Cover Story



What keeps a person working at an age when most of us are happy to let others take care of business? These overachieving Virginians, all over age 80, have remained hard at work mostly for one or more of three reasons. The first is being able to continue work with family. Retirement is rarely mandatory


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Virginia’s vaccine czar sees light at end of the tunnel




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When the COVID-19 crisis began in early 2020, Dr. Danny Avula was the joint director of the Henrico County and Richmond health departments, a big job placing him in charge of public health for more than 560,000 residents. However, in early January, the scope of Avula’s responsibilities widened considerably after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tapped


Bernie Niemeier. Photo by Caroline Martin




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Back in the early 1980s, a co-worker of mine and his wife became first-time homeowners. They felt pretty good about getting their new house and signing a mortgage note at a whopping 18% interest rate! By today’s standards, that’s pretty unthinkable. While much time has passed since those days, we’ve had only six new presidents

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Michael Campbell, president of Dominion Realty Partners, plans to add 215 units at Boulders Lakeside Apartments. Photo by Matthew R.O. Brown




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A weekday lunch hour is relatively quiet on the grounds of the Boulders office park, south of Richmond, except for a few people chatting during a walk around a lake and the honking of two geese skimming the water. Overlooking that lake are gray and white apartments recently built from scratch on vacant land — 250


William & Mary Law School Dean A. Benjamin Spencer says that The Coca-Cola Co.’s recent demand for diversity in its legal representation is a clarion call for law firms to step up efforts to recruit diverse talent. Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret/U.S. Army Reserve

Law firms focus on inclusion in recruitment and retention




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Like many industries, law firms are taking a fresh look at hiring and retaining a new generation of employees who better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of today’s society at large. This move toward diversity and inclusion has been more pronounced since The Coca-Cola Co. announced in January a new policy mandating that


(L to R) Brothers Jake, Tanner, Talbot and Abner Johnson operate Pure Shenandoah, which has a hemp processing facility in Elkton. Photo by Norm Shafer




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Tanner Johnson, CEO of Pure Shenandoah LLC, says that his Elkton-based company is trying to bring hemp back to its Shenandoah Valley roots. After all, he explains, “back in the 1600s, this area was used heavily for hemp production and rope and clothing.” Johnson is one of four brothers behind Pure Shenandoah, which seeks to


Jake Musick, owner of Riverbound Trout Farms, displays a rainbow trout raised at his farm in Russell County. Photo by Earl Neikirk




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A Russell County native and a Singapore-based asset management firm are about to turn a corner of Virginia’s coalfields into an aquaculture center. Jake Musick’s Riverbound Trout Farms is building a processing plant in Russell County. Musick expects to begin shipping fish this fall. About a quarter mile away, straddling the Russell-Tazewell county line, Pure


In February, Amazon.com Inc. released expanded plans for its HQ2 headquarters, including the Helix, a 370,000-square-foot spiral tower. Rendering courtesy Amazon.com Inc.




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What is now a quiet, achromatic area of Arlington, the National Landing neighborhood in a few years’ time will be a bustling urban area with distinctive office buildings and large green spaces open to the public. In early February, Amazon.com Inc. released plans for its 2.8-million-square-foot redevelopment of the PenPlace block, including three 22-story office


Hemphill




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Roanoke/New River Valley Strasburg-based First National Corp. (the bank holding company of First Bank) announced in February it will acquire The Bank of Fincastle. Financial terms of the transaction were not released, but the combined bank is expected to have approximately $1.2 billion in assets, $868 million in loans, $1 billion in deposits and 20


Named president of Radford in 2016, Brian Hemphill is leaving in June to become Old Dominion University’s ninth president. Photo courtesy Radford University

Exiting Radford president bolstered finances, enrollment




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Since his selection as president of Radford University five years ago, Brian Hemphill has fulfilled the mission he set when he was hired: to increase fundraising and open channels to boost enrollment.  During Hemphill’s tenure, he has seen the university reach record enrollment numbers and grow its endowment by $20 million. But all things must


Christie Wall opened Grizzly’s Hatchet House and River City Escapes in downtown Danville’s River District in August 2019. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Danville’s economy rushes from trickle to flow




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An out-of-town trip to visit colleges with her daughter gave Christie Wall an idea that several years later she hopes will benefit her and her hometown. For fun, Wall and her daughter tried out an escape room — an interactive adventure game that requires participants to solve a themed puzzle or challenge in order to


Alexandria’s shuttered Landmark Mall served as a set for “Wonder Woman 1984.” It’s slated for demolition to make way for a mixed-use development anchored by a $1 billion Inova Health System hospital. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Developers breathe new life into tired shopping mall properties




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Running from police, an unremarkable bad guy with sandy hair suddenly grabs a little girl and dangles the young hostage from the third floor of a mall atrium. As a gaggle of nonplused bad guys decked out in ’80s pastels and John Oates mustaches look on, the skylight above shatters. It’s Wonder Woman, swooping into