Here’s a round-up of business news from around Southwest and Southside. Send items for possible inclusion to

Scott County manufacturer to expand; add 30 jobs

VFP Inc., a producer of custom-designed enclosures used to protect critical infrastructure for telecommunications, public-safety radio, data centers, and utility projects, will invest $7.2 million to expand its operation in Scott County, according to the governor’s office. This expansion will enable VFP to produce larger concrete shelters and meet future demand in the market. 

Virginia competed with Missouri and Oklahoma for the project, the governor’s office said.

Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, VFP Inc. develops customized enclosure solutions for protecting critical components. Each enclosure is designed to withstand a wide range of environmental and physical extremes. The company’s products include concrete and metal shelters, secure modular data centers, utility control houses, and Fiber To The Home huts, all of which directly support rural broadband industry growth. The Scott County operation is located in the Duffield Regional Industrial Park.

Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Scott County with the project. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority approved a $100,000 grant to the Scott County Economic Development Authority to assist VFP with workforce development and training. VFP Inc. is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Youngkin to hold “thank you” rallies in Scott County and Abingdon

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin will hold “thank you” rallies for supporters in Scott County and Abingdon on Tuesday. In between, he will package donations for the Abingdon Food Bank while an appearance at the Food City in Abingdon. His public schedule:

1 p.m.: Thank you rally at Scott County Telephone Cooperative

3:30 p.m.: Helps package donations at Food City, Abingdon

6 p.m.: Thank you rally at Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon

Rasoul blasts hedge fund’s bid for most Virginia dailies

Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, responded to the news that Alden Global Capital has offered to buy Lee Enterprises, which owns most of the daily newspapers in Virginia and many weeklies, especially in Southwest Virginia. Rasoul tweeted: “There is no greater threat to local journalism than Alden Capital.” Lee’s daily newspapers in Virginia are in Bristol, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Danville, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Richmond and Roanoke.

West Piedmont Planning District Commission adds housing planner

The West Piedmont Planning District Commission is adding a housing planner to support its support its Regional Housing Initiative. The Harvest Foundation in Martinsville is helping fund the position with a three-year commitment of $75,000. Earlier the Danville Regional Foundation also made a matching grant to help fund the position.

The WPPDC covers Franklin, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania counties, the cities of Martinsville and Danville, in addition to Rocky Mount. 

A release from The Harvest Foundation said: “As the need for quality housing grows throughout the region, the WPPDC Housing Initiative will launch with three key programs: a regional housing assessment and plan, a $2 million Affordable Housing Development Program, and capacity building to ensure that there’s someone thinking about regional housing opportunities every day. . . During the first two years of the housing initiative, the housing planner will focus solely on housing projects in Henry and Pittsylvania counties and the cities of Martinsville and Danville. In the third year, the planner will explore housing development opportunities in other WPPDC localities. The commission plans to fully fund the housing planner position in year four and beyond. “

Curator to deliver lecture at W&L

Michael R. Taylor, chief curator and deputy director for art and education at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VFMA) in Richmond, will deliver this year’s Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. in the Wilson Hall Auditorium

From 1997 to 2011, Taylor served as the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He then worked at Dartmouth College from 2011 to 2015 as the director for the Hood Museum of Art. In 2015, he was appointed as chief curator and deputy director for art and education at the VMFA.

Taylor’s study in art focuses on Dada and surrealism, and he has curated several exhibitions of such works, including “Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne,” “Salvador Dalí: The Centennial Retrospective,” “Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective” and “Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés.”

At W&L, Taylor will discuss the current exhibition at the VFMA, “Man Ray: The Paris Years,” which is open through Feb. 21, 2022.

“Man Ray: The Paris Years” is a collection of portrait photographs created by the American artist, Man Ray (the pseudonym of Emmanuel Radnitzky), in Paris between the two world wars. This collection established Ray’s reputation as one of the leading artists of his era.