By Tim Ryan

In a remarkable stride forward for the Hampton Roads region, Solenis, a global leader in the specialty chemical industry, has announced a substantial $193 million investment to expand its operations in Suffolk, Virginia. This development emphasizes the region’s growing prominence as a hub for innovation and business.

The planned expansion includes a new 80,000-square-foot production facility, packaging facility, tank farm, and the addition of a rail spur. These advancements will significantly enhance the production of polyvinyl amine (PVAm) polymer products, which are vital in paper and cardboard manufacturing. This initiative boosts Solenis’ existing product line and adds critical monomer capacity to its supply chain. The project will also create 34 new jobs, further invigorating the local economy.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin highlighted the significance of this investment, underscoring Hampton Roads’ robust manufacturing sector, skilled workforce, and logistical advantages, including a world-class port. This expansion exemplifies the region’s conducive business climate and its ability to support major industry players like Solenis.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick and Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller echoed these sentiments, lauding the Commonwealth of Virginia’s role in facilitating such growth and emphasizing the state’s superior transportation system and infrastructure.

Solenis CEO John Panichella’s remarks about the company’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing operations resonate with IHR’s focus on innovation and sustainability. This new facility is poised to meet the rising demand for environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and diversify into new applications, driving further growth.

Suffolk Mayor Michael Duman and Stephen A. Edwards, CEO of the Virginia Port Authority, acknowledged the significance of this investment for the local economy and the competitive edge provided by the Port of Virginia. The expansion is a testament to Suffolk’s economic development, a beacon of opportunity for the local workforce, and a catalyst for increased production capacity.

Senator Emily Jordan emphasized the importance of creating a robust economy and prioritizing workforce development, key elements in fostering regional growth and attracting good-paying jobs to Suffolk.

This investment by Solenis is another milestone for Hampton Roads, signifying the region’s escalating momentum in innovation and business attractiveness. As more companies like Solenis choose to invest in our area, it reinforces the vision of Innovate Hampton Roads to build an interconnected, inclusive, and innovative ecosystem. The future looks bright for Hampton Roads as it continues establishing itself as a prime location for businesses seeking growth, innovation, and a supportive community.

Together, we are witnessing and actively shaping Hampton Roads’s transformation into a dynamic and prosperous hub for entrepreneurs and businesses alike.