Smith Mountain Lake chamber announces 2019 board of directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/smith-mountain-lake-chamber-announces-2019-board-of-directors#When:21:14:00ZThe Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced its board of directors for 2019, including its executive committee. The executive committee appointments include:
Lindsey Coley with Lindsey A. Coley Attorney at Law PLLC, is chairman; Zach Wimmer, with Edward Jones, is vice chairman; American National Bank’s Todd Hammock is treasurer; Envisions Flooring and Interiors’ Mishelle Brosinski is secretary and Adam Lynch from Ask Adam Lynch is ex-officio.
The boards members are:
Steve Beyer, LeisureMedia360; Alice Smith, Holley Insurance Agency; Melanie Mandros, Mel Wheeler Inc.; Jack Phillips, Bedford Landings B & B; Lynette Webb, Mulch ’n More; Dana Montgomery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices SML; Jen Chaconas, JollyJen Photography; Larry Jackson, Appalachian Power; Ryan Waters, Bridgewater Marina and Boat Rentals; Walter Hogle, Score Roanoke; Traci Blido, Bedford County Administration; Mike Burnette, Franklin County Administration and Kim Parenti, Carilion Clinic.2019-01-21T21:14:00+00:00
Fredericksburg shopping center fetches $7 million
A Garden State firm now owns a shopping center in Fredericksburg.
River Crossing LLC Inc. of Ocean City, N.J. acquired on Jan. 16 The Shops at River Club at 10865 Tidewater Trail in Fredericksburg for $7 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The seven-acre shopping center sits just beyond the city limits toward the southeast.
The 54,773-square-foot shopping center was most recently assessed at $7.9 million, according to a Spotsylvania County property record; the county had yet to record the recent sale online. The property was previously owned by Schooler Properties of River Club LLC, a Fredericksburg-based entity.
The Shops at River Club was built in 2003 and 2004 and has been anchored by a Weis’ Markets since 2016. The shopping center was 98 percent leased at the time of the sale with tenants including a Virginia ABC store, Subway and The Tidewater Animal Hospital.
Negotiations of the sale were handled by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer brokers Catharine Spangler, Calvin Griffith, Jim Ashby and Sharon Schmidt.2019-01-21T19:01:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/mckayusedbooks.jpgPhoto courtesy Divaris Real Estate.
McKay Used Books renews lease in Manassas
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mckay-used-books-renews-lease-in-manassas#When:15:58:00ZMcKay Used Books has renewed its lease for 19,500 square feet of retail space in Manaport Plaza in Manassas.
The property is located at 8345 Sudley Road. Divaris Real Estate’s Joe Farina and Charlie Webb represented the tenant in the lease negotiations.2019-01-21T15:58:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CommonwealthCommercialPartners.jpgRyan Fanelli, Jamie Galanti, and John Mason.
Commonwealth Commercial announces new partners
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/commonwealth-commercial-announces-new-partners#When:15:46:00ZCommonwealth Commercial has named three partners.
Ryan Fanelli, who is first vice president in the firm’s brokerage division. He has been with the company for five years and brings over 17 years of experience working with local and national clients across the Southeast. Fanelli’s focus is helping entrepreneurs buy and sell sites for commercial and residential development, as well as assisting clients with the acquisition and disposition of income producing assets.
Jamie Galanti, who joined the firm in 2011 and serves as senior vice president in the firm’s brokerage division. His focuses primarily on office properties representing landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers. Since 2011, he has closed more than $250 million worth of real estate transactions.
John Mason, who is the managing director of the company’s asset management division and has been with the company for five years. He has more than 19 years of experience in acquisitions, development and asset/property management in the commercial real estate industry.2019-01-21T15:46:00+00:00
Shenandoah Valley retail property has new leasing representation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shenandoah-valley-retail-property-has-new-leasing-representation#When:14:02:00ZA large retail center in Winchester has a new property manager.
Winchester Station at 2400-2590 S. Pleasant Valley Road now has its leasing representation and commercial property management done by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The Simpson Organization, a real estate investment firm based in Atlanta, picked Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer to manage the 182,816-square-foot shopping center. Tenants at Winchester Station include Old Navy, Ulta and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Winchester Station has three small retail spaces available for lease. The spaces range in size from 1,530 square feet to 2,550 square feet.
David Crawford of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is Winchester Station’s leasing representative. Paul Spellman, also with Thalhimer, is the portfolio manager assigned to the property.2019-01-21T14:02:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/26024990678_493171031d_z.jpgDel. Lee Carter/VCU Capital News Service
Socialist lawmaker wants to repeal right-to-work law
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/socialist-lawmaker-wants-to-repeal-right-to-work-law#When:10:09:00ZThe General Assembly’s self-described socialist member is sponsoring legislation to repeal the state’s right-to-work law, which says employees can’t be forced to join a labor union.
Del. Lee Carter, a democratic socialist inspired by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, has filed House Bill 1806, which could force workers in Virginia to become union members and pay union dues as a condition of their employment.
Virginia is among 27 right-to-work states — a fact that business leaders often point to with pride. Carter’s bill aims to change that.
“Repealing it is bigger than just the actual technical changes that it would make,” said Thomas McIntire, Carter’s legislative aide. “It sends a signal to workers in Virginia saying that your voice matters.”
In right-to-work states, a workplace where employees are represented by a union is considered an “open shop”: People can work there without joining the union, and they can cancel their union membership at any time.
Critics of right-to-work laws say this allows freeloading: Non-union employees don’t pay union dues, but they benefit from the collective bargaining agreements and higher salaries that the union negotiates.
Carter ran as a Democrat in winning the 50th House District seat representing Manassas and part of Prince William County in 2018. He wants to repeal the state law that says, “No person shall be required by an employer to become or remain a member of any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer.”
HB 1806 would allow “agency shops” or “union shops,” where all employees must pay the union either dues or a service fee.
“A collective bargaining agreement may include a provision establishing an agency shop or a union shop,” the bill says. “If such a provision is agreed to, the employer shall enforce it by deducting from the salary payments to members of the bargaining unit the dues required of membership in the labor union, or, for nonmembers thereof, a fee equivalent to such dues.”
McIntire said the fees would help the union provide better support to employees in the workplace.
Supporters of right-to-work laws say they are good for the economy.
States without such laws tend to have higher unemployment and a higher cost of living, said Scott Mayausky, commissioner of the revenue in Stafford County, Virginia. That’s because compulsory union membership drives up the cost of goods and services, he said.
In such situations, a company’s costs can increase — and that worries Mayausky the most.
“Statistically, if you look at a lot of the Rust Belt states that are big union states, those are the ones that have been struggling economically, and a lot of their companies are leaving,” Mayausky said.
Mayausky had two grandfathers who were coal miners, so he understands the good that unions can bring. But he believes this isn’t the time for repealing the right-to-work law in Virginia.
“We’re doing very well,” Mayausky said. “I don’t understand the push to change the right-to-work law when things seem to be headed in the right direction.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia has about 176,000 union members — approximately 4.6 percent of wage and salary workers in the state.
McIntire said it was important for Carter to file the bill, which is pending before the House Rules Committee.2019-01-21T10:09:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/mckesson.pngPhoto courtesy Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
Henrico County office building sells for $56 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-office-building-sells-for-56-million#When:21:00:00ZA Richmond office building has sold for $56 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The firm says Markel | Eagle Partners sold the property, located at 9954 Mayland Drive, to an undisclosed buyer. The 355,449-square-foot building serves as the headquarters for McKesson Medical-Surgical, Essex Bank as well as the East Coast claims and billing center for Travelers Insurance.
The Class A property is 98 percent leased. The building recently underwent a $19 million renovation. Improvements include a new parking garage, roof, fitness center and cafeteria.
Thalhimer’s Eric Robison and Eric Berkman handled the sale.2019-01-18T21:00:00+00:00
NoVA apartment community opens
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-apartment-community-opens#When:20:17:00ZA new multifamily development has begun leasing in McLean near a public transit stop.
The 319-unit Kingston at McLean Crossing is currently 44 percent leased. The $122 million apartment community off of Route 123 at 7480 Birdwood Ave. was developed by LCOR, a real estate company based in New York with offices in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The Kingston at McLean Crossing sits near the Silver Line’s McLean Metro station. The property consists of two towers connected by a bridge. It offers mostly one- and two-bedroom units along with some three-bedroom units and townhomes. There are 380 parking spots in an underground garage.
Market rate rents at Kingston for a studio are around $2,000 per month. A two-bedroom unit rents for about $3,200, and a three-bedroom unit rents for around $5,000.
Construction on Kingston began in mid-2015 and concluded in in the fall of 2018. The first tenants started moving in in June 2018. Baltimore-based Design Collective Inc. designed the project.
Amenities at Kingston include a library, fitness center, children’s play area, work spaces, a golf simulator, a dining room, a pool deck and a courtyard.
LCOR also owns the Altaire apartments in Crystal City at 440 Navy Dr. and another parcel in Crystal City where the company plans to develop a mixed-use project. LCOR was also the developer of the 2.5 million-square-foot U.S. Patent and Trademark office complex in Alexandria.2019-01-18T20:17:00+00:00
Longtime bank president to retire
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/longtime-bank-president-to-retire#When:10:13:00ZAfter leading the bank for 20 years, Bank of Clarke County President and CEO John Milleson announced Thursday he plans to retire this year.
His retirement is subject to the completion of a search process and transition for his successor.
Milleson was named president and CEO of the bank, and its parent company, Eagle Financial Services Inc., in 1999. He is the bank’s eighth president in its 139-year-history.
Milleson has worked for the bank since 1984.
Under his leadership, the bank’s assets grew from $153 million to nearly $800 million. The company has 13 locations in Clarke, Frederick and Loudoun counties and Winchester.
Milleson is a former chairman of the Virginia Bankers Association and is a member of American Bankers Association Government Relations Committee. He is a trustee at Grace Episcopal Church and chair of the Clarke County Economic Development Advisory Committee.
The board of directors has formed a search committee for Milleson’s and retained Korn Ferry, an executive search firm.2019-01-18T10:13:00+00:00
Critical power equipment firm to create second plant in Henrico
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/critical-power-equipment-firm-to-create-second-plant-in-henrico#When:00:12:00ZAnord Mardix (USA) Inc., a producer of power distribution and protection equipment, will spend $907,500 in establishing its second manufacturing facility in Henrico County.
The company’s move is expected to create 51 additional jobs in Henrico.
Anord Mardix makes electrical switchgear for data centers and cloud-computing companies.
Based in Co Louth, Ireland, Anord Mardix operates facilities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
The company, then known as Anord Critical Power, set up its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Henrico in 2014.
Anord Mardix is the result of the 2018 merger of Anord with Mardix Group, which was based in the United Kingdom.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Henrico Economic Development Authority to secure the project for Virginia and will support Anord Mardix’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP).
VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change in order to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.
Anord Mardix also is eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.
VCU, VUU team up for dual-degree project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-vuu-team-up-for-dual-degree-project#When:21:57:00ZTwo Richmond-based universities are partnering to offer dual degree programs this fall.
Officials from Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University said Thursday they have signed an agreement to create three dual-degree programs in the following areas: physics and electrical engineering; physics and mechanical engineering or chemistry and chemical and life sciences engineering.
The partnership combines the resources of VCU, a large public university, with those of VUU, a small private historically black university. The schools say the effort is in line with their mission to prepare a diverse workforce.
The new programs will allow students to earn two degrees concurrently in less time than it would take to complete them sequentially. The program also gives students full access to both universities’ services and resources and seeks to widens their professional and personal networks.
“Science students from VUU will bring a new perspective to our VCU engineering students and make them that much better,” Barbara Boyan, dean of the VCU College of Engineering, said in a statement. “By the same token, the science students who will now be immersed in the engineering and problem-solving mindset will be stimulated to think in new and exciting ways.”
Previously, VUU’s mathematics majors had the opportunity to also pursue engineering at VCU. When VUU re-activated its physics major in 2016, it made sense to explore a possible physics-engineering dual degree, officials say.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University to rekindle an old engineering partnership,” Gerard McShepard, interim dean of VUU’s School of Arts and Sciences, said in a news release.
The VCU and VUU campuses are within 2 miles of each other in downtown Richmond.2019-01-17T21:57:00+00:00
Lynchburg retail building sells for $600,000
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lynchburg-retail-building-sells-for-600000#When:21:34:00ZA Lynchburg building that formerly housed a Food Lion supermarket has been sold for $600,000.
The commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said JMB Investment Co. LLC purchased property at 2303 Bedford Ave. from SJ Lynchburg & HE Lynchburg LLC.
Dollar General will occupy 9,000 square feet of the 34,424-square-foot space, which is situated on 2.44 acres.
The remaining space will be available for future retail rental.
Norman Moon and George Lupton of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.2019-01-17T21:34:00+00:00
NoVA health firm adds new executive
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-health-firm-adds-new-executive#When:21:30:00ZArlington County-based Privia Health has added a new executive to its ranks.
Privia announced on Thursday that Paul Shenenberger has joined the company as senior vice president of IT operations and the chief information security officer.
Privia is a physician practice management and population health technology company that partners with doctors. The company was founded in 2007.
Shenenberger was most recently the chief information officer and security officer of Summit Health Management of New Jersey. At Privia, Shenenberger will manage IT infrastructure that serves a network of more than 2,000 Privia providers.2019-01-17T21:30:00+00:00
Economic development agency hires interim CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/economic-development-agency-hires-interim-ceo#When:22:03:00ZThe Norfolk-based Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (HREDA) has hired an interim president and CEO.
Steve Herbert succeeds Rick Weddle, who retired at the end of last year.
In addition, the economic development organization has hired Chris Lemmon as executive vice president. He will be HREDA’s first chief marketing officer.
Herbert is a former city administrator, economic development officer and city planner who has worked in Virginia Beach, Hopewell, Suffolk, Portsmouth and Norfolk.
In the private sector, he has been a business development manager and defense contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton and SAIC.
Herbert served as a U.S. Navy officer, retiring from the Naval Reserve in 1999 with the rank of captain.
He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, holding a bachelor’s degree in city planning. He also holds a master’s degree in administration from George Washington University.
Lemmon previously was senior vice president of marketing and product development at GFP in Virginia Beach.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Michigan State University and an MBA in marketing from Indiana University.
Eleven cities and counties throughout the Hampton Roads region and over 60 businesses fund the Alliance's operations.2019-01-16T22:03:00+00:00
Klöckner Pentaplast investing $25 million to expand in Louisa County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kloeckner-pentaplast-investing-25-million-to-expand-in-louisa-county#When:21:24:00ZKlöckner Pentaplast is investing $25 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Louisa County. The project is expected to add approximately 34 jobs.
Klöckner Pentaplast is expanding production capacity for pharmaceutical and medical device packaging films. The company has customers in the pharmaceutical, medical device, food, beverage and card industries.
Founded in 1965 in Germany, Klöckner Pentaplast has operations in 18 countries and employs more than 6,300 people. The company established its first North American production facility in Virginia in 1979.
“Klöckner Pentaplast is a valued major employer with more than 700 employees and a long history of reinvesting in Louisa County,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement.
The governor approved a $300,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance program for the project. Klöckner Pentaplast also is eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.
Virginia competed with Ohio for the project.2019-01-16T21:24:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Astrid-Sheil%2C-Ph.D.-2018-profile1.jpg
New dean for Shenandoah’s business school
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-dean-for-shenandoahs-business-school#When:20:41:00ZShenandoah University announced Wednesday that Astrid Sheil will become the next dean of its Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business.
Sheil’s appointment will take effect July 1.
Sheil will be the sixth dean of the business school and the first woman to serve in the role. Sheil currently is a professor of business and communication at California State University San Bernardino. She also serves as dean’s fellow for program outreach and promotion at the university.
A native of Washington, D.C., Sheil completed her undergraduate studies in foreign service at Georgetown University and her master’s and doctorate in organizational communication at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
In addition to her roles at California State University San Bernardino, she previously was chief spokeswoman and director of global communication for a multinational corporation in Helsinki, Finland. She also spent a year as interim director of development for Brown College and spent a year as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow.
She recently completed a four-month sabbatical at the International Executive Development Center (IEDC) Bled School of Management in Slovenia working on her upcoming book on strategic business communication.
Sheil is the coauthor of “Dynamic Public Relations: the 24/7 PR Cycle” and has published research articles on capital appreciation bonds, tobacco settlement bonds, whole brain technology, social media, and strategies to reach immigrant communities about opportunities in higher education.2019-01-16T20:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/AmyTracy_copy.jpg
Lawrence Companies names corporate claims counsel
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/lawrence-companies-names-corporate-claims-counsel#When:09:58:00ZRoanoke-based Lawrence Companies announced it has named Amy Tracy as corporate claims counsel.
Tracy previously was senior counsel for Munson, Rowlett, Moore & Boone PA in Little Rock, Ark., with an emphasis on the trucking industry for more than eight years. She also has practiced in the general litigation department of Glenn Robinson Cathey Memmer & Skaff PLC in Roanoke.
Tracy attended law school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s William H. Bowen School of Law where she earned a law degree in 2010.
Lawrence offers moving, storage and freight services.2019-01-16T09:58:00+00:00
PBS will move its headquarters within Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/pbs-will-move-its-headquarters-within-arlington#When:09:57:00ZPBS has signed a 15-year lease to move its headquarters within Arlington County’s Crystal City neighborhood, according to JBG Smith.
The public broadcasting network will occupy 1225 S. Clark Street in National Landing, the newly branded area that includes Crystal City, the eastern section of Pentagon City and the northern portion of Potomac Yard in Alexandria. National Landing is the future home of Amazon’s second headquarters.
PBS will relocate to the building by mid-2020 and occupy 120,328 square feet.
PBS’ current headquarters is located about a mile away at 2100 Crystal Drive.
The new location offers proximity to the Crystal City Metro station, Virginia Railway Express, Reagan National Airport and the future Central District retail area, which will include an Alamo Cinema Drafthouse and a specialty grocer.
PBS was represented by Paul Darr, Dale Powell and Chaise Schmidt with Cushman and Wakefield.2019-01-16T09:57:00+00:00
Sentara Healthcare names senior official
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/sentara-healthcare-names-senior-official#When:21:35:00ZNorfolk-based Sentara Healthcare has named Dr. David James president of its medical groups and ambulatory services, a new position.
In this role, he will lead Sentara’s four medical groups and its ambulatory services division.
James previously was senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Medical Group and Post-Acute Services in Houston.
Before that, James was president of ProMedica Physician Group & Continuum Services in Toledo, Ohio.
A veteran of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, James holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and received a medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio.
He also has a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.2019-01-15T21:35:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/80741_copy.jpg
Speculative industrial property in Richmond lands tenant
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/speculative-industrial-property-in-richmond-finds-tenant#When:10:12:00ZA New Jersey company is relocating its East Coast distribution warehouse to a speculative industrial property built next to the Richmond Marine Terminal.
Brother International Corp. will lease the entire 461,700-square-foot warehouse, Colliers International announced Monday evening. Colliers represented Panattoni Development Co., which built the Richmond area’s largest speculative warehouse.
“Brother has selected a distribution site that provides them easy access to their cargo via the Richmond Marine Terminal and to their customers via I-95,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said in a statement. “We also want to thank Panattoni Development Company for its foresight to build speculative warehouse space in this market. Public and private infrastructure development outside our gates, combined with ongoing terminal improvements, promises continued job and investment growth of Virginia.”
The lease will begin in the second quarter of this year. The warehouse is located next to the Richmond Marine Terminal and Interstate 95. The existing warehouse is the first phase of Panattoni's distribution center at the site. Since signing a long-term lease for the terminal in 2016, the Port of Virginia has made several multimillion-dollar investments in the river terminal. Last year, container cargo volume was up 31.5 percent at the facility.
Matt Anderson of Colliers International represented the landlord, Panattoni Development Co., and Gregg Christoffersen and Andy Zezas of JLL represented Brother International Corp.
Port of Virginia numbers hold steady in 2018
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/port-of-virginia-numbers-hold-steady-in-2018#When:09:57:00ZThe Port of Virginia had a slight increase in container cargo volume last year as it manages expansion of its two largest terminals.
“Our growth in 2018 was less than what we had planned for, but as construction proceeded at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), we made the decisions to temporarily hold some cargo and limit the movement of empty containers,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said in a statement.
The port reported that its cargo volume increased 0.5 percent from calendar year 2017 to 2,855,904 TEUs, an industry standard for 20-foot equivalent units.
The port decided to limit the movement of empty containers as it undergoes expansion projects at the two largest terminals. The port reported that it imports of empty containers dropped 47.8 percent during the year as it tried to make operations more efficient while undergoing the expansion projects.
“We knew those moves would have a bearing on our year-end totals,” Reinhart said. “Though we still set a new mark, it was a rather static performance. In a larger sense, we made the right moves because we were able to get through a very challenging period while maintaining our service levels.”
Traffic at the port’s inland terminals increased last year. Cargo containers handled at the Richmond Marine Terminal were up 31.5 percent to 31,544. Containers handled at the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal were up 7.8 percent to 38,540.
During the year, loaded export volumes decreased by 3.6 percent, while imports were up 4 percent.2019-01-15T09:57:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/32868215018_134abb897b_z.jpgState Legislators from Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville introduced a plan to build casinos. VCU CNS
Lawmakers tout plan for casinos in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lawmakers-tout-plan-for-casinos-in-bristol-danville-and-portsmouth#When:09:48:00ZMembers of the General Assembly from Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville urged their colleagues Monday to approve legislation to allow casino gambling in those cities. They said the plan would create jobs and boost the economy.
Sen. Charles Carrico, R-Bristol, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, joined delegates from each locality at a news conference to push for a state law authorizing casinos. They said that in seven years, such gambling operations could generate a total of nearly $100 million in local revenue and create about 16,000 jobs.
Under the legislation, a referendum would be held in each of the cities, and voters would have to agree whether to allow casinos to be built.
“This is an opportunity for not only us but for southwest and Danville to join forces and give the citizens a choice,” said Del. Matthew James, D-Portsmouth. “A choice to bring a revenue streak, to help pay for schools, give teachers raises and do the things we need to do.”
Republicans and Democrats from Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville have partnered on the legislative initiative, saying their cities face similar financial problems.
“We’re struggling, and our economies are struggling,” Carrico said. “And for me, I want to see Bristol do well. But I also see that Sen. Lucas and Del. [Danny Marshall, R-Danville] are struggling as well.”
The median annual household income is about $49,000 in Portsmouth, $38,000 in Bristol and $35,000 in Danville — far below the statewide median of $69,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, the average household income in Fairfax County is more than $117,000.
“The city of Danville had two Fortune 500 companies that at one point had 60,000 jobs. We’ve had to close four schools in the area due to the lack of population,” Marshall said. “But Danville is working hard to rebuild, and we are having some successes.”
Four bills to authorize casino gambling have been introduced for this legislative session. They are SB 1126, sponsored by Lucas; SB 1503, proposed by Carrico; HB 1890, filed by James; and HB 2536, carried by Del. Israel D. O’Quinn, a Republican who represents Bristol and surrounding counties.
While casino gambling bills have failed in the past, Lucas and Carrico said requiring community input through a referendum gives this year’s legislation the advantage needed to pass the General Assembly.
In a Q&A session, officials were asked about potential issues that could come from introducing casino gambling, such as crime and addiction. They said authorities would use tax revenues from casinos to address public needs like school facilities, law enforcement and social services.
“We’re going to appoint so much money to addiction abuse and public safety and keep it a safe, industrial way to produce revenue,” Carrico said. “This is a tightly regulated industry.”
At the news conference, legislators also were asked about religious objections some citizens have to casinos. The lawmakers said their proposals would impose regulations on the industry to safeguard the community.
Carrico, a religious man himself, met with pastors and said they were open to the suggestion of casinos. The religious leaders appreciated the ability to vocalize their concerns in the public referendum, the senator said.
Two Bristol businessmen plan to fund construction of the casino in the city.
Jim McGlothlin, CEO of the United Company, and Clyde Stacy, owner of Par Ventures, are long-time partners. At the news conference, McGlothlin said the project will not need government funding. McGlothlin said the region’s economic problems are significant and need a ‘big, bold’ project to compete with neighboring states.
As a result, the legislation needs only to pass the General Assembly and garner majority support in a local referendum for the dice to start rolling.
Lucas said casinos are the most efficient way to pull Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol out of an economic rut.
“We just want to create economic development in these three parts of the state,” Lucas said. “It’s plain and simple.”2019-01-15T09:48:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/500_E_Main_St-Norfolk.jpg500 E. Main St. in Norfolk
New coworking space coming to Norfolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-coworking-space-coming-to-norfolk#When:16:38:00ZGather Workspaces LLC is bringing a coworking space to downtown Norfolk.
The company, which has three locations in Richmond, leased 30,140 square feet at Main Street Center at 500 E. Main St. in Norfolk.
John P. Duffy Jr. and Christine M. Kaempfe of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations.
Virginia Business covered the growing trend of coworking office spaces in its November issue.
Long Flooring LP renews Norfolk lease
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-flooring-lp-renews-norfolk-lease#When:16:38:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer has announced several major transactions in Hampton Roads and Richmond.
Long Flooring LP has renewed its lease of 32,200 square feet at 3745 Progress Rd. in Norfolk. William Throne represented the tenant.
Watco Supply Chain Services LLC leased 21,333 square feet at 1347 Diamond Springs Rd. in Virginia Beach. Patrick Mumey and Geoff Poston handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.
International Equipment Rentals leased 21,200 square feet at 700 Rosemont Ave. in Chesapeake. Bobby Phillips and Throne handled the lease negotiations.
Power Utility renewed its lease of 15,000 square feet at 1416 Ballentine Boulevard in Norfolk. Samuel W. Scott Jr. handled the lease negotiations.
Better Business Bureau has leased 10,363 square feet in East Shore I at 100 Eastshore Drive Henrico County. Amy Broderick and Mark E. Douglas handled the lease negotiations.2019-01-14T16:38:00+00:00
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announces promotions
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-announces-promotions3#When:16:36:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer has announced a number of promotions for its Commercial Property Services Group.
Mary Kaye Willis has been promoted to vice president of property services. She most recently was director of property services responsible for leading property management operations in Charlottesville and Western Virginia.
Melody Almonte in the Hampton Roads office has been promoted to associate director. She was promoted to senior portfolio manager in February 2018.
Ann Allen has been promoted to associate director. Allen was promoted to team lead in 2018 leading and overseeing the Fredericksburg maintenance team.
Chrissy Price has been promoted to senior portfolio manager. Price joined Thalhimer’s Roanoke office in August 2016 as portfolio manager.
Jason Crowder has been promoted to senior portfolio manager. Crowder joined Thalhimer’s Richmond office in May 2018 as portfolio manager.
Paul Spellman has been promoted to portfolio manager/team lead. He joined Thalhimer’s Commercial Property Services Group in its Fredericksburg office in January 2018 as portfolio manager.2019-01-14T16:36:00+00:00
Former Virginia Beach synagogue site sells
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-virginia-beach-synagogue-site-sells#When:16:33:00ZThe former Virginia Beach synagogue for Congregation Beth Chaverim has sold for $1.925 million.
Tidewater Bible Way Temple Kingdom Church purchased the 26,000-square-foot property, which is located on three acres at 3820 Stoneshore Road.
Murray Rosenbach of S.L. Nusbaum represented the sellers.
Other significant transactions from S.L. Nusbaum in December include:
Pinewell Station LLC purchased 6.38 acres of land from the City of Norfolk for $1.285 million. The properties are located at 601 and 719 E. Ocean View Ave. Cheyney Cole represente the buyer.
5772 Arrowhead LLC purchased a 31,740-square-foot industrial property on 1.94 acre in Virginia Beach for $1.256 million. The property is located at 5768 and 5772 Arrowhead Drive. Pierce Jacobson and Tyler Jacobson represented the seller.2019-01-14T16:33:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Gunston_Commerce_Center_copy.jpgPhoto courtesy Avison Young
Lorton business center snags $142 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lorton-business-center-snags-142-million#When:16:30:00ZGunston Commerce Center in Lorton has sold for $142 million.
The business park, which includes nine buildings, is leased by the General Services Administration and government contractors. The park includes about 600,000 square feet of rentable area in nine buildings, with flexible designs to allow uses ranging from office and warehouse to research and development and retail.
“Gunston attracted considerable interest from investors because it offers a combination of best-in-class assets, high credit tenancy and tenants that are committed to the properties for the long term,” John Kevill, principal of Avison Young, said in a statement. “It is rare that a sale with such a clear investment thesis comes to market in a suburban portfolio, and the new owner understands that space as well as anyone in the market. I suspect they will enjoy a strong cash flow for years to come.”
Avison Young marketed and sold the property. Overseeing the efforts were Kevill and Jim Kornick, both principals; along with Chip Ryan, principal; and Michael Murillo and Georgiana Condoiu, both vice presidents.
NGP, formerly National Government Properties, purchased the property, according to the Washington Business Journal. It is one of the largest landlords to the federal government.
Each of the buildings is located on Richmond Highway or Furnace Road, just 6.5 miles from Fort Belvoir, 8 miles from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and 18 miles from both Quantico and the Pentagon.
It is also located close to Interstate 95 and is directly off of Route 1. In addition, it is close to Virginia Railway Express, with a shuttle service provided.2019-01-14T16:30:00+00:00
Tysons office building is refinanced
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tysons-office-building-is-refinanced#When:15:49:00ZDallas-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP has arranged the $32.217 million refinancing of a Tysons office building.
The 219,000-square-foot building is 7600 Leesburg Pike. HFF worked on behalf of the borrower, True North Management Group, to secure the three-year, floating-rate loan.
Constructed in the late 1980s, 7600 Leesburg Pike was updated in 2016. It will again undergo renovations to add on-site amenities, including a deli and fitness center, in the coming year.
Loan proceeds were used to refinance the original acquisition loan and provide funds for the borrower to implement its business plan to lease up and stabilize the asset.
HFF’s debt placement team representing the borrower included Dan McIntyre, Robert Carey and Drake Greer.2019-01-14T15:49:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/39742217003_d440c66815_z.jpgDel. Karrie Delaney
Virginia lawmakers request toll freeze for federal workers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-lawmakers-request-toll-freeze-for-federal-workers#When:10:53:00ZDel. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, and 14 other members of the Virginia General Assembly sent a letter Friday to state Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine and other officials requesting toll relief for federal workers commuting without pay during the federal government’s shutdown.
“These residents are still going to work every day to ensure our nation’s operations continue, but they are not receiving a paycheck,” Delaney said. “They are trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet, and here we have an opportunity to provide some relief from the tolls they incur during their commute.”
More than 34,000 workers in the commonwealth are affected by the three-week federal shutdown, caused by an impasse between Democrats and President Donald Trump over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In terms of federal workers, Virginia is the sixth-most affected state.
The letter requests that furloughed workers who can prove their employment status have their E-ZPass deactivated temporarily. It also seeks refunds for workers who pay highway tolls while working without pay during the shutdown.
“Those who are traveling the Greenway, I-66 and other tolled roads in Virginia to get to a job where they are not receiving a paycheck should not be further financially strained for simply fulfilling their duty as a public servant,” the letter says.
“We cannot undo the financial burdens and hardships this federal shutdown has brought to the homes of thousands of Virginians, but we can help alleviate it.”2019-01-14T10:53:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/46665435452_92177410fb_z.jpgVirginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini. Photo by Madison Manske, Capital News Service
Advocates seek more access to medical marijuana
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/advocates-seek-more-access-to-medical-marijuana#When:10:34:00ZAs other states have relaxed their laws against marijuana, citizens across Virginia gathered in Richmond Saturday to discuss how to persuade the General Assembly to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the commonwealth.
About 150 people, including health-care providers and attorneys, attended the Virginia 2019 Cannabis Conference, held by the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Virginia NORML advocates decriminalizing possession of marijuana and regulating medical and recreational-use production and sales of the substance.
Members of NORML are hopeful after Gov. Ralph Northam voiced support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana during his State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, the first day of the General Assembly’s 2019 session.
“We want to keep people safe. But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety,” the governor said in his speech. “Current law imposes a maximum 30 days in jail for a first offense of marijuana possession.”
So far, lawmakers have proposed six bills to decriminalize simple marijuana possession. For example, HB 2371, sponsored by Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, and HB 2373, by Del. Lee Carter, D-Prince William, would legalize marijuana for Virginians 21 and older and have the state operate retail marijuana stores. Under such proposals, Virginians under 21 who are caught with marijuana would have to pay a civil penalty.
Most attendees at the conference, held at the Delta by Marriott hotel, seemed particularly interested in medical marijuana and how to access it without traveling to another state.
Lorene Davidson of Richmond works in anesthesia as a nurse practitioner. She came to the conference because of her ongoing struggle with antidepressants, which she found were bad for her liver.
“I’m looking mostly for a way to find out more about getting a medical card and furthering getting that taken care of,” Davidson said.
As a speaker at the event, Melanie Seifert Davis of Richmond shared the story of her 10-year-old daughter Madison, who was diagnosed with ependymoma brain cancer in 2014.
“Although I’m not new to the world of cannabis, I’m brand new to the world of cannabis reform,” Davis said.
Madison is on four different cannabis-based products including CBD, THC, THCA and FECO (full extract cannabis oil) to help with seizures and the cancer itself, Davis said.
“Today and for every tomorrow I’m given, I will fill seven capsules with high doses of four different cannabis medications and watch as Madison swallows each one,” Davis said. “Science, research and experience in my heart all know that it can and will and has helped her.”
At the conference, Davis said the family recently received good news about Madison’s cancer: Four of the five tumors were gone.
“Cannabis is an important and essential part of why she is still here and still her, five years into this battle for her life,” Davis shared. “Cannabis is why she has never, not even once, suffered from the nausea, vomiting or seizures that are expected side effects of her chemo.”
In addition, Davis’ son, Aiden, has Crohn’s disease. Aiden also uses cannabis to ease the pain of everyday life, Davis said.
“I fight because when I told my son about today, the first thing he said with legitimate fear in his voice was, ‘Mom, you can’t tell them those things. You can’t tell them about Maddie’s medicine. Cannabis is illegal. I need you; you can’t go to jail,’” Davis said.
Madison has been on cannabis products since June 2017. Davis said she gets Madison and Aiden’s cannabis from a licensed doctor in California.
Jenn Michelle Pedini, the executive director for Virginia NORML, said progress had been made in getting the state to expand access to medical cannabis.
According to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, patients and their legal guardians can register to obtain such products if they have a certification issued by a physician.
“In 2016, we passed a bill that let us go forth and write a regulatory program that was based on Connecticut’s then-program, which was also low-THC, extraction-based products only and served to a small set of patients,” Pedini said.
In 2018, the General Assembly passed a law allowing practitioners to issue certifications for the use of cannabis-based products to alleviate symptoms “of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”
The Board of Pharmacy has given approval to pharmaceutical companies to open five dispensaries across the state where CBD and THC-A oils will be sold to authorized patients.
Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, has filed a bill (HB 2245) to double the number of medical cannabis dispensaries.2019-01-14T10:34:00+00:00
Union Bank & Trust sells buildings, leases back space
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/union-bank-trust-sells-buildings-leases-back-space#When:20:55:00ZRichmond-based Union Bank & Trust has sold two buildings and leased back space in the properties.
The commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reported that BNGP LLC purchased a building from the bank at 12090 West Broad St. in Henrico County for $2.6 million.
The bank has signed a long-term lease to remain on the first floor of the 9,642-square-foot building.
Will McGoogan of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of Union Bank & Trust.
The bank also sold a two-story property at 641 Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach for $2.45 million to Club Forest Guardian LLC, according to the real estate firm.
Union signed a long-term lease on the first floor of the 20,7330-square-foot building.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s David Tunnicliffe, Dawn Griggs and Will McGoogan handled the sale negotiations on behalf of Union for the property.
In addition to the Union Bank & Trust sales, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said the Better Business Bureau has leased 10,363 square feet at 100 East Shore Drive in Henrico County.
Amy Broderick and Mark E. Douglas of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations.2019-01-11T20:55:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/AMAZON%E2%80%93NatlLandmap.pngMap of Amazon's HQ2 National Landing, courtesy JBG Smith.
Virginians narrowly support public investment to land Amazon HQ2
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginians-narrowly-support-public-investment-to-land-amazon-hq2#When:09:42:00ZA new poll shows nearly half of Virginians, 49 percent, believe the benefits of Amazon’s second headquarters location in Virginia will outweigh the cost of incentives.
Nonetheless, the poll, conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, found 41 percent of respondents think Virginia is investing too much in the deal.
Older Virginians are more inclined to be skeptical, with 37 percent thinking benefits will outweigh costs, compared to 47 percent who say Virginia is investing too much.
“This close split could indicate that the more Virginians hear about the Amazon deal, the less confident they are that it’s a win for Virginia,” Robyn McDougle, director of the Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy, said in a statement. “One poll conducted shortly after the Nov. 13 Amazon announcement showed Virginians approving the deal by a 2-to-1 margin, but this margin is significantly lower.”
Additional poll findings show a majority of the Virginia public is willing to pay higher taxes for improved K-12 education.
Sixty-three percent of Virginians indicate a personal willingness to pay more taxes to increase funding for K-12 education, while 32 percent say they are not willing to do so.
The proportion willing to pay higher taxes for this purpose is up 11 percentage points from last year, making it the biggest year-to-year jump and the highest percentage measured in the 16 years the poll has asked the question.
Democrats (80 percent) are more likely to be willing to pay higher taxes than Republicans (47 percent), while independents (55 percent) fall between the two.
Respondents also were asked whether they would be willing to pay more in taxes to increase the use of two policies aimed at improving access to affordable housing: government support for private development of such housing and government support for housing vouchers that can be used to pay some or all of a person’s rent.
A majority, 55 percent, were unwilling to pay more in taxes in both cases.
The poll results are available at oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.
The poll, a random sample of 805 adults in Virginia, was conducted by landline and cell telephone calls on Dec. 3-13. It has a margin of error of 3.45 percent.2019-01-11T09:42:00+00:00
Richmond industrial building sells for $2 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-industrial-building-sells-for-2-million#When:21:45:00ZA Richmond industrial building has been sold for $2 million.
Divaris Real Estate, Inc. said RTC Hill Building LLC purchased a 29,466-square-foot building at 2800 Ackley Ave.
Peter Vick and Harrison Hall of Divaris represented the seller Big 2800 Ackley LLC.
Also, Elite Force Holdings Inc. purchased a 9,281-square-foot, multitenant retail property in Chester for $1 million.
The property located at 12131 South Chalkley Road was sold by Chester Square LLC.
Sara Goodall and Laikyn Severson of Divaris represented the seller while Vick and Hall represented the buyer.
In addition, Quantitative Medical Systems has leased 10,539 square feet of office space in Premier Tech Center at 2810 North Parham Road in Richmond.
Eric Hammond and Brett McNamee of Divaris represented the tenant.2019-01-10T21:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/JUSTICE.pngLeft to right: Justice Neil Gorsuch and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP's Thurston R. Moore.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation adds U.S. Supreme Court Justice as trustee
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/the-colonial-williamsburg-foundation-adds-u.s.-supreme-court-justice-as-tru#When:20:15:00ZThe Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has added a U.S. Supreme Court Justice to its board of trustees.
Justice Neil Gorsuch has been elected to serve as a trustee of the foundation. Now retired from the high court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is also a trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Thurston R. Moore will serve as chairman of the board. Moore is chairman emeritus and special counsel of Richmond-based Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.
Additionally, former Norfolk Southern CFO Henry C. Wolf has retired as chairman emeriti along with his predecessor, Thomas F. Farrell II, president and CEO of Dominion Energy. Cynthia H. Milligan, dean emeritus at the University of Nebraska and president of Wood Stieper Capital Group, also has retired.2019-01-10T20:15:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2019-01-10_at_12.48.18_PM.png
Va.’s medical cannabis firms banding together
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/va.s-medical-cannabis-firms-banding-together#When:17:50:00ZThe medical cannabis companies coming to Virginia are joining forces as a new General Assembly session gets underway and debate continues over the state’s approach to marijuana.
The Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition is applying to become an official trade group that will look to shape state policy and weigh in on proposed laws. The organization’s first members will be the five companies that last year won the highly coveted licenses to become Virginia’s first regulated makers and sellers of medical cannabis oils.
The companies are Columbia Care, PharmaCann, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical and Dalitso. Each company likely will begin selling medical cannabis oils later this year.
Katie Hellebush of Hellebush Consulting LLC has been brought on as the group’s executive director, and a website for the group is in the works. She says it is too early to say what specific positions Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition plans to take. Hellebush says the goal of the group is to ensure its members’ products are delivered safely and to provide expertise on the issues.
“There’s a lot of unknowns about medical cannabis,” Hellebush says. “We want to let people know the benefits.”
In addition to having their own trade group, Virginia’s five medical cannabis companies have hired lobbyists.
The coalition isn’t the only organization that’s formed in the wake of Virginia expanding access to medical cannabis oils.
In 2018, CannabisVA was formed by KVCF Solutions, a lobbying firm in Richmond, with the goal of encouraging a business-friendly environment for medical cannabis. The Virginia Cannabis Industry Association formed last year, as well, aiming to support the state’s regulated cannabis industry.
The cannabis market has exploded around the world, and in the U.S. more and more states have begun regulating cannabis products. In Oct., Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. announced it was investing in a cannabis company in Canada, where medical and recreational cannabis is legal
As Virginia’s medical cannabis market ramps up, lawmakers are eyeing other changes to state marijuana laws. A delegate has proposed legalizing marijuana in Virginia, and Gov. Ralph Northam has called for decriminalizing possession of marijuana.2019-01-10T17:50:00+00:00
More jobs heading to Mecklenburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-jobs-heading-to-mecklenburg#When:10:28:00ZMore jobs heading to Mecklenburg
Data center expands for sixth time.
Microsoft Corp. plans a sixth expansion of its data center in Mecklenburg County, an investment expected to create more than 100 new jobs.
The project is Microsoft’s sixth expansion at the facility since 2010, Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Wednesday evening announcing the expansion.
“When Microsoft established its new enterprise data center in 2010, it represented the largest economic investment in southern Virginia history, and we have been thrilled to see the company continue expanding in the commonwealth ever since,” Northam said in a statement.
Microsoft has about 300 jobs at locations in Mecklenburg.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia.
Northam approved a $1.5 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund.2019-01-10T10:28:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/32807325228_b8e4b4867f_z.jpgSupporters of the Equal Rights Amendment gather to greet legislators Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Alexandra Zernik, CNS
ERA clears Senate committee, faces uncertainty in House
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/era-clears-senate-committee-faces-uncertainty-in-house#When:09:32:00ZAn 8-6 vote by a Senate committee Wednesday brought the federal Equal Rights Amendment one step closer to passing the General Assembly — which could make Virginia the 38th and final state necessary to add the ERA to the U.S. Constitution.
The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee voted to approve a resolution that Virginia ratify the ERA, which was proposed by Congress in 1972 and would prevent federal and state governments from passing laws that discriminate on the basis of sex.
The six Democrats on the committee were joined by two Republicans — Sens. William DeSteph of Virginia Beach and Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier — in voting for the resolution. The other six Republicans on the panel voted against it.
The resolution — SJ 284 — was sponsored by a bipartisan group of 15 senators and three House members.
The committee’s decision will send the resolution to the Senate floor for a vote. While supporters are optimistic about bipartisan support in the Senate — which has passed similar proposals five times since 2011 — the same isn’t true in the House.
A co-sponsor of the resolution, Del. Hala Ayala, D-Prince William, said it will face Republican opposition. If it clears the full Senate, SJ 284 would go to the House Privileges and Elections Committee, where such resolutions have traditionally died.
Every Democrat on the House panel has signaled support for ratifying the ERA, but no Republican has followed suit. The lack of GOP support in the House committee represents the biggest hurdle for the resolution, said Candace Graham, co-founder of Women Matter, a group dedicated to ratifying the ERA.
“We feel very confident that if we can get those couple of votes on the [House] committee that we need for it to go to the floor, then it will pass on the floor,” Graham said.
When first introduced in 1923, the ERA did not pass in Congress. Renewed interest in 1972 pushed the amendment through Congress, and it was ratified by 35 states within the 10-year period before the 1982 deadline.
An amendment needs approval from three-fourths of the states — or 38 — for ratification.
A conservative movement led by political activist Phyllis Schlafly — who said the amendment would make all laws “sex-neutral” and subject women to the draft — played a role in leaving the ERA three states short of the 38 it needed for federal ratification at the time.
In recent years, there has been a revived push toward ratification. In 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the ERA, followed by Illinois the next year.
Because the deadline has expired, some say the ERA can’t be ratified. But other experts disagree. The 27th Amendment, which regulates congressional salaries, was ratified more than 200 years after its 1789 introduction, though it was never given a time limit, unlike the ERA.
“There are very smart and reasonable people on both sides who disagree over whether Congress has the constitutional authority in the first place to put a time limit on the ratification of a constitutional amendment,” said Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond, who also is a chief co-sponsor of the resolution.
Further complicating the matter is that five states have since rescinded their ERA ratifications. But the U.S. Constitution does not specifically allow states to do that, and previous rescissions have been deemed invalid.
Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, also co-sponsored SJ 284. He said the recent ratification by Nevada and Illinois has improved the outlook in Virginia and contributed to a new wave within the movement.
“Nevada and Illinois showed us that there are other legislatures in this country that are moving the ball forward,” Surovell said. “I think the urgency and the historical importance of being the state that puts us across the top really sort of changes the political and emotional dynamic of the issue.”
Unlike other recent efforts in Virginia, this year’s resolution is supported by several Republicans — including Sens. Sturtevant, DeSteph and Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico.
“We haven’t [previously] had a Republican who’s been willing to step up and actually carry this bill,” Surovell said.
Advocates also see renewed momentum in the form of 20,000 signatures on a petition and a poll showing that more than 80 percent of Virginians favor ratification.
“So we’re hopeful that all those things combined are going to make this year a different year,” Surovell said.
Opponents of the ERA fear it could result in integrated prisons and sports teams and fewer specific protections for women and could threaten female-only universities and organizations.
Colleen Holcomb, a lawyer and lobbyist representing the Family Foundation — which opposes the ERA — referred to it as a “fundraiser cause.”
“Regardless of what your position with regard to gender identity, we have biological men competing with women, and that's impending their ability to get academic scholarships and to be able to succeed in their areas of choice,” Holcomb said.
But advocates for the amendment view specific constitutional protections based on sex as necessary for gender equality.
“When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. They say, ‘You want special privileges.’ We don’t want special privileges. We just want what everyone else enjoys,” said Eileen Davis, co-founder of Women Matter. “Race, religion, national origin all have strict constitutional scrutiny — sex does not.”2019-01-10T09:32:00+00:00
Wisconsin company has option to buy iconic Danville mill building
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wisconsin-company-has-option-to-buy-iconic-danville-mill-building#When:21:39:00ZThe Danville Industrial Development Authority has approved an agreement giving a Wisconsin company the option to buy the iconic White Mill property, a symbol of the city’s history as a major textile center.
The agreement provides The Alexander Co., based in Madison, Wis., with a nine-month option in which to move forward with a purchase. The IDA could grant extensions up to two 180-day periods.
The purchase price for the mill, once part of the Dan River Inc. complex in Danville, would be $3 million.
That is the same price the IDA paid when it bought the property in 2017 from White Mill Development LLC, a subsidiary of Spartanburg, S,C.-based Gibbs International.
Alexander Co. specializes in historic preservation, urban revitalization, and adaptive reuse. The company said it will announce any plans for the White Mill property at a later date.
In another development, plans have been announced to redevelop two Danville properties into a boutique hotel.
The former Knights of Pythias (117-119 South Union Street) and Register & Bee buildings (123 South Union Street) will be converted into approximately 42 suites in the River District.
Roanoke developer Ed Walker acquired the two properties last year with plans to begin development in the first quarter of 20192019-01-09T21:39:00+00:00
Gov. Northam backs plan to fund I-81 improvements with tolls
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gov.-northam-backs-plan-to-fund-i-81-improvements-with-tolls#When:09:47:00ZFlanked by a bipartisan group of state legislators, Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to move forward with legislation that would use tolls to fund improvements on Interstate 81.
I-81 spans 325 miles across western Virginia, connects six metro areas and links 30 institutions of higher education.
The program, known as the I-81 Corridor Improvement Fund, would be supported by tolls along the expanse of the interstate. Owners of cars and small trucks would be able to purchase an annual pass for a fixed yearly fee of $30.
“Interstate 81 is the economic engine of western Virginia, and it’s time we take decisive action to enhance the safety and improve the reliability of this key corridor,” Northam said.
Northam said I-81 has a “clear safety problem,” with an average of about 2,000 crashes annually.
The chief patrons of the legislation are Republican Sens. Mark Obenshain of Rockingham and Charles Carrico of Grayson. Three other legislators — all Republicans with districts intersected by I-81 — also are sponsoring the proposal: Sen. Emmett Hanger of Augusta, Sen. Jill Vogel of Fauquier, and Del. Richard Bell of Staunton.
A yearlong study by the Commonwealth Transportation Board concluded that the I-81 corridor needs $2.2 billion of improvements. The governor said these changes would prevent 450 crashes each year.
The improvements seek to enhance traffic safety and reliability along the interstate, where an estimated 11 million commercial trucks travel annually.
Other interstates currently have dedicated funding sources. Regional taxes and tolls are used to fund improvements to those roadways, the governor said.
The tolls implemented along the I-81 corridor, which are currently drafted at 17 cents per mile, would be among the lowest in the nation — the second cheapest east of the Mississippi River, according to Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine. The exact price of tolls along the interstate would be determined at a later date by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
The governor, along with Obenshain and Del. Steve Landes, R-Augusta, stressed that the program is designed to remove the “undue burden” of citizens who live along the I-81 corridor.
“The hard-working citizens in the communities on the I-81 Corridor deserve a viable, long-term solution to the challenges of travel along this route,” Landes said. “A focus on key improvements and dedicated funding for the corridor will positively affect those who rely on it every day.”
Obenshain added, “We have a tremendous opportunity to address long-standing issues on the I-81 Corridor. I will continue to work with the Northam administration and with my colleagues in the General Assembly in hope that we can find bipartisan solutions to the critical reliability and safety issues in this region of the commonwealth.”
Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation believe that I-81 needs an additional $2 billion in improvements beyond those proposed by state officials, Landes said. He said the additional improvements would require funding from the federal government.
“It’s an interstate system, not an ‘intra-state’ system,” Landes said.
The I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan can be found at http://www.va81corridor.org.2019-01-09T09:47:00+00:00
NoVA health firm adds new executives
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-health-firm-adds-new-executives#When:22:22:00ZArlington County-based Advantia Health, a healthcare company focused on women’s health, announced Tuesday two additions to its executive team.
Mary Langowski was added to Advantia Health’s board of directors. She was previously the executive vice president and chief strategy and corporate development officer at CVS Health.
Nathan Barbour has become the company’s chief growth officer. He previously worked as senior vice president of corporate development at Evolent, a publicly-traded company.
Advantia has more than 140 providers across Virginia, Maryland and plans to have some in Washington, D.C. The company said in a press release it is looking to expand nationally.2019-01-08T22:22:00+00:00
Virginia Beach architecture firm purchased by Ohio company
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-architecture-firm-purchased-by-ohio-company#When:21:24:00ZWoolpert has acquired Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects of Virginia Beach.
Woolpert, a Dayton, Ohio-based company, said the acquisition bolsters its design and planning capabilities.
“We wanted a firm that would expand our military architecture portfolio to the Navy and Army and add to our growing portfolio of projects with the Air Force, education and athletic institutions, as well as municipal clients,” Woolpert President and CEO Scott Cattran said in a statement.
This acquisition is the latest step in Woolpert’s long-term strategic plan, launched in 2015. It follows a minority recapitalization completed in December 2017 and a corporate restructure designed to accommodate organic and acquisitive growth that went into effect at the beginning of this month.
Woolpert, founded in 1911, has more than 800 employees and 28 offices nationwide. Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects was founded in 1956 and employs 34.2019-01-08T21:24:00+00:00
NoVa IT firm acquires Swiss software developer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-it-firm-acquires-swiss-software-developer#When:21:19:00ZTysons-based DXC Technology and Switzerland-based Luxoft Holding Inc. announced on Monday an agreement under which DXC would acquire Luxoft, a global software developer.
The deal is valued at around $2 billion. DXC would pay $59 per share in cash for each issued and outstanding Luxoft Class A and Class B shares, according to the terms of the agreement.
DXC, an information technology company, said in a press release it expects the acquisition to close by June.2019-01-07T21:19:00+00:00
Coworking space opens in Arlington
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coworking-space-opens-in-arlington#When:15:10:00ZIndustrious, a coworking solution and flexible workspace provider, opened the Industrious Ballston Exchange in Arlington on Monday.
The Industrious Ballston Exchange, a management partnership with Jamestown LP, offers 83 offices, occupying 24,795 square feet at Ballston Exchange's 4201 Tower.
An official ribbon cutting will be held Thursday.
The facility offers single desks, large conference rooms, common areas, a private nursing room and a kitchen with coffee and snacks.
The property offers a direct connection to the Ballston Metro Station.
Industrious also operates in Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C., and in Bethesda, Md.
Later this year, the company plans to open locations in McLean and Alexandria.2019-01-07T15:10:00+00:00
General Electric renews lease for 47,559 square feet
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/general-electric-renews-lease-for-47559-square-feet#When:15:08:00ZThe commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said the lease involves 47,559 square feet at 5640 Cox Road.
Dean Meyer and Mac Wilson of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled lease negotiations.
In other transactions reported by the real estate firm, OfficeMax renewed its lease of 18,000 square feet in Westchester Commons at 141 Perimeter Drive In Chesterfield County.
Alex Wotring, David Crawford and Kevin South of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled lease negotiations.
Also, Olde Virginia Cidery LLC leased 10,450 square feet at 2522-F Hermitage Road in Richmond.
Gregg W. Beck of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled lease negotiations.2019-01-07T15:08:00+00:00
Sav-A-Lot Liquidations LLC leases 16,400 square feet of space in Four Mile Fork Shopping Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sav-a-lot-liquidations-llc-leases-16400-square-feet-of-space-in-four-mile-f#When:15:06:00ZSav-A-Lot Liquidations LLC has leased 16,400 square feet of retail space in Four Mile Fork Shopping Center at 5099 Jefferson Davis Highway. in Spotsylvania County. Virgil Nelson and Adam Nelson of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations.
Thalhimer also announced the following leases in Spotsylvania, all handled by Virgil Nelson:
Southeast Cabinetry & Countertops LLC leased 14,588 square feet of industrial space in Fredericksburg Center B at 11900 Main St.
T&L Construction leased a 12,000 square foot storage lot on Houser Drive.
Premier Towing & Recovery Services LLC also leased a 12,000 square foot storage lot on Houser Drive.2019-01-07T15:06:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2329_E_Little_Creek_Road_Building.jpg
Former Norfolk private schools sold
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/former-norfolk-private-schools-sold#When:15:04:00ZCollege Properties LLC has purchased the former Calvary Christian Elementary and Middle School property in Norfolk for $4.85 million.
The properties are located at 2329-2331 East Little Creek Road in Norfolk.
The three-building property is located on 10.4 acres and totals 109,318 square feet.
Glenn Gibson of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Calvary Revival Church.
College Properties did not disclose plans for the properties.2019-01-07T15:04:00+00:00
Virginia named “State of the Year” by national publication
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-named-state-of-the-year-by-national-publication#When:10:17:00ZBusiness Facilities magazine has named Virginia its “State of the Year.”
The national magazine is read by corporate site selectors and economic development professionals.
“Virginia snared more than $5.5 billion in capital investment for its top two projects, and its top five job-creation efforts netted nearly 28,000 new jobs in a diverse and well-executed growth strategy that has made VA a high-tech force to be reckoned with,” Business Facilities’ Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers wrote.
The magazine cited Amazon’s decision to locate part of its second headquarters in Northern Virginia and the commonwealth’s investment in fiber-optic networks, which has helped the area become the largest concentration of data centers.
“The 21st-century infrastructure that Virginia has meticulously installed will serve as a fertile root system that will nurture a lush forest of high-tech enterprises in the commonwealth for years to come,” Rogers said. “Virginia not only is ready to compete in the emerging high-tech battleground—it shows every intention of dominating the field.”
The magazine also mentioned Micron’s August announcement that it would complete a $3 billion semi-conductor expansion.
Virginia also ranked high on Business Facilities’ 2018 State Rankings Report released this summer. In those rankings, Virginia was No. 2 on its list for Cybersecurity Jobs Leaders, No. 5 on its Best Business Climate and No. 7 on its Economic Growth Potential lists. 2019-01-07T10:17:00+00:00
Spotsylvania County warehouse sells for $1.6 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spotsylvania-county-warehouse-sells-for-1.6-million#When:21:54:00ZPayne Trucking Co. has bought a Spotsylvania County warehouse from Georgia Foam Association LLC for $1.6 million.
The 38,015-square-foot facility at 57 Joseph Mills Drive sits on 5.25 acres. Payne Trucking will use the site as an investment.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Virgil G. Nelson handled the transaction on behalf of the seller.2019-01-04T21:54:00+00:00
Colliers, CBRE affiliate deal finalized
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-cbre-affiliate-deal-finalized#When:17:22:00ZAs 2019 ramps up the dust is settling on the reorganization of Virginia’s commercial real estate brokerage scene.
On Friday, Colliers International announced it had closed on its acquisition of a majority interest in the former CBRE Inc. affiliate in Virginia. Shareholders of the former CBRE affiliate have retained equity in the business. Terms of the acquisition, which was announced in November, have not been disclosed.
J. Scott Adams, the president for Colliers International’s operations in Central and Southeast Virginia, says all 340 former CBRE affiliate employees, including brokers and property managers, became Colliers International employees on Jan. 1. Adams was previously CBRE’s regional president for its mid-South affiliate offices.
“All of our clients have fully endorsed the transition with a consistent message that it’s all about the people that serve their accounts – not the brands,” Adams says. “We’ve also received a large number of very interested calls from other brokers and organizations who want to learn more about Colliers.”
The former CBRE affiliates in Richmond, Norfolk, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg have been rebranded as Colliers International. Colliers also has operations in Tysons as part of its Greater Washington, D.C., office.
Ryan Kratz, Colliers International’s president of the Southeast region, says the firm’s expanded presence in Virginia creates more opportunities to serve clients with presences in different parts of the country.
Colliers International’s expanded Virginia presence comes after it cut ties with its affiliates in Richmond and Norfolk. Those operations have been rebranded as Harrison & Bates.
CBRE Inc. and its Virginia affiliates separated their businesses at the end of 2018. James “Jim” A. Reid was hired to temporarily oversee CBRE’s operations in Virginia moving forward. He said in November that CBRE Inc.’s business model is “whole ownership, full accountability.”2019-01-04T17:22:00+00:00
New executive for Fortune 1000 firm
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-executive-for-fortune-1000-firm#When:09:56:00ZHerndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply has promoted Chief Commercial Officer C. Eric Swank to chief operating officer.
He will lead Beacon’s $6 billion roofing and exterior products business in addition to overseeing the entire company’s sales, marketing and supply chain.
Swank joined the firm as vice president of human resources in 2004. He has since filled a series of executive roles at the company. He was appointed chief commercial officer in January 2018 when the company purchased Allied.
Previously, Swank worked for 13 years at Cintas Corp. He is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.
Beacon Roofing Supply ranked No. 589 on the most recent Fortune 1000 list.
Beacon distributes residential and commercial roofing materials and complementary building products in the U.S. and Canada.2019-01-04T09:56:00+00:00
Metro-area jobless numbers show little change
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/metro-area-jobless-numbers-show-little-change#When:22:25:00ZUnemployment in Virginia’s metro areas remained relatively unchanged in November as the commonwealth’s overall jobless rate fell to the lowest level in 17 years.
Unemployment rates were unchanged in five of 11 Virginia metropolitan statistical areas during the month, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
VEC figures slipped one-tenth of a percentage point in five other MSAs and rose by the same margin in one region, the New River Valley.
Statewide, the unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent in November, its lowest level since 2001.
That overall Virginia rate is based on seasonally adjusted data, meaning that it takes into effect seasonal fluctuations in the labor force.
Local and metro-area rates, however, are based on figures that are not seasonally adjusted. The state’s November rate using that method was 2.7 percent.
As usual, Northern Virginia had the lowest jobless rate in November, 2.3 percent, followed by the Winchester and Charlottesville areas, both at 2.4 percent.
A breakdown of the metro areas shows:
Bristol: 3 percent in November, unchanged from October
Charlottesville: 2.4 percent, unchanged.
Hampton Roads: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent.
Harrisonburg: 2.7 percent, unchanged.
Lynchburg: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent.
Northern Virginia: 2.3 percent, down from 2.4 percent.
New River Valley: 2.9 percent, up from 2.8 percent.
Richmond: 2.9 percent, unchanged.
Roanoke: 2.6 percent, down from 2.7 percent.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.5 percent, down from 2.6 percent.
Winchester: 2.4 percent, unchanged.2019-01-03T22:25:00+00:00
Roanoke executive gets Trump administration appointment
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/roanoke-executive-gets-trump-administration-appointment#When:21:33:00ZA bit of the Old Dominion will be represented on a U.S. Department of Commerce advisory committee related to renewable energy.
Roanoke-based TMEIC’s Don Samsa was among the 39 members recently appointed to the Department of Commerce’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC). Samsa is TMEIC’s general manager of renewable energy business in North America.
TMEIC stands for Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp. The company’s North American operations are based in Roanoke. The company designs, develops and engineers advanced automation, large AC and DC motors, photovoltaic inverters and variable frequency drive systems.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee advises the secretary of commerce on the development and administration of programs and policies to increase the export competitiveness of U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products and services. The committee was established in 2010 and most recently was renewed in June.
Wilbur Ross, the U.S. secretary of commerce, made the appointments to the committee.2019-01-03T21:33:00+00:00
Richmond downtown properties sell for $6.8 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-downtown-properties-sell-for-6.8-million#When:20:28:00ZSome prominent downtown Richmond real estate has changed hands.
Richmond-based Dodson Development Partners and Israel-based DagDor Investments, which operates around Virginia, bought the three buildings at 1401-1413 E. Cary St. for $6.8 million on Dec. 28, according to Duke Dodson, president of Dodson Development Partners.
The three properties total 59,000 square feet and were assessed at a combined $5.4 million, according to Richmond property records, which have yet to record the deal.
Dodson says there are plans to make some improvements on the 19 apartments at the site but no plans to change the commercial spaces. Dodson says DagDor typically buys multifamily properties in Virginia but wanted to diversify into office and retail properties.
The buildings have a mix of office, restaurant and apartment space. Office tenants include the law firm Kaplan Voekler Cunningham Frank, wealth management company Canal Capital Management and Feedback, a marketing research company. Restaurant tenants at the property are The Hard Shell and Billy Jack’s Shack.
The East Cary Street properties were being managed by Dodson Property Management before the sale and will continue to be so, Dodson says.
The three buildings were owned by three different limited liability companies that are each tied to Louis J. Rogers, according to public records. Rogers is the president and CEO of Capital Square 1031, a real estate investment and management company with an office in Glen Allen.
Rogers said in an email the deal was separate from Capital Square 1031's business and declined to comment further on the deal.2019-01-03T20:28:00+00:00
Chesapeake building sells for $5.4 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-building-sells-for-5.4-million#When:16:08:00ZAn industrial/flex building in the Greenbrier Commerce Center in Chesapeake has sold for $5.4 million.
According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, The Runnymede Corp. bought the property at 1420 Kristina Way from Greenbrier Commerce Center LLC. It plans to use the 34,642-square-foot property as an investment.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s John P. Duffy Jr. and William Throne handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller.2019-01-03T16:08:00+00:00
Apartment community planned for Watkins Centre
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apartment-community-planned-for-watkins-centre#When:14:55:00ZCharlottesville-based Castle Development Partners plans to build 200 apartments in the first phase of a multifamily community at Watkins Centre in Chesterfield County.
The development, called Watkins Centre Apartments, eventually will total 450 luxury apartments.
Castle will offer 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units with space ranging from 654 to 1,390 square feet.
All of the apartment buildings will be four stories tall. Construction will begin this year.
The apartment community is part of the larger 786-acre Watkins Centre development.2019-01-03T14:55:00+00:00
Dominion announces promotions following SCANA buyout
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dominion-announces-promotions-following-scana-buyout#When:10:06:00ZDominion Energy Inc. announced Wednesday that it had promoted three executives following its buyout of South Carolina utility SCANA Corp.
The promotions include leadership of its newest operating segment, which will manage SCANA’s operating and service companies.
P. Rodney Blevins was promoted to president and CEO of Dominion’s new Southeast Energy Group. He has been senior vice president and chief information officer at Dominion.
Two other Dominion executives received promotions to reflect increased complexity of their positions following the merger, the company said.
James R. “Jim” Chapman was promoted to executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer at Dominion. He was senior vice president, CFO and treasurer of the company.
Carlos M. Brown was promoted to senior vice president and general counsel at Dominion. He has been vice president and general counsel.
Blevins joined Dominion Energy in 1987 as an engineer in electric distribution. He has held several executive roles with the company. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and completed an advanced management program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Chapman joined Dominion Energy in 2013 after more than 20 years in investment banking and corporate finance. He assumed his duties as senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer in November. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.
Brown joined the company in 2007 after years of private law practice. He has served in various capacities at Dominion Energy and was named vice president and general counsel in January 2017. Brown holds bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Virginia.2019-01-03T10:06:00+00:00
Henrico property fetches $1.9 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-property-fetches-1.9-million#When:22:15:00ZA Henrico County retail property has sold in a seven-figure deal involving a piano store and a fur clothing shop.
Alan Properties LLC bought 10300 W. Broad St. for $1.9 million from Vintage Properties LLC. The 12,000-square-foot, freestanding building is home to Alan Furs and Richmond Piano.
Douglas Wurz, owner of Richmond Piano, says he was the seller in the deal. Wurz says Richmond Piano is downsizing to a 4,300-square foot space and had been in a 12,000-square-foot space. Wurz says he bought the building in 2006.
Wurz says that since 2008 mom-and-pop music stores have struggled and sales have declined. He says Richmond Piano has remained in business in part because of the services it offers with things like rentals and tuning.
A message left with Alan Furs was not immedietly returned on Wednesday. The fur shop will occupy 7,500 square feet at the property, according to a press release.
James Ashby IV and Reilly Marchant of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. 2019-01-02T22:15:00+00:00
Higher ed can (and should) improve Virginia’s tech talent pipeline. Here’s how.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/higher-ed-can-and-should-improve-virginias-tech-talent-pipeline.-heres-how#When:22:04:00ZFor much of Virginia’s business community, Amazon’s announcement that it had chosen Northern Virginia for one of its two new corporate headquarters was the news event of 2018.
The presence of a highly skilled workforce was one of the factors that tipped the scales in Virginia’s favor. In a statement, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos called the National Landing site in Arlington a location that “will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”
As the primary pipeline for Virginia’s labor pool, the commonwealth’s universities played a significant role in the coup of attracting Amazon. Here are some best practices for 2019 that can help us continue to grow and strengthen the tech talent pipeline for all of Virginia’s businesses:
Challenge the divide between “academic” and “workforce development.”
The days of the rarefied ivory tower are over, and this is good news for business and academia. The outmoded view of higher education said universities had to choose between being serious academic institutions or places to prepare students for employment. But the heart of many of academic disciplines — computing, engineering, medicine and business, to name just a few — is in the real world. Our universities are finding innovative ways to convert the priorities of the working world into laboratories for student learning. Computer hackathons and engineering capstone projects, for example, start with companies pitching real problems for students to solve. Students test and expand their mastery of academic content by applying it to the challenges industries face. These applied challenges increase students’ academic knowledge and workplace readiness. In the process, employers meet — and recruit — the next generation of tech innovators.
Make it easier for professionals to gain graduate-level knowledge — and stay in the workforce.
It’s the rare professional who can take a multi-year leave-of-absence to go to graduate school. To stay current in ever-expanding fields, however, workers in critical industries such as computer science and engineering must be able to keep learning from academia’s experts. Higher education has been meeting this need with online education and evening-and-weekend master’s programs. As workplace demand increases throughout high-tech sectors, universities must keep innovating their graduate-level programs for working professionals. Distance-learning master’s programs are a great option, ideally with synchronous, real-time delivery of instruction in demanding computer science and engineering specialties. Post-baccalaureate graduate certificate programs in data science and cybersecurity are another great way to give IT professionals a fast, focused path to credentials in many employers’ most critically needed specialties. Best of all, these programs don’t require IT professionals to leave their jobs to advance their technical expertise.
Let students have a tech specialty without being a tech major.
In the emerging economy, computer science isn’t just for tech workers. It’s for all workers. Many of the 25,000 Virginia-based employees Amazon plans to hire in the next five years will work in non-technical areas, but they, along with workers in Virginia’s other companies, will have to be tech savvy. Our universities have some of the country’s top undergraduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, business and medicine. What if students could add a rigorous computer science specialty to their bachelor’s degrees in those disciplines? Programs that give all college students the option to gain fluency in web development, software engineering, data science and cybersecurity will greatly enrich Virginia’s professional talent pool. The designer, communicator, economist or health-care specialist who speaks and understands the “language” of computing instantly adds more value to his or her degree -- and future workplace. Higher education has the opportunity to lead the way in making more and more of Virginia’s workforce a high-tech workforce.
The Amazon announcement signaled a new era for the commonwealth’s companies and those who are educating its incoming professionals. But Virginia’s need for home-grown, high-tech employees extends beyond the country’s biggest retailer.
This is the season of new goals, expectations and commitments. Let’s make a bold commitment to join forces between industry and academia and build a talent pool that brings creativity, collaboration and tech expertise to all of Virginia’s workforce.
Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., is the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Dean of the VCU College of Engineering.2019-01-02T22:04:00+00:00
Northern Virginia company acquires New York-based staffing firm
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-virginia-company-acquires-new-york-based-staffing-firm#When:20:37:00ZMcLean-based Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS) has acquired Princeton Information, a New York-based staffing agency. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
DISYS is an IT consulting and managed services firm with 33 offices in the United States and abroad.
Princeton Information, based in North Massapequa, N.Y., has locations in the United States and India. The company was founded in 1985 and currently has nearly 500 employees in the U.S.
With this acquisition, DISYS will add more than 40 clients to its list of Fortune 500 companies. The move will help it gain a stronger presence in the New York area and the financial services industry.2019-01-02T20:37:00+00:00
Here’s how much Virginia Airbnb hosts earned in 2018
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/heres-how-much-virginia-airbnb-hosts-earned-in-2018#When:16:53:00ZAirbnb says its Virginia hosts earned a total of nearly $104 million in supplemental income while accommodating nearly 750,000 guests in 2018.
Airbnb said it now has about 10,200 Virginia hosts, typically earning about $5,500 annually in supplemental income.
Arlington County led the commonwealth in guests with nearly 57,000 in 2018, generating $10.8 million in total income for hosts.
Arlington was followed by Fairfax County, 31,300 guests, $6.6 million in income; Loudoun County, 20,500 guests, $3.1 million; Montgomery County, 17,800, $2.2 million; and Page County, 16,000, $2.2 million.2018-12-31T16:53:00+00:00
Henrico office building sells for $3.6 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-office-building-sells-for-3.6-million#When:15:13:00ZPeck Properties LLC has purchased a 46,747 square-foot office property in Henrico County.
The property, located at 3001 Hungary Spring Road and at 7740 and 7760 Shrader Road, was purchased from HSOP LC.
Chris Wallace, Jason Hetherington and Marshall Burke of Colliers represented the seller.
Colliers also announced that Taylor’s Do It Centers & Pleasants Hardware had renewed a 10,000-square-foot lease for retail space at 13591 Midlothian Turnpike in Midlothian. Martin Blum represented the landlord.2018-12-31T15:13:00+00:00
Retail spot in Glen Allen sold for $1.9 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/retail-spot-in-glen-allen-sold-for-1.9-million#When:15:12:00ZAlan Furs has purchased the retail building from Vintage Properties LLC for $1.9 million.
The building, located at 10300 W. Broad St., is now known as the Alan Furs Building, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Alan Furs now occupies 7,500 square feet, while Richmond Piano reduced its square footage in the property to 4,500 square feet, according to the newspaper.
John Jay Schwartz, managing director of Have Site Will Travel and The Man with Square Feet, represented the buyer.
James Ashby IV and Reilly Marchant of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represented the seller.2018-12-31T15:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Virginia_Chamber_Economic_Summit_2018_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-6.pngGov. Ralph Northam welcomed Amazon official Holly Sullivan to Virginia at an economic summit. Photo by Caroline Martin
No victory lap after winning Amazon marathon
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/no-victory-lap-after-winning-amazon-marathon#When:09:00:00ZSome observers probably wonder what Montgomery County, Md., could have done differently to land the Amazon headquarters now headed to Arlington.
After all, Montgomery — one of three Washington, D.C., area sites among 20 Amazon finalists — offered the tech giant an incentives package worth up to $8.5 billion.
On top of that, the county had a connection with the Amazon site selection team. Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of worldwide economic development, once was president of the Montgomery Business Development Corp.
But Montgomery’s big incentive package was designed to make up for the lead it believed other finalists had in the Amazon marathon.
“One of the reasons Maryland created such a large incentive package for Amazon is because we know our business climate is not as competitive,” Anirban Basu, chairman of the Maryland Economic Development Commission, told The Washington Post.
“We know we need a massive package to attract them,” he said. “Even with that,” Amazon said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ ”
Maryland’s stumbling blocks, in Basu’s estimation, include out-of-date regulations, high business taxes and income taxes at both the state and local level.
Christine Chmura, the CEO of Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics, says that, by 2030, Amazon’s new headquarters will result in the creation of nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $14.2 billion in Virginia.
In winning the Amazon prize, Virginians should be thankful for their good fortune but forgo any self-congratulatory victory lap.
The commonwealth’s ability to compete for major economic development projects was being questioned only two years ago. HQ2 came along at a propitious time when Virginia was beginning to regain its status as one of the best states for business in the nation.
Despite the $573 million package Virginia is offering to Amazon, economic incentives never have been the commonwealth’s strong suit.
Hugh Keogh, the former president of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, was director of the state’s department of economic development in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In those days, he said, state officials sold Virginia “with a solid dose of boyish charm and an occasional bottle of Virginia Gentleman” whiskey.
Nonetheless, Virginia dominated rankings of the best states for business from 2006 to 2011. The commonwealth was No. 1 for four consecutive years on Forbes’ list and topped the CNBC rankings three times in five years.
But somewhere along the way, Virginia lost its magic touch.
The commonwealth tumbled out of the top 10 ranking as federal budget cuts slowed growth to a trickle. Word also got around that the state’s infrastructure hadn’t kept pace with its horrific traffic congestion, especially in Northern Virginia.
On top of that, the commonwealth’s top economic development organization, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, suffered a severe blow to its reputation. In 2014, state officials gave a $1.4 million grant to Lindenburg Industry, a Chinese business group promising to turn a vacant building in Appomattox into a factory providing 350 jobs. The factory never opened, and the state is still trying to get its money back.
The Lindenburg fiasco was followed by a scathing 2016 review of the VEDP by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the state’s legislative watchdog. It described VEDP as mismanaged and dysfunctional.
The report resulted in the revamping of VEDP and the hiring of Stephen Moret, the former head of Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development, as the Virginia agency’s president and CEO. He came aboard in January 2017.
VEDP and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce also asked Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business to study national business rankings to figure out how the commonwealth could regain its footing as a top-ranked state.
All of this effort helped restore Virginia’s status as a major player in economic development. As if on cue for Amazon’s benefit, Virginia was ranked fourth in the nation this year by CNBC and Forbes.
Virginia business and government leaders, however, should not let the state’s big win cloud their judgment. Just as creating the winning bid for HQ2 required collaboration and investment by many stakeholders, keeping Virginia competitive will require more work.
Back in the days when Virginia was hailed as the nation’s leading state for business, I asked an economic development official if he saw any downside to this recognition. “Yes, I do,” he said. “Complacency. People think, since everything is going so well, they don’t need to do anything.”
When the next big project comes along, it could be Virginia, not Maryland, on the outside looking in if our leaders believe nothing more needs to be done.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LIBERTY_Nobles_classroom.pngDr. Jim Thompson and Anthony Nobles conduct a demonstration at Liberty University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Teaching outside the box
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/teaching-outside-the-box#When:09:00:00ZAnthony Nobles visited Liberty University for the first time in October to talk about a heart procedure involving one of his inventions.
Students at Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) listened as Nobles and Dr. Jim Thompson, a cardiac surgeon, described the procedure performed the previous summer at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The patient was a 56-year-old man with a congenital hole in his heart, a condition that could cause a major stroke or death.
Other, more invasive treatments were available, Nobles explained, but the medical team decided instead to use his relatively new NobleStitch — a mechanism that is remotely guided through the vascular system to the heart to sew the hole shut. The invention has been used successfully in the U.S. 130 times without any complications.
At the end of their presentation, Nobles and Thompson revealed the identity of their patient — Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. Students gasped and applauded as Falwell appeared on stage, expressing his gratitude to Nobles and Thompson.
Taking the microphone, Falwell encouraged students to take inspiration from Nobles’ invention. If you have an idea, “don’t just dismiss it — try it,” he said. “That’s what has made modern medicine the way it is today, all these brilliant people willing to test ideas out. [They’re] entrepreneurs really.”
Nobles, the CEO of HeartStitch Inc. and Nobles Medical Technologies, is coming back to Liberty in 2019 — this time to stay.
The inventor will lead Liberty’s Center for Entrepreneurship, helping it promote an entrepreneurial spirit among students.
“What we really want to do is to teach students how to think like entrepreneurs,” Falwell explains. “Not just to go out and get a job and wait for the end of the week when they get their paycheck, but to really look for ways to add value, to have ideas and pursue them, to take risks, to problem-solve and innovate, to not be afraid to try and fail and try again, because that’s how this school was built — on entrepreneurialism.”
Nobles, who has lectured at many schools, had been looking for a permanent university position. Liberty, he explains, is a perfect fit because it operates more like a startup than an educational institution.
He was impressed with Liberty’s willingness to take risks on innovative ideas during its 47-year history. Today, it is Virginia’s largest university in terms of total enrollment, with 103,388 students (15,105 residential and 88,283 online). Liberty also has more than $3 billion in gross assets, including nearly $1.7 billion in cash reserves.
“I just believe in what they’re doing there. I have a lot to give and I needed a home to do it — and I think Liberty’s that place,” Nobles says.
In addition to teaching and leading the Center for Entrepreneurship, Nobles plans to create a think tank of professors and consultants. It will review students’ business ideas, providing them with advice and resources to launch companies.
Nobles eventually plans to create a HeartStitch research subsidiary, housing it at LUTECH, Liberty’s 28-acre technology park site in Bedford County.
In another key hire, Mark Horstemeyer has been named dean of Liberty’s engineering school.
Horstemeyer, also an entrepreneur, was a professor at Mississippi State University where he led its Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems. He plans to take Liberty’s engineering school — which has about 700 students — in a new direction, emphasizing research on integrated computational materials engineering.
“The heart of what we’ll be doing is multi-scale modeling and optimization, which means we’ll use high-performance computing and other precise tools to go through and simulate, calibrate, validate and optimize the chemistry, process, material structure and property performance of something, whether it’s a building for civil engineering, a semiconductor for electrical engineering or a car component for mechanical engineering,” he explains.
Liberty plans to break ground on a new engineering school building in 2020 and invest in a $1 million supercomputer.
In the meantime, Horstemeyer is recruiting faculty and doctoral students, with a goal of helping Liberty climb into the top 80 list of engineering schools in eight years and the top 50 five years after that.
The dean is the founder of two startups: Predictive Design Technologies, which performs modeling, simulation and failure analysis of metals and metal structural compounds, and Yobel Technologies, which has a grant from the National Football League to build a better helmet for players. Both companies are likely to be housed at LUTECH.
“Engineers, as a rule, tend to be risk-averse. I know because I was that way for a long time,” Horstemeyer explains. “But we’d like to inspire our engineering students to really weigh out those risks against the benefits that can be gained by thinking creatively within all of the engineering processes. And I think if we do that, there will be a real paradigm shift in the kind of ecosystem we can create.”
The next wave
While these programs take shape, Liberty is wrapping up a $500 million rebuilding project kicked off in 2011, which has reshaped its campus.
The school’s architectural centerpiece is the 17-story Freedom Tower, home of the Rawls School of Divinity, which opened in 2018.
Soon to be completed is a new 78,000-square-foot building for the school of business. During the 2017-18 school year, 23,644 students were enrolled in the school’s 25 degree programs, including business administration, marketing analytics, information systems, health-care management and health-care informatics.
Liberty has kicked off a nationwide search for a new business school dean with both academic and entrepreneurial credentials.
“We are finally starting to slow down on the growing,” Falwell says. “Now we can really focus on strengthening our academics and hiring the deans and building the programs and policies and partnerships that can help us do that.”
Liberty Provost Scott Hicks says all academic programs, not just those in the business school, will teach entrepreneurial basics and offer coursework aligned with fast-changing industry demands. “Our goal is to make our students highly employable, so that they hit the market at a fast trot rather than a crawl,” he says.
For example, Liberty offers six degrees in cybersecurity. “The cyber field has matured to the point where there are different types of cyber jobs,” such as compliance, technology and secure coding, says Allen Harper, executive director of Liberty’s Center for Cyber Excellence. “So we don’t approach it like it’s a one-size-fits-all market.”
Currently, 1,250 Liberty students are studying cyber programs, which are housed in the school of business.
The school’s largest cyber program, a a bachelor’s degree track in IT with data networking and security, was recently named a National Center for Academic
Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Administration, the most rigorous and elite credential for this field.
Staying in the know
To strengthen its business relationships, Liberty last summer opened the Office of Outreach and Business Engagement. “We are sort of a front door for companies who need their questions answered or need to be connected to the right resources and don’t really know where to start,” says Jonathan Witt, a university vice president who is in charge of the office.
Liberty is growing its sponsored programs with industry and is in the process of rewriting its intellectual property policy. “Our IP policy is very entrepreneur- and company-friendly and something that’s a game-changer for how we engage with companies,” Whitt explains. “This will only add to our reputation as an entrepreneurial university that’s marketplace-focused.”
Liberty already has developed a number of partnerships with hundreds of companies. For example, the university asked Hendrick Automotive Group to help it develop an automotive dealership management program.
The Center for Entrepreneurship, meanwhile, is giving students a chance to talk with local CEOs with a weekly event, “Meet Up! Start Up!”
The center also offers an eight-week incubator program pairing students with mentors. They help students research the market and create business plans. Each semester, students can pitch their business ideas, earning prize money as part of the school’s “Spark! Tank” competition.
JT Bicket, a 20-year-old finance major, worked with Michael Mullins, founder and CEO of Specialty Communications Inc., to flesh out an idea for a digital strategy company.
“One of the biggest things I learned from him was how to recognize pain points and find a way to create more value for my customers,” the student says.
While Bicket didn’t win the Spark! Tank competition, he already has started a business. His company, Elevate Marketing, provides web design for a number of cybersecurity firms — even as the Liberty sophomore continues to pursue his degree.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2018_LYH_MarjetteUpshurBluffWalk_KhanforVBM004.pngMarjette Upshur wants to encourage a nurturing environment for startups in Lynchburg. Photos by Meridith de Avila Khan
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/defining-lynchburg#When:09:00:00ZMarjette Upshur, the director of Lynchburg’s office of economic development and tourism, has a simple goal: “We want to make Lynchburg the best small city in America.”
That may seem like a highly ambitious plan for any city, but Lynchburg is prepared to make its case.
“I think Lynchburg has as strong a story to tell as some of its peers, like Roanoke and Char­lottesville, have told,” says consultant Steven Pedigo, director of research and advising for the New York-based Creative Class Group. “It’s just that, frankly, we haven’t done a good job of telling that story yet.”
Pedigo, who has been hired to work with the economic development office, prepared “A Blueprint for Opportunity” for the city. The document, the product of a series of meetings of key stakeholders in Lynchburg’s future, announces it is “devised by and for the community it serves,” but it also benefits from Pedigo’s experience and analysis.
The Hill City’s story includes having a higher percentage of residents with college degrees, 33.3 percent, than the national average. Maybe that’s because the five colleges in and around the city conferred more than 21,000 degrees last year.
Lynchburg’s story also includes more than $50 million invested in public spaces and infrastructure downtown since 2002. The attention to downtown has resulted in the addition of more than 1,000 loft apartments and the creation of a series of walkways, stairs and terraces called the Bluff Walk.
Two historic downtown buildings also have been revived. The Virginian Lynchburg hotel opened last year in a renovated building that was constructed in 1913. Likewise, the restored, 700-seat Academy of Music Theater reopened in December. Built in 1905 and rebuilt in 1912 after a fire, the theater had been closed since 1958.
Another significant event in Lynchburg last year was a homecoming of sorts. France-based Framatome, a designer and supplier of nuclear equipment, services and fuel, moved its North American headquarters from Charlotte, N.C., to Lynchburg.
The company had a long history in Lynchburg before becoming part of French nuclear energy giant AREVA. Framatome has 14,000 employees worldwide; 2,300 are based in North America. Thirteen hundred are in Lynchburg.
The Hill City also is home to BWX Technologies, a publicly traded nuclear energy company with 6,250 employees globally, including about 2,500 in the Lynchburg area.
Developing a plan
Nuclear energy is one of many industry clusters in the city. Other groups include wireless communications, electronic components, advertising, marketing and design, architecture, engineering and some areas of specialized manufacturing.
For much of last year, the city’s economic development team has met with representatives of those clusters as well as educational institutions and other stakeholders to assess the city’s strengths and develop a plan to leverage them.
“We’ve been able to get the business community around the table with each other, but also with the city,” Pedigo says, “to think about how they can work together.” Getting business leaders, educational institutions and the city to recognize and develop ways to work for their mutual benefit is at the heart of the plan.
They’re developing a strategy for implementing the plan now, strengthening those industry clusters, connecting the city and its businesses with educational institutions, defining the roles of what they call anchor institutions — the biggest employers and other organizations with the power to help shape the city’s future.
“Three-fourths of the plan is bread-and-butter economic development 101,” Pedigo says. “That is understanding your clusters, marketing to your clusters, building your supply chain, doing business development, focusing on retention. That is all the meat and potatoes of what a really strong economic development plan should be built on. And it’s there.”
But the plan also recognizes the importance of quality of life. “We know that you have to be a place where people want to live and work and spend time,” Pedigo says.
The creative class
Pedigo’s consulting firm, Creative Class Group, was founded by Richard Florida, a University of Toronto professor best known for his 2002 best-selling book, “The Rise of the Creative Class.” In it, he touts the importance of creative people — knowledge workers and professionals in addition to people involved in the arts — as a fundamental economic force.
Upshur and Pedigo believe that, with its improved downtown, five colleges, good broadband connections and a cost of living more than 13 percent lower than the national average, Lynchburg can attract more members of the creative class.
“I do think, and data has shown this, you are seeing people make these cost-of-living decisions, quality-of-place decisions,” Pedigo says. “That’s where, I think, Lynchburg does have an opportunity … to catch some of those young creative, young professionals who want to have a greater impact on their communities, who are coming out of the university there who say, ‘You know what? Maybe I don’t need to go to D.C. or Charlotte. Maybe I’ll stay in Lynchburg.’”
Upshur and Pedigo were discussing Lynchburg’s strengths just days after Virginia pledged to pay performance-based incentives worth nearly $573 million to land half of Amazon’s second headquarters, a facility to be based in Arlington that is expected to create 25,000 high-paying jobs. (The other half will be located in Queens in New York City.)
While Lynchburg would love to land such a huge project, that’s not the city’s primary focus. If Lynchburg does right by its existing businesses, Upshur says, they’ll become its ambassadors, an extension of its economic development team.
That’s one reason she’s focused on making sure established businesses have the city’s support and the well-trained workforce they need. Some local high school graduates can get free community college tuition from Beacon of Hope, a local nonprofit that aims to remove barriers to higher education. The nonprofit’s Stay Close, Go Far Promise Scholarship also offers tuition assistance to local colleges — and some schools match that assistance.
For people who work for themselves, there’s training from a national program called Co.Starters for beginning and maintaining businesses. It’s part of what Upshur hopes aspiring entrepreneurs see as a nurturing environment for startups.
“Entrepreneurship is only a piece of what we do,” Upshur says, “and it should be a piece of what everybody does. … It’s a much longer view of economic development.”
While the returns may be longer in coming, the need to pay attention is immediate. With the changing nature of work, more workers are looking like entrepreneurs. They are freelancing or telecommuting, sometimes choosing a place to live and then looking for a way to make a living rather than living where someone offers a job. “If you leave entrepreneurship off the table,” Upshur says, “you’re going to be in trouble.” It’s part of a competition communities are in whether they realize it or not.
“Cities are competing for investment. They’re competing for tourists,” Pedigo says, “but the most important thing they’re competing for is people to stick, and talent and people to fuel all of those industries and all of that economy — so we are at a place where quality of place matters.”
Quality matters, but perception matters, too.
Economic development 101, Pedigo says, “is about telling your story to the right stakeholders and having a clear message about who you are and what you are and what your value proposition is.”
Lynchburg’s next step is figuring out just what that story will be. Pedigo says that, probably in the next year, stakeholders will “engage in a very deliberate process” to define Lynchburg’s identity and to determine how it’s perceived by outsiders. Then they’ll try to figure out the best way to get Lynchburg’s story out into the world — and try to get everyone in the city the same story.
“It’s hard to get everybody delivering the same message,” Pedigo says, “but we can at least get on the same song sheet.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00
Directory of business schools in Virginia-2019
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/directory-of-business-schools-in-virginia-2019#When:09:00:00ZPublic Colleges & Universities
(based in Virginia)
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY
Luter School of Business
COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY
Raymond A. Mason School of Business
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
School of Business
JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
College of Business
College of Business & Economics
NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY
School of Business
OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY
Strome College of Business
Davis College of Business & Economics
UNIVERSITY OF MARY WASHINGTON
College of Business
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Darden School of Business
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
McIntire School of Commerce
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA’S COLLEGE AT WISE
Department of Business and Economics
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY
School of Business
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE
Economics and Business
VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY
Reginald F. Lewis College of Business
Pamplin College of Business
Private Colleges & Universities
(nonprofit, based in Virginia)
Department of Business
Department of Economics and Business Administration
EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY
Business and Economics
EMORY & HENRY COLLEGE
Business Administration Department
School of Social Sciences and Professional Studies
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Virginia Science & Technology Campus
Department of Economics and Business
School of Business
School of Business
UNIVERSITY OF LYNCHBURG
College of Business
MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY
School of Business and Technology
Economics, Business and Accounting
Economics and Business
School of Business & Leadership
Business & Economics Department
Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND
The Robins School of Business
VIRGINIA UNION UNIVERSITY
Sydney Lewis School of Business
VIRGINIA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY
The Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics
Two-year, residential college
RICHARD BLAND COLLEGE
BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
CENTRAL VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
DABNEY S. LANCASTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
DANVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
EASTERN SHORE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
GERMANNA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Fredericksburg, Locust Grove
J. SARGEANT REYNOLDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
School of Business
Richmond, Henrico, Goochland
JOHN TYLER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
LORD FAIRFAX COMMUNITY COLLEGE
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Big Stone Gap
NEW RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Annandale, Alexandria, Loudoun, Manassas, Woodbridge
PATRICK HENRY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
PAUL D. CAMP COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Franklin, Suffolk, Smithfield
PIEDMONT VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
RAPPAHANNOCK COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
THOMAS NELSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE
TIDEWATER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach
WYTHEVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
(offering undergraduate or graduate degrees)
Virginia Beach, Newport News, Manassas, Richmond
AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Danville, Harrisonburg, Salem
BRYANT & STRATTON COLLEGE
Hampton, Richmond and Virginia Beach
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Arlington, Fort Belvoir, Fort Lee,
Joint Base Myer-Henderson
College of Business & Management
Richmond, Virginia Beach
Alexandria, Falls Church, Newport News, Richmond, Woodbridge, Virginia Beach
Arlington, Alexandria, Chesapeake, Midlothian, Fredericksburg, Ashburn, Manassas, Newport News, Woodbridge, Glen Allen, Virginia Beach
Sorrell College of Business
UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
phoenix.edu2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_0836x.pngBarbara Hoopes says the goal is to turn MBA students into “savvy consumers of data science.” Photo by Stephen Gosling
Tech for b-schools
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-for-b-schools#When:09:00:00ZOn a weekend in late October, a group of 12 Virginia Tech executive MBA graduate students in Falls Church were tasked with solving the nation’s infrastructure ills using artificial intelligence tools.
With the help of representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Qlik and Tableau Software, the students used machine learning software to analyze data and make recommendations on how to fix the aging infrastructure.
One student group, for example, analyzed dam hazard classifications based on a real-life database of dams in Vermont. Inspecting dams requires a lot of manpower and can be cost-prohibitive, says Barbara Hoopes, an associate professor of business information technology at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center. The students’ analysis produced a system to prioritize potential hazards first.
At Virginia Tech’s weekend executive MBA program, the goal of teaching with machine-learning or business-intelligence tools is “not necessarily to turn the students into … data scientists but into what you might call savvy consumers of data science,” says Hoopes. “If these MBA-level students are going to be out there as managers … we want them to know the power associated with machine learning and artificial intelligence and how they could use that most effectively within their organizations.”
As artificial-intelligence and machine-learning algorithms become more prevalent, these high-tech tools — once the domain of engineering and information technology students — increasingly are becoming part of the curriculum at Virginia’s business schools.
That trend takes the form of undergraduate degrees in business analytics and MBA programs that teach the concepts behind business applications for A.I. and advanced technologies such as neural nets and deep learning — advanced computing systems, loosely based on the human brain, that learn by example to complete complicated tasks and solve problems.
The College of William & Mary offers an undergraduate major in business analytics as well as a hands-on technical course that teaches students programming techniques to create machine-learning models. However, like Tech, William & Mary’s MBA program also teaches its graduates about A.I. and machine learning in the context of using the tools to make business decisions.
“The idea is that perhaps these students aren’t going to be rolling up their sleeves and spending 24 hours a day building detailed decision models, but they certainly will be either managing people that are doing that or, far more importantly, receiving the wisdom of people that are doing that and are using arguments that involve that kind of technology, so they’ve got to really become critical consumers of that, managerially,” says David Murray, a clinical associate professor of business operations at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business. “It’s somewhat less technical [than the undergrad degree] but somewhat more tactical.”
Virginia Commonwealth University offers two graduate programs in analytics, including a decision analytics degree for executive MBA students. “We define analytics to be the process of leveraging data to support business decision making. … That includes both traditional statistics as well as more advanced modeling techniques such as machine learning and data mining,” says Paul Brooks, an associate professor of supply chain management and analytics at the VCU School of Business.
VCU’s program, Brooks says, emphasizes how to take insights received from data analysis “and turn them into actionable intelligence that people use to make decisions.”
The use of machine-learning tools to analyze business data will become increasingly ubiquitous in various industries and already is being used extensively in marketing and social media, industries that are leading the way, Brooks says.
Also, says Cliff Ragsdale, Virginia Tech’s Bank of America Professor of Business Information Technology, “more and more companies are developing point-and-click kinds of software tools that bring the power of A.I. and machine learning to pretty much anybody who wants to use it. … Thirty years ago, if you wanted to do neural networks, you had to write code from scratch to do it.”
A.I. is commonly used these days to automate rote tasks that were previously the domain of human workers, such as processing call-center requests, Brooks says. But the future of A.I. is deep learning, an advanced type of machine learning in which a computer can process enormous amounts of information from unstructured data sources, such as video, images and texts, and learn with minimal guidance to discern behavioral patterns or recognize objects or individuals. While still in its infancy, deep learning technology could be used for everything from replacing customer service agents to allowing autonomous cars to recognize other vehicles and pedestrians and make split-second driving decisions.
As artificial intelligence inevitably eclipses human intelligence, that, too, is something that tomorrow’s business leaders will need to consider in grappling with future challenges posed by super-intelligent machines, says Anton Korinek. An associate professor of business administration at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Korinek is teaching a class about A.I. and the future of work, including, he says, “what to expect in terms of future developments in our economy and how students can best prepare to face the world in which A.I. is going to take over larger and larger parts of our economy.”
Some experts, such as tech billionaire Elon Musk, warn that humanity is facing a coming “singularity,” a social upheaval caused by artificial super-intelligence. Musk goes as far as to say that A.I. has the potential to destroy the human race.
Korinek agrees that society is unprepared for the coming of hyper-intelligent A.I. but in the near term, he says, people need to contend with the notion that almost any job could be replaced by A.I. — even in creative fields.
“We really have to be prepared for the fact that ultimately a lot of the things that we thought were exclusively human activities and tasks will also be automated … in the coming decades,” he says.
“Not everybody needs to be a master programmer, but to be successful we need a rudimentary understanding of how A.I. works, a rudimentary understanding that ultimately no domain will be completely immune from advances in A.I., and it’s always the case that those who are frontrunners in employing new technologies will be the most successful,” he says.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/130226_DoctorsExteriors-220_V2.pngRiverside Doctors’ Hospital received the highest survey ratings among Virginia hospitals.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/consistent-results#When:09:00:00ZSeveral Virginia hospitals — large and small — consistently receive high marks in a national patient satisfaction survey.
The scores come from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems conducted annually by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The 2017 survey results shown on Pages 48-49 are provided by Virginia Health Information, a nonprofit organization offering a wide range of data on hospitals, nursing facilities, physicians and health insurers in the commonwealth.
In addition to the patient satisfaction survey, VHI annually provides Virginia Business service line reports showing patient discharge volume by region for a wide variety of hospital procedures.
The satisfaction survey asks patients two questions: How do they rate their hospital stay overall and would they recommend the facility to others?
The highest rating in answer to the first question is: “9 or 10” on a 10-point scale. The highest recommendation in response to the second: “Yes, definitely.”
In answering both questions in 2017, 80 percent or more of respondents gave top ratings to eight Virginia hospitals: Carilion Giles Community, Inova Fairfax, Inova Fair Oaks, Novant UVA Haymarket, Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, Sentara Leigh, Sentara Princess Anne and Virginia Hospital Center.
By comparison, the average percentages for top rating for Virginia hospitals in 2017 were 72 percent for the first question and 70 percent for the second. The national averages are slightly higher, 73 and 72 percent, respectively.
Seven of the top eight Virginia hospitals in 2017 were high scorers in the 2016 survey, and five of them got top ratings in 2015.
The number of licensed beds in the group ranges from 25 to 894, and two of them, Riverside and Haymarket, opened in the past five years.
“Regardless of the size, location or the age of their facilities, achieving consistently high patient satisfaction ratings requires a broad and ongoing commitment to quality from a hospital’s C suite, clinicians, housekeeping staff and all in between,” says Michael Lundberg, VHI’s executive director. “These satisfaction ratings are comprehensive and provide consumers with key insights into the care Virginia hospitals provide.”
The service line reports on Pages 51-57 show consumers which hospitals are the market leaders in their regions in terms of patient discharges for a variety of procedures. Lundberg offers suggestions on additional information patients might seek in deciding where they want to be treated.
“First of all, talk with your doctor or other health-care provider about your options, wants and needs. Understand that not all hospitals offer the same types of care. This is especially true if you need a very specialized surgery or treatment that few hospitals may provide,” he says, citing examples such as bone-marrow, heart, kidney, lung and pancreas transplants, brain surgery and specialized radiation care among many others. “Knowing how often these services are performed and the doctors involved is an important consideration as consumers choose where to receive care.”
Medical and surgical care for cardiology (heart care) is one of the top reasons Virginians are hospitalized, Lundberg notes. “Some hospitals provide cardiac medical care while others also perform open-heart and other cardiac surgery. While how often cardiac care is performed at a hospital is important, mortality rates and hospital readmissions are also key outcome measures of hospital quality.”
Finally, as patients continue to pay an increasingly larger share of the cost of their health care, Lundberg says, finding a cost-effective provider has become a major factor in where to seek non-emergency care.
VHI publishes regional and statewide costs for dozens of services to help consumers compare expected costs. “This information is particularly helpful for patients without insurance that may need a starting point to negotiate an acceptable price with their provider,” Lundberg says.
VHI offers these and other details about Virginia hospitals and other providers at www.vhi.org.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/HOTELS_EricTerry.pngEric Terry of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association. Photo by Rick DeBerry
Hotel labor pains
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hotel-labor-pains#When:09:00:00ZMany hotel owners and operators can’t remember when they didn’t have a hard time attracting and keeping hourly workers. Now, with U.S. unemployment at its lowest in decades, rising wages in many industries, and tighter restrictions on immigration and temporary work visas, hospitality companies are looking at more permanent solutions to deal with a perennial labor shortage.
“It’s always a struggle with an industry that has quite a bit of turnover like we do,” says Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA). “It’s always an area of focus to maintain your recruiting levels. In the really tight labor market that we have today, it really compounds itself.”
Some hospitality companies are offering better pay and more benefits. Others have started to recruit part-time workers from other industries and even recent retirees who want to work part time to supplement their income from Social Security and pensions.
Lodging companies around the U.S. now also use outside vendors to provide buffet breakfasts, all-day meal delivery, housekeeping, equipment repairs and other services.
Looking several years into the future, others plan to invest in technology and smartphone applications, using digital check-in and automatic checkout to reduce the need for some front-desk staff.
While some hotel companies have trouble keeping salaried managers, Terry and other Virginia hospitality industry representatives say the most acute need is hourly workers who perform some of the lowest-paid but most physically demanding jobs.
As the U.S. economy fitfully rebounded from the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession, hotels and restaurants were flush with experienced workers laid off from other industries.
But as the economy gained strength in recent years, many of these workers left for higher paying jobs elsewhere. The improving economy also made it more difficult for the industry to retain younger workers unwilling to settle for entry-level wages or unpredictable changes in their work schedules at companies that use just-in-time staffing plans.
The hospitality industry, meanwhile, was growing. Corporate travel and convention budgets rose. Consumers began using their increased disposable income to take more vacations and eat out more often.
Tighter immigration policies
As hotels struggled to meet an increasing need for staff, the Trump administration followed through on a campaign promise to cut the supply of seasonal and temporary visas for foreign-born, hourly workers sponsored by U.S. companies to fill open positions.
“The tightening immigration policies we’re seeing are really beginning to impact that [hourly] side of things,” says Terry of the VRLTA. “If that continues, if we are not able to come up with a more comprehensive immigration policy, that’s going to continue to be a struggle for our industry for a while.”
Lisa Bleakley, since 2012 the director of tourism development for Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Montgomery County, is a U.S. Navy veteran who worked for many years at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. She says that too many hotel companies are behind the times in attracting and retaining workers who seek stable, rewarding careers, not just temporary jobs.
“I think our industry has been more focused on the guest experience and maybe not as much on the employee, and now it’s a critical need, just with the changes in the younger work force and what their expectations are,” she says. “In that way, I think our industry is playing a little bit of catch up.”
Bleakley argues that “the worker of today is just a little bit different. They want a seat at the table, to be involved. … People are people. They want to be respected. They want to be appreciated and not taken for granted. In our industry we have a great opportunity to build upon what we already do for our customers.”
“Our industry has had to evolve,” agrees Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality, a Williamsburg-based hotel property development and management company.
“We do have to pay more if we want to attract and keep high-quality, high-talent people. We have to put them on a career path where there is training, both internally and externally. We have to provide a quality of life that’s suitable for their family,” she says.
“Years ago, hospitality companies did not offer 401(k) plans or health insurance or life insurance to anyone but upper management. That’s no longer the case. We can’t do that anymore. We have to provide benefits for all team members, and I think that’s a great thing. That’s how it should be. We’re slowly evolving to that to really attract those quality people to come and work for our properties.”
Cornerstone operates eight Hampton Inn and Sleep Inn franchises in Virginia and Texas, along with five boutique hotels in Farmville, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Wytheville and St. Paul in Southwest Virginia. It has four new properties in development in Danville, South Boston, Monroe, La., and Elkins, W.Va.
The company’s HR philosophy is shared by many large, international companies, including McLean-based Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
Laura Fuentes, senior vice president of talent and rewards at Hilton, says that about five years ago the global hotelier began focusing on how it could attract and keep high-quality employees, from the company’s executive offices to its 550 company-owned and franchise properties on six continents.
That initiative has resulted in offering educational opportunities to all employees, from high-school equivalency classes to Hilton University, which provides employees the training they need to succeed in their current jobs and eventually gain promotions to rise through the company’s ranks.
In addition to training, employees get steep discounts on lodging at all Hilton properties and resorts. Every U.S. employee — from senior executives to custodians, restaurant servers and housekeepers — gets the same 10 weeks of paid parental leave and $10,000 per-child adoption allowances, Fuentes says.
“We want to attract great talent,” she says. “We compete for talent in many industries, not just hospitality. We need to keep our people engaged and motivated and productive and happy by going above and beyond with our culture.”
For its part, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, offers members a cyberlearning apprenticeship program that helps ambitious, entry-level and experienced hourly workers gain the skills to become managers and supervisors, keeping them from walking out the door to other employers.
“We have about 900,000 open positions in our industry,” says Shelly Weir, an AHLA senior vice president who helps lead the effort. She presented details of the apprenticeship training program at last November’s annual state tourism convention in Richmond.
In a recent study of millennial workers’ job preferences, Weir says, the AHLA found that while “salary and benefits are important to them, they want to work for companies that offer strong career advancement. They want to recognize where they are going from one day to the next, to a year from now to five years from now.
… When we think about this apprenticeship system, it speaks to those in Gen Z and the millennial demographic. It’s giving them the accelerated path to management that they want.”
At that same convention, the bombshell news broke that Amazon would open its National Landing headquarters campus in Arlington, adding tens of thousands of six-figure jobs by 2030 in Northern Virginia. Attendees, excited about the possible business opportunities across the state, could talk of little else.
In connection with the Amazon announcement, Virginia Tech said it would build a $1 billion satellite campus within walking distance of the new HQ.
That came on the heels of Reston-based 1901 Group’s plan to add 225 jobs in Fairfax County and 580 positions in Blacksburg by 2021.
Bleakley thinks more investment by high-technology companies will benefit hotels and other hospitality companies in the New River Valley, as demand for hotel rooms and meeting spaces rises. Yet, she also hints that it may be a double-edged sword for her industry.
“How do we attract the labor, keep their interest, give them a career track so we can compete with those $150,000 Amazon jobs?” she asks.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Political_Round_Table_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-36.pngRoundtable panelists: Deirdre Condit, Barry DuVal, Quentin Kidd, Chris Saxman and Tom Walls. Photos by Caroline Martin
Virginia’s blue wave
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-blue-wave#When:09:00:00ZNationally, the 2018 elections didn’t quite live up to the “blue wave” many Democrats had hoped for. While Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives — gaining 40 seats — Republicans grew their majority in the Senate.
But in Virginia, Democrats continued their two-year surge. In November, three Democratic female candidates defeated Republican incumbents in congressional races. This followed the 2017 election, which included a 15-seat gain for Democrats in the House of Delegates.
Former Navy Commander Elaine Luria, former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton won in Virginia’s second, seventh and 10th districts, respectively. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine also soared to an easy win over Republican Corey Stewart, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump. “These three new congressional representatives are extremely impressive in their résumés,” Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said during Virginia Business’ annual Political Roundtable.
The candidates were just one of the topics covered at the roundtable, held at The Graduate Hotel in Richmond on Nov. 7, just one day after the election. Panelists analyzed what election results meant for this year’s General Assembly session, a split Congress and the 2019 legislative election, when all 140 Virginia delegate and Senate seats will be contested.
In addition to DuVal, panelists included:
Deirdre Condit, an associate professor and chair of political science at the College of Humanities at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Quentin Kidd, professor of political science and director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
Chris Saxman, executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education (Virginia FREE).
Tom Walls, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
Following is an edited transcript of the roundtable discussion.
Virginia Business: Deirdre, how did we see the year of the woman play out?
Condit: What we do know from looking around the country is what’s really important is this was not “The year of the woman.” It was not a blue wave. It was the year of Democratic women, because Republican women continue to be remarkably absent. In fact, the divide between the number of Democratic women and Republican women in elected positions around the country literally chasmed more last night. I think that’s something that’s really important for us to pay attention to, and the loss of [U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th] is huge as a consequence of that.
Kidd: I think Virginia has experienced a wave over the last couple of election cycles. … a wave nationally would have meant Democrats swept House seats and Senate seats. Nationally it wasn’t a wave as much as a correction. What’s the correction? The correction is in part this idea that women are shifting pretty firmly toward Democrats — college-educated women, women generally. Democrats are firming up their position in urban areas. They’ve really gained strength in the suburban areas. The 7th [District] race is a reflection of that. And they’re gaining strength among younger voters, especially voters under 44.
Saxman: It’s not just women. These are talented politicians. These are talented professionals who have come to the fore … They got elected because they are good, and they’re women. I think that’s an important distinction to make, because I wouldn’t want to say “You got elected just because you’re a woman.” That wasn’t the case.
Walls: What happened in Virginia with the congressional races and the three women who were elected, I think, really reflects the continuing movement of Virginia away from not very long ago being a Republican state — then for a while was a pretty good bellwether for national politics — into a solidly blue state. Obviously, it’s not a Northeastern state, and it’s very different from a New York or a Massachusetts, but in terms of demographics … it’s increasingly becoming an outlier, certainly from the South and more into a classic blue state.
Saxman: I think we’re also starting to see the slow dissolution of the whole notion of red and blue. This is a suburban-dominated country politically … It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat or liberal versus conservative. It’s “How are you helping to fix my problems? And my problems are not what urban America has or what rural America has.” And it’s 50 percent of the electorate. Eventually, even the Republican Party in Virginia will have to catch up to that notion that they have to start developing suburban strategies that actually solve problems. What you didn’t see in my estimation was an ideological campaign …
If you look at Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, the Republican governor won 67 percent of the vote. The same night [Democratic U.S.] Sen. Elizabeth Warren got 60 percent of the vote in the same state. Something is shifting dramatically in this country, and the parties are going to have to adjust to that.
Virginia Business: What happened to Dave Brat? He was the giant killer four years ago, and he was roadkill this election.
Saxman: I don’t think he was really roadkill. It was a very close election. Look, he ran a horrible campaign. He was a horrible candidate … Abigail Spanberger ran a pristine campaign. She ran an outstanding campaign and was an excellent candidate, was well-funded and still barely won. Her [challenge] going forward is winning that election in 2020.
Condit: I actually think that Abigail Spanberger ran the best campaign I’ve ever seen as a political scientist. It was disciplined. It was thoughtful. I would like to have taped it from beginning to end to use in my Women in American Politics class to demonstrate how to run a really good political campaign …
I think Dave Brat was a bad candidate, but I think he did himself in at a couple of points. He did himself in by tying himself to the president. … The president didn’t come to Virginia, so he didn’t run here, but Virginia pretty resoundingly rejected the president. Virginia rejected Corey Stewart. Virginia rejected Barbara Comstock, who got closely tagged with the president. Dave Brat not only wrapped himself around the president but also wrapped himself around the president with his very negative gender politics. Brat famously was running away from women, the “angry women, the liberal women of Chesterfield County.”
… Then he followed it up with one of the worst congressional debates I’ve ever seen. Abigail Spanberger stole that debate and won it by the end, because Dave Brat couldn’t stop saying, “Nancy Pelosi.”
Walls: I’d elaborate on that. In that debate, he was hammering her about Nancy Pelosi, and she gave this speech which at least had the appearance of being extemporaneous, which concluded about who she is and what she stands for: “My name is Abigail Spanberger and is not Nancy Pelosi.” It went viral. It went viral outside the district to lots of women all over the country and certainly around Virginia, who got it and found it pretty gratifying. It made them think of certain annoying moments in their lives. It really helped her a lot. It’s a great demonstration of how sometimes just a spontaneous moment in a campaign really changes things.
DuVal: Perhaps the person that’s not getting enough credit here is Tim Kaine. When I think about the race that Tim Kaine ran, he really had the ability to feel some level of comfort based on the polls. He also had the ability to go into these districts where [Democrats were campaigning for Congress]. I saw him campaigning with Jennifer Wexton. I saw him campaigning with Spanberger. I saw him campaigning down in the 2nd District — Luria.
I would say that there was an advantage for those candidates, because of Tim Kaine’s popularity, and those candidates embraced Tim Kaine at the top of the ticket.
I did not see that in the Republican Party happening with the Senate candidate [Stewart.] I didn’t see the Senate candidate embracing or being embraced by those individuals that were running for the House. And to speak to Chris’ point, these three new female congressional representatives are incredibly impressive in their résumés …
That, to me, is going to speak to how they’re going to govern. How is the House going to govern with a Democratic majority in Washington? You hear a lot about the potential of investigations, and you hear a lot about the potential of subpoenas, and you hear a lot about impeachment. I think those individuals that I just spoke about are going to be mission-driven public servants. I think that’s their background. That’s their tendency.
Walls: What will happen now that we have a Republican president and Senate and a Democratic House? All the attention in anticipation of that has been on the oversight and the investigations that the Democrats will do and how aggressive will they be. That’s certainly something that’s going to play out.
Another question is: Will this president and his allies in the Senate and the new Democratic leadership in the House actually deal on some issues? This is what normally happens in a situation like this, but we have a different sort of president now.
DuVal: I would argue it’s in their best interest to demonstrate some competency in governing. One [area] would be infrastructure for America. If you spend any time going to airports in America, if you spend any time in our nation’s capital, you somewhat are surprised that this is the most prosperous country in the world by the infrastructure that we have to deal with. I hope they will look at immigration as a national competitiveness issue, because we don’t have enough workers in our state, and we don’t have enough workers in our country to fill the job opportunities that American business has and the potential it has.
Condit: I think that it’s really important to point out that this is why it’s really great that we just broke the 100-woman barrier in Congress. … There’s lots of research that we scholars have done that demonstrates that women across the aisle have been more productive in Congress and in state legislatures in compromising and working for policy-oriented solutions rather than focusing on party status and identity …
On the other hand, you’re going to see, coming out of California primarily, progressive Democrats who are going to be looking for blood against [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. There’s a part of the Democratic infrastructure that’s really angry at how Mitch McConnell has dealt with Democrats over the last couple of years, and I think there’s going to be resistance to wanting to roll over.
I think the honeymoon period is no longer than six weeks after people get sworn in, and then suddenly we’re on to 2020. And Democratic candidates coming out of Congress are going to be feeding their base … they’re going to have to get productive legislation done without looking like they’ve done anything that Trump and Mitch McConnell want done.
Kidd: I actually think there’s momentum and pressure to work together. There’s a big event that’s looming that will probably be the pivot event, and that is the release of the report by [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller … It will change the dynamics of what goes on in the House and the Senate.
That report could completely destroy any working relationship that Republicans or Democrats are able to cobble together in the House or the Senate. The worst kind of report that can be put out would be a report that alleges wrongdoing that happened years ago, prior to the 2016 election, or alleges wrongdoing that is on the edge, not quite clear-cut legal wrongdoing. That would just be like throwing a hand grenade into the political environment.
A report that laid out clear wrongdoing, clear legal issues, would still do the same sort of thing, but it would be less easy for Republicans in the House or Senate to defend it.
Saxman: I’m more concerned about the other R-word, recession. The economy’s going to run out of steam at some point ... more likely than not in 2020 versus 2019.
Virginia Business: I wanted to make sure we talk about Virginia and the General Assembly and get your insight on how you think the election results will impact how the General Assembly may function. How will last night’s results affect this General Assembly session?
DuVal: I think they’re going to support new initiatives around workforce training and reinventing high school … childhood education investment. They’re going to look for ways to win. It’s a short session, 45 days. There’s not a long time to debate issues, and I hope that they will focus on areas that will improve our national rankings to make Virginia number one. In order to do that, they’re going to have to look at things like workforce training, civil justice reform, tort reform and areas the business community can work with the administration.
Kidd: The effects of the current political environment of Virginia and the way they emanate nationally were already baked in Virginia. We had the luxury along with New Jersey of having a test case, a sense of what this sort of anti-Trump political reaction was going to be … In my mind, after this [federal] court redraws the House of Delegates seats, I think Democrats are probably going to be at a 54, 55-seat edge … So the real question is going to be what happens in the Senate.
The business community is going to have to be thinking about broader bipartisan coalitions. I also think the Republicans know that this change is coming. For example, I think Medicaid expansion happened last year, because the Republican leadership recognized that within two or three years, within this governor’s time, [Democrats are] going to control the legislature, and they’re going to expand Medicaid anyway. “We might as well expand it on our terms.” I think that’s what happened.
I actually think we’ll see a pretty tame session this year. For one, there’s a lot of money to spend. It’s essentially one-time money. Sessions are a little bit easier when everybody can have a little bit of money to spread around.
DuVal: I think the only contentious aspect may have not surfaced yet, but it will be over how to spend the money. There are a number of groups that want to see tax reform occur. Tax reform is going to be talked about. There’ll be bills to change the tax code a number of different ways. The business community certainly would like to see a more competitive tax code.
Saxman: If I can, it’s going to go to the earlier comment made about the suburbanization of the American electorate. When you have Medicaid bumping up against K-12 in the budget, that’s a tough vote to go home and defend. Especially when your teacher base might disagree with you, and then there’s going to be some tension here.
… At the same time as the 2019 [election] cycle is going to be the national overlay of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada caucuses … At the same time the investigations are ongoing, and we’re having economic headwinds hit us. This is the dynamic that’s going to force itself out to be the test case in November of next year. Because we’re only 15 months away from Iowa; isn’t that fun?2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Northam-0824.pngThe governor’s priorities this session include workforce development, transportation and broadband. Photo by Mark Rhodes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northams-take#When:09:00:00ZLess than a year into his four-year term as governor, Ralph Northam already can point to some big accomplishments.
At the end of a prolonged 2018 General Assembly session, he signed a budget that expanded Medicaid, ending a five-year battle to provide health coverage to an additional 375,000 low-income Virginians. As of late November, 117,000 people already had signed up for the program, which kicks off Jan 1.
“That’s a big deal,” Northam says. “As a physician, I believe that we all should have access to seeing a provider, because we’re all going to have a day when we don’t feel well or we’re sick.”
Northam also helped the commonwealth land Amazon’s coveted second headquarters, a deal that has garnered praise and some criticism. After months of anticipation, the giant internet company announced plans in November to split the headquarters project between Northern Virginia and New York City, bringing more than 25,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in investment to each region.
Virginia offered an incentives package worth more than $1.8 billion but only up to $550 million would go directly to Amazon, based on its job-creation performance.The rest is going to workforce development and education initiatives as well as transportation and infrastructure improvements. Still, detractors say Virginia is offering too much to one of the wealthiest companies in the world. Northam, however, is standing by the state’s proposal, which still must be approved by the General Assembly.
“Over 70 percent of our commitment is in those areas that invest in Virginia, rather than Amazon,” he says, adding that the incentives that go directly to the company are contingent on the number of jobs and salaries it creates. “We’re in a very competitive world right now. They were looking at 240 sites. If you’re going to be at the table, you have to put a competitive package there and that’s what we were able to do.”
Providing highly skilled workers for Amazon and other companies is one of Northam’s top legislative priorities.
“One doesn’t necessarily have to go to a four-year college to get a well-paying job, so we’re putting a lot of emphasis on certification programs and apprenticeships at community colleges,” and vocational training at the high-school level, he says.
Northam also is focused on making improvements to the state’s transportation system. “We’ve already made plans to spend a little bit over $2 billion to expand I-81,” he cites as an example. “Now the discussion needs to ensue of how we pay for that.”
Northam also wants to expand access to broadband, especially in rural parts of the state. He says the lack of access is one his pet peeves since it impacts business growth and education.
The governor also would like the commonwealth to rely more on renewable energy. He’s aiming to have 3,000 new megawatts of renewable energy available by the end of his term, enough to power 750,000 homes. “We’re making a lot of progress with both solar and wind,” Northam says. “We’re going to do all that we can to wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.”
Northam discussed these legislative priorities and more during an interview in late November at his office in the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond. Below is an edited transcript of the conversation.
Virginia Business: I wanted to start talking about Amazon, of course. When were you notified that we had landed the deal? What was your reaction?
Northam: We had been working on this since the previous administration, when [Amazon] had announced that they were looking for a second home. There were about 240 sites in the country. It was very exciting to finally hear that we had been chosen as No. 1, obviously, sharing [the headquarters] with New York. … The exact date of the announcement was on a Tuesday. … We were notified at three o’clock the day prior. They really did a good job keeping their cards close to their chest. We had had discussions as far as what our commitment was to Amazon. As we got closer to the announcement, it started a buzz with some of the real estate groups up in Crystal City, but I wasn’t told until the day before we announced it.
VB: When did you know it was going to be split in two?
Northam: That discussion started about six to eight weeks prior to the announcement.
VB: What’s your take on the incentives [offered to Amazon]?
Northam: Our commitment to Amazon is very innovative. I would also describe it as modest and disciplined. It really focuses on three areas. The first is workforce training. Whether it’s Amazon or any other company that’s looking to come to Virginia, I’ve heard so often from companies if we can help train the workforce, that’s really what they’re looking for. If you think about it, our economy right now [is doing well] and our unemployment rate in Virginia is at 2.9 percent, which is the lowest it’s been in over 10 years. With that comes challenges in that companies start competing for talent. It’s very important to be able to train the workforce.
The second part is transportation and infrastructure. Obviously, a company wants to know that they can move their people from point A to point B. We actually initiated the dedicated source of revenue for Metro in Northern Virginia and then … Maryland followed suit. I think Amazon saw that we were really serious in dealing with transportation and infrastructure.
The third area that’s not talked about a whole lot is affordable housing. Obviously, a lot of the jobs that are coming with Amazon are very well-paid jobs, $150,000 or more with benefits. They realize, and I think understand, that individuals that are teachers, first responders, they want to be able to live close to where they work. We have a commitment from Arlington and then from the state. Over 10 years we’ll have about $225 million that goes into affordable housing. That’s really the commitment that we put on the table. The other thing I would say that makes our package a bit unique is it’s performance based. That means that we don’t spend any of our resources until those jobs are in place.
VB: [In November, we saw Democrats gain a majority in the U.S.] House of Representatives. Do you think that’s going to continue into the state elections next year?
Northam: I do. We saw a lot of enthusiasm and energy in Virginia in 2017 when I ran. Not only did we pick up all three statewide seats of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, but we also picked up 15 new seats in the House of Delegates. That’s a message that the voters are giving, that they want people that have vision, that are problem solvers, that have a moral compass and that tell the truth. We saw that in ‘17, we just saw it in ‘18.
We picked up three new [Virginia] seats in Congress. We went from four Democrats to now seven. The three [seats] that we picked up are all [now held by] women. There is a lot of enthusiasm with women across Virginia. You’re seeing that across the country right now. I do think that you’ll see that continued energy go into 2019. In 2019 all 140 seats in the legislature are up, so 100 delegates and 40 senators. Right now, we have 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats in the Senate, and 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats in the House. I think you’ll see some more seats change in ‘19.
VB: What’s your take on the legalized sports betting in Virginia? Would you sign that bill if it came across your desk?
Northam: That’s a great question. Just to historically put things in perspective, this past year legislation was introduced and was signed by me to restart horse racing in Virginia at Colonial Downs, which is in New Kent County. With that came betting machines. We have had to provide regulations and [determine] how many betting machines will be in Virginia. Now, there’s a lot of discussion for casinos. [There’s a proposal to start a casino in Bristol.] The Pamunkey Indians are interested in starting a casino ... so we need to deal with that.
Then we have sports betting … There have been a couple of legislators that have already introduced legislation for sports betting. I’m open-minded to it. I’ve always had the opinion that everything in moderation — I think we need to gather more information. The different agencies that control some of these types of gambling are in different silos. We need to bring those together.
We need to have discussions if we do, for example, sports betting. Should it be controlled or overseen by the lottery? I’m going to support probably looking at a person or maybe an outside vendor that could come in and answer some of the questions that we have, so that we could plan and do this, if we do it, responsibly in Virginia.
VB: In the past you’ve been a proponent of decriminalization of marijuana. What’s your take on legalizing marijuana for recreational use?
Northam: I would stick with decriminalizing it. That would certainly be the first step. There are far too many people’s lives that have been ruined by getting arrested and convicted of possession of marijuana, for example. That’s part of criminal justice reform. We really need to look at that.
Also, there are a number of potential medicinal uses for marijuana. We’ve taken some steps in Virginia. We started by using what we call cannabidiol oil for intractable epilepsy. This past year, we introduced and passed legislation to be able to use the cannabidiol oil for other medical disorders.
One of the biggest reasons to decriminalize marijuana is so that we could properly study it. Now it’s a Schedule 1 [drug along with heroin and LSD]. That prevents a lot of the good research that could be done. That would need to be changed at the federal level, but once that’s done, we can certainly do the research, collect data and use what I would call evidence-based medicine to see who and what disorders it would work for. Those reasons are why I would say that we would like to decriminalize it. As far as legalizing it, I don’t think Virginia is ready for that. They’ve done that in some other states with some mixed results, and I would certainly want to follow what has happened in other states before we take that step.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC08855_%281%29.pngKati Hornung is leading a campaign for Virginia to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Photo by Shandell Taylor
A new era for the ERA
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-new-era-for-the-era#When:09:00:00ZKati Hornung remembers people canvassing for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) when she was a child. She lived in North Dakota, which ratified the amendment in 1975, so she thought it had made it into the U.S. Constitution.
“It was only five years ago I realized it wasn’t in the Constitution, and I was shocked,” she says.
The ERA, passed by Congress in 1972, seeks to enshrine equal rights for women in the Constitution. The proposed amendment was left for dead in the 1980s after two deadlines passed without the required three-fourths of the states, 38, ratifying it. Nonetheless, the ERA cause has been revived in recent years.
Hornung, now a Virginia resident and the mother of two daughters, is leading the VA ratify ERA campaign to make the commonwealth the 38th state to approve the amendment.
Virginia’s constitution prohibits gender-based discrimination, but advocates say the change to the U.S. Constitution would close legal loopholes and ensure women’s rights are solidified.
Depending on whom you ask, the amendment will have to overcome several barriers before it can become the law of the land. Those impediments aren’t stopping local advocates, however.
“Laws can be changed as easily as legislators change their mind,” says Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Woodbridge), who is sponsoring an ERA resolution in the House this session. “The difference is there’s [now] a huge push and a concerted effort by advocates across the country to help make sure that the message is being heard and understood.”
The ERA has gained momentum in the wake of the #MeToo movement protesting sexual harassment and sexual assault and the recent wave of women being elected to political office.
However, advocates in Virginia were pushing for the amendment well before that. The amendment has been passed five times in the state Senate since 2011, most recently in 2016.
“I am certain that the current cultural context is playing some sort of role but here in Virginia, there have always been women working on this ratification,” says Hornung.
But the ERA isn’t being supported only by women. State Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-Richmond) is introducing a similar resolution in the Senate.
During the past two years state Sen. Scott Surovell, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, sponsored ERA legislation.
Sturtevant says prohibiting gender discrimination in state and federal laws isn’t enough. The constitutional amendment would ensure equality for all Americans, he says.
“I’m hopeful that folks will continue to evolve on this issue and recognize that this really is a fundamentally American principle,” he says.
Foy and Sturtevant participated in VA ratify ERA’s 10-day November bus tour, which sought to drum up support for the initiative. The purple bus — splashed with the message “Honk if you [heart] equality!” — made 38 stops throughout Virginia.
The VA ratify ERA campaign had collected roughly 5,600 signatures as of early December for a petition supporting the amendment. The goal is to gather 20,000 signatures before the General Assembly session begins Jan. 9.
A recently released poll suggests the campaign is working. The survey by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University found 81 percent of the respondents favor ratification.
Gov. Ralph Northam also wants to see the amendment passed. “The word on the street, as we say, is that there’s support from both sides of the aisle,” Northam says.
Pros and cons on ERA
The question is whether there’s enough support. Since 2011, the full House has never voted on the ERA. The Senate has passed resolutions since then, but the measure didn’t make it out of committee last year.
Del. Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania County) didn’t support hearing the resolution in a House committee last year because of the amendment’s lapsed deadlines. The original deadline for 38 states to ratify the amendment was 1979. When that timeline wasn’t met, the deadline was extended until 1982. Five states also have rescinded their ratifications. Cole says that means there’s not enough support for the amendment.
“Some ERA proponents want to ignore facts they do not like, such as the ratification deadline and that five states withdrew their ratification,” Cole said in a statement to Virginia Business. Cole says he supports equal rights but believes Congress must resubmit the ERA to the states for ratification before it can be considered by the Virginia legislature.
“ERA proponents should spend their time lobbying Congress and not trying to get the General Assembly to pass a resolution that would have no effect or, worse, spark a series of costly and divisive lawsuits,” he says.
Advocates, however, say the expired deadlines are irrelevant because they weren’t included in the amendment.
Many supporters also cite the passage of the 27th amendment, which regulates the pay of congressmen. That change was ratified in 1992, more than 202 years after it was proposed.
Proponents also say that Article V, which sets the process for changing the Constitution, does not require a deadline and note that a fully ratified amendment has never been kept out of the Constitution.
Another question that has no clear answer is: What effect will the amendment have if it finally is adopted?
Opponents fear it could have negative repercussions. They argue females could be drafted into the military or lose certain contracts awarded to women-owned businesses.
Saikrishna Prakash, a University of Virginia law professor, says the amendment could affect any policy favoring one sex over the other. Currently, it’s legally easier to justify affirmative action based on gender than race, he notes.
More women than men today are attending college. The situation could become problematic, Prakash says, if colleges decided to admit more men.
“It’s symbolic for people,” Prakash says about the push for the amendment. “They want to know the governments can’t draw these distinctions, but no one can say with certainty what this language will mean for concrete cases until the courts decide those cases.”
Only time will tell whether Virginia will lead the change and what it will all mean.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1SG_0391x.pngTamara Netzel uses medical cannabis oils and topical creams.Photo by Stephen Gosling
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dispensing-relief#When:09:00:00ZAfter traditional medicine damaged and nearly ruined her liver, Tamara Netzel, tries to manage her multiple sclerosis symptoms with medical cannabis oils and topical creams. Netzel, a retired teacher in Alexandria, has chronic pain and tremors that cause blurred vision. “It calms all that down,” Netzel explains. “It’s not like totally gone. It changes it to a more pleasant feeling.”
Netzel has been using the oils and creams for more than a year. She places medical cannabis oil drops under her tongue each morning and night; sometimes more often depending on what the day is like. Netzel won’t say where she buys cannabis oil because of the legal ambiguities around the products.
But access to these products is changing in Virginia. Later this year, state-regulated medical cannabis oils are slated to go on sale in the commonwealth. (Incidentally, unregulated products advertised as cannabis oils already are on store shelves in Virginia.)
The state-regulated oils are arriving after a competitive process that saw 51 companies each pay a $10,000 application fee to get the first crack at Virginia’s entry into the fast-growing medical cannabis oil market. The national market is expected to grow 700 percent by 2020 to $2.1 billion, according to The Hemp Business Journal.
The Virginia Board of Pharmacy awarded conditional licenses to five companies to produce and sell the oils. There will be one company operating in each of Virginia’s health service areas, but they’ll be able to sell to patients throughout the commonwealth. The oils will be available to patients who have registered with the state and have a doctor’s written recommendation.
The products are derived from cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical in the part of the cannabis plant that doesn’t produce a high. CBD comes from industrial hemp or marijuana plants and has been used for several conditions, including to mediate side effects of cancer treatment, glaucoma, Tourette syndrome and anorexia due to HIV/AIDs.
State legislators first crafted Virginia’s medical cannabis oil program based on the idea it would serve only patients with severe epilepsy. The parents and families of children suffering from epilepsy spearheaded the charge to expand access to medical cannabis oils in Virginia.
Using international studies and impassioned testimonies, these parents changed the minds of legislators like former Del. David B. Albo, a Republican from Fairfax County. “We all thought it was just another one of these potheads wanting to come here and smoke marijuana,” says Albo, now a partner and lobbyist at the law firm Williams Mullen who worked with one of the failed applicants for Virginia’s cannabis oil licenses.
Persuaded by parents and advocates, Albo and state Sen. David W. Marsden, D-Fairfax, pushed forward the 2015 legislation that created a legal defense for people with severe epilepsy to possess cannabis oils, although the legislation doesn’t legalize medical cannabis oils. Albo says getting the bill passed was like pulling teeth. “It showed people that there are legitimate uses for marijuana,” Albo says. “This is not snake oil.”
After creating a legal defense for its possession, the General Assembly then created a pathway for its production. Legislation passed in 2016 and 2017 authorized the creation of five licenses for pharmaceutical processers to grow cannabis plants and produce and dispense the oils with a permit issued by the Board of Pharmacy.
In 2018, legislation was passed to expand the use of the medical cannabis oils for any patient — not just ones with intractable epilepsy.
The state-regulated oils may not have more than 5 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in cannabis plants that intoxicates people. There are also limits on the number of cannabis plants each site is allowed to grow and the amount of medical cannabis oil that may be produced. These limits are 12 cannabis plants per patient based on dispensing data from the last 90 days, and no amount of medical cannabis oil that is in excess of what’s needed for their operations.
Nicholas Vita, CEO of New York-based Columbia Care, says Virginia’s application process was “extraordinarily rigorous.” Columbia Care, which operates dispensaries around the country, won the license for the Hampton Roads area. “The detail that the Board of Pharmacy required of applicants and the way in which we had to describe the manufacturing process to assure both safety and quality were among the most thorough we’ve seen anywhere in the United States,” Vita says.
Applicants who did not receive a license say they want more information on why they weren’t picked, and they question whether the Board of Pharmacy had enough expertise to evaluate their plans. In a formal protest by an applicant called CBT, first reported by The Virginian-Pilot, the company accuses the Board of Pharmacy of inappropriate actions in the evaluation process involving a “lack of meaningful review and evaluation” and “failure to use industry experts and subject matter experts.”
Rebecca Gwilt, a partner at Nixon Law Group in Richmond who represented a failed applicant, says the Board of Pharmacy has a “troubling lack of transparency” and that the 46 applicants who failed want better answers. “That group of people is very concerned about transparency, fairness, whether or not this truly was a merit-based process or whether it was, like many other states, a process whereby the folks that had the most money and political sway were able to secure a license.”
In response to these criticisms, Caroline D. Juran, the executive director of the Board of Pharmacy, says the board believes it has been as transparent as it can be under state law. The application process was done as a Request for Application process and involved applications for licensure that are not subject to FOIA, Juran says.
“It should be noted that board staff received several inquiries from potential applicants prior to the application deadline who were seeking assurance from board staff that proprietary information included in a potential application submission would not be released to the public,” Juran says.
Juran says board orders consistent with the board’s decisions will be publicly available within 90 days of Sept. 25, when the board conditionally approved the five licenses.
State Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant, R-Henrico, a key legislative figure in developing the state’s medical cannabis program, called the process awkward and uncomfortable so far. “It’s going to need to be modified and refined,” says Dunnavant, an obstetrician and gynecologist. “But I don’t know that we’re far enough along the path to have the full retrospective advantage that we want to have.”
Marsden says no one is happy when they lose and that the Board of Pharmacy did an outstanding job.
Beyond the approval process, there are critics of the regulatory framework. Legislators decided on five medical cannabis oil licenses based on the assumption that the oils would serve the needs of severe epilepsy patients. While later legislation expanded the potential pool of patients who can buy the oils in Virginia, the number of licenses for companies selling them stayed the same. “If it was just for intractable epilepsy we probably had too many processing facilities,” Marsden says. “If it’s for any and every condition we probably have too few.”
Gwilt, who also co-founded the Virginia Cannabis Industry Association in 2018, says it likely will take a legislative fix to expand the number of licenses in Virginia but argues the language in the legislation is ambiguous. “One could interpret the language to mean that the board may issue five new permits and renew five permits each year,” she says.
In addition to more licenses, Gwilt wants new types of licenses offered to help meet patient demand and lower the barrier to entry. Right now, state regulations allow only for “vertically integrated” facilities, where the growing, manufacturing and selling of medical cannabis oils is done at one location. Gwilt estimates that development costs for these facilities will range from $5 million to $30 million, depending on each company’s plans.
Gwilt wants to see licenses for companies that want to do only one part of the process, such as growing or selling. “The folks who have the resources to build a fully vertically integrated biopharmaceutical processor are a very select, high-altitude group of individuals,” Gwilt says. “We would like to see broad participation. We would like to see diversity and inclusiveness in the industry.”
Marsden rejects the idea of expanding the kinds of licenses offered for Virginia’s medical cannabis market. It’s the approach Maryland has taken, and Marsden doesn’t think it is working well. “It’s just this complicated arrangement,” he says. “If you’ve got umpteen growers and umpteen processors and 230 distributors, which is like Maryland has, it gets pretty wacky.” Marsden defends the vertically integrated model as being easier to regulate, resulting in fewer fees for the industry.
Five percent cap
Then there are those who feel rules for what’s in the oils themselves need to be less restrictive. Jenn Michelle Pedini, the executive director for the cannabis law reform group Virginia NORML, says the 5 percent cap on THC in the oils means they won’t be helpful to patients with severe conditions like cancer and Parkinson’s.
“The therapeutic potential of these medicines is severely restricted,” says Pedini, who helped craft the 2018 legislation that expanded the use of the oils. She says the 5 percent cap is an arbitrary number that lawmakers were comfortable with rather than a research-based restriction. “We’re framing it in this stigma and trope-fueled perspective, which doesn’t help Virginians,” Pedini says. “Let doctors decide if their patient needs a THC threshold.” She also is a co-founder of the Virginia Cannabis Industry Association.
Dunnavant is drafting a bill to expand the kinds of medical cannabis oil products companies can sell. “Some of the dosing restrictions that were put in the language when we set it up for intractable epilepsy, some of the milligrams per millimeter and some of that other stuff will have to be changed,” she says. Dunnavant declined to share specifics about the bill until it has been finalized.
Marsden says that if the idea is to make the oils more effective for patients without intoxicating them, then he’s fine with changing the THC cap. Additionally, Marsden wants to clarify when pharmacists are required to be present at each location and when they are not.
After years of work on the legislation, Dunnavant and Marsden would like to see the medical cannabis program up and running before making too many more changes. If the Democrats take over the House and Senate in 2019, when every seat in both chambers is up for grabs, there could be an even greater push for marijuana law reforms.
One thing that doesn’t seem likely is going back to the way things were. As Pedini puts it, “The toothpaste is out of the tube.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/MAR_0121.pngStephen Moret took the helm of the VEDP eight months before Amazon announced its plans. Photo by Mark Rhodes
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/landing-amazon1#When:09:00:00ZStephen Moret had just finished speaking to the annual meeting of the Virginia Association of Counties at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs when his phone buzzed just before 11 a.m. The text said: “We’d like to sign today. What time can you talk?”
Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, was the lead negotiator behind Virginia’s effort to win Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters, a once-in-a-generation prize that initially promised as many as 50,000 jobs.
The previous Thursday, Nov. 8, he sent Amazon a final draft of Virginia’s incentives package. The follow-up text on Nov. 12, a Monday, was a positive sign.
“Yes. We can sign right away,” Moret texted back.
A conference call was set for 2 p.m. Moret and his colleagues hit the road, driving through mountainous Bath County on their way to Northern Virginia in case the big news broke. An Amazon attorney emailed him the agreement at 12:34 p.m. “I had one of those mobile, Wi-Fi hotspot things, but when you are in rural Virginia, the service is in and out,” says Moret.
When his signal dropped from three bars to zero, the irony wasn’t lost on Moret. His own technology was failing at the moment he was trying to seal the “deal of the century” with a tech giant.
He stopped the car and opened the door to improve the signal. Moret reviewed the document, signed it electronically, and hit send. “The first time we submitted it, it didn’t go through. It was stressful,” he says.
On another try, the document — also signed electronically by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball — successfully transmitted at 12:45 p.m. Four minutes later, Amazon sent back a signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for one of the most sought-after corporate investments in U.S. history.
Shortly before 2 p.m., Moret’s car pulled into a Wendy’s for lunch in Verona, near Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley. While the others went in for burgers, Moret stayed in the car for the conference call.
It was official. On the call, Moret, Ball and other officials learned Seattle-based Amazon would locate half of its headquarters in Arlington County and Alexandria, bringing 25,000 jobs, an investment of $2.5 billion and the leasing of 4 million square feet. The other half of the headquarters was headed to Queens in New York City, but the second location wasn’t revealed on the call.
Gov. Ralph Northam and Amazon announced the headquarters decision the next day, ending 14 months of wild speculation on where the e-commerce and cloud computing giant would land. The competition sparked a fierce bidding war with 238 localities vying for what came to be known as HQ2.
While the hunt is over, a new and transformative chapter is beginning in Virginia, say state officials and business leaders. They expect the deal to change Virginia from a slow-growth state — too long dependent on federal government contracts — into a fast-growth technology leader.
In addition to Amazon’s 25,000 high-paying jobs, a report by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics predicts the ripple effects of the project will create another 33,687 jobs and have an annual economic impact of $14.2 billion by 2030. By that time, the Amazon headquarters could generate $346.7 million annually in state revenues.
If implemented as envisioned, Moret says, HQ2 would generate at least 15 to 25 percent of the additional jobs needed for Virginia to regain a top-10 state ranking in economic growth. For the past five years, the commonwealth has ranked No. 30 among the 50 states. Moret also expects the project to keep thousands more college graduates in Virginia — reversing an out-migration trend.
“Here’s this huge, private sector- focused tech opportunity across multiple sectors. Amazon is not just a web retailer. This is unmanned systems, robotics, artificial intelligence. There are so many businesses they are getting into,” he says.
Amazon also has a growing presence in cloud computing and is competing for more federal contracts. The state’s MOU with the company includes a clause limiting the number of new jobs at the headquarters that can be focused on the public sector. If more than 10 percent of the jobs are primarily engaged in supporting federal government contracts, then the state will reduce any grant incentive payments for that calendar year.
Education incentives key
While some regions dangled goodies like Amazon-only executive lounges at busy airports, the hallmark of Virginia’s incentive package was a $1.1 billion investment in higher education during the next 20 years. That commitment is expected to greatly expand the pipeline of tech talent, benefiting not only Amazon but the state’s entire technology sector.
Virginia’s focus on deveoping a talent pipeline “did make the proposal stand out,” says Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s director of worldwide economic development, who led the company’s site selection team. Sullivan told Virginia Business, “We looked at the talent from day one: what’s here, how to build the talent pipeline and the migration of people moving into the region to see what those skill sets were.”
The state plans to spend $710 million to double the annual number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees conferred in computer science and related fields during the next two decades.
Virginia Tech, which already had plans to expand in Northern Virginia, agreed to establish a $1 billion Innovation Campus at Alexandria’s Potomac Yard. The commonwealth and the university each will kick in $250 million for the project. The education initiative also includes $125 million for the expansion of George Mason University’s campus in Arlington.
In terms of direct cash incentives, Virginia offered a total of $573 million, considerably less than the $1.5 billion in subsidies offered by New York. The commonwealth’s direct incentives include $550 million, or $22,000 per job. Amazon is eligible for another $200 million in grants if it creates an additional 12,850 jobs in a second phase of development.
The grants would be paid four years after the jobs are created so that additional tax revenues could be generated by Amazon to cover the cost.
Arlington offered a performance cash grant of $23 million over 15 years based on incremental growth of an existing tax on hotel rooms.
Besides jobs and education, the incentives focused on housing and traffic concerns that could result from the project. Arlington and Alexandria plan to fund more than $570 million in transportation projects serving Amazon’s newly branded National Landing site, which includes Crystal City, the eastern part of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard.
The two localities also plan to use tax revenues generated by Amazon to make annual investments of $15 million during the next decade to create and preserve 2,000 to 2,400 units of affordable housing.
The state’s package offers $195 million of non-general fund money for five multimodal transportation projects, including additional entrances to Metro stations at Crystal City and Potomac Yard.
Asked about the importance of incentives in the search, Sullivan says, “The way we approached incentives for this project was: ‘How can we utilize them to invest in our workforce and to invest in the real estate side to create an innovative development with open space and opportunities?’”
While reaction to the HQ2 deal has been primarily positive, there are some critics, including Del. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, the General Assembly’s House Finance Committee chair and a former member of a state legislative commission that reviews state financing for major economic development projects.
Ware was so strongly opposed to Amazon subsidies that he resigned from the Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission (MEI) in February. “I believe the scale of the governmental incentives and subsidies for both the commonwealth and Northern Virginia localities is imprudent given the fragility of the economy, the mounting pressure to both the state and federal budgets posed by expansion of Medicaid coverage and the fact that Amazon is a huge corporation headed by the wealthiest individual in the world,” Ware said in an email to Virginia Business.
Vote on incentives
State and local incentive packages still must be approved. The General Assembly is expected to vote on the state’s proposals in January, while Arlington’s Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote in February on its performance agreement with Amazon.
Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, House Appropriations Committee chairman and a member of the MEI Commission, expects broad support from the General Assembly. “If the jobs aren’t created, then the incentive payments aren’t paid. We felt that was a good hedge for the commonwealth,” he says.
Front and center in the minds of the commission, adds Jones, was the fact that Virginia had been burned before on deals involving upfront grants.
The state remains in litigation over a project in Appomattox where a Chinese company, Lindenburg Industry, was paid $1.4 million upfront in 2014 to open a manufacturing factory that promised 350 jobs. Lindenburg never began the project and has yet to pay the money back.
That debacle was one of the reasons behind a VEDP overhaul that led to Moret’s hiring. Moret took the agency’s reins in January 2017, eight months before Amazon announced a request for proposals on its second headquarters. “Stephen has done a fabulous job,” says Jones. “Had we not reformed VEDP, we would not have been successful in landing Amazon because we wouldn’t have had the confidence to undertake a deal of that magnitude given the past track record of VEDP.”
Moret says VEDP and its statewide economic development project team of about 40 people couldn’t have done it without the MEI Commission. “It would be difficult to overstate the role that the commission played in terms of helping us craft the Amazon package,” says Moret. “The questions they asked, the pressure they raised, helped us create something that was better and politically palatable.”
Michael Farren, a research fellow and economist at GMU’s Mercatus Center, says academic research and experience show that “corporate subsidies don’t drive corporate location decisions.” If that were the case, he continues, Amazon would have taken the $8.5 billion offered by Montgomery County, Md.
Access to a skilled workforce and customer markets and synergies with supply-chain companies all matter more than subsidies to a company’s long-term profitability, he says.
While Amazon coming to Virginia “is generally going to be a good development for Virginia, Virginia did get a bad deal,” asserts Farren, because Amazon very likely would have chosen to locate in Virginia without the subsidies. That’s because Northern Virginia already has the second-largest supply of tech talent in the country. New York has the most.
If companies selected corporate headquarters locations based on which areas offered the most generous terms, Farren says: “It would be a like a farmer who chooses to grow their oranges in Alaska rather than Florida. You could do it, but the expense and the waste would be enormous.”
Crystal City’s revival
Besides transforming the state’s economy, HQ2 is expected to reinvigorate Crystal City, a once-thriving area of federal government office tenants.
Amazon is working with JBG Smith Properties Inc., a Chevy Chase, Md.-based real estate investment trust, as its leasing and development partner. “Our view is that this could change the center of gravity for the whole metro area,” says Matt Kelly, JBG’s CEO. “This is the largest-single employment driver we’ve had in this market in the form of one company coming in. We do expect a coattail effect with additional job growth and corporation relocations that we might attract here.”
Amazon will lease 500,000 square feet of existing space in a JBG-owned building in Crystal City. The company also plans to buy two development sites owned by the REIT — PenPlace and Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City — for $294 million. Amazon has said that the campus eventually could expand to a total of 8 million square feet.
The Amazon team visited the Arlington site three times, says Kelly, to walk the neighborhoods and to learn about the company’s repositioning strategy for the 150-acre National Landing. “Their observation was that the neighborhood had a great location [right across the Potomac River from D.C.], but it felt dated,” he says.
JBG is moving to change that. The building Amazon will lease on Crystal Drive is getting a new façade, and construction begins soon on an adjacent 130,000-square-foot retail building that will house an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a specialty grocery store.
In 2019, Amazon expects to hire 400 people for the new headquarters, with annual salaries of $150,000.
Tim Helmig, a managing partner in Monday Properties’ D.C. office, says Amazon’s presence will change the narrative of Northern Virginia’s commercial real estate market. “Amazon’s headquarters locating in Arlington is a massive lift for the entire market,” he adds, which has suffered in recent years from the lingering effects of federal budget cuts, including sequestration and the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
That desire for a new major employment driver saw the region pull together to land Amazon. For instance, to improve transportation, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia recently agreed to fund nearly $500 million annually to shore up the region’s aging Metro subway system.
The collaborative spirit paid off, says Russ Ramsey, founder and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management and chairman of the Greater Washington Partnership, an alliance of CEOs from the Baltimore, D.C. and Richmond corridor. “If Amazon had gotten the message that this was going to be a divisive environment, they might have made a different decision.”
Ramsey says businesses in the Washington area are excited about the new growth opportunities promised by the HQ2 project, but there is concern about pressure on wages for some IT jobs. “I do think there are some CEOs who are nervous about competing with Amazon for talent,” he says, “but I think it will make everyone raise their game.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC08750.pngLake Country Satellite President David Varner. Photo by Shandell Taylor
Collaboration leads to 2-hour, free Wi-Fi service in Boydton
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/collaboration-leads-to-2-hour-free-wi-fi-service-in-boydton#When:09:00:00ZMecklenburg County now offers two hours of free Wi-Fi access daily in the Courthouse Square area of Boydton as a result of a collaboration between Microsoft Corp. and Lake Country Satellite.
The service addresses a major need in the region. “This free Wi-Fi service, where you can use your own device, is something no other community has in this area,” says David Varner, president of Boydton-based Lake Country Satellite, which will operate the system.
Lake Country was chosen as Microsoft’s project partner because “of their expertise in building and operating Wi-Fi systems such as the one we built in Boydton,” says Jeremy Satterfield, manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark Virginia, a program promoting economic opportunity and job creation in Southern Virginia.
Officials from Microsoft’s Datacenter Community Development program met with community leaders late last year to identify areas where the company could make investments. “The lack of internet availability in Boydton was identified as a need that would benefit merchants, residents and visitors,” Satterfield says.
The free Wi-Fi hours are available for people to do “whatever they need to do,” says Varner. “They can choose whatever two hours they want. As soon as they connect their device, the timer starts. It automatically logs a person out after two hours.”
Microsoft has an ongoing interest in the area. Southern Virginia is one of six TechSpark communities, and Boydton is home to a Microsoft data center. “Our Datacenter Academy, which helps train data-center technicians, was inaugurated at Southside Virginia Community College in South Hill and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston,” says Satterfield.
Microsoft also supports Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in its efforts to expand broadband service. The co-op secured a $2.6 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to fund a new subsidiary, EmPower, which will deploy 135 miles of fiber broadband in Southern Virginia.
Microsoft Datacenter Community Development is involved in similar projects in other areas where the company has data enters. It is building a community Wi-Fi system in the Valley Junction neighborhood of West Des Moines, Iowa.
“I think it’s going to be a game changer in the long run,” says Varner of the Mecklenburg project. “I think eventually it will draw more businesses and restaurants to the Boydton area.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DNP2071.pngAdvance Auto Parts was Roanoke’s only Fortune 500 company.Photo by Don Petersen
Tech talent, incentives lure Advance headquarters to Raleigh
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tech-talent-incentives-lure-advance-headquarters-to-raleigh#When:09:00:00ZAfter calling Roanoke home for 86 years, Advance Auto Parts is moving its headquarters to Raleigh, N.C.
Moving may be too strong a word. Company spokesman Darryl Carr says the change will mean virtually nothing to the 650 people working in the former Crossroads Shopping Center, Advance’s headquarters in Roanoke.
“There will be no layoffs or job shifts, and the Roanoke office is not closing,” Carr says. “In fact, we just signed a multiyear lease renewal for the Roanoke office.”
Advance began in 1932 when Arthur Taubman purchased Advance Stores Co., the owner of two stores in Roanoke and one in Lynchburg. Only three blocks separated the Roanoke stores, so Taubman quickly closed one of them.
From that beginning Advance evolved into a major auto parts retailer. It opened its 100th store in 1987. Nine years later, the company opened more than 100 stores in a year.
Advance now has nearly 5,000 company-operated stores, another 1,500 associated outlets and more than 71,000 employees. The company’s sales last year totaled nearly $9.4 billion.
Advance was Roanoke’s only Fortune 500 company. It now will be the only Raleigh-based company on the list.
Most of Advance’s executives — and a lot of other employees, including those in technology and marketing wings — have been based in Raleigh since 2014 when the company acquired General Parts International.
That situation has led some people to suggest Advance’s headquarters haven’t really been in Roanoke for some time.
But the new designation will matter. According to a news release from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Advance will add as many as 435 jobs in the Raleigh area over five years. In turn, North Carolina has promised Advance a $10 million incentive package.
Carr calls the incentives “an important factor in the decision-making process.” Virginia, he says, “put forth a competitive offer,” but the company chose North Carolina because of the incentives and “a deep bench of information technology and software development talent that exists in North Carolina’s [Research] Triangle.”
Moving Advance forward, Carr says, “will require enhancing skills and building new capabilities in the areas of technology, digital marketing and eCommerce to support our plans to become a technology and omnichannel leader.”
Company leaders feel Advance can do that best, Carr says, “with the available talent pool in North Carolina and its combined incentives package.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Food_City_622_Store_Front-0435.pngFood City has more than 130 stores employing 16,000 people in four states. Photo courtesy Food City
Food City focuses on trends as it marks an anniversary
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/food-city-focuses-on-trends-as-it-marks-an-anniversary#When:09:00:00ZAs Abingdon-based Food City celebrates its history, President and CEO Steve Smith is keeping his eye on emerging consumer trends.
With supermarkets nationwide offering a growing number of products and services, staying competitive can be a challenge, he says.
Food City is a $2.5 billion family business. Smith’s father, Jack, and three other family members opened an 8,800-square-foot Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Grundy in 1955.
Since then, Food City has acquired Piggly Wiggly stores in Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky and Quality Foods/Food City, White Stores, Winn Dixie and BI-LO stores in east Tennessee. It also has undertaken an aggressive program to build new stores while remodeling and expanding others.
Food City recently celebrated its business legacy, which stretches back more than a century. “Among those acquisitions was a store that opened in 1918, hence the 100th-year celebration,” Smith explains.
Food City now has 16,000 employees at more than 130 stores, and the company’s 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center in Abingdon. “Our industry is very competitive and operates on a 1 percent profit margin,” Smith says. “We juggle a lot of moving parts, which keeps us on our toes.”
Staying relevant is essential, Smith emphasizes, pointing to Food City’s comprehensive marketing campaigns geared to a range of demographic groups in the states where it operates: Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.
Food City is known for its connection to NASCAR racing, contributing more than half a million dollars to local organizations through its annual Family Race Night events.
Additionally, the company supports scores of community-based organizations, activities and initiatives in the markets it serves.
There are some things Food City won’t budge on, Smith insists, such as having butchers in stores, providing large seafood sections and selling produce grown by local farmers.
“But our stores will continue to change as consumer’s shopping habits change,” says Smith, who knows that in addition to fresh food, the top reasons people visit Food City include friendly employees, competitive prices and cleanliness. “In the years to come, we’ll just keep doing what we do well. We love our business, we love our industry, and we are proud to feed America.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1SG_0565x.png“The library has a huge return on investment for the monies that go into it,” says Jessica Hudson.Photo by Stephen Gosling
Fairfax County library report makes its case in business terms
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fairfax-county-library-report-makes-its-case-in-business-terms#When:09:00:00ZJessica Hudson hopes to show that the Fairfax County Public Library is a sound investment.
In January, the library system will release its Return on Investment (ROI) Report, detailing in business terms its value to the county’s 1.2 million residents.
“We have kept track of our statistical data for decades,” says Hudson, the system’s director. “We started looking at the ROI process six to eight months ago. We wanted to share why it was a great investment to put money into libraries.”
The library decided to create the report, in part, because residents often see it only as a free asset that’s good for “access to books, storytime, etc.,” says Hudson. “We want them to see the other side of the coin.”
The Fairfax library system is the largest in Virginia, with 23 branches and a $37.6 million annual budget. For every $1 invested in the library, the report says, the community receives a return of $6.51 in the form of access to resources, programming, services and technology.
“The library has a huge return on investment for the monies that go into it,” says Hudson, who became director in 2016 after serving as county librarian for the Contra Costa County Library in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
In fiscal year 2017, the report says, the Fairfax library provided $244.6 million in resources and services to county residents.
The library, which has 400,000 cardholders, annually circulates more than 10 million books and 1.5 million digital books. The 5.5 million children’s books borrowed in FY 2017 were valued at more than $94 million.
“Think about how much you would pay to buy those books yourself,” says Hudson. “We want people to see why it’s a good value to contribute to the library system. We’re hoping to spread that message to a wider audience.”
People often use libraries to take advantage of their wireless connections and digital resources. In FY2017, the Fairfax library provided access to 438,890 hours of computer use (valued at $5.27 million) and 1.94 million database searches ($38.65 million).
“They can use those free resources to write a résumé for a job or apply for a job, for example,” Hudson says. “We also have wonderful databases such as Lynda.com that have tutorials on technology skills.”
The library’s economic value to the community is high, Hudson says. “State and federal funding is fairly stable now, but there are always fluctuations up and down. What we are trying to present is that it makes a lot of sense to continue to contribute to the local values of our library system.”2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/14.pngThe new WCS facility in Winchester is expected to open in February. Photo courtesy Winchester Cold Storage Co.
Expansion project promises customers more room
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/expansion-project-promises-customers-more-room#When:09:00:00ZWCS Logistics says its 65,000-square-foot expansion in Winchester will increase productivity and improve safety while adding capacity for the company’s customers.
WCS broke ground on the expansion project in May. The opening is scheduled for February.
“The expansion will have room for approximately 8,500 pallet positions, expanding WCS freezer capacity and yielding better space utilization due to greater rack height and more optimized configuration,” says Brian Beazer, the company’s CEO and general manager. “It paves the way for additional WCS Logistics modern warehouses.”
Established in 1917 as Winchester Cold Storage Co. by Virginia politician and businessman Harry F. Byrd, the logistics company now serves national and international customers.
“It was originally founded because of the growing apple market in the area and the necessity to keep them fresh as long as possible,” Beazer says. “We were once known as the largest apple storage in the world, and now we are one of the largest.”
The company has diversified its services over the years, now handling dry, refrigerated and frozen products. It now has five locations — four in Virginia and one in West Virginia — for a total of approximately 2 million square feet. All of the warehouses are positioned near Interstate 81.
“We can store product at almost any temperature,” says Beazer. “We still store approximately the same number of apples, but it is only about 20 percent of our overall business.”
The expansion will allow the company to provide customers more services, he says. “We are utilizing a cascading [carbon dioxide] ammonia refrigeration system that is safer and more efficient than other systems,” Beazer says. “As things change in the industry, we are changing along with them.”
The company has made a concerted effort to provide support for all temperature ranges, he adds. “This new facility continues us down that road of being the best place for all your needs,” Beazer says. “We will be able to serve our customers more by giving them the added room they need to grow as companies. It will also allow us to take on new customers that want to expand their businesses and reach new markets.” 2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RTS_2423.pngRocket Lab’s Shaun D’Mello (left) and Peter Beck, Virginia Space’s Dale Nash and MARS’ Sean Mulligan
Wallops launch site will be company’s first in U.S.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wallops-launch-site-will-be-companys-first-in-u.s#When:09:00:00ZA new launch facility at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island is expected to boost Virginia’s aerospace industry.
Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex-2 will be the Los Angeles-based company’s first in the United States. Rocket Lab and Virginia Space, which runs the spaceport, are teaming together to build the $20 million complex. It will be located near a launch pad used by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems to launch its Antares rockets.
Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $5 million grant for the project through the commonwealth’s Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund.
The development of Launch Complex-2 “strengthens our existing position as the industry leader providing frequent and tailored access to orbit for small satellites,” says Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s CEO.
The new launch site will cater to U.S government customers. “They will be carrying sensitive government payloads,” says Dale Nash, Virginia Space’s executive director and CEO. “[Rocket Lab’s customers] want to launch them in the U.S. and retain tight control.”
Launching from U.S. soil gives Rocket Lab’s customers more flexibility by “increasing launch frequency and offering an unmatched ability to rapidly deploy space-based assets with confidence and precision,” Beck says.
The spaceport, which is co-located at NASA Wallops Island, was one of four locations under consideration for the Rocket Lab project. The company also looked at Cape Canaveral in Florida, Pacific Spaceport Complex–Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Virginia made the final cut thanks to high flight frequency available from the spaceport along with a rapid construction timeline. Rocket Lab’s first Electron rocket launch from the site is targeted for the third quarter of next year.
“We anticipate one launch a month, or 12 a year,” says Nash. “We have a very aggressive schedule to get this facility built, about eight or nine months, but we have an existing workforce with the knowledge and expertise to do this.”
The facility is expected to create 30 jobs with a pay scale in the mid-$80,000 range. “The number of jobs will spike to as many as 100 people during the one- to two-week launch period and then scale back to 30,” Nash says. “This will be a huge impact on the region.”
Nash has developed the workforce at Virginia Space working with Eastern Shore Community College and universities in the commonwealth, Maryland and Delaware.
“Over 25 percent of our total workforce has gone through our internship program. We will help Rocket Lab develop their workforce with local talent. That was a key selling point to Rocket Lab,” he says.2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TONY_Shuttle.pngThe shuttle will be able to seat six people. Photo courtesy Perrone Robotics
Albemarle County town to feature autonomous shuttle service
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/albemarle-county-town-to-feature-autonomous-shuttle-service#When:09:00:00ZIn March, residents and visitors in Crozet will have the chance to ride around the Albemarle County town on an autonomous shuttle.
Called TONY (TO Navigate You), the shuttle service will provide six-seat electric vehicles capable of moving with little or no human input, says Paul Perrone, the man behind the machine.
Perrone, a University of Virginia alumnus (Graduate School of Engineering, ’95), founded Crozet-based Perrone Robotics in 2003. Since then, he has developed MAX, a patented autonomous engine that adapts to its environment.
“MAX is to robots as Windows is to computers,” says Perrone.
In November, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to bring TONY to Crozet. To celebrate, Perrone took the supervisors for a spin in an autonomous vehicle.
Board Chairwoman Ann Mallek believes TONY will encourage economic growth, with companies like Perrone Robotics attracting other startups to the region. In the meantime, she expects the shuttle to ease parking problems in Crozet.
“Parking is a concern, and people want to be able to get out for dinner and to shop. I’m hopeful TONY will make that easier,” she says.
The county is contributing $238,000 to the shuttle project. Perrone Robotics is chipping in $271,162, and JAUNT, an organization that provides the area’s paratransit service, will pay $107,789 for operators and insurance. The University of Virginia also is a possible participant in the project.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to become “a trillion-dollar industry,” notes Perrone, who after a Series A investment led by Intel Capital in 2016, opened a workshop and test track the next year in Crozet.
Worldwide, there are at least 46 companies developing road-going self-driving vehicles, according to research published in September by CB Insights. The list includes Amazon, in partnership with Volvo; Apple, which hired robotics experts from NASA; and automotive supplier Bosch, which is joining forces with Mercedes.
Perrone believes the emergence of autonomous vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence signal a new industrial revolution.
“This pilot program helps validate our business model and deploys the software we’ve perfected over the past 15 years,” says the entrepreneur. “I’m excited to bring the magic experienced in Silicon Valley to our region.” 2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00
People - January 2019
Jayme Swain has been named CEO of the newly created Virginia Foundation for Public Media, the parent company of the nonprofit corporation owning WCVE public television and radio stations in Richmond. She was vice president of strategy and operations at the Public Broadcasting Service. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Virginia Beach appointed Taylor Adams as interim director of the Economic Development Department, which lost its leader of 11 years when Warren Harris abruptly resigned last month in the middle of an audit into his credit-card spending. Another former employee recently was indicted on felony embezzlement charges. Adams joined Virginia Beach in 2015 as its purchasing agent. He was promoted to finance operations administrator in early 2017. (The Virginian-Pilot)
TowneBank recently announced the promotions of three new presidents. Buffy J. Barefoot was named president of TowneBank Virginia Beach. She was senior loan administrator for TowneBank. John P. Baiocco has been named president, TowneBank Norfolk. He was senior executive vice president, commercial lender in Norfolk. Herbert H. Bateman Jr. is now market president for TowneBank Williamsburg. He was executive vice president, commercial lender in Newport News. (News release)
Elizabeth McNeal, named strategic marketing director, Park View Federal Credit Union in Harrisonburg. (News release)
Abram J. (Abe) Shearer has been promoted to partner of Strategent Financial LLC in Harrisonburg. He joined the firm in 2015 as an associate. (News release)
Jason Albanese, formerly vice president of business development for operations and logistics solutions at Reston-based Leidos, has been appointed senior vice president of business development in the company’s health group. (GovCon Wire)
Matt Mathias is the new CEO of StoneSprings Hospital Center in Dulles. He was chief operating officer at HCA’s Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, a 531-bed hospital in Houston. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Vienna-based Navy Federal Credit Union has a new CEO. Chief Operating Officer Mary McDuffie, who has worked at Navy Federal since 1999, replaces Cutler Dawson, who is retiring after 14 years. She officially takes the helm of the country’s largest credit union Jan. 18. She will be the first woman to serve as CEO at Navy Federal. (Washington Business Journal)
Wythe County Supervisor Timothy A. Reeves Sr. has been elected president of the Virginia Association of Counties for 2018-19. Reeves succeeds King and Queen County Supervisor Sherrin C. Alsop. He is the second VACo president from Wythe County. Reeves, a Grayson County native, was first elected to the Wythe Board of Supervisors in 2011. He has served as board chairman since 2014. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Casey Taylor is on his way as an entrepreneur. The 2016 Robert E. Lee High School graduate won the U.Va.-Wise Entrepreneurship Cup Concept Competition in November, which landed him $1,000. Taylor, a mathematics major at U.Va.-Wise, won for the concept of a personalized 3-D water bottle cap that will allow parents to track their child’s water consumption through a built-in sensor. The purpose of the competition is to seed ideas from all parts of the university at every stage of development. Students are encouraged to come up with out-of-the-box ideas that could be translated into compelling projects. (Staunton News Leader)
ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Sue Ranson, co-founder of Good Samaritan Hospice, the first stand-alone hospice agency in Roanoke, is retiring after 26 years. She plans to retire Dec. 31. Good Sam’s board has named Aaron Housh as her successor. Housh has worked in hospice in Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke Higher Education Authority announced the following appointments to its board of trustees: Mary Baldwin University has appointed James McCoy and Virginia Commonwealth University has appointed Kevin Harris. (The Roanoke Times)
Danville and Pittsylvania County are getting help from the Danville Regional Foundation to pay for a consultant who’s played a major role in attracting several economic development projects to the Dan River Region. The foundation, which funds projects to improve the local community, is providing $120,000 to pay Tom Loehr, retired executive vice president of Rolls Royce Aerospace, to continue to help recruit new industries to the region. (Danville Register & Bee)
Val-Rae Christensen won the second round of VISION Quest, a community project pitch competition. Her project, The Hope and Peace Initiative (H.A.P.I), earned a $5,000 sponsorship, as well as assistance in marketing, project development and partner resources through Middle Border Forward, a nonprofit community development organization. (Danville Register & Bee)
The Henry County School Board has named Sandy Strayer the school district’s superintendent. Strayer had served as interim superintendent since the May departure of Jared Cotton, who left to take over Chesapeake Public Schools. (Martinsville Bulletin)2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00
For the Record - January 2019
Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire newly issued shares in Toronto-based Cronos Group Inc., a cannabis and marijuana company. The transaction between the two publicly traded companies represents a 45 percent equity stake in Cronos Group at a price of $16.25 (CAD) per share for an aggregate investment by Altria of approximately USD $1.8 billion. Altria CEO Howard A. Willard III framed the investment as a response to the declining cigarette market in the U.S. “It’s a very attractive future growth opportunity for Altria,” Willard said of the cannabis industry. “We believe it is an adjacent business and a complementary business.” (VirginiaBusiness.com)
With unanimous approval of a special use permit from Campbell County supervisors, the Depot Solar Center project, a 150-acre solar farm project near Rustburg is one step closer to construction beginning in 2020. Depot Solar Center LLC, an offshoot of Coronal Energy, would produce 15 megawatts of energy, enough to power about 3,000 homes, and construction would take from 150 to 200 workers. (The News & Advance)
Insite Properties broke ground in November on 3TWENTY3, a five-story office building that will add 120,000 square feet to the Charlottesville downtown market. The building will include 200 underground parking spaces. Construction should be complete by spring of 2020. (The Daily Progress)
Pennsylvania-based Kinsley Construction Inc. plans to open a plant in Richmond as it expands its steel fabrication and erection services. The construction company plans to hire 70 employees in Virginia. The positions would include machine operators, fitters, welders, painters, truck drivers and project managers. The facility, previously owned by Williams Bridge Co., is undergoing renovations. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The historic Stewart-Lee House in downtown Richmond, which was home for a short period to the family of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, has been sold. The Family Foundation, a conservative social action group, bought the Greek Revival town house at 707 E. Franklin St. in November. The group paid $800,000, according to Henrico County-based commercial real estate brokerage Commonwealth Commercial Partners, which represented the buyer. The Home Builders Association of Virginia, which bought the town house in January 2001 and fully renovated it, was asking $1.2 million. The house is assessed at $1.24 million, city property tax records show. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
A $5 million initiative seeks to teach Virginia Community College System students specific workforce skills at the beginning of their education as opposed to the end. Currently, students typically take general education classes before learning more specific skills. Gov. Ralph Northam has allocated $5 million in federal funds to support the redesign of Virginia’s community college system. Each college will compete for the funds. Colleges will receive a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $500,000. The pathways will be endorsed by businesses to ensure they’re meeting employers’ needs. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
After a year-long hiatus, Carnival is making its way back to Norfolk and bringing cruises to Cuba with it. The Miami-based line announced that it will deploy the $200 million refurbished ship Carnival Radiance to Havana, Cuba, as a port-of-call on its Oct. 18 and Oct. 25, 2020, trips. The Radiance and a remodeled ship, Carnival Sunrise, will be deployed from Norfolk for spring and fall Bahamas cruises. (The Virginian-Pilot)
The Virginia Beach City Council is moving forward with the new sports center at the Oceanfront. The city approved the $68 million project over the summer, and in December voted to pay a company, Eastern Sports Management (ESM), to run it. According to the agreement, the city will pay ESM $15,000 monthly during construction. When the center is complete the management fee will go up to $30,000 each month. Eastern Sports Management estimates the city will get about $56 million over 20 years for their initial investment. (WAVY)
The newest building at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk will be called Waitzer Hall in recognition of a $4 million gift. The donation from the Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation is the largest family gift ever made to EVMS. Waitzer Hall, a 138,000-square-foot education and academic administration building, is scheduled to be complete in 2020. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Some new Optima Health hires have Medicaid to thank. The Virginia-based company announced that it is adding 197 employees to its staff as a direct re­­sponse to Medicaid expansion. That news is particularly good for Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall. Most of the new hires will be working at the existing Optima customer-service center inside the former J.C. Penney store in the mall — a move that will double the space the company is using in the mall. More than 200 employees already work at the 45,000-square-foot center. The company is adding another 45,000 square feet within the former store. (The Virginian-Pilot)
The Wanchese Fish Co. in Suffolk is planning to grow rapidly over the next three years by adding staff and production capacity. The company was bought by Cooke Seafood USA in 2015. Cooke plans to hire about 70 employees during the next three years. These include jobs in a new corporate office and on new retail seafood production lines. The expansions include more than $2.8 million in investment. Since its acquisition of Wanchese Fish, Cooke has upgraded the Suffolk operation to handle increased seafood coming into the facility from other Cooke companies. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Bridgewater College is adding a professional writing major. Denoted by the acronym PWR, the major allows Bridgewater to become a regional power player in attracting students who want to obtain the skills necessary for writing in business, science and technology, along with the opportunity to refine their interests in writing for multimedia, journalism and literature. The core curriculum gives students a solid base in the professional writing discipline, with classes on technical writing, grammar, style and editing, publishing and marketing and writing for visual media, as well as a choice of studying business or science writing. (News release)
James Madison University (JMU) announced three major gifts as it launched its $200 million comprehensive campaign. They included a $5.2 million commitment from the family of Julia Gilliam Sterling of West Palm Beach, Fla. to name the Leslie Flanary Gilliam (’82) Center for Entrepreneurship in the JMU College of Business; a $1 million gift from the Damico Family Foundation to endow a faculty chair for Exceptional Education in the JMU College of Education; and a “seven-figure” gift from Eric and Lara Parker Major of Purcellville to name the Major Laboratory for Innovation, Collaboration, Creativity and Entrepreneurship in the future College of Business Learning Complex. (News releases)
Continental will expand its O’Sullivan Films production facility in Winchester, creating 61 jobs. Virginia competed against Mexico for the $10.3 million project, according to a news release from the governor. O’Sullivan Films produces films and artificial leather products for the North American automotive industry. The company was purchased by Continental in 2016. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $188,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. The company also will receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Program and the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. It also is eligible for sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. (The Winchester Star)
Winners of this year’s RevUp ShenCo competition were an­­nounced in early December with newcomer Box Office Brewery taking the chamber’s top prize of a $5,000 gold-level sponsorship with the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce. RevUp ShenCo was introduced to the county last year as a way for established and prospective business owners to come together and learn about what it takes to run a small business. Participants submitted business plans and participated in classes and seminars. While 65 men and women representing 31 different businesses participated in this year’s event, not everyone was in the race for a piece of the $20,000 pot. Of the 31 businesses, a little over half joined in on the competition. Six businesses received grant money to help put their new digital marketing plans into action. (Northern Virginia Daily)
Valley Health is among HealthCare’s Most Wired organizations for the third year in a row, affirming the regional health system’s use of information technology (IT) to improve access to patient care, care delivery, patient outcomes and safety. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, or CHIME, announced the 2018 winners at its Fall CIO Forum in San Diego. (News release)
Tysons-based Capital One has acquired Wikibuy, an Austin, Texas-based startup that helps online shoppers make buying decisions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. With more than 2 million members, Wikibuy helps shoppers save money by allowing them to track and compare prices and apply coupons at checkout. The free tool was launched in 2016. Wikibuy will remain based in Austin. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Greater Washington Partnership released its detailed plan in November to improve transportation in the region connecting Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond. The Blueprint for Regional Mobility calls for short-term and long-term solutions to improve transit — and economic opportunity — in a region of 10.2 million people. The partnership is a group of CEOs trying to boost the economy of the “super region.” (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Kapsch TrafficCom, an Austria-based provider of tolling, traffic management, connected vehicles and other transportation technology, has acquired McLean-based eTrans Systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The McLean company is a provider of cloud-based services for connected and autonomous vehicles, including vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure systems that help vehicles manage speed, notice construction zones, road hazards and other potentially dangerous conditions. ETrans also provides smart-city tech for things like crosswalks. Its products will be integrated within Kapsch’s global product portfolio. (Washington Business Journal)
A 485,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center for e-commerce companies is scheduled to be built next to Stafford Regional Airport in what county leaders hailed as a game-changing project. The Board of Supervisors voted in November to approve an agreement that guarantees certain tax rebates over 30 years to Maryland-based Property Management Associates, which will build the warehouse at 200 Centreport Parkway. The warehouse is a $35 million investment that will generate $450,000 per year in real estate and personal property tax revenue, according to the county. (The Free Lance-Star)
Virginia Hospital Center can finally move ahead with its expansion, thanks to approval from the Arlington County Board after deferring a decision in September for VHC to address remaining neighborhood concerns. The project will create a new medical building and parking garage on county-owned land currently known as the Edison site. The expansion is part of the 357-bed hospital’s plan to add 100 beds (now with an OK for 44 of those beds) and locate inpatient care — for cardiac, cancer, surgical, mental health and its emergency department — on its campus’ south side, and outpatient services on its north side. (Washington Business Journal)
A long-standing Tazewell County business is expanding and diversifying its product line. AMR Pemco, which is located in the Bluefield Industrial Park, received a $1.4 million loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority in November. David Graf, the company’s president and CEO, said the money will be used to upgrade equipment and expand its building. “Through this growth plan, we hope to add 75 jobs in the next several years,” Graf said. AMR Pemco offers products and solutions for mid-to-high-voltage electrical distribution equipment, dry-type transformers and industrial control buildings. (SWVAToday.com)
Tazewell council members got their first look at preliminary plans for a proposed Main Street hotel in November. Greg Mulkey presented conceptual drawings for the hotel and a parking garage to council at its regular meeting. The concept is for a two-story garage for 120 cars; it would be utilized for public parking as well as for hotel guests. The facility will be constructed as a public-private partnership with the town building the parking deck and Mulkey’s company building the hotel. Mulkey said he is negotiating with several hotel chains and has not settled on one yet. He did not offer a time for completion of the project. (SWVAToday.com)
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has received a $50,000 grant for the Bridging Projects Programs to fund the multicultural center and a focused lecture series, undergraduate research and internships. The funds come from the University of Virginia Provosts’ Bridging Projects Program. The project will create ongoing and future collaborators with U.Va., including its Office of Diversity, Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, and the Center for Liberal Arts. The project will help the U.Va.-Wise community fully develop strategies to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus to begin and sustain the college’s long-term vision for unity through diversity. (News release)
The Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance held its Excellence in Mining Awards in November. The winners were: Best AML Enhancement: Savage Services Co., Wise County; Best Active Surface Mine: Paramont Contura LLC, Dickenson/Buchanan County; Best Completed Surface Mine: Clintwood Elkhorn Mining LLC, Buchanan County; Best Refuse Disposal: Ramaco Resources Land Holdings LLC, Tazewell County; Best Completed Deep Mine: Red River Coal Co. Inc., Wise County; Best Forestry Reclamation Approach: Clintwood Elkhorn Mining LLC, Buchanan County; Best Active Deep Mine: Paramont Contura LLC, Dickenson County; Best Completed Fill: Norton Coal Co. LLC, Tazewell County; Best Active Prep Plant: Buchanan Minerals LLC, No. 1 Mine Preparation Plant, Buchanan County; and Best Stewardship in Mining and Reclamation: Red River Coal Co. Inc., Wise County. Fifteen-Year-Legacy Award: Red River Coal Co. Inc., Wise County. (SWVAToday.com)
ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
A $350,000 study that intends to determine what improvements are needed to bring Amtrak service to the New River Valley has been placed on indefinite hold. Officials with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation said in December that Norfolk Southern has halted its involvement in the study due to the company wanting to prioritize other matters related to its rail network. The railroad recently announced plans to move its headquarters to Atlanta. Although the NRV study doesn’t solely depend on Norfolk Southern, the railroad’s cooperation is needed because one major element being examined is some tracks near the Christiansburg Aquatic Center that belong to the Norfolk-based company, DRPT officials said. (The Roanoke Times)
Deschutes Brewery will not break ground on its Roanoke plant in 2019 as originally planned, its president said. The Oregon-based craft beer brewer had planned a June 2019 start on construction since its 2016 announcement that it would expand to the East Coast on a site in the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology. But earlier this year President Michael Lalonde said a slowing of growth in the craft beer market had caused the company to re-evaluate the scale and timing of its expansion. (The Roanoke Times)
The Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and Heywood and Cynthia Fralin will donate a record $50 million to Virginia Tech to support research at the newly renamed Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in the evolving Virginia Tech Carilion Academic Health Center in Roanoke. Construction of a $90 million, 139,000-gross-square-foot Biomedical Research Addition building at the VTC Health Sciences and Technology Campus is expected to finish in spring 2020. The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the VTC School of Medicine are also located on the campus. The campus’ economic impact in Virginia was $214 million in 2017 and is projected to more than double, approaching half-a-billion dollars per year, by 2026. (News release)
An upswing in market demand has allowed Harris Corp. to add nearly 50 new jobs to its Roanoke County site since the beginning of this year, county officials said. The facility, which employs a little over 500 people, makes night-vision technology. The new hires were primarily for production jobs with some positions for supervisors, technicians and engineers as well, said Erik Fox, a vice president and general manager with Harris. (The Roanoke Times)
The Wilkinson Group is teaming up with the Vinyard family to bring new life to the old Vinton Motors Co. property in Vinton. Details are being finalized, officials said, but the concept plans envision an updated look for the site with space for a taproom-style restaurant and other destinations. The redevelopment, which will be named Vinyard Station, is aiming for a late 2019 or early 2020 opening. Vinton Motors Co., a family-owned car dealership, was a community staple for 77 years before it closed in 2008. The property, which spans 1.4 acres, is currently dormant. Last year, the town started working with owner Billy Vinyard to court proposals for redevelopment. (The Roanoke Times)
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Halifax County plan to co-host the 2019 Industrial Hemp Summit on Feb. 25-26 in Danville. The Industrial Hemp Summit is a multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on building the industrial hemp industry in the U.S. A specific focus of the summit will be on building the supply chain and market-making for industrial hemp food, fiber and flower. (Danville Register & Bee)
Ikea Industry Danville plans to lay off about 90 employees — nearly a quarter of its workforce — in January, company officials announced in December. High inventory and lower-than-expected sales led to the decision, said Site Manager Bert Eades. Danville’s plant has about 375 employees, and the reduction will lower that number to about 285. Both hourly and salaried workers, or co-workers as IKEA calls its employees, will be laid off, Eades said. The Danville facility makes mostly shelving units — or bookcases — and television benches sold in retail stores in the United States and Canada. (Danville Register & Bee)
Start of construction is mere months away for a $2 million laboratory building at the Southern Virginia Technology Park, which will expand Halifax County’s C-Care coatings research program under the outsourced management of an Ohio-based business consulting firm. The reboot of the C-Care project — established in 2011 with a $2.5 million investment by the Virginia Tobacco Commission to increase advanced manufacturing jobs in the area — comes after the tobacco commission voted in 2016 to put another $600,000 into the effort. The money will be used to build a new coatings formulation lab at the SVTP, formerly known as Riverstone Technology Park. The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority is matching the tobacco grant with a $575,000 investment of its own, which the IDA says will be covered by rental income from the facility. (News & Record)
A regional authority has been created to stimulate economic development in northern Pittsylvania County. The Staunton River Regional Industrial Facility Authority will allow Pittsylvania, Danville and the towns of Hurt and Altavista to coordinate resources and share costs in an effort to draw companies to the Southern Virginia Multimodel Park in Hurt. Over the years, there have been few physical changes to the park. (Danville Register & Bee)
Halifax County has gained a key piece of outside funding to move forward with a $2.5 million project to rehabilitate the runway and connectors at William M. Tuck Airport. The Virginia Aviation Board approved a $202,464 grant for the county airport, which last summer had obtained a $1.76 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Total federal funding for the runway renovation work is expected to amount to $2,277,720. (SoVaNow.com)2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie_Niemeier_-_Headshots_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-6.pngPhoto by Caroline Martin
Business is a social activity
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/business-is-a-social-activity#When:09:00:00ZWelcome to the January issue of Virginia Business! It’s almost unbelievable how fast the new year has come upon us. Regardless of whether you’ve already had your fill of holiday cheer, 2019 will unquestionably bring more reasons to gather and celebrate. After all, business is a social activity. We may not always think of it that way, but commerce is fundamentally about bringing people together for mutual benefit.
One of the things to celebrate in 2019 is that Virginia Business will reach its 10th anniversary as a private, independently owned media company. Although the magazine was founded in 1986, it wasn’t until September 2009 that we left public company ownership to walk the tightrope of small business independence. It has turned out to be a pretty good move.
Ten years ago, we were feeling the prolonged effects of the Great Recession. The internet economy was just a shadow of what it is today; Facebook was still a startup; Uber, Snapchat, Instagram — who knew? Who would have thought that Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos would be the world’s wealthiest person or that this month’s cover story (see Page 20) would be on Amazon’s HQ2 project coming to Virginia?
It is perhaps tempting to focus on how much has changed, but many things also remain the same. Technology may be advancing by leaps and bounds, but great products still need the support of great people. Workplace culture makes a distinctive difference. High-quality customer and supplier relationships, coupled with a great workforce, reign supreme. Business is definitely a social activity.
Virginia Business attends and also hosts a variety of events. Just last month, we hosted a reception for the members of the 2018 Legal Elite at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, co-sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association.
Next month, we will be at the Boar’s Head in Charlottesville for our annual Best Places to Work in Virginia awards luncheon, co-sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Society for Human Resource Management. (See next month’s issue for a list of this year’s winners.)
Each June we hold our annual CFO Awards, also at The Jefferson. This black-tie gala celebrates top-achieving financial officers in publicly traded companies, private companies, nonprofits and government agencies. Sponsors include Dixon Hughes Goodman, the Virginia Society of CPAs, McGuireWoods and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Following next November’s elections, we will hold our 13th annual Political Roundtable with a group of political trend watchers focusing on how the results will affect the political climate in Virginia and the nation. Washington Gas and Shentel have been among our roundtable sponsors.
If that’s not a full enough calendar, Virginia Business also holds Meet the Editors luncheons in various communities across the commonwealth. In the past two years, we’ve held these in Norfolk, Roanoke, Richmond, Charlottesville and Hampton, all sponsored by Bank of America. These events are great opportunities to learn about the regional economies of our state, as well as to ask questions about how the magazine puts together its monthly issues.
Check out photos of these and other events in the Out & About pages of each issue of Virginia Business (Pages 8 and 27 in this issue). Give us a call if you are interested in event marketing opportunities and would like to join our list of sponsors for 2019.
At Virginia Business, we bring people together in print, online and in person. We appreciate your interest in what we do to stay abreast of business intelligence and economic development on a statewide basis. In fact, we cannot do it without you. Here’s to the best of success in 2019!2018-12-31T09:00:00+00:00
Followups - January 2019
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-january-2019#When:05:00:00ZNorfolk Southern makes relocation to Atlanta official
Norfolk Southern in early December made official its plans to relocate its headquarters to Atlanta.
The news comes after officials in Atlanta signed off on a complicated redevelopment project that was tied to Norfolk Southern’s relocation.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that Atlanta’s economic development arm approved financing for the construction of a new $575 million headquarters for the Fortune 500 company. The newspaper noted that plans call for the first 100 Norfolk Southern executives to relocate by next summer and for the other 400 or so to leave by summer of 2021, but that operations at the Port of Virginia would remain. Hampton Roads economists have said the loss of Norfolk Southern will likely be of a blow to the region’s branding.
The railroad may owe the city of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia repayment of some of more than $4 million in incentives it received two years ago to keep its headquarters in Norfolk.
Virginia Business explored Norfolk Southern’s possible headquarters move — and its potential issues with the 2016 incentives deal — in stories in the December issue and on VirginiaBusiness.com.
Firm receives $1.3 million
Richmond-based startup ARtGlass closed a $1.3 million angel financing round in late November.
The company provides technology used to create augmented reality tours at cultural and historic sites.
Investing in ARtGlass are: CAV Angels, Central Virginia Angels, Charlottesville Angel Network, Trolley Venture Partners and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) GAP Funds. A number of business executives also made investments.
The money will be used to bolster the company’s software platform, enhance intellectual property and scale deployment to additional historic and cultural sites.
Virginia Business looked at ARtGlass’ plans for U.S. expansion in the December issue.2018-12-31T05:00:00+00:00
Five Richmond apartment buildings sell for $1.73 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-richmond-apartment-buildings-sell-for-1.73-million#When:15:38:00ZA group of apartment buildings adjacent to Virginia Union University in North Richmond have been sold for $1.73 million.
CBRE|Richmond said Cao Multiplex LLC bought the 24-unit, five-building complex located at 1808-1830 Thomas St. and 1816 Bath St.
Peyton Cox and Charles Wentworth of CBRE|Richmond represented the seller, Panther Way LLC.
“This off-market transaction is one of the many recent examples that showcase the momentum in the Lower Chamberlayne [Avenue] corridor and the new levels of investment that this submarket is attracting,” Cox said in a statement.
The real estate firm said the new owner plans to upgrade the properties to appeal to the changing tenant tastes in a rapidly transforming submarket.
Located adjacent to the Virginia Union, the buildings are less than three miles from downtown Richmond and I-95.
CBRE|Richmond will become Colliers International on Jan. 1.2018-12-30T15:38:00+00:00
Virginia Beach medical office building sells for $1.65 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-beach-medical-office-building-sells-for-1.65-million#When:15:38:00ZA 7,126-square-foot medical office building in Virginia Beach has been sold for $1.65 million.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer said First Colonial I LLC bought the building at 1020 First Colonial Road as an investment.
The structure, which sits on three-quarters of an acre of land, was sold by Cherry Tree Associates.
John P. Duffy Jr. of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the buyer.
Christine Kaempfe and Tony Weiss, also from Thalhimer, represented the seller.2018-12-30T15:38:00+00:00
Colonial Chevrolet Co. LP renews lease in Portsmouth
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colonial-chevrolet-co.-lp-renews-lease-in-portsmouth#When:15:37:00ZColonial Chevrolet Co. LP has renewed its lease of 20,000 square feet in Portsmouth.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Samuel W. Scott Jr. handled the lease negotiations for the property at 3310 Airline Boulevard.
The commercial real estate firm also announced that Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel has leased a 10,088 square foot office/warehouse facility at 1708 Lambert Court in Chesapeake. Christine Kaempfe handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the tenant and Patrick Mumey represented the landlord.2018-12-30T15:37:00+00:00
Report: Virginia could play key role in East Coast offshore wind supply chain
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-virginia-could-play-key-role-in-east-coast-offshore-wind-supply-chai#When:11:54:00ZA new report creates a roadmap for how Virginia could play a role in developing a supply chain to serve offshore wind projects along the East Coast.
The recommendations include establishing a regional supply chain collaborative with neighboring states, creating a Virginia Office for Offshore Wind, soliciting anchor tenant suppliers and expanding workforce development opportunities.
“Virginia has a clear opportunity to act as a leader in driving the development of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “Growing the supply chain sector at this early stage will prepare Virginia to competitively deliver the development of our own offshore wind resources in the coming years.”
The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) entered into a contract with BVG Associates LLC (BVGA) to develop the report. The report details the pipeline of offshore wind projects along the East Coast and provides insight into the areas the industry’s priorities, including a reliable, broad-based supplier network coupled with regionally optimized logistics.
The report highlights Virginia as advantageous because of its port infrastructure, location, maritime capacity and workforce.
The offshore wind industry is growing rapidly. About 2 GW of power are in place in the Northeast with an additional 3 GW expected in 2019, according to BVGA’s report.
“Supplying the materials, equipment and skilled workforce required to build out currently designated U.S. East Coast wind lease areas is the biggest challenge facing offshore wind developers,” the report states. “Virginia seeks to provide the industry what it needs most through a wide network of supply chain options and the best of what each state in the collaborative has to offer.”
The report says that Virginia’s objective is to capture anchor tenant businesses in the industry’s supply chain, such as foundations and offshore substations.
The report and more information on Virginia’s offshore wind development and supply chain opportunities may be found atwww.vaoffshorewind.org/supply-chain.
New winery coming to Gloucester
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-winery-coming-to-gloucester#When:09:43:00ZA new farm-to-table winery is coming to Gloucester County.
Zoll Vineyards is establishing the winery in Dutton. It will become the second winery on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and the only one in the eastern region.
The vineyard will create 14 new jobs.
Zoll plans to use Virginia grown-grapes, honey and apples to produce wines, meads and cideries.
The vineyard has committed to source 100 percent of its products from Virginia, which will lead to $221,000 in purchases, according to Gov. Ralph Northam.
Owner Frank Zoll, a chef by training, also plans to offer food pairings to winery visitors, featuring meat and produce grown on-site and at other farms across Virginia.
Governor Northam approved a $10,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund for the project, which the Gloucester County Economic Development Authority will match with local funds.2018-12-27T09:43:00+00:00
Inc: Richmond, Virginia Beach top places in US to start a business
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inc-richmond-virginia-beach-top-places-in-us-to-start-a-business#When:15:06:00ZInc. magazine included two Virginia localities on its top 50 places in the U.S. to start a business.
Richmond was ranked 35, getting nods for its startup scene.
Virginia Beach came in at 49 for being a “federal government startup breeding ground.”
The list was created by Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome. The ranking is based off the Surge Cities Score, which ranks the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven indicators—from early-stage funding metrics to job creation.
See the full list here.
Forbes: Virginia home to two of the best U.S. coffee roasters
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/forbes-virginia-home-to-two-of-the-best-u.s.-coffee-roasters#When:09:00:00ZForbes likes its coffee drinks with two shots of Virginia.
The business magazine’s website posted in Nov. a holiday gift guide of the 12 best coffee roasters in the United States that includes two Virginia companies.
The two companies that made the list were Lexington Coffee Roasters and Floyd-based Red Rooster Coffee.
Of Lexington Coffee Roasters, Forbes notes how the Shenandoah Valley company has been in the business of coffee beans since 1990. Lexington Coffee Roasters’ espresso bar off Interstate 81 is “heaven on earth for travelers to and from D.C.”
Further south, Floyd and its smaller population is considered an “improbable spot for a world-class coffee roaster.” Nevertheless, the eight-year-old Red Rooster now has a new roastery and café space down the street from its original space, the Forbes article says. Forbes also commends Red Rooster for commissioning original art for its bags of coffee.2018-12-24T09:00:00+00:00
California firm buys 26-story Norfolk building for $79 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/california-firm-buys-26-story-norfolk-building-for-79-million#When:20:47:00ZA California-based real estate investment firm has bought the 26-story Dominion Tower in Norfolk for $79 million.
The deal represents Hertz Investment Group’s entry in the Norfolk commercial real estate market.
“We really like the market and will be exploring additional opportunities here,” Jim Ingram, the chief investment officer at Hertz, said in a statement.
Based in Woodland Hills, Calif., Hertz owns and manages six properties in the Richmond area, totaling 1.4 million square feet.
The Dominion Tower, which was built in 1989 and remodeled last year, includes 403,276 square feet of Class A office space with an average of 15,800 square feet per floor.
The building is 93 percent leased. Its tenant base includes Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, the law firm Williams Mullen, Harbor Group real estate investments, defense contractor CACI and digital marketer Trader Interactive.
The property also has a café, fitness center, restaurant, wine shop and conference center.
The Hertz portfolio includes 72 properties totaling more than 22 million square feet in 24 cities in 18 states.2018-12-21T20:47:00+00:00
Southern Virginia program designed to hone proposals
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-virginia-program-designed-to-hone-proposals#When:20:20:00ZPeople planning to submit economic development proposals for Southern Virginia are being offered some extra help.
GO Virginia Region 3, a group serving 13 counties and two cities in Southern Virginia, is launching “8 Weeks to Application” in February.
The two-month program will assist individuals and organizations in turning project ideas into strong proposals.
In addition to weekly emails and downloadable worksheets, the program includes two one-on-one coaching calls with economic development experts.
GO Virginia is statewide, business-led economic development initiative that provides funding for projects expected to create high-paying jobs in each of nine regions in the commonwealth
GO Virginia Region 3 includes Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Prince Edward counties and the cities of Danville and Martinsville.
All GO Virginia projects must have support from two or more localities. In addition, all GO Virginia grants must be matched by funds from the federal government, local governments, foundations or the private sector.
Through its Growth and Diversification Plan, Region 3 identified the following priorities:
● Talent development and recruitment.
● Growth industries like advanced manufacturing, natural resource products and IT and data centers.
● Entrepreneurship, small business development and business scale-up.
To sign up for “8 Weeks to Application,” email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program deadline is Jan. 31.2018-12-21T20:20:00+00:00
Virginia’s jobless rate falls to lowest level in 17 years
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-jobless-rate-falls-to-lowest-level-in-17-years#When:18:40:00ZVirginia’s unemployment fell to 2.8 percent in November, its lowest level in more than 17 years.
The November jobless figure represents a decline of one-tenth of a percentage point from 2.9 percent in October.
The latest unemployment rate also is eight-tenths of a percentage point below the 3.6 percent rate recorded in November 2017.
The jobless numbers are based on seasonally adjusted data, meaning they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.
In a statement, Gov. Ralph Northam said that the 2.8 percent rate was evidence that the commonwealth has “made great strides” in putting people to work while attracting more businesses and capital investment.
The governor, however, used the opportunity to tout his budget proposals for more investment in education, workforce training, health care, affordable housing and broadband infrastructure.
“While this news is a positive indicator that Virginia’s economy is strong, we must keep our focus on driving opportunity to all corners of this Commonwealth so everyone can participate our shared success,” he said.
November’s 2.8 percent rate is the lowest seen in Virginia since April 2001. The U.S. unemployment rate for November was 3.7 percent.
Virginia’s November rate was ranked as the sixth lowest in the nation along with Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
The commonwealth’s rate also the lowest among Southeastern states and the third best rate among the states east of the Mississippi.
In November, Virginia’s private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 91,200 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 16,100 jobs.
Virginia’s nonfarm employment increased by 6,600 jobs in November to 4.03 million, the 11th consecutive monthly increase and a new record high.2018-12-21T18:40:00+00:00
Norfolk tourism group taps new leader
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-tourism-group-taps-new-leader#When:18:24:00ZThe Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau (VisitNorfolk) announced on Friday it named Kurt J. Krause as president and CEO of the nonprofit effective Jan. 7.
Krause will take over for Sam Rogers, who has been interim president and chief executive officer since Jan. 8, 2018.
VIsistNorfolk is the official destination marketing nonprofit for the City of Norfolk.
Krause most recently worked as managing director for hotel openings including The Main Hilton in Norfolk, the Oceanfront Hilton in Virginia Beach, The Cavalier in Virginia Beach and the Oceanfront Marriott in Virginia Beach, according to a news release. Krause is a native of Arlington and a graduate of Virginia Tech.
Krause also worked as vice president of business affairs at Virginia Tech and as the senior adviser and executive director for consumer advocacy for the Transportation Security Administration.2018-12-21T18:24:00+00:00
Norfolk Southern paying back Virginia, Norfolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-southern-paying-back-virginia-norfolk#When:16:31:00ZAs Norfolk Southern gears up for its move to Atlanta, it is trying not to burn any bridges in Virginia – and paying the state back more than what the company owes.
Norfolk Southern says it plans by Dec. 31 to repay Virginia $1.925 million and Norfolk $581,575.50 as a way of making good on the performance agreements the company is breaking in relocating its headquarters to Atlanta.
On Wednesday, Norfolk Southern concluded talks with Norfolk and Virginia about settling up the performance agreements, which were to be in effect through 2026, Norfolk Southern spokesman Tom Werner said in an email.
“We recognized that the spirit in which the two agreements were forged was no longer intact, and immediately set about setting things right with the City and the Commonwealth in accordance with our corporate values,” Werner said. “Those discussions progressed easily.”
Stephen Moret, the president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, said in a statement that Norfolk Southern is paying the state more than it is required to pay under the terms of the performance agreement. He said the actual amount Norfolk Southern would have owed depended on how quickly the company ramped down in Norfolk.
“Certainly, they would have owed the majority of the original grant back, but not all of it,” Moret said. “While we are very disappointed about the headquarters move, we are grateful to the company for handling this reimbursement in such a forthright and prompt manner.”
Asked why the company planned to pay more than what it owes to Virginia, the Norfolk Southern spokesman said the company felt it was the right thing to do.
“Sometimes the correct answer isn’t in a spreadsheet,” Werner said.
The 10-year agreements with Virginia and Norfolk were entered into in 2016 as an incentives package so Norfolk Southern would move high-paying, white collar jobs from Roanoke to Norfolk rather than to Atlanta. The company got a $1.925 million grant from Virginia and lined up a $2.5 million parking subsidy with Norfolk.
In return, Norfolk Southern agreed to invest $8.2 million in its Norfolk headquarters and bring 165 jobs to Norfolk that paid an average minimum salary of $97,000 a year.
Last week, James A. Squires, Norfolk Southern’s chairman, president and CEO, announced it would relocate its headquarters to Atlanta. The decision was tied to an Atlanta redevelopment project where a $575 million headquarters will be built for the railroad company.
Last month, Virginia Business reported on the possibility of Norfolk Southern owing Virginia and Norfolk money if it broke the terms of the agreements and what the headquarters relocation would mean for Hampton Roads.
Werner, the Norfolk Southern spokesman, said that officials in Atlanta and Georgia had asked whether the company’s agreements with Virginia and Norfolk would be an impediment to its decision to move. He said the topic was discussed but never part of negotiating the move to Atlanta.
“As rumors of our move surfaced in the news, so too did the existence of the agreements and the obligations therein,” Werner said. “We indicated that those agreements would be handled between Norfolk Southern, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk.”
Werner said key Norfolk Southern executives and about 100 employees are planned to begin moving to temporary offices in Atlanta at the beginning of summer 2019. The headquarters move is planned to be completed in summer 2021.
Despite its headquarters relocation, Norfolk Southern, a major charitable giver in Hampton Roads, won’t be cutting ties completely with Virginia. The company is working on finalizing a plan for its Virginia donations in the coming years.
“While our donations will likely change, as a whole they won’t stop,” Werner said. “Norfolk and Virginia are, and will remain, key components of the Norfolk Southern transportation network, and we will continue to support the communities in which we operate – Norfolk and Virginia included.”
The City of Norfolk did not respond to a request for comment for this story.2018-12-21T16:31:00+00:00
Danville to get 500 new jobs
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-to-get-500-new-jobs#When:21:58:00ZPRA Group Inc. plans to make a capital investment of $15.1 million to establish a new call center in Danville.
Virginia successfully competed with multiple states for the investment, which is planned to create 500 jobs, announced Gov. Ralph Northam’s office on Thursday. PRA Group is a global company that acquires and collects nonperforming loans.
Northam said in the announcement that PRA Group would bring a shuttered asset in the Airside Industrial Park back into productive use. The building PRA Group is moving into is the former Televista building on Crane Creek Boulevard, according to a report from The News & Advance.
Northam approved a $1.5 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help Danville with the project.
The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved a $1.665 million grant as well as a $1.665 million loan for the project.
PRA Group is eligible to get benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide PRA Group with funding and services for employee training activities.2018-12-20T21:58:00+00:00
McAirlaid’s Inc. to expand production in Franklin County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mcairlaids-inc.-to-expand-production-in-franklin-county#When:19:11:00ZMcAirlaid’s Inc. plans to increase production at its manufacturing facility in Franklin County.
The $7.8 million expansion project is expected to create 25 additional jobs at the site, which currently employees 128 workers.
McAirlaid’s Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of Germany-based McAirlaid’s Vliesstoffe GmbH. Virginia competed with Germany for the expansion project.
Founded in 1997, McAirlaid’s Vliesstoffe GmbH is a global producer and distributor of airlaid, a textile-like material made from nonwoven fabric.
The company’s absorbent airlaid product is used in a variety of food packaging, retail, medical, personal hygiene and filtration applications.
The Franklin County plant was opened in 2006.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Franklin County to secure the project.
Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $75,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund.
In addition, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved a $60,000 Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund grant as well as a $60,000 loan for the project.
Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. McAirlaid’s is also eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on equipment associated with the project.2018-12-20T19:11:00+00:00
Advance Auto Parts renews lease for Roanoke store support center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/advance-auto-parts-renews-lease-for-roanoke-store-support-center#When:18:26:00ZAdvance Auto Parts has officially moved its headquarters from Roanoke to North Carolina, but the retailer will still have a presence in the Star City.
The company, which recently moved its headquarters to Raleigh, also has renewed a lease for its Roanoke store support center. The 265,347 square-foot facility is located at 5002 Airport Road. Roughly 600 employees work there. The company was founded in the ‘30s in Roanoke.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Barry Ward and Price Gutshall handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.2018-12-20T18:26:00+00:00