When their No. 1 customer and the largest employer in Franklin announced it was closing its paper plant and laying off 1,100 workers in 2009, it was a dramatic blow to Highground Services. Yet the engineering and consulting firm, formed in 2006, trudged on, even hiring 24 employees who were laid off at the plant. Many of their new hires helped form relationships with new customers, and today, the company boasts multiple “anchor” clients. Along the way, the firm bolstered its ability to seek government contracts by locating in an area underutilized by businesses. The firm not only located its headquarters in the so-called HUBZone, but many of their employees live there also.
“Our company was establishing itself when our largest customer announced they were shutting down. Not only was this devastating for our community and friends, it was potentially devastating to our new business. When the closure was announced, the mill represented 50 percent of our business. Rather than seeing the event as life giving us a lemon, we decided to make lemonade. We hired many of the displaced workers, and used their talents to expand our business in ways that we could not have imagined.”
Rose Warren, CEO
601 North Mechanic Street
Franklin, Virginia 23851