IDA Hires Manager of Marketing & Business Development

Kristy Johnson, Manager of Marketing & Business DevelopmentThe Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is pleased to announce that Kristy Johnson has been selected as its Manager of Marketing & Business Development. While this is a new position for the IDA, Kristy is well known to the IDA and Halifax County.

"Our search lead us to our own backyard," said IDA Executive Director, Matt Leonard. "We had an excellent response from candidates local and beyond, including those with marketing experience for nationally recognized organizations," reports Leonard. "Kristy knows Halifax County, and believes in it deeply. She has proven that over and again through her excellent work for the IDA and REC over the last five years, and through her community involvement outside of her work. Between her previous education and experience, and her different roles and responsibilities at the IDA and the REC, she has built up many of the skills needed for the this new position.."

Kristy first came to the IDA as its Operations Manager in 2009, a position she held until 2011. Her excellent work in that capacity made her the IDA's clear choice to become the Director of Operations & Business Development for Riverstone Energy Center (REC). REC is an IDA component, funded by the Tobacco Commission, the County and IDA, offering Business Incubation, and Product Development and Improvement. Dr. Douglas Corrigan is REC's Executive Director, and worked extensively with Kristy over the last two years to launch and grow the REC.

"Kristy is a great mulit-tasker, and a notably hard worker. She has done everything we needed her to do, and done it well," said Dr. Corrigan. "In fact, we singled her out at this time last year for her exemplary work on the Advanced Manufacturing Symposium and C-CARE Ribbon Cutting event. Kristy spent countless hours coordinating many of the IDA's partners, and industry stakeholders from around the country."

Johnsons's new duties will include planning and implementing targeted marketing strategies and tactics, coordinating prospect events, developing and coordinating marketing materials, deploying marketing through various media (electronic, social, print, etc.), developing and maintaining productive relationships with economic development and community partners and allies, assisting when negotiating agreements and contracts with prospects.

Johnson lives in the Town of Halifax with her husband Clint Johnson, a SVCC instructor working at the SVHEC, and their two sons. She is a Town of Halifax Council Member, Town of Halifax Planning Commissioner, Mentor Role Model Board Member, and Co-Chair of the Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs. She holds a BA in Business from Georgia Southwestern State, Basic Economic Developer Certificate, and a graduate of the Chamber of Commerce's Leadership program. She will start her new position on October 15th.

SVHEC receives manufacturing grants

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) has received two grants to help train Southern Virginia's manufacturing work force.

The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission awarded the higher education center a $163,750 grant to fund its Advanced Manufacturing Bootcamp and a second grant of $20,886 to fund the initial group of participants in SVHEC's new welding lab.

The Advanced Manufacturing Bootcamp will prepare participants for skills needed in entry-level advanced manufacturing positions. Participants will also earn nationally recognized credentials, including National Career Readiness Certificate, OSHA 10, Lean Principles, Standard Work, and CPR & First Aid.

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Biomass plant successfully generates electricity in test

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and NOVI Energy announce that the NOVEC Energy Production, Halifax County Biomass* (NEPHCB) plant that the two companies have been working on together near South Boston, generated its first electricity and connected to the PJM regional electric transmission grid on Sept. 11, at 11:11 a.m. during testing. The companies anticipate that pre-commercial-operation testing and inspection of plant systems will continue for several more weeks.

The $170 million NEPHCB generation station will generate up to 49.9 megawatts of renewable electricity for NOVEC customers. It is located on a 104-acre site in the Halifax County Industrial Park in Southern Virginia. NOVI Energy developed and is overseeing construction of the plant for plant owner NOVEC.

"We've been working on this project for three years," said Mike Dailey, NOVEC vice president of Energy and Business Development. "This successful synchronization with the power grid marks a major milestone in the development of the station and now sets the stage for commercial operation."

The plant will use waste wood leftover from logging operations in Southside Virginia as fuel. The wood fuel, chopped into small wood chips, will burn inside the boiler to create steam that will turn turbines and generate electricity.

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Sarah Johnson Joins Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities as West Coast Economic Development Director

Sarah JohnsonMid-Atlantic Broadband Communities (MBC) announced today that Sarah Johnson has been selected as MBC's west coast Economic Development Director, based in Santa Clara.

Ms. Johnson will be responsible for promoting southern Virginia's competitive advantages to companies looking to expand or relocate to the east coast. Her strategic marketing and recruiting efforts will be focused on companies in the technology, advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, research and development, biotech and communications industries.

"We're excited to have Sarah join our team," said Tad Deriso, President & CEO of MBC. "Her background in business development is an asset that will further propel the southern Virginia region to attract companies interested in expanding their business on the east coast."

Prior to joining MBC, Ms. Johnson held numerous positions in business development including her role at United Kingdom Trade and Investment in San Francisco where she focused in renewable energy, clean tech and financial services sectors. She developed trade missions, assisted companies with expansion efforts into the United Kingdom and U.S., and coordinated visits for high-level government officials.

"I look forward to introducing companies on the west coast the opportunity to an alternative when it comes to expansion on the east coast," said Ms. Johnson. "Southern Virginia has a lot to offer, from the technological infrastructure to the pro-business environment and talented workforce. I'm ready to tell their story."


Marketing Southside from California

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation is opening a California office, hoping to woo West Coast business to Southside Virginia.

The new office is in Santa Clara's Techmart Center. A listing from the commercial real estate company, Regus, says the building is adjacent to the Santa Clara Convention Center, which is "used extensively by the high-technology engineering, computer and microprocessor companies of Silicon Valley."

David Hudgins, chairman of MBC's economic development committee, said in a release: "Our regional industry clusters paired with advanced manufacturing make southern Virginia a perfect choice for west coast companies looking for expansion and production sites on the East Coast."

Tech businesses are a priority, but MBC will also be recruiting for Southern Virginia's target markets, including aerospace, motorsports, agribusiness, data centers, advanced manufacturing, natural and renewable energy production, food and natural products manufacturing, distribution and logistics, bio-technology, nuclear energy research and wireless communications.

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Institute steps up effort to market Southside

The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research are forming a partnership to market Southside.

The organizations will share an economic development director, a position which will be filled by the alliances' executive director, Leigh Cockram.

"This opportunity has come at a perfect time, for the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance needs to stretch funding long term in order to be sustainable and the Institute needs someone who understands our regional assets and can market Institute's facilities for regional economic development purposes," Cockram said in a release.

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Students to be immersed into world of advanced manufacturing

advanced manufacturing equipment at SVHECWhat happens when talent finds resources? The answer is amazing things, according to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and Kyoger, an Iowa-based content strategy, production and consulting firm.

That's the premise behind the SVHEC and Kyoger partnering to host Maker's Focus Immersion Week for a group of talented students from Boone, Iowa.

The high school-aged students are participants in an Iowa-based program called Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders. Pathfinders is a program that gives students the knowledge and tools needed to design their own virtual programs, and to create 3D projects that are utilized as immersive virtual environments. Participating students have developed a high level of skill in 3D modeling, simulation, and computer-aided design, but have never had access to the advanced manufacturing technology that would take their concepts from the digital world to the physical one.

"Given our tremendous assets in advanced manufacturing, and our specialty in making things, we immediately saw an opportunity for collaboration," said David Kenealy, SVHEC director of research and development. "Aerospace pioneer Rockwell Collins, manufacturing software firm ITI Global and Kyoger have all joined with SVHEC and VREP to make the event possible."

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Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center moves forward

Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center aerial viewThe IDA Board of Directors has awarded a contract to B&B Consultants for a $105,000 design contract for the $1.49 million Phase II renovations at Green View.

Green View, located in a former Daystrom Furniture building that once employed 1000 people, was purchased by the IDA in 2011.

The IDA purchased the building and replaced a portion of the roof in Phase I of the project.

Phase II will complete the roof repairs, while making general upfits to the front section of the building and necessary parking lot and fa├žade improvements.

Construction is planned to be completed by December.

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