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Flory Small Business Center Gifted Cash to Help Start Ups

Nury Mena, Branch Manager for Fulton’s Manassas Branch, presented the check to Flory Small Business Centre President Linda Decker.

Nury Mena, Branch Manager for Fulton’s Manassas Branch, presented the check to Flory Small Business Centre President Linda Decker.

MANASSAS, Va. — Fulton Bank in Manassas gifted $1,000 to the Flory Small Business Center in Prince William County.

The money will be used to offset the cost of several small business start-up workshops the center holds throughout the year.

More in a press release:

The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. recently received a generous $1,000 contribution from the Fulton Bank N.A. Nury Mena, Branch Manager for Fulton’s Manassas Branch, presented the check to Linda Decker, President and CEO of the Flory Center. Fulton Bank is a community-based lender that provides personalized service and flexibility in order to create strong, long-term relationships with their clients. Fulton Bank demonstrates their commitment to the regional community by supporting local organizations through contributions, sponsorships, and volunteer efforts.

 This donation will be used to defray expenses associated with the Flory Center’s monthly Start Up Workshop. The workshops are held one Saturday each month to assist entrepreneurs that are in the start-up phase of their business.

The next one will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the Flory Center. Attendance is free of charge but pre-registration is required to insure adequate materials. Call the Flory Center to pre-register – 703-335-2500.

The Flory Center initiated the monthly workshops as a means of helping start-up entrepreneurs to research, plan, and fund their new venture while working a full time job. The ability to provide the training free of charge allows entrepreneurs to obtain critical information in the early stages of business when they are watching every penny. The workshop also fosters connections among the attendees and serves as a source of encouragement and feedback for the participants.

While the workshop is free, the Flory Center provides substantial materials to attendees. Fulton Bank joins the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority as a co-sponsor of the workshops. Each participant is advised that the materials are made possible by the support of these generous sponsors. Topics covered in the Start-Up Workshop include, “How to Write a Business Plan,” Recordkeeping,” “Business Entity,” “Financing,” and “Are You an Entrepreneur?”

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Porter Now Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center President

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Steve Porter is now serving as the President of Northern Virginia Medical Center.

He replaces Sentara Northern Virginia President Megan Perry who is transitioning to a new role of Sentara’s Corporate Vice President for Mergers & Acquisitions.

More in a press release:

Since joining Sentara in 1997 as an Administrative Fellow at Optima Health, Porter has moved through the organization’s ranks, demonstrating an enthusiasm for taking on increasingly demanding responsibilities and a commitment to the Sentara mission of improving health every day. “I am very excited to join Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and am committed to building upon the work of my predecessor to expand Sentara’s community health initiatives while continuing to deliver exceptional care to patients. Working with the great team at SNVMC, I’m confident we will continue to thrive.”

Porter has served as President of Sentara Princess Anne Hospital (SPAH) since 2006, where he led the transformation of SPAH from an outpatient facility to a vibrant healthcare campus, providing for the growing healthcare needs of the southern Virginia Beach community. Prior to the opening of SPAH, Porter led the development of the Princess Anne Ambulatory Health Campus. Porter also served as executive lead across Sentara for transitioning from Joint Commission accreditation to Det Norske Veritas (DNV) accreditation, which was achieved in September 2012; re-accreditation was earned in September 2013.

 

News
Jersey Mikes Subs to Open Near Manassas

MANASSAS, Va. — Jersey Mikes Subs is set to open its first location in Prince William County near Manassas.

The restaurant will be located at 7418 Sudley Road, according to building permits on file with Prince William County. The location is near the Promenade at Manassas shopping center anchored by Home Depot and HH Gregg.

A contact listed on the building permit said the new restaurant could be open as soon as Feb. 1.

Jersey Mikes has one location in Stafford County, at Stafford Marketplace in North Stafford, and several locations in Fairfax County.

The popular sub shop dates back to 1956 when the company’s first restaurant opened as Mikes Subs in Point Pleasant, N.J.

News
New Realtor Association Directors Installed

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new set of directors will lead the Prince William Association of Realtors.

A total of 16 people will lead the Realtor Association made up of real estate agents, brokers, and property appraisers. The organization, known as PWAR, has about 2,000 members on its roll books.

At a special installation ceremony on Thursday, PWAR’s new leaders spoke of the importance of being educated about the home selling process, as well as the mortgage process, to provide a better value to home buyers.

“The Market has been very tough, a whole lot of different things have been happening …we’re trying to do everything we can through education programs to meet the needs of the Realtors,” said PWAR President J. Michael Hill, of Woodbridge. “Realtors are changing. We’re getting younger people in, we’re hearing different ideas. I’ve only been a Realtor for nine years and what I was doing when I started is totally different than what I am doing today.”

The new Board will have to help Realtors adapt to changes, many of which are coming by way of smart phones. More home contracts are being scanned and processed via email, and much of the communication is done in the field on a Smartphone.

Customers are also spending more time looking at houses online before they contact a Realtor. When they do, Hill says Realtors need to have the answers their clients are looking for.

“Every few weeks you’re going to have a different kind of sell, and some are done differently each time. If you don’t evolve, you’re going to be left behind,” said Hill.

The installation was held at PWAR’s offices just off Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. A full service center for Realtors, PWAR’s offices feature classrooms for Realtor education as well as supply store selling marketing products.

The new Board of Directors include: 

President – J. Michael Hill

President-Elect – Terrylynn Harrell

Immediate Past President – Beverly Frowen

Vice Presidents – Guy Allen and George Charlton

Directors

Merlyn Banks

David Bridges

Bill Burke

Catherine Gillman, Affiliate Rep

Rich Juliano, Commercial Rep

Shane Keaton

Wayne Lee

Nouman Mirza

Fatima Pereira-Shepherd

Eric Williams

News
Micron Technology Supports Leadership Prince William With $5,000 Matching Grant for Youth Leadership Initiative

Submitted News

Leadership Prince William is launching a youth leadership initiative in 2014, and the Micron Technology Foundation has announced a $5,000 matching grant to help establish the new programs.

The Micron Foundation will match donations up to $5,000 to support Leadership Prince William’s youth initiatives, including a middle school mentoring program, a summer youth leadership camp and a youth summit.

“Micron has always supported the mission and vision of Leadership Prince William, and we are thrilled that they will be a founding partner for our youth leadership programs in Greater Prince William,” said Leadership Prince William Executive Director Kathy Bentz. “We believe our youth programming will complement Micron’s commitment to youth education, from STEM to robotics to general education.”

Leadership Prince William is now seeking other community partners—both individuals and corporations—to match Micron Foundation’s generous contribution. Leadership Prince William is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, so the matching grant offers an opportunity for a year-end, tax-deductible contribution to a worthy cause.

The Leadership Prince William Class of 2014 is taking the lead in developing pilot programs for youth development. “The Class of 2014’s motto, ‘Learn. Lead. Succeed.’ has already resonated through the programs they are creating to engage and nurture young leaders. From youth camps to a leadership summit, mentoring programs and a think tank, the Class of 2014 has explored a spectrum of youth programming for our community. Combined with the class members’ own experience and professional expertise, the sky is the limit,’ said Glenn Vickers, Program Manager for Leadership Prince William.

Leadership Prince William engages and connects emerging and established leaders from the government, private and nonprofit sectors.  Its 185 alumni include CEOs, entrepreneurs, elected officials, directors, vice presidents, veterans and dozens of active community leaders who shape the communities of Prince William County, City of Manassas and Manassas Park. To learn more, contact Kathy Bentz at 571-765-7568, visit LeadershipPrinceWilliam.org or email Kathy@LeadershipPrinceWilliam.org.

News
HomeTowne Auto Caters to Women, Plans Car Care Clinic

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new automotive shop in Woodbridge has women in mind.

Hometowne Auto and Tire at the corner of U.S. 1 and Neabsco Mills Road opened for business this month. The auto service center boasts a warm waiting room and childrens’ area complete with video rockers. It is designed to be a welcome change for those who are used to having their cars serviced at older shops.

More in a press release:

The newly designed waiting room, the brainchild of shop owner Sidney Billingsley, combines the relaxation of a cozy coffee shop with a first class automotive repair shop.

The new shop features two burgundy-colored waiting rooms, one that is family friendly for those who may have kids in tow, and a Starbucks-looking professional waiting room. Both waiting rooms offer Keurig coffee, sodas, snacks, and free wireless Internet.

The shop also features sepia photographs from the area that date back to the turn of the 19th century.

Those in the waiting room will learn that history, which includes learning that that same piece of land was once home of one of the first gas stations featuring two gas pumps, and five cent chicken dinners. The rich history lead to the shop’s tagline- “We’ve been here all along.”

The shop caters to women and plans to hold a womens car care clinic on March 1, 2014.

Aiming to provide top-notch family-friendly service, the shop plans in the spring to offer women’s car care clinics, teaching women everyday care and maintenance to empower them while behind the wheel. This is one of the company’s goals in helping to bring the community together.

HomeTowne Auto and Tire opened on Oct. 31. Billingsley also owns Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge. Both shops aim to be female friendly, he said.

News
Nanotechnology Graduate Center Would Transform Manassas, Western Prince William

Exclusive 

[Photo: City of Manassas]

[Photo: City of Manassas]

MANASSAS, Va. — Manassas officials, officials with George Mason University, and Delegate Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) are in talks with BAE Systems to convert a soon-to-be-closed fabrication plant into a Nanotechnology Science Center.

The move comes as BAE Systems plans to close its Semiconductor Technology Center on its sprawling Manassas campus early next month. The company told Potomac Local News it will outsource its manufacturing of semiconductor chips produced locally and transition to a “fab-less” production model. It is the only portion of the BAE facility that will close.

“Our Manassas facility will continue to provide advanced radiation-hardened electronics and subsystems to the space community,” stated BAE spokeswoman Liz Ryan Sax in an email.

The last microchips produced at the Manassas facility are expected to roll off the production line in early January.

Local officials have moved in and have urged the company to consider allowing the space to be converted into a graduate school for Nanotechnology studies.

Negotiations are in the very early stages but officials say the prospect of such a center could change the face of western Prince William County, and the facility itself could rival Purdue University.

“To have a world-class research institute and have engineering grad students from all over the country, if not all over the world, to come to Manassas do their studies, and the type of offshoot business it could bring to Manassas and Prince William County, you can’t figure out where the ceiling would be for something like this when it comes to economic development,” said Miller.

George Mason University declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations. The university does offer Nanotechnology studies as part of its graduate program.

More universities both in Virginia and the U.S. would most likely be asked to become involved with the project. Some tax breaks at the state level would be considered for BAE Systems as part of the deal. A decision on the project could come as early as springtime, added Miller.

“…we’re currently working with a number of parties to finalize the company’s plans to disposition the STC’s many manufacturing assets,” stated Sax.

For it to work, a stakeholder model similar to the Freedom Center, where Prince William County, Manassas, and George Mason University banded together to fund the popular fitness and aquatic center, would also be explored in this case.

“This has some great upside possibilities of what might happen with this facility if we can come together and make it work,” said Manassas City Manager Patrick Pate. “…it would require a good partnership, like many of the things we do with Prince William County and George Mason; there were would be some great benefits for the region.”

BAE Systems in Manassas is located in Prince William County’s technology corridor that also includes Micron, a company that also manufactures data chips.

Nearby, George Mason University’s Prince William Campus sits at the center of the Innovation Technology Research Park. In 2007, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly abandoned a half-completed manufacturing plant that was going to bring 350 jobs to the park.

Today, Prince William County Economic Development officials continue to market

Innovation as a center for commerce. The FBI’s Northern Virginia Resident Agency, Virginia Department of Forensic Science, Powerloft Data Center, Comcast, and a joint laboratory shared by George Mason University and the National Institutes of Health are all tenants at the Innovation Park.

News
2 Safeway Shopping Centers in Dale City, Woodbridge Acquired for $40 million

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Two shopping centers in eastern Prince William County were acquired for $40 million.

The shopping plazas, Cheshire Station in Dale City and The Market at Opitz Crossing in Woodbridge, were purchased by Palm Beach, Fla.-based Sterling Value Add Partners. They were owned by Regency Centers, which owns the Shops at County Center at Prince William Parkway and Hoadly Road, Signal Hill Shopping Center in Manassas, and the Breamar Village Center in Bristow.

Both shopping centers that were purchased by Sterling are anchored by Safeway grocery stores.

More in an unedited press release issued by the Sterling company:

The two grocery-anchored shopping centers in the portfolio, Market at Opitz Crossing and Cheshire Station, are located about 4 miles apart from one another and approximately 20 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. in a densely populated area where the average household income in a three-mile radius exceeds $100,000. Market at Opitz Crossing is 155,758 square feet and is situated at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway (US-1) and Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge, VA. Cheshire Station is 105,594 square feet and is located in the heart of Dale City, VA, at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Dale Boulevard. Anchored by PriceRite and Safeway respectively, the centers also house national retailers Petco, Starbucks, BB&T, Capital One, Advance Auto Parts, RadioShack, AutoZone, Sherwin Williams, GNC, and Hair Cuttery. The portfolio is currently 86% occupied.

“We are pleased to have closed on the purchase of this portfolio which is located in one of the strongest markets in the country. The combination of solid cash flow with the ability to add value fits perfectly into what we are trying to achieve through our current institutional fund,” said Brian Kosoy, President and CEO of Sterling Organization. “The professionalism and willingness of Regency’s team to work through what was ultimately a more complicated transaction than originally anticipated can’t go unmentioned. We are hopeful that this is the first of many transactions with the good folks at Regency.”

The acquisition nets the Sterling Value Add Partners a total of 261,235 square feet in retail space. The Washington, D.C. market, however, is not one of the company’s target markets, according to its website. Those markets include multiple cities in California and Florida, as well as Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

News
How Upgrading Vehicles, Embracing the Web has Made Prince William Yellow Cab Successful

Potomac Local Leaders

So what’s your annual commute look like? Ten thousand miles? Seventeen thousand miles? Twenty-five thousand miles? How about 50,000?  A local family that owns Yellow Cab of Prince William County logged over two  million miles in 2012 and they did it with a smile. 

Unlike the craziness we try to avoid on the roads, Yellow Cab’s deep family values and commitment to safety makes them leaders in their industry.  Tammy Beard, Owner and President took a moment to share her family’s story. 

Vickers: Can you explain how Yellow Cab of Prince William started and how your family approach in business has gotten you to where you are today?

Beard: My father, Ira C. (Corky) Cochran, had a job as a two-way radio repair and installation technician and was installing and repairing radios in cabs in Alexandria (mid 1960s).  He asked one of the drivers, Vernon Havenner, if he made any money driving a cab.  Vernon said yes and soon Corky was a part time cab driver and full time radio tech. 

In a very short while Corky was making more money driving than with radios and he became a full time driver and part-time radio guy.  After working as a driver for a while he picked up a dispatch shift that the company needed filled because someone didn’t show up for work.  He excelled at dispatching and that soon became his full time position (he still drove a cab part time). The owner of Yellow Cab in Alexandria (Cecil Furman) soon had my father working in the business office as the General Manager.  He held this position until the early 1980s. 

In 1978 he received a call from Howard Mountjoy of Triangle.  Mr. Mountjoy owned a cab company and wanted to sell.  A meeting was arranged and Mr. Mountjoy expressed to my father his wishes for my father to purchase the company (Radio Cab of Triangle). The purchase included a phone number, five cabs, of which three were road worthy, and the Greyhound Commission Agency in Triangle.

IMG_2286I began working with him as a dispatcher and ticket agent after school and on the weekends. Shortly after purchasing Radio Cab, he purchased Yellow Cab of Triangle and Quantico. In 1982 our fleet was 14 cabs strong and he sold the companies that were now called Radio Yellow Cab. In 1983, he took possession of the company back and we started again.  Shortly after we started over he purchased Dale City Taxi and we moved our offices to Woodbridge and became Yellow Cab.  

In 2004, Corky passed away and I took over the day to day operations and became the Owner and President.  My children had been working with us during school vacations and after school hours through high school and college.  My husband Richard came to work with us full time in the early ’90s and has trained our son, Richie. Prior to the full time position Richard had worked in commercial construction but was always here using his vast knowledge to assist with repairs and updates to the vehicles. Together they manage our service and repair shop, install equipment, letter our vehicles and maintain and update our fleet.  Both are certified by the Commonwealth as Taximeter technicians as is our son in law, David. Our oldest daughter, Joanna,  graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with every intention of becoming a teacher but started working with me full time to help out and is still here as our General Manager.   

Our daughter, Monica started out as a dispatcher while attending Germana Community College but it now our Driver Manager. Our other daughter Renee recently completed her nursing degree and has begun nursing full time but still works here one day a week.   

We like to think that the family relationship is extended to our staff and drivers. Every year we have a Christmas Party for our staff and every spring we have a Driver Appreciation Picnic for our Drivers.  We try to hold this on a day when it will have little or no impact on our customers because obviously we cannot pull all the cabs at once.  

The driver that got Corky started in the cab business, Vernon Havenner, came to drive here and stayed until he passed away in 2005 and his son still drives a Prince William Yellow Cab.  We have drivers that have been with us for over 25 years and staff that has been with us for more than 12 years. 

Vickers: When I met the Yellow Cab team, I could tell that your emphasis on providing handicap-accessible vehicles in greater Prince William was important to you.  Between profit margins and expensive insurance premiums, why did you make that investment where others have not?

Beard: When we saw the overwhelming need for this type of service we knew that it was something we could offer, do it well and we would and could grow our customer base.  Taxicabs transport customers with disabilities all the time, this is what we do and expanding the service to include accessible service seemed to be the next logical step. 

I served as a member of the Transportation Options Group that was instrumental in developing a Mobility Management Plan for the County.  At every meeting we would hear stories of overcharging, the unreliability and lack of accessible transportation service.  We started to attend Council of Government meetings in the hopes that we could apply for a Grant to fund the addition of Accessible taxi service only to be told that there was not enough money to fund Capital purchases in the current Grant cycle.  Knowing that if we waited for the next cycle we may again be left out in the cold we decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and just get it done. 

We are happy to say that we were able to purchase the original four vehicles and two additional ones and place them in service.  We were later invited back when additional Grant funds opened and we have applied for and been approved for funding to expand our Accessible Service to include four additional vehicles and expand our service area to the northern part of Stafford County. 

Vickers: With a fleet of over 100 vehicles serving our area, what are a few fun facts about the number of miles traveled, frequent rides and facts that our readers wouldn’t know about Yellow Cab PW?

Beard: We take people to work, grocery stores, medical appointments and airports to name a few destinations.  We estimate that we traveled more than 2 million miles in 2012.  We serviced more than 5,000 rides per week last year.  Our every day customers are the ones that keep the wheels rolling.  We offer standing orders (repeating reservations for service) to these customers as well as one time reservations or demand response calls. In addition to taxi service we also do package delivery, black car sedan service, corporate accounts, prescription delivery, etc.

We have taken passengers to Ontario, Canada, Birmingham Alabama, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Indianapolis, IN, Altoona, Pa., Virginia Beach, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia to name some of our longer trips. 

Vickers: You’ve mentioned that you are hiring for drivers. That’s great news for qualified local residents searching for employment. What are you looking for in Yellow Cab Prince William drivers ?

Beard: Our drivers are all Independent Contractors.  They work when they like and take off when they choose.  There is no set schedule for drivers. 

To become a driver you must:

·         Be a licensed driver at least 21 years old

·         Have a clean driving record. (No DUI, Reckless Driving, excessive point violations etc)

·         Been licensed in the United States for at least 2 years

·         Have a clean criminal record

·         Pass a test on General Knowledge of the area, customer service, currency and map reading skills.

After you meet these requirements we will send you to the county to apply for a license to drive a cab.  This license is $75.00 and a temporary license will be issued while a back ground check is being processed.  The driver must return within 30 days to take a county-issued test on regulations, map reading and general knowledge of the area. 

Upon issuance of the temporary permit, a driver will begin training.  Training covers customer service, use of the dispatch equipment, credit card processing, sensitivity training, and many other important skills needed to run your own business successfully. Continued training and educational meetings are held at least three times yearly. 

Vickers: I always like to bring attention to businesses and organizations that maximize technology in their operations. How do you use new technology in your business?

Beard: We were the first company to be computer dispatched (1996) in Prince William County.  We dispatched via private radio data network to Mobile Data Terminals with a voice radio channel for backup. 

All vehicles were equipped with GPS to monitor location and status.  In 2005 we upgraded to a public data network and began dispatching using NEXTEL cell phones.  We still utilized our voice radio channel for backup and process credit cards by keyed entry in the vehicles.  We also rolled out our very own online reservations page. 

We began offering our own private label prepaid cab fare cards and Senior Ride Discount cards followed shortly afterward.  By 2009, we had credit card swipes in every vehicle.  In 2012, we did a complete system overhaul replacing our software, hardware, in vehicle hardware etc.  The new system allows for efficient dispatching, trip scheduling, invoicing and billing, mapping & GPS turn by turn voice guided navigation as well as vehicle tracking.   This is a system that will grow with us as the county grows!

We are the first cab company in Prince William County to use off-the-shelf Android products as in vehicle devices. Our new system includes a great customer interface that allows for Web reservations and mobile booking applications. Our new web reservations give you fare, mileage and trip time estimates when you make your reservations.

Our web interface allows us to assign account holders secure log ins to book their trips and track information on past and future trips. We also unveiled our new private label booking application.  We are one of the first cab companies in Northern Virginia to have a private label booking application for Smart phones.  This application allows you to book your cab, on demand or reservation, receive mileage, fare and trip time estimates and track the cab using GPS and display the vehicle on a map as the cab comes to pick you up.  You also receive a notification when your cab has arrived.  This application was designed specifically for us and is not mass marketed for other companies. 

Potomac Local Leaders series are the stories and interviews with the men, women and youth that through their commitment to community change the world each day. Glenn Vickers is an experienced business professional enhancing philanthropic resource development, corporate citizenship programming and public private partnerships for social change. You can contact Vickers GOVickers@potomaclocal.com or  Twitter @GOVickers

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Jason Bregger Advanced His Community

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McAuliffe Accepts Economic Plan, Urges Business Leaders to Push for Obamacare Expansion

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe wants Virginia business leaders to put pressure on state legislators to expand Medicaid across the commonwealth.

At meeting with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of state business leaders in Williamsburg on Wednesday, McAuilffe alluded to his priorities for the upcoming General Assembly session starting in January.

“If Medicaid expansion is not the business community’s number one priority in your communication with the General Assembly, let me be clear – it will not happen,” said McAuliffe.

Officials in Richmond this year created the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission – a panel of Democrats and Republicans from Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates – that have taken public comment on Medicaid, known as Obamacare, expansion and will ultimately make a recommendation to expand it throughout the state.

Growing the healthcare program in Virginia was a key talking point in McAuliffe’s campaign for governor. His comments come as the state’s Chamber of Commerce presented McAuliffe with “Blueprint Virginia,” an economic road map to help guide the incoming governor for his next four-year term. McAuliffe accepted the plan and said he plans to spend the next four years focusing on the state’s economy.

A year in the making, the “Blueprint” commission worked with more than 2,500 business and community leaders  from across the state to form a baseline assessment and identify priorities for the state, according to the report’s summary.

The report calls for reforming and expanding Medicaid across the state “to help reduce cost shifting onto insured patients and employers for the cost of treating the uninsured.” There is also emphasis on embracing Virginia’s community colleges as a highly utilized gateway to post-secondary education, and for science, technology, and math education (STEM) programs to be more aligned with regional needs.

The report also calls lowering taxes for manufacturers to attract new industry to Virginia.

“We want Virginia to be the choice for manufactures when they start thinking about manufacturing in America, and we can do that with the right tax structure, the right regulatory structure, energy structure, and focusing on this as a priority for our economic development going forward,” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Barry DuVal.

Several transportation improvements were called for, including widening Interstate 81, improve Virginia’s ports as a result of an expansion of the Panama Canal, invest in high-speed rail between Washington, Richmond, and Hampton Roads, and to increase highway capacity in Northern Virginia. The report does call for increasing access to Dulles International Airport but the summary does not reference the controversial Bi-County Parkway, a highway that would link the airport with I-95 via Va. 234 in Prince William County.

With all of the planning in place, the state now has to face some economic realities in the coming years. At least 330,000 jobs in the state are tied to defense spending – everything from cyber security to shoe making. And, as the federal government eyes potential cuts and possibly another round of military base realignment and closures, or BRAC, the state that has been so reliant on federal spending may have to diversify its business portfolio.

“We’re going to have to start working harder to secure our economy. Over the past 20 years we have had a lot of it fall into our lap because of Uncle Sam,” said Dr. Steven Fuller, of the Center of Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

Locally, representatives from the Flory Small Business Center, Micron Technology, Germanna and Northern Virginia community colleges, Mary Washington University, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce all participated in writing “Blueprint Virginia.”

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Prince William’s Packed Classrooms Factored into Economic Development Effort

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — In an effort to get out of the shadow of larger area counties, Prince William County wants to add to the list of businesses it wants to lure to the region.

Economic development officials want to attract more companies that deal in materials and life sciences, such as engineering firms, and more logistical business, such as warehousing and short-hauling trucking companies, and defense-industry jobs like cyber security, are keys to growth in the county.

At a presentation to elected officials this week, George Mason University was praised for their involvement in the local economy, and its Prince William Campus in Manassas is said to be ripe for the development of a medical educational campus. Economic developers also want to build out Innovation at Prince William – the stalled business park near the George Mason campus, as well as redevelop eastern Prince William County and take advantage of the business resources already in place to foster growth and entrepreneurship.

“Most economic development programs understand that the majority of investment that takes place takes place from companies that are already in your back yard, who have already invested here, who have already paid taxes here, and will grow here,” said Prince William County Economic Director Jeffery Kaczmareck.

The director also proposed a new program to help marry job seekers with employers looking for specific skill sets, and noted that attracting top talent to the area is key to his plan.

But that may be easier said than done, as families who move to Prince William County have to contend with some of the largest class sizes in the state. In Virginia’s second largest school system, there are, on average 30.3 students per teacher in high school classrooms, and 30.8 students in middle schools, making it the highest student-to-teacher ratio in the Washington area, according to a FY2014 report from the Washington Area Boards of Education. For elementary schools, only neighboring Loudoun County has a slightly higher number of students per teacher – 23.4 vs. Prince William’s 23.3, according to the same report.

Prince William Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland, who tonight will hold a public forum on class size, wants to see more spending on schools to reduce class size. That, he says, will help to attract more companies to the region.

“Everything that we do here comes down to money. All of these presentations that we’ve had so far, adding this person to county staff, and adding that project, that all has to be balanced by the fact that this haunts us…it means looking at our spending priorities and what we’re doing overall,” said Candland.

Members of the county’s Economic Advisors Group, which works with Kaczmareck, reiterated several points to elected officials.

“In today’s world we have to stand out, just like my business,” said Lovey Hammel, Director of Prince William-based Employment Enterprises. “The county is somewhat like my business — I have to attract businesses to work with me, and I also have to find the workforce to handle those contracts simultaneously. So, I appreciate all of the facts I’ve heard today about the schools and the sizes, but I would say you need the strong business community to help you work on those issues.”

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O’Donnell Promoted at Creating Results

Submitted News

Creating Results, LLC has promoted team member Sally O’Donnell to the position of Marketing Programs’ Manager.

O’Donnell joined the agency in 2012 as a Marketing Coordinator. She hit the ground running, assisting with marketing programs for a variety of senior living and 50+ housing clients. “Sally has done a terrific job juggling a variety of projects and deadlines and doing so quite deftly,” said Creating Results’ President Todd Harff. “Her positive and client-focused attitude fits in well with our team and the Creating Results culture.”

Prior to joining Creating Results, O’Donnell gained experience handling multiple tasks and deadlines while working for companies such as Nicole Miller, Starr Restaurants and the Food Network. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Washington College, she was Captain of the women’s basketball team tallying over 1,000 career points and setting a conference record as she worked toward her degree in Business Management.

Creating Results is a full-service strategic marketing, PR and advertising agency that specializes in targeting and motivating seniors and baby boomers on behalf of clients across a variety of industries. The company has earned praise, referrals and awards for programs that motivate affluent, mature consumers to purchase. For more information, call (703) 494-7888, e-mail info@creatingresults.com, or visit www.creatingresults.com.

News
Dudley Martin Chevrolet Sold

MANASSAS, Va. — A family name in the car business in Manassas has been replaced.

Dudley Martin Chevrolet on Sudley Road has been sold and will become Manassas Cheverolet. The sale was recently completed, and the new owner is Michael Bates.

Dudley Martin bought his first car dealership in Dumfries in 1938. He later purchased a Chevrolet deadership at the corner of Va. 28 in Manassas in 1954. After it relocated to its current spot on Sudley Road near Sudley Manor Drive, it has sold Chevrolet cars and trucks ever since.

The car industry is still on the rebound, said the dealership’s finance director, John Martin, whose grandfather started the business. But he adds there is a future in the business as the customer is still looking for a well-made product and good service after the sale.

But the sale of his grandfather’s business is bittersweet.

“For anyone who’s grown up around here, there are a lot of people who are in their forties, even in their sixties, who remember playing on a Dudley Martin-sponsored baseball team when they were a kid,” he said.

Martin has been with the dealership since 1987 and will stay on under the new ownership. He declined to speak to the specifics of the sale.

 

News
Bonefish Grill Opening Monday on Prince William Parkway

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Bonefish Grill will officially open its doors on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled at the chain eatery that is located in an old UNO Chicago Grill next to Best Buy, near Potomac Mills mall.

More information about what hours the eatery will keep was provided in a press release:

Bonefish Grill will open its doors on Monday, November 11 at the restaurant’s newest location at 2680 Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge, Va. The restaurant will serve lunch Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Dinner will be served seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 4 – 10 p.m., Friday from 4 – 11 p.m., Saturday from 2 – 11 p.m., and 2 – 9 p.m. on Sunday and brunch will be offered from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

The restaurant is headed by Managing Partner Anna Bennet and Joint Venture Partner Chip Phillips. Nearby, Bonefish Grill has locations in Gainesville and Fredericksburg.

 

News
Woodbridge STEM Pre School Academy Taking Off

Potomac Local Leaders

How old were you when you committed to memory the periodic table of elements? How about when you learned of the application of centripetal force on roller coasters? What age were you when you programmed your first robot to project a Nerf ball 10 feet in the air? 

Well if  Seidah Ashshaheed has anything to do with it, children in Prince William County will know the answers of those questions before they learn how to walk.

Living in Northern Virginia, the technology sector continues to grow with a increased demand for a highly skilled workforce in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Creator and owner of STEM Tot Academy Seidah Ashshaheed, believes that our nations growth and success starts in preschool.

Vickers:  STEM for preschoolers is an interesting concept why have you selected to start a stem Academy for such a young age and here in Prince William County.

Ashshaheed:  About a year ago I started searching for a preschool that had a strong science, technology, engineering, and math component for my three year old niece. Like many children her age, she displayed strong natural inquiry skills.  As a middle school principal I have been equipped to design mini lessons for her that entail measuring earthworms, observing cicadas, and creating volcanoes.  

For the past two summers, experimenting has been paired with a related STEM field trip. Her attention to details and recall is remarkable, again like many children her age.  I realized that everything I needed in a preschool was at home.  Having Pre-K-12 experience as an educator allowed me to develop a STEM curriculum and write my first children’s book, ABC’s STEM and Me: An Alphabet Book on Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which will be available mid-October.  

I must thank Kayla Seabridge, my illustrator for the beautiful images of children depicted in various STEM careers.  As a Prince William County resident and former Prince William County educator, I wanted to develop a business and provide a quality preschool program in my community. 

Ashshaheed

Ashshaheed

Vickers: After reading through your  curriculum for your Academy, I’m confident that families will line up to be a part of your program. What was the inspiration and credentialing involved in the creation of your STEM Tot  curriculum?  

Ashshaheed: Again, my niece is my main inspiration for developing STEM Tot Academy and its resources.  I must also give credit to the College of William and Mary and the National Defense Education Program’s STEM Education Alliance:  Virginia Demonstration Project.  

While serving as a middle school principal in King George, Va., I worked closely with Dr. Hardinge of the College of William and Mary and a team of wonderful individuals with STEM related careers, to infuse STEM into the curriculum at my school, thanks to a grant.

Not only did we see the immediate impact that providing project-based experiences in classrooms often renders, we saw students who were often turned off by science and math reinvigorated.  In 2010 research conducted by Dr. Valentine out of the University of Missouri, an alarming truth about schools was revealed.  

As students advance through schools, the level of engagement, decreases.  Providing hands on opportunities for youth must be consistent from preschool through grade 12.  As educators we are famous for targeting a group at a time.  

My goal, is to ultimately, continue to add a grade, through 8th grade, challenging youth with a rigorous STEM based curriculum, that encompasses, field experiences, guest speakers, and much more.  This is what we are doing with our preschool/child day center now.

Vickers: Where do you see youth that graduate from STEM Tots 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now?  

Ashshaheed: First and foremost, I want students to leave our program with a firm literacy foundation, who are also innovative thinkers, problem-solvers, and who are versatile enough to enter any profession they choose and contribute positively.  

A sound STEM curriculum in the early years assists with the development of critical thinking skills.  Our motto at the Academy, is OBSERVE, THINK, CREATE.  Yes, students will still receive the early years curriculum, which includes science and math.  

What we are doing is providing the experience in 3D, so that our students can be exposed enough to express interest if they so desire in STEM careers later on in life.

Vickers: A combination of mixed programming allows families of various needs to benefit from a program like yours. Besides full day preschool, what other programs will you be offering year round?

Ashshaheed: I am so thrilled that our program will provide before and after care for school age children ages 5-12, with transportation capabilities.  The after school program will also be a STEM enriched program.  

The academy will also provide Camp STEM-u-lation for children in the community, ages 5-12, which will include thematic weeks, guest speakers in various STEM careers, and a plethora of STEM related field trips.  STEM Tot Academy, will also provide weekend workshops for children ages 5-12 for those students interested in developing websites, robotics, coding, and more.

Vickers: Our Tech sector is such a large industry in Northern Virginia , are you working with any other agencies to align with other regional STEM collaborations nationally or regionally?

Ashshaheed: I am having various discussions with a few agencies right now.  The STEM alphabet book has been most interesting.  I created the book for my niece, but also to help fund the various daily labs taking place in the program and the on-going PD for my staff.  Vetting the book through various mediums to include kindergarten and first grade teachers, has rendered much discussion regarding the lack of resources and research out there for young children as it relates to STEM.  My mission is to help close that gap.

Potomac Local Leaders series are the stories and interviews with the men, women and youth that through their commitment to community change the world each day. Glenn Vickers is an experienced business professional enhancing philanthropic resource development, corporate citizenship programming and nonprofit business operations; Vickers enjoys working with government, private and nonprofit organizations for social change #GOVickers

News
Reopened Woodbridge Gym Celebrates Success

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A local gym with a reputation for being a body builder’s destination is working to remake its image as a tried and true community staple.

Earlier this year Powerhouse Gym in Woodbridge abruptly closed to its customers with no explanation. Its members wondered what had happened to a gym where they paid for a membership. Its employees wondered if they would still have a job.

But the facility wasn’t dark for long. Just two days after the shutdown, co-owner Kelly Kirk returned to Powerhouse to finish the job he started when he helped open the place in 2007 as a co-owner.

Prior to his return, he was missing from Powerhouse for nearly a year. He left after a disagreement with the gym’s then two other co-owners who no longer work there.

Since coming back, Kirk took full control of the gym has labored to right the ship. He found investors, worked out a short-term funding plan with his corporate office, and worked hard to not only retain his membership base but to grow it. So far, it’s worked.

He credits his gym members with making his comeback, and the overall success of the gym possible.

“We had members come in as we were tying to reopen the place, carrying and moving equipment…we had one guy come in and repair fixtures in our bathrooms and I was like “dude, do I owe you anything?” and he was like “nope, don’t worry about it,” said Kirk. “I know of few other gyms in this area who have those kinds of members, who would come and help out for free to get the place up and running again.”

Kirk is jovial, and for many he is the reason why members come in everyday. From the novice to the expert athlete, Powerhouse has become a place where judgment has been traded for a few laughs and the swapping of personal stories about everyday life.

Powerhouse on Thursday held a special open house for its members and the community to celebrate this year’s successes. Access to the gym was free all day, and several vendors came out to show their wares.

It was also a chance to show off a new group exercise room, new cycle studio complete with colored disco lights, a new women’s locker room, and new personal training programs.

“I think we bring a new sense of structure to personal training here,” said Erika Dauitch, owner of Athletes Addiction, a company of personal trainers who have worked with student athletes and families to help get them in shape.

Dautich and her company partnered with Powerhouse and have taken over many of the personal training responsibilities at the gym.

“It’s a great partnership that just kind of fell into place,” she added.

Per an agreement with Powerhouse’s corporate office, Kirk said he must only use the Powerhouse and logo in his gym. With few other corporate rules in place, he’s able to add other things not commonly found at other area gyms.

“We’ve added the power lift platform and a chalk tub for lifters to rub their hands in, and we’ve got 200 pound dumbbells on the way,” he said.

Perhaps he’s most proud of a 10×6 U.S. flag donated to him by a 90-year-old WWII veteran. It now hands prominently from the ceiling as a point of pride.

News
DAKS Grill Closing, Owners Promise New Location

DALE CITY, Va. — DAKS Grill on Minnieville Road will close today.

The owner of the business in a statement to Potomac Local News noted the restaurant will reopen soon in another location, but did not state why this location of 23 years would close.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the closing of our Dale City location,” the statement read.

The restaurant has come to be known for its American fare and its outdoor patio. In recent years the size of the establishment’s parking lot grew smaller as new businesses, including a car wash, opened next door.

The location in an old stone house dates back to when much of Woodbridge was a rural farming community. A historical marker next to the restaurant denotes the old stone farm house as being common architecture of Northern Virginia during the early to mid part of the 20th century. Originally a hog farm, the farm was converted to dairy in the 1950s. The buildings were later torn down in 1991 ending the life of the last major farm in eastern Prince William County, the marker states.

Next to the old the spot as the location of the old Russell General Store, this was at the center of commercial life for the farming area then known as Bethel, Smoketown, and Hoadley, and Agnewville, the marker states. Before it was demolished, it served as the home for Ernie Sullins Outlet – a discount clothier known for their outrageous local TV commercials.

News
Prince William Businesses Get the ‘Big Picture’

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The big picture is: every business has a story. We have a diverse business community that works hard everyday to provide the goods and services we need to make our world go round.

I attended the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Connections event this week and had a blast. I made some great new connections and re-connected with people that I haven’t worked with in a few years.  

I find it refreshing to find people at trade shows who are willing to try something new, be a little different and have some fun.

So the tag team of Eric Williams, broker at Exit Choice Reality, and Lee Mergler,  owner of Advance Title & Mortgage, took to the hallways at Connections to see who made “The Big Picture”.  

If you see your picture in the slideshow, leave your contact information in the comments section or email us so we can tell your story.

 

 

News
‘Connections’ Turns Out Business Owners

MANASSAS, Va. — One of the region’s largest networking event took place Thursday afternoon at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas.

“Connections” is an annual event held each year by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and is billed as the area’s largest trade show. A business showcase, vendors paid starting rates of $475 for a table at the event which was expected to draw 1,500 people.

By 5 p.m., the crowd had grown to 600 attendees with two more hours to the go. A total of 93 vendor booths of 103 were sold at this year’s event, and that meant that fewer booths made for a wider walkway for attendees.

“Some people seem to like that the walkway is wider than it has been in years past and have asked that we do it this way again next year,” said Andrea Whaley, who is in charge of events at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

As people strolled past the vendors tables and spoke with company owners and representatives, some vendors saw a mix of old friends and customers and new faces.

“They come up and talk to me on just about everything, to new banking products to their kids in college,” said Melissa Gill, of The Fauquier Bank.

While traffic remained heavy, some vendors also said they would have liked to see more residents who live in Greater Manassas and Prince William County come to the event in addition to the steady stream of businesses owners.

But for Prince William Professional Networkers President Nina Lomax, this even was about making the right connection. Her organization is open to business owners in the region looking to build sales and refer services.

“It’s all about building relationships and that’s what were dong out here today,” she said.

There were five food vendors Connections this year, and attendees were lining up at the Grafton Street restaurant booth – which serves a mix of American fare couple with the setting of an Irish pub – to try their special chicken pot pie filler and bread. Some came back two and three times to have their cups refilled with the special ingredient normally served at the restaurant on Tuesdays.

“We’ve got enough here to feed the crowd five times over,” said co-owner Tom Flannigan.

News
Bonefish Hiring 115 for New Restaurant

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new Bonefish Grill restaurant is one step closer to opening its doors in Woodbridge and his now hiring new employees.

The restaurant on Prince William Parkway next to Best Buy will replace the old UNO Chicago Grill which closed earlier this year.

Bonefish plans to hire 115 people for positions in the new eatery when it opens. They’re looking for servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff.

Applications are being accepted online between now and the anticipated Nov. 11 opening date for the new restaurant.

This newest Bonefish Grill will join locations in Fredericksburg, Kingstowne, Fairfax, and Centreville.

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