Cheers to the Roanoke Valley Region!

The Roanoke Valley Region had lots of reasons to celebrate this past quarter. Just one week apart, two industry-leading companies, ELDOR Corporation and Deschutes Brewery, announced to bright-eyed, standing-room-only crowds that they would be opening operations in the Roanoke Valley. Combined, both companies will invest $160 million and create more than 450 new jobs.

The products of ELDOR, an Italy-based automotive parts supplier, and Oregon brewery Deschutes have little in common, but several of their motives for choosing Virginia's Roanoke region are the same—educated workforce, strategic location, a motivated community and the area’s regional beauty.

Founded in 1972, ELDOR is an international automotive supplier whose products include ignition systems, engine control units, and full systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. Today, more than 90 million vehicles run with ELDOR products. The company’s journey to the Commonwealth ran at light speed and began when VEDP uncovered the lead at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. ELDOR was searching for the future location of their first North American operation and hoped to secure it within one year of SelectUSA. Virginia had not yet made the long list of contenders, but after VEDP met with ELDOR, the company was open to a meeting with the Governor. During his June 2015 European Marketing Mission, Governor McAuliffe met with ELDOR Founder and President Pasquale Forte at the company’s headquarters in Italy. A mere week after meeting in Italy, company representatives were viewing sites for their production plant on Virginia soil. While there were multiple changing circumstances, tight deadlines and an aggressive short list of competitors—Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Carolina—VEDP and its economic development partners’ commitment to the company won out. On March 15, just eight days before ELDOR hit the company’s one-year mark, Governor McAuliffe announced that Botetourt County would be their gateway to North America. ELDOR will invest $75 million and create 350 new jobs for their move to Botetourt County.

While ELDOR’s deal emerged quickly, Deschutes’ courtship with Virginia moved at a more methodical pace. Founded and headquartered in Bend, Oregon, the employee-owned company is the sixth largest craft brewery in the U.S., with nearly 450 employees. Deschutes set out to find an East Coast location in 2012 to meet their goal of reaching all 50 states, and hoped to find a community that would foster their love for outdoor recreation and work/life balance. Roanoke Regional Partnership’s campaign to target the craft beer industry caught the company’s attention and, shortly thereafter, VEDP joined the partnership in meeting with Deschutes Founder and Chairman Gary Fish and President Michael Lalonde. Over the next several years, Roanoke remained a strong contender, competing steadily against Asheville, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina, for the project. Governor McAuliffe met with Deschutes twice, hosting their executive team at the Governor’s Mansion in 2014 and visiting the brewery on his West Coast Marketing Mission the following year. Throughout the selection process, VEDP and the Roanoke Regional Partnership remained patient and flexible, understanding that Deschutes’ approach to their entire business had always been conservative and methodical. On March 22, nearly five years after the search process began, Governor McAuliffe announced to a packed crowd that Deschutes chose Roanoke for its second home. The company will invest $85 million and create 108 jobs for their East Coast operation.

When two leading companies with such diverse timelines select the Roanoke Valley Region, a strong testament to the region’s attributes—such as its dedicated workforce, high quality of life and dependable infrastructure—and it’s also a testament to VEDP’s ability to adapt to any company’s needs and work closely with our partners across Virginia. Every effort to bring a new company to the Commonwealth is a result of tremendous collaboration—with the Governor, regional partners, a city or town’s leadership, contractors, consultants, engineers, and the list goes on. We welcome economic development to Virginia and look forward to years of partnership with ELDOR Corporation and Deschutes Brewery.