Need to Know: October & November 2019
INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc., a leading global supplier of integrated ITS and fare management systems for public transit, celebrated their 20th year anniversary. They employ more than 100 employees and thrive to build close customer relationships as a firm.
Hubbard Peanut Company marks their 65th anniversary with plans to open a new production and retail facility. The company will invest $1.6 million to establish a new operation in the City of Franklin. The expansion will create ten new jobs, increase Hubbard’s purchase of Virginia-grown peanuts by a third, and lead to additional investments in their Sedley facility. The project will locate in a former grocery store, helping revitalize a shopping center complex along the City’s main commercial corridor. The property is also part of a revenue-sharing agreement between the City of Franklin and Southampton County.
The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity is bringing its Scaling4Growth program using Boston-based Interise’s “Streetwise MBA” curriculum to Hampton from December through June. Existing business owners meeting certain criteria have the chance to take a free six-month course valued at $10,000. To qualify, the business must be Virginia-based, certified as small, woman-owned or minority-owned and at least 3 years old with annual revenue between $250,000 and $10 million. For more info, visit Sbsd.virginia.gov/scaling4growth.
A $3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to construct a new state-of-the-art Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hampton, Virginia, paves the way for further economic growth and collaboration in the commonwealth’s $550 million seafood industry. Announcing the award last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated that the project will assist the fishing and seafood industries across the commonwealth and those located in the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton in particular. The new facility, located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-designated Opportunity Zone, is expected to retain 408 jobs.
ISLE OF WIGHT
Paul D. Camp Community College will now be offering a series of financial workshops for farmers of Hampton Roads starting in January. Held in Franklin’s Virginia at the Regional Workforce Development Center, these workshops will include learning about CCC loans, Bonus Depreciation, Succession Planning and more. For more information, click here.
The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) presented Florence G. Kingston, Director of the Department of Development for the City of Newport News, with the 2019 Cardinal Award at the VEDA Fall Conference in Richmond. The Cardinal Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by VEDA to deserving members. The award recognizes leadership in the field of economic development, outstanding professional accomplishments, and exceptional service to the organization.
Governor Ralph Northam announced that Eagle Aviation Technologies, LLC is investing over $200,000 to expand manufacturing operations at its Newport News facility, adding new production equipment and doubling its workforce by creating 75 new jobs. The City’s Department of Development worked with Eagle and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure a Virginia Jobs Investment Program grant of $45,000, based on the addition of these new jobs to support employee training. Eagle Aviation Technologies, LLC engages in the concept development, design, analysis, manufacture, and testing of prototype systems and components for the aviation, space, and marine industries. Founded in 2009 and located in the former Daily Press building at 7505 Warwick Boulevard, the company currently employs 75 people in Newport News and is experiencing significant growth due to the expansion and diversification of its business client portfolio.
SOLO Incorporated, a worldwide leader in the production of backpack, handheld and one-hand compression sprayers, has been based at its Newport News location in Copeland Industrial Park since 1983 (36 years). As the company became more successful over time, it began to outgrow its roughly 53,000 square-foot space at 5100 Chestnut Avenue. Because SOLO’s management team (both locally and in Germany) maintained a relationship with City staff and has a strong desire to remain in Newport News, the company recently completed the purchase of a 64,000 square-foot facility with adjacent expansion acreage at 201 Enterprise Drive in Oakland Industrial Park. This expansion will allow SOLO to maximize production and efficiency while continuing to call Newport News home.
The Center for Digital Government (CDG) named Norfolk as America’s 2019 Top Digital City, for cities with populations of 125,000 to 249,999. The award recognizes Norfolk’s use of technology, including launching the MyNorfolk mobile app, expanding its Open Data Portal and redesigning the Norfolk website. Virginia Beach also ranked high within its population size group, placing third in the 250,000 to 500,000 category for expanding its cybersecurity initiatives and combating sea level rise and flooding within the City.
The City of Portsmouth has announced their partnership with Rush Street Gaming, one of the fastest-growing gaming companies in North America. The Portsmouth Economic Development Authority signed a memorandum of understanding on November 18, 2019, designating Rush Street Gaming as the City’s destination casino developer and operator pending state legislative approval. The exact size and scope of the project is also dependent on state legislature approval. The project site along Victory Boulevard is approximately 50 acres and already has a substantial amount of infrastructure in place, to support the new entertainment district. Rush Gaming said it plans to hire approximately 1,000 local workers, with the average salary around $50,000.
Real estate developer, Echelon Resources, Inc., received rezoning approval from Suffolk City Council to build Peanut Crossing, a multiphase, mixed-use community on a 10-acre site that is home to former Suffolk Peanut Company, established in 1898. Kevin Hughes, Suffolk’s Director of Economic Development, said the former processing site has long been on the City’s wish list for redevelopment. “It is the largest site in our downtown and features numerous historic structures that played a significant role in our City’s economic history,” Hughes said. “The Peanut Crossing proposal provides for an opportunity to make this property significant for the City once again.”
SRP Companies, a leading supplier to more than 60,000 retailers nationwide headquartered in Castle Rock, Colorado, is moving its warehousing operations to Virginia Beach. Read more on our blog, here. The company will invest $1.16 million to relocate a substantial portion of its warehouse operations from Philadelphia, Utah, and Oklahoma to the City of Virginia Beach.
DroneUp, a web and mobile platform for on-demand drone pilot services, will invest $130,000 to expand its headquarters operation in Virginia Beach. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 41 new jobs. Read more on our blog, here.
DOMA Technologies, G2 Ops and InMotion Hosting were awarded Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) grants from the Virginia Beach Development Authority.
— DOMA Technologies, a leader in various technology-based document solutions, from scanning and indexing to storage, retrieval and disposition, is expanding its Virginia Beach headquarters. At its new location, DOMA will increase its square footage and significantly expand its workforce, growing from 175 to 475 full-time employees. The average salary, exclusive of benefits, will be $33,000. The company received an EDIP grant of $180,000.
— G2 Ops is a woman-owned small business that provides systems engineering services, cyber security analyses, threat assessments and security consulting. The firm is listed on the Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Its clients include the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and is active with a number of higher education institutions in the region. It received an EDIP grant of $20,000 based on the 10 new full-time positions the company expects to add when it expands its facility. The wage of the new jobs, excluding benefits, will average $65,000 a year.
— InMotion Hosting, a web hosting and web design services company, received an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $200,000 based on its capital investment of $10,797,500 in a new location and creation of 50 new jobs with an average annual salary of $51,064. The company is consolidating two current locations into a new location on S. Independence Blvd.
PORT OF VIRGINIA
In October, John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, signed a contract with New Jersey-based Weeks Marine to begin the deepening of the western side of the Thimble Shoal Channel. This contract represents the first step towards The Port of Virginia becoming the deepest port on the East Coast. The contract for the first phase is $78 million and is scheduled to begin in January 2020. The total cost of the project is $350 million. The work includes dredging the shipping channels to 55 feet and widening the channel to more than 1,400 feet in specific areas. When the project is complete in 2024, the commercial channels serving the Hampton Roads Harbor will be able to simultaneously accommodate two, ultra-large container vessels.
HAMPTON ROADS WORKFORCE COUNCIL
At their annual meeting, Shawn Avery, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, announced a new partnership with Elizabeth River Crossing — The Connecting Opportunities Program. This innovative program will connect local underserved and under-skilled community members to higher-paying, more stable opportunities through skilled trade education. Thirty students per year will receive funding to complete a three to six-week program through Tidewater Community College’s Skilled Trades Academy, in which they will be provided with training and employment assistance for in-demand construction and maritime trades, such as Welding, Roofing, Framing, and Pipefitting. To support this program, Elizabeth River Crossings will contribute $67,000 per year for three years — totaling $201,000.