Strongwell Corporation, Bristol
Optical Cable Corporation, Salem
Mar-Bal, Inc., Dublin
Hardide Coatings, Henry County
Amthor International, Pittsylvania County
Virginia has a long tradition of advanced materials manufacturing dating back to the early 19th century, when the Commonwealth emerged as a manufacturing leader in the United States. Today, a diverse array of advanced materials companies continue to locate or expand in Virginia, drawn by its thriving industry base and strong manufacturing culture, outstanding logistical advantages, skilled workforce, competitively priced utilities, and top-ranked business climate.
Recent investments announced by advanced materials manufacturers include major expansions by DuPont, BWX Technologies, Hollingsworth & Vose, Crown Holdings, Klöckner Pentaplast, and Trex Company, and a new manufacturing facilities by the LEGO Group, STS Group AG, and Ronald Mark Associates. They join a strong lineup of existing companies including Canon, Toray Plastics (America), and General Dynamics.
V Optical Cable Corporation, Salem • I Strongwell Corporation, Bristol • R O’Sullivan Films, Winchester • G STIHL Incorporated, Virginia Beach • I Phoenix Packaging Operations, Dublin • N Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Winchester • I P1 Technologies (formerly Plastics One), Roanoke County • A Howmet Aerospace, Henry County
1 Thriving Advanced Materials Industry Ecosystem Why Virginia? 7 Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location 9 World-Class Logistics Infrastructure 17 Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites 15 Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment 19 Exceptional Quality of Life 11 America’s Top State for Talent 3 Dynamic Center of Advanced Materials Innovation
Thriving Advanced Materials Industry Ecosystem
A diverse ecosystem of suppliers, innovators, and customers already thrives in Virginia, supporting the 400+ advanced materials companies operating in a range of subsectors from chemicals and metals to plastics and composites. Hundreds of specialized suppliers — including contract manufacturers — operate in Virginia and North Carolina, and thousands more in the wider region. Virginia’s advanced materials ecosystem continues to grow on the solid foundation of over a century of excellence in areas ranging from advanced textiles in Southern Virginia to chemicals in Hopewell. DuPont’s Spruance plant in Virginia, for example, began operations in 1929 and is currently the company’s largest facility in the world.
Dynamic Center of Advanced Materials Innovation
Public, private, and university-based R&D activity drives innovation in Virginia. Virginia’s public universities, such as Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, invested more than $351 million in advanced materials research in 2021, and every year, billions in federal research dollars are spent in Virginia. Major public and private research centers include NASA Langley Research Center, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), and the ChemQuest Technology Institute.
Industry, government, and academic members of CCAM include, but are not limited to: BWX Technologies, Canon, NASA Langley Research Center, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Prince George County
CCAM Helps Fill Manufacturing Skills Gap
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is an applied research center that exists to bridge the gap between university research and private sector product development. The only collaboration of its kind in North America, CCAM brings together research institutions and manufacturers in an ecosystem of collaboration to deliver “productionready” solutions to manufacturing problems with a unique industry-friendly intellectual property model. Through collaboration, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar. CCAM supports innovative, demand-driven workforce education and talent solutions, and its large facility houses computational and large-scale production labs, as well as open production and co-working spaces.
CCAM’s Apprentice Academy recently initiated two pilot programs, with GO Virginia funding, in mechatronics training. The programs include mechatronics workforce
training and a transitioning military program for industrial maintenance mechanics. GO Virginia funds will be used to recruit and train instructors, purchase mobile training equipment, and for operations during the first year. CCAM is also involved with innovative work to develop an alloy of niobium to increase the temperaturetolerance of turbine engine materials. The project, which is led by the director of UVA’s Rolls-Royce University Technology Center on Advanced Material Systems and includes scientists from both UVA and Virginia Tech, is funded by a grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Prince George County
The GO TEC program introduces students to advanced manufacturing careers as early as middle school, including demonstrations of key technology like the Haas desktop CNC mill.
GO TEC Helps Develop Advanced Manufacturing Talent Pipeline at K-12 Level
The Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers program (GO TEC) is on a mission to develop a broad talent pipeline for advanced manufacturing companies across Virginia — a serious mission that begins with play.
In Career Connections labs in middle schools across Virginia’s southern border, students now have the opportunity to test virtual reality welding equipment, code on a Raspberry Pi computer, and streamline ice cream assembly workflows — all while building excitement around the skills needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing careers. GO TEC has brought its innovative approach to 18 middle schools across a broad swath of the southern half of Virginia, serving approximately 7,000 students.
GO TEC’s Career Connections labs expose students to potential careers they can pursue with technical courses and college dual-enrollment programs in high school and beyond. Each lab promotes engagement in topics including precision machining, welding, information technology and cybersecurity, robotics, automation, mechatronics, and advanced materials, with flexibility to meet a locality’s specific needs.
Learning modules feature technology centerpieces that afford students unique hands-on opportunities. It’s a way for educators to bring advanced manufacturing skills to life as a dynamic experience while engaging with students at an early age and allowing them to experience industrial career tracks.
NASA Langley Research Center, Advanced Materials and Processing Branch
The NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton works to make revolutionary improvements to aviation, expand understanding of the earth’s atmosphere, and develop technology for space exploration.
The mission of NASA’s Advanced Materials and Processing Branch (AMPB) is to develop advanced materials and processes that expand the engineering design space that enables and supports NASA missions. The research focuses on technologies directed toward
producing usable items associated with load-bearing structures, or devices used for instrumentation, and spans many materials classes including ceramics, metals, polymers, composites, and nanomaterials. In order to rapidly infuse creative solutions and new innovations in these materials, the branch takes a ground-up approach to materials development, and the research therefore encompasses material synthesis, materials processing, analytical characterization, and computational methods to support these functions.
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton
Virginia’s strategic location on the East Coast provides significant advantages for the advanced materials industry. Advantages include proximity to major hubs of economic activity along the affluent Northeast corridor, across the high-growth Southeast, and throughout the Midwest, with access to the D.C. Metro area, and access to natural resources, such as abundant sources of water for manufacturing in many parts of the state.
Grupo Phoenix evaluated various location options to build upon its future in the United States and chose Virginia due to a variety of factors, including a central location that allows us to be within 400 miles of 80% of the U.S. East Coast population; the ability to negotiate electricity at a competitive rate; access to rail transport, which reduces our logistics; a motivated labor force; support from the local colleges and universities to assist us with training specialized technical jobs; and the accessibility and unwavering support of the government to work together within the industry to create jobs.
Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location
ALBERTO PEISACH CEO & President, Grupo Phoenix, A Tekni-Plex Consumer Products Business
Grupo Phoenix Finds the Perfect Package in Virginia
Grupo Phoenix, a Tekni-Plex Consumer Products Business and global manufacturer of rigid packaging containers, established its North American headquarters in Pulaski County in 2010, Phoenix Packaging Operations, investing over $20 million and creating 240 jobs. With the long-term goal of penetrating the East Coast market and becoming the gold standard for innovative packaging worldwide, the Colombia-based company anticipated a steady growth curve in Virginia from the start.
Grupo Phoenix expanded twice more in 2011 and 2012, creating an additional 200 jobs and nearly $40 million in capital investment. The company’s facility in Pulaski County offered a proven track record of success, along with the dedicated workforce and local partnerships to get the job done.
In 2017, after a competitive nationwide search, Grupo Phoenix committed to expanding its manufacturing operation in Pulaski County for the third time. The $48+ million project included 145 new jobs, bringing the company’s total capital investment since 2010 to $106.2 million and 585 new jobs for the citizens of the New River Valley. Grupo Phoenix’s robust growth and continued investment in Virginia is a strong testament to the wealth of opportunity available to global companies in the region and the Commonwealth.
Tekni-Plex (formerly Phoenix Packaging Operations), Pulaski County
World-Class Logistics Infrastructure
A dense network of roads, railways, ports, and airports provides transport links to supply chain and physical distribution networks, allowing easy worldwide interconnectivity and efficient operational logistics. Virginia is served by the deepest port on the East Coast, with a network of five terminals that can handle any type of cargo. Port facilities include three deepwater terminals in Hampton Roads, the inland Richmond Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port, an intermodal container transfer facility in Front Royal. The port, through its $1.4 billion Gateway Investment Project, is expanding its assets, capabilities, and reach and creating one of the most advanced ports in the Western Hemisphere.
2 nd densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast
major interstates, including major North-South and East-West trucking routes
3,000 miles of railways (anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern)
~150 nonstop service destinations from Washington Dulles International Airport
26 74 275 77 64 79 40 Tennessee Kentucky West Virginia 23 19 19 220 460 220 58 221 58 77 77 64 81 Roanoke Bristol Blacksburg Wytheville Wise Martinsville Greensboro Winston-Salem Johnson City Beckley Knoxville Lynchburg Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Greenbrier Valley Tri-Cities Regional McGhee
Piedmont Triad International Commercial Airports The Port of Virginia Terminals Interstates 95 U.S. Highways 29 State Highways 288
85 North Carolina Maryland Pennsylvania Delaware 7 288 29 501 33 301 460 250 360 460 17 33 211 460 360 501 220 13 15 58 60 29 85 66 95 64 95 64 81 81 Richmond Emporia South Hill Culpeper South Boston Danville Charlottesville Fredericksburg Winchester Alexandria Leesburg Lynchburg Farmville Lexington Staunton Harrisonburg Williamsburg Petersburg Virginia Beach Norfolk Baltimore Philadelphia Wilmington Harrisburg Washington, D.C. Raleigh Durham Harrisburg Washington Dulles International Richmond International Charlottesville-Albemarle Shenandoah Valley Regional Lynchburg Regional Newport News-Williamsburg International Norfolk International Baltimore/Washington International Ronald Reagan Washington National Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Raleigh–Durham International Virginia Inland Port Richmond Marine Terminal Port of Virginia - Hampton Roads Terminals
America’s Top State for Talent
Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for Education by CNBC, Virginia is home to almost 350,000 workers in advanced materials and related occupations. Companies operating in Virginia can reap the potential gains — lower healthcare costs and higher productivity — of one of the healthiest workforces in the Southeast. Virginia is home to excellent K-12 schools — No. 1 in the South and No. 5 in the U.S. according to WalletHub — and the No. 2 higher education system in the U.S. according to SmartAsset.
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program — VEDP’s world-class customized talent acquisition and training solution — is available to new and expanding companies to ensure they can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees. The program is offered at no cost to qualified companies as an incentive for job creation. As an alternative, Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) grants are available for companies that prefer to manage their own recruitment and training.
Group Offers Specialized Workforce Training
EURO-COMPOSITES® Group (EC Group) is a global player in the field of high-quality and sophisticated composite materials. The company manufactures advanced honeycomb composite materials used in aviation, space, industrial, and defense technology applications. With over 1,000 employees worldwide, EC Group serves its customers from three production locations. The Culpeper, Va., facility, established in 1988, is the company’s sole U.S. location, with its other two composite manufacturing sites located in Germany and Luxembourg.
In 2016, EC Group expanded its Culpeper County facility by 51,000 square feet and added new equipment to increase production of composite-based parts associated with the aerospace industry. As part of the project, the company partnered with Germanna Community College to offer specialized training for its CNC machine operators and an apprenticeship program that provides on-the-job training with industryrecognized credentials. Classes are offered through an apprenticeship pathway, which can be part of a degree program.
EURO-COMPOSITES® Group, Culpeper County
The LEGO Group rendering, Chesterfield County
We were impressed with all that Virginia has to offer, from access to a skilled workforce, support for high-quality manufacturers, and great transport links. We appreciate support for our ambition to build a carbon-neutral-run facility and construct a solar park and are looking forward to building a great team with support from the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program.
NIELS B. CHRISTIANSEN CEO, The LEGO Group
Only the Best Is Good Enough: The LEGO Group Chooses Virginia
For nearly a century, the LEGO Group’s signature plastic bricks have helped children and families fulfill the mission implicit in its name, an abbreviation of the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning “play well”. “Only the Best is Good Enough” is a LEGO motto used since its founding in 1932 in Billund, Denmark, inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The company is one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers and a beloved global icon whose reach also spans theme parks, video games, films, clothing, and more.
After looking at more than 40 U.S. states and considering a number of locations, the LEGO Group selected Chesterfield County for its $1 billion, 1.7-million-sq.-ft. moulding, processing, and packing plant in June 2022. The plant in Virginia will be its seventh manufacturing facility, and the only one in the United States. The new facility, which will create more than 1,760 new jobs within 10 years, will expand the company’s global manufacturing network, shorten its supply chain, and support long-term growth in the Western Hemisphere, which had previously been primarily supplied by its plant in Monterrey, Mexico. The LEGO Group’s Chesterfield plant will be designed to be carbon-neutral, with 100% of day-to-day energy needs matched by renewable energy generated by an onsite solar park. The facility will also minimize energy consumption and the use of non-renewable resources.
Understanding the critical need to begin production as soon as possible, Chesterfield County committed to providing a temporary building to accommodate packing and training operations while the new facility is under construction. The LEGO Group plans to begin operations from the temporary facility in early 2024, creating 500 jobs. The permanent factory will begin production in the second half of 2025.
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program began working with the LEGO Group as soon as its decision was made. For the LEGO Group, Virginia Talent Accelerator Program services included a customized recruitment website that went live with the project announcement and drew more than 3,000 job candidates within 36 hours. Brightpoint Community College and the Community College Workforce Alliance will support the project and the company’s long-term needs with customized recruitment and training services.
O’Sullivan Films, Winchester
Canon Virginia, Newport News
Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment
Ranked one of America’s top states for business, Virginia is frequently recognized for its business-friendly regulations, stable tax environment, and competitive cost of doing business. Virginia has the 5th-lowest private-sector unionization rate in the country, competitive costs of doing business, and state and local taxes that are lower than the nationwide average.
Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state along the I-95 Corridor.
Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.
Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia an AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.
Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites
With 300+ fully characterized sites of 25 acres or larger, dozens of certified sites, and a growing inventory of spec buildings and virtual buildings, Virginia is constantly improving its portfolio of real estate options for the advanced materials industry. Companies looking for ready-built options have ample choices among the thousands of existing buildings with space for lease, representing over 20 million square feet of industrial space for lease, including more than 440 industrial buildings with 10,000 or more square feet available. Construction is underway on an additional 14.6 million square feet of industrial space.
40+ sites are certified as project-ready under the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program
12 of Virginia’s certified parks have graded pad sites available for construction
80+ rail-served sites for advanced materials requiring on-site rail
Size and certification status of sites across Virginia
kp i.center Enhances Industry R&D
Founded in 1965 in Montabaur, Germany, Klöckner Pentaplast Group (kp) is a global leader in rigid and flexible packaging and specialty film solutions serving the pharmaceutical, medical device, food and beverage, and card markets, among others. The company has operations in 18 countries and employs over 5,900 people worldwide in more than 60 locations, including 31 production sites. Klöckner Pentaplast established its first North American production facility in 1977 in Gordonsville. The company now has multiple locations within Virginia and continues to grow its footprint in the Commonwealth, including a $68 million expansion of its Louisa County and Wythe County facilities in 2020.
In 2015, Klöckner Pentaplast opened a state-of-the-art R&D facility, referred to as the i.center, at North Fork — A UVA Discovery Park in Albemarle County. The i.center is one of the industry’s first packaging technology centers, offering a welcoming environment for packaging professionals to collaborate with kp’s expert packaging design engineers, leading to the discovery of innovative packages and prototypes optimized for customers’ needs. The innovation center represents the first of many centers around the world by Klöckner Pentaplast, providing a collaborative space for idea sharing to help drug makers bring products to market more quickly and cost-effectively.
Klöckner Pentaplast Group, Albemarle County
North Fork – A UVA Discovery Park, Albemarle County
Exceptional Quality of Life
With a competitive cost of living, a mild four-season climate, and a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life. Vibrant urban centers and picturesque small towns are alive with arts, culture, history, and stunning landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts are within easy driving distance to the scenic shorelines of Virginia’s beaches and rivers as well as hiking trails and mountain vistas. For these reasons and many others, Forbes ranked Virginia No. 1 in the U.S. for Quality of Life.
Virginia Creeper Trail, Washington County
The Omni Homestead Resort, Bath County
Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford County
Old Town Winchester
Sandbridge, Virginia Beach
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond
The James River is a popular destination for water activities, particularly near the fall line, which passes through downtown Richmond. The rapids there are billed as the only urban Class III-IV rapids in the United States.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals is committed to Virginia’s economic success, and connects industry-leading businesses to the resources they need to make relocations and expansions successful.
From site selection, customized research, cost analysis, and coordination with public and private partners, to discretionary incentives and workforce solutions, VEDP’s services are tailored to companies’ unique requirements.
To learn more about VEDP’s expertise and resources, visit VEDP.org.
• Innovation • Solutions © August