After months of renovations, the Visitor Center at the corner of Church and 12th streets has reopened. The updated interior features a new conference space, LYH merchandise and beautiful photography of the city.

Two businesses damaged in the April 2018 tornado that touched down along Timberlake Road are reopening. MedExpress Urgent Care reopened in early May. There will be a grand opening event at The Floor Show Carpet One on June 7 at 11 a.m.

Volunteers are needed for the State Games of America (July 31-Aug. 4) at Liberty University. More than 14,000 athletes and their families are expected to attend. Share with your employees and sign up today: stategamesofamerica.org/volunteer. Learn how local officials secured this national sporting event in Lynchburg on pages 27-29.

Bobblett Gap is expanding its regional rail truck business with an 8,000-square-foot repair shop in the Montvale Center for Commerce. The new site will help the company meet the growing needs of its truck repair business.


Regional Committee Hosts Virginia Tourism Corporation Group

Fifty staff members from the Virginia Tourism Corporation spent some time being tourists in the Lynchburg region April 28-May 1, part of their 2019 Spring Study Tour.
The Lynchburg Office of Economic Development & Tourism partnered with tourism offices in Appomattox and Bedford counties to create a fun and informative itinerary for the VTC group.

The visitors stayed in the area for three nights and kept busy from early morning to late evening tubing at Snowflex, taking an African American Heritage Tour, hitting Lynchburg’s urban trails, and much more.

The Study Tour Program helps Virginia Welcome Center and VTC promotional staff gain firsthand knowledge of destinations around Virginia. The tours provide personal experiences that are crucial to accurately and passionately promote destinations.

Economic Development

Mayor, Vice Mayor Deliver State of the City Address

The newly restored Historic Academy Theatre was the backdrop for the 2019 State of the City Address and reception on April 29. This year’s theme was “Our Lynchburg Story – A Vision for 2025.”

Several individuals shared their “stories” with the audience, including small business owner Jannett Spearman who expanded her boutique and opened Spearman Artisanry on Main Street in 2018. Lynchburg City Council members also gave out several awards.

During the address, Mayor Treney Tweedy and Vice Mayor Mary Jane Dolan noted major strides in the Hill City, including programs such as TechHire Lynchburg and Beacon of Hope’s “Stay Close, Go Far” scholarship program. They also cheered infrastructure improvements such as the newly completed Main Street Bridge.

Report Celebrates Successes in Downtown Lynchburg

Executive Director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association, Ashley Kershner, called 2018 a “transformative year” for Downtown Lynchburg.

Her comment was part of the 2018 Downtown Lynchburg Annual Report—an online guide that outlines the projects and programs that are moving the area forward. The report includes numerous statistics that show major strides in residential, business and lifestyle growth in Downtown Lynchburg, such as a 75.3% storefront occupancy rate.

Find a link to the full report at downtownlynchburg.com/blog/2019/4/4/2018-annual-report.


Collaborative Health Partners, LU Announce Primary Care Benefit

Through a contract with Collaborative Health Partners, a clinically integrated physician network of primary care providers, Liberty University will offer a Direct Primary Care program designed to improve employees’ scope of health benefits while reducing their projected healthcare spending.

The program started May 1 as a voluntary enhancement to Liberty’s existing health plan options. It aims to increase access to preventive care, sick care, physician-directed wellness resources, and physician-directed disease management services at no out-of-pocket cost to the employee.

“In sporting terms, this is a grand slam home run!” said Randy Smith, Liberty’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. According to Smith, the program provides better and more access to healthcare for employees, greatly reduces their cost of primary care, reduces the institutional cost of primary care and keeps care local.

“We are excited to partner with Liberty to continue to redefine healthcare in this community by placing a strong emphasis on primary care,” said Shawn Crawford, CEO for CHP and CVFP Medical Group. “Our mission is to create the best value for the patient and employer in terms of high-quality healthcare, at a reasonable price, and ensuring a great experience for all involved.”

Centra Appoints New CEO

After a national search, Centra’s Board of Directors has selected a new Chief Executive Officer. Andrew (Andy) T. Mueller, MD, took the helm of the hospital system on May 15.

Most recently, Dr. Mueller served as a Senior Vice President at Novant Health, a large, multi-state integrated healthcare delivery system. Under his leadership, the greater Charlotte market grew considerably across all service lines, developed new clinical programs and set new records for growth in outpatient volumes and new patient encounters. While serving in the Air Force after medical school, Mueller deployed twice overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a flight surgeon.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve as part of a truly integrated and comprehensive healthcare system that is widely known for the quality of care it delivers. I look forward to partnering with the entire medical staff to enhance care, grow strategically and create greater value for the patients and communities served by Centra,” said Mueller.

Higher Education

Liberty Law Ranks in Top 10 for Bar Passage

According to 2018 bar passage data released by The American Bar Association, Liberty University School of Law placed No. 7 in the nation out of 203 schools.
The bar exam is the required test that law school graduates must pass if they are to be licensed to practice law in a specific state.

Several of the top 10 schools are in the Ivy League. Nationally, Liberty also placed the highest out of all the law schools in Virginia, surpassing University of Virginia School of Law and William & Mary Law School.

“The Class of 2018 worked very hard studying countless hours and sacrificing much to achieve this result. The 2018 Liberty Law graduates took 15 bar examinations across the nation, including Virginia, and achieved a 100 percent passage rate in 14 jurisdictions, proving that a legal education at Liberty can take you anywhere,” said

Keith Faulkner, dean of Liberty Law.

Liberty Law was founded in 2004.

CVCC Hosts 2nd Annual Welding Wars

Welding experts of all ages were on the campus of Central Virginia Community College on April 26 to compete in the 2nd Annual Central Virginia Welding Wars.

The day featured competitions for welders on the high school and college level. Professional welders from companies such as Southern Air and Banker Steel also showed off their skills.

Community Engagement

Thousands of Students Attend Career Expo

From transportation to engineering to healthcare and beyond, local middle and high school students learned about a wide range of in-demand jobs at the 1st Annual Worlds of Opportunity Career Expo.

Nearly 3,500 students from across the region visited the Expo at the Liberty University Indoor Track April 9-10. The Expo was divided into four zones featuring major industry sectors.

Approximately 50 companies presented interactive, hands-on exhibits. Students practiced electric wiring, performed CPR and used construction equipment, all with industry professionals by their side talking about what it is like to work in those professions.

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and VA Career Works Central Region also partnered together to create the Worlds of Opportunity Career Guide that outlines industries and occupations in high demand in our region including education requirements and salaries. There is also a Worlds of Opportunity website (www.vcwcentralregion.com) that is available for students and adults to learn more about viable career paths.

Awards and Recognition

Sonny Merryman Honored at National Meeting

For the second year in a row, Sonny Merryman has been recognized as a Top 5 Thomas Built Buses Dealer in North America.

The company received multiple awards at the Thomas Built Buses meeting in Denver in April.

Other awards include gold-level status for the parts team for the fourth consecutive year and the 2018 Trainer of the Year award to Daniel Droog.

Sonny Merryman received the Midwest Region Dealer of the Year distinction for its exceptional commitment to customer support, landing the company among the top five dealers in the entire Thomas Built Buses network. This is the second consecutive year Sonny Merryman has been recognized as one of the top five dealers.

Sonny Merryman is the Thomas Built Buses school bus dealer for Virginia and has been in business for more than 50 years. The company operates locations in Evington (Central VA), Chesapeake (Hampton Roads), Bristow (Northern VA), and Ashland (Greater Richmond).

Virginia Business Systems Recognized by National Publication

Virginia Business Systems has been named one of the country’s 2018 Elite Dealers by ENX Magazine. The award is presented annually by the publication to the top office equipment dealers in the U.S.

The 130-strong 2018 Elite Dealers were selected based on numerous criteria, including growth initiatives, innovative marketing programs, and outstanding customer service. Virginia Business Systems has been named an Elite Dealer for the last 19 years.

Virginia Business Systems is one of the country’s largest independently owned Office Equipment Dealers. The company is headquartered in Richmond and serves Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, New River Valley, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Shenandoah Valley and Hampton Roads.

Alliance Announces Recipients of Game Changer Awards

Recipients of the 2019 Game Changer Awards cover a range of local industries, from construction to real estate.

On April 30, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance held The Business Summit, featuring a keynote address by Business and Leadership Consultant Jennifer Owen-O’Quill
and learning labs taught by local leaders and influential speakers.

The winners of the Game Changer Awards were announced at a cocktail reception at the end of the day (shown from left to right):

Pay It Forward Award

Karl Miller of the Karl Miller Team – Mark A. Dalton & Co., Inc.

True Grit Award

Chase DeWitt of The Floor Show and Donna Lanier of MedExpress Urgent Care

Can Do Award, Paul Denham of Southern Air, Inc.

Knocking It Out of the Park Award, Carroll Moon of CloudFit Software

Panel Selects 2019 Millennials on the Move

After reviewing more than 100 nominations sent in by the community, a local panel of judges determined who will be a part of the next Lynchburg Business Millennials on the Move class.

The 25 young professionals cover a range of industries—from healthcare to legal to nonprofit—and showcase a diverse pool of talent. All of the Millennials on the Move are under the age of 40 and live and work in the greater Lynchburg region.

Lynchburg Business partnered with Opportunity Lynchburg, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and Young Professionals of Central Virginia for this campaign. A representative from each group participated in the panel of judges.

Find the full list, along with feature coverage about each winner, in the August/September issue of Lynchburg Business. We will also honor each young professional at a special reception on August 1. For anyone interested in attending, contact editor Shelley Basinger, shelley@lynchburgbusinessmag.com.