High-Tech Heats up Virginia
Learn more about the projects, programs, and incentives that make technology thrive, in exclusive conversations with Jerry Giles, Team Leader, Science and Research Team; Keith Boswell, Team Leader, Security and Services Team; Len Capelli, Manager, Distributed Services Initiative; Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Susan Avery (Southern Tech Sites 2008)
Q. Why chose Virginia for technology projects?
A. Giles: Our technology, like our economic base, is very diversified. Cyberstates 2008 lists Virginia with highest concentration of technology workers in the nation. We have 225 privately owned research and development operations and a wealth of federal laboratories, not to mention the university system. Virginia was ranked the best state for business by Forbes and CNBC. We offer a predictable and friendly business environment, low taxation, and a corporate income tax that hasn't increased in over 30 years. Our location is contiguous to Washington, D.C., and every major federal contractor, whether defense-related or not, has a significant presence in Virginia.
Our major research-dedicated entities include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Loudon County and Philip Morris USA's research and technology center in Richmond. Under construction now, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute will provide cancer treatment to more than 2,000 cancer patients annually when it opens in 2011.
The nuclear energy sector continues to expand as Areva NP, with 2,000 employees in Lynchburg area, adds 500 additional engineers. Other active companies include BWXT, which makes 90 percent of the nuclear fuel assemblies for Navy ship reactors, and Northrop Grumman shipbuilding, a global leader in nuclear powered vessels.
Boswell: Driven by technology, corporate headquarters are moving here - for example, Volkswagen's and Computer Sciences Corp.'s headquarters moving to Fairfax County. Not all expansion is driven by the private sector. In King Georges County, 4,000 scientists and engineers work at the Dahlgren military base making advanced weaponry.
Our Distributed Services Initiative gets certain communities ready to welcome information technology projects. Because of the initiative, during the last two years, we have had 17 announcements, yielded about $915 million dollars of investment and created 2,790 jobs.
Capelli: Executives in the federal government have told us that they want to see their contractors lower costs, but because of security issues can not let contractors take advantage of offshore work. Being able to reach these communities with the Distributive Services Initiative shows them that within Virginia, we can lower the cost of operations and maintain the security and integrity of data, as well as meet with the people face to face, in a low-cost environment. If we can help them lower their bid costs, and they can do their work in Virginia, that's a huge win for us.