Global Technical Systems to expand in Virginia Beach with a $55 million manufacturing center
Global Technical Systems (GTS), a Virginia Beach-based provider of advanced engineering solutions for the defense and homeland security industries, plans to build a $54.7 million, 500,000-square-foot manufacturing center that would create 1,100 jobs.
In announcing the project Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe described the expansion by GTS, which has operated in Virginia Beach for 20 years, “transformational” for the city and the region. “GTS models how traditional defense-oriented businesses can step out of their comfort zones and create new technologies with commercial applications that can truly change the world. We are proud to have GTS on the Commonwealth's corporate roster.”
GTS plans to build an electro-mechanical energy storage system operation. It would produce and distribute 100 percent green energy storage systems using advanced composites and engineering technologies. The building will be located on about 30 acres of land currently owned by the city of Virginia Beach, at the site of the former Owl's Creek Golf Course.
According to the governor, Virginia Beach competed against Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., for the project, which will create jobs with an average annual salary of $74,000.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2018, with the facility operational in 2019. Since the project involves new technology, Global Technical Systems will work with local and regional workforce partners to develop customized training programs for new employees.
“This is the type of project that every community in America wants,” Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms Jr. said in a statement. “A local, homegrown company develops a truly transformational new technology and makes the strategic decision to build it at home.”
Yet some residents who live around the former Owl’s Creek Golf Course voiced concerns last month about increased noise and traffic that could come from the facility. The Virginian-Pilot reported that representatives of the Seatack Community Civic League spoke in favor of the project at a November meeting of the city’s Planning Commission, while other residents questioned why an industrial use was locating in what traditionally has been a residential area on the west side of Birdneck Road.
The process developed by Global Technical Systems to store energy uses advanced carbon fiber technology to create a clean electro-mechanical device that stores energy without using hazardous chemicals. Energy can come from any source such as solar, power grid, wind or water and be released upon demand when needed. This scalable technology could be used around the world for developing countries in a variety of institutional, commercial and residential applications.
Founded in Virginia Beach in 1997, GTS is a family-owned small business led by Terry and Yusun Spitzer. Their firm has traditionally provided high-tech engineering products and engineering services for commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) customers. However, it saw an opportunity to create a new business model based on advances in carbon fiber technologies.
“This green energy manufacturing center is a longstanding dream we've had at GTS,” CEO Terry Spitzer said in a statement. “Having steadily grown our business since 1997, we've continuously expanded our technical engineering competencies to meet the dynamic needs of our commercial and government customers. “
Spitzer added that the new technology has the potential to shape the future of renewable energy, grid modernization and other energy-dense storage applications. With the new facility, GTS anticipates rapidly expanding to capture an emerging trillion-plus dollar grid storage market that will reshape the way utilities address modernization including offsetting the need for new electric generation. Its broad applicability promises to deliver other improvements to high-energy users such as mass transportation, including high-speed rail and metro-rail systems; data centers, critical infrastructure back-up power systems for emergency services providers and DoD applications such as high- energy pulsed weapons and shipboard electric drive architectures.
“Central to our aspirations is delivering much-needed economic diversification and high paying advanced manufacturing jobs,” Spitzer said.
According to Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris, the company has been working on the prototype at its Lynnhaven headquarters facility for several years, and market response has been strong.
The project received several local and state incentives. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Virginia Beach to secure the project. Gov. McAuliffe approved a $1.8 million grant from the Commonwealth's Opportunity Fund. The governor also approved a $3 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing companies. Funding and services to support employee-training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. The company also will be eligible to receive a $1 million Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority is scheduled to approve an Economic Development Incentive Program grant in the amount of $1.8 million based on the company's capital investment and job creation.