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Business

New Kia dealership coming to Manassas

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There’s a new car dealership coming to Manassas.

Construction on the site of the new Brown’s Manassas Kia on Liberia Avenue has begun.

The owner of the incoming dealership is Charles Stringfellow. 

Plans were submitted and approved for the project by the City of Manassas in 2014.

Virginia Serious Games Institute to make Prince William a gaming hub

In collaboration with the Prince William County Economic Development Department and George Mason University, the up and coming Virginia Serious Games Institute (VSGI) is now growing to incubate and accelerate several more game design companies in Prince William.

VSGI, located at George Mason University’s campus in Prince William, started with just an idea from the institute’s founding director Dr. Scott Martin.

“It was an idea I came up with, after a visit to the University of Coventry over in the United Kingdom…I loved the [serious game] model [there]…[to act] as an incubator and an accelerator for companies within the simulation games base,” said Martin.

The game design major has been a huge growth area for George Mason University. 

“It’s the fastest growing academic program in the history of George Mason University,” Martin commented.

With support from the economic development department, and an ongoing $250,000 investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia – legislation budget amendment that started two years ago, VSGI was able to take on 7 startup game design companies.

Another community partner that has helped VSGI is the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), which is based out of Alexandria. AACP has invested $500,000 thus far into VSGI.

“We had been studying education innovation as an association of educators for about a year seriously…we knew we needed a partner, and we thought about a couple, but none locally until we heard the announcement about the partnership between SGI and the county,” said Dr. Lucinda Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO of AACP.

Over 70 jobs have been created since the opening of VSGI last year.

Martin stated that the companies that work as part of the VSGI create ‘serious’ games, versus entertainment games. 

“The difference between entertainment games and serious games is that [entertainment games] are developed purely to entertain. Whereas serious games have another purpose – persuasive games, educational games – however, they still have an entertaining component…Serious games can do things – like save lives,” said Martin.

One of the companies working with VSGI has created a firefighter simulator that is being used in Fairfax County to train emergency responders, said Martin.

Atlanta is considered to be a growing entertainment game hub, and Martin stated that he hopes in the coming years that Prince William County will become a serious game industry hub, bringing jobs and development to the area.

Professions Quest, one of the original game design companies that partnered with VSGI has announced their first commercial game coming to market – a health industry learning game called Mimycx.

The game allows students and healthcare workers to work collaboratively to solve problems and learn about important information they will use in their careers.

This summer VSGI is planning for rapid growth, said Martin.

“We received another investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer, and we’re expanding to 14 companies,” Martin stated.

The institute is currently taking applications for the 7 additional slots. The application deadline is May 1. 

 

Food Truck Fest comes to Woodbridge May 23

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On May 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be the first annual Woodbridge Food Truck Festival at Gar-Field Senior High School on Smoketown Road.

The festival will feature local vendors, and some of the area’s best food trucks, said a release.

The event is free for all residents, and there will be food and drinks available to purchase on site.

This festival signals a growing trend in food trucks in Prince William County, and the greater Northern Virginia area.

Millennials fleeing suburbs for cities: Challenges facing Prince William County

Committee of 100

So much has changed in Prince William County in just the past 10 years, that the Prince William County Committee of 100 came together April 16 at the Montclair Country Club to discuss what the future of the county may look like and what it may need to succeed. 

The Prince William County Committee of 100 holds regular non-partisan, educational forums to study interests, problems and goals of the citizens of Prince William County, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It has been functioning for more than 25 years.

“The rapid growth in Prince William County over the past decade has presented enormous challenges in overcrowded classrooms, efficient commuter traffic patterns, shortages of public amenities and over-stressed public safety resources,” read a description of the forum on the committee’s web page. “Jobs and housing are the two drivers of the future economy in Prince William County. The current economic conditions threaten growth in quality jobs, housing values and expanding business opportunities. The future for Prince William County will, in large measure, be determined by how Prince William County adapts its policies to protect the future of our community.”

The panelists were Robert Buchanan, Principle of Buchanan Partners LLC and President of the 2030 Group; Dr. Terry L. Clower, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University; G. Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission; and Ralph Stephenson, Chairman and Co-Founder of Citizens for Balanced Growth. 

Brendon Shaw, director of government relations for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, served as moderator. 

Each panelist gave their take on the future of Prince William County — what it may look like and what it will need. At one point, a joke was made that more Millennials should have been invited. 

One focus of the discussion was the trend of Millennials moving back into cities instead of expanding into the suburbs as previous generations have. Gibb said a “demographic inversion” is underway. For the last 50 years the region saw the people moved out of the cities to suburbia but is now seeing a population shift toward the Beltway.

If you want people to come to Prince William County, then you have to develop areas that they want to come to, Gibb remarked. “Do you want to [be] a suburban area or be more like an area that provides amenities for these new Millennials?”

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Clower told the group the county needs balance, and balance comes through planning. He said land-use plans need to tie into the region’s economic development strategies, which in turn need to tie into the transportation strategies. 

“That can put you ahead of the game,” said Clower. “Economic development is a process… It doesn’t ever stop.” 

The next meeting will be held the evening of May 21 at the Wyndham Garden in Manassas. Visit PWC100.org for more details.

Fallas discount store opens across from Potomac Mills Mall

The new location is one of many coming to the Prince William Square Shopping Center.
A new discount chain store has opened in Woodbridge.
The chain does have more than 200 locations in the U.S.
They offer clothing for men, women, girls, boys and juniors, as well as home decor.
Fallas opened its first location in Los Angeles.

Fallas Discount Stores, an off-price retail chain, has opened a new location in the Prince William Square Shopping Center, across from Potomac Mills Mall.

According to their website, the store chain was established in 1962 in Los Angeles, and now currently has more than 200 locations in the United States.

The new location offers a selection of clothing for men, women, boys, girls and juniors, along with luggage and home furnishings.

Fallas is one of several new stores to move in to the shopping center in the past few months.

A Ross Stores location is also set to be coming to the shopping center.

Virginia Serious Game Institute launches their first online game

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Virginia Serious Game Institute is based in Prince William County

The Virginia Serious Game Institute has announced their first game title – ‘Mimycx’ – a multi-player online game meant to help those in the healthcare industry.

The game institute, based out of Prince William, is releasing the title in partnership with one of the startups it has incubated – Professions Quest, LLC.

Virginia Serious Game Institute started in October 2013, after a $32,000 investment from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to fund the effort, which was a partnership with the county’s economic development department and George Mason University, a release said.

According to a release, the game is meant to help students and workers in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health, allied health and veterinary care by working together on an interactive game that will teach them how to deal with real-life healthcare scenarios.

The Mimycx game will be debuted at the upcoming IPEC Institute conference in Herndon later this month, said a release.

“A key goal in the design of Mimycx is the development of a new approach to interprofessional education learning that creates benefits not yet discovered through any other virtual or e-learning educational vehicle.” said Dr. Scott M. Martin, Founding Director, Virginia Serious Game Institute, in a release.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart spoke about how the game institute, and other high-tech projects in the county are driving growth and economic development.

“Prince William County encourages technological innovation, growth and expansion. The Virginia Serious Game Institute captures our shared vision to help small businesses realize their market potential and growth opportunities,” said Stewart in a release.

A release stated that the game is set in a futuristic environment, and they can either play on their own or interactively with five members or go on different missions within the game together. During the gameplay students in the healthcare field will be evaluated on their performance.

Following the launch of Mimycx, Professions Quest will be releasing a new scenario for gamplay every six weeks, stated a release.

Delegate Anderson, Women Veterans Interactive to host veterans job fair April 18

On Saturday, April 18th, from 9am to 4pm, an area organization that supports women military veterans will team up with three elected officials to host a free Prince William County Veterans Resource & Job Fair. The event will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 13020 Telegraph Road in Woodbridge.

The lead organization hosting the event will be Women Veterans Interactive, a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization that supports women veterans through various programs. U.S. Army veteran Tammi Lambert, a resident of Woodbridge and a Women Veterans Interactive member who deployed to Iraq while on active duty, has coordinated event planning efforts over the last several months.

Joining Lambert as a co-host will be Del. Richard L. Anderson (R-51st), a retired 30-year Air Force colonel and chairman of the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus. Del. Michael T. Futrell (D-2nd), whose district includes Quantico Marine Base, will also co-host the event. Dumfries Town Councilman Derrick Wood (D-Dumfries), a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will also serve as a co-host for the job fair. Keep Reading…

Principi announces departure from community health center after 7 years

Frank Principi, a Woodbridge Supervisor, has announced that he has stepped down as the Executive Director of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center after seven years of service.

According to Paul Moessner, president of the health center’s board, Principi’s role as director was always meant to be a temporary one.

“We had a sit-down conversation about the things he’s looking to do, and things that [the center] is looking to do…[he] was brought on as a short-term rescue mission to decide whether or not we could be successful and go forward…and that was seven years ago. So we have moved significantly past that, and Frank has been just an absolute wonder…but it was time to move on,” said Moessner.

Moessner recalled the time when Principi first came on board, and how the center was struggling at that time.

“We worked very hard at [building the center] and I think structurally we had most of the right choices made, but we didn’t have the right [director] and at that time we were looking at scarce resources and were finding a difficult place to settle in…4 or 5 of us sat around my family room on a couple of weeks going, ‘Is this the week we have to close because we’ve run out of money,’” said Moessner.

Principi agreed that the director role was always meant to be temporary.

His job was initially to close the center, but after working with the patients, he decided to turn things around and make the health center a success.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my professional career. Seven years ago, I was asked to come in and close the center…walking through the waiting room every day on that short-term assignment, and looking at the faces of the people of our community…seeing those faces, I went to the board and asked them to change the assignment from closing the center to going to plan ‘B’ [to save the center],” Principi commented.

Principi said that over his time leading the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, they have seen enormous growth and success in the community.

“We’ve gone from 75 square feet of medical office space to 30,000 at two different locations. We’ve gone from 5 employees seven years ago, to 64 employees today. We served 800 patients in the first year of operations, and we’re anticipating that we’ll serve 16,000 patients. We have fought back valiantly, we’ve told our story in the community…and quite frankly after seven years, my job is done, and I’m looking to move on to bigger challenges,” Principi stated.

According to Principi, he is currently weighing his options professionally, but stated that he plans to stay in the non-profit world.

“I have a few opportunities that [I’m] exploring, and once that due diligence is complete I will be making an announcement publicly, but I will say I’m staying in the non-profit industry, and I’m going to be helping many larger numbers of people in our community,” commented Principi.

Paul Moessner said that the health center has launched a search for a new director, and the current interim director is Mary Ellen Bond, who is the operations director for the center.

“We had an announcement out for candidates for the Executive Director’s position…we have a number of people who have submitted [resumes]. Our board will sit down and make a selection from that. We’re not worried about being able to get a person with lots and lots of experience,” Moessner said.

Moessner commented that a decision for a permanent director would be made in the coming weeks.

New Hilton hotel opens in Woodbridge, brings 40 jobs

Updated 

The Hilton Garden Inn hotel located on Neabsco Commons place in Woodbridge had their grand opening yesterday.

The 141-room hotel is located near the NOVA Woodbridge campus and Freedom High School. 

According to Tim Sudberry, a manager at the hotel, it offers regular rooms, junior suites and 1-bedroom suites.

“95 is a busy corridor – we’re close to Fort Belvoir, we’re close to Quantico, we’re close to [Washington] D.C. so we’ve got a little bit of everything. We have business guests and leisure,” Sudberry commented. 

Sudberry said that the hotel hired 40 individuals.

At the Hilton Garden Inn they offer a full breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, microwaves, mini fridges, and points for their Hilton Honors program.

H-Mart to open 49,000 square foot store in Manassas Junction

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H-Mart will be opening a 49,000 square foot retail space in Manassas Junction, located on Centerville Road in Manassas.

The store will open on April 25, according to a media spokesperson for H-Mart.

H-Mart is a Asian supermarket chain based out of New Jersey, according to a release.

Their target customer market is the Asian-American population, and they differ from a traditional grocery store, in that they have several unique international offerings, said a media spokesperson for H-Mart.

The building was formerly used by Giant Food, but the company vacated the building back in November 2012, said a release.

The Manassas Junction shopping center is 79,427 square feet, and was built back in 1981.

Smoothie King offers “healthy alternative,” jobs in Woodbridge

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The first Smoothie King location opened at Merchant Plaza in Woodbridge on March 20 and is looking to provide a healthier alternative for meal replacements.

Smoothie King is a business that offers smoothies and athletic supplements in locations in the United States and abroad.

The new location is owned and operated by franchisee Richard Benjamin.

According to Benjamin, they opted for a soft opening, but they will be hosting a grand opening celebration on April 25, but business has been great thus far.

“We’ve actually hit the ground running – I don’t think we expected to have this type of volume this early, especially during a soft opening. We couldn’t be happier,” Benjamin said.

He was introduced to the Smoothie King brand back in college.

“I used to play football for the University of Maryland…and [my coach] asked me if I wanted to go [toIMG_1770 Smoothie King] with him after practice…and I had never even heard of [it]. I’ve loved it ever since,” Benjamin commented.

When deciding to move forward with opening a store, Benjamin stated that he wanted to work with Smoothie King because it provided a healthier alternative to other smoothie stores in the area.

“I really thought Smoothie King had a lot more nutritional value, and everything else. So I started looking into it, and I thought for myself, for my kids – we wanted a healthy alternative in the community,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin stated that each store typically employees 15 to 20 employees, and they are looking for individuals to join their team.

They also intend to partner with local organizations for fundraisers, and are currently working with the Woodbridge Little League teams.

“We’re active participants in the community…and we wanted to provide a healthy alternative because it’s good for our kids, it’s good for us and there’s something for everyone,” stated Benjamin.

Bottle Stop wine bar offers local food and drinks in Occoquan

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The Bottle Stop Wine Bar and Shop, located in Occoquan, offers a mixture of local artisan drinks and small tapas style food plates for a unique dining experience.

Owned by Emil and Kim Wigode, the wine bar opened up a year and a half ago.

The Wigodes previously owned the Old Dominion Wine Shop on Mill Street in Occoquan for 5 years, before deciding to expand into a new location with a wine bar.

“We really saw a lack of a place where you could have some good wine, whiskey, craft beer – and not necessarily large plates of food, but smaller platers of food that pair well… there just isn’t a lot of that in the Woodbridge area, especially Occoquan. We were trying to fill that niche,” said Emil Wigode.

For their alcoholic beverages, they pride themselves on feature local and small production artisan beverages.

“[We have] wines you’re not going to find at the grocery store or some of the big box places. They tend to be family owned wineries that we represent. We usually have at least one local Virginia wine available by the glass,” said Wigode.

Additionally, the wine bar offers whiskeys and scotches by the glass, as well as their local craft beer selection.

“We skew more local [with beers]. We have 6 craft beers on tap right now…we have 2 Virginia breweries [featured] – a Delaware brewery, a Pennsylvania one also,” stated Wigode. 

To go with the local drinks, Bottle Stop Wine Bar and Shop offers small tapas style fare that you can share with friends.

“Food wise we do cheese and charcuterie platters. So you can choose – we have a selection of about a dozen different artisan cheeses from around the world, and salamis and prosciuttos that you can mix and match. And then we do a few different versions of sliders – we do our specialty, which is a crab cake slider. And we do a beer braised beef slider – it’s short ribs braised in a local chocolate stout overnight. We do some smaller flatbread pizzas,” Wigode said.

Among their menu items, the most popular are the crab cake sliders and the Parmesan Asiago flatbread pizza.

According to Wigode, the community reaction to the wine bar has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We think people have enjoyed the concept. We get a lot of comments about how this was a needed element in the area. We’ve had a great first year and a half,” Wigode said.

Will Virginia follow Indiana with its own religious freedom bill?

As Indiana moves forward with implementing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Virginia may follow suit in the upcoming legislative session, which could have an impact on the state’s business climate.

The RFRA in Indiana will allow private companies to have legal cover and an option not to serve those whose sexual orientation or lifestyle does not align with a business owner’s religious beliefs.

There has been controversy over the legislation, and businesses like Angie’s List decided not to open offices in Indiana following its passage.

Religious freedom legislation is already on the books in Virginia. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (Fauquier/Prince William) passed a religious freedom bill with bi-partisan support back in 2007. Lingamfelter’s bill made allowances for individual’s religious beliefs as it relates to state government – for example – a person that wears a head garment for religious reasons would not be required to remove the garment in a government building, even though there is a rule that head garments are to be removed in these buildings.

In this past legislative session, Delegate Bob Marshall sought to expand the terms of this religious freedom bill to include private businesses. The bill was killed in a sub-committee voice vote.

“It specifically dealt with the area of state licensing…I’ve got clinical psychologists coming to me, telling me they’ve got contracts with the defense department, and that they’re being told that they have to affirmatively counsel that sodomy-based marriage is a good thing and that people who are in such a union need to be counseled to stay together,” said Marshall.

According to Marshall, the bill he put forth was meant only to protect First Amendment rights.

“The First Amendment…the goal [of the legislation] was to protect your freedom of association rights, and your rights of religious liberty, as established by the First Amendment,” Marshall commented.

Marshall stated that the bill would not have had any negative impact on business in Virginia, which he also reportedly stated in a letter to the Indianapolis Star.

“Angie’s List can’t go to 20 states if they’re really serious [about the Indiana legislation]… nine other states have adopted this [law] through court litigation…This is simply fake – what the homosexual lobby and their liberal allies are doing. Nobody goes to a hamburger stand, and is asked the question, ‘Are you a homosexual?’”

Additionally, Marshall commented that he might reintroduce his bill in the next legislative session if re-elected this November. Keep Reading…

Bring your own cup to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee on April 11

On April 11, the 7-Eleven convenience store chain will be allowing customers to bring their own cups from home to fill with Slurpees.

And when they say any cup – they mean it.

The store locations will only be charging $1.49 plus tax for the Slurpees for the entire day, and there is no limit to the size, look or shape of the cup you can bring.

The deal is limited to April 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

All 7-Eleven locations are participating.

Five companies to bring 370 new jobs to Stafford

Five companies are expanding in Stafford, bringing in 112,000 feet of additional office leases and 370 new jobs to the county. 

Among the companies that have helped drive economic growth in Stafford are Dispersive Technologies, MLT Systems, the Bowen Group, IPKeys Technologies, LLC, and SimVentions, according to a county release. 

“The Board has been very strategic in its economic development efforts, and these recent expansions indicate that our work is making a difference. We have worked hard to make our community more business friendly, streamlining our processes and working closely with prospects to ensure that we can provide what they need to be successful here, as well as offering to our citizens high quality jobs right here in Stafford,” said Gary Snellings, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, in a release.  Keep Reading…

Sen. Kaine leads economic development roundtable

 

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Also present were Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (left) and Laura Sellers (right).  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Also present were Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (left) and Laura Sellers (right).
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine paid a visit to Stafford County, where he led a roundtable discussion at the Stafford Economic Development Authority on April 8. More than a dozen business and political leaders were present, including Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (Griffis-Widewater) and Laura Sellers (Garrisonville).

The group touched on many different topics, but the need to fund cyber-security initiatives and the effect of BRAC got much of the attention. 

BRAC stands for base realignment and closure. According to the U.S. Department of Defense website, BRAC is “the congressionally authorized process [the DOD] has used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support [U.S.] forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”

Kaine said: “BRACs are obviously very tough. I mean, nobody wants to contemplate dramatic scale-downs of infrastructure when they’re such significant job creators, economic centers of gravity for communities where a military installation is [located]. At the same time, the defense budget Priority One is not a job creator. Priority One is national defense. And if you spend more on installations than you need to, then you’re spending less on something else [like cyber-security].”

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Pictured on the left of Kaine is Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier and Gabe Patricio of Patricio Enterprises.  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Pictured on the left of Kaine is Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier and Gabe Patricio of Patricio Enterprises.
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

“I’m not sure the BRAC process is really the best way to come at the rationalization of physical infrastructure,” he added.

Past base closures didn’t save money, they cost money, said Kaine. He told roundtable that the Pentagon claimed BRACs that didn’t save money weren’t done efficiently. And when a BRAC is announced, every community hires attorneys and lobbyists to try and protect what they have, even in communities where the installation is not at risk. It becomes a massive check to the lobbyists and lawyers, said Kaine.

“You’re never out of the woods if you have an installation in your community.”

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8, 2015.  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8, 2015.
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Also present at the meeting were Stafford EDA Chairman Joel Griffin, Curry Roberts, Howard Owen, George Judd, Patrick J. Gallagher, Ken Fried, Gen. E. Gray Payne, Rich Sackette, Suzanne Milem, Martin Arase, Cristina R. Barnes, Kent Farmer, Mark Kavanaugh, Ken Farquhar, Gabe Patricio, Joshua Kovacs, Jeff Speights, Shannon Howell, Sarah Kirkpatrick, and M.C. Moncure.

Restaurant chain celebrates with free food on April 8

 On April 8, Pollo Campero, a chain of Latin restaurants, will be giving away free empanadas to celebrate National Empanada Day

Any residents that visit one of their locations that say will be able to get a free empanada.

According to a release, Pollo Campero’s empanadas are made fresh each day in their restaurants.

A release noted that the celebration includes one free empanada per customer.

 

In Manassas, it can be recycled

Prince William Chamber members tour recycling center

It’s a museum dedicated to recycling.

Along the walls in the American Recycling Center in Manassas are informative passages, diagrams, and graphics that show just how some of the waste we generate inside our homes and workplaces is recycled.

Members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce gathered at the center on Residency Road on Wednesday to learn more about the work that goes on at the recycling plant.

Attendees viewed an informative video, and tours of the facility were provided.

The American Recycling Center, operated by American Disposal, is a single stream recycling plant. It processes 40 tons of recyclable material per hour. Inside the walls are as many as 50 employees working to get the job done.

Most of the materials brought to the recycling center come from homes and businesses outside the Capital Beltway in Virginia. The material is transported to the facility by truck.

All of the materials are separated by type once they arrive. The materials are then bailed and then placed into a sea shipping container or onto an 18-wheel truck for transporting elsewhere. Many of the materials end up at a seaport or go through a refinement process all to create new products from recycled materials.

For example, a recycled aluminum can is made into a new aluminum can in a span of 60 days.

American Disposal serves a wide footprint in Virginia. The company services customers along the Interstate 95 corridor from Stafford and then north to the Washington, D.C. border, and along the I-81 corridor from Winchester to Strasburg.

Panel will tackle ups, downs, and advantages of starting a business in Prince William Region

Panel will share success stories, Prince William market opportunities 

Starting a small business is a fun, time-intensive process that can and will keep many entrepreneurs up at night.

Where you start you business will affect who your customers are, what product or services you can offer, and what relationships you can cultivate. In business, any entrepreneur will tell you it’s all about relationships.

On April 22, 1 Million Cups Prince William and Potomac Local (the local news website you’re reading right now) will hold a community conversation about keeping entrepreneurs in the Prince William region. The discussion will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University just outside Manassas.

The event is free to attend, and Coffee will be provided to all those who join us.

Many start-ups view close-in, urban markets in the Washington, D.C. area as attractive places to start businesses. But, do upstarts know about the resources and opportunity available to them right here in Prince William County and Greater Manassas?

  • What are the advantages of starting a business here?
  • What success stories can we share?
  • What great things can business owners in our region look for in the near future?

We have several informative speakers who know about our community, and who have helped many entrepreneurs achieve success in building  businesses.

Decker

Decker

Linda Decker is the Director of the Flory Small Business Center, Inc., a non-profit organization founded in Prince William County in 1991 to aid existing small companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with tools they need to increase sales, create, and retain a quality workforce. The center provides consulting services and regularly advocates for small businesses.

Small

Small

Patrick Small was appointed the Director of Economic Development for the City of Manassas last summer. In his short time in his post, Small has welcomed several new businesses to the city.

Prior to coming to Manassas, Small served as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Portsmouth where he crated a retention program for businesses, and redeveloped a key waterfront property vacant for more than 25 years.

harben

Harben

George Harben is the Director of Existing Business at the Prince William County Department of Economic Development. Harben brings 30 years of business and economic development to our region. Among his many accompishments, Harben implemented an industry visitation program in Prince William, and developed a “Guide to Establishing a Business in Prince William County, Va.”

CydnyN-9 medium

Neville

Cydny A. Neville is a Grant Writer and Owner of the Neville Empowerment Network, Inc.  Through the services she provides to nonprofit organizations as a consultant, and work through her organization, she truly does “put the “C” in Community.”  Ms. Neville facilitates a variety of professional development workshops, seminars, and community/family engagement activities across the commonwealth designed to inspire, uplift, educate, and empower.

As the April 22 event approaches, we hope to welcome more invited panelists to our stage.

If you’re familiar with 1 Million Cups Prince William, during normal sessions, our group meets at 9 a.m. each Wednesday at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. An entrepreneur is invited to talk about their small business for five minutes and then ask a challenge question – anything from making their first dollar, refining a targeted customer base, hiring and retaining staff, or adding a new division.

The program is free to attend. Coffee is served at 8:30 a.m.  The organization, 1 Million Cups is a national organization sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

In Prince William County, 1 Million Cups is an all volunteer-run organization supported by the Mason Enterprise Center at George Mason University’s Prince William Campus.

 

Why this Occoquan home daycare won’t be allowed to expand

Neighbor complaints, citations lead to unanimous vote against family day home  

The number of children allowed at a home daycare in Occoquan will continue to be limited to five.

Sammy’s Home Child Daycare at 1613 Mount High Street wanted to care legally for up to 12 children. After it had been denied the request twice before, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Monday denied them a third time.

The decision comes after county and state inspectors, recently as March 19, noted the center’s owners Max and Maria Miller were caring for seven children, and were cited by Virginia Social Services for failing to maintain a proper attendance log of children at the day home.

Rebecca Horner, with the Prince William County Planning Office, told the Board of Supervisors that inspectors do not count a family day home’s owners’ children as part of the five-child cap.

Prior to the county getting involved, the state also denied the couples’ request to expand.

A change in state law, however, allowed the Millers to appeal to the county’s zoning department.  It polled neighbors, asking if they had concerns about the family day home.

They did and said too many cars had been coming to the home located on a dead end street causing unwanted congestion. They also cited a lack of parking on the street.

County zoning officials drivers dropping off and picking up children could not safely enter and exit the driveway due to a hill on Mount High Street.

Prior to the denial, the Millers’ on Monday night told the Board of Supervisors they had never been cited by state inspectors for exceeding the five-child limit. Citing county inspection reports, some on the Board, and those in the audience who spoke said the couple violated zoning laws several times.

“I congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Miller on their persistent purist of the American dream. My hat’s off to you,” said Ed Arnold, who lives across from the Millers’ family day home. “We have stood in your path for what we think are valid and viable reasons and, not withstanding, it is viable to see how persistent you are and that you’re not going to allow anything to come between you and your American dream — not even the laws.” Keep Reading…

Innovation Park brings high-tech jobs to Prince William

Innovation Park, located adjacent to George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, is continuing to grow and bring in high-tech companies and jobs to the area.

Innovation Park, a business and technology park space, first started back in 1998.

It now has more than 26 companies and 2,300 employees working within its scope, according to Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director of the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

“To date, the [economic development] department has directly assisted in attracting approximately $720 million in capital investment by Innovation Park tenants, and the creation of over 2,000 jobs,” said Kaczmarek.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science, the National Institute of Health’s Biomedical Research Laboratory, the FBI’s NOVA Resident Agency, Mediatech, ISOThrive, and Microvax are among the companies that utilize the Innovation Park space.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing components of Innovation Park is the Prince William Science Accelerator.

The Prince William Science Accelerator allows small technological companies to come in and utilize their lab and office spaces for an affordable cost, to help them grow.

The county’s economic development department has partnered with George Mason University to help Innovation Park grow.

Dr. Angel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, spoke with Potomac Local to announce that the university’s Prince William Campus is being rebranded as the science and technology campus.

Kaczmarek stated that their partnership with the University and the upcoming rebranding would help further their cause to develop Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator.

“From our perspective, the rebranding exercise signals exciting developments for Prince William County as it will heighten public awareness surrounding the campus…[it] is another step towards Prince William County being known as the science and technology hub of the region,” Kaczmarek said.

Kaczmarek commented that instead of having to drive out of the area for a good job, the continued development of Innovation Park would benefit the county, and grow the jobs where people live.

Kaczmarek also stated that the university would be able to further create a workforce that will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to go into these types of high-tech jobs.

In addition to the businesses in Innovation Park, and the Prince William Science Accelerator, another project the county’s economic development department, and George Mason University are working on is the Virginia Serious Game Institute.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing majors at the university is their game development and design program.

“The Virginia Serious Game Institute, a public-private IR start-up [is an] incubator for entrepreneurs in simulation, modeling, and gaming,” Kaczmarek said.

The county’s economic development department will continue to work on bringing in new businesses to both Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator, hopefully bringing more high paying jobs to Prince William County.

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