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Back when tobacco, the “golden leaf” of Virginia was a celebrated crop, and tobacco auctions were a festive occasion, no one was more celebrated than the market auctioneer.
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SoVaNow.com / September 13, 2011Lindstrand USA, Inc., manufacturer of the most advanced lighter-than-air vehicles and air inflatables in the world, is proud to announce it has been selected as the Manufacturing/Wholesale Sector winner in a University of Virginia competition that highlights and promotes the most resilient businesses in economically-challenged parts of the Commonwealth.
“Five years ago, Lindstrand USA opened for business in Southern Virginia with a primary goal of securing U.S. Government contracts. Working with the local Virginia Employment Commission, 31 now highly skilled, full-time employees have been hired, and the company has grown into a multi-million dollar operation. 60 percent of our sales are exported worldwide. Sales have diversified from 100 percent military to half military, half commercial,” said Angela Lewis, General Manager of Lindstrand USA. “It is an overwhelming honor for Darden and the Tayloe Murphy Center to select us as a Resilience Award winner.”
With the arrival of Lindstrand USA in 2004, a new high-tech industry took off in South Boston and Halifax County. As the maker of lighter-than-air cell technology, Lindstrand expanded to the area to target government contracts including projects in aeronautics, although the technology can be used in a variety of ways, including fighting tunnel fires or using logging balloons for forestry work. The versatile product was the brainchild of Swedish-born inventor, Ph.D. and expert hot air balloonist (and thrill-seeker), Per Lindstrand. Since its arrival, Lindstrand USA has faced many challenges, forcing it to diversify and navigate logistic and bureaucratic hurdles. However, today it employs 31 full-time workers locally, nearly 90 percent of whom were out of work for longer than two years prior to being hired. In an area that has seen the decline of the tobacco, furniture and textiles industries, Lindstrand USA is a strong contributor to the economic base. http://www.lindstrandusa.com
Selected from 88 applicants statewide and a field of 14 finalists, other 2011 Resilience Award winners include Blue Crab Bay Co. in Melfa on the Eastern Shore, MountainRose Vineyards in Wise in the Appalachian Mountains, Todos Super Market in urban Woodbridge in Northern Virginia, Highground Services in Franklin in Tidewater.
Together, they represent the most resilient businesses in Virginia—those which displayed growth, a dogged entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to community in areas facing high unemployment, high poverty and low entrepreneurial activity.
All 14 finalists were honored at a special awards ceremony held at the historic Dome Room at the University of Virginia which included state and local officials, economic development and business leaders and Darden representatives.
“These winners represent resilience in the classic sense of the word –in the face of some daunting challenges, they have bent but not broken, adapted, and become stronger for their efforts. With annual double-digit growth rates in profit and employment and a clear commitment to their communities, these main street businesses have accomplished something that anyone interested in business would do well to learn from. It is our pleasure to be sharing their stories and highlighting their success,” said Greg Fairchild, executive director of the Tayloe Murphy Center.
To help spur economic growth and entrepreneurial efforts in areas of the Commonwealth facing particularly difficult economic challenges, the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award supports winners through ongoing media coverage, opportunities to engage key business and government leaders and enrollment in a week-long Executive Education course at Darden valued at $8,000–$12,000.
Lindstrand USA extends a warm congratulations to all the Resilience Awards winners and finalists including:
A Bowl of Good Cafe, Inc., Harrisonburg
Astyra Corporation, Richmond
Blue Crab Bay Co./Bay Beyond Inc., Melfa
Blue Talon Bistro, Williamsburg
Chateau Morrisette, Inc., Floyd
GearClean, Inc., Winchester
Highground Services, Inc., Franklin
L & R Precision Tooling Inc., Lynchburg
Lindstrand USA, Inc., South Boston
MountainRose Vineyards, Inc., Wise
Office Plus Business Centre, Danville
Southwest Virginia Veterinary Services, Lebanon
Thomas A. Johnson Furniture Company, Lynchburg
Todos Super Market, Woodbridge
The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards are presented in part with sponsorship from Virginia Business.
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