From its history as a center of concrete production to its growing reputation as hotbed for advanced industries, the Victor Valley has a rich manufacturing heritage that continues to evolve.
A host of competitive advantages are driving growth in the region's advanced manufacturing sector. They include a pro-business environment, affordable and abundant property, a large pool of skilled labor and a favorable geographic location with multimodal transportation links via road, rail and air.
The manufacturing sector today in Victor Valley features the production of items like brand-name furniture, detergents, food and beverages, construction materials, automotive parts and aviation components.
Globally known manufacturers with a presence in the region include Arden Furniture, Church & Dwight, ConAgra Foods, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Nutro Products and Plastipak.
The presence of Southern California Logistics Airport, which is part of a large Global Access-Victorville industrial development, has drawn aerospace and aviation companies such as GE Aviation and ARC Aerospace Industries. GE Aviaiton in March 2018 tested its new GE9X engine, made for Boeing’s 777x next-generation wide-body passenger jet, at its facility in Victorville. GE9X is the largest jet engine in the world.
Rubber Meets the Road
A roster of innovative homegrown manufacturers is flourishing in the region, including Reid Products in Apple Valley, which makes fasteners and machined parts for the aerospace, medical and racing industries. In Victorville, success stories include K&S Metal Products/Repairs, Sumiden Wire Products and DeVoll Rubber Manufacturing Group.
DeVoll is a family business that started in Los Angeles County. The company specializes in custom rubber extrusions for all types of applications, with customers in industries including aerospace, automotive, utilities and chemicals. Southern California Gas Co. is one of its biggest customers.
“Being in Victorville allows us to be close enough to our supplier base in L.A. County but gives our employees better cost of living advantages,” says Stacy DeVoll, the company's vice president of operations.
“Most of our customers are other rubber companies that don’t have the fabrication and rubber-cutting capabilities that we have, so we do a lot of work for companies in Southern California," she says. “Another good point about doing business in Victor Valley is that we are in the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, where the regulatory environment is so much better than in other parts of California.”
In Adelanto, successful manufacturers include Scott Turbon Mixer and Exquadrum, a design, engineering, building and testing company whose customers include commercial aerospace companies and the military.
Exquadrum President Eric Schmidt agrees that having the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District as the region’s regulatory agency is a plus for area manufacturers.
“Yes, the district has air quality regulations it must follow, but officials also recognize the importance of having successful businesses in communities throughout Victor Valley,” Schmidt says. “Effective processes are in place thanks to forward-leaning policymakers.”
Exquadrum is a research and development aerospace company that also does advanced manufacturing primarily in the rocket industry for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and commercial rocket companies.
“I grew up in this region and never wanted to move away because Victor Valley is a cost-effective location to do business with reasonable land costs,” Schmidt says. “Also, there is ample power, gas, water and sewer services at the Adelanto and Victorville locations where Exquadrum is doing business.”
In addition, Schmidt adds that vocational education in the region is growing in significance, with Victor Valley College and its Victor Valley College Foundation working to establish vocational and technical programs that are in tune with the needs of area companies.
“Vocational and professional programs are ideal for people who aren’t necessarily going the collegiate route but want good careers in advanced manufacturing, construction, health care, industrial applications, solar and wind energy and more,” he says. “There is good collaboration these days between Victor Valley College, officials in all Victor Valley cities, chambers in all the cities and the business community. Everyone is getting more aggressive about technical growth in this region.”