A global installation company is coming to Danville, bringing 46 jobs and $7.15 million in investment to the Dan River Region, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday afternoon.
Walraven Inc. will relocate its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing operation from Cadillac, Michigan, to Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park in Ringgold in the current Unison facility.
The industrial park is owned by Danville and Pittsylvania County through its joint entity, the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority.
Unison, which makes heavy duty tube-bending machines used by the aerospace, automotive, marine and other industries, will remain in the area and move to another location in Danville or Pittsylvania County, said county Economic Development Director Matt Rowe.
Corrie T. Bobe, Danville economic development director, said of the governor’s announcement, “Walraven’s decision to locate its U.S. headquarters to our region is proof that our continued investment in infrastructure, workforce training, and quality-of-life assets makes our region a desirable place to live and conduct business. Today’s announcement further expands our portfolio of global manufacturers that call southern Virginia home.”
Virginia competed against Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee for the project. Northam also met with the company CEO in Frankfurt, Germany, during his international marketing mission to Europe last month.
Walraven, Inc. USA manufactures and markets pipe supports, struts and accessories, and in-wall solutions designed for U.S. plumbing and mechanical applications in North America.
Rowe said the announcement shows the region is bringing back more corporate entities since the decline of tobacco and textiles years ago.
“It means we’re slowly but surely building back our corporate base,” Rowe said, adding that the majority of the 46 jobs will be filled by local applicants. “It just shows the value of this project, the quality of the company itself and, frankly, that this community is extremely valuable to private enterprise.”
Rowe added that Walraven representatives fell in love with the community, including the improvements happening in downtown Danville and the county’s neighborhoods.
The company looks to get the facility leased as early as next week and immediately begin work on the building, Rowe said, adding that production should start in the fall.
“It’s a fast turnaround,” he said.
Walraven’s CEO, in a prepared statement, alluded to the region’s qualities that made it attractive for the company.
“Walraven was impressed with the positive business climate and the engagement of the economic development team in Danville and Pittsylvania County,” said Pelle van Walraven, CEO of Walraven. “We selected Danville because of its availability of property, competitive proposals, engaging community, commitment and investment in technical education, and access to markets. Walraven is looking forward to implementing its global strategy in the U.S. and building a ‘multinational with a heart’ in Virginia.”
The company’s products are used in a wide range of residential, light commercial and heavy-duty commercial applications including houses, hotels, high-rises, apartment complexes, schools and universities, airports, multi-use buildings, sports arenas and industrial facilities.
Based in the Netherlands, Walraven manufactures its products in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey, China, India, Dubai, Canada, and the U.S, and sells its products globally.
“Walraven is a global giant in the installation systems industry and the company’s decision to relocate to Danville-Pittsylvania County is a testament to our world-class business environment,” Northam said in a prepared statement Thursday. “This announcement further demonstrates the strength of Southern Virginia’s economic assets and its commitment to infrastructure, education, and building the workforce of the future. We thank Walraven for choosing the Commonwealth and look forward to a successful partnership.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the city of Danville, Pittsylvania County, RIFA and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance to secure the project for Virginia.
Northam approved a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help the city and the county with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $48,000 from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund for the project.
Walraven is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Support for Walraven’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly, according to the news release from Northam’s office.
“We continue to make great strides in reimagining our city and the Dan River Region, and this announcement today is further evidence of those efforts,” Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones said in a prepared statement. “Once again, as we celebrate this announcement, let us also celebrate the partnerships in place that brought us to this point. On behalf of the City of Danville, I want to thank Walraven for choosing to call our city and region its home.”
“I am thankful that Walraven is committing to locate in the Cane Creek Centre in Pittsylvania County and provide high-quality jobs in our region,” Bob Warren, chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, said in a prepared statement. “Having yet another proven employer choose to locate in Pittsylvania County is a testament to the quality of our workforce and business environment.”