RD508 - Virginia-Israel Advisory Board FY2018 Annual Review
The VIAB underwent a transformative year effecting every aspect of its operations. Long-time Executive Director Ralph Robbins retired in September 2017 after 17 years of service while his replacement Dov Hoch only began working in July 2018 – thus rendering most of the year lacking core personnel. We also moved our offices from Tyson’s Corners to the Pocahontas Building in Richmond.
Due to a new statute, structurally the authority of the Board moved from the Executive branch to the Legislative branch. From a reporting stand point, the Board is now responsible to report and meet with the Speaker of the House and the Chairperson of Senate Rules Committee in addition to our continued obligation to meet with and report to the Governor.
Continued Job Creation The VIAB contributed to creating 177 new jobs last year, many in established companies that will continue to add jobs next year: Sabra Dipping (Colonial Heights) expanded their work force by 10% and Oran Safety Glass- OSG (Emporia) added 40 of the 55 jobs they committed to, all in the context of doubling the plant’s capacity after the VIAB helped retain them.
Compelling Pipeline of Prospects – We developed several multi-site projects that if/when the companies are established will later roll-out additional plants throughout the state. We also developed two renewable energy projects including several solar energy utility-scale plants and a venture that generates electricity from sea waves that will attract major data centers to Virginia that require renewable energy.
New Programs VIAB conceptualized and launched defense and security programs to target $800m of U.S. military aid to Israel whose recipients must now establish U.S. plants. Activities include a partnering event in Virginia with the Israel Ministry of Defense, and programs that support native Virginia companies to access Israeli technology and innovation including funding for joint R&D and commercialization projects.