Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 7, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Economic Development Partnership: Suzanne Clark,

Governor Northam Announces Plasser American to Expand in Chesapeake, Creating 98 New Jobs

Railway maintenance equipment manufacturer will increase production capacity with $52.6 million investment

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Plasser American Corporation, a manufacturer of railway construction and maintenance equipment, will invest $52.6 million to expand in the City of Chesapeake. The company will add a 45,000-square-foot, three-story office building and a new 82,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to increase production capacity. The investment plan also involves the renovation of existing infrastructure and the addition of manufacturing equipment, including an updated industrial paint booth. Plasser American will create 98 new jobs and acquire three adjoining properties to accommodate the expansion. 

“Plasser American has been a valued employer and corporate partner to Virginia and the City of Chesapeake since the opening of its manufacturing facility 50 years ago,” said Governor Northam. “Companies like Plasser with deep ties in our Commonwealth understand the competitive advantages of the region’s infrastructure, access to The Port of Virginia, and world-class workforce. Growing Virginia’s substantial manufacturing industry is key to rebuilding from this public health crisis, and we thank Plasser American for playing an important role in our ongoing recovery efforts.”

Based in the City of Chesapeake since 1970, Plasser American Corporation is a railway track maintenance equipment manufacturer that has adapted its products to the North American railroad and transit system. The company also provides railway inspections and railway repair vehicle services. After experiencing exponential growth over the last few years, Plasser American currently has more than 300 employees at its Chesapeake operation. The company also has a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program that enables apprentices to gain hands-on experience while studying at Tidewater Community College.

“Plasser American continues to be a major contributor to Hampton Roads’ economy, and this major investment reaffirms the company’s commitment to the City of Chesapeake,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The Commonwealth is committed to providing the necessary training resources so that hardworking Virginians can continue to learn new skills, and we are proud to build on our long-term partnership with Plasser in its next phase of growth.”

“As a shipper of railway track maintenance equipment, rail access plays a unique role in Plasser’s ability to grow operations and service new markets,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The Rail Industrial Access program is one of the tools the Commonwealth has to ensure economic development opportunities reliant on rail service consider Virginia a competitive option for business.”

“This historical project is our proof of trust in the North American railroad system and confidence in the United States economy,” said Thomas Blechinger, President of Plasser American. “I am proud of our company’s development in the United States over the last six decades and here in Chesapeake for 50 years. This milestone is our chance to show our commitment to the region and to support local talent, employees, and suppliers.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Chesapeake Economic Development Authority and The Port of Virginia to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $450,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Chesapeake with the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program, as well as the Railroad Industrial Access Program, which is administered by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and subject to approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Funding and services to support Plasser American’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 

“As they celebrate 50 years in Chesapeake, it is exciting to applaud Plasser American and thank the company for its continued commitment to our city and our citizens,” said Mayor of the City of Chesapeake Rick West. “This expansion will bring not only new jobs and economic benefits to the community, but it will serve as a catalyst for Plasser to continue the innovative, vital work they do to keep our nation moving forward. We are proud to have the company in our community, and even more proud to be part of helping them continue to thrive.”

“Plasser American has been an outstanding corporate citizen to our city for nearly 50 years,” said Steven Wright, Director of Economic Development for the City of Chesapeake. “This expansion will not only bring a significant amount of jobs—it will also completely reshape the current facility into a state-of-the-art campus for future growth.”

“When a company like Plasser American leverages the benefits of The Port of Virginia to expand its operations, it is good news for Virginia because the results are economic investment and job creation,” said Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John F. Reinhart. “This is a growing, heavy-equipment manufacturer that will be able to continue its expansion in Chesapeake, in part, because of the investments we are making in our port to increase access to global markets.” 

“I am happy that Plasser American is expanding the commitment it made to Chesapeake 50 years ago,” said Senator Lionell Spruill, Sr. “Having their expertise in the 5th District working with railroad and vehicle safety is crucial to Hampton Roads and economic opportunities for the citizens in our region.”

“Plasser American Corporation is a valuable contributor to the regional economy of Hampton Roads, and I am excited to see them expand operations in the City of Chesapeake,” said Delegate C.E. Cliff Hayes, Jr. “I am proud for Plasser American to call my district home and congratulate them on continued success.”

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