Machining & Metal Fabrication

A stable, business-friendly operating environment, availability of reliable and competitively priced electricity service options, and access to appropriately skilled talent are amongst Washington County’s locational advantages for companies which utilize machining and metal fabrication production processes.

Interesting Facts

Tax Burden

Virginia ranks #2 for the overall tax burden of mature labor-intensive manufacturing firms (Tax Foundation – Location Matters, 2015).

Business-Friendly Operating Environment

Virginia consistently ranks amongst the nation’s top states for business (CNBC, Forbes), include Top 3 rankings for regulatory environment (Forbes, 2019). The northernmost Right-to-Work State on the East Coast, Virginia ranks third (tied) for the nation’s lowest union membership rates (BLS, 2019)


Over 2,000 individuals are employed in Primary Metal Manufacturing, Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing, and Machinery Manufacturing firms across the Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN/VA MSA (BLS, 2019). Programs at regional community colleges offer a wide array of training programs supporting this industry sector including: Precision Machining, Welding, Computer Numerical Controls, Mechatronics, and Production Technology.

Key Washington County Employers

HAPCO Pole ProductsArchitectural Lighting and Flag Poles
Columbus McKinnon CorporationChain Hoists
General EngineeringHydraulic Cylinders for Heavy Equipment
Appalachian Cast ProductsAluminum Foundry
W&W/AFCO SteelSteel Fabrication
XCAL ToolsDrilling Bits and Carbide Tooling Products
AFL GlobalFoundry/Castings
Wolf Hills FabricatorsMetal Fabrication
Mountain Top Custom KennelsCustom Kennels, Metal Fabrication, Machine Shop
Central Machine ShopMachine Shop
Glade Machine CompanyMachine Shop
Virginia Metals, Inc. Metal Fabrication
Virginia LaserLaser Cutting, Metal Forming, Machining
Virginia Highlands MachiningMachine Shop
Zenith Fuel SystemsCarburetors and Machining Services
AZZ GalvanizingZinc Galvanization
Highlands Industrial MillwrightMillwright Services
Lilly Tool and DieMachine Shop
Big R BridgeMetal Fabrication
Abingdon Steel Steel Fabrication
SPIGGuardrail Products
American Mountain TechnologiesMetal Fabrication- Storage Containers for Nuclear Products

Business Spotlight

HAPCO Pole Products is a leading manufacturer of aluminum and steel architectural and lighting pole products for use in commercial and industrial, electric utility, transportation infrastructure, and OEM markets.  Located in Washington County, VA since 1962, HAPCO recently completed an expansion project which added new jobs and over $7 million of new investment to the community, including 60,000 SF of additional space to support completion a dedicated steel manufacturing facility.  

Comparative Wages for Machining & Metal Fabrication

 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019)

OccupationsKingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSAChicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSAPittsburgh, PA MSACleveland-Elyria, OH MSAU.S. Average
Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic $14.54$18.28$19.71$17.77$18.47
Sheet Metal Workers$17.60$34.61$27.15$29.09$26.19
Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$15.19$19.12$20.17$18.87$18.20
Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$17.19$19.19$16.68$17.33$18.31
Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$12.55$17.34$16.12$16.20$16.67