Governor McAuliffe Announces New Sawmill in Halifax County

March 9, 2016

For Immediate Release

Slick Rock Lumber to Create Thirteen Jobs, Purchase $5 Million in Virginia Forest Products

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Slick Rock Lumber will open a new sawmill operation in Halifax County.  The company will create thirteen new jobs in the county and source seventy-five percent of its timber needs from Virginia land owners.  This is the first economic development announcement in Halifax County during the McAuliffe administration and the first AFID facility grant announcement for the county.  

Speaking at the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Virginia’s forestry industry supports thousands of good jobs in our rural communities and provides important market opportunities for the Commonwealth’s private forestland owners.  Partnering with a company like Slick Rock Lumber is a great way my administration can support Virginia’s forest products sector, one of Virginia’s top private industries.  Slick Rock’s new facility will bring welcomed employment opportunities and economic vitality to the region, further helping with my administration’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

Slick Rock Lumber will invest $535,000 in site improvements and equipment needed to open the new hard- and softwood sawmill. The company’s primary products will be railroad ties and large planks to be made into mats for use by utility, construction, and logging companies.  Slick Rock is also committing to purchase more than $5 million of Virginia timber over the next three years, or 75 percent of the forestry inputs needed for the new production venture.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces New Craft Distillery in Halifax County

March 9, 2016

For Immediate Release

Springfield Distillery to Create Five Jobs, Source 100% Virginia-grown Products

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Springfield Distillery will open a new whiskey distillery in Halifax County.  The company, the first craft distillery in Halifax, will create five new jobs in the county and source one-hundred percent of its corn and barley needs from Virginia agricultural producers. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with Halifax County and Springfield Distillery on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).

Speaking at the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Springfield Distillery’s investment is an excellent example of the important role that small businesses and our diverse agricultural economy can and will play in building the new Virginia economy.  I’m pleased that the AFID grant to Halifax leverages agriculture, one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic drivers, to bring together multiple aspects of economic development – entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and tourism - in one operation.  Entrepreneurial projects like these should be recognized and commended for strengthening these important sectors of the Commonwealth’s economy and for enhancing Virginia’s reputation as a world-class spirts, wine, cider, and craft beer producer.”

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Companies get $112,446 in IDA ‘grant backs’

Eight local businesses have received a total of $112,446 from the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority as a reward for making capital investments over the past year.

The “grant-backs” by the IDA were made to businesses and industries that operate in the Halifax County Enterprise Zone, a key tool for attracting and retaining local employers.

“We’re pleased with this year’s results,” said Matt Leonard, IDA executive director. “Through our work to expand the zone in 2014, we have been able to extend Enterprise Zone benefits to some which were not previously eligible, Huber, for example.”

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HALIFAX IDA DEVELOPS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP WITH NASA AND EMERGING INDUSTRIES TOWARDS COMMERCIALIZATION

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (Halifax IDA) and its Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC) brought together representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, NASA Langley Research Center, GENEDGE, the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), and six emerging companies focusing on advancedtechnologies and products that are ripe for commercialization in Halifax County.

"This meeting is just one example of how the Halifax IDA proactively creates effective partnerships to attract and grow business and industry in Halifax County," says Matt Leonard, Executive Director of the Halifax IDA.

This meeting is a continuation of a dialogue between Halifax County, the Commonwealth's Secretary of Technology, Karen Jackson, and representatives from NASA Langley, which began last year with the vision of developing a lasting partnership that can leverage the cuttingedge R&D resources at NASA Langley and the IDA's SVPAC, to successfully anchor and grow new ventures in Halifax County. The purposes of the meeting was to introduce the companies incubating with SVPAC to the greater research and development resources and capabilities at NASA Langley and to develop solutions to each company's pressing problems as they move towards commercialization of their new products.

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HALIFAX IDA RECEIVES NEW GRANT: PARTNERS WITH HCSA

 The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has been awarded a Technical Assistance Grant by the United States Community Advancement and Improvement Program (USCAIP. The $100,000 grant will used to develop an Interactive Municipal Infrastructure Map (IMIM).

 The IDA worked with the Halifax County Service Authority (HCSA) to apply for the grant, and will work closely with them on the IMIM. "The IMIM will be a great help to our mission," says Matt Leonard, IDA Executive Director. "It will allow us to provide up-to-date information to our prospects and current clients regarding water and sewer system characteristics and capacities." The IMIM is planned to include "point-and-click" capabilities making it fast and easy to use. "We are proud to be partnering with the HCSA on this project," adds Leonard. 

"The IMIM will help the HCSA better maintain system health, evaluate operational improvements and plan for strategic infrastructure expansions," says Mark Estes, HCSA Executive Director. "We've already initiated an assessment program to evaluate our critical system components based on Likelihood of Failure (LoF) and Consequence of Failure (CoF) inputs. This IMIM will allow us to effectively map and assimilate the assessment results."

"Once the IMIM is complete, we'll use it in two ways," says Kristy Johnson, Halifax IDA Manager of Marketing and Business Development. "First we'll use it to provide real-time information to our prospects when they request water and sewer capacities. Then we'll include the data into the properties optimization initiative the IDA has already started to improve its product portfolio." 

The IMIM program will include procuring professional engineering services to collect historical system data, and field measurements. These data sets will be compiled and configured with software to create the IMIM. It is expected to take approximately one-year to complete.

Halifax IDA: Involved in Governor's Bioscience Initiative

The Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has a seat at the table for Governor McAuliffe's Bioscience Initiative. "We are honored and excited to have representation on this panel," says Matt Leonard, IDA Executive Director. "We have been proactively marketing Halifax, Virginia as well positioned for Bioscience, and Dr. Doug Corrigan's selection as one of only about 40 panel members reinforces our efforts."

Governor Terry McAuliffe's Bioscience Initiative seeks to develop a robust economic development strategy that focuses on strengthening and growing the bioscience sector within the Commonwealth. Governor McAuliffe's initiative will be a collaborative, multi-year effort involving several secretariats, state agencies, higher education institutions, private sector research enterprises and businesses across Virginia.

Dr. Douglas Corrigan, Executive Director of the IDA's Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), attended a kick-off meeting in December, which included a public and private sector roundtable discussion at the State Capital. University representatives, bio industry leaders, and renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor, Dr. Robert S. Langer, were present at this initial meeting.

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Halifax, Virginia Visits NASA's Langley Research Center

Through its close work with Virginia's Secretary of Technology, Karen Jackson, Halifax, Virginia was well represented during a visit to NASA's Langley Research Center in December 2014. Dr. Douglas Corrigan, Executive Director of the Halifax Industrial Development Authority's (IDA) Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), Mark Swain, Co-founder of TMI Autotech, and Kevin Christie from the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC), participated in a day-long tour and meeting at Langley.

The purpose of the visit was to get a better understanding of the research and development assets at NASA Langley, and begin to form partnerships for mutually beneficial projects leading to economic development in Halifax and Southern Virginia. "Partnerships are something the Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) does very well. We form and maintain productive relationships with our current business clients and mission partners," explains IDA Executive Director, Matt Leonard. "Research projects require collaboration to move to commercialization. That's what the IDA's SVPAC and Dr. Corrigan focus on."

"As a technology based incubator that works with hi-tech companies that are in the midst of product development, we are always looking for new partnerships and opportunities that can be of direct benefit to the businesses we work with," adds Dr. Corrigan.

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Halifax IDA's Internship Program

The Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is proud of its internship program through its Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC). "Attracting and growing the best talent is just as important as attracting and growing the best companies," says Kristy Johnson, IDA Manager of Marketing and Business Development. "You have to have both."

Two of SVPAC's interns, Duncan Simon and Zack Raney, returned to their home-roots in Halifax County this winter break to continue working on projects at SVPAC's Modeling and Simulation Center. Both Duncan and Zack graduated from Halifax County High School, and are currently enrolled as computer science majors at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond.

Zack and Duncan began their internships in 2012 after they participated in Longwood University's Digispired program, which cultivated the programming and virtual-reality skills of students throughout the Southern Virginia region through gaming. Specifically, over the last couple of years, the IDA's internship program has sought to reapply off-the-shelf gaming technology for something that it was not originally intended: fully interactive computer aided design and virtual prototyping.

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