Current News

Virginia’s Gateway Region Welcomes New President & CEO

Virginia’s Gateway Region Economic Development Organization is pleased to announce the appointment of Keith Boswell as the organization’s new President & CEO.

With over 30 years of experience in both the private and public sector, Boswell comes to VGR after spending over 20 years working in economic development at the state level. Boswell’s focus on attracting new business, supporting existing business, and collaborating with various federal, state and local authorities to increase job creation and capital investment will serve Virginia’s Gateway Region well as the organization continues to grow and prosper. 

Broadband Initiative Gains Momentum Across the Gateway Region

March 29, 2018 / Current News

Nearly 34 million people in America lack access to high-speed internet, 23 percent of which live in rural areas overlooked and underserved by major wireless and cable providers. Prince George Electric Cooperative has finally developed an innovative, cost-effective solution for affordable, reliable broadband access in rural communities, leveling the playing field with their urban counterparts.

Established in 1938, the Prince George Electric Cooperative’s (PGEC) founders “acted on a vision of improved quality of life” to bring the comforts of automated overhead lighting and running water to rural Prince George and Sussex Counties for the first time. 80 years later, PGEC’s CEO Mike Malandro still encompasses these progressive values, acting on an altruistic vision to improve the area’s quality of life through broadband access.

Unveiled in October 2016, PGEC and its subsidiary PGEC Enterprises, LLC launched a pilot program that entails a last-mile, fiber-to-the-home model, bringing internet service to these unserved rural communities. This revolutionary process begins with the installation of a “smart grid” of large fibers connecting power substations across the service area. Using efficient tools, PGEC’s own linemen lay the “last-mile” of fiber, connecting individual homes and businesses directly to the smart grid.

Service Center Metals Expansion in Prince George County Expected to Create 58 Jobs

January 11, 2018 / Current News

Service Center Metals, a manufacturer of aluminum extrusions, will invest $45.2 million to expand operations in Prince George County.

The expansion at Prince George’s SouthPoint Business Park is expected to create 58 jobs. Virginia competed against Indiana for the project.

Service Center Metals was founded in 2002 by Scott Kelley, Randy Weis and Chip Dollins, three former Reynolds Metals Co. executives. Manufacturing started in July 2003 in Prince George.

CCAM Announces $12.65M in Federal and State Funds to Build Apprentice Academy

December 30, 2017 / Current News

RICHMOND, Va.,– Today, William T. Powers III, president and CEO, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), announced the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded CCAM a grant of $3.15 million to build an apprentice academy in Prince George County, Virginia. This award is supplemented by an additional $9.5 million appropriated from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

CCAM established the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy to bolster the state’s advanced manufacturing industry by creating a reliable pipeline of workers with factory-ready skills and credentials suitable for high paying jobs. These grants allow CCAM to begin the construction phase on the Academy.

Prince George Broadband Gets “Smart”

December 28, 2017 / Current News

PRINCE GEORGE — Residents of rural Prince George County hoping to gain broadband access are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel — or, in this case, at the end of the cable.

Since February 2017, 50 households in the county have enjoyed top-of-the-line fiber connections, with the promise of more to come.

In the fall of 2016, Prince George Electric Cooperative unveiled a pilot program that offered last-mile fiber connections. By installing a “smart grid” of large-count fibers connecting power substations across the service area, PGEC was able to develop a revolutionary process. With this structure in place, PGEC’s own linemen can efficiently lay the “last mile” of fiber from the smart grid to individual homes and businesses.

Chesterfield woman creates Shoe Crazy Wine to sell her own brand of blended wines

November 18, 2017 / Current News/ Partner News

A personal calamity put Gwen Hurt on the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

Hurt, a South Carolina native, had a successful 15-year career working in information technology, which included living in Hong Kong for seven years. In 2013, however, she was laid off as part of a corporate restructuring.

“Normally, that is not such a big deal, in the IT world,” Hurt said. Given the demand for IT professionals, “you can just look for another position.”

Exit 45 Gardens Project Tip of Economic Development Iceberg for Prince George

November 13, 2017 / Current News

PRINCE GEORGE – A months-long project aimed at beautifying one of Prince George County’s most heavily visited exits reached completion last month but, for the county’s economic development team, the project is just the beginning of a bright future for Prince George’s business prospects.

In October, Prince George County and The Cameron Foundation marked the completion of their collaborative $1.2 million gateway project with a dedication ceremony at the site. “The Gardens at Exit 45,” named for its location off Interstate 95 at Exit 45, includes major lighting and landscaping enhancements. Along with the visually appealing landscaping elements, it features two, 47-foot-tall glass architectural spires that flank the roadway as well as create a threshold to the commercial district. The celebration follows more than two years of planning, design, and construction of the unique gateway.

For the Healys of The Boathouse Restaurants, Restaurant Business is a Family Affair

November 13, 2017 / Current News/ Partner News

Paige Healy was 9 or 10 years old and taking an art class when students were asked to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up.

For Healy, it didn’t take much thought.

“I drew myself in a chef jacket and tall chef hat in a kitchen with a pan in my hands,” she said.

Healy started tagging along to work with her dad, Kevin Healy, at his restaurant, later renamed The Boathouse at Sunday Park, before she was tall enough to reach the kitchen’s food prep counters. When she was older and taller, she pitched in with bussing tables and food prep, and later with hostess and bartender duties.

Wayfair Latest to Join Regional Distribution Boom

November 5, 2017 / Current News

An e‑commerce retail giant known for its home furnishings and décor is adding to its network of distribution hubs with a new location in metro Richmond.

Boston-based Wayfair has signed a four-year lease to establish a 46,000-square-foot facility in the Rivers Bend Industrial Park at 805 Liberty Way in Chester, its first in the local market.

The Best Educated State: Virginia’s Workforce Improvement Plan

November 2, 2017 / Current News

A large percentage of students at the Charlottesville college were not finishing degrees, a common issue across the country at community colleges, which traditionally serve part-time, older and first-generation college students. “We held a college-wide series of town hall meetings,” Frank Friedman, president of PVCC, says of the initiative started three years ago. “We were not satisfied with the percentage of our students who were graduating.”

As a result, PVCC launched a Student Success program in 2015, providing mandatory orientation and advising to help students navigate their educational pathways. The college beefed up its advising staff and started a mentoring program for new students. “This was a concerted effort involving literally the entire faculty and staff to develop interventions to help our students succeed without lowering any of our standards,” says Friedman.

Initiatives like these will play a vital role in Virginia’s ambitious push to become the best-educated state in the nation by 2030. That goal could require raising the percentage of Virginia’s working-age population (25–64) with at least a two-year degree or a workplace credential from 51 to 70 percent, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).