Thriving Advanced Materials Industry Ecosystem

A diverse ecosystem of suppliers, innovators, and customers already thrives in Virginia, supporting the 400+ advanced materials companies operating in a range of subsectors from chemicals and metals to plastics and composites. Hundreds of specialized suppliers — including contract manufacturers — operate in Virginia and North Carolina, and thousands more in the wider region. Virginia’s advanced materials ecosystem continues to grow on the solid foundation of over a century of excellence in areas ranging from advanced textiles in Southern Virginia to chemicals in Hopewell. DuPont’s Spruance plant in Virginia, for example, began operations in 1929 and is currently the company’s largest facility in the world. 

Advanced Materials R&D in Virginia

Public, private, and university-based R&D activity drives innovation in Virginia. Virginia’s public universities, such as Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, invested more than $355 million in advanced materials research in 2019, and every year billions in federal research dollars are spent in Virginia. Major public and private research centers include NASA Langley Research Center, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), and the ChemQuest Technology Institute.

NASA Langley Research Center, Advanced Materials and Processing Branch

The NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton works to make revolutionary improvements to aviation, expand understanding of the earth’s atmosphere, and develop technology for space exploration. The mission of NASA’s Advanced Materials and Processing Branch (AMPB) is to develop advanced materials and processes that expand the engineering design space that enables and supports NASA missions. 

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM)

The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is an applied research center that exists to bridge the gap between university research and private sector product development. The only collaboration of its kind in North America, CCAM brings together research institutions and manufacturers in an ecosystem of collaboration to deliver “production-ready” solutions to manufacturing problems with a unique industry-friendly intellectual property model. Through collaboration, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar. CCAM supports innovative, demand-driven workforce education and talent solutions, and its large facility houses computational and large-scale production labs, as well as open production and co-working spaces. 

World-Class Logistics Infrastructure

A dense network of roads, railways, ports, and airports provides transport links to supply chain and physical distribution networks, allowing easy worldwide interconnectivity and efficient operational logistics. Virginia is served by the deepest port on the East Coast, with a network of five terminals that can handle any type of cargo. Port facilities include three deepwater terminals in Hampton Roads, the inland Richmond Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port, an intermodal container transfer facility in Front Royal. The port, through its $1.4 billion Gateway Investment Project, is expanding its assets, capabilities, and reach and creating one of the most advanced ports in the Western Hemisphere. 

~150 nonstop service destinations

150 nonstop service destinations from Washington Dulles International Airport

6 major interstates

Six major interstates, including major North-South and East-West trucking routes

3,000 miles of railways

3,000 miles of railways (anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern)

Grupo Phoenix evaluated various location options to build upon its future in the United States and chose Virginia due to a variety of factors, including a central location that allows us to be within 400 miles of 80% of the U.S. East Coast population; the ability to negotiate electricity at a competitive rate; access to rail transport, which reduces our logistics; a motivated labor force; support from the local colleges and universities to assist us with training specialized technical jobs; and the accessibility and unwavering support of the government to work together within the industry to create jobs.

Alberto Peisach CEO, Grupo Phoenix

America’s Top State for Talent

Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for Education by CNBC, Virginia is home to almost 350,000 workers in advanced materials and related occupations. Companies operating in Virginia can reap the potential gains — lower healthcare costs and higher productivity — of one of the healthiest workforces in the Southeast. Virginia is home to excellent K-12 schools — No. 1 in the South and No. 5 in the U.S. according to WalletHub — and the No. 2 higher education system in the U.S. according to SmartAsset. 

WalletHub_#1_2023_Best Public Schools in the South
SmartAsset_#2 Higher Ed_2022

kp Enhances Industry R&D

In 2015, Klöckner Pentaplast opened a state-of-the-art R&D facility, referred to as the, at North Fork — A UVA Discovery Park in Albemarle County. The is one of the industry’s first packaging technology centers, offering a welcoming environment for packaging professionals to collaborate with kp’s expert packaging design engineers, leading to the discovery of innovative packages and prototypes optimized for customers’ needs. The innovation center represents the first of many centers around the world by Klöckner Pentaplast, providing a collaborative space for idea sharing to help drug makers bring products to market more quickly and cost-effectively. 

EC Group Offers Specialized Workforce Training

EURO-COMPOSITES® Group (EC Group) is a global player in the field of high-quality and sophisticated composite materials. The company manufactures advanced honeycomb composite materials used in aviation, space, industrial, and defense technology application. In 2016, EC Group expanded its Culpeper County facility by 51,000 square feet and added new equipment to increase production of composite-based parts associated with the aerospace industry. The company partnered with Germanna Community College during the project to offer specialized training for its CNC machine operators and an apprenticeship program that provides on-the-job training with industry-recognized credentials. 

America's Top State For Business

Named America’s No. 1 Top State for Business by CNBC and the No. 2 state for governance by U.S. News & World Report, Virginia is widely recognized for its favorable regulatory climate and consistently rated one of the best-run states in the country. It also has one of the oldest right-to-work laws and the fourth lowest private-sector unionization rate in the country at 2.5%. Virginia offers a stable tax environment as well as competitive wages, construction costs, and industrial lease rates. Virginia also has low risks of natural hazards in every region, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, minimizing the potential of disruption to advanced materials manufacturing operations.

Business Facilities_#3_Business Climate_2023
Hardide Coatings, Martinsville

Hardide Coatings, Martinsville

A Welcoming Business Climate for Manufacturers

  • Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state along the I-95 Corridor.
  • Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.
  • Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia a AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.
  • Industrial users paid an average rate of 6.42 cents per kilowatt-hour in the winter of 2020, well below the national average of 6.61 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Virginia has a low natural disaster risk and is tied No. 4 among ‘States Most Prepared for a Disaster,’ according to 24/7 Wall Street.
  • With 450+ fully characterized development sites of 25 acres or larger, dozens of certified sites, and a growing inventory of spec buildings and virtual buildings, Virginia is constantly working to improve its portfolio of real estate options for food and beverage processing firms.

Learn More About Advanced Materials in Virginia

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