Rolls-Royce to expand, add jobs - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Rolls-Royce to expand, add jobs

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PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) -

Rolls-Royce is ready to expand in the greater Richmond area. The aircraft engine maker is adding a factory and an anticipated 140 new jobs.

The new 90,000 square foot facility is the second installment of a grand vision for the thousand acre campus in Prince George County.

It's been a history making year for Rolls-Royce in Prince George County. First, a visit from the president back in March. Plant Manager Lorin Sodell led the tour of the rotatives facility.

SODELL: "We got one week's notice."
ANDY: "Really?"
SODELL: "One week notice."

Eight months later, and with a bit more time to work on it, Sodell delivers more good news. The Rolls-Royce operation here is expanding, creating 140 new jobs, he says.

"We're continuing to hire, we're continuing to grow through 2012, throughout 2013, and this new factory just is another important step in that process," Sodell said Wednesday.

The new factory -located beside the existing rotatives plant- will make turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes for Rolls-Royce engines. And, one day, it could be the lure for other companies, according to economic development leaders.

"We're getting a lot of ‘look' from other businesses, that's for sure. I think the prestige of Rolls-Royce has shown other businesses that maybe they want to consider locating in Prince George County," said Deputy County Administrator Jeff Stoke.

The announcement comes just one day after a state audit commission (JLARC) was critical of the rate of job growth at Rolls-Royce, following the awarding of a state incentive grant. The company countered Wednesday with what it considers evidence of a more long-term plan.

"It really puts them absolutely on the growth trajectory for job creation that Virginia and  Virginia economic development counted on," said Allen Finch of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

The 140 new jobs are not expected to be the last. More new factories are anticipated on the property before the end of the decade.

"We're recruiting people who've got a very high energy level and want to come in and be part of  something very competitive," Sodell said.

Rolls-Royce is investing $136 million in the new facility which is expected to be complete by the end of next year. The first aircraft engine components are expected to come off the line in 2014.

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