R. MARCUS ‘MARC’ AMMEN
CEO, UNIVERSAL FIBER SYSTEMS LLC, BRISTOL
Ammen has led the Bristol-based fiber manufacturer for 12 years, overseeing its two business units — Universal Fiber, which makes solution-dyed, synthetic filament-based fibers, and Premiere Fibers Inc., based in North Carolina, which produces manmade fibers.
Founded in 1969, the company also has manufacturing facilities in Europe, Thailand and China. Its markets span such industries as flooring, military, apparel, transportation and industrial use.
Universal Fiber has been recognized for its sustainable practices, including an award for Environmental Excellence and Community Impact by the Southwest Virginia Alliance of Manufacturers.
In June 2021, it expanded the health clinic it started seven years ago at its manufacturing facility for employees and their family members.
A Clemson University graduate, Ammen joined Universal in 2000 as its chief financial officer and served as president of its Universal Fibers division. As part of the company’s global growth strategy, he helped cut the ribbon on a new plant in Poland in 2019.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CARPENTER CO., HENRICO COUNTY
Beauchamp, who joined Carpenter Co. in 2008, was tapped as CEO of the privately owned, Henrico County-based manufacturer in the wake of former chairman and CEO Stanley F. Pauley’s death in November 2020.
A philanthropist and venerable presence at Carpenter, Pauley died at 93. Beauchamp had previously served as president and chief operating officer since April 2018.
Carpenter was founded in 1948, and in 2020, Forbes ranked it No. 212 on its list of “America’s Largest Private Companies,” citing revenue of $2 billion. The company makes flexible foam, fiber, air filtration media and other products at 16 plants, saying it’s the largest producer of comfort cushioning products in the world. It employs about 4,500 people at 43 locations worldwide.
Earlier this year, the company settled a 3-year-old lawsuit by former president and COO Michael Lowery, who claimed he was wrongly fired. The settlement amount was not disclosed.
Beauchamp has degrees in biology and chemistry from Bethel University and earned his MBA at Southern Methodist University. He worked at Stepan Co. for 18 years before coming to Carpenter in 2008 as national sales manager for its chemical division. He became that division’s vice president in 2013.
MANMEET S. BHATIA
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TMEIC CORP. AMERICAS, ROANOKE
When Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp. (TMEIC) decided in April to consolidate its two U.S. operations, it tapped Bhatia to take the helm. Bhatia, who’d served as chief operating officer of the Roanoke company since 2019, had been with TMEIC since 2003. He also serves on the board of TMEIC International Corp. and TMEIC Canada Corp.
TMEIC Corp. Americas, which has operations in Roanoke and Katy, Texas, employs 285 people in Virginia and 496 worldwide. It designs and develops advanced automation systems, large AC and DC motors, and photovoltaic inverters.
Before his tenure with TMEIC, Bhatia held leadership roles in North America, Europe and Asia at General Electric Co.’s Industrial Drives and Control System Business.
Bhatia has a bachelor of engineering degree in electronics and communications from Gulbarga University in India.
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Embrace change. Progress hinges on your ability to adapt to change.
SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER DO AGAIN: Eat snake meat
HOBBY/PASSION: Playing acoustic guitar
PERSON I ADMIRE: Mahatma Gandhi. He led a calm, nonviolent resistance to oppression and colonization, thereby inspiring movements for freedom and civil rights across the globe.
PRESIDENT, VOLVO PENTA OF THE AMERICAS INC., CHESAPEAKE
Bjuve passed the one-year mark as president of Volvo Penta of the Americas in January, rising to the position after two years as senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Part of the Volvo Group, Volvo Penta makes engines and power solutions for leisure and commercial boats and other industrial uses. Based in Chesapeake, it sells products through 3,500 dealers in 130 countries. It also has an engine test facility in Suffolk.
In March, the company launched a new assisted docking system for the marine industry. In June, the company announced that it had acquired a majority stake in ZEM AS, a Norwegian marine battery systems supplier.
Bjuve, who oversees operations in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, has an MBA from Karlstad University in Sweden, his native country.
He’s spent 17 years with Volvo, including as head of business support, based in Sweden, for the European region of Volvo Penta. He moved to Chesapeake to serve as CFO and became vice president of customer support and training at Volvo Penta of the Americas. A fan of boating, Bjuve enjoys wakesurfing and kitesurfing on the Chesapeake Bay.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CORP., BRISTOL
Broadfoot became head of the privately held Electro-Mechanical on June 1 after the retirement of Russell Leonard, who remains on the company’s board.
The company, which makes electrical distribution systems and components, traces its roots to Electric Motor Repair and Sales, a repair business that set up shop in Bristol in 1958. Broadfoot, who joined Electro-Mechanical as chief operating officer in 2009, now oversees a company with manufacturing facilities that cover nearly 1 million square feet in Virginia, Texas and Mexico. Its divisions include Line Power and Federal Pacific. As some of its coal-related business declined in the late 2000s, the company explored the data center market. It also found success through custom engineering systems.
Broadfoot holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and an MBA from the University of North Alabama. He served as vice president of operations with Thomas & Betts and director of operations at Newell Brands subsidiary Rubbermaid before coming to Bristol.
PRESIDENT, GENERAL CIGAR CO. INC., GLEN ALLEN
Broersma got into the cigar business right after graduating from Utrecht University and earning his master’s degree in business economics from Tilburg University, both in the Netherlands.
He has worked in six countries for the Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), which he joined in 2002. In April 2020, as part of a reorganization, he was named senior vice president of the company’s new North American Branded and Rest of World Division.
In that role, he also serves as president of STG’s cigar subsidiary, Glen Allen-based General Cigar Co. Inc., a role he previously held.
General Cigar exports to 62 countries and is the biggest retailer of hand-rolled cigars in the United States — “by far,” as Cigar Journal put it.
The company makes the Macanudo and Cohiba brands (among others), cultivates tobacco and manufactures its handmade cigars in Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories.
STG reported $1.28 billion in 2020 revenue. In December 2020, Broersma told Cigar Journal that sales during the pandemic were “through the roof,” with “double-digit growth” and factories at 140% capacity.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CADENCE INC., STAUNTON
In 2012, Connor was tapped as president and CEO of Cadence Inc., which engineers and makes high-tech medical devices, including minimally invasive surgical technology.
The Pittsburgh native stayed close to home while he earned a degree in industrial engineering from Penn State and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
He had a stint as a consultant with former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen before joining Medrad, which has since been purchased by Bayer AG, becoming its director of global marketing. He also worked in operations at MicroAire Surgical Instruments before joining Cadence in 2011.
Based in Staunton, Cadence’s Virginia headquarters and manufacturing facilities are 95,000 square feet. The company announced the addition of a Class 8 clean room there in October, saying it would be used to more quickly develop and manufacture novel medical devices.
Cadence employs more than 500 people in Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Connor, who is a pilot, serves as board chairman of Virginia Bio, the state biotech trade association.
M. SCOTT CULBRETH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICAN WOODMARK, WINCHESTER
Culbreth completed his first year as CEO at American Woodmark in July, overseeing 5.7% annual revenue growth at the Winchester-based cabinet company, bringing its annual sales to $1.74 billion.
Culbreth oversees a company with 10,000 employees and 17 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Mexico. Woodmark says it makes a cabinet every two seconds — some 41,000 cabinets a day. Brands include Shenandoah Cabinetry, Villa Bath and the allen + roth line, which is exclusive to Lowe’s.
Wood prices and other costs have increased along with demand, Culbreth noted in May, saying that he would be focused on increasing production while tackling that dynamic.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Culbreth is a Virginia Tech graduate who serves on the Finance Advisory Board for Pamplin College of Business. He earned his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. After Tech, Culbreth went to work for Shell Oil Co. and held executive positions at Robert Bosch LLC and Newell Brands.
Before his appointment to CEO of Woodmark, he served as chief financial officer for six and a half years.
BRYAN H. FAIRBANKS
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TREX CO. INC., WINCHESTER
Fairbanks has been working to complete a $200 million plan to expand capacity at Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of composite decking products. Announced in June 2019, the expansion plan includes Trex’s new 200,000-square-foot Virginia production facility, which opened this January. The company also plans to establish a new headquarters
Trex sells its composite decking materials, railings and related products in more than 6,700 locations. The company reported annual revenue of $817 million in September 2020, and in February 2021, it ranked No. 12 on the Forbes list of America’s Best Mid-Size Companies.
Fairbanks spoke about the company’s expansion on CNBC in March, saying consumer demand was growing for alternative wood products due to cost and environmental concerns. He noted that Trex’s composite decking products contain 95% recycled material.
Fairbanks has been with Trex for more than 17 years, becoming CEO in April 2020. A CPA, he graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Dayton and earned his MBA in finance from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business. Before Trex, he served as finance manager for Ford Motor Co. for 10 years.
PRESIDENT, STIHL INC., VIRGINIA BEACH
A native of South Africa, Fischer has overseen U.S. operations for outdoor power equipment manufacturer Stihl since January 2016.
His appointment coincided with his joining the board of the Hampton Roads Chamber, where he serves as vice president of finance.
Stihl is a commanding presence in the region, where it’s been based since 1974 in Virginia Beach, with about 1,900 of its 2,100 U.S. employees working there. Fischer also has noted the importance of the Port of Virginia to Stihl, which exports to more than 90 countries.
In April 2021, Stihl opened a 100,000-square-foot facility for its Northwest region, announcing its expansion and relocation in Centralia, Washington. Fischer said the move underscored the company’s confidence in the U.S. market.
Fischer graduated from the University of Cape Town with a bachelor’s degree in commerce. Before joining Stihl in 2012, he worked at Siemens for 20 years. Fischer also serves on the board of directors of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and is a member of the Executive Advisory Council of Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business.
WILLIAM F. ‘BILLY’ GIFFORD JR.
CEO, ALTRIA GROUP INC., RICHMOND
Gifford took over as chief executive of the tobacco products manufacturer in April 2020. He’s been with the company more than 25 years, including serving as president and CEO of subsidiary Philip Morris USA.
He’s pushing a “Moving Beyond Smoking” strategy — a 10-year vision to transition smokers to “a noncombustible future.” That includes what the Fortune 500 company says are less risky products, including its IQOS systems, which heat tobacco — namely, Marlboro HeatSticks.
Gifford announced in April that Altria had acquired the remaining 20% of on! oral nicotine pouches, giving it full ownership. Altria’s $12.8 billion investment in e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. has been burdened by litigation, including an April ruling that plaintiffs may depose Gifford in their lawsuit blaming Juul for stoking youth addiction.
Traditional cigarette sales made up 88% of Altria’s $26.15 billion revenue in 2020. Other holdings include equity investments in cannabinoid company Cronos Group and Anheuser-Busch InBev, where Gifford serves on the board. Altria announced in July 2021 that it was selling Ste. Michelle Wine Estates for $1.2 billion.
Gifford is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where Altria has made multimillion-dollar gifts to a variety of community causes.
THOMAS E. ‘TEDDY’ GOTTWALD
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEWMARKET CORP., RICHMOND
Gottwald leads the specialty chemicals company NewMarket Corp., which traces its roots to Ethyl Gasoline Corp. — a company his late grandfather Floyd Gottwald acquired in 1962 as president of Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Co.
NewMarket is the parent of Afton Chemical Corp. and Ethyl Corp., which manufactures lubricants and fuel additives.
Gottwald graduated with a chemistry degree from Virginia Military Institute, where he played football and served as class president. After graduation, he joined the company in 1984, later earning his MBA from Harvard Business School.
He has been president and CEO since March 2004, and he succeeded his father, Bruce, as chairman of the board in 2014. With a decline in sales from $2.19 billion to $2.01 billion during the pandemic, he said the company was “stress-tested” but turned in a good year.
Gottwald belongs to a philanthropic family that Forbes named one of America’s Richest in 2015. The family’s gifts have supported the sciences and other causes, including the restoration of Tredegar Ironworks, where the American Civil War Museum is based. Gottwald also serves on the boards of Venture Richmond and VMI’s Jackson-Hope Fund.
PRESIDENT, AFTON CHEMICAL CORP., RICHMOND
Harm oversees a $2 billion company that develops, makes and sells petroleum additives at sites in the United States, Mexico, Belgium, Singapore, China and Brazil. More than 550 of the company’s 1,950 employees are based in Virginia.
After graduating with a chemical engineering degree from Grove City College, Harm joined engineering company Stone & Webster. She held positions with ExxonMobil Chemical Americas and GE Plastics before joining Afton in 2007. She was named senior vice president and chief operating officer in October 2015 and became president in May 2018. She also serves on the board of the American Chemistry Council.
ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: We need more lane capacity on Interstate 95 to handle the volume of travelers both northbound and southbound.
HOBBY/PASSION: As a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I have been a lifelong fan of all the Pittsburgh sports teams. Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to catch a live sporting event, whether it’s football, hockey or baseball. I also enjoy camping, hiking and spending time with my family.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: Hatteras Island, North Carolina
PRESIDENT, CHEMTREAT INC., GLEN ALLEN
Hire leads ChemTreat, an industrial water-treatment company that’s part of the environmental and supplied solutions portfolio of Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp.
ChemTreat, founded in 1968, was purchased in 2007 by Danaher — where Hire had worked a two-year stint as corporate director of DBS Growth Tools. Hire became president in March 2010.
He earned a marketing degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and spent six years as a brand manager for Cooper Hand Tools. Hire also held executive positions at Delta Consolidated Industries and Acuity Brands Lighting.
In September, ChemTreat opened an applied technology lab in Ashland, where it broke ground in 2019. The company said it invested $10 million in the 25,000-square-foot facility for product innovation, aiming to create 20 jobs in the next 10 years. It’s located in the Hanover County Airpark, across from the ChemTreat East Coast manufacturing hub.
JEREMY R. HOFF
CEO, HOOKER FURNITURE CO., MARTINSVILLE
Hoff took over Feb. 1 as Hooker’s fourth CEO — the first nonfamily member to hold the job since J. Clyde Hooker founded the company in 1924. Hoff succeeded the founder’s grandson Paul B. Toms Jr., who led the company for 20 years and remains board chairman.
Hooker employs 800 people at its Virginia and North Carolina locations, operates 12 divisions and says it’s one of the top five sources for the U.S. furniture market.
Hoff entered the furniture industry after graduating from Indiana University Bloomington with a business marketing degree. He worked for more than 17 years as a sales rep for the Huntington House, Pulaski, Universal and Craftmaster furniture brands.
After executive positions with the Broyhill and A.R.T. furniture companies, he became president of Theodore Alexander USA Inc. in December 2015. He joined Hooker in 2017. Hoff also serves as board vice president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge.
Shareholders will be watching for Hoff to shore things up after a tough year. He started as CEO at the end of fiscal 2021, when the company blamed the pandemic for a nearly 12% drop in revenue to $540.08 million.
PRABHAT K. JAIN
CEO, VIRGINIA TRANSFORMER CORP., ROANOKE
Virginia Transformer, owned by Jain’s family, is the second-largest power transformer manufacturing company in North America. It celebrates its 50th anniversary this year — and next year, Jain will mark his 40th year as its CEO.
Jain is an engineer and multiple patentholder with a degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. After moving to the United States in 1968, he earned his master’s degree in material science from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and his MBA from Lynchburg University.
Jain was a design manager for General Electric Co. in Salem for five years before acquiring the 35-employee Virginia Transformer Corp. in May 1982.
In 2014, the company acquired Georgia Transformer Corp., and the company now employs 1,400 people.
Jain has made it a mission to create power transformers that can last 60 years, telling The Roanoke Times that it’s the company’s “single most important achievement.”
Jain helped fund a STEM education initiative for Roanoke students. A former chair of the Virginia/DC District Export Council, he has served on the boards of the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Roanoke Valley.
CEO AND PRESIDENT, VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA INC., HERNDON
A New York native and graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Keogh spent more than a decade in management with Mercedes-Benz USA before joining Volkswagen in 2006 through Audi of America, serving six years as chief marketing officer and six as president.
In 2018, Keogh was tapped to head Volkswagen Group of America. He oversees the brand in the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as the automaker’s other high-end brands in the United States.
He champions electric vehicles and has said Volkswagen plans “to be the world’s largest manufacturer of electric cars” by 2030. The second quarter offered a hopeful sign for the company, which reported its best quarterly sales total since 1973. Almost 5% of models sold were the new ID.4 crossovers, at an MSRP of $39,995.
Volkswagen’s EV enthusiasm created problems for Keogh after a poorly received April Fool’s “gag,” as he referred to it to Reuters. The company issued a seemingly straightforward press release announcing the company’s rebrand to “Voltswagen.” Der Spiegel and other outlets reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “opened an inquiry” into the matter.
CHARLES ‘CHARLIE’ LUCK IV
PRESIDENT AND CEO, LUCK COS., MANAKIN-SABOT
Luck leads the nearly century-old stone products company founded by his grandfather and led for decades by his father, the late Charles S. Luck III, who died in December 2020 at age 87.
Charlie Luck, too, has been with the company for most of his life. He was a trainee while attending Virginia Military Institute, where he earned a civil engineering degree. He also spent time as a NASCAR driver, competing in what is now the Xfinity Series.
After years working in the family business, Luck became president and CEO of the Luck Cos. in 1999.
The company stresses leadership, integrity, commitment and creativity as pillars, and Luck has written that his life’s purpose is “to help develop people and position them to exceed their wildest dreams.”
In 2015, Luck founded the nonprofit Innerwill, which aims to help people and organizations with leadership development.
Luck Cos. expanded to Georgia after a 2018 acquisition. “We saw all of the megatrends point to population growth in the Southeast,” Luck told Pit & Quarry in April 2020. “We also looked at where we felt our values and beliefs would culturally match the best.”
VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, NEW RIVER VALLEY PLANT, VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA, DUBLIN
This summer brought a labor standoff to Marchand’s New River Valley Plant, where nearly 3,000 United Auto Workers went on strike off and on for more than two months before reaching a labor contract agreement in July.
Marchand defended what he deemed Volvo’s competitive package of benefits and improvements in June, saying, “It is difficult to understand this action.”
Marchand earned his mechanical and industrial engineering degree from then-École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers in France. He began his career as an industrial engineer for Mack Trucks Australia and joined Volvo Trucks North America in 2002.
In 2014, he was appointed vice president and general manager of the Dublin plant, the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world. It’s located on 556 acres along Interstate 81, where the company announced a $400 million expansion of the plant in 2019. While it has also announced hundreds of layoffs, the company says it will achieve a net increase of approximately 600 positions at the plant this year.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, LIEBHERR USA CO., NEWPORT NEWS
Mayr moved to the United States in 2013 to become president of Liebherr Construction Equipment Co. Three years later, the Swiss-based, family-owned parent company reorganized its U.S. operations as Liebherr USA Co., and Mayr became a managing director. The company marked its 50th anniversary in the United States last year.
Mayr earned an international economics degree from the University of Innsbruck in Austria in 2001 and began his Liebherr career in sales. He became managing director of Liebherr Great Britain Ltd. in 2012.
The company employs 1,200 people in the United States, and Liebherr USA encompasses eight divisions across the country, with Mayr overseeing 520 employees in Newport News. He also saw the completion of a $60 million expansion there. The manufacturing complex, a five-minute drive from Newport News Shipbuilding, repairs cranes and makes construction and mining equipment.
GARY M. MIGNOGNA
PRESIDENT AND CEO, FRAMATOME INC., LYNCHBURG
Mignogna oversees the North American operations of Framatome, which says it’s serviced every U.S. nuclear energy facility and helps power 36 million American homes. The company employs 1,300 workers in Lynchburg, where it’s done business for more than 50 years. Mignogna relocated Framatome’s headquarters there from Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2018.
In March, Framatome launched an independent subsidiary, Framatome U.S. Government Solutions LLC, to oversee its federal contracting business, including work for the Energy and Defense departments. Mignogna chairs its board.
Mignogna’s career in the nuclear industry has spanned four decades. He’s been president and CEO of Framatome and its predecessor, AREVA Inc., since 2014.
He also sits on the executive committee of the Nuclear Energy Institute’s board of directors, is chairman of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s board of directors and serves on the board of Beacon of Hope, which helps Lynchburg City School students prepare for education after high school.
A graduate of Drexel University, where he also received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering, Mignogna is a trustee at the University of Lynchburg, where he earned his MBA.
CEO, DRAKE EXTRUSION INC., RIDGEWAY
Despite the pandemic, Parkinson announced plans in June 2020 for a $6.9 million second manufacturing facility in Henry County.
The move came a couple of months after the yarn maker retained 195 jobs using a $2.05 million PPP loan, the Martinsville Bulletin reported. The company promised an additional 30 jobs would accompany the expansion. By February 2021, Drake was telling The Wall Street Journal that the factory was facing a “bottleneck” as it tried to keep up with increasing consumer demand for furniture and other products that use its yarn.
An accounting and finance graduate of the U.K.’s Lancaster University, Parkinson has been CEO at Drake since 2001. The company is owned by Swiss filament yarn and staple fiber manufacturer Duroc AB.
Parkinson is a member of the GO Virginia Region 3 Council and serves as secretary- treasurer of Virginia Career Works West Piedmont Region, part of the state’s workforce development initiative. He also serves on the board of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth, the chamber’s charitable affiliate.
ASHLEY B. SMITH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, SMITH-MIDLAND CORP., FAUQUIER COUNTY
Smith’s first job was on the family farm, raising cows and growing corn. Now he leads the $43.8 million company his grandfather, David G. Smith, founded in 1960 as Smith Cattleguard.
Smith became CEO in 2018. The precast concrete company employs 230 people — 150 of them in Virginia. He considers the company’s
uplisting to the Nasdaq in 2020 as a milestone. Shares hit $25 in July. The company also expanded to California.
Smith is past chairman of the National Precast Concrete Association. He also serves on the board of trustees at Bridgewater College, where he graduated with a degree in business administration.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: Bryce Resort, Basye
ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: Invest more in our transportation infrastructure. Virginia does an admirable job, but I think we need to increase the investment there.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Always find out. Don’t take what you hear or read for granted or as the truth. There is always another side of the story, and you need to check out the facts and the other perspective for yourself.
ROBERT H. ‘ROB’ SPILMAN JR.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BASSETT FURNITURE INDUSTRIES, MARTINSVILLE
Spilman, who’s been with Bassett for 37 years, spent part of his career working under his father, the late Robert H. Spilman Sr. — a member of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. Like his dad, he became CEO, a role he’s held since 2000.
Bassett, founded in 1902, sells home furnishings in about 100 retail locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Spilman has led an expansion of facilities in Newton, North Carolina, where the company plans to hire 80 more people. The expansion brings its manufacturing complex to more than 800,000 square feet.
Spilman said such moves were needed to increase upholstery manufacturing capacity. Its wholesale shipping backlog was up 362% at the end of the first quarter. Saying its backlog was seven times pre-pandemic levels, Spilman told The Wall Street Journal in July that the company was battling logistics-related delays.
A Vanderbilt University graduate, Spilman was a director of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. from 2002 to 2014. He’s lead director of Dominion Energy Inc.’s board of directors and serves on the board of trustees for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
JOHN M. STEITZ
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TREDEGAR CORP., RICHMOND
Steitz has run Tredegar, the plastic films and aluminum extrusions manufacturer, since March 2019. Tredegar is a 1989 spinoff of Ethyl Corp., which now operates under NewMarket Corp. With facilities in North America, South America and Asia, Tredegar has approximately 2,400 employees.
Despite taking hits from the pandemic, Tredegar had “one of our best” years in 2020, Steitz said in the company’s annual report. He cited high backlog levels and record EBITDA from its specialty polyester films manufacturer, Terphane, which it acquired in 2011. He also noted that Tredegar’s aluminum extrusions business, Bonnell Aluminum, while experiencing challenges, outperformed the industry.
Before Tredegar, Steitz was president and CEO of Addivant and led the specialty chemical company PQ Corp. He was with Albemarle Corp. for more than a dozen years, rising to president and chief operating officer. He left Albemarle, another Ethyl spinoff, in 2012.
A chemical engineering graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Steitz earned his MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
PRESIDENT, ETHYL CORP., RICHMOND
In his role leading Ethyl, Street oversees the antiknock compounds business of NewMarket Corp. — which also serves as parent of specialty chemical company Afton Chemical Corp. NewMarket reported $2 billion in petroleum additives sales in 2020.
After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1975, Street embarked on a 32-year career with Ethyl, where he became vice president of health, safety and environment.
Street left in 2007 for a similar role with Afton Chemical Corp., but after three years, he returned to Ethyl. In 2013, he oversaw a closure of Ethyl’s plant in Corunna, Ontario. He became president of Ethyl in 2015.
Founded in 1921, Ethyl keeps its headquarters in Richmond but operates its fuel additives blending and distribution facility in Houston. It also provides storage and transloading services on the Houston Ship Channel and supplies fuel and lubricant additives for its sister company, Afton Chemical.
GREGORY H. TREPP
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HAMILTON BEACH BRANDS HOLDING CO., GLEN ALLEN
With more than 20 years in senior management, Trepp oversees Hamilton Beach Brands, which designs and sells kitchen and other small household appliances — more than 34 million a year, it says — as well as commercial products.
About half of the company’s 500 U.S. employees work in Henrico County, where Hamilton Beach bases its product design and runs a test kitchen. Approximately 200 other employees work in Canada, China and Mexico. Brands include Proctor Silex and Wolf Gourmet. Company revenue was down 1.3% in 2020 to $603.7 million.
A University of Richmond graduate who earned his MBA from the University of Connecticut, Trepp joined Hamilton Beach in 1996 and became president and CEO in 2010. When the business was spun off from NACCO Industries Inc. in 2017, Trepp became president and CEO of the holding company, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
One of Trepp’s strategies for 2021 is expanding into health and wellness. The company cites air purification and water filtration as examples, announcing in June that it was launching a line of air purifiers under a licensing agreement with The Clorox Co.
PRESIDENT, CEO AND CLUSTER PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA, ALFA LAVAL INC., RICHMOND
Vanhoren oversees the North American operations of Alfa Laval, which represents 10% of the Swedish company’s workforce. The component manufacturer employs about 1,700 people in the United States and operates 34 manufacturing and service locations.
Vanhoren has spent his career with the company, joining Alfa Laval after studying engineering in Belgium. He spent five years with the company in Italy, then moved to Spain, where he became managing director and cluster president, South Europe. He was named president and CEO of Alfa Laval and cluster president, North America, in March 2018.
The company makes a variety of components that regulate the transfer of heat and fluids, including filters, pumps and exchangers. In 2019, Vanhoren oversaw a $50 million expansion that included adding a production line to Alfa Laval’s Henrico County facility, which moved most of the production of a heat exchanger to the United States.
A new area of interest will be energy storage solutions, Vanhoren recently told CEO Magazine. He also calls sustainability the “next wave of diversification.”
NEIL D. WILKIN JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, OPTICAL CABLE CORP., ROANOKE
Wilkin has been with Optical Cable Corp. for 20 years, overseeing the company that makes and sells fiber optic and copper communication cabling and offers other connectivity solutions — including specialty applications that can withstand harsh environments.
Wilkin has been on an efficiency mission, working to control costs and counter the pandemic’s effects. After taking a revenue hit in 2019, the company saw a 22.5% decrease in consolidated net sales to $55.3 million for 2020. But Wilkin noted that the company came through for military and front-line workers.
A University of Virginia graduate, Wilkin stayed with the university to earn his law degree from the School of Law and his MBA from the Darden School of Business. After practicing law at McGuireWoods LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP, he became chief financial officer for an online-based real estate brokerage.
He joined Optical Cable in 2001 as CFO and senior vice president and was named chairman and CEO in 2003. Wilkin serves on the boards of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation and Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic.
CHAIRMAN, AVAIL VAPOR LLC, BLACKBRIAR REGULATORY SERVICES LLC, BLACKSHIP TECHNOLOGIES LLC, CHESTERFIELD COUNTY
Before Virginia legalized recreational marijuana possession this year, the markets for hemp-derived products, including cannabidiol, or CBD, were taking shape. Xu seemed to have known change was on the horizon, founding Avail Vapor in 2013.
Based in Chesterfield County, the company makes liquid for e-cigarettes and CBD products to be sold at its 98 retail locations across 12 states. The company employs approximately 200 people.
With Virginia’s new laws allowing adults to grow their own marijuana plants, the company also has created “all-in-one seed to harvest” at-home grow kits.
Xu is a graduate of Old Dominion University. His sister, Ting Xu, founded the home decor and gift business Evergreen Enterprises, which he worked on for a time. He is now chairman of Avail and two sister businesses — Blackship, an R&D company, and Blackbriar, which provides contract manufacturing and FDA compliance consulting. During the pandemic, Blackbriar pivoted to manufacture face masks.