International companies are lining up to invest in the “Top mid-sized city in the U.S. for foreign direct investment” (fDi Magazine). And companies from the United Kingdom are leading the pack.

Forty-four UK firms have facilities in the region, making up 20 percent of the total 220 international firms. Germany is a close second with 42 total facilities – and like the UK — mostly advanced manufacturing companies.

“(Greater Richmond’s) pro-business attitude and business-friendly environment made the decision much easier,” said David R. Holt, CEO of UK-based BGB Technology, manufacturer of slip ring assemblies.

Recent UK investments include:

  • WDM, a leading global manufacturer of road surveying equipment and provider of survey services and asset management software solutions, anticipates adding employees to its sales and survey office to build towards a possible U.S. manufacturing operation in the years ahead.
  • UK suppliers are drawn to the proximity of Rolls-Royce, which operates a turbine blade facility in the region. Both graphite electrodes maker Erodex Ltd. and aircraft parts labeler Pryor Marking Technology were attracted to continued service for one of its main customers at the new U.S. facility – while providing an opportunity to break into the American market.

International firms often ‘test the waters’ in the Richmond Region with small offices before expanding. Proseal USA and ITL Group are two companies that started with modest operations.

Thomas Jull of ITL Virginia

Proseal USA, manufacturer of food packaging machinery, recently expanded its operations in Chesterfield County by doubling its space to 50,000 square feet and outfitted a second production building next door to its existing plant. With demand for its equipment growing, the company is even considering constructing a 200,000-square-foot facility.

ITL Group, a Kent-based medical device firm, opened a U.S. facility to service existing clients in Hanover County. Thomas Jull, VP of Operations (US) for ITL Group, said having an office in the U.S. has improved relations with existing clients and eliminated delays caused by operating in different time zones.

“We could have located the business in Boston or in Florida, or anywhere else on the East Coast, but here there’s a really good industry… people are just extremely helpful,” explained Jull.

Learn more about our connection to the UK