STIHL expands Virginia Beach operations

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

Oceana West Corporate Park’s largest corporate citizen will get even larger this year, when STIHL Inc. adds 53,256 square feet to its more than 1 million-square-foot U.S. headquarters. The expansion will create 52 jobs.
The company established its U.S. headquarters in 1974 in Virginia Beach with fewer than 50 employees working in a 20,000-square-foot warehouse. The company now employs 1,892 people in Virginia Beach.
“Because of the manufacturing-friendly environment in Virginia Beach, we are able to compete domestically and globally, ultimately allowing us to continue to expand our operations here,” says STIHL’s executive vice president, Peter Mueller.
STIHL manufactures the top selling brand of chain saws in the world.  The Virginia Beach expansion represents a total capital investment of $10.3 million, including $4.6 million in new machinery and tools. The Virginia Beach Development Authority awarded Stihl a $100,000 Economic Development Investment Program grant based on the capital investment and number of full-time jobs created.
“Our ongoing relationship with STIHL continues to pay dividends for our community in terms of new jobs and added tax revenue,” says Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms Jr.
Sessoms and Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris visited STHIL’s headquarters in Germany last year. “In our discussions with the STIHL family and company executives, we [were] extremely proud to hear of the city’s ability to meet their work-force expectations for this expansion,” Sessoms says.
The expansion allows the company to increase manufacturing capacity, doubling its blow-molding capabilities. Blow molding is a manufacturing process in which hollow plastic parts are formed.
“STHIL’s continued growth and success in the city is very impressive,” says Harris. “It is one of the largest manufacturing employers in the region.”
The company is one of two German companies planning to expand in the Virginia Beach area.  IMS:Gear Virginia Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of automotive gear assemblies in North America, plans to spend $35.5 million to expand its Virginia Beach production facility later this year. It hopes to hire 80 new workers. 

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