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Best Places To Work 2013

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THIS MARKS THE 11TH anniversary for Best Places to Work in Hampton Roads. Inside Business started the program to encourage companies that recognize their most valuable asset – their employees.

Best Places to Work highlights companies that have found ways to make their employees feel valued in good times and in tough economies. They serve as examples to other employers, providing suggestions of things other businesses can do, many of which won’t overly impact the bottom line.

To be selected, companies submitted information about their culture, annual turnover, employee satisfaction, fair and equitable treatment, compensation, benefits, and employee training opportunities. Each company also had to have a sufficient number of employees respond to an online survey. The judges considered the survey results and comments to make their final selections.

Companies that have participated in the program for several years and have won repeated recognition have been inducted into the Best Places Hall of Fame. Those companies can continue to participate to earn additional awards. This year we honor three companies with the Silver Award and one company with the Bronze Award and welcome five others into the Hall of Fame.

We hope these recognition will encourage companies to improve what they do for employees to raise the overall performance of their companies and the quality of the workforce in Hampton Roads.

– Carol Lichti, Editor of Inside Business

The judges

Susan Craft
Owner, Consulting by Design of Princess Anne Ltd., Virginia Beach

Stacy Hawks
Human Resources Analyst, Human Resources Department, City of Virginia Beach

Elizabeth and Joe Lacroix
Principals, QWLC - Quality of WorkLife Consultants, Newport News

Chris M. Stone
President, Clark Nexsen, Norfolk

Kim Talman
Program Assistant, WR Systems Ltd., Norfolk

Debbie O’Dell
Director of culture, WR Systems Ltd., Norfolk

Michele Woods Jones
Executive Director, Hampton Citizens’ Unity Commission

The Companies


  • Chantel Ray Real Estate
  • Marathon Consulting
  • IssueTrak Inc.
  • Lee Telecom Inc. (LTI)
  • Signature
  • SimIS Inc.


  • CBRE | Hampton Roads
  • The Up Center
  • Commonwealth Financial Partners LC
  • JES Foundation Repair
  • Paramount Builders Inc.


  • Silver Awards
  • TowneBank
  • Vandeventer Black
  • WR Systems Ltd.
  • Bronze Award
  • Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer PC


  • AAA of Tidewater Virginia
  • DOMA Technologies
  • Homeland Contracting
  • Norfolk Sheriff’s Office
  • Old Point National Bank

Scroll down to meet the honorees.
Learn more about each honoree by clicking on her name or photo.

  • CBRE | Hampton Roads 1st Place | Medium Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    For CBRE | Hampton Roads employees, this is the most wonderful time of the year. And it's not because the commercial real estate firm celebrates Christmas in July. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, employees can leave work early on Fridays.

    Though still expected to work a full eight-hour day, regional president Scott Adams said most employees have flexible schedules that allow them to start work at 7 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., so the office can close at 3 p.m. on Fridays instead of 5 p.m.

  • Chantel Ray Real Estate 1st Place | Small Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:15 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    At Chantel Ray Real Estate's Virginia Beach office, you'll see cubicles, file cabinets and many staff members on the grind. But you'll also find a treadmill, a salad bar, a juicer, a large vanity counter and a spray tan machine - all of which employees can use free of charge.

    "That machine right there is from Rodeo Drive," said founder Chantel Ray about the spray tan machine. "If you go to Rodeo Drive and get your spray tan with that machine, it's $85 per session."

  • Commonwealth Financial Partners LC 3rd Place | Medium Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    With nearly 80 employees, Commonwealth Financial Partners works with individuals, families and businesses to make sure that they invest their money for the best returns.

    The Virginia Beach-based financial planning firm also invests in its employees, according to Debra O'Neil, the company's director of recruiting and marketing.

  • IssueTrak Inc. 3rd Place | Small Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    At IssueTrak, if an employee can't be found at a desk or in a conference room, bets are they're playing a game of pingpong or chess or perhaps working on a puzzle spread over a table in the common area. It's not unusual to see an employee's wife or children in that common area or to see co-workers taking a moment to chat in each other's offices.

    Located in the heart of Virginia Beach's Town Center, IssueTrak is more than a software development company; for employees it's a family. The company has built a philosophy around simply "doing right" by everyone.

  • JES Foundation Repair honoree | Medium Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    JES Foundation Repair is a provider of engineered solutions for commercial and residential foundation repair, new construction deep foundations, crawl space moisture management and basement waterproofing.

    Address 569 Central Drive, Virginia Beach 23454

    Phone 558-9909


    Top executive Jesse Waltz PE

    Number of employees 85

    Benefits include:


  • LTI honoree | Small Company

    Updated: July 22, 2013 - 1:47 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    LTI is a communication and electronic security solutions company.

    Address 1 Lockwood Drive, Hampton 23661

    Phone 726-0422


    Top executive Ronda Markus

    Number of employees 25

    Benefits include:

    * New entry-level technicians are mentored and trained by seasoned employees until they have the knowledge to work independently.

  • Marathon Consulting 2nd Place | Small Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    Stacy Bradshaw, Marathon Consulting's office manager, is only occasionally in the office. Her bosses wouldn't have it any other way.

    When Bradshaw, who handles Marathon's back-office needs, wanted to spend more time with her family, the company said sure. She'd long since proved herself invaluable to the company's growth. Plus, considering most employees are often at client sites, Bradshaw typically fields employee questions by phone or email anyway.

  • Paramount Builders Inc. honoree | Medium Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    Paramount Builders Inc. is an exterior home remodeling company that installs energy-efficient windows, siding, trim, replacement gutters, entry doors and roofing.

    Address 501 Central Drive, Virginia Beach 23454

    Phone 340-9000


    Top executive Edward G. Augustine

    Number of employees 144

    Benefits include:


    Increased monthly bonus plans.

    * A yearly golf trip to Myrtle Beach for sales reps and managers.

  • Signature honoree | Small Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    Signature is an independent family office established in 1994 dedicated to providing planning solutions to wealthy individuals and families.

    Address 101 W. Main St., Suite 100, Norfolk 23510

    Phone 961-5200


    Top executive Numerous principals and owners

    Number of local employees 21

    Benefits include:

    * During the summer, employees work an adjusted Friday schedule.

  • SimIS Inc. honoree | Small Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    SimIS Inc. is a small, minority-owned 8A business that offers services in three primary sectors: modeling and simulation, information security and software systems.

    Address 200 High St., Suite 305, Portsmouth 23704

    Phone 399-4502


    Top executive Johnny J. Garcia Ph.D

    Number of employees 31

    Benefits include:


    CEO promotes an open-door policy with the staff.

    * Employees work in an open lab environment, which allows them to collaborate on their projects.

  • The Up Center 2nd Place | Medium Company

    Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Posted: July 19, 2013

    If you're a new employee at The Up Center, a nonprofit that serves children, families and those with disabilities, you quickly learn a simple truth about co-workers and supervisors: They've got your back.

    It makes sense, given the agency's mission of "Understanding People, Unleashing Potential." Headquartered in Norfolk, the center provides an array of programs in Hampton Roads, including foster care, adoption services, youth mentoring, parenting classes, housing assistance, job training, counseling and day programs for disabled adults.