by Matt Charles
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
announced yesterday the largest Chinese economic development
investment and job creation project in the history of the
Commonwealth — $2 billion and 2,000 jobs.
Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. Ltd., a world-leading pulp and paper company, will base this
economic development project at an 850-acre campus located at the
James River Industrial Center in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The
site borders Richmond, Virginia.
The project will bring jobs to
Virginia and will have direct and indirect economic impacts through
additional revenue for farmers and investment back into the
community through higher paying jobs at Tranlin. The economic
benefit to farmers in the region could exceed $50 million annually
upon completion of the project.
Jerry Zhiyuan Peng, chair and CEO of
Tranlin, has roots in Virginia. He is a 2003 alumnus of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees.
"The training at Darden and the
ongoing learning I received from the School over the years not only
prepared me for the challenges during my years in finance and
banking, but also equipped me with the broader perspective to take
on a rather entrepreneurial CEO role in this new endeavor," said
Peng. "There is much I learned that is constantly put into play
here - strategy, branding, sustainability and certain operational
insights. Even more important are building the trust, bridging the
gaps and resolving the problems on daily basis."
Tranlin developed an innovative
technology to make paper, using agricultural residuals, such as
corn and grain byproducts normally left in farm fields after
harvest. This process will allow for preservation of farmland and
further economic return. The harvest of straw in the spring and
corn stalks in the fall for use by Tranlin will offer two new cash
crops for Virginia producers, as they were previously waste that
did not act as a revenue stream.
The company has further harnessed
this environmentally sustainable technology to pioneer a method
that transforms the waste byproducts from the paper-making process
into organic fertilizer. From an ecological perspective, Tranlin
prides itself on a process that leads to an environmentally
friendly emission, resulting in the discharge of quality, clean
Peng commented, "The core of the
Tranlin model and history can be found in three words that I
believe are the future of the Chinese economy and business:
innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship."
Recognizing Darden's talented
student body and alumni, Tranlin hired Darden alumnus Yue Zhu (MBA
'14) and has brought on three of the School's rising Second Year
students as summer interns.
"Jerry offered me the opportunity to
join Tranlin, which would not have happened if I had not come to
Darden," said Zhu. "The project is extremely exciting because it
represents an increasingly popular trend of outbound investment led
by Chinese companies and also a unique chance to apply the general
management skills learned at Darden from day one. It is amazing to
work in a business that would benefit all the stakeholders,
especially consumers and farmers. This will be a historic deal, and
I am ecstatic to be part of it."
Peng noted that Tranlin is
headquartered in Shandong, China, home of Confucius — a philosopher
whose thought shapes much of Chinese culture. Peng added that it
was such a delightful coincidence that Tranlin would have its first
overseas investment in Virginia, home of Thomas Jefferson — the
U.Va. founder and author of the Declaration of Independence whose
ideas permeate U.S. culture and history.
Governor McAuliffe said, "Advanced
manufacturing jobs are the heart of a strong and growing
21st century economy, and this investment symbolizes the
economic recovery taking place across the nation, and will be
transformational for the economy of Chesterfield County and the
surrounding region. The opportunity to welcome a leading, global
company's first U.S. manufacturing operation and simultaneously
strengthen Virginia's relationship with China is invaluable."
About the Darden School of
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is
one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D.
and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience
combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research
advances global managerial practice and business education, and a
tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete
leaders who are ready to make an impact.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia
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