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Volvo expands operations in Pulaski County

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

 

Today, The Volvo Group announced plans to invest nearly $400 million in the Volvo Trucks North America New River Valley assembly plant in Pulaski County.

Perhaps most significantly, this expansion is expected to create 777 new jobs within the next six years. This is in addition to the 3,500 individuals currently employed at the Volvo Trucks assembly plant.

 

“This represents the largest overall project in the history of the New River Valley,” stated county Administrator Jonathan Sweet. “It’s among the top 10 largest overall projects in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia when considering both capital investment and job creation.”

 

Indications are that the Volvo Group considered multiple other states for this expansion project.

 

“The company’s decision to grow its footprint in the Commonwealth not only recognizes the strength of our manufacturing sector but also reflects the skill of our workers, the quality of life in rural Virginia, and the competitiveness of our business climate,” stated Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

 

This huge infusion of capital will result in the construction of a new 350,000 square foot building that will house truck cab welding operations.

 

In addition, the existing plant will be expanded, allowing for increased production flow, as well as improving the facility’s paint operations. There will also be variety of equipment upgrades including the installation of several state of the art dynamometers, which are used for vehicle testing.

 

The Volvo Trucks assembly plant in Pulaski County is the largest private employer in the New River Valley and is the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world. All Volvo trucks sold in North America are assembled at this plant.

 

The county’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) paved the way for this expansion with the acquisition of 271 acres of land adjacent to the plant in Oct. 2017 at a cost of $2.1 million. In December of that year, 49 of the 271 acres were donated to Volvo, so as to allow the expansion of their test track.

 

The land was deeded to Volvo after the company had satisfied a performance agreement with the county’s IDA. The terms of the performance agreement were met with the construction of Volvo’s $38 million Visitor’s Center and the addition of 32 new jobs.

 

In April 2018, County Administrator Jonathan Sweet and IDA Director Michael Solomon traveled to Gothenburg, Sweden to meet with Volvo officials and presumably discuss the potential for future expansion.

 

Volvo Trucks is currently leasing the remaining 220 acres from Pulaski County’s Economic Development Authority (EDA formerly the IDA), and will build its new manufacturing facility on this parcel of land. With the announcement of this $400 million investment, the EDA plans to donate the land to Volvo Trucks.

 

In addition, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission and Onward New River Valley to secure this expansion. The Volvo Group will be eligible to receive MEI grant payments totaling up to $16.5 million over 10 years, based upon achieving its pledged net new job creation and investment commitments. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

 

“This announcement is one of the largest capital investments in the history of Southwestern Virginia,” said Andy McCready, chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “And it says a tremendous amount about the confidence and trust the Volvo Group has in the Commonwealth, in Pulaski County, in their dedicated workforce and in the economic development professionals that helped make this project possible.”

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