VEDP Director of Communications & Promotions Visits Halifax

Mike Sexton and Rick Richardson, VEDP Director of Communications & PromotionsRick Richardson, Director of Communications & Promotions at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) visited the Halifax County IDA on Thursday, May 28th.  Mike Sexton, Executive Director for the IDA took Rick on a tour of the hidden treasures in Halifax County.  Places visited included The Prizery, The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Berry Hill and the STEM Center.  Rick quoted Halifax County as "surprisingly sophisticated" and is looking forward to a return trip.

Supporting Business Development and International Trade, VEDP's Communications & Promotions division plans, executes and manages the Partnership's overall marketing outreach initiatives. VEDP uses a comprehensive and aggressive marketing strategy to communicate that Virginia is the best state for business around the world.  What does this mean for Halifax County?  It means showcasing our existing businesses in various state marketing pieces, features in VEDP's newsletter on Halifax County business expansions and new business developments, and partnering with VEDP on various industry trade show missions.  The Communications and Promotions Department is a marketing arm that continues to be an important ally for Halifax County.

Neil Young showcases Lincoln Volt at VIR

Neil Young tests hybrid car at VIR's VIPER facilitySearching for a “Heart of Gold?” That’s just what Neil Young found when he stopped in Halifax County in March. Famous rocker Neil Young visited VIR to have testing performed on a hybrid 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible at the state-of-the-art chassis dyno located at the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER).

Young says the huge 1959 Lincoln was selected for the project because “it doesn’t go against the flow…my theory is if you go with flow and then the change will happen quickly. People want big cars. Let’s build a big, smart car.” The big “American Car” as Young refers to it will go down the road in comfort and safety while delivering up to 100 miles per gallon. Using VIPER's instruments to fine-tune the single-rotor Wankel engine driving the generator, the stop helped to improve the car's efficiency. Dyno staff led by Victor Seaber helped the team test the generator engine and electric motor output on the chassis dynamometer at VIPER's lab in VIR's North Paddock.

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Virginia Clean Energy Business Incubator Named 14th US Business Incubator by Clean Energy Alliance

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Clean Energy Alliance Announces New Member

Albany, NY – The Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Virginia Clean Energy Business Incubator (VCEBI) as CEA’s 14th U.S. business incubator focusing on clean energy technology development. The Virginia Incubator is located within a 60,000 square foot facility at Riverstone Technology Park, a 165-acre site in Halifax County. The energy research, development, and commercialization initiative at Riverstone is led by Dr. Carole Cameron Inge of Virginia Tech. Capabilities available to support clean technology development and commercialization inclue state-of-the-art modeling and simulation tools, information technology, engineering design, broadband telecommunications, geospatial informatics, and two-way interactive telepresence technology. VCEBI’s initial clean technology projects focus on distributed energy grid technologies, TriGen power generation with cellulosic materials, agribusiness research looking at alternative crops as fuel sources with Virginia State University, and small wind technologies that have the potential to enable distributed wind power to be produced economically, even in low wind regimes like Virginia.

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VIRginia International Raceway - a venue for Halifax IDA Marketing Events and beyond

The Halifax IDA, in partnership with VIRginia International Raceway, will host trackside marketing venues during the 2009 racing season.  Project Managers from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership will attend one of several races at VIR this year.  VIR, the 17-turn 3.27 mile track located in beautiful Halifax County in Southern Virginia, is one of the world's finest road courses.  With on-site lodging, go karts, corporate events, both fine and fun dining, the VIR Club, Camp Motorsport, the Oak Tree Spa and southern hospitality, VIR truly is America's Motorsport Resort!

The Halifax IDA also markets VIR’s RacePlex Motorsports Industrial Park.  This park gives tenants a unique opportunity to develop products from a trackside location with optimum vehicle testing capabilities including four distinct road courses, a 5/8-mile karting course, and a variety of off-road courses and terrains. Shop size ranges from 2,500 to 20,000 square feet. Additionally, Southern Virginia is well known in the Mid-Atlantic region as “Virginia’s Motorsports Alley”. Companies who establish a presence here also have the added advantage of operating in close proximity to other race support and automotive businesses.

Arguably one of the most exciting opportunities found at VIR’s RacePlex is the Virginia Institute of Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER).  VIPER is a vehicle dynamics testing and research center offering state-of-the-art technology and expertise to help obtain peak performance from a vehicle. VIPER maintains a unique status as a non-profit organization affiliated with Virginia Tech, a leading academic & research institution targeting performance engineering, and VIR, a leading vehicle performance center. In addition, VIPER's custom designed 8-post test rig, owned by the Halifax IDA, represents the next generation of suspension testing equipment.

Halifax IDA ramps up Existing Business Retention Efforts

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) ramped up its business retention efforts in January 2009 by purchasing, along with the State of Virginia,  web-based business retention software called Executive Pulse.  Working closely with economic, workforce and community development professionals, Executive Pulse provides a full array of customized technology, training, management and survey solutions for regions (large and small) that are serious about the business of retention and expansion and how it impacts their economic, workforce and community development strategies.

Did you know that 80% of expansions and economic activity comes from existing business?  That means that existing business is the IDA's biggest prospect!  In today’s economy it is more important than ever to work closely with existing businesses to find out what the Halifax IDA can do to help.  One of the real benefits of Executive Pulse is that the information that is collected can be reported back to the community as well as to the state economic development office and other service providers.  As information builds in the database, service providers such as the Virginia Department of Business Assistance can help meet the needs of our local businesses in areas such as workforce development, company recruitment, and training costs.

Currently the Halifax IDA visits various businesses each week and gathers feedback about the company such as workforce, sales, e-commerce, facility and equipment data.  In addition, visits include feedback about the company’s attitudes and opinions regarding the community, the local and state business climate, municipal services and future economic conditions and business plans.  Annual visits to businesses in Halifax County will allow the IDA to better understand businesses needs.  In addition these visits will allow a better communication channel between the IDA and existing businesses.  If you would like to know more about our business retention efforts, please contact Halifax IDA Executive Director Mike Sexton at or Halifax IDA Marketing and Research Director Nancy Smith at, or phone the office at 434-572-1734.



International Trade Workshop Scheduled

The IDA is sponsoring a March workshop with representatives of the Virginia International Trade Division, who will offer an interactive overview of primary and secondary reasons for involving your company in exporting; the workshops will also cover pre-requisites for successful exporting, as well as business considerations before doing business “abroad”.  Free or low-cost export support services available to area businesses from State and/or Federal sources will be highlighted. The session is scheduled to be held in the Conference Rooms at Riverstone Technology Park-Building One in South Bostoon Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9 AM.

In preparation for the workshop, the  Halifax County IDA met with Ralph Torning, International Trade Manager for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) on January 28 at the IDA office to discuss the benefits of international business for Halifax County and the Commonwealth.  Ralph discussed benefits such as a comprehensive export assistance to Virginia businesses, one and two year export training programs (AIM and VALET) to help a company become export savvy, free export consultations, export compliance training sessions, and other export support services from the professionals of the International Trade Team at VEDP.

The Halifax County IDA is sponsoring the session in the hopes that the information provided will lead more area businesses to consider exporting as a realistic means to help counter lagging domestic sales. Companies that are already exporting will learn about services and programs that will allow them to find additional overseas markets for their products or services.  As domestic markets continue to shrink for most businesses, finding a sales niche in foreign markets may just be the “ticket” to help counter the effects of the recession. For more information, please contact Nancy Smith at or 434-572-1734.




New CAD Lab Opens at STEM Center

The Gazette Virginian - Members of the Burton family, school officials and students cut the ribbon Thursday morning officially opening the J. E. Burton Construction Company Inc. Pro-Engineering Computer Aided Design (CAD) Lab at the STEM Center.

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