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.
It’s Business Appreciation Month in Virginia, and we’re celebrating by highlighting one of the Commonwealth’s top industries, cybersecurity.
With its close proximity to Washington, D.C., Virginia is part of the nation’s Cyber Capital. As the hub of leading-edge intelligence technology, Virginia serves as a fertile ground for the growing cybersecurity industry. Key federal agencies involved with cybersecurity along with the nation’s leading cyber companies, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corp. are located in Virginia.
The Commonwealth is at the center of the IT industry, with 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passing through Virginia.
On the heels of California, Virginia has the second highest concentration of technology workers in the nation, with nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce employed by the information technology sector, according to Cyberstates 2015. As a result, Virginia is home to the headquarters of nearly 40 of the Washington Technology Top 100 federal contracting companies.
Reston’s Carahsoft is one of the most successful, fastest growing technology solution providers in the U.S. Founded in 2004, Carahsoft helps government agencies find the best possible technology solution at the best possible value.
NCS Technologies, headquartered in Gainesville, designs, manufactures, distributes and supports its products from a single location for clients including federal agencies, healthcare and schools. Since its founding in 1996, NCS Technologies has become a leading domestic producer of computers, servers and storage systems.
As part of Virginia Business Appreciation Month, cybersecurity represents the high-growth and technological innovation that is alive and well in the Commonwealth. To learn why these companies have found success in Virginia, click here.
This week, VEDP sponsored and attended the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples, Florida. We had the opportunity to talk with many of the world’s top plastics processors and share the benefits of doing business in Virginia.
Virginia’s strategic mid-Atlantic location and superior transportation network provide access to 43% of the U.S. population within a one-day (10 hour) drive. These assets combined with our competitive operating costs make an ideal location for plastics companies.
The Port of Virginia is a leading gateway to the global market, offering direct connection to over 100 foreign ports. The Port offers the single best infrastructure on the East Coast with no overhead obstructions, on-dock rail service, easy access to ocean lanes, and is the only East Coast port with Congressional authorization to dredge to 55 feet.
Virginia is home to over 200 plastics companies that employ more than 20,300 Virginians. A few companies who call Virginia home include Rubbermaid, TREX, General Packaging, Klockner Pentaplast, Hanwha Azdel and Variform.
Since 2005, plastics and advanced materials companies have invested $1.01 billion and created more than 4,600 new jobs in Virginia. To learn more about Virginia’s plastics industry, click here.
Panel of plastics professionals during the Plastics News Executive Forum.
The Port of Virginia signed a lease to continue operation of Richmond Marine Terminal through 2056 allowing the port to implement a long-term strategy to reinvest in RMT.
In order to modernize the 120-acre barge terminal, a $4.2 million 350-ton crane was installed at RMT, which will speed up the loading and unloading of the container barge.
A new barge was added with 50 percent more capacity to carry containers in a single trip. Rail upgrades, regular dredging, new cargo-moving equipment and other improvements are also scheduled to occur.
RMT is strategically located along the James River and I-95, and connects Richmond and the state to global trade through The Port of Virginia’s container terminals in the Norfolk Harbor.
The Port of Virginia offers direct service to more than 45 counties worldwide. It’s the only U.S. East Coast port with congressional authorization for 55-foot depth channels, and has the ability to be the first and last port of call.
To learn more about Virginia’s port and infrastructure advantages, click here.
New crane at Richmond Marine Terminal during lease signing event in Richmond.
Northern Virginia has surpassed the Tri-State New Jersey / New York region as the largest data center market in the U.S., with nearly 20 percent of the market share in enterprise demand in 2015, according to a study published by JLL.
Although Virginia’s data center industry is largely concentrated in Northern Virginia, the sector supports communities across the Commonwealth. In 2014, the total statewide economic impact attributable to the data center industry was approximately 36,043 jobs, $2.7 billion in wages, $8.6 billion in economic output, and $298.9 million in state and local tax revenue.
The substantial benefit of the data center industry boom across Virginia is highlighted in a recently published report by the Northern Virginia Technology Council —The Economic and Fiscal Contribution that Data Centers Make to Virginia.
According to the NVTC report, data centers are a critical part of the infrastructure that supports the modern economy, not only in the technology sector, but in advanced manufacturing, entertainment, finance, healthcare, information, retail, telecommunications, and almost every other sector of the economy as well.
The industry generates significant tax revenues. Data centers are very capital-intensive and that translates into a disproportionate amount of property tax revenue, by far the largest source of revenue for Virginia localities.
Click here to access NVTC’s full report and learn more about Virginia’s thriving data center industry.
The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Welding program held its first completion ceremony on December 10.
The ceremony recognized the first 15 students to enroll in Welding@SVHEC, a short term, accredited training program that provides students with instruction in MIG, TIG, stick and pipe welding. This non-credit program is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research. Welding instruction takes place in the SVHEC’s new, state-of-the-art welding lab.
This program started in response to employer requests for more trained, certified workers. The SVHEC’s Workforce Services department worked with Virginia Technical Institute to bring this program to South Boston, Virginia.
Virginia has a nationally acclaimed education system which ensures businesses have a steady pipeline of skilled workers, and now adds another industry recognized program to Southern Virginia.
The Virginia Community College System provides occupational and technical training programs, many of which are designed specifically to meet the needs of surrounding employers. Welding@SVHEC is a great example of how Virginia works with both higher education and companies to provide students with industry specific skills. To learn more about Virginia’s 23 community colleges, located on 40 campuses around the state, click here.
Class of 2015 Welding@SVHEC completers and instructors in South Boston, Virginia.
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.
Last week, VEDP joined Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and The Hague Security Delta for a cybersecurity event in Tysons Corner, Va.
The Hague Security Delta is based in the Netherlands and represents the largest security cluster of businesses, governments and academic institutions in Europe. It establishes partnerships with global security leaders to share knowledge, increase business activity and create a more secure world.
A delegation of almost 30 Dutch and Flemish companies attended the event in Tysons Corner to discuss security issues with leading Virginia technology companies and institutions.
The Hague Security Delta, Fairfax County EDA and VEDP closed the program by having representatives sign a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation between the cybersecurity centers.
The parties pledged to bolster innovation-based collaboration by promoting trade with each country's industry clusters; encouraging mutual exchanges with business, government and academic leaders; fostering R&D cooperation through joint enterprises and research centers; exploring joint initiatives at the highest levels of government on security matters; and joining efforts to identify technology commercialization opportunities.
This event and agreement illustrates Virginia’s leadership in technology, once again. The Commonwealth is a key part of the nation’s Cyber Capital and a major hub in the cybersecurity industry. To learn more about Virginia’s cybersecurity assets, click here.
Ulrich Seldeslachts, CEO at LSEC; Ida Haisma, executive director of The Hague Security Delta; Martin Briley, president and CEO of VEDP; and Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of FCEDA; sign the MOU in Tysons Corner, Va. Photo courtesy of FCEDA.
VEDP Chief Operating Officer Dan Gundersen was awarded the International Economic Development Council’s 2015 Honorary Life Member Designation.
Gundersen was presented with the award this past Monday during the IEDC Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. He also served as moderator of the first session at the conference, “How to be a World Class Economic Developer,” where he led a panel with representatives from four continents who discussed innovative approaches and trends in economic development.
“The designation of Honorary Life Member is given by IEDC to an active or former member who is progressing the profession of economic development as a teacher, or, who has motivated others in several communities,” said JoAnn Crary, CEcD, Chair of the International Economic Development Council and President of Saginaw Future Inc. “Mr. Gundersen has been dedicated to our industry and has, indisputably, earned this distinction.”
VEDP created the COO position in the spring of 2014 to manage all day-to-day operations and develop competitive strategies for success. Gundersen was recruited to the job in Virginia due to his deep background as a senior economic development official in three other states: New York, where he reported directly to the governor, both as Commissioner of Economic Development and as Upstate Chairman for the Empire State Development Corporation; Pennsylvania, where he held the number two job as Executive Deputy Secretary; and Maryland, where he was Assistant Secretary for Business Development.
At the metropolitan level, he led economic and workforce development efforts for Baltimore County, Md., where he produced the county’s first economic development operations strategy, and before that worked in Philadelphia with business leaders and the mayor to form public/private partnerships in impoverished neighborhoods.
Throughout his career, Gundersen and his teams helped structure deals resulting in the creation and retention of more than 150,000 jobs. These projects include world, North American and regional headquarters facilities.
“As economic developers, our job is to help produce economic growth so that businesses succeed,” said Gundersen. “How we do that is complex. Why we do it, is what really matters. For me, economic development is about making a positive difference in people’s lives and communities. It’s that simple and powerful.”
To learn more about Gundersen’s work at VEDP, promoting Virginia as the location with the right combination of resources that have helped businesses succeed for more than 400 years, click here.
As many of you are already aware, the 2015 UCI Road World Championship cycling event is taking place in Richmond this week.
Excitement has built around the event, which is returning to the U.S. for the first time in nearly 30 years. It is a huge coup for Richmond to have been selected as the host city and furthers its reputation as a global destination. The championships are held annually in an international city chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale through a competitive bidding process.
With 450,000 spectators expected to watch the race onsite and a TV audience in the hundreds of millions, this is certainly a tremendous opportunity to represent Virginia on the world stage.
The Virginia Tourism Corp. has partnered with Richmond 2015, the organizer of the nine-day event, and will air 500 30-second commercials across U.S. domestic television broadcasts during the event. As part of Virginia's sponsorship, VEDP received a portion of these spots and produced a new commercial tailored to the UCI event that is airing on NBC Sports Network during the race this week.
VEDP worked with Richmond companies Elevation Advertising to create the ad and The Branching to produce it. Overcoast developed the original background track, incorporating the cycling sounds.
Richmond is fortunate to have a strong cycling culture and was able to draw upon local talent to film the ad. We’re grateful to Carytown Bicycle Company, who provided items for the shoot, and local cyclist John Eiler, who rides for Team Carytown Bicycle Company and appears in the commercial.
Sports commentators have already remarked on the beauty of the city and the diverse and challenging courses that Richmond offers to competitors.
To learn why Virginia is a great place to live, work and play, click here. Check out our TV ad below.
McKee Foods recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in Augusta County, Va.
McKee Foods is known for its Little Debbie® line of snack cakes. The family business has grown from a five-person bakery in the 1930’s to America’s No. 1 brand of snack cakes.
The Stuarts Draft plant is one of the most advanced facilities in the baking industry. The company established the bakery in 1990 to produce oatmeal crème pies, honey buns and other bakery products.
The company’s most recent announcement in October 2014 included a $34 million investment and 54 new jobs to expand the facility.
McKee Foods employs more than 1,000 people and is the largest manufacturing employer in Augusta County. The company frequently credits the high productivity of its Virginia workforce as paramount to its success.
"We have found our Virginia workforce to be some of the most loyal and highly-skilled employees in the industry — and about 85 members of our Virginia workforce have been at the plant since it opened," said McKee Foods President and CEO Mike McKee.
In addition to a strong manufacturing workforce, Virginia provides McKee Foods with a strategic location, offering easy access to the company’s Northeastern and Canadian customers. Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the Stuarts Draft location offers McKee employees a high quality of life with close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail and numerous national parks.
To learn why more than 580 leading food and beverage companies, like McKee Foods, have chosen to locate in Virginia, click here.
Representatives from McKee Foods, Augusta County and VEDP celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in Stuarts Draft, Va. Photo courtesy of McKee Foods Corp.
Virginia received an A for overall friendliness on Thumbtack.com’s fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Virginia was the highest ranked state in the Mid-Atlantic and top 10 nationwide. Nearby competitors Maryland received a D+ and North Carolina a B-.
Thumbtack.com surveyed 17,633 small businesses across the U.S. with 36 questions to evaluate the friendliness of state and local policies toward small businesses on more than a dozen metrics.
Highlights for the Commonwealth include an A+ for ease of starting a business, licensing regulations and environmental factors.
“Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.com. “Virginia's policies that support entrepreneurs could provide a helpful guide as we fight a general decline in business startups nationwide.”
“There is an excellent climate for small business in Virginia,” commented a translator and professor in Roanoke. “It is a great place to start and run a business because the state offers support, networking, referral and community enthusiasm.”
Richmond was ranked the No. 3 friendliest city in the U.S. and received an A+.
The survey results once again illustrate that Virginia is a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business. To learn more about the Commonwealth’s pro-business policies, strategic location, competitive operating costs, leading research institutions and highly educated workforce, click here.
Image courtesy of Thumbtack.com
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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