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Tobacco Commission helps fund technology company’s SWVA expansion

Mike Still • Mar 10, 2020 at 2:30 PM

 ABINGDON — A $140,000 Virginia Tobacco Commission grant has helped attract an information technology company’s planned $1.15 million expansion into Washington County.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced 1901 Group’s third Virginia operation in the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator in Abingdon.

The 1901 Group Operations Center location will bring 150 new jobs to Southwest Virginia, Northam said during a ceremony in Abingdon on Monday. 1901 Group already has its corporate offices in Fairfax County and an operations center in Montgomery County.

“1901 Group’s operations across diverse parts of Virginia are benefitting from our world-class workforce and higher education institutions that prepare the next generation of IT professionals for the 21st century jobs offered by the company,” Northam said. “We are confident that the Washington County Operations Center will be another success story for 1901 Group.”

1901 Group CEO Sonu Singh said the Abingdon operation fits with his company’s business model of developing an information technology workforce in rural communities with access to higher education institutions.

“Abingdon fits that profile with its access to embedded talent at nearby universities and community colleges,” Singh said.

1901 Group provides cloud and cybersecurity services for customers moving from onsite IT infrastructure and support to improve service and reduce costs. The company’s customers include local, state and federal agencies, law enforcement and criminal justice and commercial businesses.

Tobacco Commission Chairman and 1st District state Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, said that 1901 Group’s move into Southwest Virginia represents help from another regional initiative, InvestSWVA, which began in 2019 looking at ways to bring technology businesses into the region.

$140,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds went toward the project. 1901 Group could also receive state benefits from the state Department of Housing and Community Development’s Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will help with funding and services for employee training.

“As part of the Tobacco Commission’s efforts to jumpstart economic development in our region, I’m proud to co-chair InvestSWVA, which is playing a strategic role in helping 1901 Group develop a high-powered and sustainable IT ecosystem in Southwest Virginia,” Kilgore, an Invest SWVA co-chair, said. “Today’s announcement sends the strong signal that Southwest Virginia is open for business and is focused on attracting high-tech talent, a key GO Virginia Region One priority.”

“1901 Group has an established presence throughout the commonwealth, and we are proud that the company recognized our talented workforce, infrastructure and quality of life as assets for its third installation,” said 40th District state Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon.

Virginia competed with localities in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia for the project.

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