CoVa Best of 2021: IONIC Client Awardees

Every year, Coastal Virginia Magazine hosts the Best of Readers Choice Awards. The magazine holds multiple rounds, gathering votes from the community to identify their favorite businesses, best service providers and stand-out individuals. With outstanding participation, the CoVa Awards results are widely recognized as the region’s de facto ranking of the Coastal VA business community every year. 

At IONIC, we consider ourselves lucky to partner with and build for top talent in Coastal Virginia, including many who were named in the recent 2021 results! We’d like to extend our congratulations to our partners and friends who received recognition: 

ShoreBreak Pizza and Taphouse – Overall Gold Best Family Dining/Casual, Overall Gold Best Sports Bar

The Rustic Spoon – South Side Gold Best Family Dining/Casual, Overall Gold Best Lunch, Overall Gold Best New Restaurant

Amber Ox Public House – Peninsula Silver Best Local Farm-to-Table Menu, Peninsula Bronze Best Overall Restaurant, Peninsula Gold Best Wings

Mancoll Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery – Overall Gold Best Cosmetic Surgery Center, South Side Gold Best Skin/Dermatology Practice

Navy Federal Credit Union – Overall Gold Best Credit Union, Overall Gold Best Financial Planning Company

Chartway Federal Credit Union – South Side Gold Best Credit Union

Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union – South Side Bronze Best Credit Union

Atomic Plumbing – Overall Gold Best Plumber

Patrick Henry Mall – Peninsula Gold Best Shopping Mall

IONIC Awarded Vytal Studios New Headquarters in Richmond, VA

We are excited to announce that Ionic DeZign Studios was awarded a new office project for community-focused tech company, Vytal Studios, as they move headquarters to Richmond, VA!

Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia successfully competed with Florida and North Carolina for the project, which will create 155 new jobs.

Vytal Studios is a technology-based educational content developer and production company that will be investing $6.8 million as they relocate from Austin, TX to 1802 Semmes Avenue in RVA. We’re designing the new office, along with renovations of the previous historical structure, as well. The area will include studio space for filming content and office space for development and post-production functions.

Established in 2018, Vytal Studios is a technology company that builds and delivers custom employee and online training through immersive learning on a proprietary platform. Vytal Studios leverages the power of its state-of-the-art LED Video Wall production, Virtual Studio, combined with Epic Games Unreal Engine technology to create custom learning and development content. Vytal Studios can create any environment or simulation its clients desire to resemble a learner’s work experience and maximize training effectiveness. With a team of learning specialists and best-in-class production managers, Vytal provides everything a company needs to create and deliver high-quality, engaging learning content, from script to finished product.

Vytal intends to engage the local community and collaborate with Virginia Commonwealth University and local stakeholders to develop an extended reality cluster in Richmond through a nonprofit organization called One Vytal Difference.

“Our tech talent was a major driver in Vytal Studios’ decision to relocate from Austin to the City of Richmond and continue its fast-growing momentum,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Virginia’s higher education system is committed to providing the training and opportunities to build the workforce of the future to attract and retain high-caliber companies, and we look forward to a strong partnership with Vytal.”

“Virginia, specifically Richmond, has everything an emerging creative technology company wants,” said Jim Smith, Vytal Studios CEO. “Access to talent and higher education institutions, a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, local and state governments that get it, and just a super cool vibe that reminds me of Austin 10 years ago. I feel we can be a ‘Vytal’ member of the community and drive growth that draws the extended reality industry as a whole to a home in Virginia.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Richmond with the project. Vytal Studios is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I am so excited and pleased to see Vytal Studios come to Southside Richmond,” said Delegate Betsy Carr. “Not only will the company provide much-needed, good-paying jobs, its goal is to provide training to allow participants to become more successful employees and companies—a win-win for everyone. Moreover, its commitment to forming a nonprofit and working with Virginia Commonwealth University to develop an extended virtual reality cluster will enhance our community, making it even more appealing for families and businesses.”

IONIC is excited to be part of this amazing project and we look forward to sharing more details as they come. 

IONIC is Hiring!

About Ionic DeZign Studios 

Ionic DeZign Studios is a fast-paced architectural firm based in Virginia Beach, VA with twenty-one years of experience creating spaces that enrich the lives of those who use them. We provide site and space planning, complete permit and construction documents and ultimately, construction contract administration to bring our client’s visions to life. 

We promote a team environment where designers and architects work closely to support a value system where client relationships are paramount. IONIC’s core values guide every decision: Innovation, Creativity, Teamwork, Respect, Problem Solving and Family. Now, with an influx of projects, we are seeking the right candidate(s) to help continue our growth.

Open Roles

We are accepting candidates for the following positions. Richmond, VA based candidates preferred, but fully remote candidates are encouraged to apply. 

Project Architect

  • Registered Architect preferred
  • Minimum 5 years of experience
  • Proficient in Revit and AutoCAD
  • Knowledge of Lumion or Enscape preferred
  • Responsibilities include production of conceptual designs and construction documents for a variety of project types. Coordination with team and consultants.
  • Full Time. Salary + Benefits Package.

 Interior Designer

  • Minimum 5 years of experience
  • Proficient in Revit and AutoCAD
  • Knowledge of Lumion or Enscape preferred
  • Responsibilities include selection and specification of colors/materials/finishes for a variety of project types in cooperation with the Project Architect. Assist in the production of conceptual designs and construction documents. Coordination with team and consultants.
  • Full Time. Salary + Benefits Package.

If you have experience in one or both of these positions, please submit your cover letter, resume and portfolio examples to

Re-DeZigning With IONIC

We work hard for our clients. Often, that means making a preexisting building work for them, too. We may be architects but there’s a lot more involved in our practice than simply building from scratch. 

IONIC has been repurposing pre-existing structures for ages, but it’s a rising trend for many reasons. Where our clients couldn’t afford building from the ground up, this practice provides a solution. Not only does it save money, but time as well. Repurposing a space can begin and end before teams of contractors would have finished building it. 

Our favorite part? Seeing where a property begins and what we can turn it in to! We’re currently in full swing of converting an old Norfolk, VA funeral home into a mini-storage facility. Originally an inhospitable and quite “horrific” site, this 14,345 square foot space will soon be a bright, welcoming and spacious location for our long-term client’s newest venture. The new building will feature 100+ climate controlled storage units. With IONIC architect Bart McElfresh at the helm, we expect the project to be completed by mid-2021.

No RSVP Needed: IONIC Open House

February is typically our favorite month of the year because it’s when we host our annual Open House. We invite friends, family and clients to celebrate another year around the sun at both IONIC locations, while showcasing past and future projects, and the team’s exceptional party-planning abilities. From “Brats + Hardhats” to “DeZignosaurus Rex” we enjoy outdoing ourselves by taking the theme a little too far. Some may say that’s the IONIC way!

We aren’t able to gather under the guise of a zany theme this year, but trust us – we’re still celebrating. Our 20th year was one for the history books and we look forward to keeping the momentum going. We will have a lot to celebrate the next time our Open House comes around, but until then, please enjoy these fun moments and favorite captures from years past!

Eugene’s January One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

VISIONEERING with Grace Bible Church

For most of us, the new year is a time of reflection. A moment to consider the last twelve months and start planning for the future. Even if you do it every year of your life (or the life of your business), it never gets easier. That’s because, where you will be in the next five, ten or fifteen years is a difficult question to answer. Harder still if the future includes planning for a new building, renovation or move.

With IONIC, it’s easier. Not only have we helped countless businesses plan new spaces and renovations that include any potential future, but we do it every day. We call our process VISIONEERING.

Visioneering is about more than the spaces we plan. We apply decades of specialized industry experience to understand our clients and make sure their current and future needs are accounted for. Often, we know what they need more than they do, because we do this work every day.

That was the case with Grace Bible Church. They were ready to accommodate a growing congregation with a second location – a new campus in Norfolk, VA – but wanted to do so within specific budget restrictions. IONIC went to work, strategically planning for their evolving and future needs with their current constraints, and developing a conceptual design for the new building.

Ultimately, IONIC assisted Grace Bible Church in repurposing a 21,000 square-foot office building into their new worship location. The design mimics the contemporary feel of the primary location in Virginia Beach while utilizing the existing office space’s footprint to create a beautiful worship space with room for growth. All while staying within budget. IONIC partnered with Hoy Construction who helped from the very beginning to develop the budgets and goals for the team.


Eugene’s February One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

#LunchtimeLive with Array Digital and D. Eugene Thompson

IONIC’s founder and Entrepreneurial Excellence Award winner, D. Eugene Thompson, recently sat down with Array Digital to participate in their Lunchtime Live series to talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur.
From speaking about the challenges he faced as a new business owner, to gaining the traction that got IONIC to where it is today, a lot is packed in the thirty-minute conversation.
Want to hear Eugene’s thoughts and the origin story on IONIC? The Lunchtime Live episode is still available! Stream it, below: