Stafford, Va. – Stafford County and the Stafford Economic Development Authority celebrated with more than 200 business executives and owners on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at a Business Appreciation Event Reception at the Stafford Airport. The theme was “Innovation, Progress and Tradition.” Four awards honored those that have contributed greatly to Stafford’s economy. Greencore, LLC., won “2017 Business of the Year,” while the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts was given the “2017 Cornerstone Business Award.” Marine Corps Base Quantico was awarded “The Stafford County Centennial Award” and Virginia Speaker of the House Bill Howell received the “Stafford County Stewardship Award.”
“Innovation continues today in Quantico and Stafford County,” stated keynote speaker Colonel Joseph Murray, Base Commander at Marine Corps Base Quantico. “With the determination that has been the trademark of the U.S. Marines in Stafford County, the ingenuity, the hard work of all that have marched on these grounds for 100 years, I have no doubt the accomplishments of the next 100 years will be more prolific.”
Stafford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairman Joel Griffin announced that Stafford welcomed 172 net new businesses this year and added over 625 jobs. Business growth was 5.8% - the fifth highest growth rate in Virginia. Over the past five years, Stafford’s annualized growth rate was 11.8% - bringing the total number of jobs in Stafford to almost 43,111.
“Your investment in Stafford helps create the successful metrics we share here today,” said Griffin, a former United States Marine. “As we highlight the exciting new projects advancing in Stafford County, we celebrate the long term contributions of our business, military, and economic development partners.”
Projects that exemplified the theme were reviewed by Griffin, including the I-95/Route 630 Interchange Relocation Project, a Stafford “Town Center” vision, the new Quantico Innovation Center, and the Stafford County Armed Services Memorial (to be dedicated July 15, 2017).
Colonel Murray accepted the first award of the event – The Stafford County Centennial Award. The award was presented to honor this year’s 100th Anniversary of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
“Innovation, Progress, and Tradition – this year’s theme resonates the strength and flexibility of Stafford County and Marine Corps Base Quantico,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Paul Milde, Aquia District. “The theme reflects the determination to preserve our history while advancing Stafford’s quality of life focus.”
Greencore, LLC, an international business and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pre-packaged sandwiches, was named the 2017 Business of the Year.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” stated EDA Treasurer Howard Owen, as he reported that over 400 employees manufacture 80,000 sandwiches shipped fresh daily to over 1,000 Virginia stores, and 2 Virginia distribution centers.
Greencore partners with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to buy “Virginia grown” products. Recent purchases include over 5,000 pounds each of peppers and tomatoes, and over 800,000 pounds of Virginia meats, eggs, and other proteins. Greencore’s workforce training program focuses on establishing “core” skill sets where employees can experience over 10 “roles” within the company. Community sponsored events include the Law Enforcement United Bike Ride – supporting Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and over a dozen additional events and community projects.
“Greencore’s General Manager Kent Zech said ‘What makes business work in Stafford is Stafford County,’” stated Supervisor Bob Thomas, George Washington District. “As board members, we cannot hear anything better. We want to promote business, not get in its way.”
The Riverside Center for the Performing Arts received the 2017 Cornerstone Business Award. The newly renovated Riverside Center is 36,000 square feet of dinner theater and conference facility. They received their award for their 20 year legacy of entertainment and success. As the region’s largest tourist attraction, Riverside is a mid-Atlantic destination for performing arts, special events, business meetings and classes for children.
The Stafford County Stewardship Award was presented in absentia to Virginia Speaker of the House Bill Howell, longtime delegate for Stafford County. Don Newlin, Vice-Chairman of the EDA, accepted on his behalf.
“Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources,” stated Newlin. “For over three decades, Bill’s commitment to Stafford County supported our mutual desire to provide outstanding education, preserve our history, expand our economy, and raise our families in a proud community that’s passionate about its future.”