Service Center Metals Celebrates 10-year Anniversary and Expansion

Thursday, 5 September 2013 12:46 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Service Center Metals recently celebrated 10 years of doing business in Prince George County, Va. The ceremony, attended by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, included a ground-breaking celebration for a second plant at the SouthPoint Business Park location...

Service Center Metals recently celebrated 10 years of doing business in Prince George County, Va. The ceremony, attended by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, included a ground-breaking celebration for a second plant at the SouthPoint Business Park location.

Service Center Metals was founded in 2002 by three former Reynolds Metals executives to produce aluminum extruded products. As its name implies, Service Center Metals has chosen to focus exclusively on a unique niche—service center customers. 

After weathering the ups and downs of the last 10 years, the company now boasts more than 120 employees and $145 million in revenue. Since its opening, Service Center Metals has produced more than 635 million pounds of extrusions.

The company’s expansion includes a compact remelt plant that will be located adjacent to its extrusion plant. Currently, Service Center Metals must ship its aluminum scrap to and from a third-party provider to be remelted. Bringing this process in-house will allow the company to better recycle its scrap materials, as well as serve its customers more quickly and in an environmentally-friendly way.

As a home-grown manufacturing company, Service Center Metals is a strong example of the success entrepreneurs experience when they start a business in the Commonwealth. To learn more about Virginia’s innovative business environment, click here.

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (left center) joins company and local officials at the Service Center Metals ground-breaking ceremony in Prince George County, Va.

2013 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index Ranks Virginia No. 5 in Economic Outlook

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 16:23 by Info@YesVirginia.org
In its sixth edition of Rich States, Poor States, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recognized Virginia at No. 5 in its 2013 Economic Outlook ranking...

In its sixth edition of Rich States, Poor States, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recognized Virginia at No. 5 in its 2013 Economic Outlook ranking.

The Economic Outlook category measures how a state is expected to perform in the future based on 15 policy areas controlled at the state level. The study points out the direct correlation between policy decisions and a state’s level of economic competitiveness.

Virginia has historically performed strongly in the Economic Outlook category—in five out of the last six years the Commonwealth has scored in the top five.

Virginia was the only state in the mid-Atlantic to break the top 10.

Rich State, Poor States highlights some of Virginia’s pro-growth policies that enabled it to achieve a top ranking. The Commonwealth’s pro-growth tax policies, fairness of its legal system, low workers’ compensation costs and right-to-work status were among the reasons Virginia’s economic outlook remains strong.

In addition, Virginia offers companies a corporate tax rate of six percent that remains unchanged since 1972, electricity costs below the national average, and the second lowest unemployment insurance tax rate in the nation.

Virginia has been providing companies with the right location and resources to succeed for more than 400 years. To learn why the Commonwealth continues to receive top accolades, click here.

VEDP Launches ‘Going Global’ Initiative for Defense Companies

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:45 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Today, VEDP announced the launch of its ‘Going Global’ initiative as part of its strategy to help Virginia defense companies mitigate the effects of sequestration...

Today, VEDP announced the launch of its ‘Going Global’ initiative as part of its strategy to help Virginia defense companies mitigate the effects of sequestration.

Sequestration is the name for the automatic federal spending cuts that began on March 1 as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted by Congress to resolve the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis.

The impact of Sequestration has been less severe than expected—Department of Defense contracts decreased from $56.9 billion in FY2011 to $51.5 billion in FY2012. However, the Commonwealth is the top state for DoD contracts, raising concerns that lost contracts could results in lower revenues for Virginia companies unless they can find new customers.

As part of its sequestration mitigation strategy, VEDP is working with Virginia defense companies to help them find those new customers overseas. The receipt of nearly $2 million in federal and state funds will allow VEDP to augment some of its most successful programs already underway within the International Trade division. 

For example, defense companies will be able to utilize VEDP’s Global Network team of in-country consultants from more than 55 countries. Market research services include compiling background information, identifying potential distributors, conducting due diligence, arranging matchmaking appointments with potential partners and customers, assessing competition, and helping companies understand the regulatory environment.
 
VEDP will be able to assist companies with export compliance. Virginia companies participating in this program will receive an export compliance analysis, including guidance on completing a Commodities Jurisdiction Analysis and submitting the required paperwork to the Department of State in compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

The grant will also allow companies to enhance their marketing and digital presence to target foreign markets through website translation and search engine optimization.

VEDP recently released an export guide for defense companies titled Export Opportunities for Virginia’s Defense Industry. The guide outlines regulations, processes and strategies specific to the defense industry, and contains marketing and sales best practices for both new and experienced exporters. 

VEDP’s International Trade division offers a wide variety of programs to help Virginia companies succeed in the global marketplace. To learn more, click here.

Virginia Receives Numerous Top Rankings from Business Facilities Magazine

Friday, 9 August 2013 10:35 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Once again, Virginia received a number of top rankings in Business Facilities’ 2013 State Rankings Report. The Commonwealth was ranked No. 5 for Best Business Climate and No. 8 for Economic Growth Potential...

Once again, Virginia received a number of top rankings in Business Facilities’ 2013 State Rankings Report. The Commonwealth was ranked No. 5 for Best Business Climate and No. 8 for Economic Growth Potential.

The strength of Virginia’s workforce and education system was recognized through a No. 8 ranking for Best Education Climate and a No. 9 in the Employment Leaders category.

A number of Virginia’s key industries were also touted by the study. Virginia was ranked No. 4 in the Data Center category. Data center investment has grown at a rapid pace in the Commonwealth due to Virginia’s plentiful high-tech workforce, substantial broadband infrastructure, and low-cost environment. In 2012, Virginia saw more than $1 billion in investment in this sector.

Virginia was ranked No. 7 in the Aerospace/Defense Industry Leaders category. This comes as no surprise, as the Commonwealth is the No. 1 state for Department of Defense contracts and is home to a number of global aerospace and defense companies due to its strengths in the high-tech and manufacturing spaces, strong military presence and close proximity to federal customers. Virginia also offers one of only four commercial sites authorized by the FAA for orbital space launch.

Often referred to as the “Energy Capital of the East Coast,” Virginia was recognized as a Biofuels Leader with a No. 7 ranking. The Commonwealth has seen a number of announcements in this sector—Enviva is currently completing construction on a 454,000-metric-ton wood pellet manufacturing facility in Southampton County. The company will utilize Southern Virginia’s rich wood basket, seasoned labor force, and proximity to the Port of Chesapeake to provide biomass for its international customers.

In addition, three Virginia localities were recognized in the Business Facilities Metro Rankings Report. Prince George County was rated No. 7 for Economic Growth Potential, due in part to expansions at Ft. Lee, Rolls-Royce and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM). 

Newport News and Norfolk were ranked No. 2 and No. 9, respectively, as Logistics Leaders (Ports) for their proximity to the international Port of Virginia. Offering access to 250 ports in more than 100 overseas locations, the Port of Virginia is the only U.S. East Coast location able to handle post-Panamax vessels as first port of call.

Virginia continues to receive top accolades because the Commonwealth offers the location and resources businesses need to succeed. To learn why companies have prospered in Virginia for more than 400 years, click here.

Nine Virginia Schools Make Forbes 2013 America’s Top 200 Colleges Report

Thursday, 1 August 2013 16:30 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Once again, Virginia colleges and universities made a strong showing on the Forbes 2013 America’s Top Colleges list...

Once again, Virginia colleges and universities made a strong showing on the Forbes 2013 America’s Top Colleges list.

Nine Virginia institutions were ranked in the Top 200 in the Overall Category: Washington and Lee University (No. 21), University of Virginia (No. 29), College of William and Mary (No. 44), Virginia Military Institute (No. 87), University of Richmond (No. 88), Virginia Tech (No. 110), James Madison University (No. 168), Hampden-Sydney College (No. 189), and George Mason University (No. 197).

Virginia schools also stood out in a number of categories. Washington and Lee University was ranked No. 20 on the Best Private Colleges list, and James Madison University came in at No. 21 on the Best Value Colleges List.

Three Virginia schools made the Top 25 in the Best Public Colleges category. University of Virginia was ranked No. 4, College of William and Mary was ranked No. 9, and Virginia Military Institute came in at No. 17.

What is unique about this ranking is that Forbes focuses on ROI and what students get out of their college experience. Forbes looks at five areas to determine its rankings—student satisfaction scores, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rates and nationally recognized awards.

Virginia’s higher education system currently includes more than 450,000 students enrolled at institutions ranging from 15 comprehensive public institutions, eight of which offer doctoral programs, more than 50 private accredited four-year colleges and universities, and 23 public community colleges.

The quality of Virginia’s workforce is often cited as a critical advantage by companies in the Commonwealth, and with a world-class higher education system, Virginia is poised to maintain a strong pipeline of skilled workers.

To learn how Virginia’s premier higher education system is preparing a skilled workforce for the future, click here.

The Gateway Center for Enterprise Opens in Central Virginia

Thursday, 25 July 2013 16:43 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Today, Virginia’s Gateway Region opened The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonials Heights, Va., with the first of many third Thursday networking events...

Today, Virginia’s Gateway Region opened The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonials Heights, Va., with the first of many third Thursday networking events.

Today’s event was geared towards new entrepreneurs, with a speaker panel that provided information on how to start and grow a small business. Future third Thursday topics include how to access capital and leadership skills for innovators.

The focus of The Gateway Center is to support local entrepreneurs through a variety of programs, including training, networking events, one-on-one counseling, mentorship programs, and access to the office, library and resource center of Virginia’s Gateway Region. 

The Gateway Center was made possible through partnerships with The Center for Women's Enterprise at REDC Community Capital Group and the Crater Small Business Development Center at Longwood University. 

The center is housed within the main office of Virginia’s Gateway Region, a regional economic development group that supports the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry and Sussex.

Located in Central Virginia, the Gateway Region offers companies easy access to U.S. and international markets through Virginia’s premier transportation network. Advanced manufacturing, global logistics and food processing companies have been drawn to the area’s skilled workforce and access to top education and research institutions.

The Gateway Center is another example of the innovative environment Virginia offers to entrepreneurs. To learn more about starting a business in the Commonwealth, click here.

Virginia's Gateway Region houses The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonial Heights, Va.

High-tech “Fab Lab” Comes to Virginia’s Patrick Henry Community College

Monday, 22 July 2013 15:47 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) began offering tours of its Fab Lab this summer. The Fab Lab is short for digital fabrication laboratory, which gives students and local businesses access to 3D design and prototyping equipment to create new products and inventions...

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) began offering tours of its Fab Lab this summer. The Fab Lab is short for digital fabrication laboratory, which gives students and local businesses access to 3D design and prototyping equipment to create new products and inventions.

The Fab Lab concept originated at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. In November 2011, PHCC, the New College Institute and Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation sponsored a two-week visit from the Mobile Fab Lab of the Carolinas. During that time the lab received more than 300 visits from interested students and community members.

Working with the same partners, PHCC was able to obtain funding from the Virginia Community College System to purchase equipment and establish its own Fab Lab.

Located at the The Artisan Center in Martinsville, the 1600-square-foot Fab Lab houses a Roland MDX 20 mini mill, Roland CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 vinyl cutter, Stratasys uPrint SE Plus FDM 3D printer, Morgan Industries Morgan Press G-100T Injection Molder, Formech 686 Vacuum Former, Universal Laser 4.60, Routermate 4’ x 4’ CNC router and Torchmate 2’ x 4’ CNC plasma cutter.

The 10 Dell workstations in the lab offer open source software, which allows entrepreneurs and students to seamlessly continue their work at home or in other locations.

The Fab Lab has generated a lot of interest among students and business partners in the community. Lab Coordinator Matthew Wade estimates the lab has seen more than 100 visitors since its soft launch in April.

The lab will host a grand-opening event this fall to coincide with its first class, a basic manufacturing class that will teach students and entrepreneurs how to use the equipment in the lab to bring their ideas to life.

“Inventors can create designs with our software, use the vinyl cutter and CNC mill to fabricate and carve out a circuit board, and then utilize our 3D printer to produce a working model of their new product idea,” said PHCC Lab Coordinator Matthew Wade.

The PHCC Fab Lab is another example of the cutting-edge technology available at Virginia’s colleges and universities, helping prepare a strong pipeline of technically-skilled workers. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent Enterprising States study, Virginia is the No. 1 state in STEM job concentration and has the No. 1 share of high-tech businesses.

To learn more about Virginia’s leading higher education system and workforce preparation programs, click here.

A view of the Patrick Henry Community College Fab Lab in Martinsville, Va.

German Investment in Virginia Continues—PRUFREX Establishes First U.S. Location

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 16:23 by Info@YesVirginia.org
PRUFREX Innovative Power Products GmbH announced plans to establish its first U.S. location in Virginia Beach through a $7.33 million investment, which will create 60 new jobs. The project includes both a manufacturing facility as well as the company’s U.S. headquarters...

PRUFREX Innovative Power Products GmbH announced plans to establish its first U.S. location in Virginia Beach through a $7.33 million investment, which will create 60 new jobs. The project includes both a manufacturing facility as well as the company’s U.S. headquarters.

PRUFREX is a leading producer of digital ignition systems and electronic control systems for the small engine, marine and recreation, automotive, and electric and cordless power markets. The company’s global headquarters are in Cadolzburg, Germany.

The benefits of supply chain for economic development are apparent in this project—PRUFREX selected Virginia Beach over Georgia to be closer to two key customers, German-based BMZ Batteries and STIHL Inc.

STIHL opened its first U.S. plant in Virginia Beach in 1974, and has since grown to become the No. 1 brand of chain saws in the world. The company’s U.S. headquarters are now located in Virginia Beach, and since 1990 the company has announced investment of $335 million and 942 new jobs in the Commonwealth.

BMZ Batteries followed in April 2011, also establishing its U.S. headquarters in Virginia Beach to be close to STIHL and its other international customers. 

Germany has been in the top three for international investment and job creation in the Commonwealth over the last four years.

PRUFREX, BMZ Batteries and STIHL have all made reference to the quality of Virginia’s workforce, particularly its engineering and advanced manufacturing capabilities, as well as the Commonwealth’s strategic East location and ability to easily reach U.S. customers through its premier logistics infrastructure.

Virginia’s transportation network includes access to the international Port of Virginia, the only U.S. East Coast location able to handle post-Panamax vessels as first port of call, as well as an integrated system of six interstate highways, nine commercial airports and 14 railroads, including two Class I lines.

To learn why Virginia is home to more than 700 internationally-owned companies, click here.

Institute of Advanced Learning and Research Launches First Company—Dan River Plants

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 15:46 by Info@YesVirginia.org
The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) recently announced its first commercial spin-off, Dan River Plants, LLC...

The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) recently announced its first commercial spin-off, Dan River Plants, LLC.

Dan River Plants uses micropropagation technology to create, clone and grow plants at a rapid rate. The technology was developed through collaboration between IALR’s Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources and Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

Micropropagation utilizes plant tissue cultures to grow identical plants by an order of magnitude, yielding rapid and reliable results. The company is producing both decorative plants, such as lilies, roses and azaleas, as well as biofuel crops. 

Dan River Plants plans to invest $1.3 million and create 27 new jobs to establish a facility at Ringgold East Industrial Park in Pittsylvania County, Va.

IALR was established in 2000 through partnerships among Virginia Tech, Averett University, Danville Community College, Pittsylvania County, City of Danville, Future of the Piedmont Foundation, Tobacco Indemnification Commission and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The center uniquely operates as a research and development facility, education leader, business incubator and conference center.

We have previously blogged on some of IALR’s programs, including its STEM Mobile Learning Lab and the Virginia Polymer Coalition.

IALR has strategically positioned itself to capitalize on the expertise found in Southern Virginia. The center focuses on four main areas of research, including sustainable and renewable resources, analytical chemistry, polymers and composites, and vehicle research.

IALR is yet another example of the innovative research and collaboration with universities that supports Virginia businesses, from start-up to late stage. To learn more about opportunities to co-locate with Virginia’s leading universities at R&D centers across the Commonwealth, click here.

Digital Realty Expands Campus in Loudoun County’s Data Center Alley

Thursday, 11 July 2013 15:22 by Info@YesVirginia.org
Digital Realty just announced a $150 million expansion to its data center campus in Virginia’s Loudoun County. The project is expected to create 50 new jobs over the next three years...

Digital Realty just announced a $150 million expansion to its data center campus in Virginia’s Loudoun County. The project is expected to create 50 new jobs over the next three years.

Digital Realty is the largest data center operator in Loudoun County, with more than one million square feet of space. The company’s latest building is expected to be 400,000 square feet and house 22 data centers.

This project is a strong follow-up to the company’s announcement last May. It broke ground on its fourth building in Loudoun County, representing an $80 million investment and the anticipated creation of 12 full-time jobs and 180 temporary positions.

Often called “Data Center Alley,” Loudoun County has become one of the top data center locations in the country. It currently maintains five million square feet of existing data center space with another three million square feet in development.

Loudoun County also handles up to 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic each day.

Fueled by increased customer demand for cloud computing, mobile applications and social networking, the data center industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. For calendar year 2012, data center announced investment topped $1 billion in Virginia.

The Commonwealth remains a prime location for data centers due to its advanced fiber infrastructure, abundant power redundancy, affordable energy rates and top notch IT workforce. Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Cyberstates 2013.

In addition, Virginia’s Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption on qualified computer equipment helps data center operators lower their overall cost structure.

Virginia is home to 700 data centers establishments and has seen $5.8 billion in announced data center investment over the last decade. To learn why leaders like Amazon, Capital One, Digital Realty, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all chosen the Commonwealth, click here.

Tempur Sealy International Expands in Scott County, Virginia

Monday, 8 July 2013 15:07 by Info@YesVirginia.org
On Wednesday, Tempur Sealy International, Inc. announced plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Scott County through a $13.3 million investment. The project will create 42 new jobs and allow the company to upgrade equipment and grow its Southwest Virginia operation...

On Wednesday, Tempur Sealy International, Inc. announced plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Scott County through a $13.3 million investment. The project will create 42 new jobs and allow the company to upgrade equipment and grow its Southwest Virginia operation.

The 500,000-square-foot facility has successfully operated at Duffield Industrial Park for 12 years, producing mattresses and pillows for the company’s Tempur-Pedic brand.

Temper Sealy is the largest bedding provider in the world and changed its name in March to reflect Tempur-Pedic’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Sealy Corp., announced in the fall of 2012. The Company's portfolio of iconic brand names includes Tempur®, Tempur-Pedic®, Sealy®, Sealy Posturepedic®, Optimum™ and Stearns & Foster®.

Virginia was chosen over New Mexico for this project due to the high quality of Southwest Virginia’s manufacturing workforce, low cost of operations and strategic location, with prime access to I-77 and I-81.

As part of the Virginia’s e-Region, Southwest Virginia has a strong legacy of supporting leading manufacturing and technology companies through its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging manufacturing specialties.

To learn why manufacturing companies continue to select Virginia, investing more than $13.7 billion over the last decade, 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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    Service Center Metals Celebrates 10-year Anniversary and Expansion

    Thursday, 5 September 2013 12:46 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Service Center Metals recently celebrated 10 years of doing business in Prince George County, Va. The ceremony, attended by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, included a ground-breaking celebration for a second plant at the SouthPoint Business Park location...

    Service Center Metals recently celebrated 10 years of doing business in Prince George County, Va. The ceremony, attended by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, included a ground-breaking celebration for a second plant at the SouthPoint Business Park location.

    Service Center Metals was founded in 2002 by three former Reynolds Metals executives to produce aluminum extruded products. As its name implies, Service Center Metals has chosen to focus exclusively on a unique niche—service center customers. 

    After weathering the ups and downs of the last 10 years, the company now boasts more than 120 employees and $145 million in revenue. Since its opening, Service Center Metals has produced more than 635 million pounds of extrusions.

    The company’s expansion includes a compact remelt plant that will be located adjacent to its extrusion plant. Currently, Service Center Metals must ship its aluminum scrap to and from a third-party provider to be remelted. Bringing this process in-house will allow the company to better recycle its scrap materials, as well as serve its customers more quickly and in an environmentally-friendly way.

    As a home-grown manufacturing company, Service Center Metals is a strong example of the success entrepreneurs experience when they start a business in the Commonwealth. To learn more about Virginia’s innovative business environment, click here.

    Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (left center) joins company and local officials at the Service Center Metals ground-breaking ceremony in Prince George County, Va.

    2013 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index Ranks Virginia No. 5 in Economic Outlook

    Wednesday, 21 August 2013 16:23 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    In its sixth edition of Rich States, Poor States, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recognized Virginia at No. 5 in its 2013 Economic Outlook ranking...

    In its sixth edition of Rich States, Poor States, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recognized Virginia at No. 5 in its 2013 Economic Outlook ranking.

    The Economic Outlook category measures how a state is expected to perform in the future based on 15 policy areas controlled at the state level. The study points out the direct correlation between policy decisions and a state’s level of economic competitiveness.

    Virginia has historically performed strongly in the Economic Outlook category—in five out of the last six years the Commonwealth has scored in the top five.

    Virginia was the only state in the mid-Atlantic to break the top 10.

    Rich State, Poor States highlights some of Virginia’s pro-growth policies that enabled it to achieve a top ranking. The Commonwealth’s pro-growth tax policies, fairness of its legal system, low workers’ compensation costs and right-to-work status were among the reasons Virginia’s economic outlook remains strong.

    In addition, Virginia offers companies a corporate tax rate of six percent that remains unchanged since 1972, electricity costs below the national average, and the second lowest unemployment insurance tax rate in the nation.

    Virginia has been providing companies with the right location and resources to succeed for more than 400 years. To learn why the Commonwealth continues to receive top accolades, click here.

    VEDP Launches ‘Going Global’ Initiative for Defense Companies

    Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:45 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Today, VEDP announced the launch of its ‘Going Global’ initiative as part of its strategy to help Virginia defense companies mitigate the effects of sequestration...

    Today, VEDP announced the launch of its ‘Going Global’ initiative as part of its strategy to help Virginia defense companies mitigate the effects of sequestration.

    Sequestration is the name for the automatic federal spending cuts that began on March 1 as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted by Congress to resolve the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis.

    The impact of Sequestration has been less severe than expected—Department of Defense contracts decreased from $56.9 billion in FY2011 to $51.5 billion in FY2012. However, the Commonwealth is the top state for DoD contracts, raising concerns that lost contracts could results in lower revenues for Virginia companies unless they can find new customers.

    As part of its sequestration mitigation strategy, VEDP is working with Virginia defense companies to help them find those new customers overseas. The receipt of nearly $2 million in federal and state funds will allow VEDP to augment some of its most successful programs already underway within the International Trade division. 

    For example, defense companies will be able to utilize VEDP’s Global Network team of in-country consultants from more than 55 countries. Market research services include compiling background information, identifying potential distributors, conducting due diligence, arranging matchmaking appointments with potential partners and customers, assessing competition, and helping companies understand the regulatory environment.
     
    VEDP will be able to assist companies with export compliance. Virginia companies participating in this program will receive an export compliance analysis, including guidance on completing a Commodities Jurisdiction Analysis and submitting the required paperwork to the Department of State in compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

    The grant will also allow companies to enhance their marketing and digital presence to target foreign markets through website translation and search engine optimization.

    VEDP recently released an export guide for defense companies titled Export Opportunities for Virginia’s Defense Industry. The guide outlines regulations, processes and strategies specific to the defense industry, and contains marketing and sales best practices for both new and experienced exporters. 

    VEDP’s International Trade division offers a wide variety of programs to help Virginia companies succeed in the global marketplace. To learn more, click here.

    Virginia Receives Numerous Top Rankings from Business Facilities Magazine

    Friday, 9 August 2013 10:35 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Once again, Virginia received a number of top rankings in Business Facilities’ 2013 State Rankings Report. The Commonwealth was ranked No. 5 for Best Business Climate and No. 8 for Economic Growth Potential...

    Once again, Virginia received a number of top rankings in Business Facilities’ 2013 State Rankings Report. The Commonwealth was ranked No. 5 for Best Business Climate and No. 8 for Economic Growth Potential.

    The strength of Virginia’s workforce and education system was recognized through a No. 8 ranking for Best Education Climate and a No. 9 in the Employment Leaders category.

    A number of Virginia’s key industries were also touted by the study. Virginia was ranked No. 4 in the Data Center category. Data center investment has grown at a rapid pace in the Commonwealth due to Virginia’s plentiful high-tech workforce, substantial broadband infrastructure, and low-cost environment. In 2012, Virginia saw more than $1 billion in investment in this sector.

    Virginia was ranked No. 7 in the Aerospace/Defense Industry Leaders category. This comes as no surprise, as the Commonwealth is the No. 1 state for Department of Defense contracts and is home to a number of global aerospace and defense companies due to its strengths in the high-tech and manufacturing spaces, strong military presence and close proximity to federal customers. Virginia also offers one of only four commercial sites authorized by the FAA for orbital space launch.

    Often referred to as the “Energy Capital of the East Coast,” Virginia was recognized as a Biofuels Leader with a No. 7 ranking. The Commonwealth has seen a number of announcements in this sector—Enviva is currently completing construction on a 454,000-metric-ton wood pellet manufacturing facility in Southampton County. The company will utilize Southern Virginia’s rich wood basket, seasoned labor force, and proximity to the Port of Chesapeake to provide biomass for its international customers.

    In addition, three Virginia localities were recognized in the Business Facilities Metro Rankings Report. Prince George County was rated No. 7 for Economic Growth Potential, due in part to expansions at Ft. Lee, Rolls-Royce and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM). 

    Newport News and Norfolk were ranked No. 2 and No. 9, respectively, as Logistics Leaders (Ports) for their proximity to the international Port of Virginia. Offering access to 250 ports in more than 100 overseas locations, the Port of Virginia is the only U.S. East Coast location able to handle post-Panamax vessels as first port of call.

    Virginia continues to receive top accolades because the Commonwealth offers the location and resources businesses need to succeed. To learn why companies have prospered in Virginia for more than 400 years, click here.

    Nine Virginia Schools Make Forbes 2013 America’s Top 200 Colleges Report

    Thursday, 1 August 2013 16:30 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Once again, Virginia colleges and universities made a strong showing on the Forbes 2013 America’s Top Colleges list...

    Once again, Virginia colleges and universities made a strong showing on the Forbes 2013 America’s Top Colleges list.

    Nine Virginia institutions were ranked in the Top 200 in the Overall Category: Washington and Lee University (No. 21), University of Virginia (No. 29), College of William and Mary (No. 44), Virginia Military Institute (No. 87), University of Richmond (No. 88), Virginia Tech (No. 110), James Madison University (No. 168), Hampden-Sydney College (No. 189), and George Mason University (No. 197).

    Virginia schools also stood out in a number of categories. Washington and Lee University was ranked No. 20 on the Best Private Colleges list, and James Madison University came in at No. 21 on the Best Value Colleges List.

    Three Virginia schools made the Top 25 in the Best Public Colleges category. University of Virginia was ranked No. 4, College of William and Mary was ranked No. 9, and Virginia Military Institute came in at No. 17.

    What is unique about this ranking is that Forbes focuses on ROI and what students get out of their college experience. Forbes looks at five areas to determine its rankings—student satisfaction scores, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rates and nationally recognized awards.

    Virginia’s higher education system currently includes more than 450,000 students enrolled at institutions ranging from 15 comprehensive public institutions, eight of which offer doctoral programs, more than 50 private accredited four-year colleges and universities, and 23 public community colleges.

    The quality of Virginia’s workforce is often cited as a critical advantage by companies in the Commonwealth, and with a world-class higher education system, Virginia is poised to maintain a strong pipeline of skilled workers.

    To learn how Virginia’s premier higher education system is preparing a skilled workforce for the future, click here.

    The Gateway Center for Enterprise Opens in Central Virginia

    Thursday, 25 July 2013 16:43 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Today, Virginia’s Gateway Region opened The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonials Heights, Va., with the first of many third Thursday networking events...

    Today, Virginia’s Gateway Region opened The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonials Heights, Va., with the first of many third Thursday networking events.

    Today’s event was geared towards new entrepreneurs, with a speaker panel that provided information on how to start and grow a small business. Future third Thursday topics include how to access capital and leadership skills for innovators.

    The focus of The Gateway Center is to support local entrepreneurs through a variety of programs, including training, networking events, one-on-one counseling, mentorship programs, and access to the office, library and resource center of Virginia’s Gateway Region. 

    The Gateway Center was made possible through partnerships with The Center for Women's Enterprise at REDC Community Capital Group and the Crater Small Business Development Center at Longwood University. 

    The center is housed within the main office of Virginia’s Gateway Region, a regional economic development group that supports the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry and Sussex.

    Located in Central Virginia, the Gateway Region offers companies easy access to U.S. and international markets through Virginia’s premier transportation network. Advanced manufacturing, global logistics and food processing companies have been drawn to the area’s skilled workforce and access to top education and research institutions.

    The Gateway Center is another example of the innovative environment Virginia offers to entrepreneurs. To learn more about starting a business in the Commonwealth, click here.

    Virginia's Gateway Region houses The Gateway Center for Enterprise in Colonial Heights, Va.

    High-tech “Fab Lab” Comes to Virginia’s Patrick Henry Community College

    Monday, 22 July 2013 15:47 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) began offering tours of its Fab Lab this summer. The Fab Lab is short for digital fabrication laboratory, which gives students and local businesses access to 3D design and prototyping equipment to create new products and inventions...

    Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) began offering tours of its Fab Lab this summer. The Fab Lab is short for digital fabrication laboratory, which gives students and local businesses access to 3D design and prototyping equipment to create new products and inventions.

    The Fab Lab concept originated at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. In November 2011, PHCC, the New College Institute and Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation sponsored a two-week visit from the Mobile Fab Lab of the Carolinas. During that time the lab received more than 300 visits from interested students and community members.

    Working with the same partners, PHCC was able to obtain funding from the Virginia Community College System to purchase equipment and establish its own Fab Lab.

    Located at the The Artisan Center in Martinsville, the 1600-square-foot Fab Lab houses a Roland MDX 20 mini mill, Roland CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 vinyl cutter, Stratasys uPrint SE Plus FDM 3D printer, Morgan Industries Morgan Press G-100T Injection Molder, Formech 686 Vacuum Former, Universal Laser 4.60, Routermate 4’ x 4’ CNC router and Torchmate 2’ x 4’ CNC plasma cutter.

    The 10 Dell workstations in the lab offer open source software, which allows entrepreneurs and students to seamlessly continue their work at home or in other locations.

    The Fab Lab has generated a lot of interest among students and business partners in the community. Lab Coordinator Matthew Wade estimates the lab has seen more than 100 visitors since its soft launch in April.

    The lab will host a grand-opening event this fall to coincide with its first class, a basic manufacturing class that will teach students and entrepreneurs how to use the equipment in the lab to bring their ideas to life.

    “Inventors can create designs with our software, use the vinyl cutter and CNC mill to fabricate and carve out a circuit board, and then utilize our 3D printer to produce a working model of their new product idea,” said PHCC Lab Coordinator Matthew Wade.

    The PHCC Fab Lab is another example of the cutting-edge technology available at Virginia’s colleges and universities, helping prepare a strong pipeline of technically-skilled workers. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent Enterprising States study, Virginia is the No. 1 state in STEM job concentration and has the No. 1 share of high-tech businesses.

    To learn more about Virginia’s leading higher education system and workforce preparation programs, click here.

    A view of the Patrick Henry Community College Fab Lab in Martinsville, Va.

    German Investment in Virginia Continues—PRUFREX Establishes First U.S. Location

    Wednesday, 17 July 2013 16:23 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    PRUFREX Innovative Power Products GmbH announced plans to establish its first U.S. location in Virginia Beach through a $7.33 million investment, which will create 60 new jobs. The project includes both a manufacturing facility as well as the company’s U.S. headquarters...

    PRUFREX Innovative Power Products GmbH announced plans to establish its first U.S. location in Virginia Beach through a $7.33 million investment, which will create 60 new jobs. The project includes both a manufacturing facility as well as the company’s U.S. headquarters.

    PRUFREX is a leading producer of digital ignition systems and electronic control systems for the small engine, marine and recreation, automotive, and electric and cordless power markets. The company’s global headquarters are in Cadolzburg, Germany.

    The benefits of supply chain for economic development are apparent in this project—PRUFREX selected Virginia Beach over Georgia to be closer to two key customers, German-based BMZ Batteries and STIHL Inc.

    STIHL opened its first U.S. plant in Virginia Beach in 1974, and has since grown to become the No. 1 brand of chain saws in the world. The company’s U.S. headquarters are now located in Virginia Beach, and since 1990 the company has announced investment of $335 million and 942 new jobs in the Commonwealth.

    BMZ Batteries followed in April 2011, also establishing its U.S. headquarters in Virginia Beach to be close to STIHL and its other international customers. 

    Germany has been in the top three for international investment and job creation in the Commonwealth over the last four years.

    PRUFREX, BMZ Batteries and STIHL have all made reference to the quality of Virginia’s workforce, particularly its engineering and advanced manufacturing capabilities, as well as the Commonwealth’s strategic East location and ability to easily reach U.S. customers through its premier logistics infrastructure.

    Virginia’s transportation network includes access to the international Port of Virginia, the only U.S. East Coast location able to handle post-Panamax vessels as first port of call, as well as an integrated system of six interstate highways, nine commercial airports and 14 railroads, including two Class I lines.

    To learn why Virginia is home to more than 700 internationally-owned companies, click here.

    Institute of Advanced Learning and Research Launches First Company—Dan River Plants

    Tuesday, 16 July 2013 15:46 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) recently announced its first commercial spin-off, Dan River Plants, LLC...

    The Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) recently announced its first commercial spin-off, Dan River Plants, LLC.

    Dan River Plants uses micropropagation technology to create, clone and grow plants at a rapid rate. The technology was developed through collaboration between IALR’s Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources and Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

    Micropropagation utilizes plant tissue cultures to grow identical plants by an order of magnitude, yielding rapid and reliable results. The company is producing both decorative plants, such as lilies, roses and azaleas, as well as biofuel crops. 

    Dan River Plants plans to invest $1.3 million and create 27 new jobs to establish a facility at Ringgold East Industrial Park in Pittsylvania County, Va.

    IALR was established in 2000 through partnerships among Virginia Tech, Averett University, Danville Community College, Pittsylvania County, City of Danville, Future of the Piedmont Foundation, Tobacco Indemnification Commission and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The center uniquely operates as a research and development facility, education leader, business incubator and conference center.

    We have previously blogged on some of IALR’s programs, including its STEM Mobile Learning Lab and the Virginia Polymer Coalition.

    IALR has strategically positioned itself to capitalize on the expertise found in Southern Virginia. The center focuses on four main areas of research, including sustainable and renewable resources, analytical chemistry, polymers and composites, and vehicle research.

    IALR is yet another example of the innovative research and collaboration with universities that supports Virginia businesses, from start-up to late stage. To learn more about opportunities to co-locate with Virginia’s leading universities at R&D centers across the Commonwealth, click here.

    Digital Realty Expands Campus in Loudoun County’s Data Center Alley

    Thursday, 11 July 2013 15:22 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Digital Realty just announced a $150 million expansion to its data center campus in Virginia’s Loudoun County. The project is expected to create 50 new jobs over the next three years...

    Digital Realty just announced a $150 million expansion to its data center campus in Virginia’s Loudoun County. The project is expected to create 50 new jobs over the next three years.

    Digital Realty is the largest data center operator in Loudoun County, with more than one million square feet of space. The company’s latest building is expected to be 400,000 square feet and house 22 data centers.

    This project is a strong follow-up to the company’s announcement last May. It broke ground on its fourth building in Loudoun County, representing an $80 million investment and the anticipated creation of 12 full-time jobs and 180 temporary positions.

    Often called “Data Center Alley,” Loudoun County has become one of the top data center locations in the country. It currently maintains five million square feet of existing data center space with another three million square feet in development.

    Loudoun County also handles up to 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic each day.

    Fueled by increased customer demand for cloud computing, mobile applications and social networking, the data center industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. For calendar year 2012, data center announced investment topped $1 billion in Virginia.

    The Commonwealth remains a prime location for data centers due to its advanced fiber infrastructure, abundant power redundancy, affordable energy rates and top notch IT workforce. Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Cyberstates 2013.

    In addition, Virginia’s Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption on qualified computer equipment helps data center operators lower their overall cost structure.

    Virginia is home to 700 data centers establishments and has seen $5.8 billion in announced data center investment over the last decade. To learn why leaders like Amazon, Capital One, Digital Realty, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all chosen the Commonwealth, click here.

    Tempur Sealy International Expands in Scott County, Virginia

    Monday, 8 July 2013 15:07 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    On Wednesday, Tempur Sealy International, Inc. announced plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Scott County through a $13.3 million investment. The project will create 42 new jobs and allow the company to upgrade equipment and grow its Southwest Virginia operation...

    On Wednesday, Tempur Sealy International, Inc. announced plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Scott County through a $13.3 million investment. The project will create 42 new jobs and allow the company to upgrade equipment and grow its Southwest Virginia operation.

    The 500,000-square-foot facility has successfully operated at Duffield Industrial Park for 12 years, producing mattresses and pillows for the company’s Tempur-Pedic brand.

    Temper Sealy is the largest bedding provider in the world and changed its name in March to reflect Tempur-Pedic’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Sealy Corp., announced in the fall of 2012. The Company's portfolio of iconic brand names includes Tempur®, Tempur-Pedic®, Sealy®, Sealy Posturepedic®, Optimum™ and Stearns & Foster®.

    Virginia was chosen over New Mexico for this project due to the high quality of Southwest Virginia’s manufacturing workforce, low cost of operations and strategic location, with prime access to I-77 and I-81.

    As part of the Virginia’s e-Region, Southwest Virginia has a strong legacy of supporting leading manufacturing and technology companies through its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging manufacturing specialties.

    To learn why manufacturing companies continue to select Virginia, investing more than $13.7 billion over the last decade, click here.

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    Virginia Economic Development Partnership is the Best State for Business

    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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    Virginia — The Only State Ranked in Top Five Since the Inception of Pollina’s Pro-Business Study

    Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:28 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    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...

    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.

    VEDP Launches 2015 Digital Advertising Campaign

    Friday, 23 January 2015 09:34 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia has a great story and it’s imperative that it be told to the global business audience. In January, VEDP launched a new digital ad campaign, expected to deliver more than 73 million impressions through June 2015...

    Virginia’s competitiveness and perception as a pro-business state remain strong. However, competition in the global economy and domestic markets continues to increase. Competing states are more aggressive in their outreach efforts, with several recently unveiling multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to promote and lure business.

    Virginia has a great story and it’s imperative that it be told to the global business audience. In January, VEDP launched a new digital ad campaign, expected to deliver more than 73 million impressions through June 2015.

    To maximize our limited resources, VEDP focused on digital media outlets and purchased an integrated schedule of online, mobile, tablet and pay-per-click search placements. The campaign targets VEDP’s geographic markets in the U.S, U.K., Germany and China.

    The ads, promoting Virginia’s prime business location advantages, appear in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and Reuters, as well as two advertising networks — Bizo and Rocketfuel.

    Search engine marketing remains a key component of our strategy. VEDP implemented pay-per-click ads on Google, Bing and Baidu. This is our first venture with Baidu, the leading search engine in China.

    “VEDP’s advertising strategy continues to prove effective at generating leads and building awareness of the strengths that make the Commonwealth such a great place to work and live,” said Vince Barnett, VEDP vice president of communications & promotions. “The digital program provides unique targeting capabilities to reach key corporate decision makers, while making the most efficient use of limited advertising dollars.”

    An example of a 15 second video pre-roll used as part of the campaign is below, and landing pages for the U.S., U.K., Germany and China can be found by clicking on the highlighted links.

    To learn more about the opportunities for success that are waiting for you in Virginia, visit www.YesVirginia.org.

    A view of the video pre-roll touting Virginia’s pro-business resources.

    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.

    Get to Know VEDP’s NEW COO Dan Gundersen

    Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:21 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Dan Gundersen joined VEDP as Chief Operating Officer this May, where his focus is on running the day-to-day operations of VEDP. Dan’s full profile is available in the summer issue of Commerce Quarterly. To help you get to know Dan, here’s an interview we recently did to see how his first few months are going...

    Dan Gundersen joined VEDP as Chief Operating Officer this May, where his focus is on running the day-to-day operations of VEDP. Dan’s full profile is available in the summer issue of Commerce Quarterly

    To help you get to know Dan, here’s an interview we recently did to see how his first few months are going.

    Q:  What has your first 75 days been like?

    A:  It’s been focused entirely on the internal operations of VEDP. For many years now, VEDP has operated as a flat organization with the different department heads reporting directly to the CEO. With the recent reorganization and refocusing of VEDP’s initiatives, it became clear that there was a need for a coordinating role to help bring the operations into better alignment and to provide a more targeted and strategic focus for our efforts. And that’s really what my job is all about.

    Q:  What specifically have you focused on?

    A:  Performance metrics for the economic development profession has been something that I’ve focused on for years now. I’ve served on the board of the International Economic Development Council for a long time and have championed this cause. Recently I co-chaired the first ever performance metric analysis for the economic development profession with the IEDC called Making It Count:  Metrics for High Performing EDOs. The goal there was to be able to identify those metrics that can help us better tell the story of what we do and why we do it. Today it’s not just about jobs created and leveraging public sector dollars. The IEDC report provides more than 200 new measures that economic development groups can use. We’re taking a couple pages out of that book to help VEDP better describe the impact of its work. At the September VEDP board meeting we will introduce several new metrics to be able to assess our progress.

    Q:  What does VEDP do really well?

    A: In one word — deals. Martin Briley has an incredible ability to focus on the deal pipeline and knows the nuances of every single deal inside and out. He’s living and breathing our Salesforce database, and I think that has helped drive productivity to a very high level. 

    Of course, exceeding goals is possible only if you have really good talent among staff, terrific esprit de corps, effective partnerships, and an incredible devotion to what I would call a “cause.” VEDP staff represents one of the most committed organizations that I’ve ever had the privilege of working for. In a way, that makes my job so much easier.

    Q:  What challenges do you see ahead?

    A:  The world of economic development is changing so quickly and we’re expected to be so many things to so many people. One of our biggest challenges is going to be keeping our focus on those things that we do well, while also being a thought leader and an advocate for the business community, a catalyst for launching new ideas, and even at times a broker of resources for others so that together we can bring about greater economic gain for the state. That’s why it’s important that VEDP develop its own strategic operating plan that builds on regional assets and that aligns seamlessly with the overall economic strategy that the Administration will be producing later this year. Right now, that’s probably my top priority.

    Q:  Where are you focusing your efforts for FY15?

    A:  The new strategic operating plan will highlight a few areas where we believe we can focus more of our attention and resources. One of those will be with identifying and assisting high growth firms. Research shows that high growth firms in any regional economy account for upwards of 70-80 percent of the net new jobs, and yet, these firms account for less than one percent of all business establishments. You’re going to see VEDP develop a very sophisticated strategy for making sure we are meeting the needs of these businesses better than any other state.

    Another area will be an intense focus targeting foreign direct investment and assisting firms that wish to conduct trade in emerging markets around the world.

    Finally, VEDP is going to be aggressively positioning itself with brand development and targeted marketing to be able to identify firms that could and should be in Virginia. It’s all about sustained and profitable growth and Virginia has all of those fundamentals to make it happen.

    Keep an eye out — this fall we’ll be distributing a live podcast that Dan did for the Atlanta and St. Louis Federal Reserve Banks on the future of economic development.

    Pollina Awards Virginia Another Top Pro-Business State Ranking

    Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:40 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Once again, Virginia received a leading ranking on Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s Top 10 Pro-Business States 2014 report. The Commonwealth was ranked fourth, taking the same slot as last year. Virginia has consistently received top marks in this report, taking one of the top two spots from 2005-2012...

    Once again, Virginia received a leading ranking on Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s Top 10 Pro-Business States 2014 report.

    The Commonwealth was ranked fourth, taking the same slot as last year. Virginia has consistently received top marks in this report, taking one of the top three spots from 2005-2012.

    “Clearly a national leader in the 11 years of this study, no other state comes close to Virginia when it comes to being a consistent pro-business state,” said Brent Pollina, vice president of Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc. and co-author of the study.

    Virginia was the top ranked state on the East Coast this year and has received an overall grade of “A” in each of the last five years.

    “Virginia has consistently remained at the top of the list because Virginia’s state and local leaders are innovative and aggressive in attracting and retaining jobs and investment. 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 No. 6 and a Stage II rank of No. 3, Virginia has one of the most well-rounded business climates in the nation,” added Pollina.

    The ranking is based on 32 factors controlled at the state level, including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, workers' compensation legislation, jobs gained, financial incentives and state economic development evaluations. The report was co-published with the American Economic Development Institute.

    The ranking also reflected positively at the agency level of economic development. Virginia received an “A” in both incentives and marketing/website/response to new and existing employers.

    As the report alluded to — consistency is key. Corporations making large investment and employment decisions want to feel confident that the location they select will maintain its positive attributes years down the line. The Commonwealth’s solid track record and stellar resources make it easy for companies to say “Yes” to Virginia. To learn more, click here.

    Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

    Tags:   , , , , , , YesVirginia Business Blog | A place for news, opinions, and information regarding the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

    CCAM Opens Facility in Prince George County, Virginia

    Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:09 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) received its full certificate of occupancy and opened its facility in Prince George County, Va., this September. CCAM has been steadily growing both in members and machinery and is expected to host a grand opening event in spring 2013...

    The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) received its full certificate of occupancy and opened its facility in Prince George County, Va., this September. CCAM has been steadily growing both in members and machinery and is expected to host a grand opening event in spring 2013.

    CCAM has added three Tier 2 and three Tier 3 industry members over the last few months, bringing the total number of participating companies to 14.

    The applied research center includes a high bay area, five machining labs, five computational labs, a visualization lab, meeting rooms with conferencing ability, open and modular workstations, and a cafeteria.

    With participation from its industry partners and university members, engineers at the center are currently working on 10 research projects. One project involves adaptive machining, which uses specialized equipment to measure and make adjustments in real time as components are being manufactured, leading to improved performance and lower costs.

    Another project incorporates multi-modal part inspection, which uses imagery to obtain information and identify small defects early in the manufacturing process, allowing any issues to be fixed before entering into high-rate production.

    CCAM is another example of the public-private partnership between Virginia’s leading universities and world-class manufacturing companies to bring real-world solutions to the market more quickly. To learn more about CCAM, visit www.ccam-va.com.

    CCAM’s high bay area includes a Laser Powder Deposition Machine and the Sulzer Metco Thermal Spray Cell, pictured below.

    STEM Mobile Learning Lab—A Vehicle for Educating Virginia Students

    Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:45 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Since going on the road in spring 2010, the STEM Mobile Learning Lab has hosted 15,000 visitors from more than 300 locations. The lab offers numerous hands-on experiments as a method of educating K-12 students and members of the community in STEM subjects—science, technology, education and math...

    Since going on the road in spring 2010, the STEM Mobile Learning Lab has hosted 15,000 visitors in more than 300 locations. The lab offers numerous hands-on experiments as a method of educating K-12 students and members of the community in STEM subjects—science, technology, education and math.

    The STEM Mobile Learning Lab was established by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), a research, education and conference institute based in Danville, Va.

    The 38-foot trailer contains multiple work stations, a clean area for experiments and a movie screen. Its impressive equipment list includes several laptops, high resolution microscopes, an HDTV video monitor, and additional demonstration gear. 

    The STEM Mobile Learning Lab offers experiments in the areas of nanotechnology and renewable energy. Leading by example, the flex-fuel truck that tows the lab can run on either diesel fuel or cooking oil.

    Using the STEM Mobile Learning Lab, students can participate in experiments that compare the energy efficiency of CFL and incandescent light bulbs, see how wind and solar power work, learn about energy conservation and how to weatherize doors and windows, and even look at microscopic particles on their own skin.

    Preparing students to join the Commonwealth’s world-class workforce in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math is key to keeping Virginia at the top. According to Cyberstates 2011, Virginia has the nation’s highest concentration of high-tech workers.

    To learn more about Virginia’s premier education system and quality workforce, click here.

    Students use high resolution microscopes to participate in one of the many hands-on experiments offered by the STEM Mobile Learning Lab.

    VEDP Releases Exporting Guide for Service Companies

    Tuesday, 6 November 2012 09:18 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    VEDP’s International Trade division recently released an exporting guide focused on the unique needs of service companies called “Exporting Services: A Guide for New Exporters”...

    VEDP’s International Trade division recently released an exporting guide focused on the unique needs of service companies called “Exporting Services: A Guide for New Exporters.”

    Some of the issues addressed in the guide include assessing export readiness, understanding export regulations, identifying a target market, protecting intellectual property, acquiring work permits and certifications, developing a market entry strategy, and negotiating financing and payment terms.

    The services industry is thriving in Virginia—professional, scientific and technical services was the top sector for job creation in 2011, announcing 12,769 new jobs. With human capital as the major input, it’s no surprise that Virginia’s highly skilled workforce has proved to be a key advantage in growing this sector.

    According to The Brookings Institution, Virginia’s service exports accounted for 42.6 percent of the state’s total exports in 2010, illustrating an opportunity to grow Virginia’s exports in a sector where the Commonwealth has the resources to leverage its success into international markets.

    Helping Virginia companies grow sales overseas not only benefits Virginia businesses, but it also creates jobs at home. According to The Brookings Institution, Virginia exports supported more than 236,000 jobs in 2010.

    To learn how VEDP’s International Trade division can help your company grow, go to www.exportvirginia.org.

    Celanese Corp. Converts Giles County Celco Plant to Natural Gas

    Friday, 2 November 2012 10:15 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Fortune 500 company Celanese Corp. just announced it will invest $150 million to convert its Celco Plant in Giles County, Va., from coal-fired to natural-gas fired boilers. The project will create 22 new full-time jobs, as well as employ an estimated 200 construction workers...

    Fortune 500 company Celanese Corp. just announced it will invest $150 million to convert its Celco Plant in Giles County, Va., from coal-fired to natural-gas fired boilers. The project will create 22 new full-time jobs, as well as employ an estimated 200 construction workers.

    Celanese Corp. is a global technology leader engaged in the production of specialty materials and chemical products used in a wide variety of industries and applications. The Virginia Celco Plant has helped make the company a leading producer of cellulose acetate tow, used in filter media.

    The Celco Plant first established operations in Giles County, Va., in 1939 and is the largest employer in the county. Positioned along the New River and Route 460, this location offers the unique combination of a picturesque setting between the mountains, easy access to I-81, and close proximity to Virginia Tech and the region’s skilled and educated workforce.

    This investment will allow the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while updating equipment to improve its energy efficiency—two goals aligned with the company’s core values of sustainability and operational excellence.

    This project continues the positive trend of Virginia manufacturers making significant investments to upgrade to more environmentally-friendly sources of energy. Last year, MeadWestvaco announced plans to invest $285 million to construct a new, state-of-the-art biomass boiler at its Covington plant, and just last week RockTenn hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a natural gas pipeline to its West Point mill.

    To learn why leading manufacturers continue to invest in the Commonwealth, bringing more than $13.8 billion in projects over the last decade, click here.

    A view of the Celco Plant from across the New River.

    VEDP Launches “YesVA” App

    Thursday, 1 November 2012 13:48 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Today, VEDP launched the YesVA app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices available for download by visiting www.YesVirginia.org/app or through the App Store and Google Play Store...

    Today, VEDP launched the YesVA app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices available for download by visiting www.YesVirginia.org/app or through the App Store and Google Play Store.

    The YesVA app is an interactive tool that allows clients and site selection consultants to perform site and building searches and compare Virginia to other states, directly from a mobile device.

    The YesVA app allows users to perform the following actions:
       •  Explore Virginia’s existing inventory of available properties in an easy-to-use map
       •  Navigate properties by type and narrow down options based on user requirements
       •  Save properties for later and share them with contacts
       •  View 1:1 attributes of how Virginia compares to other states in major business categories
       •  View profiles for each of the communities, regions and MSAs in Virginia
       •  View recent industry announcements for each community
       •  Communicate with VEDP regarding any of the properties within the app

    By helping companies make the most informed decision on business locations, the YesVA app is yet another example of an innovative tool developed by VEDP to market Virginia as a top state for business.

    To download the free YesVa app, visit www.YesVirginia.org/app or go directly to the App Store and Google Play Store.

    A view from the main screen of the YesVa app.

    National Tire Research Center Displays New Tire Testing Machine “Flat-Trac LTRe”

    Friday, 26 October 2012 15:23 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    This week, the National Tire Research Center (NTRC) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of its new tire testing machined called the “Flat Trac LTRe”...

    This week, the National Tire Research Center (NTRC) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of its new tire testing machine called the “Flat Trac LTRe.”

    This high-performance, $11.3 million machine is the only one of its kind. It allows speeds up to 200 mph on car, truck and motorsports vehicles and tests tire performance during acceleration, brake and burnout events, as well as wheel torque capability.

    Located in the Virginia Motorsports Technology Park adjacent to the Virginia International Raceway track in Halifax County, the NTRC provides easy access to real-world testing right on a premier race track.

    NTRC is an applied research and testing facility established in 2010 through a public-private partnership between the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, General Motors, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

    By combining the industry leadership of General Motors with the research prowess of Virginia Tech, NTRC will focus on developing safer tires that are environmentally friendly, providing higher fuel economy with lower emissions.

    Southern Virginia has become quite a hub for the automotive industry. NTRC has partnered with nearby Southern Virginia Vehicle Motion Lab (SoVa Motion), a facility also operated by Virginia Tech that rounds out the region’s offering to automotive manufacturers by providing shock and suspension testing, on-vehicle sensing, and full-motion driving simulation.

    Virginia's advanced manufacturing capabilities cover all aspects of the automotive industry. To learn why automotive companies have invested more than $1 billion in the Commonwealth over the last decade, click here.

    Dr. Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, addresses the crowd at the National Tire Research Center ribbon-cutting event in Halifax County.

    New Coatings Research Facility “C-CARE” Unveiled in South Boston, Virginia

    Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:56 by Info@YesVirginia.org

    The Center for Coatings Application, Research, and Education (C-CARE) was unveiled this Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in South Boston, Va.

    C-CARE’s mission is to help commercialize solutions in the field of surface engineering and attract advanced manufacturing companies to the region by providing workforce training, R&D, and improved links between educational institutions and industry partners.

    The 12,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility includes a lab equipped with advanced robotics, reciprocating spray equipment, and virtual reality training systems. C-CARE’s lab will be used to test new coatings technologies and design solutions that increase product quality and efficiency for applications in the aerospace, automotive, construction, food, manufacturing and wood industries.

    This two-year project is the result of collaboration between Halifax Industrial Development Authority, the Riverstone Energy Center, and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. 

    The American Wood Finishing Institute (AWFI) will operate and staff the facility. As a leading provider of coatings technology training and consulting, AWFI will offer C-CARE access to subject matter experts with real-world experience applying coatings to metal, wood, plastics and other composite materials.

    C-Care augments Virginia’s existing strength in the advanced manufacturing sector, as leaders such as the Altria Group, DuPont, Honeywell, MeadWestvaco and Rubbermaid have all established operations in the Commonwealth.

    To learn why Virginia is home to more than 6,000 manufacturing establishments, click here.

    Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Development Mary Rae Carter (center) joins members of C-CARE, industry partners, and state and local officials at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in South Boston, Va.

    UBED Advances: VEDP and Virginia’s Universities Sign Agreement

    Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:24 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    University-Based Economic Development (UBED) has been a top priority for Virginia, and yesterday VEDP executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virginia’s public institutions of higher education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)...

    University-Based Economic Development (UBED) has been a top priority for Virginia, and yesterday VEDP executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virginia’s public institutions of higher education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

    Through increased partnership in marketing and outreach, the goals of the MOU are to unify Virginia’s message in the global marketplace and provide a higher number of corporate contacts for VEDP and increased opportunities for Virginia’s institutions of higher education to interact with corporate entities.

    The MOU creates a formal framework around an already existing relationship between VEDP and Virginia’s colleges and universities. Virginia’s UBED team has been in existence for seven years and has fostered collaboration on numerous workforce development and research projects.

    According to VEDP President and CEO Martin Briley, “This MOU provides a meaningful blueprint to more fully leverage higher education as a differentiator in our economic development outreach marketing, and it reinforces the message to our corporate partners that our public colleges and universities are dedicated to leveraging research and workforce assets to benefit the business community.”

    Access to a solid pipeline of skilled and educated employees can be a deciding factor when companies seek to relocate or expand operations. Virginia has one of the most well-educated workforces in the country—more than 34 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree and more than 500,000 students are enrolled annually at Virginia’s top-ranked higher education institutions.

    To learn more about the Commonwealth’s premier education system and why its workforce is consistently commended by companies, click here.

    (From left to right) Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng; Peter Blake, Executive Director of SCHEV; Dr. Michael Rao, President of Virginia Commonwealth University; Secretary of Education Laura Fornash; and Martin Briley, President and CEO of VEDP; participate in the MOU signing ceremony.

    RTI International Metals Inc. Commences Titanium Production at Martinsville Plant

    Friday, 19 October 2012 13:59 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Last Thursday, RTI International Metals Inc. (RTI) hosted an event celebrating its inaugural production of certified commercial aerospace titanium for Airbus...

    Last Thursday, RTI International Metals Inc. (RTI) hosted an event celebrating its inaugural production of certified commercial aerospace titanium for Airbus.

    The $135 million forging, grinding and hot rolling manufacturing facility was first announced in 2008. The plant is located at the Patriot Centre, an industrial park jointly developed by Henry County and the City of Martinsville.

    While 25 jobs have been created to date, that number is expected to increase as the plant ramps up production. At full capacity the facility can produce 14 million pounds of product annually.

    The inaugural production follows 10 months of certification testing to meet the high quality standards of Airbus. The titanium will be used in Airbus’ passenger jets, including the company’s A350 XWB aircraft. As RTI completes additional qualifications, it expects its titanium to be used in an extended number of Airbus programs.

    According to RTI Vice Chairman, CEO and President Dawn Hickton, “RTI is the largest North American titanium supplier to Airbus and its parent company, EADS, and this new facility adds an additional link in RTI’s ability to meet their needs across the entire supply chain.”

    This project exemplifies the strength of Virginia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities across the Commonwealth. The aerospace industry is taking note as well:  Business Facilities magazine ranked Virginia No. 7 as an Aerospace/Defense Industry Leader in its 2012 State Rankings Report.

    More than 230 aerospace companies are located in Virginia and the Commonwealth has received more than $1.5 billion in capital investment for aerospace projects over the last ten years. To learn more, click here.

    Governor McDonnell addresses company and local officials at the RTI International Metals event in Martinsville, Va.

    RockTenn Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Natural Gas Pipeline

    Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:57 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    RockTenn hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a pipeline supplying natural gas to its mill in West Point, Va...

    Last week, RockTenn hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a pipeline supplying natural gas to its mill in West Point, Va.

    RockTenn and Virginia Natural Gas collaborated with Dominion Virginia Power, New Kent County, King William County and the Town of West Point to ensure the project was a success.

    The 11-mile pipeline will run along Dominion Virginia Power’s right-of-way and connect Virginia Natural Gas' line in New Kent County to the West Point Mill.

    RockTenn is also investing in its West Point Mill to make the facility more efficient and reduce emissions, lessening the mill’s carbon footprint.

    The West Point Mill produces containerboard used in the company’s consumer packaging products. In operation since 1914, the mill is the region’s largest employer with a workforce of 550. RockTenn operates facilities across the Commonwealth, including a mill in Hopewell and a converting plant in Henrico County, Va.  

    The natural gas pipeline represents a significant improvement in infrastructure, positioning the region for additional growth.

    Virginia is home to more than 6,000 manufacturing establishments. To find out why manufacturers have invested more than $13.8 billion in the Commonwealth over the last decade, click here.

    Carrie Roth (center), Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, is joined by company, local and regional officials at the RockTenn West Point Mill ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    Virginia Beach Hosts 2012 AWEA Offshore Wind Conference

    Monday, 15 October 2012 16:32 by Info@YesVirginia.org
    Virginia Beach recently hosted the 2012 AWEA Offshore Wind Conference, welcoming offshore wind energy leaders from across the globe...

    Virginia Beach recently hosted the 2012 AWEA Offshore Wind Conference, welcoming offshore wind energy leaders from across the globe.

    Coming shortly after Governor McDonnell’s Conference on Energy in Richmond, Va., the Commonwealth continues to lay claim to the title “Energy Capital of the East Coast.”

    Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling spoke at the opening ceremony and VEDP Managing Director Jerry Giles was one of the panelists for the Virginia Spotlight session. Representatives from the Port of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, and the Virginia Department of Commerce and Trade spoke at events throughout the conference.

    In addition, VEDP shared a trade show booth with Poseidon Atlantic in close proximity to Fugro and the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition. Other Virginia-based companies in attendance included Apex Wind Energy, Bechtel Corp., and Maersk Line Limited.

    VEDP and its partners continue to promote Virginia as the natural choice for the offshore wind industry. With its strong Class 6 winds, Virginia offers companies a central mid-Atlantic location, a high voltage transmission grid close to shore, and a premier maritime workforce with the largest industrial military complex in the U.S.

    While the industry awaits news on the U.S. Bureau of Energy Management’s (BOEM’s) competitive auction process from its call for nominations last February, Virginia companies continue to make progress both on and offshore. 

    Poseidon Atlantic has installed its Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) monitoring position in Northampton County, Va., as part of its wind measurement campaign. The results show wind conditions are better than expected. The company has also commenced its phase two study investigating offshore testing sites.

    Wind energy remains an important component of Virginia’s all-of-the-above approach to the energy crisis. Home to more than 380 energy companies, the Commonwealth has seen more than $4.6 billion invested in energy projects over the last ten years. To learn more, click here.

    Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Carrie Roth speaks about Virginia’s wind resources to a group of wind energy leaders at a dinner hosted by VEDP.

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    About VEDP

    Virginia Economic Development Partnership is the Best State for Business

    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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