Harkness Screens, Eldor USA to bring jobs to Botetourt County

Harkness now hiring for around 50 positions, Eldor hoping for 350 by July 2018

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – More business news is coming out of Botetourt County.

The president of Eldor USA was in town Wednesday to survey the progress on the company's new factory being built in the county. When finished it will be the largest company in the county, employing around 350 people. At the same time, we're also learning another international company, Harkness Screens, is moving to the county and hiring another 50 employees.

In just a year, a patch of grass in Botetourt's Greenfield industrial park is about 50 percent on the way to being one of the county's largest employers.

"It would end up being one of the largest investments ever in this part of the world, as far as outside companies moving into the region," County Administrator Gary Larrowe said.

Eldor USA President Stefano Concezzi flew in from Italy to see the progress for himself.

"We are moving very, very quickly. We hope that we're going to have the production line ready for the setup at the beginning of January, and then we expect to start to have the pre-production in April, and to run the mass-production at mid-June," Concezzi said.

That quick timeline and the promise of 350 families potentially working and living in the county has Larrowe working to find ways to accommodate them.

"We're still looking at some of the ordinance changes that allow for higher density of housing in Botetourt County and... also allow for urban development areas to actually take place within Botetourt as well," Larrowe said.

But another announcement Wednesday promised to bump that employment number even higher. A movie screen production company from England, Harkness Screens, already has a building and is hiring in the Roanoke Valley.

"They'll be investing several million dollars in their upfit and employing somewhere around 50 individuals," Larrowe said.

For many rural counties, this type of immediate development might seem daunting, but Larrowe says, with an empty 100,000 square foot shell building and 200 acres still unused at the Greenfield site, Botetourt is still searching for more business.

"If you quantify that, that Eldor is 53 acres, then you've basically got the space for four more Eldors," Larrowe said.

Four more Eldors, and the potential of thousands of new employees along with them.