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High-tech tour highlights community college connection to auto part maker

A top executive for an Italian company with an expanding Botetourt County factory took a tour Wednesday of new labs at Virginia Western Community College that could well be training future employees. He liked what he saw.

“It’s amazing to me,” said Luca Forte, corporate supply chain director and board member of automotive electronics company Eldor Corp. He expressed admiration for the college’s improvements to its mechatronics offerings. “What you can feel here, is these guys have a project. They don’t just do things as they happen. They know what they want to do, they know where they want to go.”

Four years ago, he and his father, Eldor President, CEO and founder Pasquale Forte, traveled from Italy to Virginia Western for a tour of the school’s mechatronics lab. They were impressed with the program then, and the certainty that the region was training skilled high-tech workers who could start right away in one of their plants contributed to their decision to open one in Botetourt Center at Greenfield, the county’s industrial park.

“One of the big draws for Eldor originally was being able to have a resource like Virginia Western so close by,” said Assistant to the Botetourt County Administrator Cody Sexton. When Eldor announced its plans in March 2016, “it was at the time one of the largest announcements in the region,” he said. “The impact of the location and the jobs can’t be overestimated.”

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