1563857151 Virginia Business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/ Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community en rfoster@virginiabusiness.com Copyright 2019 2019-07-22T15:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ace-hardware-distribution-center-sells-for-21.7-mil Ace Hardware distribution center sells for $21.7 mil http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ace-hardware-distribution-center-sells-for-21.7-mil http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ace-hardware-distribution-center-sells-for-21.7-mil#When:15:54:00Z The largest vacant building in the mid-Atlantic — a 798,786-square-foot former Ace Hardware distribution facility in Prince George County along Interstate 295 — sold for $21.72 million last week to an investment group that will upgrade the facility and market it as the Virginia Gateway Logistics Center. “We are seeking a single occupier,” says Bobby Phillips, first vice president with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which negotiated the sale to Ashley Capital. The building is situated on 155.4 acres in Prince George, east of Petersburg. Cushman & Wakefield is in the process of seeking tenants for the property. “It’s a cross-dock facility,” Phillips says, “so you can move material through that building very easily.” Ace Hardware vacated the center, which opened in 2001, as part of a restructuring of its East Coast distribution network. 2019-07-22T15:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tysons-based-gannett-co.-may-be-acquired-by-rival Tysons-based Gannett Co. may be acquired by rival http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tysons-based-gannett-co.-may-be-acquired-by-rival http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tysons-based-gannett-co.-may-be-acquired-by-rival#When:22:09:00Z A prospective merger between two media rivals — Tysons-based Gannett Co. Inc. and GateHouse Media LLC — would likely create the largest newspaper group in the United States by titles owned and circulation. Terms of the proposed deal have not been disclosed. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that GateHouse is in talks to acquire Gannett via a cash-and-stock deal. The combined papers own 265 U.S. daily newspapers with a combined circulation of 8.7 million. There appear to be few obstacles to the proposed merger, which would combine to own one-sixth of all newspapers in the United States, writes Ken Doctor, president of San Francisco-based Newsonomics. “The next largest circulation is McClatchy, well behind at 1.7 million.” Each owns Virginia-based newspapers. Gannett owns Tysons-based USA Today as well as The News Leader in Staunton, while GateHouse’s sizeable portfolio includes Richmond-based Virginia Lawyers Weekly and The Progress-Index of Petersburg. GateHouse Media operates in 615 markets across 39 states, according to its website. A 2017 report noted that Gannett owned 20 of the 100 top newspapers by circulation at that time. Financial figures for GateHouse Media’s parent company, New Media Investment Group, speak to the challenging market for newspapers and the potential advantages of a merger. New Media Investment reported $387.6 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2019, and a net income loss of $9.3 million. Gannett, meanwhile, reported $664.4 million in revenue for the same quarter and a net loss of $11.9 million. Bob Kelley, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business, points to the shared benefits of the merger. “You try to acquire new capabilities that you don’t have. You’re trying to innovate without innovating within,” he says. “It just gives you better bargaining power.” Bill Oglesby, an associate professor at VCU’s Richard C. Robertson School of Media and Culture, says the merger of the two companies makes sound business sense because of the economies of scale. Yet, it signals a reduction of media jobs ahead. “The bottom line is there [will be] fewer jobs and less competition,” he says. The speculative deal, as posited by Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute, could mean a narrowing of local news reporting and smaller media operations. “I am not betting … on the resurrection of true local reports [in] the 250-plus daily markets the merged company would control,” Edmonds writes. 2019-07-19T22:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-unemployment-inches-downward-leading-southeast State unemployment inches downward, leading Southeast http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-unemployment-inches-downward-leading-southeast http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-unemployment-inches-downward-leading-southeast#When:20:13:00Z Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.9% in June, down from 3% the previous month, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The seasonally adjusted number decreased by 0.1% from June 2018. It’s the 12th consecutive month the commonwealth’s labor market has shown growth. “This report is a great sign that our efforts to build an inclusive and diverse economy are yielding positive results, whether reflected by the decrease in our unemployment rate, the continued growth of our labor force, or Virginia reclaiming the title of ‘Top State for Business’ in CNBC’s annual ranking announced earlier this month,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states and the third-best percentage among states east of the Mississippi, along with Wisconsin. The commonwealth is ranked sixth-lowest in the nation for unemployment. Megan Healy, the state’s chief workforce development advisor, says that “more Virginians than ever are earning skills that prepare them for quality jobs in high-demand industries.” In June, the private sector in the commonwealth recorded a gain of 26,600 jobs over the last year, while employment in Virginia’s public sector increased as well, by 1,000 jobs. “My administration will stay focused on attracting new capital investment,” Northam says, “supporting existing companies looking to expand in Virginia, creating well-paying jobs, and bolstering our workforce so that we can keep our economic momentum moving forward and ensure that all communities, and all Virginians have an opportunity to share in the commonwealth’s success.” 2019-07-19T20:13:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/neustar-to-continue-to-operate-.us-domain Neustar to continue to operate .US domain http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/neustar-to-continue-to-operate-.us-domain http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/neustar-to-continue-to-operate-.us-domain#When:20:32:00Z Sterling-based Neustar Inc. has been selected to continue operating the official country code domain of the United States (.US)  for up to 10 years, until 2029. The 10-year contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Neustar has administered the .US domain since 2001 when the Department of Commerce selected the company to launch and manage it. Neustar serves as the registry partner for Colombia’s .CO domain, India’s .IN domain and New York City’s .NYC domain. 2019-07-18T20:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-office-to-promote-outdoor-recreation State office to promote outdoor recreation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-office-to-promote-outdoor-recreation http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-office-to-promote-outdoor-recreation#When:20:28:00Z Gov. Ralph Northam has created a state office to promote Virginia’s outdoor recreation industry. The Office of Outdoor Recreation will assist an industry that contributes nearly $22 billion annually to the Virginia economy and employs more than 197,000 people. Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Cassidy Rasnick will serve as the office's director. It will be staffed by agencies currently working to promote Virginia’s outdoor assets. The office is involved in efforts to recruit manufacturers of outdoor products such as kayaks, bicycles and gear to locate or expand in Virginia. Virginia is the 15th state in the nation — and the third on the East Coast — to establish an office or task force dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation industry. 2019-07-18T20:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-adding-new-fulfillment-center-150-jobs-in-richmond Amazon adding $10 mil fulfillment center, 150 jobs in Richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-adding-new-fulfillment-center-150-jobs-in-richmond http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-adding-new-fulfillment-center-150-jobs-in-richmond#When:20:58:00Z E-commerce behemoth Amazon continues to deepen its statewide footprint with plans to open a new, 460-000-plus-square-foot fulfillment and delivery center in Richmond, according to an announcement today from Gov. Ralph Northam. Amazon will invest $10 million and bring 150 jobs to the city, adding to more than 10,000 positions statewide. The facility will locate in speculative warehouse space built by Panattoni Development Co. of Newport Beach, Calif., according to John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We look forward to Amazon’s growth and the overall growth of e-commerce in Richmond by leveraging our relationship with the Virginia Port Authority, our transportation network, and our strategic Mid-Atlantic location,” says Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. Bill Hudgins, a senior development manager for Panattoni, says Amazon is scheduled to move into its 461,700-square-foot warehouse space next to the Richmond Marine Terminal on Oct. 14. Brother International, a New Jersey company, leases the neighboring space on the 63-acre Commerce Road parcel. “They’re almost identical,” Hudgins says of the two buildings, adding , “We are going a mile a minute out there to build out the space the way [Amazon wants] it.” Panattoni began building last year on a 62-acre parcel next to the Richmond Marine Terminal. The 1-million-square-foot speculative warehouse rates as the largest development of its kind in the region. “Amazon has selected a distribution site that provides it with easy access to its cargo via Richmond Marine Terminal and to its customers via Interstate 95,” Reinhart says. Amazon’s Virginia fulfillment operations launched in 2013. Since then, the company has grown its workforce in the state to more than 10,000 full-time employees. Amazon currently operates 10 fulfillment and sorting centers, as well as delivery stations in Ashland, Chesapeake, Chester, Clear Brook, Petersburg, Richmond, Springfield and Sterling. “The region has become a hub for the global logistics and distribution industry, providing businesses direct connectivity to customers on the East Coast,” says state Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. Amazon chose Virginia as the location for its $5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters, which is expected to create 25,000 jobs and fill 6 million square feet of office space in Arlington and Alexandria over the next decade. 2019-07-17T20:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-expands-into-pennsylvania Hilb Group expands into Pennsylvania http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-expands-into-pennsylvania http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilb-group-expands-into-pennsylvania#When:20:38:00Z The Hilb Group LLC, a middle-market insurance brokerage based in Richmond, has expanded into Pennsylvania. On July 1, the company acquired the Greenwald Berk Agency LLC (GBA), which is based in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Hilb Group now has more than 80 offices in 20 states. GBA offers a range of business insurance, personal insurance and life/health products and services. Bob Greenwald, the agency’s leader, will continue to lead its operations from the Kingston location. “This deal allows GBA to maintain its reputation as a premier agency in the area by expanding the resources available to our clients and associates,” Greenwald said in a statement. The Hilb Group is a portfolio company of Abry Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm. 2019-07-17T20:38:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-lottery-reaps-record-profits-year Virginia Lottery reaps record profits year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-lottery-reaps-record-profits-year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-lottery-reaps-record-profits-year#When:20:29:00Z The Virginia Lottery had sales of more than $2.29 billion and profits of nearly $650 million in its last fiscal year, representing a new record for the state lottery. Profits recorded for the 2019 fiscal year, which ended June 30, are 7% higher than the previous record, set in fiscal 2018, of $606 million. The final, audited results will be released in August. Lottery revenue represents about 10% of Virginia’s education budget. The Virginia Constitution requires that all lottery profits be deposited in the Lottery Proceeds Fund, from which the General Assembly makes appropriations for K-12 public education programs. About 5,300 Virginia retailers sell lottery tickets, earning nearly $130 million in commissions and incentives in FY 2019. Lottery players won more than $1.4 billion in prizes in fiscal 2019, including 45 tickets that each won at least $1 million. Virginia’s two biggest wins of the year were both for $10 million. 2019-07-17T20:29:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Ashton_Square.jpg The 372-unit Ashton Square was sold for $20.75 million. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multifamily-properties-sell-n-richmond-and-lynchburg Multifamily properties sell in Richmond and Lynchburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multifamily-properties-sell-n-richmond-and-lynchburg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/multifamily-properties-sell-n-richmond-and-lynchburg#When:20:18:00Z The commercial real estate firm Berkadia has announced sales totaling just under $34 million for three multifamily properties in Virginia. The properties were Ashton Square and Westover Hills in Richmond and Old Mill Townhomes in Lynchburg. Senior Directors Alan Meetze and David Hudgins of Berkadia’s Newport News office led the transactions.  Ashton Square was sold for $20.75 million, or $55,780 per unit, by Ashton Square Apartments GP LLC. The buyer was Seminole Trail Annex LLC. Berkadia team represented the seller. The 372-unit, three-story property was built in 1964 and is located at 603 Westover Hills Blvd in South Side Richmond. Westover Hills is a 38-unit multifamily property which sold for $2.47 million, or $65,000 per unit. It is located next door to Ashton Square at 602 Westover Hills Blvd. The seller was Richmond-based Thalhimer Realty Partners. Seminole Trail Annex was again the buyer. Old Mill Townhomes is 156-unit property located at 725 Mill Stream Lane in Lynchburg. Built in 1975, the property sold for $10.75 million, $68,910 per unit, to Old Mill Acquisitions. Berkadia represented the seller, Richmond-based DD Overlook LLC. Berkadia is a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group. 2019-07-17T20:18:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-ranked-among-colleges-that-pay-off-the-most Virginia schools ranked among colleges that ‘pay off the most’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-ranked-among-colleges-that-pay-off-the-most http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-schools-ranked-among-colleges-that-pay-off-the-most#When:20:14:00Z The College of William & Mary, the University of Virginia and Washington & Lee University are ranked among the 50 colleges providing students the highest average salaries for their tuition dollars. CNBC compiled its initial list of the top 50 U.S. colleges that pay off the most by comparing the average net cost of tuition at a school with the median salaries earned by their alumni. The 50 universities were in two groups of 25 each: private and public universities. William & Mary ranked seventh among public universities, while U.Va. tied for 17th with California State University Maritime Academy. Washington & Lee was 11th among private universities. CNBC’s methodology involved identifying the net cost for a typical U.S. student to attend each school. The cost includes tuition, fees, books, supplies and other expenses — after subtracting scholarships and grants. For example, the list showed the average net cost for a student from a family earning $48,001 to $75,000 to attend William & Mary was $11,320 year. The median salary for W&M alumni with up to five years of work experience is $57,100 and $113,600 for those with 10 years or more of experience, according to the CNBC report.  Stanford University was the top school among private universities on the list, while the University of Washington-Seattle led the public universities. Photo courtesy College of William & Mary 2019-07-16T20:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/4500-acres-in-albemarle-placed-in-conservation-easement 4,500 acres in Albemarle placed in conservation easement http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/4500-acres-in-albemarle-placed-in-conservation-easement http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/4500-acres-in-albemarle-placed-in-conservation-easement#When:20:54:00Z About seven square miles of Albemarle County land not far from Monticello have been protected from development by a conservation easement. The property, 4,500 acres known as “Presidential Estates,” was donated by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. The easement. forfeits all development rights, ensuring that the land will remain in timber and farmland. The property is visible from Monticello. In a June letter thanking the Justice family for the easement decision, Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns Monticello, said that development of the property would have had “a devasting impact on the viewshed from Monticello and would negatively impact the historic setting experienced by our visitors.” The Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority accepted the easement on April 11 and formalized its acceptance last week. 2019-07-15T20:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bearings-company-expanding-in-powhatan Bearings company expanding in Powhatan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bearings-company-expanding-in-powhatan http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bearings-company-expanding-in-powhatan#When:15:48:00Z Lignum Vitae North America is expanding in Powhatan County. A producer of water-lubricated bearings for industries including marine, hydropower, wind energy and water treatment, the company is expanding to include a new 13,000-square-foot research and production facility, according to Powhatan County Economic Development. The facility, which will cost roughly $1 million, will house engineering, design, sales and marketing operations under one roof. Lignum Vitae North America has also hired two additional employees for sales who will cover the U.S. and Canada. It now has seven full-time employees. The Powhatan firm’s bearings are made of lignum vitae hardwood, a unique species of wood from Central America. Bob Shortridge Sr., the owner and president of Lignum Vitae, has been creating the bearings since 2008. 2019-07-15T15:48:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/tysonsapts.png Photo courtesy WPC. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-property-co.-plans-700-apartments-in-tysons Washington Property Co. plans 700 apartments in Tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-property-co.-plans-700-apartments-in-tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/washington-property-co.-plans-700-apartments-in-tysons#When:15:41:00Z Bethesda, Maryland-based Washington Property Co. (WPC) plans to develop about 700 apartments in Tysons. WPC plans to build on a 5.2-acre parcel of land bought from an unnamed private equity firm, which was represented by John Sheridan of CBRE Group Inc. The sales price was not disclosed. The parcel, located on the southwest corner of Westpark and Westbranch drives,  is part of the 19-acre Arbor Row neighborhood in which mixed-use development is replacing 1970s-era office buildings. Arbor Row is expected to soon have more than 3,000 residences and more than 40,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. WPC expects to break ground in 12 to 24 months on twin mid-rise apartment buildings, with a total of approximately 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The apartments will carry WPC’s Solaire brand. The Tysons development will be WPC’s sixth Solaire-branded community and its first in Virginia. 2019-07-15T15:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Willow_View_Townhomes.jpg Bellwether Enterprise http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-affordable-housing-community-to-get-rehab Staunton affordable-housing community to get rehab http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-affordable-housing-community-to-get-rehab http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/staunton-affordable-housing-community-to-get-rehab#When:15:34:00Z An affordable housing complex at 102 Baylor St. in Staunton will see extensive renovations under its new owner, LEDIC Realty Co. Memphis, Tennessee-based LEDIC has received a $10.1 million loan from Cleveland-based Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital LLC to purchase and renovate Willow View Townhomes. The community has 110 residences, including 18 townhomes and one-story garden-style residential buildings. Willow View is located on 11.7 acres near the Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson national forests. In addition to the residences, the complex includes a community building and three playgrounds. Knoxville, Tennessee-based Empire Construction is renovating the property. The rehabilitation started in April and is set to be completed by May 2020. The financing plan includes short-term tax-exempt bonds issued by the Staunton Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and 4% low-income housing tax credits allocated through the Virginia Housing Development Authority. 2019-07-15T15:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/amazonarlingtonrendering.jpg CNBC cited Virginia’s landing of Amazon’s second headquarters as a leading factor in the decision. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cnbc-scores-virginia-top-state-for-business CNBC scores Virginia ‘Top State for Business’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cnbc-scores-virginia-top-state-for-business http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cnbc-scores-virginia-top-state-for-business#When:14:34:00Z In a rebound from recent years, Virginia edged out Texas as the nation’s top state for business in CNBC’s annual rankings released Wednesday. CNBC’s 2019 America’s Top States for Business study cited Virginia’s landing of Amazon’s $5 billion HQ2 project in Arlington and Alexandria as a leading factor in the decision. The largest economic development project in Virginia history, Amazon’s HQ2 East Coast headquarters will employ 25,000 workers within the next decade. “By the numbers, Virginia is not only the best state for Amazon; it is America’s Top State for Business,” CNBC wrote in an article announcing Virginia’s top ranking. “The state has the nation’s best workforce, including the fourth-highest concentration of science, technology, education and math (STEM) workers. Strong school test scores, small class sizes and a wealth of colleges and universities make Virginia’s education system the best in the nation. And with Virginia Tech University announcing plans to build a new campus adjacent to Amazon’s HQ2 focused on innovation, things could get even better.” Virginia has secured more than $18.5 billion in statewide capital investment and seen 50,000 new jobs added since 2018, and has topped CNBC’s annual list four times. The last time Virginia was ranked No. 1 was in 2011, and the state sank to 13th place in 2016, climbing back up to fourth in last year’s rankings. Virginia scored 1,610 out of 2,500 possible points in CNBC’s 2019 Top States for Business study, compared to 1,589 for Texas, which took second place. Virginia and Texas are tied as the Top States report's all-time winners, with four wins each since CNBC began the annual study in 2007. “I am proud to bring the title of America’s top state for business back to Virginia,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “One of my primary goals has been to make Virginia the No. 1 place to do business, and to do it in a way that benefits all Virginians and every region of the commonwealth. This recognition underscores our work to build an inclusive and diversified economy, invest in our workforce and create quality jobs — and is proof that companies of many different sizes and industries can find a home in Virginia.” Victor Hoskins, who was recently named president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, was a key negotiator last year in landing Amazon HQ2 in his role as director of Arlington County Economic Development. “Over the past decade Virginia has worked toward being a great place for all businesses to thrive,” Hoskins said in a statement released Tuesday. “The consistent local and state investment in education, the outstanding commitment of the state to workforce training, and the consistent corporate tax environment of the last 30-plus years has really created a very strong pro-business environment that is matched at the local level. One of the things that’s very unique about the state of Virginia is that there’s an extremely strong collaboration between the state, regional and local entities and I think that makes a huge difference.” CNBC bases its rankings on 64 metrics in 10 categories, including workforce, education, quality of life, access to capital, business friendliness and cost of living. Virginia scored first in workforce, which is based on the education levels and concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training among each state’s workers, as well as union membership and right-to-work laws. The state also topped the education category, which takes into account the number of higher education institutions in each state as well as other factors such as K-12 test scores, class sizes and education spending. Rendering courtesy Arlington County.  2019-07-10T14:34:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-and-ceo-tapped-at-richmond-international-airport New President and CEO tapped at Richmond International Airport http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-and-ceo-tapped-at-richmond-international-airport http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-president-and-ceo-tapped-at-richmond-international-airport#When:00:07:00Z The Capital Region Airport Commission announced Tuesday that it has tapped Perry J. Miller as the new president and CEO of Richmond International Aiport. Miller, who starts work on Aug. 19, comes from Jackson, Mississippi, where he has served as interim CEO of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority since March. With more than 25 years of experience in management for the Houston Airport System, Miller is the former manager of the Ellington and William P. Hobby airports and also worked as interim manager of the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. He holds a master's degree in transportation planning and management from Texas Southern University and is on the board of directors for the American Association of Airport Executives. He was selected through a national search conducted by Chicago-based Aviation Career Services. "On behalf of the board of commissioners, I am pleased to introduce Perry Miller as our new CEO," said the commission's chair, Patricia O'Bannon, in a statement released by the airport Tuesday. "He brings extensive airport management expertise to RIC, which he has gained during a lifelong career where he has excelled in a wide range of airport management positions." Miller succeeds Jon Mathiasen, who is retiring after leading Richmond's airport since 2000. The airport handles more than four million passengers per year and generates $2.1 billion in annual economic activity for the Richmond region. Photo courtesy Richmond International Airport   2019-07-10T00:07:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/northrop-grumman-ceo-named-chairman-of-its-board Northrop Grumman CEO named chairman of its board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/northrop-grumman-ceo-named-chairman-of-its-board http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/northrop-grumman-ceo-named-chairman-of-its-board#When:19:26:00Z Kathy J. Warden, the CEO of Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman Corp., has been elected chairman of its board of directors. The change will take effect on Aug 1. She succeeds Wes Bush, the company’s former CEO, who has been chairman since July 2011. Bush will retire from the company and resign from the board on July 31. Warden became CEO and president of the aerospace and defense technology company on Jan 1. She was elected to the board of directors in 2018. Before becoming CEO, Warden was president and chief operating officer of the company, responsible for the operational management of its four operating sectors as well as its enterprise services organization. 2019-07-09T19:26:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-names-assistant-portfolio-manager Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer names assistant portfolio manager http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-names-assistant-portfolio-manager http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-names-assistant-portfolio-manager#When:16:42:00Z Anna W. Hudson has joined he commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer as assistant portfolio manager in its Roanoke office. Hudson is a University of Mary Washington graduate with more than 12 years of experience. Before joining Thalhimer’s Commercial Property Services Group, she was a sales and service representative for First Citizens Bank. Photo courtesy Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer 2019-07-09T16:42:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-virginia-consumers-worried-about-affording-health-care Survey finds Virginia consumers worried about affording health care http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-virginia-consumers-worried-about-affording-health-care http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/survey-finds-virginia-consumers-worried-about-affording-health-care#When:15:41:00Z A survey of Virginia adults finds that more than half have had problems affording health care during the last year. The Virginia Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey also found that 78% of its 1,100 respondents worry about affording health care in the future. The survey results were presented on Tuesday by Lynn Quincy, director of the Healthcare Value Hub at Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting firm, at a meeting of the Virginia Center for Health Innovation’s board and leadership council in Richmond. The survey was conducted March 12 to April 2. Fifty-five percent of the respondents reported they had encountered recent health-care affordability problems. The issues they cited by respondents included: being uninsured because of high premium costs (64%); delaying or forgoing care because of cost (46%); and struggling to pay medical bills (30%).  An overwhelming majority (91%) said they want access to information showing a “fair” price for specific procedures while 89% support requiring insurers to provide upfront cost estimates to consumers. Other findings include: • Health care exceeded other issues as the top priority policymakers should work on in the coming year (63%), with the economy/joblessness (39%) and taxes (37%) as next most important. • The top three health-care priorities respondents want to see action on are addressing high costs (55%); preserving consumer protections (36%); and getting health insurance to those who cannot afford coverage (35%). • High support for government-led change crosses party lines. The majority of respondents - regardless of political affiliation - indicated they supported government action to make it easier to switch insurance (89%); and requiring up-front patient cost estimates from healthcare providers (88%) and insurers (90%). • Concerns about healthcare affordability varied by health planning region and income level. Individuals in the Southwest region reported the greatest rate (63%) of healthcare affordability burdens and lowest median income. By contrast, the Northern region reported the fewest affordability burdens (41%) and the highest median income.  • The data also show that one in three respondents with private health insurance received a surprise medical bill. Three-quarters of bill recipients made an effort to resolve the bill before paying it, but only one-third of surprise medical bills were resolved satisfactorily.  “These data confirm what we already knew anecdotally,” says Lynn Quincy, director of Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub. “Virginians experience healthcare affordability problems and surprise medical bills at an alarming rate. Virginia residents would benefit significantly from state actions to alleviate these unfair and burdensome healthcare affordability problems.” Advocates agree that even with Medicaid expansion, healthcare affordability is still a top issue for all Virginians. The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) has advocated for improved healthcare access for Virginia consumers - especially low-income consumers - for decades. Jill Hanken, VPLC health attorney, says, "The ACA Marketplace and Virginia's new Medicaid expansion have helped over 600,000 Virginians get health insurance.  But there are still many legitimate and urgent concerns about healthcare costs, access to services and medical debt. This survey offers important support for new initiatives in Virginia to, for example, address premium costs and balance billing."  The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) has produced research and analyses on health care issues affecting low- and moderate-income Virginians since being founded over a decade ago and was an early voice advocating for Medicaid expansion. TCI President and CEO Michael Cassidy noted that “the release of these survey results offer evidence that Virginia still has work to do in order to meet the health needs of all of those who live in the state. TCI is committed to continuing the work of identifying and advocating for policy solutions that advance equitable health access, affordability, and outcomes for Virginia families.” “What is apparent to me from the CHESS findings is that Virginians are hungry for more information and tools to help them navigate the healthcare system to get the best care at the best value. They are also willing to take ownership of their health, with 60% agreeing that they could take better care of their personal health to help reduce affordability burdens,” says Beth Bortz, VCHI’s President and CEO. “Everyone has a role to play to reduce healthcare costs and improve value. Providing consumers and health providers with information on the value of certain health care services is at the core of VCHI’s Smarter Care Virginia project and our Health Value Dashboard reports. We were thrilled to partner with the Altarum Healthcare Value Hub as the CHESS complements our existing work and offers another piece to the value puzzle.” The data briefs are available at:  vahealthinnovation.org/virginia-chess and healthcarevaluehub.org/Virginia-2019-Health-Survey   2019-07-09T15:41:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/employers-enlisted-in-effort-to-reduce-low-value-health-services Employers enlisted in effort to reduce ‘low-value’ health services http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/employers-enlisted-in-effort-to-reduce-low-value-health-services http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/employers-enlisted-in-effort-to-reduce-low-value-health-services#When:15:08:00Z A task force group of Virginia employers has been created as part of the commonwealth’s effort to reduce the use of “low-value” health services — medical tests and procedures that research shows add little or no value to many treatments while potentially leading to patient harm and higher health costs. In March, the Richmond-based Virginia Center for Health Innovation began a pilot program, Smarter Care Virginia, aimed at reducing use of these services. The project, funded by a $2.2 million grant, already involves six Virginia health systems and three clinical networks. In partnership with Virginia Health Information (VHI) and Milliman MedInsight, VCHI began tracking low-value health care in 2013 using claims data from the commonwealth’s All Payer Claims Database and the Health Waste Calculator tool. Using 2017 claims data for 5 million Virginians, the VCHI/VHI low-value services report identified 2.07 million unnecessary services. The employer task force announced Tuesday by Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Daniel Carey includes public and private employers. It is expected to help other employers throughout the state become involved in the project. Carey will co-chair the group with Robert Blue, executive vice president and president and CEO of Dominion Energy's Power Delivery Group.  Other task force members include: • Chris Beckford, president and CEO, eTranservices • Doug Bish, associate professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech • Carlos Del Toro, president and CEO, SBG Technology Solutions • Emily Elliott, director, Virginia Department of Human Resource Management • Wina Giddens, director, Benefits & HRIS, The Port of Virginia • Farrell Hanzaker, CFO, Virginia Beach City Public Schools • Dean Lynch, executive director, Virginia Association of Counties • Clayton Medford, vice president of government Affairs, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce • Starr Oliver, senior executive vice president, chief marketing and HR officer, TowneBank • Nicole Riley, Virginia state director, NFIB • Lisa Swaney, chief human resource officer, Smithfield Foods • Meredith Touchstone, director, benefits, Carmax • Matthew Turner, vice president, Global Total Rewards, HRIS, and People Analytics, Genworth 2019-07-09T15:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engineering-and-it-schools-directory-2019 Engineering and IT schools directory http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engineering-and-it-schools-directory-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/engineering-and-it-schools-directory-2019#When:13:00:00Z PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (based in Virginia) Christopher Newport University Newport News (757) 594-7000 cnu.edu/pcs College of William & Mary Williamsburg (757) 221-4000 wm.edu George Mason University  Volgenau School of Engineering Fairfax (703) 993-1511 volgenau.gmu.edu James Madison University  College of Integrated Science and Engineering Harrisonburg (540) 568-8841  cise.jmu.edu Longwood University Farmville (434) 395-2000 longwood.edu Norfolk State University College of Science, Engineering and Technology Norfolk (757) 823-8180 nsu.edu/cset Old Dominion University  Batten College of Engineering and Technology Norfolk  Phone: (757) 683-3789 odu.edu/eng Radford University  Artis College of Science and Technology   Radford (540) 831-5958 radford.edu Richard Bland College of William & Mary  Petersburg  (804) 862-6100 rbc.edu University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg (540) 654-1000 umw.edu University of Virginia  School of Engineering and Applied Science Charlottesville (434) 924-3072 engineering.virginia.edu University of Virginia’s College at Wise Wise (276) 328-0102 wise.virginia.edu Virginia Commonwealth University  College of Engineering Richmond (804) 828-3925 egr.vcu.edu Virginia Military Institute Lexington  (540) 464-7766  vmi.edu Virginia State University College of Engineering and Technology  Petersburg (804) 524-1141 cet.vsu.edu Virginia Tech  College of Engineering Blacksburg (540) 231-6641 eng.vt.edu PRIVATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (with a Virginia campus) American National University  Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Roanoke Valley, Salem  (888) 956-2732 an.edu  Averett University Danville (434) 791-5600 averett.edu  Bluefield College Bluefield (800) 872-0176 bluefield.edu Bridgewater College Bridgewater (540) 828-8000 bridgewater.edu DeVry University College of Engineering & Information Sciences Arlington, Chesapeake (866) 338-7934 devry.edu  Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg (540) 432-4000 emu.edu ECPI University  College of Technology Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Manassas, Virginia Beach   (844) 334-4466 ecpi.edu Emory & Henry College Emory (276) 944-4121 ehc.edu Ferrum College  School of Social Sciences and Professional Studies Ferrum (800) 868-9797 ferrum.edu The George Washington University  Virginia Science & Technology Campus Ashburn  (571) 553-8200  virginia.gwu.edu Hampden-Sydney College Hampden-Sydney (434) 223-6000 hsc.edu Hampton University  School of Engineering & Technology  Hampton (757) 728-6970  set.hamptonu.edu Hollins University   Roanoke (800) 456-9595 hollins.edu Liberty University School of Engineering Lynchburg (434) 592-7150 liberty.edu Mary Baldwin University  Staunton  (540) 887-7019 marybaldwin.edu Marymount University   Arlington (703) 522-5600 marymount.edu Randolph College  Lynchburg  (434) 947-8000 randolphcollege.edu Randolph-Macon College Ashland (800) 888-1762 rmc.edu Regent University Virginia Beach (800) 373-5504 regent.edu  Roanoke College Salem (540) 375-2500 roanoke.edu Shenandoah University Winchester (540) 665-45006 su.edu Stratford University   School of Computer Science & Information Technology Alexandria, Falls Church, Newport News, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Woodbridge (800) 444-0804 stratford.edu Strayer University   Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Glen Allen, Midlothian, Manassas, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Woodbridge  (877) 445-7180 strayer.edu Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar (434) 381-6100 sbc.edu University of Fairfax (online) Salem  (888) 980-9151 ufairfax.edu University of Lynchburg   Lynchburg (800) 426-8101 lynchburg.edu University of Richmond Richmond (804) 289-8000 richmond.edu Virginia Union University  School of Mathematics,  Science, and Technology Richmond (804) 257-5600 vuu.edu Virginia Wesleyan University Virginia Beach (757) 455-3200 vwu.edu Washington and Lee University Lexington (540) 458-8400 wlu.edu   COMMUNITY COLLEGES Blue Ridge Community College Weyers Cave (540) 234-9261 brcc.edu Central Virginia Community College Lynchburg (434) 832-7466 centralvirginia.edu Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Clifton Forge (540) 863-2800 dslcc.edu Danville Community College Danville (434) 797-2222 danville.edu Eastern Shore Community College Melfa (757) 789-1789 es.vccs.edu Germanna Community College Fredericksburg, Locust Grove (540) 891-3000 germanna.edu John Tyler Community College Chester, Midlothian (804) 796-4000 jtcc.edu Lord Fairfax Community College Middletown, Warrenton  (540) 351-1505 lfcc.edu Mountain Empire Community College Big Stone Gap (276) 523-2400 mecc.edu New River Community College Dublin (540) 674-3600 nr.edu Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria, Annandale, Manassas, Springfield, Sterling,Woodbridge    (703) 323-3000 nvcc.edu Patrick Henry Community College Martinsville (276) 656-0284 ph.vccs.edu Paul D. Camp Community College Franklin, Suffolk  (757) 569-6700 pdc.edu Piedmont Virginia Community College Charlottesville (434) 977-3900 pvcc.edu Rappahannock Community College Glenns, Warsaw (804) 758-6700 rappahannock.edu Reynolds Community College Richmond, Goochland (804) 371-3000 reynolds.edu Southside Virginia Community College Alberta, Keysville (434) 949-1000 southside.edu Southwest Virginia Community College Cedar Bluff  (276) 964-2555 sw.edu Thomas Nelson Community College Hampton, Williamsburg   (757) 825-2700 tncc.edu Tidewater Community College Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach  (757) 822-1122  tcc.edu Virginia Highlands Community College  Abingdon (276) 739-2400 vhcc.edu Virginia Western Community College Roanoke (540) 857-8922 virginiawestern.edu Wytheville Community College Wytheville (276) 223-4700 wcc.vccs.edu 2019-07-09T13:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/s.-l.-nusbaum-announces-promotion S. L. Nusbaum announces promotion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/s.-l.-nusbaum-announces-promotion http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/s.-l.-nusbaum-announces-promotion#When:20:17:00Z Ken Short has been promoted to regional vice president at Norfolk-based S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. Short joined the firm’s multifamily management team in 2015. He has nearly two decades of property management experience. His portfolio has included market-rate, tax-credit, HUD and senior communities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. 2019-07-08T20:17:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-building-sold-for-3.7-million Norfolk building sold for $3.7 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-building-sold-for-3.7-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolk-building-sold-for-3.7-million#When:20:09:00Z Security Storage and Van Co. has bought an industrial building in Norfolk for $3.7 million. The commercial real estate firm S. L. Nusbaum reported the sale. The 124,677-square-foot structure sits on 4.64 acres at 3809 Progress Road. The seller, Fairway Plaza Center LLC, was represented in the June sale by Stephanie Sanker and Bill Overman from S.L. Nusbaum. Sam Rapoport (also from Nusbaum) and Sanker represented the buyer.         In Chesapeake during June, Chesapeake Capital Investments LLC bought a 14,250-square-foot industrial property, the firm said. The building, which is located on one acre at 625 Innovation Drive, sold for $1.43 million. The seller, Starling Brothers LLC,  was represented by Michael Myers.         Lake View Apartments LP has purchased six acres of land at 100 Aero Drive in Hampton from Langley Federal Credit Union for $1.2 million. Bill Overman and John Wessling of S.L. Nusbaum represented the buyer. 2019-07-08T20:09:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Hoskins.png Victor Hoskins. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-official-to-lead-economic-development-in-fairfax Arlington official to lead economic development in Fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-official-to-lead-economic-development-in-fairfax http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/arlington-official-to-lead-economic-development-in-fairfax#When:15:05:00Z Victor Hoskins, Arlington’s director of economic development, has been named  president and chief executive officer of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). "After an extensive search, Fairfax County found the right leader in our own backyard,” Catherine Lange, chair of the FCEDA Board, said in a statement. During Hoskins’ tenure in Arlington County, he helped lead a successful regional effort to land Amazon’s second headquarters, known as HQ2. The headquarters site, called National Landing, is now taking shape in Arlington and Alexandria. “Victor will bring a uniquely compelling mix of experience, savvy and collaborative spirit to the FCEDA," Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, said in a statement. "He has a deep understanding of all the elements of economic development and how they interact. " Amazon's move to Northern Virginia is expected to create more than 25,000 high-tech jobs and generate at least $3.2 billion for Virginia over the next decade. In Fairfax, Hoskins will succeed Gerald L. Gordon, who retired late last year. Gordon worked for the economic development authority for 35 years and had been its president and CEO since 1987. Hoskins will assume his new role on Aug. 5. Before joining Arlington in January 2015, Hoskins was deputy mayor of planning and economic development for the District of Columbia, where he worked for three-and-a-half years on the development of many major projects, including City Center, the Wharf and Union Market. Photo courtesy FCEDA  2019-07-08T15:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/perfect-recipe Perfect recipe http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/perfect-recipe http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/perfect-recipe#When:16:44:00Z The company behind the 102-year-old Duke’s Mayonnaise is changing hands, but the new owners have no intention to tinker with the famous brand’s recipe. “We don’t plan to mess with perfection,” says Chip Johnson, a principal at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Falfurrias Capital Group. Falfurrias is a private equity firm that will acquire Richmond-based C.F. Sauer Co. July 15, pending shareholder approval and other closing conditions. The company will then change its name to Sauer Brands Inc. The deal with Falfurrias transferred ownership from the Sauer family, who ran the company for 132 years. Founded by Conrad Frederick Sauer, C.F. Sauer Co. began selling flavor extracts in 1887 and expanded to condiments, spices, seasonings and other lines, such as Duke’s, its flagship product. Other C.F. Sauer brands include The Spice Hunter, Gold Medal and BAMA. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the purchase will be Falfurrias’ largest acquisition, according to spokesman David Coburn. Co-founded by former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl in 2006, Falfurrias is also known for acquiring Bojangles Inc. fried chicken fast-food chain in 2007, which it then sold for an undisclosed amount in 2011. Falfurrias plans to retain C.F. Sauer’s 860 employees, including 165 in Richmond. With a 14-person staff and a portfolio of eight companies including a software firm, a caterer and a manufacturing and distribution business, Falfurrias doesn’t anticipate layoffs because it’s a small firm and needs the local manpower, says William W. “Bill” Lovette, C.F. Sauer Co.’s interim CEO and executive chairman. “We want to grow the company, both the headquarters and the operations,” Lovette says, “so we plan for Richmond to be the headquarters long-term, as it is today.” Lovette succeeds Conrad F. Sauer IV, the only remaining Sauer family member to stay on C.F. Sauer Co.’s board. Falfurrias will own all of the food properties, but the Sauer family will continue to own Richmond-based Sauer Properties, which owns 24 acres of commercial and industrial property near the city’s Fan District, including a mixed-use retail and office project at 2200 W. Broad St. that will be anchored by Whole Foods Market. The Sauers are not giving interviews about the sale, according to a family spokesperson.  Johnson, who will join the C.F. Sauer Co. board, said that the company was drawn to Sauers by the way the company grew regional assets such as Duke’s and The Spice Hunter into national brands. Sauer’s culture and “values system” also were appealing to his firm, as well as the overall financial durability offered by food companies. Lovette, Johnson and Falfurrias principal Ken Walker will work with a search firm to find the company’s new CEO, but Lovette says, “We’re in no particular hurry in finding a CEO. I’m willing to take the time to find a CEO that fits culturally. I’m willing to be present in Richmond, and I think I’m going to enjoy being there.”   Photos of C.F. Sauer sign, Johnson courtesy of Falfurrias Capital Group 2019-07-02T16:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WindTurbinesSMALL.jpg An example of an offshore wind farm. Massive wind turbines will be built 27 miles off Virginia Beach. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-launches-offshore-wind-project Dominion launches offshore wind project http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-launches-offshore-wind-project http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-launches-offshore-wind-project#When:21:32:00Z Richmond-based Dominion Energy embarked Monday on constructing a $300 million offshore wind project to extend 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.          Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other dignitaries participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking in Virginia Beach Monday, shoveling sand as they marked the beginning of construction on the project, scheduled to be completed in 2020. Approved by the State Corporation Commission in November, it is the first project to be built in federal waters, although Rhode Island has five wind turbines in state waters.   “These onshore construction activities are another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the Commonwealth and are a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers,” Farrell said in a statement.    The project will include an electrical substation and subsea cables that will connect to two massive offshore wind turbines.   The 6-megawatt turbines will be 600 feet tall when measured from the ocean’s surface to the tip of the top blade—or taller than the Washington Monument. The initiative, dubbed the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demonstration project, will power electricity for up to 3,000 homes.   The offshore turbines will be built by Denmark-based energy company Ørsted and will be operational late next year. Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based L. E. Myers Co. will perform onshore construction work. The project will be constructed on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).   Dominion announced plans for the project two years ago and has received approval from the State Corporation Commission, the state Department of Environmental Quality and Marine Resources Commission as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   “As the first deployment of commercial-scale offshore wind turbines in federal waters, I am thrilled that Virginia’s project will help determine best practices for future offshore wind construction along the East Coast,” Northam said in a statement.     Dominion says the development will be funded from existing base rates with no added cost to Dominion customers. 2019-07-01T21:32:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RE_Ingrid.png Ingrid Medrano at her home in Richmond. Photo by Shandell Taylor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/yolo-tattoos-and-mortgages YOLO: Tattoos and mortgages http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/yolo-tattoos-and-mortgages http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/yolo-tattoos-and-mortgages#When:21:00:00Z Despite all the Googling, number-crunching and HGTV watching, Ingrid Medrano still wasn’t ready for just how unpleasant the backyard poison ivy would be at the home she bought in Richmond about two years ago.  “Oh, god, it was bad,” says the 30-year-old nonprofit worker. “The Realtor, to his credit, he did tell us about it. They were like, ‘There is poison ivy out here.’ And we were like, ‘meh.’” Medrano, an immigrant from El Salvador, says she and her fiance felt pressured by their real estate agent to jump on buying their home or risk losing it to another buyer.  Heated competition in real estate markets across Virginia has fueled real estate FOMO among Virginia’s millennials, according to real estate agents who say it hasn’t been uncommon over the last year to see bidding wars break out between 20-something and 30-something homebuyers over starter homes. As with other metro areas, Roanoke has a scarcity of available starter homes, leading to a sellers’ market with homes fetching multiple offers within a few days. Brad Thomas, a Roanoke Realtor with Mountain View Real Estate, recently took some millennial buyers to a house that had hit the market that morning. By noon, the sellers had three offers. About a third of 2017 home sales in the commonwealth went to millennials, according to an analysis by Virginia Realtors Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant. Nationally, millennials accounted for 37% of all homebuyers from June 2017 to June 2018 — making them the most active generation of homebuyers for the sixth year in a row, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. As wage growth is increasing and older millennials are reaching their late 30s, more want to own homes. “We talk a lot about the millennials wanting to be footloose and wanting to be not tied down,” Sturtevant says, “ [but] this demographic cohort is moving into an older age group and, as interest rates are still favorable, it suggests that 2019 should see an increase in [millennials] buying homes.” All the homebuying is leaving many millennials shaking their heads, however. About 80% of homeowners ages 18 to 34 have at least one regret about their home, compared to 65% of baby boomers, according to a recent Zillow housing survey. For her part, Medrano wishes she had bought a house that had a half-bath and guest room. “We didn’t really know what we needed until afterwards,” she says. Homes sold in the Central Virginia/Richmond housing market spent an average of 32 days on the market in May, about the same as a year ago, according to a Long & Foster Real Estate report. Nationally, homes last year stayed on the market for an average of about 60 days. “I’m definitely seeing and talking to other agents in my office about them getting into bidding wars,” says Richard Sena, a Richmond real estate agent with Small & Associates Inc. In addition to making higher offers, buyers are having to seek other ways to make their bids more attractive to sellers. Not many millennials can do cash offers but they are recommended if possible, Sena says. Buyers are also offering shorter closings, paying for home inspections or repair fees, and are adding clauses so their offers automatically rise in response to competing bids. But Sena counsels his buyers to accept that they may be out-bid and should stick to a price ceiling, telling them, “What is that number for this house that you can say, ‘You know what? I'm glad the [other] guy got it.’” For a more in-depth version of this story, please see the August issue of Virginia Business. 2019-06-30T21:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/AABP_2019-0198.jpg Publisher Bernie Niemeier and Editor Richard Foster accepted the award. | Simone Renee Photography LLC http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-wins-national-journalism-award Virginia Business wins national journalism award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-wins-national-journalism-award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-wins-national-journalism-award#When:19:08:00Z Virginia Business won a national journalism award this past weekend at The Alliance of Area Business Publishers Editorial Excellence awards in Atlanta. The magazine placed silver in the  "best coverage of local breaking news" category for its reporting of Amazon’s decision to locate its second headquarters in Northern Virginia and Long Island City in New York. (The internet giant later dropped plans to establish headquarters in New York due to political opposition).  The awards were judged by 24 faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. More than 500 entries were submitted from 41 publications. In their comments, the judges praised Paula C. Squires' local coverage of a national issue.  "The writer provides an in-depth account of how aspects of the deal could impact real estate and the Washington, D.C.-area tech scene," the judges said. "The writer’s expertise shines through this coverage."  AABP is a Norwalk, Connecticut-based nonprofit representing 55 business publications in the United States, Canada and Australia. 2019-06-30T19:08:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/nrv-aerial_resized.jpg Volvo Truck's Pulaski County plant. | Photo courtesy Volvo Trucks. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/volvo-trucks-expansion-to-add-777-jobs Volvo Trucks expansion to add 777 jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/volvo-trucks-expansion-to-add-777-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/volvo-trucks-expansion-to-add-777-jobs#When:21:10:00Z The largest private employer in the New River Valley announced a major expansion Friday, while also acknowledging that it expects to implement layoffs by the end of the year. Volvo Group is investing $400 million to expand its Volvo Trucks plant in Dublin, a move that will add 777 jobs within six years.  The news comes on the heels of Volvo Trucks’ announcement that it plans to implements layoffs at the Dublin plant before the end of the year due to decreased demand. Spokesman John Mies said the industry has seen strong growth for the past two years, but expects that trend to slow down next year, “as evidenced by recent order intake for the industry as a whole.” The plant currently employs 3,500 workers and anticipates having almost 4,000 employees by 2025. As part of the expansion, the company will be eligible to receive $16.5 million in grants from the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission over the next decade. The new jobs will be added to the company’s employment level when negotiations began in 2018. (The company had 3,219 workers at that time). It’s too soon to know how many workers will be impacted by the layoffs or when they will take place. However,  “those laid off will go on the recall list for when market demand requires a ramp-up,” Mies says. Volvo’s expansion will include the addition of a 350,000-square-foot facility that will house truck cab welding operations and serve as an expansion of the company’s existing plant. “As the leading private employer in the New River Valley, Volvo Trucks has been a bedrock of this community for more than 40 years and has fueled the regional economy,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. He said the expansion represents one of the largest capital investments in the history of Southwestern Virginia. Pulaski County will support the project by granting Volvo 222 acres of land to expand the campus, which the county purchased in October 2017. The county also is providing half a million dollars for site improvements, which could include upgrading utilities or adding a turn lane or stop light to the property, says County Administrator Jonathan D. Sweet.   Additionally, Volvo is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Virginia competed against multiple other states for the project. Volvo manufactures trucks in 15 countries. The Volvo Trucks facility in Pulaski County is its largest in the world, with 1.6 million square feet on nearly 300 acres. 2019-06-28T21:10:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Shelton_3.png Katrina Shelton says JMU’s Centennial Scholars program became a supportive community for her. Photos by Norm Shafer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/paying-it-forward Paying it forward http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/paying-it-forward http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/paying-it-forward#When:08:00:00Z A college education can change a life.  One James Madison University diploma could change four. “I am going back to Richmond and adopting my three younger sisters,” says Katrina Shelton, a biology major who graduated from JMU in May. “They are essentially my kids. I love them to death.” Shelton says she was 8 before a visit to a friend’s house showed her children could have their own rooms and toys. Later she realized living with cockroaches and rats wasn’t something everybody did. When her mother went to prison on a drug conviction, Shelton’s three sisters were separated. One went to live with a grandmother, another with a godmother and the third became homeless. “I come from a family that has been, I would say, consumed by drugs,” Shelton explains. “At the age of 15, I realized I would have to leave that situation if I ever wanted to succeed. ... If I wanted to get out of there, I knew that I had to do that, not only for me, but for my three younger sisters, because I knew they had to be shown someone being a role model.” Shelton was homeless and on her own at 15. She slept on cardboard, using her jacket and a rock as a pillow. A friend took her in, and a teacher provided guidance. Shelton provided the grit and the effort. She graduated high school with a 4.6 GPA while participating in the marching band and working 40 hours a week at a restaurant. A scholarship created through JMU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which concluded in 2008, helped Shelton attend and succeed at the university. JMU is in its second major fundraising campaign, which was launched last October and ends in 2022. Called “Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University,” it’s “rooted in strategic planning,” according to Nick Langridge, the university’s vice president of advancement. JMU President Jonathan R. Alger conducted a listening tour, visiting with alumni and other friends of the school to discuss their vision of the university’s future. Then a 155-member group composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders helped develop “The Madison Plan,” a six-year strategic plan. The Unleashed campaign is meant to fund that plan. JMU’s first comprehensive campaign aimed to raise $50 million. It raised $69 million. The current campaign has a goal of $200 million. A polite place “Opening Our Doors,” the title of the scholarship-funding portion of the campaign, is a play on JMU’s reputation for politeness. People throughout the campus hold doors open for others all the time. “Most people who come to visit James Madison for the first time can’t believe how friendly the people are,” Langridge says, “and they’re thinking, “Is this some kind of act?” The act of opening doors for others has become a metaphor, he says. “It’s a symbol of the type of community we have here at James Madison.” The comprehensive campaign has a lot of priorities, including improving students’ civil engagement, promoting entrepreneurship and building a new basketball arena and a new College of Business learning complex. “But none is more urgent and more significant than that of  ‘Opening Our Doors,’ the scholarship component,” Langridge says. And none seems to have attracted more support. The campaign aims to raise $80 million for scholarships. Langridge says $57 million of that goal has already been met. “Nothing touches the heart quite like the idea of a scholarship,” he says. For those who receive them, scholarships can touch more than hearts. Some of them provide the kind of support most students get from other places. Creating a community Shelton remembers watching the parents of other students help them unpack when she moved into JMU dorm as a freshman. “My roommate is like, ‘Where are your parents?’” Shelton recalls. “I was like, ‘I don’t have those.’” But she soon was part of a community created by the Centennial Scholars program. The Centennial Scholarship, a need-based program for Virginia residents, pays for virtually all college expenses except books. The program accepts 50 students each year. More than 600 Centennial Scholars have graduated from the program, a success rate of 88%. A $200,000 Unleashed campaign gift from JMU graduates John and Karen Rothenberger will allow the program to accept 51 students each year, beginning this fall. Centennial Scholars are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA and perform 50 hours of community service each semester. The program also requires weekly meetings with a small group of fellow scholars and biweekly meetings with a larger group. The program includes one-on-one meetings with program officials and, for freshmen, six hours of supervised study hall each week of their first semester. “This program became a parent to me, almost,” Shelton says. It reminded her about deadlines and requirements and what she needed to do to keep up her GPA. Centennial Scholars also gave her a cohort of students who were facing their own challenges and overcoming them. The program was “essentially making a community,” Shelton says. “They really built me up.” Shelton has helped build the program that nurtured her, meeting with potential Centennial Scholars, hosting their visits to JMU and helping them prepare for the application process. She also has spoken in support of the new campaign to raise money for more scholarships. That experience awakened something in her. “I really do like public speaking and trying to make change and implement that into a system,” she says. Shelton has another goal, too:  “I really, really do want to start writing,” she says. “I want to put my story out there … There are so many other kids like me that can benefit from just me saying my story.” Foundation for the future But for the time being, the public speaking will slow down. The writing also may have to wait. Shelton is looking for a job as a lab tech and a place to live where she can provide a home and some support for her sisters. They’re 17, 16 and 12 now, and they all want to go to college. The oldest sister “wasn’t as academically driven, I would say, as me,” Shelton says, but she graduated from high school on time this spring and plans to attend a community college this fall. Eventually, if things go well, she’ll transfer to a four-year school. Shelton hopes it will be JMU. But nothing that far into the future is settled. “Now that she’s really out of this really toxic situation,” Shelton says, “it’ll be her first time that she can essentially process who she wants to be or what she wants to do.” All of those possibilities exist because of Shelton’s work and insight and vision — and because she got a scholarship that opened up possibilities for her. She is determined to pass those possibilities along. “It essentially set down the foundation for my future,” Shelton says, “not only mine, but for my three younger sisters. “This one scholarship is going to essentially help me and my sisters climb the ladder and help their kids climb the ladder and help us have a stable foundation as a family that we never had,” Shelton says. “I think the kids are starting to realize that now, and they’re excited about me coming back and so am I." 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/236101_Aerials_Downtown_Harrisonburg-1018.png An aerial photo of Harrisonburg shows its newly expandedCity Hall in the foreground. Photo by Cody Troyer, courtesy JMU http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/city-is-no-longer-a-sleepy-college-town City is no longer a sleepy college town http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/city-is-no-longer-a-sleepy-college-town http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/city-is-no-longer-a-sleepy-college-town#When:08:00:00Z As Harrisonburg awakens on a summer Saturday morning, young people emerge from downtown apartment buildings and lofts to get in a run or to walk their dogs along the city’s tree-lined streets. Neighbors stop to exchange pleasantries       en route to the post office, the library or the grocery store.  A crowd gathers at Turner Pavilion, behind the newly expanded City Hall, for the local farmers market, which offers seasonal produce, baked goods, meats, eggs, wines, ice cream and honey.   Downtown merchants prepare their shops for the day’s patrons — the regulars whom the owners know by name as well as passersby who stop in to browse. The smell of roasted coffees, fresh pastries and homemade breads fills the air. In a few hours, Main Street sidewalk cafés will be full, and the taps will be flowing at craft breweries.      Not your father’s city  Harrisonburg in 2019 is a far cry from the sleepy college town of decades ago. With an estimated 54,606 residents as of July 1, 2018, the city’s population has nearly doubled since 1990, according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.   Much of that growth, officials say, can be attributed to James Madison University, which has followed a similar trajectory during that span, increasing its enrollment from 10,000 to 20,000 students.  “That certainly has been an accelerator for us,” says Brian Shull, the city’s director of economic development, who arrived in Harrisonburg in 1994. “It has been fun to grow alongside JMU.”  Some of the univer­sity’s nearly 4,000 em­­ployees settle in Rockingham County, says county administrator Stephen G. King. The county’s population has increased 6.7% since the April 2010 Census, to an estimated 81,422 residents.   The combined growth of Harrisonburg and Rockingham since 2010 has been 8.6%, the third-fastest among Virginia metropolitan areas. It trails only Northern Virginia (12.4%) and Winchester (11.1%), according to Census data.  Boosting growth in their hometowns is nothing new for Virginia colleges and universities. Charlottesville, Blacksburg and Lynchburg all have blossomed around educational institutions. These schools spur commercial and residential development while producing a steady stream of graduates, many of whom stay in the area to work, start businesses and raise families.   Harrisonburg and Rockingham are capitalizing on their own group of schools, which include not only JMU, but also Eastern Mennonite University on the city’s north end, Bridgewater College near Dayton and Blue Ridge Community College in nearby Weyers Cave. Together these institutions produce more than 7,000 graduates per year.  Shull says the region’s diverse economy, natural beauty and recreational amenities are a major draw for young professionals.  “Workers now are often picking where they’re going to live, and then they find the job. That was unheard of 20 years ago. … But this area certainly checks all of the boxes.”  In April, Reviews.org ranked Harrisonburg seventh out of 325 metro areas nationwide on its 2019 “Best Places for Millennials to Move” list. (Lynchburg was No. 1.) The survey was based on factors such as unemployment rates, immigration flows, housing costs and crime rates. The report states that Harrisonburg is “great for outdoor activities, strolls to the local breweries and restaurants, or bringing out your artistic and creative side.” The city is also “a wonderful place for ethnic and linguistic diversity,” it says. That’s a nod to Harrisonburg’s status as a Church World Service refugee resettlement area since 1988. Children from families speaking more than 50 languages attend the city’s public schools.    Now a destination A generation ago, downtown Harrisonburg was not much of a destination. Aside from a smattering of restaurants and bars, an ice cream stand and the Court Square Theater, there were few businesses to attract residents and visitors to the area. The Downtown Merchants Association was active, but many stores had abandoned Main Street for the growing U.S. 33 commercial corridor.  Beginning in the late 1990s several revitalization efforts were undertaken by citizens’ groups and the city.  “One of the first things that was on my desk when I arrived [as economic development director] in 1998 was the idea that we were going to try to do a revitalization of downtown,” Shull says. However, such efforts were largely volunteer-driven and lacked substantial funding.   With the launch of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance in 2003, the seeds for a vibrant community were planted. The nonprofit soon hitched its wagon to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street America program, with its four-point plan for revitalization: economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.  “It’s all open source, so we had that framework and the methodology, and we got to customize it to our local needs,” says HDR Executive Director Andrea Dono. “We had a bunch of people roll up their sleeves and take a piece of everything.”  As a designated Virginia Main Street community, Harrisonburg was able to leverage state funds for feasibility studies, training, streetscape projects, tax incentives and public-private partnerships.  From the beginning, HDR has worked with the city and area developers to meet the demand for housing downtown. The number of residences in the district increased from 150 in 2003 to 586 at the end of last year. Many of those units are part of mixed-use developments, with apartments and lofts above shops on the ground floor.  “That was huge for us,” Shull says, “because now you have 24/7 activity downtown. And that led to more restaurants and retail popping up and just more vibrancy.” King says that, with the growth of JMU, Rockingham is seeing more urban-style development, including student housing. Two new apartment complexes are expected to open along Port Republic Road, just outside the city limits, next year. Technology, food and the arts When tech startups showed interest in locating downtown, the city responded by creating a technology zone. The language-learning software company Rosetta Stone was one of the first to take advantage of the zone’s tax incentives. Jenzabar, a Boston-based higher education technology firm, soon followed, opening an office on Liberty Street. One of the newest ventures is Chiedo Labs, a web and mobile app developer started in 2012 by a JMU graduate, Chiedo John. Dono of HDR says the tech sector is growing — and clustering — organically. “Some people who left Rosetta Stone started their own ventures. And Chiedo … I’ll see the owner networking with somebody at a coffee shop or somewhere … and he’ll say to me, ‘Hey, this is so-and-so from New York and I’m trying to recruit him.’ There are people who love it here so much. And they want to have peers in their field. … So those conversations are happening, and new companies are opening up.” In 2014, downtown Harrisonburg was designated as Virginia’s first culinary district. It boasts 38 eateries, the most recent of which, the Habana Café on Court Square, serves Cuban cuisine.  “We have this critical mass of restaurants,” Dono says, “from ethnic eateries to farm-to-table to longstanding icons like Jess’ Quick Lunch … There’s something for everyone.” Dono recently was able to help the owner of a longtime Korean food truck in the city, Mashita, find a space downtown to expand. Downtown also includes a thriving arts scene, with boutiques, craft stores and makerspaces. “When you come to downtown Harrisonburg, you’re not just doing a simple transaction,” Dono said. “You’re actually having an experience where you get to meet the people who are making the products, and in some places you get to even watch it being made.” As HDR has matured and added staff,  “we’ve taken on more and bigger projects,” Dono says. “That cycle of disinvestment has been reversed, essentially.”  Today, Harrisonburg and HDR are held up as models for downtown revitalization. “We have people coming here from other towns in Virginia and all across the United States,” Dono says. “We even hosted a delegation from Japan.” The organization won the National Main Street Center’s Great American Main Street Award in 2014 and recently was contacted about serving as a case study for an upcoming report by the Brookings Institution.  Downtown also has become a major recruitment tool for Harrisonburg and Rockingham. “I know that JMU [is] bringing people down here to show off the downtown,” Dono says. “So are the hospitals and the major employers. … We hear stories about people who stopped because they had to get off the highway or they had a flat tire or they’re tired or needed to stop for food. And next thing you know, they want to move here.”    A catalyst for development  JMU also has been a major factor in commercial development as well as the redevelopment of real estate in Harrisonburg and Rockingham.   The university’s acquisition of older properties, such as the former Rockingham Memorial Hospital and the old Harrisonburg High School, have been important to the revitalization of areas adjacent to the campus.   The Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center — a joint venture involving the city, the JMU Foundation and a private developer — is helping grow the area’s hospitality and tourism sector.  The university also was instrumental in the decision of a leading research and development firm, SRI International, to locate a 40,000-square-foot biosciences center on a 25-acre campus in Harrisonburg in 2009. JMU has developed a close relationship with SRI by placing interns and graduates and by sponsoring joint research projects.  As part of the recently announced   $1 billion expansion of the Merck pharmaceutical plant in Elkton, JMU and Blue Ridge Community College will receive up to $2.5 million over five years from the state. The grant will be used to address Merck’s workforce needs and those of other major employers in the Shenandoah Valley, including MillerCoors, Danone/WhiteWave, Shamrock Farms and Hershey Foods. With colleges and universities leading the way, local officials are optimistic about the region’s future. But they also want to ensure smart growth. “We don’t want to grow just for growth’s sake,” Shull says. “We want to make sure that we have all the right infrastructure to accommodate growth that leads to better jobs and better economic well-being for our residents.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Thomas-Polmateer-UVA-Department-of_Engineering_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-4.png Thomas Polmateer says CCALS has “made a big difference for our students” at UVA. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tackling-problems Tackling problems http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tackling-problems http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tackling-problems#When:08:00:00Z The mission of the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is to prepare students to solve global challenges. That makes it a good fit for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems (CCALS), a coalition aimed at addressing logistical problems faced by companies and government agencies. “We’re excited about what we have been able to do here at U.Va. with CCALS,” says Thomas Polmateer, research program director in the department of engineering systems and environment. “It’s made a big difference for our undergraduate and graduate students.” Faculty and students benefit by exposure to “real-world problems and industry partners,” he adds. “It also improves student soft skills.”  CCALS’ roots go back to 2010 when the Virginia Logistical Research Center was formed. “The center was basically a strategic plan with no articles of incorporation,” says Mark Manasco, president and executive director of CCALS. “We formally stood the organization up with bylaws and membership and called it CCALS.” The public-private partnership utilizes the research expertise of U.Va., Virginia Commonwealth University, Longwood University, Virginia State University and Old Dominion University to tackle logistical issues. Because of its highway, rail and port assets, Virginia has been identified by consultants as one of the most promising logistics hubs on the East Coast. Graduate students at U.Va. have worked with the Port of Virginia, the Center for Innovative Technology and the Virginia Department of Transportation on a variety of issues, such as technology innovations in container port operations. “We are also in discussions to address advanced logistics challenges with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Corrections,” Polmateer says.  “Health-care material and services is our next opportunity to be value-added by reducing costs through operational efficiencies, such as improving the integration and visibility of clinical and financial data.” CCALS has broadened students’ experiences at VSU, university officials say. The organization gives undergraduates the opportunity “to meet and network with graduate programs,” says Lessie Oliver-Clark, information logistics technology instructor at the university.  “It exposes them to companies that would hire people with their skills.” VSU students have worked on projects ranging from drone technology and autonomous vehicles to blockchain technology and the internet of things. “CCALS is a real collaborative environment for solving logistic challenges. It exposes our students to future logistic technology through research works and internships,” says Dawit Haile, dean of VSU’s College of Engineering and Technology.  The Port of Virginia became involved with CCALS about four years ago. “They have taken our data and broken it down for efficiency. They’ve helped with capacity expansion and improvements through modeling and simulation,” says Joe Ruddy, the port’s chief innovation officer. “We are on a tremendous expansion project of over $700 million. It’s nice to have new equipment and great systems, but in order to maximize our benefit we have to make sure our systems are optimized.” Students have worked, for example, on projects involving ship arrivals and departures and the movement of trucks in and out of the port’s gates. “Automation is not automatic. You are continuously looking to improve your situation,” Ruddy says. “We look beyond our gates to the railroads and the Port of Richmond. We are fortunate to have these assets and to optimize them. Groups like CCALS play a role in that. CCALS brings us closer to our customers.” Funding, whether from private or government entities, continues to be a challenge for CCALS. “In order for us to be more successful we are going to have to figure out how to leverage more state support,” says Manasco. “We will need more funding. That is the realization. We have operated this as a startup but now are ready to move forward.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DSC5932.png Mark Blanks, director of the university’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership test site. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/test-flight Test flight http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/test-flight http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/test-flight#When:08:00:00Z Look to the skies. Birds, fireflies, mosquitoes and other winged creatures from the natural world increasingly will be joined by swarms of drones as companies race to develop an autonomous drone delivery industry. Ground zero — or maybe now it’s sky zero — for Google will be the New River Valley area in Virginia. Virginia Tech has been working with Alphabet, Google’s parent company, on Project Wing, the nation’s first FAA-approved commercial delivery service using long-distance aerial drones out of sight of operators. (The drones have a delivery range up to six miles.) The service is expected to begin operation there this year. Virginia Tech is one of several major state research universities that have been exploring the use of drones – for everything from delivering groceries to carrying, and administering, an injection to reverse an opioid overdose, to bringing critical parts to Navy ships at sea, even in hostile territory.  As one example of how drones can be employed, Project Wing delivered hundreds of lunches to Virginia Tech students in September 2016. The event marked the first large-scale drone delivery to members of the general public. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has estimated that as many as 1.6 million commercial drones will be in use by 2021. Virginia Tech’s delivery-drone partnership with Alphabet “will be the first time for the general public to begin what I think will be a totally new revolution in how they engage with aviation,” says Mark Blanks, director of the university’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) test site. “It will be the first time ever the average Joe Public will be able to receive goods in a whole new manner.” As currently envisioned, delivery drones would hover about 20 feet off the ground and lower packages on tethers to customers. A large part of the effort has been led by MAAP, which operates an FAA-designated test site for unmanned aircraft systems. Started in 2013, MAAP serves as a bridge between federal regulators and industry partners to develop safety procedures and protocols laying the groundwork for expanded unmanned aircraft operations. From 2014 to 2016, Virginia Tech received more than $2.6 million from the state Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) fund to establish the MAAP unmanned aircraft test site. “Then we became self-sustaining because the value proposition was significant for industry,” he adds, noting that its funding primarily comes from industry and government grants. Virginia Tech has a history of developing FAA-accepted safety guidelines to ensure that drone flights can safely operate beyond the visual line of sight of the drone operator and flying over  people — two critical elements necessary for the delivery-drone industry to operate successfully. Virginia Tech research also includes a project to incorporate autonomous algorithms and machine learning in using drones for search and rescue missions, funded by a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Drones can be used to fly over dangerous terrain or explore large areas to help first responders on the ground narrow the parameters of their search, says Ryan Williams, an assistant professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In another drone-related research project at Virginia Tech, Blanks and MAAP worked with insurance giant State Farm to gain an FAA waiver to allow aerial drones to survey property damage caused by hurricanes Florence and Michael. To the rescue At Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond a group of seniors in the College of Engineering have developed a preliminary model for an “ambulance” drone designed to deliver and administer a lifesaving injection of the opioid-overdose reversal drug Naloxone. A remote drone operator guides the injections with the aid of a camera mounted on the front of the drone. “There needs to be more testing; [the ambulance drone] needs to be commercialized,” says Erdem Topsakal, chairman of the department of electrical and computer engineering, who appealed for business investment to fund the project beyond its preliminary stages. The U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate has sponsored the project. “It opens up other smart health care at the edge,” says Nibir K. Dhar, the directorate’s chief scientist. Topsakal and Dhar say that the ambulance drone has obvious implications for civilian health care — especially in congested cities or rural areas where emergency personnel may be unable to respond in a timely manner. The drone also can be used in military situations. “If you’re in the middle of a battlefield and a soldier is losing blood, something can be injected to stop the bleeding,” says Topsakal. Delivery on high seas At Old Dominion University in Norfolk, researchers and students worked with the Navy seeking a way for an aerial drone to carry small ship parts or packages weighing as much as 30 pounds to vessels on the high seas. But there’s a caveat: “What they want is to be able to locate a ship in an environment when they don’t necessarily have radio communication with a drone” and they don’t have a GPS signal, says Thomas Alberts, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at ODU’s Batten College of Engineering & Technology. Drones typically utilize GPS technology for navigation, Alberts says, but a GPS can be susceptible to cyberattacks or outside interference, “so they want to avoid that scenario.” Using drones instead of manned crafts to deliver parts and components to a ship could also save lives, especially in hostile areas. For a prototype to navigate without the aid of GPS, a group of ODU students employed a larger and more expensive inertial measurement unit (IMU) than is typically used on drones. The drone’s path is calculated using data from the IMU, measuring distance traveled by the drone and its directional changes. Once the drone is within camera view of a target vessel for delivery, an image-recognition process identifies the ship as well as a symbol marking the drone’s shipboard landing spot. The ODU project wrapped up in late June. It was funded for a year through a $60,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research. Insect-size vehicles Research scientists at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Science have been studying butterflies and other flying insects as they examine the possibilities of developing small robotic air vehicles. These micro air vehicles (MAVs) would be so minuscule that they could fly through cracks in rubble to search for earthquake victims. They could also be employed to explore radioactive environments. Other U.Va. research involves autonomous underwater vehicles that could be deployed for long periods of time to collect data for scientists or as a surveillance tool for the military. The underwater vehicle research has been led by Hilary Bart-Smith, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, with $14 million in funding from the Office of Naval Research. Early protypes for two micro air vehicles — one the size of a dragonfly — as well as an autonomous underwater vehicle created to look and swim like a manta ray  — have already been advanced. But far more work lies ahead. “The fundamental science takes years to discover the secrets of flying and swimming,” says Haibo Dong, a U.Va. aerospace engineer and associate professor who has been working on both the MAVs and the autonomous underwater vehicles. Blanks of Virginia Tech says drones are on the minds of many these days — industries, independent scientists, universities and the general public. “I think it’s primarily because of the great potential they offer to many different aspects of life in general: the ability to revolutionize the way many types of businesses function, the ability to possibly save lives, to save money. “It’s a transformational technology,” Blanks says.  Virginia Business Special Projects Editor Veronica Garabelli assisted with this report. Engineering IT Schools directory 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/323-JohnBoyd-July2019-.png The U.S.-China trade war has been “devastating” for soybean farmers,says John Wesley Boyd Jr. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trade-war-wounds Trade war wounds http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trade-war-wounds http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trade-war-wounds#When:08:00:00Z In nearly 40 years of farming, Mecklenburg County soybean farmer John Wesley Boyd Jr. has seen commodity prices go up and down, but the recent impact on his business from the ongoing U.S. trade conflict with China has been “devastating,” he says. “We’re in trouble. … The prices have dropped dramatically and we don’t see any end in sight,” says Boyd, who is also the founder and president of the nonprofit National Black Farmers Association. “It’s planting season, and President Trump announced  … some additional tariffs, and we haven’t gotten over the effects of the first ones, you know? … I think a lot of farmers are going to be on the auction block.” The price of soybeans, which peaked in 2012 at $17.58 per bushel, plummeted to below $8 a bushel in May for the first time since December 2008. Soybean prices have been sharply declining since early 2018 when the Trump administration initiated a series of tariffs targeting China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. China and the other nations responded in kind with a host of retaliatory tariffs. President Trump relaxed tariffs on Canada and Mexico this year but the U.S.-China trade war escalated, as the U.S. increased tariffs on Chinese imports from 10% to 25% and announced plans to expand tariffs to all $540 billion of imported goods from China. In response, the Chinese government instituted a raft of further tariffs on American products. Wall Street has responded to the prolonged conflict with selloffs and significant drops to the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500. And in May, the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, announced that it expected the tariffs would result in sharp price increases for its retail customers. Port, farm effects In Virginia, the fallout from the trade war with China has affected a variety of industries, from soybean and tobacco farmers to beverage distributors, breweries, auto manufacturers, lumber producers and commercial builders. “China is an important trading partner for Virginia,” says Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Obviously we are concerned about the impact on Virginia business and therefore on Virginia employers and consumers.” China is the Port of Virginia’s largest trading partner, representing 16.2% of the port’s overall volume. Last year, Virginians imported more goods from China than from any other nation, accounting for 26% of total imports. Port spokesman Joe Harris says it estimates that up to nearly 5% of its overall cargo traffic could potentially be affected by the tariffs. Nonetheless, it is difficult to predict what form that impact could take, he says. In order to hedge any potential damage, the port is seeking to diversify its cargo mix through strategies such as marketing itself as a loading and logistics center for the offshore wind energy industry and developing its military cargo business. Virginia’s agribusiness exports to China “decreased dramatically” from 2017 to 2018, falling from $691 million to $235 million “largely as a result of trade tensions and initial retaliatory tariffs imposed a year ago,” says Jewel H. Bronaugh, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. China went from buying $21 million in soybeans from Virginia in the third quarter of 2017 to no purchases at all during the same time last year. Similarly, China, which has been a major purchaser of Virginia tobacco, “did not extend contracts to U.S. growers for the 2019 season due to the Chinese tariffs on U.S. tobacco,” Bronaugh says. “This year with tobacco, you don’t have to worry about getting a lower price [from China]. You’re not going to grow it because the market’s not there. It’s gone,” says Tony Banks, senior assistant director for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Agriculture Development and Innovation Department. Chinese tobacco-leaf buyers have migrated to Brazil and Zimbabwe, says Mecklenburg County tobacco farmer Jay Jennings, who is president of the Virginia Tobacco Growers Association. Because of the U.S.-Chinese trade conflict and other factors such as declining tobacco use and competition from electronic vaping devices, tobacco production and prices are down significantly this year, he says, and leaf purchasers are sitting on unsold inventory. Many Virginia soybean and tobacco farmers are diversifying into new crops, such as industrial hemp, Boyd and Jennings say. Changing status The trade conflict has also complicated matters for American companies with significant business interests in China. A Japanese-owned subsidiary of Toshiba Mitsubishi Electric Industrial Systems Corp., Roanoke-based TMEIC Corp. is an engineering and manufacturing company that produces industrial drive systems motors, automation control systems and photovoltaic converter systems for solar-power applications. Its major automation control systems customers include the Port of Virginia and Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai. Last year, TMEIC applied for a waiver when the Trump administration instituted 10% tariffs on critical components it imported from its parent company’s factories in China. That waiver was rejected because the parent company had an additional source for the components at its factories in Japan and India, so TMEIC shifted the purchase of those items to India. Nonetheless, Michael Cooper, TMEIC’s marketing director, says that the company has been told that a 25% tariff likely will be applied to a variety of other necessary manufacturing components and devices that the company purchases from third-party vendors in China. “Our margins are tight to begin with. We’re in a very competitive environment,” says Cooper. The tariffs “will have a direct negative impact on our manufacturing costs and result in either passing on cost increases to our customers and/or reduced margins on our finished products.” An additional problem and “unintended consequence” of the conflict, says Cooper, who speaks Mandarin and has been doing business in China for decades, is that being an American company is now a negative in China, unlike in the past, when that status had cachet there. Right issue, wrong tactics? Despite the past regard that Chinese businesses held for American enterprise, China has long engaged in unfair trading practices, from turning a blind eye to rampant intellectual property theft to flooding the global market with cheap, state-subsidized steel and aluminum to undercut American metals manufacturers, say Virginia U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. Kaine and Warner agree that the United States needs to get tougher on unfair China trade practices. Nonetheless, they disagree with the Trump administration’s approach to the problem, which alienates U.S. allies. For starters, pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement earlier this year “strengthened China’s hand,” Kaine says, because China didn’t want the United States to have a preferential trade relationship with TPP nations such as Japan. Furthermore, the senators say, even though the Trump administration lifted its 14-month-long tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico in May, the president’s America-first rhetoric and policies have antagonized longtime allies, and that also aids China. “Their willingness to partner with us against China is dramatically reduced because the president picked a fight with our allies,” Kaine says. “For a guy who’s supposed to be such a great negotiator, it would not be the negotiating style that I’ve used or I think most successful businesspeople have used,” Warner says. He adds that the U.S. now faces more difficulty getting Canada and Mexico to stand with it on legitimate concerns, such as the Trump administration’s recent decision to block foreign telecommunications and technology transactions that could pose a threat to national security. Analysts say the move was prompted by fears that equipment from Chinese telecom manufacturers such as Huawei would enable the Chinese government to spy on America’s next-generation 5G wireless communications networks. DuVal, the Virginia Chamber president, commends the Trump administration for “recognizing the bad behavior of China.” But DuVal also says that the president’s strategy, negotiating directly with China while announcing trade policies via Twitter, represent a drastic departure from traditional trade tactics, in which diplomats quietly hammered out agreements behind the scenes. “Because it’s a top-down process, the business community doesn’t have the certainty that [it] likes to have and therefore can plan on. … And therefore you see the volatility, for example, in the stock market,” says DuVal. “It’s still a period of uncertainty … [but] we’re not suggesting it’s the wrong approach.” ‘No winners’ And going into summer, there was no sign of when the trade conflict would abate or what the long-term impact could be. “There’s no winners in a trade war,” says Paul Grossman, vice president of International Trade for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. “It has a very disruptive effect on business.” Grossman warns that, regardless of when the conflict de-escalates, American industries face a “long-term hangover effect” from the trade war.  U.S. industries will have lost significant market share because Chinese industries are finding other, less expensive alternatives to American goods in response to the tariffs. “If we cannot quickly resolve the situation of escalating tariffs, China will continue to replace Virginia imports with products from other countries that can enter at a lower tariff rate. This will negate years of business negotiations and relationship building with importers in China,” says Bronaugh, the state agriculture commissioner. “Chinese customers are adapting to the new reality of essentially not being able to purchase from the U.S. and are forging relationships with other producers.” In their strategic considerations, the Chinese take a much longer-term view than Americans, says TMEIC’s Cooper. If the U.S. government negotiates from a standpoint of believing “that the Chinese are going to cave on anything that they consider to be of consequence … [then the trade conflict] will never end,” Cooper says. “My anticipation is that there are going to be some wounds that have been opened in this fight that are not going to close. And the long-term or even medium-term ramifications for U.S. companies is not good.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2SG_1836x.png Kristiane Huber with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/extreme-events ‘Extreme events’ http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/extreme-events http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/extreme-events#When:08:00:00Z It’s rare to get through a week without some type of weather-related event threatening or impacting millions of people across the nation. Climatic disasters — ranging from hurricanes and floods to droughts and wildfires — appear to be on the rise. Last year, the U.S. experienced 14 separate billion-dollar disasters, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was the fourth-highest yearly total number of such events, following 2011, 2016 and 2017. This year — as of early April — there had been two events (flooding and a severe storm) in the U.S., each with losses of more than $1 billion. In the future, look for “more extreme events and conditions such as higher tides,” says Kristiane Huber, resilience fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in Arlington. “The 2018 National Climate Assessment lays out the impacts we’ve already observed and can expect in the coming decades.” Global temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century, and “we expect another 2 degrees of warming by 2050,” Huber says. “The past four years — 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 — were the four hottest years in modern history.” Changes affecting the weather give businesses “a whole new area of risk to explore and plan for,” says Andrea S. Brazil, executive vice president of the risk management and consulting group at Towne Insurance in Virginia Beach. “They need to consider the impact of increased flooding or windstorm damage, supply-chain delays from vendors and, for some agricultural customers, changes to their growing season and crops.” A ‘safety culture’ Changing climate conditions require business leaders to be fully engaged in protecting their assets, risk management experts say. “It’s forcing businesses to create and cultivate a safety culture,” says Nancy Ahrens, risk adviser for Scott Insurance in Richmond. “Climate falls into that fabric of safety. It has to be an all-the-time, every-time mindset. Everyone in the company has to be fully engaged.” Businesses should spend time putting together business continuity plans that include how to prepare “for an approaching storm or flood, how to react in the short term to damage and to ensure some measure of continued operations, and, lastly, how to maintain their customer service in the long term,” says Brazil. Businesses often don’t put enough attention on planning for weather-related disasters. Companies that don’t think about a plan “until a weather watch or even a warning is issued have much lower chances of survival,” says Rob Stiles, senior vice president, risk services, at Marsh & McLennan Agency in Richmond.  “The key components of a business continuity plan need to be in place well before a natural disaster strikes to ensure that a company is prepared, can respond and, more importantly, can recover to normal business operations with minimal downtime,” he says. Exposure to risk Businesses also need to take weather into consideration when they are considering acquisitions or expansions in their operational footprint. “You want to do your due diligence as it relates to the potential for catastrophic weather events,” says David Schaefer, president and CEO of Leesburg-based AHT. “When you are considering expanding, merging or opening a new location, review the exposure to catastrophic risk, particularly if there will be significant assets potentially in harm’s way.” Hampton Roads is among the areas in the state most susceptible to hurricanes, flooding and high winds because of its coastal location. Nonetheless, families and businesses continue to build in flood-prone areas. “Nobody wants to stifle the economy, so more and more coastal development continues,” says Ahrens. “People love coastal property, so we have to proactively manage the risks inherent in these areas.” Businesses located in coastal areas may have higher deductibles on their property insurance policies because of their exposure to high winds, hurricanes and flooding. “In Virginia Beach, for example, some insurance companies may want higher deductibles on wind and the flood coverage placed through the federal government. They may put a percentage deductible of 5% on the value of the building,” says Roy Bucher Jr., chairman of Lunsford, a Trustpoint Company, in Roanoke. A company with a $1 million building and a 5% wind deductible, for instance, would be responsible for the “first $50,000,” Bucher says, noting some insurance companies apply the higher wind deductible to areas east of Interstate 95. “Some don’t want to write property coverage at all, and some add the higher deductible. These are things that risk managers have to deal with when you are in this area.” Sea-level rise Coastal Virginia also is vulnerable to sea-level rise. “The whole Chesapeake Bay area is a result of an ancient meteor strike 35 million years ago that made a crater that filled with water,” says Schaefer. “The land around that strike is still subsiding, and the ocean is now rising. As a result, high-water events caused by ocean rise and extreme weather are exacerbated. In addition, as we continue to build in these areas, more insured property is at risk for water inundation.” The rising global sea level complicates the situation. Global average sea level has risen by 7 to 8 inches since 1900, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment. That level is likely to rise by a half a foot to more than 1 foot by 2050 and by 1 to 4 feet by 2100, the report says. Flooding is a significant issue for any business, whether it’s located in coastal areas or farther inland. Flooding is happening today in areas that were “historically dry, safe areas and not considered flood prone,” says Ahrens. “We are seeing more wild swings of increased rainfalls. Small rivers and swamps simply can’t handle the increased levels of rain.” Cities such as Houston and New Orleans have seen devastating downpours — 6 inches of rain in 4 hours in Houston and 4 inches in 90 minutes in New Orleans. “The risk of these types of downpours are not foreign to Virginia, so businesses need to know where they have property exposures,” says Ahrens. Businesses in coastal areas along the East Coast are paying more for property insurance today than in the past. “If they have no losses, it’s a minimum 10% increase,” says Alan Renkin of Marsh & McLennan Agency in Richmond. “If they have loss issues, it could be up to a 100% increase.” The insurance industry also is asking businesses to bear more of the risk for extreme weather through higher deductibles and co-insurance. “There is a significant difference in building on the sand at the water’s edge than two miles inland,” says Schaefer. “The cost of insurance is beginning to impact the decision on where to build because of the additional expense in high-risk areas,” he says. “We are seeing this across the board but particularly in areas prone to catastrophic risk. Property insurance is going up for these areas with little prospect that it will ever go back down, at least in our lifetime.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Barry-Duvall-Virginia-Chamber-of-Commerce_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-1.png Barry DuVal, the president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-a-better-workforce Building a better workforce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-a-better-workforce http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/building-a-better-workforce#When:08:00:00Z Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says his organization’s job is to help the commonwealth become the best state for business. “The way to do that is to have the best workforce,” he says. DuVal believes one avenue for achieving that goal is capturing the expertise, enterprise and energy of veterans who are looking for civilian careers. “That’s where Hire Vets Now came from — having the goal to train more veterans for civilian careers, connecting veterans and their spouses to jobs,” DuVal says. The program seeks to make contact with service members before they leave active duty. They can learn about job opportunities from chamber members and companies participating in the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program.  Networking events at the military installations allow service members to meet with employers. In large part, Hire Vets Now emerged out of conversations among members of the chamber’s Military and Veterans Affairs Executive Committee, DuVal says. “We had a pilot program in 2018 that resulted in about 445 service members attending. That was nine events, 445 attending,” he explains. “This year we have 16 events scheduled. We expect over 1,300 to attend in 2019.” The Hire Vets Now program works closely with the Veterans Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. Alison Foster, VTAP’s program manager, says that the number of veterans transitioning into civilian life has numbered 12,000 to 14,000 annually during the past two years. VTAP’s goal, Foster says, is to reach transitioning veterans 12 to 16 months before they leave the military. “People who start planning early have more success,” she says. Yorktown-based ITA International is one of the Hire Vets Now success stories. The defense contractor has grown from a single employee in 2005 to more than 400 today. “About 75% of them are veterans,” said Mike Melo, a former naval officer who is the company’s founder. Melo says the challenge for transitioning veterans is understanding what the civilian marketplace is looking for. One of the challenges for civilian employers, on the other hand, is understanding the mission-oriented mindset and diverse skills that veterans bring to the table, he adds. Nationally, veterans are being quickly absorbed into the civilian workforce. In April, the Department of Labor said the veteran unemployment rate in the U.S. was 2.3%, the lowest level since 2000. Kenneth M. Sullivan, the CEO of Smithfield Foods, announced an initiative in 2016 to make veterans 10% of the company’s domestic workforce. That would be about 4,000 workers. Schwanzetta Williams, the company’s director of talent acquisition, says she’s not a veteran, but her son is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and her father was an Army veteran. Those connections, she says, have been invaluable. “It’s helped me to gain a broader understanding of some of the challenges our military veterans have as they transition out of the military,” Williams says. Troy Vandenberg, Smithfield’s military talent acquisition manager, says Virginia’s commitment to hiring veterans and helping them transition to the civilian sector is second to none. “I definitely think Virginia is leading the way,” Vandenberg says. EDITOR'S NOTE: The print version of this story misstated the name of Smithfield Foods President and CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan.  2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sue-Farrell-Buits-to-Suits_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-5.png Sue Farrell started her first clothing drive in her own home. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dressed-for-success Dressed for success http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dressed-for-success http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dressed-for-success#When:08:00:00Z In 2014, Sue Farrell decided that service members leaving the military needed well-made clothes for their job interviews. Farrell, a longtime Richmond-area real estate agent, began her first clothing drive close to home. “I started with Joe’s closet,” she says. Joe was her late husband, Joseph Farrell, former CEO and chairman of what was then called The Pittston Co., now known as the Brink’s Co. He passed away in 2013. Farrell says her husband’s closet was filled with corporate attire — upscale suits, trousers and accessories. And, so was born an effort to honor her husband, a Navy veteran, that has blossomed into a mission for Farrell. The clothing program, called Boots to Suits, is available to transitioning veterans, both men and women. After Farrell emptied her late husband’s closet, she enlisted close friends and acquaintances to search their closets for minimally worn clothing. Besides gathering clothing for veterans, Farrell is a constant fund­raiser, utilizing everything from a Dominion Energy golf tournament to gifts from anyone sympathetic to veterans’ causes. The money goes for new shirts and other clothing that fill in the gaps from donated apparel. Funds also are needed to pay employees who work with Farrell and for rent on a building that provides storage and dressing rooms. “On average, it costs about $300 a vet,” Farrell says of the total cost of preparing a veteran for job interviews, not including general operational costs. She has a goal of outfitting about 500 veterans a year, including wounded warriors and, in some instances, the spouses of injured veterans who have become the family breadwinners. Farrell says veterans come from military installations throughout the state to select clothing and have fittings. Some tailors in the Richmond area donate their time to measure the veterans and ensure that their clothing has a perfect fit. One of them is Franco Ambrogi, co-founder of Franco’s Fine Clothier. He is an Army veteran, and his son was a Navy pilot who lost his life in service to his country. For his part, Ambrogi says serving veterans is a gift for him, as well as a patriotic service. “I’ve always believed in America,” Ambrogi says. “And the people who put their lives on the line for America deserve something better than just a slap on the back and ‘thank you.’” Farrell also works with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and other groups as part of the Boots to Suits program. “This fall we will celebrate our fifth year, and it’s been magic,” Farrell says. “I’m not a veteran, but I fell in love with one, and that was Joe.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/119Allen-July2019-.png John Allen, the CEO of Elite Meet, describes it as a “highly curated network”of veterans and employers. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mission-driven Mission driven http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mission-driven http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mission-driven#When:08:00:00Z John Allen began a program helping veterans of special operations forces transition to civilian jobs because of a need he saw firsthand. A 30-year-old Virginia Beach resident, Allen is a former Navy SEAL who suddenly found himself looking for a new career outside the military. Allen joined the SEALs in 2010. On April 19, 2014, he was on his first deployment when his team was attacked in Afghanistan. In an online narrative, Allen recalls the moment: “I watched a hand grenade come over the wall in front of me, bounce off my right shoulder and land in the mud between the six of us. I had enough time to realize that we were most likely going to die before the explosion sent thousands of pieces of metal flying in every direction. “I vividly recall the searing sensation in my legs and hip as the shrapnel slashed through. I was knocked to the ground in a heap, shoulder badly dislocated, and bullets flying overhead as our enemy tried to finish us all off.” Luckily, no U.S. servicemen died in the attack — an airstrike was called in and helicopters evacuated the wounded. Allen and nine of the 24 members in his platoon received Purple Hearts. By the beginning of 2016, pain from his wounds and a desire to spend more time with his family led Allen and his wife, Amanda, to decide that it was time for him to leave the SEALs. His long-term plan was to go to business school and earn an MBA. He already had earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His military contract called for him to serve through 2018. But in 2017 what Allen describes as an obscure Navy policy required him to either separate early from the military or re-enlist for an additional two or three years. “All of a sudden, I had to make this huge life decision,” Allen says, describing a conversation that he had with his wife. “I knew we weren’t going to stay in. She knew I had to go find a job. She was pregnant with a second kid — full-chaos, full-panic mode.” A fateful message Then fate intervened. Allen saw a LinkedIn message from an executive trying to connect with special operations forces members and jet-fighter pilots transitioning to civilian life. The executive was Jordan Selleck, the CEO and co-founder of DebtMaven, a New York-based deal management platform for debt financing. One of Selleck’s friends was a former fighter pilot who was having trouble adjusting to life outside the armed forces. So, Selleck posted the Linked­In note, asking others about their experiences in making the switch. Allen replied immediately. “My response to him was like insane,” he recalls. “It was nine pages long. I told him, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing; I need help.’  I was desperate.” What people don’t understand, Allen says, is that moving from military to civilian life is a big jump. “Whether you’re a fighter pilot or a Navy SEAL or you’re a chef, it doesn’t matter,” he says. Selleck and Allen teamed up to bring corporate executives and other business leaders together with special operations forces veterans from various military branches. Elite Meet created That partnership led to the creation of Elite Meet in 2017. The first event was March 30 that year. Selleck leveraged his business contacts, while Allen used his connections with service members. Money was raised and the Elite Meet event was held in New York with 50 people attending. Twenty were veterans. The $50,000 needed to stage the event and pay for the veterans’ flights and hotel rooms came from a variety of sources, including the SEAL Foundation and Hope for the Warriors, another veterans organization. “Within 72 hours of the event, five of our [special operations forces] attendees had job offers,” Allen recalls. Since then, Allen, now CEO of Elite Meet, has been raising money and making contacts to organize events to bring together other elite veterans with executives from business and industry. Elite Meet has hosted more than 50 events, most of them single-day meetings. More than 250 veterans have received at least one job offer through the program. “At its core Elite Meet is just this: a highly curated network on both sides. Your veterans are chosen to be here for a reason and your professionals have been chosen to meet those metrics,” Allen says. “The idea was, they want to meet each other even if they don’t know it yet. It would create an immediate interaction, and both sides would wow each other. It’s all about highly curated matchmaking,” he says. ‘It’s a powerful event’ Nick Creasey, the former member of a U.S. Navy special operations team now living in Delaware, says all the stars aligned during that first Elite Meet event. “So, we got to New York City. They flew us up there, they put us up at a Marriott, and then we had an event the following day,” he says. “It was just several different speakers, a lot of different breakout sessions where we could just go mingle and talk with the professionals in the room, and we ended up going to have dinner and drinks with the same professionals. “I personally met my current CEO at one of the very first breakout sessions, and we just hit it off. It’s a powerful event,” Creasey says. Today, he is managing director, strategic partnerships, at Resourcive, a Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based firm that focuses on cost reduction and network improvement for multilocation companies. His CEO, Tom Gesky, says he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for when he attended that first Elite Meet event. But when he saw the elite veterans attending the meeting, he got the answers he needed. “I have come to realize that in the business world, mental toughness and mindset is really, really important,” Gesky says. “These guys have it. They’re not into politics in the office. They are really focused and they have integrity. “These are characteristics that are fabulous for any company’s culture,” he says. So far, Gesky has hired four Elite Meet members. Part of company culture Kyle Hall of Chesapeake, a former Green Beret who is now director of operations at Resourcive, says hiring former Special Operations veterans is now part of the company’s culture. He points to one of the characteristics of  special operations forces veterans that often hinders them in their job searches: an unwillingness to mention their individual accomplishments, part of the team mentality built into their training. “In the Green Berets, for example, one of our monikers is ‘quiet professionals,’” Hall says. Gartner Inc., a 15,000-employee research and advisory company based in Stamford, Conn., is another firm that has formed a good relationship with Elite Meet. “Gartner values a set of qualitative traits such as executive presence, will to win and lifelong learning,” says Sarah Spenelli, the company’s senior recruiting specialist. “Based on our prior experience hiring military talent, and in partnership with our Veterans Employee Resource Group, we know that Special Forces military personnel embody these traits at a much deeper level. Elite Meet has helped us to hire several individuals who fit this profile,” she adds. Allen, the Elite Meet CEO, says the organization is still in its startup stage, with only three full-time employees. He says the organization’s future depends on employers and donors who see the value of bringing together some of the military’s most well-trained veterans with business executives. “We want our members, as they take up spots in business, to support the community they came from,” he says. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/158-ColonialDowns-July2019-.png Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs in New Kent County has 600 slot machinelike games. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-pot-thickens The pot thickens http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-pot-thickens http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-pot-thickens#When:08:00:00Z It’s a sunny May afternoon in New Kent County, but dozens of patrons are gathered indoors amid an arcadelike chorus of chirping touch screens displaying bright red cherries, neon lemons and ostensibly lucky numbers. Players at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs withdraw cash from one machine and deposit it in another. They tap buttons at electronic games with titles like “Super Vegas Royale” and “Slush Funds.” Cartoon horses flash at the top of each screen. Security guards quietly stand watch as people make bet after bet. Bright signs display recent jackpots and encourage people to test their chances: “The next big win could be yours.” “I can’t believe they got away with it in Virginia,” a patron exclaims inside what is the bleeding edge of legal gambling in the state. The slot machinelike games at Rosie’s are technically not slot machines. Rather than random outcomes, Rosie’s machines are based on actual, albeit anonymous, historic horse races and have been legal in Virginia only since last year. The race being wagered on is identified onscreen after players make their bets.  Such distinctions can get lost amid the glow of the gaming room floor, however important the technological differences might — or might not — be to state lawmakers. “I’m not the moral police,” says state Sen. Mamie E. Locke, a Democrat who represents part of Portsmouth, when asked about her position on casinos. “We have many infrastructure needs. We have transportation needs. We have education needs. And this could be a source of revenue that could meet those needs.” The uncertain outcomes being bet on at Rosie’s mirror the current hopes for casinos in Virginia, where legal gambling, for now, is limited to the kinds of games Rosie’s offers (historic horse racing, also known as instant racing), as well as horse betting, online fantasy sports, the Virginia Lottery and charitable games like bingo. The push to open Virginia’s first full-fledged casino with table games such as blackjack and roulette has no shortage of players, but whether they’ll be able to get in on the action is an open question. Current legislation Legislation this year created a path to expand gambling in five economically distressed cities, but Virginia needs to deal a number of cards before would-be casino operators can claim a winning hand. Introduced by state Sen. L. Louise Lucas, a longtime Democrat from Portsmouth, SB1126 authorized casino gaming to be regulated by the Virginia Lottery Board. The bill limited casino gaming to Portsmouth, Norfolk, Richmond, Danville and Bristol. However, the legislation goes into effect only if it’s re-enacted in the 2020 General Assembly session. Each locality would be limited to having one casino and would have to hold a referendum to approve any casino proposal. Only casino proposals that represent a minimum capital investment of $200 million would be eligible to obtain an operator’s license. Gov. Ralph Northam signed SB1126 into law after a number of casino bills were debated in 2019, including legislation that would have allowed localities to hold votes on casino proposals this fall. Lawmakers opted instead to take more time, directing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to produce a gaming study by November. JLARC is working with two gaming industry consultants, The Innovation Group and Regulatory Management Counselors, on the report. JLARC Associate Director Tracey Smith, who is supervising the study, says it will address a few broad questions: If Virginia chooses to expand legalized gaming, how should it be governed, regulated and administered? What approaches to expanded gaming in Virginia would have the best fiscal and economic impacts for localities and the state? And what other policy considerations should inform decisions about whether and how to expand gaming? “Our starting point will be looking at what would be … the economic impact of locating a casino in the localities that are identified in the legislation,” Smith says. JLARC is aware that Virginia’s Native American tribes also have an interest in the future landscape of gaming in the state, Smith says, but the study is primarily focused on the potential impact of commercial casinos, as opposed to tribal casinos. The social impact of casinos and gambling also will be included. The study will not, however, include a recommendation on whether Virginia should expand gaming: “Ultimately that is a policy call that the General Assembly has to make,” says Smith. “Our job in this study is to provide the General Assembly with enough information to really make that decision.” The players As the regulatory framework is explored, a number of players have been making moves in anticipation of a new era of gambling in Virginia. Regardless whether Virginia legalizes commercial casinos, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which was federally recognized in 2015, could open a casino through a regulatory process with the National Indian Gaming Commission, says tribal spokesman Jay Smith. The Pamunkey are working on plans to open a resort with a casino in partnership with Norfolk on about 20 acres owned by the city on the Elizabeth River near Harbor Park Stadium. For casino games, federal law requires a compact between a tribe and state government that addresses revenue sharing. If Virginia legalizes casino gaming, then the Pamunkey would pursue a casino in Norfolk through the state regulatory framework as well. That’s because the state could be quicker to sign off on the Pamunkey’s casino plans than the federal government, allowing the tribe to tap into potential revenue sooner, Smith says. “They’ve been pursuing this federal path long before the legislation this past session that brought forth commercial gaming,” Smith says. “The tribe didn’t want to be left behind, and so we said, ‘If the state’s ready to move forward, so are we.’” The casino is part of a larger effort by the Pamunkey to build tribal assets such as a cultural museum or a senior-assisted living facility in the area of its ancestral home, which stretches roughly from Richmond to the Virginia coast, Smith says. Investor Jon Yarbrough has acquired 600 acres in New Kent County with the intent of transferring the land to the Pamunkey as part of the tribe’s development plans, Smith says. Asked whether the Pamunkey are eyeing a Richmond casino, Smith was noncommittal: “The tribe is focused on its proposed project in Norfolk but continue to look at other properties for a number of economic development, cultural and housing development opportunities.” Elsewhere in Hampton Roads, a $700 million waterfront development with a casino is being eyed for Portsmouth. John Lawson, the executive chairman of W.M. Jordan Co., is in talks to develop the project on a 6-acre site owned by the city. Lawson says that Virginia Beach hotelier and developer Bruce Thompson could be a partner in the project. Lawson and Thompson have worked together on projects since the late 1990s, including the $81 million renovation of The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. In light of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s plans, does Lawson think the Hampton Roads market is big enough to handle two casinos? “The first casino in the area should be successful,” Lawson says. “Two would be a challenge.” At the other end of the state, two local businessmen — United Co. Chairman and CEO Jim McGlothlin and Par Ventures President Clyde Stacy — have floated plans to redevelop a defunct shopping mall in Bristol into a resort and casino. They envision a casino, a hotel, restaurants and other amenities. “While we are evaluating a range of lodging, dining and entertainment options, our primary focus at this time is to achieve final passage of the legislation during the 2020 [General Assembly] session and passage of the local referendum,” says Andy Poarch, a spokesman for the Bristol Resort & Casino team. “We plan to be ready to hit the ground running at such time as the General Assembly and the residents of Bristol give us the green light to proceed.” In Southern Virginia, Danville leaders are also ready to welcome a casino. In February, Danville City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of legislation that would allow a casino to open in the city with voter approval. Danville also has been identified as a possible home for historic horse racing machines. Colonial Downs Group announced at the end of May that it had submitted paperwork to begin the process of voter referendums to open Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations in Danville and Dumfries. There already are Rosie’s locations in New Kent, Vinton and Richmond. Another Rosie’s is planned for Hampton. Additionally, Colonial Downs Group plans to reopen the Colonial Downs racetrack to Thoroughbred horse racing in August. The company is keeping a close eye on the state’s gaming study. “We have offered to be a resource for the study as the second-largest gaming provider in Virginia, following the lottery,” says Mark B. Hubbard, a spokesman for Colonial Downs Group. “The results of the study and any action during the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session will help guide our future efforts.” The Virginia Lottery is also watching to see what comes of the JLARC report, says spokesperson John Hagerty. He downplays the possibility that an expanded casino market would eat into lottery ticket sales. “Maryland saw a relatively small but detectable lottery sales decline as it opened ... [its] casinos, but those losses were only temporary,” Hagerty says. Danville Vice Mayor J. Lee Vogler views the possibility of both a Rosie’s and a casino opening in his city as a great opportunity that could help fund necessities such as public safety and education. However, he says, “We should allow the citizens of our city to make that ultimate choice.” Gambler’s fallacy? Not everyone is ready to embrace casinos as engines of economic development. The Rev. Dewey Williams of Bristol’s Belle Meadows Baptist Church told Virginia Business in October that casinos would be built “on the backs of people who will lose $30,000 and $40,000 they don’t have.” Del. Leslie R. Adams, a Republican who represents a district just outside Danville, opposes casinos but says he’s willing to learn more about them. Some studies have tied the presence of casinos to an increase in gambling addiction, though casino advocates dispute this. “The way things stand now, I don’t see this as good for our region,” Adams says. While he recognizes Southern Virginia isn’t as prosperous as other parts of the state, “that doesn’t mean, well, any opportunity ought to be embraced fully, particularly when it comes with these social concerns.” While multiple casinos could open across the state, some think if even one new casino opens in Virginia, it will do so at a disadvantage. Richard McGowan, a Jesuit professor at Boston College who researches the economics of gambling, thinks Virginia is entering the game far too late. The commonwealth will face considerable competition from Maryland, which has six casinos, and West Virginia, where five are open. There were 979 casino gaming locations open across the nation as of December, according to the American Gaming Association trade group. “Usually a casino depends on patrons coming from outside its jurisdiction,” says McGowan, who some call “Padre Pecado” (or the Priest of Sin) due to his area of expertise. “While casinos are certainly much more socially acceptable and tolerated, they will not provide the cash windfall that advocates will maintain.” While McGowan says casinos opening near resorts could fare better, history doesn’t bode well for these kinds of projects if Atlantic City is any measure. Atlantic City embraced casino gambling in 1978, with one reporter observing at the time, “The city will never be the same again.” Between 2014 and 2016, five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closed before the market stabilized with fewer operators, according to The Associated Press. Today, Atlantic City is home to nine casinos, after the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort opened last year. Gaming revenue for casinos in New Jersey has been on the rise, but operating profits are down, according a report from The Press of Atlantic City newspaper. In the first quarter of this year, revenue from Garden State casinos was up 17.6% to $704.6 million, but profits were down 29.6% to $87 million, reflecting an increasingly competitive environment in which operators are spending to woo customers and stand out from the pack. Virginia’s casino legislation appears to skirt some of those pitfalls as the General Assembly would allow just one casino each in five cities throughout the state, in contrast with the density of Atlantic City casinos. In fact, McGowan says the commonwealth could reclaim some of the tax revenue the state leaves on the table when Virginia residents visit casinos in other states. The volume of annual casino tax revenue flowing to New Jersey’s coffers peaked at more than $500 million in 2006 — 38 years after the state began collecting it. Since then, casino tax revenue has been on a more or less steady decline. In fiscal year 2018, New Jersey’s cut of tax revenue from casinos was $217 million. Closer to home, West Virginia’s commercial casinos saw their sixth year of declining revenues in 2017, according to an American Gaming Association report. Commercial casino revenue dropped 4.6% to $624.6 million in 2017 as competition increased from neighboring states, the report said. West Virginia collected $293 million in tax revenue from casinos in 2017 — down from $304.7 million in 2016. And to our north, Maryland has seen gains since its 2012 referendum to expand legalized gambling beyond slot machines to include dice and card games. Casino gaming revenue in Maryland has risen steadily over the last five years, from $608.3 million in fiscal year 2013 to $1.6 billion in 2018. In fiscal year 2013, $284.34 million generated by casinos went to the Maryland Education Trust Fund. That figure rose to $496 million in fiscal 2018. Advocates of expanding gaming in Virginia laud examples of tax windfalls such as this, but a 2015 study commissioned by Old Dominion University throws cold water on claims about the tax money casinos could bring to localities. The ODU study examined the likely economic impact a new casino would have on Hampton Roads. The report was done by Douglas M. Walker, an economics professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and the author of the book “Casinonomics: The Socioeconomic Impacts of the Casino Industry.” Walker argues that overall tax revenues might increase after a casino opens in Hampton Roads, but they may do so at the expense of other local businesses. “While the evidence suggests that, on average, the introduction of a casino will lead to increases in overall tax revenues, the relationship is not as strong as one might imagine,” Walker wrote in his 2015 report. “Spending in casinos may replace some spending that would have occurred in other retail, restaurants, bars, hotels and amusement sectors.” Walker adds that a decrease in revenue flowing to other parts of the local economy would be smaller, though, if the casino attracts people from outside of Hampton Roads. Given all of this, Walker wonders why politicians are often adamant in their support for casinos as a tax revenue tool: “One possible explanation is that casinos provide a large political benefit to policymakers because it is often much easier to increase casino taxes than it is to raise income, sales or property taxes.” Walker goes on to say that an expansion of legalized gambling likely will impact existing legalized gambling industries such as the Virginia Lottery. For example, Virginia gamblers could substitute buying a stack of lottery tickets for a trip to the slot machines. In this way, consumer spending on gambling — along with any accompanying tax revenue — would simply shift from one pool to another rather than creating a new market. As one might expect, the gaming industry touts the economic benefits casinos bring to communities. Casey Clark, a spokesman for the American Gaming Association, says casinos invest heavily in communities, create jobs and increase tourism. “There are antiquated stereotypes about gaming that continue to persist that … requires some education of people to really understand what it means when these sophisticated, multinational businesses invest in communities,” Clark says. Whatever the sticking points may be, plenty of state politicians appear ready to wed casinos to the Virginia Way — or at least let voters choose whether that’s what they want. State Sen. Bill Carrico, a Republican who represents Bristol, introduced legislation this past session related to casino gaming that was incorporated into SB1126. He says he wouldn’t personally vote in favor of a casino but he supports letting residents decide. “I’m letting the democratic process take place by allowing them to vote on it,” Carrico says. Portsmouth Democrat Del. Stephen E. Heretick echoes Senator Locke’s enthusiasm for casinos. “Trying to invent gaming laws … out of thin air is going to be a big challenge for us,” Heretick says, adding that states such as Maryland and New York have a big head start on Virginia. “We want to make it uniquely Virginian.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Paul-Hurlocker-CEO-Notch_%C2%A9_Caroline_Martin_Photography-1.png Paul Hurlocker was CEO of Notch, which was sold to Capital One Financial Corp. Photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/adding-a-notch Adding a notch http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/adding-a-notch http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/adding-a-notch#When:08:00:00Z Out of 141,854 Virginia entrepreneurs surveyed in 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau about their firms, 31% didn’t have an exit strategy; 15% planned to walk away from the business; and 12% planned to sell or transfer ownership to a co-owner. Another 20% of Virginia entrepreneurs surveyed planned to sell their businesses to someone who was not already an owner of the business. Such was the way things played out for Notch, a technology consulting firm founded in Richmond in December 2014. About three years later, Notch was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Capital One Financial Corp., which was a Notch client at the time. Most of Notch’s employees joined the bank’s Center for Machine Learning. “I saw the opportunity to carry on what our focus was in a venue or a setting that had a lot of really talented people and a clear mission,” says Paul Hurlocker, a Notch co-founder and former CEO. “It’s still an environment where people can drive change, and there’s just an entrepreneurial spirit.” David Castillo, managing vice president of machine learning at Capital One, said in a statement that the company is focused on rethinking how banking works and building customer experiences based on data and enabled by technologies like machine learning. “Prior to Notch joining the Capital One team, we developed a strong relationship partnering on key projects to advance our machine learning transformation,” said Castillo. “Ultimately, we saw that Paul [Hurlocker] and team would be a natural fit to come on board.” Hurlocker, now a vice president at Capital One’s Center for Machine Learning, says Notch was born out of a desire to create a company with a challenging technical environment that would attract recent graduates. Notch was founded by Hurlocker and David Derr, who also now works at Capital One; the pair had crossed paths while working at Amentra, a consulting startup that later was acquired by Red Hat, a Raleigh, N.C.-based software company.  “Ultimately, what we talked about was the opportunity to create a company that was focused on machine learning and data engineering,” says Hurlocker. Derr’s brother, Matt, joined Notch in 2015 as a partner after he finished his doctorate in machine learning from University of California, San Diego. The company that became Notch would go on to deliver over 60 projects to more than 30 clients before the Capital One acquisition, Hurlocker says. Born in Wilmington, N.C., Hurlocker grew up in Atlanta before moving to Northern Virginia. He studied economics at Radford University, where he began teaching himself how to code.  After graduating from Radford in 1996, Hurlocker worked as a software engineer in the Atlanta area, mostly in the travel industry. His work included building early web-based travel booking sites. He returned to Virginia to work in Richmond for Amentra as the company’s 20th employee. Working there got him interested in “the entrepreneurial journey,” says Hurlocker. After Red Hat, Hurlocker had stints at Affinion Group, a marketing and advertising firm, and PlanG, a charity donation startup. He is married and has two children. To observers like Todd Nuckols of Lighthouse Labs, a startup accelerator in Richmond, it’s not unusual for Virginia startups to be acquired by other companies. Nonetheless, he sees that pattern as the exception rather than the rule. Nuckols says Notch’s acquisition exemplifies the way Richmond’s startup market has expanded. “It says that we have the talent to innovate in the technical landscape and be successful at building companies that are attractive to external purchasers, either for their talent or for the marketplaces that they build and represent,” says Nuckols. “We’re no longer just a professional-services, IT town. We can build startups, and they can do meaningful work and be attractive to other markets and other buyers.” Virginia Business sat down with Hurlocker for an interview in February in a conference room at Capital One’s West Creek Campus in Goochland County. Below is a transcript of the conversation that’s been edited for clarity and length. Virginia Business: Why was the acquisition by Capital One a good move for Notch? Hurlocker: We created a pretty high-power team, in my opinion, and I saw the opportunity to carry on what our focus was in a venue or a setting that had a lot of really talented people and a clear mission. It’s really appealing that Capital One is still run by its founder. Being in Richmond, you’re generally aware of what Capital One is doing. They’ve been pushing the envelope for quite some time. I guess we have been pushing the envelope now with the move to the cloud, and that started some time ago, and investments in key areas and technology that enable machine learning at enterprise scale; that’s an environment that makes people like us really excited about building solutions.   VB: One thing I hear sometimes about the Richmond startup scene is the feeling there isn’t enough capital to really grow in Richmond the way you might in another bigger market. Do you find that to be true? Hurlocker: We were bootstrapped, so we had no external investors. I do think there have been time periods where it can be difficult. I know there are groups of investors that have organized, too. Just having a single point of contact, I think, is huge. Before, it was all about working for larger companies. You never really see people depart. Now, I think you’re seeing a healthy mix of people deciding to go after something a little later in their career, which is frankly what I did, or coming straight out of an incubator relatively new out of school and doing that.   VB: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs? Hurlocker: I’ve had time to think about all of that because when you’re in it, it’s pretty crazy but good. You’re just so engrossed in it and that’s the way it should be. I read this book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” by Ben Horowitz. I think that it’s cliché, but he basically was like, “There is no formula.” It’s about how you react, how you keep your energy and your focus, but no one can tell you what that journey is like. I think that you have to think about services, companies and products of companies differently in the technology realm. We believed that, basically, the viability of our business was us being able to grow it and get opportunities. That was our proof that we should grow: It was that we could go and build our business our way. That’s hard to scale sometimes with products. Sometimes it takes a different approach there. It’s all-encompassing and it impacts the people in your life. I had a family when the journey started. We all went through it together. It was pretty awesome and they were very supportive.   VB: What is machine learning? Hurlocker: It’s a merging of math and engineering, essentially, to do things like to predict whether there’s been a fraudulent activity on an account or to determine how to best engage a customer when they’re on the mobile app or our website, trying to determine why a customer may be calling in and getting them to service more quickly. Another way to talk about it is everyone has some experience with a voice like Siri; those types of interactions use machine learning as well.   VB: What’s the goal of machine learning? Hurlocker: It’s still a nascent early field, but I think what it’s all about is augmenting and enriching the human experience.   VB: Since the dawn of time, there have been skeptics of new technologies. Are there hazards with machine learning that society should be worried about? Hurlocker: One of our areas of focus is around explainability and I think that’s good. Explainability is basically showing how you came to certain decisions or predictions or how you basically created certain experiences, and not just trusting that the model is a black box and it’s going to make the right decision. We’re heavily invested through university partnerships and internal dedicated R&D teams to really drive that. We need to understand the power of these things and do them in a responsible way. We have used data science since the beginning of the company, and this, in many ways, is an evolution of that type of thing. It’s basically like the merging of technology and data science at really large scale with big datasets and things like that. Ultimately, we have explain­­­­­­­­-abil­­­­­ity and fairness baked in.   VB: Does the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning and its potential impact on children worry you at all as a parent? Hurlocker: I tend to be optimistic about the power of these things. Generally, we are in control, and it’s up to us how these things are used. When I say “we,” I mean us as a society. I think it’s important to think about these things. There are things we need to be mindful of, but I believe in the value that technology brings, and in particular, that machine learning is bringing. I don’t really have those fears. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-july-2019 People - July 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-july-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-july-2019#When:08:00:00Z NORTHERN VIRGINIA Dr. Steve Narang has been named president of Inova Health System’s Fairfax Medical Campus. He will join Inova on July 8. Narang, a pediatrician and executive from Phoenix-basedÊBanner Health, succeedsÊPatrick Christiansen, who retired last year. Since then,ÊSusan CarrollÊserved as acting president of the Falls Church-based nonprofit health system’s flagship hospital and, going forward, will be its chief administrative officer, according to an Inova spokeswoman. (Washington Business Journal) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Gary Thomson, CPA, of Thomson Consulting in Richmond, is the new chair of the board of directors of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. Henry Davis III, CPA, of Virginia Commonwealth University is vice chair. (News release) Toni R. Ardabell, the top executive of Bon Secours Richmond Health System since 2015, will return in July to her previous employer, Inova Health System in Northern Virginia. She will be associate chief, clinical enterprise, at Inova. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Clark Casteel, vice president of programs at the Danville Regional Foundation, will become the organization’s president and chief executive officer Aug. 1. He will take over for Karl Stauber, who is retiring after being with the nonprofit since 2007. (Danville Register & Bee) EASTERN VIRGINIA Brian Purcell has been named chair of the Corporate, Securities and Finance group at Willcox Savage. Purcell focuses his practice on general business matters, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, structuring of joint ventures and pass-through entity taxation. (News release) 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/followups-july-2019 Followups - July 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/followups-july-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/followups-july-2019#When:08:00:00Z SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Daimler AG, the German auto giant acquiring Torc Robotics, has created a new business unit focused on putting self-driving trucks on the road within a decade. It’s all part of a $570 million investment by Daimler Trucks, with some of that work landing in Blacksburg, according to a May news release. The news adds clarity to the role Blacksburg-based Torc will play within the corporate structure of its new parent company pending the Daimler acquisition approval by federal regulators. (The Roanoke Times) Pulaski County is in the beginning stages of a multiyear project that will connect the 57-mile New River Trail to Randolph Park in Dublin. About $1.3 million in federal and county funds has been allocated to the project, with $1.1 million being spent on the current phase. The federal portion of the trail project was disbursed by the state as part of a transportation improvement grant. The first phase of the project will connect the terminus of the trail near East Main Street in Pulaski by the Food Lion to behind Critzer Elementary School. (The Roanoke Times) The third cohort of entrepreneurs that has taken up residence inside the Gill Memorial Building includes a former Microsoft coder, a longtime banking executive and a scientist who just won a $750,000 NASA grant. They represent some of the founders behind six startups chosen from the 20 that applied to participate in downtown Roanoke’s RAMP business accelerator. The six startups will receive training from Virginia Western Community College, office space from the city of Roanoke and mentoring organized by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. At the end, they’ll have a platform to pitch their ideas to investors during the annual demo day event. As an added bonus, four startups received $20,000 in equity-free funding to help build their companies. The other two slots come with no funding and are instead paid for by corporate sponsors. (The Roanoke Times) The Roanoke Regional Partnership, an economic development organization, has made a concerted effort to recruit talent to the region. After collaborating with its eight localities, the business community, tourism officials, colleges and universities, and professional organizations such as the regional chambers and Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, the partnership is developing new and creative ways to recruit talent, ranging from new college graduates to professionals with several years of experience. The partnership has launched the Get2KnowNoke brand to focus on bringing talent to the region. Along with it came the Get2KnowNoke summer internship program. The partnership also has taken on the Experience conference and programming for young professionals. It hosted or participated in about 20 college programs over the last six months as well. (The Roanoke Times) In the wake of an over-enrollment crunch, Virginia Tech is offering money to some incoming students as an incentive to delay attending the university for up to a year. Tech’s oversize freshman class, which is anticipated to number more than 7,000 students, would strain the infrastructure of the university and town of Blacksburg, officials say. To reduce potential growth pains, Tech is offering financial incentives to 1,559 incoming, in-state freshmen in specific programs to skip the 2019-20 school year in Blacksburg — or at least one semester. The university has budgeted $3.3 million for the program. (The Roanoke Times) The owners of a local winery are using their winnings from a recent contest to remodel their company’s kitchen. Loren and Elizabeth Gardner, a husband-and-wife team who purchased Abingdon Vineyards last August, placed second in the 2019 Washington County Business Challenge’s Existing Business Expansion Awards. Their prize was $1,500. The couple has extensive wine experience in Napa Valley. Elizabeth Gardner says the current kitchen is not up to health codes, the household electric stove has no hood and the refrigerator has limited space. “Our wine dinner chefs have to prepare food offsite and cook outside on the grill, even in the winter,” she said. The renovated kitchen will have the potential to be used as a commissary for food startups that need to rent space in a commercial setting, the couple said. Since purchasing the 45-acre property on the South Holston River, the couple’s goals are to grow the community and the economic impact of the winery. Just since last year, they have increased wine production from 2,000 to 3,000 cases annually and have doubled the winery income by offering a variety of community events. According to the couple, the commercial kitchen will add $97,000 of annual income to the business while increasing jobs. (SWVAToday.com) Ballad Health officials acknowledged they could have done a better job letting people know they were no longer doing surgery at Mountain View Hospital in Norton but said that they notified the state of the change. However, Virginia’s health department could not have notified the public because much of Ballad’s correspondence is considered proprietary, said Erik Bodin, who is director of the division that includes overseeing the cooperative agreement that allowed two rival health systems to merge in the coalfields. (The Roanoke Times) In May, Mac Holladay, founder and CEO of Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based economic and community development consulting firm, spoke to a group of about 20 community and business leaders from both Bristols; Sullivan County, Tennessee; and Washington County, Virginia, at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. Holladay said the most attractive areas for businesses have quality education, a prepared workforce and good quality of life. By contrast, he cited rural areas where hospitals have closed, describing those areas as economically “done” because health care is a key, basic consideration. Having no hospital makes it more difficult to attract new employers or families, he added. He also said everyone involved needs to appreciate when another locality lands a business or industry. Bristol Virginia City Manager Randy Eads, who is also an attorney, says it only makes sense for border communities to cooperate. “I don’t know why we can’t work together. We need to work with our representatives in Richmond and Nashville to make them understand that this is a unique area of both Tennessee and Virginia, and we’re stronger together than we are separate. If we start working together, we can have a tremendous impact on this region,” Eads says. Holladay was in town in advance of a Bristol 2040 steering committee meeting. The effort is a long-term visioning and economic development planning process promoted by the Chamber of Commerce. (Bristol Herald Courier) The Bristol Hotel, the historic Reynolds Memorial United Methodist Church and the owner of a home once labeled the “horror house of Solar Hill” were honored in May for historic preservation. The trio was among five honorees recognized during the sixth annual Bristol Virginia Historic District Preservation Awards at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The awards program was established to recognize significant historic preservation and revitalization efforts of eligible homes, businesses and other structures within the city’s five designated historic districts, as recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Also honored were Chris Cannon, owner of the former E.K. Crymble house at 225 Solar St., and Lucinda Brown, for renovations at 1022 Euclid Ave. Dr. Fred Greer received the stewardship award for maintaining his 1930s-era home at 501 Lawrence Ave. Nominations for the 2020 awards are now open and will be accepted until next March, according to Catherine Brillhart, chairwoman of the awards committee. (Bristol Courier Herald) A $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will assist Bluefield in Virginia and West Virginia with cleaning and redeveloping industrial and commercial sites. U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-9th, announced that the Brownfields Program awarded $600,000 to the city. Bluefield Town Manager Mike Watson said the application process took nine months and involved Tazewell and Mercer counties as well as the two Bluefields. Jim Spencer, Bluefield, W.Va., community and economic development coordinator, said the city will be seeing how many properties can be redeveloped and used for new projects. Watson said the first step will be identifying the properties and determining if there is an environmental issue. (The News & Press) GO Virginia Region One’s Council approved grants totaling $220,947 in May to help fund three development projects. Meeting in the Bristol Virginia School Board auditorium for the first time, the 20-member council unanimously approved providing $50,000 to help fund an oversight position within the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, more than $70,947 to develop a solar energy program for Appalachian Voices in Norton and $100,000 for a livestock education project in Carroll County. The GO Virginia model requires at least two entities to partner before seeking funds and in most cases requires matching funds. (Bristol Herald Courier) The Tazewell County Chamber of Commerce hosted the ribbon cutting for its new home, a renovated former Norfolk and Western Railway train station, on May 18. The station was empty for many years before the town of Tazewell obtained it from Norfolk Southern Railroad and began its restoration. Under the direction of Vice Mayor Terry Mullins, a committee of interested citizens was formed, and they were able to obtain funding to restore the building. In addition to being the chamber office, the station will serve as a satellite of the county’s tourism office. (SWVAtoday.com) A growing program initiated more than 10 years ago at Virginia Highlands Community College is in the national spotlight for empowering foster youth to succeed academically. Deborah Ledford, coach for Great Expectations at the community college, said she’s been contacted by higher education programs from as far away as California and Colorado since The Chronicle of Higher Education featured the Abingdon community college in a video. The program, shared by 21 Virginia community colleges, is designed to help foster youth pursue associate degrees and workforce credentials, transfer to four-year universities and position themselves for employment and life success. The Virginia Highlands Community College program has grown from 10 students in 2008 to 94 in the latest academic year. (Washington County News) L.C. King Manufacturing, a longtime Bristol business, isn’t closing its local site and moving to China, contrary to an April Fools’ Day stunt. On April Fools’ Day, the company, maker of “famous workwear,” shared news on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media accounts that it was moving its factory in downtown Bristol to Shandong Province in China. The company, which also sent a news release to the Bristol Herald Courier — not on April Fools’ Day — said the change was effective immediately. One day after the announcement, L.C. King revealed the move was an April Fools’ joke. L.C. King has been making garments in Bristol since 1913 and has a factory and store at the corner of Shelby and Seventh streets. Reaction to the original announcement was swift. While some caught on quickly that it was an April Fools’ joke, others didn’t find it funny. At least one person said they are boycotting the company. Be prepared. Jack King, the great-grandson of founder Landon Clayton King, said he already has plans for next year, which he believes “will really be talked about.” (Bristol Herald Courier) Nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport will begin at Tri-Cities Airport on Sept. 4, American Airlines and the Tri-Cities Airport Authority announced in April. The additional flights mean American Airlines passengers will have access to 84 additional one-stop routes from the airport in Blountville, Tennessee, Tri-Cities Airport Director Gene Cossey said in a news release. The flights will be twice daily. (Bristol Herald Courier) Before May, the idea of buying a restaurant — much less, a hot dog diner — had never crossed Debbie Clark’s mind. But then, at a party, she was talking to Farron Smith, co-owner of Wytheville’s Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs, and suddenly the idea didn’t seem so crazy. Debbie and her husband, Dale, bought Skeeter’s from Smith, and her husband, Bill, on May 30 — three decades from the day that the Smiths purchased it from the founding Umberger family. (The Roanoke Times) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Staunton-based Cadence Inc. has acquired the assets of Arcor Laser Services LLC, a laser processing company based in Connecticut. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Cadence is a contract manufacturing firm providing advanced products, technologies and services to medical-device, life science, industrial and defense companies worldwide. Founded in 2004 by Gary Francoeur, Arcor specializes in precision laser welding, machining marking and drilling, as well as turnkey systems integration. The company’s home in Suffield, Connecticut, includes two facilities totaling 30,000 square feet. Cadence employs about 575 people in Staunton. It has other locations in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The Hershey Co. will invest $104 million to expand its manufacturing operations in Augusta County. The 111,000-square-foot expansion is expected to add 65 jobs to the candy company’s Virginia payroll. Hershey now employs more than 1,000 people in the commonwealth, with the majority of them working at the Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in Augusta. Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Augusta with the project. Northam also approved a $400,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance program, an incentive that encourages capital investment by existing Virginia employers. The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company has operated in Augusta for more than three decades. The company has about 16,500 employees and annual sales of $7.8 billion. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. Inc. plans to invest up to $1 billion in stages over the next three years to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Rockingham County. The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company will add 120,000 square feet to its existing 1.1-million-square-foot operation in Elkton, to increase production of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The expansion is expected to create 100 additional jobs at the plant, which currently employs 900 people. In connection with the expansion, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University will collaborate on programs training biotechnology engineering and computer science workers to address workforce needs of Merck and other life-science industries in the Shenandoah Valley. Subject to approval by the General Assembly, Merck will be eligible to receive a state performance grant of up to $7.5 million for stormwater and infrastructure upgrades to support the expansion. In addition, Blue Ridge and James Madison are eligible to receive up to $2.5 million for the development of custom workforce solutions. Merck, which has 69,000 employees, has operated its Elkton manufacturing plant in Rockingham County for more than 75 years. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Waynesboro City Council gave the OK for a conditional-use permit to allow a 178-foot water tower to be sited in the H-1 Heavy Industrial District at 1625 S. Delphine Ave. and 51 S. Oak Lane south of Interstate 64 heading toward Lyndhurst. The permit for the tower, which previously received the support of the city planning commission, was sought by the city even though there is no definitive timeline for the project, explained Waynesboro Planning Director Luke Juday. The idea, he said, is that having the permit approval now will streamline the process whenever council decides to fund the work. Juday said the tower, which will hold 500,000 gallons, primarily would serve the tech center, although it may benefit residents and businesses in the area by adding water pressure to their lines. (The News Virginian) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Days after announcing plans to expand its global workforce by 1,000 employees, Cvent Inc. acquired San Francisco-based wedding venue sourcing platform Wedding Spot Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Wedding Spot is an online tool that helps engaged couples search, compare and book wedding venues by category. It counts more than 12,000 special event venues and hotels on the platform. Tysons-based Cvent said the acquisition of Wedding Spot will bring additional group business opportunities to more than 260,000 hotels and venues that use Cvent’s supplier network. (Washington Business Journal) Tysons-based KLDiscovery is selling to New York blank check company Pivotal Acquisition Corp. in a move that allows the local data and compliance software firm to go public at a value of $800 million. The deal would mark the publicly traded debut of one of the region’s largest private and fastest-growing players, one backed by majority shareholders The Carlyle Group LP and Revolution Growth. Both investors will retain and roll over their shares under the deal with Pivotal. (Washington Business Journal) Loudoun County could seek nearly $80 million in damages related to the nation’s opioid epidemic, the county Board of Supervisors determined. After a closed session in May, the board directed County Attorney Leo Rogers to retain and work with Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP, Kaufman & Canoles LLP and the Cicala Law Firm PLLC to initiate and prosecute ligation against opioid manufacturers and recover costs incurred. A board-initiated cost assessment found the county has a claim for at least $79.6 million over the last five years in the areas of criminal justice costs, emergency services costs, school system costs, mental health costs, family and Children’s Services Act costs and other expenses. (Loudoun Times-Mirror) To say the first week of a summerlong shutdown of six Metro stations was trying for Blue and Yellow line riders is a bit of an understatement. One commuter reported that it took nearly two hours to get from the Eisenhower Avenue station to Crystal City because the driver didn’t know the route, had to backtrack, skipped some stops … and then the bus broke down. Metro and local elected and transportation officials had warned it was going to be bad, but many riders were hopeful that the months of planning and preparations by officials would ease the pain. The 107-day shutdown of Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport is the first phase of a three-year platform reconstruction project. The six stations affected serve about 17,000 riders daily. (The Washington Post) In April, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency notified Reston-based Science Applications International Corp., the company in charge of integrating IT services from multiple vendors, that it is in “material breach” of the terms of its contract with the state for financial management. SAIC spokeswoman Lauren Presti said that the company “looks forward to quickly resolving the issues identified in this letter and continuing our strong partnership with VITA in delivering first-class IT services to the Commonwealth of Virginia.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Colortree Group, which has operated for more than 30 years printing direct-mail envelopes, flyers, brochures, abruptly closed its offices and plant in Henrico County, laying off 240 employees. One laid-off employee filed a federal lawsuit seeking lost wages for being let go without the required federal 60-day termination notice. The suit also seeks class action status for all of the employees who were laid off. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Henrico County-based HHHunt, a diversified real estate development, building and management company, ranked No. 36 on the Professional Builder magazine Housing Giants list, which includes both new homes for sale and apartment homes for rent. The company moved up 17 spots from No. 53 last year. HHHunt also ranked No. 72 on Builder magazine’s Builder 100 list of largest homebuilders based on the number of new home closings. (News release) Two Richmond-area construction companies have merged. Hourigan, a major Richmond-based construction and development firm, has merged operations with The Capstone Contracting Co., which is based in Henrico County. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 20-plus employees at Capstone, a general contractor and design/builder, became employees at Hourigan, which has about 200 workers. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Richmond-based Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC announced in May it had acquired two office towers in St. Louis along with a four-level parking garage. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The seller in the deal was KBS, a private equity real estate company and investment adviser based in California. The towers, dubbed Pierre Laclede Center, are on Forsyth Boulevard in the Clayton submarket of St. Louis. The buildings, which total 580,368 square feet, were built in 1964 and 1970. They have undergone $19 million in renovations since 2010. (VirginiaBusiness.com) The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the biggest gift in its history. Frank M. Sands Sr., the founder of Sands Capital Management, is giving $68 million to the graduate business school. Sands received an MBA degree from Darden in 1963. The gift will establish the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning, which the school said will enable innovation in degree, nondegree and online programs while helping retain and recruit top-ranked faculty members. Sands and his son, Frank Sands, who also is a Darden alum, previously gave $5 million that was used to build Darden’s new campus in Arlington’s Rosslyn district, U.Va. Darden Sands Family Grounds. That facility opened in March. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Nonprofit economic development organization Virginia Gateway Region announced in its annual report the fulfillment of 38 new business ventures, almost 2,000 more jobs and $460 million in capital investments for the area it represents, which includes the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry and Sussex. This year’s annual report announced new local projects for companies like PepsiCo, Sabra Dipping Company LLC, NVHomes and Rolls-Royce. The Rolls-Royce expansion in Prince George created 100 new jobs, bringing the company’s total in that county to 400 jobs with the new $40 million investment. (The Progress Index) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Danville could get a satellite horse race betting facility. Colonial Downs Group, which owns the Colonial Downs horse racetrack in New Kent County, has submitted paperwork in Danville to bring a voter referendum to allow off-track, pari-mutuel betting at a satellite facility in Danville. Backers of the proposal hope to bring a referendum before Danville voters in November. Colonial Downs Group intends for the Danville satellite site to be branded as Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, a gaming facility with sites throughout Virginia. An announcement about a preferred site is expected to be made during the referendum campaign, company spokesman Mark Hubbard said. (Danville Register & Bee) Higher pay in the private sector appears to be taking a toll on Danville’s public sector. “We’ve got a wide variety of vacancies,” said Danville Human Resources Director Sara Weller. “The bottom line is we’re having a challenge finding qualified people.” For example, Danville Public Works Director Rick Drazenovich says he cannot find experienced construction workers even though he has been advertising jobs for several months. He’s also had two openings for project engineers and has had trouble getting qualified applicants. (Danville Register & Bee) In late May members of the Patrick Henry Community College board unanimously gave their approval for a new program. The three-semester precision machining program is slated to launch this fall. The program will function as the first year of the two-year precision machining program that Danville Community College offers. Officials from PHCC say that creating this transfer pathway between the two community colleges will make a high-demand, well-paying career more accessible to Henry and Patrick County residents. (Danville Register & Bee) A Danville-based company was acquired by a major producer of salad dressings and other products. Sandpoint, Idaho-based Litehouse Inc. invested $46 million to buy and expand Sky Valley Foods in Danville. Sky Valley Foods sells dressings, condiments, sauces and organic sodas. The deal was finalized in June. Danville is Litehouse’s first East Coast production facility, creating 160 jobs over the next five years. Litehouse also plans to retain Sky Valley Foods’ 50 employees. Litehouse makes salad dressings, dips, cheese, herbs and other packaged products throughout North America. The employee-owned company has five other manufacturing facilities in the United States, located in Michigan, Utah and Idaho. (Virginia­­Business.com) How much money would it take to entice someone to move to a rural locality? Would $140,000 motivate someone to work as a nurse in Halifax County? Is $24,000 enough to attract a recent college graduate to teach high school science in Russell County? In Southwest and Southside Virginia, where young people are leaving to find opportunity elsewhere, a state commission is trying to combat that trend by offering to pay off student loan debt for those willing to live and work in the region. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is overhauling its student loan repayment program with a new focus on luring people to one of the 40 localities in Southwest and Southside for hard-to-fill jobs. (The Roanoke Times) EASTERN VIRGINIA As national and local conversations circle around ways to prevent gun violence in public places, a local amusement park is stepping up its security. Busch Gardens has installed walk-through metal detectors at its guest entry area to improve the screening process, said Cindy Sarko, Busch Gardens Williamsburg leader of communications. (WY Daily) Don’t be surprised if you walk into a Dollar Tree and see new products for $3, $4 or $5. Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree began experimenting with new pricing in a limited number of locations in mid-May, dubbing sections in the stores “Dollar Tree Plus!” During a call in late May to discuss first-quarter earnings, President and CEO Gary Philbin said the company planned to initially expand the pricing strategy to more than 100 stores of its 7,102 Dollar Tree stores. The multiple price test is part of an effort to follow an activist investor’s suggestion that the chain have multiple prices in its stores. Philbin said prices wouldn’t be raised for current $1 items. (The Virginian-Pilot) A co-defendant is pleading guilty in a federal fraud case that accuses a former host of a financial advice radio show of leading an effort that cost hundreds of investors $20 million. Raeann Gibson had been the chief operating officer of Daryl Gene Bank’s Dominion Investment Group LLC, managing it day to day in Virginia Beach until it was moved to Florida. She agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each count comes with a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The agreement also appears to require Gibson to forfeit $530,005 and a 2012 BMW 535i. (The Virginian-Pilot) The iconic toy store that made many of a certain age want to be “Big” like Tom Hanks and dance atop a floor piano is coming to an airport near you. FAO Schwarz was set to open by mid-June at Norfolk International Airport, past security in Concourse B, making it one of only a handful of airports with the shop. The oversize-toy wonderland has had several owners since it was created in 1862, including Toys ‘R’ Us, which closed its Las Vegas store featuring a three-story Trojan horse, in 2010, and its famed Fifth Avenue store in New York City in 2015. (The Virginian-Pilot) A newly released study involving Norfolk, Virginia Beach and the Navy recommends sweeping changes that would reshape areas from Ocean View to Sandbridge to prevent floodwaters from cutting off military bases. The 266-page report details 22 steps both cities and other partners should take to ensure the Navy can carry out its mission and remain a key part of the region’s economy in the face of climate change. (The Virginian-Pilot) Norfolk International Airport is raising its long-term parking rate by $1 starting Sept. 1, and it expects to get $2.68 million in return. The last increase came in February 2014, when the rate was set at $9 a day, said airport director Robert Bowen. The new increase will raise the price to $10 a day. At Richmond International Airport, garage parking is $12 a day and the shuttle economy lot costs $7. Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport has a $7 economy lot, an $8 a day long-term surface parking lot and $10 garage parking. (The Virginian-Pilot) 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/100Ortiz-July2019-.png AVMAC’s community involvement played a role in the award Roberto Ortiz received.Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-federal-contractor-wins-small-business-award Chesapeake federal contractor wins small business award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-federal-contractor-wins-small-business-award http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-federal-contractor-wins-small-business-award#When:08:00:00Z AVMAC LLC co-founder and CEO Roberto “Bert” Ortiz was floored to learn he was named Small Business Person of the Year for the Small Business Administration’s Virginia District. He was also second runner-up for the SBA’s National Small Business Person of the Year. “I couldn’t believe it,” Ortiz says of the awards handed out in May. Chesapeake-based AVMAC is a federal contractor for aviation and shipboard maintenance, logistics and program support. The company was SBA Virginia’s 2014 Sub-Contractor of the Year and in 2016 was named SBA’s Region III Prime Contractor of the Year. AVMAC also received the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Award for Best Veteran Hiring Practices. Ortiz was chosen for this year’s SBA awards in large part because of the company’s community involvement. “Their whole focus is to give back to the veteran community. They are involved in a variety of community projects,” says SBA Virginia District Director Carl Knoblock. Ninety-four percent of AVMAC’s employees are veterans and the company supports several veterans organizations. “We like to target vets for employees,” Ortiz says. “We understand the culture and want to keep that culture.” A three-person panel made up of employees from federal agencies chooses the annual SBA Virginia winner. Judging is based on community involvement, company success, longevity, and financial and employee growth. A retired U. S. Navy commander, Ortiz co-founded AVMAC in 2009 with fellow retired Navy Commander Don Buzard. AVMAC now has more than 385 employees. “We got our first subcontract in 2010, and since then we have doubled our revenue every year except the last two years,” says Ortiz. “We’ve had an upward climb in growth.” Currently the company has 18 contracts and works with the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. departments of Defense and Transportation as well as a commercial client. “At Air Station Miramar in California, for example, we do aviation maintenance and work side-by-side with the Marines. It was one of our first contracts, and it’s still an active contract,” Ortiz says. The company hopes to win contracts with the U.S. Army and Air Force. “We want to pursue a more engineering slant and provide test support for the Army, Air Force and NASA,” Ortiz says. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/284-MitziMcCormick-July2019-.png “We want to have a pipeline of future workers,” says Mitzi McCormick. Photo by Mark Rhodes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/halifax-eyes-game-changing-blueprint-for-future Halifax eyes ‘game-changing’ blueprint for future http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/halifax-eyes-game-changing-blueprint-for-future http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/halifax-eyes-game-changing-blueprint-for-future#When:08:00:00Z When Halifax County looks at its future, its top priority for economic development might be a little surprising. The No. 1 goal listed in the county’s newly released Community Strategic Plan is building a modern high school that prepares students for the 21st-century workforce. The plan also recommends aligning the school’s curriculum with the needs of local businesses. “That is what we need for economic development: retention and recruitment of young professionals,” says Mitzi McCormick, president and CEO of the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce.  “We want to have a pipeline of future workers.” During this year’s General Assembly session, Del. James Edmunds, R-Halifax County, introduced legislation to allow a local referendum on an optional county sales tax that would benefit the Halifax school system. House Bill 1634, which authorizes the county to impose an additional tax at a rate not to exceed 1%, passed the state House and Senate and will be on the ballot for consideration by county voters in November. “The one-penny increase will generate nearly $3.5 million a year that would be used toward the schools. That is game changing,” McCormick says. Increasing local broadband internet access is also a priority in the plan, she says. “We need to make sure it’s readily available to all parts of our county.” Halifax’s strategic plan contains 11 key initiatives that “hit on workforce, economic and community development. From our perspective it’s a proactive and holistic strategy,” says Matt DeVeau, project manager for Atlanta-based Market Street Services, the community and economic development firm that developed the plan as well as the county’s earlier Vision 2020 plan. The community is rallying around the new plan, McCormick says, adding, “This is the first time I have felt the community coming together, and I am very excited about that.”  The initiatives will be implemented in phases. “Some of these things may start on a smaller basis,” she says. “We are not tackling every single thing at the same time.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DSC00088.png Ted Lewis is executive director of Side by Side. Photo by Shandell Taylor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-tourism-industry-promotes-lgbtq-inclusivity Richmond tourism industry promotes LGBTQ inclusivity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-tourism-industry-promotes-lgbtq-inclusivity http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-tourism-industry-promotes-lgbtq-inclusivity#When:08:00:00Z “LGBTQ+ people want to be treated the same as everyone else,” says Jason Whitt, convention sales manager for Richmond Region Tourism. The problem is that people outside that demographic sim­­­­­­ply are often uncertain about just how to do that. “We all stumble over our words, not meaning to be rude,” Whitt says. “We just aren’t aware of how to be courteous.” That is a situation that his agency is determined to change. In a recent effort to promote diversity and inclusivity, Richmond Region Tourism held an educational session about the LGBTQ community for members of the local hospitality and tourism industry. The organization brought in Side by Side, a nonprofit dedicated to creating supportive communities for LGBTQ youths, to conduct the workshop. Side by Side has run similar trainings for major Virginia-based corporations such as Altria and Dominion Energy. Nearly 150 people representing downtown Richmond hotels, bars, restaurants and cultural attractions, plus representatives from the city police, attended the workshop, which covered basic information about the LGBTQ community and statistics about LGBTQ travelers and employees. It also covered the evolving terminology used by the group, often the subject of much confusion. Side by Side Executive Director Ted Lewis trains hospitality professionals to avoid common missteps, such as a hotel clerk not recognizing that a same-sex couple is a couple, or a bartender being flummoxed when a person’s sexual identity does not seem to match the gender on an ID. Side by Side’s Richmond workshop also included suggestions on ways the hospitality industry can be more friendly to the LGBTQ community, such as instituting inclusive employment policies, updating forms and making a point of becoming knowledgeable enough to make informed recommendations for LGBTQ-friendly churches, clubs and local organizations. “We’re hoping to make it a regular thing,” Whitt says of the workshop. Such efforts seem to be  making a difference. In 2017 Richmond scored 42 out of 100 on the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index of LGBTQ inclusivity. That rating now has improved to 94 out of 100, ranking Richmond first among Virginia cities. That factored into Richmond being selected to host last May’s first-ever Sports Diversity Jubilee, which attracted LGBTQ athletes from around the world. Sponsored by Compete magazine, the event helped draw 30,000 people to last year’s VA PrideFest, an accomplishment the city hopes to repeat at this year’s festival, scheduled to be held Sept. 28. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1SG_2898x.png Victor Hoskins expects HQ2 to generate more than 100,000 hotel room bookings annually. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-hq2-may-spark-hotel-restaurant-retail-surge Amazon HQ2 may spark hotel, restaurant, retail surge http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-hq2-may-spark-hotel-restaurant-retail-surge http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/amazon-hq2-may-spark-hotel-restaurant-retail-surge#When:08:00:00Z In its hometown of Seattle, Amazon employs 49,000 people, and its presence is estimated to be directly responsible for the booking of 1,000 hotel rooms a night in that Washington state city — or more than 300,000 bookings annually. Across the country and across the Potomac River from the other Washington, where Amazon is opening its East Coast HQ2 campus, the local hospitality industry is already doing the math and liking it. If by 2030, Amazon has 25,000 employees in Northern Virginia as promised (and a whopping 38,000 by 2034), that should translate into the booking of 500 rooms a night, says Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. Furthermore, the Amazon campus at National Landing, which is the new moniker for the area of Crystal City, Pentagon City in Arlington and parts of Alexandria that Amazon will occupy, is expected to meet only about 30% of on-site restaurant demand. That means the corporate behemoth’s well-heeled workers will be frequently venturing out to eat. These are happy predictions indeed for an area of NoVa that took a hard hit when the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission shuttered many sites, leaving lots of empty space behind. Although Amazon will have just 400 employees in place at HQ2 by the end of this year and only about 1,500 by the end of 2020, Terry is already seeing an uptick in interest and demand. “I am optimistic about the impact on the market building through the next 24 months,” he says, adding that he expects some new hotel development and the expansion and refurbishment of existing properties. Terry also expects that Amazon will be sending out requests for proposals to local hotels as it seeks to arrange accommodations for people traveling to the area for interviews and training. Vendors, obviously, will need hotel rooms, too. Arlington Economic Development Director Victor L. Hoskins was heavily involved with the wooing and winning of Amazon. “It is absolutely the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my career,” he says. Effective Aug. 5, Hoskins will become the head of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).  Hoskins estimates “in the conservative range” that Amazon will drive 100,000 to 125,000 hotel room bookings annually. “I fully expect that existing hotels and new ones will be including more millennial products,” he says, citing properties such as The Moxy in the District, a boutique hotel that advertises “funk-inspired furniture” and “innovative amenities” appealing to that  demographic. Already, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Bowlero bowling alley and Mothersauce Partners’  The Freshman restaurant are planning to locate in National Landing, and Hoskins is looking for a “major” surge of restaurants and retailers in the next couple of years. Amazon, he predicts, is going to be a lot more than just a campus. He thinks it will become a neighborhood in and of itself – and about that, he couldn’t be more pleased. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WEN_0069.png “We need something that is unique and identifiable to us,” says Beth Rhinehart. Photo by Earl Niekirk http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tri-cities-seek-new-name-to-embrace-a-whole-region Tri-Cities seek new name to embrace a whole region http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tri-cities-seek-new-name-to-embrace-a-whole-region http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tri-cities-seek-new-name-to-embrace-a-whole-region#When:08:00:00Z It won’t be called the Appalachian Highlands, but not much else is clear. Virginia and Tennessee business and political leaders in Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol want a new regional name, one that will embrace all three cities and much of the surrounding area. “Tri-Cities is what a lot of people know us as,” says Beth Rhinehart, president and CEO of the Bristol (Virginia and Tennessee) Chamber of Commerce. “There are many tri-cities. There are even other tri-­cities in Virginia. ... We need something that is unique and identifiable to us.” At this point, it’s not completely clear who is included in that “us.” “That is the one part that has not been confirmed,” Rhinehart says. The largest incarnation being considered would cover a 21-county area stretching from Wytheville in Southwest Virginia to Greeneville in central Tennessee, the former capital of the lost State of Franklin (an unrecognized, Revolutionary War-era autonomous territory). “There have been efforts in the past to do regional alliance efforts that I’m not sure ever really got to the momentum and the stage where we are now,” Rhinehart says. This effort began more than a year and a half ago when the presidents and chairpersons of the Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City chambers of commerce began meeting to discuss how to rename the area and encourage more regional cooperation to deal with what Rhinehart calls “the crisis that we’re in right now.” “We’re all kind of struggling with the same statistics,” Rhinehart says, referring to local impacts from population decline and the opioid crisis. According to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, every city and county in far Southwest Virginia — from Wythe County to Lee County — has lost population since the last census. Meanwhile, the commonwealth’s population has increased by 6.5%. Several counties and cities in the region are suing pharmaceutical companies over the proliferation of opioids. “It’s just recognizing that the crisis is maybe more urgent than maybe we’ve all accepted and this is maybe the time right now that we have to collectively do more in a very intentional and purposeful way,” she says. While the chambers were discussing the region’s identity leaders from some of the largest employers in the area — Ballad Health, East Tennessee State University, Eastman Chemical Co. and the Bank of Tennessee — were having similar meetings with similar aims. The chamber group has already suggested one name, Appalachian Highlands, but the local governments rejected that after their constituents objected. Those governments have engaged a consultant, which began a process that included more people and more input. The name that process generates is scheduled to be presented July 9. “We don’t know anything about what it looks like right now,” Rhinehart says. “We’re hoping that whatever name comes out of it, we can all embrace it and get to work.” 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Ozmo_facebook.png Ozmo is essentially a help desk’s help desk, serving more than 75,000 contact center agents. Courtesy Ozmo/Facebook http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-tech-company-plans-expansion-adding-40-jobs Blacksburg tech company plans expansion, adding 40 jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-tech-company-plans-expansion-adding-40-jobs http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blacksburg-tech-company-plans-expansion-adding-40-jobs#When:08:00:00Z They’re Ozmonauts who learn by Ozmosis and they work for a company that declares its “founding purpose is to solve all technology issues.” Soon, there will be a lot more of them. Ozmo, a call-center support tech company based in downtown Blacksburg, plans to add 40 jobs. Ozmo, which was spun out of the Blacksburg tech company Modea three years ago, started with 55 employees. Ozmo is essentially the help desk’s help desk, serving more than 75,000 contact center agents who work for Verizon and other mobile networks. “It is not about the number of jobs,” says Todd King, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors. “What matters is that a local company is able to expand in our community and offer higher than median-income wages.” Ozmo has not said publicly what the jobs will pay or how soon they will be created. Montgomery County’s per-capita income in 2018 was $28,277, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Reports on the employer-review website Glassdoor say Ozmo starts employees out at $12 an hour. “One of Montgomery County’s goals is to grow capital investment and jobs in an effort to improve quality of life for our citizens and the businesses in our community,” King says. “The fact that Montgomery County is a place where companies can not only find their start, but also experience growth, shows that we are accomplishing that goal.” Ozmo’s platform assists with more than 25 million interactions per year, according to a state government announcement of the company’s expansion. The company’s products include virtual devices that provide answers, tutorials and suggested actions for agents. The system also helps consumers to solve problems themselves through self-serve tools, as well as answers provided through email and text, reinforcing the agents’ support. The company plans to invest more than $200,000 in its expansion, according to the state news release. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership plans to help Ozmo with employee training through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-july-2019 Followups - July 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-july-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-july-2019#When:08:00:00Z Altria’s latest investment continues diversification Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. plans to pay $372 million for an 80% stake in a Swiss company that makes oral nicotine products. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and other news outlets reported in early June that the investment in certain companies of Burger Söhne Holding AG continues Altria’s diversification effort. Its largest business is Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes. As cigarette sales decline, Altria has sought to offer smokers alternative products. Burger Söhne makes a smokeless pouch product called On!, which contains nicotine but no tobacco. The deal follows two other recent moves by Altria into developing markets. In December, the company announced plans to invest $1.8 billion in Canada-based Cronos Group Inc., which produces and sells medicinal marijuana products. During the same month, Altria spent $12.8 billion for an ownership stake in the rapidly growing electronic cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. Virginia Business examined the implications of Altria’s Cronos and Juul deals in its March issue. Loudoun County ice rink opens The ION International Training Center, a Leesburg ice arena owned by former Olympic figure skater Luiz Taifas, held its grand opening in mid-June. ION is a year-round, 100,000-square-foot, twin-sheet indoor ice rink and arena. The facility has two National Hockey League-size rinks that cater to recreational and professional figure skaters, ice dancers, pair skaters, synchronized skaters and hockey players. A story in the magazine’s May issue looked at the way ION is expected to raise Loudoun’s profile as a sports destination. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/IMG_1787.png Richard Foster hosted a popular true-crime podcast. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/three-decades-of-storytelling Three decades of storytelling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/three-decades-of-storytelling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/three-decades-of-storytelling#When:08:00:00Z I’m going to let you in on a not-so-well-kept secret: Many of us journalists aren’t the best at math. Don’t get me wrong: We love the concepts behind math and science as well as trumpeting the accomplishments of STEM professionals, but the majority of media folks I’ve known find math to be an alien language. We’re much more comfortable within the confines of history and literature. I struggled mightily with algebra in middle school and high school. However, when I look back on my achievements from college, I’m just as proud of the fact that I earned A’s in physics and statistics as I am of my early journalistic deeds. Despite all the effort I expended into attaining those little academic miracles, I do remember thinking to myself at the time, “When am I ever going to use statistics in real life?” Fast-forward six months. In fall 1992, after writing freelance articles and interning on the state desk at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I began a yearlong internship as a staff writer for the RTD’s business section. My first assignment? An article heavy on statistics and number-crunching. Many more followed. The young editor who assigned that story to me was Robert Powell, one of the finest and brightest media professionals with whom I’ve had the privilege of working. Twenty-seven years later (yes I actually checked this on a calculator), Robert is retiring as editor of Virginia Business and with his endorsement, I’m taking over as his successor. Fortunately, he’s staying on for a while in a part-time advisory capacity during the transition so I can benefit from his invaluable institutional memory and expertise. During his almost 15-year tenure at the helm of Virginia Business, Robert built the magazine into a must-read state publication for executives, decision-makers and anyone who needs intelligence about Virginia’s business trends and trendsetters. As I inherit editorial leadership here, I know that I must be not just a good steward for this publication but also a lodestar for carrying it into our exponentially changing world of the 2020s and beyond. A key part of this strategy for me will be expanding Virginia Business’ digital presence and original reporting. However, cyberspace is only a medium for communication. What should be paramount is telling good stories and accurately and knowledgably reflecting the entire community we cover, keeping in mind the importance of geographic, sector, racial and gender diversity. My nearly 30-year career in journalism and communications has been varied and interesting, including freelancing as a regular monthly contributing writer to Virginia Business for the past 13 years. Starting out in daily newspapers, I later wrote for Style Weekly magazine and was the founding editor of Richmond.com (now the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s website) before serving five years as executive editor of Richmond magazine. As a reporter and editor, I have covered everything from political campaigns to a wildcat labor strike to Virginia’s execution of a Mexican citizen convicted of a murder-for-hire. My first book, a true-crime biography of the 1950s pin-up queen Bettie Page, was adapted into the 2005 HBO film “The Notorious Bettie Page.” More recently, I produced and hosted the 2018 podcast “Southern Nightmare” (and penned its eponymous companion book). It focuses on Virginia’s South Side Strangler serial killer case, which marked the first time in U.S. history a murderer was convicted on the basis of DNA evidence. The common thread in all of my journalistic efforts has been my desire as a storyteller to create compelling content that engages my audience. Business is how the majority of us spend eight to 12 hours (or more) of our weekdays and often our weekends. It occupies much of our brainpower and it’s the vehicle for achieving our dreams and financial security. It’s nothing less than the lifeblood of our society. Yet due to shrinking local newsrooms — and, frankly, sometimes lack of interest — business coverage is frequently relegated to lesser positions of importance or even limited to wire copy reports of national news. Virginia Business is the only publication that takes a statewide approach to the commonwealth’s business news. That grants us a far-reaching perspective and awareness that provides a great benefit to our readers, whether they know us from our print magazine, email newsletters, web coverage, sponsored events or all of the above. As I grow into the role of leading Virginia Business, I look forward to meeting more of you, our readers and business leaders, particularly at our Meet the Editors events, the next of which will be held in Danville on Sept. 24.  If you can’t meet us at one of these regular statewide networking opportunities, please feel free to get in touch with me in the meantime at rfoster@virginiabusiness.com. I’m eager to hear — and tell — your stories. 2019-06-28T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Rachael_RothmanSMALL.jpg Photo courtesy Apple Hospitality REIT. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/apple-hospitality-names-new-chief-financial-officer Apple Hospitality names new chief financial officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/apple-hospitality-names-new-chief-financial-officer http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/apple-hospitality-names-new-chief-financial-officer#When:18:19:00Z A local publicly-traded hospitality company has named its next chief financial officer. Rachael Rothman will become executive vice president (EVP) and CFO of Richmond-based Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. on July 1. She succeeds Bryan Peery, who will continue as an EVP with Apple Hospitality and will take on the position of the REIT’s chief accounting officer until he retires in the first quarter of 2020. The company announced Peery and Chief Operating Officer Kristian Gathright’s plans to retire earlier this year. The company's spokeswoman, Kelly Clarke, says Gathright's responsibiliites will be absorbed into existing positions once she retires next year.  Apple Hospitality owns 234 hotels in 34 states, including 12 properties in Virginia. The company’s portfolio includes Marriott and Hilton-branded hotels and one Hyatt-branded property. Rothman has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She most recently served as senior vice president, investor relations and strategy, for Fairfax, Va.-based Playa Hotels & Resorts N.V. From 2010 until 2018, Rothman was senior analyst for Susquehanna International Group (SIG) LLP, for which she led a team responsible for in-depth analysis of public hotel, casino, cruise line, real estate investment trust and restaurant companies. Prior to joining SIG, she held several positions within Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., covering various public lodging, restaurant and gaming companies. Rothman earned a bachelor’s degree from Bates College, as well as master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and Cornell University. She is a CFA Charterholder. 2019-06-26T18:19:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/vbuppingtheante.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ponders-casinos Virginia ponders casinos http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ponders-casinos http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-ponders-casinos#When:19:47:00Z The July issue goes live Friday. In the cover story, Michael O’Connor examines what a new era of gambling could look like in Virginia as the state ponders if it should legalize casinos. A glimpse of the article is below. Read the rest in Friday's newsletter; by downloading the Virginia Business app or subscribing to the print edition of the magazine.  It’s a sunny May afternoon in New Kent County, but dozens of patrons are gathered indoors amid an arcadelike chorus of chirping touch screens displaying bright red cherries, neon lemons and ostensibly lucky numbers. Players at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs withdraw cash from one machine and deposit it in another. They tap buttons at electronic games with titles like “Super Vegas Royale” and “Slush Funds.” Cartoon horses flash at the top of each screen. Security guards quietly stand watch as people make bet after bet. Bright signs display recent jackpots and encourage people to test their chances: “The next big win could be yours.” “I can’t believe they got away with it in Virginia,” a patron exclaims inside what is the bleeding edge of legal gambling in the state. The slot machinelike games at Rosie’s are technically not slot machines. Rather than random outcomes, Rosie’s machines are based on actual, albeit anonymous, historic horse races and have been legal in Virginia only since last year. The race being wagered on is identified onscreen after players make their bets. Such distinctions can get lost amid the glow of the gaming room floor, however important the technological differences might — or might not — be to state lawmakers. “I’m not the moral police,” says state Sen. Mamie E. Locke, a Democrat who represents part of Portsmouth, when asked about her position on casinos. “We have many infrastructure needs. We have transportation needs. We have education needs. And this could be a source of revenue that could meet those needs.” The uncertain outcomes being bet on at Rosie’s mirror the current hopes for casinos in Virginia, where legal gambling, for now, is limited to the kinds of games Rosie’s offers (historic horse racing, also known as instant racing), as well as horse betting, online fantasy sports, the Virginia Lottery and charitable games like bingo. The push to open Virginia’s first full-fledged casino with table games such as blackjack and roulette has no shortage of players, but whether they’ll be able to get in on the action is an open question.   2019-06-25T19:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/roundtable1.jpg Kaine said teen vaping is "an emergency." | Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vaping-is-youth-emergency-kaine-says Vaping is youth “emergency,” Kaine says http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vaping-is-youth-emergency-kaine-says http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vaping-is-youth-emergency-kaine-says#When:20:40:00Z On Monday, speaking at a Henrico County library just two miles from Altria Group Inc.’s corporate headquarters, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine held a roundtable discussion about the teen vaping epidemic — a problem largely fueled by Juul e-cigarettes, a product in which Philip Morris USA’s parent company holds a 35% stake. “It’s an emergency facing young people,” Kaine said Monday, talking with a small group of youth health advocates during the event at Henrico’s Libbie Mill Library. “The progress that we've made in wiping out youth smoking has been completely turned around because of vaping and e-cigarettes.” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic in December, repeatedly citing Juul by name in his advisory statement. The move came a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration released a report stating that e-cigarette use among high school students increased 78% from 2017 to 2018. Juul Labs Inc.’s revenues skyrocketed from 2017 to 2018, rising from $200 million to $1.3 billion. The company projects its sales in 2019 will reach $3.4 billion. Kaine, who has previously joined other senators in calling on Juul to take action to limit underage usage of its products, also discussed the bipartisan Tobacco-Free Youth Act legislation he’s co-sponsoring with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The act would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. The proposed law would apply to military members and it wouldn’t preempt state and local laws that are tougher on tobacco-related products. The legislation would also incentivize states to enact their own laws to raise the age limit to 21. Virginia’s General Assembly passed legislation this session raising the age for buying tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21 in a law set to go into effect July 1, a move that was supported by Altria. The new state law includes an exemption for members of the military ages 18 to 21. Altria spokesman David Sutton said in a statement that the company welcomes Kaine's leadership on what it called an important issue and strongly supports raising the age restriction to 21 for all tobacco products. "By raising the minimum age to 21, no high school student will be able to purchase tobacco products legally, adding another hurdle to help reduce social access," Sutton said. Both Altria and JUUL emphasized the role e-cigarettes play for adult smokers looking for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Sutton said new technologies like vaping offer promise as an option to meet that demand. "The FDA has made clear that the future viability of these products is in jeopardy unless more is done to reverse the underage e-vapor use trend," Sutton said. "Raising the legal age to 21 is a pivotal step to addressing this issue." Altria acquired a 35% stake in JUUL in a December 2018 deal that valued JUUL at $38 billion. Altria stock opened at $48.11 a share on Monday after falling 4.5% a share on Friday. The drop coincided with a Bloomberg report on comments from the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration that JUUL may struggle to get its e-cigarette approved under new rules. “We do not want non-nicotine users to buy JUUL products, and are committed to preventing underage access to our products,” JUUL spokesperson Ted Kwong said in a statement to Virginia Business. “We strongly support raising the national minimum purchasing age for all tobacco and vapor products to 21, and have implemented a comprehensive action plan to combat underage access, appeal, and use of JUUL products.” JUUL cited steps it has taken in the last year such as restricting flavors and winding down its Facebook and Instagram accounts as ways the company is trying to reduce teen Juul use. 2019-06-24T20:40:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Unknown.jpeg The Heritage at Settlers Landing apartment community in Hampton. Source: Colliers International http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/levco-expands-hampton-roads-holdings Levco expands Hampton Roads holdings http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/levco-expands-hampton-roads-holdings http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/levco-expands-hampton-roads-holdings#When:08:39:00Z A Richmond real estate investment firm has expanded further into the Hampton Roads market with its latest acquisition. Levco Management this month completed the $18.275 million acquisition of the Heritage at Settlers Landing apartment community at 553 Settlers Landing Road in Hampton. Built in 2007, the property comprises three four-story buildings. The sellers in the deal were Collins Enterprises LLC and Drucker & Falk. Levco also owns St. Croix Apartments in Virginia Beach, which recently underwent a $2.5 million renovation. The firm owns eight multifamily properties in Richmond. Levco also has an affiliated construction company called Levco Construction. Jared Levin, Levco’s managing partner, says his firm financed the deal through a combination of equity and debt. Levco was drawn to Heritage at Settlers Landing by its curb appeal and floor plans, he says. The property is in downtown Hampton, which has a vibrant waterfront with a mix of restaurants and shops. Levco’s core strategy is acquiring existing apartment communities when the firm sees an opportunity to make upgrades and reposition the properties to better compete in the local market, Levin says. “We see a tremendous amount of demand for apartments which have rents that are lower than the brand-new luxury properties but are still well-operated, -maintained and have modern finishes and amenities,” he says. “Our goal is to acquire three to four multifamily communities per year with similar business plans as Heritage.” Levco plans interior upgrades to help Heritage at Settler’s Landing. Planned renovations include new stainless-steel appliances, washers/dryers, flooring, light fixtures, cabinet hardware, faucets and granite countertops in select units. The 140-unit development has one-, two- and three-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $925 to $1,750. Levin says the property is 95% leased. Levin says the Hampton Roads market has lagged in recovering from the recession when compared with other markets. “Around three years ago we noticed a positive shift in apartment market fundamentals in this region and began targeting acquisitions in the Hampton Roads area,” Levin says.  “The apartment market in Hampton Roads seems to respond quite favorably to pro-active management and upgrading properties.” Representing the sellers in the deal were Colliers International brokers George “Hank” Hankins, senior vice president; Will Mathews, managing director; Charles Wentworth, senior vice president; Rawles Wilcox, senior vice president; Victoria Pickett, vice president; and Clay Ellis, associate, with the Colliers Mid-Atlantic Team. The Heritage at Settlers Landing had been on the market for about five or six weeks before it sold, says Hankins. The Hampton Roads multifamily market has seen rising rents from year to year and solid occupancy. A lack of new construction has helped stabilize existing inventory and Hankins expects more multifamily deals to close in the months to come. 2019-06-24T08:39:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/factory-factory-worker-girl-1108101_%281%29.jpg Photo courtesy Pexels. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-low Virginia unemployment remains low http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-low http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-unemployment-remains-low#When:19:58:00Z Unemployment in Virginia remains below the national rate indicating a healthy economy. Virginia’s May unemployment rate was 3% — the same as a year ago and in keeping with trends seen in recent months, according to seasonally adjusted data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s April unemployment rate was 2.9%. The national unemployment rate in May remained at 3.6%, also had changed little from a year ago. At 2.1%, Vermont had the nation’s lowest May unemployment rate, while Puerto Rico’s rate was the highest at 8.5%. Virginia’s low unemployment rate is indicative of a growing economy and a tight labor market, says economist Robert McNab, director of Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy. “One of the things we've seen over the last couple years is that the Virginia economy has accelerated,” McNab says. “The pickup in the pace of growth is evidenced in the decline in the unemployment rate not only statewide but also across metro areas in Virginia.” Hampton Roads, Richmond and Charlottesville had May unemployment rates that were below the statewide rate of 3%, he noted. The commonwealth’s low unemployment rate means Virginia has a tight labor market that is pushing companies to compete for workers. When companies can’t find new employees, they attempt to hire them away from other firms, McNab says. Terry Rephann, a regional economist at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, noted that in May there were about 10,000 more people employed in the education and health services sectors than in May 2018. The increased number could be a consequence of health systems adding staff in response to Medicaid expansion, he speculates. Peter McHenry, associate professor of economics and public policy at the College of William & Mary, says the health of the economy is drawing people into the labor force. “I think the economy is doing well enough that … a lot of the people we could realistically get into the labor force are in the labor force,” McHenry says. “I think job growth might be slowing down a bit because people who want a job for the most part have a job.” Headshots courtesy Old Dominion University and the College of William & Mary  2019-06-21T19:58:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/STATECAPITOlNEW.jpg Virginia State Capitol | Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-aims-to-equalize-worker-pay State aims to equalize worker pay http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-aims-to-equalize-worker-pay http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-aims-to-equalize-worker-pay#When:21:44:00Z   After more than 50 years, Virginia’s employment application is getting a facelift. The move is part of a state initiative going into effect in July that aims to streamline the application process and promote fairness and equity in hiring and employee compensation. “It’s refreshing to see such a progressive, forward-thinking action on behalf of the commonwealth that’s going to help it be competitive in an increasingly competitive war for talent,” says Michael G. Latsko, president of HR Virginia, the state council for the national Society for Human Resource Management. (Latsko also works for the University of Virginia’s human resources department, but said he was not speaking on behalf of the university or the state.) As of July 1, Virginia will eliminate fields in the new employment application that could result in unconscious bias among hiring officials, according to a news release issued Thursday by Gov. Ralph Northam’s office. “Since the beginning of my administration, we have worked every day to break down barriers to opportunity and make this commonwealth a more inclusive and equitable place,” Northam said in the release. “This initiative adopts industry-wide best practices in compensation and employment, which will help attract and retain top talent in our state workforce and bring greater equity and overdue improvements to our state policies.” When considering salaries, the commonwealth will weigh an applicant’s experience, competencies and credentials. The state also will take steps to ensure that the salaries of employees with comparable experience performing comparable work are fairly aligned.  “When compared with our competitors, Virginia’s current time-consuming and overly complex application has become a deterrent to those applying for state jobs,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner. “While Virginia changed the Compensation Policy almost 20 years ago to provide a more flexible system, current or prior salary continues to be used as a base for percentage increases in pay when employees are hired or make career moves within state government.” The new application will also forgo personal questions such as an applicant’s age, salary history and the names of schools they attended. This is more in keeping with hiring practices in the private sector, Latsko says. It’s more common in the business world to request basic information in a job application and request additional details, such as where someone went to school, as an applicant advances in the interview process. “It’s pretty meaningful,” Latsko says of the new initiative. “They are lifting many of the restrictions imposed by … civil service.”  For the first time, people applying for state jobs also will be able to submit applications via smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the governor’s release stated that the commonwealth will allow applicants to choose a preferred pronoun on employment applications, highlighting the state’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Michael Latsko photo courtesy of HR Virginia   2019-06-20T21:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Federal_Reserve_and_Riverfront_Plaza_%289743453366%29.jpg Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond | Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economists-weigh-feds-decision Virginia economists weigh Fed’s decision http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economists-weigh-feds-decision http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-economists-weigh-feds-decision#When:22:24:00Z The Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds rate Wednesday at 2.25% to 2.5%, but suggested it may reduce the rate if the economic outlook worsens. The move came as President Donald Trump has been pressuring the Fed to lower the interest rate—implying Tuesday he may demote Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell if the rate doesn’t soften. Virginia economists gave us their two cents on the Fed’s decision, as well as their thoughts on the state and national economic outlook: Vinod Agarwal, deputy director of Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy in Norfolk On the economy: “The economy has been doing quite well for the last couple of years, primarily because of increases in federal spending and the tax cuts. Whether we should continue on the same path or not remains to be seen.” On the impact of political uncertainty, such as the U.S.-China trade war: “Uncertainties cause serious issues in the marketplace. The question is, even if the tariff situation is resolved in the next couple of months ... you do expect the economy to somewhat slowdown but not as much [as if the issue isn’t resolved.] This is why The Fed is trying to stay ahead of the game to see if they can react to this in a shorter timeframe.”     Stephen Fuller, director, Stephen S. Fuller Institute in Arlington On how the state’s economy is outperforming the national economy: “I think this reflects the strength of Northern Virginia from where I'm sitting. Northern Virginia is accounting for almost 90 percent of the job growth in the Washington metro area. … I worry a little bit about the national economy, but Virginia is doing great at this point. [That] doesn't guarantee that 2020 is going to be a great year. I think [it] will be a tough year across the board. But it won't be as tough on Virginians as it will be on some other parts of the country.”       Francis E. Warnock, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in Charlottesville On the Fed’s announcement: “This is the first time that they really pretty strongly signaled that they're considering loosening policy going forward.” On barriers to economic growth: “It’s definitely the uncertainties around trade policy. When there's a lot of uncertainties, businesses can't plan. If they can't plan, they're not going to expand and that could hit the economy quickly and severely. … [Trade is] a global issue, but it's one that the U.S. is playing a big role in.” 2019-06-19T22:24:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/automotive-components-plant-to-expand-in-botetourt Automotive components plant to expand in Botetourt http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/automotive-components-plant-to-expand-in-botetourt http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/automotive-components-plant-to-expand-in-botetourt#When:19:59:00Z Metalsa Structural Products Inc., a Mexico-based automotive components company, plans to spend $6.4 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Botetourt County. The expansion is expected to add 25 positions to an existing workforce of 230. Virginia successfully competed with Mexico for the project. Founded in 1956, Metalsa is a subsidiary of Grupo Proeza based in Monterrey, Mexico. The company, which employs more than 13,500 workers globally, makes structural components for light and commercial vehicles. Its products for passenger cars and light trucks include chassis frames, cross members, suspension modules, fuel systems, and body structural stampings and assemblies. The company also makes chassis frames and side rails for heavy trucks and buses. Metalsa has a presence in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Botetourt County and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia and will support Metalsa’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). The program provides consultative services and funding to support employee training activities. 2019-06-19T19:59:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/prince-william-names-economic-development-director Prince William names economic development director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/prince-william-names-economic-development-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/prince-william-names-economic-development-director#When:16:03:00Z Christina M. Winn has been hired as Prince William County’s economic development director. Winn most recently was the business investment director for Arlington County Economic Development where she led their business recruitment and retention efforts. She succeeds Jeff Kaczmarek, who retired at the end of last year after six years as Prince William’s economic development director. Winn has more than 20 years of experience managing a wide range of economic development, real estate, marketing and finance initiatives in the public and private sectors. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Arizona State University and a master’s in real estate development from Johns Hopkins University. 2019-06-19T16:03:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Reis-14092.png Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundations-leader-to-step-down-in-october Colonial Williamsburg Foundation leader to step down in October http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundations-leader-to-step-down-in-october http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundations-leader-to-step-down-in-october#When:23:06:00Z After five years, the head of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation plans to bow out. President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss is stepping down in October when his contract ends. During his tenure, Reiss led a restructuring of the foundation, which was facing declining revenue and visitors to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. The foundation controls assets worth more than $1 billion, including the 18th-century Colonial America living history attraction as well as museums, lodging and other tourism draws, such as the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed Golden Horseshoe Golf Club. The nonprofit is searching for Reiss’ successor and hopes to fill the position later this year. “When the board hired Mitchell, he entered into a five-year employment contract with the foundation,” Joseph Straw, the foundation’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “That contract ends in October and he has chosen to step down when it expires.” Reiss is exploring other career options, but isn’t ready to publicly announce his plans, Straw says. As the foundation’s finances hit perhaps the most dire point in its history, Reiss announced a series of dramatic cost-cutting measures in 2017. Colonial Williamsburg eliminated 71 jobs and outsourced another 262 positions to vendors who took over the attraction’s retail, golf, landscape services and facilities management. At the time Reiss instituted the restructuring, annual visitation to the historic site was half of what it had been 30 years prior. Admissions grew from 574,333 in 2015 to 594,378 in 2017, but decreased to 550,171 in 2018. The organization’s total revenue dropped from almost $148 million in 2016 to $127.3 million in 2017, the most recent year reported, according to the organization’s tax forms. During this time the foundation also repeatedly dipped into its endowment to offset operating expenses. “While most nonprofit organizations withdraw 5% annually from their endowment, in 2001 we began to withdraw more than 5%, at times reaching as high as 12%,” Reiss said in 2017. “If we continue at this rate, we could exhaust the endowment available to support our operations, including many related to our core educational mission, in just eight years, and perhaps sooner. That outcome would lead to mission failure.” In 2016 and 2017, the most recent years reported, the foundation withdrew a total of $136 million from its roughly $700 million endowment, or about 10% per year. On the plus side, The Colonial Williamsburg Co., which operates the foundation’s lodging and real estate units, broke even for the first time in 2018 and turned a profit for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2019, Straw says. “Mitchell has worked successfully to help Colonial Williamsburg navigate unprecedented cultural and technological shifts, building a record of solid accomplishment under his tenure,” said Thurston R. Moore, chairman of the foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Among other things, he led us through a difficult but necessary organizational restructuring; improved our guest experience; invested in a diverse and inclusive workforce; and completed fundraising to expand and renovate the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.” Richard Foster contributed to this report  2019-06-18T23:06:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/LaraFritts.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salt-lake-city-economic-development-director-to-lead-greater-richmond-partn Salt Lake City economic development director to lead Greater Richmond Partnership http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salt-lake-city-economic-development-director-to-lead-greater-richmond-partn http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/salt-lake-city-economic-development-director-to-lead-greater-richmond-partn#When:21:11:00Z The Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP) has tapped the director of the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development as its next leader. Lara Fritts will become GRP’s president and CEO on Aug. 12. She is only the third person to take on the role in the organization’s 25-year history and will be the organization’s first female CEO. Fritts succeeds Barry Matherly, who left to lead the Detroit Regional Chamber after less than four years leading GRP. GRP helps recruits companies and retains business in the Richmond area, including Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties. In addition to serving as director of economic development in Salt Lake City, Fritts is CEO of the city’s redevelopment agency. There, she led business development efforts to recruit companies such as Amazon and UPS. She worked with companies that created 9,800 direct and indirect jobs and nearly $1 billion in capital investment there. Prior to her time in Salt Lake City, she was director of business development for Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP. Fritts has also led economic development efforts in Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin, including working as president and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corp., executive director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp. and president and CEO of the now-defunct Washington D.C. Technology Council. Fritts holds a bachelor’s degree in regional analysis from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and a master’s in urban studies from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. 2019-06-17T21:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/reliability-is-the-new-measure-for-evaluating-internet Reliability is the new measure for evaluating internet http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/reliability-is-the-new-measure-for-evaluating-internet http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/reliability-is-the-new-measure-for-evaluating-internet#When:19:54:00Z Over the last decade, businesses have seen significant progress and advancements in the technology and services available to them. Technologies like enterprise apps, public and private clouds and advanced telecommunications not only improve the way businesses operate but also how they interact with partners and customers. At the heart of these tools are the internet and networks, which form the central system that powers the vast majority of modern technology. Every company today, whether a national enterprise or a small local business, has evolved in some way to adopt these technologies. This means that business owners, employers and employees heavily rely on the internet to operate successfully. Recent Juniper Research indicates that the total number connected devices (including tablets, servers and smartphones) is set to exceed 50 billion globally by 2022. Much of this usage will continue to be fueled by the workplace. Given the potential for technology to transform business, and the consequential downsides to technological failure, it is more important than ever to critically and carefully evaluate services and providers. The way we think about internet is evolving beyond speed For years, businesses naturally have selected internet providers that offer the fastest upload and download speeds for the best price. Like most things in life, choosing internet service has fallen under “the faster the better” mentality — from commercials on television contrasting top speeds to countless limited-time deals offered to potential customers — it’s undeniable that internet speed matters. Think back to the days of dial-up, when employees would sign onto their computers then go get coffee, only to return to browsers barely opening. That could be considered prehistoric compared to the lightning-fast speeds available today, which enable things like mobile device use in the field or business video chats with partners in another country. Speed is inarguably important, and with services like gigabit internet and fiber connectivity, most businesses today have access to fast speeds they need to operate successfully. However, high-speed internet is only as fast as the bandwidth it provides and only as useful as the consistency it delivers. Think of it like the speed limit of a highway versus the number of lanes and the likelihood of roadblocks. How valuable is the ability to go fast if there’s congestion and unreliable conditions that often hinder you from doing so? There is an opportunity for businesses to take their operations to the next level by thinking about internet in a new way. Matt Davis, principal analyst at Independence Research, recently polled more than 500 small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and found that “internet speed is still the top reason businesses stay loyal to their existing internet provider, but that is followed extremely closely by service reliability as the second reason.” The shift to reliability as a top priority There are many reasons why reliability is the new standard that businesses need to consider when deciding which communication and internet services and providers will best meet their business needs. A 2018 study on small-business risk confirmed that business interruption is one of the top three concerns for small-business owners. For these businesses rely on internet access for everything from point-of-sale transactions, website promotions, cloud-based payroll and inventory applications, the risk of downtime is daunting and can result in loss of revenue and employee productivity. In today’s workplace environment, it is unacceptable for employees to be unable to connect to the internet because it is down or to be unable to access critical functions because they are working from home or a remote location. Businesses move faster than ever before, and they risk losing productivity, sales and customer trust if their services are unreliable. For businesses, consistent, far-reaching communication services can be better achieved through cloud-based technologies, for example. By using communication tools powered through the cloud, access to critical information is more easily achieved. Additionally, this can help avoid common issues one might face with on-site technology or infrastructure like unexpected power outages or the need for a technician to be dispatched to your location if there is a maintenance issue. Reliability in the decision-making process Not only should the service be reliable, but providers also should serve as a true partner for your business to remedy any issues and provide consultation when needed. When providers act as a partner and a provider, businesses are in a better position to utilize the solutions that make the most sense for their particular needs, deliver the greatest return on investment, and improve customer satisfaction. By choosing a service provider that proactively monitors its networks for interruptions and downtime and is available to respond to maintenance needs 24/7, businesses will have greater peace of mind. This level of service enables them to focus on serving the needs and meeting the expectations of their customers. Internet performance is critical because it enables optimized operations, drives customer satisfaction and enhances overall success for small and medium-sized businesses. Some service providers can offer fast speeds, but your business will be vulnerable unless they can also provide reliable network performance, backed with knowledgeable, professional support. Investing in internet services and new technologies in the coming years will be a priority for businesses, so when it comes time for your business to explore new providers and services, keeping reliability top of mind will be a significant factor in your long-term success. Bill Newborg is general manager, Virginia, for Atlantic Broadband. 2019-06-17T19:54:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-begins-matching-funds-program Charlottesville begins matching funds program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-begins-matching-funds-program http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-begins-matching-funds-program#When:15:28:00Z Charlottesville has begun a program offering matching funds to local startups receiving government grants. The Cville Match program is designed to aid the growth of new Charlottesville-based companies and help the commercialization of their products. Created by City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development and the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority, Cville Match will provide matching funds to companies receiving grants from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund (CRCF) programs. Qualifying Charlottesville-based companies are eligible to receive matching funds once their federal or state grants have been approved. The city will match amounts up to $25,000 per-company, per-grant, subject to the availability of funds. Cville Match also includes VJIP Match, a long-standing economic development authority program providing matching funds to Charlottesville-based recipients of the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, VJIP is designed to help Virginia-based companies create jobs in the commonwealth. 2019-06-17T15:28:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Willow_Oaks_Exterior.jpg The Willow Oaks Corporate Center has three buildings. Source: KBS http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spruced-up-nova-office-park-adding-relocating-tenants Spruced-up NoVA office park adding, relocating tenants http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spruced-up-nova-office-park-adding-relocating-tenants http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spruced-up-nova-office-park-adding-relocating-tenants#When:13:00:00Z A Northern Virginia office park has landed a new tenant and is relocating two others as demand remains steady in the regional market. The Willow Oaks Corporate Center in Merrifield has entered lease agreements with Fairfax Radiological Consultants, Hardesty & Hanover and Right at Home. The leases total 30,739 square feet. Willow Oaks includes three buildings totaling 584,003 square feet. Fairfax Radiological has signed on for 23,829 square feet, and Right at Home, an in-home health-care provider for the elderly and disabled, will occupy 4,069 square feet. Both are moving into the building at 8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. Fairfax Radiological’s suite is under construction, and KBS expects the practice to move into its new space in November. Right at Home is an existing Willow Oaks tenant that will relocate to its new suite in August. Hardesty & Hanover, an infrastructure engineering firm, has taken 2,841 square feet at 8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. It is a new tenant. KBS, a private equity real estate company, owns Willow Oaks Corporate Center through KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II. The firm said it bought the office park in 2009 for $112 million. Stephen Close, KBS senior vice president and asset manager, says that during the past few years his firm has renovated Willow Oaks. Changes have included a 3,000-square-foot café, landscaping and upgrades to restrooms. He did not provide the cost of the renovations. Other Virginia properties in KBS’s portfolio include office buildings in Clarendon, Herndon, Fairfax and Reston. KBS is based in Newport Beach, California. According to a Newmark Knight Frank office market report, Northern Virginia office space continues to see steady demand this year after a solid 2018. Net absorption in the first quarter of 2019 was 633,028 square feet – the highest quarterly total since the first quarter of 2018. Close of KBS says Amazon’s HQ2 plans in Arlington haven’t affected the Willow Oaks or its submarket. Still, Northern Virginia is proving to be a business-friendly market in light of the recent activity there by Amazon and Nestlé USA, said Marc Deluca, a regional president for KBS, in a press release. Nestlé S.A relocated its U.S. headquarters from California to Rosslyn in 2017, and a Nestlé subsidiary, Gerber Products Co., announced plans last year to relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Arlington. In the Willow Oaks lease agreements, Mark Roberts of Savills Inc. represented Fairfax Radiological; Dan Brennan of Larsen Commercial Real Estate represented Right at Home; and Jude Collins of Cushman & Wakefield represented Hardesty & Hanover. Wes Evans and Steve Hoffeditz of Newmark Knight Frank represented KBS. 2019-06-17T13:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Screen_Shot_2019-06-14_at_5.37.21_PM.png Trex has recently added new products to its Enhance line. Source: Trex http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trex-to-deck-out-facilities-in-virginia-nevada Trex to deck out facilities in Virginia, Nevada http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trex-to-deck-out-facilities-in-virginia-nevada http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/trex-to-deck-out-facilities-in-virginia-nevada#When:08:00:00Z Responding to increased demand for recently launched products, a decking materials company based in Winchester has pushed up planned upgrades for its operations in Virginia and Nevada. Trex Company Inc., a decking and railing materials company, announced last week plans for a $200 million capital expenditure program to increase production capacity at facilities in Winchester and Nevada. Trex expects to fund the capital expenditures mainly from operating cash flows. Shares for Trex received a bump following the announcement of the investments on June 6. On that day, Trex shares closed at $66.90 a share and the following day they closed at $69.11. On Friday, Trex shares closed at $71.38. Trex was founded in 1996 and manufactures wood-alternative decking products made from recylced plastic and wood. Trex CFO Bryan Fairbanks says a larger share of the capital investment announced last week will take place in Virginia with the likelihood of adding more employees in Winchester. He could not say specifically how the investment would be split between Virginia and Nevada or how many employees may be added in Virginia. Fairbanks says Trex had planned to do the investment a year from now but demand has been so strong for new composite decking products it made more sense to make the investments sooner. Trex recently rolled out new products as part of its Enhance line, Fairbanks says. In 2018, Professional Builder magazine included the Trex Enhance Composite Decking line on its list of top 100 products. Plans call for building a new decking facility in Winchester and installation of additional production lines in an existing building in Fernley, Nev. The expanded production capabilities in Nevada are planned to go live in the third quarter, and Virginia’s expanded capacity is planned to begin in the first quarter of 2021. The announcement comes as Trex’s Nevada plant has faced adversity, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Trex’s Nevada facility had two equipment failures during the first quarter. The failures resulted in the loss of two lines for about 30 days apiece. Those lines are now back in full production. Fairbanks says the new investments are not related to the equipment failures. “We expect to experience reduced throughput and related expenses in Nevada during the second quarter, but at a reduced rate compared to the first quarter,” the company stated in its quarterly report. “Across our manufacturing facilities, the new product startup costs, the operating inefficiencies from lower run rates and the equipment failures at our Nevada plant amounted to $10 million.” Trex reported increased net sales for the first quarter compared with this time a year ago. For the first quarter of 2019, Trex had $179.5 million in net sales – up from $171.2 million for the first quarter in 2018. The company reported a dip in gross profits with $69.3 million in the first quarter of 2019, compared with $76.7 million from the same period in 2018. Fairbanks says the drop had to do with the startup costs related to the rollout of its new Enhance products and that those expenses are expected to taper off. 2019-06-17T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-business-center-property-lures-1.2-million-investment Chesapeake business center property lures $1.2 million investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-business-center-property-lures-1.2-million-investment http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chesapeake-business-center-property-lures-1.2-million-investment#When:21:11:00Z A Chesapeake property has changed hands in a deal for more than a million dollars. Ventures 912 LLC bought for $1.275 million the 13,799-square-foot office and warehouse at 912 Ventures Way in the Greenbrier Business Center, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The seller of the .91-acre property was Kyco Properties LLC. Ventures 912 LLC bought the property as an investment. Thalhimer’s Janet Whitbeck represented Kyco Properties in the deal. 2019-06-13T21:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2019_CFO_WINNERS.png http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-names-cfo-award-winners Virginia Business announces CFO Awards winners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-names-cfo-award-winners http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-names-cfo-award-winners#When:02:00:00Z Virginia Business presented awards to chief financial officers at a national apparel retailer, a university, a financial services firm and a trade association Wednesday night. The awards banquet was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. Winners at the magazine’s 14th annual Virginia CFO Awards were: Small companies: Cynthia Joyce, CPA, of Agili, a Richmond-based financial services firm. Small nonprofits/government agencies: Richard Lugg, of Virginia REALTORS, a real-estate trade association based in Richmond. Large nonprofits/government agencies: M. Dwight Shelton Jr., CPA, of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Large companies: Jennifer V. Whichello, of NSTO LLC, the parent company of apparel retailers Need Supply Co. and Totokaelo, based in Richmond. Thirty-five CFOs from throughout the commonwealth were nominated for the awards.  Click the image below to see a photo gallery of images from the night's event. Photos by Rick DeBerry                View this post on Instagram                   Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the commonwealth’s top financial officers at our annual Virginia CFO Awards ceremony last night! And congratulations to all the nominees and our four winners: @need’s Jennifer Whichello; Virginia Tech’s M. Dwight Shelton Jr.; Virginia Realtors’ Richard Lugg and Agili’s Cynthia Joyce!   2019-06-13T02:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/gmu-nova-800-400.jpg http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-team-up-with-amazon-to-develop-bachelors-degree Schools team up with Amazon to develop bachelor’s degree http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-team-up-with-amazon-to-develop-bachelors-degree http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/schools-team-up-with-amazon-to-develop-bachelors-degree#When:20:23:00Z Amazon is teaming up with two of the largest public colleges in Northern Virginia, in terms of total enrollment, to offer a bachelor’s degree in cloud computing. Last fall, the internet giant partnered with Northern Virginia Community College to create an associate degree in cloud computing. Next year, students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field at Fairfax-based George Mason University. Amazon said the degree offers students a pathway from a two-year associate degree to a four-year bachelor’s degree, which will help meet the needs of Amazon and other employers. Amazon already has a major presence in Northern Virginia. The company is locating its second headquarters in the area and its cloud computing division also is located in the region. 2019-06-11T20:23:00+00:00 Sledge photo courtesy City of Richmond. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-names-new-economic-development-director Richmond names new economic development director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-names-new-economic-development-director http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/richmond-names-new-economic-development-director#When:20:14:00Z Richmond has named a new economic development director, but he’s no stranger to the state’s business community. The city announced Monday that Leonard Sledge has been hired as director of economic development. Sledge has more than 13 years of experience in the field, including serving as director of economic development for the city of Hampton and at the College of William and Mary. Most recently, Sledge was executive director of the Henry County Development Authority in Georgia. Henry County is part of the Atlanta metro region. Sledge succeeds Lee Downey, now director of economic and business development for Hunton Andrews Kurth in Richmond. Jane Ferrara had been Richmond’s interim economic development director but has returned to her previous position as deputy director of economic development, according to Richmond spokesman Jim Nolan. Sledge earned bachelor’s degrees from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech. He holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Earlier this year, he was named one of North America’s top 50 economic developers by Consultant Connect. 2019-06-10T20:14:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/visitor-spending-in-virginia-grew-4.4-last-year Visitor spending in Virginia grew 4.4% last year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/visitor-spending-in-virginia-grew-4.4-last-year http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/visitor-spending-in-virginia-grew-4.4-last-year#When:16:49:00Z Tourism generated $26 billion in visitor spending in Virginia last year, a 4.4 percent increase over 2017. In 2018, tourism supported 234,000 Virginia jobs —a 1 percent increase from 2017.  The travel industry is the fifth largest employer in the commonwealth. Tourism also provided $1.8 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 2.9 percent compared to 2017. Since the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan was introduced 50 years ago, the economic impact of travel in the commonwealth has grown from $1.3 billion ($8.6 billion in 2018 dollars) to $26 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4 percent. 2019-06-10T16:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/smithfield-mobile-homes-storage-units-sell-for-5.5-million Smithfield mobile homes, storage units sell for $5.5 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/smithfield-mobile-homes-storage-units-sell-for-5.5-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/smithfield-mobile-homes-storage-units-sell-for-5.5-million#When:13:05:00Z Franklin Investments LLC bought for $5.5 million the property at 12557 and 12607 Courthouse Highway in Smithfield, according to S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. The deal included 73 mobile homes and 327 ministorage units located on 48 acres. The seller in the transaction was B&J Land Development Inc. and B&J Mini Storage. S. L. Nusbaum’s Chris Zarpas and Sam Rapoport represented the buyer in the deal. 2019-06-10T13:05:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/software-developer-adding-more-than-100-jobs-in-central-virginia Gaming software developer adding more than 100 jobs in Central Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/software-developer-adding-more-than-100-jobs-in-central-virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/software-developer-adding-more-than-100-jobs-in-central-virginia#When:18:36:00Z Castle Hill Gaming, a gaming software developer, is expanding its Albemarle County headquarters, a move expected to create 106 jobs over the next three years. The project will involve a $1.3 investment. Castle Hill Gaming will receive funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) to support the hiring and training of new employees. Based in Albemarle, Castle Hill employs data scientists, designers, developers, and mathematicians in creating gaming solutions. The company currently serves 25 Native American tribes in four states operating 75 casinos. Castle Hill now has 55 employees, with 25 based in Albemarle. “As a U.Va. graduate who grew up in Albemarle, I am proud to be creating jobs in the county,” Arthur Watson, CEO of Castle Hill Gaming, said in a statement. “Virginia has created an exciting opportunity in its approval of historic horse racing machines, and participating in this new industry will enable Castle Hill to create dozens of sales, service, and manufacturing jobs in Virginia.” Watson said the company has developed historic horse racing machines, which have been independently tested and approved by Gaming Labs International as meeting Virginia standards.   2019-06-07T18:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-sells-for-21.25-million “Amazon really turned up the heat” http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-sells-for-21.25-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-sells-for-21.25-million#When:18:11:00Z A Northern Virginia property has sold in an eight-figure deal. Consolidated-Tomoka Land bought for $21.25 million 1000 E. Broad St. in Falls Church, according to KLNB. Andy Stape, KLNB Retail Investment Sales, Michael Pratt of KLNB Retail Advisory, and Peter Snell of KLNB Single Tenant Net Lease Group represented the seller and procured the buyer. “Amazon really turned up the heat on Northern Virginia commercial real estate with the announcement of HQ2,” said Stape in a press release. “Buyers are looking for strategic investments with long-term value.” The seller of the 46,000-square-foot building was East Broad Street LLC. The building sits on 3.087 acres. It is currently occupied by a 24 Hour Fitness, which has been a tenant since 2012.  There are nine years on 24 Hour Fitness’ current lease, which includes rent escalations. The property is zoned for up to four stories and multiple uses including residential. 2019-06-06T18:11:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-lines-up-63.17-million-in-financing Fairfax property lines up $63.17 million in financing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-lines-up-63.17-million-in-financing http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nova-property-lines-up-63.17-million-in-financing#When:17:36:00Z A Fairfax County multifamily property has lined up new financing. Berkadia announced on Wednesday $63.17 million in financing for a multifamily property in Falls Church called PeachTree of McLean at 2042 Peach Orchard Drive. Jonathan Pratt, a Berkadia director in Washington, D.C., secured the loan on behalf of Virginia-based Erkiletian Cos. The deal closed May 31. Erkiletian plans to improve the property’s water and energy efficiency by 30%. PeachTree has one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The property is near Tysons Center, Route 7, and interstates 66 and 495. 2019-06-06T17:36:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-bank-building-nets-1.79-million Chesapeake bank building nets $1.79 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-bank-building-nets-1.79-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-bank-building-nets-1.79-million#When:16:49:00Z Farmers Bank bought for $1.79 million the bank building at 821 N. Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The 4,532-square-foot bank building sits on 0.92 acres. Thalhimer’s Chris Rouzie represented the seller in the deal. 2019-06-06T16:49:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-2.4-million Newport News property sells for $2.4 million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-2.4-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hampton-roads-property-sells-for-2.4-million#When:16:47:00Z A Newport News shopping center has a new owner. Riverside Hospital Inc. bought in April for $2.375 million the Brentwood Shopping Center at 10500 Jefferson Ave. in Newport News, according to a city property record. The 5.1-acre site is home to a 46,920-square-foot building.  The Riverside Health System has leased around 37,000 square feet at the property since 2004, says Tracey Dowling of Riverside Health System. Other tenants at the shopping center include a home goods store, a tax service and a kitchen remodeler. Dowling says Riverside had a long-term lease on the property until 2026. The acquisition of the Jefferson Avenue property came about because Riverside exercised its first right of refusal to buy the property as part of its lease agreement, Dowling says. Riverside uses the property for its residency programs for family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN). The residency programs have graduated a combined 633 residents since their inceptions. Riverside touts the residency programs as boons to community because physicians typically remain in the areas of the residency programs from which they graduate. The residency programs at Brentwood have partnered with organizations such as Peninsula Community Health Collaborative and Peninsula Food Bank on issues like nutrition and food insecurities for patients diagnosed with diabetes. Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate’s Bob Saunders and Clark Baldwin handled the transaction. 2019-06-06T16:47:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-retail-property-sells-for-2.8-million Fredericksburg property changes hands http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-retail-property-sells-for-2.8-million http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fredericksburg-retail-property-sells-for-2.8-million#When:16:44:00Z A retail property in Fredericksburg has changed hands. 1731 Central Park LLC bought for $2.825 million the 33,179-square-foot property at 1731 Carl D. Silver Parkway, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. The entity bought the 2.82-acre site as an investment. The property is home to a Pottery Barn store. The seller in the deal was Mach II MCB Silver Portfolio Owner One LLC. Thalhimer’s Jamie A. Scully represented the buyer in the deal. Angelo Ignudo of Thalhimer was named portfolio manager for the property. 2019-06-06T16:44:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NView_Roberts_Grandma.png Robert Powell visits his grandmother with daughters Lydia and Susannah in 1988. Photo courtesy Robert Powell http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-move-that-grandmother-would-not-approve A move that grandmother would not approve http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-move-that-grandmother-would-not-approve http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-move-that-grandmother-would-not-approve#When:08:00:00Z People in my family are not the retiring type. My Grandmother Powell, who lived to be 97, grudgingly submitted to mandatory retirement at 65 after working for decades in the payroll office of a textile mill. (We have a newspaper clipping showing her scowling at a piece of fried chicken during her retirement luncheon.) Soon grandmother became a bookkeeper at city hall in her hometown. She held the job until age 80 but again did not leave willingly. She claimed the mayor forced her out so he could hire someone younger. Over the mayor’s strenuous objections, grandmother demanded to receive unemployment benefits and won on an administrative appeal. Her son, my father, was a dentist for 50 years. The Georgia Dental Association presented him with a plaque recognizing a half century of service to the profession when he finally sold his office at 73. My grandmother, however, didn’t remember that when he visited her at the nursing home a few days later. “It’s 9 a.m.,” she said, looking at her watch. “Why aren’t you at work?” I hate to think of the reaction I would get from grandmother if she knew I was stepping down as editor of Virginia Business at 66. In my defense, I would point out that I’m still going to be around awhile, working part-time as an adviser during a transition period. So, why change now? The answer is: This is the right time for me to make a switch. I have been editor of Virginia Business for nearly 15 years, and it has been my dream job. The magazine has allowed me and my colleagues to have front-row seats in following the economic progress and travails of every region of the commonwealth. Virginia Business also has provided us with a platform to explore the role the state is playing in game-changing developments, such as the growing use of drones and autonomous vehicles. Perhaps most important, the magazine and our daily e-newsletter have kept readers informed of business news throughout the state at a time when many media outlets limit coverage to their metro areas. The magazine’s journalism has gained national attention. Since 2010, Virginia Business has received 21 awards from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers in a contest judged annually by the Missouri School of Journalism. (We have been notified that we will receive “one or more” awards at the next awards ceremony on June 27 in Atlanta.) Although this has been my dream job, I feel it’s time to shift gears and pass the baton to the next generation. My wife has retired, and my daughter Susannah is expecting our first grandchild this fall. We look forward to more flexibility to travel and visit family. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t feel good about leaving the magazine unless we had lined up the right person as my successor. Richard Foster is definitely that person. I have known Richard since he was an intern in the early 1990s at the business news department at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. His talent and diligence were obvious to everyone well before he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. Since that time, he has been an award-winning writer and editor at several publications while authoring two books and producing a podcast. He has been a contributing writer for Virginia Business since 2006. Richard has the right combination of talent, experience and digital savvy to take this magazine to the next level. I look forward to working with him in the coming months and following his progress as the editorial leader of the magazine for years to come. In truth, I don’t see my transition period at the magazine as the beginning of my retirement but as an off ramp to new opportunities I haven’t had the time to explore. Like my feisty grandmother, I don’t like to be bored, and if I follow her example closely, I still have 31 years left. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/181023_UMW_0111.png One of the university’s selling points is accessibility of it downtown Fredericksburg campus. University of Mary Washington http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-distinct-vision-for-students A distinct vision for students http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-distinct-vision-for-students http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-distinct-vision-for-students#When:08:00:00Z The University of Mary Washington isn’t a very big school, and it doesn’t really want to be. The university has about 4,400 undergraduates, way below enrollment giants like Virginia Tech (34,950) or James Madison University (22,686). UMW will likely never reach those totals. Its main campus in downtown Fredericksburg is just 3-by-10 blocks, not including some nearby athletic fields and university-owned apartments. “Students walk a lot farther at Virginia Tech or U.Va. to get to anything,” says Jeffrey McClurken, a 1994 UMW graduate who has taught at his alma mater since 1999. He also serves as special adviser to UMW President Troy Paino, who arrived in 2016 after six years as president of Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. “Part of what we sell [to prospective students] is that compact experience,” McClurken says. The approach seems to work. That’s not to say the school is static —  it grows, rebuilds and adjusts academic programs pretty much every year. UMW just has its own vision about the undergraduate experience, McClurken says. “I know my students,” he says. “But it’s not so small that you literally know everyone, which is also a good thing.” Serving STEM students The university’s biggest project underway now is expansion and renovation of the Jepson Science Center, which holds several of the university’s key STEM-related departments. The new space, which opens this fall, will be three stories tall and have nearly 42,000 square feet. Two departments — physics and earth and environmental sciences — will move there. Biology and chemistry departments will stay in the existing building but that space — 28,000 square feet — is being renovated and will be ready next spring. This project is a big deal for the school’s goal of attracting STEM-focused students. Jodie Hayob, chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, notes that when the original Jepson building opened in 1998 “we pretty much outgrew it on the day we moved in.” The new project brings bigger classrooms, more faculty offices “and a whole lot of research lab space,” says Hayob. “In my department, those are teaching laboratories. We’re probably getting 100 percent more.” One selling point for STEM majors is that the new space will be populated by undergraduates working directly with faculty. That’s generally always been true at UMW. There are no graduate students to compete with for lab space or faculty time. But this is new equipment and more space. “The professors do all of the teaching and all the grading. We don’t have equipment that undergrads aren’t allowed to use,” she says. “The STEM fields are important and popular and ... more engaged learning leads to students being better prepared,” Hayob says. Digital fluency UMW is continuing its push to teach students digital communications skills no matter their field of study, says McClurken. In 2015 the school created a major, communication and digital studies. This year 172 students were pursuing that major with 44 students minoring in the field. Plus, the school just adopted a set of general education requirements that now includes a “digital intensive” course requirement with the goal of developing digital fluency. That term is defined as “the ability to consume and produce digital knowledge critically, ethically and responsibly, as well as to creatively adapt to emerging technology,” according to the school. Virginia and the mid-Atlantic represent a competitive region in attracting students, McClurken says. Other schools are growing and adding facilities and pitching themselves as the best bang for the buck. “We’re focused on a particular type of undergraduate education … integrating digital technology into a liberal-arts experience,” says McClurken. “That’s been our argument.” Building the workforce The UMW main campus is focused on undergraduates, but the school’s two other locations target the region’s adult workforce. UMW’s Continuing and Professional Studies program, located at a small campus in neighboring Stafford County, focuses on helping professionals pursue training or degrees to further their careers. And to the east in King George County near the Naval Surface Warfare Center is a center focused mostly on science and engineering studies, for graduate and undergraduates, but its main emphasis is continuing education for Dahlgren-related workers, local government employees and private-sector workers. UMW shares that space with educators from other Virginia schools. A major new initiative is coming. UMW is launching a cybersecurity certification prep course next year, supported by the region’s community colleges and business development groups. The 12-week, 40-hour program is expected to begin in spring 2020. In March, the state’s GO Virginia program awarded a $110,000 grant to help start the program, which is intended to ease the shortage of certified cybersecurity workers in the region. The Stafford center also offers a bachelor of liberal studies degree for  people who have done some college work but haven’t completed their undergraduate degrees. “Many start school, then stop, then life happens along the way,” interrupting their degree pursuit, says Kimberly Young, executive director of UMW’s Continuing and Professional Studies program. Evening classes and some online work is part of the program, but UMW advisers are keen to make sure the project feels like a true degree program. “It’s important for the Mary Washington brand that we’re not pushing them through something just to get to the finish line, but really taking a look at what they want to do,” Young says. Planning a bigger UMW Even if UMW doesn’t aim to be a lot bigger, under Paino’s leadership it is going to grow and renovate. And for this modest-size campus, there are many new things planned or underway. In 2016 the school opened its massive University Center, which houses dining facilities and offices of university programs such as the James Farmer Multicultural Center. The former dining center, Seacobeck Hall, will soon be renovated and reopened as home to the school’s College of Education. Plus, renovations are planned or underway in several of the school’s older residence halls. Farther down the road, Paino is talking up proposals to build a new theater at the southeast corner of the campus and a parking garage across the street on an existing surface parking lot. The existing theater, Klein Theatre, and the adjacent fine arts buildings would be renovated. Plus, the new theater space potentially would also be used by the city of Fredericksburg. Paino is also pursuing plans to demolish and rebuild the UMW Apartments on William Street at the south end of campus. The complex houses about 350 students but would be expanded and possibly include some mixed-use development. For now most of the activity is at the other end of the campus, extending across U.S. 1 to the Eagle Village shopping center, which has residence halls and some of UMW’s administrative offices. That property is owned by the UMW Foundation. “Our vision is really to create some activity and space on this side as well,” Paino says. He wants the school to provide “21st-century living and learning.” In five years the estimate is that UMW will see modest growth to around 5,000 students across all its programs. “The direction I’m trying to take the university is [to become] an anchor for the entire region and Fredericksburg in particular,” Paino says. “There’s a lot going on here.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_DSC6173.png Theresa Mayer, Virginia Tech vice president of research and innovation. Photo by Don Petersen http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cyber-moon-shot-ready-for-launch ‘Cyber moon shot’ ready for launch http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cyber-moon-shot-ready-for-launch http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cyber-moon-shot-ready-for-launch#When:08:00:00Z By some estimates, cybercrimes are projected to cost businesses worldwide $6 trillion annually by 2021 — and it’s not unusual for a ransomware or malware attack to cost a single business millions. With cybersecurity threats to our ever-expanding digital world growing by the day, industries and universities are struggling to meet the demand for skilled tech workers. In Virginia alone, state officials say there are 33,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs. Enter Virginia’s ambitious, $25 million-plus Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), which aims to close that gap by creating a highly skilled workforce while also encouraging the development of lucrative technologies and making Virginia a global leader in cybersecurity. Established by the Virginia General Assembly last year, CCI is led by Virginia Tech, which is creating a CCI “hub” for cybersecurity innovation. The hub oversees the initiative and four regional cybersecurity centers — or “nodes” — in Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Southeast Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Expected to be approved in June, the regional nodes will usher in a wave of university-business collaborations in Virginia involving partnerships with corporations such as Amazon, Dominion Energy and Micron Technology. Deeming it a “cyber moon shot,” Del. Chris Jones (R- Suffolk), chair of the Virginia House Appropriations Committee, proposed the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands early last year. Tech picked up the gauntlet and in December delivered a CCI blueprint envisioning the hub-and-node system that would train a new generation of tech workers and encourage research and entrepreneurial partnerships among Virginia universities, nonprofits and industry. “Through smart investment and effective collaboration, CCI will build capabilities and programs that will make Virginia a leader in cybersecurity, attracting talent, industry and partners from across the nation and around the world,” Sands said in a university news release. The initiative will “leverage the supporting infrastructure and the externally funded research of the universities to really enhance the commercial viability of new technologies,” says Theresa Mayer, Virginia Tech’s vice president of research and innovation, who chaired the CCI blueprint strategic planning committee. CCI also dovetails with Virginia’s Tech-Talent Pipeline Initiative to train and recruit a diverse workforce to meet the state’s demand for skilled technology workers. The pipeline initiative was a major component of the state’s successful pitch to land Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), which will be hiring 25,000 workers at its Arlington campus during the next decade. As much as the CCI blueprint was shaped by Amazon’s hiring needs, the plan also was informed by the many anticipated technological advances on the near horizon, including the growth of the Internet of Things; 5G and 6G wireless connectivity; and the proliferation of artificial intelligence and driverless vehicles. The increased complexity of cybersecurity challenges posed by tomorrow’s technologies makes it critical that Virginia’s students and its workforce are prepared, Mayer says. The General Assembly dedicated $25 million to CCI through June 2020 to create the blueprint and establish the hub and its regional nodes. And this year the state legislature allocated ongoing funding of $20 million per year to CCI. More than 50 stakeholder organizations participated in the blueprint creation, including public universities, the Virginia Community College System and Virginia-based Fortune 500 corporations Northrop Grumman and Dominion Energy. In April, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University each submitted node proposals to the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC), which is expected to approve the establishment of the regional centers at its June 11 meeting. (Created by the General Assembly in 2016, VRIC oversees efforts to position Virginia as a national leader in science and technology research, development and commercialization projects from Virginia’s higher education institutions.) As for the hub that will oversee the entire CCI network, it will be based in Northern Virginia in the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington. Virginia Tech has launched a national search for the hub’s executive director and expects the position will be filled by fall. After the four regional nodes come online this summer, each will develop its own three-year strategic plan. And the hub leadership will provide guidance to focus the nodes on similar goals so that they “are synergistic with one another and really help the network form in a coherent way,” says Charles Clancy, the hub’s interim executive director, who also is the director of Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology. The CCI network will work to attract more high-profile technology companies to locate in Virginia by nurturing a cooperative university-business ecosystem with “a culture of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization,” Clancy says. “We want to have the ability to have a student who has an innovative idea at a university in Hampton Roads be able to get access to mentorship and free accelerator programs and connected with seed-stage investors that may happen to be up in Northern Virginia,” he says. “The [CCI] network is looking to both invest in and foster [the existing technology] ecosystem in Northern Virginia and connect that ecosystem statewide.” And the proposed regional nodes have already begun forging partnerships that will formalize cross-pollination of research and the development of marketable technologies among universities and with industry, Clancy says, with the goal of adding more partners in the future. Here’s a look at where the nodes stand: Central Virginia Led by Virginia Commonwealth University, the Central Virginia node is negotiating to name an interim executive director and plans to launch a national search for the node’s permanent director. The node will be housed in VCU’s planned Digital Economy Building, which will be constructed in 2023 or 2024, says Barbara Boyan, dean of the VCU College of Engineering. The node’s business partners are a who’s who of some of the state’s biggest corporate citizens, including Amazon, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One, CoStar, Dominion Energy, Fannie Mae, IBM, Leidos, Micron Technology, The MITRE Corp., Northrop Grumman, SRC Inc. and WillowTree Inc.  Other partners include the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), the Greater Washington Partnership and NASA. VCU also will work closely with the University of Virginia on the node, harnessing resources such as VCU’s Cybersecurity Center and Center for Analytics and Smart Technologies as well as U.Va.’s Cyber Innovation and Society Group and Cyber Physical Systems Link Lab. The fact that both universities have major medical schools will also drive a focus on health-care cybersecurity. Other academic partners in the node include Longwood University, Virginia State University and Virginia Union University, as well as regional community colleges. As part of the initiative, VCU plans to double its student body in the College of Engineering. The Digital Economy Building will include suites of computer science studios, designed in cooperation with industry to reflect real-world workspaces. It will also be built to accommodate future 6G wireless telecommunications needs. “This is a new industrial revolution happening and … it’s centrally located in Virginia,” Boyan says. Northern Virginia Apropos of its high-tech goals, the CCI Northern Virginia node will operate as a “distributed node” or virtual entity, says Deborah Crawford, vice president for research at George Mason University. Its education partners include five universities (George Washington University, Marymount University, James Madison University, University of Mary Washington and Shenandoah University), 10 Northern Virginia public school systems and three community colleges. Industry partners are led by Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI International Inc., The MITRE Corp. and SAIC Inc. “What we’ve learned so far is that there is a heck of a lot going on,” Crawford says. “It would be fair to say that each of us who have attended these meetings have learned something new … about a capability that exists in our region that we weren’t aware of.” Southeast Virginia Dubbed the Coastal Center for Cyber Innovation, the CCI Southeast node will be housed in Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center as well as its Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. The Southeast node will have a particular focus on security issues surrounding maritime transportation as well as other emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, says ODU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Brian Payne. In addition to ODU, the nodes’ educational partners will include the College of William & Mary, Norfolk State University and Christopher Newport University. Its business partners are cybersecurity and information technology firms: Cybrex LLC; G2 Ops Inc., MI Technical Solutions; Peregrine Technical Solutions; RFK Solutionz; and SimIS Inc. Additional partners include the Regent University Institute for Cybersecurity, Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Virginia Cyber Alliance. Southwest Virginia In addition to leading the CCI hub, Virginia Tech also spearheads the CCI Southwest regional node.  Its other higher education partners will include Liberty University, Radford University and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise as well as local community colleges. Corporate partners in the Southwest node include autonomous vehicles company Torc Robotics (recently acquired by Daimler AG) and block.one LLC, a blockchain software solutions developer. “As technologies evolve,” says Virginia Tech’s Mayer, “it’s very important that the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative is able to evolve with that and always be tapping into the leading and potentially disruptive companies.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1SG_8920x.png Roy Hinton has watched the evolution of executive education programs in Northern Virginia. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-rush Land rush http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-rush http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/land-rush#When:08:00:00Z The sweet spot. That’s what Northern Virginia has become for a number of colleges and universities that train executives seeking to improve their companies. Executive education in its many incarnations flourished in the executive-rich corridors of Northern Virginia well before Seattle-based Amazon decided last November to establish a second headquarters in Arlington — energizing a region already in hyperdrive. Executive education programs in the region first served government agencies, then government contractors and later larger companies. At least that’s how George Mason University Associate Dean Roy Hinton, who has headed executive education programs for 14 years on GMU’s Fairfax campus, remembers the situation. So, what’s he seeing now? “We’re observing this trend of multinational and large corporations expanding in this region, and that’s of keen interest to us,” Hinton says. Perhaps, “keen” is an understatement, considering the recent land rush among state schools to increase their stakes in the D.C. metro area. Maury Peiperl, dean of GMU’s School of Business, says the federal government side of the regional economy has been reasonably constant. “Whereas the business part is growing substantially, I think of Amazon as sort of a turning point, a tipping point if you will, of the process that’s been going on for a while,” he says. Peiperl, who has taught executive education in Europe, now is seeing a trend toward executive-education programs that are not only more focused and shorter, but also often include credentialing in a number of areas. “You may have an MBA or whatever. But it’s not such a bad thing to have a certificate in data analytics or in government accounting,” Peiperl says. Darden’s growing presence One of the kingpins of business education, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia in Char­­­­­­­­lot­­­­­tesville, has been steadily increasing its presence in Northern Virginia. Darden’s executive education programs are ranked consistently among the best in the world. “D.C. has always been a rich space for us. Now, with our physical facility there, things are changing in a significant way,” says Larry Murphy, president of Darden Executive Education and Lifelong Learning. The Darden facility is the Sands Family Grounds, a 40,000-square-foot space on the top two floors of a 31-story office building in Arlington’s Rosslyn area. When the Sands facility was established in September 2017, Dean Scott Beardsley said it would “pave the way for Darden to gain a foothold in the D.C. area” that would enable it to accelerate its impact. Murphy says customized executive-education programs, where Darden faculty contract with companies to provide specific courses based on their needs, have benefited from the school’s new digs in Rosslyn. “We’ve been able to engage with some companies that see the location of the program in Rosslyn as a significant advantage for them — because many of their employees are located there,” he says. Company executives also are drawn to the Northern Virginia venue because it provides access to trade or government officials. “We’re already experiencing an uptick in our interest in the sessions we’re having with clients for doing work in Rosslyn and the Northern Virginia area, because of those dynamics,” Murphy says. Tech’s 50th year From its home campus in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech has had a significant presence in Northern Virginia for decades. This year the university will celebrate its 50th year of offering graduate degrees in the region. In the years to come, it plans to open a $1 billion Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia to expand the commonwealth’s  pool of technological talent. But the university also has a stake in executive education in the area. “Continuing and professional education has been operating in the National Capital region for over 10 years,” says Patty Tatro. The associate director of Virginia Tech Continuing and Professional Education in the region, Tatro says a recently completed survey revealed a skills gap in the Northern Virginia workforce. “We’re working to close that skills gap by creating noncredit short courses to up-skill employees in the region,” she says. Kevin Carlson, associate dean for research and faculty affairs in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, says it’s using a focused approach in Northern Virginia. “We’re not trying to be all things to all people but trying to look for those opportunities in the marketplace where Virginia Tech’s capabilities and our faculty expertise really line up with very specific and important needs in the marketplace,” Carlson says. This year, for example, the Pamplin College began a series of professional education programs in cybersecurity, integrated security and entrepreneurship at Tech’s facilities in Arlington. All of the programs are customized for partners in the region. In the past, Tatro says, project management was an important professional education program offered in Northern Virginia by Virginia Tech. But surveys and experience suggested that other courses better aligned the university’s expertise with companies’ needs. “We’re stepping into spaces as the problems emerge, so as we identify those spaces where organizations have a problem, we’re building agile programming into those spaces,” Carlson says. Certificate programs The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg also has offered executive education and other professional programs in the Northern Virginia/Metro D.C. area. “In the past, we’ve done supply-chain programs [and] cybersecurity programs, and we decided to do a certificate program there,” says Rhonda Barton. She is executive director of new business development and client relations at William & Mary’s Center for Corporate Education in Williamsburg. Recently, W&M offered an open-enrollment certificate program in business excellence in Fairfax. The program highlights five key areas: effective communication; accounting for managers; business analytics; business strategy; and executive leadership. Barton says the college has the ability to provide a mix of programs “depending on the needs of the area, and the feedback we receive,” and to shift its offerings from one area of Northern Virginia to another.  2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/33912531538_b4284db2d5_o.png Construction crews work on a bridge on Interstate 81 near Dublin. Photo by Tom Saunders/VDOT http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-traffic-pattern New traffic pattern http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-traffic-pattern http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-traffic-pattern#When:08:00:00Z The 2019 General Assembly session was marked by political scandal and election-year gamesmanship, so it came as something of a surprise when the legislature did what previous generations of lawmakers have failed to do: establish dedicated funding for improving Interstate 81. New legislation for the first time creates dedicated revenue streams and a fund for I-81, along with a committee for prioritizing work along Virginia’s 325-mile portion of the interstate. Localities along the I-81 corridor will see the price at the gas pump go up when a 2.1% regional fuels tax goes into effect July 1. The revenue generated by the tax, expected to be around $150 million annually, will go toward $2.2 billion worth of improvements recommended for I-81 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. ‘A historic vote’ It speaks to the urgency of I-81’s problems that enough Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate backed a plan to raise taxes. An editorial by The Roanoke Times called passage of the legislation a “historic vote.” “I’ve never actually been a part of such a collaborative bipartisan effort,” says Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “We were putting a plan together that would address the safety needs along the corridor, the economic needs, the reliability needs that quite frankly have been kicked down the road for decades.” Widespread congestion and safety issues on I-81 have been well known for years. The challenge in addressing the problem has been figuring out how to foot the bill for improvements. So, just how bad is the stretch of I-81 that runs from  Winchester to Bristol in western Virginia? Jeff Perkins, president of Boxley Materials Co. in Roanoke, won’t let his college-age children drive home for Thanksgiving on I-81, which first began to be built in 1957. Between 2013 and 2017, more than 11,000 crashes occurred in the I-81 corridor. (In the same period, I-64 saw more than 21,000 crashes and I-95 saw more than 25,000 crashes). The unpredictability of traffic congestion caused by accidents translates into delays for commuters and shipments. “It costs us money to not be able to move product efficiently,” says Perkins. “If you expect to get so much product out per day and your trucks are stuck in traffic, you just can’t get it all delivered in the day that you expect.” Winding road ahead Just before the start of this year’s General Assembly session, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, stood with four Republican lawmakers from districts along the I-81 corridor to push for a plan that would have added tolls to the interstate to fund improvements. The lawmakers who backed the tolling legislation were state Sens. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) and Delegates R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta) and Terry L. Austin (R-Botetourt). “I knew that we were never going to make any significant improvements to not only I-81 but the transportation system in this region if we didn’t come up with a funding stream,” said Austin in an April interview. “If we didn’t do it, who knows what the consequences would be.” The Virginia Trucking Association issued a statement in January opposing tolls on I-81 on the grounds they would raise the costs of moving goods and would divert trucks onto secondary roads. The group supported a diesel fuel tax and a regional fuel tax identified in the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan produced last year. The plan also studied toll financing for I-81 improvements. “Tolling is just extremely inefficient,” says Dale Bennett, the trucking association’s president. “Nobody likes paying higher taxes and fees, but our industry is also realistic that highways are important to our business and the customers we serve.” Previous proposal It wasn’t the first time tolls have been floated as a solution for I-81. In 2003, two private-sector groups gave to the Virginia Department of Transportation detailed proposals for widening I-81. Both plans depended on tolls, and they ultimately died. As the session got underway this year, debate over the best way to finance I-81 improvements ramped up and appeared to be heading toward yet another impasse. Northern Virginia officials balked at the idea that, under the legislation backed by Northam, I-81 commuters would be able to pay $30 for an annual pass for unlimited use of the interstate. Northern Virginia commuters, lawmakers noted, face tolls daily. The legislation passed in the House and Senate only after the tolling portion had been removed, leaving only provisions to create a fund and to establish directives for a new committee. A number of other I-81-related bills fizzled out. By the end of session, Northam’s political capital appeared depleted by the discovery of a picture on his medical school yearbook page showing one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. The governor initially apologized for the photo and then changed his story, saying he wasn’t either man in the picture. Northam, however, admitted he had once appeared in blackface in a dance contest in 1984. Nevertheless, faced with legislation that essentially called for more discussion on what to do about I-81, Northam proposed amending the bills passed by the legislature to add the financing options that would raise taxes. “It was a challenge because I’m as conservative as my colleagues are,” says Austin, a Republican delegate representing a district in the I-81 corridor. “At the same time, I’m pragmatic and realistic in regard to the fact that, when you have a problem, you’ve got to fix it, and it’s not going to fix itself.” Valentine, the transportation secretary, says her team met with the Virginia Trucking Association early on to try to address its concerns. Both sides looked at how Virginia’s registration fees and taxes compared with the rates of other states along the I-81 corridor. “We said to them, ‘We just want to either get to the average on the corridor or be below,’” Valentine says, adding part of the goal was to have Virginia businesses remain competitive. “That was how we actually began negotiating what would an increase in revenue look like.” In addition to the regional fuels tax, the final legislation establishes new funding streams for other interstates in Virginia. Later this year, an increase in state truck registration fees will go into effect. An increased road tax will be phased in beginning in July and fully implemented in 2020. An increase to the diesel tax will be implemented in 2021. The revenue from these sources will be distributed statewide based on truck miles traveled, with portions reserved for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Commonwealth Transportation Board for other interstate corridor improvements. The new taxes and fees are expected eventually to drum up each year around $40 million for I-95, nearly $28 million for I-64 and about $20 million that will go to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Another $43 million will be set aside for other improvements in interstate highway corridors. The state projects that, for fiscal 2020, the revenue package will bring in $155.8 million and gradually increase within two years to bringing in around $282 million each fiscal year. Revenue from all users Bennett, the trucking association leader, says a sticking point for him was finding a proposal that relied on revenues generated by all users of I-81 — not just truckers. “One of the things we expressed concern about is that any funding proposal needed to have all users contributing to the funding to the new funding source, and the regional fuel tax does that,” Bennett says. A key factor in the I-81 debate was the groundwork laid by the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December. The plan, prepared by the consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, identified the targeted projects set to be done along the corridor. To develop the plan, 12 public meetings and hearings were held. They attracted 950 people and more than 2,000 public comments. “There was a true case built and an awareness of the issues brought to the forefront,” says Valentine. “There was no way that people could not see how important this corridor was and how critical the needs were.” Del. Chris L. Hurst, a freshman Democrat from Blacksburg, says there was a feeling that now was the time for Western Virginia lawmakers to seize the moment.  “As demographics continue to change in Virginia, many of us who live in this rural part of the Commonwealth really felt like, if we didn’t do the responsible thing that our constituents voted us into office to do, it might become precipitously more difficult to get dedicated funding for Interstate 81 in the future,” says Hurst. In the end, a funding package that raised regional and state taxes succeeded where previous proposals for tolls had failed. Given that they had tried and failed before, why bother proposing tolls at all? Marianne Radcliff, a contract lobbyist who represented a group of business leaders in the corridor that formed to support new revenue for I-81, thinks the case for tolls had to fail again to clear the way for a conversation about taxes. “Bills reliant on taxes to provide the needed revenue were seen as less likely to make it through the committee process, particularly in an election year,” says Radcliff, president of Richmond-based Kemper Consulting. “As a result of the robust discussion surrounding the proposed legislation, tolls, taxes and various combinations of the two were discussed widely. It is fair to say that, in order to end up where we did, with a proposal fully reliant on taxes, the process was necessary to thoroughly vet the effects of all of the alternatives.” ‘This will not fix I-81’ Even as legislators and policy makers celebrate I-81’s new funding stream, questions about the future of the road and the state’s transportation policy remain.  The I-81 package is just a start and won’t solve all of the interstate’s problems anytime soon. Finishing the $2.2 billion worth of I-81 projects targeted by the new funding could take up to 10 years.  Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has identified additional I-81 projects costing another $2.1 billion that still need to be addressed. “This will not fix I-81,” says Austin. “This will tremendously improve I-81 and help us reach ultimately — many, many years from now — a fix because it puts in place a dedicated funding stream. But to call it a fix is probably the wrong definition.” Then there is the problem with the viability of fuel taxes as electric vehicles continue to rise in popularity. Toyota introduced the first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997, and sales for hybrids and electric cars have grown since then. By 2025, hybrids and electric vehicles will account for an estimated 30 percent of all vehicle sales, according to a J.P. Morgan report issued in October. Stephen C. Brich, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, says there is concern about the reliance on motor fuels tax as a long-term sustainable funding mechanism. Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia have regional fuel taxes (raising the question of whether other parts of the state will need their own regional fuel taxes so their roads don’t get left behind). Brich says Virginia will need to identify other revenue sources to be able to address the state’s transportation needs. “We are starting to feel those effects right now just by the entrance of the hybrids and electric vehicles,” says Brich. “The dilemma that we have is only going to be worsened.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RS153075_20181205_FralinHotelRoanokeEvent_EW_0059.png Heywood and Cynthia Fralin Photo by Erin Williams/courtesy Virginia Tech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-multiplier-effect The multiplier effect http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-multiplier-effect http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-multiplier-effect#When:08:00:00Z Heywood Fralin and his brother Horace grew up in Roanoke, but took divergent paths as young adults. Horace attended Virginia Tech and became a businessman, taking over his father’s Roanoke-based construction business before starting his own company, Medical Facilities of America Inc. (MFA), a chain of nursing homes. Heywood went to the University of Virginia and American University Law School and became an attorney. One thing they did have in common, though, was a strong sense of community service — and a shared philanthropic philosophy. Among many gifts, Horace and his wife, Ann, provided the major funding for the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech. Heywood and his wife, Cynthia, in 2012 willed their collection of American art to the University of Virginia Art Museum, now called the Fralin Museum of Art. When Horace died after a battle with cancer in 1993, Heywood returned to Roanoke, taking the helm of MFA and the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust. Under Heywood’s guidance, the trust has supported numerous projects and organizations in Roanoke, most notably the Taubman Museum of Art and Western Virginia Community College. “My brother was very much focused on enabling change, gifts that would bring about major improvements in the lives of the citizens of the Roanoke Valley for generations to come,” says Heywood, 78. “I believe that also, and in my own charitable giving, I, too, try to make gifts that bring about meaningful structure or permanent change for the betterment of society — although personally, I have interests that are outside of Roanoke.” The family’s shared ideals were evident in December when the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and Heywood and Cynthia Fralin jointly donated $50 million to what is now the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. The donation, which is twice the size of the next largest gift ever received by Virginia Tech, will be used to hire and retain world-class teams of physician-scientists and researchers for the second research building currently under construction. “What this money does is enable us to continue to be on the very front edge of biomedical research,” says Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. “When it comes to the next great idea and being able to innovate, having access to those funds will give us the flexibility and nimbleness our investigators need to move forward quickly. It has a tremendous multiplier effect.” Institute expanding  Virginia Tech and Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic announced in 2007 that they would collaborate on the creation of a medical school and the biomedical research institute, which opened in 2010, as planned. The state provided $59 million to construct the building, and Virginia Tech and Carilion together put up $70 million, which, along with private capital, helped build out the labs and hire top researchers at the research institute and the staff needed to launch the medical school. Over the next several years, Virginia Tech administrators and Friedlander, a leading neuroscientist who had built and led top 10 programs in brain research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston before joining Virginia Tech, worked to make everyone within the business community aware of this new Virginia Tech Carilion partnership. “It was very exciting, and everyone here in Roanoke knew it was a great opportunity, but I really didn’t know much about the operation itself,” Fralin recalls. That changed a few years ago when Fralin asked Friedlander to speak at a Monday get-together of local business leaders. Fralin was impressed by the level of research being performed at the institute, the impact it was already having and its ambitious expansion plans. C­onstruction of the second research building began in 2017 and is expected to open next year. The expansion will allow the institute to grow from 26 research teams to as many as 60 by 2027. “In terms of a newly created research operation, it’s small, but it’s unparalleled in quality in terms of the people and the programs,” Fralin says. “Mike’s greatest need as the institute grows and expands is to maintain that quality, and that’s what our donation is intended to do. In order to maximize the economic impact of the Virginia Tech Carilion academic health center, it is essential to maintain that level of excellence that currently exists, and that takes a lot of money.” The institute is focused primarily on three research areas: fundamental brain function in health and disease, including addiction and mental health; the healing of damaged hearts after heart attacks and preventing life-threatening arrhythmias; and malignant brain cancers, including those that are shared between humans and pets (including dogs, which allows  the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg to be involved). The Fralin donation will enable the institute to expand its research efforts into complementary areas, such as obesity and diabetes, which are related to its specialized cardiovascular and brain research. “This institute would still be successful if we hadn’t given them a dollar,” says Fralin, who has served on the board of visitors at both U.Va. and Virginia Tech. He also has been chairman of the Virginia Business Council and currently is chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). “But we do feel that this gift will increase the magnitude of their efforts and quicken their ability to grow and reach new levels of success.” Friedlander, whom Fralin describes “as the best recruiter I’ve ever met,” has already brought in a number of senior world-famous researchers from leading universities. Among them are Dr. Read Montague, a neuroscientist who invented a new field of medicine called computational psychiatry; Dr. Warren Bickel, who has pioneered the analysis of how the brain values the future to better diagnose and treat addiction; Dr. Rob Gourdie, who is studying molecules (called connexins) that enable direct communication between cardiac and other cells to develop new compounds to treat brain and heart disease and cancer and speed wound healing; and Dr. Sharon Ramey, who has developed intensive new treatments for rehabilitating the brains of children with cerebral palsy. “Everything here is built around the quality of the programs and the quality of the people,” says Fralin. As evidence, he points to the institute’s acceptance rate for grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the country’s largest source of medical research funding. While the average NIH acceptance rate for all research institutions is between 5 and 15 percent, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute has averaged a cumulative 26 percent grant success rate since opening, with a 34 percent rate this year.  “That doesn’t happen unless you have researchers who are respected throughout the world,” Fralin says. Widespread impact The $50 million that Fralin donated to VTC is the largest gift that he’s ever made by himself or on behalf of the trust. He was willing to make such a large donation because of the major impact the institute will have on the Roanoke region. Already, the institute operates with a $130 million total active extramural grant portfolio and employs up to 500 people a year (including students) at an average annual salary of $93,000 for full-time employees. “It’s not just the research, but it’s all the things from a business point of view that come with it: the commercialization of intellectual property, the spinoff companies that develop, the companies that will want to locate here, the development of a thriving ecosystem around the inventions that happen here,” says Fralin. “It brings an enormous growth potential and is something that should become the dominating factor of this community.” He believes so much in the project that he and the trust may contribute more in the future. For now, though, he is focused on getting others to do their part. Since the Fralin gift was announced, the number of substantial private contributions has accelerated, according to Friedlander. Fralin routinely takes part in institute events, encouraging business leaders and others to contribute. “I’m of the opinion that the more people who are involved and the more often they’re involved, the more successful this is going to be,” he states. “And in this case, that will be to the benefit of everyone — and in far greater ways than anything else that’s ever happened in this region.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-independent-foundations-and-groups-20191 Donations by independent foundations and groups http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-independent-foundations-and-groups-20191 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-independent-foundations-and-groups-20191#When:08:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Donor Location Donation recipient Donation amount The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development $2,101,672 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Henry County 1,460,450 The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation 1 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 1,000,000 The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation 1 Charlottesville University of Virginia 1,000,000 The Soho Center 1 Charlottesville University of Virginia 1,000,000 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness 882,527 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Henry County Public Schools 707,780 The Williamsburg Health Foundation Williamsburg Williamsburg-James City County Public School Division 650,000 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Southern Virginia Recreation Facilities Authority 600,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Wytheville Community College 480,150 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center 476,300 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge The Arc of Greater Prince William/INSIGHT Inc. 421,050 The Williamsburg Health Foundation Williamsburg Virginia Health Care Foundation 400,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Brock Hughes Medical Clinic 381,000 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Patrick Henry Community College Educational Foundation 361,802 Robins Foundation Richmond Partnership for Families Northside 360,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation 350,382 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Greater Prince William Community Health Center 300,000 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Lansdowne Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation 300,000 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Piedmont Community Services 293,645 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Central Virginia Health Services 266,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Virginia's Gateway Region 250,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Friends of the Lower Appomattox River Inc. 250,000 Massey Foundation 2 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge NOVA ScriptsCentral Inc. 221,410 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Bland County Public Schools 206,900 E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust Danville Virginia Military Institute Foundation 205,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg YMCA of Greater Richmond 200,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Youth for Tomorrow 200,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville HOPE Inc. 198,000 The Harvest Foundation Martinsville Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation 192,246 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Prince William Area Free Clinic 190,029 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Virginia Center for Health Innovation 182,452 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Inova Health Systems 166,204 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Bland Ministry Center 166,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Mt. Rogers Health District 162,300 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic 155,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Pathway Homes 150,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Northern Virginia Family Service 147,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge National Coalition of 100 Black Women 144,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge The House Inc. 127,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge The House Inc. 127,000 Beazley Foundation Inc. Portsmouth Christopher Newport University 125,000 Beazley Foundation Inc. Portsmouth Nansemond Suffolk Academy 125,000 Potomac Health Foundation Woodbridge Virginia Foundation for Community College Education 125,000 Robins Foundation Richmond Communities in Schools of Richmond Inc. 125,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Wythe County Public Schools Foundation for Excellence 120,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Virginia Local Initiative Support Corp. 105,000 Wythe-Bland Foundation Wytheville Bland County Medical Clinic 104,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg Battersea Foundation 100,000 The Cameron Foundation Petersburg The Philanthropic Initiative 100,000 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Lansdowne Loudoun Education Foundation 100,000 1 $1 million to $3 million   2 $250,000 to $999,000 Sources: Virginia Business survey, research 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-companies-and-corporate-foundations-20191 Donations by companies and corporate foundations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-companies-and-corporate-foundations-20191 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-companies-and-corporate-foundations-20191#When:08:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Donor Location Donation recipient Donation amount Landmark Media Enterprises Norfolk Old Dominion University $5,000,000 Children's Hospital Foundation 1 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 3,000,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Communities In Schools 2,175,000 Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health Norfolk Virginia Community Healthcare Assciation 2,000,000 Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health Norfolk Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics 1,500,000 Priority Automotive Group Chesapeake Old Dominion University 1,500,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond John Tyler Community College Foundation 1,330,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Altria Companies Employee Community Fund 1,100,000 Smithfield Foods Smithfield Isle of Wight Public Schools 1,014,262 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Communities In Schools 1,000,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond The Maggie Walker Land Trust 1,000,000 East West Communities Foundation Inc. 2 Midlothian Virginia Commonwealth University 1,000,000 Dominion Energy Richmond American Civil War Museum 700,000 Bank of America Charlotte, N.C. Eastern Virginia Medical School 500,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 500,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond United Service Organizations Inc. 485,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News Christopher Newport University 450,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond University of Virginia 420,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Higher Achievement Program Inc. 405,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation 350,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Richmond Performing Arts Alliance 345,425 TowneBank Portsmouth Virginia Sports Hall of Fame 300,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond NextUp RVA 300,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Virginia BioTechnology Research Park 300,000 Norfolk Southern Corp. Norfolk United Way of South Hampton Roads 262,900 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Virginia Historical Society 250,000 Dominion Energy Richmond J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation Inc. 250,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers 250,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Young Men's Christian Association of Greater Richmond 250,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Greater Richmond SCAN 249,110 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Blue Stone Education Foundation 244,000 Altria Group Inc. Richmond Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation 210,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco United Way Worldwide 200,000 Chippenham Johnston-Willis Medical Center Richmond John Tyler Community College Foundation 193,517 Smithfield Foods Smithfield Feed More 180,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation 175,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 165,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco La Cocina Virginia 157,500 Wells Fargo San Francisco National Council on Aging 150,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco Virginia Foundation for Community College Education 150,000 Dominion Energy Richmond NextUp RVA 150,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Virginia Tech Foundation Inc. 150,000 Norfolk Southern Corp. Norfolk ForKids Inc. 150,000 Riddleberger Brothers Inc. / Comfort Systems USA Mount Crawford James Madison University 150,000 TowneBank Portsmouth For Kids Inc. 140,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News Peninsula Community Foundation 140,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Christopher Newport University 125,000 TowneBank Portsmouth VA Capitol Foundation 125,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News An Achievable Dream 125,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation 125,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco Foundation Center doing business as Candid 120,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco Better Housing Coalition 105,000 TowneBank Portsmouth An Achievable Dream 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Chrysler Museum of Art Capital Campaign 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Fort Monroe Foundation 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth Virginia Arts Festival 100,000 TowneBank Portsmouth YMCA of Greater Richmond 100,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News Hampden-Sydney College 100,000 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News SkillsUSA 100,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco American Indian Higher Education Consortium 100,000 Wells Fargo San Francisco United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg 100,000 Capital One 3 Tysons Wolf Trap 100,000 Northrop Grumman Foundation 3 Falls Church Wolf Trap 100,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 100,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Richmond Parade Inc. 100,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Venture Richmond Inc. 100,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Virginia Early Childhood Foundation 100,000 Dominion Energy Richmond Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges 100,000 1 $3 million+ 2 $1 million to $2.9 million 3 $100,000 to $249,999 Source: Virginia Business survey and research 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-individuals-and-family-foundations-20191 Donations by individuals and family foundations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-individuals-and-family-foundations-20191 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/donations-by-individuals-and-family-foundations-20191#When:08:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Donor Location Donation recipient Donation amount Heywood and Cynthia Fralin and the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust Roanoke Virginia Tech $50,000,000 The Batten Foundation and Jane Batten 1 Norfolk University of Virginia 30,000,000 Abigail Spangler Virginia Potomac School 12,000,000 William and Sandra Davis Blacksburg Radford University 8,000,000 The Late Cyril and Margaret Motley Chesterfield The Virginia Home 6,000,000 Joe and Mary Wilson Fredericksburg Mary Washington Hospital Foundation 5,000,000 C. Kenneth Wright Richmond Virginia War Memorial Foundation 5,000,000 Joe and Bobby May Leesburg Virginia Tech 5,000,000 Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation Arlington George Mason University 5,000,000 Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation (The Late Richard Waitzer and Leah Waitzer) Norfolk Eastern Virginia Medical School 4,000,000 Barry Kornblau Glen Allen Old Dominion University 3,000,000 H. William Coogan Jr. and Theresa Kost Riddle 2 Manakin-Sabot University of Virginia 3,000,000 Barbara J. Fried 2 Crozet University of Virginia 3,000,000 C. Kenneth Wright 3 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 3,000,000 Hunter Smith Family Foundation (Hunter J. Smith) Charlottesville University of Virginia's College at Wise 2,500,000 The Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation Charlottesville James Madison University 2,222,480 William L. Pannill Martinsville Hampden-Sydney College 2,000,000 The Late Gladys C. "Hap" Hill Winchester Shenandoah University 1,700,000 Dorothy Batten Charlottesville Piedmont Virginia Community College 1,350,000 Richard and Carolyn Barry Suffolk Old Dominion University 1,300,000 Marsha Hudgins Hampton Old Dominion University 1,200,000 Barbara E. Bryant 4 Arlington Virginia Commonwealth University 1,000,000 Joyce and Richard Johnson 4 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 1,000,000 Dr. Carol R. Angle 4 Charlottesville University of Virginia 1,000,000 The Estate of Mariska P. Marker 4 Alexandria University of Virginia 1,000,000 Anthony F. Markel 4 Manakin-Sabot University of Virginia 1,000,000 T. Edmund Beck Jr. and Ann M. Beck 4 Glasgow University of Virginia 1,000,000 The Estate of Lawrence Davis Jr. 4 Williamsburg University of Virginia 1,000,000 Marcia and Marvin Gilliam Jr. Foundation 4 Bristol University of Virginia 1,000,000 Charles F. Holden III and Carole Holden 4 Hot Springs University of Virginia 1,000,000 Lemuel Ethan Lewis and Sandra W. Lewis 4 Suffolk University of Virginia 1,000,000 The Kington Foundation 4 Alexandria University of Virginia 1,000,000 Harold Protsman Norfolk Old Dominion University 600,000 Del Karlsen Virginia Beach Old Dominion University 525,000 Steve C. and Debbie Smith Abingdon James Madison University 500,080 Marcia & Marvin Gilliam Jr. Foundation (Marcia and Marvin Gilliam) Abingdon U.Va.-Wise 375,000 Katherine I. Lantz 5 Irvington Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 Linden T. Bell 5 Irvington Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 Kathleen and Page Hughes 5 Center Cross Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 Ernest R. Sanders 5 Richmond Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 David Litchfield 5 Bruington Virginia Commonwealth University 250,000 Columbus Phipps Foundation (Paul Buchanan) Clintwood U.Va.-Wise 228,500 Nick England Memorial Scholarship Foundation (Robert and Jennifer England) Wise U.Va.-Wise 101,000 Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (Robert and Jeannie Stallard) Abingdon U.Va.-Wise 100,250 William W. Berry Richmond VMI Foundation 100,000 Napoleon Hill Foundation (Don Green) Wise U.Va.-Wise 100,000 1 $30 million+   2 $3 million to $5 million   3 $3 million+   4 $1 million to $3 million   5 $250,000 to $999,000 Sources: Websites, news releases/reports, Virginia Business survey 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/total-corporate-donations-2019 Total corporate donations http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/total-corporate-donations-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/total-corporate-donations-2019#When:08:00:00Z table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #8B1010; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } A sample of companies’ total contributions to Virginia nonprofts in 2018. Company Location Total Virginia donations Altria Group Inc. Richmond $20,017,505 Bank of America Charlotte 9,414,635 Dominion Energy Richmond 8,900,000 TowneBank Portsmouth 8,085,941 Wells Fargo San Francisco 6,084,429 Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health Norfolk 5,500,000 Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News 4,460,010 Ferguson Enterprises Newport News 3,400,000 Norfolk Southern Corp. Norfolk 2,871,065 Smithfield Foods Smithfield 2,790,751 Ernst & Young LLP McLean and Richmond 1,489,946 Williams Mullen Richmond 433,887 Wall Einhorn & Chernitzer PC Norfolk 224,282 Impact Makers Richmond 151,069 Keiter Glen Allen 124,545 Source:  Virginia Business survey 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CavalierDaily_Ryan_and_Woodriff.png Jaffray Woodriff and president James Ryan at the announcement of a $120 million gift to UVA. Courtesy The Cavalier Daily http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-talent-pipeline Creating a talent pipeline http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-talent-pipeline http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/creating-a-talent-pipeline#When:08:00:00Z The merger of two Virginia firms in mid-June will create a company hungry for data science talent. Following its merger with Richmond-based Energy Control Co., Sterling-based Connected Services plans to add 100 workers in the next two years, tripling the company’s current combined work force. Roughly 30 percent of new employees will be data scientists — people who can make sense of data to find solutions. Connected Services analyzes data from smart devices in buildings, alerting their owners to problems, such as leaks. The company hopes to attract talent from the University of Virginia’s planned School of Data Science, which will be funded in part by a $120 million gift from Charlottesville-based Quantitative Foundation. “It’s a quicker market approach for us rather than training somebody to say, ‘We need you to understand [energy] and we need you to understand data science,’” says Mike Scelzi, the head of Energy Control. The $120 million gift is the largest private donation in U.Va.’s history. The Quantitative Foundation is the philanthropic arm of a Charlottesville couple, Merrill and Jaffray Woodriff. Jaffray Woodriff, 50, is the co-founder and CEO of Charlottesville-based Quantitative Investment Management, a massive hedge fund that uses data science to manage investments. He also invests in early-stage startups through Charlottesville-based Felton Group LLC. The Woodriffs are U.Va. alums. Jaffray Woodriff, who grew up in a farm outside of Charlottesville, wants to make sure data scientists know how to handle data ethically. That’s an issue that has gained increasing attention at a time when the reputations of many companies have been tarnished by data breaches and privacy scandals. “It’s very early on with data science, and there is so much progress that will be made in the future,” Woodriff says. “I wanted U.Va. to be a big part of that, especially within the context of responsibly using data [science] and figuring out issues with respect to privacy and regulation.” Filling a need In addition to focusing on ethical issues, the school will create a pipeline of highly sought-after workers. According to a survey released in 2017 by the Business-Higher Education Forum and the professional services firm PwC, only 23 percent of college graduates will have data-science and analytics skills by 2021. Yet a majority of employers prefer workers with those skills (69 percent). Companies can’t find enough data scientists, says Phil Bourne, director of U.Va.’s Data Science Institute and the acting dean of the School of Data Science.  Established in 2013, the institute offers master’s degrees in data science, including dual-degree options for students in U.Va.’s School of Medicine and MBA programs. The McLean-based banking giant Capital One Financial Corp. has hundreds of open data-science positions. During the past several years, the company’s technology staff has grown from 2,500 to 9,000 employees. That included hiring hundreds of software engineers, developers, and data-science and machine-learning experts. “We have been known as a leader in enterprise tech, and so we don’t find it as hard as most other companies to find data scientists,” the company said in an emailed statement to Virginia Business. “That said, the broader market — across the country [and] industries — has a massive demand for these skills right now, so it’s becoming more of a challenge for everyone, even the traditional major tech companies.” Scelzi, who soon will join Connected Services in its merger with Energy Control, says employers want to recruit workers who already have data-science skills instead of training graduates who specialized in other areas. “It’s like saying, ‘I need an accountant,’ and you go hire a CPA,” Scelzi says. “These graduates will know data science and the latest methodology.”  Firms like Connected Services are willing to pay a premium to nab experts in the field. Scelzi says the data-science positions at the company will pay $70,000 to $125,000. “These people are very sought-after these days.” Other reports estimate even higher salaries for data scientists. According to the California-based staffing firm Robert Half, a data scientist in Tysons can make $135,630 to $231,000 per year. A related position in Danville, where pay is typically lower, can command a salary of $65,369 to $111,300. The graduates of U.Va.’s data science institute in 2017 said they were offered salaries between  $60,000 and $145,000 with signing bonuses of $5,000 to $15,000. They received offers from employers such as Amazon, Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton and IBM. Their job titles ranged from data scientist and analyst to systems engineer and senior statistician. The case for a school If U.Va. already is producing graduates in the field through its Data Science Institute, why does it need to create a school? Bourne points to a couple of reasons. While it awards master’s degrees, the institute is unable to hire its own faculty, an impediment to conferring more degrees to meet market demand. The majority of the Woodriff gift — $77 million — will be used to hire faculty and staff as well as fund fellowships for students and post-doctoral and visiting fellows. In addition to philanthropic gifts, the school will be supported by a $13 million endowment, tuition, state funds and collaborations with companies. Additionally, $43 million from the $120 million donation has been earmarked to build a 70,000-square-foot data-science school building. The institute currently occupies 4,000 square feet of space scattered in four buildings. U.Va. hasn’t determined where the new building will be located, but it’s considering five sites. The new facility probably will open in about two to three years.    U.Va. hopes to incorporate data science into the building’s design and use. One possibility is using data to assign offices or cubicles based on who the occupants are going to meet on a particular day. “We want this to be a showpiece for Charlottesville,” U.Va. and the state, Bourne says.  Concerns about concept Plans for the data-science school have been praised, but the concept also has raised concerns. U.Va.’s faculty senate initially worried that the school wouldn’t have tenured faculty. That issue lead to the university’s decision to award tenure to some professors who will teach at the school. The faculty senate also raised concerns about how other U.Va. schools and department would be affected by the School of Data Science. “We addressed that by really being cooperative,” Bourne says. “Our goal here is to raise all boats in the university … to actually help all other schools by what we’re doing, not to compete with them.”  That cooperation includes working with other schools on creating new degrees and programs. In May, the faculty senate voted to establish the School of Data Science. It now has to be approved by U.Va.’s board of visitors and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. If all goes according to plan, the school will begin operation in August in time for the new academic year. Yet some observers still worry that the gift may create unintended problems. “For all his money and his good intentions, should one rich guy be able to reshape a city? Or should the city itself have a say in how it might change?” Bloomberg News columnist Joe Nocera asked about the Woodriff gift in a column published earlier this year. Nocera argues that the data science school and an incubator that Woodriff supports could create tech companies that would dominate the local economy and drive up the cost of living. Jaffray Woodriff says Nocera misinterpreted their conversation. Woodriff says he’s not trying to change Charlottesville’s character but wants to see more U.Va. graduates stay and consider working for local companies. Only a small percentage of data-science students would take the risk of launching startups, he argues. “I think it would be a good thing to have students have more options, one of which would be staying in a town that most of them seem to love,” he says. Woodriff doesn’t regret making the gift or investing in the incubator, set to open by 2021, but he says the backlash is unfortunate. He says he and his wife have given away a significant portion of their income, often anonymously, including local organizations involved with affordable housing as well as the Boys and Girls Club.   “I’ve been unfairly stereotyped as a person who is just completely oblivious of local social issues — quite a number of people on Twitter have kind of barked up that tree — and none of them know me,” he says. Many in the Charlottesville area support Woodriff’s projects and believe they will have a positive impact. One is Ben Pfinsgraff, a U.Va. alum who is co-owner of Common House, a Charlottesville-based social club. “He has given back an enormous amount,” to the Charlottesville region, Pfinsgraff says. “There’s no bigger player than him.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/45498948895_5cbd0a98f7_o.png Heywood Fralin is greeted by Gov. Ralph Northam as he announces the $50 million gift. Courtesy Virginia Tech http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-gifts Historic gifts http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-gifts http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/historic-gifts#When:08:00:00Z Two massive gifts promise to move the needle on research and workforce development in Virginia. In December, the Horace G. Charitable Trust and Heywood and Cynthia Fralin jointly donated $50 million to what is now the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion in Roanoke. The donation is twice the size of the next-largest gift ever received by Tech. The very next month, the University of Virginia announced a $120 million gift, the largest private donation in the university’s history. The gift came from the Quantitative Foundation operated by a Charlottesville couple, Jaffray and Merrill Woodriff, both U.Va. alums. The Fralin gift will be used to hire and retain teams of physician-scientists and researchers at the expanding biomedical research institute. The Woodriff gift meanwhile will be used to create the U.Va. School of Data Science. The school is expected to help the commonwealth meet rapidly growing demand for data scientists in a variety of industries. The following pages explore the impact these gifts are expected to have while also offering a look at other major donations made by Virginians last year. Creating a talent pipeline $120 million gift will be used to create data-science school. by Veronica Garabelli The multiplier effect $50 million gift expected to accelerate biomedical research in Roanoke. by Heather B. Hayes Generous Virginians charts: Total corporate donations Donations by individuals and family foundations Donations by companies and corporate foundations Donations by independent foundations and groups 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-june-2019 People - June 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-june-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/people-june-2019#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA Peggy Agouris dean of the College of Science at George Mason University, has been named provost at the College of William & Mary.  She will join W&M on July 1.Agouris succeeds Michael R. Halleran, who announced in September his plans to step down as provost and return to teaching on the W&M faculty. (VirginiaBusiness.com) Joseph Montgomery of The Optimal Service Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in Williamsburg, ranked 42nd on Barron’s list of 100 Top Financial Advisors for 2019. (Barron’s) William W. Sleeth III serves as managing partner of the new Gordon & Rees LLP office in Williamsburg. Gordon & Rees is a national law firm with more than 900 attorneys. (News release) Chad Williams has been named executive director at Commonwealth Senior Living at Hampton. Two years ago, he joined the community as the sales and marketing director. (Daily Press) SHENANDOAH VALLEY Brandon C. Lorey has been named president and CEO of Eagle Financial Services Inc. and its subsidiary, Bank of Clarke County, effective July 8. Lorey most recently served as executive vice president and head of consumer banking at United Bank. He succeeds John Milleson, who is retiring.  (News release) The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority has tapped Douglas Parsons of Rippon, W.Va., as its new executive director. Parsons formerly was business manager for the Workforce Solutions Division of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. He joins the EDA in the midst of controversy, including a $17 million civil lawsuit in which the authority alleges former director Jennifer McDonald and eight other defendants embezzled funds. A special grand jury has been impaneled to investigate the matter. (Northern Virginia Daily) Staunton has hired Phillip Trayer to be the city’s new chief financial officer. Trayer is replacing Jeanne Colvin, who has retired after 39 years of service to the city. Trayer most recently worked as director of finance for Spotsylvania County Public Schools. (News Release) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY A Franklin County government official accused in a recently settled sexual harassment lawsuit plans to resign. Robert “Andy” Morris told the county that he will leave his $76,853-a-year job as its top building official May 31. Allegations that Morris harassed and groped a subordinate in 2015 were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum earlier this month. Morris, 55, was hired by Franklin County in 2014. (The Roanoke Times) Christine Pruett began in March as director of nursing for Friendship, a Roanoke assisted living residence that was formed in 1966. Pruett began her nursing career in 2002 as a staff nurse. (News Release) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Cindy Stanley, the town of Marion’s clerk and director of finance, received the 2018 Clerk of the Year Award from the Virginia Municipal Clerks Association earlier this year. The Chilhowie native who now resides in Sugar Grove enjoys working with numbers, which serves her well as she helps develop and manage Marion’s budget. That budget is on track to exceed $14.3 million for 2019-20. As clerk, she also records the minutes of town council meetings and supervises seven employees. (SWVAToday.com) Ken Vittum bid farewell to the Abingdon Town Council in May, ending a seven-month stint as interim town manager. A retired town manager from Pearisburg, Vittum said that serving this job in Abingdon “allowed me to end my career, in a sense, where it began.” Vittum actually remained on the job — as a consultant — as incoming Town Manager Jimmy Morani took the reins. (Bristol Herald Courier) The outdoor drama “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” is under new management. Jim Wardell said that Lonesome Pine Arts and Crafts, the organization that oversees the drama, June Tolliver House and the John Fox Jr. House, reached out to him about being general manager of the drama this season. He is currently the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.  (Coalfield.com) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Jacqueline M. Gill will become president of Danville Community College in July. She has been president of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Mo., since 2016. Gill earned doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and another master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. (Danville Register & Bee) Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center announced that Dr. Manish Patel, an orthopedic surgeon, has opened an office at Six Doctors Drive in Emporia. (Independent Messenger) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Jason Beske has joined Stantec’s Urban Places practice in Arlington County. Beske will lead the design firm’s planning and urban design projects in the Washington, D.C., region. (News release) Stephan Cassaday of McLean-based Cassaday & Co. ranked No. 22 , the highest in Virginia, on Barron’s latest list of Top 100 Financial Advisors.  Cassaday & Co. also ranked No. 19 in Barron’s Top 59 private wealth advisory teams.  Stephan Cassaday, Chris Krell and Christopher Young were cited as the team’s key advisors. (Barron’s) Bank of America has tapped Larry Di Rita, senior vice president and public affairs executive  to be its new market president for Greater Washington, where the bank employs 2,500 from Frederick, Md., to Fredericksburg. Di Rita, who has been helping manage public relations, corporate communications and brand positioning for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank since 2006, will replace current Market President Jeff Wood. (Washington Business Journal) CENTRAL VIRGINIA Martin J. Barrington, the retired top executive of Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc., has been appointed chairman of the board of international beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Barring­­ton retired from Altria in May last year after 25 years with the company, including the last six as chairman and CEO.  (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Dr. Andrew Mueller, a Charlotte, N.C., executive and physician, was named president and CEO of the Lynchburg-based Centra health system following a seven-month search. Mueller was senior vice president of Novant Health’s Greater Charlotte market. He replaces former CEO E.W. Tibbs, who resigned in October. (News & Advance) Ian H. Soloman has been named the next dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership  and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. The appointment is effective Sept.1. Soloman is CEO of SolomonGlobal LLC. (News release)   2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-june-2019 For the Record - June 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-june-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/for-the-record-june-2019#When:08:00:00Z EASTERN VIRGINIA BCause LLC, a cryptocurrency mining operation that expanded to a server farm in Virginia Beach over a year ago with help from a city grant of up to $500,000, has filed for bankruptcy protection along with its subsidiary BCause Mining LLC. Before the two businesses filed Chapter 11 to reorganize, they had amassed $1.7 million in past due power bills from Dominion Energy and owed $1.9 million to supplier WESCO Distribution, according to legal filings by Dominion and WESCO. As of April 11, BCause said it had $911,000 in its bank account. (The Virginian-Pilot) Celebrity chef Guy Fieri plans to bring pizza and tacos to Hampton this spring. The city announced in April that the Food Network celebrity chef will open two eponymous restaurants at Power Plant in June — Guy Fieri’s Pizza Parlor and Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint. Both will be located between PBR and Bass Pro Shops. The two new spots will join a smokehouse in Norfolk’s Waterside as Fieri-licensed eateries in Hampton Roads. (The Virginian-Pilot) What could move into the three-level space Nordstrom left behind in the MacArthur Center in downtown Norfolk? Every possibility is under consideration, and the mall has had conversations with Target, Macy’s, potential office tenants and other retailers. “Nobody’s willing to commit as of yet. But never say never,” said Jim Wofford, general manager of the mall. “We feel very strongly that we will get a great retailer for that box.” Wofford spoke to the Downtown Norfolk Civic League to update local business owners and residents on the shopping center. He said the Norfolk city staff and mall administration are working to find a new tenant for the 160,000-square-foot anchor space. (The Virginian-Pilot) Virginia finally has been given the keys to the former historic military post Fort Monroe. After more than a decade of protracted negotiations between the U.S. Army, the Office of the Attorney General and the Fort Monroe Authority, some 313 acres of land officially are under the state’s stewardship. Fort Monroe Executive Director Glenn Oder made the announcement — met with applause and cheers — during the authority’s board of trustees meeting in Hampton in April. (Daily Press) Pharrell Williams’ mind was already on next year as the inaugural Something in the Water festival wrapped up in late April. He confirmed there will be another Something in the Water next year. It was a whirlwind week for the megastar, a celebrity ambassador of his hometown. Pharrell pulled off a star-studded feat, hosting A-list performers, including Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott and Diddy with a surprise visit from Jay-Z, wowing a jam-packed audience on the beach. (The Virginian-Pilot) SHENANDOAH VALLEY There is no guarantee that all of the jobs Flow Hydration will bring to Augusta County will go to local residents. The Ontario-based water bottling company announced April 30 that it plans to invest $15.5 million in the county by opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility at the county-owned Mill Place Commerce Park. The announcement said 51 jobs will be created. Just a third of those may go to residents of the state, according to Director of Economic Development and Tourism Amanda Glover. That amounts to 15 jobs that could be available to Augusta County residents. (News Leader) The pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. Inc. plans to invest up to $1 billion in stages over the next three years to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Rockingham County. The Kenilworth, N.J.-based company will add 120,000 square feet to its existing 1.1 million-square-foot operation in Elkton, to increase production of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The expansion is expected to create 100 additional jobs at the plant, which currently employs 900 people. In connection with the expansion, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University will collaborate on programs training biotechnology engineering and computer science workers to address workforce needs of Merck and other life-science industries in the Valley. (VirginiaBusiness.com) A new interpretative historical experience weaving through New Market is underway after Town Council members agreed to work with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation on setting up signs and allowing it to use the town park. Council members have wrestled with the request for the town to allow the foundation to use the park as well as put up signs around town that direct tour-takers where to go. (Northern Virginia Daily) After nearly 20 years of operation, The Wine Cellar has been acquired by Out of the Cellar LLC this year, according to a news release. The wine and beer shop located at 8 Byers St. in Staunton’s Wharf District has now added more gourmet food items and is expanding its Virginia wine selection. Chip Clarke, the managing partner of Out of the Cellar, said the previous owner was looking to move on to other ventures. (News Leader) ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY Carilion Clinic’s Jefferson College of Health Sciences has graduated its last class, slightly more than a century after the first six women entered its nursing program. By fall, Jefferson will be part of Radford University. Plans to merge Jefferson into Radford were announced last year, but the evolution began about a decade earlier, when the university looked to Roanoke and Carilion Clinic to build its physical therapy doctoral program. (The Roanoke Times) The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors voted to commit up to $100,000 to a program that allows some high school graduates to attend New River Community College tuition-free. If everything works out, Pulaski County will join the city of Radford and Floyd, Giles and Montgomery counties in offering the Access to Community College Education program to graduating high school seniors in spring 2020. The program is a partnership with New River Community College to offer qualifying full-time students a tuition-free two years at NRCC with students having to foot the bill only for books and tuition and fees for credits over 15 hours per semester. (The Roanoke Times) U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen in May sued nearly two dozen coal companies owned by or affiliated with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice — including Roanoke-based Southern Coal Corp. — to collect nearly $4 million in unpaid fines for miner-safety violations. The lawsuit seeks an additional $821,386 for administrative costs and interest stemming from 2,297 citations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama since May 2014, according to a news release issued by federal prosecutors. (The Roanoke Times) Virginia Tech projects its incoming freshman class will smash the record for its largest ever. The fall 2019 freshman class, which Tech anticipates will be 7,500 to 7,585, would top a previous record set in 2017 of 6,836 students. Tech had announced that officials anticipated about 6,600 freshmen in the incoming class. The university is dropping its first-year, on-campus housing requirement due to the high number, and town officials and faculty members are expressing concern about how the total student population at Tech will be adequately served. (The Roanoke Times) Virginia Tech’s Biocomplexity Institute is closing about nine months after its former executive director abruptly resigned to take a new position at the University of Virginia. The institute will follow a “voluntary termination” procedure as outlined in university policy. The institute’s resources — including people, facilities and equipment — will then be evaluated and moved to the Fralin Life Sciences Institute on the Blacksburg campus, according to Tech spokeswoman Tracy Vosburgh. The changes come in the wake of former Biocomplexity Institute Executive Director Chris Barrett’s departure last fall. Barrett — along with 37 full-time research faculty members — left the Tech Biocomplexity Institute to found a similar initiative at U.Va. Officials in Charlottesville offered Barrett a 15 percent pay bump and a $30 million startup package. (The Roanoke Times) SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA A lawsuit filed in May in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, Tenn., claims there are conflicts of interest and antitrust violations involving board members of Ballad Health and East Tennessee State University. It names Ballad Health, Medical Education Assistance Corp. (MEAC) doing business as East Tennessee Physicians and Associates and University Physicians Practice Group as defendants. It also names all individual members of Ballad Health’s board of directors, including Ballad CEO Alan Levine, ETSU President Brian Noland, Scott Golden and Scott Niswonger. Specifically, the complaint claims that Golden and Niswonger have direct conflicts of interest because each also serves on the board of trustees of East Tennessee State University. Ballad operates 21 hospitals in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia plus other clinics and diagnostic centers.  (Bristol Herald Courier) The partners of a proposed resort casino have established a political action committee, Betting on Virginia Jobs, according to information on the Virginia Public Access Project website. To date, the committee has two contributions of $50,000 each from The United Co. and Clyde Stacy, both of Bristol, Va. Stacy and Jim McGlothlin, chairman and CEO of The United Co., are partners in the Bristol Resort and Casino project proposed for the vacant Bristol Mall. They were successful in helping get legislation passed during the last General Assembly session that could pave the way for casino gambling in the state. If the next General Assembly re-enacts the legislation, it would establish the framework for the Virginia Lottery Board to oversee gaming and would allow certain localities, including Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and Richmond, to conduct voter referenda. (Bristol Herald Courier) The Washington County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Carol Jones of BHSS Jones Property Group in late April. The  full-service brokerage firm in Abingdon is now a member of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. (SWVAToday.com) Customers of the former BVU OptiNet telecommunications network will see a new name on their bill and some new service options. Sunset Digital and Sunset Fiber, the Duffield-based firm that purchased OptiNet last year, has been rebranded Point Broadband. That is the West Point, Ga.-based firm that financed the August 2018 purchase. The change was announced in a written statement. The company will offer an increase in speeds for streaming video and a new home security Wi-Fi product that supports “smart home” devices, according to the statement. (Washington County News) Bristol leaders approved two special exception permits in April that will allow Dharma Pharmaceuticals to operate in the Bristol Mall’s former J.C. Penney store and an alternate site on Gate City Highway. Those approvals pave the way for Dharma to establish a cannabidiol oil pharmaceutical processing operation with a retail location to sell products to qualified Virginia residents. The local company is one of five approved by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to grow Cannabis sativa plants in a secured area, extract the CBD and THC-A oils and refine those oils into pharmaceutical products. As proposed, Dharma would occupy about 40,000 square feet, primarily on one level of the former retail store, with about 5,000 square feet in the former Eckerd Drug location. The plan would include spaces for retail pharmacy, offices, security control, plant growing, extraction and testing labs. People take cannabidiol for anxiety, bipolar disorder, muscle disorders such as dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia, according to the website WebMD.com. (Bristol Herald Courier)  Accusing the company of engaging in an illicit nationwide scheme to increase prescriptions for profits, a federal grand jury in Abingdon has indicted, Indivior Inc., the manufacturer of Suboxone film, an opioid used to treat opioid addiction. The U.S. Department of Justice said the grand jury indicted Indivior, formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, a company that had sales of about $1 billion in 2018, primarily from Suboxone film. The indictment charges Indivior with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and health care fraud. In addition, the indictment charges the company with one count of health care fraud, four counts of mail fraud and 22 counts of wire fraud. (Bristol Herald Courier) Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission in May named the private consulting firm that will assist in its review of gaming regulations nationwide. Meeting in Richmond, the commission identified The Innovation Group, a global research and advisory firm in the gaming, entertainment, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors with offices in Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando and New Orleans, as its consultant. Together, they will conduct the study required in legislation that passed during the most recent session of the General Assembly. Joe McMahon, the commission’s principal legislative analyst, told commissioners the firm will review how other states govern gaming and other aspects of the gaming issue. “The Innovation Group will analyze several scenarios for the potential expansion of gaming in the state, including different types of gaming, including casinos, sports wagering and online casino offerings,” McMahon told the council, according to the audio recording of the meeting on the JLARC website. The JLARC study team, in collaboration with its consultant, will examine the governance, regulatory and administrative structures of legalized gaming in other states to identify effective structures and policies that should be considered in Virginia should the General Assembly enact legislation to expand gaming activities, according to a JLARC document. (Bristol Herald Courier) A group of business and government leaders want a new regional name for a area that includes eight counties of Northeast Tennessee and about that many in Southwest Virginia. About 50 people have been meeting for more than a year, seeking to develop a more descriptive, appealing brand for the area that stretches from Morristown eastward to the coalfields. The group has picked up the support of all three Tri-Cities chambers of commerce and a number of city and county officials, according to Beth Rhinehart, president and CEO of the Bristol Chamber. The goal is to select a name by July, according to Jerry Caldwell, vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee and chairman of the Bristol Chamber board. (Bristol Herald Courier) SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Danville-based American National Bank & Trust Co. has bought and assimilated HomeTown Bank in Roanoke. The changeover took place in late April. The process of moving customer accounts, activating new bank cards and transitioning HomeTown customers to the online platforms of American National is wrapping up. HomeTown CEO Susan Still, who has been with the bank since its start, agreed to stay on. Her new title is president of Virginia banking for American National, a job she contracted to perform through 2019, when she plans to retire. She’s also among three HomeTown directors to receive seats on the board of American National. Her merger-related compensation is given in a federal filing as an estimated $977,000. (The Roanoke Times) Local church leaders are not thrilled with the possibility of Danville taking a gamble on luring in a casino. Most ministers who talked to the Danville Register & Bee are morally opposed to the idea, saying a betting establishment will encourage residents, especially the poor, to spend money they don’t have and become addicted to gambling. The Rev. Meredith Williams, pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, said a casino would pose a risk for those struggling with gambling addiction and would tempt poor people into spending money to try to strike it rich. (Danville Register & Bee) The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors put an end in April to a seven-month battle over the proposed Lady Bug solar facility in Bracey, voting to deny a special use permit to the relief of project opponents who gathered for the board’s monthly meeting in Boydton. Cypress Creek Renewables made the request for a special exception permit, for construction of a 65-megawatt utility-scale solar facility on 1,200 acres of farmland abutting Lake Gaston in Bracey. (Mecklenburg Sun) Essel Propack America has announced the sixth expansion of its Danville plant. Changes include installation of a new tube-manufacturing machine. The plant opened in 2002. Essel Propack manufactures packaging tubes for oral care, beauty and cosmetic, food, home/industrial and pharmaceutical applications. (Star Tribune) Halifax County may have placed an effective cap on new solar generation facilities, but that hasn’t totally ended interest in building more projects. The Halifax County Planning Office has received an application for a conditional use permit to operate a 6.8 megawatt solar array on 35 acres located off the highway on 6071 Mountain Road between Halifax and Vernon Hill. Solar panels would be nestled behind a strand of trees near the highway, blocked from motorists’ view. The permit request was submitted by Inman Solar, which also sought in March to build a 5 MW facility a short distance outside the Town of Clarksville. That application was rejected after neighbors expressed their concerns to Mecklenburg officials about the impact on the community. (News & Record) NORTHERN VIRGINIA Amazon said its second headquarters in Arlington will not aggravate housing problems here as the company has in Seattle because it now is better prepared to plan for growth. Jay Carney, an Amazon senior vice president, said the company chose the Washington region partly because it is “a much more racially diverse area than the Pacific Northwest.” There is concern in the Washington area that Amazon will drive up housing costs and displace low- and middle-income residents. Amazon executives noted that it has contributed $80 million to support affordable housing in Seattle. But Carney said it is primarily the government’s responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing.  (The Washington Post) The Arlington County Board agreed in April to give an $11.5 million grant over the next 15 years to the landlord that houses the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to keep the federal agency in Pentagon City. Board members reluctantly voted for the deal, which was negotiated in 2016, saying that it was odd to have to offer incentives to a federal agency to remain in Arlington. But without the grant, the DEA could leave and increase the county’s 17 percent commercial vacancy rate another 1.3 percent, taking 3,000 jobs with it. (The Washington Post) Fredericksburg is close to getting a new brand identity. HUB Collective, a Portland, Ore., design firm has been working since December to develop a plan for the city. The project is expected to be finished by the end of July. City officials decided that Fredericksburg needed a unified brand for the entire city because it currently uses a variety of images that have been created over the years. They range from the city’s official seal to a stylized silhouette of the downtown skyline.  (The Free Lance-Star) Nestle SA’s U.S. unit will dismiss about 4,000 workers as it stops delivering frozen pizza and ice cream directly to stores and transitions to a warehouse model that’s becoming an industry standard for big food companies looking to trim costs. The change, announced at a shareholder event in Arlington, means the elimination of an operation that now includes 230 facilities, 1,400 trucks and 2,000 different routes.  As part of the transition, Nestle USA will close eight company-owned frozen distribution centers. The change should be complete by the second quarter next year. Nestle’s U.S. headquarters are based in Arlington. (Bloomberg) CENTRAL VIRGINIA U.S. health officials in late April said Philip Morris International can sell a cigarette alternative that heats tobacco without burning it, a key decision in the tobacco industry’s shift toward newer products.  The Food and Drug Administration has not yet decided whether to allow the device, IQOS (pronounced EYE-kose), to be advertised as less harmful than cigarettes. A decision on that key marketing pitch could come later this year. Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc., the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturer that owns Philip Morris USA, will sell IQOS in the U.S. for Philip Morris International. (The Associated Press) Brace yourself, downtown Lynchburg. The multi-block Main Street Renewal project is set to begin in earnest in September, with a projected end date of finishing before Thanksgiving 2021. The estimated $17 million renewal blueprint is the second phase of the city’s downtown water line replacement and streetscape project and will involve work on Main Street between 8th and 12th streets as well as on 10th Street between Church and Main streets.  (News & Advance) After months of consideration, the Bedford Town Council voted to approve a performance agreement with a Petersburg developer Waukeshaw Development Inc. to transform the former Bedford Middle School site into apartments and a boutique hotel. The town has been in negotiations with Waukeshaw owner Dave McCormack since 2017 on the long-term lease agreement. (News & Advance) Richmond-based luxury fashion retailer Need Supply Co. has merged operations with another retailer — Seattle-based Totokaelo. Need Supply’s Chris Bossola is leading the merged company called NSTO.  The combined company’s headquarters is in a 20,700-square-foot space in the HandCraft cleaners building at 3301 W. Moore St. in Scott’s Addition, where Need Supply has its operations. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Horse racing, gaming fans and local officials welcomed Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs in New Kent County with open arms at the facility’s ribbon cutting and public opening ceremony in April. Rosie’s at Colonial Downs features 600 historical horse racing machines along with a restaurant, bar and off-track horse race betting opportunities. (The Virginia Gazette) Changes to the parking areas of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport are starting this year to support an increase in passengers. According to numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration provided by airport staff, the airport has seen a 97% increase in the number of passengers who have boarded planes between 2008 and 2017. Executive Director Melinda Crawford said the airport has a stable travel base. “I think a lot of that has to do with the entrepreneurs that live in this area, and the school and the military,” she said. (The Daily Progress) 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CHR_Renderings_2019-04-08_Co-Work_Space.png The Common House site will include co-working and office space on the second and third floors. Courtesy Common House http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-social-club-enters-the-river-city Charlottesville social club enters the River City http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-social-club-enters-the-river-city http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/charlottesville-social-club-enters-the-river-city#When:08:00:00Z A Charlottesville-based social club will debut in Richmond early next year. Common House will open a location in the city’s Arts District, a five-story building at 305 W. Broad St. “It’s a place you belong; your home away from home,” says co-owner Ben Pfinsgraff. “You can grab a seat there and never leave.” In addition to offering a place to hang out, the venue will host events daily, including talks, workshops, luncheons and concerts. At 28,000 square feet, the Richmond facility will be triple the size of the Charlottesville location. Many Common House members in Charlottesville use the club for work. The Richmond facility will accommodate business activities by offering co-working and office space on the second and third floors for an additional fee.  The Richmond Common House also will have an oyster bar, which will be open to the public, as well as a rooftop restaurant for club members. Common House is the brainchild of Pfinsgraff and co-owner Derek Sieg, a fellow U.Va. alumnus. They are looking to bring a retro concept to a modern audience. Social clubs used to be common in cities before many people flocked to the suburbs in the second half of the 20th century. Now, urban areas like Charlottesville and Richmond are seeing their populations grow. Cities have plenty of restaurants and concert venues, but not a place that brings those concepts under one roof at an affordable price point, Pfinsgraff says. He says the club fee is similar in price to a gym membership. Club memberships cost $75 per month for people under 30 years old plus a $100 initiation fee. Those over 30 pay $150 monthly in addition to a $300 initiation price. Couples pay $225 per month and $500 induction charge. Applications are reviewed, but only a handful of people have been turned away. “Potential members are not ‘judged’ but rather the membership committee alerts management of any red flags, such as infractions against other members, etc.,” Pfinsgraff says. The business is backed by roughly 35 investors, including Pfinsgraff and Sieg. The investors include prominent Virginia businessmen Warren Thompson, the president of Reston-based Thompson Hospitality, and Ted Ukrop, co-owner of Quirk Hotel, which started in Richmond and is expanding to Charlottesville. Ukrop’s family also owns Common House’s Richmond building. The Charlottesville location, which opened about two years ago, has 1,200 members. The Richmond venue will be able to accommodate 3,000 memberships. Common House members will have access to both locations. Pfinsgraff and Sieg plan to expand the concept to cities beyond the commonwealth. “Our initial focus would be to build a network of clubs throughout the Southeast and eventually nationwide,” Pfinsgraff says. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/1SG_9798x.png Scott Mayo runs Impact Makers’ office in Tysons, which opened in December. Photo by Stephen Gosling http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-based-b-corp.-opens-office-in-tysons Richmond-based B Corp. opens office in Tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-based-b-corp.-opens-office-in-tysons http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-based-b-corp.-opens-office-in-tysons#When:08:00:00Z Impact Makers has brought its chartable spirit to Northern Virginia. The Richmond-based technology and management consulting firm is a Benefit Corporation, or B Corp, meaning that it channels all net profits into effecting positive changes in society. The best-known B Corp is Connecticut-based Newman’s Own Foundation, founded by the late film star Paul Newman. The company donates all profit from the sale of salad dressing and other organic food stuffs to charity. Newman’s Own has been an adviser to Impact Makers. Impact Makers’ annual revenues top $20 million, its annual net profits of more than $3 million have gone to its charitable partners, the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond and Virginia Community Capital. In Northern Virginia, Impact Makers is working with Homestretch, a Falls Church nonprofit that helps families in poverty become self-sufficient. “In my heart, I’m a philanthropist,” says Andy Wolff, who became Impact Makers’ CEO in October. Wolff succeeds Michael Pirron, Impact Maker’s co- founder, who departed the company in January 2018. Pirron’s now suing Impact Maker’s saying he was improperly removed as permanent director of the company’s board. Pirron also says an illegitimate sale of the company ultimately jeopardizes the firm’s mission. “I decided to file a lawsuit because in this current business and political climate, it’s important to stand up against bullying business tactics and conventional business practices,” Pirron said in a statement. “I simply want to maintain the initial mission, values and models of the company that was built.” However, Wolff, who is listed as one of the defendants in the complaint, says Impact Makers plans to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.  “The lawsuit is a culmination of claims and demands we believe have no merit,” Wolff says. The company is excited to build on its positive momentum, including replicating its model in Northern Virginia, Wolff says. Impact Makers has tapped Senior Vice President Scott Mayo to establish the company’s Northern Virginia outpost in Tysons. The office, which opened in December, has 12 employees, all of whom are local. Mayo says his goal is for the office to be eventually run by a local manager. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SOVA_innovation_hub_location.png The SOVA Innovation Hub will be built on the site of a tobacco warehouse that was destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy WSLS http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/south-boston-building-to-serve-many-purposes South Boston building to serve many purposes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/south-boston-building-to-serve-many-purposes http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/south-boston-building-to-serve-many-purposes#When:08:00:00Z A collaboration between Microsoft and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) has led to plans for the first new office building to be built in downtown South Boston in more than 40 years. Plans for the SOVA Innovation Hub call for a 15,000-square-foot, two-story building that will house MBC’s headquarters on the second floor.  MBC operates a 1,900-mile fiber network designed to promote economic development in Southern Virginia. Development of the Hub sprang from MBC’s need for more space. “We were out of space in the Southern Virginia Technology Park. We said if we are going to invest in a new property, let’s do it creatively,” says MBC’s president and CEO, Tad Deriso. The Hub’s first floor will include offices, co-working space, collaborative work areas and event and training space as well as a base for Microsoft’s TechSpark Virginia efforts. Southern Virginia is one of the six TechSpark regions across the U.S. in which Microsoft provides expertise in areas ranging from computer science education to rural broadband access. At the Hub, Microsoft will work with area residents “to acquire new skills, transform their businesses and launch new enterprises,” says Kate Behncken of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We are excited to play a role in MBC’s vision to create a world-class center that will enable this entire community to grow with the digital economy.” MBC will spend more than $5 million in constructing the Hub. It will be located in downtown South Boston on the site of a former tobacco warehouse destroyed by a fire in 2002. Microsoft will provide programmatic support for the building project. The Hub will work with regional partners such as community colleges, higher education centers, nonprofits and industry partners to help people learn new skills and start new businesses. “We want to leverage what Microsoft does with what we do,” Deriso says. “An office technology building like this doesn’t exist in downtown South Boston now.” The building will serve not only South Boston but also surrounding localities, from Emporia to Farmville to Danville. Groundbreaking will take place this summer with a projected completion date of summer of 2020. “What this does is it brings in Microsoft’s talent and commitment to improve digital skills training,” says Deriso. “If we want the rural community to prosper in this digital age, we want the right skills and resources. This will create those digital skills.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/D_Miller_COX1411.png Duane Miller says Project Homestead "let[s] the rest of the world know what we have here." Photo by Tim Cox http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grant-would-be-utilized-to-create-homesites Grant would be utilized to create homesites http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grant-would-be-utilized-to-create-homesites http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/grant-would-be-utilized-to-create-homesites#When:08:00:00Z A regional industrial development authority is seeking federal funds to redevelop abandoned mine land. The newly formed Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority has applied for a $1.6 million federal grant that would fund the first phase of the Appalachian Homestead project. The project aims to convert about 165 acres of abandoned mine property. “If successful, this type of project could be replicated elsewhere on abandoned mine land throughout the region, utilizing both public and private resources,” says Joe Fawbush, chairman of the authority. The initial funds would be used for remediation of the mine land and development of 5-acre homesites that will be available to qualified applicants. The first stage “will also include construction of three model/demonstration homes. Phase I may also contain common properties for recreation, agriculture, etc.,” says Fawbush. The authority also is investigating the possibility of instituting a land grant entity. “This approach could potentially increase public/private partnerships and access to other funding opportunities. This would certainly serve as an innovative approach that, if successful, could be replicated throughout the Coalfield region,” says Fawbush.  The project also includes a test project on the benefits and cost savings from the development of small-scale solar power projects. In addition to its federal grant application, the authority has received funds from the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission to help with infrastructure development design. “We fully intend to look at other state and federal funding opportunities as we develop the Project Homestead concept more,” says Fawbush. The authority also has an application that has been recommended and sent to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for approval of a 200-acre regional industrial park. “The level of cooperation between all of the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority members localities (counties of Lee, Scott, Wise and Dickenson and the city of Norton) has played an invaluable role in their success to secure funds for innovative, regional focused projects,” says Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City). The authority hopes to begin abandoned mine land remediation and site development and planning in late spring 2020 with construction hopefully beginning in mid-summer 2020.  “Project Homestead truly is just one of the approaches/examples that leaders in Southwest Virginia are using to think ‘outside of the box’ to let the rest of the world know what we have here,” says Duane Miller, executive director of the  LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ROAN_bike_video.png The two-minute video promotes the region’s designation as a Silver-Level Ride Center. Courtesy Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bike-trail-video-is-part-of-new-blue-ridge-campaign Bike-trail video is part of new Blue Ridge campaign http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bike-trail-video-is-part-of-new-blue-ridge-campaign http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bike-trail-video-is-part-of-new-blue-ridge-campaign#When:08:00:00Z Catherine Fox knew she had a winner. “It’s been rare for me, in the many years I’ve been in tourism, to show a video and have people clap,” says Fox, a vice president at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, which promotes The Roanoke Valley to travelers. “When this started happening, I thought, ‘This is cool. This is great. People get it. People love it.’” She’s talking about a two-minute video, “Be a Trailsetter,” that is part of a campaign to brand and promote Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) as America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital. The effort highlights the designation of VBR as a Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. One of only 15 Silver-Level Ride Centers in the world, and the only one in the eastern United States, VBR has more than 300 miles of bike trails ranging from easy meanders along the Roanoke River to challenging backcountry trails through the George Washington and Jefferson national forests. The million-dollar promotional campaign is funded through lodging taxes. The effort is aimed at drawing more visitors to the region, generating more taxes and increasing tourism’s impact on the area economy, pegged at $850 million in 2017. The campaign’s  focus is not on one, or even a few, big attractions, but on the region as a destination for adventure and entertainment. “We see this as a way to take us to the next product-development level,” Fox says. “When people come here once, you want to give them ample reason to come back.” That trend is already happening. Explore Park, for example, has camping options from tent sites to air-conditioned yurts and super-size tents with queen-size beds. A zip line and ropes course should open this summer; a brewpub is scheduled for next year. What’s really new about this campaign is an emphasis on involving locals in spreading the word. “It’s kind of an external campaign with an internal touch to it,” Fox says. VBR is reaching out to economic development offices, businesses and colleges, “asking them to use these resources as a way to recruit talent, as a way to showcase the region, as a way to bring in prospective students, as a way to look at bringing in new business,” Fox says. Anyone who wants to share the video or use it in promotions can find it and three shorter versions, plus other tools tied to the campaign, at the Be a Trailsetter website. In addition to bike trails, the website highlights trails built around history, arts, local food, family fun, romance, and beer, wine and spirits. The video concentrates on bikes, but also works in the Taubman Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Roanoke Ballet, the Roanoke Symphony, the Roanoke Pinball Museum, craft beer, cocktails and guitars. “Not everybody is necessarily interested in the outdoors,” Fox says. “And, you know, it does rain.” 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VALLEY_NASDAQ.png Trading of First National Corp.’s stock on Nasdaq began in April. Photo courtesy Nasdaq Inc. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-is-valleys-fourth-publicly-traded-company Bank is Valley’s fourth publicly traded company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-is-valleys-fourth-publicly-traded-company http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bank-is-valleys-fourth-publicly-traded-company#When:08:00:00Z Scott Harvard saw a slight jump in First National Corp.’s stock in April the day after an announcement that the bank would begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market stock exchange. “That jump was a positive,” says Harvard, the president and CEO of First National, the parent company of Strasburg-based First Bank. “The price of the stock two weeks later had increased by 10 percent.” Trading on Nasdaq is a plus for the company. While large banks, such as Wells Fargo & Co. and Capital One, are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, “the majority of banks across Virginia are not publicly traded on a national exchange,” Harvard says, “That puts us in nice company.” First National is now one of only four publicly traded companies headquartered in the Shenandoah Valley. The others are Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel), American Woodmark Corp. and Trex Co. Inc., both based in Winchester. Being on the Nasdaq creates more visibility for the company and its stock, Harvard says. “It validates us as a company and gives us credibility,” Harvard says. Companies listed on Nasdaq have to meet and abide by certain criteria related to issues ranging from share prices to governance. “We had best practices in place for governance and that was a positive,” Harvard says. The company chose to list on Nasdaq rather than the New York Stock Exchange because it was a “little more affordable,” Harvard says. “It has a much broader population. It’s able to accommodate large, moderate and small cap companies. We also like its ease of use.” Being on a national exchange makes the company’s stock available to additional investors, including individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) plans. “Brokerage houses won’t allow clients to buy stock in small companies that aren’t listed on a national exchange,” Harvard says. “Now more people can buy our stock. Large mutual funds can buy our stock and put it in their pool of stocks.” The Nasdaq listing also will help if the company decides to acquire or merge with other banking companies. “In the banking industry, it’s good to have currency [stock] that is credible and traded on a national exchange,” Harvard says. In January, First National reported record net income of $10.1 million for the year that ended Dec. 31. The following month it announced an 80% increase in the quarterly cash dividend on common stock to 9 cents per share. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/EVA_Cooks2.png Gov. Ralph Northam approved grants to assist the Cooks Corner project. Photo courtesy Governor of Virginia http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/partnership-plans-to-build-restaurant-brewery-in-middlesex Partnership plans to build restaurant, brewery in Middlesex http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/partnership-plans-to-build-restaurant-brewery-in-middlesex http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/partnership-plans-to-build-restaurant-brewery-in-middlesex#When:08:00:00Z Two Richmond-area businessmen, Travis Croxton of Rappahannock Oyster Co. and Jay Shah of Shamin Hotels, have developed a $2 million plan to build a restaurant and brewery in Middlesex County. “We are the economic development portion of a larger revitalization effort that also includes affordable workforce housing [and] installing and upgrading water and sewer infrastructure for the county,” says Croxton, who owns 10 restaurants nationwide and an oyster farm in Middlesex. Their revitalization project for the Cooks Corner area of Middlesex will turn the former Rappahannock Central Elementary School cafeteria into a commissary kitchen and event space. The partners will also relocate and renovate a historic African-American schoolhouse, formerly the St. Clare Walker High School, turning it into a brewery and restaurant. The project is expected to create 20 jobs. In addition, Croxton and Shah have pledged to spend an estimated $600,000 on Virginia seafood, meat, produce and hops over three years. Shah is a principal at Shamin Hotels, which operates 60 hotels in six states — including the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Williamsburg and The Hilton Richmond Short Pump. His involvement in the brewery business began in 2016 when he purchased a historic bank building in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition to create Statement Brewing Co. But historic tax credits he expected to use in financing the project didn’t come through, effectively killing it and leaving him with $600,000 in brewing equipment. During that time he met Croxton, who later suggested they collaborate on the Middlesex project, known as Cooks Corner Partners LLC. “Travis is well-known for his culinary experience as well as his savvy business sense, so while Middlesex is known to be a seasonal tourist market, we’ll be distributing the beer around the state and beyond, which we’ll be making from our 20-barrel operation,” says Shah. “This is a bit of a leap of faith, but I’m confident it’s a good investment and excited to help revitalize the Middlesex area. Plus, I’m thrilled I have a place to put all of that brewing equipment to good use.” In March, Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $100,000 grant for the Cooks Corner project from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, with matching funds from Middlesex. Northam also approved $2.25 million in Vibrant Community Initiative funding, and $480,000 in Industrial Revitalization Fund awards for the project. A Community Impact Grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority will provide $215,000 for the affordable housing units. VHDA will also provide loan financing totaling about $2.2 million for affordable housing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development will provide loan and grant funding. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/MaritimeGuideEvent-April2019-_39.png Photo by Mark Rhodes Foster photo by Caroline Martin http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-new-editor A new editor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-new-editor http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/a-new-editor#When:08:00:00Z In its thirty-three years of existence, Virginia Business has had only a handful of top editors.  Some opportunities just don’t come along that often.  Richard Foster takes on a new role heading our editorial staff this month.  But first, let me share some thoughts about our departing editor, Robert Powell. Robert and I first met in graduate business school in the 1980s.  Both of us were taking night classes and working day jobs at what was then known as Richmond Newspapers.  Robert worked in the newsroom and I was in circulation marketing.  Years later, Robert became editor of this magazine, and I had moved on to the corporate world of media. In this role for nearly 15 years, Robert has served longer than any previous editor of Virginia Business.  Founding editor Jim Bacon moved on to associate publisher and then publisher when the magazine had not quite reached its teenage years. Karl Rhodes and Peter Galuszka both served stints in the years between Bacon and Powell. Since I joined the magazine as publisher in 2007, Robert has kept a steady hand on the content of the magazine.  Trust me, a publisher sleeps best at night knowing he’s backed up by a capable editor. Among Robert’s many accomplishments, one that stands out was the transformation of the magazine’s list of wealthiest Virginians, the Virginia 100, into The Generous Virginians Project, which focuses not just on wealth, but on the good works that are accomplished by individual donations, foundations and corporate philanthropy. Virginia Business has also garnered dozens of statewide and national editorial awards under his leadership.  Fortunately, Robert will be staying on for a transition period as our new editor takes the helm. Richard Foster is no stranger to these pages.  He has been a freelance writer for Virginia Business for 13 years.  Among his recent credits was the cover story of March’s Big Book on the disparities of rural employment numbers in Virginia. A native of Chesterfield County and a career-long journalist, Foster was a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and later at The Roanoke Times. He was assistant editor at Style Weekly, founding editor of Richmond.com and executive editor at Richmond Magazine.  More recently, he has served as public affairs manager at the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth in addition to being a freelance writer. That sums it up pretty nicely.  A passion for storytelling, statewide reporting experience, a seasoned editor, significant magazine experience and practically a digital native.  (Richmond.com was founded in 1999, just a few short years after the earliest days of electronic publishing.) You can look forward to getting to know Richard better in future issues of this magazine, including some new column writing on this page. Still, he has big shoes to fill.  Come next winter, we will certainly miss and reminisce a bit on the warm and reliable presence of Robert Powell, rising from his desk in the winter cold, Mr. Rogers-like, in his blue cardigan sweater. Any bets on whether Richard has one too, who knows? Nevertheless, we celebrate both of these distinct personalities and their coming and going.  You can rest assured that Virginia Business is in good hands and will continue to be the leading source of business intelligence in the commonwealth.  As always, it is an honor for us to serve our readers.  They are, after all, Virginia’s leaders. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-june-2019 Followups - June 2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-june-2019 http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-june-2019#When:08:00:00Z Amazon unveils initial plans for HQ2 Seattle-based Amazon has un­­veiled preliminary plans for its second headquarters in Arlington (HQ2). In a blog posted in mid-May by John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of global real estate and facilities, the company said the first phase of construction will include the redevelopment of a block of vacant warehouses into two, 22-story office buildings with 2.1 million square feet of space. The project will include 50,000 square feet of street-level retail space, with shops, restaurants and a daycare center. The plan also includes 1.1 acres of open space designed for a variety of uses, including a dog park and farmers markets. Metro stations are near the property, which also has access to bus lines and a Virginia Railway Express station.  Virginia Business’ January cover story explored how Virginia landed HQ2 in a bidding war involving 20 cities and regions throughout the country. Union rebrands as Atlantic Union In late May, Richmond-based Union Bankshares Corp. rebranded the banking company and its subsidiary, Union Bank & Trust. The new name is Atlantic Union Bank. The name change resulted from two recent acquisitions, Reston-based Access National Bank and Richmond-based Xenith Bank. The deals extended the bank’s reach into Northern Virginia and North Carolina, but also put Union in markets with banks using similar names. In an interview with Virginia Business appearing in its April issue, the company’s CEO, John Asbury, noted that 13 other banks use the Union name in the U.S. The Access acquisition gave Union statewide reach and raised its total assets to nearly $17 billion. Asbury said in the interview that the changes have turned Union into the first Virginia-based, statewide, regional bank in the commonwealth in nearly 20 years. 2019-05-31T08:00:00+00:00