Highground Services earns Business of the Year honor

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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Highground Services Inc. was recently named the Western Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

With its corporate headquarters located at 500 N. Mechanic St. in Franklin, Highground Services has grown into a multi-discipline engineering services, electrical construction and process controls firm, as noted on its website, and the company has been in operation since 2006.

This 2024 honor marks the second time that Highground Services has won the Hampton Roads Chamber’s Western Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year Award. The company last earned it in 2019.

Highground Services CEO and Co-Founder James “Jim” Strozier shared what it meant to be recognized this year.

“We were really honored just to be nominated but then (also) to be selected from the wide range of companies that are in the area and to be selected as a business that is worthy of the award,” he said. “We do participate in a lot of chamber activities and a lot of community activities. We have a lot of employees actively involved in community events and supporting the community.”

He described how Highground Services came to be in the running for the award and the process that led up to the Hampton Roads Chamber’s June 21 award ceremony at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Chesapeake.

First, the company was nominated.

“I asked about who nominated us, and they said it was an anonymous nomination,” Strozier said. “I think through the various cities, they put out a notice that they’re accepting nominations, but I didn’t find out who nominated us.

“But essentially somebody in the community would nominate a business, and then they send out a questionnaire (to the nominee),” he said. “And then after the questionnaire, then they said we had moved into the finalist round, and they sent a lady from the Hampton Roads Chamber to meet with us here (at our corporate headquarters), and she asked us several questions and videotaped all of our responses, which were then taken back to the judges. And the judges reviewed that information and made their decision.”

He said that maybe two or three weeks before the award ceremony, Highground Services was notified that it had been selected as a winner.

Highground Services was one of seven local winners at the ceremony, and Easton Outdoors was named the regional winner.

“And (for) each of those businesses, as part of the awards package, they prepared a video where the people from WTKR came out and interviewed us and then developed a video, which was shown at the award ceremony,” Strozier said.

He explained that once a business has won the Western Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year honor, it is out of the running for the next three years.

He noted that 80% of Highground Services’ business is repeat business from a notably established customer base, but winning the Western Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year Award raises the company’s profile, potentially putting it in front of a few more people, who could become new customers.

Strozier took a moment to share some more details about the services Highground provides.

“About half of our business is electrical construction with industrial customers — International Paper, Newport News Shipbuilding, large companies like Dominion (Energy) and then smaller companies, we’ve done a lot of work for GMAX (Industries) out in the business park,” he said. “We just recently did our first solar project and are just getting started on our second project with solar. First one was a ground-mounted solar in Suffolk, next project will be a rooftop-mounted in Norfolk.”