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Guardian Industries will invest $2.1 million to expand operations at its Consolidated Glass & Mirror facility in the Galax, which will create 40 new jobs through its new solar energy product line, announced Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday.
The Galax plant currently provides 234 jobs. Equipment is expected to be installed by spring, and new workers will be in place by next August.
Greg Adkins, human resource manager for the plant, said the Galax facility competed with plants in Iowa and California to bring in the new product line.
“We feel that we were able to secure the project here due to the quality of workforce, our ability to adapt to change,” said Adkins.
“Consolidated Glass has been an important part of the Galax economy for more than 30 years,” said Gov. McDonnell. “This expansion is important for the new investment and jobs it creates in the community, and because it comes in a major growth industry. Virginia has declared the energy industry a key target sector going forward and we appreciate that this Virginia company is expanding into the solar energy business.”
“Forty new jobs will have a significant impact on the Galax community,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “It is exciting to see a Virginia company involved in green innovation, and we are proud that Guardian Industries will manufacture this important product in Galax.”
Founded in Galax in 1979, Consolidated Glass & Mirror Corporation became a subsidiary of Guardian Industries in 1992. Guardian currently has 28 float glass lines and 13 glass fabrication plants around the world.
The expansion in Galax will enable the company to produce specially coated mirrors used in the technology of concentrating solar power (CSP), a type of solar thermal power. The mirrors track the sun and radiate its energy onto a central receiver, creating the power equivalent of hundreds of suns.
That power is used to vaporize water into steam to power a turbine for the generation of electricity.
“Guardian and Consolidated have a long history in Galax, and we are excited to expand our operations here,” said Dennis Carroll, plant manager. “This is a pro-business community with a great workforce. We appreciate the assistance from the Commonwealth, the City of Galax, and Virginia’s aCorridor in making this project a reality.”
City Manager Keith Barker said Galax has been working with the Guardian plant over the past few months to assist with the grant application process. The city has also signed a performance agreement with Guardian Industries, in which the city will provide $10,000 per year over the next three years as it works to hire 40 people.
“We're excited about this,” said Barker. “The company has the ability to diversify, which has allowed it to compete. Forty people is a great start, and hopefully there will be more hired.”
“The expansion of Guardian Industries in Galax is exciting news,” said Galax Mayor C.M. Mitchell. “Helping our local industry succeed is the surest way of revitalizing our economy. The addition of 40 jobs recognizes the ability of our citizens to produce an excellent product for the solar technology industry. This project puts Guardian at the forefront of green energy development.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Galax and Virginia’s aCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $100,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds to assist Galax with the project.
Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Dept. of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company's recruitment and training activities.
“On behalf of the Virginia Tobacco Commission we congratulate the City of Galax on a great win,” said Sen. Roscoe Reynolds (D-Martinsville), commissioner of the tobacco commission. “We are pleased that the Tobacco Commission could offer assistance to ensure that Guardian will stay and thrive in Virginia.”