Micron to expand, add 123 jobs
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
News & Messenger
MANASSAS, Va. -- Micron Technology Virginia announced plans Tuesday to expand its operation in Manassas, adding 123 jobs to a staff that already totals about 1,600.
The city's largest private employer manufactures memory chips used in devices such as iPods, cell phones, flash drives, tablet computers, MP3 players, and laptop and desktop PCs.
And the 11,000-square-foot addition to its local plant will allow it to maintain its output while transitioning to new technology, said Site Director Raj Narasimhan.
The extra space increases the local footprint by 7 percent to 8 percent, and it will be a "clean room" environment that is virtually free of contaminants.
Narasimhan said Micron wanted to expand in Manassas rather than locate or expand elsewhere because of the access to Northern Virginia's large pool of qualified potential employees, and to build on the work the company is already doing here.
"As you know, Micron has facilities worldwide," he said.
New engineering jobs at the plant will pay about $87,000 to $89,000 per year, depending on experience, he said. New technician positions will come with wages of about $25 per hour.
Narasimhan said Micron is in the recruiting stage now so that employees can be hired and trained before the new work space is finished. He expects new manufacturing tools to arrive in March.
The expansion, a $56 million investment in the local economy, will include more than 27 miles of wiring, more than 4 miles of pipe and more than 50 tons of steel, Narasimhan said.
More than 110,000 hours of labor will go into finishing the job, with most of that done by local companies, he said.
Micron's news is an economic development coup of sorts for Manassas and Virginia, and it was trumpeted by local and state officials.
"In the midst of these challenging economic times, we are proud that here in Manassas Micron continues to innovate and manufacture products that will power our global future," Mayor Harry J. "Hal" Parrish II said in a prepared statement. "We share Micron's optimism about the future of American ingenuity and the quality of our well-educated and talented local workforce."
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Manassas to secure the project, and Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project.
McDonnell also signed off on a $1 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to state companies.
And through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support Micron in recruiting and training workers.
"Virginia has declared advanced manufacturing a target sector, and we are honored to have this vibrant semiconductor manufacturer not only operating in the commonwealth, but experiencing continued success," McDonnell said in a statement. "Corporate growth validates the importance of a stable environment and competitive business costs, and we are proud to have a global leader like Micron creating jobs in Virginia."
In addition, the Manassas City Council approved a $500,000-per-year machinery and tools tax break to help seal the deal. But even with that, the city still will see $4.4 million in machinery and tools tax revenue from Micron annually, said Commissioner of Revenue John Grzejka.
The deal to keep Micron in the Old Dominion was completed in less than four months, Narasimhan said at a formal announcement at the plant.
It was one of 213 economic development deals that state officials have closed since January, said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who attended the announcement.
That's meant more than $2 billion in new capital investment, he said, and 55,400 net new jobs, the second-most in America in that time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bolling said that it's good to see Virginia be a place that "makes things" not "just consumes things."
In an interview after the event, Del. Jackson Miller agreed with that characterization.
"It's value-added," said the Manassas Republican.
Micron is the second-largest memory-chip manufacturer in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. It was founded in October 1978 in Boise, Idaho, and employs roughly 20,000 people around the world.
The portion of those 20,000 already in Manassas have a new place to eat courtesy of the expansion. It's displacing the employee cafeteria.
That's the first thing to go when factories add on, Narasimhan said.
"The second thing that goes is the bathrooms."
For additional information contact Ibbie Hedrick at 804-225-2487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.