Sunday, September 4, 2011
PROGRE$$ 2011 FORECAST: SUNNY ARRIVAL OF SOLAR COMPANY SEMPRIUS SIGNALS BLUE SKIES FOR REGION
INSIDE: * SHEETZ, BIG LOTS TO OPEN * UNION BANK RELOCATES * AREA SCHOOLS STRESS TECH, BUSINESS ACUMEN An annual supplement of
Maria Parham, Duke LifePoint reach deal on hospital purchase
Solar plant plans to employ 256 at future Vance facility
Maria Parham Medical Center
By MARTIN FISHER Daily Dispatch Writer
The healthcare landscape in Vance County could soon change if North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper approves a purchase deal that partners Maria Parham Medical Center with Duke LifePoint — a joint venture of Duke University LifePoint. MPMC and Duke LifePoint reached agreement on purchase details in July, and deal terms include Duke LifePoint owning 80 percent of the Ruin Creek Road hospital. MPMC and Duke LifePoint would jointly own and operate the Henderson hospital. The retained assets of MPMC and the proceeds
from the transaction will eliminate MPMC’s debt, and the remaining assets — about $30 million — will be used to create a locally governed, charitable foundation. The charitable foundation will fund new programs and services in the community, according to a statement from MPMC. Duke LifePoint has also committed to investing $45 million in capital improvements at the hospital over the next 10 years. The proposed joint venture is expected to close upon the attorney general’s review and approval, plus completion of other “customary closing conditions.” Please see MERGER, page 6
All photos by Ashley Steven Ayscue unless otherwise indicated
Joseph Carr, CEO of Semprius, a Durham-based solar company, plans to create 256 jobs in Vance County over the next five years. By MARTIN FISHER Daily Dispatch Writer
Semprius CEO Joseph Carr has big plans for Vance County: His company hopes to employee 256 people over the next five years at a solar panel manufacturing plant slated to be built near Triangle North. The facility is planned for development at an existing building adjacent to the Triangle North business park outside Henderson. Construction work at the facility is part of an $89.7 million capital investment in the pilot plant. From 60 to 75 new positions are up for hire through 2012 and a total of 150 is planned by 2014.
“This is a big day for Vance County, and this is a big day for North Carolina,” Gov. Bev Perdue said at a jobs announcement in July. “This company is on the cutting edge in the solar energy field, and we welcome them to North Carolina, the smart grid capital of the world.” Semprius benefits from up to $18.3 million in state and local incentives to create the jobs. A $435,200 workforce training program at Vance-Granville Community College, part of the incentive package, is aimed at helping local job seekers to match the high-tech needs at Semprius. Please see PLANT, page 3
Siemens tie adds ‘global credibility’ to Triangle North By MARTIN FISHER and JASON HUFF Daily Dispatch Writers
The potential move by Semprius to the Henderson area brings with it a connection to the global, renewable energy giant Siemens, which recently purchased a 16-percent share of the Durham solar company. That in turn raises the
profile for Vance County’s industrial growth prospects, including the Triangle North industrial park, said HendersonVance County Chamber of Commerce President Bill Edwards. “Siemens brings global credibility to us here,” Edwards said. Please see GLOBAL, page 3
THE DAILY DISPATCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011
New Warren food center expected to benefit children from low-income families BY DAVID IRVINE DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Work continues on the corner of Ruin Creek Road and N. Cooper Drive Aug. 3 where the new Sheetz convenience store will soon open.
Sheetz on target for opening BY MARTIN FISHER DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Work on the Henderson Sheetz location is on target for a Sept. 29 opening date, and hiring is under way to fill 35 to 40 full- and parttime positions, according to the company. â€œReally, weâ€™re only about two months away from opening,â€? Sheetz real estate agent Steve Augustine said last month. â€œEverything is going fine.â€? Work at the Sheetz site where Western Sizzlin restaurant once stood on Ruin Creek Road shows obvious signs of progress. Site work began in May, with construction progressing quickly after demolition and grading of the lot. Augustine credited an organized Sheetz teamwork plan and the cooperation of a seasonably dry, however unseasonably warm, summer.
Fuel station, restaurant, car wash will open later this month in Henderson â€œSince we are building over the summer, we are experiencing very few delays,â€? Augustine said. â€œNormally, if we were building through the summer we are going to stay on schedule.â€? The business will have access from Ruin Creek Road and N. Cooper Drive, and will include a separate car wash structure, a 23seat restaurant and convenience store structure with a drivethrough, 14 covered fuel pumps and a large logo sign reaching 100 feet high. Augustine said the target construction completion date is Sept. 15. The company has said that cur-
rent traffic in the area fits with its business model. Sheetz is looking to the South as the gasoline and convenience store chain plans further expansion from its central Pennsylvania hub. The Altoona-based company has 394 stores, with more than half in Pennsylvania. Six stores will be added this year to get to 400, executive vice president Joe Sheetz said recently. The chain has plans to hit the 500 mark in three years, with North Carolina and West Virginia the prime targets for expansion. In North Carolina alone, Sheetz hopes to build about 10 new stores a year.
WARRENTON â€” A 10week pilot project is under way in Warren County to try a new way of getting fresh fruits and vegetables to children in low-income families. A group of organizations and individuals are collaborating to establish the Warren County Regional Food Center. Located at 108 S. Main St. in Warrenton, it is designed to improve connections between local farmers and consumers. The Food Center helps area farmers serve a largely untapped market, families using the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers sell their produce to the Food Center, where it is washed and bundled into produce packs that correspond to amounts specified in the WIC program. The produce packs are then sold at local grocery stores. Although they are sized for WIC purposes, the packs can be purchased by the general public. The packs carry a â€œWIC Approvedâ€? label and display recipes to help busy homemakers make nourishing meals. At the end of the 10-week pilot period, the project will be evaluated to determine whether the revenue of participating farmers increased and whether more nutritious
fruits and vegetables were distributed to children in low-income families. It is anticipated that a farmersâ€™ cooperative will be established this month as a result of the project and the groundwork will be laid for wholesale contracts to be negotiated in the future. Partners in the project include the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Warren County Extension Service, the WIC program of the Warren County Health Department, local farmers and grocers. Additional farmers are being sought to participate as the project continues. Benefits of the project are expected to extend beyond the immediate participants. Robin Crowder, a marketing specialist at UNC, said the project helps assure that farmers get fair prices for their products. On the consumption end, she said it helps families guarantee that their children get well-balanced and nourishing meals. As the effort continues, the Food Center staff will help farmers negotiate markets, build relationships with buyers, develop marketing and branding procedures and explore other potential markets for locally grown produce. And the food processing and storage infrastructure developed for the project will be available for other growers and business people.
Union Bank and Trust Co. outgrows location, moving to larger facility on Dabney BY MARTIN FISHER DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Union Bank and Trust Co. has outgrown its current location on Dabney Drive in Henderson, and is moving into a much larger facility down the road. But first: as much as $1.3 million in renovations to the building that was once a bank and a pharmacy. The building at 1203 Dabney Drive began taking on new life in midJuly as the old structure was hollowed out to prepare for a comprehensive renovation. Union plans to move from its 501 Dabney Drive building where Moody Bros. Jewelers is also located, expanding to the 4,000-square-foot structure that will use little more than the outer walls of its previous incarnations. The structure sat empty for several years before Union funded the
project to move there. Contractor Michael Leonard of Michael Leonard Builders said the structure size is about the only thing that will be the same about the new bank building. â€œIt will be like a new building when weâ€™re done with it,â€? Leonard said. â€œWeâ€™ll be putting walls back in, new roof, new heating system, plumbing, you name it.â€? A new vault is also in the plans â€” upgrading to the latest state-of-the-art technology. The project is expected to take another three months before Union Bank can carry out its move-in plans. The Henderson Zoning Board of Adjustments in March approved Unionâ€˜s special use permit for a drive-through window, something the bank doesnâ€™t have at its current location. In addition to a new vault, the bank will including a hip roof design
Union Bank and Trust Co. is busy preparing to move to a new location, 1203 Dabney Drive, from 501 Dabney Drive, once renovation work is completed later this year.
on top â€” sloped on all four sides â€” instead of the flat-roof design, and it will have a two-bay drive-through: totaling up to $1.3 million in building upgrades. Union Vice President
and Vance County Market Executive Scott Burnette said the Oxford-based bank has grown through its several years next to Moody Bros., and the move is being spurred by a need to serve a growing
number of clients. Burnette said staffing numbers have also grown recently to about what they will continue to need, but space is critical to accommodate customers in search of local banking
options. â€œPeople are looking to get back into community banking,â€? Burnette said. â€œPeople want to sit down with someone they know locally who can make a decision locally.â€?
CertainTeed to expand: 10 more hirings, railcar facility in the works OXFORD â€” CertainTeed Roofing, an Oxford manufacturer of asphalt roofing products, plans to create 10 jobs and invest $20 million during the next three years in Oxford, the company and Gov. Bev Perdue announced in July. The company will build a new railcar unloading and storage facility that will enable it to get asphalt from other sources while increasing production of residential asphalt roofing shingles, a press release from Perdueâ€™s office stated. The project was made possible in part by a $30,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. CertainTeed currently employs 503 people in
North Carolina, including 266 employees in Granville County. Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $63,800 plus benefits, according to the company. The average annual wage in Granville is $34,112. Perdue used the announcement as an opportunity to brag on her state. â€œCompanies like CertainTeed Roofing want to set up shop in North Carolina because our path to the future is clear,â€? said Perdue. â€œWe have invested in education, transportation and infrastructure to build a well-trained workforce and an environment where businesses can
thrive. Thatâ€™s why North Carolina continues to earn top business rankings, such as CNBC recently moving us from fourth place to the No. 3 top state for doing business.â€? â€œOur thanks to Gov. Perdue, the One North Carolina Fund, the town of Oxford and Granville County for assisting us in this valuable project,â€? said George Wattman, vice president of operations for CertainTeed Roofing. â€œWe have been a proud member of the Oxford community for well over 25 years and we have been fortunate to be able to attract quality employees from the local community and Granville County,â€? Wattman said.
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THE DAILY DISPATCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011
CEO: Vance County met all of the criteria BY MARTIN FISHER DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
In July, Semprius CEO Joseph Carr said there were several advantages beyond the financial incentives that singled out Vance County as the ideal location for the solar company to build its pilot manufacturing plant. The additional advantages included I-85, a facility close to their home base in Durham, workforce training opportunities and Triangle North’s offering of room for growth. During a joint announcement of the plan with Gov. Bev Perdue in July, Carr also mentioned Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce President Bill Edwards as a key “utility player” in making the details work. Edwards said his work involved coordinating state and local offices to create the incentives package that paved the way to Vance County instead of competitors near and far. Carr said that Vance fit a six-variable, problemsolving criteria that his company worked from — a key variable was the bottom line. “I would be lying if I said that incentives are not important,” Carr said. “Incentives are a major
At left: Semprius unveiled plans in July to open a solar panel manufacturing plant near Triangle North. The plant will be developed inside this building, which also houses ACS. Above: Semprius CEO Joseph Carr.
part, but it’s not the only consideration.” The company will receive up to $18.3 million in state and local incentives to create 256 jobs over five years at its plant near Triangle North outside Henderson. Another factor that drew attention to Vance County was its Tier 1 designation for state tax incentives. Carr added that worker readiness and additional training was also important, and Vance-Granville Community College’s location near their plant location was a factor.
“The job force base is reasonably ready for the high-tech work we will do,” Carr said. “I believe Vance County brings everything we need to do that.” VGCC will work with Semprius to develop curriculum for worker training. Triangle North offers room for growth, which Carr said fits his business model beyond the five-year pilot plant stage. If successful, that model would be a manufacturing revolution for Vance County. “Our plan is to definitely expand at the Vance Coun-
ty site, and there is room to expand at that location,” he said. “Our business model is to expand our front-end manufacturing in Vance County.” Carr explained that the high-tech work will be done on the more portable “front-end” of the finished product, and facilities that are closer to where most potential customers are would perform assembly that includes heavier glass and metal components. In the near term, “the heavy steel and glass portions would be built in the Southwest where the
FROM PAGE ONE
Semprius CEO Joseph Carr (center) receives a round of applause after addressing the audience during the announcement of plans to build a solar panel manufacturing plant in Henderson in July. Among the other speakers at the event were (from left) Golden LEAF Foundation President Dan Gerlack, Gov. Bev Perdue and Rep. Jim Crawford of Granville County.
FROM PAGE ONE The prospects for industrial growth in the future focus on the four-county incentive program Triangle North, which holds one of its four parks in Vance County adjacent to the building that Semprius plans to operate from. This makes the 256 jobs that Semprius is committed to creating over the next five years the start of a larger push for more companies to move to the park, said Danny Wright, chairman of the Kerr-Tar Regional Economic Development Corporation that operates Triangle North. “The raw materials that Semprius will need to manufacture its solar panels could be made by a company that moves into Triangle North,” Wright said. “I see Semprius giving the park a jump-start. They have great potential.” Edwards said that the park program is also impacted by the prospect that Semprius could include a Triangle North location for an additional facility once it is at capacity with its first manufacturing plant. The park program utilizes an agreement by four counties — Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin — to offer incentives and also to share tax revenues. Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments Executive Director Timmy Baynes said his office
plans to act on the opportunity that Semprius — and Siemens — brings to the Triangle North picture. “We plan on pursuing solar-related industries through our marketing this year because of Semprius,” Baynes said. “The synergy we are going to see at the park is going to be tremendous. When potential businesses see Semprius, they will be impressed.” Golden LEAF Foundation President Dan Gerlack said that he is confident the development will put Triangle North on his GPS speed dial. “I believe this will be the anchor, and we will be back here again and again and again,” he said. Edwards said that another impact of Semprius’ relationship with Siemens is that the $20 million shareholder deal bolsters the company’s financial situation. That funding, together with up to $18.3 million in state and local incentives, results in a financially strong position for Vance’s new corporate citizen.
Incentives break-down The incentives available to Semprius break down from an announced total of up to $18.3 million into portions from at least seven sources: • Up to $6.8 million comes from the North Carolina Tier-1 Tax Credit program. • Up to $3.5 million comes
from the N.C. State Sales Tax Exemptions program. • $3,065,000 comes from the Job Development Investment Grant program. • Vance County is offering $2.6 million in incentives. • The Community College Work Training program provided $435,200 toward worker retraining costs. • Golden LEAF Foundation is kicking in $1.25 million. • Gov. Bev Perdue’s 1 N.C. Fund provided $600,000 for the incentive pot. The North Carolina Rural Center also put in $550,000 toward facility renovations.
“Semprius chose to bring their business to North Carolina because our investments in education and job training ensure they can find the work-ready employees they need,” Perdue said. “This is the template that many others are talking about. We have been able to commit to employers that we understand the link between jobs and education.” Perdue and Carr said that ultimately most of the hires, about 200, will be for high-skilled manufacturing positions on the floor, and those are expected to be filled primarily from the local job market. “Governor Perdue entrusted us to bring quality jobs to North Carolina, and we are going to do that,” Carr said. “We look forward to working here, and we are very proud to be in North Carolina.” Carr said that most of the immediate hires will draw from professionals in specialized fields such as engineering and research. The company currently has about 30 employees at its Research Triangle Park facility. Building upgrades
finished product would be used,” Carr said. “Siemens will be a large customer of ours, and a major portion of their customer base includes the Southwest. “We will build what is really the high-tech portion of the system here,” Carr said. “It is what I call the ‘secret sauce’ of our success. That will always be done in Vance County.” Edwards said that he saw Vance County rise above competitors vying for the plant, some as far away as Arizona. “Virginia was in direct competition with us, and
will be bolstered by a $550,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Center, potentially benefiting local construction and subcontracting companies. The first phase of developing the pilot production plant will produce a 50,000 square-foot facility that would employ 60 workers. Semprius plans to expand within the next several years to 150,000 square feet and eventually employ 256 workers at the completed pilot plant. The plant is expected to draw $120 million in investment to the region, according to company statements. Perdue said that the development will provide further momentum for high-tech, green industries to choose North Carolina. “This is a big deal today for world evaluators to see our commitment to being the leader in green technologies,” Perdue said. “The platform of green energy is going nowhere but up, up, up.” Perdue added that the development is a step up for Vance County’s prospects of being a part of that rising star. “This region has stepped up,” she said. “This is a dream, an advanced idea that (Carr) had. He could have gone
there were multiple counties in North Carolina in competition with us as well,” he said. “I think we developed a close working relationship with the company executives themselves, and we were able to get answers to their questions,” he added. “Vance County was able to build a level of trust and integrity with this company, and that’s how we were able to recruit them to stay in North Carolina.” Carr said another consideration was simply the county’s proximity to Durham via I-85.
anywhere and started his company, but he chose Vance County.” Carr said the specifications for the plant facility are nearly complete and he expects the plant to be operational a year from now. The average manufacturing wage at the facility will be $45,565; the average wage in Vance County is currently $30,004. Semprius says it can build highly concentrated photo voltaics modules that combine tiny solar cells with low-cost, efficient optics to concentrate sunlight and multiply it more than 1,000 times. Its modules are intended to make solar power generation economically viable in sunny, dry climates by obtaining higher conversion efficiency and higher energy yield. The technology was developed at the University of Illinois. Semprius stated recently that it secured $20 million when international renewable energy giant Siemens purchased a 16-percent share in the production company. The venture capital allows Semprius to scale up and optimize its strategy to eventually develop large-capacity plants in the future.
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THE DAILY DISPATCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011
VCS: School rooms project on target
Gregory’s appointment affirms commitment of Vance Co. Schools
In late June, Vance County Schools chose Ronald E. Gregory for the position of superintendent. BY TERRI HEDRICK VCS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Gabriel Uriostegui secures metal studs at the base while working on the new multipurpose room at E.M. Rollins Elementary early last month afternoon. H.G. Reynolds is building three multipurpose rooms, one each at E.M. Rollins, L.B. Yancey Elementary and New Hope Elementary schools.
BY JASON HUFF DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Steel supply issues that some feared would slow construction on three school multipurpose rooms have been resolved and construction is still on target for November completion, Vance County Schools Facilities Director Claiborne Woods said early last month. The rooms are being constructed at E.M. Rollins Elementary, L.B. Yancey Elementary and New Hope Elementary schools. Woods gave a construction update presentation to the Vance County Board of Education Aug. 8. “Things are moving along very well now,” Woods said. “We had issues with our steel supplier in the past few months, but H.G. Reynolds worked it out and we are on track. We hope to have all three multipurpose rooms finished by November.” The steel supplier was giving large orders priority over smaller orders like VCS’. Woods said construction company H.G. Reynolds worked out the problem. “The multipurpose rooms won’t be finished at the same time, because we are staggering construction for efficiency,” Woods
“We are doing everything in steps at each school . E.M. Rollins will be completed first, then L.B. Yancey and New Hope last. There may be about a threeweek separation in completion times.”
said. “We are doing everything in steps at each school. E.M. Rollins will be completed first, then L.B. Yancey and New Hope last. There may be about a three-week separation in completion times.” The contract for construction of the multipurpose rooms was awarded to H.G. Reynolds in February for $2,692,240. The rooms will be used primarily as gymnasiums, but will be suitable for many other school functions. Originally, VCS wanted four multipurpose rooms, but took Carver Elementary School off of the list after the Vance County Board of Commissioners turned down the school district’s request for more funding.
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Vance County Schools is excited about the future for our public school system. Superintendent Ronald E. Gregory was chosen as the school system’s new leader by the Vance County Board of Education in late June. Gregory has been working closely with the administrators at our 16 public schools to develop programs and services that will assist our students in achieving greater academic success in the 2011-2012 school year. He has instructed school leaders to let their faculty members know that all students in grades 3-8 will be expected to be performing at or above their grade level in reading and mathematics by the end of the school year. In grades 9-12, emphasis is being placed on improved reading skills and having students take more rigorous course work. In kindergarten through second grade, teachers will continue to work with students to help them establish a solid base to be good readers. Approximately 70 percent of high school graduates go on to a college setting at either a community college, technical school or two-year or four-year college and university. Graduates from local high schools in June of 2011, received approximately
$2.5 million in total scholarship funding to further their education at the college level. The increase in the four-year cohort graduation rate at local high schools is among the highest in North Carolina over the last five years. For the 2010-2011 school year, 72.4 percent of students at Northern Vance and Southern Vance high schools graduated in a four-year period. At Western Vance High School, a setting for students in grades 9-12 who are at least one year behind academically, over 88 percent graduated in a fouryear period. Aycock Elementary School and the Vance County Early College High School were both recognized as North Carolina Schools of Distinction under the state’s ABC Accountability Model for the 2010-2011 school year. The schools had over 80 percent of their students tested on state end-of-grade and endof-course tests to show proficiency in reading, mathematics and other selected courses. These achievements are especially significant since the state and federal standards to measure student performance were dramatically increased for last school year. There are eight local public schools which were recognized as North Carolina Schools of Progress based on their students’ achievements in 2010-
2011. These schools include Carver Elementary, Dabney Elementary, L.B. Yancey Elementary, E.O. Young Jr. Elementary, Zeb Vance Elementary, Eaton-Johnson Middle, Northern Vance High and Southern Vance High. Western Vance High School was recognized by the state as having high growth student achievement for an alternative school setting. The school system is in the second year of its 1:1 Initiative project which provides laptop computers to all high school students. Last year, the project was funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation and provided laptop computers to all students in grades 9 and 10. This year, it has been expanded to include all students in grades 9-12 at the four local high schools. The project is now being funded by the school system The initiative provides the laptop computers as another educational tool to enhance classroom instruction and assist students in completing assignments at home. It also gives students access to the Internet for additional educational resources and e-mail to communicate with teachers. Vance County Schools also has approximately 40 educators who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the highest certification possible for an educator.
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THE DAILY DISPATCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011
Innovation key to success of educational programs in Granville STAN WINBORNE GRANVILLE COUNTY SCHOOLS INFORMATION OFFICER
Despite the recent economic hardships and sharply reduced budgets to the organization, the students of Granville County Schools are performing better than ever. For the past four years, test scores continue to rise, the graduation rate continues to rise, and the dropout rate continues to fall. In addition, the achievement gaps between minorities and white students also continue to narrow just as the results for all of the subgroups continue to rise. Our students continue to show strong academic gains in growth — as demonstrated in the 20102011 year N.C. ABCs accountability model growth results that were second highest of all public school districts in the state. But what really sets Granville County Schools apart is not just the positive data trends measured by the state or federal government, but rather a series of innovative programs and initiatives that focus on preparing our students for a secure economic future. These programs all rely heavily on corporate or private sector partnerships to succeed. In the globally competitive environment our students must
enter, a high school diploma is no longer sufficient. Our students need skills that will set them apart and give them the competitive advantage they need to thrive and succeed. Granville County Schools has made a strong commitment to expanding the access our students have to technology. Through partnerships with SAS, Cisco Systems, Apple Computers and organizations like the Golden Leaf Foundation, The Friday Institute and the New Schools Project, the district has expanded the wireless capabilities and computer access to students by more than 300 percent in the past 4 years. Two of three high school campuses are now one-to-one laptop environments, and many more campuses are expanding rapidly as well. The district has also adopted a dynamic new Career and Technical Education program called Virtual Enterprise, International. This extension of the Business and Marketing programs is a high school entrepreneurship program and global business simulation in which students create and manage their own virtual businesses. Students in these classes are transformed into corporate roleplaying scenarios that require them to collaborate with students all over the world while learning
STEM Star Tech teams provides teams of students with special technology and advanced training to assist fellow students and teachers in their schools. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.)
the skills to manage a virtual business. They also participate in national trade fairs and competitions allowing them access to cutting edge technologies and business practices. Finally, the district is expanding the offering of technology related coursework that provides specific certifications or skill sets. Each high school campus has partnered with Microsoft to offer the Microsoft Information Tech-
nology Academy (MSITA). Students in these courses are offered the opportunity to gain certifications that will give them a leg up when applying for jobs or colleges. Additional courses in computer programming, including the analytical SAS software, computer engineering, web page design, and Video Game Design courses are all being offered as well. Also, through a partnership with Generation YES, the district
has launched its first student technology teams at the high school level. The STEM Star Tech teams provided teams of students with special technology and advanced training to assist fellow students and teachers in their schools. While times may be extremely tough in our economy, the leadership in Granville County Schools is committed to preparing our students with an eye toward the future.
In measured ‘degrees,’ progress was made at Vance-Granville ANDREW BEAL VGCC PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Progress, in ways large and small, was seen at Vance-Granville Community College in 2010 and 2011. It could be measured by the hundreds of students who graduated with degrees and diplomas and the hundreds more who completed their high school education as adults. In 2011, an annual state report card from the N.C. Community College System showed that 96 percent of VGCC students were satisfied with their education, while 94 percent of businesses served by VGCC were satisfied with the customized training the college provided. Progress was also marked by the 325 scholarships awarded to full-time VGCC students at a ceremony in February, and by the addition of several new scholarships through the VGCC Endowment Fund, which raised $23,000 at its annual golf tournament in May. Meanwhile, progress was made toward future expansion of VGCC’s facilities.
VGCC’s Board of Trustees received preliminary plans from the architectural firm, Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, for a new Allied Health classroom/lab building on Main Campus, a 45,000-square-foot facility which would house all the college’s current health care training programs in one location. The trustees also purchased property opposite the college’s main campus on Poplar Creek Road, which is slated to eventually become a new “Corporate Campus.” This facility would house business and industry training programs and support economic development. Higher Education bond funds approved by the state’s voters in 2000 were used to purchase the land. The college continued to innovate and adapt its programming to meet changing community needs. The entrepreneurship degree program was added in 2010 to help prepare students to succeed as self-employed business owners. The global logistics technology degree program produced its first graduates in 2011, while training
expanded with additional certificate options in secure logistics and logistics management. New opportunities for area residents to prepare for emerging “green” jobs got a boost in 2011 as VGCC plans to offer new certificates in sustainability technologies. “In just one or two semesters, a student can complete a certificate that communicates to a potential employer that he or she is on top of the latest techniques that conserve our natural resources and save money by using energy wisely,” said VGCC Dean of Business Technologies Bobby Van Brunt. Sustainability and environmental awareness also factored into a new venture by VGCC in 2011: the college’s first “Science Camp,” a week-long summer program for middle school students. The camp is part of VGCC’s emphasis on promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Campers hailed from all four counties served by the college: Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin. VGCC’s reputation for
VGCC played ‘a very important role’ in Semprius’ decision BY JASON HUFF DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Vance-Granville Community College will help train some of the 256 employees that Durham solar company Semprius plans to hire for its planned Vance County plant. But college officials said in July it’s too early to know exactly what that training will look like. Included in the $18.3 million incentive package given to Semprius for locating in Vance is $435,200 for workforce training at VGCC. “We were involved in some preliminary talks with Semprius when they were considering coming to this area,” VGCC’s thenPresident Randy Parker said. “Nothing has been set in stone yet, since the announcement was just made. We are very excited
to be involved in the training of their employees and we will get the ball rolling when they let us know they are ready.” According to Parker, when Semprius gives VGCC the go-ahead, the school will send several content experts to them to find out what the future employees will need to be trained in. “I imagine that this will happen in the next two or three months, but that is just a guess,” Parker said. “They are talking about having the plant ready in a year, but we don’t have any specifics.” According to Parker, the training process will most likely include teaching the future employees the fundamentals of physics and the science of the Semprius process. VGCC will also teach
any other information that Semprius deems important. “I think VGCC played a very important role in Semprius coming to Vance County,” Parker said. “We showed them what we have done and who we have trained employees for in the past. We showed how efficient the training can be.” VGCC has trained employees for Revlon of Oxford and many other local companies, according to Parker. The state’s Customized Industry Training Program is what makes the training VGCC provides possible. “It allows us to develop training courses specifically designed for the business,” Parker said. “It is a big reason why North Carolina is successful in recruiting businesses.”
excellence was further enhanced in 2011 when a member of its faculty, Developmental English/ Reading Instructor MarianDillahunt-Andrews, received the N.C. Community College System R.J. Reyn-
olds Excellence in Teaching Award, which honors the state’s top community college educator. The year also saw Randy Parker, the president who has overseen VGCC’s progress since 2004, announce
that he would be moving on to become president of Guilford Technical Community College. A VGCC veteran, Vice President of Instruction Angela Ballentine, has been named interim president.
Your Hometown Drug Store Since 1960
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The Daily Dispatch
Sunday, September 4, 2011
New EDC director sees big potential for Henderson and Vance Co. as a tandem By JASON HUFF Daily Dispatch Writer
When it comes to turning around the local economy around, recently-appointed Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission Director Stuart Litvin sees “no sense in reinventing the wheel.” “It is always good to see if it is in the benefit of the county to update a document like this,” Litvin said in mid-July, when he was reviewing the EDC’s 20102014 Strategic Action Plan. “I am analyzing the current operations budget,” said Litvin. “I need time to look through before I can decide if it is enough to get the job done. I wasn’t here when the budget was put together, but I will do everything possible with the resources we have.” Since starting the job July 11, Litvin has been getting to know the ins and outs of Vance County and Henderson. He says the area’s potential is greater than many people may realize. “The key to this county’s growth is the city and the county working together,” he said. “In my short time here, I can see the effort being made by both governments to move in the same direction, which is rare. I think this is a major asset to the community.” According to Litvin, Vance County is in a prime geographical location, with great available real estate. He said he hopes that new companies will consider locating in the county, and large companies in large cities that are landlocked will look at Vance for a secondary location.
Royal Philips Electronics, a Netherlands-based company, purchased Optimum Lighting at the beginning of 2011.
Optimum sold to Dutch firm — manufacturer’s local plans unaffected Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commision Director Stuart Litvin sees “no sense in reinventing the wheel.” He believes the key to economic growth in Henderson and Vance County is for both the city and the county to work together. “If we are to succeed in developing Vance County and bringing jobs here, we have to be proud of the community,” Litvin said. “We have a lot to offer here, and people should talk about the good qualities of the county when talking with others. You never know who you are talking to. When companies scout a new location, they will typically send representatives to talk to people in the community and not say why they are there. Being proud of where you live and promoting your area goes a long way.” According to Litvin, Vance County offers many things other
communities of the same size don’t. “Vance County is close to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is a huge plus,” Litvin said. “We are the home of a state-of-the-art medical facility and a highly rated community college. This county has a lot to offer, and I plan on doing everything I can to promote that.” For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Vance County Board of Commissioners allocated $207,025 to the EDC for its operating budget. This is up from 2010, where the EDC had an operating budget of around $110,000.
FROM PAGE ONE
“The MPMC board of directors evaluated potential partnerships for a year before selecting Duke LifePoint as our partner of choice,” MPMC board of directors Chairman Dr. Bev Tucker said in a statement. “Throughout our due diligence process, we have grown even more enthusiastic about this collaboration.” Duke University Health System Executive Vice President Dr. William J. Fulkerson Jr. said he welcomed MPMC’s place in an ongoing venture to maximize further on the advantages of partnering into larger systems. “We are delighted about the opportunity to welcome Maria Parham Medical Center as the first hospital in the Duke LifePoint system,” Fulkerson said. “As part of Duke LifePoint, the hospital will have access to the support it needs to better serve its community and prosper in the future.” Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce President
Bill Edwards welcomed the news as another positive development for the local economic picture. “A strong community hospital leads to a strong community, and Maria Parham’s partnership with Duke LifePoint has great potential to significantly strengthen Vance County,” Edwards said. “This partnership will provide our community additional tax income, a new charitable foundation and resources for physician recruitment and hospital improvements to enhance health and healthcare in this region.” In an effort to maintain a community-based voice in the governance of the hospital, a 10-member board will be equally represented by Duke LifePoint and MPMC appointees. A separate hospital advisory board consisting of physicians, local community leaders, MPMC President and CEO Robert Singletary and a representative from Duke Life Point also will be established. Details on a specific purchase price will not be released until the transaction closes, according to MPMC Director of Marketing David Ruggles.
“This partnership will provide our community additional tax income, a new charitable foundation and resources for physician recruitment and hospital improvements to enhance health and healthcare in this region.”
MPMC is a private, non-profit, regional hospital employing more than 150 physicians and 700 clinical and support staff. Duke LifePoint Healthcare began as a for-profit, joint venture last year to develop a network of hospitals in North Carolina and surrounding areas. MPMC announced in January that a deal with Duke LifePoint was in the works. LifePoint Hospitals operates 52 hospitals in 17 states.
By Martin Fisher Daily Dispatch Writer
So far, the year 2011 has meant business as usual for Optimum Lighting. That’s good news, considering that they’ve been working for The Netherland-based Royal Philips Electronics under a purchase deal since Jan. 6. Philips announced the deal in Amsterdam, stating the acquisition of Optimum Lighting adds to its global vision as an employer of 118,000, with $29 billion in sales for 2009, to expand further as a supplier of customized, energy-efficient lighting solutions. In Henderson, expectations ran high that the match is good for the business of greater manufacturing operations at its new facility — the former Purolator building on Facet Road. Project Manager Bob Campbell said growth of operations would continue as before, “maybe even better,” he said. Rudy Provoost, chief executive officer of Philips Lighting, said Optimum’s specialty in custom and efficient lighting for office, industry and retail applications complements Philips’ focus on innovation and strengthens its global leadership position in professional lighting solutions. “Office lighting uses approximately 30 per cent of the total energy consumption in buildings, so there is a great opportunity to upgrade the
older inefficient lighting currently used in the majority of buildings to state-of-the art energy-efficient solutions,” Provoost said. “The acquisition of Optimum Lighting further strengthens our overall ability to deliver tailor made turnkey solutions to our customers that provide superior lighting performance, while reducing their operating expenses.” Royal Philips Electronics is active in 60 nations and carries public trade credentials on the AEX as PHI and the NYSE as PHG, bringing privately owned 2005-founded Optimum Lighting into a truly global fold. Optimum, with about 70 employees, manufactures lighting fixtures targeting the growing demand for energy efficiency, and adds rapid design, building and engineering capabilities in customized energy-efficient lighting solutions. Royal Philips Electronics is a diversified health and wellbeing company, focused also on timely innovations to impact quality of life demands. Philips is a recognized world leader in health care, lifestyle and lighting. The company seeks to integrate technologies and design into solutions they call peoplecentric, based on fundamental customer insights. Its brand promise is “sense and simplicity,” according to company statements. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Optimum Lighting further strengthens our overall ability to deliver tailor made turnkey solutions to our customers that provide superior lighting performance, while reducing their operating expenses.” Rudy Provoost, chief executive officer of Philips Lighting
Another year of progress at Maria Parham Medical Center (in review) By David Ruggles MPMC Director of Marketing
Maria Parham Medical Center has been very busy over the past year — caring for patients in ever more attentive and high tech ways, empowering over 700 employees to reach new heights in their careers, and developing a new partnership that will ensure the people of our community with the highest quality healthcare for years to come. In an agreement that should finalize in early fall of 2011, Maria Parham Medical Center will become the very first hospital in a newly formed partnership between two of the country’s premier healthcare organizations Duke University Medical Center and LifePoint. Duke LifePoint combines LifePoint’s extensive operational resources and experience in managing community-based hospitals with Duke’s expertise and leadership in the development of clinical services and quality systems. The joint venture will improve healthcare delivery throughout North Carolina and the surrounding regions by owning and operating a
network of community hospitals. Under the terms of the agreement, Duke LifePoint will own 80 percent of the new joint venture. The retained assets of MPMC and the proceeds from the transaction will eliminate MPMC’s debt, and the remaining assets — approximately $30 million — will be used to create a locally governed charitable foundation that will fund new programs and services in the community. Duke LifePoint also has committed to investing $45 million in capital improvements at the hospital over the next 10 years. The opening of the region’s only Inpatient Dialysis Unit highlights another successful year for Maria Parham in providing new and improved healthcare services to its patients. A new, wide-bore MRI was installed in the later part of 2010 and will help those needing a little more “space” during their imaging procedure. Other services include offering another first for the area — Breast MRI. Breast MRI, together with digital mammography, PACS and radiologists who specializes in reading women’s health issues, MPMC’s
Women’s Diagnostic Unit continues to be the leader in women’s health. Hospital–wide upgrades include in-room computers to allow faster accessing of patient information, as well as continued progress toward completion of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) project. The EMR project will take several years, but the end result will be a nearly paperless patient medical record which should reduce errors and should enable more effective care to be delivered. Healthcare quality initiatives are always a focus at Maria Parham Medical Center. Core Measures, a set of Medicaid/Medicare disease/treatment specific quality indicators, is a priority at the hospital. Statistics for how we treat heart attacks, congestive heart failure, surgical procedures and pneumonia are just a few of the items that are tracked on a daily basis. The great news is that Maria Parham has continued to show excellent results and has seen steady improvement over the past year. Another area that has seen
tremendous growth is oncology. The Oncology Center at Maria Parham Medical Center consists of medical (chemotherapy) and radiation cancer treatment units. The Center is a Duke Medicine Affiliate and continues to offer traditional treatment options along with advanced clinical trials. The most exciting news for the Oncology Center was the expansion of the Medical Oncology unit to more than triple the size of the previous space. The 2010-2011 year also saw a continued effort by Maria Parham to reach out to the community. Several new support groups were formed or revamped, and the Lunch & Learn educational sessions were expanded to include Warren County. Support/ Educational groups include the Women’s Cancer Support Group, C.A.R.E.S., a Caregiver Support, the Pre-Operative Orthopedic Rehab Class, the Stroke Support Group, the Amputee Support Group, the Kerr Lake Area Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group, the Four County Better Breathers Club and parenting/ breastfeeding classes.
2011 marks the 18th year that Maria Parham has offered a free prostate screening. 2010 saw over 160 men take part in annual event. The hospital also works with the local high schools to provide free physical exams for high school athletes, with Vance County Schools toward career awareness, and has sponsored a community weight loss challenge three years straight. The Maria Parham Foundation has added new board members and is excited about celebrating the hospital’s 85th anniversary in 2011. As the hospital’s marketing campaign promises, “we can” help our community in many ways. These are just a few of the items that have kept Maria Parham Medical Center and its staff on the move over the past twelve months. There are considerable challenges for hospitals in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment but with the support of the medical staff, the leadership of an excellent board, the selfless contributions of the volunteers and dedicated efforts of its tremendous employees, the future is bright.
THE DAILY DISPATCH
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011
Locals sell The Peanut Roaster; new owner will lease processing facility BY MARTIN FISHER DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
Henderson’s well-known Peanut Roaster brand is now owned by Thorfood LLC, a company headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. The company purchased the trademarks Hot Honeys, the Carolina Nut Company and The Peanut Roaster earlier this month. The company also has leased for five years the 394 Zeb Robinson Road facility where the products are processed, according to an agreement between former owners John and Carol Monahan and David L. Thorson of Thorfood. An option for an additional two years is included. Officers listed for Thorfood in Ohio include Thorson as owner and J.B. Blackwelder, ThorWorks chief financial officer. Blackwelder said he could not comment on operational details or if changes are pending at The Peanut Roaster. Blackwelder said that The Peanut Roaster adds a highquality product line to the wide range of products that Thorfood offers. “We don’t generally discuss our operating procedures,” Blackwelder said. “We are excited about the production capability in Henderson and the quality of the product produced there. We have great peanuts for sale, we’re ready to roll and looking for customers.” Blackwelder said a strength with The Peanut Roaster includes locations in Cary and Wake Forest. Carol Monahan on Wednesday declined comment on the purchase,
referring calls to Thorfood for comment. Thorfood is part of ThorWorks, known for development and production of highend coatings and equipment that have pavement, roof, foundation, concrete and sport surface applications. Henderson’s peanut processor had been in the midst of the buyout when questioned in mid-June, one week before the recording of documents in Vance County. Management remained mum on details then. Peanut Roaster Inc. President John Monahan declined comment except to confirm a purchase deal on the table. He authorized a brief additional comment through a front-office receptionist. “There would be no changes locally,” the receptionist said. When asked how many are employed at The Peanut Roaster, a company spokesperson declined comment, saying the information would not be released. The Peanut Roaster began with a Monohan familyowned restaurant in Virginia where Larry Monahan Sr. developed a frying water blanched peanut process and roasting recipe as far back as 1949. The peanut business outgrew the restaurant, and following a sell off in 1976, the family moved to North Carolina. In 1985 they built a peanut processing facility in Cary. Then in 1997 they moved to a new production and distribution facility in Henderson, leaving the operation in Cary as a retail store only. The Peanut Roaster’s products go out to every state in the U.S. and to many foreign countries.
Chris Roberson connects a piece of drop-ceiling frame into place recently while working inside the building that will house a Big Lots store in Henderson. The location was the former home of Ashley Furniture Homestore.
Big Lots aiming for October opening BY MARTIN FISHER DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
An assistant manager at a Big Lots location in Durham said that the newly-finished Henderson location would open in late October. When they do begin hiring, the store is expected to hire up to 50 employees to stock shelves in preparation for the opening. Big Lots’ claim to fame is brandname closeouts and bargains that draw millions of customers nationwide. The stores offer a wide assortment of merchandise, including consumables, seasonal products, furniture, house-wares, toys and gifts. The task of getting the former Ashley Furniture Store ready is in the hands of David Leggett with Marvin Simmons Construction.
“When we’re done, Big Lots will come in, and they will prepare the store — put in their fixtures and they stock it up,” he said at the beginning of August. Leggett said that Big Lots runs a tight schedule, and those hired will find themselves busy from the start. “They’ll have 40 to 50 employees to start with,” he said. When stock up begins, they get a truckload a day for three weeks.” Big Lots operates more than 1,400 retail stores in 48 states offering brand-name products from 3,000 manufacturers. It boasts of more than 9 million square feet of distribution capacity. Acquiring the old Ashley Furniture Homestore on Dabney Drive is in keeping with its usual business model of utilizing existing buildings.
Leggett is a long-time veteran of store retrofitting for Big Lots. “We do six or seven stores a year,” Leggett said. “We just came from Wilson, North Carolina and after this we go to Atlanta.” Big Lots, Inc. was born from Consolidated International, Inc. and its flagship brand: the Odd Lots closeout retail chain. Consolidated launched the name Big Lots in 1985. The company celebrated its first billion-dollar year in 1993, crediting its superior distribution system. That’s about the time Leggett came on board, in time to see the transformation since. “We do a lot of these,” he said of the restoration and construction work. “We have been doing this for 20 years, and we have seen a lot of changes.”
VANCE COUNTY SCHOOLS
1:1 Initiative This program provides laptop computers for all high school students and teachers as an enhancement tool for daily classroom instruction and students’ work at home. Benefits include: - technology at the fingertips of students - internet access for school work at school and home - lessons taught via computers - homework assignments made and completed via computers - students/teachers/parents communicate through e-mail - parents can access their students’ academic progress, grades and attendance.
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Advertise your Health & Medical services on this Directory page. The page runs the 1st Sunday of each month. Call 436-2820
Published on Sep 4, 2011
Special section highlighting the latest update on signs of progress in economic development in the Tri-County Area