Brazilian company bringing new jobs to county

By BROOKE J. WOOD

brooke@southwesttimes.com

A Brazilian-based company will be bringing 40 new jobs to Pulaski County when it invests $4.9 million in a new manufacturing plant — the first occupant of Pulaski County’s ShaeDawn Industrial Park.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday that Koinonia Ltd., a producer of foam and tape solutions for automotive, refrigeration (HVAC), marine, construction, and heavy machinery, will be establishing its first manufacturing operation in the United States.

Andy McCready, chair of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, noted that Koinonia will be moving into ShaeDawn Park, which was built as a private investment.  He pointed out that economic development funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation funded the park’s access road.

He said the county will build a 30,000 square foot building that Koinonia will lease for five years.

“This project does represent the eighth company that has invested in Pulaski County.  The countries include Sweden, Australia, Columbia, Poland, Mexico, Canada, Germany and, now, Brazil,” he said.

McAuliffe thanked the Pulaski County workforce “because companies do not make these decisions unless they know they have a great workforce.  We can sell all we want, but they’re not going to invest this kind of money – $5 million dollars – if they don’t think they’re going to have a workforce in the future. So, this is a direct result of the people who live here.”

Pulaski County beat out sites being considered in Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina and Indiana.

“Pulaski County’s strategic location and the region’s thriving automotive cluster represent solid future opportunities for the company as a supplier, pushing Virginia ahead of the major competition,” McAuliffe said during the official announcement at Pete Dye River Course in Fairlawn.

“Koinonia selecting the Commonwealth as its gateway to the U.S. market speaks volumes about our business environment and workforce, and we are proud to add the company to our corporate roster,” McAuliffe continued.  “Advanced manufacturing and advanced materials are steadily growing sectors in the Commonwealth, and this great project is another step forward in our ongoing mission to diversify and build the new Virginia economy.”

The governor has spent the last few days touring the Southside and Southwest sections of the state to make what he called the most job announcements forn the region in 17 years.  In his Friday announcement, he called New River Valley the “centerpiece for all these new advanced manufacturing jobs.”

Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan Sweet noted that Koinonia is Pulaski County’s eighth international business that collectively represents more than 3,850 jobs in the New River Valley region of the Commonwealth. “We are immensely honored to have earned the company’s investment, trust, and friendship,” he said.

Established in 2016, Koinonia, also known as “Koi Foam,” is a subsidiary of Koinonia Fitas e Pecas Tecnicas e Espumas Ltda, founded in 2009 and located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company manufactures industrial-scale ribbons and technical parts made from polyethylene, EDPM, NBR, neoprene, rubbers, PVC and a variety of flexible materials.

A press release from the Governor’s office states that Koinonia’s “core values include effective service, honesty, quality, respect, professionalism, commitment, appreciation of people, and transparency and integrity in business relations.”

“After searching different U.S. states for our plant, we at Koinonia decided to open our doors in Virginia for various reasons, including the great support from state and local authorities, lower cost of living, lower cost of energy, and the talented workforce from local colleges and universities,”  Koinonia COO Marcio Lopes said.

“Virginia welcomed us with open arms, and it has been an honor and privilege to work with the Onward NRV team and, specifically, the people from Pulaski County,” he added.

“We are thankful to the governor and his economic development team for their support and assistance with securing this, our third new jobs announcement this year. These successes have yielded more than $55 million in new capital investments and approximately 200 new jobs for Pulaski County,” Sweet remarked.

He added that “the board of supervisors has made it a priority for Pulaski County to become the center of international business and the advanced manufacturing hub of Southwest Virginia — and Koinonia’s commitment to join our esteemed international business community is further confirmation of our strategic efforts.”

“The New River Valley is looking forward to having Koinonia as an additional partner in our global manufacturing efforts,” Delegate Nick Rush said. “Its relationship with local businesses like Volvo is a great example of how Pulaski County’s established industries and companies recognize the importance of growing our region and supporting new opportunities.  On behalf of the Seventh House District and the Commonwealth, I’m happy to welcome Koinonia to SWVA.”

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