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Coatings center to officially open in Halifax County

Halifax County Industrial Development Authority this morning will unveil the region’s newest asset for economic development — the National Center for Coatings Application, Research and Education (C-CARE).

The Honorable Mary Rea Carter, deputy secretary of commerce and trade, will represent Gov. Bob McDonnell at the ribbon cutting scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Riverstone Centre. 

Also speaking will be Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard, David Lohr, president and executive director of the Commonwealth Center of Advanced Manufacturing (C-CAM), Dr. Douglas Corrigan, executive director of the Riverstone Energy Center, and Philip Stevenson, founder and president of AWFI.

C-CARE has been more than two years in the making and is a collaboration between the Halifax Industrial Development Authority, the Riverstone Energy Center and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. 

C-CARE was made possible by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and in-kind contributions of
equipment from a network of industrial partners. 

Staffed by AWFI, a leading expert in coatings technology training and process engineering, the coatings center represents a unique public/private partnership that is designed to stimulate economic development and job creation throughout the region.

Housed in 12,000 square feet of environmentally controlled space, the center is home to Superfici Flatline and Hangline equipment, Kawasaki Robotics, Robatech Surface Preparation technology and liquid and powder spray booths.

The ribbon cutting will kick-off a week-long event that includes “The U.S. Renaissance in Advanced Manufacturing” Symposium, Women in Business luncheon and the IndustryWeek magazine “Excellence in Action” plant tours of ABB and Huber. 

Speakers for the event include Leland Melvin, NASA associate administrator for education and two time space-shuttle astronaut, Will Powers, executive vice president-chief financial officer, Rolls-Royce North America mc, Pat Panchak, editor-in-chief of lndustryWeek magazine, and Petter Fiskerud, vice president and general manager of ABB South Boston. 

Over 20 different courses and workshops will be offered throughout the week in CAD/CAM software technologies, additive manufacturing, robotics, coatings technology and quality control, among other topics.

“I think it’s going to be a great week,” Corrigan said.

Leonard praised the efforts of Riverstone Energy Center’s Director of Business Development Kristy Johnson for coordinating, organizing and all other efforts she has made to make the weeklong U. S. Renaissance in Advanced Manufacturing Symposium a success.

“She’s the real worker bee. She has worn herself out to make this thing happen,” Leonard said.

Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Board Chairman John Cannon described plans for this week’s symposium as “phenomenal.”

“This is an unbelievable event,” added authority member Chris Lumsden.

Organizations involved in this week’s symposium include American Coatings Association, IndustryWeek, Virginia Manufacturers Association, Work Force Investment Board, NASA, GENEDGE, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, C-CAM, SVHEC, DCC, SVCC, Halifax County Public School System, Longwood University, Southern Growth Policy Board, Southern Technology Council, Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Forsyth Tech Community College, New River Community College, Gaston College, ECPI University, Southern Virginia Regional Alliance and Regional Center for Advanced Training and Technology.

According to Corrigan, in addition to many registrants from Virginia, others who have signed up to attend this week’s symposium are traveling from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, New Jersey, Nebraska, Kentucky and internationally from Germany.

For more information or to register to attend symposium events this week, visit