March 19, 1999

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

John McKeegan
Johnson & Johnson
(732) 5242130
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces 600 New Jobs for Roanoke
--Innotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson, to invest at least $125 million in Roanoke area--

Roanoke - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that Innotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson, plans to locate a new $125 million-plus vision products production facility in the City of Roanoke. The company will create up to 600 new jobs within three years of opening. The investment is the largest new plant investment in Roanoke Valley history.

"This is an exciting announcement for the Roanoke Valley and all of Virginia," Governor Gilmore said. "We are truly delighted that Johnson & Johnson has chosen the Commonwealth for its new vision products manufacturing center. With this investment, technology developed in Roanoke now joins with the world’s most comprehensive healthcare company."

A developer of eyeglass technology, Innotech was founded by Dr. Ronald D. Blum in Roanoke and incorporated in 1990. Johnson & Johnson acquired Innotech in 1997. The company now manufactures and sells lens products to eye care professionals and optical retailers.

"Key factors in our decision to expand here were the pro-business attitude in the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the excellent quality of life and cultural opportunities for employees and their families," Innotech President Ben Deibler said.

"Johnson & Johnson’s announcement reflects Governor Gilmore’s commitment to build on Virginia’s technology leadership and proves that we are on the move," Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal said. "We are honored to welcome companies of this high caliber to our corporate family."

Governor Gilmore approved a grant in the amount of $2 million from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Roanoke with site preparation. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership assisted Innotech with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services to the company.



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