Mechatronics, welding training begins in August

SCHECJuly 8, 2019

There’s still time to enroll in the Mechatronics Siemens Level 1, Mechatronics Siemens Level 2 or welding training programs at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC). Classes begin in August, and financial assistance is available.

Mechatronics covers a wide range of topics including electrical components, pneumatic systems and programmable logic controls (PLCs) and prepares trainees to quickly identify and correct malfunctions with automated equipment.

“I chose this program to further my knowledge in mechatronics in a program that was more about the actual real world application versus learning from a textbook,” said mechatronics completer Tyler Whitlow.

Whitlow, who is employed at Essel Propack in Danville, quickly saw the relevance of his training as he was able to apply what he was learning to on-the-job situations. After completing Mechatronics Siemens Level 1 training, Whitlow was promoted to lead technician, and was able to do more electrical/mechanical troubleshooting. He completed Mechatronics Siemens Level 2 training in the spring and earned the internationally recognized Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Associate credential.

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New leader announced for GO Virginia project

July 5, 2019

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and the Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) selection committee announced Dr. Tammy Hurt has been hired as the GO TEC program manager effective July 1.

She will lead this GO Virginia-funded initiative to expand talent development efforts for critical career paths across GO Virginia Regions 1, 3 and 4. This area encompasses many of Virginia’s rural counties stretching from Wythe County to Greensville County.

“On behalf of IALR and the selection committee, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Tammy Hurt as the GO TEC program manager,” said Dr. Julie Brown, interim director for GO TEC and director of advanced learning at IALR. “Her K-12, STEM and CTE experience will prove invaluable as she leads the planning and execution efforts for this quickly progressing project. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Hurt and, under her leadership, continuing to build a highly skilled workforce capable of attracting and retaining top employers to our commonwealth.”

Hurt most recently served as the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coordinator for Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS). Previous roles include her work as a middle school principal for PECPS and as an assistant principal and CTE (Career and Technical Education) instructor with Mecklenburg County Schools. Hurt recently received her Doctorate of Education from Liberty University, where she also earned her Ed.S. in curriculum and instruction and her M.Ed. in administration and supervision.

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ABB wins major industry award for submersible transformer inspection robot

Monday, July 1, 2019

ABBABB’s free-swimming robot that redefines transformer inspection services recently received the 2019 ‘Power Product of the Year’ award.

On May 30, ABB was presented an Electrical Review Excellence award for its ABB Abilityinspection for transformers — TXplore — in the ‘Power Product of the Year’ category. Electrical Review is the leading electrical industry publication in the UK.

The judging panel, under the leadership of the highly-respected industry figure — Prof. Ian F. Bitterlin, consulting engineer and visiting professor at University of Leeds, was impressed by the capability of TXplore to make transformer inspection a much safer activity while also boosting asset availability for power grid operators.

While there have been major advances in monitoring and diagnostic technology for power transformers, there are still times when an internal inspection is required. The traditional approach requires an outage lasting three or more days, while the oil is drained to enable a technician to climb inside the unit. Following a successful inspection, the transformer must then be refilled before re-starting operation.

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Newly hired director up to challenge to leading foundation

June 21, 2019

Katrina Powell loves a challenge.

Whether it’s growing up on a farm, just across the Virginia line in Providence, North Carolina, serving in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm or working as a city manager for cities wavering between growth and despair, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation’s (SVHEF) new executive director is in her element when the stakes are high.

“I thoroughly enjoy chasing the challenge of ‘making change happen,’ and I’m bored if I’m not pursuing some issue that needs to be addressed or changed,” she said.

A former city manager for diverse cities in Florida and Michigan, Powell is now turning her vast skills and experiences to growing the SVHEF.

Established in 1997, the foundation serves as the primary supporter of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. While the non-profit has succeeded on many projects, including taking on ownership of The Prizery’s facilities, consistent fundraising remains a challenge.

In December 2018, foundation board members placed their bets on Powell, believing she could face this challenge and succeed.

“We’re very excited to have a person of Katrina’s abilities on board,” said SVHEF chairman Ryan Garrett. “One of her primary duties will be fundraising. Katrina’s very good at managing finances and raising revenues, and she has a proven track record in both. We think she’s the right person to help us change our region’s narrative from survival to growth.”

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GO Virginia Region 3 experts speak on building a sustainable economy

GOVAJune 24, 2019

GO Virginia Region 3 Council members recently spoke to 60 Lead Virginia participants on strategies for economic success at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville. GO Virginia Region 3 chair Charley Majors gave a bird’s eye view of GO Virginia, the Region 3 Council and the region’s innovation strategies.

Council member James McClain, co-chair of the innovation committee, said, “Innovation is energizing. It creates the opportunities necessary for businesses to thrive. A challenge is that innovation itself can be a challenge to sustain over time.”

McClain’s remarks were followed by a panel called “Shaping the Way Forward Via Technology, Talent and Agriculture.”

Region 3 council member Tim Clark shared information on the current state of agriculture in Southern Virginia and how strategic partnerships are magnifying individual efforts.

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Process to build new Halifax County High School outlined

June 11, 2019

Halifax County School Board members learned more about the process for building a replacement facility for Halifax County High School when they met Monday night in Halifax, as they listened to school superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg outline procedures for school construction under a state law that permits general contractors and architects to partner in an effort to streamline the building process.

Lineburg reviewed procurement details of the Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 that trustees adopted last December explaining the facility advisory and review committee received an “unsolicited” PPEA proposal for a new high school facility May 24 from Roanoke firm Branch Builds, the same firm that renovated the middle school here 12 years ago.

“It’s just a proposal. It doesn’t mean we’ve accepted anything,” the superintendent said Monday evening. “We’re not deciding anything tonight.”

He pointed out the PPEA process could speed up the school construction timeline by nine to 12 months.

Branch Builds, who paid a $10,000 fee to the school division to have its package considered, has joined forces with RRMM Architects, one of three architectural firms the facility committee is considering to design and construct the new school.

The other two Virginia architectural firms under consideration include Grimm and Parker and Moseley Architects, the firm that conducted the study of the current high school for the school board before estimating it would cost $88 million to renovate and upgrade the high school and $99 million to build a new facility.

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IDA provides dinner for HCHS leadership class

May 13, 2019

Leadership dinnerThe Halifax County Industrial Development Authority provided dinner at Berry Hill for this semester’s 2019 Halifax County High School leadership class, community cohorts and guest speakers. This would not be possible without the community’s support. Several students, cohorts and guest speakers are not pictured due to prior engagements.

From The Gazette Virginian

Sentara honored in patient satisfaction

June 19, 2019

Sentara Halifax Home Health and Sentara Halifax Hospice have been recognized by Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) as a “Superior Performer” for achieving an overall patient satisfaction score that ranked in the top 20% of all eligible SHP clients for the 2018 calendar year.

The annual SHPBest™ award program was created to acknowledge home health agencies that consistently provide high quality service to their patients. The 2018 award recipients were determined by reviewing and ranking the overall satisfaction score for more than 2,500 home health providers.

With the largest HHCAHPS benchmark in the nation, SHP is in a unique position to identify and recognize organizations that have made patient satisfaction a priority and have been rewarded for their efforts with high marks on the HHCAHPS survey.

“SHP is proud to present the SHPBest awards to our top-performing customers. We commend these organizations for their continuous focus on delivering the highest quality of care to their patients”, said Rob Paulsson, president of SHP.

Sentara Halifax Home Health and Sentara Halifax Hospice serve a large swath of the southern Virginia region, providing the highest-quality home health care and end-of-life services to members of the community

“I couldn’t be more proud of our staff for the dedication and excellence that they bring to our organization every day,” said Wendy Fisher, RN, BSN, administrator of Sentara Halifax Home Health and Sentara Halifax Hospice. “By winning this award, we reaffirm our devotion to providing the highest-quality care in both home health and hospice settings.”

Read more about the SHPBest awards program, including methodology and award recipient lists at

From The Gazette Virginian