Roanoke Valley of Virginia

Great Quality of Life, Quick Access to Markets & Low Business Costs

Whether it is a new enzyme that makes the grass greener, a new spectacle lens that helps you see more clearly, or a steering system that will change the way we drive, products made in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia reflect the region's industrial diversity and spirit of innovation.

Novozymes Biologicals, a Denmark-based biotech firm, recently completed a new facility for its local operation, which develops and produces enzyme-making microbes for household, industrial and agricultural applications. The site the company chose, the Roanoke County Center for Research & Technology, is less than 30 minutes from the research capabilities of Virginia Tech and its spectacular setting won over company officials.

Johnson & Johnson's Spectacle Lens Group is test marketing its Definity 2 lens, a new design of the progressive addition eyeglass lenses, which reduces distortion. Among the reasons J&J chose the Roanoke location? Excellent market access and low costs of doing business. The Roanoke Valley is within a day's truck shipping distance of two-thirds of the population of the United States and almost exactly equidistant between New York City and Atlanta. A large UPS hub, Interstate-81 and inland port enhance the region's transportation advantages.

Koyo Steering Systems of USA makes an electric steering system that is new to the US market. Currently it can be found in the Saturn Vue and Ion. Koyo chose the Roanoke Valley because of its good business environment, growing automotive cluster and presence of other Japanese companies. The region's Japanese Saturday School is located at the Education & Training Center at Greenfield, near Koyo's facility in the Botetourt Center at Greenfield.

These companies and many others have discovered the advantages the Roanoke Valley offers: low costs of living and doing business, excellent market access, superior quality of life, a skilled workforce and innovative training programs.

With a population of more than 291,000, the Valley is the largest metropolitan area in western Virginia and serves as the commercial, medical, retail and employment center for a population of more than one million.

The area offers a central mid-Atlantic location that's only a day's shipping distance from two-thirds of the U.S. population, and Virginia's fastest growing cargo airport. The entire region is within the boundaries of an inland port, offering cost and time advantages to companies needing customs clearance.

Location is Everything
While the Roanoke region is establishing itself as a transportation hub - five transportation-related companies have located in the Valley within the past 210 years - it also is well-positioned to become a biotech hot spot. The community has made biotechnology and biomedicine the focus of future development. Two separate business parks (Roanoke County Center for Research & Technology and the Riverside Centre for Research & Technology, a redevelopment are just south of the downtown business district and located between two hospitals) are being developed with the industry in mind. The region also benefits from its proximity to Virginia Tech, one of the nation's top research universities. The Carilion Biomedical Institute - a unique cooperation among Carilion Healthcare System, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia - was created to bring research to market.

A ready work force
Innovative training opportunities benefit innovative companies. A desire to meet the needs of emerging technologies, as well as flexibility to suit both employee and employer were among the reasons behind a new Biotechnology/Biomedical Training & Education Initiative developed by Virginia Western Community College. The program is unique because it provides training in both disciplines in adjoining lab space at the Roanoke Higher Education Center. Two separate facilities are needed because biotechnology training is focus more on lab work, while the biomedical discipline has a highly skilled manufacturing component.

Location is everything
The Roanoke Valley's business climate and quality of life have been recognized by Money Magazine, Expansion Management, Kiplinger's Personal Health, Parenting Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management and Money. To discover why, visit our website at or call the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership at 1-800-LOCATE2. We'll be happy to tell you why Location is Everything.