For Immediate Release: March 25, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Economic Development Partnership: Suzanne Clark, (804) 545-5806, sclark@yesvirginia.org | Simmons Equipment Company: Matt Simmons, 276-991-3345, msimmons@simmonsequip.com

Governor McAuliffe Announces Expansion of Tazewell County Business

~Simmons Equipment Company to invest $1 million in expansion~

 

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Simmons Equipment Company, a manufacturer of world-class battery-powered mining equipment, plans to invest $1 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Tazewell County. The project is projected to create more than 30 new jobs over the upcoming years. 

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “This expansion is a testament to the great work of Simmons and the outstanding business climate in Tazewell. The addition of these manufacturing jobs will contribute to the resiliency of Southwest Virginia and help us build a new Virginia economy. 

“Today we celebrate the expansion of existing businesses in Virginia and in Tazewell County,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Simmons continues to advance its technology and stands out as a leader in the industry, and we will continue to strengthen our partnership with the company.” 

S & S Machinery introduced its first battery-powered scoop in 1968. The product would change immensely over the next 25 years, but the company’s dominance in battery-powered equipment would not. With as high as 80% of the market share in battery-powered scoops, S & S became one of the most successful companies the mining industry has ever seen. The Simmons name became synonymous with scoops throughout the coalfields, and even the world. Since 2005, Simmons Equipment Company has been built on the foundation of quality, innovation and customer service that made S & S so successful. Simmons is leading the charge in developing safer, more productive machines for today’s miner. 

“We are very excited about the recent expansion into the Tazewell plant,” said Simmons Equipment CEO Matt Simmons. “This facility will allow us to continue to grow and expand market share in today’s competitive mining market. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to many of the groups and individuals that have helped make this happen, including Tazewell County Economic Development, the Tazewell County IDA, the Board of Supervisors, the Town of Tazewell, the Tobacco Commission, VCEDA, and the Cumberland Plateau Planning District. We are proud to call Southwest Virginia home, and we really appreciate the support from our community.” 

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Tazewell County, the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority, and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to secure the project for the Commonwealth. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also approved up to $1.14 million in funding, which is being invested over time through the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Foundation located in Abingdon, Virginia, for use in the company’s planned R&D and commercialization activities. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 

“The Simmons family has long been a part of Tazewell County,” said Seth White, Chairman of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. “We are expecting great things to come and are excited for them to be in Tazewell providing future jobs for the area.” 

“To see a company expand in this time of a depressed coal industry is a blessing to us all,” said Doyle Rasnick, Chairman of the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority.  “Our Industrial Development Authority is proud to work with a company who is driving forward our Southwest Virginia heritage.” 

"With thousands of coal and coal-related jobs already lost in Southwest Virginia, it is encouraging to see Simmons Equipment expand their operations,” said Delegate James W. (Will) Morefield, member of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. “The strong support from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and various agencies at the state and local level helped make this expansion possible. Our region has been impacted significantly with the coal industry suffering severe loss. It is extremely important for elected officials to do everything within their power to protect coal jobs. I am hopeful that the support from various agencies for this expansion will show how important coal and coal-related jobs are to the economy in Southwest Virginia." 

"Simmons Equipment Company is a household name in the coal industry,” said Senator A. Benton Chafin, Jr. “The company increasing its economic investment and job growth in Southwest Virginia is encouraging news to our weakened coal industry. Job creation remains a top priority of mine and we will continue to work to improve the economy." 

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Since the beginning of the McAuliffe administration, 345 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with more than $6.32 billion in capital investment, more than twice the amount of capital investment brought to the Commonwealth in any Governor's first 14 months in office.

 

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