Halifax County Chamber bestows top honors online

chamber bean thumbIn place of its annual dinner meeting and awards ceremony, the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce recognized local business leaders with an online program Thursday to name the Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year and Young Professional of the Year.

The 2020 Business of the Year award went to The Busy Bean and owner Anne Eakes.

Of the award, Eakes said it “is quite humbling, and it knocked the breath out of me because that is such an honor to receive.”

“As a business owner I have learned from some of the best. When I opened the doors local businesses, one by one, opened their arms to me and gave me some of the best advice,” said Eakes, whose coffee shop and eatery has quickly become a downtown favorite.

“I have always believed in giving. I built this business on giving back to the community that I was born and raised in. I’m so proud of The Busy Bean’s staff. The future is bright and I can hardly wait to see where it takes us,” she said.

chamber AB thumbThe Business Person of the Year award was presented to Ankur “AB” Brahmbhatt, owner of the Quality Inn of South Boston, co-owner of Papa John’s and other ventures. Brahmbhatt was lauded for investing in local businesses and helping Halifax County to prosper.

Having lived in Halifax County for the past seven years, Brahmbatt said, “The people here are friendly and helpful, that’s something unique about this community.” Small town connections, he added, have helped him accomplish his goals.

The Young Professional Award went to Jeremy Holt, Realtor with Long and Foster of South Boston.

“This made my day, my week, and my whole month. Thank you all for believing in me, the underdog, as a young business professional,” said Holt in a social media post thanking the Chamber for the honor.

chamber holt thumbFrom The News and Record

Shedding interim status, Brian Zwoyer named leader of Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital

bzDr. Brian Zwoyer, DNP, RN, NE-BC has been named president of Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital.

He has served as the interim president of Sentara Halifax since December 2019 and will begin to fill his new role immediately. Prior to assuming this new role, Zwoyer served as vice president of patient care services and chief nurse executive for Halifax.

In his interim role, Zwoyer led the team through their transition to their new electronic medical record, EPIC. Most recently, he’s been a steady force and voice for the team at Sentara Halifax, as well as for the entire community, as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded.

“After a thorough and comprehensive recruitment effort, it was decided that Brian was the best fit to successfully lead our hospital into the future,” said Carol Thomas, chair of the Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital board of directors. “We are thankful for his unwavering leadership and his ability to take the helm and lead Halifax during one of the most tumultuous times we’ve seen in healthcare.”

During this period of transition, Nicole Spence, director of patient care services, and Sherri Bee, director of nursing quality, will provide nursing leadership support until the role of chief nurse executive can be filled. A full recruitment search for the position will be conducted, and the hope is to have someone in that position as soon as possible.

Zwoyer was appointed as the new chief nurse executive at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital in July of 2019.

“Our team of caregivers and support staff at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital is our greatest asset, and I’m particularly proud of the hard work everyone has done, and continues to do, on a daily basis to meet the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zwoyer. “I am proud to serve with them in this role, and I’m confident that we are well-positioned to head into the future.”

From The Gazette Virginian

To support shortage, Gloster employees producing masks

Employees at Gloster Furniture in South Boston are producing masks for health care workers and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are continuously looking at ways to help support the shortage of PPE that the medical community is experiencing. We are currently producing basic masks for donation to the police departments, fire stations, grocery stores and others that can be used to help protect themselves while not taking away from the proper medical equipment needed by our medical community,” said Philip Payne with Gloster Furniture.

If any individual or organization has a need for these masks, email ppe@gloster.com

“We will do our best to fill as many orders as possible,” said Payne.

He also said any requests for healthcare workers will go to the front of line and then they will look at filling the requests for the essential workers.

From The Gazette Virginian

New tourism director named in Halifax County

lhThe Halifax County Tourism Board announced Monday morning LaTonya Sadler Hamilton has been hired as Halifax County’s new tourism director and will start Wednesday.

Hamilton, a five-year employee and contractor in the tourism office, will replace long-time director Linda Shepperd who retired Tuesday.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead the county’s efforts in this rapidly-evolving industry,” Hamilton said. “I look forward to continuing the impressive work started by Linda Shepperd and working collaboratively with our attractions, economic development and our government leadership to make our county a premier place to live, work and play.”

“We’re excited to have a person with LaTonya’s talent and credentials,” said board chairman Tom Raab. “She will bring great energy and creativity as tourism director and has a good pulse on the community. Her education, experience and understanding of tourism’s economic impact in Halifax County were important factors that led to her selection.”

Hamilton has a BA from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from Averett University. She lives in South Boston with her husband, Will, and their two-year-old daughter.

Hamilton brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position. She has worked tirelessly to promote Halifax County and coordinated local events such as SoBo Brew Fest and Halifax County Restaurant Week.

From The Gazette Virginian

Spainhour’s celebrates new location in SoBo

shdSurveying the food options at the buffet at Spainhour’s restaurant is like checking out the dishes of freshly prepared food in grandma’s kitchen before tucking into Sunday dinner, but with a slight twist.

Individuals will find the traditional favorites like meatloaf, chicken livers, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and succotash, along with more exotic offerings such as Thai chicken.

The style of food comes from co-owner Randy Spainhour’s cooking background.

His grandparents Mary and Frank Spainhour taught him how to cook traditional Southern favorites from a young age, he honed his technique for cooking chicken livers while working at the Golden Skillet in high school, and later learned how to cook for a diverse range of taste buds as a cook in the United States Coast Guard.

“It’s based on what my grandma taught me, so it’s foods that you would get at grandma’s house,” Randy said. “We also do different styles of food (such as) Thai chicken, something a little different to get everybody’s tastes in there.”

Read more ...

Safety coordinator at Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative earns national certification

meckMecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s (MEC) Safety and Security Coordinator, Matt Shaw, has completed an intensive electric utility safety and loss control accreditation program.

The Certified Loss Control Professional program is structured to guide the Utility Safety Professional to manage workplace safety and ensure the safekeeping of the Cooperative’s resources.

Coupled with Shaw’s 30-year stretch in the industry, this program’s specifically designed workshops enhance the participant’s skills including emergency procedures, disaster recovery, environmental responsibilities, hazard and job analysis, hazard assessment, accident prevention, accident investigation and accident analysis. This unique program is administered and managed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in conjunction with the National Utility Training & Safety Education Association and in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin School of Business to promote the “Best Practices” in electric utility safety.

Read more ...

Ground broken on shell building; Halifax County IDA leader calls it a ‘new era in economic development’

gb1Only a small amount of dirt was unearthed Friday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony at the Southern Virginia Technology Park, but it was the beginning of something big for Halifax County.

County officials, along with Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) staff and board members and project investors, all grabbed a shovel and with a celebratory flourish broke ground at the future site of a shell building to attract businesses and industries to the county.

The real work begins this week when contractors will start construction on the shell building. The Samet Corporation, a company based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the contractor for the construction project.

“I look forward to the dawn of the new era in economic development in this community,” said Brian Brown, Halifax County IDA executive director. “The building will provide a competitive advantage and allow Halifax County access to many of the business opportunities we were not able to compete for in the past.”

Read more ...

Academy named as recipient for ‘Solar for Students’ award

The Career Tech Academy (CTA) at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) has been chosen by Dominion Energy and the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to receive the Solar for Students Award. This award is available to Virginia schools and STEM-related educational organizations.

According to CTA administrator Stephanie Robinson, this award will be a step forward for the program.

“As our mechatronics program makes a shift to introduce mechanical and electrical concepts that focus on the energy sector, this resource will continue to promote educational awareness to not only our CTA programs, but our community and K-12 partners,” she said.

Read more ...