Visitors from VEDP stand at the Falling Branch Corporate Park on a beautiful day.

VEDP Visits Virginia’s New River Valley

Sixteen team members from Virginia Economic Development Partnership, hosted by Onward NRV staff, visited Virginia’s New River Valley from August 23-24 to learn more about the region’s communities and targeted industries.

A group from VEDP prepares to tour the Phoenix Packaging facility in Pulaski County, Virginia

With an aggressive schedule, the team was able to make 15 stops on their short tour.

Robotic manufacturing arm at New River Community College in Pulaski County, Virginia

For Advanced Manufacturing, visits included a tour of Phoenix Packaging in Pulaski County and a tour and lunch at New River Community College to see the training programs in Electronics Technology, Instrumentation and Control Automation, and more.

The group was only willing to leave the 3D printers and unmanned robotics to view open sites in the NRV suited for manufacturing companies. (Former GE/Fairchild Building in Giles County, NRV Commerce Park in Pulaski County, Falling Branch Corporate Park in Montgomery County)

To learn more about Information Technology in the NRV, the group toured Rackspace to learn about existing industry and Radford University’s ARTIS lab, which provides a top-knotch learning environment for students who leave ready to enter the workforce.

Sign on the window of Radford University Artis Lab in Radford, VA

The group was also able to see suitable sites for IT companies such as the Floyd Innovation Center and Wheatland EcoPark in Giles County.

Outside the Floyd Innovation Center in Floyd County, VA.

Information about Food and Beverage Processing manifested in a tour of the Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology facilities including the Sensory Evaluation Lab, Food Safety Pilot Plant, the on campus brewhouse, and more.

A tour and wine tasting at Chateau Morrissette in Floyd County gave VEDP an inside look at existing industry in the NRV as well.

Outside of Chateau Morrissette in the mountains of Floyd County, VA.

The beauty of Virginia’s New River valley was not overlooked. The traveling during to tour allowed for beautiful scenic routes and stops at mountainous overlooks. A delicious breakfast at the Pete Dye River Course in Radford, VA provided an additional view of the New River. Meals during the tour were catered by Prestons at the River, The Blue Door Cafe at Draper Mercantile, The Palisades, and The Floyd Country Store.

The tour ended with a visit to New Rivers Edge Outfitters, which gave the crew a taste of the outdoors and a look at what living in Giles County and the rest of the New River Valley is like: A Natural Fit.

New RIvers Edge Outfitters
Advanced Manufacturing welder

The Port of Virginia Awards Hubbell Lighting, Inc. and Wolverine Advanced Materials $406,500 in Grant Money

Two companies in Montgomery County were awarded a total of $406,500 in grant money by The Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program, which is made to facilitate the growth of the port by putting investment into maritime related business. Hubbell Lighting, Christiansburg, was awarded $315,000 and Wolverine Advanced Materials, Blacksburg, $91,500. The grant is available from 2014-2020 with a maximum for each grant at $500,000 each year, to an annual total of up to $5 million. Hubbell Lighting yellow and black logo Hubbell Lighting, Inc. is one of the largest lighting manufacturers in North America and services commercial, residential, and industrial markets all over the world. Hubbell invested an additional $6.015 million dollars and created 100 new jobs in the New River Valley in 2015 and is consistently a world leader in lighting innovation. New River Valley company, Wolverine red and black logo Wolverine uses the Port of Virginia to export their high-performance materials used in automotive and industrial noise reduction to key markets in China and India. In 2014, Wolverine invested $10.625 million and created 93 new jobs to expand its materials manufacturing operation. This grant program is an excellent opportunity for business in our area and helps exporting businesses continue to invest in our region. For more information about the Port of Virginia’s grant, visit the ED + Infrastructure Grant Program page.The Port of Virginia Ship linked to the Grant Program Webpage  

NRCC Students Primed for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing

NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA— This past month, the New River Valley Alliance was invited to tour New River Community College, along with Radford University’s President Brian Hemphill and several other community and business leaders. The tour and discussions focused on how NRCC prepares students for careers in advanced manufacturing and technology.

New River Community College emphasizes real-world experience, and one of its goals is to develop curricula that enable students to find jobs in their field here in the New River Valley.  Not only does the college invest in the latest manufacturing technologies, but it also partners with local businesses to tailor programs to an employer’s specific needs (i.e. if there is a particular material that companies want future employees to be skilled in using, the business often donates samples of the material to NRCC to use).

In the Machine Technology program, John Somervell, Assistant Professor of Machine Shop Technology, teaches a group of 35 to 40 students each year the techniques required for a twenty-first century machinist.  It’s a tight space filled with simulators, lathes, and milling machines, and John explained that he can’t place students fast enough.  Although he advises students to complete their two-year degree to earn higher wages, some inevitably leave the program early for full-time employment—their skillset is that high in demand.

The program equips students to become machine tool operators—lathe operators, drill press operators, inspectors and tool crib attendants—all positions that employers like Federal MogulKollmorgenMoogWolverine Advanced Materials, and other New River Valley employers need.

The Instrumentation and Control Automation program, on the other hand, prepares students for careers in advanced manufacturing at employers like CelaneseAmerican Electric PowerHollingsworth & Vose, andTechLab.  With a starting salary well into the $50 to 60k+ range, Instrumentation is popular at NRCC with over 150 students enrolled in the two-year program (55 students in their final year).

Much of the Instrumentation program’s success is due to Montie Fleshman, Professor of Instrumentation Technology, who piloted several innovative flex courses that incorporate both online and classroom teaching.  Since students can now access recorded lectures online, incompletion rates dropped from 30% to 3%.  Montie also dialogues with employers to develop new labs that meet workforce needs.  As a result, New River Community College created a state-of-the-art mechatronics lab which teaches students how to combine electronics, mechanics, and computing into a streamlined process—a skillset that most advanced manufacturing and engineering employers look for in today’s graduates.

Advanced Manufacturing today requires that students learn a mix of electronic, mechanic, and computer science skills—whether testing a gas turbine or producing advanced materials for the automotive industry.  From teaching students the newest in techniques and technologies to introducing them to local employers looking to expand their workforce, New River Community College primes students for successful careers in advanced manufacturing.


Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.

Governor McAuliffe Announces $38.1 Million Volvo Group Investment in Pulaski County

Volvo to upgrade truck plant, develop Customer Experience Center, add 32 jobs in New River Valley

DUBLIN – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Volvo Group will invest $38.1 million at the New River Valley (NRV) assembly facility in Pulaski County, where all Volvo Trucks models for North America are assembled. The investment will allow Volvo to make several plant upgrades and build a 36,000-square-foot Volvo Trucks Customer Experience Center on the NRV grounds. In addition to the investment, Volvo will add 32 new jobs at NRV.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Growing the advanced manufacturing industry is a key part of our efforts to create jobs, diversify and build a new Virginia economy. This is the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world, and we are pleased that the Volvo Group chose Virginia for this significant expansion that will ensure its success and longevity in Pulaski County for years to come.” “This announcement is a testament to the great workforce and best-in-class business environment in Pulaski County and the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The advanced manufacturing industry in Virginia continues to gain momentum, and we are proud that Volvo is a leader in this key sector.” Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy-duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,200 dealers and workshops in more than 120 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 16 countries across the globe. In 2014, more than 117,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, and drive systems for marine and industrial applications. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo’s work is based on the core values of quality, safety and environmental care. “Volvo’s investment in the NRV facility and in the development of a Customer Experience Center is evidence of our commitment to our employees and the Pulaski County community,” said Gӧran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Our competitive advantage stems from our innovative products and services, and also from our dedicated employees.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Pulaski County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Pulaski with the project.The Governor also approved a $2 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by VEDP. “The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and County staff are pleased to have assisted Volvo with this effort,” said Joe Sheffey, Chairman, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “We are extremely proud of what Volvo has accomplished over the past 40 years. Volvo continues to be a leader in the local economy, in our quality of life and in the environmental care for the community we call home.” “This is fantastic news for Pulaski County and the New River Valley,” said Delegate Nick Rush. “Volvo Trucks is one of the best manufacturers in the world, and their commitment to the New River Valley is a testament to the hard work of its employees and the County’s continued efforts to bring good-paying jobs to our community.” “The Volvo Group has been a valuable community partner in Pulaski County and the New River Valley Region,” said Senator Ben Chafin. “It is great to see Volvo continuing to invest in Virginia. These new jobs are a positive step forward in building a stronger economy in Southwest Virginia.” Since the beginning of the McAuliffe administration, 471 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with more than $7.799 billion in capital investment, more than any previous governor in his first 20 months in office. Office of the Governor Contact: Brian Coy (804) 225-4260 Virginia Economic Development Partnership Contact: Suzanne Clark (804) 545-5806 Volvo Trucks North America Contact: John Mies (336) 543-9094