The bigger picture
Welcome to the 10th edition of The Big Book.
Virginia Business Publisher Bernie Niemeier had the inspiration for this annual issue more than a decade ago when he was retrieving his mail and noted the heft of Vanity Fair’s jam-packed annual Hollywood issue.
“Why can’t we have a big book like this?” he thought to himself.
Why not, indeed?
In March 2013, Virginia Business debuted the first annual installment of The Big Book (“book” being publishing lingo for a magazine issue). It replaced the List of Leaders, a special annual issue that, since the 1990s, had included a series of charts tracking 18 industries.
In the intervening years, The Big Book has evolved into both an economic development yearbook of the past 12 months’ biggest deals across the commonwealth, as well as an indispensable annual business reference tool, providing information about the major corporate players in Virginia.
Whether you’re a company looking to locate in Virginia or you’re an established presence here, it’s an excellent annual deskside resource. Need to know the top law, accounting or commercial real estate firms in Virginia? The Big Book’s got you covered. What are the biggest public and private companies? We’ve got that too. Need to get the lay of the land and know who the commonwealth’s top movers and shakers are? Consult our list of the 50 most influential Virginians.
But The Big Book consists of more than just lists and reference material.
In this year’s issue, you’ll also find a timely feature article from freelance writer Greg Weatherford about how the shortage of available, ready-to-build industrial sites is seriously hampering Virginia’s ability to compete with other states for many of the biggest economic development prizes.
Additionally, longtime Virginia Business writer Gary Robertson brings you an up-to-date report about how Virginia Military Institute, the nation’s oldest state-run military college, is meeting the challenges of one of the most pivotal times in its history, following a state-ordered investigation that found evidence of a “racist and sexist culture” at VMI.
And Virginia Business Associate Editor Robyn Sidersky writes in this issue about how the commercial real estate market for office space may be forever changed by the pandemic.
As you read through this year’s Big Book, themes will emerge. You’ll notice references to the labor crunches of the Great Resignation, the transformative nature of remote work, and the uncertainty that still plagues a business landscape that is grappling with 40-year inflationary highs and ongoing supply chain problems, as well as the potential for more COVID variants.
But what also comes across is the resilience of Virginia’s economy, buoyed by the strength of its many Fortune 1000 companies and the massive federal spending that fuels government contractors in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
There’s also Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 East Coast headquarters underway in Arlington and four new casinos under development in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Meanwhile, the commonwealth’s higher education institutions are prepping for tomorrow’s workforce and emerging technologies, led by the Virginia Tech Talent Investment Program.
These are some of the many reasons that Virginia in 2021 became the first state to be named CNBC’s Top State for Business twice in a row.
And if it happens for a third time, you’ll read about it in next year’s Big Book.