Above: Joshua and Chris Harman, Photo by Earl Neikirk)
SPIG Industry, LLC, a Washington County, Va.-based manufacturer of highway guardrail end terminals, will invest just shy of $8 million to expand its operations in the Bristol-Washington County Industrial Park. The company will build three production plants and a welding shop, as well as a new rail spur line to serve the facility. SPIG chose Virginia after considering several other states for the project, which will create 113 new jobs.
“The continued growth of SPIG Industry demonstrates the tremendous success that a homegrown manufacturer can achieve here in Virginia,” said Governor Gov. Ralph Northam. “SPIG’s expanded campus in Washington County will give the company increased production capacity and strategic access to its fast-growing customer base, while providing more than 100 quality jobs to the hardworking people of Southwest Virginia. We thank SPIG for reinvesting in the Commonwealth and contributing to our economic recovery amid this global health crisis.”
SPIG Industry was formed by two brothers, Joshua and Chris Harman, in 2007 as a manufacturer and innovator of highway guardrail safety products. Since 2011, the company has operated as a development company for the SGET end terminal, a safety device that absorbs and dissipates the massive amount of energy created during a head-on automobile or truck crash. The product provides uniform shaping and hole patterns, making SPIG guardrails faster and easier to install, while also enabling the product to match seamlessly with rail from other manufacturers.
Joshua Harman, managing member of SPIG, told bjournal.com the company’s products have the capacity to revolutionize the industry, making driving safer for everyone on the highways. “I’ve witnessed accidents where the state police said the driver called for a rental car and drove home, turned down the ambulance, and the state trooper agreed he had hit my terminal going 75 to 80 miles an hour.”
In testing, Harman said, “with the dummy with all the sensors attached, the data says the occupant of a vehicle that hits this terminal at highway speed should walk away with no more than minor bruises, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
“SPIG Industry has grown into an impressive operation,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Manufacturing is critical to economic vitality in all regions of the Commonwealth, and the company’s expansion reinforces that Washington County and Southwest Virginia offer the infrastructure and workforce to attract and retain high-caliber manufacturers like SPIG.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Washington County, InvestSWVA, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $99,500 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The company is eligible to apply for the Railroad Industrial Access Program through DRPT, subject to approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. SPIG is also eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and funding and services to support SPIG’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“We are pleased with SPIG’s decision to continue to invest in Washington County and create job opportunities for our people,” said Chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors Dwayne Ball. “We wish the company much success as they enter into a new phase of growth.”
“SPIG Industry’s expansion demonstrates that Southwest Virginia is a prime location for advanced manufacturing growth opportunities, a key priority for the Tobacco Commission,” said Tobacco Commission Chairman Delegate Terry Kilgore. “We are proud to have worked along with InvestSWVA to guide SPIG’s leadership from the beginning to ensure they selected Southwest Virginia as their permanent home. This project demonstrates that developing industrial parks, something the Commission has supported over the years, can pay dividends in the long run for our rural communities.”
“SPIG Industry had options to expand their operations anywhere in America, but they chose Southwest Virginia,” said Senator Todd Pillion. “SPIG recognizes our strategic location, skilled workforce, and great quality of life as assets for their new facility. I am proud that our Southwest Virginia delegation took the lead in advising SPIG’s leadership to invest in our community and our people. Announcements like this underscore that Southwest Virginia is open for business!”
“Today is an exciting day for Washington County as SPIG has invested nearly $8 million to firmly plant themselves in our region,” said Delegate Israel O’Quinn. “I’m glad InvestSWVA has been able to play a strategic role in securing these 113 jobs, and I’m looking forward to SPIG being able to realize a very bright future here.”