New River Valley, VA – “Winding north along I-81 you’ll find Virginia’s New River Valley, home to small-town communities and spectacular outdoor recreation along the mountains and the winding New River. The area’s charm and quality of life are among the attractions for international companies.
The New River Valley consists of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties and the City of Radford. It’s also home to Virginia Tech, one of the Commonwealth’s largest universities and a leading research center, as well as Radford University, and New River Community College. As a result, a large percentage of the region’s 180,000 residents are between 18 and 24 and contribute to the pipeline of talent for area companies.
That pipeline has proven to be a powerful lure for a diverse number of international manufacturers. “There is a significant presence of international manufacturing companies in the region, including companies from Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, and Italy, among others,” explained Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward New River Valley, the region’s economic development organization.
Among the notable successes is Phoenix Packaging. The Colombia-based plastic injection molding manufacturer has been manufacturing plastic packaging for the food industry in the New River Valley since 2010. In the past eight years the company has expanded three times, adding a total of 585 new jobs and $106.2 million in investment. The most recent expansion occurred in 2017 and created 145 new jobs and $48.7 million in investment.
Virginia Tech’s focus on providing engineering, manufacturing, and transportation research (not to mention skilled college graduates) to local companies has encouraged many global manufacturers to call the region home. That research capability compelled InMotion, a manufacturer of electric motors and drives for electric and hybrid vehicles, to create a home in Montgomery County in 2014. The company invested over $5 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Blacksburg. The subsidiary of Italy-based Zapi S.p.A. employs 80 people there.
“Montgomery County has an outstanding combination of local talent and cost- effective facilities, as well as improved access to Virginia Tech and its world-class electric vehicle research,” commented Mike Jellen, general manager of InMotion US, upon announcing the investment. “Our Montgomery County location, with its attractive standard of living, coupled with InMotion’s groundbreaking product development, will continue to attract and retain the industry’s best people.” Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute (VTTI) counts Volvo Trucks among its stakeholders. The Swedish company’s 1.6-million-square-foot assembly plant in Dublin, Virginia, sits on nearly 300 acres, making it the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world. The plant produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America. And while the company now boasts its own 1.1-mile Customer Experience Track for testing equipment handling, the company also works closely with Virginia Tech researchers. VTTI is supporting the global manufacturer in research on self-driving trucks, among other projects.
While transportation companies make up only a part of the international players investing in Virginia, transportation certainly is part of the appeal. Being close to the customer “takes complexity out of the supply chain,” commented Korona S.A. Chairman Friedrich Rather, when the Polish candlemaker expanded into the U.S. The company invested $18.3 million in a manufacturing facility in Dublin and created 170 new jobs in the process. Korona Candles is one of the largest scented-candle manufacturers in Europe and produces private-label collections for many leading companies. Its executives’ decision to add a second production plant in Virginia expanded distribution worldwide, and gave the company the benefit of local employee training services available through New River Community College. Targeted machine training is critical in operating the technology central to the candlemaker’s processes.
These international commitments help to grow local investments in the workforce and infrastructure. It’s a combination likely to continue to attract innovative employers, making it little wonder Zippia ranked the New River Valley the No. 6 top U.S. job market of 2018.”
Original article from Virginia Economic Review can be found HERE.
Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”
Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.