Summary of Major Initiatives and Related Progress
WHAT’S NEW FOR FY2010
Summary of Virginia's Ranking
The following are various initiatives and strategies that will be implemented in this fiscal year:
- Continue the Strategic Initiative Program around energy, global logistics, and cybersecurity.
- Refine and implement the Gold Accounts (high value companies) outreach strategy.
- Focus resources to implement target sector strategies in key areas of Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, and Information Technology.
- Fully implement the Virginia Companie Program to develop strategies to retain and grow
companies which have a presence in the Commonwealth.
- Initiate a dialogue with selected corporate leadership in target sectors to engage their support
of the VEDP message and become champions for the message in their corporate and
- Refine and implement the focused outreach strategy to Site Selection Consultants.
- Fully sustain and execute the Virginia Energy Marketing Plan through the transition of Administrations.
- Refine and implement the Executive Pulse tool to assist localities in executing a professional Business Retention & Expansion program.
- Facilitate development of the Virginia Innovation Alliance (as structured in the SRI Innovation study) by leveraging strategic research assets or other catalysts that enhance Virginia’s business case in the target sectors (i.e. support creation of Centers of Excellence in key areas of Energy, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing and Global Logistics)
- Continue to identify, educate and engage stakeholders on the SRI emerging sectors strategy.
- Fully implement the Energy Marketing Plan.
- Produce an enhanced and more comprehensive “Directory of Internationally-Owned
Companies in Virginia.”
- Expand the Virginia International Investors Forum (VAIIF).
- Launch "Visit Virginia" events targeting International Embassy officials.
- Initiate “Export 3.0”, a new program designed to stimulate Virginia’s companies to sell into
targeted international markets.
- Provide enhanced assistance to Virginia service exporters via the VEDP Global Network in
- Initiate “per click” Search Engine marketing to increase YesVirginia.org web traffic.
- Develop marketing program utilizing social media such as web blogs, RSS feeds, and profiles
on popular social web sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Produce “Results,” a report on Virginia economic development activity in the preceding year
for use as a marketing tool and to communicate VEDP’s economic impact to stakeholders.
- Experiment with new uses for VEDP Call Center with prototype activities to conduct vertical
sector-focused missions and conference call appointment-setting.
- Continue to advance further recommendations of the Governor’s Mega Project Advisory
Committee to identify, plan, and develop new sites to position Virginia to compete more
effectively for “Mega” projects.
- Expand acceptance and usage of the newly-inaugurated Virginia Economic Developers
Research Network to share best practices and explore issues of importance among research
practitioners in Virginia.
- Serve as the economic development resource on the Virginia Community College System’s Career Pathways System task force to bring an economic development perspective to the workforce development system.
- Serve as knowledge leaders of selected business sectors to be a resource for local and regional economic development allies.
- Create and leverage networks of business champions that support ,validate and enhance the Virginia business case in strategic sectors.
- Serve as the convener of the Virginia Tobacco Commission’s Technical Review Panel for its Research & Development Commercialization Grant Program by convening review panel members (higher education, professional services, businesses) to vet and recommend R&D applications to the TICRE Board.
- Expand Virginia International Firm Directory through outsourced research and enhanced
display on the website.
- Expand and upgrade materials and datasets in support of International investment outreach.
- Upgrade the GIS imagery to the 2009 aerial survey.
- Create a unified software platform for Marketing, Contact, Prospect and Project Management
- Provide fail-over capability for production servers.
- Implement a Storage Area Network (SAN) and consolidate digital storage.
- Implement a Virtual Server Cluster utilizing virtualization technology.
- Develop an IT Best Practices and Security and Awareness training program for new and
- Extend GIS capability through a data service program on VanillaScan.
- Provide information to interested market participants regarding Virginia’s corporate income
tax apportionment formula, specifically focused on the new single sales factor formula.
In FY2010, Business Development will continue to position Virginia in major market sectors,
through strategic initiatives, project management, and implementation of a regional alliance
strategy. Major market outreach strategies include executing over 60 domestic U.S. marketing
missions, industry specific conferences & special events, the Gold Accounts Program and the
new Virginia Companie Program. Target industry sectors include Advanced Manufacturing &
Materials, Transportation, Security and Services & IT, and Science & Research. Strategic
Initiative Sectors include Energy, Global Logistics, and CyberSecurity. The division will align
outreach to site selection consultants within these sectors.
Business Development staff has significant experience in the target market areas and thus will
continue to leverage the higher education stakeholders as key assets. Staff will also grow
dialogue with private sector leaders in the target sectors, to build a cadre of executives who
understand and champion Virginia’s message in corporate and political realms.
In a broadened regional alliance strategy, Business Development will continue its leadership role to work with Virginia’s regions and localities on asset-based and target sector marketing. Regional communications will be implemented by agency staff, who communicate the VEDP vision and strategy; who build relationships and leverage state partners in regions; who understand and facilitate strategies for collaborative marketing of assets, and for addressing gaps; and who understand and facilitate communication of marketing partnerships
The International Investment team within the Division of International Trade and Investment will conduct an aggressive direct client marketing effort to generate prospect visits to Virginia. The team will conduct 15 marketing missions in 9 countries to recruit foreign-owned firms to Virginia. Staff will focus Virginia’s marketing message around the VEDP’s vertical sectors. The investment team will work to identify internationally-owned Virginia companies through an enhanced and more comprehensive “Directory of Internationally-Owned Companies in Virginia”. The investment team will also contribute to, staff, and manage the 2nd annual Virginia International Investors Forum (VAIIF).
The International Trade program is based on the premise that successful international sales are obtained by working with individual companies, one-on-one. To achieve this, the program has three components: 1) increase awareness among the Virginia business community on the importance and benefits of exporting; 2) provide all necessary tools for selling into international markets, from market research to assistance with completing documentation; and 3) enable these companies to participate in trade events that lead to market entry, expansion, and increased international sales. A website (ExportVirginia.org), lists programs, services, upcoming events, and accepts payment for international trade events.
The International Trade Division’s performance measures for FY2010 consist of the following: The Trade Division will generate sales for and/or provide technical assistance to 225 clients. The Trade Division will graduate 15 companies from its Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program, documenting obtained international sales. The Trade Division will graduate 20 companies from the Accessing International Markets (AIM) Program annually. The Trade Division will conduct 10 trade events around the world. A new initiative, “Export 3.0,” will begin and is designed to stimulate target market visits by Virginia companies. The trade team will also contribute to, and staff, trade-related components of the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL).
The Research Division will provide a broad range of critical services in support of VEDP’s
marketing and outreach activities. Division staff will be full participants in the planning, research,
and execution of outreach efforts for VEDP’s established vertical industry markets and specific
marketing initiatives. An array of updated data content for the VEDP website and targeted
industry collateral material will be prepared in cooperation with the Communications and
Promotions Division. Industry sector and firm-level business targets will be presented to the
International and Business Development Divisions for follow-up as a means of building up the
project pipeline. Materials and data to support International outreach will be expanded and
Efforts will continue to improve the accuracy and completeness of VEDP’s real estate database,
VirginiaScan. The more rigid protocols for ensuring ally verification of data have had a positive
impact and will be maintained. Upgrades to the VirginiaScan package will be undertaken as part
of an overall website overhaul process begun last year. Staff will continue improvements to the
visual appearance and formatting of prospect proposals to succinctly convey needed information
to our clients.
Selected Division staff will serve as designated VEDP Regional Liaison Representatives; other
staff will provide appropriate research support to the liaison program to facilitate communication
of VEDP’s strategies to regional allies and to evaluate the alignment of VEDP’s strategies with
those at the regional level. Tracking of major competitor state incentives and economic
development budgets and initiatives will continue. Staff will continue development of a usable,
integrated database of major Virginia employers. This work will support the new ExecutivePulse
system used in connection with building a more cohesive statewide existing business and
industry initiative. An updated Economic Development Handbook for Local Elected Officials will
continue to be distributed to allies. Staff will continue to participate in local government officials’
conferences, including VACo and VML, to help communicate VEDP’s role in economic
development. Fiscal performance information showing the positive return on investment for
Virginia incentives programs will be released and packaged to support our public relations and
COMMUNICATIONS AND PROMOTIONS
Electronic marketing, public relations, direct marketing, and trade show and event promotion
remain primary activities of the Communications and Promotions (C&P) Division. Major media
advertising, a primary marketing tool, will not be utilized for the fifth year in a row due to budget
In conjunction with the other VEDP divisions, C&P will research website best practices and make
revisions as appropriate. Ally communication is enhanced with the publication of four issues of
Commerce Quarterly. C&P will also organize the semi-annual VEDP/Ally meetings, as well as
contact events for regional economic development marketing organization directors. C&P will
support outreach marketing by providing appointment-setting services to traditional marketing
missions; however, initiative-based, business sector direct marketing will be introduced at our
Verizon-supported VEDP Call Center. C&P will manage VEDP’s trade show presence, marketing
events, and the Governor’s foreign and domestic marketing missions.
The Information Technology (IT) Division operates and maintains the Partnership’s information
systems, including the geographic information system (GIS) and the presentation and videoconferencing
facility. The presentation facilities are supported by GIS data layers developed inhouse
or obtained from local, state, federal, and commercial sources.
Rapid access to these data and their presentation in an appealing and understandable format is
essential to Virginia’s superior position in the marketing of sites, buildings, and other information
products. In addition, the division operates and maintains VirginiaScan, a shared, web-enabled
site selection, workforce, mapping, and data management tool. This tool is shared with regional
and local economic development allies, many of whom are utilizing VirginiaScan as their primary
web based marketing tool for industrial sites and buildings. Providing GIS mapping capabilities
on VirginiaScan directly benefits VEDP’s economic development allies.
Virginia consistently ranks as a leader in the United States in categories that impact successful economic development. The following is a sampling of state rankings in FY2010:
Summary of Customer Trends and Coverage
For the fourth year in a row, Virginia led the nation in Forbes.com’s “Best States for Business” ranking. The review examines multiple objective measurements, including business cost, regulatory climate, quality of the workforce and economic growth.
CNBC, the leading financial news cable channel that reaches influential business and financial leaders around the world, in July, 2009, designated Virginia as its “Top State for Business.” Virginia ranked No. 1 on CNBC’s ranking in 2007 and second in 2008.
Virginia also received a No. 1 national ranking from Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc., a top U.S. corporate site relocation expert, and a second place ranking in Directorship magazine’s first annual Boardroom Guide to the Best States for Business.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Virginia among the top five states to start a business.
Cyberstates 2009 ranked Virginia No. 1 in highest concentration of technology workers as a percentage of the private sector workforce.
Three Virginia schools ranked in the U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” survey. The schools all ranked in the top 100. The University of Richmond ranked No. 23, The College of William & Mary ranked No. 32 and Virginia Tech came in at No. 71.
Twenty Virginia colleges and universities made the Forbes.com 2009 rankings of 600 American colleges and universities. Compiled by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Virginia has two schools in the top 50 nationally -- Washington and Lee University (34) and the College of William & Mary (48), and seven in the top 100, including Hampden-Sydney College (54), University of Virginia (64), Sweet Briar College (69), Virginia Military Institute (79), and Hollins University (95).
Virginia received the top score in the Government Performance Project’s “Grading the States 2008” report, the nation’s only comprehensive, independent analysis of how well each state performs in serving the public. In the first such rating in three years, Virginia achieved an overall grade of A- for performance. Two other states—Utah and Washington—received an A-, and the national average was B. Virginia also received an A- ranking in the 2005 “Grading the States” assessment.
The Virginia Leaders In Export Trade (VALET) was recognized as a premier export program by NASBITE International, a multi-national professional trade organization. The Program Excellence Award is given to recognize innovation and originality in international trade education, counseling, training and research. According to NASBITE officials, the VALET program stood out because of its successful pairing of resources, state funding and private-sector support to promote and expand international sales for Virginia companies.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s International Trade Division was one of only four nationwide recipients of the 2008 “E Star” Award, the most prestigious export award an organization can receive. President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Guitierrez presented the award May 20 to Secretary of Commerce and Trade Pat Gottschalk and VEDP International Division Director Paul Grossman at the White House.
VEDP’s analysis of active economic development expansion and locations projects continues to show that the average project time to reach a decision continues to shorten to a period of 180 days or less. This is a considerable compression of project timeframe from a few years ago when projects typically took 18 months or more to reach fruition. This has major implications for the way in which VEDP interacts with prospects, the pace of that interaction, and our ability to quickly and efficiently respond to their requests for information. This underscores the investment we have made to becoming more transparent with our data on the website, and also underscores the need for our staff to engage in mass customization and rapid response for project related materials. It has forced staff to engineer new ways to store, manage, retrieve, package, and deliver project materials to clients that is at once clear, readable, and conveys a positive, pro-business message about Virginia.
Material is consistently and increasingly delivered in digital form, but still requires managers to have detailed skills for personal presentations and knowledge of Virginia, its communities, and various attributes about the business case for Virginia. The “hands on” time that our staff spends with clients remains a vital and ongoing aspect of our project management interaction and cannot be fully replaced by technological gains. The relationships built by managers with their clients are still a vital ingredient to our overall success.
This has also required VEDP to focus on those industries that Virginia has assets to attract. By marketing to four major vertical markets, Advanced Manufacturing, Services and Security, Science and Research, and Transportation, VEDP better directs its resources to projects that will create investment and jobs in Virginia. This is true for the International as well as the Domestic markets. To ensure Virginia keeps its attention on the future, VEDP has also identified three strategic market areas to leverage: Energy, Information Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing.
VEDP’s Regional Liaison Network will be modified this year as a result of budget reductions. This Network will be less formally implemented and more targeted toward linking our sector knowledge experts with appropriate regions to develop a cohesive outreach strategy.
International Trade continues to develop programs that expand its ability to identify the needs of Virginia companies seeking to increase sales through exporting.
Virginia's aging population has no impact on VEDP's ability to provide its services to Virginia citizens.