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HanesBrands to add 50 jobs in Patrick
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Gov. McDonnell

Sunday, November 18, 2012

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

HanesBrands will invest $1.6 million to add high-tech equipment and 50 jobs to its operation in Patrick County, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Friday.

The company will add high-speed fabric manufacturing equipment at its Woolwine plant to adjust to market conditions, retaining 215 jobs and adding 50 positions.

Matt Hall, a company spokesperson, said hiring will be done through the Virginia Employment Commission job fairs.

“We expect to start hiring in early December, and probably complete that by the end of February,” he said.

All 50 will be full-time jobs that are “fully loaded with all benefits,” Hall said. The pay and benefits will total about $30,000 per year.

Current employees will have a chance to apply for the new jobs operating the new equipment, Hall said.

Some of the new employees will work on the new equipment and others will work on the older equipment to fill openings created by existing employees who switch positions, he said.

The new equipment “will be faster equipment (and operated) with a little different process,” Hall said. It also “makes a different kind of fabric,” he said, adding that he could not elaborate because the new equipment is proprietary,

The equipment will add flexibility to the Woolwine plant, Hall said. The plant is “a little small, a little specialized, and a little underutilized. By adding this new equipment, we will be able to increase production and make that facility a little more competitive and viable.”

Bruce Duncan, HanesBrands’ vice president of innerwear operations, agreed.

“We have a great workforce and long history in Woolwine and Southern Virginia,” he said. “We are looking forward to adding greater flexibility to our Woolwine operations and doubling our current production. In the highly competitive worldwide apparel industry, our challenge is to bring on additional employees in order to run these machines at high speed and efficiency with excellent quality.”

Fabric made in Woolwine will be taken to different facilities and made into garments such as bras, panties and outerwear products, Hall said.

The company’s consumer goods can be found in eight of 10 American households, according to McDonnell. “We are proud that Virginia contributes to the production of HanesBrands.”

The company is a leading marketer of everyday basic apparel under brands that include Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, JMS/Just My Size, Barely There, Wonderbra and Gear For Sports. The company also sells T-shirts, bras, panties, men's underwear, children’s underwear, socks, hosiery, casualwear and activewear.

“HanesBrands is an important employer in Patrick County and the commonwealth, and this investment and upgrade will ensure the continued vitality of its textiles operation in Southern Virginia,” McDonnell said in a news release. “The talented and ample workforce in Patrick County has been vital to the success of the plant, and 50 new employment opportunities will greatly benefit the region.”

HanesBrands also employs about 400 people at its automated distribution center in Martinsville, the release stated.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the county and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance to secure the project for Virginia, according to the release.

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $305,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project, and the company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program that is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment and training activities, McDonnell said.

Crystal Harris, who represents the Smith River District on the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, said “we feel this project will definitely make a positive impact,” especially “in light of the current economic conditions of the region” and the county.

The project “also benefits us in our effort to attract future prospects to the area. Our staff has worked diligently with” state officials, other funding agencies, and the Virginia Tobacco Commission “for several months in securing the grant for this expansion,” Harris said.

HanesBrands “has been a pillar to our community for over 56 years, employing many and exhibiting a stellar example of corporate citizenry. We welcome and encourage them with this and any future endeavors,” she added.

Ranked No. 512 on the Fortune 1000 list, HanesBrands has about 53,300 employees in more than 25 countries.


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