Morris South Announces Partnership with the Southern Virginia Center of Manufacturing Excellence

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The regional distributor of CNC machine tools will serve as an advanced technology and training partner with the education center located in South Boston, Virginia.

Morris South and SoVA CME announcement photo

(L-R) David Kenealy of SoVA CME and Kevin Wigington of Morris South are joined by Michael McDaniel, Capital Account Manager, and Keith Wilson, VP of Sales, Morris South.

I believe that SoVA CME has tremendous potential to help regional manufacturers become more competitive on a global basis, perfectly complementing Morris South’s mission statement and commitment to our customers.

Morris South, a division of Morris Group, Inc., has formally partnered with the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) and The SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) located in South Boston, Virginia, to support the advancement of manufacturing in Virginia and surrounding states. The regional machine tool distributor is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It supplies new CNC machinery, tooling, accessories, automation, software plus other related technology and customer support services to users of metal cutting machinery from all sectors of manufacturing including the automotive, aerospace, energy, and medical industries in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.

SoVA CME was established in response to findings from a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group for the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (now named the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission) and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (C-CAM). The consulting firm reported a need for advanced technical training to prepare southern and southwest Virginia for advanced manufacturing jobs that exist today and will grow in the future. Danville Community College and Southside Virginia Community College are educational partners in SoVA CME; all three campuses will deliver foundational training in welding, precision machining, and industrial maintenance/mechatronics. The initiative is funded by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

“Area manufacturers are fortunate to have this gem of a resource at their disposal to learn about advanced technology and to train staff in the operation and maintenance of CNC machinery,” said Kevin Wigington, President, Morris South. “I believe that SoVA CME has tremendous potential to help regional manufacturers become more competitive on a global basis, perfectly complementing Morris South’s mission statement and commitment to our customers.”

Morris South’s partnership with SoVA CME entails the supply of CNC machinery and a cross-training program for the programming, operation, maintenance, and servicing of machine tools. In May, Morris South installed an Okuma GENOS L300-M turning center, an Okuma GENOS M560-V vertical machining center, an Okuma HJ250E turning center, and a Bridgeport GX 1000 vertical machining center in the 8700-square-foot precision machining lab within SoVA CME. Other equipment in the precision machining lab includes a 5-axis CNC waterjet, manual machinist mills and lathes, 3-axis and 5-axis CNC routers, 3D printers, reverse engineering laser scanning technology, and a variety of complementary machining stations.

In addition to the precision machining area, SoVA CME houses a multi-station computer lab for CAD/CAE/CAM training equipped with Siemen’s NX software and work areas for industrial maintenance or “mechatronics” training, welding, and woodworking.

In addition to serving as a technology advisor and training partner with SoVA CME, Morris South is expected to utilize SoVA CME as a training and demonstration site for its customers. The facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art training classroom with amphitheater seating and large projection screen. SoVA CME is housed in a campus of historical buildings that were renovated and modernized in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s historic preservation guidelines.

"We are honored to have Morris South join with us in the SoVA CME partnership. Their expertise, experience, and support bolster our ability to provide existing and future manufacturers in the region with industry-certified workforce training, advanced technology adoption, and high-quality customized production runs,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director. “The combined resources of all our SoVA CME partners – SVHEC, DCC, SVCC, Virginia Technical Institute, Siemens, and C-CAM – are positioning southern Virginia as a distinctive, manufacturing-friendly venue for industry. And this is exactly what the Virginia Tobacco Commission had in mind when the centers of manufacturing excellence were established in 2014," she continued.

“It has been a supreme privilege to work with Morris South on the build-out of the SoVA CME precision machining program. Totally aligned to the original intent of this economic development and workforce training initiative, Morris South has proactively provided the guidance and the “voice” of industry,” said David Kenealy, SoVA CME Director of Programming. “The product line that Morris South distributes represents the same tier-one technology that manufacturers within southern Virginia, those who are expanding upon their manufacturing capabilities as well as those considering relocating to this region, would expect to see as assets within our training program. The SoVA CME could not have a better partner than Morris South as we implement this exciting initiative,” he continued.

“We’ve seen sweeping changes within the industry during Morris South’s thirty-five-year history and that of our parent company, Morris Group, Inc. which dates back to 1941. We can comfortably pledge to remain adaptive to the needs of SoVA CME, our customers, and manufacturing as a whole over the long-run,” Wigington concluded.

For more information about SoVA CME, email information(at)svhec(dot)org or call 1-800-283-0098.
For more information about Morris South, email info(at)morrissouth(dot)com or call 704-523-6008.

About Morris South

Morris South (, a division of Morris Group, Inc., is the exclusive distributor of Okuma, Tsugami, Bridgeport, and Hardinge Group machine tools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Chiron and Kira machine tools are available throughout the distribution region except in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. A full service company, Morris South sources and supplies new CNC machine tools, tooling, accessories, software and other productivity enhancing technology from leading industry suppliers for its customers. Morris South provides emergency, repair and preventive maintenance services; replacement parts, application engineering support including turnkeys; needs analysis, financing, training, installation and disposition of retired machinery. Originally founded in 1980 as Machine Tool Systems, LLC, Morris South is a member of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and an Advanced Technology and Training Partner of the Southern Virginia Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME).

About Morris Group, Inc.

Morris Group, Inc. (, one of North America’s largest machine tool supply networks, owns fourteen independently operated business units. It supplies CNC machine tools and related technology and services to manufacturers from virtually every industry segment. Morris Group, Inc. is headquartered in Windsor, Connecticut, home of its founding company, The Robert E. Morris Company, which has served the manufacturing industry since 1941.

The mission of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center ( is to advance southern Virginia’s economic potential through education, innovation, and collaboration. The SVHEC provides educational access and workforce training. With 120,000 square feet of educational and workforce training space in two historically renovated buildings, the SVHEC is focused on re-tooling southern Virginia’s rural workforce for jobs in the new economy. The SVHEC is a collaborative partner with Danville Community College and Southside Virginia Community College in the SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME). SoVA CME provides training leading to advanced and specialty credentials in welding, precision machining, and industrial maintenance/mechatronics.

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