Advanced Manufacturing

Local Advantages

  • Centrally located in the middle of the U.S. East Coast, allowing equal access to major hubs like Boston and Atlanta
  • Less than one day’s drive to 40% of the U.S. population
  • Extensive and efficient highway system, with a 25-minute average commute time and high-speed travel in all directions
  • 90-minute drive to the Port of Virginia, which offers the deepest natural harbor and port on the East Coast, accommodating ocean going vessels to and from the Panama Canal, including 10,000 TEU vessels
  • Richmond International Airport and multiple regional airports with Washington, D.C. and Hampton Roads international bulk and commercial airports within a two-hour drive
  • Real estate with redundant electric capacity is available for energy-heavy users
  • An abundant supply of water and surplus wastewater treatment capacity for heavy industrial users
  • VCU, VSU, Virginia Tech, UVA and other major universities in the state produce highly regarded engineering graduates, who are available to work in the region
  • Each year approximately 400 highly trained and disciplined military personnel leave each year from U.S. Army Fort Lee. Most of these exiting military personnel stay in the region and have experience operating and repairing heavy machinery
  • Home to the Defense Logistics Agency, which determines contracts for aviation components and repair parts for the U.S. military

Rolls-Royce Crosspointe – Prince George County was chosen as the U.S. location for Rolls-Royce’s Crosspointe campus. With a capital investment of $170 million and a land area of 1,000 acres, Crosspointe is the largest Rolls-Royce site in North America. The only North American Rolls-Royce manufacturing center built from scratch, current facilities manufacture disks and blades for civil and military jet engine turbines. Rolls-Royce projected its total capital investment will top $500 million and seeks engine component suppliers to co-locate on its campus.

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) – Located at Rolls Royce’s Crosspointe campus in Prince George County, CCAM is a state-of-the-art collaborative R&D facility at which Virginia’s top research and teaching institutions work with leading industry partners. The goal of the facility is to shorten the transition from research to commercialized innovations. CCAM houses UVA, Virginia Tech and VSU engineering faculty and graduate students to facilitate industry-lead research related to surface coatings, engineering and manufacturing systems. CCAM members directly guide the research process, and own the resulting intellectual property, creating global competitive advantages. The intention is to make the U.S. the global leader in advanced manufacturing. Organizing Members of CCAM include Canon Virginia, Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce North America, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens and Sulzer Metco.

Training & Education

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) supports expanding and new businesses throughout the region by offering job fairs, customizable employee assessments, specialized trainings and convenient access to many locations. Working collaboratively with the Apprentice and Employee Development Center, companies can create an individual program of study or fast-tracked certificate program that features classes tooled directly to company needs. Additionally, custom training programs can be provided either at a nearby community college campus or onsite at a company’s location.

John Tyler Community College's Precision Machining Program is the only such program in Virginia at the postsecondary level to hold accreditation through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. In 2011, Rolls-Royce donated a horizontal-center machine tool to the program, located in Chester, VA, which allows students to develop hands-on expertise that is directly applicable to advanced manufacturing systems across many different industries.

Virginia State University (VSU), located in Chesterfield County, has a strong Department of Engineering and Technology, which strengthens the Gateway Region’s advanced manufacturing workforce. Within the department are programs in Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Logistics Technology, all of which are industry-accredited. VSU typically graduates over 1,000 students with degrees in Engineering, Science and Technology each year.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in Richmond, has undergraduate and graduate engineering programs with heavy research emphasis, especially in the areas of biomedical engineering, chemical and life science engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. The undergraduate program has over 1,500 students a year and approximately 250 graduate students. VCU also coordinates a statewide partnership that allows students to take additional graduate courses via video telecommunications to obtain master’s degrees in 14 different engineering fields.

The University of Virginia (UVA), in Charlottesville, has 2,300 undergraduate and 600 graduate engineering students with 10 different engineering programs and four off-campus collaborative programs, including Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Science, Technology and Society Engineering. UVA’s Engineering Department’s education and research is well-funded from the private and the public sector, with endowments valued over $75 million.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), located in Blacksburg, offers 14 specialized undergraduate engineering degrees including Aerospace and Science and Mechanics. Of those programs, the Industrial and Systems Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering programs consistently rank in the top 10 nationally.

Top Local Employers

Name Product or Service Employees
DuPont Kevlar, Yuvek, Nomex, Teflon 2,376
Honeywell Chemicals, fibers, and R&D center 1,200
Hillphoenix Refrigeration casings 1,196
General Electric (Alstom Power) Power generation turbines 928
Ashland Aqualon Specialty chemicals 254
Rolls-Royce North America Disks/blades for aircraft engines 250
 
Sources: Richmond Times-Dispatch; InfoGroup; Virginia Employment Commission; VGR internal research, 2016
 

Selected Occupations Employment & Wages

Occupation (SOC) Workforce Area Avg. Wage National Avg. Wage Current Employment Extended Employment*
Aerospace Engineers (17-2011) $114,500 $110,600 158 3,160
Machinists (51-4041) $43,000 $42,100 920 1,780
Software Developers, Systems Software (15-1133) $97,400 $108,800 1,600 13,880
Helpers--Production Workers (51-99198) $28,100 $26,000 1,865 22,578
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators (51-4011) $38,400 $38,700 260 1,263

*Includes trainable persons currently employed in occupations with relatable skills
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chmura Analytics, Q3 2016; latest data as of Jan 1, 2016