April 16, 1999

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Raymond J. Hornack, APR
Epley Associates
(919) 877-0877
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces John Deere's Plans to Build Manufacturing Plant in James City County
--John Deere’s manufacturing plant will allow for creation of 300 new jobs for Peninsula--

James City County - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that John Deere will locate a $30 million research, development and manufacturing facility in the Stonehouse Commerce Park in James City County. The company will employ more than 300 people when the plant is fully operational. Virginia successfully competed with South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia for the investment.

"It is an honor to announce the first John Deere facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia," Governor Gilmore said. "A world leader in commercial and consumer equipment, the company’s products have assisted Virginians in their personal and professional lives for over a century. We proudly welcome this Fortune 500 company as Virginia’s newest corporate citizen."

John Deere is purchasing 75 acres in the Stonehouse Commerce Park and will construct a new 300,000-square-foot building to house manufacturing as well as research and development and marketing operations for the company’s line of GatorĀ® utility vehicles. Gators are rugged, lightweight, two-person multipurpose vehicles that serve a variety of functions on the farm, in commercial business operations, on construction sites, in sports arenas, and on athletic fields and golf courses.

The John Deere Vehicle Group is a business unit of the company’s Worldwide Commercial and Consumer Equipment Division. The Division produces a variety of homeowner and commercial lawn and grounds care equipment, from walk-behind mowers and lawn tractors to wide-area commercial mowers and golf course equipment.

A subsidiary of Deere & Company, John Deere is the world’s leading producer of agricultural equipment and a major producer of industrial equipment for the construction, forestry, and public works markets. In addition, John Deere provides financial services, including credit, insurance, and managed healthcare plans. This multinational corporation does business in more than 160 countries and employs 37,000 people worldwide. In 1998, Deere & Company earned more than $1 billion on net sales and revenues of $13.8 billion.

"John Deere was attracted to Virginia and to the Peninsula area in particular for its excellent transportation, skilled workforce and outstanding quality of life," Senior Vice President of John Deere’s Commercial and Consumer Equipment Division Mark Rostvold said. "In addition, Virginia is ideally located within our major utility vehicle marketing area," Rostvold said.

Governor Gilmore approved a grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund in the amount of $1 million to assist James City County with site preparation. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Peninsula Alliance for Economic Development, James City County and the county’s Industrial Development Authority assisted the company with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services to John Deere.

"Virginia’s pro-business climate has once again made the difference to a major manufacturer," Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal said. "Governor Gilmore and our state, regional and local economic development professionals performed like a true team to win this investment by John Deere."



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