Virginia Business magazine published an intimate interview with Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade in their October 2014 issue. Jones, a native of Kenbridge, Va cites economic issues as a personal cause and tells us how he was inspired to become the person he is today. You can find this article and video of the interview on the Virginia Business website.
by Robert Powell
Maurice Jones is Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s point man in the administration’s efforts to transform Virginia’s economy.
As secretary of commerce and trade, he oversees 13 business-related agencies — including the Virginia Economic Development Partnership — and is the chairman of a Cabinet steering committee coordinating state agencies in pursuing the administration’s economic development strategy.
“The big goal is to help to reposition the engine of economic growth in Virginia away from the public sector and more toward the private sector,” he says. “That’s the big theme of our journey.”
Jones, 50, comes to the job with a diverse background in the public and private sectors. Before joining the McAuliffe administration, he was deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for nearly two years.
He also has been publisher of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and deputy chief of staff under Gov. Mark Warner, a Treasury Department official under President Bill Clinton, a lawyer in Richmond at Hunton & Williams and a partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners, a firm that invests millions of dollars in the Washington, D.C., area in helping low-income children.
Today at a press conference in Richmond, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Dominion Resources CEO Tom Farrell and Hank Linginfelter, EVP Distribution Operations, AGL Resources and Chairman, Virginia Natural Gas, announced the considerable economic benefits that the proposed Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline will bring to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In an earlier press release today, Dominion, AGL Resources, Duke Energy, and Piedmont Natural Resources announced a joint venture to build a major natural gas pipeline, an energy superhighway, through parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
A study by the independent firm Chmura Economics and Analytics found that the pipeline’s construction would:
“This project is a game changer for Virginia’s economy, and the benefits will be both immediate and long-lasting,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In addition to the thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity that the construction of this project will create, the Atlantic Coast pipeline will lower energy costs for Virginia residents and businesses and help reduce carbon emissions in our state and region."
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas today announced the selection of Dominion to build and operate a 550-mile interstate natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, through Virginia and into eastern North Carolina to meet the region's rapidly growing demand for natural gas.
Called the "Atlantic Coast Pipeline," it also is expected to serve as a key infrastructure engine to drive economic development and create jobs, helping counties on the pipeline's route attract new, energy-dependent businesses and industries – especially along the Interstate 95 corridor in eastern North Carolina.
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) today announced that Spatial Integrated Systems Inc. (SIS), a leader in providing business solutions that incorporate digital 3D imaging, robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3D visualization, has joined forces with CCAM’s industry, academic and government research collaboration.
As CCAM’s newest industry member, Spatial Integrated Systems will provide digital 3D equipment and software including the 3D Imaging System (3DIS) used by commercial and military equipment manufacturers to produce visually rich digital information. 3DIS is a digital 3D capture and processing system used for rapid prototyping and fabrication modeling as well as to provide analyses of “as-built” manufacturing plants and facilities and computer-based interference checking and inspections.
The system generates dimensionally accurate digital 3D models of target space or objects, automatically fuses the image texture onto 3D model geometry, and exports files ready for commercial high-end design applications and import into 2D/3D CAD packages. 3DIS frees resources, reduces time, improves process efficiencies and empowers developers with an innovative tool for increased creativity in the design process.
Joseph Moody, CCAM President and Executive Director, said, “As an innovator of 3D imaging and visualization Spatial Integrated Systems serves the defense industry and commercial manufacturers with a unique set of process-based solutions. CCAM member companies and academic and government partners will benefit from these game-changing technologies.”
“The Community Development Block Grant program is a long-standing program that provides necessary resources to our localities to improve their communities,” said Governor McAuliffe. “From sewer projects to downtown revitalization and housing rehabilitation, these projects are improving the lives of Virginians across the Commonwealth.”
Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives approximately $17 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and many projects are targeted for the prevention or elimination of slums and blighting conditions.
Five of the projects are noted as multi-year funding projects. Multi-year funding projects are those that will receive a contract allocating a portion of the funds this year, and after achieving specific performance targets, the project will then be eligible for additional funding. One additional project is receiving a letter of intent, indication the project is worthy of funding but lacks key components necessary for the project to be immediately implemented. This allows the locality to address the missing key component by spring 2015.
“This competitive program allows Virginia to address major community issues and utilize available resources to make our communities great places to live, work and do business,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.
The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors and The Town Council of Kenbridge together with the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission announced today that Coast 2 Coast Trucking, Inc., a sister company to ABC Recycling, will invest $3.765 million to establish its new company in Lunenburg County. Virginia successfully competed against New York for this project which will create 21 new jobs including full time truck drivers, mechanics and office personnel. Coast 2 Coast is locating across the street from its sister company, ABC Recycling, in the Lunenburg Commercentre’, Kenbridge, Virginia.
This new company will receive a performance grant, Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund, in the amount of $100,000 from the Tobacco Commission based on the investment and jobs created as listed above. Additionally, the business is locating in a designated Enterprise Zone and therefore will be eligible for grants from the State as well as from the locality based on real property improvements and jobs created. Job training grants may also be available to the company for four of the new positions through State programs.
“We are pleased to announce today, the launch of our new company Coast 2 Coast Trucking,” said Robert Szafranski. “Due to our growth at ABC Recycling in Kenbridge, VA, Alpha Recycling in Bronx, NY and Power Metal Recycling in Toronto, Canada, we were placed in a position where outsourcing our trucking needs has been unable to meet our demands. Bringing our trucking business locally to Kenbridge, VA has now become a reality with the assistance of Lunenburg County, the Town of Kenbridge, the Tobacco Commission and other state agencies. We are extremely grateful for everyone's support and look forward to announcing job opportunities in the near future.”
“The Commonwealth of Virginia prides itself on the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The expansion of a thriving metal recycling company, ABC Recycling, which will start a nationwide trucking company, Coast 2 Coast Trucking, is a prime example of this spirit. We thank Coast 2 Coast for choosing Virginia, and wish them great success in Lunenburg County.”