CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin released the West Virginia Edge Business Report on Tues., Oct. 16. The report documents the state’s economic progress. The October 2013 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.
Gov. Tomblin to lead investment mission to Europe
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will embark on an investment mission to Europe. The 13-day mission is scheduled for Oct. 10-22 and will include stops in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The governor will focus on strengthening relations with companies currently doing business in West Virginia, as well as building relationships with those considering investing in the state. He will also participate in several events geared at sparking new interest in the Mountain State.
“West Virginia has a world-class workforce, a strategic location, and a business climate that gets stronger every day. We’re gaining a global reputation as an outstanding place to do business,” said Gov. Tomblin. “In a few weeks, I will cross the Atlantic to personally express my thanks to the many European executives who already have located operations here. I will also meet with a number of companies looking to take advantage of what we have to offer. These face-to-face meetings are an indispensable part of bringing more global investment and good-paying jobs to our state.”
European relations play a vital role in West Virginia’s economy. Last year, nearly 1/3 of West Virginia’s $11.3 billion exports went to Europe. More than 80 European companies have invested in West Virginia. These companies currently employ more than 10,000 hard-working West Virginians. Gov. Tomblin is the first West Virginia governor to visit France on a trade mission.
This tour will mark Gov. Tomblin’s second international mission. Last June, the governor led a similar mission to Japan. “Our mission to Japan was tremendously successful, with five companies announcing expansions upon our return. I’m very hopeful this mission proves to be just as fruitful,” said Gov. Tomblin.
Business service center plans to hire up to 500
TLK Group, a company that handles inbound and outbound calls, announced plans to open a new center in Huntington. The company is in the process of hiring 150 to 200 positions for new center, scheduled to open by Oct. 14. The Huntington center will handle incoming calls for a Fortune 100 company. Plans are for the center to employ a staff of up to 500 within the next 12 months. The company held a job fair the first week of October. Job seekers may still apply by emailing resumes to email@example.com.
NGK president visits West Virginia
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hosted a luncheon meeting on Sept. 10 for Shinichi Odo, president/CEO of NGK Spark Plugs Co. Ltd. Japan. Several NGK executives from the company’s U.S. headquarters and Sissonville plant also participated. President Odo met with the governor to discuss NGK’s continuing growth in West Virginia including their recently completed $15 million expansion.
The expansion of the Sissonville campus has spanned several years, including the consolidation of its North American manufacturing to West Virginia. NGK now has three facilities on the Sissonville site: manufacturing oxygen sensors and spark plugs and North American distribution operations. The recently-completed expansion project brings the company’s total investment in West Virginia to $100 million. NGK employs 512 people.
Wood floor manufacturer creates more jobs in Mingo Co.
Unilin is in the process of hiring to fill 50 – 80 new jobs at its wood floor manufacturing facility in Holden. The company is creating a second shift to keep pace with expanding production expectations due to increasing sales. Job seekers can apply online at www.unilincareers.com. Applicants must have a strong work ethic and a focus on quality and safety, according to the company’s news release. Unilin is one of the largest suppliers of hard wood and laminate flooring in North America.
First public natural gas station open
The newest compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in the state is now in operation. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined executives from IGS Energy-CNG Services and other dignitaries for the official opening of the station in Harrison County.
The “On The Run” Exxon gas station in Bridgeport represents the first in the IGS network of proposed public CNG fueling stations. IGS has announced plans to build additional stations in Charleston and Jane Lew.
Analabs breaks ground in Raleigh Co.
A groundbreaking ceremony recently kicked off the construction of a $1.5 million expansion project for Analabs in Crab Orchard. The 7,000-square-foot addition will give Analabs four more lab spaces and a clean room. Analabs provides drug testing and lab work for organizations such as waste and drinking water plants, coal companies, engineering firms, public school systems and government agencies.
Kureha PGA to receive Grand Award
Kureha’s polyglycolic acid (PGA) resin has been selected by the government of Japan for a national award for superior technology and promising product development. The Kureha PGA plant is located at the DuPont site in Belle, W.Va.
The award, Nippon Mono-Tsukuri Taisyo, means Grand Award to Products and Technology developed in Japan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry presented the award Sept. 19 in Japan. This marks the third honor given to Kureha PGA in two years. Last year, Kureha received an award from the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, and from The Society of Chemical Engineering, Japan. The polymer is marketed under the trade name Kuredux® PGA. Its properties include high strength, biodegradability and low gas permeability. Kuredux® has been certified as a biodegradable plastic in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Kureha PGA LLC is a subsidiary of Kureha America Inc., the North American subsidiary of Kureha Corporation, based in Japan.
NASA movie filmed, edited in Tucker Co.
Water Falls, a new movie produced for NASA, was principally shot and edited by West Virginia-based production company Verglas Media. The Science On a Sphere short film presents the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement satellite mission, a high-tech NASA project that will study global precipitation from space, gathering data vital to understanding Earth’s most precious resource: fresh water. Water Falls features many well-known Tucker County vistas such as Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge and Pendleton Lake.
Science on a Sphere films use multiple projectors and special software to project videos on a spherical screen. The projection system was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Verglas Media producer and founder Victoria Weeks spent more than 10 years as a science media producer for NASA and specialized in spherical filmmaking.
Premiere dates and locations are Oct. 10, Space Foundation, Colorado Springs, Col.; Oct. 12, The Wild Center, Tupper Lake, New York; and Oct. 23, Science on a Sphere Theaters worldwide. For more information or to watch the official trailer, visit http://verglasmedia.com.
Tech college group to share $25m federal grant
A group of 10 West Virginia community and technical colleges will share $25 million in federal funding for career training programs for jobs in high-wage, high-skilled fields. The schools in the Bridging the Gap Consortium will use the funds to strengthen programs in the areas of manufacturing and mechatronics, energy technology, information technology, and construction. The funding comes from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. The grant program also benefits workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which gives U.S. workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade the opportunity to receive career training
The $25 million grant will be portioned among the members of the consortium, which include:
• Blue Ridge Community and Technical College;
• Bridgemont Community and Technical College;
• Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College;
• Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College;
• Mountwest Community and Technical College;
• New River Community and Technical College;
• Pierpont Community and Technical College;
• Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College;
• West Virginia Northern Community College; and
• West Virginian University at Parkersburg