwood Commercial in Harrisonburg. Just like in other parts of the commonwealth, food is the main retail driver, with fast casual and quick service outlets such as Texas Road House and Firehouse Subs debuting in the region.
In Harrisonburg, construction of the Southeast Connector, a 5-lane, 6-mile stretch of highway, has inspired a 105-acre, mixed-use development called Stone Port. Reamer says Stone Port likely will be anchored by a yet-to-be-announced supermarket and will feature restaurants, hotels and “Main Street”-style shops. He expects the project to break ground in 2014.
In Waynesboro, Reamer says, modest new development will mostly be in the form of strip malls of 12,000 to 18,000 square feet that will be home to national brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Verizon.
In Roanoke, Richmond-based WVS Co. has broken ground on The Bridges, a mixed-use development that eventually will encompass 1 million square feet of retail, entertainment, office and residential on the city’s riverfront.
The big news in this part of the state: two developments five miles apart in the Tri-City area. In Bristol, Tenn., work is underway on The Pinnacle, a one-million-square-foot-plus shopping, dining and entertainment complex from Johnson Commercial Development. Steve Johnson says his project eventually will encompass 500 acres straddling the Tennessee-Virginia line. Phase 1 focuses on the 250 acres on the Tennessee side of the state line, and it will be anchored by Bass Pro Shops (opening in mid-2014) and Belk’s department store (spring 2015). Johnson believes The Pinnacle will draw shoppers from “halfway to Nashville. It will be a “smorgasbord of retail like they’ve never seen before,” he says.
Meanwhile The Falls, at Exit 5 off I-81 in Bristol, Va., is on a similar track for development. Mike Nidiffer of Interstate Development says that a Cabela’s sporting goods store should open there next year. Other announced tenants for the planned one-million-square-foot shopping center include casual restaurants Smoky Mountain Brewery, Zaxby’s and Calhoun’s.
Rob Wright of the commercial real estate company Katsias says grocers and fast casual restaurants also are driving development in Hampton Roads. Kroger’s opened one of its large Marketplace stores in Virginia Beach last summer and plans additional outlets for the booming Harbor View area of Suffolk and Portsmouth (2014). Wal-Mart is going into Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. Harris Teeter opened a store in Portsmouth in 2012 and in 2014 hopes to open two more stores, one at Ward’s Corner in Norfolk and the other at Sandbridge Commons in Virginia Beach.
Gerald S. Divaris, chairman and CEO of Divaris Real Estate Inc. which is headquartered in Virginia Beach, adds that a Fresh Market is going into downtown Norfolk in 2014, and that Whole Foods, after opening a store in Virginia Beach in 2012, plans another store with a 2015 opening in Newport News.
“Suburban development is driven by grocers,” Divaris declares. For a retail market that recently went through some lean times, that reality is a welcome bit of nourishment.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/AIRPORTS_Crawford1890.pngMelinda Crawford says Charlottesville Albemarle Airport saw passenger traffic rise 34 percent from 2009 through 2012.
Consolidating airline industry makes airports more competitive
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consolidating-airline-industry-makes-airports-more-competitive#When:11:00:00ZThe recession, combined with airline mergers and consolidation, has jolted airports in Virginia and nationwide.
A study released in May by the MIT International Center for Air Transportation found that the nation’s 29 largest airports lost 8.8 percent of their scheduled domestic flights from 2007 to 2012.
Smaller airports were hit harder, losing 21.3 percent of their flights.
One outcome is that Virginia’s airports have become more competitive. They’re improving the passenger experience and innovating at every opportunity.
From small airports to large, change is underway, with projects costing a total of more than $50 million. Here’s a rundown on the runway:
Shenandoah Valley Regional
At Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave, the smallest of the state’s nine commercial airports, a recent $2.2 million terminal expansion nearly doubled the preflight waiting area, and the lobby has been reoriented to face the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
The airport’s improvements include a new café, Wi-Fi service and places to power-up technology. It also added 100 parking spaces, bringing its total to more than 600.
The changes have had an effect. “We have increased [passenger traffic] every year since 2008,” says Greg Campbell, the airport’s executive director. “The year to date, we’re up 16 percent.”
Campbell believes that prospective passengers have increasingly seen the value of using the airport. He ticks off some advantages: free parking, shorter lines, less driving and good connections.
Through Silver Airways, operating as United Express, airport passengers fly to Washington Dulles International Airport, where they can connect to hundreds of domestic and international destinations.
The airport lost Frontier Airlines, which flew nonstop flights to Orlando, Fla., three times a week.
Washington Dulles International and Reagan National
Washington Dulles International Airport, straddling the line between Loudoun and Fairfax counties, is a key hub for airports throughout Virginia, with connections to far flung parts of the world.
Now, it’s awaiting a connection of its own — to the Silver Line, also called the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.
A primary goal of the 23-mile extension of the Washington Metro Rail System is linking the capital by rail to Dulles, along with the so-called “edge cities” in the region. Another goal is to make Tysons Corner, one of the region’s biggest employment hubs, accessible by train.
The Silver Line is one of the largest transportation projects in the country and is expected to cost nearly $6 billion when finished.
Phase I of the project is nearly complete, and Phase 2 is under construction. The entire project is expected to be wrapped up and running by the end of the decade.
The Silver Line is also expected to be an economic boon for Fairfax and Loudoun counties, with new development blossoming along its path.
If food and shopping are on your mind when you fly out of Dulles or Reagan, the airports have good news for you.
They recently began their most ambitious food and retail makeover in two decades. Over the next few years, nearly all of the airports’ concessions will be replaced or renovated.
“One of our goals will be to bring local iconic brands into the airports,” says Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Dulles and Reagan National airports.
Dulles has experienced a steady increase of international service every year since 2003. For example, the airport reported in early 2013 that Dulles had become the second largest gateway to the Middle East.
Reagan continues to have strong demand for domestic service. It had its most traffic ever in 2012.
After spending millions of dollars on airfield improvements, Roanoke Regional Airport officials decided two years ago that its terminal, built in 1989, needed a facelift.
“We had sort of made a promise to the community,” says executive director Jacqueline Shuck. “We want them to be proud of what we present. It’s our community’s front door, especially for business.”
The airport accomplished the re-do in three stages. The first phase, which has cost about $4 million, focused on the concourse.
New escalators have been installed, carpeting has been replaced by high-grade tile, six restrooms have been rebuilt, and signage has been modernized. Finally, colors have been changed from blue and gray to earth tones with a splash of red. “It’s changed the whole look,” Shuck says.
The second phase of the overhaul will involve development of a new concession area, while the third phase will tackle the ticket and baggage claim areas.
Shuck says an airport of Roanoke’s size can’t always compete with larger airports on ticket prices, but it can offer travelers convenience and the personal attention that they might not receive elsewhere.
A new role the airport has taken on is advocate for passengers, Shuck says.
If flights are continually late on a certain airline, “We try to get to the bottom of it,” she says.
Allegiant Air’s service from Roanoke to two Florida destinations — St. Petersburg and Orlando — has become a magnet for regional passengers.
“We see people coming from an hour and a half away,” Shuck says.
Allegiant is one of four airlines that serve Roanoke.
Lynchburg Regional Airport is different. “We’re the only commercial airport in Virginia owned by a local government,” says Mark Courtney, the airport’s manager.
It’s also very busy because of one of its neighbors, Liberty University.
During the past decade, Liberty’s School of Aeronautics has grown from four students to more than four hundred in its FAA-certified aviation program.
The university says it has been approved to train and certify everyone from private pilots to airline transport pilots. That means a lot of flying at the local airport.
Commercially, the airport is served by U.S. Airways with connections to Charlotte, N.C.
Lynchburg Regional recently received a $4.1 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for rehabilitation, relocation and expansion for its taxiways and aprons.
It is part of a $5.8 million project that will also include reconstruction and realignment of several taxiways that serve general aviation.
Earlier this year, Lynchburg was told that it might lose its control tower, unless it could prove that it fulfills a compelling national interest.
So far, the tower is still in operation. But Courtney says he doesn’t know what’s ahead.
Melinda Crawford, executive director of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, says one of the reasons she came to the airport in 2012 was the strong community support it enjoys.
She had been director of the Pensacola International Airport in Florida, which was named Florida’s commercial airport of the year in 2011.
“Any airport is the best economic engine any community could have,” she says. “It virtually operates without tax dollars, and it serves as the first impression of the community.”
Since 2009, the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport has enjoyed a 34 percent increase in passenger traffic, soaring from 347,000 passengers in fiscal 2009 to more than 464,000 in 2012.
Crawford says the airport is in the final stages of completing an 800-foot runway extension in the works for several years.
The airport also is redesigning its terminal to include upgrades ranging from family restrooms and mothers’ nursing stations to a second security screening lane and an in-line screening machine to move passengers and their baggage through more quickly.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $3 million to $4 million.
“We’re making sure we have good amenities, and we’re making sure the public is aware of the amenities,” Crawford said.
Norfolk International Airport is adjacent to the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and the airport plays on that theme, calling the main lobby of its departure terminal, “Garden Square.”
Soon, the lobby will have a much more gardenlike setting, with a profusion of natural sunlight.
Skylights are being installed in the ceiling as part of more than $20 million in airport improvements.
Lobby improvements will include the replacement of four escalators that carry passengers from the first-level ticketing area to the second-level main lobby.
New carpet and hard-surface terrazzo flooring also will be installed, as well as additional plantings and furniture, and areas for small children.
Security checkpoints will be greatly expanded, from four to six lanes, to give passengers and security personnel more room.
New and expanded restaurants, upgraded and healthier menu choices, and renovations to retail and gift shops also are in the new mix.
“You’re going to have a different airport,” says Robert Bowen, the airport’s deputy executive director.
General aviation facilities will get upgrades, including renovation of the terminal and expanded public parking.
“It’s a very challenging time with the economy, but air travel is still a necessity,” Bowen says. “There’s no question some factors are beyond our control. But we’re in the black, and we’ve never been in the red. We’re a very low-cost facility.”
Newport News/Williamsburg International
In 2012, the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport lost AirTran Airways when it was acquired by Southwest Airlines.
“It accounted for 43 percent of our market share. It was a big hit for us, and we’re still recuperating,” says Jessica Wharton, the airport’s director of marketing and public affairs.
The airport now is served by four airlines: Allegiant, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and US Airways, with nonstop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia. The airport lost nonstop service to New York and Boston.
The airport anticipates a boost when Apple Vacations begins offering nonstop service to Cancun via Frontier Airlines. Flights will run from Feb. 8 through April 19.
Meanwhile, the airport is forging ahead with a list of improvements.
For example, an $11 million project to repave three taxiways is nearing completion, and one of its concourses is being refurbished with new skylights and flooring and a new escalator. The refurbishment is expected to cost about $4.2 million.
Richmond International Airport celebrated the arrival of Southwest Airlines in early November.
“It’s something we’ve requested for more than 15 years,” says Troy Bell, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.
When Southwest serves an airport, Bell says, it sets the bar for pricing. “When Southwest is not in the market, prices tend to be higher.”
Southwest offers daily nonstop service to Orlando, and its merger partner, AirTran, will continue nonstop service to Atlanta.
Having secured Southwest, the airport now has trained its sights to the West.
Using a $750,000 federal grant and $150,000 in local contributions, it plans to gain more access to Western markets.
The money will offset revenue losses for airlines that establish Western routes to preferred destinations.
Currently, airport travelers have nonstop Western service to only Dallas, Houston and Minneapolis.
Richmond International suffered a setback in 2010 when discount airline JetBlue ended its popular service to New York. Since then, Richmond-to-New York fares have soared.
“There’s been a 700 percent increase in walkup fares [to New York] since then,” Bell says, reflecting how quickly things can change in the airline industry.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00
New leader at Scott Insurance
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-leader-at-scott-insurance#When:11:00:00ZLeadership is changing at one of Virginia major insurance brokerages.
Walker Sydnor, the president of Lynchburg-based Scott Insurance, will retire at the end of the year after leading the company for 27 years.
He will be succeeded on Jan. 1 by Hutch Mauck, who has headed the firm’s Richmond office since opening it in 1991. The transition concludes a two-year succession process.
Under Mauck’s direction, the Richmond office has become the company’s highest-producing in Virginia. He has served on the Scott board since 2003 and on the executive committee since 2009.
Sydnor has worked for the company for 37 years. Under his tenure as president, Scott Insurance, a regional company in 1986, grew to become the second-largest independently owned insurance agency/broker in the Southeast and the largest in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
During the past 27 years, the company has opened six offices in three states, expanding into larger commercial markets by developing new services and creating an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which has led to a 97 percent employee retention rate.
The number of company employees has grown from 30 to more than 240 since 1986.
Founded in 1864, Scott Insurance provides risk services, benefit services, bonds, and financial management. In Virginia, the company has offices in Lynchburg, Roanoke and Richmond.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00
Markel expands its scope
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/markel-expands-its-scope#When:11:00:00ZAnthony Markel sees the recent acquisition of Bermuda-based Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd. as a good fit for Markel Corp. “Alterra’s book of reinsurance business and its technical talent were intriguing,” says Markel who is vice chairman of the Henrico County-based company founded by his grandfather. “They were in a space we didn’t occupy.”
The $3.3 billion Alterra deal, completed in May, was the largest in the company’s history. “We paid a fair price for it. We didn’t steal it,” Markel says. “We did a thorough due diligence.”
Mark Dwelle, director of insurance equity research at RBC Capital Markets in Richmond, believes the deal broadens the scope of Markel Corp. “It gives them a more global platform and deepens their market share in U.S. markets where they had a presence in U.S. specialty insurance,” he says. “It’s fair to say they added a lot of good people and a number of new products. They extended their reach in the U.S. and London.”
Markel Corp. began making acquisitions in 1980 when the company was valued at $7.5 million. Today’s value is more than $7 billion. The Alterra acquisition helps strengthen and diversify the company’s specialty insurance business, officials say. The deal has spawned two new businesses: Markel Global Reinsurance and Markel Global Insurance, which handles large commercial accounts.
With the exception of a few products such as marine coverage, Markel Corp. has “historically stayed with small to medium accounts,” Markel says.
Alterra’s large accounts, which included Fortune 1000 companies, made it very attractive to Markel Corp. “We were comfortable with Alterra’s toehold and strength,” Markel says. “It had some real meat on the bones and talent.”
Before the Alterra deal, Markel Corp. also only had a small book of reinsurance that it inherited in 2000 after acquiring Terra Nova Holdings Ltd. for more than $600 million. “That was a major deal for us at that time,” Markel says. After the acquisition, Terra Nova was rebranded as Markel International.
The Terra Nova deal also gave Markel Corp. entry to the international marketplace. Terra Nova had branches in the United Kingdom and operated in other foreign countries.
The Alterra acquisition expands Markel’s international presence, bringing into the fold three offices in South America and operations in the Far East in addition to its headquarters in Bermuda.
With the new addition, Markel Corp. has approximately $23 billion in combined assets and $6 billion in shareholders’ equity. “Historically Markel usually takes every acquisition and makes it better over some period of time,” Dwelle says. “Sometimes they work quickly; sometimes it takes longer. The first few quarters are the slowest period for earnings and benefits of the deal.”
Markel Corp. reported diluted earnings per share of $2.24 for the second quarter ended June, down from $8.42 in the same quarter last year. Those results, the first since the Alterra deal was finalized, reflected transactions costs and acquisition-related expenses. Operating revenues rose 48.8 percent to $1.03 billion.
“My initial thought is that it’s a good acquisition. Things are going as planned. Time will tell, though,” says Robert Farnam, senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in New York. “It’s fairly early.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/INSURANCE_Burns1821.pngChris Burns says companies holding events need to know “exactly what it is that you are insuring and who'll be coming.”
Assessing the danger
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/assessing-the-danger#When:11:00:00ZOrganizers of the Dominion Riverrock concert in Richmond in May found they had more than crowds and weather to contend with after someone threw a bottle at reggae singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, injuring the 70-year-old performer. In June, Hibbert’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court asking for $1 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.
This type of incident is just one of the risks that companies must consider when getting commercial liability insurance for an event. “The safest way to protect yourself is to know exactly what it is that you are insuring and who will be coming,” says Chris Burns, CEO of USI Insurance Services in Norfolk. “Typically people don’t think it through.”
Companies hosting events need to think about issues ranging from security risks to vendors. “You need to know who the vendors are and if they are insured. A lot of problems we see come from uninsured vendors,” Burns says, adding that alcoholic beverages are served at many events. “The key focus from the client and agent standpoint is making sure we know who is taking the liquor liability piece.”
R.C. Moore, chairman of TB&R insurance in Richmond, works with a client that holds one of the largest events in Virginia. The organization’s main concern was security, a growing risk for large event organizers since the April bombing at the Boston Marathon. “They wanted to make sure they had adequate coverage,” Moore says, adding that the insurance industry doesn’t currently have a specific product for an occurrence such as the bombing in Boston.
Insurance companies typically use traditional liability coverage in combination with federally backed terrorism coverage for events that draw large crowds. “The [terrorism] coverage is triggered by the secretary of state,” Moore says. “That allows the insurance companies to be reimbursed for acts of terrorism. That, however, was not used in Boston.”
Coverage for events is just one of the topics trending in commercial insurance today. “The biggest overall trend is that the risks our clients are facing are much broader than they have been traditionally,” says Chris Schutt, managing director and Richmond office head for Marsh Inc., an international insurance brokerage and risk management company. “Companies have to identify their risks and establish risk management programs.”
One area of broader risk is cyber privacy liability, which poses a significant risk to all firms. The coverage protects a company’s reputation as well as any type of data breach. “Many of the standard insurance policies were not designed to address these types of risks,” Schutt says. “Businesses should identify what type of cyber or privacy risks they have.”
This type of coverage is “one of the most important” coverages to have, says John Stanchina, president of Rutherfoord, a Marsh & McLennan Agency company with offices in Roanoke, Richmond, Alexandria and Hampton Roads. Over the last 10 years the coverage has improved. “The pricing has come down,” Stanchina says.
Other industry trends include coverage related to the weather and the economy. The slow economic recovery is generating more activity around the trade credit market. Many companies have to write off account receivables because they are having trouble collecting customer payments. “The trade credit market can insure against that credit risk,” Schutt says. “Accounts receivable are a key cash-flow component that can be protected in a simple and cost-effective manner with a well-designed trade credit program that helps protect against unexpected bad debts, helping to preserve cash flow and protect profitability.”
Regarding weather, the insurance industry is seeing more government involvement in handling claims after an event such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York and New Jersey coastline in October 2012. “The government is getting involved more and dictating how claims will be handled,” says Burns. “In New York and New Jersey the government had some stringent standards as to how carriers were to handle claims. We hadn’t seen that before.”
The damage from Sandy that occurred in Virginia is not being adjusted as quickly and efficiently as New York and New Jersey “because the government was dictating how some of the claims would be handled,” Burns says. “That is a huge challenge from the carrier perspective for the industry if government is going to dictate how deductibles will be administered.”
Insuring coastal property is always a challenge. In the past, insurance carriers have looked at how far a business is from the bay or the ocean. Now they are adding distances from major and small tributaries as well as rivers and fingers of rivers. “It’s getting elongated as to what is coastal property,” Burns says. “They are doing a remapping of flood zones in a lot of areas.”
Businesses involved in the marine industry also are dealing with the aftermath of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster in Italy. The Concordia was the largest marine loss of all time with claims exceeding $1 billion. Thirty-two people lost their lives in the disaster. Some lawsuits are still pending.
“That had an effect across all the carriers and reinsurance in the marine world,” says Burns. ”You will probably see additional rate increases in January that could cause a stiffening in the marine marketplace.”
Cargo is also becoming an issue for businesses that want to insure goods because of government sanctions on certain countries such as Iran. “The carrier won’t pay that claim based on sanctions,” Burns says. “You have to make sure you know where your containers are going.”
Because of these growing risks, Stanchina believes that more and more businesses are moving from the traditional insurance marketplace to captives, a form of self-insurance.
“This is less about year-to-year rate [changes] and more about control, flexibility and softening the curves,” Stanchina says. “In many cases a captive may not have the least expensive premium in a very soft market, but it will have the least expensive total cost of risk in most cases. It will eliminate the highs of a hard market. It takes some of the roller coaster effect out of the insurance marketplace.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Colgate8489.pngAs a child, Curtis Colgate played with his cousins on the lawn of the Cavalier Hotel. Photo by Mark Rhodes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/family-feud#When:11:00:00ZAt 34, Curtis Dixon Colgate is a multimillionaire. Yet his newfound riches came at a high personal cost. “It’s still bittersweet,” he says of a legal settlement that granted him $25 million. “It’s eight years that’s sundered my family.”
Colgate’s long battle against The Disthene Group Inc., a Dillwyn-based holding company that owns the largest kyanite mine in the world, came to an end in August when both sides signed off on a $77 million agreement.
The litigation pitted Colgate’s family members, who owned 42 percent of the company’s Class B, nonvoting shares, against their relatives: Gene Dixon Jr., Disthene’s president and chairman of the board (and Colgate’s uncle); and his son, Guy B. Dixon, president of the Kyanite Mining Corp. (Colgate’s cousin). The company’s top executives, they own all the Class A voting shares and, together with relatives and partnerships, more than 45 percent of the nonvoting shares.
The high-stakes fight focused on the rights of minority shareholders. Lawyers from LeClairRyan, who represented Colgate’s family, hail the settlement as a “landmark” victory.
“The plight of the minority shareholders is that they’re basically captive investors,” says attorney John H. Craddock Jr. “There’s no market for their stock. They’ve got no way to get out of their investment. They have no vote in what’s going on. When you’re in a position like that, it’s very easy to take advantage of the shareholder, and that’s what they did.”
Yet some businesspeople say the outcome makes Virginia less friendly to companies. After all, a circuit judge recommended Disthene’s dissolution — the death penalty for any business.
In his first public comment on the case, Guy Dixon told Virginia Business in an email, “If a business like ours can be dissolved by the court … companies will clearly have to consider whether the decisions they make could be retroactively construed as oppressive, even though they are made in the company’s best interests and even though hindsight clearly demonstrates that the company benefitted from those decisions. That’s an incredibly disruptive and chilling thought ...”
The narrative behind the Disthene case sounds like something out of a legal thriller: There was a deathbed promise, accusations of greed and half-truths and the possibility of a court-ordered dissolution of a profitable, $200 million company owned by the family for four generations.
Besides the Kyanite Mining Corp., Disthene owned 28,000 acres of land and the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. As part of the settlement, the Cavalier was sold in July for $35.7 million. The proceeds helped Disthene buy out minority shareholders’ stock. The rest of the money, says Guy Dixon, came from internal savings, the liquidation of other company assets and loans against the mine and real estate holdings.
The largest payouts went to Curtis and his 49-year-old half-sister, Sharon Marie Newcomb, who also received $25 million. Curtis’ father, Marion J. “Boyd” Colgate Sr., held custodial shares and says he received a smaller amount, which he gave to his children. There were a few other shareholders who were paid a total of $7 million. The remainder of the settlement — nearly $20 million — went to LeClairRyan for legal fees.
The settlement allows the Dixons to keep their land and retain control over the lucrative Kyanite Mining Corp. Kyanite is a heat-resistant element used in everything from spark plugs to space shuttle tiles. The mine is Buckingham County’s largest private employer with about 130 workers.
Guy Dixon says the company and his family are “relieved” to have the suit behind them. “For while settling in this manner and under these terms is not the outcome we feel was justified, nor the path that we would have freely chosen, we do feel that it was in everybody’s best interests given the circuit court’s decision.”
Judge Roush’s opinion
Dixon was referring to a blistering, 41-page opinion by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush, which preceded the settlement. Her ruling on Aug. 30, 2012, followed a trial in Buckingham on allegations in a lawsuit initially filed by Curtis, Sharon and Boyd in 2010. They said the Dixons engaged in a pattern of “oppressive and fraudulent conduct,” such as slashing the price of dividends, to retaliate against them for filing an earlier suit in 2005. That litigation, settled in 2007, alleged improprieties in Gene’s handling of a family trust that included shares of stock intended for Curtis and Sharon.
The Buckingham trial, which lasted 14 days, included more than 30 witnesses and 1,420 exhibits. After it was over, Roush ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ request to dissolve Disthene. Although a drastic remedy, the judge said the move was merited because of “longstanding and ongoing oppression of minority shareholders as well as waste and misapplication of corporate assets.”
Roush concluded that Gene and Guy Dixon “were motivated not by the best interests of the corporation but by their personal best interests.” She ruled further that their actions were not protected by Virginia’s business judgment rule. While it shields directors from personal liability for decisions made on behalf of a corporation, the doctrine did not apply, she said, “because Disthene’s board of directors did not act as a board and make informed decisions. To the extent it had any involvement in the decisions, the board merely bent to Gene’s ironhanded will and rubberstamped his decisions.”
The judge cited several examples of evidence of misuse of corporate assets. There was cash compensation of $1.2 million for Gene and $560,800 for Guy in 2011, amounts not set by Disthene’s board, that she found “excessive” when compared with the compensation of other mining executives. Roush also noted the use of a corporate beach house owned by the Cavalier Hotel for no rent or a nominal fee, use of the company’s plane for personal trips, meals at the Cavalier for a fraction of their costs and the preparation of personal tax returns of Dixon family members by Disthene accountants — with those costs sometimes charged to the company.
The court also challenged the payment of $6.5 million by Disthene in premiums for life insurance policies owned by trusts established for the benefit of Gene’s children and grandchildren, calling the payments a “waste of corporate assets.”
Roush agreed with the plaintiffs that slashing dividends, without a vote by the company’s board, was retaliatory behavior. “The plaintiffs have not been treated fairly by Disthene and its management,” Roush wrote in her opinion. “They have instead been treated as irksome interlopers, problems to be dealt with, preferably by squeezing them out at a below-market price, or slashing their dividends in the hope of depriving them of the financial wherewithal to seek legal recourse.”
At trial, the Dixons denied that dividends were cut to hurt minority shareholders. Court filings showed that Disthene had paid more than $36 million in dividends since Gene Dixon, 70, became president in 1974, including more than $6 million paid to the plaintiffs since 1988. Since 2000, Disthene said it paid more than $8 million in dividends, or 70 percent of its profits.
“No one likes to see their business decisions retroactively twisted and contorted to prop up what can be described as a conspiracy theory,” says Guy Dixon. “And it was difficult for me to read the circuit court’s opinion, which did not address any of the facts showing that there was never any intent to oppress anybody. For example, there was no mention of the fact that our decision to temporarily reduce dividends in favor of increased capital investment led directly to the record-breaking profitability of the last few years.”
After the lower court’s ruling, the Disthene Group turned to the state Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the order to dissolve. In an appellant brief, the company’s legal team from Troutman Sanders argued, “the trial court abused its power and committed clear error in dissolving a corporation that has operated successfully for more than 70 years to the great benefit of its shareholders.”
The Virginia Supreme Court initially rejected the petition. In April of this year, it accepted the appeal after a request for a rehearing. After the two sides signed off on the settlement in August, however, the court dismissed the appeal and vacated the dissolution in conjunction with Disthene’s buyout of the minority shareholders.
Now that the legal dust has settled, observers are weighing in on the significance of the case. Michele K. Burke, a lead attorney who worked with the Colgate family on both lawsuits, says the decision represents one of the few clarifications of the business judgment rule. “It has national implications,” Burke said in a statement, “because the principles that minority shareholders have enforceable rights and that they must be treated fairly are generally applicable anywhere in the U.S.”
Burke told Virginia Business that minority shareholders rarely sue because of the financial burden. “They have to risk all their money. They had a huge disadvantage in both cases,” she says.
Boyd Colgate says the lawsuit cost the plaintiffs several million dollars before LeClairRyan agreed to continue the case on a contingency basis. “We heavily leveraged our homes and all our properties,” he says. Those costs were paid back, he adds, with the settlement money.
While Roush’s lower court ruling didn’t make any new law, the LeClairRyan team says the case sends a clear message. “This is a huge wake-up call to closely held businesses,” says Thomas M. Wolf, the attorney who managed the case for LeClairRyan. “Because there are so few reported cases of courts dissolving companies, there is the misperception that a controlling shareholder can run the company to benefit himself … This case should cause corporate officers, directors, controlling shareholders and legal advisers to look anew at the legal duties those roles carry — duties to the corporation and to its shareholders. The consequences for failing to do so can be severe.”
Others, though, are troubled by the outcome. “The case has absolutely generated discussion in the small-business community,” says Tim Tharpe, vice president and manager for J.R. Tharpe Trucking Co. Inc. in Burkeville. “I do think the extreme ruling will have a negative effect on the decision making in a small family business regarding ownership and growth for future generations.”
Tharpe’s company was one of 30 businesses that jointly hired an attorney and filed an amicus brief with the Virginia Supreme Court during the appeal process. His family-owned company has hauled Kyanite Mining Corp.’s sand to locations throughout Virginia, and he knows the Dixons. Even without that business relationship, he says, he would have supported the brief.
Walton Moseley, president of Cape School Inc. in Buckingham, which provides continuing education and licensing, also supported the brief. “That decision flipped Virginia from being a business-friendly state to a business less-friendly state,” he says. “It says that the decisions you’re making to run your business can be second-guessed, and you could end up in court defending those decisions. A lot of businesses like us don’t have the resources that Disthene has and having to go to court could financially cripple us.”
Roush’s opinion is a lower court decision, “and it’s not binding on anybody,” notes Everett W. Gee III. He’s the general counsel for S&M Brands in Lunenburg County and the lawyer who filed the amicus brief on behalf of the small businesses. “But if any plaintiff comes along, this will be the case they will be waving around.”
Litigation began in 2005
The first lawsuit filed against Disthene came two days before Christmas in December 2005. The seeds of the litigation, though, were planted long before that in the fourth-floor, Cape Henry Suite of the Cavalier Hotel on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
That’s where Curtis’ mother, Jeanne Dixon Colgate, spent her last days before dying of breast cancer at age 47 in 1988.
In an interview with Virginia Business and in court testimony, Boyd Colgate said that, before his wife died, Jeanne told him that her younger brother, Gene, came to her room at The Cavalier and promised to protect the interests of her children: Sharon Newcomb, from her first marriage; and Curtis Colgate, her son with Boyd. Curtis was 9 at the time of her death, and Sharon was 24.
For years, Boyd says, Gene seemed to be honoring that pledge. Then in 2005, Boyd began to ask questions about his late wife’s estate to confirm the number of shares held by Curtis and Sharon. That’s when the businessman from Chase City says he learned that some 30,000 shares of Class B stock held in a family trust — created for Gene and Jeanne’s mother, Mallie, upon the death of their father and of which Gene was the trustee — had been shifted to Gene Dixon’s three children. Curtis and Sharon, who were contingent beneficiaries, filed suit, alleging manipulation of the trust.
The day before the suit was filed, Curtis called his cousin, Arch Dixon, another of Gene’s sons. Arch and his sister, Erica Dixon, were close to Curtis in age. He recalls that they used to spend summers together in Virginia Beach, playing hide and seek on the expansive lawn of The Cavalier.
“Arch, Erica and I were inseparable. We would play around all day long,” he recalls. “Arch and I, we stayed close through the years. I felt I owed it to him to give him a call. I said, ‘Sharon and I have had to sue your dad over the trust.’ That’s really about the last conversation I ever had with him.”
After a court hearing in 2007, the parties settled. About 11,600 shares were transferred from Gene’s side of the family to Sharon and Curtis, according to court documents. The next quarter after the suit was filed, Boyd says, Disthene’s dividend fell from what had consistently been about $4 to $6 a share to an all-time low of 85 cents. It stayed at that rate for 13 quarters, until 2010, “and that led to the second suit,” he says.
Boyd, 87, who owns a furniture store, says he helped run the Cavalier Hotel for 10 years, leaving the property a year after his wife’s death. The hotel seems to tug at the heartstrings of Boyd and his son. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney College in 2001 with a degree in economics, Curtis says, he asked Gene if he could work at the Cavalier as a way of getting into the family business. He says Gene suggested that he “go work for Bruce Thompson at the Hilton” (another hotel in Virginia Beach).
As it turns out, a group formed by Thompson — a local developer who built the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront — bought the Cavalier. It plans a $200 million renovation of it and another former Disthene property on the oceanfront.
Looking back, Boyd had no idea the litigation would take so long. “It started out like an infant, and it just grew and grew.” He says he is comforted in knowing that the pledge to his late wife was made good. Plus, he hopes the case will be helpful to other minority shareholders.
Boyd doesn’t feel sorry for the Dixons. After the June 2012 trial, he says, they had a chance to resolve the case for less than $70 million through mediation and for a better price than the $1,928 per share they ended up paying — a figure nearly 10 times more than what the Dixons had offered to pay for minority shares in the past. At one point during mediation, Boyd recalls, Disthene’s offer was “zero.”
With the case behind him, Guy Dixon doesn’t expect “direct, long-lasting negative implications for our core business in terms of our sales, or our sales relations...”
The people in Buckingham know the company and its long history, he adds. “These people — the people that really matter — are not fools, and I don’t expect them to change their perception of what kind of people we are (and what kind of company we are) based on the false allegations and accusations that were made in a lawsuit that all along was meant to force a cash out of the minority shareholders on terms they dictated.”
Meanwhile, Curtis is trying to move on, too. He recently purchased a home in Virginia Beach with some of the settlement proceeds. At seven feet three inches, he stands out in a crowd. An avid fisherman, he is a member of Virginia’s Board of Game and Inland Fisheries where he recently was elected chairman.
That’s a new challenge he relishes. Plus, he wants to rebuild some of the family relationships strained by the litigation. “I’m still drinking it all in,” he says. “It definitely reset my whole life.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/COVERSTORY_Mallory-open.pngTonya Mallory 2013 Virginia Business Person of the Year Photo by Clement Britt
2013 Virginia Business Person of the Year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/2013-virginia-business-person-of-the-year#When:11:00:00ZThe day Tonya Mallory closed on the capital for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., she bounced an $11 check for a T-shirt order to one of her sons’ schools. “We were down to zero. I was actually going to apply at Wal-Mart the very next weekend. That’s how close to nothing we had,” recalls HDL’s CEO. “I was going to stock at Wal-Mart on [midnight shifts] so I could keep trying to get the company going during the day.”
She and her husband of 23 years, Scott, already had spent much of their savings caring for his late mother during a terminal illness. So there wasn’t a reserve to dip into for her business. “We essentially bet the farm,” Mallory says. “We agreed that we would cash out our 401(k) accounts, the kids’ college accounts, and we second-mortgaged the house.”
Mallory estimates that she pitched her vision of a new type of medical laboratory corporation to about 500 investors for about a year before landing a $4 million angel investment from Tipton Golias, the founder and president of Texas-based Helena Laboratories.
“Driven” is how most people describe Mallory. It’s a pretty apt characterization of the Virginia Business 2013 Business Person of the Year. While in college and graduate school, Mallory worked full time and volunteered 12 hours every Sunday for her local rescue squad.
Her drive, a vision to create a new model for treating chronic disease and the impressive ramp-up of her Richmond-based company — which spurred one of the biggest expansions ever in the city’s biotech park — were all reasons why the magazine’s editors selected Mallory as its sixth annual winner.
HDL co-founder Joe McConnell, the director of cardiovascular laboratory medicine at the Mayo Clinic before joining HDL, describes Mallory “as one of the most amazing people that you’ll meet. I don’t think she ever sleeps or if she does, she sleeps very little … At the same time, she cares about people, but she doesn’t let people get in her way when she wants to do things. She’s got a vision and a plan. HDL wouldn’t be where it is today without Tonya.”
Mallory, 48, founded HDL in the summer of 2009. Since then, it has grown from a kitchen-table business plan to a corporation earning more than $420 million in annual revenue, employing 750 people, processing 4,000 lab samples and running more than 60,000 lab tests each day. HDL has driven nearconstant construction at its home in downtown Richmond’s Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, where a $68.5 million expansion soon will triple the company’s footprint to 280,000 square feet.
Last year Mallory received the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Company category. One of the country’s most prestigious business awards for entrepreneurs, it recognizes leaders who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they build their businesses.
HDL is the largest cardiovascular and diabetes testing lab of its type in the world. It hit its five-year goal in its first 10 months of business. The company hires a person a day on average; in some months it adds as many as 50 workers.
Partnerships are fueling some of the growth. HDL is the official health and wellness partner of the Washington Redskins. Under the arrangement, HDL provides health testing and consulting services for the Redskins organization and works with the team to promote diabetes awareness. The sponsorship also grants HDL some branding promotion at the Redskins’ home stadium in Landover, Md., and its new training camp in Richmond.
HDL also is known for its corporate largesse. It gave $2.2 million to the Science Museum of Virginia (the largest corporate gift in the museum’s history) and donated $4 million to the athletics department at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mallory’s alma mater. A huge fan of VCU Rams basketball, Mallory keeps a photo of herself with men’s coach Shaka Smart in her office.
HDL’s primary revenue stream comes from a panel of comprehensive lab tests that allow early detection of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. In October, HDL acquired the assets of a British company that produces a blood test for early detection of lung cancer.
“Tonya is an absolute visionary,” says Dr. Shaiv Kapadia, a cardiologist who is chief of staff at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital. HDL’s stoplight-coded tests are easy to review for patients and physicians. And compared with HDL’s tests, he says, “conventional cholesterol testing probably misses almost half of the folks who are at risk for cardiovascular disease.”
Mallory, however, considers HDL a health management company, not just a laboratory. HDL offers patients free health coaching services, including smoking cessation, dietary and behavioral change, in an effort to improve patient health and prevent heart attacks and diabetes. Kapadia calls the health coach program “genius” and says that — combined with HDL’s testing — it has been “a very powerful” tool for reducing cardiac events in his cardiology practice.
HDL also has begun offering its early detection and health coaching services as a paid service to private companies so corporations can improve employees’ health and keep insurance costs down. So far, HDL’s clients include Markel Corp. and Bon Secours Richmond Health System in addition to a pilot program with the state government.
Tests are confidential and not shared with the employer, says HDL Marketing Program Manager Jeff Kelley. The employer sees aggregate data about employee health “in order to implement initiatives to move employees, on the whole, from red to green. Test results are used to help lower overall claims/health-care costs and provide a tool for employees to help them manage their health.”
An independent study published in September in the health-care journal Population Health Management found that HDL’s testing and coaching reduced patients’ health-care costs by an average 23 percent over a two-year period and also improved patients’ lipid profiles.
“HDL is a game changer,” says Dr. Sam Fillingane, a Mississippi physician who specializes in cardiovascular risk reduction. Previously, the kind of testing that HDL offers wasn’t covered by insurance and only wealthy patients could afford the out-of-pocket expenses, he adds. (HDL’s business model is predicated on accepting whatever insurance companies will pay for tests; patients pay only co-pays or deductibles.) Plus, physicians would have to send tests to multiple labs because no one lab offered all the specialized tests that could be done by HDL.
HDL’s array of tests gives physicians ample warnings to conduct behavioral and drug interventions that could virtually eliminate heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, says Fillingane, who has worked as an educational consultant for HDL. Insurance companies and health-care corporations are skeptical about spending money for prevention up front, he notes, but the tests cost far less, for example, than heart bypass surgery, which can run more than $100,000.
An average primary-care practice might have dozens of patients with cardiac events each year, but through using advanced biomarker testing and health coaching, “it is very rare for a heart attack to occur in my patient population, which is high risk,” he says. His patients routinely see a regression of arterial plaque buildup.
“Some people think that this approach is too expensive,” says Fillingane, “but I say it’s too expensive not to take this approach. I personally think if we beat cardiovascular disease in the United States it’s going to be through efforts like that of Health Diagnostic Laboratory.”
Jeffrey Gallagher, executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, says Mallory is an inspiration to others in the industry. Biotech entrepreneurs in Virginia routinely talk about wanting to be “the next Tonya,” he says. “She’s been a terrific champion of research and commercialization of innovation and entrepreneurship. … She’s just been an inspiration to us all. … This is a very difficult way of life, to do the research that might not have any friction for years or to start companies or products that are going to have a 10- to 15-year path to get to the marketplace, and I can’t underscore strongly enough how … [HDL’s success] fuels them and keeps people going.”
Robert Skunda, CEO of Richmond’s biotech park and a former state secretary of commerce and trade, calls the company’s growth “astounding.” He has received “quizzical” questions about it from business leaders who wonder how long HDL can sustain such rapid growth. He thinks HDL’s growth will level off eventually, but that HDL is a “bona fide, homegrown success.”
McConnell, HDL’s co-founder, says Mallory “has a philosophy that’s sometimes scary to me: That is, leap and the net will appear. It’s going to be down there. You’ve got to take that leap and it will appear. Sometimes I worry, but there’s always been a net. We’ve always managed to build that net … and if we have to build the net while we’re falling, that’s good, too, because it happened. It’s really been an exciting time, and Tonya pushes the envelope all the way.”
Her early years
Tonya Mallory grew up in the rural Doswell area of Hanover County and graduated from Patrick Henry High School. Her father was a welder for Philip Morris; her mother worked as an accountant clerk for Bear Island Paper Co. At age 13, she doctored a job permit from her pediatrician to say that she was 18 years old so she could work in the restaurant kitchen at the Kings Quarters, a hotel connected to Kings Dominion theme park. By the time she was actually 18, she was managing the restaurant.
She attended Virginia Commonwealth University, paying her way through school by working full time at restaurants. On Sundays, she volunteered 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for her local rescue squad. She received her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry in 1988 and went on to earn a master’s degree in forensic science a year and a half later.
“I was going to graduate school from noon until 10 p.m. and working from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. at what is now LabCorp but was then Hoffmann-La Roche Laboratories. I was sleeping about 8 hours a week,” she recalls, laughing. “Believe it or not, I graduated with a 3.9 average or something like that.”
Mallory had wanted to pursue a career in medicine but was concerned that the managed-care environment would make it difficult for her to pay back school loans. So she decided to become a DNA fingerprint examiner for the state forensics lab. (She’s a fan of best-selling mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell, who was working at the state medical examiner’s office when Mallory was taking classes at the forensic lab in graduate school: “She was working at the lab … I was a student; I was a nobody but [I would see her] in the halls.”)
Due to budget cuts at the time, the forensics lab wasn’t a good prospect, so Mallory took what she thought would be a temporary position at Richmond-based Wako Chemicals USA, a Japanese manufacturer that produced chemicals and reagents used in laboratory testing. She wound up working there for more than 17 years.
Put in charge of Wako’s chemical diagnostic division, Mallory says she built its annual revenues from about $4,800 to $21 million. “I figured out what the market needed,” she explains, and created marketing materials, pursued FDA approvals and allowed larger companies to rebrand and resell Wako’s chemicals.
“In a Japanese company, it’s very common for everyone to wear many hats. Mallory says. “If you take those 17 years of experience, it’s probably equivalent in an American company to 40 or 50 years.”
Then conversant in Japanese, Mallory was accustomed to company managers in Japan telling her that goals she set and changes she proposed were impossible. “Of course I loved that, and I had to prove them wrong.”
The department had been in the red for more than 10 years before Mallory took it over, says Hiroshi Shima, her former boss at Wako.
“What she did was to set goals, motivate her staff members toward them and take aggressive actions to increase sales,” he recalls. “She has unsurpassed physical and mental toughness as well as a strong will with which she carries out whatever she is required to do. Moreover, she has ample and broad knowledge about the industry and has outstanding ability to absorb new knowledge. Yet she is always kind to whoever is in need of help.”
For example, Shima says, “One of our employees had chemotherapy after her breast cancer surgery and showed up to work wearing a cap. Next day, all women in the office started wearing a cap. That turned out to be Tonya’s idea.”
After Shima was transferred back to Japan in 2004, the company’s new, more traditional Japanese leadership told Mallory flatly that because she was a woman and below age 50, she would not advance farther in the company, she says. When her mother-in-law was dying, the company denied her requests to work at home. Mallory instead took vacation leave to care for her mother-in-law, who died 11 days later. The incident influences Mallory’s attitudes toward her employees at HDL, who have flexible schedules, no time clocks and generous leave.
Less than a year later, G. Russell Warnick — another HDL co-founding partner who was then vice president of laboratory operations and chief scientific officer at San Francisco-based Berkeley HeartLab — recruited Mallory to build a second Berkeley lab in Richmond. From 2005 to 2008 Mallory commuted back and forth from Richmond to San Francisco, but when Berkeley was suddenly acquired by Celera Corp., the Richmond lab project was killed. Mallory and Warnick both left, unhappy with the conservative management of Celera, which Warnick says discouraged innovation and entrepreneurial attitudes.
At that point, Mallory began writing the business plan for HDL.
Down-to-earth and quick to laugh, Mallory is an iconoclast who is likely to show up at business meetings wearing jeans and Birkenstock sandals. She’s a “Bazinga” T-shirt-owning, “Big Bang Theory” fan who has a toy figure of über-geek Dr. Sheldon Cooper perched above her office computer monitor.
An open book, she volunteers that she loves Stella Artois beer and likes fishing in the pond behind her family’s Goochland County home. Besides being a busy executive, she’s the mother of two sons, Jace, 15, a student at Richmond’s Benedictine College Preparatory school, and Adam, 20, a VCU exercise science major who works at HDL as a personal trainer in the employee gym.
Mallory also is creative outside her business innovations: She enjoys painting abstract portraits, and several of them decorate the walls at HDL. “When my stress goes up, the paintings start multiplying,” she says.
Asked whether she would ever consider taking the company public, Mallory says she’ll never say never, but she doesn’t see it happening anytime soon because HDL hasn’t reached its goal. That goal is nothing short of revolutionizing the way American medicine is practiced.
When Mallory’s mother-in-law became ill with leukemia, it took a year before a doctor did a test that revealed that she had a fatal kidney disease. “I went back to her primary-care physician and asked, ‘How come you didn’t have her pee in a cup the day she walked in the doctor’s office?’ and he said because insurance wouldn’t cover it. So I spent a year of my time chasing an answer that he could have had had he made a good clinical decision … regardless of what the insurance paid for or didn’t pay for.”
Mallory encountered a similar problem in late 2009 when her older sister, a Type 1 diabetic, had her second undiagnosed heart attack in two weeks and passed out. In the emergency room, the doctor was ready to release her because her cardiac markers looked fine. But Mallory realized they had tested the heart muscle and didn’t look for a blockage. She threatened to report the doctor to the hospital administration if she didn’t refer her sister to a cardiologist for a stress test. It turned out that Mallory’s sister had 95 percent blockage in two arteries; four days later she underwent double bypass surgery.
“It was the lack of understanding of the disease and the disease process,” Mallory says. “There’s no doubt in my mind that had she not gone down to that stress lab that she would have died.”
Mallory attributes HDL’s success to a “perfect storm” of conflating factors: Sedentary lifestyles and poor diets have led to an obesity epidemic, which in turn has led to high rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Plus, some patients feel like they don’t get enough time with their primary doctors to discuss medical problems. HDL’s easy-to-understand, comprehensive tests “empower the patient and the physician,” she says.
Still, Mallory acknowledges she’s a long way from reaching her ultimate goal. Depending on the source, there are an estimated 208,000 to 352,000 primary care physicians in the United States. About 18,000 of those physicians use HDL’s tests and only 15,000 have received advanced training on reading the tests.
“It’s really important for physicians to be armed with information and to make clinical decisions that they believe in. So a lot of our business model is built on that,” Mallory says. “If you look at the real value of lab tests, they’re 3 to 5 percent of the cost to the health-care system, but they control 70 percent of the decisions. It doesn’t matter what lab test you do. Do them all — they’re so cheap — and make very good clinical decisions.”
Of all the perks that have come with being the CEO of a fast-growing, respected corporation, Mallory says the most valuable to her is having a say. “I didn’t have a voice before,” she says. “And no one’s ever told me I’m short on words.”
She’s used that voice to help direct the biotech park and to innovate at VCU, offering direction to VCU’s School of Business and pumping up the university’s clinical chemistry program.
She’s used it to support local and national nonprofits fighting obesity and promoting health prevention.
More importantly, she wants the entire medical community to hear her.
“I started HDL in order to impact medicine,” Mallory says. “I definitely understood that medicine had gotten to a place in the United States where it was quite reactionary, and we want to be a catalyst to change that.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/STAR_Williams.pngJonnie Williams Sr. AP file photo
Williams to step down at Star Scientific
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/williams-to-step-down-at-star-scientific#When:11:00:00ZJonnie Williams Sr., the executive whose gifts and loans to Virginia’s first family sparked a federal investigation of Gov. Bob McDonnell, plans to step down as head of Glen Allen-based Star Scientific Inc.
At the end of December, Williams will resign as CEO of the company he founded as a discount cigarette maker in 1990. The move is part of an overhaul designed to focus the company on the development of pharmaceuticals, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Williams will stay on for one year as a nonexecutive employee.
Williams became a central figure in a Justice Department probe of McDonnell after Williams showered the governor’s family with more than $160,000 in loans and gifts. Star has said it does not expect to be prosecuted in that investigation or a separate probe into the company’s securities transactions.
The company’s shakeup, recommended by the current senior management and board of directors, would include new top executives, a virtually new board, a name change and the potential shift of some research and administrative responsibilities to Sarasota, Fla., where the new CEO resides. Company shareholders will vote on proposals authorizing many of the changes at its annual meeting on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C.
The new CEO would be Dr. Michael J. Mullan, the CEO and president of The Roskamp Institute in Sarasota. The organization has conducted research on the anti-inflammatory effects of anatabine, an alkaloid found in trace amounts in tobacco and other plants. A synthetic version of anatabine is used in Star’s Anatabloc dietary supplement, its primary product. An affiliate of Roskamp receives a 5 percent royalty on Anatabloc sales, $342,000 during the first nine months of 2013, according to the SEC filings.
The filings said the changes were needed to take advantage of opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, including the development of new products approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Star, which has been losing money for more than a decade, would change its name to Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals Inc., the name of a Massachusetts-based Star subsidiary that makes its dietary supplement and cosmetic products.
Williams will continue to be paid $1 a month, the compensation he set for himself this year. He previously was paid a base salary of $1 million a year.
Also stepping down is longtime Star president and COO Paul L. Perito. Like Williams, he will stay for one year as vice president and senior counsel, legal and regulatory affairs.
He would be replaced by Dr. Christopher C. Chapman, a member of the board of directors and the only one being re-nominated to the six-person board at the annual meeting. Chapman is chairman and CEO of Chapman Pharmaceutical Consulting Inc. and chairman of the Chapman Pharmaceutical Health Foundation.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_Hybridshop.pngThe Hybrid Shop currently has 10 locations in the U.S., two of which are in Virginia. Photo courtesy The Hybrid Shop
Auto service aims to update mechanic’s toolbox
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/auto-service-aims-to-update-mechanics-toolbox#When:11:00:00ZA Northern Virginia-based business is helping auto repair shops plug into hybrid electric vehicles.
“There’s a huge disconnect in training and information available on how to diagnose and maintain hybrid vehicles. Dealers are not teaching it,” says Matt Curry, CEO of The Hybrid Shop and the former owner of Sterling-based Curry’s Auto Service.
Curry now is focused on developing franchises for The Hybrid Shop after selling Curry’s Auto Service to Rochester, N.Y.-based Monro Muffler Brake Inc. in August. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but total annual sales for Curry’s Auto Service’s 10 locations were about $18 million.
“The main reason why The Hybrid Shop was born was to put people in business to be able to maintain and repair everything in a hybrid vehicle,” Curry says.
One of The Hybrid Shop’s signature services is its battery pack conditioning, which the company says can restore a hybrid vehicle’s battery up to 95 percent of its original performance. Customers save money because they don’t have to replace their cars’ batteries, which can cost $4,000 to $4,500 each.
Restoring the battery also is more environmentally friendly than getting a new one, Curry says. The conditioning process can improve a vehicle’s gas mileage up to 35 percent and restore a car’s performance, horsepower and torque, he explains.
“There’s no company out there that is operating the training and equipment that allows people to diagnose the car and condition the battery like we do,” Curry says.
Businesses pay $60,000 each for a Hybrid Shop franchise and receive training, tools, marketing materials, a website and blog, Curry says. Franchisees also pay The Hybrid Shop a flat fee of $125 every time they use its Battery Discharge Unit.
The Hybrid Shop currently has 10 locations in the U.S., two of which are in Virginia. Curry says The Hybrid Shop expects to add three more stores in the Washington, D.C. , area by next March through a deal with Monro.
According to Automotive Research and Design LLC — a Hybrid Shop partner—slightly more than 2.7 million hybrid vehicles were registered in the U.S. as of June 30. Virginia is home to more than 100,000 registered hybrid vehicles.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/EVA_Hickory.png
Heathsville firm helping to revive manufacturing jobs
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/heathsville-firm-helping-to-revive-manufacturing-jobs#When:11:00:00ZHeathsville-based Hickory Ground Solutions LLC is helping Southern Virginia and East Tennessee create manufacturing jobs, using lessons learned in war-torn places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The American Indian-owned consulting firm also is working with Central Oklahoma’s oil industry leaders to find ways to resume normal production more quickly after a natural disaster.
On all three contracts, Hickory Ground Solutions is teaming with another consulting firm, Supply Chain Visions LLC, which has operations in Arlington County and the Boston area. The projects are part of the Small Business Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, which aims to promote a resurgence in manufacturing jobs in economically hard-hit regions.
Hickory Ground Solutions and Supply Chain Visions formed a joint venture, SEE Alliance, in May. The firms use expertise that their leaders, — Bart Morrison of Hickory Ground Solutions and Steve Geary of Supply Chain Visions — gained in countries whose economies had been disrupted by conflict.
As a Department of Defense employee, for example, Morrison worked to re-establish a functioning business community in Iraq.
Geary, meanwhile, helped create Defense supply chains in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Our understanding of supply chain requirements provides the SBA with a team that can understand competing requirements and identify alignment opportunities,” he says.
Under a $167,242 federal contract, the team will work with the Southside Virginia Planning District Commission to devise a plan for Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Halifax counties. “That area used to be a regional powerhouse in textiles, but with the passing of NAFTA in 2000, it no longer is,” Morrison says.
The team will analyze the area, looking for opportunities to attract new manufacturers. Another goal is to increase small-business participation in manufacturing and the supply chain.
For East Tennessee, the problem is similar, except that, instead of textiles, the disrupted industry is coal mining. Once the area’s industrial king, coal has been knocked off the throne because of tougher federal regulations and increased U.S. production of natural gas. The SBA contract for that project is $167,969.
The companies will identify area businesses that can help create manufacturing jobs and use local companies as suppliers. “Many times businesspeople overlook nearby areas and don’t know who has what to offer,” Morrison says.
In Central Oklahoma, the goal of a $188,561 contract is figuring how to decrease production downtime in the oil industry after a natural disaster. “This area gets hit with a lot of tornadoes. It can be devastating,” Morrison says.
A May tornado in Moore, Okla., near Oklahoma City, had peak winds estimated at 210 mph, killing 23 people and injuring 377 others.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SRI_ShenandoahValley_facility.pngSRI Shenandoah Valley recently completed an expansion of its Harrisonburg facility. Photo courtesy SRI International
SRI Shenandoah Valley plans third spinoff
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sri-shenandoah-valley-plans-third-spinoff#When:11:00:00ZIn research and development, spinoff companies are more like slow-cooked barbecue than fast food.
“These things take a long time,” says Robin Sullenberger, the retired Shenandoah Valley Partnership CEO who helped bring the nonprofit R&D company SRI International to Harrisonburg seven years ago.
“That’s one of the things that a lot of people don’t understand about the spinoff,” Sullenberger says. “That world is complicated. It involves a lot of legal issues. It involves investment issues and various things and, of course, the products that are going out in the marketplace have to be firmly believed in terms of the ability to commercialize them.”
Good things, however, come to those who wait. SRI Shenandoah Valley launched two spinoffs in 2013, and a third company, focused on cancer diagnostics, is in the works.
“So, think about once a year, from your annual physical, being able to tell whether you need to worry about cancer coming back or cancer starting in the first place,” says Walter Moos, vice president of SRI Biosciences, in describing the new company.
The first SRI spinoff occurred in March with the creation of Redcoat Solutions, a company that’s developing bed-bug detection products. The second spinoff, RioGin, is working on a technology to increase the half-life and reduce the side-effects of certain drugs, such as those used to treat cancer and diabetes.
Spinoffs aren’t the only news at SRI Shenandoah Valley. The firm recently completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion at its Center for Advanced Drug Research (CADRE) in Harrisonburg.
The $2.8 million project includes more than 2,500 square feet of laboratory and storage space.
“It has been a fantastic time,” says Krishna Kodukula, head of SRI Shenandoah Valley, who moved from California to start CADRE in 2007. “We have worked on very important problems that will benefit the world when we find the solutions to them, and we are continuing to do that. We are finding new therapies, new diagnostics and new vaccines that will help a lot of people around the world.”
Besides biosciences, SRI International’s divisions include education, engineering and products and services. The nonprofit’s claims to fame include inventing the computer mouse and Siri, the first virtual personal assistant, which is used in iPhones. SRI spun off Siri Inc. in 2007 and sold it to Apple Inc. in 2010.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SWVA_TechPad3.pngBob Summers is the founder of TechPad in Blacksburg. Photo courtesy King Crow Media/Kingcrowmedia.com
Free gigabit Wi-Fi comes to downtown Blacksburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/free-gigabit-wi-fi-comes-to-downtown-blacksburg#When:11:00:00ZImagine a world where online videos and pages loaded way faster … 100 times faster than the average Internet speed, to be exact. Thanks to a new gigabit Internet network that has come to Southwest Virginia, that’s now a possibility for people in downtown Blacksburg.
TechPad, which provides office space for companies in downtown Blacksburg, spearheaded the effort to bring free, public Wi-Fi to the area. TechPad’s founder, Bob Summers, says he started the project after spending three months in Chattanooga, Tenn., where gigabit Internet is available to all businesses and residents.
TechPad raised $92,400 in three months using a “crowdsourcing” site, Crowdtilt.com. “I was overwhelmingly surprised how many people contributed,” Summers says. “It was really incredible.”
The money will sustain the project for 18 months, and TechPad is close to making the project sustainable for at least three years, Summers says. Part of that funding will come from a $300,000 grant Fitnet (Summers’ telefitness application company) and Virginia Tech received to explore the use of fitness applications on advanced networks. Further funding for the free Wi-Fi in downtown Blacksburg will come from research dollars and companies buying access to the ultra-fast Internet, Summers says.
“Imagine a dozen startups that are building gigabit-type applications,” Summers says. “Those companies will pay to have premium-level business access to this network and that will subsidize the public Wi-Fi.”
The gigabit network currently is available at Kent Square, a mixed-use development in Blacksburg, and TechPad. Wireless access to the network is available to about 40 percent of downtown Blacksburg. “As time goes by, we’ll be deploying more and more,” Summers says. Several thousand devices have accessed the network since it went live in September, he says.
The network has allowed Dave Perks and Andy Horner to run their new advertising agency, Horner & Perks, from Blacksburg and Lynchburg. The network, for example, allows Perks, based at TechPad in Blacksburg, and Horner, located in Lynchburg, to share large design files with each other within seconds. “It’s basically like having a conversation with each other when we’re trading files back and forth,” Perks says.
The new technology is a far cry from when Perks was attending Virginia Tech in the 1990s when Blacksburg was known as the most wired town in America. Back then, Perk recalls, a file that started downloading at night would finish downloading in the morning. “At the time, it was amazing,” Perks says. “Fast forward 18 years, and now we’re at this. It’s absolutely incredible.”2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00
For the Record - December 2013
Danville Community College garnered six awards, including two each of first, second and third place awards, at the 2013 National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District II Medallion Awards competition held at Hilton Head Island, S.C. The annual awards were presented for outstanding achievement in marketing communications and honor the work of community college marketing and public relations professionals in the region. District II is made up of community and technical colleges in 11 states. (WorkItSoVa.com)
Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe said at an event in Norfolk that he would veto any legislation to facilitate uranium mining in Virginia. Mining interests have been trying for years to get a 31-year-old moratorium lifted so the ore can be mined from a rich uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County. The issue also has resonance in Hampton Roads, which draws drinking water from Lake Gaston, downstream from the uranium site. (The Virginian-Pilot)
The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp., a wholesale open-access network transport provider, completed a $20 million capital project to connect more than 120 K-12 schools in Southern Virginia. The completion of this project ensures that every school in Southern Virginia now has access to an advanced fiber optic network, achieving the mission of delivering robust, scalable band-width that can meet their needs now or 20 years from now. (WorkItSoVa.com)
Pittsylvania County is applying for a $700,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to install utilities for a prospective industry that would bring more than 100 jobs to the Dan River Region. Dubbed “Project Tire,” the endeavor would involve a tire-and-rubber recycling company with plans to construct a 40,000-45,000-square-foot building on a 20-acre site in Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park. (Danville Register & Bee)
The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston has been awarded an $85,000 Rural Health Network Development Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant will be used to coordinate efforts of regional health-care providers as they consider community health-care needs and what this means for health-care-worker roles moving forward. (WorkItSoVa.com)
Roanoke-based Advance Auto Parts Inc. plans to buy auto parts retailer General Parts International Inc. (GPI) for $2.04 billion, setting the company up to become the largest auto parts retailer in North America. Raleigh-based GPI is a private distributor and supplier of equipment and aftermarket replacement products for commercial markets, operating under the Carquest and Worldpac brands. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in late 2013 or early 2014. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Bristol-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources plans to eliminate about 230 positions throughout the company in the wake of continued financial losses. Company officials have developed a plan to reduce operating and support expenses by at least $200 million in 2014 and beyond. Most of the positions being cut are salaried and about 100 are already vacant and won’t be filled. (Bristol Herald Courier)
A study found that the Abingdon-based Barter Theatre has an economic impact of $34 million on its local economy. The report, completed in September, said the nonprofit theater supports 485 jobs. The Barter Theatre has an annual operating budget of more than $6 million. The impact study was prepared by Stephen Powell, CEO of Destination Services LLC; Berkeley Young, president of Young Strategies; and Steve Morse, director of the Hospitality & Tourism Program at the College of Business, Western Carolina University. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Gov. Bob McDonnell announced two Virginia Enterprise Zone (VEZ) designations in Southwest Virginia: Scott County, and a joint zone including the city of Radford and Pulaski County. Each locality will use state and local enterprise zone incentives to create jobs, promote private investment and support the overall growth of the local economy. The program has supported more than $1 billion in investment and the creation of more than 40,000 jobs since 1995. (News release)
A New Jersey couple plan to upgrade Smith Mountain Lake Airport in Bedford County after buying the facility from Joseph Borgess. Two married aviation buffs who reside at a New Jersey air park paid about $1 million for the nearly 50-acre airport property, said Mark Dalton of Dalton & Co. Realtors in Lynchburg. Dalton declined to identify the couple and said they will own the airport through a limited liability company. (The Roanoke Times)
Amherst Family Practice and Winchester Medical Consultants have created Integrated Physician Services. Although each practice retains its independence, location and patients, the organization is working on some added benefits for its patients, such as a system allowing patients to pay their bills online and download documents before arriving for a medical appointment. (Northern Virginia Daily)
Winchester-based Angle Valley Press, an independent publisher of books on the Civil War, has announced that it has partnered with Savas Beatie. Savas Beatie, which is a military and general history publishing company, has agreed to distribute titles by Angle Valley Press into non-book trade accounts within the U.S. and Canada. (Northern Virginia Daily)
Washington, D.C.-based DBT-DATA completed the purchase of its fifth data center, the 13-acre Cyber Integration Center in Harrisonburg. DBT-DATA is a real estate investment and development firm that designs, constructs, owns and operates technology-related real estate properties. It has four data center properties in Ashburn, an area through which 60 percent of the nation’s Internet traffic travels on a daily basis. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
After reaching the halfway mark in September, construction on the Dominion Virginia Power plant in Warren County is steadily chugging along toward powering 325,000 Northern and Central Virginia homes with electricity in the fourth quarter of 2014. The 1,329 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, located three miles north of Front Royal, is being constructed by a joint venture consisting of Zachry Industrial and Burns & McDonnell, and will be owned and operated by Dominion Virginia Power. (Northern Virginia Daily)
The Market Collective opened Oct. 4 in Luray and was scheduled to operate for three months. The market, created by the Luray Downtown Initiative (LDI), offers fresh produce and organic meats alongside locally made arts and crafts. LDI originated The Collective as a means to occupy vacant Main Street properties and revitalize downtown by attracting visitors during the busy autumn and holiday seasons. (Page News and Courier)
Harrisonburg-based RMH Healthcare is changing its name to reflect its ties with Sentara Healthcare, a Norfolk-based health system. The new name, Sentara RMH Medical Center, will take effect on Jan. 1. The change conforms to Sentara’s naming structure. RMH merged with Sentara in May 2011. As part of its merger agreement, the RMH board agreed to transition the hospital’s name over time. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Breeden Co.’s Cambria at Cornerstone has won a national housing award. The 420-unit apartment community in Virginia Beach is the first-ever recipient of the “Best Lifestyle Programming” award for a multifamily community award. It is a new category in the 2013 NAHB Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards given by the National Association of Home Builders. The Breeden Co. is a Virginia Beach-based multifamily and residential developer. (News release)
Chelsea Business Association was formed in September to focus attention on branding and redeveloping the commercial district south of West Ghent in Norfolk. Twenty people representing 16 businesses are planning area events to promote the neighborhood. This district includes the Birch Bar, the new Smartmouth Brewing Co., Tortilla West and the New Leaf Florist, among other businesses. (TidewaterBiz.com)
Rieder Holdings, a New York real estate investment and management firm looking to expand its presence in Hampton Roads, has purchased the 224-unit Greenwich Village Apartments in Virginia Beach for $36.2 million, or about $162,000 per unit. The sellers were Harmony Investments Inc. and Spy Rock Development. Spy Rock, based in Richmond, is a regional developer and owner of several multifamily communities in Virginia. Harmony Investments in Virginia Beach has partnered with Spy Rock to develop multifamily properties in Hampton Roads. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Three Hampton Roads companies are among four in Virginia named to a list of the nation’s 100 best small publicly traded companies compiled by Forbes magazine. The companies are Toano-based Lumber Liquidators, Norfolk-based Portfolio Recovery Associates, Sterling-based Neustar and Hampton-based Measurement Specialties. Lumber Liquidators was ranked 17th, and Portfolio Recovery Associates was No. 18. Neustar is 57th on the Forbes list. Measurement Specialties ranked No. 76. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Gov. Bob McDonnell says a $2.1 billion tunnel project in Hampton Roads will proceed in light of a Virginia Supreme Court ruling that allows tolls to pay for the work. In May, a lower court judge ruled unconstitutional an agreement between the state and a private company to use tolls to pay to expand the Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth, refurbish the Downtown Tunnel between the two cities, and extend a connecting expressway between the tunnels. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Cvent, an expanding event management solutions company, is shifting its headquarters to a bigger space in Fairfax County. The move means the county will retain 451 local jobs and gain another 400 during the next three years. Cvent, which has operated in Virginia since 1999, will move into SAIC’s former headquarters building in Tysons Corner. Cvent’s current headquarters is in the same area, on Greensboro Drive in McLean. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Three medical facilities in King George County closed: the Gateway Medical Urgent Care center, King George Pediatrics and King George Medical Center. The facilities were owned by Dantra Healthcare Inc., which announced in October it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to restructure financially and develop a repayment plan for its creditors. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
Fairfax-based George Mason University will be home to a teaching center starting next summer. The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will admit 100 teachers per year and guide them on topics such as instruction, education policy and leadership. Teachers must hold a five-year renewable Virginia license, be employed by a Virginia school division, have a minimum of five years of successful teaching experience and have a consistent record of effective instruction and demonstrated leadership ability. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Inova Health Care Services, a not-for-profit health-care system in Northern Virginia, has purchased an 8.7-acre tract of land and plans to build a Healthplex facility in Dulles. It will offer 24-hour health care, including physician offices and diagnostic imaging. The company that sold the land, Akridge and Soave Enterprises, said that the Healthplex will be an integral part of a larger mixed-use development, planned around multimodal transit opportunities that future adjacent Metrorail stations will create. The purchase price was not disclosed. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Loudoun County has emerged as one of the biggest data center hubs in the country. Riding the tremendous growth in cloud computing, the area around Ashburn now rivals Silicon Valley, the New York suburbs and the Dallas area in data storage prowess. There are more than 9 million square feet of data centers in Northern Virginia, including 5 million square feet in Loudoun County. Another 3 million square feet are planned or being developed in Loudoun. (The Washington Post)
Health insurer Cigna Corp. and Leesburg-based Loudoun Medical Group have launched an program aimed at improving the coordination of health care. The program is called “collaborative accountable care.” It represents Cigna’s approach to accomplishing the same health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. Under the ACO model, provider reimbursements are tied to trics on the quality of health care and reductions in the total cost of care for a population of patients. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Having completed two successful launches of its Antares rocket, Dulles-based Orbital Sciences can proceed as planned with eight more flights scheduled through 2016 as part of its $1.9 billion cargo resupply services contract with NASA. Its latest accomplishments position Orbital well to recompete for the next cargo resupply contract, which is expected in a year or two. (The Washington Post)
Santeon, a Reston-based technology company, has opened an office in Pune, India. The Pune office will act as an overflow facility for the development work being performed in Cairo, where Santeon also has an office. Santeon offers products and services to optimize federal and commercial enterprise performance. Besides Cairo, Pune and Reston, Santeon also has a location in Tampa, Fla. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Google Inc. will invest about $103 million in a California solar power project owned by Arlington-based Silver Ridge Power LLC. With the investment, Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., will become a partner in the 265.7 megawatt Mount Signal Solar project. The project is a utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating plant under construction in Imperial County, Calif. Solar is expected to be fully operational next year. It will sell its power to San Diego Gas & Electric Company under a long-term power purchase agreement. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Attendance at the State Fair of Virginia jumped 40 percent this year over last year’s numbers. Throughout the 10 days of the fair, 229,000 people turned out, said Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which ran the event this year from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6. Last year, 160,000 people attended the fair, which has been held at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County for the last five years, Hicks said. Before that, the Richmond Raceway Complex in Henrico hosted the event. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
Altria Group Inc. is giving the Science Museum of Virginia $1 million to expand its after-school learning program aimed at middle school students. The gift from the Henrico County-based company will help the museum advance its statewide outreach strategy to engage students in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The cable television network AMC is filming a Colonial-era spy series in Richmond that’s expected to have an economic impact of $45 million per season. The show, tentatively titled “Turn,” is based on the nonfiction book “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring” by Alexander Rose. The story is centered on a band of young soldiers and civilians who were part of a spy ring that assisted George Washington and helped America to win the Revolutionary War. The show will premiere on AMC in 2014. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Henrico County-based technology consulting firm CapTech opened a delivery center at its local office that could result in the company adding up to 100 jobs over 18 months. CapTech has about 430 employees now, including about 280 in Richmond. Sandy Williamson, the company’s chief executive officer, said it plans to hire at least an additional 50 people this year and continue growing next year. Williamson said the company expects to add jobs mainly in technical fields such as engineering, data analysis and project management. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
MeadWestvaco, a Richmond-based packaging giant, has signed a deal to sell all of its timberland — 501,000 acres in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia — for $934 million in cash and financing. About 125,000 acres are in Virginia. Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc., a timber real estate investment trust based in Seattle, will buy the forestland and associated wind and mineral assets. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Richmond-based leaf tobacco company Universal Corp. is expanding in Africa. The largest of the projects is in Mozambique, where the company will expand tobacco production and processing capabilities. The cost of the project is expected to run between $40 million and $45 million during the next two years. A new processing line is scheduled to begin operation next September. Other African projects involve efficiency improvements and equipment enhancements at facilities in Tanzania and Malawi. (VirginiaBusiness.com)2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/GLOBAL_fish.pngHigh Liner Foods is the largest producer of frozen seafood for retail chains. Photo courtesy High Liner Foods Inc.
High Liner Foods expands in Newport News and abroad
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/high-liner-foods-expands-in-newport-news-and-abroad-after-acquiring-iceland#When:11:00:00ZThe fish in an Arby’s fish sandwich may be harvested from international waters, but the breaded filet is made at the High Liner Foods plant in Newport News. “It’s the company’s most well-known product that comes out of that plant,” says Keith Decker, the company president and chief operating officer. High Liner also makes fish filets for McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, as well as bee-battered cod for Sam’s Club.
Founded in 1899, High Liner Foods Inc. is based in a small fishing community in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. “It started as a fishing company producing salt fish,” says Decker.
High Liner went on to become one of the two largest fishing companies in Canada. “When the fisheries were shut down in eastern Canada in the early 1990s, High Liner went into the world market and created a name for itself as an importer and marketer of fish products,” Decker says.
In December 2011, the company acquired the U.S. subsidiary of Icelandic Seafood in Newport News for about $230 million. Icelandic was one of the largest suppliers of value-added seafood to the U.S. food service market, so the deal raised High Liner’s profile as a player in the industry.
Icelandic is one of four U.S. companies that High Liner has acquired in the past seven years. “Our sales have grown dramatically,” Decker says. “Today we are the largest producer of frozen value-added seafood — battered, glazed and sauced — for retail chains and food service.”
The Newport News facility opened in 1997 and dealt primarily with food service accounts such as schools and chain restaurants in the U.S. “They were a very good competitor of ours,” Decker says. “It was a logical acquisition to add that portfolio into ours. From our perspective it was a great facility, probably the newest manufacturing plant in the U.S. for seafood.”
High Liner liked the fact that Newport News had a large workforce to draw from as well as access to port facilities. “It is also ideally located for trucking logistics across the U.S.,” Decker says.
The company has about 420 employees in Newport News and 1,500 companywide. The 250,000-square-foot Newport News plant, one of five company plants in North America, produces about 65 million pounds of seafood. High Liner is investing $6.6 million to modernize and expand the facility with new equipment and systems to increase production. Work is underway on the expansion, and the company has started hiring for 57 new positions.
“Our vision is to be the leading supplier of frozen seafood in North America, and this expansion of our Newport News operation puts us a step closer to that goal,” Decker says, noting that all of the company’s sales are focused on North America.
High Liner processes more than 20 species of fish from more than 30 countries around the world, from tilapia and salmon to cod and shrimp. “We bring raw fish material through the Port of Norfolk and also by truck,” Decker says.
The company sells to every major supermarket, restaurant and food service chain as well as club stores in North America. Its brands include Fisher Boy and Sea Cuisine as well as High Liner. “We have the leading market share in the food service sector, but we are not a leader on the retail side,” Decker says. “There are two or three companies more dominant on that side.”
High Liner gets seafood from around the world. Alaska is a source of salmon as is Russia, which also provides cod, haddock and pollock. Shrimp comes from Southeast Asia and Central America. “We also get product out of China and Scandinavian countries, such as Norway and Iceland,” Decker says.
The business has its challenges. Salmon runs, for example, may occur only eight weeks during the salmon season. “We have to take seasonal fishery and produce a product that is the same size, quality and price and deliver it 52 weeks a year to chain restaurants or supermarkets,” Decker says.
Because of the seasonality of salmon runs, High Liner has to make an educated guess as to how much salmon it will need for the year. “We are buying and committing to a year’s worth of inventory upfront,” Decker says. “It could be as much as 50 million pounds of product.”
By the end of this year, the company will purchase all its seafood from certified sustainable or responsible fisheries and aquaculture farms.
Because of its Icelandic acquisition, High Liner has strong purchasing ties with Reykjavik, Iceland, buying cod and haddock from local fisheries. “We import a lot of products from them,” Decker says. “They produce fantastic quality products that are well respected in the U.S. food service market.”
When he meets with businessmen in Reykjavik, Decker finds them to be more conservative than American businessmen. “They are more reserved,” he says. “As far as doing business with them, they are excellent businessmen. They have a lot of pride in their country. [It is] a great country to work in.”
Business meetings are similar to meetings in the U.S., he adds. “They all speak excellent English.”
Economy in Newport News
Known for its shipbuilding industry, Newport News also is home to a fast growing technology sector. Other industries include health-care services, manufacturing and wholesale distribution. Large employers include Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding), Riverside Health System, Ferguson Enterprises/Wolseley North America, the Department of Defense and Canon Virginia Inc. Canon is investing $27 million to expand its operation in the city. The city also has several proposed developments in the works, including the $250 million Tech Center development that includes commercial and research enterprises as well as residential housing. The center is a partnership between the city and construction company W.M. Jordan, developer S.J. Collins Enterprises, Jefferson Lab and the Virginia Tech Foundation. Also underway is a $48.2 million, 22-acre mixed-use project in the city’s Southeast Community. Brooks Crossing is being designed as a project that will help renovate this part of the city and so far has attracted a new police precinct and a 30,000-square-foot commercial building. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring.
Economy in Reykjavik
The capital and largest city in Iceland, Reykjavik is a major player in the economic growth of the country. Industries include geothermal energy, seafood, biotech, medical equipment and information technology. Large employers include retail giant Hagar, the marine energy management and research company Marorka, clothing manufacturer 66°North and airlines Air Iceland and Icelandair. In 2011, the city built The Harpa concert hall and conference center, making it more attractive in the meeting planning industry.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/OURVIEW_Bernie_8009.pngPhoto by Mark Rhodes
Don’t mistake politics for business
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/dont-mistake-politics-for-business#When:11:00:00ZThe sky’s been falling in Dee Cee for a while now. We’ve been sequestered, jumped over the fiscal cliff, shut down, debt ceilinged, Obamacared and so on. Interestingly, all of this political woe really hasn’t mattered much on Wall Street. In fact, just the opposite is true.
When talk of lower government spending turns toward the possibility of the Federal Reserve backing away from its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, it sends shudders through the markets. Businesses benefit from low interest rates. Government spending creates jobs helping to drive consumer spending. Though politically unpopular, this is apparently the new normal for economic stability.
The irony is that what makes sense personally is often different from what makes sense politically. Neither our pocketbooks nor our politics follow the same calculus as business profits.
Equating politics and business should lead to the conclusion that the sky has been falling both in Dee Cee and on Wall Street, something that clearly hasn’t been happening. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average have been hitting record highs in recent months. Going back over two years, a time before sequestration, the S&P 500 has risen more than 40 percent — not a bad return for 24 months, during a time when many have assumed that political instability should imply economic uncertainty.
Looking at Virginia’s 15 largest public companies between November 2011 and November 2013, only one of them dropped in share price, and the unweighted average share price gain for the group was about 40 percent, roughly even with the S&P 500.
Of special note is Smithfield Foods, which exited the ranks of Virginia’s public companies in September after being bought by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. Nevertheless, Smithfield’s stock rose over 50 percent during its last two years of public trading.
Shares of Leidos Holdings Inc. are a bit more complicated. The company formerly known as SAIC underwent a spin-off and 1-to-4 reverse stock split in September. Accounting for the split and adding back the spinoff, the pro forma combined Leidos/SAIC price per share has gone up a bit over 50 percent in the past 24 months.
Alpha Natural Resources the only company in Virginia’s top 15 to decline in value over the past two years, plummeted by 70 percent. Increased environmental regulation, lower foreign demand for metallurgical coal and an increased supply of lower priced shale gas have combined to dampen share prices across the entire coal sector.
Genworth’s share price gain of 100 percent over the past two years makes it the leader among Virginia’s top 15 public companies. New CEO Tom McInerney shelved a planned IPO for the company’s Australian mortgage insurer and cut costs. At the same time the company has benefited from increasing pricing power for long-term care insurance and a recovery in the U.S. mortgage insurance market.
Similarly, Northrop Grumman has seen it’s share price rise by more than 90 percent since last 2011. No doubt, sequestration has been difficult, but it hasn’t done much to impair the value of this company or for that matter any of the largest government contractors in Virginia.
This brings me back to politics and business. Despite ongoing saber rattling about government bond ratings, confidence in markets, and the reputation of our democracy, business seems to be doing okay. The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. Recessions are defined by economic measures, not political ones. Though the U.S. political environment remains embarrassingly choked by partisanship, business earnings continue to improve and opportunities exist for those willing to seize them.
As mentioned, low interest rates are good for business. A recent Bloomberg News article on cable-magnate John Malone quoted him as saying, “A combination of cheap money and a gloomy view of the future gives rise to opportunity for those who aren’t quite so gloomy.” That’s’ a pretty good description of what opportunity looks like these days. It’s something that can be missed by clinging to a pessimistic view of business conditions.
Economic ups and downs tend to run in about 10-year cycles. With the last recession ending in mid-2009, we are somewhere around half-way to the next peak. Looking at the recent results of Virginia’s top companies, things are better than they seem. As we approach 2014 politics may continue to disappoint, but business is doing just fine.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00
Full effects of the sequester’s damage are yet to be seen
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/full-effects-of-the-sequesters-damage-are-yet-to-be-seen#When:11:00:00ZTo the Editor,
In fiscal year 2013, we saw the sequester do great damage to the U.S. military’s readiness [“Fairfax feels the effects of Washington’s blunders,” editor’s column, November issue]. The deployment of an entire carrier group to the Persian Gulf, and maintenance for hundreds of aircraft and ships, were cancelled. One third of the entire aircraft fleet (including many combat units) of the Air Force was stood down for a lack of funding. The Army and the Marines have canceled training for all their units except those deploying, or preparing to deploy, to Afghanistan or South Korea.
And yet, that was just the foretaste of the damage sequestration will do, in the long term, to America’s military if this cretinous, suicidal mechanism is allowed to remain the law.
According to the Army’s chief of staff, he’ll have only two to three fully combat-ready brigades left. The Air Force’s chief of staff says he’ll have to retire entire fleets of planes, including the B-1, the A-10 and the KC-10 tanker. The chief of naval operations says he’d have to defer maintenance on hundreds and hundreds of Navy aircraft and warships, reduce planned ship and plane buys significantly, and be unable to enter into money-saving multiyear procurement contracts. The Marines would have to cancel every modernization program except their new amphibious tractor.
And all four services will decline dramatically in size: for example, the Army would be cut to 380,000 active duty personnel, the Marines to 150,000 or fewer, and the Navy will decline to just 230 vessels, at a time it can meet only 59 percent of COCOM’s [Combatant Command’s] requests for warships.
And since the Navy will, like other services, be hit hard, Virginia and its shipbuilding industry will suffer greatly, too.
The only thing good about this damage to the nation’s military is that it has, and will continue to, utterly disprove the falsity of those who downplayed, and continue to downplay, the damage this mechanism is doing to America’s defense.
Mazurak is a defense correspondent with ConservativeDailyNews.2013-11-27T11:00:00+00:00
SCC approves Dominion’s request to build new transmission line over James River
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/scc-approves-dominions-request-to-build-new-transmission-line-over-james-ri#When:20:52:00ZThe State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved a request by Dominion Virginia Power to build new high voltage electric transmission lines from Surry County to the City of Hampton. The project includes an overhead crossing of the James River, which drew opposition from historians, residents and some local officials.
In a press release on Tuesday, the SCC said, “The commission understands the importance of this case to the many people who cherish Virginia’s historical and natural assets and to those who depend on the reliable electric service so critical to Virginia’s economic strength, safety, and quality of life.”
The SCC found that based on the record of the case, the routes chosen for the project reasonably minimize adverse impact on scenic assets, historic districts and resources, and the environment.
Under the Code of Virginia, the SCC must determine whether the public convenience and necessity require the construction of transmission lines in the commonwealth. “Ultimately, the commission must base its decision on the law as applied to the factual record of the case. That is what we have done …” The SCC added that, “The evidence is clear that the proposed project is necessary to continue reliable electric service to the hundreds of thousands of people who live and work across this broad region of Virginia.”
The first segment of the project will be a new overhead 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line between a Dominion switching station in Surry County and a new switching station at Skiffes Creek in James City County. From the Skiffes Creek switching station, a new 230-kV transmission line will be constructed through James City and York counties, Newport News, ending at the Whealton substation in Hampton.
The SCC said that the engineering evidence is overwhelming that as a result of generation retirements prompted by stricter federal environmental regulations and normal continued load growth in the North Hampton Roads Area, an overhead 500-kV transmission line needs to be constructed soon to ensure that a large part of Virginia continues to have reliable electric service.
“The commission can no more ignore the severity of fast-approaching reliability problems than it can the environmental, scenic, and historic impacts associated with the many different possible alternatives explored in this case for addressing those problems,” the SCC wrote. “In this case, the risks associated with the construction of a lower voltage project, either underground or overhead, or other alternatives that do not include a 500-kV overhead transmission line, are simply too great. Were lesser transmission options, for example, approved herein, the record demonstrates that reliable electric service would be compromised to a degree that is unacceptable anywhere in the commonwealth ...”2013-11-26T20:52:00+00:00
Shearer’s Foods to expand in Bristol
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shearers-foods-to-expand-in-bristol#When:20:49:00ZSalty snacks company Shearer’s Foods is adding a tortilla chip manufacturing line at its operations in Bristol to better serve its customers in the Southeast.
The $4.75 million investment is expected to create between 20 and 25 new jobs.
Shearer’s, based in Massillon, Ohio, employs 275 people in Bristol. The Bristol site makes a variety of tortilla and potato chip products.
“The Shearer’s facility located in Bristol, Virginia, was selected as the ideal site to expand operations partially based on the economic incentives provided by the city of Bristol and the commonwealth of Virginia,” Mark Schwerdtfeger, vice president at Shearer’s, said in a statement. “In addition, we were attracted to the great skilled workforce available in the Bristol area.”
Virginia competed with Tennessee for the investment. Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $75,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help Bristol with the project. The Virginia Tobacco and Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $245,000 for the project.2013-11-26T20:49:00+00:00
Ferrum and Mary Baldwin reach admission agreement
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ferrum-and-mary-baldwin-reach-admission-agreement#When:17:32:00ZFerrum College and Mary Baldwin College have signed an agreement admitting a small group of Ferrum students each year to Mary Baldwin’s graduate health science programs.
Under the agreement, Mary Baldwin will admit one full-time Ferrum student annually to each of its physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs at Mary Baldwin’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.
The students will have to meet the agreed-upon performance standards and criteria.
“This agreement represents an excellent opportunity for our students to attend a professional graduate school in some of the most popular health-care professions and provides a strong pathway for them to pursue multiple options for the future,” Jennifer Braaten, Ferrum’s president, said in a statement.
The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is under construction in Fishersville. It is expected to open next June.2013-11-26T17:32:00+00:00
Study shows Virginia’s dependence on federal spending
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/study-shows-virginias-dependence-on-federal-spending#When:16:15:00ZA study released Monday shows Virginia’s economy continues to be dependent on federal spending for many jobs.
The report by Keith Hall and Robert Greene of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University says private-sector jobs funded by federal contracts in Virginia make up 10.7 percent of the commonwealth’s total nonfarm payroll employment.
That is the highest percentage of the 50 states, with the national average being 2.7 percent.
Virginia was followed by New Mexico and Maryland, both at 7.7 percent. The lowest percentages were found in Oregon and Delaware, both at 0.7 percent.
The combined total of federal contract-funded jobs and public-sector jobs make up 29.8 percent of the commonwealth’s nonfarm payroll, second only to New Mexico’s 31.9 percent, according to the study.
Trailing Virginia was Alaska, 29.3 percent and Mississippi, 28.2 percent. The national average is 19.2 percent.
The state with the lowest percentage is Rhode Island, 14.3 percent.
Turning the percentages around, Rhode Island led the nation with “real” private-sector jobs as a ratio of total nonfarm employment, 85.7 percent.
The study authors defined real private-sector jobs as those not funded by government spending.
Virginia was 49th on this list at 70.2 percent. The national average was 80.8 percent.
Looking at growth for real private-sector jobs during the past five years (2007-12), the study found only eight states with overall gains.
They are North Dakota (24.6 percent), Alaska (6.7 percent), Texas (5.6 percent), South Dakota (1.7 percent), New York (1.6 percent), Louisiana (1.5 percent), Vermont and West Virginia, (both 0.5 percent).
Virginia showed a decline of 2.8 percent, dropping from 2.691 million private-sector jobs in 2007 to 2.615 million in 2012, slightly better than a national average of 3 percent.
Nevada had the highest percentage of lost private-sector jobs, 13.1 percent.2013-11-26T16:15:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Clubhouse_and_pool.jpg
Virginia Tech Investors buys Terrace View Apartments
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-investors-buys-terrace-view-apartments#When:16:11:00ZVirginia Tech Investors has completed the acquisition of Terrace View Apartments in Blacksburg for $76.2 million. The 756-unit, 1,720-bed student-housing community, a half-mile north of Tech, is the university’s largest student-housing community.
It has 81 residential buildings on more than 43 acres of property. For the past six years, Terrace View has maintained 100-percent occupancy, according to Phoenix-based Mica Creek-Sagamore (MCS) Capital Partners, which manages Virginia Tech Investors.
MCS targets both conventional multifamily and student-housing properties throughout the U.S. Its portfolio includes properties at Arizona State University, The University of Arizona and Florida State University.
“We’re thrilled to add Terrace View Apartments to our portfolio, as we plan to continue to acquire well-located assets which meet our investment criteria in the next 12 months,” MCS Chairman Charles Dubroff said in a statement.
Jason Pollack, managing director of MCS said, "We’re excited about this acquisition and the opportunity to improve Terrace View Apartments with continued renovations and enhancements for tenants.”
Recent renovations to the pool and clubhouse area include a 28-person hot tub, cabanas, coffee bar, gaming and study areas and an expanded gym with updated equipment.
MCS financed the acquisition through NorthMarq Capital, which facilitated the loan through its sister organization, AmeriSphere, a Fannie Mae lender. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. in Chicago brokered the transaction. The property will be managed by Detroit-based Rock Cos.2013-11-26T16:11:00+00:00
29 companies adding jobs in Fairfax County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/29-companies-adding-jobs-in-fairfax-county#When:14:38:00ZTwenty-nine businesses announced plans to add more than 600 jobs in Fairfax County during the third quarter of 2013.
Most of the businesses expanding or relocating in the county are in the information technology and professional services sectors. Seven are foreign-based firms using Fairfax as a site for expansion in North America.
“Fairfax County’s strengths in IT and professional services continue to be a draw for companies from the United States and around the world to locate and expand here, and that creates more jobs that strengthen and diversify our economic base and support the quality of life we enjoy here,” Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said in a statement.
Gordon said that while the quarterly numbers are lower than historical trends for Fairfax , they are indicators of the county’s underlying economic strength.
The biggest job gain came from Appian, which develops business process software. It is adding 90 jobs.
Other companies adding more than 50 jobs include the Internet research firm comScore, 75 jobs, and Delex Systems, an IT, program management and research firm, 61 jobs2013-11-26T14:38:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1800_K_Day.jpg
Shades of green
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shades-of-green#When:21:31:00ZA 224,000-square-foot office building in Washington, D.C., 1800 K St., is the first in the world to earn certification through a new, more stringent LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.
In addition the building, owned by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and managed by Transwestern, is the second project worldwide to obtain any of the 21 rating system adaptations available under what is known as LEED v4.
The U.S. Green Building Council simultaneously awarded the Washington, D.C., structure with LEED Gold certification for existing buildings, operations and maintenance through v2009, the most recent rating system before the creation of LEED v4.
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management pursued the LEED certifications for 1800 K St. as part of a market-driven portfolio improvement program. Built in 1970, the building houses several tenants, including the Educational Testing Service and Wells Fargo Bank.
”With the launch of LEED v4, we are seeing a number of leading organizations certifying their new and existing buildings to LEED v4, upping their already high standards of performance,” Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, said in a statement.
Transwestern’s sustainability services team oversaw the certification process of 1800 K St., directing the on-site property management team.
“This is a tremendous achievement for Transwestern,” said Allan Skodowski, the company’s managing senior vice president and director of LEED and sustainability services. “… The new LEED v4 rating system holds buildings to higher standards, and we are excited to see how much building sustainability improves with these new guidelines.”
The 1800 K St. building earned 64 points in the LEED v2009 and 52 points in the newer v4 system. Additional improvements at the property include:
• Upgrading all plumbing fixtures to meet WaterSense requirements;
• Achieving an ENERGY STAR rating of 81;
• Offsetting 27 percent of electrical usage with sustainable power;
• Recycling 61 percent of office waste.2013-11-25T21:31:00+00:00
Chris O’Brien joins Colliers as an executive vice president
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/chris-obrien-joins-colliers-as-an-executive-vice-president#When:21:08:00ZColliers International in Washington, D.C., announces the addition of Chris O’Brien as an executive vice president on its Northern Virginia brokerage team.
In 13 years of tenant representation work, O’Brien has negotiated real estate transactions on behalf of government contracting firms, professional service firms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and financial institutions.
He also has managed national real estate portfolios for General Dynamics, (formerly Anteon International), SRA International Inc., McNeil Technologies, Risk Metrics Group, allowing him to work in many metropolitan markets across the United States.2013-11-25T21:08:00+00:00
A new kind of red light district
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-new-kind-of-red-light-district#When:20:58:00ZIf you are traveling to D.C. over the holidays, be forewarned. The District of Columbia has expanded its arsenal of automated traffic enforcement cameras throughout various corridors of the city.
Starting on Sat. Nov. 23, the district activated 100 next-generation traffic cameras, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Motorists will now have to pass through stop-sign cameras, intersection speed cameras and crosswalk cameras. Truck drivers, bus drivers and commercial vehicle drivers need to be on the lookout for “oversize truck” cameras. And all drivers will be subject to red-light cameras.
“The city is now awash in automated traffic cameras, including red-light cameras and speed cameras,” John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement. “The new cameras will nab drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, a battery of newfangled intersection speed cameras will ticket motorists who speed up to beat the traffic light. “
For 30 days the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will only issue warning citations to motorists caught by the new cameras. After the grace period ends on Dec. 30, drivers will be hit with fines.
The new camera locations are “based on a variety of criteria, including sites with crashes and injuries, calls for service, high speed volume, near schools, or in zones prohibited for use by certain commercial vehicles,” according to the MPD.
To prepare motorists, the MPD is publicizing the new camera enforcement locations around the city. The list includes:
• 32 new portable stop-sign cameras located near schools.
• 24 intersection speed camera units that target drivers speeding through an intersection to beat a traffic signal. The fines range from $50 to $300, depending on the clocked speed.
• 20 gridlock camera units to identify vehicles that “block the box,” and fail to clear the intersection.The fine is $50.
• 16 pedestrian right-of-way or crosswalk cameras to identify vehicles that fail to stop for a pedestrian. Failure to give the right of way brings a $75 fine.
• Eight oversize vehicle cameras that ticket truck and bus drivers who drive vehicles on a residential street, such as the 1100 block of 4th Street NE or the 1300 block of Independence Ave. SE. Fine: $150.
The fine for running a red light is $150.
The District implemented its photo, red-light enforcement program in 1999. The MPD has dubbed the next-gen automated enforcement camera program “D.C. Street Safe” because it’s designed to combat aggressive and dangerous driving habits that endanger other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the city generated $91 million from automated traffic camera tickets during fiscal year 2012. During the year it issued 91,550 red-light camera tickets that generated $12.9 million in revenue.
In its fiscal 2014 proposed budget, the mayor’s office announced policy initiatives designed to increase the city’s general fund revenue by $75.1 million, with more than a third of that total, $31.7 million, coming from additional automated traffic camera enforcement revenue the city hopes to get by expanding its network of cameras.
Dominion Dental Services names vice president of marketing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dominion-dental-services-names-vice-president-of-marketing#When:20:55:00ZAlexandria-based Dominion Dental Services has promoted Jeff Schwab to vice president of marketing. He has more than a decade of experience in marketing, public relations and corporate communications.
Schwab will be responsible for Dominion Dental Services’ marketing, public relations and advertising efforts.
Dominion Dental Services provides dental and vision benefits in the Mid-Atlantic.2013-11-25T20:55:00+00:00
Construction employment goes up in 39 states
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/construction-employment-goes-up-in-39-states#When:16:48:00ZConstruction employment increased in 39 states during the past 12 months, the most widespread gains since April 2012, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America using Labor Department data.
Association officials said action on infrastructure investments for water and transportation projects would help support continued employment growth for the industry.
“It is encouraging that three-quarters of the states are now adding construction jobs on a year-over-year basis,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Employment increases are still intermittent in too many states, however, and nearly all states are far below their pre-recession highs.”
Mississippi led all states with a 19 percent increase (9,300 jobs) in construction employment between October 2012 and October 2013.
Eleven states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia, lost construction jobs. In Virginia, the number of jobs fell by 1,700, or 1 percent.
Indiana had the steepest percentage drop in construction employment with a loss of 11,800 jobs, for a 9.5 percent decrease.
The association, based in Arlington, urges Congress to include infrastructure funding as part of any final budget deal. “Congress has an opportunity to enact measures that will help put people back to work and make our economy more competitive for years to come,” Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO, said in a statement. “Making our ports more efficient, our bridges safer and our roads less congested will allow American businesses to be more competitive, our products more affordable and our economy more robust.”2013-11-25T16:48:00+00:00
NAIOP gives out 28 awards
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/naiop-gives-out-28-awards#When:16:03:00ZThe Northern Virginia chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) gave out 28 awards last week during an annual event that drew more than 700 people to the Ritz Carlton at Tysons Corner. Awards were presented for best transactions, interiors, marketing and buildings.
Some of the winners are listed below:
Best Real Estate Transaction - Sale: Award of Excellence for Tysons Overlook, submitted by MRP Realty. Team members included Rockpoint Group, LMI, Cassidy Turley and CBRE Inc.
Best Real Estate Transaction - Lease: Award of Excellence for Tysons Tower (Intelsat) submitted by Macerich. Additional team member included CBRE Inc.
Best Interiors, Tenant Space 50,000 square feet and above: Award of Excellence for Bechtel Corp. submitted by Hickok Cole Architects. Team members included Boston Properties, CBRE Inc. and rand* construction corp.
Best Interiors, Building Common Area: Award of Merit for Rooftop Lounge at Metro Park VI submitted by Clarion Partners. Team members included The Evans Company, Lehman Smith McLeish, and HITT Contracting Inc.
Best Project: Award of Merit for Reston Station submitted by Comstock. Team members included Jones Lang LaSalle; KLNB; Davis, Carter, Scott Ltd.; Hickok Cole Architects; JAHN; and James G. Davis Construction Corp.
Best Building, R&D/Flex/Industrial: Award of Merit for Ashburn Technology Park submitted by St. John Properties Inc. Team members included Penza & Bailey and christopher consultants ltd.
Best Building Renovation Adaptive Re-Use: Award of Merit for Loudoun III, 44084 Riverside Parkway submitted by Foulger-Pratt Companies. Team members included Foulger-Pratt Rockledge Medical Properties; FPR Medical Properties Riverbend LLC; Lansdowne Real Estate; and Architecture Inc.
Best Building, Mixed-Use Project: Award of Excellence for Mosaic submitted by EDENS. Team members included Dyal & Partners; Nelsen Partners; House & Robertson; and L.F. Jennings.
Best Building, Build-to-Suit Non-Institutional Facility: Award of Merit for The Aeropace Corp. submitted by Duke Realty. Team members included The Aerospace Corp,, KGD Architecture and James G. Davis Construction Corp.
Best Building, Build-to-Suit Non-Institutional Facility: Award of Excellence for Salamander Resort & Spa submitted by Architecture Inc. Team members included Salamander Development LLC and Turner Construction Co.
Best Building, Speculative Office 1-5 Stories: Award of Excellence for 1776 Wilson Blvd. submitted by Skanska USA Commercial Development. Team members included 1776 Wilson LLC; Transwestern; Colliers International; RTKL Architects Inc. and Skanska USA Building.
Best Building, Speculative Office 6 Stories and above: Award of Merit for 7770 Backlick Road submitted by Corporate Office Properties Trust. Team members included HGA Architects and Engineers, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
Firm of the Year: Award of Excellence to christopher consultants, ltd.
Member of the Year: Award of Excellence to Charles N. Claar IV, Hubert Construction
P. Buckley Moss will open art gallery in Blacksburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/p.-buckley-moss-will-open-art-gallery-in-blacksburg#When:15:58:00ZP. Buckley Moss plans to open an art gallery in Blacksburg. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, the commercial real estate firm assisted in getting the artist 2,950 square feet of space at North End, a 227,000-square-foot, mixed-use development located at the intersections of Prices Fork Road and Gilbert and Turner Streets.
Last month, Moss donated $10 million to Virginia Tech’s Center for the Arts and will be the building’s namesake. She is known for her stylized depictions of rural life. Donations of her art have raised more than $4 milion for charities over the years. A museum dedicated to Buckley's work is located in Waynesboro.
John K. Nielson of Thalhimer handled lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord, the Virginia Tech Foundation.2013-11-25T15:58:00+00:00
Food equipment manufacturer expands in Richmond
Bizerba USA, Inc., a food equipment manufacturer, has renewed a 21,815-square-foot lease and expanded by 7,200 square feet at 5200 Anthony Rd. in Sandston. John Carpin and Rob Dirom of CBRE/Richmond handled the transaction.
In another deal for CBRE, RGN Richmond I LLC leased 12,552 square feet at SunTrust Center, 919 E. Main Street, in downtown Richmond. David Wilkins handled the transaction.2013-11-24T21:32:00+00:00
Universal Health Services leases 35,849 square feet in Henrico County
Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS) has leased 35,849 square feet of office space in Park Central III at 8831 Park Central Dr. in Henrico County.
Founded in 1978, UHS is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest hospital management companies in the nation. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer , UHS is relocating its Richmond area office to Park Central III due to several factors, including the efficiency of the one-floor layout.
Mac Wilson and James Stikeleather of Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.
In other Richmond area deals for Thalhimer:
Masa Corp. renewed its lease of 55,910 square feet in Falling Creek Warehouse at 2200-2226 Station Rd. in Chesterfield County. Evan M. Magrill handled lease negotiations.
E.C. Robins International leased 22,275 square feet in Gaskins Centre Building III at 9878-9898 Mayland Drive in Henrico. N. Dean Meyer, and Magrill handled lease negotiations.2013-11-24T21:29:00+00:00
Chinese furniture company bringing 125 jobs to Smyth County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chinese-furniture-company-bringing-125-jobs-to-smyth-county#When:20:15:00ZA Chinese furniture maker will invest $2.1 million to set up its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility in Smyth County. The operation is expected to create 125 jobs.
Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. will name its U.S. subsidiary New Ridge LLC. Liaoyang was established in 1998 and is headquartered in Liao Yang, China. The company, which employs more than 550 people, has operations in Russia and Northeast China. Liaoyang manufactures solid wood bathroom furniture that is shipped to IKEA stores around the world.
In addition to furniture manufacturing, the company will expand into lumber production.
Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $250,000 grant for the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also approved $450,000 in funds.
Virginia competed against Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia for the project.2013-11-22T20:15:00+00:00
Strayer University cuts tuition 40 percent
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/strayer-university-cuts-tuition-40-percent#When:18:42:00ZHerndon-based Strayer University announced a plan Friday to reduce tuition by 40 percent for some students.
Under the plan, new undergraduate students enrolling in the Winter 2014 and future terms would receive an automatic 20 percent reduction in tuition.
In addition, students who receive tuition awards to cover the cost of one future class for every three completed.
Students do not need to fill out paperwork or compete with other students for the tuition grants. Students must remain enrolled and be in good academic standing.
In its third quarter-earnings, Strayer announced that fall enrollment had dropped 17 percent. The company said it would cut its work force by 20 percent and close 20 of its school site. Strayer announced plans at that point to reduce tuition by 20 percent.
The for-profit school provides online and campus classes for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.2013-11-22T18:42:00+00:00
Virginia’s jobless rate remains unchanged in October
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-remains-unchanged-in-october#When:18:26:00ZVirginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 5.6 percent, unchanged from September, according to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).
The jobless rate is two tenths of a percentage point lower than the October 2012 rate, 5.8 percent.
The steady level of unemployment in Virginia in September and October followed four straight months (April through August) of rising unemployment in which the rate increased from 5.2 percent to 5.8 percent.
The VEC noted in its unemployment report that “October figures were affected by the partial government shutdown” as a result of a congressional impasse on raising the debt ceiling.
The Virginia jobless rate for October was well below the national seasonally adjusted rate of 7.3 percent for the same month. The national rate had declined sixth tenths of a percentage point from October 2012.2013-11-22T18:26:00+00:00
Markel Food Group names chief financial officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/markel-food-group-names-chief-financial-officer#When:17:59:00ZCindy Yao has joined Markel Food Group in Richmond as chief financial officer.
Markel Food Group is an manufacturing group owned by the Markel Ventures division of Richmond-based Markel Corp. The group includes AMF Bakery Systems in Richmond, plus other operations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and The Netherlands.
Yao has more than 18 years of experience in the financial management at companies such as Eastman Kodak and Corning. She most recently served as vice president, corporate treasurer at Bausch & Lomb.
She has an MBA from the University of Rochester and a master’s in accountancy from Virginia Tech.2013-11-22T17:59:00+00:00
Job growth in Hampton Roads expected to fuel demand for affordable housing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/job-growth-in-hampton-roads-expected-to-fuel-demand-for-affordable-housing#When:21:56:00ZThe Hampton Roads region is projected to add more than 160,000 jobs during the next 20 years, a 22 percent increase compared to growth in 2013. That will create a demand for 114,000 new housing units. When demand from replacement jobs is factored in, the region will need to add more than 200,000 new homes by 2033, according to preliminary findings from a workforce housing needs assessment.
The assessment found that nearly three quarters of the jobs will be in sectors with a median wage of less than $50,000. With incomes in that range, housing affordability will be a growing challenge, a national housing official said Thursday.
“The shift to faster growth in jobs with more moderate wages is a pattern that is taking place in many regions across the country,” Lisa Sturtevant, director of the National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy, said during a joint press conference with Housing Virginia in Norfolk held in conjunction with the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference. “The structural shift means that in the future there will be greater demand for smaller and more affordable housing in the Hampton Roads region and other metro areas
across the country.”
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim weighed in on the study’s initial results. “As our region adds new jobs, we need to be sure that our housing capacity, especially the affordable component, keeps pace so that employers will continue to have ready access to a local workforce,” he said in a statement.
During the past 20 years, the Hampton Roads region has constructed an average of 7,000 homes per year. That means that over the next two decades the region would need to see an average increase of about 10,700 homes per year to keep pace with employment growth.
The full study is scheduled for release in March 2014. The final report will show housing demand by tenure (owner/renter), price and rent range and jurisdiction. In addition to evaluating overall housing needs, the report also will assess housing needs associated with military employment in the region as well as special challenges faced by very low wage workers.
The Hampton Roads study complements similar studies Sturtevant has conducted in the Washington, D.C., and Richmond metro areas. Housing Virginia is sponsoring the study in partnership with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
Housing Virginia is a nonprofit organization of statewide leaders committed to providing tools, research, and services designed to help make affordable housing
accessible to Virginia residents.2013-11-21T21:56:00+00:00
The tax man cometh: Are you ready for FATCA?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/the-tax-man-cometh-are-you-ready-for-fatca#When:21:28:00ZThe Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) may not be on the radar of many individuals and businesses in Virginia, but the new regulations, which will take effect in 2014, will have significant tax and reporting implications.
U.S. persons are subject to U.S. taxes on their worldwide income. This includes any income earned by foreign bank accounts or foreign financial assets. Do you, your trusts/estates or your company have any direct or indirect access to foreign bank accounts? A great many people and businesses can answer “yes” to that question and should already be reporting those accounts under the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reporting (FBAR) rules.
It’s important to note that the Internal Revenue Service considers trusts and companies to be “persons” as well as individuals, so the FBAR reporting requirements have an extensive reach. According to the FBAR rules, U.S. persons (including trusts/estates and companies) with financial interests in, or signature authority over, financial accounts maintained in a foreign country are required to report details about the accounts to the Department of Treasury. Reporting is mandated if the aggregate amount maintained in all the foreign accounts during a calendar year exceeds $10,000. Substantial penalties may be imposed for failure to report.
In addition to the FBAR reporting of financial accounts, the 2010 Tax Act imposed additional reporting requirements, namely the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Simply put, FATCA was imposed to allow the IRS to further enforce foreign account compliance. To do this, FATCA mandates that foreign financial institutions report to the IRS accounts at their institutions that are owned by U.S. persons. Of course, reporting the proper details about these accounts will be critical because any discrepancies may result in potential IRS investigation. Foreign financial institutions need to have registered in 2013 to participate in the FACTA agreement to report information to the IRS. Otherwise they will be subject to a withholding tax on payments covered under FATCA made to them by U.S. companies.
Foreign financial institutions may include certain holding companies if “formed in connection with or availed by a collective investment vehicle, mutual fund, exchange traded fund, private equity fund, hedge fund, venture capital fund, leveraged buyout fund or any similar investment vehicle established with an investment strategy of investing, reinvesting, or trading in financial assets.” Reg. Section 1.1471-5(e)(1)(v)(B). Thus, a foreign financial institution broadly encompasses many financial businesses.
Beginning July 1, 2014, if a foreign financial institution is not complying with FACTA, payments to these institutions from the U.S. are subject to a 30 percent withholding. Virginia businesses making payments to foreign companies or foreign financial institutions will need to confirm they are not subject to withholding.
In addition to the foreign financial institution registration and filing requirements, there is an individual filing requirement under FATCA beginning as early as 2011to report all foreign financial assets if valued over $100,000 for married filing joint taxpayers or $50,000 for single taxpayers for U.S. residents.
FATCA, which was passed as part of the 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, has come under increased scrutiny as a result of its complicated set of rules and new reporting requirements. The IRS has offered a bit of a reprieve by recently announcing that the enforcement of the withholding under FATCA will begin on July 1, 2014 rather than Jan. 1, 2014. These additional six months provide some breathing room for individuals and businesses, but they must begin acting now to prepare for the FATCA regulations.
Another reason that businesses, individuals, and financial institutions must begin preparing is that the government is using that six month extension to sign more intergovernmental agreements with other countries. These agreements make it easier for foreign financial institutions to report information on their account holders directly with the IRS. According to the Treasury Department, agreements have been reached with nine countries and negotiations are underway with more than 75 other jurisdictions around the globe.
Despite the potential steep penalties, many businesses and individuals remain unaware of FATCA’s looming presence. A number of recent surveys have shown that the majority of respondents — including banks, companies and individuals — have not begun preparing for FATCA compliance. Delaying FATCA compliance is a risky proposition and one that should not be taken lightly. Although the IRS is still issuing some FATCA guidelines and rules, basic preparation should be well underway. To its credit, the IRS has been providing more details on FATCA enforcement and in September released a set of frequently asked questions related to FATCA registration.
In summary, if a Virginia business makes payments to foreign entities or foreign financial institutions, they need to determine if a 30 percent withholding applies. Furthermore, individuals need to make sure they are compliant for reporting foreign accounts and financial assets under the FBAR rules as well as the FATCA laws.
Kay Gotshall is a senior tax manager with Keiter, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in Virginia. She can be contacted at email@example.comT21:28:00+00:00
Capital One honored by National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/capital-one-honored-by-national-gay-lesbian-chamber-of-commerce#When:21:11:00ZMcLean-based Capital One Financial Corp., a Fortune 500 company, has been named the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Corporation of the Year.
The chamber of commerce said the award recognizes Capital One’s commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) suppliers, customers and employees.
“At Capital One, diversity and inclusion are an integral part of our culture — the more opportunity we provide for diverse suppliers, the better the results will be; not only for the company, but for the communities we serve,” Jim Gorzalski, Capital One’s chief procurement officer, said in a statement. “As a result of our steadfast commitment to diversity inclusion, we have enhanced our internal processes and significantly grown the number of diverse suppliers participating in our programs.”
Chance Mitchell, the CEO and co-founder of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said the company has “set a goal to include diverse enterprises in every sourcing opportunity based on commodity need, and as a result, the company’s total spend with diverse suppliers continues to climb year over year.”
Kimberlee Sours, Capital One’s supplier diversity manager, co-chairs the chamber’s Corporate Advisory Council.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce serves as a national certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses, with 140 corporate partners and 52 local, state and international affiliate chambers,
Capital One’s banking operations had $206.9 billion in deposits and $289.9 billion in total assets as of Sept. 30. It has more than 900 bank branches in six states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia.2013-11-21T21:11:00+00:00
Schools will be assigned letter grades
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-will-be-assigned-letter-grades#When:20:33:00ZThe Virginia Board of Education will assign A-F letter grades to schools based on the performance of their students.
Initial letter grades will be announced at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year and will accompany school accreditation ratings.
The grades will be based on the percentage of students at each school demonstrating proficiency, academic growth and college and career readiness.
“The new grading system will better enable us to track school performance and improve education for all Virginia students by utilizing an easy to understand and familiar format,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.
Under the system adopted by the board of education, 50 percent of the grade of an elementary or middle school will be based on overall proficiency in English, mathematics, science and history/social science; 25 percent on overall growth in English and mathematics; and 25 percent on growth in English and mathematics among the school’s lowest-performing students.
Elementary and middle schools also can earn a capped number of bonus points based on the percentage of students earning advanced scores on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in the four core content areas and for meeting all federal accountability benchmarks.
For high schools, 33 percent of the grade will be based on overall proficiency in English, mathematics, science and history/social science; 25 percent will be based on indicators of college and career readiness, such as graduation rates, college credits earned and completion of advanced career and technical education (CTE) programs; eight percent will be based on participation in dual-credit courses and board-approved CTE assessments; 17 percent will be based on growth toward college and career readiness; and 17 percent will be based on growth toward college and career readiness among students at risk of not graduating.
High schools also can earn a capped number of bonus points based on advanced performance on SOL assessments and for meeting all federal accountability goals.2013-11-21T20:33:00+00:00
George Mason University moving Loudon campus closer to NOVA
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/george-mason-university-moving-loudon-campus-closer-to-nova#When:18:53:00ZGeorge Mason University (GMU) is moving its Loudoun location next to Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in July 2014. The Fairfax-based university will move from Ridgetop Circle in Sterling to 21335 Signal Hill Plaza in Sterling.
GMU’s Assistant Vice President for Regional Campuses Kathleen Q. Johnson said in a statement that the new location off Route 7 will be more visible and accessible to students. There also will be opportunities for collaboration between GMU and NOVA since they’ll be neighbors, Johnson said.
The institutions already have a working relationship. GMU offers guaranteed admission to NOVA graduates who meet certain requirements. Since 2005, NOVA and Mason have participated in the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, which provides a smooth transition for students from high school to the community college to the university.
GMU said in a news release it will continue to offer the same types of programs now available at the Ridge Top Circle location.2013-11-21T18:53:00+00:00
Mortgage rates fall on weak economic news
Mortgage rates fell this week on reports of weak manufacturing growth and declines in the consumer price index and inflation, according to McLean-based Freddie Mac.
The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.22 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.35 percent. A year ago, the average 30-year rate was 3.31 percent.
The average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.27 percent this week from 3.35 percent last week. The average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 2.63 percent at this time last year.
“Industrial production slipped by 0.1 percent in October, below the market consensus forecast of a 0.2 percent gain,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement. “The consumer price index also unexpectedly fell during the month. On an annual basis, consumer prices are up 1 percent, the smallest increase since October 2009."2013-11-21T18:28:00+00:00
SRA International names chief growth officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/sra-international-names-chief-growth-officer#When:18:27:00ZIT contractor SRA International Inc. has named Tom Nixon executive vice president and chief growth officer.
Nixon, who will continue his role as acting senior vice president of SRA’s Health Group, will be responsible for growing SRA’s business pipeline and developing the company’s growth strategy.
Nixon, who joined Fairfax-based SRA in 2012, previously served as vice president of marketing and business development for SAIC’s Defense Solutions Group.2013-11-21T18:27:00+00:00
Quarterpath Place apartments sell for $4.3 million in Williamsburg
An investor group formed by Harrison and Lear Inc. has acquired the 54-unit Quarterpath Place Apartments in Williamsburg for $4.3 million, or about $80,000 per unit.
The complex was purchased and renovated in 2010 by Spyrock Real Estate. It consists of all two-bedroom, two-bathroom units and was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale.
Harrison and Lear Inc. will be the managing agent for the buyer, Quarterpath Place LLC, an investor group formed by Harrison and Lear, a Hampton-based real estate firm that owns and manages about 1,000 apartment units in the region.
Jonathan Skinner of Harrison and Lear represented the buyer in the transaction. Ryan Fanelli of Commonwealth Commercial represented the seller, 401 York Street LP, an investor group formed by Spyrock.2013-11-21T16:10:00+00:00
Two Central Virginia construction companies announce a merger
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-central-virginia-construction-companies-announce-a-merger#When:22:21:00ZTwo Central Virginia construction companies will join forces in a merger.
J.E. Jamerson & Sons of Appomattox and C.L. Lewis & Co. Inc. of Lynchburg said Wednesday that they plan to merge in the first quarter of 2014. The newly formed entity, Jamerson-Lewis Construction, will be headquartered in Lynchburg and operate throughout the state.
Phillip Jamerson, president of J.E. Jamerson & Sons, said in a statement that the move was purely strategic. “There were two issues driving the decision from our standpoint: The ability to compete with the larger firms for university and health care work, and our desire to create a succession strategy to assure the company’s infinite success.”
With its increased size, resume and strength, the newly merged company will provide both pre-construction and construction services, giving it a competitive edge in acquiring work in the industry, according to Jamerson.
Preston Craighill, CEO of C.L. Lewis & Company, Inc., said, “the immense shared experience between our companies and natural synergy amongst our teams made this merger a win-win for everyone involved.”
The merger combines two companies with more than 150 years of construction experience. Craighill will serve as president of the new company, and Jamerson will be the CEO.
The company said it expects to add as many as five positions a year over the next five years to support growth into new markets.2013-11-20T22:21:00+00:00
Virginia’s business community needs to help groom future workers.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-business-community-needs-to-help-groom-future-workers#When:22:17:00ZIf Virginia wants enough workers in the future, it needs to grow its own workforce, because a shortage is on the horizon. The importance of workforce skills to a robust economy was underscored Wednesday by Bob Templin, president of Northern Virginia Community College and one of the architects of a program that’s grooming high school students for post-secondary education.
Templin was one of the speakers at an economic summit in Williamsburg sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce that drew more than 600 people.
By 2022, there will be 840,00 new jobs in Virginia that require training beyond high school, he said. Another 1.2 million job vacancies are expected as the baby boom generation retires. “There will be more than 2 million jobs in 10 years to fill, mostly in science and technology. What’s our strategy for filling these jobs?”
Most of Virginia’s future population growth is expected to come from Latinos, other minorities and immigrants. Templin said the business community should work with schools to reach these groups to ensure they have employable job skills.
“We need to create business driven regional workforce alliances. It’s not about education doing something about itself. It’s about the business community working with education about what their requirements are. We need to invest in and leverage Virginia’s community colleges to close the skills gap … They are regionally focused and responsive to local economies,” he said.
The state also needs to increase high school graduation rates and get more students in post-secondary training that will lead to STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health) careers, where much of the job growth will be.
One approach, Templin said, is to create “plug and play” options for business engagement with schools and colleges. This would include work-based learning experiences, including internships and apprenticeships, and postsecondary programs that align with regional job market requirements.
“A high school diploma — in today’s market — is not aligned with post-secondary education or the realities of employment. We need to fix that.”
Templin told the audience at the Williamsburg Lodge of an initiative in Northern Virginia. Working with a partnership between the Northern Virginia Technology Council, local school systems, the community colleges and George Mason University, the program focuses on low-income, immigrant, first-generation college goers. Students interested in STEM-H careers are invited to sign a contract, starting in the 11th grade, that provides them with counselors who guide students through college preparation and while they attend Northern Virginia Community College. If students successfully complete the community college program, they are guaranteed admission to GMU.
Today, the Northern Virginia Community system has 8,000 of these students. “They are graduating from my college at twice the rate of my other students … These are kids who weren’t going to go to college. We now send more transfer students to GMU than they take in new freshman,” Templin said.
Such programs represent a low-cost way of growing the state’s workforce, he added, and they build on the shift in Virginia’s demographics.
Another challenge is making sure students go into fields where they will find jobs. As the federal government continues to cut defense spending, once lucrative fields in Virginia such as business and professional services will begin to shrink. Fields showing growth include leisure and hospitality and health and education services, which has been a major driver for growth.
In a presentation during the summit, Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at GMU, noted that Virginia expects more job growth between 2012-17, than between 2017-22. “The current forecast going out over 10 years shows that the economy is going to grow faster in the shorter than in the long-term …. This is a critical time in shaping the new economy in Virginia.”
Of some concern, Fuller added is that the state is “ adding lower-wage jobs faster than higher-wage jobs.”
Before the recession, Virginia’s economy outperformed the national economy. This year, though, the economy is projected to grow by 1 percent, compared to 1.5 percent for the U.S. economy, “which underscores our dependence on federal [Department of Defense] spending.” In 2012, 13 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product came from federal contracting awards, the highest of any state.
Fuller agreed with Templin’s assessment that, in the near future, the state won’t have enough workers to fill 2 million jobs. “Some of the new population will be under 18, and other people who move here will be retired. "We’re going to have to steal some workers from other states,” he said.
“The next five years will make the difference. There’s a fork in the road. We can’t wait until 2018 to take it. You have to prepare for it. “2013-11-20T22:17:00+00:00
Virginia opens agricultural trade office in Canada
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-opens-agricultural-trade-office-in-canada#When:20:17:00ZVirginia has opened an agricultural trade office in Canada, Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office announced Wednesday. The Canadian office is the commonwealth’s eighth agricultural trade office abroad.
According to a news release, Canada is Virginia’s second largest export market. In 2012, $205 million worth of Virginia’s agricultural products were imported to Canada.
Toronto-based consulting firm Argyle Communications will represent Virginia's agricultural and forestry interests in Canada.2013-11-20T20:17:00+00:00
VFP to expand Scott County operations
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vfp-to-expand-scott-county-operations#When:19:37:00Z VFP Inc. is expanding its Scott County operations, creating 50 new jobs.
The company, which manufactures prefabricated structures for the telecommunications, power and modular building industries, will spend $3.5 million on the plant expansion. VFP is headquartered in Salem.
Virginia competed with Tennessee for the investment. Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help Scott County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $160,000 for the project.2013-11-20T19:37:00+00:00