Reiss Manufacturing News

Get the Lead Out: Jobs Announcement; Reiss Partners with Newport News Industrial Corporation, a part of Northrop Grumman

March 16, 2011 — Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling travelled to Blackstone, VA (Nottoway County) today to announce the creation of more than 40 new jobs at Reiss Manufacturing, Inc. Lt. Governor Bolling also announced that additional hiring is expected in the coming months as Reiss expands its current production to support sales of an environmentally-friendly radiation shielding material to the healthcare, nuclear power and homeland security industries. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Newport News Shipbuilding sector developed and secured a patent for the lead-free shielding material and foresees increased production and sales for Reiss, a long-term supplier.

Reiss is a leading U.S. manufacturer of silicone rubber and specialty plastic molded products. Founded in 1896 and family-owned, Reiss opened its Blackstone plant in 1988 and remains an important local employer in Southside Virginia. A surge in sales in the electric power and automotive markets underpin this current growth.

Northrop Grumman Corporation, a global leader in security, employs more than 31,000 in Virginia, including 19,000 employees at the Newport News shipyard. Ten years ago engineers from the shipyard partnered with Reiss to develop the non-lead radiation shielding material to meet defense-related needs.

“Governor McDonnell and I have made clear that getting Virginia’s economy growing again and creating jobs is our top priority, and securing high-tech manufacturing jobs is a central strategy in our economic development efforts,” said Lieutenant Governor Bolling. “Reiss’ growth is evidence that Virginia’s business climate is being stimulated by our smart approach to economic development and business-friendly policies. The relationship between Northrop Grumman Corporation and Reiss, two important employers in Virginia, is a double win for the Commonwealth,” he added.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Reiss,” said Susan C. Brooks, manager of research and development at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. “It presents an opportunity to transition innovative defense technologies to commercial use and to simultaneously meet the growing demand for new alternatives for radiation shielding. The fact that it will help create new jobs for Southside Virginia is an extra benefit,” she added.

The shielding material, which Newport News Industrial markets under the name HotGuard™, is non-hazardous, flexible and easily molded. The versatile shielding material is relatively light and may be tailored for the most demanding shielding applications. Importantly, this material may be safely and inexpensively disposed of after use. This technology addresses the nuclear market’s main concerns, namely safety, environmental stewardship and cost.

“From the U.S. Navy to healthcare to commercial nuclear power plants, the mandate is clear: Get the Lead Out,” said Carl Reiss. “This technology provides a superior solution to that engineering and safety challenge,” he added.

For its expansion, Reiss is also collaborating with Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest, independent research and development organization, to assist with the transition into the commercial energy and healthcare markets. Battelle, manager or co-manager of seven national laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will advise Reiss on market opportunities and technical considerations.

“Battelle has a long history of innovations in the materials sciences and we’re glad to work cooperatively with Reiss and Northrop Grumman,” said Battelle’s Dr. Jay Sayre, a senior research scientist. “We see many commercial opportunities for this promising technology and will work to make those a reality.”

The Governor’s Commission on Economic Development led by Chief Jobs Creation Officer Bill Bolling, as well as members of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, has been instrumental in making Reiss’s job creation and the agreement with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding possible. All parties are optimistic the growth potential for this product will lead to well-paying jobs in Blackstone. “Virginia is a terrific state for employers and employees,” said Carl Reiss, “as evidenced by Virginia being the third-best-jobs-creating state last year.”

On March 10, 2011, Governor Bob McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling announced that Virginia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.5% in January, the lowest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth since March 2009. According to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey released on February 22, 2011, manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region has expanded for five straight months, while the national ISM Index released on March 1, 2011 shows strong growth in February, with 14 of 18 manufacturing industries reporting expansion (the Plastics & Rubber industry reported a contraction). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 31, 2010, Nottoway County’s unemployment rate stood at 8.4% while the adjacent counties of Mecklenburg and Halifax were 11.2%. On March 4, 2011, the U.S. Monthly Jobs report showed a national unemployment rate of 8.9%.

Several additional officials were in attendance, including The Honorable George W. Foresman, who has served in several senior posts in Virginia state government and most recently served as Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Admiral Jay Cohen, who had a most distinguished career in the Navy, including serving as Chief of Naval Research, before becoming Under Secretary for Science & Technology at the Department of Homeland Security; State Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr., who represents Blackstone in the Virginia House of Delegates; Blackstone’s mayor, William D. Coleburn, and several members of the Blackstone Town Council and Nottoway County Board of Supervisors.

To learn more about Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and his administration’s Jobs and Opportunity Agenda, please visit www.ltgov.virginia.gov.

To learn more about Newport News Industrial Corporation, please visit nni.nn.northropgrumman.com.

To learn more about Reiss Manufacturing, Inc., please visit www.reissmfg.com.

To learn more about Battelle Memorial Institute, please visit www.battelle.org.

Contact Information

The Honorable William T. “Bill” Bolling
Via Ibbie Hedrick
Director of Communications and Business Community Liaison
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
P. O. Box 1195
Richmond, VA 23218
Ibbie.Hedrick@ltgov.virginia.gov 804-786-2078 – office
804-677-0009 – cell

Susan C. Brooks, P.E.
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
4101 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
e: susan.brooks@ngc.com

Carl A. Reiss
Reiss Manufacturing, Inc.
1 Polymer Place
P.O. Box 60
Blackstone, VA 23824
e: creiss@reissmfg.com, p: 732-446-6100 x305

Katy Delaney
Battelle Media Relations Manager
505 King Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201-2693
e: delaneyk@battelle.org, p: 614-424-7208