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News Release

Richmond, VA, October 30, 2008

Virginia Chamber Recognizes Outstanding Virginia Companies at 2008 Economic Summit

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce celebrated Virginia's ranking as the best state in the nation for business with a recognition gala on October 29 that honored Virginia corporations whose achievements and corporate citizenship have brought great honor and pride to the Commonwealth. The banquet capped the 2008 Virginia Economic Summit, an event held at the Richmond Marriott and attended by more than 300.

To highlight Virginia's world class corporate citizens, old and new, and underscore our state's unparalleled attractiveness as a business location, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Business Magazine sought nominations for the prestigious Virginia Torchbearer Awards .

The purpose was to identify the companies that best exemplified the excellence that has made the Commonwealth the number one state in the nation for business. The companies had to be innovators whose outstanding products, services and management practices have propelled Virginia's progress and prosperity in recent years.

Following a statewide nomination process, resulting in a strong field of contenders, six winners were selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges. The categories included; one overall state winner representing large companies, one overall winner representing small companies and four regional winners, one each from Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Western Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The Torchbearer winners were:

Central Region: DuPont located in Richmond, recognized nationally for its products such as Kevlar and Nomex, materials that help police, firefighters and military personnel;

Northern Virginia Region: Alion Science & Technology, Inc., of McLean, a technology solutions company the provides technical expertise and operational support to the Department of Defense, civilian government agencies and commercial customers;

Western Region: Luna Innovations Incorporated of Roanoke, whose products involve the development of unique intellectual property used to create products in the oil and gas, telecommunications, medical, defense and pharmaceuticals industries; and

Hampton Roads Region: Canon Virginia, Inc., of Newport News, a U.S. manufacturing arm of Canon that manufactures single-line copiers, printers, cartridges and accessories.

Overall State Winner - Small Company: Barter Theatre in Abingdon, the longest running professional Equity theater in the country; and

Overall State Winner - Large Company: Smithfield Foods, Inc., in Smithfield, the world's largest hog producer and pork processor.

"We are very excited and proud to present the Torchbearer Awards because they underscore the tremendously positive impact that the business community has had on the economy and quality of life here in the Commonwealth," said Hugh Keogh, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber. "As we celebrate their accomplishments, we also look at how to maintain the vibrant pro-business environment that helps create quality jobs and build prosperity for all Virginians."

The Virginia Economic Summit, held earlier in the day, featured an unprecedented discussion of business issues highlighted by business leaders including: Mike Petters, President, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News; Hal Cramer, President,  ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing in Fairfax; Gregory Cummings, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing, Philip Morris USA in Richmond and Larry Prior, Chief Operating Officer, SAIC in McLean.