Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Drake Extrusion, Inc., a subsidiary of Sweden-based Duroc AB and a manufacturer of colored filament yarn and staple fiber, will invest $6.9 million to expand its operation in Henry County. The company will establish an additional manufacturing facility in a vacant 120,000-square-foot building on Industrial Park Drive to accommodate its growing business in the polypropylene fibers market. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 30 new jobs.
“Supporting existing businesses is more important now than ever as we focus on new hiring and investment to address the impacts of COVID-19 on our economy,” said Governor Northam. “Drake Extrusion has a long history of success in Martinsville-Henry County, which has fostered an impressive business climate, infrastructure, and workforce for its growing cluster of manufacturers. We thank the company for its long-term commitment to Southern Virginia, and for choosing to expand and create new jobs amid these challenging times.
Drake Extrusion employs more than 187 workers in Henry County, where the company has been operating since 1995. The Henry County plant has been integral to Drake’s long-term growth plan, representing the only Duroc AB location in the United States. With research and development based on two continents, Drake is on the cutting edge of polypropylene fiber technology. The company works with polymer suppliers to improve existing products and meet the challenge of new end uses. Drake’s ongoing field support includes fiber performance measurement techniques and refinements that maximize product value. The company’s products serve a variety of sectors, including residential upholstery, home furnishings, automotive, floor covering, and geotextiles.
“Drake Extrusion has been a valuable corporate partner to the Commonwealth, and we celebrate the company’s next chapter of growth at this time,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Drake’s history of five major expansions and now employing nearly 200 Virginians is evidence that Martinsville-Henry County has provided this international company the right environment to thrive as a leader in the North American market.”
“We are pleased to continue Drake’s growth in Martinsville-Henry County,” said Drake Extrusion CEO John Parkinson. “We continue to grow our business here in large part due to our tremendous workforce and the strong support we receive from our local governments. We also appreciate the support we are receiving from the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially the opportunity to take advantage of the new Virginia Talent Accelerator Program.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to secure the project for Virginia. Northam approved a $90,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Henry County with the project. Drake is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Henry County’s local investment is $342,221, which includes local Enterprise Zone grants and cash from the Harvest Opportunity Fund.
Support for Drake Extrusion’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System, with funding support from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility startups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
“Drake has been a strong and consistent member of our business community for many years,” said Jim Adams, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “Today’s announcement reinforces the notion that Henry County and Drake Extrusion make a great team.”
“Drake Extrusion’s continued growth in Henry County is welcome news,” said Larry Ryder, chairman of the Martinsville-Henry County EDC Board. “It’s especially encouraging in this current climate for Drake to be adding both new equipment and jobs. That bodes well for Martinsville-Henry County’s future.”
“I am pleased that Drake Extrusion continues to experience growth and demand in its industry, resulting in an expanding footprint in Martinsville-Henry County,” said State Sen. William “Bill”Stanley, R-Moneta. “This important announcement is evidence of the strength of Virginia’s manufacturing sector and the Commonwealth’s ability to foster the success of our existing businesses. As a valuable corporate citizen of Henry County for over 20 years, I am grateful to Drake Extrusion for its continued investment and job creation in the 20th Senate District.”
“We are very happy for the success that Drake Extrusion has experienced in Henry County and for the continued confidence as they expand,” said Del. Danny Marshall, R-Chatham. “This is an extremely important announcement for the workers and our region as we recover from the pandemic.”