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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March. 8, 2011
Jacqueline Proctor, (304) 558-2000
Catherine Zacchi, (304) 957-9340
Governor Releases March “Open for Business” Report
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today released the latest “Open for Business” report documenting the state’s economic progress. The March 2011 report highlights projects and related announcements from businesses both large and small that will assist with the creation of new jobs and the preservation of existing jobs.
Toyota plans $64 million expansion, 40 new jobs, for Putnam County plant
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia announced plans to invest $64 million in its plant in Buffalo. The project will expand production of 6-speed automatic transmissions. The expansion is expected to create 40 new jobs. The Buffalo plant currently produces 6-speed transmissions for V6 models including the Avalon, Camry, Lexus RX350, Sienna and Venza.
Greenbrier County manufacturer adds 50 jobs
ABB Instrumentation has added 50 jobs and expanded production lines at its Lewisburg plant during the last six months. The expansion is in response to an upswing in demand for the company’s products which include gas chromatographers and pH sensors. ABB is a power and automation technology firm with operations in 100 countries.
New pipeline to bring 100 construction jobs to Preston County
A groundbreaking event for the new Superior Appalachian Pipeline Co.’s midstream natural gas pipeline was held recently near Bruceton Mills. The 16-mile pipeline will extend across the Pennsylvania border. The project is expected to bring more than 100 construction jobs to Preston County. After the pipeline is completed this summer, company officials report, new natural gas jobs will follow.
Two Randolph County contact centers hiring additional work force
TRG Customer Solutions and Power Direct in Elkins plan to hire more employees. TRG’s current level of 225 jobs could increase up to 275 by the end of April. TRG has a contract to handle in-bound and out-bound customer service calls for AT&T in areas such as customer payments, bill inquiries and new service orders. Power Direct anticipates growing its current level of 35 jobs up to 120 by fall 2011. Power Direct serves business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.
Packaging plant to create 15 jobs in Hancock County
A new packaging plant is scheduled to open in Weirton in April. ITW/Fleetwood-Signode is shifting steel packaging operations from its facility in Canada and transferring newly-acquired Rig Packaging to Weirton. The move is expected create 15 new jobs in Hancock County. The packaging will be housed in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse.
Jefferson County auto performance firm expands product portfolio
STaSIS Engineering has acquired the assets of Mead, Washington-based Eurojet Development, a company that engineers leading-edge performance components for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. The acquisition will give STaSIS a broader range of quality performance products. Eurojet products will be sold by STaSIS under the Eurojet brand. Two jobs will also be transferred from Eurojet to STaSIS. The company anticipates adding two more positions later this year as the new product line grows. Summit Point-based STaSIS specializes in high-performance automotive components. In 2009, STaSIS moved its corporate headquarters from California to West Virginia after being recruited by the West Virginia Development Office, West Virginia Economic Development Authority and West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust (WVJIT). The state’s venture capital firm WVJIT is a lead investor in STaSIS.
Pilot program to mentor entrepreneurships in sustainability
A select group of young people and construction and design professionals who have agreed to become partners, advisors and mentors will embark this month on a six-month pilot program called EDISON.21. The program is designed to engage a new generation of entrepreneurs who will invent jobs in West Virginia’s communities of the future. WVGreenWorks.com created EDISON.21. Project partners are the Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council and the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board, which selected 15 initial program trainees who will work with West Virginia-based advisors and sustainable-community experts in Pittsburgh, Pa., Richmond, Va., San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, DC. Builders, architects, educators, community planners and leaders will work with the group as they explore cutting-edge concepts in sustainable community retrofitting and design.
Researchers receive $100,000 grant for biometric security project
The National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded a $100,000 grant to West Virginia University (WVU) researchers to improve biometric security systems. WVU researchers will collaborate with New York’s Clarkson University to study technologies to detect fake biometric traits such as counterfeit fingerprints using latex.
West Virginia receives $325,000 grant to support small businesses
The West Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) received a $325,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses start up or expand. The one-time grant was funded under a key provision of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 signed by President Barack Obama, providing grants to SBA’s Small Business Development Centers across the country to support job creation and retention. The grant will allow the West Virginia SBDC to hire additional business coaches, deploy SBDC’s new comprehensive Three Step Jump Start training, enhance services to technology entrepreneurs and hire industry-based contractors to serve technology-based economic development clients.
WVSBDC business coach earns technology counseling certification
Jamie Gaucher, a business coach with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC), is one of only 16 business coaches in the U.S. to pass the exam for Technology Counselor Certification at the recent Association of Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) conference. He is now one of only 39 certified technology business coaches nationally. The ASBDC technology certification is for coaches who assist high-technology businesses with commercialization and growth. Gaucher manages the West Virginia Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. The federal SBIR/STTR programs provide a billion dollars each year in early-stage research and development awards and contracts to small technology companies. The WVSBDC is part of the West Virginia Development Office and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
State’s first entrepreneurial Certified Development Community goes to Boone County
The Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation has earned the state’s first entrepreneurial track designation as a Certified Development Community (CDC). The West Virginia CDC program prepares communities across the state to respond to the needs of existing and prospective business and industry. The rigorous requirements for the entrepreneurial certification include establishing an entrepreneurial leadership team visitation protocol, community assessment and strategic planning. Recognition as a Certified Development Community includes the placement of special highway signs at the county's borders that identify the area as being well-suited for consideration by prospective businesses.
Marble maker is first toymaker certified “Made in USA”
Marble King has been crowned with “Made in the USA” certification. The Paden City-based marble company is the first U.S. children’s toy manufacturer licensed to use the certification seal. To earn the “Made in the USA” seal, products must be fully audited and certified as having virtually all of their core components manufactured or grown in the United States and all of their assembly verified as conducted in the U.S. “Made in USA –Certified” is an independent, non-government organization. Marble King President Beri Fox appeared on The Colbert Report, The Martha Stewart Show and most recently on Fox Business News to talk about supporting American manufacturers. Links to view the segments are available on the Marble King website www.marbleking.com.
Tourism reports numbers for 2010 show increase
The West Virginia Division of Tourism recorded increased visitor and hotel figures for 2010. Room demand climbed 9.1 percent. July 2010 recorded the highest room demand since Tourism began tracking in 2002. The number of visitors to the state’s Welcome Centers also grew 5.9 percent.
Lewisburg ranks as #1 “Coolest Small Town”
Lewisburg in Greenbrier County is at the top of the list for “America’s Coolest Small Towns.” The town will be featured in the September issue of “Budget Travel.”
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