25 Years and Counting

Six County businesses celebrate milestone anniversaries 

By Melissa James, York County Contributor

What do a jeweler, an architect and an engineer all have in common? Their 25th business anniversary, of course!

York County is proud to honor the long-standing businesses in our community with spotlight stories and interviews highlighting the businesses’ accomplishments over the years. 

In December 2022, six companies celebrated their milestone 25-year anniversary, including Mid-Atlantic Commercial Real Estate, Viccellio Goldsmith, ARCI Architects, Andrea’s Restaurant, Robinson Engineering, and AMF Bowling Center.

Check out our 2020 interview with Monty Spencer, president & CEO of The Storage Acquisition Group, a subsidiary of Mid-Atlantic Commercial Real Estate. Then read on to learn more about fellow honorees Viccellio Goldsmith, ARCI Architects and Robinson Engineering. 

Viccellio Goldsmith

Owner: J. Henry “Hank” Viccellio
Anniversary: 25 years in York County (2022), 50 years in business (2023)
Location: Riverwalk Landing | 325 Water Street, Yorktown, VA
Website: viccelliogoldsmith.com

Business Description: The jewelry Hank Viccellio creates is collectable, wearable art. Be it a unique necklace for a special occasion or a classic bracelet for everyday, Hank’s work tells a story built by his creativity and distinctive style. As a founding member of Yorktown’s “On the Hill” artists’ cooperative, Hank believes in the importance of collaboration in the artistic community.

Q. What originally led you to open this business? 

ViccellioBack in 1973, I was hitch-hiking in Albuquerque. I got picked up by someone who asked if I was looking for a job. I said I was, and then he asked if I wanted to be a silversmith. He wanted to know if I was good with my hands, and I said I had no idea. I had just finished two years of college, but I thought back to when I was 7 years old. I had picked up a piece of foam and started carving it on the dining room table. I dreamed about making tiny little things people would admire and pay me to do it. I didn’t know till I started making jewelry that I was a creative person—I need to create. I did it the old-timey way. I worked for four to five people in about a seven to eight year period who all taught me something different. Then I studied under a master in Seattle, then became a master myself. I never liked working for anyone else, so I ended up starting my own goldsmith business. I eventually moved it to Yorktown, since it’s where I had grown up.

Q. What makes your business special?

I do all the work—my hands are on every piece. Most people fade out of this business after a few decades, but I’ve been doing it for nearly 50 years. I provide a high-quality service for people whose jewelry is very important to them. I treat their jewelry with respect, doing my best on every job. I think that’s a community service. I’m proud of my product, my location, longevity, that I was even able to do it.

Q. Why do you like having your business in York County? 

The County has been nothing but the best partner you could ever hope for, right from day one. They do everything first-class.  When the community presents to the County what they want, the County does it! I had gone to a meeting back in 1988 or so (when I was in town visiting my parents but before I moved back here) where citizens got together and asked for a riverwalk and restaurants and museums. Dadgone if they didn’t do it, everything on the list!  It’s remarkable. And now I have a store on that very Riverwalk.

Yorktown BraceletViccellio’s exclusive Yorktown Bracelet

Q. What can you tell us about your family?

My wife and I have a combined family of five children and six grandchildren under age seven. When the cousins get together, that’s going to be trouble!  My wife has been very active in the store—doing a lot of the marketing and the business side of it, creative input with things that she finds that we then sell, like nice silver pieces (bracelets, earrings)… pretty reasonably priced and very cool. I run the shop most of the time, and she comes to fill in and helps when it gets crazy. 

ARCI Architects

Owner: Greg Brezinski
Anniversary: 25 years in York County (2022), 50 years in engineering (2022)
Location: 3630 George Wash Mem Hwy, Ste B2, Yorktown, VA 
Website: www.arciarch.com

Business Description: ARCI is an architectural firm committed to enhancing the quality of the built environment and the lives of those who inhabit it. Through the efficient and ethical management of resources, people and finances, they are dedicated to building value in their projects and a contribution to the lives of their clients, community and the world.

ARCIQ. What originally led you to open this business?

That goes back to high school. I was very good at math, so I helped teach an advanced math course. My advisor said, “Greg, you’ve got to be an engineer!” I told him no, that I wanted to design buildings. He persuaded me though, so I went to engineering school for one year. At end of the second semester, I was miserable and switched to architecture school instead. In 1972, I graduated and then moved to Hampton Roads to work for Forrest Coile and Associates. It was a good start, but I had a dream to contribute to society, so I joined the Peace Corps. I lived in rural South America for a few years, helping communities get funding and materials to build schools and community centers.

Then I came back to the States and worked at several firms in Newport News, Norfolk, Houston and more. I even did a few stints abroad in Aruba and Saudi Arabia. I eventually moved back to this area and started my first firm, GBA Architects, in Yorktown. I ran that a few years before being approached to join Rancorn Wildman Krause. I was there five years but wanted more autonomy to focus on quality of design instead of budget. So, I started my own firm in Yorktown again and called it ARCI Architects.

Q. What makes your business special?

Caring! What we do is important to our clients’ lives. I try to express that in many ways, such as being a good listener, so we fully understand and can respond to their needs and concerns. We don’t rubber-stamp things.

I have a really diverse interest level and range of projects in the area, from preservation to residential to industrial, which is unique and is what I enjoy most about my work. I even do a few more-involved projects on the side—buying properties to fix up and sell.  

Some of my favorites include the VCU Fine Arts building in Richmond, Chesapeake Bay Hall at VIMS, the ODU oceanography school, and the Applied Research Center in Newport News. Smaller jobs, like my restoration work, are important and near to my heart. The restoration of 1500 Chesapeake Avenue is a memorable favorite of mine.

Old Dominion University’s Oceanography Building

Old Dominion Universitys Oceanography Building

1500 Chesapeake Avenue, Hampton, VA

1500 Chesapeake Avenue Hampton VA

Q. What makes you feel most fulfilled about your business and of what are you most proud?

Owning my own business gives me the freedom to do the two things I love best: Contribute to and change people’s lives for the better, and educate people on sustainable architecture. I won’t do a job unless I can make a contribution to the environment, the industry or the person—and help give them joy in their life. It’s the true driving force in my life. In terms of the environment, it’s more than just reducing our carbon footprint or energy consumption; it’s about teaching and counseling our clients on specific things they can do with their projects that will have a big and lasting impact for future generations. For example, we promote simple exterior skins that act as air infiltration barriers, which alone increases insulation values by 30%! We go further by suggesting stormwater collection systems, solar panels, passive solar heat collection, when appropriate.

I’m also quite proud of many of the local projects I’ve played a part in bringing to fruition. One very cool local project that I worked on years ago started with an old house in Gloucester that the sellers, Ron and Jan Kubicki, wanted moved off the property. It was valued at over $500,000, but they were selling it for $35,000. I called Marian Bowditch and drove her to the house and said, “Look at your new museum!” I advised her to go to the owner and ask him to donate it AND the $50,000 needed to move it, before the government changed the law regarding valuation of donations. It worked! Five months later, it was shipped on a barge across the York River and is now the Watermen’s Museum!

 Lastly, I’ve always enjoyed working with students, and so we’ve always had high school interns. I’m proud to have made a difference in their lives, and I still keep in touch with many of them. I’m afraid computers are taking creativity away from architects, as modern technology no longer requires visualization and an internal creation mechanism anymore. So, I ask our interns to freehand draw without a computer, to help build this important skill and to learn to develop a creative mind through sketching.

Barging of Cypress Hall from Gloucester to Yorktown in 1987

Barging of Cypress Hall from Gloucester to Yorktown in 1987

The Watermen’s Museum today

Museum today

Q. Why do you like having your business in York County

I’m a water person! That’s what initially brought me to the area. After college, my goal was to apply for positions only in communities near the ocean. I was living in York County at the time I started my business, so it was a natural fit to stay here. I like York County because it is accessible.  

In terms of my office, I looked for a place with personality. The quality of the workspace was important. I found this space with a wall full of windows, which I need because I’m subject to intensity of light. On sunny days, our space is rich in natural light, which creates better attitudes for my team and me. 

I’ve enjoyed working with County staff over the years. There are many great people there that help you and try to guide you through any regulatory processes. I have good relationships with many staff members as well as with the county administrator, Neil Morgan—I’ve known him for 25 years, and worked with him on Jefferson Labs years ago. 

Q. What can you tell us about your family?

I was brought up in a big family, with six sisters and two brothers. We are all close and keep in touch. Our parents lived in Charlottesville and were always very supportive and encouraging of my business.

I have no kids and am not currently married, but I have a wonderful Great Pyrenees named Mick that comes to work with me every day. He needs me!

ARCI Architects office

ARCI Architects office

An office day for Mick, the Great Pyrenees

An office day for Mick

Robinson Engineering

Owner: Monte Robinson
Anniversary: 25 years in York County (2022), 40 years in engineering (2023)
Location: 300-D Newsome Drive, Yorktown, VA
Website: www.RobinsonEngineeringInc.com

Business Description: Robinson Engineering specializes in original equipment design for cutting-edge manufacturing, with an emphasis on efficiency. They design, specify and deliver custom electrical controls for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Robinson Engineering serves clients worldwide, including large companies like Swiss Log and Aerex Industries, as well as local companies like Ryson International and Hockmeyer Equipment Company.

Q. What originally led you to open this business? 

It was an ambition since college. I spent years working for others to learn about the industry and lay the groundwork for starting my own company. After I earned my electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, my first job was at Newport News Shipbuilding. I wanted to get into more detailed industrial work and environments, rather than working for such a large corporation. I took a job with a smaller company that exposed me to industrial controls, which is the business that I do so much of now. We work with many industrial operations and implement electrical and control systems for them. So, getting into this industry was a very deliberate and intentional move... I didn’t stumble into it.

Q. What makes your business special?

There are not many companies out there who do what we do. We design, specify and deliver electrical controls for OEMs, or Original Equipment Manufacturers. We do that and only that! This too was quite intentional.
 It’s not worthwhile for mechanical companies to dabble in electrical controls. We allow them to specialize in what they do best, which is build mechanical systems, by providing them with the key ingredient for their operations. Their machines and equipment won’t work or work together without our controls. What makes us especially unique is that we work with many automation platforms and programmable controllers, rather than only one or two. Our competitors won’t do that.

We’ve delivered hundreds of systems all over the world. I can sleep at night because I know that we deliver sound applications based on solid principles and execution. So, I don’t have to worry about things not working as they should… I’m very proud of that. We don’t advertise, so all of our business is from repeat customers and referrals. To have that for 25 years is amazing.

Q. What makes you feel most fulfilled about your business and of what are you most proud?

I love the variety our work offers. We are deliberately diverse, which is why I believe we’re still here and have been in business so long.  We have a large variety of customers and a large number of products that we integrate. So much of what we do is unique, not just here, but in the world. I’ve also always enjoyed the various people we meet, the various processes we work with, and the different components we integrate. It’s not always easy, but it keeps us fresh.Customer map

Customer map in Robinson’s conference room

We currently have five employees. For a company our size, we are proud to have made such a big footprint in the automation business. If you look at the map in our conference room, there are pushpins all over the world! We’ve been able to achieve a huge amount with very few employees. I am very active in the day-to-day engineering. I still do quite a bit of the work myself, especially for our long-term customers, and I still travel a lot, as needed.

I’ve always made a point of providing internship opportunities to college students who are pursuing engineering. I remember needing to have a mentor and engineering exposure during that formative time in my career, so I always wanted to provide that for others too. I work closely with Christopher Newport University and am on their board of advisors for their engineering curriculum. I was honored to help them go through the process of getting their new electrical engineering program accredited. In the past, we’ve also worked with the York County School Division to help students who were interested in learning more about engineering careers.

Q. Why do you like having your business in York County? Robinson Engineering

I grew up in Newport News but had moved to York County after college. When I started the business, I worked in an office in our home. When we outgrew that, we moved the operation to our garage. I always had a close association with Ole Rygh, owner of Ryson International. For a while, I used his new building in York River Commerce Park to meet clients or put together larger systems. When he expanded and built out his full building in 2006, I knew I wanted to have an official spot in it. That is still the space we lease today.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?

Family is important! My wife Teresa has been working with me for almost the whole time I’ve had this company. As we grew, she began doing everything from the bookkeeping and accounting, to human resources and administration, and everything in between.

Our two kids, Will & Emma, have been exposed to the business and worked here at times, but neither ultimately wanted to do this type of work. They appreciated it and got experience from it but decided they did not want to pursue a career in the engineering track.

We have a small, but dedicated team, which feels a bit like family. I believe we’ve been here such a long time due to the diversity of our customers and the commitment and loyalty of our employees. We’ve always worked to make this an environment that we’d like to be a part of if we were the employees. We strive to provide a family atmosphere.

Robinson Engineering

Pictured from left: Austin Anderson, Robert Stone, Xavier Pemberton, Monte & Teresa Robinson

Home page