Patrick & Henry Community College Adds Sean Adkins, Director of Economic Development for Patrick County, to Board

Patrick & Henry Community College Adds Sean Adkins, Director of Economic Development for Patrick County, to Board

See the full article from Cardinal News 

The Patrick & Henry Community College Board has added four members: Sean Adkins, Belinda Bryant, Robert Foster, and Shana LeGrant. These members were appointed by their respective localities to fill vacancies that arose last year.

Sean Adkins is the Director of Economic Development and the Executive Director for the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for Patrick County. His career has almost entirely been spent as a public servant for non-profits and local governments in the fields of community and economic development. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business/Organizational Studies from the University of Connecticut, his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University of Miami, and originally came to Virginia for the PhD program in Public Policy at Virginia Tech.

Belinda Bryant received her Bachelor of Science, with a major in Social Work, from Longwood University through New College Institute. She graduated from PHCC in 2016 with an Associate in Arts and Science (General Studies) with a minor in Human Services and is currently employed at HopeTree Family Services as a Regional Director for their DDM (Developmental Disabilities Ministry) program. She travels to four group homes within a two-hour radius from Martinsville.

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Growth Industry - SoVA Targets Advanced Manufacturing [August 2022, Virginia Business Magazine]

Growth Industry - SoVA Targets Advanced Manufacturing [August 2022, Virginia Business Magazine]

When manufacturers thinking about setting up shop in Southern Virginia visit Pittsylvania County, the county’s economic development director, Matt Rowe, doesn’t just show off expansive, shovel-ready industrial sites. He also touts the region’s workforce, which includes many workers with advanced manufacturing skill sets.

Eighteen percent of Southern Virginia’s labor force works in manufacturing, an industry that has been a central part of the region’s landscape for more than a century. However, as textile, apparel and furniture production moved offshore over the past several decades, many local factories closed. Southern Virginia, however, refused to cast aside its industrial heritage.

The cities of Danville and Martinsville, along with Pittsylvania, Halifax, Patrick and Henry counties, banded together to train workers to participate in a new generation of manufacturing, with a focus on advanced technologies, including robotics, mechatronics, precision machining, computer coding and automation. Along with community college and tech center programs, trade skills have been integrated into local schools’ K-12 curriculum, with dual enrollment courses leading to advanced certifications for high school graduates.

“We’ve invested in workforce programs highly desired by industry,” Rowe says, noting that Pittsylvania and Danville have earmarked more than $70 million for workforce training over the past decade. “The community asked industries what they needed and put significant resources into meeting those needs. Having those skill sets is highly valued by industries. It’s not only kept businesses in place, but it’s helped attract new businesses.”

Corporate investment is surging in Southern Virginia as firms take advantage of available land and talent. During the past six years, new and expanding industries have invested more than $700 million in capital projects and brought 3,200-plus jobs to the region. Much of that largesse has occurred at Cane Creek Centre, an industrial park co-owned by Pittsylvania and Danville; about 1,500 new jobs have been created at the park since 2018. Companies that have moved into Cane Creek in recent years include North America’s largest step van manufacturer, Morgan Olson LLC; indoor vertical produce grower AeroFarms; and Walraven Inc., a manufacturer of installation systems for plumbing and mechanical applications that moved its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing operations from Cadillac, Michigan, to Danville.

Next summer, Tyson Foods will bring nearly 400 jobs to the region when it opens its $300 million, 325,000-square-foot plant at Cane Creek. The food production facility marks the largest economic development project in Pittsylvania to date. While Southern Virginia boasts a central location and lower costs for utilities, labor, raw materials, taxes and real estate than many other U.S. locales, the region’s workforce training program was a major factor in Tyson’s decision to build in the region.

“Tyson saw the technical skill sets we’ve developed and adjusted plans for their facility and made it more automated and technologically advanced,” says Corrie Bobe, Danville’s economic development director. “The average wage increased, compared to what was originally planned. That’s a large success for our community.”

The region’s focus on preparing students for the manufacturing workforce was key to Tyson choosing to build in Southern Virginia, says Nancy Frank, plant manager of Tyson Foods Danville. “We’ve partnered with area high schools [and] community colleges, including Danville Community College, to offer a new maintenance technology training program and made significant local and state investments in training programs and facilities across the region to help find highly skilled workers and create pathways for employment for our future team members.


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Patrick County Welcomes Newest Regional Asset - Fab Lab

Patrick County Welcomes Newest Regional Asset - Fab Lab
Patrick & Henry Community College welcomes a new regional asset, beginning in August classes will be offered at their new Fab Lab. Stocked with tools such as:
Universal laser cutter
3-D printers
Shopbot CNC router
Vinyl Cutter
Instruction will include opportunities for both family projects, and more in-depth education. Entrepreneurs and hobbyist alike will now have the ability to further develop skills, and have access to the materials and advanced manufacturing technology necessary to facilitate innovation.
"[This] represents the next in a series of deliberate investments of Patrick and Henry to the economic development of this critical region." - President of P&HCC, Greg Hodges

Check out this feature in the Martinsville Bulletin Inc to read the full story: undefined
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Patrick County Business Development Center

Patrick County Business Development Center

Exciting developments continue to come out of Patrick County as economic developers and supporting agencies prepare to renovate space to institute a first-of-its-kind business development center. Providing resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses and driving the renaissance of Uptown Stuart; the business development center is expected to contribute to catalyzing economic growth, revitalizing the business district, and promoting business diversity.

The project was recommended by Governor Glenn Youngkin for funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission. This funding is in addition to an award received through the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and a fiscal investment from the county. undefined

Watch the news story from WDBJ - MSN

Youngkin recommends 18 projects for Appalachian Regional Commission funding - Cardinal News

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces AeroFarms Expansion Creating 66 New Jobs

Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces AeroFarms Expansion Creating 66 New Jobs
RICHMOND, VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that AeroFarms, a Certified B Corporation and world leader in indoor vertical farming, will create sixty-six additional new jobs and increase production of freshly-grown leafy greens as part of a major operational expansion of its new vertical farm in Pittsylvania County. This farm, a 138,670 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, is the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind. These new hiring commitments are in addition to the 92 jobs pledged previously to be located in Cane Creek Centre, a joint industrial park owned by the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County. This expansion is being driven by the company’s decision to expand production to meet increased customer demand. Virginia successfully competed against other states for the project. 
“Virginia continues to be the premier location for companies using technology and innovation to become leaders in their industry by generating massive benefits to consumers and investors,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I want to thank AeroFarms for their continued commitment to the Commonwealth and commend Danville-Pittsylvania County for their cooperative and highly-effective approach to economic development that will create new jobs and economic opportunities for Virginians.” 
“Technology has always been the central force driving agriculture forward. This is especially true in the fast-growing indoor agriculture industry, which has the potential to revolutionize how much of our food is produced,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr. “We are grateful that AeroFarms continues to choose Virginia as a partner in bringing this exciting technology to scale and look forward to their continued growth and success in the Commonwealth.”
“The agriculture industry continues to play a significant role in the growth of Virginia’s economy, and we congratulate AeroFarms on the expansion of its state-of-the-art facility in Pittsylvania County,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The Commonwealth’s innovative corporate partners are making major technology advancements in this important sector, and we look forward to AeroFarms’ next chapter of growth.”
“We want to thank Governor Youngkin and the entire State of Virginia for their tremendous support in bringing AeroFarms to Danville, and Danville-Pittsylvania County,” said Co-Founder and CEO David Rosenberg. “There is an incredible spirit of partnership here that made us feel right at home as we built our latest world-class commercial indoor vertical farm to serve the community with fresh, safely grown, nutritious, and delicious leafy greens all year round.”
“As one of the global leaders in indoor vertical farming, AeroFarms is a truly innovative and successful company, and I am so pleased that they are continuing to grow their operations right here in Pittsylvania County,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors and Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority. “It is always special when an existing local company commits to continuing to grow and invest in our community. To have AeroFarms choose to continue expanding here is a testament to both the success and strong market position of the company and to the great business environment we have developed here in Danville and Pittsylvania County. Congratulations AeroFarms!”
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U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support economic development planning in the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor in Virginia

U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support economic development planning in the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor in Virginia

Read the full article here: Federal relief money coming to parkway | Local News |

Almost $400,000 in federal funding is coming to the Blue Ridge Parkway earmarked to enhance tourism, outdoor recreation and overall economic development in the region.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has announced that it has secured a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support economic development planning in the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor in Virginia. The grant is part of the EDA’s American Rescue Plan Act Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program.

The Parkway includes 12 counties and nine independent cities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway corridor, including Patrick County.

“Several Patrick County leaders participated in our initial surveys and discussions for this project,” Carolyn Ward, chief executive officer of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation told the Bulletin. “We’re eager to build on their ideas and energy and work together to develop our best opportunities.”

The Foundation intends to engage all involved community leaders and using a collaborative process, the nonprofit organization’s staff will work alongside these local leaders to develop targeted strategies to enhance tourism and related economic activities.

According to a U.S. National Park Service study, the Blue Ridge Parkway had a $1.3 billion economic impact on local communities in 2020 and Ward said she sees ample potential to improve those figures. “Our initial discussions with leaders in each Parkway community confirmed widespread interest in working across various boundaries to benefit everyone involved,” Ward said. “This grant will ensure a through, inclusive and effective process.”

Patrick County Economic Development Director Sean Adkins was hired about seven months ago and says he has been busy working with Foresight HS Property Holdings—Blue Ridge, LLC, a Chicago based company that has purchased the property where the County’s only hospital used to be.

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Medical Equipment Company to Open Operation in Blairs, Investing $3.5 Million and Creating 26 New Jobs

Medical Equipment Company to Open Operation in Blairs, Investing $3.5 Million and Creating 26 New Jobs

Read the full release here:

BLAIRS, VA -- Commonwealth Home Health Care, a Joint Commission accredited medical equipment company that provides home oxygen, safety, and rehabilitation products, will open an operation in Blairs, the company and Pittsylvania County announced on June 1. With a capital investment of at least $3.5 million, Commonwealth will renovate an unoccupied industrial warehouse to be used for warehousing operations, training, equipment, and additional personnel. The company has committed to creating 26 new jobs through this project.

“I am thrilled that Commonwealth Home Health Care, Inc. is growing its business in the region and opening an operation in Pittsylvania County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Vic Ingram. “This Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors is committed to investing in economic development so that businesses and the people they employ can thrive. Having a respected company like Commonwealth Home Health Care Inc., which already has ties in our region, choose to invest in Pittsylvania County proves that our efforts are worthwhile.”

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces Expansion of Paper Honeycomb Manufacturer in Pittsylvania County, Creating 21 New Jobs

Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces Expansion of Paper Honeycomb Manufacturer in Pittsylvania County, Creating 21 New Jobs

See the full release here:

~ Axxor to invest $3.5 million to increase capacity ~

RICHMOND,VA —Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Axxor, a global leader in paper honeycomb development and production, will invest $3.5 million to expand its manufacturing capacity in Ringgold East Industrial Park in Pittsylvania County. Due to a partnership with a Tier 1 supplier to Ford Motor Company for the new Ford Bronco platform and demand from the packaging industry for sustainable materials to support e-commerce growth, the company will purchase new machinery to expand production capacity and meet market demand. Virginia successfully competed with Michigan for the project, which will create 21 new jobs.

“Axxor took a chance on Virginia in 2011 as an entry point into the North American market, and its continued growth in Pittsylvania County is a great success story,” said Governor Youngkin. “The company offers an innovative, sustainable product that continues to gain momentum across various industries, and we expect its trajectory to continue. We are proud to have Axxor on the Commonwealth’s corporate roster and look forward to a continued partnership.”

“Axxor established its U.S. operation in Pittsylvania County over 10 years ago with a vision for success, and it is exciting to see that dream exceed expectations as the company has outgrown its capacity and created a product that is in high demand,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “We thank Axxor for its continued confidence in the Commonwealth and for providing an economic boost to Southern Virginia.”

“When selecting the location for its production facility in North America in 2011, Axxor believed the support offered by the state and local leadership to be the strongest in the region,” said Axxor President and Co-owner Robert Boerrigter. “Since beginning production in 2012, the state and local communities have delivered on those promises made in 2011 and now again supported our next phase with a competitive package. For this reason, continuing its expansion in Ringgold was a logical choice. Once again, Axxor is appreciative of the continued partnership with state and local officials to support economic development and we are proud to call Danville home.” 

“I am thrilled that Axxor has chosen to expand on their success in Pittsylvania County by growing their operation in the Ringgold East Industrial Park,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “I am appreciative that Axxor employs many in our region and I am excited that even more jobs are being created as a result of this announcement. Quality companies like Axxor choosing to make continued investments in Pittsylvania County is the result of targeted economic development initiatives.” 

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SOVA Task Force hosts series of webinars highlighting workforce solutions from local agencies and service providers to address some of the resulting workforce problems after impact of COVID-19

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Workforce Solutions

Beginning May 3 and continuing on a weekly basis until the end of the month, the SOVA Task Force is presenting a series of webinars in which panelist from a broad array or agencies and organizations will share contact information and resources around emerging workforce problems resulting from the impacts of COVID-19. See the article below for links to recordings. 

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Tobacco Commission approves grants for 16 projects including Patrick County Business Development Center

Tobacco Commission approves grants for 16 projects including Patrick County Business Development Center

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission has approved funding for 16 projects across Southwest and Southside. The grants were approved at the commission’s meeting in Bristol on Thursday. The largest is $800,000 to help expand rail service at the future Blue Star medical glove manufacturing site in Wythe County; the smallest is $2,500 for a sheep wool baler in Grayson County.

Patrick County Economic Development Authority
Patrick County Business Development Center – $500,000 Grant

The Patrick County Economic Development Authority proposes to redevelop approximately 16,000 SF of blighted commercial property in the Town of Stuart, Virginia for the purpose and use as a Business Development Center. Connecting local ideas, supporting new and existing business growth, and closing the communication gap to regional resources are important goals that this space will help to meet. Creation of support services and space for ecosystem building are considered essential to the success of modern economic development efforts and have been identified as priorities to regional investment. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for flexible, innovative, and highly networked facilities in rural areas. Utilization of existing MBC fiber is important to this project as the need for high speed internet must be addressed.

See the full list of approved projects here:

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