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The company said some employees will move with the expansion.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Nuvotronics LLC of Fairlawn recently decided to expand.
But the producer of radio frequency hardware needed a clean room — a space more than 99 percent free of airborne particles — for its second production line to make thousands of miniature electronic devices. New River Valley business parks had no clean room available.
After considering building their own in the New River Valley, but deciding that would take too long, Nuvotronics officials have settled on leasing a room in North Carolina, CEO Noel Heiks said Friday.
Heiks said she and Nuvotronics President David Sherrer are proud of the private company’s New River Valley roots and aren’t yanking them up. Nuvotronics will keep its clean room-based facility in Fairlawn when the company expands to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.
Some jobs are slated to leave. Nuvotronics expects to shift about 25 of its 58 local employees to the new facility when it opens later this year, Heiks said. Of the roughly 30 people remaining, a team focused on radar and satellite communication modules, “we’ll have that work force here for the long run,” she said.
Nuvotronics was a unit of Rohm and Haas in Blacksburg until 2008 when it was bought by Heiks and Sherrer, who went to Virginia Tech, and a third investor, Heiks said. It then employed 15 people.
Building on technology that Sherrer developed, the company prospered with investment from local sources, support from the New River Valley’s high-tech community and access to skilled personnel coming out of Tech, Heiks said. It now has two Fairlawn locations, one of which will close when the company expands.
The company now plans to open a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Durham with a 10,000-square-foot clean room in which the company will place an 8-inch wafer fabrication line.
Aric Bopp, who directs the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, said the region probably has “more than five and probably less than 50” clean rooms of varying grade and size. None was idle when Nuvotronics needed one, he said.
“Nuvotronics has been a great corporate citizen and we are excited for their expansion and glad that they will retain a presence in the New River Valley,” he said.
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