Where to find my stories, March 2014

This month you can find my work in two different but related publications.

Virginia Business published two of my stories as part of its annual “Big Book” issue. One story looks at Southwest Virginia’s 2013 in economic development — specifically the return of manufacturing and industry. The story includes a list of the region’s largest employers and the biggest economic deals of 2013 in terms of job creation. A second, related story examines the region’s “big deal” — in this case Roanoke County’s successful landing of Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based food packaging company that will invest $93.5 million to convert the former Hanover Direct building into a can-manufacturing plant.

Additionally, Roanoke Business published my story for businesses about how to prepare for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. What do you need to know? What’s the employment threshold for providing mandated health insurance? How to part-time workers figure in to that calculation? What can you do now to prepare for future years? I spoke to Roanoke-based attorneys who provided those answers, along with other advice for businesses coping with the law. Find it in the March issue of Roanoke Business, on stands or online here.

New endeavors for 2014

Fozzie OsbourneThe first few months of 2014 have produced a number of changes here.

Starting on Feb. 10, 2014, I started a new part-time job as assistant editor for Virginia Tech Magazine, a quarterly publication with circulation of about 200,000 that is aimed at alumni and friends of VT.

Disclosure-wise, this means that moving forward I will not be covering any stories directly involving Virginia Tech. Stories with less direct involvement will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. I’ll use this site & blog for disclosures as they come up.

The shift on Feb. 10 also meant the end of my work as a full-time staffer at SustainFloyd. I continued to work several hours per week through Friday, Feb. 28, but any future work for SF will happen only on an ad hoc basis.

This same time period saw other news for my family. We spent the fall and winter acquiring a small herd of dairy goats and starting this month have been milking on a daily basis. My wife started making cheese this week, with the intention of spending 2014 developing recipes and building a base of supporters with the hopes of eventually building the infrastructure required by VDACS to become a small farmstead cheese maker.

You can follow news about our goat herd and this new business, called Thickety Springs Farmstead, on its Facebook page or on my informal Tumblr page (note: The Tumblr account is my personal one and includes additional content as well as the farm-related photos & media).

Finally, the freelance business is slowly growing. I picked up two new clients so far in 2014. Look for more on that here on the blog and on my Twitter stream as those stories are published.