Thursday, April 18, 2024

Business Briefs for April 1

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — Business news and notes from in and around the Historic Triangle.

Sentara Williamsburg Becomes First Certified Sensory-Inclusive Hospital in Virginia

Sensory Room at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. (Sentara)

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center recently became the first hospital in Virginia to be certified as sensory inclusive by KultureCity, a leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility. 

 The initiative aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for individuals with sensory needs, including those with autism, PTSD, early onset dementia, anxiety, stroke, and more, according to Sentara.

Signage at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center now announces that the facility is sensory-inclusive. As part of the annual certification, at least half of the hospital’s 405 staff members must complete training to recognize and respond to patients experiencing sensory overload. 

To support patients experiencing sensory overload, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center now offers resources such as sensory rooms, sensory bags, and outdoor bench swings, Sentara said.

United Way Board Names Interim CEO

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula’s Board of Directors announced it has selected Charvalla West as Interim CEO. West will immediately assume the leadership of the organization, continuing to build upon the foundation of kindness and collective impact set by her predecessor, Steven S. Kast.

West has been with United Way since 2015, serving as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Community Impact for the last four years.

Three Newport News Corporations Announce Second ACT Grant

BayPort Foundation, Ferguson, and Newport News Shipbuilding have announced a community partnership to fund a three-year, $500,000 transformational grant called Accelerating Change Together (ACT).

The grant will run from 2024 to 2026 and aims to invest in the Hampton Roads nonprofit community to build upon education and develop a skilled workforce that benefits the nation, according to a joint press release. The ACT Grant was initially launched in 2022.

Virginia Natural Gas has joined BayPort, Ferguson, and Newport News Shipbuilding in the 2024 funding launch and its education and workforce development mission. The ACT Grant extends the four companies’ existing charitable giving and social impact efforts.

The ACT Grant Contributions Committee will host a breakfast panel discussion on May 22 at the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News. This event will discuss the ACT Grant process and answer questions about the application form. The deadline for applications is July 31. For additional information on the ACT Grant and eligibility requirements, visit

Park Place Technologies Acquires SDV Solutions

Park Place Technologies, a leading data center and networking optimization firm, has acquired James City County-based SDV Solutions, which provides client-centric data center infrastructure solutions exclusively to Federal Government agencies.

Founded in 2004 by Service-Disabled Veteran and current Owners Mike McMahan (U.S. Air Force) and Erin McMahan, SDV is a multi-OEM, independent third-party services provider exclusively to the U.S. Federal Government. Mike McMahan will remain with Park Place to ensure clients have a consistent and trusted team supporting the most critical missions of the U.S. Government, according to Park Place Technologies.

Colliers Announces Sale of Country Inn & Suites Williamsburg


Colliers announced the sale of the Country Inn & Suites Williamsburg, located at 7135 Pocahontas Trail in Williamsburg.

The Country Inn & Suites Williamsburg is an 87-room, interior-corridor hotel located immediately off Pocahontas Trail with immediate access to State Route 199 and Interstate 64. The hotel consists of 5 stories across 45,475 square feet, and sits on a 1.56 acre parcel in the Busch Gardens area. The property was constructed in 1976, has had renovations made in the past five years, according to Colliers.

Colliers’ Prashant Merchant, Executive Vice President, and Nic Wade, Vice President, handled the transaction on behalf of the seller.

Williamsburg Starbucks Recognized as 2024 North American Greener Store of the Year


Six Starbucks locations were recently awarded the title of “Greener Store of the Year,” for exceptionally innovative and environmentally friendly designs that fit within Starbucks Greener Stores Framework.

This year’s North American recipient is in Williamsburg at 327 Richmond Road. The 100-year-old house was converted into a new café that operates on 100% local renewable electricity, uses a rainwater collection system, has banquettes made from recycled wood, and participates in the Grounds for your Garden program that provides grounds to customers.

Learn more about Starbucks Greener Stores here.

Breeze Airways Bringing New Service from Norfolk to Phoenix

Breeze Airways recently announced new service to Phoenix from Norfolk and one stop/no change of plane BreezeThru service to Pensacola, Florida. The new route is Breeze’s 17th nonstop from Norfolk, and will start on Oct. 3 with twice-weekly service on Thursdays and Sundays. Breeze also starts service to San Diego on May 1.

Breeze also serves: Akron/Canton, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Myers, Florida; Hartford, Connecticut; Jacksonville, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York/Islip, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; Syracuse, New York; and Tampa, Florida nonstop from Norfolk.

Learn more about Breeze’s flight offerings.

Virginia Credit Union League Announces Staffing Updates

The Virginia Credit Union League League announced a number of staffing updates.

CeJae Vtipilson, who joined the League in 2016, has been promoted to Vice President of Political Affairs, where he will continue his work promoting the League’s legislative and regulatory priorities at the state and federal levels as part of the League’s advocacy team. He also manages the Virginia Credit Union Political Action Committee (VACUPAC).

Jasmine Mines, who joined the League in 2022, has been promoted to Director of Marketing, where she’ll lead the League’s marketing function, including strategy and content creation for print and digital channels, management of the League’s social media presence, support of the League Service Corporation and TRGroup initiatives, marketing for League events, and coordinating the League’s public relations work.

Both promotions are effective March 25.

Lewis Wood, Vice President of Public Relations and Communication, is departing the League, effective March 26.

Respite Care Program Elects New Board of Directors

Pictured from left to right: Pastor Meghan Roth-Clayton, Nancy Fazzone, Carolee Dekker, Jeannie Niebel, Bo Bohanon, Rev. Neil Bright, Barbara Montieth, Rachael Carter, Deborah Hewitt, Conny Jude. Not shown: Tabitha Patterson, Denise Butler. Respite Care is an afternoon social program for dependent adults, offering time off to their caregivers. For information contact Executive Director Conny Jude, 757-229-1771 ext 354

Virginia REALTORS Response to Recent NAR Settlement

The National Association of REALTORS announced a proposed settlement of a series of ongoing class action lawsuits on Friday, March 15.

Some of the class action lawsuits have been pending for several years, and the settlement was announced with very little notice. Virginia REALTORS said it “is working through what is a very complicated legal document that must still be approved by the court.”

“As an association, we are doing our due diligence to ensure that our members will be educated and able to comply with the terms and spirit of the settlement agreement,” says Tom Campbell, Virginia REALTORS 2024 President.

One of the key rule changes — a requirement for a written brokerage agreement between buyers and their agents — has already been in place in Virginia for nearly 30 years, the association said

“Virginia was the first state to formalize buyer agency at the behest of our association, because we believe it is in the best interest of buyers to be represented in what will likely be the largest financial decision of their lives,” says Virginia REALTORS CEO Terrie Suit. “We have and will continue to advocate updates to the law to ensure that the needs of consumers are being met.”

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