Halifax IDA Press Release - January 2015

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) looks back on 2014 as a year of continued improvement and advancement. The IDA looks forward to 2015 as a year with much promise. "We took our new way of operating - Brighter, Bolder, Business – and infused it throughout our organization and operations," says Matt Leonard, the IDA's Executive Director. "It is important to the success of our mission that we operate as much like a 21st century business as possible. We do this through what I refer to as our A.M.M.O. We continuously evaluate and improve our Assets, Message, Mission and Organization." The IDA has completed an organizational restructuring, comprehensive Strategic Plan, and refined its targeted Marketing Plan. "Success starts with effective planning. We've done that, and begun implementing those plans. Success requires a new proactive and collaborative approach."

The IDA rebranded its best assets for attracting new industries. "We aligned our asset logos and names, and gave them an instant sense of place in a very competitive worldwide marketplace," says Kristy Johnson, IDA Manager of Marketing & Business Development. "This provides real recognition for our prospects when it comes to both location and opportunities. They know quickly where we are, and what we can do for them." The IDA chose to use the Southern Virginia trademark on as many assets as possible. As examples, Riverstone Technology Park became Southern Virginia Technology Park (SVTP), Riverstone Energy Center became Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), and Green View became Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center (SVAMC).

"We find the community particularly excited about SVAMC," Leonard says. "Many remember it when it was Daystrom Furniture and are happy to see it being readied for the future." SVAMC includes three buildings on 34 acres, the largest of which is over 330,000 square feet. "We're integrating our assets' focuses toward success. SVAMC, SVTP and SVPAC have deliberate links."

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SVHEC's Work Ready Foundations Program Prepares Students for Career at TMI AutoTech

September 2014, Jason Bullock and Richard "Sterlin" Newton became proud completers of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center's Work Ready Foundations Program© (WRF). The seven-week work readiness training program prepared Bullock and Newton with the skills, knowledge, and credentials needed for entry-level employment in an advanced manufacturing environment.Bullock and Newton interviewed with Brent Gates, Vice President of Operations at TMI Auto Tech, Inc. in Alton, Virginia at the WRF end of program mini-job fair. It didn't take long for them to showcase their potential, and make an impression on their future employer.

"During the mini job fair Jason and Sterlin seemed enthusiastic about working for TMI. Seeing that they took the initiative to participate in the Work Ready Foundations program and showed up for eight weeks of training that proved that they were serious about wanting a job," Gates stated. Within weeks of completing the WRF program, Gates offered both gentlemen positions as assembly technicians--the most difficult position within the TMI organization.

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SVHEC Hosts 400 Sixth Grade Students

On October 29th, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) hosted 400 sixth grade students from Halifax County Middle School for the "You Are the Engineer of Your Career" Workshop. Students were introduced to engineering careers through participation in eight engineering focused activities including 3D printing, reverse engineering, and extracting DNA from strawberries (click here to read descriptions of all workshop activities). Staff members from NASA-Langley were onsite and led several student activities."We wanted to give students a day to come and have a hands-on, interactive learning experience focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, and having NASA folks here interacting with students was an opportunity we couldn't pass up," said Amy Cole, SVHEC Director of Student Services & Partner Relations.

Warrick Scott, Founder and CEO of the Wendell Scott Foundation, served as the event's keynote speaker. He pointed out the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) that surrounds students' daily lives including Red Box DVD rentals, smartphones, and apps. "STEM education is a necessity," he stated. Scott also talked about his grandfather, the late NASCAR driver Wendell Scott.

Wendell Scott, a native of Danville, VA, was the first African-American driver to win a race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. "My grandfather was an engineer without the training," Scott stated. He shared how his grandfather never had sponsors, but using ingenuity, innovation, and knowledge of STEM, was able to successfully compete against many well-funded drivers. "Dedication and education will take you anywhere you want to go," Scott said.

 

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Students Bring Home Honors from National Woodworking Competition

Continuing a trend that began in 2008, students in the Product/Industrial Design & Development programs at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) earned honors in a national woodworking competition.

Kenton Beard and John Barry recently competed in the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) competition held in Atlanta, GA, and brought home honors for their creative work. Beard's entry was the "Cathedra" bench--a modern update on the traditional outdoor bench. This is the same design Destination Downtown South Boston selected for the Carter Green Space adjacent to Carter Bank & Trust on South Boston's Main Street.

Barry submitted a unique coffee table design that uses different types of wood to create a jigsaw puzzle effect on the table's surface. Both students received Honorable Mention, the equivalent of 3rd place, in their categories.

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TMI AutoTech Teams With Halifax IDA; Receives Tobacco Commission R&D Grant

TMI AutoTech, exclusive North American manufacturer of the Ariel Atom vehicle, has successfully teamed with the Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for a Research & Development Grant. The $838,000 grant will be used to develop a new sports car which is distinctly different from the Ariel Atom and focused towards an international track day market.

"We are pleased that the Tobacco Commission awarded TMI AutoTech with this grant," stated Mark Swain, one of TMI's owners and its Vice President of Marketing. "Receiving the award is a vote of confidence in our project in addition to the regions capabilities."

"The 19 new advanced manufacturing jobs build on Halifax County's skilled workforce," says Matt Leonard, Halifax IDA's Executive Director. "Also, this project will utilize all of the other R&D assets already established in Halifax County, Virginia, through Tobacco Commission programs. Dr. Doug Corrigan, the Director of the IDA's Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), worked closely with TMI to develop the grant request and shepherd it through to approval."

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Virtual Town Hall with Governor

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), its Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), and TMI AutoTech participated in the Governor's Virtual Town Hall on Technology-Based Innovation and Entrepreneurship on September 10, 2014. The virtual town hall meeting hosted by Governor McAuliffe, Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, and Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, connected nine different locations across Virginia. The IDA, SVPAC and TMI participated using the Cisco 3000 Telepresence room at the IDA's Southern Virginia Technology Park.

Halifax IDA/VA Governor

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Training Programs Prepare Students for a New Age in Manufacturing

In 2006, a joint subcommittee of the Virginia legislature studying the needs of the manufacturing sector and the future of manufacturing in the commonwealth found disturbing statistics.Since peaking at 432,500 in 1989, Virginia's manufacturing employment had fallen to 296,600 by June 2004. The numbers haven't improved since then. In June, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Virginia's manufacturing employment at 229,100, a more than 20 percent dip in a decade. Despite those statistics, the outlook for manufacturing in Virginia seems to be improving.

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HCMS-SVHEC Announce Partnership

Administration and staff at Halifax County Middle School and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) proudly announce a partnership to support Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) opportunities for students and teachers. The partnership will yield several STEM-focused initiatives in the coming year. HCMS Principal Faye Bruce stated, "We are elated about this partnership. It will afford our students the opportunity to develop 21st Century skills by participating in this initiative."

HCMS-SVHEC Partnership-web

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