Current News

Got Brands? Virginia: A Hotbed for Top Products

October 24, 2017 / Current News

M&M’s is a billion dollar global brand — one of ten billion dollar brands in Mars’ food and pet-care businesses. The others include: Snickers, Twix, Orbit/Extra, Dove/Galaxy, Banfield, Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin, and VCA Inc. 

Mars is Virginia-based, operating from its corporate headquarters in McLean. The two-story, brown-brick building isn’t plush as headquarters go, but there is a tasty perk: free snacks, including a cold case in the reception area stocked with Mars ice-cream confections.

With so many big brands, it’s not surprising that the fourth-generation, family-owned business ranks as the sixth-largest private company in America, with $35 billion in annual sales and 85,000 employees in 80 countries.

Yet when it comes to winning brands, Mars has plenty of company in Virginia. From the macho Marlboro Man to a rambunctious group of Vikings who promoted Capital One credit cards, Virginia companies have a history of standout products and slogans. 

Virginia Higher Education Summit Highlights Ties between College and Economic Development

October 13, 2017 / Current News

Academic leaders and public officials gathered Wednesday in Richmond to discuss how best to turn higher education investment into economic output in Virginia.

The Virginia Business Higher Education Council and Growth4VA, the council’s campaign to help grow the state’s economy, on Wednesday hosted the 2017 Virginia Summit on Higher Education and Economic Competitiveness in the Richmond Marriott on East Broad Street.

Over the course of the day-long summit, business leaders, higher education administrators and members of state government, including the major-party gubernatorial candidates, talked about the role of higher education in the commonwealth’s economic competitiveness.

VGR Celebrates Manufacturing Day 2017

October 6, 2017 / Current News

Manufacturing in Virginia alone employs roughly 230,000 members of our workforce and accounts for 8.95% of the Commonwealth’s total output. On a national scale, manufacturers contributed over $2 trillion to the U.S. economy last year. Manufacturing also boasts the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector with $1.81 injected into the economy for every dollar spent.

Due to the Gateway Region’s strong manufacturing heritage, this industry serves as a core factor of the region’s growth strategy. An area strong in manufacturing is a direct reflection of a skilled workforce and their relevant training resources and a strategic location with excellent infrastructure permitting efficient access to all markets and rapid transport of goods.

Southside Regional Medical Center Breaks Ground on Free-Standing Emergency Care Center

October 5, 2017 / Current News

Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) broke ground on the new free-standing Southside Emergency Care Center due to open in 2018 in Colonial Heights. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday at the facility’s future site, 60 East Roslyn Court.

“Demand for emergency services in the area continues to increase and Southside Emergency Care Center will provide an additional access point to care for people close to home,” said Trent Nobles, CEO at Southside Regional Medical Center. “We look forward to expand these services to better serve our community.”

Women in Manufacturing: Closing the Gap

September 28, 2017 / Current News

Women have played a role in the manufacturing industry since World War II, when the U.S. government called upon women to fill vacated positions left by male enlistment in the armed services. During those years, women took up jobs in the factories and shipyards that were largely considered to be only suitable for men. The image of Rosie the Riveter, among others, was used as a campaign to draw women into the workforce, appealing to their sense of patriotism. And it worked. During these times, women excelled at jobs in the aviation, munitions, and many other industries. But as the war ended, a majority of these women left their factory jobs or were replaced by the men returning from war

Metro Richmond Exports Initiative Announces the Launch of New Website

September 20, 2017 / Current News

The Metro Richmond Exports Initiative (MREI) launched its new website,, to provide small- and medium-sized business owners and managers in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area with easy-to-find information on export-related topics.

Governor Announces New Matoaca Megasite in Chesterfield

August 31, 2017 / Current News

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joined the Economic Development Authority of Chesterfield to announce the acquisition of 1,675 acres of prime real estate in the county to be used to attract a large industrial manufacturing company that could bring 5,000–10,000 direct and supplier jobs and billions of dollars in investments to Chesterfield County.

“I am pleased to take part in announcing the creation of a significant new economic asset that will drive job creation and economic activity for Chesterfield and the Richmond region,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “This site gives Virginia something unique and allows us to compete for projects on a level we haven’t had before.”

Rebuilding America’s Advanced Manufacturing Workforce, One Veteran at a Time

August 24, 2017 / Current News

On January 3, 2005, Marine Staff Sergeant John Jones was leading his platoon in a convoy on his second combat tour in Iraq when a double-stack anti-tank mine exploded under his vehicle. The thunderous blast blew him 25 feet into the air and when the dust settled, Jones had been severely injured. He had lost both his legs below the knee and his career in the Marine Corps.

He spent the next two years in rehab at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas. He was medically discharged in 2007 after 12 years in the Marine Corps. At age 30, he faced the challenge of starting a new career in a civilian world he left right after high school.

That was 10 years ago. When I met him four years ago, I learned that he had not only found that new career, but also was using his Marine training and the skills he had acquired since leaving the corps to help other veterans making that same challenging transition.

Mark Haley Retires

August 16, 2017 / Current News

Barring any special meeting circumstances, Aug. 8 was City Manager Mark Haley’s last meeting in City Council chambers as the top administration. During Council proceedings they honored Haley reading a proclamation of his accomplishments and going on record expressing their appreciation.
Haley has worked in the City of Hopewell for 38 years. As he will tell it, he wondered into the city working the graveyard shift at the Wastewater Renewal Facility (now the Hopewell Water Renewal facility) where he eventually became and worked as the director for 34 years.

Why Skilled Labor is the No. 1 Location Driver for Manufacturers Today

August 3, 2017 / Current News

The state of U.S. manufacturing is a hot topic in national economic and political conversations today. Issues like tax reform, trade partnerships and regulations are fueling a national debate over how to create and retain U.S. manufacturing investment and jobs. Though a favorable business and tax climate is important to manufacturers, the most critical factor leading to location decisions for new investment and jobs is actually the labor market. 

Thanks to technology advancements, manufacturing operations are much more automated today than they were decades ago. As a result, high-tech production processes that rely less on manual labor have made it possible to consider new investment in the U.S. over low-cost labor markets in countries like China. Automated production does not equate to zero jobs; instead it means that operations need more skilled labor in order to operate, maintain and retool technologically advanced equipment.