Following Governor McDonnell’s announcement in July, last week Morooka America celebrated the opening of its first U.S. track carrier manufacturing plant in Hanover County. The project will bring 50 new jobs to the Central Virginia region.
Morooka America will operate under a license agreement with Japan-based Morooka Company Ltd., a leading manufacturer of rubber track carriers used in the construction, pipeline installation and agricultural industries. Using its specialized rubber tracks, the Morooka Carrier offers the additional traction needed to transport heavy materials through challenging terrain.
With the U.S. as the leading export destination for Morooka products, the Virginia facility will allow the company to optimize its supply chain and more efficiently serve and grow its North and South American markets.
Virginia offers a strategic location for both the manufacturing and distribution of Morooka’s products. With nearly 240,000 workers employed in the manufacturing industry, Virginia’s workforce stands ready to support the industry’s needs.
In addition, Virginia’s central East Coast location and premier logistics network offer easy access to U.S. and international markets. With 14 railroads, six major interstate highways, nine commercial airports, the international Port of Virginia, and the Virginia Inland Port, the Commonwealth’s substantial logistics infrastructure is a major advantage for companies.
To learn why global manufacturing companies continue to establish operations in Virginia, investing more than $13.7 billion over the last 10 years, click here.
Secretary Cheng address
YesVirginia Business Blog | September 2009
On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary Todd Haymore attended Enviva’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Southampton County Commerce and Logistics Center in Franklin, Va.
Enviva began construction on its 454,000-metric-ton wood pellet manufacturing facility after announcing this project would bring a $75 million investment and 64 new jobs to Southampton County last November. The facility is expected to support more than 100 additional jobs through the company’s logging supply chain.
As a leading biomass fuel supplier, Enviva’s commitment to sustainable practices is evident in its location requirements. To minimize its carbon footprint, the company seeks strategic locations offering close proximity to both biomass sources as well as waterways and ports, for easy shipment to international customers.
Southeastern Virginia is uniquely positioned to meet the company’s needs on both counts. According to Enviva Chairman and CEO John Keppler, “Southampton County has all the elements essential to our success: a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labor force, and is logistically advantaged to our Port of Chesapeake export terminal.”
This past New Year’s Eve, Enviva opened its deep water terminal at the Port of Chesapeake. The company selected Virginia’s Port of Chesapeake for its deep water capacity and ability to handle a variety of vessels. The company’s inaugural shipment consisted of 28,000 metric tons of wood pellets destined for Europe aboard the MV Daishin Maru.
With the Commonwealth's “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, this investment continues Virginia’s quest to lay claim to the title “Energy Capital of the East Coast.” From conventional fuel mining to renewable energy producers, Virginia provides energy companies with the resources for success.
To learn why energy companies have invested more than $4.6 billion in Virginia over the last ten years, click here.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Enviva CEO John Keppler (center) join state, local and company officials at the Enviva ground-breaking ceremony in Franklin, Va.
||virginia, economic development, lieutenant governor bill bolling, secretary todd haymore, enviva, southampton county commerce and logistics center, franklin, wood pellet manufacturing, biomass fuel, port of chesapeake, virginia energy
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On August 15, the Virginia Polymer Coalition will commence with its inaugural meeting at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Va.
Southern Virginia has seen a growing cluster of polymer technology and manufacturing companies, and a recently commissioned study from the Southside Business Technology Center confirms the need for better industry collaboration and research.
With rising raw materials costs, polymer manufacturers are looking for ways to manage costs as well as find better methods for product testing, materials analysis and recycling.
Sustainability is also a frequent topic in the industry, augmented by customer requests for biodegradable products. Increased interest in Biopolymers as a possible solution has led to the need for additional research in this field.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is an ideal location for this industry hub, offering an existing polymer lab, onsite scientists, and a strong partnership with Virginia Tech faculty.
“Polymer manufacturers represent an important industry in Southern Virginia with products ranging from packaging, including tubes, tape, film and bags to fibre and tires,” said IALR Executive Director Liam Leightley. “One way for the Virginia Polymer Coalition to support the cluster is for it to regularly host a network meeting for regional polymer companies to be able to meet, discuss and share their business challenges, R&D needs, best practices and industry solutions.”
To learn more about The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Virginia’s broad selection of world-class research institutions, click on the highlighted links.
A view of The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Va.
International Paper recently announced it began manufacturing operations at its Franklin Mill in Isle of Wight County. In May 2011, Governor McDonnell announced the company’s plans to invest $83 million to repurpose a portion of its closed mill and create more than 200 new jobs in the region.
After closing the paper mill in 2009, International Paper has upfit a portion of the plant to manufacture fluff pulp, a key component in absorbency products such as diapers and hygiene products. The company expects to produce 840 tons per day of high-quality fluff pulp once it ramps up to full production.
“This is a wonderful turnaround story for Isle of Wight County—to have some recovery of the jobs lost in 2009 and repurpose a facility is great news for the region,” said VEDP Managing Director Brent Sheffler.
The company’s familiarity with the assets of the region—including a strong wood basket supply chain and a skilled and dedicated advanced manufacturing workforce—helped Virginia win this project.
Logistics infrastructure was also a critical deciding factor, as the company expects to export a substantial amount of its product. Access to existing rail service and close proximity to the international Port of Virginia made the Franklin Mill the clear choice.
As the third largest global supplier of fluff pulp, this investment allows the company to expand its footprint in this growing market and continue its strong legacy in Virginia’s pro-business environment.
With more than 6,000 manufacturing companies located in the Commonwealth, click here to learn why leading companies like International Paper continue to invest in Virginia.
On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling attended an event to announce that Big R Bridge, a national leader in developing engineered solutions for steel bridges, corrugated metal structures, retaining wall systems and corrugated pipe, will establish its first Virginia location in Washington County.
The $1.9 million investment will be used to convert the former Lynchburg Steel Facility into a manufacturing operation for the company’s prefabricated bridge parts, bringing 32 new jobs to Southwest Virginia.
Big R Bridge has been supplying prefabricated bridges and custom engineered products for more than 40 years, handling more than 10,000 installations to date and creating more than 300 bridges each year.
The new facility in Washington County will allow the company to expand its U.S. footprint and more easily access East Coast markets. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina for the project.
The Commonwealth was chosen for its strategic location and premier logistics network, offering easy access to Interstates 81 and 77. Virginia was also selected for its exceptional workforce with the advanced manufacturing skills needed to produce the company’s highly engineered solutions.
With names like DuPont, Honeywell, Owens & Minor, Merck and Rolls-Royce, Virginia continues to attract top tier manufacturing companies. To learn why more than 6,000 manufacturers call Virginia home, click here.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) honored Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes as its State Legislator of the Year at the recent 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.
Delegate Landes was recognized for his efforts in advancing the field of biotech and supporting legislation to make Virginia a top state to attract and retain life sciences businesses.
BIO is the world’s largest biotech organization and the BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotech industry with 15,000 attendees at its annual conference.
Delegate Landes was given the award in the Virginia Pavilion, a 1,500-square-foot space organized by VEDP. The Pavilion showcased Virginia’s universities, companies and local economic development groups in the Commonwealth’s major life science clusters: Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, Greater Richmond, and the I-81 Corridor.
With its central location in the Mid-Atlantic Life Science cluster and strong technology and life sciences workforce, Virginia’s biotech industry is on the rise. Top research institutions such as SRI International and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as leading companies, including Merck, Fareva, McKesson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Boehringer Ingelheim have all chosen to locate in the Commonwealth.
To learn more about Virginia’s growing life science industry and why the private sector has invested more than $1.9 billion over the last decade, click here.
Virginia Biotechnology Association Interim Executive Director Jeff Gallagher (left) and BIO Vice President, Alliance Development and State Government Relations Fritz Bittenbender (right) present Delegate Landes with the State Legislator of the Year award.
Virginia was recently awarded a Silver Shovel in the 5-9 Million population category by Area Development magazine.
As part of the magazine’s seventh annual ranking, the award recognizes states for attracting investment projects that created a high number of new jobs in calendar year 2011. States were recognized for establishing policies that drive job growth, infrastructure improvements, and processes that attract new employers.
The award is based on each state’s top 10 projects that broke ground in 2011, using a number of weighted factors such as number of new jobs created, size of investment, number of new facilities, and the diversity of industries represented.
The ten outstanding projects that made Virginia a winner were: Amazon.com, ICF International, United States Green Energy, Soft Tech Consulting Inc., Katoen Natie, Backcountry.com, International Paper, PPD Inc., Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc., and Microsoft Corp.
Also a winner of the Silver Shovel in 2009 and 2006, this recognition continues Virginia’s winning streak with awards such as Site Selection magazine’s 2011 Competitiveness Award, MoneyRates.com’s 2012 Best State to Make a Living, Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s 2011 Top Pro-Business State, CNBC’s 2011 Top State for Business, and Business Facilities magazine’s top spot for Economic Growth Potential in 2011.
To learn more about Virginia’s unique combination of assets that has allowed businesses to prosper here for more than 400 years, click here.
Capital One recently announced plans to invest $150 million to establish a new data center in Chesterfield County, bringing 50 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against Texas for this project.
Chesterfield County was selected due to its proximity to Capital One’s existing operations in the Greater Richmond area. The Fortune 500 company has successfully operated in Virginia for more than two decades.
Central Virginia is seeing a growing cluster of data centers due its abundant power, advanced fiber network, and low risk of natural disasters. In addition, the strong partnership between local officials and utility providers allows deals such as this to be put together quickly.
Virginia is fast becoming a popular place for data centers across the Commonwealth. Data processing was the dominant sector for investment in 2011 at $960 million, accounting for almost half of the nonmanufacturing investment.
The Commonwealth not only offers companies low electricity rates below the national average; it maintains a highly qualified workforce to support the sector, with the highest concentration of high-tech workers according to Cyberstates 2011. In addition, the Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption provides a competitive cost advantage on qualified equipment for data centers.
To learn more about Virginia’s capabilities and why companies have invested more than $4.4 billion in the Commonwealth’s data center industry over the past ten years, click here.
Continuing our series on University-Based Economic Development, we will look at how James Madison University’s (JMU) Virginia Center for Wind Energy (VCWE) keeps industry professionals educated on wind power developments in Virginia.
Located in a 4,000-square-foot commercial lab space near JMU’s main campus, the center has been active since 2001. VCWE provides measurements, economic modeling, education, energy policy analysis and GIS reports on wind energy in the Commonwealth.
VCWE recently hosted the 2012 Statewide Wind Energy Symposium, which included panel discussions and workshops ranging from Wind 101 to Regulatory and Permitting Options. The 150 attendees included government officials, wind industry decision-makers, business owners and Virginia residents.
During the symposium VCWE launched its Small Wind Training & Testing Facility, which will be used primarily for workforce training in the small wind industry. Small wind is traditionally defined as turbines below 100 kilowatts (kW) with most residential turbines under 20 kW. Through the center students will have access to three wind turbines, a WeatherBug weather station, a solar array system and additional measurement equipment.
Uncertainty still surrounds the national production tax credit, and locally, many cities do not have wind ordinances in place, making education the critical mandate for VCWE.
“The Small Wind Training and Testing Facility was designed to address a lack of available resources in the region to support the training of a small wind workforce throughout Virginia and beyond. This resource will support teaching of undergraduates at JMU and other educational institutions throughout the Commonwealth, as well as the training of residents and business owners who seek to learn more about how to apply wind energy in Virginia,” said Dr. Jonathan Miles, VCWE Director.
Fortunately Virginia has a compelling wind story with its shallow waters, strong Class 6 winds, high voltage transmission grid, and maritime workforce. To learn more JMU’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy, click here.
Dr. Jonathan Miles, VCWE Director, addresses the crowd at the JMU Small Wind Training & Testing Facility ribbon-cutting ceremony.
||virginia, economic development, ubed, university-based economic development, jmu, james madison university, vcwe, virginia center for wind energy, small wind training and testing facility, wind industry, virginia wind, offshore wind
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