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Advanced Manufacturing: Packaging and Plastics

The Alleghany Highlands is a natural choice for advanced manufacturing firms in the packaging and plastics sectors. Why? A skilled workforce, a state-of-the-art training program, an existing cluster and available properties.
Not only the largest employer in the Alleghany Highlands, MeadWestvaco is the largest shipper of containerized cargo out of the Port of Virginia - accounting for 25 percent

Advanced Manufacturing: Packaging and Plastics

Layoffs and plant closings in the first decade of the century put skilled workers in the pool of available labor. A recent, independent workforce availability report (by The Pathfinders) estimated there are 8,700 underemployed workers who want to upgrade to a better job. And possess the skills, education and experience to do so.

  • Forty-three percent of the underemployed workforce has manufacturing experience, but just 19 percent is currently employed in manufacturing.
  • Average years of experience = 12
  • Thirty-five percent of the underemployed have a high school diploma or GED; 21 percent have some college, but no degree; 10 percent have an associate’s degree; 11 percent have a bachelor’s degree, and 9 percent have a graduate degree

Who’s Here

Approximately 2,900 people work in the packaging and plastics sector, 37 percent of the total employment in Alleghany County and Covington City.


  • Alleghany Printing: Commercial printer.
  • Balchem Corporation:  Science-driven nutrition company dedicated to the health and wellness of both humans and animals.
  • Carris Reels: Packaging for the magnet, insulated, and fine wire industries—in addition to custom molding and extrusion for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets.
  • D & B Technologies: Plastics pelletizing.
  • Gala Industries: Pelletizing and centrifugal drying systems for the plastics and petrochemical industries.
  • Oliver Distributing Company:  A distributor of janitorial supplies, cleaning products, and provider of custodian training in western Virginia.
  • Schaefer Rolls:  Offers the paper industry a full range of services.
  • Sonoco Products: Round cores and tubes for the paper mill industry.
  • Standard Printing: Commercial lithographic printer.
  • WestRock: Packaging solutions and products for the food and beverage, media and entertainment, personal care, cosmetic and health care industries.
  • WestRock Converting: Converted paper products.

Educational Advantages


The region’s commitment to growing the packaging and plastics sectors is evident by the state-of-the art education and training programs developed by Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. With input from local manufacturers, and after studying the best practices of similar programs, college officials created the Virginia Packaging Applications Center as part of its Advanced Manufacturing and Packaging Technology certificate program. VAPAC offers a state of-the-art training lab for students enrolled in AMPT courses and allows students to have extensive, hands-on skills practice.

VAPAC serves as a resource for manufacturers seeking:

  • Training of technicians who set up, trouble shoot and maintain automated manufacturing machinery
  • Industry standard core equipment and complementary instructional materials
  • Expert staff and industry consultants – the center’s director, Leo Mulcahy, PhD, is a retired vice president and general manager of WestRock’s Plastic Packaging Operations
  • Comprehensive curricula, specialized short-term training and preparation for industry based certifications
  • Partnerships with secondary schools and four-year colleges and universities, providing opportunities for seamless curriculum ladders for skill development and career advancement

Other Advantages

  • The region is strategically positioned midway along the eastern seaboard on Interstate-64 between Interstates-77 and -81, convenient to major U.S. markets. More than 40 percent of the U.S. population and in excess of 200,000 manufacturers are located within a 600 mile radius.
  • Area employers are able to draw on a civilian labor force of more than 72,000 (from two states) within a 45-minute commute. Included in that is the approximately 8,700 underemployed workers mentioned above.
  • The entire region is located within an inland port, the Virginia TradePort, which is centered at the New River Valley Airport in Pulaski County, VA. The inland port has a US Customs Officer on location to process import/export goods.
  • Electric rates, provided by Dominion Energy , are 30 percent below the national average.
  • A strong fiber optic infrastructure, which is about to be even more widespread, thanks to Lumos Fiber-to-the-Premises program. Inaugurated in the fall of 2010, FTTP brings to the area the same broadband services – for businesses and homes – currently available in Virginia’s largest metro areas.

Available Properties

A number of excellent properties and sites are available to packaging and plastics manufacturing firms. Featured properties include:

Rail Over River Industrial Park

A Unique Property for a Campus of Companies

  • More than 360,000 square feet available: manufacturing, office, data center, warehousing, machine shop and more.
  • Developable acreage includes a water filtration plant capable of producing 5 MGD. Source testing indicates excellent quality, suitable for bottling. Need water link
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone, and is eligible for New Market Tax Credits.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas and Lumos Networks (fiber is on site).
  • Zoned M2
  • Rail served by CSX

57 miles to the Roanoke Regional Airport, 34.2 miles to the Greenbrier Valley Airport

1.1 miles to Interstate-64, exit 14

Parker Hannifin Building

Move-In Condition on Rail with all Utilities

  • 165,000 sf, on 20 acres.
  • 6 dock-height doors, 6 drive-in doors.
  • Ceilings 24 feet
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas of Virginia and Lumos Networks (fiber is available).
  • 45 miles to Roanoke Regional Airport, 48 miles to Greenbrier Valley Airport

3 miles to I-64

Alleghany Regional Commerce Center


Available Land in an Established Business Park

  • 120 Acres
  • Amenities include a YMCA on-site.
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power and Lumos Networks (fiber is available).
  • 50 miles to Roanoke Regional Airport, 40.1 miles to Greenbrier Valley Airport

1 mile to I-64, exit 21

A full list of available properties is here.

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