search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
SMALL PRIVATE COMPANIES Valerie Wilkinson, CPA, The ESG Companies, Virginia Beach


Writing skills helped CFO make the case for arena


by Joan Tupponce W


hen Valerie Wilkinson’s boss asked her to help on a project four years ago, the chief


financial officer of The ESG Cos. did not know the magnitude of the task she was taking on. ESG, a Virginia Beach-based devel-


opment company, was proposing to build a $300 million, 18,000-seat arena in its hometown. The developer of the privately owned arena is United States Manage- ment (USM), an affiliate of ESG. “If they had told me day one


everything that this would entail and everything we had to do, I would have been very daunted,” says Wilkinson, a CPA, who led all the financial aspects of the arena project. Instead, she approached the task as a series of challenges. “Every day you come in and tackle what’s in front of you.” The arena is expected to host major


concerts and sporting events. JPMorgan Chase is the lead lender on a $150 mil- lion loan for the project. The city of Virginia Beach will


provide the land and $77 million in infrastructure upgrades. The city also is contributing a portion of its hotel tax and revenues generated by the facility to help retire the arena debt. Construction will take two years. Jay Wilks, who has worked with


ESG on the project, says it is the most complicated deal he has seen. “Valerie was instrumental in getting us this far along, and we are almost at the point where we can start construction,” says Wilks, an attorney with Wilks, Alper, Harwood and McIntyre PC in Virginia Beach. “We wouldn’t be at this point if it wasn’t for Valerie.” Wilkinson displayed patience, poise


and perseverance throughout the project, he adds. “She didn’t get frustrated. She kept her eye on the desired end result.” A Maryland native who earned an


Photo by Mark Rhodes


accounting degree with highest honors from Pennsylvania State University, Wilkinson began working for ESG in 1987. The author of a number of works of fiction, she took a leave in 2011 to get a master’s degree in creative writing at Old Dominion University. Wilkinson returned to ESG in 2013. “From a skill set perspective, Valerie’s


writing skills are something you don’t see in a CPA,” says Andrea Kilmer, the chief executive officer of ESG, who also is a CPA. “She can take something that is very complicated and reduce it down to something that is simple. She has such attention to detail, but she doesn’t get so lost in the detail that she loses sight of the bigger picture.” Wilkinson worked with industry


experts and economists on the financial projections for the project. She also authored the public-private partnership bid proposal and led the effort in obtain- ing a loan commitment from a major U.S. bank.


Wilkinson believes that the arena


will be game-changing for the area. “I knew it would bring excitement about the venue and innovation in the way it was structured financially,” she says. Because private financing for such a


project is so unusual, Wilkinson didn’t have a template to follow. “Usually a municipality or a team owns the arena, but ours is private ownership with certain public incentives,” she says. Joel Rubin admires Wilkinson’s


diligence. “She has been an integral part of why we are able to accomplish this groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind project,” says Rubin, who is president and CEO of Rubin Communications Group in Virginia Beach. Wilkinson is not the first employee


from ESG to win a Virginia CFO Award. In 2009, Kilmer won the award in the same category. Richmond-based Domin-


www.VirginiaBusiness.com


ion Energy is the only other company with two winners since the awards began in 2006. Wilkinson is pleased to follow in the


footsteps of her CEO. “I’m very proud of this company for creating the type of opportunity that has allowed both of us to get this recognition,” Wilkinson says. “That says a lot about our company and our owner, Eddie Garcia.”


VIRGINIA BUSINESS 83


Wilkinson has played a key role in the development of the arena project.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104