Thursday, July 30, 2009

Carilion Opens Westlake Center

Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital CEO Bill Jacobsen greets visitors in front of the new Carilion Clinic Westlake center

Carilion Clinic’s new state-of-the-art outpatient medical complex at Smith Mountain Lake has openedat Westlake Towne Center. The center is a 10,000 square foot medical complex offering urgent care, imaging services, rotating physician specialists, and emergency helicopter and ambulance service.

“We are an integral part of this community, and our patients are also our neighbors and friends,” says Bill Jacobsen, chief executive officer and vice president of Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital. “Our goal is to create a quality health care center at the lake. With our advanced medical facilities we are offering services that will improve lake residents’ comfort, security and quality of life.”

Carilion Clinic’s Sleep Center and Carilion Clinic Urgent Care, previously located nearby, have also moved to the new center. A helipad has been built for Carilion’s Life-Guard helicopters to land next to the center, and emergency medical transport personnel are located on-site.

Carilion earlier donated two acres of land at its Westlake site to Franklin County to develop an EMS/fire station intended to be staffed around-the-clock.

The rotating physician specialists include surgeons, cardiologists and gynecologists. As the needs of the community grow, other types of specialists may be added to offer lake residents services they need that are close to home. Several medical practices have already expressed an interest in opening satellite services at the center.

The new complex is the result of hours of consultation with members of the community, and Franklin County officials. The 21-acre site allows considerable room for expansion as the community’s needs grow, and the center has been specifically designed to accommodate such expansion on two sides.

The public is invited to visit the new Carilion Clinic Westlake center on Saturday, August 1, from 8 a.m. to noon. The grand opening event will include free health screenings, a gourmet coffee bar, live music by the William Penn Trio and children's activities.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tech Study Finds Cell Phone Use, Texting While Driving Extremely Dangerous

Texting while driving was found to be 23 times more dangerous than not being distracted^

Several large-scale, naturalistic driving studies conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), provide a clear picture of driver distraction and cell phone use under real-world driving conditions. Among the findings is the first that text messaging is up to 23 times more likely to cause a crash or "near crash event" as "non-distracted driving." The studies employed sophisticated cameras and instrumentation in participants’ personal vehicles.

Combined, these studies continuously observed drivers for more than 6 million miles of driving. “Given recent catastrophic crash events and disturbing trends, there is an alarming amount of misinformation and confusion regarding cell phone and texting use while behind the wheel of a vehicle,” says Dr. Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “The findings from our research at VTTI can help begin to clear up these misconceptions as it is based on real-world driving data. We conduct transportation safety research in an effort to equip the public with information that can save lives.”

In VTTI’s studies that included light vehicle drivers and truck drivers, manual manipulation of phones such as dialing and texting of the cell phone lead to a substantial increase in the risk of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash or near crash). However, talking or listening increased risk much less for light vehicles and not at all for trucks.

Text messaging on a cell phone was associated with the highest risk of all cell phone related tasks. Eye glance analyses were conducted to assess where drivers were looking while involved in a safety-critical event and performing cell phone tasks.

The tasks that draw the driver’s eyes away from the forward roadway were those with the highest risk. Several recent high visibility trucking and transit crashes have been directly linked to texting from a cell phone.

VTTI’s research showed that text messaging, which had the highest risk of over 20 times worse than driving while not using a phone, also had the longest duration of eyes off road time. The duration equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway.

Talking/listening to a cell phone allowed drivers to maintain eyes on the road and were not associated with an increased safety risk to nearly the same degree. Recent results from other researchers using driving simulators suggest that talking and listening is as dangerous as visually distracting cell phone tasks.

The results from VTTI’s naturalistic driving studies clearly indicate that this is not the case. For example, talking and listening to a cell phone is not nearly as risky as driving while drunk at the legal limit of alcohol. Recent comparisons made in the literature greatly exaggerate the cell phone risk relative to the very serious effects of alcohol use, which increases the risk of a fatal crash approximately seven times that of sober driving.

Using simple fatal crash and phone use statistics, if talking on cell phones was as risky as driving while drunk, the number of fatal crashes would have increased roughly 50 percent in the last decade instead of remaining largely unchanged. These results show conclusively that a real key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road.

In contrast, “cognitively intense” tasks (e.g., emotional conversations, “books-on-tape”, etc.) can have a measurable effect in the laboratory, but the actual driving risks are much lower in comparison.

VTTI’s recommendations
  • Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway, such as texting and dialing, should always be avoided.
  • Texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers. As shown in the table, this cell phone task has the potential to create a true crash epidemic if texting-type tasks continue to grow in popularity and the generation of frequent text message senders reach driving age in large numbers.
  • “Headset” cell phone use is not substantially safer than “hand-held” use because the primary risk is associated with both tasks is answering, dialing, and other tasks that require your eyes to be off the road.
  • In contrast, “true hands-free” phone use, such as voice activated systems, are less risky if they are designed well enough so the driver does not have to take their eyes off the road often or for long periods.
  • All cell phone use should be banned for newly licensed teen drivers. Tech's research has shown that teens tend to engage in cell phone tasks much more frequently, and in much more risky situations, than adults. Thus, the studies indicate that teens are four times more likely to get into a related crash or near crash event than their adult counterparts.

Tech Scores 18 Reinvestment Act Grants

As of July 2009, Virginia Tech researchers have received 18 grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), totaling $6.763 million, announced Robert Walters, vice president for research. Project topics range from research experiences for undergraduates to the development of advanced materials and studies of disease-causing mosquitoes.

Fifteen of the grants are funded by the National Science Foundation and three are National Institutes of Health grants. The economic stimulus aspect of the grants takes the form of providing more than 50 people with summer-time, part-time, or full-time employment.

The support means opportunities for students to pursue their studies. A number of postdoctoral researchers are also being employed. "The students and staff live in the local community and spend their wages locally, so their jobs benefit the local economy," says Roderick Hall, associate vice president for research.

The research experience for undergraduates (REU) grants offer summer research opportunities to students from across the nation. "These programs contribute to workforce development in cutting-edge emerging technologies," says Beth Tranter, chief of staff with Virginia Tech's Office for Research.

Renovations Could Result in County Savings

County Administrator Clay Goodman>

Roanoke County is in the process of renovating county buildings as part of its overall initiative to improve energy efficiency. The renovations will be funded through utility cost savings. The County also plans to use $300,000 of federal stimulus money to fund additional improvements.

Roanoke County selected Trane to perform a detailed study of its facilities, which began last month. After an in-depth building analysis, Trane will develop a plan to update the buildings’ comfort, lighting, and water systems while adding a greater level of control to all of its building systems.

The renovations will result in significant improvements to 25 County facilities including fire stations, community centers, and libraries. “We’re thrilled to bring the necessary analysis and improvements to these facilities to improve comfort and save money,” says Ross Atherton of Trane. Reducing energy consumption has been a priority for the County for the past eight years.

In 2001, the county implemented a System of Environmental Management using ISO 14001 guidelines to research and implement ways to reduce energy consumption and bills. ISO 14001 is an international standard of environmental operation. The work with Trane will complement the work that is already in place. In 2007, Roanoke County joined Local Governments for Sustainability, also known as ICLEI. To that end, the county

has set a goal for itself to stop increasing carbon emissions by 2012 and to then reduce the County’s carbon emissions by three percent every year thereafter until 2020 as Milestone 2 of the ICLEI program. Roanoke County has also shown its commitment to the environment through its capital projects. The Western Virginia Regional Jail is LEED certified, and the new fleet service center and multi-generational recreation center (Green Ridge Recreation Center) will also receive certification.

“I am proud of our efforts to reduce energy consumption through the programs and projects we have in place and look forward to making our existing buildings even more energy efficient,” says Clay Goodman, Roanoke County Administrator.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

FTC Files Complaint Against Carilion

Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic’s team of top executives is furiously preparing a response to the Federal Trade Commission’s charges that its purchase of two imaging outpatient centers is unacceptable and will result in higher prices. Carilion purchased the Center for Advanced Imaging and the Center for Surgical Excellence (both owned by Odyssem Imaging) nearly a year ago for $20 million.

The major remaining competition for Carilion’s centers is at arch-rival HCA-Lewis-Gale, a for-profit hospital. Carilion is not for profit. Carilion must respond to the complaint within two weeks. A hearing is scheduled March 23 of next year and argument could last “five to six years” if Carilion fights, according to published reports.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Martin Bros. To Do County School Renovations

Martin Bros. Contractors in Roanoke has been awarded a $32 million contract by the Roanoke County School Board for the renovations and additions to four county schools: Cave Spring Elementary, Green Valley Elementary, Mount Pleasant Elementary, and William Byrd High School.

Earlier this year, Martin Bros. completed the renovation and addition of Northside High School that recently won the Clean Valley Council's Government Award for its reduced impact on the environment.

Similar to the Northside project, the four new school renovations will incorporate geothermal heating and cooling-a green feature that provides significant energy cost savings.

Other recent awards for Martin Bros. include Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway in Abingdon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Synchrony Product Recognized

For 47 years, the R&D 100 Awards have been recognizing the most advanced products in their industries, judged by their advances in technology and their impacts to their markets and the world around them.

Fusion is designed to improve the performance and simplicity of using magnetic bearings in rotating equipment such as motors and pumps. Synchrony’s focus is improving the performance and reliability of high performance rotating machinery and power conversion systems.

The commercial introduction of Fusion bearings comes after years of development and testing. Through innovations related to the electromagnetic and thermal design, digital signal processing, self-monitoring capabilities, and software algorithms, the performance and simplicity of the Fusion(R) bearing system distinguishes it from other magnetic bearings.

"Magnetic bearings improve efficiency and reliability while eliminating the need for lubricants that may harm the environment," says Synchrony CEO & President Dr. Victor Iannello. "At a time when there is world attention on energy and the environment, Fusion bearings now make it simple and economical to integrate magnetic bearings into rotating machinery."

ounded in 1993, Synchrony develops and delivers products that maximize the ROI, energy savings, and environmental benefit of its customers' machines.

An Environmental Subdivision in Botetourt Begins

This foursquare is the first EarthCraft home in the new Daleville Town Center^

A visitor tries to squeeze into the third-floor children's space^

Packed-in crowd watches the test of the environmental house^

F&W CEO Karen Waldron (above and below right) explains why the home is important^


Fralin & Waldron's new Daleville Town Center, whose homes will be built to Gold EarthCraft House standards, got a close inspection from a houseful of interested guests and media this morning and CEO Karen Waldron was left glowing from appreciative pats on the back.

This is, she emphasizes, the future, the way homes should be built in a world increasingly running out of resources. The new subdivision, which will also have a commercial center nearby, will feature homes and cottages ranging in size from 942 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

The estimated cost of the three-story display home, according to an F&W representative, is $750,000, but other homes will cost much less.

Deb Cheslow, the regional technical manager of EarthCraft Virginia, gave a demonstration of just how tight the homes are and Waldron explained that the goal is to build a "TND" community where home, work, play, shopping and civic life are integrated into the compact area. "It is time for us to look at the way we work and play," Waldron told the gathered. "Eeverything within one community is a return to a traditional lifestyle that simplifies life and com;lements the local landscape."

President Andy Kelderhouse stresses that "The Fralin & Waldron mission has long been to develop quality communities that meet consumer needs. With Daleville Town Center, we are breaking new ground. We are taking the lead in introducing this type of master planning in Southwestern Virginia and helping to educate people on how compact, sustainable communities can set the stage for better living."

About 300 residencies are planned over the next 10 years in the center. The test, say officials of F&W, is whether, in this economy, success will be so obvious that this type of building will become the norm.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Carilion moves to an innovative payment structure

Carilion's Dr. Ed Murphy (below) says the system will be turning its attention to problems inherent in the current medical payment system, which rewards over-treatment while providing no incentive to keep people well.

Carilion’s conversion from a traditional, hospital-centric health care organization to a multi-specialty, patient-centered clinic is entering a new phase.

The conversion for the Roanoke-based health care institution began three years ago with a commitment to improve patient care, improve service and eventually decrease health care costs.

“We’ve made remarkable progress in building the organization and infrastructure necessary to fulfill our promise,” says Carilion Clinic president and CEO Dr. Edward G. Murphy. “We’ve added more than 200 doctors, a physician leadership structure and a comprehensive electronic medical record. At the same time we’ve improved our academic profile by developing a new medical school and research institute with Virginia Tech.”

According to Murphy, Carilion is now turning its attention to problems inherent in the current medical payment system, which rewards over-treatment while providing no incentive to keep people well. Two new pilot programs aimed and improving patient care, efficiency and wellness while lowering costs will begin in 2010.

Carilion Pilots Brookings-Dartmouth Model A new and innovative, nationally-recognized health care model that rewards providers for improving patient outcomes while lowering cost growth will soon be pilot tested in Roanoke through a cooperative effort by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and the Carilion Clinic.

The “Accountable Care Organization” (ACO) model encourages physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, and the government to work together to coordinate care, improve quality, and reduce costs. The Engelberg Center and the Dartmouth Institute have selected Carilion Clinic to be a pilot site to implement the model through the Brookings-Dartmouth ACO Pilot Project.

In an ACO, providers assume greater responsibility for the quality and cost of the care they deliver–supporting providers when they take steps to keep their patients healthy, deliver high-quality care, and avoid costly medications and procedures. This makes it financially feasible for doctors to practice preventive care and to provide enhanced disease management for patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“The Brookings-Dartmouth ACO Pilot Project and Carilion Clinic are on similar paths,” says Murphy, “We understand that rising health care costs are not sustainable and that provider leadership is essential to reforms that reduce costs, improve efficiency, and are accountable for clinical outcomes. As providers, we are best equipped to develop solutions that keep patient care and quality at the center of the discussion.”

“Carilion’s work in developing an integrated multi-specialty physician group provides a strong foundation from which to pilot the payment reforms central to ACOs,” says Elliott Fisher, director of the Center for Population Health at Dartmouth.

“Accountable Care Organizations are a model for delivery reform that can help transform our nation’s health care system from one that rewards overuse to one that delivers high-quality care at lower costs,” says Mark McClellan, director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Carilion Clinic will receive technical assistance in setting up, implementing and testing the ACO concept, and will develop a pilot process for payment and delivery system reform based on accountability for quality improvement and cost reduction. Brookings and Dartmouth< style="font-style: italic;">

(This comment from Joe Kelliher was sent on Facebook: "Good article; important improvement. Mr Murphy may need to be careful; if he starts following these guys to closely, he may wind up finally moving toward the concept of price transparency; which he told me at a Roanoke Kiwanis meeting in 2007 wasn't important.

"I know of Mark McClelland and Leonard Schaeffer, who has the rare expertise of being a physician and an economist; which is a perfect combination to serve in this roll. While he was the Commissioner of FDA and as director of CMS; he worked hard to accomplish major cost saving and quality improvement initiatives. I've heard Mark speak on three different occasions.

"Leonard Schaeffer was the founding Chairman and CEO of WellPointe Health Systems. Both guys have been recognized by my professional Association (National Association of Health Underwriters - NAHU) for their outstanding work in and for Health Care and Health Care Financing."

And there was this from Diana Christopulos: "If they are using the Mayo Clinic model, we are in for great care at reasonable prices.")

Monday, July 20, 2009

Founding Chairman Named at VTC

Dr. Mark Greenawald has been named founding chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (VTC).

Greenawald, who holds the rank of associate professor, will also serve as associate chairman for undergraduate medical education within Carilion Clinic's Department of Primary Care and Regional Medicine.

>"Mark is a physician thought leader of the caliber we expect to graduate from VTC," said Cynda Ann Johnson, president and dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. "His mentorship through the American Academy of Family Physicians Chief Resident Leadership Development Program to residency directors is at the front-line in teaching the next generation of physicians and is critical to keeping the practice of family medicine vital."

A graduate of Bucknell University and the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Greenawald served five years as a naval medical officer before he joined Carilion in 1995. He serves as the education director for the Carilion Clinic Family Medicine Residency and is president of the Blue Ridge Academy of Family Physicians. This year he was named the family medicine residency inpatient attending of the year.

Deeds Rolls Out a Green Plan

Creigh Deeds (left) with Sen. Mark Warner at the press conference. That's Valley Business FRONT's Dick Robers at the right^


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds outlined a substantial program for re-starting Virginia's economy this morning at the State and City Building in Roanoke. The plan includes tax breaks, partnerships, worker training, health care for unemployed workers and initiatives for rural Virginia.

In an appearance at what has become a required stop on the campaign trail--the region's first LEED certified commercial building--Deeds outlined a broad program that covered the economy, transportation, education, jobs, the environment and communications. He appeared with Sen. Mark Warner, who noted in brief remarks, that he and other new members of the nation's legislators "didn't appreciate how close we came to total financial meltdown" during the final days of the Bush Administration, until closely examining it during the past few months.

Said Deeds, "Our plan will jump-start our economy, create jobs, reduce taxes on small businesses and position Virginia to succeed and win in a new economy once we recover from this challenging time. This plan also provides targeted resources to help families facing unemployment, workers in need of job training and students interested in high-wage, high-demand jobs."

Warner said, "Virginia led the nation in telecom in the 1980s, we helped lead the Internet revolution during the 1990s and I firmly believe that the next generation of jobs and wealth will be found in the 'green' economy. Creigh has put together a road map that allows Virginia to grasp that opportunity and take advantage of all those possibilities if we prepare Virginians to take a leadership role in the alternative energy field."

Warner pointed out that Virginia has consistently been named the "Best Managed State" by Governing Magazine and the Pew Charitable Trusts over the past number of years and that it is the only state that has maintained an AAA bond rating--crucial to borrowers--for 78 straight years.

Deeds' program has these four components:

Immediate solutions for small business owners, homeowners and workers.
  • Tax credits to business for job creation
  • Help unemployed workers purchase emergency health insurance
  • Double the Governor's Opportunity Fund (which a Deeds bill created in 1998) and put $10 million into job training
  • Create a Rural Business Fund to provide loans to small businesses in distressed areas
  • Reduce bureaucratic requirements in small business permitting
  • Increase contract awards for small, women and minority-owned businesses
  • Finish installing broadband by 2013
  • Offer loan guarantees to community college students
  • Profide grants to community colleges to expand nursing programs
  • Boost investment in tourism
Making Virginia a green leader.
  • Build a virtual energy research triangle to coordinate research and development in green energy industries
  • Set a mandatory renewable standard of 15 percent by 2020 and 22 percent by 2025
  • Fund weatherization projects that help low-income Virginians save on energy expenditures
State transportation.
  • Work toward a multi-modal transportation immediately
  • Expand freight and passenger rail service and create a high-speed rail service
  • Reduce rush hour traffic through several measures
  • Promote intelligent land-use planning
  • Strengthen management of VDOT
  • Invest in Virginia's ports and work with military contractors and the Navy
  • Expand road and railroad projects in Southwest and Southside
  • East congestion on the Cheasapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
Leaner, more efficient government.
  • Name an efficiency director from the business community
  • Require state government purchase of drugs in bulk in order to save money
  • Promote energy conservation in state facilities
  • Create competetive bidding for durable medical equipment purchases
  • Maximize efficiency of consumer services
  • Create a state employee workforce plan
  • Conduct an unclaimed property auction

The complete plan is here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Luna Innovations Files for Chapter 11

Much-honored Roanoke-headquartered Luna Innovations Inc., which focuses on sensing and instrumentation solutions and pharmaceutical nanomedicines, has asked U.S. Bankruptcy court to estimate the lawsuit claims against it at $1.3 million instead of $36 million in a Chapter 11 filing. That, says company chairman and CEO Kent Murphy, to pay all its creditors at 100 percent. Murphy says Luna expects to continue to operate normally.

"The jury verdict in our dispute with Hansen Medical in April obviously presented a very serious potential negative outcome for Luna as well as its creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders" says Murphy. "In the absence of reasonable settlement of that dispute, we believe that today's filing is in the best interests of Luna and our shareholders, creditors and communities, while providing the first step toward securing a future for Luna.

Murphy says Luna has “filed motions with the court in California to have the award reduced, and Hansen has filed motions to ask the court to increase the award. While we believe we have arguments as to why the award should be significantly reduced, there is no way to predict the outcome of the litigation."

Since the first quarter of 2007, we have grown our revenue base by approximately 20 percent while reducing our baseline expenses and increasing the efficiency of operations by nearly 20 percent. These results are a tribute to our employees and the work they do for our customers every day. We look forward to operating in the normal course of business during our restructuring to meet our customers' needs."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lake Movie Comes Up Short ... For Now

Sara Elizabeth Timmins came up a smidge short on her goal of $500,000 by July 15 in order to make her movie at Smith Mountain Lake this fall (see earlier post), but this little whirlwind is hardly discouraged.

Simple truth: "It's a good thing and it's the way it was supposed to happen. I feel good about it. We hope that in the next month or two to secure [the remainder of the money]" and produce "Lake Effect" in 2010. The cards are in place for that to happen sooner rather than later."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Decaying Trains Saved by Consortium

These old engines have sat patiently for 60 years ...

... awaiting rescue, and now a consortium of rescuers ...

... is on the way and they will be saved.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke has entered into a partnership that will lead to the preservation of several steam locomotives and other rolling stock that have been sitting idle for nearly 60 years near the Roanoke City Mills.

Originally faced with a cost of $50,000 per piece to remove the rail stock, the partnership provides an arrangement to save not only the steam locomotives, but virtually all but one of the pieces of rail equipment now impounded at the old Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Co. yard in Roanoke.

“The Museum has been working to rescue these locomotives for nearly 30 years,” says Eugene M. Elliott Jr., a long-time board member of the museum. “We are grateful to our partners and the community that will allow us to bring these engines home, and save them for generations to come. Most of these pieces have a direct connection to Roanoke, and illustrate a story that should not be lost of the Valley’s hard-working railroad employees.”

“Lost Engines of Roanoke” and other rail stock have been at the scrap yard since the 1950s. The yard was recently sold to make way for Carilion Clinic’s growing medical campus on South Jefferson Street, providing a window of opportunity to save these engines.

The following are all playing an important role in saving the engines:
  • The Virginia Museum of Transportation;
  • Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Co. which donated the locomotives and rail stock;
  • The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority owns the property;
  • The Railway Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth, which has been working for several years to develop a rail heritage site.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this month. Will Harris of North Fork Lumber Co., will move the equipment.

“We are excited to be taking action on the Lost Engines and to be able to put together such a wonderful coalition of partners to make it happen,” says Beverly T. Fitzpatrick Jr., the museum’s executive director. “The Lost Engines will be saved, but it will take additional funding and support from the community to restore these pieces and put them on display.”

All of the equipment is expected to be moved by September 30, 2009.

The Lost Engines include:

Three N&W Class M-2 and M-2c steam locomotives

The steam locomotives in the Roanoke scrap yard are the very last surviving examples of two classes of Norfolk & Western heavy freight locomotives, the M2 and M2c classes. The Classes serve as an important example in the development of heavy freight locomotive technology in the pre-World War I era. Originally intended for heavy freight service, the Class M2s were soon displaced by larger engines and reassigned to local freight and switching duties. By 1950, they were among the oldest engines on the N&W roster and were designated as surplus to operations. All were sold for scrap, the last ones in 1957.

Norfolk & Western Class M2c # 1151 steam locomotive to the Virginia Museum of Transportation

This M2c engine was built in Roanoke by the N&W in June of 1911, one of 11 built to the Norfolk & Western’s own M2 design. It included a number of advancements for its time, including the Baker valve gear and mechanical stokers. The locomotive’s Baker valve gear which gives it a signature ‘Roanoke’ look: the N&W used the Baker more than any other valve arrangement and was still using it on the last steam engine built in the East End Shops 41 years later. The #1151 arrived at the Roanoke scrap yard in 1950 and is the last survivor of its class.

Norfolk & Western Class M2 steam locomotives to the Railroad Museum of Virginia and # 1118 to Will Harris/North Fork Lumber Co.

Fifty Class M2 engines were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia in 1910. Engine #1118 was delivered to the Norfolk & Western in September of that year, and fellow survivor #1134 arrived in October. Both were sent to the Roanoke scrap yard in 1950 after forty years of service. Today, engines #1118 and #1134 are the last of the original M2s that still survive.

Two Baldwin diesel locomotives: one to the Virginia Museum of Transportation

Two “first generation” diesel locomotives are in the scrap yard. Built by Baldwin in Eddystone, Pa., in 1946, these diesels represent an historic step in the development of the technology that displaced steam from America's railroads in the 1940s and 1950s. These two locomotives are the Chesapeake Western #662 and #663, 660 horsepower locomotives which transitioned the Chesapeake Western from steam to diesel. The surviving Chesapeake Western blue paint with gold stripes is striking. The shortline railroad ran from the Norfolk & Western connection at Elkton, Va. to Harrisonburg, Bridgewater and Staunton, giving these engines an important Virginia connection. The engine in the best condition will go to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The other will provide parts or be scrapped to defray expenses

Two Norfolk & Western steam locomotive tenders, one to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, one to the Railroad Museum of Virginia

While not the tenders originally associated with the steam locomotives in the scrap yard, two other tenders, similar in design but modified to serve as water canteens, are there. The first tender is N&W 150006, a fifteen thousand gallon tender. Its Pilcher trucks were designed by a N&W employee in Roanoke, fabricated at the East End Shops, and are rare. No car number is visible on the second tender, which is a sixteen thousand gallon tender.

Norfolk & Western Maintenance of Way Flat Car: to Will Harris/North Fork Lumber Co.

Built in 1916, flat car 516605 was first used in revenue service, then placed in maintenance of way service, and later sold to the Chesapeake Western. The car may be the last class FE flat car remaining.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boxley Hotel Plans Proceeding; Will Not Be Razed


The red-hot rumor of the moment—that the venerable Boxley Building on South Jefferson Street in Roanoke will be torn down to make room for a modern hotel—is absolute fabrication from whole cloth, according to one of the developers.

Robert Arigo, who is helping to plan the future of the building, sold recently to Roanoker Worth Boone and others, says the rumor is far from being true. “The Boxley Building is one of the most significant buildings on the Roanoke landscape and keeping its historic value is absolute with us. There are no plans to tear it down.”

Quite the contrary. Though Arigo says details of future plans will not be ready until late August, there are plans that include “a boutique hotel and residential project,” the hotel occupying the first five or so floors and condominiums on the upper floors.

Arigo calls the Boxley “one of the best-built buildings I’ve ever seen. You simply couldn’t tear it down.” The Boxley was built 87 years ago and has 39,000 square. Boone’s Fairlawn at Jefferson LLC purchased the building some months ago for $1.7 million. Boone, who is out of town and did not return a phone call, was the developer of the updated Davidson’s building next door.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Botetourt Automotive Supplier To Close, Costing 260 Jobs

Botetourt County’s JTELKT North America (formerly Koyo Steering Systems) is the latest victim of the depression in the automobile industry, costing the county as many as 260 jobs.

The company plans to close during the first quarter of 2010 because its plants have been operating at dramatically reduced capacity, often as low as 35 percent, according to officials.

JTEKT made adjustments recently (wage freeze, overtime reduction, layoffs, early retirement, among others), but it will begin to slow operations in October with a likely close in February. Production will move to Texas and Tennessee where some employees will be offered opportunities to move.

The company has eight plants and 2,400 employees overall in the U.S. JTEKT was formed in 2006 from the merger Koyo Seiko (operating in North America since 1958) and the machine and driveline company Toyoda Machine Works (operating in North America since 1977). Koyo Steering opened in Botetourt County in 1999.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yokohama's Environmental Tires Made From Oranges

Yokohama Tire won a Clean Valley Council environmental award yesterday for planting trees—thousands of them—at its Salem facility, but little note was made of its fascinating new green efforts with its new “orange tires.”

The company has this to say about those tires:

Ever since vulcanized rubber was invented in 1844, tires have been manufactured using mostly petroleum. With the introduction of the all-new Yokohama dB Super E-spec—the world's first orange oil-infused passenger car tire, which is composed of 80 percent non-petroleum based materials—Yokohama Tire Corporation has effectively re-invented the tire.

"The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance," says Dan King, Yokohama vice president of sales. "It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance. With these innovations, the dB Super E-spec could very well be the most technologically-advanced tire ever produced."

Adds Mark Chung, director, corporate strategy and planning, "The dB Super E-spec and orange oil technology fit match our overall company mandate to produce world-class products while protecting the environment. Every gallon of gas saved by the tire means 20 fewer pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere, and because the dB Super E-spec is made from natural elements, most of its material is derived from renewable resources. No other tire on the market comes close to offering these environmental benefits along with superior performance."

"The idea of combining oil from orange peels with natural rubber was originally conceived by our racing engineers," says Chung. "The same orange oil technology, which improves a tire's grip, can be seen today with our racing tire on Porsche GT3 Cup cars. The ENV-R1 (the official spec tire of the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama is the first environmentally-sensitive race tire used in a motorsports series."

The dB Super E-spec, which won Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice Award at the 2008 SEMA trade show, will initially be available in four sizes which fit popular hybrids. Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global producer and distributor of premium tires since 1917. It has a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

PETCO Moving to Towers in Spring

PETCO will open its first Roanoke store at Towers Shopping Center in the spring of 2011. The pet store has leased 12,065 square feet store on the lower level next to Kroger.

Will Collins of the Rappaport Companies represented the landlord in the transaction. PETCO is a pet specialty retailer that provides pet supplies and services like pet adoption, grooming, dog training, vaccinations and pet photography services.

Towers Shopping Center is owned by Towers Retail, an affiliate of The Rappaport Companies, which manages the center.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wilson 50 Years Old in Roanoke

Wilson Trucking terminal celebrated its 50th anniversary in Roanoke yesterday. The company, which has been run by three generations of Wilsons, is based in Fishersville and opened its Roanoke terminal on Plantation Road in 1959.

The Wilson family (C.L. Wilson is president today and T.G. Wilson is executive VP) founded the company in 1926 and it has expanded through the southeast with 40 terminals in seven states.

UnitedHealthcare Plans To Hire

Roanoke’s UnitedHealth Group on Thirlane Road, which sells prescription drug plans for Medicare D patients, plans to hire 200 employees by the end of December. The jobs will be in inside sales and customer service primarily.

VTLS in Blacksburg Celebrates 25 Years

VTLS Inc. in Blacksburg is celebrating the start of its 25th year as a corporation. Over the past 24 years, VTLS has provided software, custom solutions, and service to the global library community.

From the initial Circulation and Finding System (CFS), which was groundbreaking software in 1975, to Chamo, which is groundbreaking software in 2009, VTLS has been a world leader in automation and information technology.

VTLS dates back to the mid-1970s when the initial CFS system came into existence. Created in 1979 and distributed in 1980, VTLS (the product) was the first MARCbased ILS. In 1985, VTLS Inc. was created to address the growing service needs for VTLS software.

The company has experienced constant growth since incorporation and remains independent, debt free, and profitable. Maintaining a steadfast commitment to both development and customer services, VTLS devotes 40 percent of its corporate resources to research and development and another 30 percent to customer support.

Over the years, VTLS’ product offerings have grown to include many cutting-edge developments. Virtua was the first commercial ILS to include support for FRBR. VITAL, an institutional repository solution, is based on Fedora’s open source software. Visualizer, a faceted search tool and Fastrac, an RFID solution, are other examples of creative solutions to marketplace demands.

“As one of the few companies in our industry that have not had an ownership change since inception, we are in a unique position,” saysCecilia M. Yourshaw, VTLS’ vice president of operations. “Our focus continues to be on anticipating and fulfilling the needs of the 21st century library community, and although much has changed over the past quarter century, VTLS remains committed to service and to excellence.”

VTLS President and CEO Vinod Chachra says, “Many of our customers have described our products as innovative or visionary. We are indeed proud of that. In the long run, however, it is not about products—for products change—but it is about people and their dedication to a cause.

"I am proud of the people that make up VTLS. They are the very best in this industry, and their enthusiasm makes it a pleasure to come to work each morning. So now we invite you to celebrate with us. Watch for future announcements, new events, and special offers to our customers as we proudly commemorate our 25th anniversary.”

Goodwill To Open in Blacksburg

Goodwill Industries of the Valleys will open a new store in Blacksburg at 1411 North Main Street in Patrick Henry Centre Wednesday, July 15. Goodwill retail stores support the training and employment programs for individuals who face barriers to employment.

Last year the donated goods operation generated $22.2 million in revenue and provided over 400 jobs throughout the area in Virginia served by Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. The new store will be Goodwill’s 28th retail store and add approximately 15 jobs in Blacksburg, including management positions.

Carilion Racks Up 'Wired' Award

Carilion Clinic has been selected as a 2009 “100 Most Wired” hospital system according to the Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study. This is the third time in three months Carilion Clinic has received national recognition for IT achievement.

"I think recognition as 100 Most Wired is a testament both to Carilion Clinic's commitment to technology as a key tool for patient care, and to the skill of our Technology Services Group,” says Daniel Barchi, chief information officer at Carilion Clinic. “Our talented Technology Services Group has been able to deliver an integrated electronic medical record (EMR) and other technology to seven hospitals and 110 physician practices that truly is as wired as a patient could expect anywhere."

Hospitals are named to the list based on a detailed scoring process. The survey asks hospitals to report on how they use information technology in regard to safety and quality, customer service, business processes, workforce, and public health and safety.

As more health care organizations implement IT projects, the bar is continually raised for achieving the “100 Most Wired” list. Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association, has published this list annually since 1998. Previously, Carilion Clinic has been named on the “100 Most Wired” list six times. Carilion’s strong commitment to investing in technology that improves care, quality and efficiency keeps the organization at the forefront of health care IT.

In 2008, Carilion began rolling out a fully integrated electronic medical record (EMR), and is currently on the leading edge of hospital systems moving toward paperless patient records.

Earlier this year, Carilion Clinic was included in CIO magazine’s “CIO 100” list, recognized among the top organizations in the country using IT to enable growth. Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics recognized Carilion as one of only 42 hospitals nation-wide to achieve “Stage 6” implementation of its electronic medical record.

CVC Picks Environmental Award Winners

The Clean Valley Council will present its annual awards Thursday to a number of businesses in the region that have found a way to make money and care for the environment. The winners include:

Environmental education award for promotion of waste management and educational programs: WDBJ Television Inc.

Clean-up award for significant contribution toward the prevention of litter enforcement of anti-litter laws or policies: Koppers.

Recycling and environmental stewardship award for involvement
in a recycling program: Roanoke Cement/Titan America.

Government award for agency
which has developed innovative, environmentally sound waste management practices: Northside High School, addition and renovation.

Beautification award for
planting, planning, design, conservation and preservation, demonstrating a beautiful and environmentally sound site: Yokohama Tire of Salem’s “Forever Forest Project.”

Award of excellence for
a model for the community in the area of litter control, recycling, waste management and reduction, etc.: Breakell, Inc.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

City Market Building, Amphitheater Get OK

OK, now we’re moving. Roanoke City Council—in the waning months of City Manager Darlene Burcham’s administration—has decided to proceed with City Market Building renovations ($5.7 million) and build a 5,000-seat amphitheater in Elmwood Park ($1.2 million for the architectural/engineering study).

The Market Building project, which had a unanimous vote, will get started with a $700,000 engineering study on top of its third $120,000 architectural study, completed recently. The renovation is scheduled for 2011. The amphitheater vote was 6-1.

There has been considerable criticism of the city for giving many of these architectural/engineering contracts to out of town firms. The Market Building study has been of special concern (see Dan Smith's My View column in the June issue of FRONT).

City Council has agreed that the National Guard Armory on <, which used to front Victory Stadium in the north end zone, should be razed with the demolition scheduled this winter. There is no plan for the site, which sits across the street from the Carilion biomedical park. The status of the controversial Countryside Golf Course remains in limbo as responses to request for proposal for the property are evaluated. The Countryside project was at the center of a Roanoker Magazine piece on Darlene Burcham (“Queen Darlene"). Council set asked $2 million for improvements at the course.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Liberty Ski Slope To Open in August

Snowflex can be skiied upon 12 months a year^

Here's how Snowflex is put together^

Liberty University’s proposed ski slope on Candler’s Mountain—to be built primarily for students, but which will also open to the public—was expected to be ready in early August.

The $4 million facility is called the Snowflex Center and will have synthetic snow, which does not melt and will be open year-round.

According to the Liberty University Web site, Snowflex originated in Europe and the Candler’s Mountain facility will mark its U.S. debut. The Discovery Channel is planning to air a piece on the new ski slope on “Daily Planet.”

The Web site says: “Invented by Brian Thomas of Briton Engineering, Snowflex is a multi-layer, synthetic material that simulates the effects of snow, allowing maximum speed and edge control for making turns. With the help of small misting devices, Snowflex stays moist, giving it the slip and grip of real snow. Snowflex’s extra padding and support enhances the most extreme maneuvers and stunts, culminating in the ultimate adventure.”

B&W Seeks Isotope Facility Approval

Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg is seeking federal approval for a new Campbell County facility to create medical isotopes that would be used in procedures that detect cancer and heart disease, among disorders.

B&W is not seeking federal money. The facilities are becoming increasingly important because of a potential looming shortage of the isotopes used thousands of times daily in medical procedures. B&W wants congress to clear regulatory requirements and approve the facility before the initially projected 2014 deadline.

According to published reports the B&W facility would use nuclear reactors to produce Molybdenum-99. The Molybdenum-99 would then be used by a medical supply firm to produce Technitium-99 to be used in medical procedures.

Because of the nature of the production, both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Food and Drug Administration will need to approve the project. B&W is looking for Commonwealth and Campbell County incentives to help build the facility, which could provide as many as 60 full-time jobs, officials say.

B&W hopes to provide half the nation’s supply (much of which is foreign-supplied now) and the University of Missouri has proposed a project that could produce the other half.

Vacation's Effects: It's About What Doesn't Happen

Tech's Joe Sirgy (below) discovered what doesn't happen when you go on vacation

Special to the FRONT

How does vacation travel affect your sense of well-being and happiness? Marketing professor Joe Sirgy of Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business, says his research findings may surprise some.

"Our results contradict the general belief that leisure travel affects an individual's life satisfaction through positive emotions related to health and safety," says Sirgy.

These emotions, he says, include "feeling relaxed, rested, and mentally re-charged after the trip, or feeling healthier because the trip required physical activity." Instead, his study found that satisfaction was "strongly influenced by travelers' not feeling too tired and exhausted, not getting sick, not gaining weight, and not worrying about catching a disease" on their vacation - that is, an absence of negative emotions related to health and safety."

His research, he says, suggests that holiday travel that "reduces the possibility of negative emotions arising from health and safety issues can significantly contribute to the vacationer's overall sense of well-being or life satisfaction."

Sirgy, who specializes in quality-of-life studies, conducted a survey of more than 260 tourists to test his model, which examines how the perceived benefits and costs of a travel trip affect tourist satisfaction with life in general and 13 specific life areas or domains that include social life, family life, financial life, and arts and culture in addition to health and safety. The data provided support for the overall model, he says, and identified various positive and negative influences on tourists' life satisfaction.

In another example of satisfaction resulting from an absence of negative emotions, Sirgy found that financially, vacationers' satisfaction stemmed from "not running out of money during the trip, not returning with significant debt, and not spending on frivolous things" - rather than "feeling that the trip was well worth the money spent, spending money specifically saved for travel, or saving money through bargain hunting and thriftiness."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Top Country Clubs To Merge in Roanoke?

A merger of the Roanoke Valley's two most prestigious country clubs--both struggling in hard economic times--could save a combined $750,000 a hear and make both viable, officials say. The old and venerable Roanoke Country Club, home of Roanoke's elite old money for many years, and the newer (and nouveau riche) Hunting Hills Country Club would not take place before 2010 and "the need is really economics," according to Hunting Hills' Tom Van Durrsen. He talked of "the opportunity ... to increase value to our members" in a published report.

Members would be able to use sports facilities at both clubs. Dining would be a Hunting Hills function and banquets would be held at RCC.

Van Durrsen laid much of the blame for declining memberships on the need for two working parents in most households, leaving less time for country club life.

We're Moving to the Jefferson Center Sept. 1

Come September 1, Valley Business FRONT magazine is moving to the Jefferson Center at the West End of Downtown Roanoke. FRONT will be in the front office just past the box office.

Jefferson opened as a high school in 1924 and closed in 1974, only to be renovated and re-opened again in 1993 as the Jefferson Center for the arts, following an impressive fund-raising campaign organized by Judge Beverly Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick Hall opened in 1995 and the Shaftman Center for the Performing Arts debuted in 2001, each the result of local fund-raising. The Jefferson opened its many offices to non-profits initially, but has recently made those offices available to businesses like the FRONT.

Journal founding editor Dan Smith, a fan of the Jefferson Center for many years (he covered its last sports in the early 1970s as a sports writer for The Roanoke Times says, "My office is going to be in that turret at the far right, ground floor. I always wanted an office in a turret."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Governor Kaine Praises Green Business Coalition

Chamber's Joyce Waugh (right), Cool Cities' Diana Christopoulos welcome Gov. Tim Kaine (center)^
Gwen Mason hands Gov. Kaine one of her "portable ashtrays," a symbol of the Clean & Green campaign^

Gwen Mason shares a thought with Gov. Tim Kaine^

Story/Photos by DAN SMITH

Gov. Tim Kaine was in Roanoke today to offer support and congratulations to a business coalition for going beyond the call of business.

Kaine's "Renew Virginia" tour, which is visiting communities for a variety of reasons, offering support and encouragement for a variety of activities, ranging from education to transportation to--in Roanoke's case--environmental stewardship.

Roanoke's Clean and Green campaign, which includes commitments from a group of the Valley's largest employers to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and clean them up (resulting in a 13 percent reduction among this group in the first year) caught the governor's attention. "Environmentalism has gone to the top of the public imagination," said Kaine to a substantial gathering at the State and City Building, Roanoke's first LEED-Certified office comples. "I've done a number of events on the Renew Virginia trip," he said, "but this is my first one like this. This is a big commitment from Roanoke's business community and I want the rest of the state to know about it."

Among those participating was Diana Christopoulos of the Cool Cities Coalition, a Roanoke-based group that is getting statewide exposure and interest for its environmentalism

The businesses involved in the first year of the campaign include AECOM, Carilion, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, Virginia Western Community College, J.M. Turner Construction Company, RGC Resources, Lanford Brothers Construction, SunTrust Western Virginia, Orvis, Steel Dynamics, Berglund Automotive and Fralin & Waldron.

Joe Crawford of Steel Dynamics said that his company, which makes all of its steel products from recycled materials, said the idea of reducing its environmental impact was only marginally successful--since its impact is relatively low already--but that the attenti9on "makes us pay greater attention to what we are doing." He said that the steel produced at Steel Dynamics "uses a third of the energy required to produce iron ore."

Movie at the Lake, in This Economy? You Bet!

Sara Elizabeth Timmins: Opportunity time


At that very moment, Sara Elizabeth Timmins was looking at the prospect of raising $500,000 in about three weeks. You’d have thought she had a surplus.

If sheer force of will has anything at all to do with the making of the new Smith Mountain Lake-based movie “Lake Effect,” it’ll be on time, under budget and a box office smash.

This small, pretty, 33-year-old actress/producer from L.A. via Ohio and now The Lake, where her parents have retired, has a resume that includes 12 productions of various kinds, so it’s not as if she was a rookie. But, the conventional wisdom goes, what about the worst economy in the memory of most of us? Huh! Opportunity: “It’s more exciting this way,” she says, leaning forward and emphasizing each word. “Millionaires are made and people do great things during recessions.”

Advantages? Yep: “There are fewer movies being made and therefore more talent available and it’s cheaper.”

Raising that 500 Large was the problem of the moment and Sara Elizabeth Timmins was in the middle of her whirlwind tour, meeting, cajoling, convincing, charming. She had already secured roughly $1.3 million in donations, loaned materials, volunteer work. It is a wide variety of necessities from boats to homes to all that which is required to put together a movie and support its crew.

The goal is to begin shooting in October, when the leaves are at peak, but, says Sara Elizabeth, “If we don’t meet the goal, then we go to spring or next fall. The movie will be made.”

Sara Elizabeth has been something of a roiling storm from the beginning. She went to Xavier University in Cincinnati to study theater and discovered there was no major when she got there. She put together a coalition of students, demanding one and voila! It was deemed so.

Her first producing project came when the producer of a movie on which she was working as a volunteer left to do “Seabiscuit.” She had so impressed the powers that be that they slotted her into the producer’s chair for “Tattered Angel,” an award-winner.

She’s been in the business eight years (and yes, she admits she still looks like a teenager) and has 12 productions that include music videos, features, TV and other work. She’s also an actor, but it’s the business side that fascinates her most. Will she act in “Lake Effect”? “Probably,” she says, unimpressed.

She’s been a Los Angeles resident for the past six years, but has never really taken to it. “I was disheartened by what I found,” she says. “It is not in line with the way I work. There’s a lot of dishonesty there.”

The Lake, though, is another matter. She loves the Lake. “I was here one winter,” she says, “and went for a walk. I was suddenly calm and, click, there was clarity. The film based here came to me.”

So, she hired a writer (Scott Winter of Providence, R.I.) who produced a script and she was right smack in the middle of “taking my own advice. I do motivational speaking and I always tell people to follow their dreams.”

The idea is to tell a good story (it’s about coming home), showcase the Lake and create community around the movie. Her company, Life Out Loud Films, “can be a catalyst for possible change,” she says. “When I started, I asked myself how I could do this differently or better. I felt like we had to give some of the profits to lake cleanup.

“My dad started getting the word out and I was getting calls from people offering lodging, medical care, a plane, boats, things we could use.”

Bart Wilner of Entre Computer in Roanoke became the first cash investor and Sara Elizabeth is working the room for more, maybe 10 total at $50K each. “When I started pitching,” she says, “it ceased to be my project and became the community’s project. It all began to click that way. We’re hoping to create a positive economic impact with this film. We’re using the name of the lake, businesses at the lake and we’re using Virginia products everywhere we can. We’ll use as much as we can without losing the integrity of the project.”

It’s a project “we couldn’t do in L.A.,” she says, emphasizing that “I have no money. It’s more exciting this way.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

P&W, Tech Partnership Expands

Pratt & Whitney has expanded its strategic university partnership with Virginia Tech to include research into composite materials. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.

Pratt & Whitney works with Virginia Tech on fundamental research initiatives that support the design and development of advanced gas turbine engine propulsion. The expansion of this relationship to composite materials will enable Pratt & Whitney to leverage its substantial technology investments and Virginia Tech's expertise in fundamental and applied research.

"We are very excited that Virginia Tech, one of our University Centers of Excellence, will work with us on composite material development. Pratt & Whitney is committed to using technology to differentiate our products," says Paul Adams, senior vice president, Pratt & Whitney Engineering. "Collaboration with best-in-class research partners such as Virginia Tech allows us to improve the performance and capability of a wide range of engine products."