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Milestones 2012


In what has become an annual tradition, Inside Business takes a look at local companies that marked significant anniversaries during 2012. We recognize companies that started 25 years ago and others older than that in five year increments. We hope you enjoy their stories and congratulate them on these major milestones.


  • 25 Years: Access College Foundation

    Updated: January 7, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

     Access College Foundation believes that every child should have access to higher education.

    The nonpropfit provides counseling services to students in the 29 public high schools in South Hampton Roads. Counselors target low income students who need help finding and applying for college funding.

    Access is celebrating its 25-year anniversary from November 2012 to November 2013.

  • 25 Years: Oyster Pointer

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    The Oyster Pointer, which began as an 8 1/2-by-11 four-page publication in 1987, has grown to a 32-page tab.

    "Former owner Gail Kent and I began the Oyster Pointer in the area knowing that Oyster Point in Newport News was beginning to grow," said Sylvia Weinstein, editor and publisher. "We felt the opportunity to put a newspaper together would be wonderful for the area."

    As Oyster Point grew, so did the paper, which started out as black and white but matured to spot color and now full color.

  • 25 Years: Poole Mahoney PC

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Bert Poole, chief executive officer and managing shareholder of Poole Mahoney PC, credits the law practice's 25-year anniversary to the people who work there.

    "We happened to have the right people at the right time," he said.

    "We started out as a very small law firm. We got good folks and at the time it was a good economy so we were able to be aggressive," Poole said.

  • 30 Years: Bay Diesel Corp.

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    In 1982, Scott Wheeler left his job at Caterpillar after 10 years as a marine engine specialist after the company was sold.

    He decided to strike out on his own. But he didn't have much.

    "I started this place with a 1978 Volkswagen and $11,000," said Wheeler, the owner of Bay Diesel Corp.

    Now 30 years old, the Chesapeake-based business, which distributes and services diesel engines for tugs, dredges and fishing vessels, has three offices in Virginia and 56 employees.

  • 30 Years: Coliseum Park Healthcare Facility

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Coliseum Park Healthcare Facility opened in 1982, and officials there found themselves adding a 60-bed wing just four years later.

    "[We] added the beds to help meet the demand at the time," spokeswoman LaDonna Finch said.

    "Back in that day, nursing homes/healthcare facilities were hard to come by."

    Today, the operation has 180 beds and officials said they look to continue meeting a variety of needs as they have been for 30 years.

  • 30 Years: LifeNet Health

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    LifeNet Health is a far different company than the one it began as 30 years ago.

    Known in its early days as the Eastern Virginia Tissue Bank, the company offered organ solutions to doctors and surgeons only in the Hampton Roads area.

    It soon became clear that the larger region needed such services, officials said, and now the Virginia Beach-based company processes organs, tissue and cells for clients across the globe.

    "We tell people we are the world's most-trusted provider of transplant solutions," said Executive Vice President Douglas Wilson.

  • 30 Years: MEB General Contractors

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Fresh out of college in 1982, George Clarke started out alone in a small rented space in Virginia Beach.

    Now headquartered in Chesapeake on Holland Boulevard, Clarke has grown MEB General Contractors to a company of about 400 employees with a second office in Rockville, Va.

    The company marked 30 years in business this year.

    "I grew up in the construction business," Clarke said. "My dad started Kenbridge Construction Co. (in Kenbridge, Va.). They taught me how to estimate and I picked up a few jobs and moved to Virginia Beach."

  • 30 Years: Norfolk Festevents

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:00 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Norfolk Festevents opened in November 1982 as part of the city's revitalization project of its downtown, according to Festevents CEO Karen Scherberger.

    "It was actually an outgrowth of the original Waterside Festival Harborfest, which started in the 70s," she said. "The city decided it wanted to develop the waterfront with Waterside in a public space called Town Point Park."

  • 30 Years: Operation Smile

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:01 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    In 1982, Bill and Kathy Magee were invited on a medical mission to the Philippines to help children with facial deformities.

    The plastic surgeon and clinical nurse, respectively, were able to help some children, but not all, and many had to be turned away because of the high demand.

    "They felt strongly that they needed to do something," said Operation Smile Public Relations Director Jessica Kraft, adding that the Operation Smile co-founders returned, held fundraisers in their backyard and went back to the Philippines.

  • 30 Years: Reliance Staffing & Recruiting

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:01 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Reliance Staffing & Recruiting is doing better this year than last.

    "We have jobs and we're definitely hiring," said Tom Sarach Jr., the company's president and CEO.

    Headquartered in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake, the staffing agency was founded in 1982 by Sarach's parents, Tom and Judy Sarach, who built a client-base within the clerical and light industrial fields.

  • 35 Years: Criner Remodeling

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    It was a big year for Robert Criner.

    The National Association of Home Builders named him 2012 Remodeler of the Year, he was featured on the cover of Qualified Remodeler magazine, and his business - Criner Remodeling - marked its 35th anniversary and relocated to Oyster Point in Newport News.

    A small business with a staff of just 11, Criner formerly operated the firm on an acre adjoining his home in Yorktown.

    A milestone anniversary of 35 years, however, called for the replanting of roots.

  • 35 Years: Jo-Kell Inc.

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Long before Yahoo and Google, Joseph Kelly functioned as a one-man search engine for military purchasing departments.

    His Chesapeake company, Jo-Kell, which provides shipboard electrical systems, grew from his knack for tracking down stuff, CEO Suzy Kelly says of her late father-in-law, who died in March.

    "He helped people - particularly buyers in the Navy - find hard-to-find items," she said. "It could be anything from a truckload of sand to salt-and-pepper shakers.

    "He was like the human version of the Internet."

  • 40 Years: ABS Technology Architects

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:03 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Growing up, Walker Dorroh and his brother, Hunter, the owners of ABS Technology Architects, spent a lot of time with their father, who founded the business in 1972 as American Business Systems

    "It's been in our blood our whole lives," Dorroh said. "We pretty much worked there every summer and on the weekends. I was officially on the payroll when I was 12."

  • 40 Years: McPhillips, Roberts & Deans

    Updated: January 9, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    The accounting firm of McPhillips, Lieland & Deans was founded 40 years ago by J. Vincent McPhillips and Edward L. Lieland Jr., who had worked together at the Norfolk firm of Hilton, Sheffield and Hilton. They learned from the best - W.P. "Pops" Hilton was the second man in Virginia to hold a CPA license.

    In 1986, the firm moved into Town Point Center and in 1999, merged with Roberts & Speece to become McPhillips, Roberts & Deans. And in 2002, the firm merged with with Edmondson, Ledbetter & Ballard.

  • 45 Years: Goldman & Associates

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Before it was Goldman & Associates Public Relations, it was the Dan Advertising Agency.

    Dean Goldman was 13 years old when his father Daniel Goldman opened the advertising agency in the 200 block of West York Street in Norfolk in 1967. After college and an advertising job at The Virginian-Pilot, Goldman joined and ultimately took over the company, which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.

    It wasn't until the early 1990s that Goldman traded advertising for public relations.

  • 50 Years: Peninsula Fine Arts Center

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    In 1962 Andy Warhol became pop art's poster boy, newspapers advertised amateur "artist kits" for $4.95 - oils, brushes and canvases included, and a group of Newport News arts supporters laid the groundwork for a place to celebrate art on the Peninsula.

    Today, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center is a nationally accredited institution with the clout to borrow Goyas and Dalis and a commitment to support regional artists.

  • 50 Years: Virginia Wesleyan College

    Updated: December 21, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Some of Virginia Wesleyan College's early leaders stayed around for decades.

    Tenures include terms of 20, 30 and even 40 years at this half-century-old Methodist school. The college has only seen three presidents, one of whom stayed for 26 years.

    "That kind of longevity... wouldn't necessarily, on every campus, be a positive thing because there are benefits to bringing in new blood and new ideas and so forth," said college archivist Stephen Mansfield.

  • 55 Years: Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

    Updated: December 28, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    For 55 years, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel has joined the Peninsula with Southside Hampton Roads, serving as a great connector for thousands of motorists a day. It

    links Phoebus in Hampton with Willoughby Spit in Norfolk.

    It's also served as a great big headache for those same motorists, who often have to endure miles-long backups that they've come to expect.

    But look at it this way - before the 3.5-mile bridge-tunnel was built, motorists had to use a ferry. The first two-lane tunnel opened in 1957 and another opened in 1976.

  • 55 Years: Volunteer Hampton Roads

    Updated: January 7, 2013 - 10:21 am

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    In 1957, Volunteer Hampton Roads started as a branch of the Virginia Beach Norfolk Junior League.

    "The ladies were looking to develop a clearinghouse for volunteers," said Kate Meechan, corporate relations director. "They wanted to make sure nonprofits had a full supply of volunteers and community folks had a one-stop shop to find a wonderful volunteer opportunity."

    The volunteer agency's mission is what Meechan calls a three-pillar process.

  • 60 Years Bank @lantec

    Updated: December 28, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    Posted: December 21, 2012

    Bank @tlantec was the first credit union in Virginia to convert from a credit union, which was founded in 1952 as a credit union for military members and their families, to a bank.

    Susan Ralston, who was just 30 when she was named CEO of the credit union, led the 2004 conversion process, something that she says is one of her proudest career moments - she has served as both a credit union CEO and a bank CEO at the same office. She is also one of just two female bank CEOs in Virginia.