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Port of Virginia completes $320 mil expansion

Port of Virginia completes $320 mil expansion

Describing the upgraded Port of Virginia as the “most modern, efficient and most productive in the Western Hemisphere,” state officials, port executives and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam today announced the completed $320 million expansion of the port’s Virginia International Gateway (VIG) facility in Portsmouth.

“The completion of the VIG expansion … cements Virginia’s status as home to a world-class port,” Northam says. “That reputation will help drive economic investment and job creation across the commonwealth.”

The VIG terminal now features the largest cranes on the East Coast, four 170-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes, which arrived at the port in the January. The project increases cargo and container capacity by expanding the berth at VIG another 800 feet to accommodate as many as three ultra-large vessels at once. The port also added 26 rail-mounted gantry cranes at the terminal, creating more room to stack and sort shipping containers.

The port system’s overall goal is to expand capacity at VIG and the port’s other major marine cargo facility, Norfolk International Terminals, by 40 percent in the next 14 months.

“Today we celebrate a major milestone in the most ambitious construction project ever undertaken at the Port of Virginia,” says Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart. The port launched the project in early 2017.

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Virginia Reclaims “Top State for Business” Title in CNBC Ranking

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that CNBC has named Virginia America’s “Top State for Business” in 2019. CNBC unveiled Virginia as the top state for business this morning during a live broadcast from Shenandoah River State Park, and Governor Northam was on location to discuss the announcement. The top ranking is determined by CNBC following an extensive study of all 50 states based on 64 metrics in 10 categories of competitiveness. Virginia is tied with Texas for most years named top state for business by CNBC, with wins in 2007, 2009, 2011, and now 2019.

“I am proud to bring the title of America’s top state for business back to Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “One of my primary goals has been to make Virginia the number one place to do business, and to do it in a way that benefits all Virginians and every region of the Commonwealth. This recognition underscores our work to build an inclusive and diversified economy, invest in our workforce, and create quality jobs—and is proof that companies of many different sizes and industries can find a home in Virginia.”

Since Governor Northam took office in January 2018, the Commonwealth has secured more than $18.5 billion in statewide capital investment and created 50,000 new jobs. Governor Northam has announced $2.5 billion in new capital investment in Virginia’s distressed communities, including significant projects with Volvo and Microsoft. Virginia has attracted major investments from leading companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Micron, and many other prominent businesses are choosing to deepen their roots in the Commonwealth.  

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Governor Northam Announces 160 New Jobs in the City of Danville

Litehouse, Inc. to invest $46 million in first East Coast production facility

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Litehouse, Inc., a leader in refrigerated salad dressings, dips, cheese, freeze dried herbs, and other innovative consumer packaged goods, will invest $46 million to acquire and expand Sky Valley Foods and establish its first East Coast production facility in the City of Danville. The company will retain the Sky Valley Foods employees and create an additional 160 new jobs over the next five years. Virginia successfully competed with Utah and South Carolina for the project.

“Litehouse’s decision to take root in the City of Danville and establish its first East Coast production facility is another great example of how Southern Virginia’s industry-responsive training programs and highly skilled workforce create an ideal environment for manufacturers to thrive,” said Governor Northam. “This flourishing company sets the bar for corporate responsibility in its industry, and we look forward to many years of shared prosperity for Litehouse, its dedicated owners-employees, and the Commonwealth.”

Litehouse, Inc. is a leader in refrigerated salad dressings, dips, cheese, freeze dried herbs and other innovative and delicious products. Founded in Hope, Idaho by the Hawkins family in 1963, Litehouse is proud to be a 100 percent employee-owned company. Each of the employee-owners is committed to providing great-tasting, high-quality food made with real ingredients and crafted with care. The company has five other manufacturing facilities in the United States located in Michigan, Utah, and Idaho. Litehouse’s award-winning products are available in North America through general retail, e-commerce, foodservice, deli, club stores, and value-added goods such as meal and salad kits.

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Patrick County Named Certified Work Ready Community

Patrick County Named Certified Work Ready Community

Patrick County and the Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) are pleased to announce that Patrick County has been designated as a certified Work Ready Community (WRC). The nationally recognized designation by the Commonwealth of Virginia and American College Testing (ACT) will help Patrick County attract new businesses and jobs in addition to strengthening the skill sets of the region’s high school students, job seekers and incumbent workforce.

Partners like the DRRC, the West Piedmont Workforce Development Board, Patrick Henry Community College, Patrick County Public Schools and regional employers supported Patrick County’s efforts to achieve this important national certification. Some of the supportive regional employers include Ten Oaks, Narrowflex, The Results Companies and Capewell Aerial Systems, LLC. To become certified, a locality must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credentials attained in the locality and number of employers recognizing the NCRC.

“Today’s achievement by Patrick County demonstrates to our existing companies, as well as prospective employers, that we have a trainable workforce with the foundational skills to compete,” stated Dr. Julie Brown, Program Director, Dan River Region Collaborative (DRCC). “We have a significant number of localities in Southern Virginia that are certified as Work Ready Communities with more announcements on the way. When we work together as a region, great things are possible.”

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Virginia Economic Development Partnership Receives 2018 State of The Year Award

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Receives 2018 State of The Year Award

While the Commonwealth has been getting a lot of attention from emerging high-tech growth sectors, Virginia hasn’t lost sight of its traditional growth industries.

Business Facilities Chief Business Officer Ted Coene presents the 2018 State of the Year Award to Stephen Moret, President and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. (Photo: Neil Eisenberg)

The State of the Year designation is based on BF’s evaluation of Virginia’s economic development strategy and the economic impact of the top projects the state secured in 2018.

“Virginia has an economic development strategy that is fully leveraging the Commonwealth’s impressive assets and producing spectacular results,” BF Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said. “VA already was home to a bevy of Fortune 500 headquarters when it landed Amazon’s HQ2. The state has invested wisely in 21st century infrastructure, supporting the nation’s leading data center hub with a robust fiber optic network, and its world-class universities are producing the talent for emerging growth sectors like cybersecurity and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

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Grand Springs Water voted best in US

Grand Springs Water voted best in US

The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition has been called the “Academy Awards of Water.”

And on Saturday, the 29th Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting was held with entries from five continents making this “truly an international event,” said Robert Smith, owner of Grand Springs Water in Alton, who came home with a silver award for having the second best water in the world and the best in the United States.

The competition consists of entries in five different categories of products from around the world including Best Municipal Water, Best Bottled Water, Best Sparkling Water, Best Purified Water and Best Flavored Essence Sparkling.

The most prestigious award is to receive the Best Bottled Water in the World award.

Grand Springs Water of Alton has received this prestigious award twice in years past winning it back to back in 2008 and 2009, Smith said.

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A More Diverse Economy

Region Recruits Companies From a Variety of Industries

The Southern Virginia region is pushing past its legacy of tobacco production and textile manufacturing to recruit a diversified group of companies.

“When the city of Danville was a mill and tobacco-processing town, we had two industries, and those got wiped out, and we got wiped out,” says Linwood Wright, a former Danville mayor who serves as a consultant to the city’s office of economic development. “Today we only have one tobacco processing plant, Japan Tobacco Inc., and it is state-of-the-art.”

Danville scored two huge economic development projects last year with Essel Propack’s expansion and PRA Group Inc.’s decision to establish a call center. The two announcements alone amounted to $46.2 million in capital investment and 545 new jobs.

The city had worked with PRA on the call center deal for some time. The Norfolk-based debt recovery company is investing $15.1 million in the call center and expects to create 500 jobs. Danville competed with several states for the project.

PRA bought an Airside Industrial Park building that had housed a Telvista call center. About 300 people lost their jobs when Telvista closed the call center in March. “PRA will pay their employees close to twice what Telvista was paying their employees,” Wright says.

Essel Propack, an India-based specialty packaging company, plans to spend $31.2 million in expanding its Danville manufacturing operations. The project will allow the company to double production at the Danville facility.

The city competed with Brazil and Argentina for the expansion project, which is expected to create 45 additional jobs. Essel Propack has more than 2,850 employees worldwide, including 252 in Danville, its only U.S. manufacturing operation.

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Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) to Build Center For Manufacturing Advancement

 51,250-square-foot, $25.5 million Center to enhance Southern Virginia’s advanced manufacturing field

(DANVILLE, Va.) – The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce plans to build a 51,250-square-foot Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA) on the IALR campus. The innovative CMA will offer a platform for leading-edge business success specifically targeted at manufacturing companies establishing or expanding their presence in Southern Virginia.

“The skill sets and demand for advanced manufacturing labor are continuously growing alongside the endless evolution of technology,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “IALR has proudly championed the growth of this sector as one path toward regional economic transformation with the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining Technology; temporary, rapid-launch space for companies to use as they build, upgrade or occupy a permanent new facility; and economic development support to help attract new manufacturers to the area to benefit from the workforce pipeline and other regional assets of Southern Virginia. This new Center for Manufacturing Advancement will allow us to continue these activities on a larger scale and to promote business success in a collaborative, innovative setting.”

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New Manufacturing Center Coming to Danville

From WSET

PRA Group, Inc. to make a capital investment of $15.1 million to establish new call center

DANVILLE—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that PRA Group, Inc., a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans, will make a capital investment of $15.1 million to establish a new call center in the City of Danville. Virginia successfully competed with multiple states for the project, which will create 500 new jobs.

“PRA Group’s multi-million-dollar investment will harness Southern Virginia’s abundant talent in the corporate services industry by creating 500 new jobs, and bring a shuttered asset in the Airside Industrial Park back into productive use,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “PRA Group is a prime example of a home-grown Virginia business developing into a valued major employer in the Commonwealth, and we look forward to the company’s next chapter in the City of Danville.”

Founded in Norfolk, Virginia as Portfolio Recovery Associates, PRA Group, Inc. is now one of the nation’s largest debt recovery firms. By returning capital to banks and other creditors, the company helps to expand financial services for consumers in the Americas and Europe. PRA Group employs more than 2,000 in its Norfolk and Hampton facilities and 5,000 worldwide.

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