What's Happening in Tazewell County

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Exports to Canada for Virginia Coal Equipment Manufacturer

~ Company Expands International Sales through Participation in Virginia’s Go Global with Coal and Energy Technology Program ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Ceramic Technology, Inc., a Cedar Bluff-based manufacturer of ceramic-lined coal and mineral process equipment, made more than $300,000 in sales to new customers in Canada as a result of its participation in the Go Global with Coal & Energy Technology (GGCET) program. GGCET is a collaboration of the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), resulting from the Governor’s 2014 Energy Plan. Canada was Virginia’s largest product export destination in 2015, with product exports totaling more than $3.4 billion. 

“As part of our 2014 Energy Plan, we laid out a vision for facilitating access to international markets for coal supply chain companies based in Southwest Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “GGCET gives these businesses in the Coalfield region an opportunity to export their expertise and products, helping them expand their businesses and create jobs. Ceramic Technology, Inc. is a great example of a Virginia business that expanded its international clientele with the help of this important program. We will continue to find innovative ways to help grow existing businesses as we build the new Virginia economy.” 

Ceramic Technology, Inc. recently celebrated its 32nd year of operation. This anniversary marks an innovative progression into the design and development of the current CTI-X7 ceramic-lined process equipment being used throughout the coal, power, potash, phosphate, and gold mining industries.

Ceramic Technology, Inc. graduated from the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program in July 2013. The company conducted a business trip to Toronto and Montreal in October 2015 through the GGCET program. Traveling to this important international market provided the company with the opportunity to meet with potential customers in the country through connections made by VEDP’s in-country partner.

Making the announcement on behalf of the Governor at the Virginia Conference on World Trade, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore added, “Ceramic Technology is the first Virginia company to leverage this innovative program to expand its footprint in the international marketplace. The funding provided by VCEDA to support the GGCET program allows these companies to travel to international markets and find customers outside of Virginia and the U.S., diversifying their customer base and creating jobs in the Coalfield region along the way.”

In addition, Ceramic Technology, Inc. exhibited at the 2016 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum Show in Vancouver, where company representatives met potential new clients to develop sales relationships in the gold and uranium markets. The CTI-X7 ceramic-lined process equipment continues outperforming traditional rubber and AR-lined mining equipment, increasing efficiency 10 to 15 times over the current base line performance. 

“We look forward to increasing our Canadian market share and to the continued relationship with VEDP and the GGCET Program,” said Lee R. Osborne, President and CEO of Ceramic Technology, Inc. “With the assistance of an in-country partner, we were able to accomplish a great deal more than we could have if we had travelled to market on our own.”

The GGCET program assists coal and energy technology companies in the Virginia coalfield region in expanding their international business. GGCET offers a powerful combination of resources provided by VCEDA and VEDP, as well as professional services from expert, private-sector partners. GGCET is modeled after and linked to VEDP’s award-winning VALET program.

“VCEDA is pleased to support coalfield companies’ participation in the Commonwealth’s international trade development programs through GGCET,” said J.P. Richardson, VCEDA Vice Chairman. “VCEDA is assisting eight of our region's coal and energy technology companies with support and access to resources to help expand their international sales and markets.” 

In 2014, the Commonwealth of Virginia exported more than $36 billion in manufactured goods and services. Exports of Virginia’s products and services to the world are vital to the growth of the Commonwealth, with an economic impact to Virginia of more than $18.7 billion in labor income, $2 billion in tax revenue and the creation of nearly 321,000 jobs. 

More information about Ceramic Technology, Inc. may be found at

Tazewell- The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors announced the near completion of their onsite wastewater treatment project at Cavitt's Creek Park. The project was performed as a coordinated effort with EPC America a company using Israeli technology to construct a highly efficient, very clean wastewater treatment system. EPC America has also committed to creating a manufacturing and distribution center for water, wastewater and other innovative products in Tazewell County. The company was introduced to Tazewell County by the Governor's Virginia Israeli Advisory Board (VIAB).

In Tel Aviv, Israel last week Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the beginning of operation of the new clean-tech wastewater treatment facility in Tazewell County. Speaking during a trade and marketing mission to Israel, the Governor spoke about how Israel-based parent company of E.P.C.'s BioDisk technology installed at Cavitt's Creek Park in Tazewell County, will enhance the County and State's economic future, by providing an example for rural development through improved wastewater treatment technology to prevent water way contamination.

Governor McAuliffe stated, "Onsite wastewater treatment is an important cornerstone for catalyzing tourism growth for the state and the county. With this system in place, the park is on its way to becoming a state park thereby bringing in more tourists and adding another positive factor to the area's economic growth. The system offers a superb energy efficient green technology which uses 90 percent less energy than traditional systems and does not produce unpleasant odors. It is a win-win situation."

According to CEO Of EPC Israel Jeremy Weissman, “In Israel we have mastered how to treat and to reuse wastewater efficiently as dictated by our circumstances. We are excited for the opportunity to introduce this latest generation Israeli technology into the American market via the State of Virginia. Our technology is being introduced at a time when protection of watersheds such as the Chesapeake Bay and Clinch River in Virginia and other areas nationwide are at a critical juncture.  EPC's technology offers water resource challenged areas, such as a California, a much needed solution for reuse and recycling of wastewater for agriculture or other uses."

Charles Botwick, President of EPC America LLC and Project Manager for the Tazewell Initiative commented, “We foresee significant growth for our Tazewell based company as we market these solutions nationally. Our efforts will create further impetus for other companies to create a manufacturing and distribution center for water, wastewater and other innovative products in Tazewell. In fact already we have created a team of Virginia based companies critical to the completion of the Cavitt’s Creek Project. Together we will provide turnkey projects in Tazewell, regionally and nationally and we envision becoming an exporter from Virginia to the world.”

VIAB, recognizing not only the value of clean-tech and green projects but also the use of innovative technologies to drive economic growth, created a partnership in Tazewell County to enhance the region's visibility.

A delegation of Tazewell County representatives travelled to Israel to view the technology and meet with representatives of EPC's parent company in January 2015. According to Ralph Robbins, Executive Director of VIAB, the EPC deal is a game changer for rural Virginia and rural America. "It furthers economic development in an area where alternative wastewater solutions are not cost effective nor as elegant as this solution with its low energy, low maintenance, low footprint, low noise, and low cost. And on top of it all, the company has committed to expanding assembly and manufacturing in Tazewell County."

EPC America entered a performance agreement with Tazewell County's Industrial Development Authority whereby the company agreed to manufacture and assemble the facilities in Tazewell County in exchange for a $25,000.00 grant. The company contributed the grant proceeds toward purchase of a rental cabin at Cavitt's Creek Park.

With a significant improvement in wastewater treatment, the park can add more cabins for visitors thereby creating additional revenue streams for the County. With these in place, Tazewell County officials can enable the Park to meet State Park standards. Thus EPC's facility will bring the park closer to attaining State Park designation with the accompanying tourism revenue and publicity. At the same time the Park will become a demonstration site for private developers, public waste water utility operators, and others to see how this technology can change development in rural America.


Hands-on, Industry-Focused Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training for In-demand Jobs

BLUEFIELD, Virginia – Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, Inc. (SVAM) will celebrate the culmination of a goal set over 2 years ago with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of SVAM’s new Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (SVAM-CoE) Bluefield Satellite on Tuesday, May 17 at 10AM.  The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will take place at the SVAM Center of Excellence Bluefield site, located at 670 Camp Joy Road, Bluefield, VA  24605. 

The SVAM Center of Excellence and all of its sites have benefited from the support of area manufacturers, county governments, K-12, the community colleges, nonprofits and many other partners – totaling over 40 partners.  In addition to partners, SVAM-CoE has experienced the support of local, state and federal legislators. 

Senator Tim Kaine said, “Congratulations to the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing’s Center of Excellence on its launch of satellite training facilities at the Bluestone Workforce Training Center. The training that will be offered at the Bluestone Center will ensure that our workforce receives the necessary credentialing to give them a competitive edge for the manufacturing jobs of the 21st century. The work you do is invaluable to Virginia's economy and our Commonwealth's ability to grow the most talented workforce in the country‎.”

“The opening of SVAM’s Center of Excellence Bluefield Satellite is the type of progress we need in order to deliver the best prepared workforce for the jobs of the 21st Century,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “The Governor and General Assembly collaborated to include more than $20 million in the biennial budget to support workforce training for credentials like those that will be offered by the new training center.”

Congress Morgan Griffith said, “I applaud the Virginia Tobacco Commission and all those who have worked to develop the Centers of Excellence.  This center will help us grow the economy in Southwest Virginia and assure our current employers that we will have qualified workers for them to hire well into the future.”

"As a member of the Tobacco Commission, this is going to be great for the citizens and for the entire area,” said Delegate Will Morefield.

“The SVAM and SVAM-CoE Boards of Directors would like to extend a professional appreciation to every organization in Southwest Virginia that has supported our efforts to bring the first “world class” advanced manufacturing training facility to our Region,” said Kevin Mumpower, SVAM CoE Board Chair and VP of Product Engineering at Bristol Compressors International, Inc.  “A special appreciation to CCAM and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission for allowing SVAM to be the oversight management entity for the new Training Center.”

Advanced welding and industrial maintenance/mechatronics training will be offered at the Bluefield Satellite as well as preparation for AWS welding certifications.  In addition, there will be training available via distance learning in the onsite classroom and computer lab.

SVAM-CoE is an affiliate of CCAM and a part of the training network, along with SoVA CME (South Boston) and NCI (Martinsville), designed to deliver and share training across the Commonwealth.

For more information about the SVAM Center of Excellence or regional training network, please visit or call (276) 525-1400.

Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, Inc. (SVAM), the managing entity, is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 2009 and headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia. The organization is focused on supporting and strengthening manufacturers currently in the region as well as welcoming new industry. For more info about SVAM, please visit ###

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The Division of Workforce Development at SWCC will bring certified trainers to your workplace at a time most convenient for you. Our extensive curriculum of technology, business and professional development courses will boost productivity and ensure your employees have the skills and training they need.

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Southwest Virginia Community College is your partner in developing a talented workforce which improves efficiency and productivity. Today more than ever the necessity of credentialing and licensure is a vital component of success. Please keep us informed periodically about specific training and/or classes that you believe are necessary to the success of your operation. Together we make a difference.