R. MARCUS ‘MARC’ AMMEN
CEO, UNIVERSAL FIBER SYSTEMS LLC, BRISTOL
Ammen, who has served as CEO of Universal Fiber since 2009, joined the company in 2000 as chief financial officer and previously was president of Universal Fibers Inc., one of the corporation’s affiliates. Founded in 1969 in Bristol, Tennessee, the company has two units: Bristol, Virginia-based Universal Fibers Inc., which produces dyed, synthetic yarn for the flooring, transportation and industrial fibers industries, and North Carolina-based Premiere Fibers Inc., which produces fibers for industrial, military and apparel markets. In May 2019, Universal Fibers Inc. opened its new European plant in Poland.
Locally, it donated plastic filament to the Bristol Public Library for use with a new 3D printer. The company also received the United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Top Giver Award last year. In 2015, H.I.G. Middle Market, an affiliate of the $19 billion H.I.G. Capital equity fund, purchased Universal Fiber for an undisclosed amount. A graduate of Clemson University, Ammen is on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s board of directors and previously served on the GO Virginia District 1 Council.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, ROLLS-ROYCE NORTH AMERICA; PRESIDENT – DEFENCE, ROLLS-ROYCE HOLDINGS PLC, RESTON
Named chairman and CEO of Rolls-Royce’s North American branch in 2018, Bell also is responsible for the global defense arm of the vehicle manufacturer, which builds jet engines and products for the naval and nuclear submarine industries. As leader of Rolls-Royce North America, Bell oversees 7,000 employees, including more than 400 in Virginia. Rolls-Royce has its regional headquarters in Reston and a manufacturing plant in Prince George County that builds rotating parts used in Boeing and Airbus planes.
Before joining Rolls-Royce in 2012, Bell was at the former Martin Marietta Inc. (now Lockheed Martin), where he worked in human space flight, and at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) in departments including sales and engineering. A New Jersey native, Bell is a graduate of Louisiana State University and the Florida Institute of Technology, from which he received his MBA. He serves on the board for the Aerospace Industries Association.
PRESIDENT, VOLVO PENTA OF THE AMERICAS, CHESAPEAKE
Bjuve became president of Volvo Penta of the Americas in January, following the late 2019 retirement of Ron Huibers. The Sweden native had previously been the chief financial officer and senior vice president of Volvo Penta of the Americas.
As part of the Volvo Group (which reported $43.4 billion in sales last year), Chesapeake-based Volvo Penta is a global manufacturer of engines and complete power systems for boats, vessels and industrial applications. Volvo Penta employs approximately 1,800 people, including 120 in Virginia. Its products are sold through 3,500 dealers in more than 130 countries.
BEST ADVICE: You don’t build a network when you need a network, you build it before. Take time to cultivate relationships both inside and outside of your industry.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Fever,” by Deon Meyer. I had goosebumps reading this book as we all navigate the ongoing pandemic in our world today.
HOBBY/PASSION: I’m a big fan of being outdoors, participating in activities such as skiing, kitesurfing and golfing. I’m also an avid boater.
CRAIG C. BRAM
PRESIDENT AND CEO, SYNALLOY CORP., HENRICO COUNTY
Bram, who had his own consulting firm in Richmond since 1995, joined Synalloy in 2004 as a director and was named president and CEO in 2011, after serving for six years on the board. A graduate of James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University, Bram has worked in business management, strategic planning, finance and startup operations for more than 30 years. Synalloy, which has been in business for more than 75 years, is a holding company for businesses that make stainless steel pipes and liquid storage tanks and it employs more than 700 people.
Among its holdings is Brismet, which builds pipes in Bristol, Tennessee. In March, activist investment firm Privet Fund Management LLC teamed with UPG Enterprises, another holding company with steel businesses, in an attempt to take control of Synalloy’s board of directors after Synalloy turned down two buyout offers. In June, Synalloy committed to appointing three of Privet and UPG’s nominees to the eight-person board. Synalloy posted revenue of $305 million for 2019.
PRESIDENT, GENERAL CIGAR CO. INC., RICHMOND
Broersma joined Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the parent company of Richmond-based General Cigar Co., in 2002 and became president in 2016. Three years later, he stepped down as president to head Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s smoking tobacco and accessories division. He reclaimed his position as General Cigar Co. president in April. With his reappointment, he will also serve as Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s senior vice president, overseeing business in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
As one of the world’s largest cigar and pipe tobacco companies, General Cigar reported approximately $185 million in sales last year, when Scandinavian Tobacco Group reported more than $1 billion in revenue. General Cigar produces more than 60 cigar brands, including Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch, La Gloria Cubana and Partagas, and exports its products to more than 60 countries.
General Cigar employs approximately 3,800 people across its sales offices, retail stores and production facilities. Some of its facilities are located in Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CADENCE INC., STAUNTON
A Pittsburgh native and a pilot, Connor became president of Cadence in 2011 after about 20 years in the medical device industry. He is chairman of the Virginia Biotechnology Association’s board and advises several medical device startup businesses. Cadence produces minimally invasive surgical devices.
Connor joined the company after serving as general manager and vice president of operations of Microaire Surgical Instruments in Charlottesville and in several roles at Pennsylvania-based Medrad Inc. He earned industrial engineering and MBA degrees from Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. Last year, Cadence purchased the assets of Arcor Laser Services LLC, a laser welding and cutting company in Connecticut.
Founded in 1985, Cadence employs 575 people in Staunton and has four other facilities in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. In 2018, Cadence was sold to New York private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. for an undisclosed amount, and its management team remained in place.
M. SCOTT CULBRETH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICAN WOODMARK, WINCHESTER
Culbreth was promoted to president and CEO of the Winchester-based cabinetry manufacturer in July during a leadership overhaul following an internal investigation that found that R. Perry Campbell, senior vice president of sales and commercial operations, had violated American Woodmark’s policy and values.
Former president and CEO S. Cary Dunston retired and resigned from the board, and Culbreth, former senior vice president and chief financial officer, was promoted to replace Dunston. The company did not provide further details of the policies and values that Campbell violated or whether Dunston’s retirement was connected.
Culbreth has been with American Woodmark since 2014 and had previously served as CFO for Piedmont Hardware Brands. He also worked for Shell Oil Co., Robert Bosch Corp. and Newell Brands. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech and his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Founded in 1980, American Woodmark operates 18 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Mexico, employing more than 10,000 people across its 15 brands. The publicly traded company reported more than $1.65 billion in sales last year.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TREX CO. INC., WINCHESTER
Fairbanks was promoted to president and CEO of the publicly traded decking manufacturing company in April following the retirement of James E. Cline. Fairbanks, who joined Trex in 2004, previously was executive vice president and chief financial officer and served in director positions for financial planning, business development and supply chain operations. Before Trex, he held senior finance roles with Ford Motor Co. Trex reported $745 million in revenue for 2019, selling wood-alternative decking, railings and outdoor items made from recycled materials. The company employs a total of 1,332 people, including 700 in Virginia. Trex in 2018 invested $200 million to increase production capacity in Frederick County and Nevada. An expansion of its Frederick facility is expected to come online in early 2021, creating more than 150 jobs.
PERSON I ADMIRE: Warren Buffett — I admire his discipline and patience in identifying opportunities for investment.
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE RECENTLY: Being appointed president and CEO of a company during a pandemic.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA? Improving our transportation infrastructure.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: Pittsburgh Steelers
PRESIDENT, STIHL INC., VIRGINIA BEACH
In 2016, Fischer was appointed president of Stihl Inc., headquarters for U.S. operations of the Stihl Group, the German global manufacturer of home and professional power equipment such as chainsaws, leaf blowers and trimmers. Stihl Inc. has about 1,900 employees in Virginia Beach. Fischer joined Stihl Inc. in 2012, previously serving as its vice president of finance, human resources and information services.
A South Africa native, Fischer graduated from the University of Cape Town and worked for two decades at Siemens Industry Inc., where he served as chief financial officer for its water technologies global business unit. Among his business and civic commitments, he has chaired the board of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, as well as serving on the Hampton Roads Chamber board and the Executive Advisory Council for Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business and Public Administration.
In 2019, Stihl Inc. built a new administration building at its 150-acre U.S. headquarters campus in Virginia Beach, where it has been since 1974. Since 2011, Stihl Inc. has hosted a summer camp for Virginia Beach-area high school students to learn about new manufacturing and engineering technology.
WILLIAM F. ‘BILLY’ GIFFORD JR.
CEO, ALTRIA GROUP INC., RICHMOND
Gifford took the helm of the tobacco giant in April, following the retirement of former CEO and Chairman Howard Willard. Gifford began serving as interim CEO in March when Willard took a medical leave of absence after testing positive for COVID-19. Gifford was officially tapped as CEO in April, and Altria’s board separated the positions of chairman and CEO, selecting Dominion Energy Executive Chair Thomas F. Farrell II as Altria’s independent chair.
Altria is the Henrico County-based Fortune 500 parent company of cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA and also holds a 35% stake in San Francisco-based e-cigarette producer Juul Labs Inc. Altria reported more than $25 billion in 2019 revenue.
Gifford is the former president and CEO of Philip Morris USA and serves as a director for Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of cigarettes and tobacco products, Altria also holds equity stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev and Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group Inc.
A Virginia Commonwealth University alum, he had been with the company for more than 25 years before his promotion, serving in roles including executive vice president and chief financial officer. Before his time with Altria, he worked at Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).
THOMAS E.‘TEDDY’ GOTTWALD
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEWMARKET CORP., RICHMOND
Gottwald heads up Richmond-based petroleum additives company NewMarket Corp., the parent company of Afton Chemical Corp., Ethyl Corp. and NewMarket Services. He became president and CEO in 2004 when the NewMarket holding company was created and has been board chairman since 2014. He was previously president and CEO of Ethyl. His father, Bruce C. Gottwald, is a board member and was previously chairman of NewMarket and Ethyl.
Regularly listed by Forbes magazine as one of America’s richest families, the Gottwalds have led the company — which reported more than $2.1 billion in sales last year — for more than
58 years. Philanthropically, the Gottwald family has been a longtime supporter of the Science Museum of Virginia and owns the Tredegar property, home to the American Civil War Museum.
Gottwald received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Virginia Military Institute, where he currently serves on the board of visitors. He also serves on the boards of VMI Jackson-Hope Fund, Venture Richmond and the VCU College of Engineering. He is also a member of The Management Round Table in Richmond.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TMEIC CORP., ROANOKE
In 2007, Guidry took leadership of TMEIC General Electric after holding engineering and executive roles with GE. In 2011, Tokyo-based Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems (TMEIC) Corp. bought out GE’s share of the joint venture, a move that also placed Guidry in charge of developing growth strategies and business plans for the corporation’s subsidiary companies in Asia, Europe and South America. During his tenure, TMEIC Corp. has tripled in size, significantly increasing its profits.
A graduate of Duke and Stanford universities with degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, Guidry started his career as a research engineer at The Timken Co., where he developed new grades of steel for manufacturing tapered roller bearings and innovated the use of computer simulations. At GE, he developed, engineered and installed computer models for automatically controlling hot and cold rolling processes for steel and other metals.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: One person dedicated and determined can accomplish a tremendous amount, but a team with the same dedication and determination has no limit to what they can accomplish.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “The New Iberia Blues,” by James Lee Burke
PRESIDENT, AFTON CHEMICAL CORP., RICHMOND
In 2018, Harm was named president of Afton Chemical, a subsidiary of Richmond’s NewMarket Corp., after joining the company in 2007. In announcing the promotion, NewMarket Chairman, President and CEO Teddy Gottwald cited Harm’s “extensive knowledge of the market, strong leadership skills and results-driven mindset.”
She has worked in the chemical industry for more than three decades and oversaw procurement, engineering, manufacturing and logistics as Afton’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. She also previously served as Afton’s vice president in charge of supply, performance additives and lube additives and worked for General Electric in marketing and pricing. Afton is a global leader in petroleum additives for gasoline, power steering fluid and other chemicals used for vehicles.
In 2018, the company completed the $380 million expansion of its chemical additive plant in Singapore, its Southeast Asia distribution hub and in 2019 grew its Japan Technology Center, where the company tests engine oils, gear lubricants and transmission fluids. Both projects are in response to Asian countries’ reduction of vehicle fuel economy standards, which will lead to more electric and hybrid cars on roads.
PRESIDENT, CHEMTREAT INC., GLEN ALLEN
Named president of industrial water treatment company ChemTreat in 2010, Hire has an extensive background in branding and marketing. A graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management with a degree in marketing, Hire previously served as senior vice president and general manager of Acuity Brands Lighting, general manager at Fluke Corp. and corporate director of Danaher Corp.’s DBS Growth Tools.
A subsidiary of Danaher Corp., ChemTreat was purchased by the Washington, D.C.-based holding company in 2007 after being in business since 1968. In July, ChemTreat won the 2019 Supplier of the Year award in the sustainability category from the Boeing Co., a client since 2012.
In April 2019, Hire broke ground on a $10 million applied technology lab in Hanover County, which is being built across the street from its manufacturing plant. ChemTreat has locations in North and South America, and it has acquired other chemical treatment companies over the past decade, including USP Technologies, purchased in 2019.
DUPONT SPRUANCE SITE DIRECTOR, DUPONT DE NEMOURS INC., CHESTERFIELD COUNTY
Johnson joined DuPont as site director of its largest plant in the world in 2018, after a long career in chemical engineering and operations for Invista, Kraton Polymers, Huntsman and other companies. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Johnson serves on the executive committee for the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the board of Virginia Forever, a coalition of businesses and environmental organizations focused on protecting natural resources.
DuPont Spruance has seen a lot of change in the past year, with its announcement that it will expand its Kevlar plant by investing $75 million. Plus, during the start of the pandemic, it partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FedEx to produce protective clothing and distribute it around the country. The plant’s 2,000 workers began taking on 12-hour shifts seven days a week in March. In 2019, Johnson received a certificate in leading operational excellence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s executive education program.
CEO AND PRESIDENT, VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA INC., HERNDON
Named head of Volkswagen’s U.S., Mexican and Canadian presence in 2018, Keogh was previously president of Audi of America, part of the Volkswagen Group of vehicle lines. In his current position, he oversees the U.S. operations of Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and VW Credit Inc. Before joining Audi in 2006 as chief marketing officer, Keogh worked for Mercedes-Benz USA. In an interview last year, Keogh said his first car was a Volkswagen Rabbit with a manual transmission.
He stepped into a challenging role in 2018, following the $33.3 billion international diesel emissions scandal, in which Volkswagen AG was revealed in 2015 as having faked emissions tests. The fallout led to more than 8 million cars being recalled and hundreds of lawsuits. Keogh came to the job having doubled sales of Audis between 2010 to 2015 and is the first American to oversee Volkswagen’s North American operations in 25 years. His current focus is developing three new all-electric Volkswagens, including a VW microbus, in 2022. A graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, he is a native of New York.
VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, VOLVO GROUP TRUCKS OPERATIONS IN AMERICAS, PULASKI
Marchand serves as vice president and general manager at Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley plant — the largest Volvo truck plant in the world. The New River Valley plant is the only North American producer of Volvo trucks. It operates in 1.6 million square feet of manufacturing space.
The New River Valley plant alone employs 3,500 people, with 130 robots used for painting vehicles. In June 2019, Volvo Group announced plans to invest nearly $400 million, add 350,000 square feet to its Dublin complex in Pulaski County and hire 777 new workers over the next six years. But then five months later, Volvo announced it would lay off 700 workers, starting in January.
In late January, however, Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks company announced it would hire 250 people for a new medium-duty truck assembly plant in Roanoke County. Mack Trucks plans to invest $13 million in the project.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marchand was appointed to Gov. Ralph Northam’s task force, composed of 24 business leaders (including Amazon and Walmart executives) across the state, asked for policy input on reopening the state for business. Marchand is focusing on ways to maintain appropriate distance among manufacturing employees.
PRESIDENT, LIEBHERR CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT CO., NEWPORT NEWS
Leader of the Swiss construction equipment company Liebherr Group’s U.S. presence, Mayr has been with the company since 2001, filling roles in Austria, Spain and England. In 2013, he became president of Newport News-based Liebherr Construction Equipment Co. and he continued to lead the U.S. divisions after a corporate realignment in 2016.
The Newport News headquarters, open since 1970, manufactures large mining trucks and cranes, among other large equipment. Work finished in June on the headquarters’ $60 million, 251,000-square-foot expansion, including a new administrative building, production and workshop facility, training center and distribution warehouse.
A graduate of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, his home country, Mayr oversees about 500 employees on the Newport News campus and 1,300 across 13 locations nationwide. In January, Liebherr USA won the Associated Equipment Distributors’ foundation partner award.
GARY M. MIGNOGNA
PRESIDENT AND CEO, FRAMATOME INC., LYNCHBURG
After becoming president and CEO of nuclear equipment supplier Framatome in 2018, Mignogna moved the company’s headquarters from Charlotte, North Carolina, back to Lynchburg, its home until 2006. Its Virginia workforce accounts for about 1,300 of its 2,300 employees in North America.
From 2014 to 2018, Mignogna served as president of Areva Inc., which reverted to the name Framatome after a financial downturn and subsequent rebranding. A graduate of Drexel University and Lynchburg College with degrees in engineering and business, Mignogna is a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute’s board and serves on its executive committee. He also serves on the boards of the National D-Day Memorial and the University of Lynchburg.
Mignogna started his career in 1977 with Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s nuclear services division, which was purchased by France-based Framatome, and in 2006, the Areva Group purchased Framatome. In June, Framatome acquired BWX Technologies Inc.’s commercial nuclear services business, also headquartered in Lynchburg.
CEO, DRAKE EXTRUSION INC., RIDGEWAY
Drake’s CEO since 2001, Parkinson has overseen two major expansions of the polypropylene fiber company’s plant in Henry County over the past five years. A subsidiary of Duroc AB’s International Fibres Group, Drake makes yarn for several markets, including automotive, home furnishings and rugs and carpeting, as well as geotextiles for construction sites. In June, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Drake’s $6.9 million purchase and renovation of a vacant building near its current facility in the county, where it employs 187 workers and is one of the region’s largest employers. Drake expects to hire
30 more people upon completion of the project.
Parkinson, a graduate of Lancaster University in Great Britain, is a member of GO Virginia’s Region 3 council, which provides economic development support in the region surrounding Danville and Martinsville, as well as Virginia Career Works’ West Piedmont board and the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth board.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, CARPENTER CO., HENRICO COUNTY
Pauley leads Henrico County-based Carpenter Co., which produces foam and cushioning products out of 100% recycled material. Founded in 1948, the company employs approximately 4,000 people across its 16 foam producing plants and 41 global locations. Last year, the company reported approximately $2 billion in revenue, making it one of the largest private companies to operate in Virginia.
Pauley and his wife, Dorothy, however, are best known for their extensive philanthropic giving in the Central Virginia region. Through the Pauley Family Foundation, the couple has donated millions of dollars to organizations including CenterStage, the Medical College of Virginia Foundation and the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering.
Some of their foundation’s most recent donations include a $5 million gift to the Pauley Heart Center (which was founded in 2006 through another $5 million gift from the family) at the VCU Medical Center to support research and recruitment for its cardiology program, as well as a $30 million gift to Hampden-Sydney College — the college’s largest-ever donation — to fund a new science building (the Pauley Science Center). Carpenter Co. was founded by E. Rhodes Carpenter, who graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1929.
ROBERT H. ‘ROB’ SPILMAN JR.
CEO, BASSETT FURNITURE INDUSTRIES INC., HENRY COUNTY
Spilman, who has been president and CEO of one of the country’s oldest furniture makers since 2000, also serves on Dominion Energy Inc.’s board of directors, a position he’s held since 2009. His late father, Robert H. Spilman Sr., served as president, CEO and chairman of Bassett Furniture until his retirement in 1997.
A Vanderbilt University alumnus, Spilman Jr. is on the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and is among the leadership of the Henry County Furniture Museum in the Bassett area. He also served on the corporate board for Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. from 2002 to 2014. Bassett Furniture, founded in 1902, has 100 stores and a wholesale business with 700 accounts.
In July, the Martinsville-area manufacturer announced it was investing more revenue into its outdoor furniture brands and it resumed production at its manufacturing locations in late April following closures due to the pandemic.
DAN ST. MARTIN
PRESIDENT, KOLLMORGEN CORP., RADFORD
President of Kollmorgen since 2013, St. Martin previously worked for John Deere in a variety of positions, including as director of the global combine product line in Russia and general manager of a tractor plant in China. Now based in Radford, St. Martin serves on the advisory board of Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. He has degrees from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Before joining Deere in 2002, St. Martin worked with Deloitte Consulting in strategy and supply chain management. Kollmorgen, with presences in the United States, China, Japan, India, Europe and Brazil, designs and produces servo motors, drives and amplifiers. It’s owned by Massachusetts-based Altra Industrial Motion, which purchased the company and two others in 2018 from Fortive Corp. for $3 billion.
JOHN M. STEITZ
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TREDEGAR CORP., RICHMOND
Steitz became president and CEO of the Chesterfield County-based plastic films and aluminum extrusions manufacturer in 2019 following the retirement of John D. Gottwald, who had served in the role for
30 years. Steitz had served on Tredegar’s board of directors since 2017 while also serving as CEO of polymer additives supplier Addivant Corp.
Richmond’s Gottwald family, who have long held leadership within the company, have been the largest shareholder group of the company, owning 22% of Tredegar’s common stock as of 2018. Last year, the company reported approximately $1 billion in revenue.
In his role as CEO, Steitz oversees the company’s 3,200 employees, including those working in operations as well as the company’s manufacturing plants in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Tredegar manufactures plastic films used for packaging and personal care products. In March, Tredegar subsidiary Bright View Technologies, which makes aluminum extrusions for building, construction and automobiles, pivoted to produce face shields during the pandemic.
Steitz has also served as chief operating officer of chemical company Albemarle Corp. He currently serves on the board of Innophos Holdings Inc., a phosphate product producer.
PRESIDENT, ETHYL CORP., RICHMOND
Street has been with NewMarket Corp. companies Ethyl Corp. and Afton Chemical Corp. for nearly 45 years. He joined petroleum additives company Ethyl Corp. in 1975 after completing his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University. He eventually became Ethyl’s vice president of health, safety and environment before briefly serving in the same role at Afton Chemical Corp. In 2010, he rejoined Ethyl Corp. as its president.
In 2004, Ethyl Corp. became part of NewMarket Corp., parent company of Ethyl and Afton Chemical Corp. The company manufactures tetraethyllead, an additive used in making leaded gasoline. Last year, Ethyl Corp. reported approximately $1.5 billion in revenue. Ethyl Corp. also spun off Chesterfield County-based plastic films and aluminum extrusions manufacturer Tredegar Corp. in the late 1980s. Last year, NewMarket reported $2.1 billion in sales.
Ethyl Corp. is headquartered in Richmond but has a blending and distribution facility in Houston.
PAUL B. TOMS JR.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, HOOKER FURNITURE CO., MARTINSVILLE
Toms serves as chairman and CEO of the Martinsville-based furniture manufacturing company his grandfather, Clyde Hooker Sr., founded in 1924. In June, Toms announced his Jan. 31, 2021, retirement after 20 years at the helm of Hooker Furniture Co. Following his retirement, he will remain chairman of the board, and Jeremy Hoff, president of Hooker’s legacy brands, will take his place as CEO.
Toms joined the company in 1983. Under his leadership, Hooker has grown from $50 million in the 1980s to $611 million in sales last year.
In 2018, Toms was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame, which cited the company’s expansions and acquisitions. Hooker in 2016 acquired Home Meridian International, making Hooker one of the nation’s top five furniture companies and placing it on the NASDAQ Global Select list.
Outside of work, Toms is involved with the High Point Market Authority, the Home Furnishings Council, the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the International Woodworking Fair. Locally, he supports the Boys & Girls Club of the Blue Ridge, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Harvest Foundation.
GREGORY H. TREPP
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HAMILTON BEACH BRANDS HOLDING CO., GLEN ALLEN
Trepp joined the appliance manufacturing company in 1996 and has served as president and CEO since 2010. He previously worked as Hamilton Beach’s vice president of global operations.
Hamilton Beach Brands has produced appliances such as mixers, blenders and coffee makers since 2010. The company became publicly traded in 2017 and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Glen Allen-based company includes two business segments: Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., a designer, marketer and distributor of household and commercial appliances, and The Kitchen Collection LLC, a chain of specialty housewares stores. The two businesses used to operate as subsidiaries of Cleveland-based NACCO Industries Inc., which now focuses on coal mining.
Hamilton Beach Brands appliances are top sellers at retail stores, with the company reporting $612.8 million in revenue last year. It employs approximately 1,600 people, with more than 250 workers at its headquarters in Glen Allen’s Innsbrook Corporate Center.
Trepp earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and his MBA from the University of Connecticut. Philanthropically, he supports the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond through scholarships.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, ALFA LAVAL INC., RICHMOND
Vanhoren joined 130-year-old Alfa Laval AB in 1991 after studying engineering in Belgium, his home country, and working in various capacities in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. He became president and CEO of the company’s North American operations in 2018.
Based in Sweden, Alfa Laval produces air-heat exchangers, separators, pumps and valves for the energy, marine and food sectors. The company employs 1,700 people in the U.S. across 34 locations, including its Northern American headquarters in Henrico County, where it added a heat exchanger production line in 2019, bringing 90% of the product’s manufacturing to the United States. The expansion was part of a $50 million nationwide overhaul in three cities, including facilities in Oklahoma and Indiana.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Alfa Laval supplied separators to pharmaceutical companies and pumps to hand sanitizer manufacturers. Currently, the company is focused on renewable energy, streamlined distribution and digitalization, Vanhoren said in a recent interview.
BRETT A. VASSEY
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, RICHMOND
As head of the Virginia Manufacturers Association since 2002, Vassey represents about 6,000 companies employing more than 200,000 people. The association serves as an educational and advocacy organization for the manufacturing industry, recently grappling with issues such as the governor’s new coronavirus workplace safety requirements and clean energy bills passed by the General Assembly. Aside from his duties with the VMA, Vassey is also president and CEO of the association’s Virginia Craft Brewers Guild affiliate, formed in 2010.
A graduate of the University of Kansas and Virginia Tech, where he received a master’s of public administration and policy degree, Vassey previously worked for the Virginia Department of Business Assistance and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. He is also chairman of the Consumer Energy Alliance board of directors, a position he’s held since 2018.
In February, he wrote an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch advocating public-private partnerships to aid curbside recycling programs in Virginia, aiming for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recoverable by 2040.
NEIL D. WILKIN JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, OPTICAL CABLE CORP., ROANOKE
Wilkin has led Optical Cable since 2003, two years after joining the company as its chief financial officer. A former lawyer who worked at McGuireWoods and Kirkland & Ellis with a focus on mergers and acquisition, he is a three-degree holder from the University of Virginia, including his bachelor’s, MBA and law degrees. Wilkin serves on the board of Carilion Clinic and chairs the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation board.
He previously served on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership board and has held leadership positions in other regional organizations, including the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. Founded in 1983, Optical Cable manufactures and sells fiber optic cables to clients including the U.S. departments of Defense and Commerce and the Virginia state government. It employs more than 250 people in the Roanoke region.
Like many companies, Optical saw a decrease in consolidated net sales in the spring, a decline of 22.3% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019, and the company received a $5 million loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
CHAIRMAN, AVAIL VAPOR LLC, BLACKBRIAR REGULATORY SERVICES LLC AND BLACKSHIP TECHNOLOGIES LLC,
Xu co-founded e-cigarette liquid manufacturer and cannabidiol (CBD) products retailer Avail Vapor in 2013 and previously served as the company’s CEO. Avail, which started with just one retail location in Richmond, has grown to more than 99 stores in 11 states, with 30 locations in Virginia. It employs approximately 200 people through its stores and its Chesterfield County headquarters and manufacturing facility.
In January, Avail Vapor divided its operations into three separate businesses: Avail Vapor LLC (vapor retailer), Blackbriar Regulatory Services LLC (contract manufacturing, FDA compliance consulting) and Blackship Technologies LLC (research and development). Xu now serves as chairman for each of the three entities.
The subsidiaries manufacture and retail e-liquid and CBD products such as e-liquid vapors, vaping devices and accessories. In June 2019, the company launched its own line of CBD products under brand name Leafana Wellness.
Before he founded Avail Vapor, Xu and his sister, Ting, co-founded Evergreen Enterprises, which has become one of the largest home and gift wholesalers in the U.S. Xu has also been a member of the Committee on International Trade for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.