Highground Services outgrows Franklin Incubator

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The City of Franklin and Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. announce that Highground Services Inc. is graduating from the Franklin Business Incubator and plans to revitalize a vacant building in Downtown Franklin.

Highground Services Inc. has grown from its 4 employees based in the Franklin Business Incubator to 65 employees. The company will move into a nearby building and establish its headquarters. -- SUBMITTED

Highground Services Inc. has grown from its 4 employees based in the Franklin Business Incubator to 65 employees. The company will move into a nearby building and establish its headquarters. — SUBMITTED

Highground Services Inc. is a multi-faceted service and engineering company located in Franklin and Newport News. The company provides a complete line of electrical, instrumentation, engineering and environmental needs. Their staff serves a broad base of needs for commercial and industrial customers from engineering and design to maintenance, construction, repair services and operations. Highground Services Inc. has conducted many major projects in the Hampton Roads area including the Jordan Bridge, a $2 million design and build project completed on time with zero safety problems.

Pending final action following a public hearing of the Franklin City Council scheduled for Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., the former Franklin Power and Light Office located at 500 N. Mechanic St., will be sold to Highground Services Inc. The vacant facility will be renovated by Highground Services Inc., and transformed into their corporate headquarters resulting in a significant economic development announcement for the City of Franklin.

With over 65 employees and an annual payroll in excess of $3 million, Highground Services Inc. is one of the top 20 private employers in the City of Franklin.

“We are thrilled to be able to maintain our headquarters in the City of Franklin and specifically within the downtown area,” CEO Jim Strozier said. “We would like to thank our employees that are the most critical component to our success, as well as Franklin City Council for their support and commitment allowing us to remain in Franklin. Benefiting from the program at the Franklin Business Incubator managed by Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. has been vital to our success. We started in the incubator with four employees, and have grown the company to over 65 employees, and the flexibility afforded us by the Incubator was critical to our growth. The program allowed us to start, grow and expand our business to the point where we are prepared to graduate and remain an active member of the in the Franklin Southampton business community.”

He later added, “We would hope to have the transaction completed before the end of the year. That gives us six weeks to close and then start renovating, and probably 10 months to complete the renovations.”

Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn added, “The opportunity to retain an existing business of this caliber within our city limits is a true win for our local economy. It demonstrates the success of the Franklin Business Incubator and highlights our efforts to provide an environment that allows small businesses to grow and prosper in our community. We are pleased to maintain Highground Services Inc. as a corporate citizen of the City of Franklin.”

E. Warren Beale Jr., chairman of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., said, “Today’s announcement echoes why our investment in our existing businesses and small business development is critical to the success of our local economy. While it is critical to focus on the recruitment of new business and industry, encouraging local small businesses to grow into successful community focused operations such as Highground Services Inc. is just as important. We are proud to retain them in our community and look forward to their future growth and success in Franklin Southampton.”

Highground Services Inc. has been the recipient of the following awards and recognitions:

  • 2009 Donna Noble Outstanding Virginia Incubator Client Award
  • 2010 National Business Incubator Association First Runner Up Client of the Year Award
  • 2011 Franklin Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year
  • 2011 University of Virginia Darden School of Business Tayloe-Murphy Resilience Award

Major clients of Highground Services Inc. include:

  • International Paper
  • Huntington Ingalls
  • Elizabeth River Crossings
  • Smithfield Foods
  • Enviva
  • Hampton Farms
  • Hubbard Peanut Company