October 28, 2003

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Larry Corvin
Wytheville Technologies, Inc.
(276) 228-4307
Jill Vaughan
(804) 371-0049
-Administration’s trade mission helps seal deal for 102 new jobs in Wythe County-

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Wytheville Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive steering components, will create 102 new jobs in Wythe County. Through a $31-million investment, the company plans to expand its existing manufacturing operations with a new 150,000-square-foot facility in the Wythe County Progress Park. Wytheville Technologies, a U.S. joint venture of four Japanese companies, led by Somic Ishikawa, currently employs 62 people in Wythe County. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and Tennessee for the project.

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel today met with Mr. Kozo Ishikawa, President of Somic Ishikawa, Wytheville Technologies’ Japanese parent company, to discuss the Virginia expansion. Secretary Schewel is currently leading Virginia’s delegation to the Southeast U.S.-Japan Annual Joint Meeting in Osaka, Japan, October 26-October 28, 2003.

“The job creation from this project is especially significant to Wythe County and its surrounding communities,” said Governor Warner. “These automotive industry jobs will offer higher-than-average salaries for this region. I am pleased that Wytheville Technologies’ positive experience in the Commonwealth of Virginia has led to this major expansion.”
Somic Ishikawa is the leading Japanese ball joint manufacturer for steering and suspension systems in passenger cars, trucks, recreational, industrial, agricultural, and small outdoor vehicles. The company supplies nearly all of Japan's vehicle manufacturers, with Toyota Motor Corporation accounting for the majority of sales. Wytheville Technologies, Inc. manufactures precision-machined components and supports its parent company’s business operations in the North American market. Somic also has joint venture operations in China, India, Thailand, France and the State of Maine.
“The outstanding workforce we currently have in place, and the strong level of commitment and partnership shown by Wythe County and the Commonwealth were the main factors in leading us to choose Virginia over the competition for this expansion,” said Peter Argue, Wytheville Technologies’ Vice President.
A $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund was approved to assist the Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority, comprised of Bland County, Wythe County, and the Town of Wytheville, with the project. The Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority also obtained $250,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Wythe County will also receive a letter of intent of funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to assist with off-site infrastructure. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County, and Virginia’s @Corridor assisted Wytheville Technologies, Inc. with its decision to expand. The company is eligible to receive further tax credits because it is locating in an enterprise zone. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

Wythe County Progress Park is a regional industrial park at the intersection of interstate highways 77 and 81. Specific projects, in which member jurisdictions participate and benefit equally, are marketed and financed by the Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority.

“We are pleased that Wythe County, as the host locality, could offer this important economic development project to the Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority,” said Anne B. Crockett-Stark, Chair of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors.

“On behalf of the member jurisdictions of the Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority, I thank Wytheville Technologies, Inc., for their decision to expand in Progress Park. This decision is further confirmation that Progress Park is a prime location for automotive manufacturers,” said Wythe B. Sharitz, Chair of the Crossroads Regional Industrial Facility Authority.”


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