Virginia Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2022

Page 70

State of Success

From startups to Fortune 500s, Virginia-founded companies benefit from a winning business climate

For most of the year, Windmill Hill Park in Old Town Alexandria offers basketball, volleyball, a dog park, a playground, and access to the Potomac River waterfront. When it snows, the park becomes one of Alexandria’s best sledding spots, with benches and picnic tables for watchful parents.



50 Virginia: A Home for Business for 400+ Years

A deeper look at the wide array of diverse companies that were founded, and continue to find what they need, in Virginia

Virginia Universities Prove Fertile Ground for Startups

In addition to providing top-notch education, Virginia’s colleges and universities serve as a launching pad for startup companies in fields as wide-ranging as life sciences, unmanned aerial systems, and food and beverage production

66 48 68 74 Subscribe today. Visit Facts & Figures 04 06 Selected Virginia Wins Paul’s Fan Company Leverages International Sales for Domestic Expansion An Inside Look at Drone Innovation: A Conversation With Tom Walker Regional Spotlight Economic Development Partners in Virginia

Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County, long known for the skiing and snowboarding slopes that grace Massanutten Mountain, also boasts two 18-hole golf courses and an indoor-outdoor water park named the second-best in America in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards in 2018.

Perpetuating a Longstanding State of Success in Virginia

THE STABLE, SENSIBLE BUSINESS climate that attracts major multinational companies like Amazon, Boeing, Hilton, and the LEGO Group to Virginia also helps entrepreneurs looking for a place to capitalize on their ideas. The college student with the next billion-dollar idea can benefit from the same stable corporate tax rate that wood products industry leader American Woodmark has paid since its founding in Frederick County in 1980. Virginia bonds have held the same AAA rating since 1938, the same year the March of Dimes was founded and Superman made his first appearance in print.

In this issue of Virginia Economic Review, we highlight more than 60 companies across a wide breadth of industries that were founded in Virginia and continue to find success in the Commonwealth. The oldest company in these pages, Owens & Minor, Inc., has served medical customers continuously since 1882; the newest ones were founded as recently as 2022 to capitalize on ideas and technologies developed through Virginia’s top-notch universities. The largest company in this issue, Capital One Financial Corporation, employs more than 50,000 people across the United States and was the presenting sponsor of the 2022 World Series; the smallest, Absurd Snacks, is a two-person startup dreamed up in a University of Richmond business class. These companies manufacture products as massive as aircraft carriers and as small as a molecule, and as impalpable and vital as a piece of code.

Also inside is a discussion with one of those Virginia entrepreneurs — Tom Walker, CEO of Virginia Beach unmanned company DroneUp, which partnered with Walmart to deliver COVID-19 test kits by drone and is now working with the retail giant to establish permanent last-mile drone delivery. In this interview, Walker discusses the factors that led him to choose Virginia Beach to found his company, including the diverse, veteran-heavy workforce in the Hampton Roads region — as he put it, “There are very few places in the country where you could attract that kind of talent and that kind of character other than right here in Virginia.”

As proponents of business in Virginia, we are extremely proud to promote the Commonwealth’s business climate and the companies that both benefit from and strengthen its value proposition for businesses. The greatest evidence of the merits of Virginia’s business climate is the companies that choose to operate here — and continue to flourish. We hope you enjoy this look at the innovators who have helped make Virginia a state of success.

Best regards,


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1 1 2 Figures

Selected Virginia Wins

Plenty Unlimited Inc. will invest $300 million to establish the world’s largest indoor farming campus at Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield County in the Greater Richmond region. The project will create more than 300 new jobs over the next six years. Virginia competed with five other states for the project.

The Richmond Farm Campus will be the world’s most advanced indoor farm, powered by Plenty’s more than 200 patent assets, which will enable the campus to grow clean, flavorful produce year-round. The first farm at the campus, a dedicated Driscoll’s berry farm to be completed by 2024, will be the first to grow indoor, vertically farmed strawberries at scale. Plenty, based in California, recently secured $400 million in a Series E financing round, the largest investment to date for an indoor farming facility.

Support for Plenty’s job creation will be provided by the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with higher education partners that accelerates new facility startups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies.

ARAMA KUKUTAI CEO, Plenty Unlimited Inc.
At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere. This campus will raise the bar on what indoor vertical farming can deliver. The scale and sophistication of what we’re building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of produce with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Virginia as we endeavor to rewrite the rules of agriculture.

Selected Virginia Wins

Greater Fredericksburg

World Class Distribution, Inc.

Jobs: 745 New Jobs

CapEx: $275M

Locality: Caroline County

Greater Richmond


Jobs: 51 New Jobs

CapEx: $27.8M

Locality: Henrico County

Lutron Electronics

Jobs: 200 New Jobs

CapEx: $28.3M

Locality: Hanover County

Plenty Unlimited Inc.

Jobs: 300 New Jobs

CapEx: $300M

Locality: Chesterfield County

Hampton Roads


Jobs: 15 New Jobs

CapEx: $2.4M

Locality: City of Norfolk

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Jobs: 100 New Jobs

Locality: City of Suffolk

Nakano Warehouse & Transportation Corp.

Jobs: 25 New Jobs

CapEx: $14M

Locality: City of Chesapeake

Northern Virginia

Enabled Intelligence, Inc.

Jobs: 117 New Jobs

CapEx: $1.4M

Locality: Fairfax County

Evermade Foods

Jobs: 46 New Jobs

CapEx: $110K

Locality: Fauquier County

Pangiam Jobs: 201 New Jobs

CapEx: $3.1M

Locality: Fairfax County


Jobs: 119 New Jobs

CapEx: $5.5M

Locality: City of Manassas

Roanoke Region

North American Specialty

Laminations LLC

Jobs: 44 New Jobs

CapEx: $2M

Locality: Roanoke County

South Central Virginia

FyberX Holdings

Jobs: 45 New Jobs

CapEx: $17.5M

Locality: Mecklenburg County

Southern Virginia

Hitachi Energy

Jobs: 165 New Jobs

CapEx: $37M

Locality: Halifax County

IperionX Limited

Jobs: 108 New Jobs

CapEx: $82.1M

Locality: Halifax County

Southwest Virginia

Ronald Mark Associates, Inc.

Jobs: 29 New Jobs

CapEx: $13.5M

Locality: Tazewell County

8 I81-I77 Crossroads New River Valley Roanoke Region Southwe st Vir ginia

Northern Shenandoah Valley

Washington, D.C.

Northern Virginia

Shenandoah Valley

Central Virginia

Greater Fredericksburg

Northern Neck

Middle Peninsula

South Centr al Virg inia

Southern Virginia

Easte rn Shor e Greater Richmond Hampton Roads Virginia’s Gateway Region Lynchburg Region

We selected the Commonwealth for its workforce culture and regulatory climate. In our experience, people in the region stay with companies for the long term.

While its actual age is not completely settled, the New River is widely regarded as the oldest river on the North American continent, formed an estimated 300 million years ago. Some scientists argue that the river is older than the surrounding Appalachian Mountains and rose with them as they formed.


The Commonwealth of Virginia has existed as a business venture since its inception in 1607, when the Virginia Company of London formed a joint-stock company to bring profits to shareholders and establish an English colony in the New World. More than 400 years on, Virginia is still known as one of the best states in the country for business. Since 2019, Business Facilities, CNBC, Forbes, and Site Selection have all ranked Virginia in the top five states in business climate, business friendliness, or their overall state rankings.

Virginia’s appeal for companies starts with its stability, allowing startups and expansions alike to move forward with business plans knowing that policies and operating costs will be predictable. Virginia’s corporate tax rate has been stable since 1972, and the Commonwealth’s state and local tax burden is significantly lower than the national average. Considering all forms of taxation, Virginia boasts one of the lowest overall business tax burdens in the country — similar to many states that tout “zero” corporate taxes — along with competitive leasing, utility, and construction costs.


Consistent policy and prudent financial management have earned the Commonwealth an AAA bond rating since 1938, longer than any other state. This commitment to stability has translated into financial predictability for the companies that choose to operate in Virginia. As a result of continued strategic investments in critical infrastructure and education, Virginia’s economy has grown steadily at an average of 2% annually for the past 20 years, contracting in only three of these years during nationwide recessions. The Commonwealth has experienced only two budget deficits since 2003, both occurring during the Great Recession and tempered by the state’s healthy “rainy day” reserve fund.

That stability has led to Virginia consistently being ranked among the best-run states in the country. This holds regardless of which party occupies the Executive Mansion or controls the General Assembly. As Mike Petters, former president and CEO of Newport News-based Fortune 500 company HII and now a member of the company’s board, said, “There’s a general consensus in the state legislature of the importance of business, and I don’t think that is tied to a particular party. It’s incumbent upon the businesses to identify those things that are good for business, but when the case is made, the Commonwealth steps up.”

Virginia’s regulatory environment offers a businessfriendly climate that aligns strictly with federal labor regulations on family leave, overtime, and more. That climate includes one of the oldest right-to-work laws in the country, dating to 1947. Just 4.8% of Virginians belong to a union, less than half the national rate of 10.3%. Businesses and employees can work together freely and productively to establish common-sense workplace policies that fit their respective needs.

Virginia companies benefit from a premier talent base that’s one of the most educated and productive in the country across industries. Nearly 40% of

Virginians have a bachelor’s degree or higher, making the Commonwealth the sixth-most educated state in the country (first in the South), well above the national average of 33%. SmartAsset ranked Virginia’s higher education system as the secondbest in the country in 2022, while CNBC ranked the Commonwealth as the second-best state for education the same year.

Homegrown Virginia companies range from Fortune 500 giants like Capital One Financial Corporation, Markel Corporation, and Owens & Minor, Inc., to smaller companies that continue to innovate in a wide variety of fields. Bedford County-based NanoTouch Materials, LLC developed the world’s first line of self-cleaning surfaces. F.R. Drake Company in Waynesboro manufactures the world’s most popular frankfurter loading system. CarMax, Inc., a Fortune 500 company based in Goochland County, revolutionized used car sales through a big-box, mass retailer approach that has been adopted across a large swath of the industry.

When asked why their companies chose Virginia, executives across the Commonwealth echo some recurring themes: quality of life, a strong workforce, an advantageous Mid-Atlantic location, and growth potential. As Diane Kees, COO of Micro Harmonics Corporation in Botetourt County, said, “We can’t imagine being anywhere other than Virginia.”

A wide array of diverse companies have found what they needed in Virginia — a business-friendly regulatory climate, competitive and stable taxation, and one of the lowest private-sector unionization rates in the country. The Commonwealth’s homegrown success stories include several Fortune 500 companies and a great many other innovators in fields as diverse as banking and credit cards, manufacturing, shipbuilding, wood products, and food and beverage processing. Read on to learn about these innovators who chose Virginia to launch their businesses.



Year founded: 2009

Founding locality: Amelia County

Current region: South Central Virginia

Founded in a garage, YakAttack specializes in kayak fishing gear, kayak rigging, and outfitting for boats and skiffs. Now based in Prince Edward County, the company’s products can be purchased at retailers like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods across the country and internationally.


CloudFit Software

Year founded: 2018

Founding locality: City of Lynchburg

Current region: Lynchburg Region

CloudFit Software provides cloud managed services to customers in the U.S. Department of Defense and other government entities, as well as commercial entities ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small, 10-user companies. The company handles cloud transitions from start to finish and helps customers operate securely once in the cloud. CloudFit has won the Microsoft US Partner of the Year Award for Defense & Intelligence two of the last three years and is on the Inc. 500 and Vet 100 lists.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery

Year founded: 1934

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Current region: Greater Fredericksburg

A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Spotsylvania County is Virginia’s oldest, most award-winning distillery. The company produces bourbon, vodka, gin, rum, and cream liqueur, and its Abraham Bowman Port

Finished Bourbon Whiskey and John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey have been honored as the World’s Best Bourbon by Whisky magazine.

First Line Technology

Year founded: 2003

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Current regions: Greater Fredericksburg, Northern Virginia

First Line Technology designs and manufactures disaster preparedness and emergency response equipment from its facilities in Fairfax County and Stafford County. The company works with first responders and the military to develop products that are tested and proven in a laboratory setting for effective use in hazardous environments.

Owens & Minor, Inc.

Year founded: 1882

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current regions: Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads

Owens & Minor, Inc., is a Fortune 500 global healthcare solutions company that integrates product manufacturing and delivery, home health supply, and perioperative services to support care through the hospital and into the home. The company has operated continuously for 140 years and is headquartered in Hanover County, with distribution centers there and in James City County.


Turman Hardwood Flooring Trex Company, Inc.

Year founded: 2002

Founding locality: City of Galax

Current region: I81-I77 Crossroads

Turman Hardwood Flooring, a subsidiary of the Turman Group, manufactures unfinished and pre-finished hardwood floors in a number of wood species. In 2005, the company began manufacturing hardwood pellets for home heating, reducing wood waste and adding a new revenue line.

Year founded: 1996

Founding locality: Frederick County

Current region: Northern Shenandoah Valley

Trex Company, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products, was formed in 1996 through a buyout of a division of Mobil Corporation. The company went public in 1999 and sells the industry’s widest array of high-performance composite products in 40 countries around the world. Trex repurposes more than 900 million pounds of recycled and reclaimed materials each year in the manufacture of its decking.


Optical Cable Corporation Carry-On Trailer

Year founded: 1983

Founding locality: City of Salem

Current region: Roanoke Region

Optical Cable Corporation (OCC) is a leading manufacturer of a broad range of fiber optic and copper data communications cabling and connectivity products that provide high-quality solutions for both harsh environment and enterprise applications. Members of the OCC engineering team studied under Charles Kao, the “father of fiber optics” and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. OCC’s customers include all branches of the U.S. military, mining sites, oil rigs, healthcare facilities, and more.

Winndom Mattress Collection

Year founded: 1988

Founding locality: City of Hopewell

Current region: Virginia’s Gateway Region

Winndom Mattress Collection produces its high-quality mattresses with materials from the United States in a converted high school building. Winndom also provides custom bedding for boutique hotels, sailboats, luxury yachts, sport fishing boats, RVs, campers, antique beds, and more.

Year founded: 1996

Founding locality: Westmoreland County

Current region: Northern Neck

Carry-On Trailer manufactures utility, aluminum, dump, cargo, and equipment trailers for residential, commercial, and recreational applications. Available through a nationwide network of retailers and dealers, Carry-On is the best-selling brand of trailer in the United States.


Year founded: 1999

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Current region: Northern Virginia

Appian is an enterprise software company. Leading companies and governmental organizations use its low-code platform for process automation, enabling them to design, automate, and optimize their most important business processes. Appian began in a McLean apartment and now has offices in 20 countries, and all four of its founders still work at the company.

The Motley Fool ivWatch

Year founded: 1993

Founding locality: City of Alexandria

Current region: Northern Virginia

Founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner as a newsletter printed out of an Alexandria shed, The Motley Fool provides free and premium investment guidance to millions of individual investors around the world each month through its website, books, television appearances, and newsletters. The company is named after a character in William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It,” in which the court jester, or the Fool, could speak truth to the king and queen without fear of reprisal. Similar to that character, The Motley Fool aims to challenge conventional wisdom by entertaining with humor as it instructs.

Year founded: 2010

Founding locality: City of Newport News

Current region: Hampton Roads

ivWatch is a biosensor technology company focused on improving patient safety and the effectiveness of intravenous therapy. The company is pioneering the use of optical sensors to detect adverse IV events early to minimize the risk of injury caused by infiltrations and extravasations. Continuous monitoring can help identify infiltrations at their earliest stages.


Capital One Financial Corporation

Year founded: 1994

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current regions: Greater Richmond, Northern Virginia

Capital One Financial Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Fairfax County, offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses, and commercial clients, including credit cards, auto loans, banking, and savings accounts.


MELD Manufacturing

Year founded: 2018

Founding locality: Montgomery County

Current region: New River Valley

MELD Manufacturing makes 3D metal printers capable of printing parts at a larger scale than any other additive manufacturer, at a rate 10 times faster than typical fusion-based processes. MELD’s printers can print aluminum, titanium, steel, alloys, and more. The company’s open-atmosphere, no-melt process produces isotropic, fully dense parts that don’t require follow-on processes. The revolutionary technology was chosen by the U.S. Army for the world’s largest metal printer as part of its Jointless Hull Program for repair of combat vehicles.

Bold Rock Hard Cider

Year founded: 2012

Founding locality: Nelson County

Current region: Central Virginia

Bold Rock Hard Cider is the best-selling regional craft cider brand in the United States, using primarily locally grown Virginia apples to craft award-winning styles like its Virginia Apple, Premium Dry, and Blackberry hard cider varieties. In addition to hard cider distributed in more than 20 states, Bold Rock has innovated by adding canned craft cocktails, craft spirits, hard tea, and hard lemonade to its beverage portfolio. The company welcomes guests to its Bold Rock Cidery & Taproom in Nelson County and its seasonal taproom outpost at Carter Mountain Orchard in Albemarle County.

Perrone Robotics

Year founded: 2003

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

Current region: Central Virginia

Perrone Robotics develops autonomous retrofit kits across vehicle manufacturers, technology suppliers, and transit and transportation customers. Perrone’s To Navigate You (TONY) retrofit kit embeds into any vehicle type for any application. TONY is the world’s first fully autonomous shuttle solution to operate on public roads with Level 4 autonomous capability (fully autonomous driving based on condition restrictions) based on a general purpose robotics operating system.

NanoSonic, Inc.

Year founded: 1998

Founding locality: Montgomery County

Current region: New River Valley

NanoSonic is focused on the discovery, development, and manufacturing of advanced materials with useful engineering constitutive properties. The primary applications of these materials are in the aerospace and defense, electronics, and biomedical engineering industries.


Newport News Shipbuilding

Year founded: 1886

Founding locality: City of Newport News

Current region: Hampton Roads

Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) — a division of HII, formerly known as Huntington Ingalls Industries — is Virginia’s largest industrial employer and has built ships for U.S. Navy and commercial customers for nearly 140 years. Founder Collis P. Huntington famously said, “We shall build good ships here; at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships,” and that philosophy has helped make NNS the nation’s sole designer, builder, and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines.


Cochran’s Lumber

Year founded: 1978

Founding locality: Loudoun County

Current region: Northern Shenandoah Valley

Cochran’s Lumber in Clarke County manufactures and finishes reclaimed and newly milled hardwood flooring. The company’s flooring is machine- and hand-finished and delivers ready to be installed. Approximately 1 million square feet of Cochran’s flooring is installed each year.


Year founded: 2016

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Current region: Northern Virginia

Inspired by a tweet from an industry analyst who stated that managed security service consumers had endured “the customer service equivalent of taxi drivers,” Expel is a security operations provider that offers managed detection and response, remediation, phishing support, and threat hunting. Company employees are called “Expletives.”

Cadence, Inc.

Year founded: 1985

Founding locality: City of Staunton

Curent region: Shenandoah Valley

Cadence launched as Specialty Blades in an old creamery building in downtown Staunton. Since then, the company has expanded from its initial focus on high-performance, custom-made cutting blades to medical and drug delivery devices of all types. The company now manufactures specialty metal components, complex sub-assemblies, and finished devices.


Markel Corporation

Year founded: 1930

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current regions: Greater Fredericksburg, Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, Roanoke Region

The Markel Corporation is a Fortune 500 business with headquarters in Henrico County, numerous other Virginia facilities, and more than 20,000 employees across the globe. While Markel’s group of companies is broad and covers many products and services, its principal business underwrites specialty insurance products around the world. Markel has a long history of finding creative ways to manage and insure complex risks, including building America’s first truck stop in Washington, D.C. in 1941 to help reduce traffic accidents in the region.


CarMax, Inc.

Year founded: 1993

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current region: Greater Richmond

CarMax, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Goochland County, is the largest retailer of used autos in the country, selling more than 900,000 used vehicles and 700,000 wholesale vehicles at its auctions during the fiscal year that ended Feb. 28, 2022. With more than 230 stores, CarMax offers a personalized experience with the option for customers to do as much, or as little, online and in-store as they want. CarMax also provides a variety of vehicle delivery methods, including home delivery, express pickup, and appointments in its stores.


Crutchfield Corporation

Year founded: 1974

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

Current region: Central Virginia

Crutchfield is the nation’s leading specialty online retailer of consumer electronics. The company sells more than 16,000 products ranging from home and car audio equipment to drones. Out of more than 3,500 online retailers surveyed by BizRate Insights for service excellence, Crutchfield is the only one that has been awarded the Platinum Circle of Excellence Award for 22 consecutive years.


Service Center Metals

Year founded: 2003

Founding locality: Prince George County

Current region: Virginia’s Gateway Region

Service Center Metals (SCM) produces aluminum bars, beams, rods, shapes, and tubing, all of which are shipped to metal service centers across the country. All of its equipment at its extrusion and compact remelt plants is named after musicians — Elvis, the Boss, Mick, Keith, Jake, and Elwood. SCM’s compact remelt plant is the world’s largest horizontal aluminum log casting plant.

Dynamic Aviation

Year founded: 1967

Founding locality: City of Harrisonburg

Current region: Shenandoah Valley

Dynamic Aviation owns and operates a fleet of more than 140 modified aircraft in 10 countries and four continents, serving government, commercial, and nonprofit clients. In 2016, the company purchased the Lockheed Constellation plane that was the first presidential aircraft to use the call sign “Air Force One” and has been working to restore it to its former glory ever since.

Micro Harmonics Corporation

Year founded: 2008

Founding locality: City of Waynesboro

Current region: Roanoke Region

Micro Harmonics, owned by two siblings and now based in Botetourt County, specializes in ferrite components for use at millimeter-wave frequencies from 25-400 GHz. Applications for the company’s products include testing and measurement, portal security, telecommunications, and radar.

TMEIC Corporation Americas

Year founded: 2003

Founding locality: Roanoke County

Current region: Roanoke Region

The American subsidiary of a Japanese company formed through a merger of the industrial systems departments of the Toshiba Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, TMEIC engineers and manufactures electric power conversion hardware, large industrial motors, and advanced automation control systems for a wide range of industrial and power generation applications.



Year founded: 2004

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current region: Greater Richmond

Kaléo is a privately held, fully integrated pharmaceutical company dedicated to inventing, manufacturing, and commercializing life-transforming products for certain serious and life-threatening medical conditions. Kaléo’s innovative auto-injection technologies are protected by an extensive intellectual property portfolio of more than 200 issued patents. The company was the first to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration draft guidance standard for 99.999% device reliability.

Year founded: 2000

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Current region: Northern Virginia is the leading platform for the intelligently connected property, helping residential and business customers manage and control their property from anywhere. The company’s growing platform includes security, video, access control, intelligent automation, energy management, and wellness solutions. In 2021, the company was named to Fortune’s list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies for the second year in a row.


Fulcrum Concepts LLC

Year founded: 2008

Founding locality: York County

Current region: Middle Peninsula

Fulcrum Concepts specializes in defense aerospace engineering from its headquarters at the Middle Peninsula Regional Airport in King and Queen County. The U.S. Army competitively selected the company as the designer and system integrator for its Modular Effects Launcher, which will launch missiles, rockets, and multi-purpose mini-drones for a future attack reconnaissance helicopter.

Dominion Payroll

Year founded: 2002

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current region: Greater Richmond

Dominion Payroll, a customer-focused workforce management firm, has offices in eight states serving more than 5,000 clients across the country. A 12-time Inc. 5000 honoree, Dominion Payroll offers a full suite of products and services including payroll, onboarding, human resources, and benefits administration.

New Ravenna

Year founded: 1992

Founding locality: Northampton County

Current region: Eastern Shore

New Ravenna’s team of more than 100 artisans handcraft exquisite custom stone and glass mosaics. The company’s mosaics are installed in homes, hotels, restaurants, spas, yachts, and commercial buildings around the world. Each mosaic is made to order for the specific client’s precise needs.


American Woodmark

Year founded: 1980

Founding locality: Frederick County

Current regions: Central Virginia, Northern Shenandoah Valley

Founded by a dentist who needed cabinetry for his office, American Woodmark is now one of the top three cabinet manufacturers in the country. Headquartered in Frederick County, the company manufactures more than a dozen cabinet brands at 18 manufacturing and distribution facilities across the country, including one in Orange County in Central Virginia.

Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company

Year founded: 1919

Founding locality: City of Galax

Current region: I81-I77 Crossroads

Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company is the largest manufacturer of wooden bedroom furniture in the United States. In 2003, the company led a coalition asking for an anti-dumping investigation of China, which reporter Beth Macy later turned into the New York Times bestseller “Factory Man.”

F.R. Drake Company

Year founded: 1979

Founding locality: Nelson County

Current region: Shenandoah Valley

F.R. Drake designs and manufactures food processing equipment from its Waynesboro facility. The company manufactures the world’s most popular frankfurter loading system, with more than 700 currently in use worldwide, and routinely captures more than 90% of new frankfurter loader sales in the Western Hemisphere.


ActivWall Systems

Year founded: 2011

Founding locality: City of Martinsville

Current region: Southern Virginia

ActivWall Systems produces custom moving walls, windows, and doors for commercial and residential applications. The company began with thermally broken aluminum operable walls and has expanded to innovative gas strut windows and pivot doors, all popular features in luxury home design. The company’s products have been featured in House Beautiful and on Netflix’s “Instant Dream Home.”

Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc.

Year founded: 1902

Founding locality: Henry County

Current region: Southern Virginia

Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains when the Bassett family shifted from milling Blue Ridge hardwoods for other furniture companies to manufacturing its own finished product. In 1998, the company expanded into operating its own retail stores; today, Bassett owns 60 stores and licenses its retail concept to another 35 locations. Many of Bassett’s domestic products can be customized with finishes and fabrics, including the U.S.-sourced BenchMade Collection, made in Henry County.


Year founded: 2016

Founding locality: City of Virginia Beach

Current region: Hampton Roads

DroneUp combines airspace solutions, software applications, analytics platforms, and a trusted team of industry leaders to help companies operate at scale with drone innovation. In addition to its own staff, it leverages a network of 20,000 affiliated pilots to help companies outsource unmanned operations. Retail giant Walmart is now a minority investor in DroneUp, and the companies are working to establish permanent last-mile drone delivery for a large portion of Walmart’s product line. For more on that partnership, see page 48.

NanoTouch Materials, LLC

Year founded: 2012

Founding locality: City of Lynchburg

Current region: Lynchburg Region

NanoTouch Materials in Bedford County develops and manufactures the world’s first line of self-cleaning surfaces. The company’s smart materials constantly oxidize any organic contaminants using a toxin-free photocatalytic reaction powered by visible light. Crocs are part of the company’s standard dress code.


HUSH Aerospace

Year founded: 2019

Founding locality: City of Virginia Beach

Current region: Hampton Roads

HUSH Aerospace fulfills product design, prototyping, analysis, and manufacturing of unmanned aerial systems for achieving multi-modal mission capability across air and water. The company creates reliable platforms that are capable of long flight times and payload-agnostic, with an emphasis on lowering the acoustic signature of vehicles for better integration into day-to-day life.

Blue Ridge Aquaculture, Inc.

Year founded: 1993

Founding locality: Henry County

Current region: Southern Virginia

Blue Ridge Aquaculture is the world’s largest producer of tilapia using indoor recirculating aquaculture systems. The company produces 5 million pounds of tilapia annually, shipping between 10,000–20,000 pounds of live tilapia every day. Its fish are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones and are free of mercury and other industrial pollutants.


Year founded: 2008

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

Current region: Central Virginia

Headquartered in Albemarle County, WillowTree operates 13 global studios across the United States and several foreign countries. The company’s more than 1,000 digital strategists, designers, engineers, and project managers partner with iconic brands on mission-critical, large-scale initiatives. WillowTree’s clients include Fortune 500 companies across industries including telecommunications and media, healthcare and life sciences, financial services, consumer goods, travel and hospitality, and technology and software. Select clients include FOX, CBC, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Synchrony, Manulife, and Marriott.


Luck Companies

Year founded: 1923

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Current regions: Central Virginia, Greater Fredericksburg, Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia, South Central Virginia

Luck Companies is the nation’s largest family-owned and operated producer of crushed aggregates and environmental performance products. With over 900 associates in communities across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, Luck Companies’ mission is to ignite human potential and positively impact the lives of others. The company will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023.


An Inside Look at Drone Innovation: A


Tom Walker is the founder and CEO of DroneUp, a provider of drone delivery and flight services that has operated out of Virginia Beach since its founding in 2016. In 2020, the company entered into an agreement with Walmart to deliver COVID-19 test kits, a partnership that was so successful, the retail giant invested in DroneUp to establish permanent last-mile drone delivery for a large portion of its product line. VEDP President and CEO Jason El Koubi spoke with Walker about that relationship, DroneUp’s history and growth in Virginia, and the company’s work to grow the unmanned industry in Virginia through a unique educational partnership.

Jason El Koubi: Can you tell us how you initially got into the unmanned industry and about the genesis of DroneUp?

Tom Walker: I started my career in the military and had my first exposure to drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, there. At the time, it was very early and the technology wasn’t nearly as robust as it is today. After getting out of the military, I went to work as the president of a technology company. I started to really notice drone technology advancing so quickly and became aware that the autonomy and the ability to use these drones for inspections, search and rescue, and so many other things were going to have a fundamental impact on society.

El Koubi: And you decided to do it in Virginia, in Virginia Beach specifically, as the base of your operations. Why did you end up in Virginia?

Walker: I was transferred here by the Navy back in 2006. While I was here, my wife started a company. My kids started going to school here, and Virginia really became home. It was natural that when we started the company in 2016, we started it here.

I think the more interesting question, though, is why we stayed here. Being in Virginia Beach gave us the opportunity to attract talent to a different kind of area for these types of high-tech solutions. But more importantly, the state, the City of Virginia Beach, the Governor’s office, VEDP — everybody has embraced this. They’ve been so supportive in helping build an unmanned technology ecosystem here in Virginia, when it was all said and done and we were at the size where we had the opportunity to look at other areas, there really was no other area that provided everything we needed.

Two of the things we’re really proud of are that we are 52% diverse in our workforce, and that 26% of all of our employees are veterans or spouses of veterans. There are very few places in the country where you could attract that kind of talent and character other than right here in Virginia.

El Koubi: As I understand it, DroneUp essentially operates as a drones-as-a-service model that basically allows companies to outsource unmanned operations, while you also have a network of affiliated pilots in addition to your own staff. Was this model in place in the unmanned industry before DroneUp came along? What’s the response been like from clients?

Walker: We knew there wasn’t enough work and high enough interest in the capabilities when we first started to justify full-time employees. We built a proprietary platform that would allow us to identify drone operators, what type of platforms they had, and what their skill sets were, and then deploy missions to them anywhere in the United States.

When the pandemic hit, that’s when our business really exploded. We grew 1,004% in the first year of the pandemic, and it was primarily driven by people who had businesses and organizations that had operated in a particular way. They sent people out to do inspections. They crawled up cell towers. They crawled up on roofs, or they used manned aviation. And when suddenly those workers weren’t able to do that — they weren’t able to travel, they weren’t able to be around each other — it forced a lot of organizations to look at how they could utilize drones.

In the interim, I think a lot of companies felt this was an interim solution, to send the drones up, capture the data, and do the inspection. It was incumbent at that point upon the entire industry, not just us, to prove how accurate data and how actionable data could be gathered, captured, and processed using drones. As a result, we followed that first year of 1,004% by a subsequent year of 900%.

Now it’s considered a way of doing business. If you look across all our different verticals and product lines, every one of those is growing at a rapid clip because people embrace the value of drone data collection today.

El Koubi: A big part of what’s going to drive the growth of your company is your partnership

with Walmart. How did that come about? How important is that relationship as you look at the company’s growth now and in the future?

Walker: Until 2020, our business had primarily been driven by aerial data collection, traditional drone service — drones-as-a-service, as you called it earlier. We had not really seen an opportunity for drone delivery. And while we technically had the talent and skill set to do it, we hadn’t invested in the hardware or infrastructure. We hadn’t really started working on legislative and regulatory efforts to open up that industry.

But when the pandemic happened, Walmart reached out to us and offered us the opportunity to partner with them to deliver COVID test kits to customers who didn’t want to drive to Walmart. The truth is that Walmart was using this as an opportunity to test how communities would accept drone delivery, how capable were companies like ours in conducting drone delivery — and the project couldn’t have gone better.

We were out in North Las Vegas doing deliveries, and people refused to get in their car and drive to the Walmart parking lot for the free COVID test. But when they would order the COVID test kit and we would deliver it to them by drone, they would get in their car and drive to Walmart to tell us how cool the drone delivery was.

That was the first time we realized, yes, it’s cool. But Walmart also gave us the opportunity to demonstrate to communities that it could be done safely, that it could be done efficiently, and how fast and convenient it was. As a result, Walmart invested in our company and subsequently signed a contract with us to lead their drone delivery efforts. It has driven our growth dramatically.

El Koubi: DroneUp recently announced a couple of things: an expansion of your Virginia Beach headquarters, as well as a testing, training, and research and development facility at Richard Bland College. What do partnerships like your agreement with Richard Bland mean for DroneUp, and also the future of this industry in Virginia?

Walker: This model at Richard Bland is something we are extremely proud of. One of the issues we talk about in economic development, workforce development,

and education is that sometimes education programs aren’t always caught up with current technologies in the real-world workforce.

Right now, we’re seeing how rapidly autonomy — whether it’s aerial autonomous vehicles, whether it’s ground-based autonomous vehicles, whether it’s robotics — is really starting to revolutionize the last mile in last-mile delivery, and ultimately will revolutionize the entire transportation of the logistics system.

We face two challenges, growing as rapidly as we’re growing. One is: How do we develop a trained workforce we can put out in the field and feel confident they have both the character and culture we want, and the knowledge level they need to be able to land at a hub anywhere in the United States and be a professional operator?

The second thing we face is a longer-term challenge. How do we get our educational institutions to begin training and teaching students the skills and technology we’re going to need? So, not only are we getting the opportunity to train every single person we send out in the field in a consistent, professional environment, but we’re also getting the opportunity to expose what we’re doing to other students throughout the campus who are now starting to join that program.

El Koubi: What do you see as the next big innovation that’s going to change the way the unmanned industry operates?

Walker: The No. 1 thing we really need, the hurdle that we’ve got to get over as an industry, is Beyond Visual Line of Sight. The Federal Aviation Administration and other government agencies have been challenged with figuring out a path to how we can enable this. That changes the dynamics. It changes the unit economics. It changes the effectiveness of everything we’re doing.

El Koubi: Tom, thank you so much for discussing one of the great entrepreneurial success stories here in Virginia.

Walker: Thank you so much.

For the full interview, visit


Virginia Universities Prove Fertile Ground for Startups

Virginia’s higher education system, consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, is well established as an elite talent incubator. But the Commonwealth’s universities, both public and private, also serve as a launching pad for startup companies.

Several Virginia localities have established incubators to help fledgling life sciences companies continue, and ultimately capitalize on, their vital research. These include the VA Bio+Tech Park in Richmond, the Northern Virginia Bioscience Center in Prince William County (which counts George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus as a tenant), the VABeachBio Accelerator in Virginia Beach, and Charlottesville’s CvilleBioHub, which will serve as the model for similar organizations in other areas of the Commonealth. These organizations have played a crucial role in supporting numerous life sciences startups that started out as ideas from researchers at Virginia universities.

Companies that emerge from Virginia universities can also receive support from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), which accelerates early commercialization and funding support for Virginia startups and entrepreneurs. VIPC operates a family of investment funds supporting target industries across Virginia. Its Virginia Venture Partners funds have invested more than $32 million across its target sectors since 2005 while helping connect companies with accelerators, seed funds, and angel investors.

Other industries have found support from Virginia universities, both as benefactors and proving grounds. The technology that has been commercialized by Torc Robotics in Montgomery County started out as a Virginia Tech entry in several engineering and robotics competitions. Richmond food and beverage startup Absurd Snacks was initially developed for a project in Bench Top Innovations,

an entrepreneurship class at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business. PFP Cybersecurity in Fairfax County was launched as Power Fingerprinting, Inc., behind innovative technology developed by student researchers at Virginia Tech. James Madison University was an early backer of Fairfax County unmanned startup Blue Vigil, whose tethered power system for drones counts clients as far-flung as the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

Virginia universities have spawned ideas with the potential to revolutionize pharmaceutical production (the Medicines for All Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University) and products that changed the way we converse on the internet (Reddit, famously developed in a University of Virginia dorm room). Read on to learn about several companies that have developed from ideas or investments from Virginia universities.

HemoShear Therapeutics

Year founded: 2008

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

HemoShear Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company developing novel treatments for patients with rare diseases. The company’s core technology was developed by two University of Virginia researchers to create more accurate models of human disease, and its researchers continue to use advanced biological and computational models to accelerate the discovery of innovative therapies to change the course of disease.

Year founded: 2021

Founding locality: Prince William County

Virongy Biosciences Inc.

Virongy Biosciences is dedicated to improving global heath by providing platforms and tools to researchers and pharmaceutical companies working on developing therapeutics for high-risk viral pathogens and gene therapy products. The name “Virongy” is a portmanteau of the words “Viron” (a complete virus particle) and “Virology” (the study of viruses).



Year founded: 2010

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

Spun out of a semester-long class project at the University of Virginia, RIVANNA® is elevating global standards of care through the development and commercialization of world-first imaging-based medical technologies. Limitations of X-ray preclude its use at the bedside in many common medical procedures, resulting in increased failure rates, delayed diagnosis and care, and high cost. RIVANNA’s portfolio of more than 40 patents and patents pending mitigates those issues by combining the benefits of portable, safe medical ultrasound with the high-precision bone imaging of X-ray.


Kryptowire Labs

Year founded: 2011

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Founded by Virginia Tech engineering professor Angelos Stavrou and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kryptowire Labs provides mobile application security analysis tools, anti-piracy technologies, mobile app marketplace security analytics, and Enterprise Mobility Management solutions. In 2019, Kryptowire received the Bang for the Buck Award from DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate for its work with the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute to develop an automated system for the detection of prepositioned cyber threats in mobile applications, the Internet of Things, embedded systems, and critical infrastructure technologies.

Year founded: 2018

Founding locality: City of Norfolk

ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc.

ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc., founded by scientists at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, is a clinical-stage, rare disease biotech company dedicated to harnessing the power of the immune system to address life-threatening diseases. The company’s name is derived from the Gaelic word for “star.”


AgroSpheres, Inc.

Year founded: 2016

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

Developed out of a project between two University of Virginia biomedical engineering students, AgroSpheres’ mission is to transform agriculture through reliable, affordable bio-based solutions. The AgroSpheres™ Inert technology utilizes RNA interference bioprocesses to silence vital genes of a target pest or pathogen, preventing off-target damage to non-harmful insects. AgroSpheres is currently engaged in a multi-year collaboration with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG to further research in novel modalities of biologicals for crop protection products, and was recently named in FoodHack’s list of 30 Companies Advancing the Future of Farming.

Year founded: 1989

Founding locality: Montgomery County


The founders of TECHLAB met in the late 1970s at the Anaerobe Laboratory of Virginia Tech, where they were investigating diagnosis and treatments for infection from C. difficile, a major hospital pathogen. The company designs, develops, and manufactures infectious disease diagnostics that are distributed worldwide.

Perfusion Medical

Year founded: 2020

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Perfusion Medical is commercializing PEG-20k, a drug for the restoration of tissue perfusion developed by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers with $12 million in U.S. Army funding.

PEG-20k is a promising potential therapy for patients affected by shock and has been referred to as a “game changer” by independent doctors. In large animal trials, the patent-protected IV solution worked 10 to 20 times better than current standards of care.


Nanosciences, Inc.

Year founded: 2008

Founding locality: Prince William County

Ceres Nanosciences is focused on incorporating its proprietary Nanotrap® particle technology into a range of diagnostic and research use products and workflows. Nanotrap particles capture, concentrate, and preserve low-abundance analytes from biological samples, enabling earlier, more accurate detection of diseases.


ZielBio, Inc.

Year founded: 2010

Founding locality: City of Charlottesville

ZielBio, founded by University of Virginia biomedical engineering professor Kimberly Kelly, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that identifies novel disease targets and develops therapeutic interventions to improve patient outcomes. Its proprietary drug discovery platform, ZielFind, combines the power of functional, high-throughput screening with large-content data analytics to identify high-value targets. ZielBio has a promising pipeline of therapies and targets, including lead asset ZB131, a proprietary humanized monoclonal antibody against cancer-specific plectin, currently being studied in a clinical trial after being identified through ZielFind.


Torc Robotics

Year founded: 2005

Founding locality: Montgomery County

Torc Robotics spun out of a series of competitions that CEO Michael Fleming and a group of graduate students undertook while enrolled at Virginia Tech. Today, Torc offers a complete autonomous software solution for the trucking industry. Now an independent subsidiary of industry leader Daimler Truck AG, Torc continues to work toward the goal of changing freight movement through safer, more efficient transport of critical goods.


Absurd Snacks

Year founded: 2022

Founding locality: City of Richmond

Created in a University of Richmond campus kitchen through the University’s Bench Top Innovations class — in which students build a snack business from concept to launch — Absurd Snacks creates unique, nutrient-rich, and flavor-forward trail mixes that are safe for snackers with food allergies. Newly graduated founders Grace Mittl and Eli Bank continue to grow Absurd Snacks in Richmond.

Blue Vigil

Year founded: 2015

Founding locality: Fairfax County

Blue Vigil, founded in partnership with investors including James Madison University, is the U.S. market leader in drone tether power systems that enable unlimited flight time for enterprise-class drones. Its RS1000E tether system is a drone-agnostic system that provides continuous power for persistent drone missions when connected to a power source. Blue Vigil is using its technology to create a new product category — aerial LED portable lighting, a person-portable light that uses a tethered UAV to position a high-intensity LED array high above the area, to be illuminated by nearly double the light created by traditional portable light towers.

PFP Cybersecurity

Year founded: 2010

Founding locality: Fairfax County

PFP Cybersecurity is an analytics company that delivers integrity assessment solutions for supply chain risk management and cybersecurity. PFP technology, first patented by Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc., is based on analyzing out-of-band, unintended analog emissions such as power consumption and electromagnetic emanations, and performing machine learning to establish reference baselines and detect anomalies indicative of tampering.


Paul’s Fan Company Leverages International Sales to Increase Growth

PAUL’S FAN COMPANY in Buchanan County was founded in 1958 as a small machine shop servicing the coal mining industry. It evolved over the years to focus on improved mine ventilation, producing turnkey industrial ventilation solutions for companies. Strong growth in the early 2000s helped the company expand, eventually purchasing the Jeffrey Fans line from construction equipment giant Caterpillar.

The company also expanded its target industry channels to include manufacturing, construction, and other sectors that benefit from improved ventilation. That shift grew out of changes to the mining industry that led Paul’s Fan to diversify its customer base, including an increased emphasis on international sales.

That shift in focus prompted Paul’s Fan to contact VEDP’s International Trade division in 2015, ultimately enrolling in the since-discontinued Go Global With Coal program. This led to participation in trade missions and shows that helped the company reach a distributorship agreement with a Mexican partner to sell and service its mine fans.

“At that time, we were expanding our product line outside of coal,” said Jackie Estep, the company’s sales and marketing manager. “We were just starting to gain

ground in the aggregate mining market, and we decided we would participate in the exporting program so that we could do better in all aspects of our business.”

Taking a new approach proved important as Paul’s Fan gained vital information on international sales strategies, with exports hitting an all-time high in 2018. This success led the company to join VEDP’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) international business acceleration program.

“The VALET program was instrumental in pushing us to evolve and grow as a company,” said Paul’s Fan President Todd Elswick. “It propelled us to make decisions and changes that have allowed us to expand operations, grow our employee numbers, and compete in the global marketplace.”

An international perspective helped Paul’s Fan expand its sales, installation, and repair services in the Canadian and Mexican markets. The company’s requests for quotes have increased more than 40%. The increased growth derived from the international markets enabled the company to launch a new line of products and open a new facility with three full assembly lines.

“We see endless opportunities ahead of us to serve companies around the world,” Elswick said.




The northernmost of Virginia’s three peninsulas, the Northern Neck is surrounded by water, with the Potomac River (and Maryland) to the north, the Rappahannock River to the south, and the Chesapeake Bay to the east. Just 30 miles to the west is Interstate 95, making the Northern Neck convenient to Fredericksburg and other population centers, along with quick access to the Hampton Roads region and The Port of Virginia via Interstate 64 to the south. The Westmoreland County town of Colonial Beach — named one of the Nicest Places in America by Reader’s Digest in 2019 — is the main population center in the largely rural region. The agriculture, fishing, and forestry industries play a large role in the region’s economy, along with manufacturing and tourism — visitors are attracted to the area’s history, heritage, and lifestyle.


1,100 miles of tidal shoreline, rich in rockfish, blue crabs, and oysters, attracting water enthusiasts and seafood lovers


Two tourist sites related to U.S. presidents: the George Washington Birthplace National Monument and the James Monroe Family Home Site, both in Westmoreland County Four-lane highways throughout the region that offer convenient access to population centers along Interstates 95 and 64 Colonial Beach boasts the second-longest beach in Virginia, with five distinct beachfronts ranging from the lively Downtown Beach to more secluded areas farther from the town’s center.
Fall is oyster season on the Northern Neck, when oyster farmers like Fat ‘N Happy Oyster Company in Northumberland County harvest their plumpest, sweetest specimens.
Omega Protein Corporation in Northumberland County is the United States’ top producer of fish oil. The company also produces protein-rich specialty fishmeal and organic fish solubles for livestock and aquaculture operations. The Tides Inn, a former waterfront farm on a private peninsula in Lancaster County, offers guests access to a marina, a full-service spa, the Golden Eagle Golf Club, and the Oyster Academy, where attendees learn more about Virginia oysters before getting to sample the bivalves and local wines.

The town of Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County was known as the “Playground on the Potomac” during the first half of the 20th century, when visitors would arrive in the town by boat from Washington, D.C.

Parade participants at the annual Potomac River Festival in Colonial Beach include Bolivian folk dancers.


The Northern Neck’s proximity to the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers translates to abundant water recreation opportunities for humans and pets alike.


Economic Development Partners in Virginia

VEDP works in close partnership with local and regional economic development organizations. For a full list of local and regional partners, visit

In addition, VEDP regularly works with a wide network of statewide partners, including:

State Leadership Partners

Governor General Assembly

Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Commission

Secretary of Commerce and Trade

Secretary of Finance

Project Delivery Partners

Colleges and universities across the Commonwealth (e.g., UVA, Virginia Tech, William & Mary)

CSX, Norfolk Southern, and short-line railroads

Dominion, AEP, and other electric utilities

The Port of Virginia Virginia Community College System

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit

Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

Virginia Department of Taxation

Virginia Department of Transportation

Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation

Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission

Virginia Tourism Corporation

Policy and Programmatic Partners

GO Virginia State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Virginia Agribusiness Council

Virginia Association of Counties

Virginia Business Council

Virginia Business Higher Education Council

Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association, Virginia Manufacturers Association, Virginia Maritime Association, Virginia Realtors Association, and many other trade associations

Virginia Chamber of Commerce, as well as many local and regional chambers of commerce

Virginia Economic Developers Association

Virginia Farm Bureau

Virginia Municipal League

Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions

Virginia Rural Center

Virginia’s Technology Councils

74 I81-I77 Crossroads New River Valley Roanoke Region Southwest Virginia e 23 19 19 220 460 220 460 58 220 221 58 77 64 81
75 Central Virginia Eastern Shore Greater Richmond Hampton Roads Virginia’s Gateway Region Lynchburg Region Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Northern Virginia Shenandoah Valley Southern Virginia South Central Virginia l V i Northern Shenandoah Valley Greater Fredericksburg S u h tr 7 168 288 29 501 33 17 301 360 460 250 360 460 17 33 211 17 460 360 501 13 15 58 60 29 85 66 95 64 95 64 81 81 295 Washington, D.C.

Top State Business Climate 2022

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