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Plasser American Corporation Expands Operations Complex in Chesapeake, Virginia

10/08/2020
Plasser American Corporation, a manufacturer of railway construction and maintenance equipment, will invest $52.6 million to expand in the City of Chesapeake, Virginia.

The company will add a 45,000-square-foot, three-story office building and a new 82,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to increase production capacity. The investment plan also involves the renovation of existing infrastructure and the addition of manufacturing equipment, including an updated industrial paint booth. According to state officials, Plasser American will create 98 new jobs and acquire three adjoining properties to accommodate the expansion.

“This historical project is our proof of trust in the North American railroad system and confidence in the United States economy,” said Thomas Blechinger, President of Plasser American. “I am proud of our company’s development in the United States over the last six decades and here in Chesapeake for 50 years. This milestone is our chance to show our commitment to the region and to support local talent, employees, and suppliers.”

Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Chesapeake Economic Development Authority and The Port of Virginia to secure the project for Virginia.

Governor Ralph Northam approved a $450,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Chesapeake with the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program, as well as the Railroad Industrial Access Program, which is administered by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and subject to approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Funding and services to support Plasser American’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Plasser American continues to be a major contributor to Hampton Roads’ economy, and this major investment reaffirms the company’s commitment to the City of Chesapeake,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The Commonwealth is committed to providing the necessary training resources so that hardworking Virginians can continue to learn new skills, and we are proud to build on our long-term partnership with Plasser in its next phase of growth.”

“Plasser American has been a valued employer and corporate partner to Virginia and the City of Chesapeake since the opening of its manufacturing facility 50 years ago,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Companies like Plasser with deep ties in our Commonwealth understand the competitive advantages of the region’s infrastructure, access to The Port of Virginia, and world-class workforce. Growing Virginia’s substantial manufacturing industry is key to rebuilding from this public health crisis, and we thank Plasser American for playing an important role in our ongoing recovery efforts.”

Based in the City of Chesapeake since 1970, Plasser American Corporation is a railway track maintenance equipment manufacturer that has adapted its products to the North American railroad and transit system. The company also has a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program that enables apprentices to gain hands-on experience while studying at Tidewater Community College.

“As a shipper of railway track maintenance equipment, rail access plays a unique role in Plasser’s ability to grow operations and service new markets,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The Rail Industrial Access program is one of the tools the Commonwealth has to ensure economic development opportunities reliant on rail service consider Virginia a competitive option for business.”

“Plasser American has been an outstanding corporate citizen to our city for nearly 50 years,” said Steven Wright, Director of Economic Development for the City of Chesapeake. “This expansion will not only bring a significant amount of jobs, it will also completely reshape the current facility into a state-of-the-art campus for future growth.”

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