Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will be joined by fellow Southern governors at what is being billed as the South’s premier manufacturing conference next month.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour plans to head to Virginia next month. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

McDonnell serves as chairman of the group — a nonpartisan public policy think tank based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He chose to focus this year’s conference on advanced manufacturing and job creation in the South.

“As governor, I am focused on job creation and economic development and believe that the South is primed to capture the potential of the manufacturing industry,” McDonnell said. “The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 21 percent of global manufactured products. Manufacturing creates sustainable, value-added jobs, and Virginia is open for business and is working to attract additional expansion of its manufacturing job base.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey M. Lacker and officials from Altria Group, Williams Mullen, Norfolk Southern and Huntington Ingalls Industries are expected to address the conference.