Prince George gets national recognition
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Dec 16, 2013, 13:09
PRINCE GEORGE — Prince George County has been selected as one of only eight counties in the nation that have served as excellent models of county leadership and economic fortitude. The honor was given by the National Association of Counties, the sole organization in the United States that represents and services county governments on a national level.
In a report released in November, NACo specifically highlights the recent economic and governmental achievements of Prince George County in an effort to “open a dialogue with county leaders about approaches to creating healthy, safe, vibrant and economically resilient communities.”
The eight counties chosen, including counties from South Dakota, Washington and Hawaii, all showcased three common themes of strong communities: 1) long range planning 2) support for industries, local businesses and entrepreneurs and 3) workforce development and education.
NACo applauds Prince George, a county of 36,900 residents, for establishing partnerships with large major manufacturing firms, specifically both national industry Rolls-Royce and local Service Center Metals, both of which have brought hundreds of jobs to the region and are expected to create close to 200 new jobs combined through current developments, according to the report.
Prince George’s partnership with Rolls-Royce dates back to 2006, when early plans were made to construct the Crosspointe Centre, a 1,000-acre site that is now home to the many facilities of Rolls-Royce such as a research building and numerous manufacturing buildings including the soon to be operable Advanced Airfoil Machining Facility, where turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes will be produced for engines used on prominent aircraft vehicles.
In the report, deputy county administrator for Prince George Jeff Stoke said that having the product ready, with direct emphasis on developing the Crosspointe Centre for attracting industry, means businesses will follow.
“I don’t know who said manufacturing is dead ... but manufacturing is not dead in Prince George County,” Stoke said.
NACo also recognized Prince George’s focus on creating a strong workforce through local university research and training programs with specific focus on the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing as a key element for the county’s economic success.
CCAM, an intensive research facility that connects in-depth manufacturing research with product development, is located at Crosspointe Centre and has an interactive partnership with Rolls-Royce and three regional universities: Virginia State University, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, according to the report.
NACo explained that manufacturing firms such as Rolls-Royce benefit from the facility with an additional production plant and university assistance in research, while universities acquire an outlet for advanced research opportunities and student training.
When CCAM opened in March, 50 student internships were provided at the research center and universities have since pledged to create new faculty positions for advanced manufacturing and engineering instruction, numbers that will continue to grow, as stated in the report.
Since its inception, CCAM has expanded its partnerships to companies like Newport News Shipbuilding and Siemens, and will receive $75 million in funding from the state, universities and companies over the next five years.