Mersen USA Expansion to Bring 50 Jobs to Salem

The Roanoke Region’s advanced manufacturing sector continues to strengthen with the announcement that Mersen USA, a subsidiary of Mersen SA headquartered in France, will expand its operation in the City of Salem. Mersen will invest $5.7 million in the project and create 50 new jobs for the region.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made the announcement. Read the full press release below:

Governor McAuliffe Announces 50 New Jobs in City of Salem

~Mersen USA to invest $5.7 million to expand operation~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Mersen USA, a subsidiary of Mersen SA, a global expert in electrical specialties and graphite-based materials headquartered in France, will invest $5.7 million to expand its operation in the City of Salem, creating 50 new jobs. The facility designs and manufactures graphite and silicon carbide heat for highly corrosive and high-temperature fluids and skid systems, encompassing entire process systems in a single unit. Customers include chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other severe process industries. With this project, Mersen USA will expand its skid systems capacity, as well as relocate the company’s reactive metal equipment manufacturing business from California to Salem.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Creating good jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector is a central part of growing and diversifying Virginia’s economy. This announcement is significant for a locality that is aggressively trying to rebound economically and for Mersen USA as they continue to benefit from our Commonwealth’s world class workforce and business environment. The facility employs approximately 80 people working to optimize manufacturing processes in a variety of key industries, which is essential to the future of advanced manufacturing. We are thrilled to see the Salem operation grow and absorb the company’s relocated metal manufacturing business as part of this expansion.”

“Mersen USA’s decision to expand and relocate a business division to its Virginia operation speaks volumes about the company’s experience in our world-class business environment,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Mersen is an important employer in the City of Salem, and this great project confirms the company’s long-term commitment to the region.”

Mersen USA designs innovative solutions to enable clients to optimize manufacturing processes in sectors such as energy, transportation, electronics, chemical, pharmaceutical, and process industries. Mersen USA has manufacturing facilities in 35 countries, employs over 6,000, and reports 2013 sales of Euro 739 million. Established in 1940, Mersen USA has nine production sites in seven states. 

“Mersen USA chose Salem for this expansion of our systems and relocation of our U.S. reactive metals equipment fabrication businesses because the City of Salem has always provided a business friendly environment and the community provides skilled and dedicated employees,” said Shawn Malone, President, Mersen USA, Chemical Equipment Div. “We have been operating in Salem since 1986 without regret, and are especially proud of recently achieving 2,000 days without a lost time accident and expect to pass our previous record of 3,000 days as we expand and grow. Mersen has not achieved this sort of safety record anywhere else in the world and it speaks volumes in regards to the Salem operation and especially its people.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Salem and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $140,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Salem with the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“The City of Salem is elated that Mersen USA has chosen to expand its operation in Salem and will be adding 50 new jobs,” said City Manager Kevin Boggess. “Mersen is one of those companies tucked away on the fringes of our city that goes about its daily business turning out million dollar equipment with very few people knowing what they actually do. The $140,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity fund is of utmost importance because without it, the City would not be able to meet the Company’s needs alone. With Salem’s unemployment rate at 5.8%, this project represents a wonderful boost to our economy, and we certainly do welcome the jobs it will create.”

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Since the beginning of the McAuliffe Administration, 202 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with over $4.77 billion in capital investment, the largest amount of capital investment brought to the Commonwealth in any Governor’s first nine months in office.

Anthem GO Fest Continues Rapid Growth

go fest logoWhen the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside founded the Anthem Go Outside Festival with Roanoke Parks and Recreation four years ago, the aim was to build GO Fest into one of the largest outdoors festival on the East Coast. This year’s festival took a giant step in that direction as record crowds turned out to celebrate the outdoors and the Roanoke Region’s active lifestyle. 

The festival grounds at the River’s Edge Sports Complex were jam-packed from when the festival opened on Friday afternoon to closing on Sunday evening. An estimated crowd of over 20,000 poured into the festival over the three days to enjoy live music, extreme performances, gear demos, races, and activities like the pump track, zip line, and giant paddling pool. GO Fest’s 2013 attendance was estimated at just over 12,000. Aside from the huge local and regional turnout, festival attendees came from as far away as Ohio, Colorado, and Montana, showing GO Fest’s extended reach and nationwide appeal. 

“This was definitely the biggest and best GO Fest yet,” said Pete Eshelman, Director of Outdoor Branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “This festival is a celebration of the outdoors and is designed to connect people to the outdoors, Roanoke’s amazing natural assets, and keep them engaged for a lifetime. Judging by the crowd that came out to GO Fest in 2014, we’re accomplishing that goal.”

This year’s festival saw 95 vendors, up from 75 in 2013, and all with their own unique activities to engage attendees. Parkway Brewing and Starr Hill served beer all weekend long, combining to sell 74 kegs of craft beer, nearly doubling last year’s total of 38 kegs sold. 

With all the positive feedback from the outdoors community, vendors, organizations, and sponsors, Anthem GO Fest will continue to build Roanoke’s outdoors community and expose the Roanoke Region’s outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Blue Ridge Parkway Beer Road Trip Stops in Roanoke Region

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic byways in the U.S., a ribbon of asphalt tracing the Blue Ridge that not only provides drivers with epic views, but also allows them to access the outdoors. The parkway is a gateway to hiking, biking, fishing, and more in the Appalachians, and now you can add beer to the list. 

Paste Magazine highlighted Roanoke, Virginia as a must-see stop in their guide to the beer of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the appropriately titled Best Damn Beer Road Trip: Blue Ridge Parkway, Paste first implores readers to visit the Taubman Museum of Art in the “big city” of Roanoke. Author James Stafford then says the beer to try in the Roanoke Region is Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, and recommends White Tip White Ale. 

Soaring Ridge is one of the Region’s newest breweries, and the Roanoke Region has a total of 14 craft brewers in operation with more on the way. Roanoke’s reputation as a beer city is getting around and people are beginning to take notice. 

Read the full Paste Magazine article here >>>

Radical Reels Brings Adventure Lovers Together

Radical ReelsFor the past five years, Roanoke Outside has hosted the Radical Reels Film Fest in the Roanoke Region, bring the best mountain sports videos of the year to the area. When combined with the Get Outside Expo, this is one of the most entertaining nights of the year for outdoor lovers, and this year’s Fest did not disappoint.

It was a lively atmosphere as nearly 700 attendees packed the Jefferson Center for the Expo and film. There was plenty to see and do at the Expo before the viewing. Representatives from local outdoor clubs, outfitters, guides, and businesses made up the 27 exhibitors of the Expo, allowing folks to browse gear, educate themselves on local outdoor initiatives, and gain a better understanding of the outdoors industry in the Roanoke Region. 

Roanoke Outside also raffled off nearly $3,000 in gear supplied by local businesses and announced the winners during intermission. The sale raised over $1,200 for the Roanoke Outside Foundation. Local beer and wine was also served and the Noke Truck was on site to provide much-needed nourishment before the big show. 

Once the crowd filed into the auditorium, the show really got started. The Radical Reels Film Tour brings the biggest and best action sports films of the Banff Film Fest to towns around the U.S. and the world. Ranging in run time from just a few minutes to a half hour, the films highlight the people pushing the limits of sports like big mountain skiing, BASE jumping, rock climbing, white water kayaking and more. The energetic crowd cheered and clapped for the best parts, proving Roanoke has one of the best outdoor communities on the tour, and impressing the traveling tour host.  

When the house lights came up, it was clear the show was a success as everyone left stoked on mountain adventure and inspired to take full advantage of all the natural world has to offer.

Check out a photo gallery of the Film Fest & Expo and watch the video below: