Friday, September 30, 2011

Tech Grads Rank 5th Nationally in Starting Salaries

An interesting twist on college rankings these days comes from a new report on which college degrees bring in the most money for graduates.

The complete report--and there's a lot of interesting aspects to it--is here.

Virginia Tech, with an average starting salary of $51,600, ranks fifth in the nation, behind Stanford, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame. The Atlantic Coast Conference, of which Tech is a member, ranked first among all the top level of athletic conferences.

Of the 10 most popular jobs among Tech grads, four had to do with IT or computer programming. IT business analyst, civil engineer, database administrator, electrical engineer and financial analyst and were the top four.

The major that had the quickest payback for graduates--by far--was petroleum engineering.

Washington & Lee University in Lexington ranked fourth among Southern schools in salary potential with a mid-career median of $98,000. William & Mary was 10th at $96,500 and Duke was first at $113,000.

Virginia Tech also ranked 14th nationally for mid-career salaries of graduates of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools. Tech graduates bring in an average mid-career salary of $91,500.

According to a study published by the website, The Atlantic Coast Conference was first among all the 11 conferences that constitute the NCAA FBS subdivision for most money earned by graduates in their initial jobs following graduation. The ACC also placed first among the same conferences for mid-career salaries of graduates, with an average of $90,192.

(Photo: Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GS Industries Gets Big New Contract

GS Industries of Bassett, a leading provider of custom plastic injection molding, is expanding its business to produce parts for a manufacturer of infant and toddler toys and accessories. The company, occupying a 148,000-square-foot building in Henry County, expects to add 35 new jobs to meet demand.

Of the 35 new positions to be created, 21 of will be machine operators with the rest in support roles and tooling maintenance.

“At a time when domestic manufacturing continues to struggle, we’re bucking the trend with quality work, on-time delivery, low manufacturing costs and tooling transfer experience,” says Hank McHale, CEO of GS Industries of Bassett.

The company’s newest client, Kids II Inc., manufactures, markets and distributes products worldwide under its signature Bright Starts brand and holds a license to design and manufacture products under the Disney Baby and Baby Einstein brands. Most recently, it acquired the intellectual property rights to Rhino Toys and Taggies. Kids II produces more than 400 products worldwide under its brand portfolio.

GS Industries’ injection-molded plastics will be used in Baby Einstein’s Around the World Discovery Center, an activity saucer for babies. The company’s work also will be used to make high chairs, potty seats, booster seats and other items for the U.S. and global markets. The first parts were shipped worldwide in late August.

“With shipping costs rising due to fuel prices, manufacturers are realizing that parts and products can be made more efficiently here at home rather than importing them,” McHale says.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vision Point Rolls Out New Service

Vision Point Systems of Blacksburg has introduced a new service called Voice Vision which assesses the performance and compliance of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), as well as contact centers and telephone systems in regulated environments.

VoiceVision is a standardized evaluation process that delivers an analysis of integrated IVR systems, contact center operations and voice/data networks performance quickly and inexpensively. VoiceVision identifies operational cost drivers, locates opportunities to leverage existing assets and find regulatory risk areas.

It is designed to be used by regulated pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, clinical research organizations, pharmaceutical benefits management, medical device manufacturers and similar regulated markets.

Facilitating communications between pharmaceutical companies, their patients, pharmacies and health care providers to ensure patient safety and compliance requires continual review, development, testing, validation and documentation development to meet evolving GxP guidelines and FDA regulations.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

EXPAND Announces Top 20 Contestants

The EXPAND contest, which will select a budding business for a $25,000 prize has selected its top 20 from the 178 businesses initially entered.

The Top 20 Businesses now advance to the Semi-Finals Round competition where they must present their business pitch to the five panelists at WBRA TV studios before a live audience.

Each business owner will have five minutes to tell the panel about the business and how the business will grow if the business wins the contest. The panel then has 10 minutes to question the contestant. Once all contestants have presented, the panel will then select one business from each of the five teams to advance to the Final round of competition.

The five finalists will present their business pitch at Super Synergy on Oct. 27, where the grand prize winner will be announced.

Here are the finalists:

Team 1 – Mentor: Kimberly Eakin: At Home Caregivers George R. Puckett); SleepEZ Diagnositic Center, Inc.(Raquel Rothe); Milkin’ Cookies (Lennox McNeary); 24/7 Hunting TV (Kevin Cameron).

Team 2 – Mentor: Dawn LeMone: Better Building Works (Monica Rokicki); Mountain View Equine Hospital (Wynne DiGrassie); ADA Specialties (Gary Feazell); Skill-Capped.

Team 3 – Mentor: Hugh Ballou: Muneris (Burman S. Clark); Phoenix, LLC (Ashley Callahan); Engagn (Marek Zareba); Whitewash.m2 Publishing (Dennis Graybill).

Team 4 – Mentor: David Shanks: NjoynLife2 (Theresa Childress-Foster); SitMyBaby! (Roger Duncan); (Allan Tsang); Valley Energy Consultants, LLC (John Cook).

Team 5 – Mentor: Mike Hamlar: The Inn on Campbell (Keith Hummer); Nature’s Nectars(Sharisse Brookins); Bulldog Field Equipment; Know Better LLC (Robert Kenny).

Honorable Mentions: Glow-A-Rama; Azario Spa & Salon; The Hour of Joy; Sundara; Wine Gourmet; LiveBasin; The Design Consign Shop; Rainbow Hill Farms; Creative Occasions; New Moon Creative Media.

Tech, Toyota Announce Collaboration

Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) has announced 10 new research initiatives and new partnership agreements with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, as well as six leading North American universities and research institutions. They are designed to enhance the development, testing, and implementation of new automotive safety innovations across North America.

The new projects will research subjects ranging from driver education and collision mitigation to accident reconstruction and enhanced crash data analysis. A significant expansion in the center's work, these initiatives build upon the CSRC's initial focus of reducing the risk of driver distraction and better protecting the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens, seniors, and pedestrians.

"In keeping with its collaborative, open research model, the CSRC intends to publish as much of the research from its partnerships as possible to make it available to federal agencies, the industry, and academia," says Chuck Gulash, senior executive engineer at the Toyota Technical Center and director of the CSRC.

"This model of sharing Toyota talent, technology, and data with a broad range of institutions, represents a fundamental change for Toyota, moving away from a traditional focus on proprietary research towards a new concern for innovations that benefit the automotive industry and society as a whole."

Life Science Forum Scheduled Oct. 6 at VTC

The Fifth Annual Southwest Virginia Life Science Forum on the evening of Oct. 6 will bring together university researchers and business people to discuss discoveries and possible collaborations.

There will also be a day-long workshop on how to apply for funding from the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research program, and a late-afternoon talk from a distinguished scholar on how the brain processes olfactory information.

The forum and reception are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke. They will present an opportunity for students to learn about jobs, university scientists to meet people from Virginia's outstanding biological and medical product companies, and business people to learn about the most recent research results--which the scientists have only begun to report--and what they are working on.

More than 100 academic and private sector bioscience leaders are expected to participate. Poster presentations will include biotechnology, biomaterials, nanotechnology, neuroscience, and biomedical engineering.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'A Banner Year for Botetourt County' Continues: 25 More Good Jobs

An Austrian company today announced it is establishing a U.S. subsidiary in Botetourt County to manufacture and market specialty optical fiber, investing $5 million in new construction and equipment and creating 25 high-tech, high-paying jobs.

FCTech Inc., a subsidiary of NBG Holding, plans to build a new facility at the Botetourt Center at Greenfield in Daleville. The company’s optical fiber will be used in high-performance sensor applications for the global energy, healthcare, industrial and defense industries.

Average wages for the new jobs will range from $70,000-$80,000.

“I would like to extend a warm welcome to FCTech and NBG Holding,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, who made the announcement at a news conference at Greenfield Education and Training Center. “The Administration and the partners involved were determined to bring NBG to Virginia, and we are extremely pleased at the positive outcome of our efforts.”

The $4 billion global market for distributed fiber optic sensors is forecasted to double over the next four years, driven in large part by the continued growth of fiber optic sensing applications. Market segments that will see the most growth are in well oil and gas sensing, homeland security applications, and defense underwater monitoring.

“Our company has a solid track record of establishing and growing companies in the fiber optics market. This year we initiated a strategy to open new markets, principally in the U.S., and we are delighted to join other international companies that have found Botetourt County to combine a quality workforce with low costs of doing business,” says Karl Bauer, CEO and managing director of NBG Holding and president of FCTech. “We look forward to starting our new U.S. operation and appreciate the support of Botetourt County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The company plans to invest $2 million in a new facility and $3 million in equipment and employ approximately 25 people by 2015. Construction is expected to start at the end of September. The company expects to start shipping to customers by next summer. A significant portion of the FCTech sales will be international.

Botetourt County, the Roanoke Regional Partnership, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and the Virginia Jobs Investment Program of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance worked together on this project.

“It has been a banner year for Botetourt County,” says Gerald Burgess, county administrator. “We’ve announced the location of Canatal and expansions at Dynax America, Arkay Packaging and TREAD Corporation. And now, FCTech lends a high-tech flavor to our run of success. So far this year, companies have announced investments of nearly $35 million and 378 new jobs. And with the region’s lowest unemployment rate, Botetourt is a shining example of economic opportunity.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LewisGale Among Nation's Top Performers

LewisGale Hospital Salem's campus^

All four LewisGale Regional Health System Hospitals today were named as one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures by The Joint Commission, an accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

Each of the LewisGale Hospitals was recognized by The Joint Commission based on 2010 data reported about evidence-based clinical processes linked to better patient outcomes for certain medical conditions.

LewisGale Medical Center, LewisGale Hospital Alleghany, LewisGale Hospital Pulaski, and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, were among only 405 U.S. hospitals and 12 Virginia hospitals--as well as being the only health system in Western Virginia--achieving this exemplary level of performance for the following medical conditions and procedures:
  • LewisGale Medical Center: Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Surgical Care
  • LewisGale Hospital Alleghany: Pneumonia, Surgical Care
  • LewisGale Hospital Montgomery: Heart Attack, Pneumonia, Surgical Care
  • LewisGale Hospital Pulaski: Heart Attack, Pneumonia, Surgical Care
The Joint Commission report singles out hospitals based on their performance related to 22 accountability measures on heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, and children’s asthma care. For example, to be recognized as a top performer in heart attack care, a hospital had to achieve (1) a 95 percent or greater score on each of several clinical processes proven to give patients the best possible outcomes and (2) the hospital had to achieve a composite score of 95 percent or greater for overall heart attack care.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Schultz-Creehan Holdings Merges with Aeroprobe

Schultz-Creehan Holdings Inc. of Blacksburg has acquired Aeroprobe Corporation, an international supplier of custom aerodynamic and hydrodynamic measurement systems. Schultz-Creehan had been Aeroprobe’s exclusive manufacturer of multi-hole probe instrumentation.
The merger brings design and manufacturing together while enhancing Aeroprobe’s mechanical, electronic, and materials capabilities. The companies have combined to operate as Aeroprobe Corporation. Offices and staff have been consolidated in Schultz-Creehan Holding’s facilities on Kraft Drive in Blacksburg.

Nanci Hardwick (right), CEO of the merged entity, says, "Schultz-Creehan Holdings has a strong reputation for innovation and has addressed complex problems requiring a multi-disciplinary team approach for customers who are challenged by the extremes of the environment they work in.

“We have been able to develop novel solutions to address the conditions of extreme heat, corrosion, and pressure. For 18 years, Aeroprobe has provided custom solutions for industries like aerospace, turbomachinery, wind energy and automotive which all face extreme conditions. We share a culture of innovation and technical expertise. To honor Aeroprobe’s global reputation for leading technology, we’ve chosen to continue operating under that name.”

Aeroprobe Vice President of Business Development Matt Zeiger says, “This merger provides a synergy that will greatly benefit the market. Both companies have a tradition of commitment to the customer. We are excited to now offer expanded in-house resources, engineering, and expertise.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

150 Businesses at Va. Tech Career Fair Thursday

Nearly 150 employers have signed up to attend the 29th annual Business Horizons career fair of the Pamplin College of Business on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Squires Student Center’s Commonwealth and Old Dominion ballrooms.

“We have sold out our available booths but we can find room for a few more employers, if necessary,” says Stuart Mease, Pamplin’s undergraduate career services director. “Employer registrations are up.”

The fair drew 127 employers last year and 106 in 2009. “There are plenty of jobs, if students have acquired skill sets in demand or are willing to take a position that is not their dream job.”

Five Pamplin majors are routinely among the 10 majors most sought after by recruiters visiting campus, according to the university’s Career Services office. A 2010 Wall Street Journal employer survey ranked Virginia Tech as the 13th best place for college recruiting.

More than 2,000 students attended Business Horizons last year. The event, organized by Pamplin undergraduates, gives students and employers a good opportunity to meet and interact with each other in one central location, Mease says. “A job seeker will have no better opportunity to meet face-to-face with hundreds of company representatives. To reproduce the environment of a job fair will take many months to orchestrate. That’s why the job fair is still the best job search tool for seekers.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

LewisGale Opens Alleghany Seniors Facility

Interior at LewisGale Alleghany's new Senior Transitions facility.

LewisGale Regional Health System celebrated the completion of its new Senior Transitions Unit at LewisGale Hospital Alleghany today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 15-bed inpatient specialty unit, located on the fifth floor of the hospital, is designed to meet the behavioral health needs of seniors throughout LewisGale Regional Health System’s service area.

“We strategically chose Alleghany as the site for our new program because of its rapidly growing senior population,” says Victor E. Giovanetti, president of LewisGale Regional Health System. “This specialized unit will focus on meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens and ensure they have the best health outcomes.”

Giovanetti anticipates patients will come from all over the region to receive this specialized care because the unit is a first-of-its-kind for Southwest Virginia.

“There is currently a shortage of resources in the area to the serve the senior population,” said Bruce Melosh, MA, MSPH, Senior Transitions Director. “Opening this program will help to fill the gap and serve as a regional center for the treatment of seniors with behavioral or emotional issues.”

The Senior Transitions program will primarily serve patients 65 and older with emotional and behavioral health issues such as memory problems, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders. Patients as young as 55 years old may qualify for admission if they suffer with chronic mental health issues or disability.

“Seniors have unique behavioral health challenges that are often coupled with other medical conditions,” said Pradip Koirala, M.D., Senior Transitions Medical Director.

“We are excited to bring this new service to Alleghany to meet an important community need while at the same time benefitting our local economy through the creation of new jobs,” said Greg Madsen, CEO, LewisGale Hospital Alleghany.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Research Center for Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech, in cooperation with L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, and Verisign Labs, has received a five-year continuing grant to establish a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) site for cybersecurity.

Initial topics of research for the center include secure computing architectures, cloud computing security, visualization tools for cyber defense, securing critical infrastructure, wireless security, and malware detection and mitigation. This new cybersecurity site joins the Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC), which is led by Ball State University and includes a primary site at Iowa State University and now Virginia Tech.

Harris, Williamson Named to Hall of Fame

Leon P. Harris (left), KelTech Inc. and John B. Williamson (right), CEO of RGC Resources, Inc. have been named laureates for the 21st Southwest VirginiaBusiness Hall of Fame. They will be recognized on Nov. 14 at the Business Hall of Fame dinner at Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Reception begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30pm. For more ticket information please e-mail or call 989-6392.

Established in 1990 the Business Hall of Fame honors leaders based on their outstanding leadership and business success as well as contributions and involvement in the community.

Harris is a native of Floyd and a graduate of Virginia Tech in electrical engineering. He started at GE building parts for locomotives and was involved in two start-up businesses making small electric components. He was also part owner of a radio broadcasting company. Each of his ventures started with a small nucleus of dedicated workers that grew into national providers of telecommunications.

Harris’ success has afforded him time and capital to help others with business and venture capital. His he was instrumental in the launch of RB TC (Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council) formerly NCTC.

Williamson is chairman/president of RGC Resources who has served as county administrator in three Virginia locations and on several boards that uphold human rights, education, health and wellness and the arts. Williamson has held positions at C& P Telephone (now Verizon), to Roanoke Gas Company and the newly formed energy distributor RGC Resources, a publicly traded company.