By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2019 Issue
Virginia’s depth of talent, top 10 ranking as a place to do business and exceptional livability, make it a location of choice for companies’ corporate services functions. There are 37 Fortune 1000 companies with headquarters in Virginia, and an educated pipeline of employees ready to support additional growth in business services and operations centers of excellence. Virginia’s middle market cities and rural locations also serve as attractive options as companies look to relocate operations out of higher-cost areas.
A state rich with professional talent and attractive business costs, Virginia offers a competitive edge to companies deciding where to locate a BPO or shared services operation. Virginia fits the bill for a shared services location, whether in an urban environment or a more cost-conscious rural region.
Virginia’s industries are as diverse as its geography. Home to the largest data center market in the U.S., the 3rd-largest port on the East Coast, a varied manufacturing base, an emerging unmanned systems industry, and the 3rd-highest concentration of tech workers in the country, Virginia serves key national and global markets from a central East Coast location. A Virginia location means quality and stability for companies seeking the right place to expand and grow.
VIRGINIA GROWTH ALLIANCE: LOVE WHERE YOU ARE
In the case of site location, sometimes you can have it all. Virginia’s Growth Alliance is a 4,000 square mile economic development region boasting an ideal combination of transportation access, proximity to metropolitan areas, and low operating costs. It’s no wonder this Southern Virginia region is home to companies like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Georgia-Pacific, and Boar’s Head Provisions, who love where they are!
When companies need to be close to Washington, DC or the Hampton Roads area but outside of the blast zone, they are looking to VGA. Broadband supplied over Mid-Atlantic Broadband’ s 2000+ mile, 400+ gigabit per-second backbone network provides these companies with the infrastructure they need for data-intensive operations at lightning fast speeds.
Centrally located on the U.S. East Coast, VGA is midway between the Richmond and Raleigh/Durham metropolitan areas, a short two hours from the Port of Virginia (Hampton Roads), and just a bit further to Washington, D.C. Interstates and highways provide convenient one-day access to most East Coast and Midwest markets and two-thirds of the U.S. industrial base. Complement the highways with VGA’s system of railroads, airports and seaports, and you can reach every market efficiently.
The VGA encompasses one of only 7 FAA-designated test sites for Unmanned Aerial Systems, with a radar-equipped, 5,000 square mile “Beyond Horizon” test range allowing flights up to 7,000 feet AGL, in an infrastructure-rich area ripe for testing a variety of UAS cases.
The testing environment consists of 27 miles of pipeline infrastructure, 24 miles of power line, 13 miles of rail line, and a variety of agricultural assets all to be used for operational training, business proposition validation, and reliability standardization.
VGA’s Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center is the only mega site in Virginia, North Carolina or Maryland certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting. No other industrial site can combine this certification with Virginia’s superlative, award-winning business climate. The 1,600-acre mega site offers a central position along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. And, with I-95 frontage and convenient access to I-85, CSX main line rail access, and a direct route to Virginia ports, the site provides easy access to both national and international markets via road, rail, and sea.
The VGA region has a number of other industrial and business sites available to meet a wide variety of needs—from data centers to heavy industry. The history of manufacturing in the region provides a steady stream of workers accustomed to shift work, and the region’s skilled workforce has access to multiple advanced training programs that were developed in conjunction with employers, to specifically meet today’s workforce requirements. Wages in the region are lower than average and new and expanding companies may be eligible for a number of incentives at the local, regional, and state levels.
Since Virginia’s Growth Alliance is situated within the Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization footprint, companies may also be eligible for Tobacco Commission incentives. The Commonwealth of Virginia has repeatedly been recognized by well-respected sources such as Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, and CNBC as a top state for business. In fact, Virginia was ranked by Forbes as the nation’s top state for business for four consecutive years. The Commonwealth’s low corporate income taxes have not changed in over 40 years.
VGA has a reputation as a region that is easy to work with, has streamlined permit processes and can get things done. This is one region that should be on any site locator’s short list. For more information, please visit www.vagrowth.com.
GLOUCESTER COUNTY: FOOD PROCESSING HUB WITH COASTAL CLOUT
Gloucester County, Virginia is strategically located in the southeastern portion of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula. The County’s industries have traditionally been associated with the abundant natural resources, primarily seafood, found in the area. With its advantageous location in the geographic center of the Eastern seaboard, the county is experiencing an increased diversification in manufacturing activities.
The state capital is located 59 miles to the west and Washington D.C. is 153 miles north. The Port of Hampton Roads is 45-miles south. Gloucester is located within the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical area (MSA).
Gloucester County offers a low cost of doing business, desirable quality of life, state of the art schools, skilled labor force, and affordable housing. The county provides a small business incentive program that includes rent assistance, property improvements, façade improvement, advertising and website development grants to new and existing businesses. In addition, Gloucester is one of 212 Opportunity Zones designated by Governor Northam. Another incentive, is the new Company Incentive Program that provides the benefits of no Virginia corporate income tax on Virginia sales and access to the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund that provides up to $2,000 per year per new job for six years. Gloucester is one of 60 Virginia localities that is an eligible locality for this program. The Gloucester County Department of Economic Development is committed to providing these benefits and more to new and expanding businesses.
Food processing is one of the county’s top targeted markets for new business recruitment. There are several seafood manufacturing facilities in the county and a skilled food processing workforce.
Whitley’s Peanut Factory has called Gloucester home for the past 30 years and has enjoyed the low cost of doing business here in the county and attributes their success to the skilled workforce. In April of 2018, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Ms. Bettina Ring announced that the company was expanding, creating more jobs and capital investment for county.
In December 2018, Secretary Ring traveled back to Gloucester to announce Zoll Vineyards, a new farm-to-table winery was coming to the county. The company plans to use Virginia grow-grapes, honey and apples to produce wines, meads and ciders. The owner Frank Zoll plans to offer food parings to winery visitors, featuring meat, fish and produce grown on site.
Over the past year, two new craft breweries have opened. That Damn Mary’s Brewing Company is a restaurant-brewery. The beer is dispensed directly from the brewery’s storage tanks. The Gloucester Brewery, located on Main Street, is a small brewery with a hometown atmosphere. The Gloucester Brewery hosts local food trucks nightly for food that pairs well with the different taps of flavored ale. Both breweries are independently owned and operated.
Gloucester is pleased to be home to Canon Environmental Technologies, Inc. (CETI). Canon is the world’s largest recycling company. In 1990, Canon introduced a cartridge recycling program through its Clean Earth Campaign Program. CETI carries out a zero-landfill waste by reusing parts, recycling materials and employing energy recovery. In 1996, Canon Environmental Technologies, Inc. built a 280,000 square feet recycling plant in Gloucester. The company employees 150 people.
The county has one business park, Gloucester Business Park, with two remaining parcels ready for development. There are plans to expand the current park by 100-200 acres by summer. The goal is to have at least two, Tier-3 or Tier-4 sites, prepared for shovel ready tracts over the next 12-months.