Across Virginia, New And Expanding Firms Reflect Diverse Opportunities

From distribution to data sciences and from aerospace to manufacturing, a range of businesses have announced investments in the Commonwealth this spring.

Coca-Cola Consolidated unveiled a $50 million expansion last week in the Greater Richmond, Virginia region. The facility in Sandston, VA features solutions to reduce environmental impact, with upgrades to the company’s 62-acre campus in Henrico County that include: a new 210,000-square-foot warehouse; LED lighting to improve energy savings; and new equipment on the company’s can line to improve efficiency. Coke Consolidated, the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S., has done business in Sandston for more than eight years. The campus is home to nearly 450 Consolidated employees in manufacturing, warehouse, distribution, and equipment service.

Photo: Coca-Cola Consolidated

“The updates we’ve made to our Sandston location echo our sustainability initiative priority of Refresh, Recycle, Renew, which we’ve put into practice with various partners in the Commonwealth,” said John Eady, Plant Director II, Coca-Cola Consolidated. “For example, at the Richmond Raceway we collected bottles and cans and had them processed to be remade into another bottle or can, giving our packaging a new life.”

Coca-Cola Consolidated has invested more than $91.2 million in Virginia between 2019-2023. This investment is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s $869 million economic impact on Virginia through its network of suppliers, distributors, and retailers. There are more than 2,000 employees serving more than 17,700 customers across Virginia and Washington, D.C., and the Sandston campus is one of eight Consolidated facilities in the area.

Elsewhere in Henrico County, Ropeblock opened its first U.S.-based facility. The Dutch-based global crane component manufacturer makes hardware solutions that are integral to crane systems worldwide. The new 12,000 square-foot-facility will serve as a hub for storing the company’s products, which are then sent to crane manufacturing companies across the United States.

Dutch-based Ropeblock chose Henrico County, VA for its first U.S.-based facility. (Photo: Ropeblock)

“We are pleased to announce the official opening of our new office and warehouse facility located in Henrico County, part of Metropolitan Richmond, Virginia,” said Ron Kammeijer, Ropeblock’s Commercial Manager. “This momentous occasion signifies an important milestone for our company as we expand our operations to better serve our valued customers and partners.”

Ropeblock joins 74 additional international companies that have made a home in Henrico.

City Of Arlington Initiative Expanding Commercial Use Options

Outside the DC Beltway, Arlington has attracted notable companies in recent years. In February, CoStar Group, a prominent real estate information and analytics company, announced the move of its global headquarters to the city of Arlington. Both Boeing and RTX (Raytheon) also recently announced moving their headquarters locations here. And there is Amazon, which finished construction of the first phase of its second headquarters eight months ago following the announcement of Arlington as the winner of its nationwide HQ2 search in 2018.

CoStar Group is moving its global headquarters to Rosslyn, VA in Arlington County. (Photo: Arlington Economic Development)

Still, with challenges to the commercial office market in mind, Arlington launched the Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative (CMRI) to reimagine its business districts, while continuing to hone its appeal as a prime destination for corporate headquarters. The goal of CMRI, according to Arlington Economic Development: modernize Arlington’s regulations, practices, and processes to ensure a nimbler response to economic shifts.

As Ryan Touhill, Director of Arlington Economic Development, has noted,”We recognize the fundamental shifts occurring in the office market and understand the importance of adapting to new realities and continuing to innovate.”

Arlington has started by expanding the number of allowable uses in commercial spaces. By permitting new uses, the County encourages new and emerging business opportunities that may have been previously restricted. In the past year, the CMRI actions have brought about the opening of animal boarding facilities and indoor recreation and entertainment, as well as initial interest in urban agriculture, breweries, and distilleries. Moving forward, CMRI will focus on additional regulatory reforms that will accelerate the repositioning, conversion and redevelopment of underperforming and under-utilized office buildings.

Data Sciences Firm Expands In Fairfax County

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that JDSAT, Inc., a veteran-owned application development and data sciences firm, is investing $630,000 to expand its operations in Fairfax County. JDSAT is expanding to serve a growing portfolio of Department of Defense contracts. JDSAT plans to hire 60 technical staff and analysts to support its growing AI, cloud computing, and data science business. The company currently employs 57 workers in the county.

“JDSAT, Inc., is a Virginia success story of a veteran coming home and starting his own company in one of the best business climates in the nation,” said Gov. Youngkin. “This expansion in the artificial intelligence and data science sectors shows that the Commonwealth continues to grow in these rapidly evolving industries.”

“This new office opening signifies an exciting step in JDSAT’s growth, allowing us to expand both our teams and capabilities,” said Scott Woosley, CEO at JDSAT, Inc. “As part of our commitment to provide a collaborative work environment for our talented staff, this new space offers the resources and amenities to thrive, fostering a sense of unity and inclusion. We’re thrilled to embark on this next chapter in such a vibrant community that aligns well with our company culture and are so thankful to the Commonwealth of Virginia and Fairfax County for their support.”

“I want to thank JDSAT for choosing Fairfax County and putting down roots here to expand your AI, cloud computing, and data science business,” said Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “With the second-highest concentration of AI-related jobs in the country and an unparalleled regional workforce of qualified technical talent, Fairfax County is a perfect location for emerging tech companies like JDSAT to grow and realize exponential gains.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Fairfax County to secure the project for Virginia and will support JDSAT’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities.

GHS Aviation Group To Manassas Airport

GHS Aviation Group founder George Snyder has deep roots in the aerospace community. In fact, his parents met and fell in love in a regional airport, then went on to regularly frequent regional airports with Snyder as a child. The love of flying is “in his blood” as he would say. He has over 12,000 hours of flight experience to prove it.

Snyder spent the first decades of his career in aerospace safety leadership roles at US Airways and Korean Air before taking the leap to launch GHS Aviation Group. Twenty years later, the consulting, auditing, and training firm continues to grow and serve clients worldwide.

(Photo: GHS Aviation)

In January 2024, GHS Aviation Group expanded into the Manassas Regional Airport’s business corridor. Snyder described the decision as “calculated.” He explained, “We saw the opportunity to expand into the business aviation market by leveraging our experience in the international and domestic air carrier sector. The Manassas Regional Airport was the perfect setting for this expansion as it is already the busiest general aviation facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia handling approximately 100,000 flights per annum!”

The decision to bring commercial airline services to Manassas further solidified GHS’s interest in the City’s aerospace market. He went on to say, “We see Manassas as having an innovative and vibrant aviation and aerospace industry ecosystem, a supportive business environment, and a proximity to key stakeholders in the business aviation sector. Additionally, the City’s infrastructure and access to skilled talent align perfectly with our growth plans.”

GHS Aviation manages a global talent team of 20 highly skilled contractors with three full-time staff currently assigned to the Manassas office. The firm will occupy approximately 900 square feet on the second floor of the Chantilly Air hangar building. Their focus will be on extending their service offerings and leveraging emerging technologies to enhance existing capabilities for training and safety.

EPL America Expands Packaging Plant In Danville, VA

In the southern region of the state, Gov. Youngkin welcomed EPL America, LLC, a global specialty packaging manufacturer. The company is investing $37.4 million to expand its manufacturing facility in the City of Danville. The company intends to invest in building upgrades at its current 200,000-square-foot facility and add new machinery that will allow it to grow into the beauty and cosmetic markets and serve customers interested in replacing existing plastic products with laminate tubes. The project will create 24 new jobs.

“EPL America’s decision to expand its operations in the City of Danville shows that Virginia is a steadfast business partner for global companies and has a fertile ecosystem for advanced materials manufacturing,” said Gov. Youngkin. “Virginia and EPL have worked together for more than 20 years, and I am proud that their leadership decided to reinvest in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s comprehensive talent pool and growing manufacturing sector through this expansion.”

“We are proud to have EPL expand in Virginia and the City of Danville,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The Commonwealth offers the location, infrastructure, and robust workforce that attract companies like EPL, and I congratulate all the partners involved in securing this project that will create new jobs and contribute to a prosperous economy for local citizens.”

“We at EPL are grateful to Governor Glenn Youngkin and the incentives provided from the state of Virginia,” said Mauro Catopodis, President, EPL Limited Americas Region. “This will strengthen our long-term commitment to the City of Danville and the Commonwealth of Virginia and help us become a bigger economic benefactor in the community. Thank you on behalf of our 315 employees in Danville and 3,700 worldwide.”

“EPL has been an integral part of Danville’s thriving manufacturing sector for over two decades, continually innovating through modernization of technology, processes, and equipment to ensure ongoing success for their workforce in the years ahead,” said Linda Green, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. “Their contributions to excellence in packaging keeps them at the forefront of the industry, guaranteeing their continued contributions to both the region and the Commonwealth.”

EPL Limited currently operates 21 factories across five continents. EPL began operations in Danville in 2002.

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