Statewide: Western region, January 2015
A New York digital-media company paid $65 million for an Asheville one — considered the biggest tech deal ever in a region better known for brewing beer than writing code — and there’s a movement afoot to make sure the sale of DoctorDirectory.com to Everyday Health isn’t a one-time success story. “If we had one or two more DoctorDirectories, there would be a lot more people looking at Asheville,” says Josh Dorfman, director of entrepreneurship development for the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County. Dorfman, who was hired last spring, leads the local chamber of commerce’s Venture Asheville initiative. “We’re trying to help startups hire faster, hire better to combat what’s often perceived as a talent gap.” The four-county metropolitan statistical area has the lowest unemployment rate of any MSA in the state — 4.1% in October. Everyday Health produces digital content related to health care, including sites such as WhatToExpect.com and mobile apps such as My Calorie Counter. The company, which went public in March, has a market value of about $420 million. Started in 1996, DoctorDirectory.com links patients with physicians and hospitals and provides information about prescription drugs to medical practices. DoctorDirectory.com has about 80 employees and plans to add 15 to 20 over the next year.
FLETCHER — AdvantageWest launched ScaleUp WNC to provide networking, training and consulting to startups wanting to expand. With a $1.2 million contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the five-year program will work with as many as 150 companies with annual revenue between $150,000 and $500,000. Companies must be in the the economic-development group’s 23-county region.
CLYDE — Philip Wright will take the reins of Haywood Regional Medical Center on Jan. 5. He had been CEO of 129-bed Santa Rosa Medical Center in Milton, Fla., since 2009. He succeeds Richard Grogan, who had held the position on an interim basis since August, when Brentwood, Tenn.-based Duke LifePoint Healthcare acquired the 169-bed hospital for about $26 million.
ASHEVILLE — Avadim Technologies signed an agreement with Virginia Beach, Va., supply-chain manager ADS to distribute its Theraworx brand products to Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense hospitals and clinics. Founded in 2007, Avadim makes skin products that help hospital patients avoid infections. The company raised $3.4 million in October in a private offering. The money will go for manufacturing, marketing and general corporate expenses.
ASHEVILLE — McConnell Golf planned to buy Asheville Country Club for an undisclosed amount and will spend at least $4 million over three years on improvements. Built in 1928 with a Donald Ross-designed course, it’s the oldest private golf club in the state. Raleigh-based McConnell also acquired Greenville’s Brook Valley Country Club in October. It will own ten clubs in North Carolina and South Carolina after the deal closes (“The Drive,” July 2013).
HIGHLANDS — Jacqueline Ring became president and chief nursing officer of 104-bed Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, an affiliate of Asheville-based Mission Health, on Dec. 29. She had been chief operating officer of Johnston Health in Clayton since 2007. Ring replaces Craig James, formerly hospital president and vice president of Mission’s west region. Mission operates six hospitals.
ASHEVILLE — The Asheville City Council increased limits on housing density in 11 commercial districts that make up about a fifth of the city. Developers can now build 40 to 70 units per acre in certain districts, up from eight to 32 units per acre.