Lodge at Primland ties for first in ranking of world's best-designed hotels

What's a Virginia resort in Meadows of Dan have in common with a 10th century castle in Italy or an ocean property in Rhode Island? 

These properties are among the world's best designed hotels, according to the latest rankings from Travel and Leisure magazine. 

The Lodge at Primland in Meadows of Dan tied for first place, sharing the No. 1 spot with Castello de Casole, a castle on 4,000 acres in Sienna, Italy; and Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. 

The 12,000-acre Virginia mountain resort scored well with the magazine's readers, with many giving the property high marks for its serenity, use of indigenous materials, its observatory and its ridge-top golf course laid out by architect Donald Steel. The resort also offers three tree-house cabins, built into the tops of big trees overlooking the Dan River Gorge. 

"This is another major achievement for our visionary family of owners who worked closely with the architectural team of CTC Design Studio Atlanta to create a lodge in harmony with the Virginia landscape," Steve Helms, vice president of Primland, said in a statement. 

Earlier this year Primland was rated one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in the U.S. by Trip Advisor and in the Top 25 Hotels in the U.S. by US News and World Report. It also moved up the Travel and Leisure rankings of Top 100 Resorts in the World by moving up to No. 23 and also being listed as one of the top five in the U.S. 

from Virginia Business

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Autonomous Marine Systems wins business plan competition

Research and development prospect Autonomous Marine Systems, that has received a $1.6 million Tobacco Commission grant to locate in the Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (former Daystrom building) at Greens Folly, also has been named the second place energy winner of $175,000 in the first-ever Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday the winners of the competition that provided $850,000 to five companies in the bioscience and energy sectors that were looking to expand their business in Virginia.

Autonomous Marine Systems Inc. is a marine data company changing the way the world explores and studies the oceans. Using a patented low-cost, fully autonomous sailboat, Autonomous Marine Systems delivers persistent ocean intelligence anywhere around the world at one-tenth of the cost of existing services. The systems emit zero carbon dioxide and do not risk human life.

Autonomous Marine Systems supports development of the company's next generation Datamaran and was founded seven years ago by two Princeton educated engineers and businessmen, who are currently partnering with MIT, DARPA and a host of energy industries to develop a fleet of autonomous water craft to collect oceanographic data for the energy, defense and weather industries.

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Growing Gretna manufacturer adds jobs

Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 new positions to its company. Photo courtesy Amthor International.

Gretna's Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 employees to its first- and second-shift operation.

The truck manufacturing company, which employs approximately 100 workers, will establish a training program at the center Virginia Technical Institute called Amthor University. All interested applicants for the 30 openings will be sent through the program for off-site training.

"Everybody gets on-the-job training but not specifically in my building," Owner and Marketing Director Brian Amthor said. "I'm able to do off-site training and not affect my current production."

The training will take about four to five weeks, lasting anywhere from 160 to 200 hours. Sessions covering welding, electrical, tank mounting and tank maintenance will begin Oct. 5 at the Altavista training center. The four courses will be staggered in start times, resulting in hiring taking place in October through November.

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Coating machine seen as boon for NCI

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was on hand to help unveil the new training equipment at the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing. Photo courtesy of CAFM.

A new machine installed at the New College Institute (NCI) should help Martinsville-Henry County keep high-tech companies and attract new ones by ensuring that people can learn advanced skills they will need to work for the firms, local industry representatives, educators and others said Thursday when the device was unveiled.

The academic coater is a one-of-a-kind, roughly $1 million machine to be used by the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing – a partnership of NCI, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and Eastman – mainly to train people for jobs with Eastman and other performance film manufacturers.

The Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing is a 28-credit program intended to teach people the skills they need to make performance films, such as ones installed on windows to block solar radiation, with computer-run equipment. But the coater could be used by other companies to teach skills common to all advanced manufacturers, NCI officials said.

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Governor cuts ribbon on IT Academy

Alongside Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams and other distinguished guests, Governor Terry McAuliffe cuts the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the higher ed center’s IT Academy. Courses will begin in August.Alongside Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams and other distinguished guests, Governor Terry McAuliffe cuts the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the higher ed center’s IT Academy. Courses will begin in August.

Calling the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center the "home to bold thinkers and innovators" Governor Terry McAuliffe addressed the higher ed center staff and distinguished guests Tuesday before cutting the ribbon on the new addition to the facility, its IT Academy.

The center continues to do big things. Less than a year ago, the facility became a Center of Excellence facility offering three programs: welding, precision machining and industrial maintenance.

The IT Academy (ITA) is a short-term, non-credit training program designed to prepare individuals with the skills and certifications required for employment in Southern Virginia's growing Information Technology sector.

ITA will provide a core curriculum leading to CompTIA certification in A+, Network+ and Server+. Each of these courses will last three to five weeks and provide approximately 100 hours of instruction. Students will be able to complete the entire core curriculum within 90 days.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 101 New Jobs in Henry County

Monogram Food Solutions to invest $7.2 million to add warehousing and logistics facility to operation

Monogram FoodsGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Monogram Food Solutions, LLC, a Memphis-based manufacturer of value-added processed meats, will invest $7.244 million to establish a warehousing and logistics operation in Henry County. The company has operated a meat snacks production facility in the Henry County Patriot Centre Industrial Park since 2009. Virginia successfully competed against two other states for the project, which will create 101 new jobs.

Speaking about today's announcement at an event in Henry County, Governor McAuliffe said, "I am thrilled to be back in the region to announce Monogram Food Solutions' new operation, which brings the company's total job creation in Henry County to more than 300 in less than one year. Working with companies like Monogram to grow and create new jobs in regions that need them is a key part of my administration's efforts to build a new Virginia economy. I thank Monogram for continuing to invest in our great Commonwealth."

"Monogram's announcement is further proof that Virginia offers the assets companies seek to grow their businesses," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. "The combination of great talent, strong infrastructure, pro-business climate and great incentives distinguish the Commonwealth as a great place for business. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Monogram for years to come."

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Gov. McAuliffe praises Gene Haas Center as economic engine to diversify economy

Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining

Gov. Terry McAuliffe came to Danville on Friday to honor the more than $1 million — and a nearly equal amount of hopes — invested into the freshly completed Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

The ribbon cutting gathered together a long list of politicians, funders, donors and educators to remark upon and honor the milestone achievement that is the Gene Haas Center. The center, part of the Capstone Integrated Machining Technology project, is a partnership between Danville Community College and the Institute.

With a $1 million Gene Haas Foundation endowment, a $1.9 million Danville Regional Foundation grant and an additional $650,000 worth of Haas Automation equipment, the center is state-of-the-art workflow cell training lab. Funding has come from numerous private sector donors with the majority coming from the Gene Haas Foundation.

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Governor McAuliffe to Provide Keynote Address at the Official Opening of the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining

$1 Million Endowment Creates One-of-a-Kind Workflow Cell Learning Environment

Governor Terry McAuliffe will provide remarks and participate in the ribbon cutting to officially open the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). A number of globally recognized partners and Gene Haas, founder and president of Haas Automation, will also be in attendance at a special ribbon cutting in Danville, Virginia on Friday, May 15 at 10:00 a.m. The event will be available via a live webcast stream on IALR's webpage, www.ialr.org.

The Gene Haas Center will include a workflow cell training lab that will provide authentic learning experiences to students who have completed the Integrated Machining Technology Program at Danville Community College (DCC). Not only is the program unique, but it is a game changer for preparing the future workforce. The program will provide a third-year level of learning for students.

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eBay adding New facility, 191 jobs

Ebay logoeBay will expand its operations in Henry County, adding 191 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $4 million and investing $5.8 million in capital improvements, officials announced Thursday.

The expansion will make eBay the second-largest non-service employer in the region after Eastman Chemical Company, according to Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

The company will move into a 400,000-square foot facility on Joseph Martin Highway in Ridgeway, where it already has other operations. It will make improvements to the building — the work already has begun — and also put in materials-handling equipment.

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Gene Haas Foundation Grants $1 Million to Institute for Advanced Learning & Research, Danville Community College

Stewart-Haas Racing Driver Kurt Busch to Carry Commemorative Decal Highlighting $1 Million Grant to The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on No. 41 at Richmond April 23, 2015

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and Danville Community College (DCC) are the recipients of a $1 million grant from the Gene Haas Foundation, which has granted more than $11 million to entities that champion advanced manufacturing education.

The $1 million grant will be used to build the new Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining on the IALR campus in Danville, Virginia, and support a third-year level of learning for students completing DCC's Precision Machining Technology two-year degree program. The experience will provide students the opportunity to train in an authentic manufacturing workflow cell as part of the Capstone Integrated Machining Technology project being implemented for the first time in America through the IALR/DCC partnership.

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