Capitalizing on Success
Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer
Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation and the largest university in Virginia, with around 110,000 students. More than 15,000 of them take classes at its Lynchburg campus, while the rest take classes online. Liberty’s mission is “to Train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.” Founded in 1971 by the late Jerry Falwell Sr., Liberty offers 366 residential programs and 289 online programs. Their 17 colleges and schools include law, divinity, and osteopathic medicine. The campus, with more than 7,000 acres, includes over 6.6 million square feet of building space. Liberty has 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs and six NCAA Division I individual national championships.
“Many innovative things are happening here at Liberty,” said Randy Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our School of Aeronautics is a leader in training specialized pilots in the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems. Our recently opened Freedom Tower, which stands 275 feet tall, has a unique design for this area — no steel beams. The entire tower is made of cast-in-place concrete, allowing glass to be placed in all four corners for spectacular views of campus and of Lynchburg. We are very excited about our Spark!, one-on-one professional mentorship program, which encourages our students to be innovative in their professional pursuits.”
BWX Technologies, Inc.
Rex Geveden, CEO
BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT), a $1.7 billion nuclear industrial conglomerate headquartered in Lynchburg, supplies nuclear components, fuel and other services to the commercial nuclear power industry and the U.S. government, supporting about 6,000 employees. Innovation is a core value at BWXT. Their advanced nuclear thermal propulsion technology has the power to support a possible manned mission to Mars, while their precision manufacturing fuels the U.S. Navy’s submarines and aircraft carriers. BWXT’s Uranium Processing and Research Reactors operation is the only North American supplier of research reactor fuel elements for colleges, universities and national laboratories.
“I expect BWXT to become a more significant force in global markets as we exploit new technologies combined with nuclear know-how to attack important problems in the medical, space, power, transportation and defense arenas,” said Rex Geveden, president and chief executive officer of BWX Technologies, Inc., and a member of Lynchburg’s Economic Development Authority.
Gary Mignogna, CEO
Framatome is a major international player in the nuclear energy market and designs, manufactures and installs components and fuel for nuclear power plants with a full range of reactor services. Since the 1950s, Framatome and its predecessor organizations have serviced every nuclear energy facility in the U.S. Globally, the company holds approximately 3,500 patents for 680 inventions. Framatome employs about 1,300 in the Lynchburg area. Framatome recently made national news when it announced that it is moving its North American headquarters from North Carolina to Lynchburg.
“The nuclear energy market is focused on increasing safety and efficiency,” said Gary Mignogna, president and CEO of Framatome in North America. “At Framatome, our experts are working on new, innovative technologies such as fuel designs that will provide additional margins of safety for operating reactors. Robotics are also important in our industry, and we continue to create new ways to use them to inspect and remediate reactor components more efficiently. Additionally, we’re now using augmented and virtual reality technology to improve our training programs.”
T.R.U. Ball Archery
Ben Summers, vice president
A small manufacturer in Madison Heights makes world-class sights for Olympic archers. T.R.U. Ball Archery equipment has helped win gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro and London. Archery has been an Olympic sport since it was reintroduced 100 years ago. T.R.U. Ball sells its products all over the world, including triggers for bow hunting. (Triggers are not allowed in the Olympics.) The archery business started in 1985, growing out of S&S Machines, a shop which did assembly-line repairs for local manufacturers. T.R.U. Ball Archery products are sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other sporting goods stores.
“We’re used by some of the best bow-hunters in the world,” said Ben Summers, vice president. “We have clients in Iran, Denmark, Australia … all over the world.”
Nano Touch Materials, LLC
Mark Sisson, co-founder
Continuously self-cleaning surfaces sound like the stuff of sci-fi, but a Forest-based company has created NanoSeptic skins with mineral nano-crystals that create an oxidation reaction stronger than bleach. The visible peel-and-stick skin is placed on a surface, like a door handle or counter.
Powered by light, the skin oxidizes organic contaminants. Unlike traditional disinfectants and cleaners, the NanoSeptic surface uses no poisons, heavy metals or chemicals. They received an innovation award at ISSA’s annual convention in Chicago in 2016 and again in Las Vegas in 2017. NanoTouch Materials was previously located at the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research and will open its own facility in the summer of 2018. Its research and development lab is funded by a $2 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.
“With our surfaces, people know where the cleaner places are to touch because they can see them,” said co-founder Mark Sisson.
Forest-based Simplimatic Automation provides conveyor systems, robotics and custom factory automation to a variety of manufacturing, assembly and packaging operations worldwide, including semiconductor, electronics, pharmaceutical, medical device, optical, automotive and other industries. In 1965, the company started with a concentration on conveyors for the beverage industry. At its core, Simplimatic still designs, manufactures, and integrates simple and smart material handling and automation solutions. The industry base Simplimatic serves expands each year as demand for their knowledge, experience, and unique solutions grows around the globe. To accommodate an ever-increasing workload, Simplimatic moved from Lynchburg to a 60,000-square-foot-facility at the New London Business & Technology Center in 2015.