Companies involved in transportation equipment manufacturing and their suppliers may be available for grants totaling about $1 million. Projects will focus on product development, process improvement, and green technologies. Virginia Tech faculty members, most from the College of Engineering, provide technical assistance.
About 20 projects will be funded in the 14-county corridor from Bristol and beyond Roanoke, extending almost to Natural Bridge. For more information about the initiative and eligibility requirements, call Robert Taylor, director, Center for High Performance Manufacturing at Virginia Tech, (540) 231-6201, or e-mail the center here.
“What companies should consider applying for the grants?” asks John Provo, interim director of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development. “Companies that could benefit from the application of Virginia Tech’s research and technical expertise to problems or opportunities in their businesses. In many instances, these projects will require human assets or equipment not readily available to the company.” Job creation is the goal of the project, aimed to bolster an industry that still employs 8,000 workers in Southwest Virginia. The project, called the Western Virginia Transportation Equipment Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative, involves partners such as the New River Valley Planning District Commission, the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. Also involved is Volvo Trucks North America, New River Valley Plant.
A series of informational meetings are scheduled starting Monday so companies can learn more about the initiative and how to get involved:
- On Jan. 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the New River Valley Planning District Commission located at 6580 Valley Center Drive in Radford;
- Jan. 12 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission located at 1021 Terrace Drive in Marion; and
- Jan. 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission at 313 Luck Ave. in Roanoke.