Renewable Energy Company Enviva Breaks Ground on Virginia Manufacturing Facility

Friday, 27 July 2012 15:01 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary Todd Haymore attended Enviva’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Southampton County Commerce and Logistics Center in Franklin, Va...

On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary Todd Haymore attended Enviva’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Southampton County Commerce and Logistics Center in Franklin, Va.

Enviva began construction on its 454,000-metric-ton wood pellet manufacturing facility after announcing this project would bring a $75 million investment and 64 new jobs to Southampton County last November. The facility is expected to support more than 100 additional jobs through the company’s logging supply chain.

As a leading biomass fuel supplier, Enviva’s commitment to sustainable practices is evident in its location requirements. To minimize its carbon footprint, the company seeks strategic locations offering close proximity to both biomass sources as well as waterways and ports, for easy shipment to international customers.

Southeastern Virginia is uniquely positioned to meet the company’s needs on both counts. According to Enviva Chairman and CEO John Keppler, “Southampton County has all the elements essential to our success: a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labor force, and is logistically advantaged to our Port of Chesapeake export terminal.”

This past New Year’s Eve, Enviva opened its deep water terminal at the Port of Chesapeake. The company selected Virginia’s Port of Chesapeake for its deep water capacity and ability to handle a variety of vessels. The company’s inaugural shipment consisted of 28,000 metric tons of wood pellets destined for Europe aboard the MV Daishin Maru.

With the Commonwealth's “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, this investment continues Virginia’s quest to lay clai YesVirginia Business Blog | All posts tagged 'river district'

Virginia’s Noblis Center for Applied High Performance Computing is Open for Business

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 14:08 by Info@YesVirginia.org

Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Economic Development Mary Rae Carter joined state and local officials to celebrate the opening of the Noblis Center for Applied High Performance Computing (CAHPC) in Danville, Va., last Friday. CAHPC is home to the Cray XMT2, the latest generation XMT and the only XMT supercomputer in the U.S. outside of a federal or academic setting.

Taking the power of High Performance Computing (HPC) out of the lab, CAHPC will allow companies convenient access to a supercomputer to solve advanced, real-world problems involving large amounts of data. This access to a supercomputer is unprecedented outside of federal or academic setting and removes the cost barrier to entry for smaller Virginia businesses.

Initially announced in June 2011, one of the goals of this project is to build on the success of Danville’s burgeoning River District by attracting additional high-tech companies. Located on the Dan River, the area’s historic buildings are being renovated and quickly becoming a hub for technology companies. Luna Nanoworks, Lifebatt, Infinity Global Packaging and Horizontech have already invested in the area.

While Northern Virginia is certainly an impressive IT hub, Danville’s location in Southside Virginia illustrates the expansiveness of Virginia’s high-tech capabilities throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech companies as well as the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Enterprising States 2011: Recovery and Renewal for the 21st Century prepared by Praxis Strategy Group and Cyberstates 2011, respectively.

To learn more about Virginia’s world-class technology capabilities and why high-tech companies have invested more than $9 billion in Virginia over the last ten years, clic YesVirginia Business Blog | A place for news, opinions, and information regarding the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Orbital Sciences Completes First Launch of Antares Rocket from Virginia

Monday, 29 April 2013 16:25 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Last week, Orbital Sciences completed the first launch of its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia...

Last week, Orbital Sciences completed the first launch of its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

This first launch is a positive outcome of the public-private partnership between Orbital Sciences and the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). The two have partnered since 2008 to develop and improve Pad 0A, the liquid-fuel-capable launch facility at MARS.

As a test flight, the purpose of this mission was to launch the Antares rocket and deliver a payload similar in mass to the Cygnus spacecraft into the Earth’s orbit. In addition, the mission also launched three smartphones into orbit to test them for use as satellites.

The test flight is the first of 10 Antares missions scheduled from MARS. Orbital Sciences will next perform a demonstration mission, followed by eight resupply missions, delivering cargo to the International Space Station.

As part of the new era of space exploration in the U.S., NASA is increasingly relying on corporate partners through its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. In December 2008, NASA awarded Orbital Sciences a $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract to complete the eight resupply missions.

Through MARS, Virginia offers one of only four commercial sites authorized by the FAA for orbital space launches. MARS provides safer and lower cost access to space with an ideal trajectory for earth orbit insertion.

Virginia’s strategic location, high-tech workforce, and strong business environment continue to attract the aerospace industry. To learn why more thals

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    Virginia Delegate Landes Named BIO State Legislator of the Year

    Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:33 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) honored Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes as its State Legislator of the Year at the recent 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.

    The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) honored Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes as its State Legislator of the Year at the recent 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.

    Delegate Landes was recognized for his efforts in advancing the field of biotech and supporting legislation to make Virginia a top state to attract and retain life sciences businesses.

    BIO is the world’s largest biotech organization and the BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotech industry with 15,000 attendees at its annual conference.

    Delegate Landes was given the award in the Virginia Pavilion, a 1,500-square-foot space organized by VEDP. The Pavilion showcased Virginia’s universities, companies and local economic development groups in the Commonwealth’s major life science clusters: Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, Greater Richmond, and the I-81 Corridor.

    With its central location in the Mid-Atlantic Life Science cluster and strong technology and life sciences workforce, Virginia’s biotech industry is on the rise. Top research institutions such as SRI International and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as leading companies, including Merck, Fareva, McKesson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Boehringer Ingelheim have all chosen to locate in the Commonwealth.

    To learn more about Virginia’s growing life science industry and why the private sector has invested more than $1.9 billion over the last decade, click here.

    Virginia Biotechnology Association Interim Executive Director Jeff Gallagher (left) and BIO Vice President, Alliance Development and State Government Relations Fritz Bittenbender (right) present Delegate Landes with the State Legislator of the Year award.

    Virginia Wins Area Development’s 2012 Silver Shovel Award

    Monday, 9 July 2012 15:16 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    Virginia was recently awarded a Silver Shovel in the 5-9 Million population category by Area Development magazine.

    As part of the magazine’s seventh annual ranking, the award recognizes states for attracting investment projects that created a high number of new jobs in calendar year 2011. States were recognized for establishing policies that drive job growth, infrastructure improvements, and processes that attract new employers.

    The award is based on each state’s top 10 projects that broke ground in 2011, using a number of weighted factors such as number of new jobs created, size of investment, number of new facilities, and the diversity of industries represented.

    The ten outstanding projects that made Virginia a winner were: Amazon.com, ICF International, United States Green Energy, Soft Tech Consulting Inc., Katoen Natie, Backcountry.com, International Paper, PPD Inc., Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc., and Microsoft Corp.

    Also a winner of the Silver Shovel in 2009 and 2006, this recognition continues Virginia’s winning streak with awards such as Site Selection magazine’s 2011 Competitiveness Award, MoneyRates.com’s 2012 Best State to Make a Living, Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s 2011 Top Pro-Business State, CNBC’s 2011 Top State for Business, and Business Facilities magazine’s top spot for Economic Growth Potential in 2011.

    To learn more about Virginia’s unique combination of assets that has allowed businesses to prosper here for more than 400 years, click here.

    New Capital One Data Center Comes to Chesterfield County

    Thursday, 5 July 2012 09:22 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Capital One recently announced plans to invest $150 million to establish a new data center in Chesterfield County, bringing 50 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against Texas for this project.

    Capital One recently announced plans to invest $150 million to establish a new data center in Chesterfield County, bringing 50 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against Texas for this project.

    Chesterfield County was selected due to its proximity to Capital One’s existing operations in the Greater Richmond area. The Fortune 500 company has successfully operated in Virginia for more than two decades.

    Central Virginia is seeing a growing cluster of data centers due its abundant power, advanced fiber network, and low risk of natural disasters. In addition, the strong partnership between local officials and utility providers allows deals such as this to be put together quickly.

    Virginia is fast becoming a popular place for data centers across the Commonwealth. Data processing was the dominant sector for investment in 2011 at $960 million, accounting for almost half of the nonmanufacturing investment.

    The Commonwealth not only offers companies low electricity rates below the national average; it maintains a highly qualified workforce to support the sector, with the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Cyberstates 2011. In addition, the Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption provides a competitive cost advantage on qualified equipment for data centers.

    To learn more about Virginia’s capabilities and why companies have invested more than $4.4 billion in the Commonwealth’s data center industry over the past ten years, click here.

    UBED—JMU’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy Educates the Industry

    Friday, 29 June 2012 11:12 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    Continuing our series on University-Based Economic Development, we will look at how James Madison University’s (JMU) Virginia Center for Wind Energy (VCWE) keeps industry professionals educated on wind power developments in Virginia.

    Located in a 4,000-square-foot commercial lab space near JMU’s main campus, the center has been active since 2001. VCWE provides measurements, economic modeling, education, energy policy analysis and GIS reports on wind energy in the Commonwealth.

    VCWE recently hosted the 2012 Statewide Wind Energy Symposium, which included panel discussions and workshops ranging from Wind 101 to Regulatory and Permitting Options. The 150 attendees included government officials, wind industry decision-makers, business owners and Virginia residents.

    During the symposium VCWE launched its Small Wind Training & Testing Facility, which will be used primarily for workforce training in the small wind industry. Small wind is traditionally defined as turbines below 100 kilowatts (kW) with most residential turbines under 20 kW. Through the center students will have access to three wind turbines, a WeatherBug weather station, a solar array system and additional measurement equipment.

    Uncertainty still surrounds the national production tax credit, and locally, many cities do not have wind ordinances in place, making education the critical mandate for VCWE.

    “The Small Wind Training and Testing Facility was designed to address a lack of available resources in the region to support the training of a small wind workforce throughout Virginia and beyond. This resource will support teaching of undergraduates at JMU and other educational institutions throughout the Commonwealth, as well as the training of residents and business owners who seek to learn more about how to apply wind energy in Virginia,” said Dr. Jonathan Miles, VCWE Director.

    Fortunately Virginia has a compelling wind story with its shallow waters, strong Class 6 winds, high voltage transmission grid, and maritime workforce. To learn more JMU’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy, click here.

    Dr. Jonathan Miles, VCWE Director, addresses the crowd at the JMU Small Wind Training & Testing Facility ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    Virginia Port Authority and VEDP Launch Joint Marketing Initiative

    Thursday, 28 June 2012 15:52 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and VEDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a joint marketing initiative to better share Virginia’s unique story with businesses that utilize port facilities.

    The marketing initiative will include creating a shared message to be featured through websites, joint client calls on marketing missions, and collaborative representation at various industry events and tradeshows.

    The Port of Virginia handles 1.9 million TEUs each year and is fully prepared to accommodate 10,000+ TEU vessels. Its 50-foot shipping channels are the deepest on the East Coast, offering companies the only East Coast location able to hand post-Panamax vessels as first port of call.

    Truly an intermodal gateway, the Port of Virginia provides barge, rail and truck distribution with a 48-hour transit time to Chicago. The port offers connectivity with two Class I railroads as well as an Inland Port and Virginia’s premier interstate system.

    The Port of Virginia is an economic engine providing 343,000 port-related jobs across the Commonwealth. Over the last two years numerous companies have announced relocations or expansions related to the Port of Virginia’s world-class capabilities, including Ace Hardware, Albany Industries, Amazon.com, Federal-Mogul, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Honeywell, Rubbermaid, and Stihl Inc., to name a few.

    To learn more about Virginia’s premier transportation infrastructure and the Port of Virginia, click on the highlighted links.

    Virginia Port Authority Vice Chair Jim Boyd (left) signs the Memorandum of Understanding with VEDP Chairman Julien Patterson.

    Sabra Dipping Co. Expands its Footprint in Chesterfield County, Va.

    Monday, 25 June 2012 14:12 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    Sabra Dipping Co. announced two exciting projects on its 49-acre campus at Ruffin Mill Industrial Park in Chesterfield County. America’s leading hummus producer will expand its existing food manufacturing operation and establish a Center of Excellence (COE) research and development facility. The combined investment will bring $28 million and 90 new jobs to Chesterfield County.

    The manufacturing expansion will give Sabra 50 percent more production capacity with improvements such as adding two lines and a packaging automation system. Sabra first chose Chesterfield County as the site for its new manufacturing facility in 2008.

    The new COE facility will feature a state-of-the-art culinary center and research center where Sabra plans to partner with universities on food science research. Construction on the new 20,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2012.

    Sabra Dipping Co. was formed through a joint venture between PepsiCo and Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company, the Strauss Group. Sabra’s award-winning flavors have made it the leading producer of hummus in the U.S.

    This project is another positive result of a Governor’s marketing mission. Governor McDonnell met with Strauss Group officials in Israel during his November 2011 mission.

    The company chose Virginia again for both its skilled workforce and cost-competitive advantages. Sabra CEO Ronen Zohar said, “The fact that we are building the Sabra Center of Excellence in Virginia is a testament to our belief in the people, the community and the resources available here.”

    Virginia’s low and stable tax rate combined with competitive electricity and construction costs helped make the Commonwealth the clear winner. In addition, Virginia’s workforce is well-prepared through industry-specific training programs provided by the Commonwealth’s top-ranked universities and 23-member community college system.

    To learn why more than 555 food and beverage manufacturing companies have invested more than $1.9 billion in Virginia over the last decade, click here.

    German Subsidiary Berryville Graphics Expands in Clarke County, Va.

    Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:47 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    While traveling on his recent European Marketing Mission, Governor McDonnell announced that German subsidiary Berryville Graphics will consolidate operations through an expansion of its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Berryville, Va. The project will bring a $10.6 million investment and 84 new jobs to Clarke County...

    While traveling on his recent European Marketing Mission, Governor McDonnell announced that German subsidiary Berryville Graphics will consolidate operations through an expansion of its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Berryville, Va. The project will bring a $10.6 million investment and 84 new jobs to Clarke County.

    One of the largest manufacturers of hardcover and softcover books, Berryville Graphics produces nearly 120 million books each year from its Berryville facility. The company is a subsidiary of German-owned Bertelsmann AG, the largest media company in Europe.

    On June 12 the Governor met with Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe in Gutersloh, Germany to close the deal as part of his European Marketing Mission.

    Located in Berryville since 1956, Berryville Graphics has found success in Virginia despite challenges the publishing industry has faced in recent years. In addition to the region’s skilled and dedicated workforce, Virginia’s premier logistics network was also a key reason for consolidating operations in Clarke County.

    The Clarke County location offers convenient access to I-81, I-70 and the I-66 connection to I-95. In addition, Virginia’s two Class I railroads, Inland Port, and international Port of Virginia allow companies to reach customers across multiple markets quickly and cost-effectively.

    To learn why companies keep choosing the Commonwealth for its premier logistics capabilities and world-class workforce, click here.

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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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    Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chesterfield Still Buzzing After the Holidays

    Thursday, 8 January 2015 14:50 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    VEDP toured the Amazon fulfillment center in Chesterfield, Va., this week, and we were pleased to see the facility was still buzzing with activity even after the holiday rush...

    VEDP toured the Amazon fulfillment center in Chesterfield, Va., this week, and we were pleased to see the facility was still buzzing with activity even after the holiday rush.

    The Chesterfield fulfillment center began operations in the fall of 2012, after the company’s December 2011 announcement that it would invest $85 million to establish the location and create 1,000 jobs.

    Today, the 1.2 million square foot facility has 1,500 employees that help distribute more than 14 million items in the building.

    The facility is an impressive maze of shelves, work stations and conveyor belts whizzing yellow bins, called “totes,” containing any type of smaller consumer good throughout the building in a blur of efficiency. Amazon’s other facility in nearby Dinwiddie County ships larger consumer goods, like kayaks and TVs.

    Our tour guide took us through the massive layout and explained how departments such as receiving, stowing, packing and shipping all work together. Like any massive organization, Amazon has its own nomenclature. “Stowers” scan goods in and store them in the “library” where they are later retrieved by “pickers” who put items for a customer’s order into the “totes.”

    The Chesterfield facility has more than 2,500 scanners, 1,300 carts and 40,000 yellow totes. 

    Extreme efficiency is a requirement for success at Amazon. On 2013’s Cyber Monday, Amazon customers ordered more than 36.8 million items, which is a record-breaking 426 items per second.

    The company operates under a continuous improvement mandate, and many suggestions come from employees themselves. Last year, 4,700 employees participated in 1,100 kaizens across North America to develop new processes and solutions to solve specific problems.

    One reason Amazon has found success in Virginia is because its Chesterfield fulfillment center seamlessly blends Virginia’s skilled workforce with advanced technology and sophisticated algorithms to keep the operation humming at peak efficiency.

    A second reason is Virginia’s premier logistics network. Amazon’s recognition as a powerhouse distributor was furthered when Coca Cola decided to bring back its Surge soda and sell it exclusively online through Amazon. Surge is the top-selling item at the Chesterfield facility.

    Due to the strength of Virginia’s logistics network, more than 380 global logistics projects have been announced over the last 10 years with capital investment of more than $1.8 billion. The Commonwealth allows companies to transport products worldwide through its six interstate highways, nine commercial airports, 11 railroads, including two Class I lines, and the International Port of Virginia, one of the only East Coast locations in the U.S. able to handle post-Panamax vessels as first and last port of call.

    To learn more, click here.

    A view of Amazon’s fulfillment center at Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield, Va. Photo Courtesy of Chesterfield Economic Development.

    Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center Incubates Companies From the Lab to the Marketplace

    Thursday, 18 December 2014 14:39 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Formerly known as the Riverstone Energy Center, the recently rebranded Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center in South Boston, Va., functions as an incubator helping the Commonwealth’s advanced manufacturing companies develop their technology from the lab to the marketplace...

    Formerly known as the Riverstone Energy Center, the recently rebranded Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center in South Boston, Va., functions as an incubator helping the Commonwealth’s advanced manufacturing companies develop their technology from the lab to the marketplace.

    SVPAC replicates major components of the manufacturing process by offering companies assistance with modeling and simulation, prototyping, advanced manufacturing processes and applied coating development.

    The center’s modeling and simulation program includes a virtual reality theater with high performance computing resources, simulation software and a fully immersive 3-D cave display that can render a one-to-one ratio in real-life scaling. This allows manufacturers to design new products and predict and test performance using virtual technology. Any mistakes are made and fixed in a virtual environment, allowing for a cost-friendly R&D approach.

    SVPAC’s Carbon Fiber Composite Manufacturing Lab will allow companies to produce component parts using specialized molds. The lab is expected to be completed in the spring 2015 and augment the hub of automotive and aerospace technology companies in the area.

    Through a partnership with C-CARE (Center for Coatings Application Research and Education), companies have access to a coatings technology lab that houses 12,000 square feet of environmentally-controlled space. The comprehensive range of manufactured coatings applications equipment includes advanced robotics, reciprocating spray equipment and virtual reality training systems that can test new coatings technologies and design solutions under a variety of conditions.

    SVPAC also offers traditional incubation services that include business plan development, access to R&D grants, office and manufacturing space, networking opportunities and mentoring.

    SVPAC already has a number of success stories, which include helping a large automobile manufacturer develop new spray coating technology, developing a virtual reality tool for robot path programming with Kawasaki, and helping TMI Autotech with modeling and simulation to develop its high performance vehicles. TMI has also worked with other automotive resources in the region, including the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation located nearby at the Virginia Motorsports Technology Park.

    VEDP and VEDA hosted SVPAC on their most recently Third Wednesday Webinar series, available here.

    SVPAC is another example of the R&D capabilities Virginia offers to advance the innovative ideas and products of the Commonwealth’s technology-driven companies. To learn more, click here.

    A view of the 3-D modeling and simulation capabilities at the Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center in South Boston, Va. Photo courtesy of the Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center.

    VEDP Receives No. 2 State Economic Development Organization Ranking for 2014

    Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:11 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The American Economic Development Institute and Pollina Corporate Real Estate ranked VEDP No. 2 on its Top 10 State Economic Development Organizations list for 2014...

    The American Economic Development Institute and Pollina Corporate Real Estate ranked VEDP No. 2 on its Top 10 State Economic Development Organizations list for 2014.

    With growing competitiveness on a global scale, AEDI and Pollina wanted to put the spotlight on state economic development organizations that are excelling at their job.

    “Leaders of economic development organizations throughout the country need to do a far better job of understanding that their primary objective is to create new jobs and retain those already located in their state,” said Dr. Ronald Pollina, chairman of AEDI and president of Pollina. 

    This ranking is largely based on data from Stage II of the AEDI/Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States 2014 report released earlier this year. The Stage II data examines the state’s incentive programs and the marketing efforts of their economic development agencies.

    More specifically on the marketing analysis, the authors of the study examined the resources devoted to the agencies, their ability to respond to new company inquiries and existing company needs, and the functionality of their website.

    Interestingly, the study found that a majority of states had few programs for existing companies and did not devote enough resources to contacting and assisting these existing companies. In contrast, VEDP has an entire team devoted to business expansion, which accounted for 86% of announced investment and 74% of new job creation in calendar year 2013. Even more impressive, the top five project announcements for both new job creation and invested capital in 2013 were made by expanding Virginia companies.

    Through our international trade division, VEDP helps existing Virginia businesses expand sales internationally. Programs such as the Global Network, VALET, Going Global Defense Initiative and trade missions provide companies with the research, introductions and export training to substantially increase sales overseas.

    The importance of an agency’s website can’t be underestimated, as this is the first point of contact for many companies and site selection consultants. VEDP offers a variety of tools through our website, including VirginiaScan, Compare Virginia, Community Profiles, and the YesVA app, which allow consultants to easily search a geographic area for available properties and obtain comparative demographic, economic and real estate information to easily narrow their search.

    According to VEDP President and CEO Martin Briley, “This ranking is a tremendous honor for all of us here at VEDP. It represents the hard work of our entire staff, our partners and our allies as we work together to augment the economic vitality of the Commonwealth and tell the Virginia story on the global stage.”

    To learn how VEDP can help your company and why businesses have prospered in Virginia for more than 400 years, click here.

    Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

    Charlottesville Entrepreneurs Launch Moonlighting Mobile Marketplace App

    Monday, 8 December 2014 15:51 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    A team of Charlottesville entrepreneurs recently launched Moonlighting, a mobile company with an app that helps job seekers and people needing work done to connect...

    A team of Charlottesville entrepreneurs recently launched Moonlighting, a mobile company with an app that helps job seekers and people needing work done to connect.

    The three co-founders began brainstorming in August 2013 to find a way to parlay their expertise in payment platform development and mobile technology. According to CEO Jeff Tennery, “We wanted to do something significant that would really resonate with people. The employment market made the most sense.”

    According to the company, Moonlighting is the only marketplace that lets users engage as both a payer and earner in a mobile environment. With two simple categories —“make money now” and “get stuff done” — users can easily identify their needs and skills.

    The app is similar in functionality to Facebook and Twitter. In addition, users can easily post Moonlighting requests to their social media accounts.

    Like most entrepreneurs, the company founders kept their day jobs while moonlighting on nights and weekends to hammer out the business plan and technology. After raising an angel seed round of funding in April and testing an alpha version of the technology in August, the company officially launched its app on October 15.

    In just over a month, Moonlighting has already reached thousands of users nationwide, with projections for dramatic growth.

    “Charlottesville is a rich, diverse area with a solid investment community. There’s a strong constituency of experienced business people looking to finance start-up and angel companies and offer their expertise,” said Tennery.

    Proximity to UVA also allowed the company to tap into a talented labor pool. “We worked with undergrads from the business school on the marketing, Darden grads helped us with the business plan, and law school students helped write our terms and conditions,” noted Tennery.  “The region is rich in both business and culture, so there’s a great labor force of UVA grads who want to remain in the area.”

    Highlighting the growing peer-to-peer economy and its financial impact, Moonlighting has published its first comprehensive report on how the nation is “moonlighting” through multiple financial opportunities. The monthly M.O.O.N. Report (Mobile Optimized On-Demand Network) tells the story of the American moonlighter and reveals the economic trends taking place in the new 1099 society. To download the app and report, visit the company’s website http://moonlightingapp.com/.

    The fast growth of a technology-driven company like Moonlighting is another example of how Virginia provides the right resources and environment for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. To learn more, click here.

    The Moonlighting team at the company’s October launch party.

    VEDP Host Virginia Tour for Chinese Journalists

    Friday, 21 November 2014 12:57 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    VEDP hosted a delegation of 10 influential journalists from the People’s Republic of China on a visit to Richmond this week as part of a larger tour organized by the Global Times...

    VEDP hosted a delegation of 10 influential journalists from the People’s Republic of China on a visit to Richmond this week as part of a larger tour organized by the Global Times.

    The journalists previously visited South Korea, Israel and Vietnam. While in the U.S., the group will visit Washington D.C., St. Louis and New York City to cover themes such as the U.S. representational government, freedom of the press, the future of U.S.-China relations, and Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S.

    The visit to Richmond is an extension of the D.C. portion of the tour. While here, the journalists met with Governor McAuliffe, and heard from Tranlin Inc. CEO Jerry Peng about Shandong Tranlin Paper Co.’s decision to locate its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County, Va.

    The journalists experienced the strong cultural relationship that exists between China and Virginia. The group visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and toured the Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing and Beyond the Walls exhibitions.

    The group’s final stop was at the Richmond Ballet for an overview of its Road to China cultural exchange scheduled for May 2015. The Richmond Ballet will travel to China to dance their mixed repertory program, Made in the USA: Traditions & Innovations, at the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival. This past July, the Richmond Ballet performed in China as part of the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Cultural Pillar Delegation for the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

    China-Virginia relations remain solid, and Governor McAuliffe led two marketing missions to China in July and October to tell the Virginia story and build relationships with companies seeking to expand into the U.S.

    Virginia is a great location for international companies seeking to enter the U.S. due to the Commonwealth’s strategic East Coast location, pro-business regulatory and cost environment, excellent logistics network, premier workforce and enjoyable quality of life. To learn more, click here.

    A group of leading online journalists from China visit the Virginia State Capitol during their tour of Richmond.

    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 So YesVirginia Business Blog | All posts by info@yesvirginia.org

    Renewable Energy Company Enviva Breaks Ground on Virginia Manufacturing Facility

    Friday, 27 July 2012 15:01 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary Todd Haymore attended Enviva’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Southampton County Commerce and Logistics Center in Franklin, Va...

    On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary Todd Haymore attended Enviva’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Southampton County Commerce and Logistics Center in Franklin, Va.

    Enviva began construction on its 454,000-metric-ton wood pellet manufacturing facility after announcing this project would bring a $75 million investment and 64 new jobs to Southampton County last November. The facility is expected to support more than 100 additional jobs through the company’s logging supply chain.

    As a leading biomass fuel supplier, Enviva’s commitment to sustainable practices is evident in its location requirements. To minimize its carbon footprint, the company seeks strategic locations offering close proximity to both biomass sources as well as waterways and ports, for easy shipment to international customers.

    Southeastern Virginia is uniquely positioned to meet the company’s needs on both counts. According to Enviva Chairman and CEO John Keppler, “Southampton County has all the elements essential to our success: a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labor force, and is logistically advantaged to our Port of Chesapeake export terminal.”

    This past New Year’s Eve, Enviva opened its deep water terminal at the Port of Chesapeake. The company selected Virginia’s Port of Chesapeake for its deep water capacity and ability to handle a variety of vessels. The company’s inaugural shipment consisted of 28,000 metric tons of wood pellets destined for Europe aboard the MV Daishin Maru.

    With the Commonwealth's “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, this investment continues Virginia’s quest to lay claim to the title “Energy Capital of the East Coast.” From conventional fuel mining to renewable energy producers, Virginia provides energy companies with the resources for success.

    To learn why energy companies have invested more than $4.6 billion in Virginia over the last ten years, click here.

    Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Enviva CEO John Keppler (center) join state, local and company officials at the Enviva ground-breaking ceremony in Franklin, Va.

    The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Hosts Launch of Virginia Polymer Coalition

    Thursday, 26 July 2012 09:48 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    On August 15, the Virginia Polymer Coalition will commence with its inaugural meeting at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Va.

    On August 15, the Virginia Polymer Coalition will commence with its inaugural meeting at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Va.

    Southern Virginia has seen a growing cluster of polymer technology and manufacturing companies, and a recently commissioned study from the Southside Business Technology Center confirms the need for better industry collaboration and research.

    With rising raw materials costs, polymer manufacturers are looking for ways to manage costs as well as find better methods for product testing, materials analysis and recycling.

    Sustainability is also a frequent topic in the industry, augmented by customer requests for biodegradable products. Increased interest in Biopolymers as a possible solution has led to the need for additional research in this field.

    The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is an ideal location for this industry hub, offering an existing polymer lab, onsite scientists, and a strong partnership with Virginia Tech faculty.

    “Polymer manufacturers represent an important industry in Southern Virginia with products ranging from packaging, including tubes, tape, film and bags to fibre and tires,” said  IALR Executive Director Liam Leightley. “One way for the Virginia Polymer Coalition to support the cluster is for it to regularly host a network meeting for regional polymer companies to be able to meet, discuss and share their business challenges, R&D needs, best practices and industry solutions.” 

    To learn more about The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Virginia’s broad selection of world-class research institutions, click on the highlighted links.

    A view of The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Va.

    International Paper Commences Manufacturing Operations at Franklin Mill

    Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:49 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    International Paper recently announced it began manufacturing operations at its Franklin Mill in Isle of Wight County. In May 2011, Governor McDonnell announced the company’s plans to invest $83 million to repurpose a portion of its closed mill and create more than 200 new jobs in the region.

    International Paper recently announced it began manufacturing operations at its Franklin Mill in Isle of Wight County. In May 2011, Governor McDonnell announced the company’s plans to invest $83 million to repurpose a portion of its closed mill and create more than 200 new jobs in the region.

    After closing the paper mill in 2009, International Paper has upfit a portion of the plant to manufacture fluff pulp, a key component in absorbency products such as diapers and hygiene products. The company expects to produce 840 tons per day of high-quality fluff pulp once it ramps up to full production.

    “This is a wonderful turnaround story for Isle of Wight County—to have some recovery of the jobs lost in 2009 and repurpose a facility is great news for the region,” said VEDP Managing Director Brent Sheffler.

    The company’s familiarity with the assets of the region—including a strong wood basket supply chain and a skilled and dedicated advanced manufacturing workforce—helped Virginia win this project.

    Logistics infrastructure was also a critical deciding factor, as the company expects to export a substantial amount of its product. Access to existing rail service and close proximity to the international Port of Virginia made the Franklin Mill the clear choice.

    As the third largest global supplier of fluff pulp, this investment allows the company to expand its footprint in this growing market and continue its strong legacy in Virginia’s pro-business environment. 

    With more than 6,000 manufacturing companies located in the Commonwealth, click here to learn why leading companies like International Paper continue to invest in Virginia.

    Big R Bridge Announces First Virginia Location in Washington County

    Friday, 13 July 2012 14:36 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling attended an event to announce that Big R Bridge, a national leader in developing engineered solutions in steel bridges, corrugated metal structures, retaining wall systems and corrugated pipe, will establish its first Virginia location in Washington County.

    On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling attended an event to announce that Big R Bridge, a national leader in developing engineered solutions for steel bridges, corrugated metal structures, retaining wall systems and corrugated pipe, will establish its first Virginia location in Washington County.

    The $1.9 million investment will be used to convert the former Lynchburg Steel Facility into a manufacturing operation for the company’s prefabricated bridge parts, bringing 32 new jobs to Southwest Virginia.

    Big R Bridge has been supplying prefabricated bridges and custom engineered products for more than 40 years, handling more than 10,000 installations to date and creating more than 300 bridges each year.

    The new facility in Washington County will allow the company to expand its U.S. footprint and more easily access East Coast markets. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina for the project.

    The Commonwealth was chosen for its strategic location and premier logistics network, offering easy access to Interstates 81 and 77. Virginia was also selected for its exceptional workforce with the advanced manufacturing skills needed to produce the company’s highly engineered solutions.

    With names like DuPont, Honeywell, Owens & Minor, Merck and Rolls-Royce, Virginia continues to attract top tier manufacturing companies. To learn why more than 6,000 manufacturers call Virginia home, click here.

    Virginia Delegate Landes Named BIO State Legislator of the Year

    Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:33 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) honored Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes as its State Legislator of the Year at the recent 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.

    The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) honored Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes as its State Legislator of the Year at the recent 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.

    Delegate Landes was recognized for his efforts in advancing the field of biotech and supporting legislation to make Virginia a top state to attract and retain life sciences businesses.

    BIO is the world’s largest biotech organization and the BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotech industry with 15,000 attendees at its annual conference.

    Delegate Landes was given the award in the Virginia Pavilion, a 1,500-square-foot space organized by VEDP. The Pavilion showcased Virginia’s universities, companies and local economic development groups in the Commonwealth’s major life science clusters: Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, Greater Richmond, and the I-81 Corridor.

    With its central location in the Mid-Atlantic Life Science cluster and strong technology and life sciences workforce, Virginia’s biotech industry is on the rise. Top research institutions such as SRI International and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as leading companies, including Merck, Fareva, McKesson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Boehringer Ingelheim have all chosen to locate in the Commonwealth.

    To learn more about Virginia’s growing life science industry and why the private sector has invested more than $1.9 billion over the last decade, click here.

    Virginia Biotechnology Association Interim Executive Director Jeff Gallagher (left) and BIO Vice President, Alliance Development and State Government Relations Fritz Bittenbender (right) present Delegate Landes with the State Legislator of the Year award.

    Virginia Wins Area Development’s 2012 Silver Shovel Award

    Monday, 9 July 2012 15:16 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    Virginia was recently awarded a Silver Shovel in the 5-9 Million population category by Area Development magazine.

    As part of the magazine’s seventh annual ranking, the award recognizes states for attracting investment projects that created a high number of new jobs in calendar year 2011. States were recognized for establishing policies that drive job growth, infrastructure improvements, and processes that attract new employers.

    The award is based on each state’s top 10 projects that broke ground in 2011, using a number of weighted factors such as number of new jobs created, size of investment, number of new facilities, and the diversity of industries represented.

    The ten outstanding projects that made Virginia a winner were: Amazon.com, ICF International, United States Green Energy, Soft Tech Consulting Inc., Katoen Natie, Backcountry.com, International Paper, PPD Inc., Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc., and Microsoft Corp.

    Also a winner of the Silver Shovel in 2009 and 2006, this recognition continues Virginia’s winning streak with awards such as Site Selection magazine’s 2011 Competitiveness Award, MoneyRates.com’s 2012 Best State to Make a Living, Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s 2011 Top Pro-Business State, CNBC’s 2011 Top State for Business, and Business Facilities magazine’s top spot for Economic Growth Potential in 2011.

    To learn more about Virginia’s unique combination of assets that has allowed businesses to prosper here for more than 400 years, click here.

    New Capital One Data Center Comes to Chesterfield County

    Thursday, 5 July 2012 09:22 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Capital One recently announced plans to invest $150 million to establish a new data center in Chesterfield County, bringing 50 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against Texas for this project.

    Capital One recently announced plans to invest $150 million to establish a new data center in Chesterfield County, bringing 50 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against Texas for this project.

    Chesterfield County was selected due to its proximity to Capital One’s existing operations in the Greater Richmond area. The Fortune 500 company has successfully operated in Virginia for more than two decades.

    Central Virginia is seeing a growing cluster of data centers due its abundant power, advanced fiber network, and low risk of natural disasters. In addition, the strong partnership between local officials and utility providers allows deals such as this to be put together quickly.

    Virginia is fast becoming a popular place for data centers across the Commonwealth. Data processing was the dominant sector for investment in 2011 at $960 million, accounting for almost half of the nonmanufacturing investment.

    The Commonwealth not only offers companies low electricity rates below the national average; it maintains a highly qualified workforce to support the sector, with the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Cyberstates 2011. In addition, the Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption provides a competitive cost advantage on qualified equipment for data centers.

    To learn more about Virginia’s capabilities and why companies have invested more than $4.4 billion in the Commonwealth’s data center industry over the past ten years, click here.

    UBED—JMU’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy Educates the Industry

    Friday, 29 June 2012 11:12 by Info@YesVirginia.org