Letter from the President & CEO
Dear Members,

The 2020 election is over... almost. Votes are still being tallied, court challenges due to voting irregularities are in process, a run-off election is scheduled in GA, and the country remains deeply divided along party lines. The bright spot is that we may have just produced the largest voter turnout in 120 years - certainly in 50 years.

According to a recent AP report, 1908 was the "high-water mark" for voter turnout at 65.7% of the voting population. But, the highest turnout in the post-World War II era was in 1960, when 63.8% of eligible voters turned out. Additionally, Joe Biden received the most votes of any Presidential candidate in history.

Even though the "chatter class" would have the public believe that high voter turnout would result in a landslide for Democrats, that was not the case in 2020. It appears that Democrats in the US House of Representatives lost seats, the US Senate appears to remain in the control of Republicans, and Republicans retained control of all its state legislatures. So, the political "mandate" or "blue wave" discussions of the last year are being carefully re-examined and Virginians will have an opportunity to begin again with the 2021 Gubernatorial and Virginia House of Delegates election.

Although political uncertainty is generally problematic for business, this particular political environment has provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate the critical role that manufacturers play in building and sustaining middle-class wealth and upward mobility for all people. Couple this with the national priority to reshore critical infrastructure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and America may be poised for a renewed appreciation for "Made in the USA" over the next few years.

In closing, despite political frustrations and economic challenges, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the blessings in our personal and professional lives. Let's shake off the baggage of 2020, be thankful to be "essential" to our country and families, and look ahead with the unbending optimism that defines manufacturing.

Best Wishes,


Brett A. Vassey
President & CEO
Government Affairs & Advocacy
2020 VA Manufacturing (MFG) Competitiveness Index

At yesterday's Virginia Competitiveness Forum, Ted Abernathy, Economic Leadership LLC, presented the 2020 VA MFG Competitiveness Index results comparing Virginia to 49 other states. View his recorded presentation here.

Virginia is ranked the 11th most competitive state for overall manufacturing competitiveness, a gain from its 15th overall ranking in 2019. This ranking uses data from 2019. Close neighbors North Carolina and Maryland also scored high finishing #4 and #16 (tied with Michigan). The VA MFG Competitiveness Index contains details about improvements and opportunities for growth, and is now available online. Click the cover to view >>>
From Single Use to Reuse
An Initiative by Plastic Makers for a Waste-Free America

The VMA affiliate, the Virginia Chemistry Council (VCC), is the state affiliate of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Recently, the ACC unveiled From Single Use to Reuse, an advocacy campaign by plastic manufacturers to increase awareness for potential circular systems that will change the ways in which we use – and reuse – plastics. From Single Use to Reuse sets the goal of making 100% of plastic packaging in the U.S. reusable, recyclable, or recoverable by 2030, and eliminate plastic packaging waste by 2040.
The VCC was formed to improve the public’s understanding of the societal and economic benefits that modern chemistry creates at the state and national levels. VMA and ACC members in the chemical and allied products industries are candidates for membership. Contact Kimberly Noonan for more information on getting involved.
Upcoming Conferences & Events
VMA All-Member Annual Business Meeting

Tuesday, December 15 (9:00am - 10:30am)

The VMA Annual Business Meeting is for members only. Due to COVID-19, we will host this year's meeting using WebEx. Agenda topics include:

  • VMA Chairman’s Report
  • Treasurer's Report
  • 2020 Nominations Committee Report
  • 2021 VMA Board of Directors Election
  • VMA Committee Reports
  • VMA Staff Reports
  • President & CEO’s Report
  • Membership Q&A
Lunch 'n Learn Webinar: Managing Equipment During Disrupted Manufacturing

Thursday, November 19 (11:30am - 12:30pm)

Changing production demands which challenge the pre-existing equipment envelopes demand maintenance consideration for peak factory output. Maintenance is often seen as directly tied to production volume but in today’s changing environment significant additional effort may be needed to ensure production flexibility. This is where the CMMS can pay big dividends. With accurate equipment and maintenance information and by leveraging reliability principles, various operating alternatives can be derived to flex production and maintenance.

Join an interactive seminar as Infralogix and local Virginia manufacturers discuss their experience in dealing with changes in today’s production environment.
Lunch 'n Learn Webinar: Capitalizing on your HR Infrastructure

Tuesday, December 8 (11:30am - 12:15pm)

Join Insperity for a discussion on capitalizing on your already-existing Human Resources Infrastructure. Discuss Insperity's full-service HR solution, get administrative relief, and reduce liabilities and dedicated HR support, so that you can focus on growing your business.
Member Benefits
Business Service of the Month:

VMAConnections: A B2B Service Provider Sourcing Center

VMA offers a search engine sourcing center to identify service providers that support industry in Virginia, including those that have workplace safety designations, industry certifications, and special supplier designations such as women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned. Find your match on VMAConnections.com.
Three Business Services to Safeguard Your Business During COVID-19:
COVID-19 Decontamination Services

This year, Crystal Clean, long-time partner of the VMA, pivoted to COVID-19 specific decontamination services. Let the experts at Crystal Clean decontaminate your business stress-free.
Enhanced PPE
Sourcing Center

VMA partnered with McClung Companies to create a one-stop-shop for personal protective equipment, branded workplace signage, and health and safety materials.
Employee Screening

VMA negotiated a substantially reduced fee for VMA member businesses interested in using CrowdBlink Protect to screen employees and visitors.
Workforce Solutions
VA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) Certificate Program

Your One-Stop-Shop for ETS Compliance Assistance

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted §16VAC25-220, Emergency Temporary Standard: Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19 for businesses on July 15, 2020. The VA COVID-19 ETS was effective July 27, 2020 and is set to expire within six months or upon expiration of the Governor’s State of Emergency or the enactment of a permanent standard. Virginia is the first state in the country to pass such a standard, and it affects all businesses in Virginia.

The VMA & MSI created the VA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Certificate Program to assist your business with ETS compliance. We now have twice-monthly instructor-led webinars to help you ensure that your business is in compliance with the ETS. Learn more about the certificate and register below:
New OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Documents
  • This updated guidance contains recommendations for COVID-19 workplace preparation, as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. 

  • Ensuring adequate ventilation throughout the work environment can help to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. This guidance contains tips to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • Employers can use this guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.
Women in Manufacturing
WiM-Virginia Mentoring Program

Now Accepting Applications!

The mission of the WiM-Virginia Chapter Mentoring Program is to help develop our members by providing them with the knowledge and leadership skills that will empower them to realize their full potential. By facilitating mentoring relationships, providing opportunities for reflection and self-examination, and teaching practical leadership skills, the program helps women in industry strengthen their self-confidence, find their voice, learn to wield influence and exercise authority, and articulate and pursue leadership goals.

Check out the Mentoring Program page for information on the program, qualifications to mentor, and additional materials. Existing Mentor/Mentee pairs can also enroll in the program.
RECAP: WiM-Virginia Leadership Conference

The WiM-Virginia Recognition Luncheon expanded this year into a full day of programming focused on empowering women in the workforce. Speakers from Kaléo, Fremont Consulting Group, United Scrap Metal, and Lehigh University's Center for Gender Equity dialed in to share best practices for communicating clearly and overcoming gender bias. WiM-Virginia announced the kick-off to the WiM-Virginia Mentoring Program and its goals for 2021. Jodi Keller, Executive Vice President, United Scrap Metal, was this year's Keynote Speaker.

Session recordings are available. Contact Kimberly Noonan for more information.

STEP Ahead Honoree Nominees & STEP Ahead Emerging Leader Nominees

Congratulations to the women recognized today for their STEP Ahead & Emerging Leader nominations:
STEP Ahead Honoree Nominees:

  • Trasa Coffil, STIHL
  • Darin Layne, Altria
  • Caitlin Moffitt, Altria
  • Delphia “Daisy” Lackey, Altria
  • Roxie Taylor, ITAC
  • Georgia Sink, AdvanSix
  • Elizabeth Joyner, AdvanSix
  • Joanne Blanchette, NNS
  • Katherine Britting, NNS
  • Latorya Grimes, NNS
  • Nathalie Regis, NNS
  • Nicole Smith, NNS
  • Teresa Mullen, NNS
Emerging Leader Nominees:

  • Fallon Cooper, ITAC
  • Corrie Steele, ITAC
  • Jordan Oligmueller, AdvanSix
  • Emily Frantz, NNS
  • Sarah Staley, NNS
Associate Member Spotlight
As an extension of VMAConnections: a B2B Service Provider Sourcing Center, the VMA features up to three Associate Members who support and supply services to Virginia manufacturers. Give these great Associates a click or two or three!
For a chance to see your company spotlighted here or to share resources, contact Kaitlyn Crow.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Final Rule
To Protect Americans’ Retirement Investments
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a final rule that updates and clarifies the Department’s investment duties regulation in 29 CFR 2550.404a-1. The final rule intends to provide clear regulatory guideposts for fiduciaries of private-sector retirement and other employee benefit plans in light of recent trends involving environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.
During the last 30 years, the Department has periodically considered the application of the fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to plan investments that promote non-financial objectives, such as furthering environmental, social and public policy goals. The Department has issued different iterations of sub-regulatory guidance during this period that may have created confusion about these investment issues, and the rapid increase in so-called ESG investments has also raised important and substantial questions about shortcomings in the rigor of the prudence and loyalty analysis by some participating in the ESG investment marketplace.

The final rule amends the Department’s longstanding investment duties regulation, first issued in 1979, to codify a clear regulatory structure for considering investments for ERISA plans. The amendments require plan fiduciaries to select investments and investment courses of action based on pecuniary factors – i.e., any factor that the responsible fiduciary prudently determines is expected to have a material effect on risk and/or return of an investment based on appropriate investment horizons consistent with the plan’s investment objectives and funding policy.
“Protecting retirement savings is a core mission of the U.S. Department of Labor and a chief public policy goal for our nation,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “This rule will ensure that retirement plan fiduciaries are focused on the financial interests of plan participants and beneficiaries, rather than on other, non-pecuniary goals or policy objectives.” READ MORE>>>
RECAP: Virginia Competitiveness Forum
Virginia Competitiveness Forum

Virginia’s top manufacturing executives, industry leaders and service providers to the manufacturing industry dialed in from across the state to participate in the 2020 Virginia Competitiveness Forum, which analyzed Virginia's manufacturing competitiveness. Sessions were held according to some of the major areas that make Virginia competitive:

  • Economic Strength
  • Infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Business Climate

Guest speakers from Amazon World Services, GenEdge, Blackbriar Regulatory Services, LiteSheet, and GE Gas Power provided information on best practices, technologies, and solutions that drive Virginia's industry. The Keynote Speaker was Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC, who shared the 2020 Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.

Recordings of these sessions are available. Contact Kimberly Noonan for more information.