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Shenandoah Valley

Toray Plastics expanding to meet growing demand by Joan Tupponce

considered relocating its Front Royal-area manufacturing facility when it decided to expand its operations this year. “There was no motivator to look anywhere else,” says Brendan Arbuckle, the plant manager. “The cost of construction and the cost of doing business are lower here than other places. Also, the labor force here has a good skill set.” The company, a


subsidiary of Tokyo- based Toray Industries Inc., is spending $45 million to expand its facility. The plant makes foam products, such as molding and padding for door panels, for the automotive industry. “We also have industrial applications such as flooring and some air


Virginia’s first community solar project will provide energy for more than 200 homes and businesses in the western part of the state. The solar project at the BARC Electric facility in Rockbridge County allows homes and businesses in different communities to get solar power-generated electricity from one place instead of putting panels on their own rooftops. Officials say the project will provide 25 percent of the energy needs for homes and businesses across BARC’s electric system in Rockbridge, Bath, Highland, Augusta and Alleghany counties. (News Leader)

The bicycle tourism industry in the central Shenandoah Valley had a total economic impact of $13.6 million and supported 184 jobs in 2015, according to a

Photo courtesy Kreiss Communications

oray Plastics (America) Inc. never

ducts,” Arbuckle says. The expansion was

necessa ry because of the “growth of our main market, the automotive market,” says Hidetaka Hoketsu, general man- ager of Toray Plastics (America) Inc.’s PEF Division in Virginia. “The forecast we have will surpass our capacity.”

The increased

demand made it diffi- cult for the company to develop new products. “We are so busy it doesn’t leave time for new markets. This is an opportunity to have a lot more development time,” says Arbuckle. The 175,000-

square-foot plant, built in 1997, sits on about 90 acres of the com- pany’s 190-acre site in Warren County. It will grow to about 225,000 square feet once the expansion is complete, hopefully early next

study conducted by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission and other regional partners. Visitor spending by cyclists had a direct economic impact of approximately $8.6 million that supported 144 jobs. The top sectors impacted by bicycle tourism are restaurants, hotels, motels and retail establishments. Seventy-one percent of visitors stayed overnight d uring their bicycling trip. (News Leader)

Mary Baldwin College officially changed its name Aug. 31 to Mary Baldwin University. The name change isn’t the only new development at the university. A new master’s degree in business program will be offered in fall 2017, and in spring 2017 the next batch of programs will be added to the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, created in 2014 on the school’s new campus in Fishersville.

March. “We expect to be producing product by January 2018,” Arbuckle says.

The company is

adding a third process line that will be faster and larger than the two lines currently in operation. “It will increase our capacity by 160 percent from the current capacity,” Hoketsu says. Toray also plans to

increase its workforce from 118 to around 145 employees by the end of the expansion. The Vir- ginia Jobs Investment

President Pamela Fox also unveiled some “fast track” programs for fall 2017 that will allow high-achieving students to complete degrees in a shorter time frame. (News Leader)

MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Co., announced in August it will invest $60 million to expand its Shenandoah brewery in Rockingham County. The project is expected to create 27 jobs. The company makes Coors Light, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Coors Banquet, Redd’s and Henry’s Hard Soda. MillerCoors also brews Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Blue Moon Belgian White Ale. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $500,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program for the project. (

Program will provide funding and services to support employee training. Wages at the

facility are in line with wages paid at Toray Plastics (America) headquarters in Rhode Island where the cost of living is higher. “We are able to give people a good wage compared to other businesses in this area,” Arbuckle says. “It’s good for us when you pay people well and you treat them well and they recipro- cate.”

The Virginia Military Institute Foundation has raised more than $300 million, exceeding its goal by 33 percent. The goal of the fundraising effort, “An Uncommon Purpose: A Glorious Past, A Brilliant Future: The Campaign for VMI,” was $225 million. More than 14,000 donors have participated in the campaign, which included 53 gifts of $1 million or more and two gifts of more than $20 million each. (VirginiaBusiness. com)


Angela Clem was named Woodstock’s town manager on Aug. 17. She has served as the town’s interim town manager since her predecessor, Reid Wodicka, left to become Bedford County’s assistant county administrator Aug. 1. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)

The Toray Plastics (America) plant in Warren County will expand from 175,000 to 225,000 square feet.

Regional View


Complete list of For the Record and People at

Erik D. Curren, CEO of Curren Media Group, was named to the board of trustees of the Virginia Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. Paul P. Vames, president of V-K Management Co. Inc., was renamed to the board. (News release)

Carol A. Fleming, interim assistant vice provost, outreach & engagement at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, and Carrie H. Chenery, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, received a $330,201 grant from the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to provide economic development support services for regional members, prospects, existing businesses and the partnership. (News release)



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