Virginia Tech Receives Grant for Additive Manufacturing Project

Montgomery County, VA Virginia Tech recently reported that researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering were awarded $2 million of a $72 million Department of Energy grant to innovate manufacturing and accelerate the deployment of wind and water energy technologies.

The project will focus on additive manufacturing techniques and applied materials that will help reduce the environmental footprint used in building wind turbine blades. The team will develop a new polymer composite material that is completely recyclable and 3D printable. According to the article “wind turbine blades are made at off-site production facilities using large molds that require long lead times. Once those blades are fabricated, they then take a long and costly journey to their often-remote destination by way of semi-truck.” The new printing technology will provide a way to produce the blades near the location of the wind turbine while eliminating the use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process.

L.S. Randolph Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Chris Williams, who is helping lead the team, said, “our proposed project is looking to dramatically reduce waste, completely eliminate all hazardous materials, and enable 3D printing of a completely recyclable wind turbine.”

Read the full article from Virginia Tech here.

Virginia’s New River Valley has a robust additive manufacturing industry and is trailblazing new technologies that will transform the future. Discover how the NRV is a natural fit for additive manufacturing and applied materials here.

Photo by Minku Kang on Unsplash


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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.

ESS Technologies to Increase Capacity and Create 27 New Jobs in Montgomery County

ESS Technologies, Inc. to invest $1.6 million to increase capacity in Montgomery County, creating 27 new jobs

RICHMOND,VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that ESS Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of the Pacteon Group that specializes in complete packaging line design and equipment manufacturing, will invest $1.6 million to increase capacity and expand in Montgomery County. In January 2023, the company expanded in Giles County, adding an additional location to increase research and development, manufacturing, and office space. As part of this new expansion, ESS will consolidate its current facilities in Giles and Montgomery into one larger operation in Montgomery County, increasing the square footage to 40,000 square feet at the new location to increase production capacity. The project will create 27 new jobs.

“Companies like ESS Technologies, Inc. are a crucial component of the thriving supply chain and logistics ecosystem in Virginia,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Virginia provided the location, the robust workforce, and the business climate for ESS Technologies to expand and increase capacity at its Montgomery County location. I look forward to their continued success in Virginia.”

“Partners that reinvest in Virginia give a clear example that the Commonwealth is a great place to do business,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “I am proud that ESS Technologies, Inc. chose the Commonwealth as the location to base the future of their business. Virginia offers top-level infrastructure to help companies like ESS Technologies expand their business and create jobs for local citizens.”

“Pacteon is proud of the growth trajectory of ESS Technologies,” said Mike Odom, CEO of Pacteon Group. “We are excited to partner with Governor Youngkin and Montgomery County, Virginia, to secure the space and people needed to continue that path.”

“Montgomery County prides itself on being a great place to live, to work, and to play,” said Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chair Mary Biggs. “One way we accomplish the quality of life we value in our community is by supporting both new and existing businesses. We are thrilled ESS Technologies recognized our commitment to and support of local industries by choosing Montgomery County as home for expanding their innovative business.”

“Congratulations to ESS Technologies on this exciting expansion announcement. As a business with a long history in Virginia’s New River Valley, we are pleased they have chosen to retain and increase jobs in the region,” said Katie Boswell, Executive Director of Onward New River Valley. “We look forward to supporting their continued growth and success in the NRV.”

“We are thrilled by their increased investment in the New River Valley,” said Senator David Suetterlein. “We are thrilled even more so by the 27 quality new jobs it will generate.”

“This is an exciting announcement for the New River Valley,” said Delegate Jason Ballard. “This $1.6 million investment will bring 27 good-paying jobs to my district in Montgomery County and will encourage future economic growth and investment in our communities. I look forward to continuing my work with Governor Youngkin and other stakeholders to bring more of this type of economic opportunity to our localities throughout the New River Valley.”

Founded in 1993, ESS Technologies specializes in complete packaging line design, equipment manufacturing, and integration for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic, and consumer packaging goods industries. The company has extensive experience in designing, building, and integrating automatic cartoners, case packers, robotic palletizers, and robotic systems. ESS Technologies has operated in the Town of Blacksburg in Montgomery County since 1993.

ESS has been engaged with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) International Trade team since 2008 and is a 2023 graduate of the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. VALET assists Virginia exporters that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Montgomery County Economic Development and Onward New River Valley to secure the project for Virginia and will support ESS Technologies’ job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

Office of the Governor
Contact: Christian Martine
Email: Christian.Martinez@governor.virginia.gov

Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Contact: Nicole Hansen
Email: nhansen@vedp.org

ESS Technologies, Inc.
Contact: Janet Darnley
Email: jdarnley@pacteon.com

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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.

All Inclusive Playground Open in Christiansburg

Montgomery County, VA – As things begin to warm up towards summer in the New River Valley, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the Town of Christiansburg’s newest park, Huckleberry Park. Recently WSLS reported that the 21-million-dollar Huckelberry Park was open for public use.

The land for this state-of-the-art park was purchased by the Town from the Truman Wilson Estate in 2013. The original “Conceptual Master Plan” was done by Foresight Design Services with Wood Partners, Inc. handling planning and landscape architecture while OWPR worked on the architecture. Faulconer Construction company made a comprehensive agreement for final design and construction, using Hurt & Proffitt and Hill Studio to complete the project in September 2023.

According to the Town of Christiansburg’s website “the approximately 50-acre park features all-inclusive playground amenities, pet-friendly play areas, special event locations, and multi-purpose playing fields. Christiansburg Huckleberry Park is committed to fostering a safe family-friendly atmosphere that supports youth and adult recreation. The Park will also welcome tournaments from across the region, including potential teams from North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.” With the warmer weather approaching, things like the park’s splash pad are an added benefit to the surrounding communities.

Watch the full story from WSLS here.

Virginia’s New River Valley offers a variety of sports and recreational opportunities, including splash pads, playgrounds, parks, and recreation centers scattered throughout the region. The New River Valley has something for everyone. We are simply a natural fit. Learn more about recreational options in the NRV here.

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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.

Wing Partners with DoorDash in Christiansburg

Montgomery County, VA – Wing recently stated that they are expanding their partnership with DoorDash in the United States. Following a trial in Australia, Wing, DoorDash, and Wendy’s are kicking off their United States collaboration in Christiansburg, Virginia.

According to the announcement by Wing, Christiansburg has been “an integral part of drone delivery’s progress” ever since their first US commercial operations began in the community in 2019. Wing’s drones are ideal for getting smaller items to their destinations quickly and efficiently. With speeds of 65 miles per hour, drones are the perfect option for delivering food and sweet treats.

Drones provide a more environmentally friendly option for single-item deliveries. Combined with their speed and small environmental footprint, they are an excellent choice for smaller DoorDash deliveries.

Virginia’s New River Valley (NRV) continues to be a place where pioneering technology companies can thrive and become a part of the ever-changing landscape of tech culture. The NRV is simply a natural fit for innovative companies looking to change the future. Learn more about uncrewed systems in the NRV here.

Read Wing’s statement here.

Read DoorDash’s press release here.

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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.

Virginia Tech Smart Road Leading Autonomous Vehicle Research

Montgomery County, VACardinal News recently highlighted the significant role played by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s (VTTI) Smart Road in advancing automotive safety over the past two decades. Maintained and constructed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Smart Road features various research systems, such as advanced sensors, multiple pavement types, lighting systems, weather-making towers, optical fiber networks, and differential GPS broadcast capabilities. Spanning over 12 miles, the road encompasses a highway, a rural road section, and a reconfigurable street that can be designed for a variety of scenarios. Interconnected roadways enable vehicles to transition from controlled test tracks to live environments on U.S. 460 business lanes in Blacksburg.

Since its dedication in 2001, the Smart Road has served as a testing ground for mapping out technologies like automatic emergency braking, advanced cruise control systems, lane-keep assistance, hands-free steering, and more. With the recent establishment of an automation hub on the road, VTTI aims to remain at the forefront of autonomous transportation research.

Virginia’s New River Valley is a natural fit for the growing autonomous vehicles industry. With access to various research opportunities like the VTTI Smart Road, it’s not hard to see why many uncrewed systems companies are finding their place in the New River Valley. It’s simply A Natural Fit. Find out more here.

Read the Cardinal News article here.

Learn more about the VTTI Smart Road here.

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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.

Remote Workers Love the NRV

New River Valley, VACardinal News recently highlighted a shift in the landscape of remote work in Virginia between 2019 and 2022 citing insights from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. According to the survey, remote work in Virginia’s New River Valley has surged by 101%, reflecting a growing trend of professionals opting for the region’s lifestyle. The allure of scenic vistas, affordable living, and a vibrant community makes the New River Valley an irresistible choice for remote work and living. With its beautiful landscapes and safe environments, it’s no surprise that more individuals are embracing the opportunity to work remotely from this picturesque corner of Virginia. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley feels like home for remote workers. It’s simply a natural fit. Calculate your cost of living in Virginia’s New River Valley here. Read the Cardinal News Article here. View the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey here.
Photo by Antoni Shkraba
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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.

Alacran Consulting Graduates from VALET Program

Montgomery County, VA Alacran Consulting was one of 16 companies to graduate from the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program in January of 2024. Alacran Consulting joins a growing number of New River Valley companies who have graduated from the 2-year program.

VALET was established by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to help Virginia companies with their international expansion by providing support and education. According to the VEDP website “this award-winning program offers a powerful combination of capital resources provided by the Commonwealth and professional services from expert, private sector partners.”

Read the press release announcing Alacran’s graduation from the VALET program here.

Learn more about the VALET program here.

Explore companies from across Virginia’s New River Valley who have participated in the VALET program here.

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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.

NRV 2023 Top 50 Metro Area for Economic Growth in the US

New River Valley, VA – The New River Valley is one of the top 50 places in America for metro areas that are “hotspots for economic growth”, according to Area Development. The magazine recently released its rankings of the 2023 leading metro locations that are hotspots for economic growth.

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg metropolitan statistical area (MSA), also known as the New River Valley, ranked No. 49 overall and No. 21 among mid-sized metros with populations between 160,000 to 600,000. The New River Valley is the only location from Virginia that made the top 50.

According to Area Development, they ranked “384 MSAs across 24 economic and workforce indicators pulled from eight (8) data sets — each set containing a five-year change, a three-year change, and a one-year change indicator — originating from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census, and JobsEQ® by Chmura Economics & Analytics.” The “Overall Ranking” was created by totaling the score across all data sets, with the five-year change indicators carrying the most weight and the one-year indicators carrying the least weight. The four primary indicators used to compile the rankings included Prime Workforce, Economic Strength, Year-Over-Year Growth, Three-Year Growth, and Five-Year Growth.

The “overall ranking” isn’t a product of just one indicator, but all the factors combined. This shows the New River Valley’s strength in a variety of different indicators that make it ‘a natural fit’ across the board. The region benefits from its emerging tech hub, high-tech advanced manufacturing, access to talent, great cost of living and many other key factors that make the NRV a great place to live and do business.

Read the full list of rankings here.

Read the methodology behind the report here.

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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.

Virginia Business Features NRV Leaders in ‘Top 100 People to Meet in 2024’

New River Valley, VA – Several leaders from across the New River Valley were listed in the 5th annual list from Virginia Business of “Top 100 People to Meet in 2024”. According to the article, this list includes a wide range of professions from novelists and podcasters to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, influential attorneys, nonprofit leaders, educators, go-getters and innovators.

The top leaders from the NRV to meet in 2024 are:

Educators:
  • Enric Ruiz-Geli | Montgomery County | Professor of practice, Virginia Tech Honors College; principal and founding architect, Cloud 9
  • Bevlee A. Watford | Montgomery County | Associate dean of equity and engagement; executive director, Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, Virginia Tech

Go-Getters:
  • Peter Mann | City of Radford | Founder and CEO, Oransi

Innovators:
  • Nanci Hardwick | Montgomery County | Aeroprobe and MELD Manufacturing
  • Yuhao Zhang | Montgomery County | Assistant professor, Virgnia Tech

The New River Valley is at once organic and innovative. Technical and agricultural. Artistic and scientific. Step into a place filled with creativity, culture, and community, a place where you are surrounded with profound beauty, an eclectic mix of small-town life, and world-class universities. Discover how the New River Valley is “A Natural Fit” here.

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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.

NRV Receives Grant for NRV Materials and Machinery Cluster Scale-Up

New River Valley, VAWSLS Channel 10 recently reported that Governor Youngkin announced $1.9 million in GO Virginia grants for eight different programs. These projects help promote economic growth and workforce development throughout the commonwealth.

A New River Valley partnership comprised of the New River Valley Regional Commission, the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement, and Onward NRV received close to $100,000 for the NRV Materials and Machinery Cluster Scale-Up project. According to the GO Virginia Region 2 press release, the NRV Materials and Machinery Cluster Scale-Up will “build upon the successful application to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a Tech Hubs designation” and will map “out assets and resources that could support ecosystem growth and transformation of the cluster.”

See the full list of projects here.

Read WSLS Channel 10’s full story here.

Read Go Virginia Region 2’s press release here.

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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.