during the first wave were partially expected and a reason behind the consul- tant’s recommendations to start the tran- sition before the contract’s expiration. “Starting disentanglement early

would allow the state to gradually transi- tion to new services and better manage risks,” according to the Integris Applied report. “The state could begin by dis- entangling smaller services and use the lessons learned to disentangle larger and more complicated services at the end of the contract.” Despite the setbacks and upcoming

mediation, Moe remains confident that services will be transferred by the end of the contract in 2019.

Data centers’ future Northrop Grumman’s most visible

contributions to the state’s IT system were the construction of two data centers in Virginia. They are the Common- wealth Enterprise Solutions Center in Chesterfield County, which employs 291 workers, and the Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center in Russell County, with 171 employees. Both have been major economic

development drivers in their regions. “When the [Commonwealth Enter-

prise] data center was built, it was the first facility to go into the Meadowville Technology Park. So that was a big deal for us,” says Garrett Hart, Chesterfield’s economic development director. “It really started opening the park up. Additionally there are really good jobs there, and it’s a data center, so it pays a pretty good tax bill.”

Meadowville, a 900-acre business

park, is now home to some of Chester- field’s biggest economic development projects, including an Amazon distribu- tion center, Capital One’s biggest data center and a Medline medical device distribution facility. In addition, Niagara Bottling is building a 450,000-square- foot distribution facility in the technol- ogy park. The Southwest Enterprise Solu-

tions Center likewise boosted economic development in the far west corner of Virginia. “It’s one of our top five employ- ers in the region, so their impact has been pretty tremendous,” says Becki Joyce, chairwoman of the Russell County 2017 MARCH ISSUE 20 7017 MARCHRCH ISSUE Hart

Industrial Development Authority. In addition to provid-

ing well-paid jobs and benefits, the data center also has been heavily involved in the community. “[Data center employees]

help coach the local robotics team, and they participate in the annual school backpack program. They also participate in food drives and much more,” Joyce says. “For a small community like us, that type of community involvement is very significant.” Creation of the Southwest Enter- prise Solutions Center and CGI Group’s decision to open another data center around the same time were instrumental in helping the region establish itself as a technology hub. The Southwest Enterprise


Solutions Center was the first tenant in the Russell Regional Business Technol- ogy Park in Lebanon. “We have such a great broadband infrastructure … here in

Southwest Virginia, which is one of the biggest hidden assets that we have in the region,” says Joyce. While the employment future for

Northrop Grumman employees at the data centers remains murky, Joyce and Hart hope impacts will be minimal. Joyce points out that many employ-

ees in the Southwest Enterprise Solu- tions Center work on other Northrop Grumman projects. Hart also hopes Chesterfield remains Virginia’s choice location in consolidating IT services. The next couple of years will be tell-

ing in Virginia’s IT transition efforts and its abilities to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and cybersecurity threats. “It will be interesting to see what

this next decade brings,” says Norman, who plans to work with vendors apply- ing for contracts under the new model. “Can we respond to technology and its capabilities quickly, efficiently, transpar- ently and economically? I commend the commonwealth for stepping up to this and taking a good hard look at it and saying, ‘Let’s turn the page and write the next chapter.’”

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MARCH 2014

A close look at the businesses, major players and issues moving the commonwealth

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