With the changing economic landscape, companies both large and small are increasingly relying on a skilled and educated workforce. Higher technological competencies and experience with service-oriented positions are just a few of the skills employers are looking for to ensure their business’ success.
Preparing students to enter this business environment is an important task and one that Frederick County and Winchester, Virginia are taking seriously. Check out the video below on how educators, employers, and government officials are equipping students to thrive in tomorrow’s workforce.
Virginia has done it again—CNBC announced that Virginia has reclaimed the award for “Top State for Business.” Since the rankings began five years ago, Virginia has remained in the top two spots, with first-place finishes in 2007, 2009 and now 2011, and second place awards in 2008 and 2010. This year, Virginia was followed by Texas at number two, North Carolina as number three, and Georgia and Colorado coming in at fourth and fifth.
The news was announced live from Mount Vernon, Virginia. Speaking about Virginia’s win, CNBC Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn, said, "With an unprecedented fiscal crisis at the state level, never has it been tougher to stay competitive. But Virginia met the challenge on every level, achieving the highest point total in the history of our study, and finishing in the top half of every category. In the see-saw battle between Virginia and Texas, Virginia is back on top--for now."
CNBC took an in-depth look at why Virginia again came out on top. Using publicly available data, each state was scored on 43 different measures of competitiveness. States received points based on their rankings in each metric, which were then separated into 10 broad categories: Cost of Doing Business, Workforce, Quality of Life, Economy, Infrastructure & Transportation, Technology & Innovation, Education, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital and Cost of Living.
Not only did the Commonwealth win the highest ranking—Virginia received the highest point total in the history of the rankings, finishing in the top-half of every category ranked.
Virginia has often been lauded for its strategic location, friendly business climate and diverse economy, and this year’s CNBC top ranking was no different. The Commonwealth also showed marked improvements in its tax burden and education. Not only that, Virginia finished in the top ten in five categories: Infrastructure & Transportation at number 10, Economy at number 8, Education at number 6, second in Business Friendliness and tenth in Access to Capital.
So when people ask why they should “Say Yes” to Virginia, don’t just take our word for it—ask the experts.
Volvo is currently working toward a corporate goal of making all of its manufacturing facilities carbon dioxide neutral by 2012- a goal that requires alternative uses of renewable energy, as well as reducing overall energy consumption at its plants.
Volvo Trucks, located in Dublin, Virginia, took the goal even farther, hoping to reduce consumption by 25% in a single year at its New River Valley plant. Check out this article on the U.S. Department of Energy’s site, which highlights Volvo Trucks’ success in achieving its goals, and the steps it took to get there.
“Outstanding”, “Exceptional leadership in innovation”, “Driving innovation in communities” –These are just a few of the attributes describing Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Park, which was recently awarded the 2010 Award of Excellence by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP). In its 15th year, the Award of Excellence recognizes the achievements of research parks and industry partners. The award looks to research parks that successfully bring technology from its initial stages in the laboratory to applicable business solutions, which in turn promotes sustainable economic development in the region through jobs, revenue, and overall business growth.
The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Park currently houses over 140 high-tech companies and research centers that employ more than 2,200 people in 27 buildings. A Phase II build-out is planned for the park, adding 28 buildings totaling 950,000 square-feet, and housing 3,000 employees over the next decade. The park is adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Check out the link below for more information on the 2010 Award of Excellence and a video about the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Park:
The 2010 Award of Excellence
During the month of April, the South was devastated after hundreds of tornados tore through the region. Homes and businesses were damaged and even destroyed, leaving those affected with little to do but pick up the pieces.
In the face of such destruction, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel—and for many—getting back on their feet could take months. So when we heard the news that Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company was already reopening their manufacturing facility in Washington County, we were thrilled.
Utility’s dry van plant was struck by a tornado on April 28,th leaving considerable damage to the roof and building, but fortunately sparing the company’s 340 employees. The plant manufactures Utility’s 4000D and 4000D-X Composite™ dry van trailers and it was a priority to get the facility up and running after the storm. Utility’s President, Harold Bennett praised employees and contractors saying, “[they] have done a masterful job of clean-up, debris removal, clearing damaged inventory, and helping the community rebuild what was lost from the tornado devastation.” He went on to say, “the committed effort by Utility employees at cleaning up and restarting Glade Spring reinforces [his] faith in the human spirit and people’s ability to rise above near tragedy.”
Bennett’s praise is certainly not news to us here in Virginia. Our workforce is continually lauded by companies as hard-working, highly-skilled and educated, and diverse in their abilities and skill-sets. And as Virginians, we know that our workers aren’t just ready to perform the tasks at hand, they are also invested in their communities and in the lives of fellow citizens. So while disaster is never welcome, our workforce— one of Virginia’s biggest assets—continues to prove that they are the backbone of successful industry.
Last Tuesday, Governor Bob McDonnell and members of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership traveled to the Big Apple to promote the Commonwealth. A short, but busy one-day marketing trip, the Governor met with corporate partners throughout the morning and hosted a luncheon for business representatives and consultants from the greater New York area. Following the luncheon, the Governor headed to NASDAQ to preside over the day’s closing ceremony and spoke from the floor with Bloomberg Business Week and Cavuto from Fox News. Check out some of the photos from the day.
A new industry sector continues to gain momentum here in Virginia and we’re not the only ones spreading the word. Southern Business & Development magazine ranked three Virginia data center sites in their winter 2011 “Ten Best Data Sites in the South” list. Scott County Regional Business and Technology Park in Duffield, Quality Technology Services in Richmond and GigaParks in southern Virginia all made the cut.
IT operations are an essential aspect of most companies’ operations today, and maintaining a functional data center is crucial to continuing business success. Virginia’s multiple data center locations offer an array of necessary resources to meet the increasing demand for these sites. From existing infrastructure to ready-to-develop sites, Virginia has locations across the state- both in close proximity to Washington D.C. as well as throughout rural southern Virginia. In fact, Southern Business & Development said, “Southern Virginia is so wired up that we really couldn’t pick a specific site in that part of the state as one of our best data center sites simply because there are so many of them."
InAugust 2010, Microsoft Corp. announced their plans to open a $499 million next generation data center at one of these sites in southern Virginia. The largest investment in southern Virginia history, this project in Mecklenburg County demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to meeting the needs of businesses through a continual development of state-of-the-art infrastructure.
As data centers continue to be a buzz word across the south, you can count on Virginia to remain a front runner in providing top-notch data center sites in a pro-business environment.
SteelMaster Buildings, LLC of Virginia Beach has been honored with the Growth Through Global Trade Award, a prestigious national award created by UPS in support of the National Export Initiative. SteelMaster Buildings, which recently completed VEDP’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program, was the only company in the entire United States to receive the award.
Recognizing that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S., SteelMaster Buildings began to develop an international sales strategy five years ago. The company added a multilingual employee to work with its sales team. In July 2007, SteelMaster Buildings joined VEDP’s VALET program and began implementing its international sales strategy.
VEDP's VALET program incorporates services from a team of experienced international service providers who assist the VALET companies with their international goals. Service providers such as attorneys, Web designers, bankers, translators and freight-forwarders contribute essential skills for expansion into international markets.
When SteelMaster joined the program, the company’s international network consisted of four representatives. In less than two years, SteelMaster Buildings’ network grew to more than 40 representatives. Today, the Virginia company has more than 40,000 buildings worldwide in more than 40 countries and on six continents. SteelMaster Buildings graduated from the VALET program in July 2009 and continues to work with VEDP’s International Trade team to reach new goals of establishing relationships in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and China.
Read the article about SteelMaster Buildings’ success. For more information about VEDP and the VALET program, e-mail Leslie Parpart at firstname.lastname@example.org or Oscar Ruiz at email@example.com.
On Monday, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) celebrated the grand opening of its 62,000-square-foot facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Governor McDonnell. The facility is located adjacent to the 1,000-acre Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Campus in Prince George County, Va.
CCAM brings together Virginia’s leading manufacturing companies and top educational institutions in order to expedite research and turn ideas into real-world technologies and solutions. The research center focuses on two areas—surface engineering and manufacturing systems.
The facility received its full certificate of occupancy in September 2012 and has grown to include 15 manufacturing companies—Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, Sulzer Metco, Aerojet, Hermle Machine Company, Mitutoyo, TurboCombustor Technology Inc., Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, GF AgieCharmilles, and Blaser Swisslube.
In addition, the three founding universities are Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, and University of Virginia, which collectively have 50 students completing internships at CCAM.
The applied research center includes a 16,000-square-foot high bay area, five machining labs, five computational labs, a 3-D visualization lab, conference rooms, and open and modular workstations. CCAM is currently hiring and expects to have more than 100 employees made up of engineers, scientists and analysts.
According to Governor McDonnell, CCAM is a “one-of-a-kind asset.” The collaborative nature of the facility and its ability to bridge the gap between research and commercialization is expected to advance Virginia as a hub of advanced manufacturing.
To learn more about CCAM, visit www.ccam-va.com, and to find out more about Virginia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities across the Commonwealth, click here.
Governor McDonnell is joined (left to right) by Dr. Mike Beffel, CCAM Interim President & Executive Director, and Armand Lauzon, CCAM Board Chair, at the CCAM Grand Opening event in Prince George County, Va.