With the help of local leaders, a hometown boy is planning to build two new plants and employ an estimated 100 workers in Marion County. Led by CEO and Whitwell native Dwight Bryant, Bryant Enterprises will devote the next two years to establishing manufacturing bases in the area for Innovated South, a metal fabrication company, and Prologue, a pioneering approach to fire logs.
“I wanted to bring something back to the community and the people that mean so much to me,” said Bryant, who has been a business leader in southern Virginia for more than three decades. He credits the responsiveness and hard work of state and local government with facilitating his decision to locate the two companies in Whitwell. He said, “In every aspect of this project, we have encountered nothing but enthusiasm, cooperation and assistance, and County Mayor John Graham has worked tirelessly with us to bring these good jobs to Marion County.”
Innovated South will be modeled on the company Bryant already heads in Newport News, Virginia. Started in the 1970s, Innovated Machine and Tool Co. has grown under his leadership into a multi-million dollar business with more than fifty dedicated employees and solid loyal customers. Despite the tough economy, the premier metal fabricator in Virginia has doubled its business in recent years by a combination of investment in more automation and attention to exceptional service, positioning themselves as the “go to source” for their customers.
Prologue will be the first company of its kind in the United States. As a member of the efficiency committee for Newport News, Bryant was charged with improving local collection of leaves. The Prologue process takes this renewable resource and turns it, along with other wood bio-mass normally headed to the landfill, such as tree trimmings, storm debris, and other materials, into a truly green fire log. As Bryant manufactures Prologues, and eventually the machinery required by the process, it will create additional opportunities for the workforce of Whitwell and Marion County.
“The future of our local economy will depend upon the vision of entrepreneurs like Dwight Bryant, and the fact that he was raised here is a real source of pride,” said Mayor Graham. “I am delighted that we have been able to partner with Bryant Enterprises for the people of Marion County, and I am looking forward to seeing the wider impact of these new businesses and new jobs on our communities.”