WV EDGE Business Report | January 2015

Published Wednesday, January 7, 2015 @ 1:43 PM by Andrew.C.King@wv.gov (Andrew King)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 7, 2015

CONTACT:
Chris Stadelman, 304-558-4977
Catherine Zacchi, 304-957-9340

Governor Tomblin Releases January Edge Business Report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today released the West Virginia Edge Business Report, highlighting the state’s economic progress. The January 2015 report features projects and announcements from businesses, both large and small, that play a critical role in the Mountain State’s continued economic growth.

Governor Tomblin announces the elimination of the Business Franchise Tax
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the elimination of the Business Franchise Tax, effective Jan. 1, 2015. The removal is the latest step in a series of reductions that have improved West Virginia's business climate and led to new investments across the state.

"The Business Franchise Tax, created in 1987, was one of the taxes that made it difficult for West Virginia to compete for new and expanding businesses," Gov. Tomblin said. "Coupled with the reduction in the Corporate Net Income Tax and the dramatic decrease in workers' compensation rates, these changes have helped our state secure additional investments and will continue to pay dividends now and for years to come."

West Virginia's Corporate Net Income Tax — now 6.5 percent — is competitive nationally and lower than those found in multiple surrounding states. In addition, the Tax Foundation rated West Virginia 21st nationally for 2015, a dramatic change from the state's No. 47 ranking in 2004, and higher than any neighboring state.

"I appreciate the hard work of then-Gov. Joe Manchin and members of the West Virginia Legislature as we worked together to enact responsible reductions in our state's business taxes," Gov. Tomblin said. "We already have seen many benefits from these changes, and I'm confident our state's economy and business climate will continue to grow far into the future."


Diamond Electric headquarters moving to West Virginia
Diamond Electric is relocating its North American headquarters from Michigan to West Virginia. The move will consolidate the automotive ignition coil manufacturer’s main U.S. office with its existing operation in Eleanor, Putnam County. The plant in Eleanor has grown into the company’s largest production facility in the world.

Diamond Electric headquarters moving to West Virginia
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (left), Cabinet and Secretary Keith Burdette (right) join Hironori Kurita, president of Diamond Electric Manufacturing Corporation, Ltd. (parent company) in announcing the North American headquarters’ move to West Virginia.
“Since Diamond Electric opened its first manufacturing plant in West Virginia in 1997, the company has chosen to expand its operations in the Mountain State multiple times,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “We’re honored Diamond Electric has selected West Virginia as the new home for its headquarters facility. I truly appreciate the confidence in not only our state and our business climate, but West Virginia’s growing and dependable workforce as well. The parent company, Diamond Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. Diamond Electric supplies ignition coils to Ford Motor, Chrysler, Toyota and Subaru.

Diamond Electric currently employs approximately 335 workers in West Virginia. The employees in Michigan are being given an opportunity to relocate with the company to West Virginia, which is expected to add 10 to 15 positions to the Eleanor site.

Since 2012, six Japanese companies – including Hino Motors, Nippon Thermostat, NGK Spark Plugs, Wheeling-Nisshin, Toyota and Diamond Electric — have invested $136 million in the state, creating more than 175 jobs.


Exhibit deadline nears for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day Jan. 28
TechConnectWV and TransTech/Industries of the Future-WV will host “Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day” on Jan. 28, 2015 at the State Capitol. The event will showcase innovation successes and entrepreneurial activities happening across the state. It also provides participating groups and companies with the opportunity to network at the Capitol with legislators, key state officials, manufacturers, innovators, entrepreneurs and colleagues. Space is limited. Interested exhibitors are encouraged to register online soon at eventbrite.com. Click on the icon for 2015 Innovation & Entrepreneur Day at the State Capitol.


Jefferson County manufacturer seeks partnership with innovative West Virginia companies
Jefferson County manufacturer seeks partnership with innovative West Virginia companies
Photo courtesy Schonstedt Instrument Company
Schonstedt manufactures handheld underground utility locators such as the GA92-XT portable magnetic locator. The company is seeking West Virginia companies with innovative technologies.
Schonstedt Instrument Company, a manufacturer and global exporter of handheld underground utility locators, announced plans to broaden its product line by investing in innovative West Virginia companies.

“We’re looking for opportunities to diversify our product lines by identifying product innovations, most likely at or beyond the prototype stage, which will benefit from our ‘scale-up’ capabilities and provide entry into new markets” said Mark Pugh, Schonstedt’s president.

As manufacturing partner, the Kearneysville-based Schonstedt could assist with manufacturing design, supply chain, production and marketing. The company is also interested in contract manufacturing and acquiring existing businesses with internal rates of return that meet its investment goals. For further information call or click: Bob Ebberson, Director of Business Development, 304-724-4754, bebberson@schonstedt.com or visit www.schonstedt.com.

Schonstedt is an employee-owned company that distributes its products through 300 dealers in the United States and exports to more than 60 countries. Since 2007, the company has partnered with the United Nations Mine Action Service and provides free magnetic locators to UN-supported humanitarian demining teams in war-ravished countries.


Caterpillar opens back office center in West Virginia
Caterpillar Inc. is relocating its call center from Pearisburg, Virginia to Bluefield, West Virginia. The call center is scheduled to open Jan. 1. The company expects that the fully operational center will employ 24 people. The center will handle domestic and international calls for Caterpillar.


University of Charleston receives $5 million gift for new innovation center
The University of Charleston received $5 million gift from the Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation for a sport and innovation facility. In honor of the school’s benefactors, the new center will be named the Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center. The gift dedicates $3 million for a planned sports arena, a renovation of the aged Eddie King Gym. The remaining $2 million will be used to develop a site to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. The 20,000-square-foot addition will be evenly divided between athletic and academic facilities. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2015 and be competed around the summer of 2016.


Deadline for 2015 Shale Gas Innovation Competition set for Feb. 1
Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Shale Gas Innovation Competition. Deadline to enter is Feb. 1, 2015. The competition awards a total of $100,000 that will be divided among the four top winners. The event is open to small businesses, researchers and innovators in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Shale Gas Innovation Contest is designed to encourage the development of new technologies from the Marcellus and Utica Shales and enhance environmental responsibility.

Visit the Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization website www.sgicc.org for an online application.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 1, 2015. To enter, visit www.sgicc.org and click on the $100,000 Shale Gas Innovation Contest tab.


WVU spinoff company raises $1.25 million to commercialize biometric technology
WVU spinoff company raises $1.25 million to commercialize biometric technology
Photo courtesy WVU Statler College of Engineering
Students Walter Ferrell (left), Steven Amerman and Alex Dunn developed software for SecureSelfies.
Confirmix announced it has raised $1.25 million in angel investment to develop security software for mobile devices. The cybersecurity company’s app relies on biometric technology originally developed in the West Virginia University (WVU) Multispectral Imaging Laboratory.

The company is developing consumer and business identity authentication applications that use technologies for biometric and facial recognition software. The consumer line called SecureSelfies will use pictures the customers have taken of themselves – “selfies” — to confirm identification and to deter unauthorized access to mobile phones and tables. A launch date for SecureSelfies has not yet been determined.

The Federal Trade Commission ranks identity theft as the nation’s top consumer complaint. American consumers lost more than $1.6 billion to fraud overall in 2013.

Multispectral Imaging Laboratory Director Thirimachos Bourlai launched Confirmix with a team of Morgantown-based entrepreneurs experienced with technology startups.


West Virginia Identification Intelligence seminar draws record crowd
West Virginia Identification Intelligence seminar draws record crowd
Photo by Paul Morigi Photography
Steve Armentrout of Parabon NanoLabs (left) and Tom Bonazza of EWA Government Systems Inc.
The seventh annual West Virginia Identification Intelligence Seminar and Expo in Washington, D.C., drew its largest audience to date. The December 2014 event attracted an estimated 175 executives and government officials representing some of the nation's largest security and identity management companies and agencies. Among the attendees were representatives from the Italian, German, French, British and Taiwanese embassies. Keynote speakers were U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III and Amy Hess, executive assistant director, Science and Technology Branch, FBI.

The expo spotlights West Virginia's growing identity management sector, which includes cyber security, forensics, biometrics and big data. The state’s identity field was represented in exhibits by Azimuth, Inc., CrossResolve, Lakota Software Solutions, Parabon NanoLabs, Ideal Innovations Inc., Tygart Technology and Marshall University and West Virginia Universities. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division showcased both its Biometric Center of Excellence and Next Generation Intelligence system.

The expo was hosted by Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, West Virginia Development Office, and the I-79 Development Council and its initiative, Identification Intelligence Ridge. Event sponsors included CrossResolve, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing, Marshall University and West Virginia University.


WVEDA approves loans for Harrison County manufacturer expansion
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) approved two loans totaling $916,110 for Skana Aluminum Company during its December 2014 meeting.

The first loan for $376,645 is for a 15-year term. The second loan, with a 10-year term, amounts to $539,465. The two loans will finance building improvements and equipment upgrades at Skana’s existing facility in Clarksburg.

Skana manufactures customized aluminum coils and flat rolled products. The West Virginia facility produces thin-gauge materials.


WVDO promotes state industries through trade expos
The West Virginia Development Office maintains an active schedule of trade show events. The West Virginia Development Office International Division will attend the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show (IBS), January 20-22 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Exhibiting with the Development Office will be Multicoat Corporation, construction coatings; Terramite, compact tractor loader backhoes; Appalachian Log Structures, log home building components; Ezebreak, a suite of rock–breaking equipment; and Mountain Craft Wide Plank, wide-plank flooring.

The NAHB show is the largest annual light construction show in the world. The show is designated as an International Buyer Program (IBP) event by the U.S. Commercial Service. The IBP is a joint government-industry effort that brings thousands of international buyers to the United States for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows.



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Governor Tomblin announces the elimination of the Business Franchise Tax

Diamond Electric headquarters moving to West Virginia

Exhibit deadline nears for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day Jan. 28

Jefferson County manufacturer seeks partnership with innovative West Virginia companies

Caterpillar opens back office center in West Virginia

University of Charleston receives $5 million gift for new innovation center

Deadline for 2015 Shale Gas Innovation Competition set for Feb. 1

WVU spinoff company raises $1.25 million to commercialize biometric technology

West Virginia Identification Intelligence seminar draws record crowd

WVEDA approves loans for Harrison County manufacturer expansion

WVDO promotes state industries through trade expos

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