AFG Plans $30 Million Plant in Abingdon

Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that AFG Industries, one of the largest glass manufacturers in North America, will locate a new glass coating operation in Washington County, creating 80 new jobs.

Through a $30 million investment, the company will build a 150,000-square-foot facility in the Oak Park Center for Business and Industry located in Abingdon. Virginia successfully competed with Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee for the project.

"I am pleased that AFG Industries has decided to locate this manufacturing operation in Washington County, strengthening the economic foundation in Southwest Virginia," says Governor Warner. "I applaud the aggressive efforts of the county, region and state economic development groups for making this valuable project and 80 new jobs a reality."

"Washington County is very honored and proud to be selected for this expansion," says Christianne E. Parker, assistant county administrator. "AFG has developed a name associated with quality. This brings international recognition to Washington County, Va.

Headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, AFG is the second largest flat glass manufacturer in North America and a part of the Flat Glass Company of the Asahi Group, which is the largest flat glass manufacturer in the world. The company's new Washington County facility will produce low-emissivity and solar control coatings designed to reduce energy costs and improve comfort in residential and commercial windows. AFG's coaters are also used to coat front surface mirrors (projection televisions), touch panels, plasma displays and solar panels for geothermal (heating) and photovoltaics, and electro-chromic coatings for smart windows. AFG also has coating facilities in Hampton, IA, Victorville, CA and Toronto, Canada. In the Tri-Cities, in addition to their Kingsport corporate headquarters, AFG operates the Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport and Greenland Plant in Church Hill.

"While Washington County was competitive, the real key in our decision was the interest, professionalism and aggressiveness of the team from the community and the state," said D. Roger Kennedy, President and CEO of AFG Industries. "They made us feel exceptionally welcome and provided the confidence that this major capital investment had found a home that would be very successful. Now that the decision has been made, we feel that Abingdon, Washington County and Virginia offer us unique assets including a well-educated labor force, a solid quality of life for our employees, excellent transportation for us to ship to our customers, and a solid commitment for the leadership of the community and the state to make this successful for all of us."

"It was a firece competition," says Parker. "There are four other companies with their North American corporate headquarters located at the industrial park. AFG was able to talk with them privately and ask questions about the area and why they chose the location."

Governor Warner approved a $120,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Washington County with the project. Additionally, the county obtained $350,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. AFG Industries is eligible to receive tax credits because it is locating in an enterprise zone. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Mount Rogers Partnership (Virginia's aCORRIDOR), and Washington County assisted AFG Industries with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

In addition to the grant, Parker also emphasizes that the board and partners in the community including the school system played an integral part in AFG's decission." AFG representatives were able to come into the community several times and obtain information about training facilities, education, and the quality of life. We received more community suport on this project than on any other I have worked on," she says.

The new plant in Abingdon will provide a value added process to the glass. The announcement is not going to result in any plant closures in Tennessee according to officials.

600450 AFG Plans $30 Million Plant in Abingdon
Date: 7 February 2003

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