Virginia's Most Resilient Businesses Win Inaugural Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards

September 02, 2010

September 2, 2010 — Five Virginia businesses – BandyWorks, Morgan Lumber Company Inc., ParknPool Corporation, Solid Stone Fabrics Inc. and Marstel-Day LLC – have won the inaugural Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards from a field of 106 applicants. Each winner receives full scholarship funding to send one member of its firm to a top-ranked executive education program at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards Competition, sponsored by Darden's Tayloe Murphy Center, spotlights successful businesses that are beating the odds in Virginia – businesses that, though located in economically challenged communities, have demonstrated economic growth, job creation and community leadership over the past five years. This year's winning businesses were announced Wednesday night at a dinner in U.Va.'s Rotunda.

Remarkably, from 2005 through 2008, winners demonstrated an average annual profit growth rate of 122 percent, compared to the state average of just 22 percent, and average annual employment growth rates of 114 percent, compared to Virginia's 1.6 percent.

"Our hope is that these awards help underscore that there are innovative firms across the commonwealth that create great products and services, jobs and wealth in their communities," said Gregory B. Fairchild, executive director of the Tayloe Murphy Center and an associate professor of business administration at Darden.

Winners also earned high marks for solidly supporting their communities. For example, Petersburg-based BandyWorks, which specializes in Internet-based software applications for a wide range of public and private organizations, strengthens its hometown by co-sponsoring wine festivals and charity golf events as well as working directly with local officials to promote economic development and revitalization initiatives.

Red Oak's Morgan Lumber Company, a producer of high-quality Southern pine lumber and the parent of Sunrise Shavings LLC and Morgan Lumber Sales Inc., has endowed two scholarships at Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources. Preference is given to local applicants for the scholarship.

ParknPool Corporation, a woman- and veteran-owned business located in Lexington that supplies commercial site amenities and restaurant furnishings to other businesses, is deeply committed to developing an internal culture of personal growth. To that end, the business routinely provides employees access to life coaches, motivational speakers and health experts.

Martinsville's Solid Stone Fabrics Inc., which manufactures (in the U.S.) and sources stretch fabrics from all over the world and operates a cut-and-sew department as well as a custom digital printing facility, annually donates funds to the local high school to make sure every young man who graduates has a dress shirt and tie to wear for the occasion.

"These firms are evidence that even in areas characterized as the commonwealth's most challenging, there are entrepreneurial firms that add uncommon value," Fairchild noted.

This year's Chairman's Award winner is Marstel-Day LLC, an environmental consulting firm in Fredericksburg whose trademark work is in conservation planning, land use sustainability, water resource analyses and encroachment management. This special award is chosen by the chairman of the judges' panel, Tayloe Murphy Jr., the son and namesake of the man for whom the Tayloe Murphy Center was named.

The younger Murphy served as Virginia's secretary of natural resources from 2002 to 2006 and, while a member of the General Assembly from 1982 to 2000, was instrumental in passing the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and the Water Quality Improvement Act.

In announcing his choice, he said, "Marstel-Day stood out for me because of my own background in conservation. The exploitation of our natural resources is harmful to the economy, whereas the preservation and wise use of those resources promotes economic growth. The work they are doing at Marstel-Day is good for the economy and good for the health of our environment."

Other judges for this year's Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards Competition were Susian Brooks, director of the Darden Executive Education; 1992 Darden graduate Michael Gurau, president of CEI Community Ventures and founder and president of Clear Innovation Partners; Jane Henderson, president and CEO of Virginia Community Capital; and 1966 Darden graduate Mark Kilduff, an economic development consultant in New Kent County.