Forbes.com Names Virginia a Best State for Business

Virginia received another top ranking on the Forbes.com 2014 Best States for Business study, coming in at No. 4. Virginia has held a top spot since the inaugural ranking in 2006.

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. 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 TechAmerica Foundation’s Cyberstates 2013.

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

Virginia continues to be ranked a best state because the Commonwealth 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 Virginia for more than 400 years, click here.


Volvo Trucks Opens New Customer Experience Track in New River Valley

In August, Governor McAuliffe joined company and local officials to celebrate the opening of Volvo Trucks’ new Customer Experience Track in Dublin, Va.

The 1.1 mile track features two paved lanes, straight-a-ways and eight percent super-elevated curves to simulate highway conditions. There is also an off-road portion to replicate more challenging conditions, showcasing the range of the company’s Class 8 vehicles.

The track is located on the company’s nearly 300-acre New River Valley campus, which contains the largest Volvo Truck manufacturing facility in the world at 1.6 million square feet. The plant is certified to ISO 50001 energy, ISO 9001 quality and ISO 14001 environmental standards. The company drew from the expertise of its advanced manufacturing workforce to design and build the track.

Earlier this summer, the company invested $69 million to add state-of-the-art equipment and redesign the facility to further improve efficiency and product quality, creating 200 new jobs in the process.

The track will likely draw additional customers to the New River Valley region to visit the plant and test drive potential Volvo Truck purchases.

It also augments Virginia’s growing automotive industry which includes assets like the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation, National Crash Analysis Center, CCAM, C-CARE and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, to name a few.

To learn why more than 150 automotive companies call Virginia home and have announced $1.1 billion in capital investment over the last 10 years, click here.


FAA Declares MAAP Unmanned Aerial Test Site Fully Operational

A group of government, academic and business leaders gathered at Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute to celebrate the FAA declaring the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site program fully operational.

In December 2013, the FAA announced that Virginia Tech was selected as one of six test sites across the country to conduct research as part of an initiative to establish safety standards for integrating UAS, such as drones, with commercial aircrafts.

Virginia Tech led the submission of a joint proposal for Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland, along with Rutgers University and the University of Maryland, called the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. MAAP is headquartered at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences, with test sites located across Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland.

The ceremony included a simulation flight involving an unmanned, multi-rotor helicopter called the Smart Road Flyer. It was modified for transportation research by Dr. Kevin Kochersberger, a professor with the College of Engineering and the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems, and engineering students from the Unmanned Systems Laboratory at Virginia Tech. The simulation gathered information from a mock accident scene on an interstate highway.

This scenario illustrates the wide-ranging future capabilities of UAS. Potential uses of this technology include disaster response, search and rescue missions, utility and pipeline inspections, agricultural monitoring, wildlife management, cargo delivery and weather observation.

This milestone is another win for Virginia’s burgeoning aerospace industry. To learn why more than 250 aerospace companies have chosen to call Virginia home, click here.


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