BUSINESS REPORT: Streamlining FTZ Process Speeds Business Development in Virginia

By Ed Felton
From the January/February 2013 issue

Forward looking counties in Virginia are constantly looking for ways to help its businesses create jobs and expand their operations. One way to do this is to streamline the applications process for businesses moving into foreign trade zones (FTZs).

A good example of this is taking place in Culpeper County. In hopes of making it even easier and faster for businesses to take advantage of Culpeper’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), the country recently filed an application with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Foreign-Trade Zones Board to amend Culpeper’s FTZ management plan to an Alternative Site Framework (ASF). Under the ASF, foreign-trade zone grantees have greater flexibility in meeting requests for zone status, while making the FTZ application process easier and less expensive.

One of the aspects of the Alternative Site Framework is that FTZ Grantees, such as Culpeper County, must designate a “Service Area” in which the Grantee agrees to extend the efficiencies of the ASF approach and provide foreign-trade service. Culpeper’s ASF Service Area consists of 21 contiguous counties throughout central Virginia.

“Our FTZ has been providing our internationally-focused businesses with significant competitive advantages for more than 20 years,” said Carl Sachs, Culpeper County’s director of economic development. “By amending our plan to an Alternative Site Framework, we’ll be able to extend the advantages of our Foreign Trade Zone to even more businesses.”

In 1992, Culpeper County received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce for General Purpose Trade Zone #185. As one of Virginia’s five strategically-placed Foreign Trade Zones, Culpeper’s FTZ allows companies to improve the cost competitiveness of their U.S.-based operations vis-à-vis their foreign-based competitors.

“In recent years, we’ve become a key player in high-tech. With Terremark’s data center campus, and the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation, folks unfamiliar with Culpeper sometimes now see us as a high-tech business magnet,” Sachs said. “The truth is, we actually offer the best of both digital and the tangible world. We have a strong manufacturing and agricultural heritage backed by a skilled and talented workforce. And we offer a high-tech infrastructure (abundant power, fiber optics, water) and workforce to support the most advanced technology.”

“Our FTZ and new Alternative Site Framework will play a key role in ensuring that our time-honored tradition of actually building, and growing, tangible products continues to thrive right along side of successes in cyberspace,” he added.

To learn more about Culpeper’s Foreign Trade Zone #185, call Carl Sachs at 1.540.727.3410 or email


Toll Integrated Systems will occupy and modernize a vacant manufacturing facility on Maddox Drive in Culpeper, VA. This new manufacturing facility, projected to begin operations in summer 2013, will increase Toll Integrated Systems’ ability to provide roof trusses, wall panels, and other building materials to communities in the Northern Virginia and Maryland markets. Once fully operational, it is expected to bring 30 jobs immediately to the Culpeper area, with more jobs growth anticipated.

“As the housing market improves and continues to grow, we expect to expand our Culpeper facility and add additional employees there to meet the demand. Culpeper is a wonderful community and we worked closely with the Town and County to insure that this facility and this location would maximize our opportunities for growth and success,” said Keith Fell, Toll’s director of manufacturing.

Toll Brothers, the nation’s leading builder of luxury homes, has been in business for more than 45 years. Toll Integrated Systems, a division of Toll Brothers, has been providing quality home building products and services for nearly 25 years and currently operates three manufacturing facilities across the U.S.: Morrisville, PA; Emporia VA; and Knox, IN.