December 11, 1998

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Robert James, Plant Manager
(540) 228-5139
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces Kingston-Warren Expansion in Wytheville
-Expansion will create up to 92 new jobs; more than $8 million investment -

Wytheville - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that Kingston-Warren Corporation, a division of Harvard Industries, will expand its manufacturing facility in the Town of Wytheville. By adding a rubber compounding center, the company will better serve its existing Wytheville plant that manufactures automotive glass run channels. Virginia competed with New Hampshire and Tennessee for the more than $8 million investment. Approximately 92 new employees will be added to the company's workforce over the next 30 months.

"This expansion will greatly increase the scope of activities at Kingston-Warren's Wytheville plant," said Governor Gilmore. "The venture will allow Kingston-Warren to manufacture rubber on-site, enhancing its manufacturing capabilities. Southwest Virginia's workforce is skilled and prepared to help this company meet its challenges into the next millennium."

Harvard Industries designs, develops and manufactures a broad range of components for automotive equipment manufacturers, the automotive aftermarket and industrial applications. The company employs 4,500 people and operates 15 manufacturing facilities in seven states and Canada. Harvard subsidiary Kingston-Warren first opened the original Wytheville facility in 1985 to manufacture extruded rubber products for the automotive industry. Today the Kingston-Warren name encompasses Harvard's total vehicle sealing system.

"The installation of the mixer and compounding center is consistent with Kingston-Warren's and Harvard's drive to world-class manufacturing," said Roger Pollazzi, CEO of Harvard Industries Inc. "The Wytheville site was chosen due to its strategic location for shipment of mixed rubber products. Everyone involved from the Town of Wytheville to the Commonwealth of Virginia has strongly supported this expansion."

"Manufacturing remains the foundation of Virginia's industry base," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "We are pleased that quality jobs paying at least $15 per hour will soon be available to the people of Wythe County and the entire Southwest Virginia region."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Town of Wytheville and the Wythe County Industrial Development Authority assisted the company with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

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