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Area’s German link may mean business

A memorial foundation dedicated to the history of early German settlers in the Fredericksburg area welcomed representatives from six German companies in the green energy business on Monday.

The German business officials came to Virginia for today’s German American Bioenergy Conference in Richmond.

The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia Inc. arranged for the representatives to come to the Fredericksburg area Monday to encourage them to make local investments and learn more about the region’s history.

Under the leadership of Virginia Colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood, German immigrants established the Germanna colonies between Culpeper and Fredericksburg in the early 18th century. Many descendants continue to live in the area.

The companies—Eisenmann Biogas, EnviTec Biogas, Schmack Biogas, Dieffenbacher, Herbert Meitinger and Vecoplan—are involved with biogas and biomass technologies. Some of them are in areas of Germany where the original local settlers came from.

Marc Wheat, who is president of The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia Inc., worked with the German American Chamber of Commerce in New York to arrange the visit. He said he hopes the companies might make local investments that could help area farms, landfills, utility companies and hospitals convert waste into energy.

The German officials toured a LEED Silver-certified building at Germanna Community College in Spotsylvania County before attending a reception at the memorial foundation’s visitor center adjacent to the community college’s Locust Grove campus.

Economic development and elected officials from Warrenton and Orange, Culpeper and Madison counties attended along with Germanna Community College executives.

The memorial foundation and community college are not affiliated, but the foundation gave the college 100 acres for its Locust Grove campus in 1969. The two entities continue to have a close relationship.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405