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|From left to right are Covington WestRock plant manager Rick Watro, WestRock Vice President Mark Lucas and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. (Tammy Lipscomb photo for the AlleghanyJournal.com)|
|Governor Northam Announces WestRock to Upgrade Covington, Alleghany County Operations|
Investment aimed at improving productivity and increasing employee training
Covington, VA (Sept. 25 2018) - Governor Ralph Northam announced today that WestRock Company, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, will invest $248.4 million in its manufacturing operations in the City of Covington and Alleghany County over a five-year period. These investments will be used to purchase new equipment designed to improve productivity at the paper mill and extruding facility, as well as to increase employee training.
WestRock will receive funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) to support the retraining of 60 existing employees on the new equipment. Virginia successfully competed against several states for the project.
â€śWith more than 3,000 employed by WestRock across the Commonwealth, Virginia has one of the largest concentrations of company operations in the United States, and we are honored that this Fortune 500 company continues to reinvest here,â€ť said Governor Northam. â€śThese significant capital investments will ensure the companyâ€™s facility is equipped with world-class technology that will enable it to increase productivity and stay competitive in a global economy.â€ť
â€śA company of WestRockâ€™s caliber making an investment of this size in its Covington operation is a testament to the regionâ€™s infrastructure and workforce and to Virginiaâ€™s overall business climate,â€ť said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. â€śThis project demonstrates WestRockâ€™s commitment to Alleghany County, and to retraining its employees with 21st-century skills.â€ť
â€śWestRock appreciates the support of Governor Northam, Secretary Ball and all who are supporting these investments,â€ť said Bob Feeser, president of Consumer Packaging at WestRock. â€śThe Commonwealth is a great place to do business, and the new equipment and additional training will enable us to better serve our customers and strengthen the local economy.â€ť
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation (AHEDC), the Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP), and the General Assemblyâ€™s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure these significant capital investments for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $2 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing companies. WestRock will also be eligible to receive Sales and Use Tax Exemptions on manufacturing equipment. Funding and services to support the companyâ€™s employee retraining activities will be provided through the VJIP.
â€śWestRock is the anchor of this community,â€ť stated Chairman of the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors Steve Bennett. â€śThese substantial investments affirm their commitment to the Alleghany Highlands. We are proud that they are a key employer and engaged community partner.â€ť
â€śFor well over 100 years, WestRock has been an integral part of the Alleghany Highlands,â€ť said Covington Mayor Tom Sibold. â€śWestRockâ€™s mission to be the best in the packaging industry remains unchanged, and we are excited that this region and its dedicated workers are helping WestRock achieve its mission.â€ť
â€śAs a longtime corporate partner and major employer in Virginia, WestRock Companyâ€™s value cannot be overstated, and I thank the company for these major investments in its Covington and Alleghany County operation,â€ť said Senator Frank Ruff, Chairman of the General Assemblyâ€™s Major Employment & Investment (MEI) Commission. â€śSecuring projects of this size takes a concerted team effort, and Iâ€™m pleased that the MEI Commission could partner with the Governorâ€™s office, VEDP, the AHEDC, and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to help secure WestRockâ€™s reinvestment in the Commonwealth.â€ť
â€śWestRock Companyâ€™s significant investment in new technology and increased production at its Covington and Alleghany County plants reaffirms the companyâ€™s commitment to Virginia,â€ť noted Delegate Nick Rush, Vice Chair of the MEI Commission. â€śI congratulate VEDP, MEI, and the partners that collaborated on this important project, and I am confident that WestRock will continue to thrive in the region.â€ť
â€śThe WestRock paper mill is central to the economic health of the Commonwealth of Virginia,â€ť said Senator Creigh Deeds. â€śThe paper mill not only produces world-class quality paperboard and is the largest packaged exporter from the Port of Virginia, but it is a major source of employment for the Alleghany Highlands and surrounding counties in two states. This announcement is critical to making sure that the paper mill can compete in the ever-changing market. The retraining involved makes sure that the already world-class workforce in the Alleghany Highlands remains among the best trained in the world, providing stability to our local and statewide economy.â€ť
â€śWestRock has once again shown its commitment to its employees, the City of Covington and the Alleghany Highlands,â€ť said Delegate Terry Austin. â€śGenerations of families have worked at the WestRock mill, and thousands of Virginians rely on the economic benefits the mill provides. This investment will ensure that the mill will continue to be an integral part of Virginiaâ€™s sustainable forest products economy.â€ť
|From left to right are Brian Ball (Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade), Steve Bennett (Chairman, Alleghany County Board of Supervisors), Tom Sibold (Mayor of Covington), Mark Lucas (WestRock Vice President), Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, |
WestRock Covington plant manager Rick Watro and Virginia Delegate Terry Austin. (Tammy Lipscomb photo for the AlleghanyJournal.com)
|Members of the Alleghany County Sheriff's Department speak with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 prior to the announcement of WestRock's huge, new $248 million investment in its Covington operations. From left are chief deputy Matt Bowyer, Sheriff Kevin Hall and Regional Jail administration Terry Cronk. (Tammy Lipscomb photo for the AlleghanyJournal.com)|
|9th Congressional District Representative Morgan Griffith stands alongside Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital CEO Greg Madsen prior to the formal announcement of the WestRock $248 million additional investment in its Covington operations. (Tammy Lipscomb photo for the AlleghanyJournal.com)|
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