Virginia Receives Top Ranking on Forbes.com’s 2012 Best States For Business

Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:34 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Once again, Virginia received a podium ranking from Forbes.com in its annual Best States for Business ranking. Coming in at No. 2, Virginia is the top state on the East Coast and has held first or second overall since the ranking began in 2006...

Once again, Virginia received a podium ranking from Forbes.com in its annual Best States for Business ranking. Coming in at No. 2, Virginia is the top state on the East Coast and has held first or second overall since the ranking began in 2006.

The ranking is based on six categories: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

The Commonwealth was ranked No. 1 in the category of regulatory environment. According to Forbes.com, “The state ranks on top of the regulatory category because of its strong incentive offerings and business friendly government policies." With right-to-work laws, an unemployment tax burden 32 percent lower than the national average, and a six percent corporate tax rate unchanged since 1972, companies have improved their bottom lines just by locating in Virginia.

In the important category of labor supply, Virginia came in at No. 2 and was the top state on the East Coast. With 4.1 million motivated and highly skilled workers and more than 500,000 students enrolled in Virginia’s top-ranked colleges and universities, the Commonwealth has a strong pipeline ready to fill present and future industry needs.

Virginia was ranked No. 4 in the quality of life category, a metric that is gaining increasing importance for companies making relocation decisions. Virginia has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of historic resources and is blessed with beautiful mountains, rivers and beaches, as well as 35 state parks, 22 national parks and more than 500 trails, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities for residents.

This top ranking from Forbes.com adds to the distinguished list of honors Virginia has received this year, including winning the 2011 Competitiveness Award from Site Selection magazine, a No. 2 ranking on Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s Top Pro-Business States for 2012, and No. 3 rankings on Business Facilities’ 2012 State Rankings Report and CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business list, to name a few. 

To learn why Virginia continues to receive top recognition from the industry as the premier state for business, click here.

Leading Global Satellite Services Provider Intelsat Moves Headquarters to Virginia

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:30 by Info@YesVirginia.org
At an event overlooking the site for the company’s new headquarters building in Tysons Corner, Va., Governor McDonnell announced Intelsat will move its U.S. headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Fairfax County in 2014. The project will bring at least 430 jobs and an investment of more than $24 million in leasehold improvements to Northern Virginia...

At an event overlooking the site for the company’s new headquarters building in Tysons Corner, Va., Governor McDonnell announced Intelsat will move its U.S. headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Fairfax County in 2014. The project will bring at least 430 jobs and an investment of more than $24 million in leasehold improvements to Northern Virginia.

With plans to lease 188,000 square feet, Intelsat will be the anchor tenant at Tysons Tower, a new, 20-story office building being developed by Macerich as part of a three tower, mixed-use project at Tysons Corner Center. 

The state-of-the-art tower will be the tallest building in Tysons Corner, offering Intelsat employees panoramic views of Northern Virginia, a modern workspace, prime access to the amenities of Tysons Corner, and direct connection to the Capital Beltway and planned extension of the Metro Silver Line.

In addition, close proximity to Washington Dulles International Airport gives the Luxembourg-based company access to 80 percent of the world’s economies.

As the world’s leading provider of satellite services, Intelsat has delivered information to leading media companies, multinational corporations, Internet Service Providers and government agencies for more than 45 years. 

Intelsat’s new headquarters location in Fairfax County is not only aligned with its growing customer base, but it also offers access to a strong pipeline of highly-skilled workers. According to Cyberstates 2011, Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech workers.

To learn why global leaders continue to select Virginia as an environment that reflects their innovative culture, click here.

Latin American Subsidiary Phoenix Packaging Continues Growth in Pulaski County

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 16:13 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Phoenix Packaging recently announced plans to invest $20 million and create 100 new jobs to expand its Virginia operation in Pulaski County. This represents the second expansion in less than two years, bringing the company’s total announcements to $58 million in capital investment and more than 400 new jobs...

Phoenix Packaging recently announced plans to invest $20 million and create 100 new jobs to expand its Virginia operation in Pulaski County. This represents the second expansion in less than two years, bringing the company’s total announcements to $58 million in capital investment and more than 400 new jobs.

Part of Virginia’s New River Valley region, Pulaski County also serves as the company’s North American Headquarters. Phoenix Packing is a subsidiary of Grupo Phoenix, a leading Latin American manufacturer of packaging products targeting the food and disposable consumer product industries.

Seeking closer proximity to its U.S. customers, the company first selected Virginia in 2010 from more than 40 other possible sites. Virginia competed against Arizona for this latest expansion project and has successfully competed against Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, California and Nevada over the last three years. 

After investigating options overseas, Phoenix Packaging’s decision to remain and grow its Virginia operation illustrates just how well the Commonwealth competes on a global level.

Virginia’s strategic location, premier transportation infrastructure, skilled workforce, world-class higher education institutions, and competitive operating costs were all leading factors in the company’s multiple decisions for Virginia.

In addition, Virginia’s growing food and beverage industry, a primary market for Phoenix Packaging, proved to be an attractive asset. With names like Kraft Foods, Nestle and Hershey, Virginia boasts more than 550 food and beverage manufacturing companies that have invested $1.9 billion in the Commonwealth over the last decade. In fact, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, one of Phoenix Packaging’s customers, announced last year it would invest $180 million to establish a production and distribution facility in Isle of Wight County, Va.

To learn why Virginia manufacturers continue to find success in the Commonwealth, investing more than $13.8 billion over the last decade, click here.

Rolls-Royce Announces Second Facility on Virginia Crosspointe Campus

Tuesday, 4 December 2012 09:34 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Rolls-Royce recently announced it will begin construction on a second advanced manufacturing facility at its Crosspointe campus in Prince George County, Va., which is expected to bring a $136 million investment and 140 new jobs to the Central Virginia region...

Rolls-Royce recently announced it will begin construction on a second advanced manufacturing facility at its Crosspointe campus in Prince George County, Va., which is expected to bring a $136 million investment and 140 new jobs to the Central Virginia region.

The 90,000-square-foot Advanced Airfoil Machining Facility will be located on Rolls-Royce’s 1,000-acre campus, adjacent to its Rotatives manufacturing facility. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

The Advanced Airfoil Machining Facility will produce turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes for advanced aero engines used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus 380 and Airbus 350. Using Rolls-Royce’s advanced machining technology and proprietary high-speed cutting process, the company has the ability to precisely shape specialized materials and efficiently produce durable engine components.

Driven by growth for its aero engines, the company continues to expand its Crosspointe facility, making it the largest and most advanced Rolls-Royce campus in North America. Rolls-Royce’s vision for the Crosspointe campus is to create a hub of advanced manufacturing innovation, with partnerships between leading research universities, government and businesses. 

To date, the Crosspointe campus includes the company’s Rotatives facility, which opened in May 2011 as a center of excellence to manufacture the company’s engine discs. Also at Crosspointe, CCAM opened this fall as an applied research center, joining leading Virginia universities and manufacturing companies to bring real-world solutions to market more quickly.

With ample space and a robust, industrial-grade infrastructure for additional facilities, Rolls-Royce’s Crosspointe Campus is poised to attract suppliers and continue its growth as a leading center for advanced manufacturing.

To learn more about the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Campus and Virginia’s capabilities in the advanced manufacturing space, click on the highlighted links.

A rendering of Rolls-Royce's Advanced Airfoil Machining Facility at its Crosspointe campus in Prince George County, Va.

HanesBrands Inc. Expands in Patrick County

Thursday, 29 November 2012 13:47 by Info@YesVirginia.org
HanesBrands recently announced plans to expand its Woolwine plant in Patrick County, Va., through a $1.6 million investment...

HanesBrands recently announced plans to expand its Woolwine plant in Patrick County, Va., through a $1.6 million investment.

The company will upgrade the plant with high-speed manufacturing equipment that will double current capacity and allow the company to increase production of performance fabrics in the women’s sports market. 

The investment will bring 50 new jobs and retain 215 jobs at the Patrick County operation. In addition, HanesBrands employs a workforce of 400 at its distribution center in nearby Martinsville, Va.

HanesBrands has a long history in the region and the company’s positive experience with Virginia’s pro-business climate and advanced manufacturing workforce helped ensure the Commonwealth was selected once again.

Southern Virginia maintains a rich heritage of textile operations, and this investment illustrates Virginia’s manufacturing prowess in the competitive worldwide apparel industry.

With more than 6,000 manufacturers located in Virginia, the Commonwealth has seen more than $13.8 billion in capital investment from manufacturing companies over the last 10 years. To learn more about Virginia’s advanced manufacturing industry, click here.

WEIGHTPACK Moves Headquarters from Italy to Virginia

Thursday, 15 November 2012 14:47 by Info@YesVirginia.org
WEIGHTPACK Inc. recently announced plans to move its headquarters from Italy and expand its existing operation in Powhatan County, Va. The project will bring a $2.6 million investment and 35 new jobs to the Central Virginia region...

WEIGHTPACK Inc. recently announced plans to move its headquarters from Italy and expand its existing operation in Powhatan County, Va. The project will bring a $2.6 million investment and 35 new jobs to the Central Virginia region.

WEIGHTPACK is a packaging machinery company that designs and builds complete lines for the filling and capping of liquid product containers, with applications in the beverage, home care, personal care, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

The company has operated in Powhatan since 2001, and the decision to move its global headquarters to the same location illustrates how well Virginia’s business environment, workforce, and logistics infrastructure compete at a global level.

The Powhatan location is poised to become a major production hub as the company transitions to a more vertically integrated supply chain, providing for growing customer demand in the North and South American and Asian markets.

Powhatan County’s strong quality of life and access to Virginia’s world-class transportation network make it a premier location. WEIGHTPACK has historically used the international Port of Virginia for importing component parts. With the expansion of the production facility, the company expects to increase its exports through the port to reach international markets.

As global companies continue to bring high technology, manufacturing jobs to the U.S., Virginia stands ready to fulfill industry needs with a strong pipeline of highly-skilled, advanced manufacturing employees.

To learn more about Virginia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and why more than 6,000 manufacturing establishments have located in the Commonwealth, click here.

CCAM Opens Facility in Prince George County, Virginia

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:09 by Info@YesVirginia.org
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) received its full certificate of occupancy and opened its facility in Prince George County, Va., this September. CCAM has been steadily growing both in members and machinery and is expected to host a grand opening event in spring 2013...

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) received its full certificate of occupancy and opened its facility in Prince George County, Va., this September. CCAM has been steadily growing both in members and machinery and is expected to host a grand opening event in spring 2013.

CCAM has added three Tier 2 and three Tier 3 industry members over the last few months, bringing the total number of participating companies to 14.

The applied research center includes a high bay area, five machining labs, five computational labs, a visualization lab, meeting rooms with conferencing ability, open and modular workstations, and a cafeteria.

With participation from its industry partners and university members, engineers at the center are currently working on 10 research projects. One project involves adaptive machining, which uses specialized equipment to measure and make adjustments in real time as components are being manufactured, leading to improved performance and lower costs.

Another project incorporates multi-modal part inspection, which uses imagery to obtain information and identify small defects early in the manufacturing process, allowing any issues to be fixed before entering into high-rate production.

CCAM is another example of the public-private partnership between Virginia’s leading universities and world-class manufacturing companies to bring real-world solutions to the market more quickly. To learn more about CCAM, visit www.ccam-va.com.

CCAM’s high bay area includes a Laser Powder Deposition Machine and the Sulzer Metco Thermal Spray Cell, pictured below.

STEM Mobile Learning Lab—A Vehicle for Educating Virginia Students

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:45 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Since going on the road in spring 2010, the STEM Mobile Learning Lab has hosted 15,000 visitors from more than 300 locations. The lab offers numerous hands-on experiments as a method of educating K-12 students and members of the community in STEM subjects—science, technology, education and math...

Since going on the road in spring 2010, the STEM Mobile Learning Lab has hosted 15,000 visitors in more than 300 locations. The lab offers numerous hands-on experiments as a method of educating K-12 students and members of the community in STEM subjects—science, technology, education and math.

The STEM Mobile Learning Lab was established by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), a research, education and conference institute based in Danville, Va.

The 38-foot trailer contains multiple work stations, a clean area for experiments and a movie screen. Its impressive equipment list includes several laptops, high resolution microscopes, an HDTV video monitor, and additional demonstration gear. 

The STEM Mobile Learning Lab offers experiments in the areas of nanotechnology and renewable energy. Leading by example, the flex-fuel truck that tows the lab can run on either diesel fuel or cooking oil.

Using the STEM Mobile Learning Lab, students can participate in experiments that compare the energy efficiency of CFL and incandescent light bulbs, see how wind and solar power work, learn about energy conservation and how to weatherize doors and windows, and even look at microscopic particles on their own skin.

Preparing students to join the Commonwealth’s world-class workforce in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math is key to keeping Virginia at the top. According to Cyberstates 2011, Virginia has the nation’s highest concentration of high-tech workers.

To learn more about Virginia’s premier education system and quality workforce, click here.

Students use high resolution microscopes to participate in one of the many hands-on experiments offered by the STEM Mobile Learning Lab.

VEDP Releases Exporting Guide for Service Companies

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 09:18 by Info@YesVirginia.org
VEDP’s International Trade division recently released an exporting guide focused on the unique needs of service companies called “Exporting Services: A Guide for New Exporters”...

VEDP’s International Trade division recently released an exporting guide focused on the unique needs of service companies called “Exporting Services: A Guide for New Exporters.”

Some of the issues addressed in the guide include assessing export readiness, understanding export regulations, identifying a target market, protecting intellectual property, acquiring work permits and certifications, developing a market entry strategy, and negotiating financing and payment terms.

The services industry is thriving in Virginia—professional, scientific and technical services was the top sector for job creation in 2011, announcing 12,769 new jobs. With human capital as the major input, it’s no surprise that Virginia’s highly skilled workforce has proved to be a key advantage in growing this sector.

According to The Brookings Institution, Virginia’s service exports accounted for 42.6 percent of the state’s total exports in 2010, illustrating an opportunity to grow Virginia’s exports in a sector where the Commonwealth has the resources to leverage its success into international markets.

Helping Virginia companies grow sales overseas not only benefits Virginia businesses, but it also creates jobs at home. According to The Brookings Institution, Virginia exports supported more than 236,000 jobs in 2010.

To learn how VEDP’s International Trade division can help your company grow, go to www.exportvirginia.org.

Celanese Corp. Converts Giles County Celco Plant to Natural Gas

Friday, 2 November 2012 10:15 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Fortune 500 company Celanese Corp. just announced it will invest $150 million to convert its Celco Plant in Giles County, Va., from coal-fired to natural-gas fired boilers. The project will create 22 new full-time jobs, as well as employ an estimated 200 construction workers...

Fortune 500 company Celanese Corp. just announced it will invest $150 million to convert its Celco Plant in Giles County, Va., from coal-fired to natural-gas fired boilers. The project will create 22 new full-time jobs, as well as employ an estimated 200 construction workers.

Celanese Corp. is a global technology leader engaged in the production of specialty materials and chemical products used in a wide variety of industries and applications. The Virginia Celco Plant has helped make the company a leading producer of cellulose acetate tow, used in filter media.

The Celco Plant first established operations in Giles County, Va., in 1939 and is the largest employer in the county. Positioned along the New River and Route 460, this location offers the unique combination of a picturesque setting between the mountains, easy access to I-81, and close proximity to Virginia Tech and the region’s skilled and educated workforce.

This investment will allow the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while updating equipment to improve its energy efficiency—two goals aligned with the company’s core values of sustainability and operational excellence.

This project continues the positive trend of Virginia manufacturers making significant investments to upgrade to more environmentally-friendly sources of energy. Last year, MeadWestvaco announced plans to invest $285 million to construct a new, state-of-the-art biomass boiler at its Covington plant, and just last week RockTenn hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a natural gas pipeline to its West Point mill.

To learn why leading manufacturers continue to invest in the Commonwealth, bringing more than $13.8 billion in projects over the last decade, click here.

A view of the Celco Plant from across the New River.

VEDP Launches “YesVA” App

Thursday, 1 November 2012 13:48 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Today, VEDP launched the YesVA app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices available for download by visiting www.YesVirginia.org/app or through the App Store and Google Play Store...

Today, VEDP launched the YesVA app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices available for download by visiting www.YesVirginia.org/app or through the App Store and Google Play Store.

The YesVA app is an interactive tool that allows clients and site selection consultants to perform site and building searches and compare Virginia to other states, directly from a mobile device.

The YesVA app allows users to perform the following actions:
   •  Explore Virginia’s existing inventory of available properties in an easy-to-use map
   •  Navigate properties by type and narrow down options based on user requirements
   •  Save properties for later and share them with contacts
   •  View 1:1 attributes of how Virginia compares to other states in major business categories
   •  View profiles for each of the communities, regions and MSAs in Virginia
   •  View recent industry announcements for each community
   •  Communicate with VEDP regarding any of the properties within the app

By helping companies make the most informed decision on business locations, the YesVA app is yet another example of an innovative tool developed by VEDP to market Virginia as a top state for business.

To download the free YesVa app, visit www.YesVirginia.org/app or go directly to the App Store and Google Play Store.

A view from the main screen of the YesVa app.

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Virginia Economic Development Partnership is the Best State for Business

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), a state authority created by the Virginia General Assembly to better serve those seeking a prime business location and increased trade opportunities, provides confidential site selection and international trade services. VEDP's mission: To enhance the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all Virginians, in collaboration with Virginia communities, through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development, thereby expanding the tax base and creating higher-income employment opportunities.

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    Forbes.com Names Virginia A Best State for Business

    Wednesday, 12 November 2014 17:41 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia has done it again, receiving another top ranking on the Forbes.com annual Best States for Business study. Virginia ranked No. 4 this year and had previously held the No. 1 or 2 spot since the inception of the study in 2006. While we are accustomed to a higher billing, Virginia is honored to receive the continued recognition from Forbes as a best state for business...

    Virginia has done it again, receiving another top ranking on the Forbes.com annual Best States for Business study. Virginia ranked No. 4 this year and had previously held the No. 1 or 2 spot since the inception of the study in 2006. While we are accustomed to a higher billing, Virginia is honored to receive the continued recognition from Forbes as a best state for business.

    The Forbes.com ranking is based on six categories pulled from 36 points of data — costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

    Highlights for the Commonwealth of Virginia include the No. 1 ranking for its regulatory environment. Forbes.com touted Virginia’s strong incentive offerings and business-friendly government policies.

    Virginia ranked No. 2 for labor supply and was the top state on the East Coast. The Commonwealth’s skilled and well-educated workforce has long been esteemed by Virginia companies as a key component in their success. In addition, Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to the TechAmerica Foundation’s Cyberstates 2013.

    Virginia received a No. 5 ranking for quality of life. The Commonwealth’s favorable cost of living combined with access to natural resources, from the ocean to the mountains, and its historical, cultural and sports and entertainment offerings make Virginia a great place to live and work.

    Concern over the effects of sequestration led to a lower score in the growth prospects category, ultimately affecting Virginia’s overall ranking this year. The growth prospects category includes a five-year forecast from Moody’s Analytics.

    VEDP and the Virginia economic development community have long realized the potential impact of sequestration to our economy, and today’s No. 4 ranking further illustrates the new economic challenge facing Virginia.    

    The Commonwealth is committed to attracting new jobs and capital investment, and cultivating new economic growth through a proactive and aggressive economic development program. Initiatives like VEDP’s Going Global Defense Initiative, which helps Virginia defense companies mitigate the impact of federal spending cuts by launching an international strategy and growing revenue in markets overseas, will play an important role as we build a new Virginia economy.

    In the meantime, Virginia takes pride in our strong showing in the 2014 Forbes.com Best States for Business report. We continue to be ranked a best state because Virginia offers a business-friendly environment, favorable operating costs, a top workforce and premier East Coast location and transportation network. To learn why companies have prospered in the Commonwealth for more than 400 years, click here.

    Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corp.

    Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation Established in Halifax County

    Friday, 7 November 2014 16:14 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation was recently established in Halifax County, Va., through the merging of the National Tire Research Center and SoVa Motion...

    The Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation was recently established in Halifax County, Va., through the merging of the National Tire Research Center and SoVa Motion.

    The facility will remain at the Virginia Motorsports Technology Park, adjacent to the Virginia International Raceway, which is the longest motorsports road course in the U.S. with 4.2 miles of tarmac.

    The National Tire Research Center was established in 2010 through a public-private partnership among the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, General Motors, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

    The tire center houses the Flat Trac LTRe, an $11.3 million, high-performance tire testing machine that allows speeds of 200 mph on car, truck and motorsports vehicles. Due to strong customer demand, the center has grown from 13 to 26 employees, and expects to expand beyond 30 employees over the next year.

    NTRC has previously partnered with SoVa Motion (Southern Virginia Vehicle Motion Lab), which is operated by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. SoVa Motion has an eight-post shaker rig and driving simulator which can replicate various road conditions and many of the world’s racing tracks to test driver performance, shock and suspension reaction, on-vehicle sensing, as well as virtually prototype vehicle components.

    While the facilities have served major U.S. customers, such as General Motors, Goodyear Racing and NASCAR, rebranding as GCAPS reflects the increasing global scope of their customer base.

    GCAPS will also build upon the success of its math modeling and simulation capabilities by adding a virtual design and integration laboratory. The facility will provide full performance testing of highway and racetrack vehicles in both physical and virtual environments.

    GCAPS is a key part of Virginia’s Motorsports Alley and augments the Commonwealth’s strengths in the automotive industry. To learn why more than 150 automotive companies call Virginia home, click here.

    Executive Director Frank Della Pia appears next to a tire testing machine at the newly-branded Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation in Halifax County, Va. Photo courtesy of the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation.

    VEDP Releases Two New Marketing Tools for Mobile Devices

    Friday, 31 October 2014 15:26 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    VEDP recently released two new marketing tools for use on mobile devices. First, the YesVA App version 2.0 was released to the Apple App Store. For those who have already downloaded the original app to your iPad or iPhone, you can obtain the new version in the Updates section of the App Store...

    VEDP recently released two new marketing tools for use on mobile devices.

    First, the YesVA App version 2.0 was released to the Apple App Store. For those who have already downloaded the original app to your iPad or iPhone, you can obtain the new version in the Updates section of the App Store.

    New features for the YesVA App version 2.0 include:

    • Overall redesign to iOS 7 standards for design and user interface
    • The ability to filter properties by region
    • Better property grouping and functionality in map view
    • Better search functionality which matches the search function of the VirginiaScan desktop version

    There were no changes made to the Android version. For those who have never downloaded the app, links to both the Apple and Android versions are available at http://www.YesVirginia.org/aboutus/app.

    Second, we have also released the VEDP iBook. This interactive sales tool allows economic development professionals to present to clients on the road using only an iPad. The VEDP iBook links directly to VirginiaScan for property searches and the Compare Virginia tool for side-by-side comparisons between Virginia and other states and MSAs on key economic metrics.

    Content also includes video testimonials from C-level industry peers and interactive graphical presentations of Virginia’s premier assets, including our workforce, infrastructure and transportation network.

    These interactive tools are another demonstration of the innovation that is alive and well in the Commonwealth. We hope these will assist our economic development partners in marketing Virginia as the best state for business to companies across the globe. To learn more, click here.

    A view of the VEDP iBook homepage.

    Williamsburg-James City County School System Hosts Second Annual Manufacturing Day

    Wednesday, 29 October 2014 15:30 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Earlier this month, schools and companies partnered to host 17 events across Virginia as part of the second annual national Manufacturing Day campaign...

    Earlier this month, schools and companies partnered to host 17 events across Virginia as part of the second annual national Manufacturing Day campaign.

    One such event included students from Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools for the second year. Students, teachers and guidance counselors were given tours of the manufacturing plants at six local companies, including Anheuser-Busch, Ball Corp., Coresix Precision Glass, Owens-Illinois, Printpack Inc. and Walmart Distribution Center.

    Students learned about the diversity of careers in manufacturing, as well the high-tech skills needed to pursue a career in advanced manufacturing.

    The students also learned about the various paths available to prepare for this type of career. Representatives from Thomas Nelson Community College were on hand to discuss coursework they offer to prepare students to directly enter the manufacturing workforce or continue on to a four-year degree.

    The event was sponsored by WJCC Public Schools, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and James City County.

    A WJCC guidance counselor also attended another Manufacturing Day event nearby at Newport News Shipbuilding. The program allowed 13 area high school guidance counselors to tour the Welding School and The Apprentice School to view hands-on demonstrations of trades training.

    Manufacturing Day is a national program that encourages manufacturing companies across the U.S. to open their doors and provide tours for high school students in their communities. The purpose is to dispel misperceptions about the industry and inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing after seeing the high-tech, rewarding career paths available to them.

    The Manufacturing Day events in Virginia illustrate the Commonwealth’s leadership in preparing students for advanced manufacturing careers and developing a workforce with the skills to meet industry needs. To learn more, click here.

    Virginia students tour the Anheuser-Busch control room and learn about the high-tech nature of today’s advanced manufacturing careers. Photo courtesy of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

    VEDP Named a “Best in Class” Economic Development Group at IEDC Conference

    Monday, 20 October 2014 13:22 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    VEDP was named a “Best in Class” economic development organization today at the International Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference...

    VEDP was named a “Best in Class” economic development organization today at the International Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference.

    The results were tabulated by Development Counsellors International as part of its 2014 “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” report. DCI conducts a survey among U.S. corporate executives and site selection consultants every three years.

    “The leading economic development organizations identified in this year’s survey set the standard across the country for being ‘Best in Class’ on so many levels and clearly stand out to site selectors across the country,” said DCI President Andrew T. Levine. “As states look at how to build and strengthen relationships with site selectors and influence corporate executives’ decisions on where to locate, invest and create jobs, ‘Winning Strategies’ provides a glimpse into the minds of this important audience.”

    VEDP tied for sixth place with 15 percent of the responding executives and location advisors identifying us as a top economic development organization.

    During FY2014, VEDP assisted on 183 projects that resulted in announcements of 15,029 new jobs and $5.19 billion in invested capital. These 183 projects will generate an estimated $280 million of new state tax revenue for Virginia after five years and approximately $620 million after 10 years. These projects will also generate an estimated $276 million of local tax revenue after five years and approximately $612 million after 10 years.

    VEDP’s recognition as a “Best in Class” organization from one of our key markets — executives and location advisors — makes this award all the more meaningful and illustrates that we are on track to fulfill our mission:

    "To enhance the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all Virginians, in collaboration with Virginia communities, through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development, thereby expanding the tax base and creating higher-income employment opportunities."

    To learn more about how VEDP can assist your business, click here.

    NASA Grant Creates New STEM Education Program at Virginia’s Community Colleges

    Tuesday, 14 October 2014 16:00 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Virginia Space Grant Consortium recently announced a new program called STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges funded by a $500,000 grant from NASA...

    The Virginia Space Grant Consortium recently announced a new program called STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges funded by a $500,000 grant from NASA.

    The purpose of the initiative is to augment STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education within the Virginia Community College System and build stronger connectivity with NASA to provide students with world-class learning and research opportunities.

    STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges offers a full suite of programs that includes real-world internships, research experiences, additional coursework and faculty training.

    One example is the Build/Fly/Learn component which allows students to work on paid summer research projects at both NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. This opportunity is available to 38 community college rising sophomores who work in teams under the guidance of a NASA mentor.

    Additional coursework includes two multi-disciplinary classes on mission development and planning offered through Virginia’s Eastern Shore Community College, which will allow students to develop and fly a sounding rocket payload. A third course covers sea level rise and its impact on coastal communities. It’s available online and led by Virginia Western and Thomas Nelson Community Colleges.

    VCCS faculty will also receive additional training through a residential professional development STEM workshop at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Twenty professors will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on case study beginning June 2015.

    The STEM Takes Flight program is another example of Virginia’s premier higher education system that provides real-world experiences to ensure Virginia’s workforce pipeline is ready to meet the industry needs of the future. To learn more about Virginia’s higher education and workforce training solutions, click here.

    James Carter, a former NASA Langley Research Center intern, researches heat calibrations on model spray coatings.

    JMU Extends Collaboration to the Community with the Ice House

    Tuesday, 30 September 2014 16:59 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    James Madison University and partners have joined together to create the Ice House, a revitalized building complex in downtown Harrisonburg that will serve as a center of collaboration and engagement for JMU students, entrepreneurs and citizens in the local community...

    James Madison University and partners have joined together to create the Ice House, a revitalized building complex in downtown Harrisonburg that will serve as a center of collaboration and engagement for JMU students, entrepreneurs and citizens in the local community.

    Formerly known as the Cassco Ice House complex, the building was constructed in 1934 for ice and cold storage to support the region’s distribution of agricultural products. Operations were discontinued in 2004 and the building was unused until the recent revitalization plans rechristened it the Ice House.

    The name references both the building’s history as well as a JMU initiative called ICE, an acronym for Innovation-Collaboration-Entrepreneurship. JMU seeks to become a model of engagement that mobilizes resources from the university and community to launch new businesses and commercialize technology.

    Phase one of the project is complete and JMU has occupied 30,000 of the 80,000-square-foot building with departments such as Outreach and Engagement, the Office of Technology Innovation, Communications and Marketing, the JMU Small Business Development Center, the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lifelong Learning Institute.

    The principal developers of the Ice House project are both JMU alumni and the furniture was designed and built by JMU’s Industrial Design students.

    The building currently offers space available for rent that includes offices, event space, a kitchen, and classrooms and conference rooms fit with touchscreen A/V equipment and web conferencing capabilities.

    Phase two of the project includes plans to make the Ice House a center of the downtown community with restaurants, a brewery, yoga studio, retail space and loft apartments.

    The project is a win-win for the university and the community. Small business owners and entrepreneurs gain better access to JMU’s resources, and JMU students benefit from working on live projects with real businesses.

    JMU and its programs at the Ice House are another example of how the Commonwealth’s premier colleges and universities provide real-world experience to Virginia students and innovative ways to collaborate with the local community. To learn more, click here.

    A view of the open office and collaborative space at the Ice House in downtown Harrisonburg, Va. Photo courtesy of James Madison University.

    Mary Baldwin College Gives Tour of New College of Health Sciences Building

    Tuesday, 23 September 2014 12:59 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Recently, a group of economic development professionals toured the new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences building at Mary Baldwin College in Fishersvillle, Va...

    Recently, a group of economic development professionals toured the new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences building at Mary Baldwin College in Fishersvillle, Va.

    Classes are well underway — the school officially opened this past June and welcomed its inaugural class of 70 occupational therapy and physical therapy students.

    The state-of-the-art building is 55,000 square feet, with a central atrium that encompasses all three stories. The tech-rich environment incorporates multimedia with cameras that allow students to see a close-up demonstration during class, as well as view a recording of the session.

    The nine clinical laboratories include a neurological lab room, simulation lab, multiple skills labs, a human anatomy and a virtual anatomy lab. The multimedia environment also includes four large classrooms and six seminar rooms. 

    The building was designed as a place where students can congregate after class to continue learning. The open architecture allows for multiple collaboration spaces, and the building includes a café and break room with lockers. The myriad of windows lets in natural light, making it a place where students want to be.

    The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is currently training doctoral students in both physical therapy and occupational therapy, with plans to add a master’s degree for physician assistants and a degree-completion program for nurses in 2015.

    The school is located in the center of the Augusta County medical corridor. Adjacent to the Augusta Health hospital complex, it offers easy access to I-64 and is just seven miles from Mary Baldwin’s main campus.

    The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is another example of how Virginia’s higher education institutions are using cutting edge technology to prepare a workforce ready to add value as soon as they enter the employment pipeline. To learn more about Virginia’s world-class education system, click here.

    Mary Baldwin College welcomes its inaugural class of occupational and physical therapy students at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences new building in Fishersville, Va. Photo courtesy of Mary Baldwin College.

    VCU’s da Vinci Center Offers Real-World Interdisciplinary Training

    Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:10 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    YesVirginia Business Blog | A place for news, opinions, and information regarding the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

    Specialty’s Our Name — Expanding a Family Business Through the Generations

    Friday, 29 May 2015 09:19 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Butch Harrison founded Specialty’s Our Name in 1990, a precision sheet metal fabrication and machine shop based in Ashland, Va. His three sons, Brandon, Utley and Kevin, worked in the shop since high school and each found their niche, whether it was handling the finances, managing customer relationships or processing orders...

    Butch Harrison founded Specialty’s Our Name in 1990, a precision sheet metal fabrication and machine shop based in Ashland, Va.

    His three sons, Brandon, Utley and Kevin, worked in the shop since high school and each found their niche, whether it was handling the finances, managing customer relationships or processing orders. When their dad passed away in 2009, the brothers took ownership and proudly carried on the family name and reputation for a superior product and customer service at S.O.N. Inc.

    “We do the work other people don’t want to do,” said Brandon Harrison. “Our high-end, custom sheet metal work is in the White House Visitor Center, the American Civil War Museum at Tredegar and the Virginia Historical Society, and our customers include Homeland Security, Architectural Graphics Inc., Dometic Corporation and Showbest Fixtures.”

    The company has successfully grown from two people in a 2,500 square foot building to more than 30 people in a 32,000 square foot facility. The company delivers custom products and can offer consulting, drafting, welding, deburring, powder coating and precision parts, all from one location.

    The Harrison brothers not only weathered the recent economic downturn, but were able to continue growing their company. “We did feel some of the effects, but we manage our finances well and purchase equipment as we need it, so we don’t carry a lot of debt.” said Harrison. “We also have a broad customer range, from the marine industry to railroads to store fixtures. Being diverse helped us stay strong and grow our company through the tough times.”

    The brothers also took a calculated risk and started a sister company in 2008, Pro Powder & Paint Inc. “About 90 percent of our customers want a finish on their steel or aluminum products. We provide that and do our own powder coating and wet paint at a facility just down the street,” said Harrison.

    The company just had one of its best years and has a solid plan to grow both businesses and eventually combine them into one larger building.

    “We are lucky,” said Harrison. “The three of us are all equally responsible and we get to expand on what our father built. We really try to keep the family atmosphere throughout the company as we grow. We have several cousins and family members working in the shop, and we treat all of our employees like we are one big family. Without every piece of the puzzle coming together, this wouldn’t be possible.”

    As we celebrate Virginia Business Appreciation Month, Specialty’s Our Name serves as another great example of the ingenuity and dedication of Virginia entrepreneurs. To learn why the Commonwealth is a great location to grow a business, click here.

    Specialty’s Our Name owners Brandon, Utley and Kevin Harrison at their company headquarters in Ashland, Va.

    Marstel-Day — Growing a Green Business in Virginia

    Thursday, 28 May 2015 09:33 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Rebecca Rubin started Marstel-Day in 2002 with a passion to help large institutions conduct business in a way that is both effective and preserves the natural resource base...

    Rebecca Rubin started Marstel-Day in 2002 with a passion to help large institutions conduct business in a way that is both effective and preserves the natural resource base.

    Based out of Fredericksburg, Va., the company has grown from a one-woman desk to 160 employees nationwide. With clients ranging from government agencies to academic institutions, Marstel-Day helps organizations develop an overall strategy to be more eco-friendly.

    “Our customers may have the interest and funding, but we help them with their strategies and policies,” said President and CEO Rebecca Rubin. “Whether they want to be carbon neutral or make better use of their ecosystem services or reduce water consumption or be ready for climate change, we help them get there. We look at such things as their vulnerability to drought, temperature change, responsiveness and resilience of the IT structure to climate events — and help them answer the big picture questions.”

    The company’s success speaks for itself. Marstel-Day experienced 8-10 percent growth every year, including during the economic downturn. Its impressive client roster includes the Department of Defense, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration and National Laboratories. 

    Marstel-Day has also received numerous accolades, including being named to both the Inc. 5000 list and Zweigwhite’s Hot Firm list for six consecutive years, the Alliance for Workplace Excellence Eco-Leadership Award three years in a row, the Virginia Fantastic 50 list for the third time, and the UVA Darden School’s Tayloe Murphy Award for Resilience.

    Rubin chose to headquarter the business in Fredericksburg for two reasons:  proximity to a rail line and access to a great park system. “We were deliberately trying to get our employees off the roads and onto public transportation,” said Rubin. “Our other Virginia offices in Richmond and Alexandria are also within a quarter of a mile of a main train line. If you translate that into hours saved, it has an enormous impact on employee morale and health.”

    “Because of its battlefield history, Fredericksburg has preserved green spaces and they have a new trail system. Having a park system where our employees can jog or bike during their lunch hour or after work is tremendously important to us.”

    “There’s a reason why we’re here. Historically, Virginia has done a good job of understanding and appreciating the significance of nature and ecotourism. We find Virginia’s and the Governor’s commitment to green important to us as a company.”

    As we celebrate Virginia Business Appreciation Month, Marstel-Day is another great example of how entrepreneurs find a successful environment for innovation in the Commonwealth. To learn why Virginia is a great place to grow a business, click here.

    Marstel-Day President and CEO Rebecca Rubin at the company’s headquarters in Fredericksburg, Va. Photo courtesy of Marstel-Day LLC.

    Performance Signs — From a Dorm Room to the Highway

    Thursday, 21 May 2015 10:30 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Founder Robbie Morris was an engineering student at Virginia Tech when he started making decals for his brother’s stock car racing team. Robbie actually ran the decal machine out of his dorm room in the fall of 1995...

    Founder Robbie Morris was an engineering student at Virginia Tech when he started making decals for his brother’s stock car racing team. Robbie actually ran the decal machine out of his dorm room in the fall of 1995.

    While out on an engineering co-op, Robbie realized he enjoyed the creativity of the sign work much more than the structure of his engineering internship and decided to pursue the sign business full-time.

    Today, Performance Signs makes a variety of signs, banners, vehicle lettering, vehicle wraps, window lettering and real estate signs for commercial businesses, public safety vehicles and highways.

    Self-awareness is an important trait for entrepreneurs, and surrounding oneself with the right people and skillsets is critical. Robbie found the perfect business partner in his wife Katherine. She came on board full-time in 2004 and made improvements with her ability to manage, schedule and handle the day-to-day business, allowing Robbie to focus on the creative side.

    Robbie and Katherine focused on building relationships with their customers and that paid off. “We were doing work for a sign company that supported a police department in Southwest Virginia,” said Performance Signs Founder Robbie Morris. “Those decals were an exact match for the Albemarle police department near us. We were able to approach them and found that there was a need for somebody to serve the public safety vehicles in our area. There’s a tightknit community among the police, fire department and rescue squad, and our relationship with that core group has helped us grow.”

    When the recession hit, Robbie and Katherine looked at everything they did in order to be more efficient, from the number of phone lines they needed to the amount of equipment. They also took a calculated risk when a property became available. 

    “All indications were that it would be crazy to buy something right now, but it completely came together for us,” said Robbie. “We really felt like God was moving in our lives and the timing was right. We did an SBA 504 loan. It was a lot of work, but through that process it helped us see our business in a new way.”

    Robbie and Katherine closed on their building in the fall of 2009, and continuing their quest for efficiency, installed a solar-paneled roof on the 8,000-square-foot facility. Depending upon the time of year, the solar panels generate anywhere from 55-100 percent of the building’s electricity. 

    Robbie and Katherine’s tenacity allowed them to successfully bounce back from the recession. The company has doubled sales since 2010 and grown from four to 12 people.

    Performance Signs was also just selected to participate in the inaugural class of Ones to Watch, a business mentoring initiative run by the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award Program for Virginia.

    As we celebrate Virginia Business Appreciation Month, Performance Signs stands as another great example of the innovation and creativity of Virginia entrepreneurs. To learn why Virginia is a great place to grow a business, click here.

    Performance Signs CEO Katherine Morris and Founder Robert Morris outside their company headquarters in Ruckersville, Va.

    Release Reels — An Entrepreneur’s Journey from Biking to Fishing

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 09:50 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    After a hectic career traveling all over the U.S. and Europe as a professional cyclist, all Wes Seigler wanted to do after retiring as an athlete was to relax at his parent’s home in Reedville, Va., and fish every day like he did as a kid...

    After a hectic career traveling all over the U.S. and Europe as a professional cyclist,  all Wes Seigler wanted to do after retiring as an athlete was to relax at his parent’s home in Reedville, Va., and fish every day like he did as a kid.

    While fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and offshore Virginia, Seigler and his friends soon encountered problems with the performance of the reels they were using. Drawing upon his experience perfecting his own bike gearing and after encouragement from contacts in the cycling industry, Seigler decided to design his own product.

    Release Reels was established in 2009. Seigler quickly found himself in the world of POs, RFQs and SKUs and learning what it all meant on the go. He initially started manufacturing in China, but found his intellectual property was leaking into competitors’ products and decided to bring back the manufacturing stateside.

    Release Reels makes premium saltwater fishing reels, and the tolerances are very high. The product has to perform perfectly and look sharp. In order to make sure the machining was spot on, he decided to manufacture it himself. Upon being told he couldn’t compete with Asia, Seigler responded, “We can, we just gotta be willing to work.”

    The company now operates nine CNC machines and has 10 full-time employees. 100% of the assembly and machining is done in Virginia and 100% of the component parts are made in the U.S. Seigler sources specialty bearings from Florida, gears and springs from Wisconsin and screws from San Diego, all to ensure the product is made in the USA.

    “We have to win all categories — that’s the mentality of our company,” said Seigler. Release Reels products outperform in every class — they are smaller and more powerful, while weighing less.

    The company also maintains a lifetime warranty on all its products, which no one else in the industry does. “If you purchase a product, I believe you should be able to call somebody and talk to them,” remarked Seigler. “We can fix it inexpensively, since we do all the machining in-house. Customers love the interaction and that carries into their next purchase.”

    Release Reels also works with Rappahannock Community College and hires interns with an interest in machining as a career. “Giving a chance to somebody that might not be university bound has been pretty cool. Manufacturing is not what it used to be, it’s technology driven. We run a clean shop and it’s a great environment where people can learn a lot,” said Seigler.

    The company’s high standards and customer service have paid off. After beginning with production of 100 reels per month, the company is now selling almost 600 reels per month and building the infrastructure to grow beyond that. They have also expanded into international markets from Europe to Southeast Asia.  

    “The international market is huge for us,” noted Seigler. “People love an American-made product. Japan has a large fishing industry with some of the top shops in the world there. Being accepted by those customers is a strong statement for the quality of our products.”

    As we celebrate Virginia Business Appreciation Month, Release Reels is a great example of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit alive in the Commonwealth. To learn more why Virginia is a great place to grow a business, click here.

    Release Reels Founder and President Wes Seigler demonstrates the company’s premium saltwater fishing reels for a future customer. Photo courtesy of Release Reels.

    NCS Technologies — A Case Study of Innovation During Sequestration

    Thursday, 7 May 2015 10:33 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Founded in Northern Virginia in 1996, NCS Technologies made a name for itself as a nimble and responsive small business computer manufacturer and supplier to state and federal agencies, the military, the intelligence community and commercial markets. The company operates out of a modern campus in Gainesville...

    Founded in Northern Virginia in 1996, NCS Technologies made a name for itself as a nimble and responsive small business computer manufacturer and supplier to state and federal agencies, the military, the intelligence community and commercial markets. The company operates out of a modern campus in Gainesville.

    The company’s products include commercial-off-the-shelf laptops and desktops for offices and schools, high-performance servers for corporate networks, and rugged tablet computers and servers for the military. Over the years, much of the company’s business depended on government.

    Like many companies that found a niche serving federal agencies, the impact of sequestration created significant challenges. However, as with all great companies, NCS was able to turn those challenges into opportunities and come out successfully on the other side.

    NCS has bounced back to its full pre-sequestration workforce and used the opportunity to diversify its customer base. The company realized that its experience delivering advanced computing products and services to highly demanding government customers could be translated into innovative new products for other growing markets, including healthcare, advanced manufacturing, banking and financial services.

    The company kept innovating during the economic downturn and developed the industry’s only zero client laptop. Zero client computers have no operating system or data stored locally. Everything is virtually saved in the cloud, making the data more secure in the event the computer is hacked, lost or stolen.

    While global competitors have developed zero client desktops, NCS Technologies is the only company able to master the engineering challenges to fit those capabilities, including patented Wi-Fi capability, into a mobile laptop product.

    “Our employees are our greatest investment in innovation,” said John Callahan, vice president of marketing. “They are truly knowledge workers, including electrical engineers, sales representatives, program managers, financial analysts, highly trained assembly-line associates, technical support and customer service employees. Prince William County and surrounding Northern Virginia offers us that range of workforce that helps us excel in a complex, ultra-competitive environment.”

    As part of Virginia Business Appreciation Month, NCS Technologies represents the high-growth industry and technological innovation that is alive and well in the Commonwealth. To learn why companies have found success in Virginia for more than 400 years, click here.

    The Cirrus LT from NCS Technologies is the world’s first mobile zero client laptop computer. Photo courtesy of NCS Technologies.

     

     

    Highground Services — A Successful Graduate of the Franklin Business Incubator

    Friday, 1 May 2015 09:34 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    John Warren and James Strozier, two former International Paper employees, put their experience together and became entrepreneurs when they created Highground Services in 2006. They co-founded the company with their wives, allowing it to qualify as a veteran-owned, SWAM (small, women-owned and minority) business...

    John Warren and James Strozier, two former International Paper employees, put their experience together and became entrepreneurs when they created Highground Services in 2006. They co-founded the company with their wives, allowing it to qualify as a veteran-owned, SWAM (small, women-owned and minority) business.

    The company provides high quality engineering services for process control, system automation and instrumentation projects.

    The company was off to a fast start — they landed their first contract with International Paper in May 2007 and became a part of the Franklin Business Incubator that December.

    When International Paper announced the closing of its Franklin Mill in 2009, this represented a substantial part of Highground Services’ sales.

    Rather than be discouraged by the economic downturn and loss of their largest customer, Warren and Strozier seized the opportunity to hire displaced International Paper workers and expand their customer base. They also diversified their business by providing new services, including electrical construction and plant maintenance.

    “We made a conscious decision to locate in a historically underutilized business zone and we really value being a part of this community,” said CEO James Strozier. “Our employees are tremendous and they worked tirelessly to help us not only survive, but thrive in what could have been a very challenging time.”

    The company’s efforts have paid off in multiple ways. They received the Virginia Business Incubation Association's Donna Noble Incubator Client Award in 2009, UVA’s Darden School of Business Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards in 2011 and the Franklin/Southampton Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award in 2010.

    Highground Services has surpassed the $5 million revenue mark for the third straight year, and grown from four founders to 65 employees. The company is also poised to graduate from the Franklin Business Incubator and is in the process of purchasing a building across the street in downtown Franklin.

    The entrepreneurial spirit and resiliency of Highground Services is a great reminder of the innovation that exists here in the Commonwealth as we celebrate Virginia Business Appreciation Month. To learn why Virginia offers the resources for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, click here.

    Co-founders Jim and Lisa Strozier (center) are joined by local officials in front of their new property in downtown Franklin, Va.

    Shenandoah Valley Partnership Launches inDEMAND Jobs Site

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015 10:28 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Shenandoah Valley Partnership is partnering with WHSV-TV3 news to launch an educational campaign called “inDEMAND Local Career Opportunities...

    The Shenandoah Valley Partnership is partnering with WHSV-TV3 news to launch an educational campaign called “inDEMAND Local Career Opportunities.”

    The purpose of inDemand is to increase awareness about high-paying career opportunities in high-growth industries where there is a substantial demand for a qualified workforce. With the cost of higher education a concern for many families, this campaign will highlight rewarding jobs that require some additional training, but not a full four-year degree. 

    Through linkage with Dream It, Do It — Virginia, the campaign will help both students and current employees match their career aspirations with programs and certifications offered through the Virginia Community College System, Career and Technical Education Centers, and four-year colleges and universities.

    WHSV-TV3 is currently filming a series of three minute videos featuring 26 different careers that will be posted on their site at http://www.whsv.com/indemand. Governor McAuliffe kicked off the campaign earlier this month and his interview is included on the site.

    The first video focused on high demand in the welding industry. Training to become a welder takes about six months and companies in the Shenandoah Valley are projected to hire 180 welders over the next 10 years.

    Upcoming videos will discuss local demand for employees in the software development, mechatronics, accounting and trucking industries, to name just a few.

    The Shenandoah Valley’s inDemand campaign highlights the premier workforce training programs that exist across the Commonwealth. To learn how Virginia is keeping its workforce up-to-date on the latest technology through its 15 public universities, 45 private institutions and 23 community colleges, click here.

    Virginia Makes a Strong Showing on Kiplinger’s 2015 Best College Values List

    Friday, 17 April 2015 16:00 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia universities made a strong showing on Kiplinger’s annual Best Colleges list, all the more important in the current environment where finding a quality education at an affordable price has become increasingly challenging...

    Virginia universities made a strong showing on Kiplinger’s annual Best Colleges list, all the more important in the current environment where finding a quality education at an affordable price has become increasingly challenging.

    In the public categories list, University of Virginia was ranked No. 2, The College of William and Mary No. 5, James Madison University No. 29, Virginia Tech No. 35, Christopher Newport University No. 83, and University of Mary Washington was No. 84.

    For the liberal arts category, Washington and Lee University received a No. 2 ranking, University of Richmond No. 10, and Christendom College was No. 57.

    To calculate the rankings, the editors at Kiplinger looked at a number of metrics used to determine both quality and value. The list was drawn from more than 1,200 four-year higher education institutions across the U.S.

    Quality was measured through admission rates, test scores of incoming freshman, freshman retention, students per faculty and four-year graduation rates.

    Value was calculated by looking at the overall cost of education, the amount of need-based and non-need-based aid, the percentage of need met and student debt at graduation.

    Virginia’s strong rankings in both the public and liberal arts categories show the breadth of the Commonwealth’s premier education offerings. Virginia has more than 575,000 students enrolled in 230 campuses across the state ensuring the workforce of tomorrow is prepared to meet industry needs. To learn more click here.

    A view of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Photo courtesy of UVA and Cassidy Girvin.

    VEDP and CCAM Receive Achievement in Innovation Award from Business Facilities Magazine

    Tuesday, 14 April 2015 17:07 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Business Facilities magazine recently announced its 2015 Economic Development Awards and VEDP was a recipient of one of five Achievement in Innovation Awards for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing...

    Business Facilities magazine recently announced its 2015 Economic Development Awards and VEDP was a recipient of one of five Achievement in Innovation Awards for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

    The Business Facilities article mentioned how difficult it was to narrow down candidates this year because best practices are being implemented across the country, making CCAM’s recognition all the more meaningful.                                                          

    According to the Business Facilities’ editorial staff, “The states that are ahead of the curve have developed innovation hubs for targeted growth sectors and created an environment that makes their locations fertile ground for emerging businesses. This year, we’re focusing our spotlight on five programs that have exhibited consistent excellence in the development of innovation hubs and three successful initiatives targeting entrepreneurs.”

    CCAM is an applied research center that brings together Virginia’s leading manufacturing companies and educational institutions to turn research into real-world technologies and solutions. It operates out of a 62,000-square-foot facility located adjacent to the 1,000-acre Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Campus in Prince George County, Va.

    CCAM is focused on advancing and commercializing manufacturing technologies in six key areas — surface engineering, manufacturing systems, machining technologies, welding, additive manufacturing and composite materials.

    Operating as a public-private partnership, its roster is made up of five university members and 33 corporate and industry members, including globally recognized leaders Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus, Alcoa, Canon, Chromalloy, NASA, Newport News Shipbuilding, Oerlikon Metco, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant and Siemens.

    This award highlights what the more than 5,600 manufacturing companies located in Virginia already know — that the Commonwealth is a hub of advanced manufacturing and offers companies the innovative environment to grow. To learn more click here.

    A view of CCAM, adjacent to Rolls-Royce’s Crosspointe Campus, in Prince George County, Va.

    VEDP’s Advertising Agency Wins Best in Show for Stone Brewing Kit

    Monday, 13 April 2015 15:27 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    We at VEDP are proud to congratulate our advertising agency, Elevation, for winning Best in Show in the Promotional Design & Advertising category at the Richmond Ad Club’s annual awards show...

    We at VEDP are proud to congratulate our advertising agency, Elevation, for winning Best in Show in the Promotional Design & Advertising category at the Richmond Ad Club’s annual awards show.

    Elevation helped us develop a unique presentation for the executive team at Stone Brewing Co. as part of our marketing process to win their East Coast location for Virginia.

    During a meeting among Stone Brewing Co., the Governor, his administration, and other key members of the Virginia marketing team, VEDP organized a surprise visit from a character actor portraying Thomas Jefferson.

    Agriculture was one of Jefferson’s greatest passions, and at Monticello he grew the ingredients to make his own ale, continuing Virginia’s more than 400-year brewing legacy.

    Elevation developed a script for Jefferson to describe Virginia’s plentiful natural resources that would make an excellent home for Stone Brewing’s East Coast location. They also developed a kit filled with Virginia brewing ingredients for Jefferson to present to the Stone executive team — pure Virginia water, wheat, hops and molasses.

    As everyone knows, the pitch was successful and Stone Brewing announced their plans to invest $74 million to construct a brewery, packaging hall, restaurant, gardens, retail store and offices in Richmond this past fall.

    Virginia successfully competed against more than 20 states, and winning this competitive project from the country’s 10th largest craft brewing company has furthered the Commonwealth’s position as a serious player in the craft beer industry.

    Food and beverage companies continue to find Virginia has the recipe for success. To learn why food processing companies have invested more than $2.1 billion in Virginia since 2004, click here.

    An actor portraying Thomas Jefferson holds the Stone Brewing kit for a marketing presentation that won Best in Show at the Richmond Ad Club awards.

    Magnets USA Celebrates 25 Years and a New Facility in Virginia

    Friday, 27 March 2015 16:57 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Magnets USA recently celebrated 25 years in the Roanoke Valley region of Virginia. The company also hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new building in Vinton, Va...

    Magnets USA recently celebrated 25 years in the Roanoke Valley region of Virginia. The company also hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new building in Vinton, Va.

    Magnets USA moved from nearby Roanoke City into the former Grumman Fire Truck Corp. location, a newly-renovated, climate-controlled, 45,000-square-foot building. The grand opening event featured fire trucks previously manufactured at the Grumman building to commemorate its history.

    The new facility will provide 70 percent more production space and allow the company to add 25 new jobs to its current workforce of 60. VEDP’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program is assisting the company with training funds for the new jobs.

    Founded in 1990, the company began selling adhesive materials that magnetized business cards. Today, Magnets USA produces more than 20 million magnetized marketing products each year, including calendars, sports and event schedules, banners and business cards. 

    Virginia’s premier business environment has allowed the company to successfully expand its customer base to include the real estate market, Chicago Bears, Salem Red Sox, Kid Rock Enterprises, Burning Man, Floyd Fest, the American Quilter’s Society and local schools.

    Magnets USA has also worked with VEDP’s international trade team to increase global sales. The company currently exports to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The company’s history and success in Virginia is another example of the pro-business environment and resources the Commonwealth provides for growing companies. To learn more, click here.

    The Magnets USA team prepares to cut the ribbon at the company’s grand opening ceremony for its renovated facility in Vinton, Va. Photo courtesy of Magnets USA.

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    Virginia Economic Development Partnership is the Best State for Business

    The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), a state authority created by the Virginia General Assembly to better serve those seeking a prime business location and increased trade opportunities, provides confidential site selection and international trade services. VEDP's mission: To enhance the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all Virginians, in collaboration with Virginia communities, through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development, thereby expanding the tax base and creating higher-income employment opportunities.

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    Virginia Rises to Second in Atlantic Region in Annual Workforce Development Rankings

    Wednesday, 1 February 2017 14:25 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    Virginia rose from fourth to second in the Atlantic region in a recent analysis of state workforce development activities conducted by Site Selection Magazine.

    Site Selection’s third annual state workforce development rankings provide a general sense of which states, in a given region, are devoting sufficient or superior resources to preparing their workforces for current and future employment. The analysis looked at states’ commitment to skills development as measured by their spending on workforce development, K-12 preparation and the number of working-age adults deemed “career-ready.”

    Among the eight ranked states, Virginia scored ahead of highly competitive states like Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware, and tied with South Carolina.

    “Virginia’s improved ranking is further evidence that we’re making significant progress toward building a 21st century workforce,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We know that workforce is the number one factor companies evaluate when making a decision to locate a new facility or expand their existing business.  We’re pleased to see our position improve relative to our regional competitors and will continue our efforts to assure our position as a leader in workforce development and education.”

    Virginia offers customized recruiting and training services through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). To learn more about this economic development incentive, click here.

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    Virginia — The Only State Ranked in Top Five Since the Inception of Pollina’s Pro-Business Study

    Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:28 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia has again received a top ranking in the Pollina Corporate Real Estate/AEDI Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2015. For the third straight year, the Commonwealth was ranked No. 4 overall and was the top state on the East Coast. Virginia was ranked in the top three from 2004-2012...

    Virginia has again received a top ranking in the Pollina Corporate Real Estate/AEDI Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2015. For the third straight year, the Commonwealth was ranked No. 4  overall and was the top state on the East Coast. Virginia was ranked in the top three from 2004-2012.

    “Clearly a national leader in the 12 years of this study, no other state comes close to Virginia when it comes to being a consistent pro-business state. Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state to remain within the top five pro-business states for the entire history of this study,” said Brent A. Pollina, president of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. and author of the study.

    Virginia received an overall grade of A as it has for the last five years. The Commonwealth was the No. 1 state in the Stage II section, which is based on metrics at the state economic development agency level, such as incentives and marketing/website/response to new and existing employers.

    “Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership should be commended for their efforts to consistently remain competitive, as they have clearly worked to preserve the tools Virginia needs to remain one of the most pro-business state in the country,” continued Pollina.

    The Pollina study is considered the “gold standard” for evaluating states on 32 factors controlled at the state government level, including taxes, human resources, education, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, regulatory environment, workers’ compensation laws and economic incentive programs.

    Consistency of a state’s performance is an important consideration when companies are making long-term decisions about corporate site locations that require significant capital investment.

    “The key to Virginia’s success is its ability to balance low taxes, a good labor force, and a strong economic development program. With a Stage I rank of #9 and a Stage II rank of #1, Virginia has one of the most well-rounded business climates in the nation.”

    To learn why Virginia has the right resources that have allowed companies to prosper here for more than 400 years, click here.

    Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Transportation.

    VEDP Launches 2015 Digital Advertising Campaign

    Friday, 23 January 2015 09:34 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia has a great story and it’s imperative that it be told to the global business audience. In January, VEDP launched a new digital ad campaign, expected to deliver more than 73 million impressions through June 2015...

    Virginia’s competitiveness and perception as a pro-business state remain strong. However, competition in the global economy and domestic markets continues to increase. Competing states are more aggressive in their outreach efforts, with several recently unveiling multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to promote and lure business.

    Virginia has a great story and it’s imperative that it be told to the global business audience. In January, VEDP launched a new digital ad campaign, expected to deliver more than 73 million impressions through June 2015.

    To maximize our limited resources, VEDP focused on digital media outlets and purchased an integrated schedule of online, mobile, tablet and pay-per-click search placements. The campaign targets VEDP’s geographic markets in the U.S, U.K., Germany and China.

    The ads, promoting Virginia’s prime business location advantages, appear in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and Reuters, as well as two advertising networks — Bizo and Rocketfuel.

    Search engine marketing remains a key component of our strategy. VEDP implemented pay-per-click ads on Google, Bing and Baidu. This is our first venture with Baidu, the leading search engine in China.

    “VEDP’s advertising strategy continues to prove effective at generating leads and building awareness of the strengths that make the Commonwealth such a great place to work and live,” said Vince Barnett, VEDP vice president of communications & promotions. “The digital program provides unique targeting capabilities to reach key corporate decision makers, while making the most efficient use of limited advertising dollars.”

    An example of a 15 second video pre-roll used as part of the campaign is below, and landing pages for the U.S., U.K., Germany and China can be found by clicking on the highlighted links.

    To learn more about the opportunities for success that are waiting for you in Virginia, visit www.YesVirginia.org.

    A view of the video pre-roll touting Virginia’s pro-business resources.

    Richmond, Hampton Roads and Charlottesville are Top Happiest Metro Areas in the U.S.

    Friday, 25 July 2014 15:53 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Richmond/Petersburg was ranked No. 1 and Hampton Roads (Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News) was ranked No. 2 on the National Bureau of Economic Research list of Top 10 Happiest Metropolitan Areas with a Population Greater Than One Million. Charlottesville was ranked No. 1 as the U.S. Metropolitan Area with the Highest Reported Happiness...

    Richmond/Petersburg was ranked No. 1 and Hampton Roads (Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News) was ranked No. 2 on the National Bureau of Economic Research list of Top 10 Happiest Metropolitan Areas with a Population Greater Than One Million. Charlottesville was ranked No. 1 as the U.S. Metropolitan Area with the Highest Reported Happiness.

    Economists at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia published a working paper called “Unhappy Cities” through the National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER is the nation’s leading nonprofit economic research organization, with more than 1,300 economics and business professors teaching across North America.

    The authors of the study, Edward Glaeser, Joshua Gottlieb and Oren Ziv, used the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a self-reported study on happiness conducted by the CDC, as their primary data source. Because the BRFSS data reports the county where a respondent lives, the authors were able to link responses with location.

    They then performed a series of regression analyses to control for individual factors, such as education, income and race, to come up with an adjusted life satisfaction estimate for each MSA.

    The authors discovered there is indeed a correlation between happiness and location. They also found that self-reported unhappiness is highest in declining cities, areas linked with lower levels of population and income growth.

    It comes as no surprise that multiple regions in Virginia received top marks in this study. With more than 400 years of rich history, the Commonwealth offers employers and citizens an affordable cost of living, access to parks and natural resources ranging from the mountains to the ocean, and recreational opportunities from historical sites to modern sports, entertainment and cultural venues. To learn why reports like this give Virginia a top ranking on quality of life, click here.

    A map of the U.S. which shows each metropolitan and rural areas' adjusted life satisfaction. Photo courtesy of the University of British Columbia.

    Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing Established in Window Film Capital of the World

    Monday, 9 June 2014 14:50 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The founding of the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing was recently announced in Martinsville-Henry County during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Patrick Henry Community College...

    The founding of the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing was recently announced in Martinsville-Henry County during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Patrick Henry Community College.

    Through a public-private partnership, the center will offer a 28-credit Advanced Film Certification Program. Students will take classes at Patrick Henry Community College and New College Institute, while receiving access to hands-on training with machinery and equipment at nearby Eastman Chemical and Commonwealth Laminating & Coating. In March, Eastman Chemical announced plans to acquire Commonwealth Laminating & Coating.

    Advanced film experts at Eastman Chemical and Commonwealth Laminating & Coating are advising on curriculum and will participate as part-time instructors. The companies will also offer internships and all graduates of the program are guaranteed an interview at Eastman Chemical.

    The Martinsville-Henry County region has become “the window film capital of the world,” producing more than 30 percent of the global supply of coated and dyed film.

    Performance or advanced films are terms used to describe any film applied to another material, such as a glass window. Films come in the form of tints, laminates, coating and composites, providing benefits such as tints on car windows to reduce glare, tints on office building windows for privacy, additional strength to industrial windows for security, and the addition of photovoltaic materials to solar panels to capture the sun’s energy.

    Students can apply to the Advanced Film Certification Program on the PHCC website, and the first class will commence in fall 2014.

    Virginia is home to more than 200 plastics companies, and the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing will help ensure the Commonwealth has a well-trained workforce pipeline to maintain its leadership in this industry sector. To learn more, click here.

    Two employees at Eastman Chemical stand proudly in Martinsville-Henry County, “the window film capital of the world." Photo courtesy of Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

    U.S. Foreign Affairs Security Training Center Comes to Virginia’s Fort Pickett

    Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:29 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The U.S. Department of State recently announced plans to establish its Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, known as FASTC, on 1,500 acres at Fort Pickett in Virginia’s Nottoway County...

    The U.S. Department of State recently announced plans to establish its Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, known as FASTC, on 1,500 acres at Fort Pickett in Virginia’s Nottoway County.

    U.S. diplomats are currently trained at multiple sites across the nation. In May 2008, Congress identified the need to consolidate training at one facility to improve efficiencies and cost savings. 

    After a multi-year search, Fort Pickett was selected as the best site over 70 other properties because it met DOS’ operational requirements and offered close proximity to D.C. agencies and the intelligence community.

    FASTC will train approximately 8,000 – 10,000 U.S. ambassadors and diplomats sent to foreign countries, sometimes in dangerous locations. The center will initially focus on hard skills training, which includes detecting surveillance, providing emergency medical care, identifying explosive devices, firearms training, and performing defensive driving maneuvers. The 2012 attacks in Benghazi highlight the importance of this training for the U.S. foreign affairs community.

    Fort Pickett is the perfect location because the 46,000-acre campus offers plenty of land and a secure environment to build driving tracks, mock urban environments, and firing and explosive ranges. Fort Pickett was established in 1942 and currently serves as the Maneuver Training Center for the Virginia National Guard. While the land is predominantly in Nottoway County, it covers parts of Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties.

    This project is expected to be transformative for the Nottoway County region. The DOS is currently estimating a hard-skills facility will bring $461 million in investment to the area, not to mention additional jobs both onsite and in the community through the multiplier effect.

    U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and a group of federal, state and local officials recently visited Fort Pickett to tour the future site of FASTC. The Administration continues to work through budgetary issues and must complete an updated master plan and environmental impact study before construction can begin.

    Virginia’s selection as the site for the FASTC project illustrates how the Commonwealth provides the right location, infrastructure and workforce for both public and private entities. To learn more click here.

    U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and a group of federal, state and local officials tour the future site of FASTC at Fort Pickett in Nottoway County, Va. Photo courtesy of Virginia National Guard Public Affairs/Cotton Puryear.

    Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center Receives Additional Funding

    Monday, 14 April 2014 15:16 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Halifax County Industrial Development Authority recently announced it has received a $427,500 grant to complete Phase III renovations on the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center...

    Halifax County Industrial Development Authority recently announced it has received a $427,500 grant to complete Phase III renovations on the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center.

    SVAMC is located in South Boston, Va., at the former Daystrom Furniture manufacturing plant. Halifax County purchased the facility three years ago, which includes 34 acres and three buildings totaling 430,000 square feet. 

    The county has been renovating the site, originally established in the 1960s, and recently added a new, more energy-efficient roof. Phase III renovations will extend natural gas to the site through a collaboration with Columbia Gas of Virginia.

    The goal of the project is to provide a manufacturing ecosystem that will draw multiple companies to the area, as well as jobs and investment. The facility will include both advanced manufacturing and hands-on workforce training space for multiple tenants. It is expected to be ready in early 2015.

    VEDP helped Halifax County identify the grant from the U.S. Community Advancement and Improvement Program. Matt Leonard, executive director of the Halifax County IDA, emphasized the importance of the funding for the region, commenting, “The USCAIP grant provides benefits beyond its dollar value.”

    Advanced manufacturing continues to be a mainstay of Virginia’s economy, with 5,600 manufacturers employing almost 231,000 workers. To learn why manufacturing companies have invested more than $13.7 billion in the Commonwealth over the last 10 years, click here.

    A rendering of the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center in South Boston, Va. Photo courtesy of Halifax County Industrial Development Authority.

    Danville Community College Prepares Virginia's Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

    Thursday, 3 October 2013 16:37 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    With the U.S. seeing a resurgence of manufacturing jobs, Danville Community College (DCC) has launched a new initiative, the Southern Virginia Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing (SVCAM), to ensure Virginia, and especially the Dan River region, is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend.

    One of the goals of SVCAM is to expand DCC’s advanced manufacturing training programs. The manufacturing jobs that have been reshored tend to be higher tech jobs that require a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) background.

    DCC has already increased the size of its popular Precision Machining Technology program. Graduates are in high demand from businesses in the region, and DCC has doubled enrollment capacity and added two new machining instructors.

    With additional funding from the Virginia General Assembly and other industry partners, DCC plans to renovate its Charles Hawkins Engineering and Industrial Technology building and expand machining lab and classroom space from 6,500 to more than 20,000 square feet. SVCAM funding will also be used to expand DCC’s welding, robotics, industrial maintenance, electronics, polymer manufacturing, engineering technology, additive manufacturing and nanotechnology programs.

    Another benefit of the SVCAM program is increased outreach to younger students. DCC has partnered with area high schools to establish a 33-hour dual enrollment program that allows juniors and seniors to earn credit towards an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate and gain valuable skills in one of four areas:  precision machining technology, electronics, industrial maintenance or welding.

    The benefits of the SVCAM program are already paying off. North American Mold Technology recently announced plans to establish a new operation in Danville and create 120 new jobs. DCC’s ability to supply and train a high-tech manufacturing workforce was cited by the company as a key factor in their location decision and helped Virginia successfully compete against Ohio for the project.

    DCC and its SVCAM program is another example of Virginia’s premier education system, offering valuable workforce training solutions that attract businesses to the Commonwealth. To learn more, click here.

     

    Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy Recognized as PRIME School for Manufacturing Education

    Tuesday, 24 September 2013 16:10 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy in Newport News, Va., was added to the 2013-2014 list of Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (PRIME) programs for the upcoming school year. Only 11 schools across the country were added this year...

    Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy in Newport News, Va., was added to the 2013-2014 list of Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (PRIME) programs for the upcoming school year. Only 11 schools across the country were added this year.

    PRIME is a program developed by the SME Education Foundation to prepare students for manufacturing careers by advancing education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. It employs a community-based, real-world approach to education, forging partnerships between schools, higher education institutions, companies and the community.

    To become part of the PRIME program, a school must have an exemplary manufacturing curriculum that has been in place for at least three years. The program must include both academic and hands-on fabrication instruction; access to local colleges with the opportunity to participate in postsecondary programs; and access to local manufacturing companies for company tours, job shadowing and mentoring opportunities.

    PRIME is part of SME’s initiative to support the reshoring of manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and ensure we have a strong pipeline of skilled manufacturing workers to support future industry needs.

    Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy offers a four-year magnet program that prepares students for careers in engineering, aviation and electronics. Students take a number of classes at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, including an FAA Pilot Ground School course. The academy provides students with cutting-edge electronics and technology equipment, and students are encouraged to pursue college dual enrollment opportunities. 

    Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy is another example of Virginia’s exemplary secondary education system, preparing graduates to enter the manufacturing workforce or pursue more advanced degrees at the Commonwealth’s leading higher education institutions. To learn more, click here.

    Orbital Sciences Completes Launch from Virginia to the International Space Station

    Thursday, 19 September 2013 14:00 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    At 10:58 a.m. yesterday morning, Orbital Sciences successfully completed the second launch of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft from Pad-OA of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia...

    At 10:58 a.m. yesterday morning, Orbital Sciences successfully completed the second launch of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft from Pad-OA of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

    This mission is the first time a spacecraft launched from Virginia will visit the International Space Station.

    Antares will deliver the Cygnus spacecraft along with 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and other cargo to the Expedition 37 crew on the International Space Station. 

    The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Sunday, September 22. Prior to its arrival, Cygnus will perform a series of tests and maneuvers to demonstrate its readiness to rendezvous with the space station. On Sunday, the crew of Expedition 37 will operate the station’s 57-foot robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and maneuver it into the docking station.

    The purpose of this mission is to demonstrate the capabilities and readiness of Orbital Sciences’ cargo delivery system as part of its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program with NASA. Orbital Sciences successfully completed the inaugural test flight of Antares and Cygnus in April.

    Subsequently, Orbital Sciences will carry out eight resupply missions through 2016, delivering approximately 20,000 kilograms of cargo to the International Space Station as part of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

    These resupply missions will aid the crews of the International Space Station in carrying out scientific experiments in a microgravity research lab.

    Following the historic LADEE launch just over a week ago, Virginia’s leadership in space exploration is evident. Through the MARS facility, Virginia offers one of only four commercial sites approved by the FAA for orbital space launches.

    To learn more about Virginia’s thriving aerospace industry, click here.

    Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft launch from Pad-OA of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  Photo color-enhanced and courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls.

    The MACH37 Cyber Accelerator Opens in Herndon, Virginia

    Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:10 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia’s new MACH37 Cyber Accelerator recently opened at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon, Va., just five months after the announcement of its creation...

    Virginia’s new MACH37 Cyber Accelerator recently opened at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon, Va., just five months after the announcement of its creation.

    The MACH37 accelerator program is designed to capitalize on Virginia’s expertise in the cybersecurity industry and help launch additional start-up companies developing innovative technology in this area.

    The first five companies selected for this program are Cypherpath, Key Cybersecurity Inc., Pierce Global Threat Intelligence, CyberLingua, and Sikernes.

    These companies will participate in two 90-day sessions. At the beginning of the first session, they will receive seed funding, followed by introductions to a network of cybersecurity experts and investors to help mentor and develop their products and technology. 

    At the end of the first 90-day session, the companies will go before a professional panel on Demo Day. If the presentation is successful, selected companies will receive additional funding and be allowed to participate in the second 90-day session.

    The MACH37 Cyber Accelerator is modeled after the Y-Combinator, an accelerator program in Silicon Valley that has helped develop more than 460 companies. The MACH37 program helps cybersecurity entrepreneurs bridge the gap between idea generation and commercialization. 

    The program is named after the escape velocity of Mach 37, the minimum velocity needed to launch passed the earth’s gravitational field.

    MACH37’s location at CIT is in the hub of the Dulles Technology Corridor, providing early stage companies access to a solid pipeline of high-tech employees.

    In addition, CIT is partnering with Virginia Tech to develop a cyber test range available to MACH37 companies. This remotely-accessible test center will be located nearby at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology in Arlington, Va.

    The MACH37 Cyber Accelerator is another shining example of how Virginia’s public and private institutions partner to create an innovate environment for entrepreneurs to create new products and technology. 

    To learn more about Virginia’s pro-business research and development opportunities, click here.

    Governor McDonnell meets with members of the cybersecurity community during the MACH37 Cyber Accelerator grand opening event at CIT in Herndon, Va.

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    The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), a state authority created by the Virginia General Assembly to better serve those seeking a prime business location and increased trade opportunities, provides confidential site selection and international trade services. VEDP's mission: To enhance the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all Virginians, in collaboration with Virginia communities, through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development, thereby expanding the tax base and creating higher-income employment opportunities.

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    From an event at Greencore Groups’ facility in Stafford County, Governor McDonnell announced the company’s plans to invest $5.75 million and create 350 new jobs in the Fredericksburg region. This is the company’s first Virginia facility following its April 2012 acquisition of the former Marketfare Foods, LLC.

    Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Greencore Group is a leading producer of convenience food and prepared meals, including fresh sandwiches, salads and pastas. Governor McDonnell met with company officials in Ireland during his July 2012 European Marketing Mission.

    The expansion will allow Greencore to better serve Mid-Atlantic customers, as well as expand its footprint along the East Coast.

    One reason Virginia was selected for this expansion was because of the company’s positive experience with its current workforce, as well as the ability to recruit from the talented labor pool in the region.

    Another benefit Virginia provided to the company was access to high-quality produce through the Commonwealth’s rich agricultural supply. The Governor recently announced that Virginia’s agricultural exports reached an all-time high of $2.61 billion in 2012.

    This announcement is part of a banner two-week period for Virginia’s food and beverage industry—the Commonwealth saw the creation of 615 new jobs and more than $181 million in capital investment from four projects in this thriving sector.

    Food and beverage manufacturing companies continue to choose the Commonwealth due to its skilled workforce, competitive operating environment, strategic location, premier logistics infrastructure, and access to quality ingredients. To learn more, click here.

    Governor McDonnell presents a grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to Bob Thomas, Vice Chairman, Stafford County Board of Supervisors, during Greencore Group’s expansion announcement in Stafford County, Va.

    CCAM Celebrates Grand Opening in Prince George County, Virginia

    Wednesday, 27 March 2013 14:12 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    On Monday, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) celebrated the grand opening of its 62,000-square-foot facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Governor McDonnell. The facility is located adjacent to the 1,000-acre Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Campus in Prince George County, Va...

    On Monday, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) celebrated the grand opening of its 62,000-square-foot facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Governor McDonnell. The facility is located adjacent to the 1,000-acre Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Campus in Prince George County, Va.

    CCAM brings together Virginia’s leading manufacturing companies and top educational institutions in order to expedite research and turn ideas into real-world technologies and solutions. The research center focuses on two areas—surface engineering and manufacturing systems. 

    The facility received its full certificate of occupancy in September 2012 and has grown to include 15 manufacturing companies—Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, Sulzer Metco, Aerojet, Hermle Machine Company, Mitutoyo, TurboCombustor Technology Inc., Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, GF AgieCharmilles, and Blaser Swisslube.

    In addition, the three founding universities are Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, and University of Virginia, which collectively have 50 students completing internships at CCAM.

    The applied research center includes a 16,000-square-foot high bay area, five machining labs, five computational labs, a 3-D visualization lab, conference rooms, and open and modular workstations. CCAM is currently hiring and expects to have more than 100 employees made up of engineers, scientists and analysts.

    According to Governor McDonnell, CCAM is a “one-of-a-kind asset.” The collaborative nature of the facility and its ability to bridge the gap between research and commercialization is expected to advance Virginia as a hub of advanced manufacturing. 

    To learn more about CCAM, visit www.ccam-va.com, and to find out more about Virginia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities across the Commonwealth, click here.

    Governor McDonnell is joined (left to right) by Dr. Mike Beffel, CCAM Interim President & Executive Director, and Armand Lauzon, CCAM Board Chair, at the CCAM Grand Opening event in Prince George County, Va.

    Mexican Company Announces First U.S. Location in Pulaski County, Va.

    Wednesday, 20 March 2013 10:46 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    From New River Community College last week, Governor McDonnell announced that Red Sun Farms will establish its first U.S. location in Pulaski County, Va., to produce organic, greenhouse grown tomatoes. The $30 million investment will create 205 new jobs over the next five years...

    From New River Community College last week, Governor McDonnell announced that Red Sun Farms will establish its first U.S. location in Pulaski County, Va., to produce organic, greenhouse grown tomatoes. The $30 million investment will create 205 new jobs over the next five years.

    Part of the Agricola El Rosal group based in Mexico, Red Sun Farms produces tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers using greenhouse hydroponics. The company’s high technology includes the use of hot water heating, carbon dioxide injection, climate control and fully-automated irrigation.

    With plans to build a 45-acre greenhouse operation, Red Suns Farms will be the first tenant in the New River Valley Commerce Park, a 1,000-acre industrial site located four miles from I-81 and 30 minutes from Virginia Tech.

    Virginia was able to successfully compete against Tennessee because Pulaski County offered the right mix of resources, including ideal climate conditions, a ready workforce, and a central location providing prime access to East Coast markets.

    In addition, Pulaski County offers excess water capacity combined with very competitive electric rates. The region maintains its skilled workforce through access to 12 colleges and universities within a 60-mile radius, and provides a strong quality of life through two state parks, the Jefferson National Forest, and close proximity to the Appalachian Trial and Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Virginia’s food and beverage industry continues to build momentum—just last week the Governor announced more than $176 million in capital investment and 265 new jobs in this growing sector. 

    To learn why food and beverage companies continue to choose the Commonwealth, investing more than $1.9 billion over the last decade, click here.

    Governor McDonnell presents a Virginia flag to Thierry Legros, Red Sun Farms Managing Director, during the company’s announcement event in Pulaski County, Va.

    Shamrock Farms Breaks Ground in Augusta County, Virginia

    Monday, 18 March 2013 17:01 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    On Friday, Governor McDonnell attended a ground-breaking ceremony to announce Shamrock Farms’ plans to build a dairy manufacturing facility in Augusta County, Va., which will bring a $50 million investment and 60 new jobs to the region...