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Halifax IDA executive director search narrows

The search for a new executive director of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority has been narrowed to two candidates, Search Committee Chairman Chris Lumsden told authority members Friday during their regular monthly meeting.

Individual interviews were held with the two top contenders Wednesday and Thursday, and Lumsden said he expects the committee will be in a position to recommend the candidate of choice to the board within the next two weeks.

Although the search process is running about two weeks behind schedule, Lumsden described the process as “going fairly smoothly” considering its aggressive timeline.

Of the 33 total applicants, the search initially was narrowed to 10 semifinalists, then six, and finally down to two before interviews were held last week.

The process to find a new authority director began in January and is expected to be complete with the hiring of a new director by mid-summer, according to Lumsden.

The new director will replace Mike Sexton who in October of last year announced his retirement from the Halifax County IDA effective in March.

He served as executive director for three years.

Serving with Lumsden on the search committee are authority board members Butch Blanks and Marcus Hargrave and Doug Bowman of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

In other business Friday morning, authority members unanimously reelected officers to another one-year term.

Retaining their positions are Chairman John Cannon, Vice-Chairman Blanks and Secretary-Treasurer Hargrave.

Authority members also authorized staff to award a one-year contract for janitorial services at Riverstone Building 1 beginning July 1.

A pre-bid meeting is set for today at 10, and the bid opening will be Tuesday, June 26.

“We are asking Janitorial Services to provide pricing for an option to renew the contract a second year,” said Operations Manager Marissa Jackson. “Also we asked them to provide an alternate bid price for a second cleaning of the bathrooms and alternate price to provide materials and equipment.”

The county maintenance crew continues to provide outside maintenance of the Riverstone properties as well as maintenance of equipment inside the building, authority officials said.

Project Manager Jeff Reed told authority board members Request for Bids were being sought for the county authority’s branding identity and website redesign.

He has advertised for bids in the two county newspapers as well as on the authority’s website and Craigslist.

Authority members agreed to award and negotiate a contract with the top choice once bids are received.

Energy Center Executive Director Doug Corrigan updated authority board members on the coatings center at Riverstone explaining Phase II with the installation of all equipment should be complete by the end of August.

A week-long open house event — termed the U.S. Renaissance in Advanced Manufacturing — for the new coatings center is set to begin Oct. 22.

“It is an opportunity for Halifax County to showcase what we have here at Riverstone,” Corrigan said speaking of the area’s modeling and simulation, advanced manufacturing and coatings center capabilities.

“Together we are in a very unique position for a county,” he added. “It’s a very nice picture that no one else can really claim,” Corrigan said. “We see CCARE as something very strategic, and we need to brand it as the national center for coatings because there is nothing else like it in the nation. We want to make it a center of excellence.”

Corrigan said starting next week, three students from the Halifax County High School Digispired program also are expected to begin internships working in the modeling and simulation cave at Riverstone.

He noted that the Virginia Tobacco Commission Special Projects Committee met in the county earlier this month and extended the modeling and simulation grant for two more years to July 2014.

Corrigan said the first prototype energy-efficient disaster relief home built in the county has been sent to Saint Marc, Haiti. 

The house uses materials from Huber including zip strips that coatings are applied to replacing the need for sheetrock. 

The project has been designed and led by Initiative reCOVER with collaborative efforts between the University of Virginia, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, SIPS of America, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Riverstone Energy Center, the American Wood Finishing Institute (AWFI), the Building Goodness Foundation, Cardinal Homes and Grandview Technologies.

Initiative reCOVER, an effort that was conceived in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, provides modular, pre-fabricated, energy-efficient emergency shelters to those who have been affected by disasters.  

Anselmo Canfora, the director and founder of Initiative reCOVER, said the project has been recently accelerated, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

Following Corrigan’s updates, Interim Executive Director Patsy Vaughan updated authority board members on project developments, and the board agreed to give her authority to sign grant documents in the absence of an executive director.


Riverstone Technology Park

Dominion Virginia Power with their environmental consultant has identified an alternate route for the 115 kV transmission line extension to Riverstone.

A public informational meeting was held May 23 when a consensus was reached to proceed with an alternate route with minor changes suggested by authority board member Garland Ricketts, combining parts of the two routes.

The tobacco commission also granted an extension of time for the project through October 2012.


Faneuil Construction

 Construction is complete at Riverstone, and 150 employees are currently working with the last training group in session now.


Riverstone Centre  

  The Tobacco Commission has approved the repurposing of the Riverstone Ready Sites grant to include the parking lot expansion project that will add 121 spaces to the Riverstone lot combined with the ingress/egress alternates.  This construction will be advertised June 25 with a pre-bid meeting set for July 2 and bids to be due by July 9.  The work is anticipated to be complete by the end of August.  B&B Consultants is completing the plans and will be soliciting bids for the authority. 


Burlington Industries

 The $50,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development planning grant contract has been received, and board members authorized Vaughan to sign the contract.

The grant will be used for feasibility planning for development of a strategic market position for the former Burlington Industries plant.

The authority also received a $50,000 grant from the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund that will match the $50,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund. A revised budget has been submitted for the use of this grant.

At the conclusion of Friday’s meeting, authority board members entered into closed session.

When they emerged, they voted to accept the offer from Carter Bank & Trust for approval of a line of credit subject to legal review.