The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research’s (IALR) Public Relations and Communications team won four Gold Summit Awards from the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The 2020 Blue Ridge Chapter Summit Awards event was held virtually and winners were announced via video. Out of the 12 tactic categories awarded, Communications Manager Allison Moore and Graphic and Multimedia Specialist Daniel Dalton earned the highest award of gold in the four categories of Annual Report, Newsletter, Website and Video.
The IALR newsletter, which is produced monthly in print and electronic format to summarize the activities and accomplishments of the organization’s five divisions, won gold for the sixth consecutive year. The newsletters can be viewed at www.ialr.org/newsletters.The goal of IALR’s 2019 Annual Report was to create a compelling and engaging product with emphasis placed on a more effective and efficient distribution. The main focus was on reducing cost and time spent on distribution while still effectively reaching the target audience through expanded electronic formats. The award-winning annual report can be viewed here: www.ialr.org/annual-reports.
The new Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) website, developed and launched with oversight by IALR, who serves as the fiscal agent, provides a hub for communications efforts with links from promotional merchandise, literature and social media for the GO TEC program. The website can be viewed at www.gotecva.org.
IALR’s analytical chemistry lab has become a leader in Virginia’s growing hemp industry, but the department recognized there was confusion about why discrepancies existed in test results from different labs. IALR led crafting of a video series, including an introductory video summarizing the six main causes for lab-to-lab testing discrepancies as well as follow-up videos that focused on each of the six causes to help alleviate the concerns.
The Summit awards are open to all professional public relations practitioners and students and the material must be produced by or for an organization based in the Blue Ridge Chapter area. The entries are reviewed and decided by a panel of judges from the Agricultural Relations Council Chapter of PRSA.
The Public Relations Society of America Blue Ridge Chapter is a professional association serving Central and Southwest Virginia public relations practitioners. Founded in 1992, the chapter strives to bring together professionals to enhance the practice, provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and promote professional development.
51,250-square-foot Center to enhance Southern Virginia’s advanced manufacturing sector
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has broken ground to build a 51,250-square-foot Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA) on the IALR campus. The innovative CMA will offer a platform for leading-edge business success specifically targeted at manufacturing companies establishing or expanding their presence in Southern Virginia. The $25.5 million project, funded by the Commonwealth and the Danville Regional Foundation, is being built in cooperation with Virginia’s Division of Engineering and Buildings.
“Southern Virginia is a top location for advanced manufacturers from across the globe, and the Center for Manufacturing Advancement will undoubtedly help attract more of them to the region,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “This state-of-the-art facility will play an important role in driving economic development and innovation in Virginia, while also helping the existing Danville-Pittsylvania business community grow and thrive.”
“Southern Virginia has a rich legacy workforce development program in place to support the hiring needs of top advanced manufacturers across the region and state,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “The new Center for Manufacturing Advancement is a natural next step in positioning our area as a leader in this sector, and as an expert resource for those companies wishing to establish a location here locally.”
“As technology exponentially advances, it is critical we stay at the forefront of integrating these innovations into training and manufacturing processes,” said Troy Simpson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at IALR. “Our new Center for Manufacturing Advancement will do just that – allow companies to interface with one another, technology providers and students to leverage space, collaboration and equipment opportunities for their own growth and advancement.”
The CMA, projected to open in 2022, will be built adjacent to the recently completed Kyocera SGS Tech Hub facility. It will feature two floors, offices, meeting rooms, areas to house support services and the following amenities for manufacturer tenants:
- rapid-launch facilities that will enable new businesses to begin limited operations off site during what is traditionally the initial down time as new businesses wait for their factory to be constructed and equipped to support full operations;
- an ISO-certified inspection lab that will provide integrated inspection capabilities required to validate product quality. This service will reduce the start-up phase for a new company by 4 to 6 months, the time required to certify an inspection lab;
- process improvement labs that will enable new and existing businesses to improve their processes in a more expeditious manner, thereby ensuring global competitiveness;
- an industry 4.0 integration and training lab that will support next-generation manufacturing requirements
- a platform for collaborative innovation that allows manufacturing companies, technology companies and engineering students to work together to discover, integrate and showcase emerging technology; and
- concierge service that provides the wrap-around support needed by companies new to the U.S. during their critical start-up phase.
In addition to the Commonwealth, partners for the building project include architect Dewberry; builder Blair Construction; engineers Master Engineers & Designers and Dunlap & Partners Engineers; and landscape architect Site Collaborative. Many stakeholders also supported the effort.
“The new Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA) will provide opportunities for business and industry to have the latest technologies available, as they work to keep pace with the industry advancements that steadily come forward,” said Delegate Danny Marshall. “This will be a solid resource to help our region attract and retain companies that hire our workers.”
“Once again, IALR leads the way in providing a firm foundation for bringing high-tech manufacturing companies to our region with the Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA),” said Sen. Bill Stanley (R-20). “The key element for our long-term economic vitality is the creation of a solid workforce pipeline that will not only attract advanced manufacturing companies here, but will also train our citizens for careers in the cutting edge and high paying jobs that these companies will bring with them. The CMA will do just that.”
“The vision for this center is bold, and it will have an enormous impact on our region’s future by providing the resources and environment for innovators and manufacturers to come together and create new products,” said City of Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones. “I look forward to seeing what products and innovations come out of this center in the years to come and the new opportunities that will be available for our citizens.”
“The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors has targeted advanced manufacturing as a crucial component of all our economic development efforts,” said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “We know that this new facility will improve manufacturing processes and capabilities in our region and create an easier startup process for companies locating here, strengthening Pittsylvania County’s status as a great place to do business.”
“We are excited to announce Phillips’ commitment to locate our next manufacturing solutions innovation center at IALR’s new CMA building in 2022,” said Alan Phillips, President/CEO of Phillips Corporation. “This commitment is a natural and continuing extension of our long-standing training and manufacturing technology collaborations with ILAR. We believe there are substantial and immediate needs to develop additive and subtractive manufacturing technologies to support expansion of the USA’s manufacturing competitiveness as well as to strengthen the capacity and capabilities of our Defense Industrial Base. We are very pleased to continue our partnerships with IALR, the Danville community, and the Southern Virginia academic and business community, with a common mission to develop outstanding training and manufacturing technology resources.”
With few other regions currently offering a similar complement of services, the CMA is expected to serve as an important economic development tool and provide Virginia with a competitive edge in 21st century manufacturing. Its location on the campus of IALR will allow it to leverage resources by drawing its governance, leadership and administrative support from IALR.
Online votes result in $2,000 donation check to charity
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce that God’s Pit Crew is the winner of the 11th annual Decorating the Trees for a Cause program, which was held virtually this year. God’s Pit Crew’s tree received 632 “likes” or votes on IALR’s Facebook voting competition. Thanks to the sponsorship of an anonymous donor and Sodexo, the organization will be presented a $2,000 donation check.
Businesses and organizations were invited to submit one photo of a decorated tree along with a charity of choice. All photos were posted online for a virtual viewing and voting experience, benefiting the charity of the tree with the most votes. Thirty-seven trees were submitted, and a total of 5,413 “likes” were collected. All trees can be viewed at http://bit.ly/IALRtrees2020.
“We have such a spirited community that really rallied behind our modified Decorating the Trees for a Cause event,” said Ellen Bass, Sales & Marketing Manager for IALR. “I want to thank all those businesses and organizations who took the time to submit a photo of their decorated tree. IALR was honored to keep the tradition alive in a new, virtual format to continue to engage the community, celebrate the holidays and support our local charities.”
Last year’s Decorating the Trees for a Cause program featured 44 trees. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s tree received the most votes, benefiting the United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County. Foster Insurance’s tree received the second most votes, benefiting God’s Pit Crew. Since the program’s beginning in 2010, more than $119,000 has been raised for charitable causes.