“I keep trying to make the point that, just as 30 years ago the Japanese auto manufacturers decided to build plants in the US for political and business reasons, we are getting close to that same tipping point with Indian IT and business product companies as they continue to expand. They need to look at becoming global companies with operations in the US.”

His work is paying off. While in Mumbai, he announced that Essel Propack America, LLC, an India-based specialty packaging company, will invest $15m in its Danville manufacturing facility. “This company is owned by one of the larger Indian conglomerates,” Mr Warner remarks. “Getting them to put a toe in Virginia has a great ripple affect.”


Meanwhile, he continues to court European FDI. His big wins include the $450m Maersk Terminal at the Port of Virginia by AP Moller-Maersk Group of Denmark; and a $265m expansion in Petersburg by Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals of Germany.

He makes an effort to attract companies throughout Virginia, particularly rural areas. “Northern Virginia is our low-hanging fruit,” he says. “But I also encourage them to put south-west and southern Virginia on their radar screen.” Incentives include direct grants from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and for workforce training, transport improvements and limited bureaucratic interference. “We emphasise grants more than tax incentives,” he says. “The fact that Virginia has its finances in order, offers world-class higher education and is well managed makes it shine as an overall package.”

Another plus is that the governor hails from the private business sector. “This allows me to speak the same language as the business leaders with whom I meet,” he says.