Swanka S. Burnette
Business Development Manager
As I travel the region promoting Loudoun, I’m very interested in what people think of our county. I hear things about Dulles Airport, our closeness to Washington, D.C. and our reputation as the home of the internet.
Others cite Loudoun County’s high quality of life, the historical and recreational assets, or the thriving rural business economy in D.C.’s Wine Country.
What I don’t often hear about is the under-appreciated jewel of our local economy: highly specialized manufacturing. I’m here to tell you that despite big changes within the industry, manufacturing is alive and well in the United States and in Loudoun County.
Our county is home to satellites produced by Northrup Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital Sciences), the innovative and life-altering products of K2M, and multiple companies working in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.
These HSM companies represent investments in new technology and jobs for skilled workers. It’s often said that if you own manufacturing, you own innovation. Because of these Loudoun-based manufacturers, our county is on the leading edge of innovation.
HSM benefits from Loudoun’s critical infrastructure, including power, transportation and the supply chain. As Loudoun County works to grow this emerging industry sector, one concept being developed is a brick-and-mortar, multi-use, specialized manufacturing innovation center.
This site would bring entrepreneurs, business resources/corporate partners and manufacturing technology companies under one roof.
For the business community, the site would deliver access to innovative thinkers and the latest, cutting-edge manufacturing technology processes and equipment. For manufacturing technology innovators, the center will increase product visibility among entrepreneurs and investors who identify trends and help drive industry growth.
The site would also serve as an incubator where entrepreneurs can access business partners, co-working space and co-manufacturing equipment.
Loudoun Economic Development is supporting a task force of respected Loudoun-based companies including Kform, Red Blue Collective, Arc34, Makersmiths, Conveyance Marketing Group and others interested in developing a collaborative manufacturing workspace to determine what is #LoudounPossible for highly specialized manufacturing.
The task force is also aligned with The Association of Manufacturing Technology and its VP of Manufacturing Technology Tim Shinbara. Tim also serves on Loudoun’s Economic Development Advisory Commission.
The goal is a physical space that will develop and grow Loudoun’s manufacturing ecosystem and transform future-leaning manufacturing technology ideas into sustainable businesses.