Branch and Associates, Inc. announces New Hire at its Richmond, Virginia Office

Bill MadisonRichmond, VA – Branch and Associates, Inc., one of the largest and most diversified Virginia based construction firms is pleased to announce the hiring of new leadership for their Richmond, Virginia office:

Bill Madison has been hired as Director of Operations and will lead Branch’s efforts for the delivery of construction management services on Richmond and Central Virginia projects, including the new Moore’s Lake Apartments project. He brings to Branch extensive experience with Design-Build, CM@Risk, preconstruction services and project management on both public and private sector work. Bill graduated from VMI in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and received his Master of Science degree in Construction Engineering in 1992 from Virginia Tech.  He has spent most of the past decade at WM Jordan, having previously run his own consulting/contracting business for many years.

Branch and Associates, a Branch Group Company, provides professional construction management services on a diverse array of projects to a broad range of private and public-sector owners.  Founded in 1963, Branch is driven by core values of mutually beneficial relationships with clients and industry partners, exceptional performance and complete accountability. A few of its projects include: The Locks Apartments, Interbake Apartments, Magnolia Green Clubhouse, Spectrum Apartments, Shockoe Valley View Apartments, Roanoke College Cregger Center and Liberty University Library.

The Branch Group, Inc., headquartered in Roanoke, VA, is an employee-owned construction company whose work touches all aspects of the built environment through its subsidiaries: Branch and Associates, Inc., Branch Civil, Inc., and G. J. Hopkins, Inc. In 2016, Engineering News-Record Top 400 List, ranked The Branch Group as the 209th  largest construction company in the United States, with 2016 revenues of $393.3 million and a work force of over 800 employees.


Virginia Business Systems Announces Acquisition of Imagistx

Richmond, VA. – Virginia Business Systems (VBS), headquartered in Richmond, VA has announced the acquisition of Imagistx, of Winchester, VA. Imagistx  (formerly Pifer Office Supply Inc.) is located in the Winchester region, with additional market coverage in West Virginia and western Maryland. This strategic expansion enlarges the VBS footprint further north in the commonwealth, and allows VBS to continue to support their client base throughout the Shenandoah Valley region.

“The acquisition of Imagistx expands our mission of providing excellent customer service to our clients,” said Jim Dotter, President of Virginia Business Systems. “VBS and Imagistx share a strong focus on providing high-quality customer service and cutting-edge office technology. With the combination of both companies’ expertise, we will be able to deliver an even greater level of value, service and technology to our clients.”

This acquisition is the twelfth branch for Virginia Business Systems and their sister company, Edwards Business Systems (EBS) in Pennsylvania. The EBS/VBS organizations have been in business for over sixty years, and are recognized as one of the oldest and largest independent dealers in the country. VBS has offices throughout central Virginia, supporting the Greater Richmond and Tri-Cities areas plus Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, New River Valley, Shenandoah Valley, and the Hampton Roads markets. VBS is planning an expansion for this office, adding to the Imagistx employees to grow this critical market.

“We will work to ensure a seamless transition throughout the acquisition to help our clients manage their document technology. We are incredibly excited to begin our work in this marketplace, delivering cost-effective, efficient, and innovative solutions to empower our clients and improve their workflow processes.” Jim Dotter added.

About Virginia Business Systems

Virginia Business Systems supplies document technology solutions from leading vendors in the industry such as Konica Minolta, Xerox, Lexmark, and more. For the past 17 years, VBS has been recognized as an “Elite Dealer” by ENX Magazine.

Virginia Business Systems (VBS) and their sister company, Edwards Business Systems (EBS), have been in business since 1954 and are one of the country’s largest independently owned Office Equipment Dealers. They have been recognized by all of their vendors for excellence in sales and service. VBS and EBS, with over 180 employees, are in their third generation of management and ownership, continuing the family commitment of meeting and exceeding the needs of their clients. VBS is headquartered in Richmond and serves Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, New River Valley, Harrisonburg, Shenandoah Valley and Hampton Roads. EBS, headquartered in Bethlehem in the Lehigh Valley, has offices in West Reading, Middleton (serving Lancaster, York and Harrisburg), Scranton (serving Wilkes-Barre and the Pocono Region), Lewisburg, and Pottstown, PA.


Gibbons & Kawash merges with Brown Edwards

The accounting firms of Brown Edwards and Gibbons & Kawash are pleased to announce their merger, effective January 1, 2018. The merger will create one of the largest CPA offices in West Virginia. Brown Edwards is a Top 100 firm based in Roanoke, Virginia with nine offices including Charleston and Bluefield, West Virginia while Gibbons & Kawash has a 25‐year history serving Charleston and the
surrounding area.

“We have known the professionals of Gibbons & Kawash for a very long time,” said Jason Hartman, Managing Partner of Brown Edwards. “In fact, we were both part of the same national alliance and realized early on we had a lot of similar philosophies in our approach to client service and a shared emphasis on professional development. This is a great opportunity to bring together some of the best multi‐disciplinary professionals in our field and leverage their talents to its advantage of our clients.”

Celebrating 50 years in business in 2017, Brown Edwards provides accounting services to a diverse clientele base throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. With the addition of Gibbons & Kawash, Brown Edwards will add significant resources and the size of the Charleston office will increase to nine partners and 50 associates.

“While we are very proud of the history of Gibbons & Kawash, we also recognized that the next step for our team and clients was to merge with a firm of comparable quality that would enable us to expand services to our clients. We look forward to staying on the cutting edge of the changes so prevalent in today’s financial and accounting services markets, ” said Managing Director Valerie Ellis. “Brown Edwards shares our commitment to helping our clients grow and succeed, and the merger will broaden and deepen our existing industry specializations, allowing us to offer more comprehensive business advice tailored to our clients, while enabling us to focus more on our specialized niche areas as well.”

For more details about Brown Edwards, visit: www.BEcpas.com.


Gig Economy Exposed: Here’s What You REALLY Need to Know

Gig Economy Exposed: Here’s What You REALLY Need to Know

By:  Samantha Steidle, RAMP Innovation Officer

You’ve probably heard a lot about the gig economy. Some of it’s probably true, and some of it probably isn’t. In this article, we’re going to give you the bottom line on exactly what you need to know about the gig economy.

By 2020, more than 40% of our workforce will participate in the gig economy. That means there will be more consultants, temp agency workers, on-call workers, and contract workers. This “collaborative economy” is already leaving an impact felt virtually everywhere.

In 2017, a report came out showing that in 2014, the value of the collaborative economy was about $15 billion. The same report estimates the value to reach somewhere in the realm of $330 billion in less than ten years. According to the Huffington Post, economic development strategy includes encouraging the growth of the sharing economy.

Virginia Western is teaming up with the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, the Roanoke City Mayor’s office and the Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce to bring the “gig economy” conversation to our region.

Let’s delve into who will really benefit from the gig economy.  Here are the top 10 types of workers who would most benefit from joining the gig economy.

  1. Full-Time Employees are able to pick up extra income, without quitting or compromising their full-time positions. Perhaps your goal is to transition into a different career or get that promotion. The gig economy gives you the space you need to build your resume and portfolio ahead of time. This is your chance to build a tangible case for yourself.  Show them why you’re worth it!
  2. Entrepreneurial Dreamers want to start a business but are afraid of the risks. Gigging gives you an opportunity to transition into your entrepreneurial aspirations, rather than diving headfirst.
  3. Freedom and Flexibility Seekers can decide when and where they work. This means if you want to travel the world while earning money to do so, gigging could be for you.  If you want to work 80 hours a week, you can do that.  Success is yours for the taking.
  4. Stay-at-Home Parents might want to take on a part-time job but find it financially unfeasible. After all, the cost of child-care alone supersedes the amount of money they could make.  Many of the gig economy models offer legitimate work-at-home opportunities, which do not require hiring childcare in order to take on the work.
  5. Veterans and Trailing Spouses benefit from the flexible nature of the work, which is often not dependent on a stable location or schedule. So, even during deployments, a veteran can earn extra income.
  6. Unemployed Individuals can utilize these platforms as an opportunity to earn extra income. According to the Aspen Institute, 54% of freelancers earn over $50,000 annually (Eakin, Gitis, and Rinehart 2017).  Perhaps the gig-economy should be considered as an alternative to unemployment.  For some people, even incremental income could be the difference between keeping the lights on or a mother feeding her children.
  7. High school and College Students benefit from the flexible schedules and educational opportunities afforded by the gig economy. In fact, the August issue of Forbes magazine encouraged students to pursue gig economy opportunities rather than internships to build their resume and portfolio.  Ultimately, this could dramatically increase the student’s ability to land a traditional job, if that’s even what they choose (Stahl, 2017).
  8. Hispanics and Other Multi-Ethnic Groups can take on projects suited for their unique abilities and skills, regardless of language barriers. In fact, gig economy workers are active in nearly every corner of the world.
  9. Baby Boomers are predicted to work much later in life as opposed to the previous generation. Many wonder how they can utilize their vast knowledge accumulated over the years to bolster their income doing something they will actually enjoy.  In fact, the number of Baby Boomers pursuing entrepreneurship has risen 60% between 1996 and 2013, according to the Kauffman Foundation (Farrell, 2014).   Similarly, the Aspen Institute reported in 2016 that the average age of the gig economy worker ranged between 47-50, depending on the type of gig.
  10. Busy-Bodies are out there. You know the type. Their mind never slows down and never stops.  If they could just channel that energy into a system for making money, they could be unstoppable.  Why not make extra money during that time? The gig economy could help you do that!

With identified skills, a work ethic, and some basic gig economy-specific knowledge, individuals can now tap into pretty substantial additional income on their own terms in 60 days or less.

Interested in Learning More?

Here are some opportunities to plug into the gig movement:

January 9, 2018 – 9am-NoonMayor’s Gig-Economy ½ Day ConferenceCoLabFree
January 10, 2018 – 11:30-1pmBotetourt Chamber Networking Lunch with Guest Speaker Samantha SteidleBallast Point Brewing Co.$20
March 5, 2018 – 5:30p-7:30pmGig Economy Speaker: Diane MulcahyVWCC in WhitmanFree
Starts March 13, 2018 – 5:30pmGig Economy 8-Week Course +MentoringVWCC at RAMP$25

The course (listed above) will enable you to “bootstrap” your way into a successful business rather than undertaking significant financial risk. You’ll learn to identify problems, find solutions and make customer connections through an iterative experimental process.

It’s ideal for anyone seeking to:
– Transition from employee to independent worker
– Explore entrepreneurship as a pre-retirement transition
– Earn extra money while maintaining your current job
– Transition from unemployed to self-employed
– Use your skills, talents and interests to discover your entrepreneurial path

Ready to apply?
Deadline to Apply: February 20, 2018

To apply for the 8-week course, click here.

Other Gig-Economy Course Information:
Class begins: March 13, and will run for eight consecutive Tuesday nights
Class times: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Cost: $300.00 per student, but thanks to assistance from a Virginia Building Entrepreneurial Economies grant, your final cost could only be $25.00
Mentoring is available by appointment in the 4 weeks following the end of the course.

Questions? Email Samantha Steidle, Innovation Officer at Virginia Western Community College at SSteidle@virginiawestern.edu.


American National University Names Tanya Poff Director of Career Services

Tanya PoffROANOKE, Va. – American National University (ANU) has named Tanya S. Poff director of career services. In this role, Poff will oversee career services for ANU’s network of 20 regional campuses in six states as well as serve as an important link between the university and its stakeholders in the business, technology, and health care employment sectors.

“We were fortunate to find someone with Tanya’s depth and breadth of experience for this key role at American National University,” said Jason Towers, executive vice president of administrative services for ANU. “In addition to her human resources experience, Tanya has a dynamic and engaging personality that will be invaluable in establishing the link between our students and graduates and their future employers in the regional workforce.”

Poff will oversee a staff of career placement specialists working in various locations throughout ANU’s network of campus locations in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia. These professionals assist ANU students and graduates with customized advice and guidance in both their career search as well as in the development of key “soft skills” employers find valuable. In addition to the one-on-one guidance provided by the professional staff, ANU’s career services department provides a suite of online resources and tools for both students and employers, the “ANU Career Connection,” to provide a smooth path from education to career.

“I am delighted to join the team at American National University, which has such a rich history of helping to develop the region’s workforce for more than 130 years,” said Poff. “I look forward to sustaining this legacy as the university continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our dynamic economy.”

Poff holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University, and is a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM—SCP).

Founded in 1886, American National University provides opportunities for individuals who are seeking to achieve their career goals by offering credential and degree programs through distance education and blended learning. Meeting the workforce needs of 20 communities and globally through several international learning sites, the university offers programs on-campus, online, and through live videoconferencing.