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Community College’s mechatron- ics program stands as one example of business partnering with higher education to produce skilled, employable graduates ready to go to work. Mechatronics incorporates


mechanical systems, electrical systems and information technol- ogy into one career path. VWCC’s program includes a high-school component through the Regional Academy; a two-year certificate or associate degree through VWCC; transferability to four-year degrees at Old Dominion University and Purdue University Calumet; and Siemens mechatronics systems certification, which is highly sought by employers, especially in manufacturing. The one-two shot of Ballast


Point and Eldor gave first-year Botetourt County Administrator Gary Larrowe a memorable start on the job. If there’s a dark lining to be found in the silver cloud, it’s that Ballast Point and Eldor occupied the two largest parcels at Greenfield. The next largest vacant site is only 13.5 acres. Botetourt, however, already


and showcasing the valley’s water quality and wastewater capacity. Deschutes will build at the


Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology, an industrial park along U.S. 460 on the city’s east side. Ballast Point will locate north of Roanoke in Botetourt County, in a 240,000-square-foot building on an 81-acre site in Greenfield, a business park and government center north of Daleville. Greenfield also attracted


Eldor Corp., an Italian auto parts manufacturer that is building on a 53-acre site in the park. The company expects to invest $75 million and create 350 jobs during the next five years.


Colleges’ role A key element of Roanoke’s


pitch to the breweries and Eldor were the region’s colleges and universities. Virginia Western


Photo by Don Petersen www.VirginiaBusiness.com VIRGINIA BUSINESS 35 is moving to develop new sites to


attract business. It’s marketing a building on U.S. 220 previously occupied by Lumos Networks. Nearby, the interchange at Exit 150 on Interstate 81 is undergoing a dramatic makeover to improve the traffic flow at a major stop for tractor-trailer trucks. Larrowe sees the potential for develop- ment of destination retail, which he says generally is lacking on I-81 between Abingdon and Winchester. “If done correctly, we will end


up being able to get folks off of the interstate, as well as being an entry point not only for Botetourt but for folks on U.S. 460 and people in Roanoke,” Larrowe says. “There are endless possibilities. A lot of commercial is what I’d anticipate: destination retail, services, enter- tainment, anything and everything that would actually try to make that a special location.” Botetourt’s success in attract-


ing prospects to large, vacant parcels in an industrial park points to the importance of site avail- ability in economic development. Other business parks in the region have filled over the years, some to capacity.


Daniel Horine (left), an instructor at Virginia Western Community College, shows student Jared Jones how to use a numeric router in the school’s mechatronics lab.


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