Virginia governor Bob McDonnell announced today that ICF International, the Beltway-based strategy and tech consultancy, will open a new Henry County-based BPM operations center that will bring hundreds of high-paying jobs to the state. The $15 million project will create 539 much-needed jobs in the small county in southern Virginia, which is struggling with double-digit unemployment. State development groups hailed the transformative potential of ICF's arrival in Martinsville, VA.
"This is an epic day for the people of Henry County and the City of Martinsville," said Debra Buchanan, a top official at the County. "ICF International is the type of company that can transform a community." McDonnell echoed that sentiment. "This project is truly transformational for Henry County," he said. "After a highly competitive process, the company determined that Henry County offered the right location in the Patriot Centre Industrial Park and an available workforce eager for the opportunity. An investment of this caliber, as well as more than 500 new jobs, is tremendous news for Southern Virginia."
The state and the county had to fend off aggressive competition from Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, and West Virginia, each of whom sought to land what amounts to an economic stimulus in its own right. To make Henry County appear the most favorable site for conducting its business, a coalition of Virginia development organizations cooperated to secure millions in incentives and tax breaks for the consultancy. For example, Gov. McDonnell OK'ed a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Governor's Opportunity Fund, and the project also benefited from more than $2 million in Virginia Tobacco Indemnification money. Virginia probably always had an edge in the bidding process though, considering its proximity to DC, home to many of the firm's government and government contractor clients.
ICF described Henry County as offering "a robust economy, a pro-business climate, a high-quality workforce, and an outstanding quality of life for ICF employees." Sudhakar Kesavan, ICF's chairman and CEO, welcomed Henry County locals to the recruitment process. "We are pleased to open this new operations center in Henry County and to build our workforce from local residents," he said in a press release.
Henry County registered an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent in February, which the Virginia Business Journal says is among the highest in the state.
Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, ICF has 3,700 employees worldwide (pre-operations center) and lists on Nasdaq (ICFI).
For more information:
Governor McDonnell Announces More Than 500 New Jobs in Henry County
Virginia Business Journal