Photo by Denice Thibodeau, courtesy Danville Register & Bee
Computers may be designed and sold by U.S. companies, but they usually are made offshore — until now. EcomNets, a Herndon-based software developer and information technology services firm, will begin manufacturing PCs in Danville in 2011.
The company’s first product will be the Verdio, a “green” PC, which is about the size of a mousepad and made out of recyclable materials. It also requires just 28 watts of power while having performance capabilities similar to a desktop computer utilizing 70 to 250 watts of power.
The Verdio box, equipped with basic software and a keyboard but no monitor, will retail for $299. It will compete head-to-head with green PCs from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which sell for $499.
“For decades, the computer industry has been developing computer systems bigger, stronger, faster, but we have decided to … make systems smaller and more efficient,” says Raj Kosuri, chief technology officer at EcomNets. “So our goal is to make PCs that are truly green and take into account the entire life cycle of the product.”
EcomNets will break ground on a 20,000-square-foot plant in Danville’s Airside Industrial Park this summer. Once operational, the $1.94 million facility will be able to produce up to 20,000 PCs annually, but Kosuri says the company has the space to expand if necessary. EcomNets plans to hire 160 employees initially, including software engineers, sales and tech support staff, and manufacturing personnel.
While this is EcomNets’ first foray into manufacturing, the Verdio is not a brand-new product. A company in Chantilly has been building the PC for EcomNets since September. EcomNets expects to sell several thousand Verdios this year directly to customers in its core target markets, which include education, government, health care and nonprofits. “We prefer to provide a green PC to companies and organizations that are committed to going green,” Kosuri says.
He notes that the original plan was for EcomNets to set up its manufacturing facility near its Northern Virginia offices, but officials decided to head to Southern Virginia after learning about state and regional incentives for job creation.
“Once we found out what Danville had to offer over Northern Virginia — lower cost of living, lower living wages, aggressive incentive packages and a genuine feeling that they would do everything in their power to help us succeed — we were convinced,” says Kosuri.
The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $500,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity funds to help the project, and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance. In addition, the company is eligible for a state tax credit.
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