IperionXAt the Southern Virginia Technology Park this week, signs of IperionX’s impending arrival in Halifax County were hard to miss.

One enormous sign said it all.

On Tuesday, crews mounted the lettering to herald the new home of the titanium manufacturer at the SVTP’s shell building on Philpott Highway. IperionX is opening a titanium recycling and manufacturing center inside the hulking structure.

First announced in late September, the project is coming together according to schedule, said Dominic Allen, chief commercial officer for Charlotte, N.C.-based IperionX. Allen said the South Boston plant is expected to begin commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2023, and will be operational by the first quarter of 2024.

Over a three-year span, IperionX is forecast to hire up to 108 employees in South Boston, according to the announcement last year by Gov. Glenn Youngkin of the company’s decision to expand into Virginia.

Read more ...

Southern Virginia Increases Virginia’s Inventory of Shovel-Ready Sites


The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA) is pleased to join localities of Halifax, Patrick and Pittsylvania Counties and the City of Danville in announcing twenty-one sites that will move from Tier-Two to Tier-Four sites (signifying shovel-ready sites) in the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP) and eight sites that will move from Tier-Two to Tier-Five (shovel ready sites with graded pad sites). SVRA received $1,534,900 from GO Virginia Region 3 and $454,100 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) to further the preparation of sites in areas identified with specific assets for transportation such as rail and highway access, utilities inclusive of significant supply of natural gas, electricity and water supply along with a demonstrated available labor shed and workforce pipeline. Southern Virginia leads the Commonwealth in the number of prepared sites, one of the reasons for the success they are achieving in business attraction. The strategy by local elected officials, government and economic development staff to keep an inventory of ready sites that serve diverse industries, leads to sites that are ready to market for prospects who need to ensure that the risks of building on the sites have been assessed and minimized.

Read more ...

2022 ends on plus note for job growth

Halifax County’s jobless rate fell in December as employers added 158 jobs, bringing unemployment down to 3.6 percent.

The November unemployment rate in the county was 4.0 percent.

As 2022 came to a close, Halifax County finished the year with positive job growth in eight out of 12 months. Starting out the year in January, there were 14,643 people employed in Halifax County. By December, that figure had risen to 15,553 people holding a job — a gain of 910 workers, according to the Virginia Employment Commission, which released its monthly local employment survey on Wednesday.

The county’s active labor force also grew significantly in 2022 — beginning with 15,310 people in the January labor pool and ending with 16,127 in December, a jump of 817. The active labor force consists of people who either have jobs or are actively seeking work. 

Read more ...

Skip Barber Racing School to Relocate Headquarters in Virginia and Establish Performance Driving School

Governor and Skip BarberAutomotive education and entertainment company to invest $8.9 million, create 24 jobs in Halifax County

RICHMOND, VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced Skip Barber Racing School, the world's largest automotive education and entertainment company offering driving and racing schools at the finest tracks in America, will invest $8.9 million to relocate its headquarters from Lakeville, Connecticut, and establish a performance driving school at the VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Halifax County. VIR will construct a 25,000-square-foot facility within the Motorsport Technology Park to lease to Skip Barber Racing School for the operation. Virginia successfully competed with California and Texas for the project, which will create 24 new jobs.

“We are proud to welcome Skip Barber Racing School to the Commonwealth, adding another corporate headquarters operation to our growing roster,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “VIRginia International Raceway is an invaluable employer in Halifax County, a tourism and economic development driver in Southern Virginia, and a top road course in the nation. These assets helped attract Skip Barber, and we look forward to supporting the company as it boosts the Commonwealth’s growing auto racing industry and creates new, high-paying jobs.” 

Read more ...

EMPOWER breaks ground on $154M project

EMPOWERWith several ceremonial shovels full of Southside Virginia soil last Thursday,  EMPOWER Broadband, Inc. commemorated a significant stride forward in leveling the playing field between rural and urban communities by launching a significant expansion of their fiber network. 
EMPOWER employees were joined by state Sen. Frank Ruff and Delegate Tommy Wright, along with other state, regional and local leaders, for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on a $154 million initiative to bring high-speed internet to 14,634 unserved and underserved locations in Halifax, Mecklenburg and the southern portions of Charlotte and Brunswick counties. 

Read more ...

Hitachi Energy to Expand in Virginia, Creating 165 New Jobs in Halifax County

Global technology leader to invest $37 million to increase production of larger power transformer

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Hitachi Energy, a global technology leader that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all, will invest $37 million to expand its operation in Halifax County. The company will add 26,000 square feet to its facility for a new production line for the manufacture of larger transformers specifically to support the utility and renewable energy markets, which will create 165 new jobs.

“Hitachi Energy’s ambitious expansion in Halifax County represents a strong commitment and tremendous vote of confidence in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a great place to do business,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Hitachi Energy has been an important, long-standing employer in Southern Virginia for nearly 50 years, and we are thrilled the company will create additional good-paying jobs in the community.”

Read more ...

IperionX Selects Virginia for first U.S. 100% Recycled Titanium Metal Powder Facility

RICHMOND, VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that IperionX Limited (“IperionX”) (NASDAQ: IPX), a U.S. critical minerals company, plans to make a capital investment totaling $82.1 million to establish Virginia’s first titanium demonstration facility in Halifax County. The company’s project will develop over two phases, with phase one consisting of a $12.5 million investment in building construction and production-related machinery and tools, and a further $69.6 million investment anticipated under a Phase 2 expansion within three years of the initial development.

The company will initially occupy the 50,000-square-foot Halifax Shell Building in the Southern Virginia Technology Park and plans to expand the facility to 100,000 square feet in the coming years. IperionX intends to source 100% renewable energy to produce 100% recycled titanium to supply advanced industries including automotive, defense, aerospace, electric vehicles, and 3D printing. IperionX plans to develop the titanium demonstration facility as a showcase for the intersection of titanium powder production with additive manufacturing and other powder metallurgy applications. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia for the project, which will create 108 new jobs over the three-year Phase 1 and Phase 2 development period.

Read more ...

How a community in Southern Virginia is helping locals develop digital skills

“Most people don’t think of ‘South Boston, Virginia,’ when it comes to technology, but it’s there,” says Darryl Kent.

Kent is a native of South Boston, Va., population 7,500, in the southern part of the state. It’s just after noon, and he’s on his lunch break, talking on video chat about his responsibilities working for an outdoor furniture company based there. The shelves behind him are lined with PC towers awaiting maintenance; he’ll run diagnostics on them to get them back into service.

Amid the flashing lights, the whir of the machines and the fans cooling them, Kent will open his laptop to check the cameras and the doors of the facility. He’ll then call up a list of new hires and departures and get to work updating their access privileges in the company’s system.

“If it involves technology,” Kent says, “I have my hands on it.”

Manufacturing is a big industry in South Boston, where it’s a 50-mile drive to the nearest big city. But luxury outdoor furniture brands in remote areas need information technology (IT) expertise to function in today’s increasingly digital economy.

Kent says he had known his entire life that he wanted a career in IT. As a kid he threw himself into anything that involved technology, including robotics, audiovisual editing classes and extracurriculars. Later, he moved 160 miles east, across the state, to study computer science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Three years into the program, he had to return home to South Boston where he enrolled at the IT Academy at Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC). In early 2021, he got a job as a help desk analyst for his current employer, which has offices around the world. And he continues to draw on his experience from the academy today. “I’ve had many a time where I’ve just been hit with a random problem,” says Kent. “And that hands-on knowledge from the academy is something that I can always look back to and immediately grasp onto.”

Read more ...