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September 19, 2007



GVA Advantis is a storied Southeast firm that can trace its roots back to the 1890’s. We’ve come to know them as a sponsor and recently sat down in their DC office on Pennsylvania Ave. with regional head Brian Ball. GVA’s got a cool strategy, and we think we can help. They’re pushing hard into the rising megalopolis of DC, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, Hampton Roads. We specially commissioned a cartoon to show you this:

GVA Dipper

Okay, they don’t need us to be brokers—they have seven offices in Virginia and another seven in surrounding states. But we thought we could add a critical marketing dimension: You gotta have a catchy name for that geographic corridor. Our suggestion: The GVA Dipper. But we know our brilliant readers can do better. And to give you an incentive, we’re offering a prize: Lunch for two at the wonderful Il Mulino in DC, the new Italian restaurant where I have personally overeaten twice and loved it. Just thinking of it makes me want to break our “employees ineligible” rule. Click to enter contest.

The firm started as Goodman Segar 110 years ago, a name that served until 1996 when it became Goodman Segar LBG. The “LBG” stood for three guys who split off from Shannon & Luchs in 1985 to form their own boutique then merged it 11 years later: Pete Larson, Brian Ball, and Tony Gould. Ohmigosh, we know ‘em all! Pete’s now with Transwestern, Tony’s with Newmark, and of course Brian is the guy above, with the infectious smile, who heads the 32 employees in GVA’s DC and Tysons offices. In 2001, St. Joe bought them and they became GVA Advantis, the GVA referring to their international network. (Like “Colliers,” except that name goes at the end of Cassidy & Pinkard and other firms, whereas the GVA people are much cleverer and put themselves at the beginning.)

Advantis’ marketing virtuoso Tonya Ginter shows Bisnow her handiwork. She delivers–count ‘em!–128 marketing reports to clients every year. Brian says Advantis is in heavy-duty expansion mode. But why a small town like Fredericksburg? Brian says its proximity to DC, Navy and Marine Corps bases, the FBI Academy at Quantico, and the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County makes it a prime location for contractors like Northrop Grumman. Brian wants to open offices where competitors aren’t.

Brian, who played middle guard for Brown in ‘73, stands with his corporate services offensive line Tim Hague and Connor Faught. The road-tripping duo visited 44 states last year. When clients like Cap One, XM Radio, or 1-800-PACK-RAT need a warehouse in Mobile, AL, or a trophy building in Fresno, CA, they’re the go-to guys and jump on a plane.

Brian Jr. joined his dad after working for CoStar and GVA in Wilmington. The two Brians and the rest of the family were all over the map this summer: They hit the family home in the Outer Banks and made trips to Paris and London. We here at Bisnow have a soft spot for kids in the business: Hear that, Elliott? Anyway, don’t forget the naming contest. You could go down in GVA history, and also have a great time at Il Mulino.


Reznick Group

Buch Construction

Brookfield Properties

Think Arlington


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