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Industries & Sectors

The region has a unique combination of assets and location that make it well-suited to particular major industrial sectors and retail commercial development to serve a growing population.


Advanced Manufacturing

The region is a significant hub for advanced manufacturing in the United States, where industry giants like DuPont, AdvanSix and Rolls-Royce form an advanced manufacturing hotbed producing vital components for global suppliers and end-producers worldwide. Local output includes aerospace and energy industry parts, chemicals, composite fibers and other advanced materials, bolstered by local research and development activity.

  • 400 total engineer graduates in the metro area annually, 5,000 in the state; over 37,000 current manufacturing employees in the workforce draw area.
  • The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), a state-of-the-art collaborative R&D facility, exists to shorten the transition from research to commercialized innovations. Operated cooperatively by graduate students and engineering faculty from Virginia’s universities and several CCAM member companies like Canon, Rolls-Royce and Siemens, research topics range from surface engineering and manufacturing systems to 3D additive manufacturing and composite materials development.
  • John Tyler Community College’s Precision Machining Program is accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. In 2011, Rolls-Royce was the first of several companies to donate specialized machinery to the program to train local employment candidates directly on modern company machinery. The program allows students to develop hands-on expertise that is directly applicable to advanced manufacturing systems across many different industries.

Food & Natural Product Manufacturing

With a strong agricultural heritage, the region has become a hotspot for some of today’s largest food manufacturing, packaging and distribution operations including Sabra Foods, Perdue, Maruchan and more.

  • Accelerated industry growth rate with steady increases in production employers and expertise, resulting in facility investments totaling over $120 million in the past five years.
  • U.S. Army Fort Lee’s Joint Culinary School trains soldiers to manage all aspects of food systems including: food planning, menus, nutrition, rations, regulations, procedures, safety and dining facility design. The school has gained notoriety among the Food Network fan base by holding the largest annual American culinary competition.
  • Virginia State University in the heart of the Gateway Region offers a Food Safety & Microbiology Program focused on improving food safety across the country by increasing knowledge about microbial ecology of food manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. The program delivers hands-on training in laboratories and their on-campus Randolph Farm.

Global Logistics & Distribution

A central East Coast location combined with efficient transportation infrastructure, local freight hubs and a highly-tuned workforce has made the region a distribution powerhouse. Recent locations and expansions for international distributors including Amazon and Aldi have brought national attention to the Gateway Region as a world-class logistics and warehouse location.

  • Interstates 85, 95 and 295, dual-rail service, two nearby international airports and close proximity to the Port of Virginia provides quick access to any destination, both nationally and globally.
  • U.S. military logistics training and operations cluster includes Army Logistics University at Fort Lee and the Defense Supply Center Richmond, concentrating much of the Army’s logistics and contracting personnel and expertise in the area.
  • Virginia State University offers a degree in Logistics and Industrial Technology which prepares workforce skillsets in supply chain, distribution and transportation fields, with approximately 100 enrolled annually.

Retail Commercial Development

As the southern gateway to the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area and state of Virginia, the region is a strong retail destination, with urban centers undergoing revitalization, upcoming opportunities for neighborhood and convenience retail and mixed-use development. With a strong and diverse market, from historic shopping districts to traditional retail shopping malls, find a space for your retail business here.

  • The Richmond MSA has a consistently growing consumer base, with an average population increase of 1.3% annually
  • Diversified in multiple industries and home to one of the largest military posts in the U.S., the Gateway Region has a steady supply of consumers in a historically stable economy
  • Large range of retail spaces available, from boutique shopping districts to indoor and outdoor shopping malls