Governor McAuliffe Announces New Jobs, Investment in Pittsylvania County

Gregory Lumber, Inc. to Expand Sawmill Operation, Purchase Almost $8 Million  in Virginia Forest Products

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Gregory Lumber, Inc. will expand its sawmill operations in Pittsylvania County. The company will create three new jobs in the county and source 75 percent of its timber needs from Virginia land owners. Gregory Lumber will invest $3 million in construction and equipment needed to add an automated lumber sorting system that will increase production by 50 percent. 

"Partnering with a company like Gregory Lumber is a way my administration can support the growth of Virginia's forest products sector, one of Virginia's top private industries," said Governor McAuliffe. "Virginia's forestry industry supports thousands of good jobs in our rural communities and provides important market opportunities for the Commonwealth's private forestland owners. Gregory Lumber's new expansion will bring welcomed economic vitality to the region, further helping with my administration's efforts to build the new Virginia economy. I applaud the company's commitment to Java and continued investment in Pittsylvania County and Virginia."

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 68 New Jobs in Henry County

Starsprings to invest $3.7 million to establish first U.S. manufacturing operation

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Starsprings, a privately-held spring and spring-unit manufacturer based in Sweden, will invest $3.7 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Henry County. The company will supply mattress units used in long-distance trucking. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina and Pennsylvania for the project, which will create 68 new jobs.

Speaking about today's announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, "This win is a great example of the kind of project we are trying to attract as we build a new Virginia economy. When an international company chooses Virginia as its entry point into the U.S. market, it is a strong testament to the competitiveness that sets the Commonwealth apart and the major companies here that attract suppliers. We are proud to add Starsprings to our corporate roster, and welcome 68 new, much-needed manufacturing jobs to Henry County."

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First Welding@SVHEC Completion Ceremony Held

It was a day of celebration as the first 15 students to enroll in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center's (SVHEC) Welding program walked across the Prizery's stage to receive their certificates of completion. The completion ceremony marked the end of a journey started 16 months ago for these newly minted welders.

"Livelihoods and America are depending on you and your skills. Go out from here and make your impact on the world," said keynote speaker Leslie "Tyke" Tenney. Tenney is the executive director of Virginia Technical Institute, which serves as the official sponsor of the SVHEC's welding program.

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One-of-a-kind machine offers a unique training environment

A one-of-a-kind, $1 million machine is creating innovative educational opportunities at New College Institute (NCI).

This past week NCI hosted an expert seminar in web dynamics for process technicians, operators and engineers from Eastman. The 15 participants studied the science of conveyance, which is the study of transporting materials from point A to point B. After participating in morning classroom sessions, the learning went into action with lab work in the afternoons.

Using the academic coater, a specialized training machine, the participants were able to troubleshoot with potential quality issues (such as wrinkling or misalignment) and then manipulate the machine to correct these issues.

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Henry County is state's first ACT Certified community

Henry County is Virginia's very first ACT Certified Work Ready Community, according to Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Jones spoke Thursday morning at Eastman Chemical Company in Fieldale and was joined by several other local leaders.

"This is a great day for Henry County, and it's a great day for the Commonwealth of Virginia," Jones said. "What you've achieved here is a great achievement for Henry County, and it's a great benchmark for the state."

ACT is a national program that offers National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) to employees in participating counties and cities. NCRC is a portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual's skills in reading for information, applied math and locating information.

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Lodge at Primland ties for first in ranking of world's best-designed hotels

What's a Virginia resort in Meadows of Dan have in common with a 10th century castle in Italy or an ocean property in Rhode Island? 

These properties are among the world's best designed hotels, according to the latest rankings from Travel and Leisure magazine. 

The Lodge at Primland in Meadows of Dan tied for first place, sharing the No. 1 spot with Castello de Casole, a castle on 4,000 acres in Sienna, Italy; and Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. 

The 12,000-acre Virginia mountain resort scored well with the magazine's readers, with many giving the property high marks for its serenity, use of indigenous materials, its observatory and its ridge-top golf course laid out by architect Donald Steel. The resort also offers three tree-house cabins, built into the tops of big trees overlooking the Dan River Gorge. 

"This is another major achievement for our visionary family of owners who worked closely with the architectural team of CTC Design Studio Atlanta to create a lodge in harmony with the Virginia landscape," Steve Helms, vice president of Primland, said in a statement. 

Earlier this year Primland was rated one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in the U.S. by Trip Advisor and in the Top 25 Hotels in the U.S. by US News and World Report. It also moved up the Travel and Leisure rankings of Top 100 Resorts in the World by moving up to No. 23 and also being listed as one of the top five in the U.S. 

from Virginia Business

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Autonomous Marine Systems wins business plan competition

Research and development prospect Autonomous Marine Systems, that has received a $1.6 million Tobacco Commission grant to locate in the Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (former Daystrom building) at Greens Folly, also has been named the second place energy winner of $175,000 in the first-ever Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday the winners of the competition that provided $850,000 to five companies in the bioscience and energy sectors that were looking to expand their business in Virginia.

Autonomous Marine Systems Inc. is a marine data company changing the way the world explores and studies the oceans. Using a patented low-cost, fully autonomous sailboat, Autonomous Marine Systems delivers persistent ocean intelligence anywhere around the world at one-tenth of the cost of existing services. The systems emit zero carbon dioxide and do not risk human life.

Autonomous Marine Systems supports development of the company's next generation Datamaran and was founded seven years ago by two Princeton educated engineers and businessmen, who are currently partnering with MIT, DARPA and a host of energy industries to develop a fleet of autonomous water craft to collect oceanographic data for the energy, defense and weather industries.

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Growing Gretna manufacturer adds jobs

Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 new positions to its company. Photo courtesy Amthor International.

Gretna's Amthor International announced Monday that it will add 30 employees to its first- and second-shift operation.

The truck manufacturing company, which employs approximately 100 workers, will establish a training program at the center Virginia Technical Institute called Amthor University. All interested applicants for the 30 openings will be sent through the program for off-site training.

"Everybody gets on-the-job training but not specifically in my building," Owner and Marketing Director Brian Amthor said. "I'm able to do off-site training and not affect my current production."

The training will take about four to five weeks, lasting anywhere from 160 to 200 hours. Sessions covering welding, electrical, tank mounting and tank maintenance will begin Oct. 5 at the Altavista training center. The four courses will be staggered in start times, resulting in hiring taking place in October through November.

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Coating machine seen as boon for NCI

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was on hand to help unveil the new training equipment at the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing. Photo courtesy of CAFM.

A new machine installed at the New College Institute (NCI) should help Martinsville-Henry County keep high-tech companies and attract new ones by ensuring that people can learn advanced skills they will need to work for the firms, local industry representatives, educators and others said Thursday when the device was unveiled.

The academic coater is a one-of-a-kind, roughly $1 million machine to be used by the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing – a partnership of NCI, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and Eastman – mainly to train people for jobs with Eastman and other performance film manufacturers.

The Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing is a 28-credit program intended to teach people the skills they need to make performance films, such as ones installed on windows to block solar radiation, with computer-run equipment. But the coater could be used by other companies to teach skills common to all advanced manufacturers, NCI officials said.

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Governor cuts ribbon on IT Academy

Alongside Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams and other distinguished guests, Governor Terry McAuliffe cuts the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the higher ed center’s IT Academy. Courses will begin in August.Alongside Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams and other distinguished guests, Governor Terry McAuliffe cuts the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the higher ed center’s IT Academy. Courses will begin in August.

Calling the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center the "home to bold thinkers and innovators" Governor Terry McAuliffe addressed the higher ed center staff and distinguished guests Tuesday before cutting the ribbon on the new addition to the facility, its IT Academy.

The center continues to do big things. Less than a year ago, the facility became a Center of Excellence facility offering three programs: welding, precision machining and industrial maintenance.

The IT Academy (ITA) is a short-term, non-credit training program designed to prepare individuals with the skills and certifications required for employment in Southern Virginia's growing Information Technology sector.

ITA will provide a core curriculum leading to CompTIA certification in A+, Network+ and Server+. Each of these courses will last three to five weeks and provide approximately 100 hours of instruction. Students will be able to complete the entire core curriculum within 90 days.

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