New Manufacturing Investment is Largest in Roanoke County History

Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based global leader in metal and glass packaging for the food and beverage industry, today announced plans to locate a state-of-the-art metal can manufacturing facility in Roanoke County. The company will create 96 new jobs and invest $93.5 million in real estate and equipment. It is the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County history.

The company has purchased the 525,000 square foot former Hanover Direct distribution center at 5022 Hollins Road and plans to begin operations by the third quarter of 2014.

Earlier this year Ardagh Group signed a long term supply agreement with a major customer, ConAgra, requiring the company to add capacity in the eastern United States. It selected Roanoke County over locations in Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

“We looked at many sites for our expansion and the decision to establish a Roanoke County facility was driven by factors such as the business tax structure, cost of living, infrastructure, logistic advantages, proximity to our major customer, and the availability of skilled labor,” said James Willich, CEO of Ardagh’s metal packaging business in the U.S.

“We welcome Ardagh to the strong manufacturing sector in the Roanoke Region,” said Beth Doughty, executive director the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “The reasons this location makes sense for Ardagh are the same reasons so many manufacturers prosper here.”

The $93.5 million investment includes $80 million in equipment. The company is completely renovating the cavernous building to accommodate manufacturing of 4.5 million cans per day, which represents approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. food can market. Ardagh will be hiring skilled machine operators, managers, and support staff.

“This represents the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County’s history, and we anticipate even greater long term investments from the company and its suppliers,” said Michael Altizer, chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors.

The Roanoke Regional Partnership, Roanoke County, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked together to secure the project.

Ardagh Group is a global leader in glass and metal packaging solutions for most of the world’s leading food, beverage, and consumer brands. The company has more than 100 facilities and 18,000 employees in 25 countries producing 26.6 billion containers a year.

The company’s U.S. metal packaging operations are based in Carnegie, Pa. In addition to Roanoke, the company has facilities in Bloomsburg, Pa., Weirton, W.Va., Conklin, N.Y., and Terminal Island, Calif.

Homestead Creamery Announces Expansion

$1.1 million investment, 20 new jobs as dairy grows, expands to cheeses;
First use of new state grant to support growth in agriculture.

BURNT CHIMNEY, Va. (December 17, 2012) –  Homestead Creamery, known for its farm-fresh dairy products and back-in-fashion home delivery, plans to expand its facilities and introduce a line of cheeses as part of a $1.1 million expansion supported by a new state grant designed to support Virginia’s agricultural industry.

The expansion is expected to create 20 new full-time jobs over three years at the dairy’s Franklin County production facility.

Announcing the expansion at Homestead, Governor Bob McDonnell said, “Awarding the first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund grant to a company like Homestead Creamery, with its full commitment to Virginia farmers and Virginia grown products, is the perfect way to launch this new program from my administration’s economic development and jobs creation agenda. Homestead is just the type of company for which this program was built, one that can take the high-quality agricultural products Virginia has to offer and turn them into value-added products consumers are seeking.  I’m certain the AFID will provide further growth opportunities for Virginia’s diverse agricultural economy, the Commonwealth’s largest industry.”

Homestead will receive a $60,000 grant through the fund, established this year by the General Assembly as a new economic development tool to help incentivize the creation or expansion of businesses that use Virginia agricultural and forestry products, particularly in rural areas.

The expansion also is made possible by a $45,000 grant through the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and a Franklin County grant of $30,000. The company will also receive training assistance from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Agriculture is big business in Franklin County, and we’re delighted to be the first locality in the Commonwealth with a business benefiting from a new state incentive program that recognizes the economic benefits and contributions of local farmers and growers,” said David Cundiff, chair of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors and a commissioner of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. “A strong and prosperous agricultural industry, coupled with manufacturing and services, helps us maintain a diversified economy that improves our quality of life.”

Agricultural product revenues totaled nearly $54 million in Franklin County, according to the latest data from 2007, up 40 percent over 2002. Revenues from milk and dairy product sales accounted for two-thirds of all agricultural sales activity in Franklin County.

Richard Huff, Franklin County Administrator added, “I’m pleased that we’re ending the year with yet another piece of good news for Franklin County’s economy.”

Homestead Creamery plans to invest in real estate, building improvements and expansion, and new equipment that will include two new home-delivery trucks, freezer, cooler, storage tanks for milk, pumping station, yogurt tank, cheese-making equipment, mixer for flavored milk, and an expanded sewage treatment system.

“Homestead Creamery is best known for delicious ice cream and all-natural, fresh milk and dairy products,” said president Donnie Montgomery, a third-generation dairy farmer. “On behalf of our company, I thank the governor, our local elected officials and the tobacco commission for their support and confidence. These funds will positively affect our profitability and ability to sustain growth. We look forward to growing Homestead with traditional dairy methods that consumers are embracing as they seek all-natural products for their families.”

Starting in 2001, the creamery has been producing milk, butter and ice cream at its Burnt Chimney production facility and delivering it fresh to stores such as Kroger and Whole Foods and other retailers in Virginia, West Virginia North Carolina and Tennessee. The company also offers home-delivery.

Homestead sources products from 45 farms and orchards in Virginia to provide customers with high-quality, all-natural and great-tasting products. The milk is processed and bottled on site, and is typically on store shelves less than 48 hours later. Glass bottles ensure fresh taste and environmental friendliness.    

In addition to milk, Homestead produces flavored milks, half-and-half, heavy cream, eggnog, and boiled custard, butter and ice cream.

About Homestead Creamery, Inc.

Homestead Creamery, Inc. is a producer and distributer of bottled milk, ice cream and other dairy products that also maintains a store featuring Virginia’s Finest and Virginia Grown products at its production facility in Burnt Chimney.  The company distributes to a number of grocery and specialty stores, college dining facilities and also maintains home delivery service of their products and local produce.  All of the milk, cream, eggs and produce used by Homestead in its products are 100 percent Virginia grown.

About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund

The creation of the AFID was part of Governor McDonnell’s jobs-creation and economic development agenda during the 2012 session of the General Assembly.  Funded at $1 million in each year of the biennium, the AFID is broken into two categories with $750,000 going to large grants to assist local efforts in expanding current or attracting new agriculture and forestry processing facilities using Virginia-grown products and $250,000 dedicated to small grants to assist localities in improving local economic development efforts relating to agribusiness.

Roanoke County and Franklin County Recognized as National Technology Leaders

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (July 19, 2012) — Two Roanoke Region localities have been recognized as nationwide technology leaders. Roanoke County and Franklin County each placed in the top 10 of the Annual Digital Counties Survey for communities with a population of less than 150,000.

Roanoke County was ranked third and Franklin County was eighth.

The ranking comes from the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities program, in partnership with the National Association of Counties. The award recognizes counties who have the best electronic practices nationwide.

The 2012 top 10 winners in the less than 150,000 population
1. Charles County, MD
2. Nevada County, CA
3. Roanoke County, VA
4. County of Allegan, MI
5. Napa County, CA
6. Albemarle County, VA
7. Polk County, WI
8. Franklin County, VA
9. County of Moore, NC
10. Gloucester County, VA

Franklin County, at a population of roughly 56,000, which competes with counties three times its size, placed 8th in the annual ranking which recognizes leading examples of counties using information and communications technology.  

The national ranking is issued by the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities program, in partnership with the National Association of Counties who identify best electronic practices among counties nationwide.

Digital Communities Director Todd Sander said, “This year counties are focused on saving money where they can be simplifying their information technology infrastructure.  Many of them have found ways to provide better information security, transparency and citizen engagement with innovative uses of social media and advanced decision support tools.  Congratulations to the winners!”

“Counties across the country are aligning technology initiatives to support strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies,” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “The Digital Counties Survey identifies best practices and innovative uses of technology critical with today’s constrained budgets to maintaining and even improving service levels.”

The 2012 survey evaluated the use of technology across several functional areas of local government.  Franklin County highlighted much of its recent and current work with e-Government services, including the launch of an enhanced budget website portal. While the County has long posted its budgets and financial reports online, the new budget portal synchronizes multiple budget items into one central location. The interactive budget portal allows residents to stay connected with the County budget through social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Current County e-Government services include enhanced transactions to allow citizens the option of making credit/debit payments for various services.  Some services, such as parks & recreation registrations and building permits can already be processed online. The County also has worked to implement rigorous P.C.I. (Payment Card Industry) security standards among its communication networks, work stations, and employees.  Another technology highlight is the use of business intelligence software or a “dashboard” which provides the County’s Finance and Administration departments the ability to track County revenues in real time as collections and investments are posted. Other initiatives have included an issue tracking system to pursue customer complaints and a Citizens Alerting System which provides Public Safety a tool to immediately alert citizens of a pending emergency in a specific area or neighborhood by simultaneously calling residences and mobile phones.

Franklin County initially achieved a place in the top 10 Digital Counties Survey in 2009.

“To achieve and maintain a Top 10 National Ranking for four consecutive years in a population bracket that includes much larger counties with greater resources to draw upon speaks volumes about Franklin County’s technology efforts to serve our citizens” said County Administrator Richard Huff.