Virginia Society of CPAs 2023 Interviews


Posted

October 28, 2022




by

Virginia Affairs



SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

Adams. Photo by Earl Neikirk

Tara E. Adams, CPA

Partner | Adams & DelpPC | Wytheville

What are the benefits of living and working in Southwest Virginia?

I love the mountain scenery, the access to so many outdoor activities, and especially the sense of community you feel in the small towns and villages.

How is the economy doing in your area?

Southwest Virginia’s economy is slowly recovering from the pandemic, with businesses reopening and people starting to travel. As everywhere, inflation, labor shortages and supply chain issues are making recovery more difficult. Labor shortages are always a big struggle, especially in the food and retail industries.

Which local industry do you think has growth potential?

Tourism has real growth potential in Southwest Virginia, with fun places to visit that are attractive and more affordable destinations.

What is the biggest challenge for doing business in your area?

It can be difficult to attract new, younger talent for the workforce in Southwest Virginia, due to the more rural nature of the area.

Is the cost of housing a major issue in your region?

Housing costs have risen in the area, making it harder for people to afford a house and there are fewer houses to choose from.

What are the main factors that have had the most impact in attracting businesses to your area?

State and local initiatives, as well as the constant efforts of local governments to attract businesses to the region and maintain a steady rate of growth, have really paid off.

What are the main obstacles to the economic success of your region?

The region’s economic success has grown steadily over the past few decades, with the necessary infrastructure being added to attract new businesses. Labor shortages and an increase in the minimum wage can be difficult to sustain, especially for small businesses in the region.


HAMPTON ROADS

Greene. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Justin P. Greene, CPA

Financial Director | Living Church of Liberty | Hampton

What are the benefits of living and working in Hampton Roads?

One of my favorite things about Hampton Roads is the important role this area has played in the history of the United States, as well as the quick access to cities, beaches, and rural areas.

How is the economy doing in your area?

Having all branches of the military, Newport News Shipbuilding, NASA and many other large organizations insulates our region from extreme economic fluctuations. However, inflation is affecting salaries and operating costs are beginning to be felt here as everywhere else.

Which local industry/sector do you think has growth potential?

The tech industry has huge potential for growth. Many companies in our region are developing advanced systems that prepare us for the future.

What is the biggest challenge for doing business in your region?

Finding and retaining staff is a major challenge. Affordability of housing and achieving a certain standard of living can be difficult for young employees in our region.

Has your region recovered from the pandemic and how is it coping with labor shortages?

While many organizations continue to have an abundance of work, labor shortages are an ongoing challenge affecting all industries.

Is the cost of housing a major issue in your region?

Housing remains a major issue. Even though home values ​​are starting to drop somewhat, the recent increase in interest rates is making affordability out of reach for many.

What are the top two factors that have had the most impact in attracting business to your area?

The area offers access to a large population with many resources, including many colleges and universities to draw from for future endowment.

What are the two main obstacles to the economic success of your region?

Cost of living and availability of accommodation.


NORTHERN VIRGINIA

Helme. Photo by Stephen Gosling

Charles F. Helme III, CPA

Managing Director | Thompson Greenspon | Fairfax

What are the benefits of living and working in Northern Virginia?

The wide variety of things to do – cultural activities in and around DC, outdoor pursuits in the mountains in the west, and beaches in the east

How is the economy doing in Northern Virginia?

Overall very good; however, many employers continue to be constrained by labor shortages. Supply chain issues have also affected certain sectors of the economy.

What are the biggest challenges for doing business in your region?

High cost of housing and labor. People want to live here, which creates demand for housing and puts upward pressure on housing costs. And rising interest rates are creating pause for many buyers – who either have to look for cheaper alternatives or save more to qualify for a mortgage.

Has your region recovered from the pandemic and how is it coping with labor shortages?

We are facing labor shortages. For companies that have the capacity, attracting remote workers from other regions has helped alleviate the demand for excess labour, but not all companies can do this. Supply chain issues appear to be improving, but challenges remain.

What factors have had the most impact in attracting businesses to your area?

Continued economic growth in our region and higher per capita wealth. Larger companies from across the country want to enter our market, and even multinationals have moved offices here to gain market share or to have a presence in the capital region.


CENTRAL VIRGINIA

Randall. Photo by Rick DeBerry

Melanie E. Randall, CPA

Treasurer | McKinney & Co | Ashland

What are the benefits of living and working in Central Virginia?

The region has much to offer the business community, as well as the comforts of everyday life. You can find any niche to suit your personal and professional tastes. The region is home to major players in financial services, manufacturing, non-profit organizations and logistics.

How is the economy doing in your area?

The region is doing well at the moment. The unemployment rate is low and the housing market, although slowing down a bit, remains strong. I don’t know about other parts of the state, but the incentive programs that localities in Central Virginia present to potential businesses have helped the region’s economic growth.

Which local industry/sector do you think has growth potential?
Biotechnology, manufacturing and logistics have great potential here. Over the past couple of years there has been more emphasis on the biotech industry and the need for more research. With the current supply chain issues, now is the time to expand our manufacturing capabilities. With Richmond Marine Terminal and highways 95, 295, 85 and 64, it is an ideal location for distribution centers.

What is the biggest challenge for doing business in your region?

Skilled labor

Has your region recovered from the pandemic and how is it coping with labor shortages?

The region has mostly recovered. The exception would be restaurant and retail staff. Hopefully they will bounce back during the holiday season.

Is the cost of housing a major issue in your region?

Housing costs are going up, but it looks like wages are starting to go up, which is helping.

What are the top two factors that have had the most impact in attracting business to your area?

Local economic incentives, such as tax rate reductions and bond financing, and a large workforce footprint

What are the two main obstacles to the economic success of your region?

Inflation and interest rate uncertainty is increasing.


SHENANDOAH VALLEY

Rodolphe-Wiseman. Photo by Norm Shafer

Angela L. Rudolph-Wiseman, CPA

Main | Rutherford & JohnsonPC | Winchester

How is the economy doing in the Shenandoah Valley?

The local economy is stable, although it shows signs of potential slowdown. A large-scale employer linked to the construction industry recently announced layoffs in anticipation of a possible economic downturn. Agriculture, particularly apple growing, is a large part of the economy of the Shenandoah Valley. Favorable weather and rainfall made for a good growing season.

Which local industry has growth potential?

Locally, the biosciences industry has growth potential. The Shenandoah Valley has ideal locations for manufacturing facilities.

Has your region recovered from the pandemic and how is it coping with labor shortages?

Our region has continued to recover from the pandemic, but we are not there yet. Outdoor festivals and events have exploded this year, surpassing 2019 levels of dollars spent and attendance. Labor shortages are real, especially for restaurants and service industries.

What is the biggest challenge for doing business in your region?

Find, hire and retain qualified talent. Inflation made it particularly difficult to adequately compensate employees while trying to balance prices for end consumers.

Is the cost of housing a major issue in your region?

Absolutely. Median home sales prices have increased by 12.6% in 2022. The scarcity of properties for sale and rising interest rates have pushed many buyers out of the market.

What factors have had the most impact in attracting businesses to your area?

Despite local housing challenges, the cost of living is still about a third lower than the DC metro area, making the Shenandoah Valley attractive. Proximity to major cities allows for a lower cost location and provides the convenience of international airports and other infrastructure a short distance away.

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