RD136 - Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority 2019 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

This year was another historic year for the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA). Not only did VCEDA set records in 2019 for the number of loan and grant approvals and loan and grant closings, but also for the number of marketing events and prospect visits in which VCEDA was involved, making 2019 the most active year in the history of VCEDA.

There were 50 new projects and expansions in 2019, the highest number in VCEDA’s history. These 50 projects are projected to create 575 full-time and part-time jobs and more than $29 million in private investment. Some of the new projects announced during the year include Polycap, a Canadian-owned injection molding company which located to the Russell County Shell Building in Lebanon, Virginia, with plans to create at least 65 new full-time jobs; Better Living Home Care LLC, a new start-up in Lee County with plans to employ 22; and Carbon Research and Development Co., which is leading the way in graphene research and development at the Graphene Research Center in Wise County with 35 full-time jobs projected.

Several important expansion projects by companies within the region also were announced in 2019, including the back-to-back announcements by Paul’s Fan Company of expansion projects in Buchanan County and Lee County projected to create a total of 55 new fulltime jobs. Lawrence Brothers, Inc., an existing manufacturer in Tazewell County, also expanded with plans to add 28 new full-time jobs, and Sykes Wise Intuit is adding more than 150 jobs in Wise County.

In terms of funding activities, VCEDA approved 9 loans and 48 grants in 2019, the highest quantity in VCEDA’s history. These 57 loans and grants total more than $18.8 million in new approved VCEDA funding. Thirty-six of the grants approved were to assist new business start-ups in the region through VCEDA’s extremely popular Seed Capital Matching Fund. VCEDA also closed 53 loans and grants during the year, the highest number in VCEDA’s history. Projects were announced and funding was approved in all eight localities in the VCEDA region during 2019.

It was also a very active year for marketing and business development. During the year, VCEDA participated in 35 marketing and business development events, the most in VCEDA’s history. Several of these were done in conjunction with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. VCEDA also was involved in 70 prospect visits during the year, the most ever recorded by VCEDA.

In conclusion, 2019 was a very active and productive year for VCEDA. Although the region’s average unemployment rate of less than 4 percent is the lowest in more than 12 years, considerable work remains in diversifying the economy of the region. It is through a team effort that the region will continue to address this challenge.