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Commonwealth Laminating opens new site
Local company cuts ribbon on distribution facility
Business and other officials participate in a ribbon-cutting Thursday for Commonwealth Laminating’s new site the Patriot Centre industrial park. Participating were (from left) Mark Heath, president/CEO Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.; Del. Danny Marshall, a board member of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission; Mike Haley, chairman of the Commonwealth Laminating board; Carrie Roth, Virginia deputy secretary of Commerce and Trade; Richard Hall, Commonwealth board member; Matt Phillips, COO of Commonwealth Laminating; Melanie Bryant, CFO of Commonwealth Laminating; and Jim Adams, chairman Henry County Board of Supervisors. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Commonwealth Laminating & Coating’s new expansion is set to pave the way for more business and future growth in the area, according to founding board member Richard Hall.
The company, which was founded in 1995, celebrated its new expansion site at Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek industrial park with a ribbon cutting on Thursday. Its former site, which will remain in operation, also is located in the industrial park.
According to Hall, the original building will remain as the manufacturing facility for the company’s solar control window film and surface protection film. Commonwealth’s distribution and corporate offices have been moved from the original plant to the new expansion site.
The new site also offers the company room for future expansion for manufacturing, Hall said. “That was a critical thing for us. Being able to expand our manufacturing capabilities and keep them here is critical,” he added.
Commonwealth Chief Operating Officer Matt Phillips agreed.
“The importance of the skill and knowledge base in the (local) workers was one of the critical factors to continuing to expand in this area,” Phillips said. “This facility freed up space in the main facility to allow for further manufacturing expansion in that building.”
Mark Heath, president/CEO of the Martinsville/Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC), served as the emcee of the event. He praised the home-grown company, saying that in the past two years, it has invested nearly $22 million into the community in two separate expansions and created more than 100 new jobs.
“They are a great corporate citizen and advocate for the community,” Heath said, “and they are a tremendous partner to the EDC and all that we’re about. They work with us to help grow other high-tech companies in this community. They are not the type of company that does not want competition; they want the community to grow, they want us to raise the level. ... They support all things involving education, and they consistently underpromise and over-deliver.”
Heath said that it was more than a year ago, on Aug. 15, 2012, that Commonwealth Laminating announced the expansion plans. According to both Heath and Hall, the expansion was one of former county administrator the late Benny Summerlin’s final projects.
“While he was battling the advanced stages of cancer, he was at the center of making this project happen,” Hall said. “In fact, the final agreement was reached while Benny was in the waiting room awaiting treatment. As a resident of Martinsville/Henry County, his stewardship of Henry County and Henry County funds and operations is something we should all be proud of.”
According to Hall, while Commonwealth Laminating has five distribution centers in the U.S. and five outside of the U.S., all of the company’s manufacturing happens in Martinsville.
“Commonwealth (Laminating) has a long history of growth,” he said. “Since 2001, we’ve been consistently growing at a rate in excess of 20 percent. That’s even through the downtimes. More recently, Commonwealth has grown from 109 employees in 2008 to the current level of 245 worldwide. This latest phase has occurred through capital investment of $38 million since 2008, and most recently, $7 million you see in this new corporate headquarters and master distribution center.”
Additionally, Hall said, 99 percent of the work to complete the building and project was done with Virginia businesses, and 75 percent was done with businesses in Martinsville/Henry County.
“Virginia money was reinvested in Virginia, and Henry County money was reinvested in Henry County,” he said. “As a resident here, I can’t tell you how proud we are of that.”
Jim Adams, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, pointed out that the building that houses the new Commonwealth Laminating expansion began as a shell building.
“In 2009, Henry County partnered with Martinsville, the EDC and the Harvest Foundation to construct this shell building,” he said. “The intent was to attract a high-tech, advanced manufacturing company that would create quality jobs for our residents. Little did we know at the time that the high-tech advanced manufacturing company that would be coming here was just down the street.”
Hall praised the EDC and Heath for their assistance in the project.
“For those with businesses in Martinsville/Henry County,” Hall said, “this EDC understands that it’s much easier to grow an internal business that’s already here than go out and seek other businesses to locate here.”
During the ribbon-cutting event, Carrie Roth, Virginia deputy secretary of commerce and trade, presented Hall with a Virginia flag on behalf of Gov. Bob McDonnell.
“We hope that you’ll fly it proudly over this brand-new building made by Virginians, for Virginians, and for this entire community,” Roth said.