Business Notes for week of April 1

Awards and honors

Erin Bonilla, owner of Bonilla Pet Photography, won the following awards at the Virginia Professional Photographers Association annual convention at the Newport News Marriott at City Center in February: Top 10 Photographer, a statewide award based on the highest combined scores of each photographer’s top six pictures; Certified Professional Photographer, a national award based on the highest scoring picture; and second place in the Court of Honor for a portrait of a pet or animal. Bonilla Pet Photography opened in March 2017.

Seven Old Dominion University graduate programs have been cited by U.S. News & World Reportin its rankings of the best graduate schools. Three programs are in the top 100 nationally: aerospace engineering, No. 61; part-time master of business administration, No. 65; and education, No. 93. Other ODU programs were public administration, No. 109; civil engineering, No. 113; mechanical engineering, No. 121; and electrical engineering, No. 148. The publication also named the college a best national university, a top public school, among the best undergraduate engineering and business programs and among the top 100 institutions in the categories of best online bachelor’s programs, best online MBA programs and best online nursing programs. The rankings are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators, measuring the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. The data for the rankings comes from statistical surveys of more than 2,054 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 22,018 academics and professionals in the fall of 2018 and early this year.


Donations and grants

Gov. Ralph Northam announced more than $6.7 million in GO Virginia funding for economic projects across the state. Three organizations in the region will receive the following: $240,000 to 757 Angels to expand efforts to connect the most promising startup and early stage companies to smart growth capital; $65,000 to the Accomack-Northampton Planning District for an Eastern Shore main force sewer transmission line study, the next step needed to expand capacity for industrial land development; and $99,705 to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council to establish the Hampton Roads Coalition for Talent Development, to foster economic growth for business and industry.

The Obici Healthcare Foundation awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 to several local nonprofits and cities. A Healthy Beginnings Community Planning Grant worth $5,000 was awarded to The Children’s Center in Western Tidewater. A Strengthening the Safety Net grant for $41,458 was awarded to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic. $200,000 was given to the ACCESS College FoundationThe Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia received a three-year grant worth up to $100,000 per year. Recipients of Healthy Behaviors grants were Smart Beginnings Southeast, $10,000; Girls on the Run Hampton Roads, $17,515; Suffolk Public Schools, $5,000; Surry County, $25,000; and YMCA of South Hampton Roads, $5,000. Healthy Spaces grants in the amount of $50,000 were awarded to the cities of Franklin and Suffolk.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $335,700, the highest amount in the state, to Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority to hire or retain five coordinators to help residents achieve economic and housing independence. The coordinators will develop local strategies connecting participating families to public and private resources to increase their earned income and financial literacy, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.


New degree program

Centura College, which trains working adults in health care, technology, business and trades, has begun offering an associate of applied science degree in biomedical equipment technology at its Virginia Beach campus. The 15-month program provides students with the knowledge and skills to get employment as a biomedical equipment technician, biomedical equipment support specialist, biomedical engineering specialist, medical systems technician, field service engineer, or other entry-level positions related to the biomedical equipment maintenance field. The education is rounded out with general education courses and concludes with an externship.



RynohLive, a Virginia Beach financial protection software company for the real estate and settlement industry, has announced its partnership with legal software provider, Easysoft. The partnership between the two companies provides an enhancement for Easysoft’s legal and title agent clients nationwide via the ability to access RynohLive ‘s escrow and financial security under a single platform.