Italian manufacturer sets up shop in New River Valley

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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InMotion will be located in the Technology Manufacturing
Building in Blacksburg. Courtesy Montgomery County

Italy-based Zapi S.p.A. bought InMotion from Radford-based Kollmorgen with the intention of expanding the business.  InMotion provides advanced software, power electronics, controls, motors and generators for electric vehicles.

Zapi could have chosen to expand abroad but decided instead to keep InMotion in the New River Valley, moving the business from Radford to nearby Blacksburg. The $5 million investment is expected to save 70 jobs and create 10 positions.  

“They’re really good jobs, and we were happy that they were able to stay here in the region so that none of the employees have to relocate,” says Brian Hamilton, Montgomery County’s economic development director.

Besides the New River Valley, Zapi looked at sites in North Carolina, China and Italy. The InMotion acquisition represents the first U.S. manufacturing operation for Zapi, which primarily makes electric motors and drives and has annual sales of more than $350 million.

InMotion will take up about 60,000 square feet in the 109,000 square-foot Technology Manufacturing Building in Blacksburg, which is owned by Montgomery County Economic Development Authority. The other building tenant is Luna Innovations, which occupies about 41,000 square feet.  Hamilton says the building provides InMotion with the space and electric requirements it needs, including a 24-foot-high ceiling and concrete floors to handle equipment.

In a statement announcing the expansion, Mike Jellen, general manager of InMotion U.S., highlighted Montgomery County’s local talent, cost-effective facilities and access to Virginia Tech’s electric vehicle research in the company’s decision to remain in the New River Valley.

InMotion’s products are used by manufacturers of electric lift trucks, mobile off-highway vehicles, personal mobility devices, elevators, buses and refrigerator systems. InMotion has more than 300 employees in Virginia and abroad and annual sales of $105 million. 

InMotion’s move into the Technology Manufacturing Building in Blacksburg means that the building now is fully leased. “The company looked at many different options outside of our region, and we are just pleased that Montgomery County could assist them to stay here in the community and, of course, we’re happy that our building is fully leased now,” Hamilton says.

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