By GOV. JOE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- A few years ago, when I first introduced the "Open for Business" philosophy to the Mountain State, I wanted to breathe new life into our state by drawing attention to West Virginia's best attributes.

Since then, with a lot of work from all sides of the table, I think we've created a new mindset that has helped us to share what this little state and its people can accomplish when we work together. We have leaned on some of our most marketable strengths to achieve results: Our location, our dedicated work force and our low-cost energy supply.

Recently, I was thrilled to welcome another significant business investment in West Virginia. Platinum Solutions, a technology solutions-based company with headquarters in Reston, Va., and a new office in Bridgeport, has made a commitment to expand and add more jobs in north central West Virginia. The company plans to hire at least 80 people by July 2009, with more expansion possible in the next five years.

Laila Rossi, CEO of Platinum Solutions, said her company is dedicated to building its presence in West Virginia, and they are proud to be able to contribute to the local community. She praised our work force, saying, "We have found an incredible pool of talent in West Virginia which will help us advance our mission."

Platinum Solutions' decision reminded me that modern businesses are taking West Virginia seriously and they trust our skilled workers' ability to meet their needs. In 2006, Inc. Magazine ranked the company the 61st-fastest-growing private company in the United States. Platinum Solutions will allow many of our residents to remain here at home to pursue their careers with a company whose software products are helping to make our country safer.

If we want West Virginia to continue to expand into different markets, we must stay aggressive in marketing our state's best business assets. We have identified target industry sectors and selected companies that are successfully operating and enhancing West Virginia's growth in industry areas such as aerospace and technology.

Many world-class aerospace and defense companies, including Pratt and Whitney, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin and ATK, have established manufacturing and repair operations in West Virginia. The state's colleges and universities are regional leaders and hubs around which the state is building its economic future through high-tech research in medicine, biotechnology, biometrics, forensics and environmental studies.

We have proven our state can attract new business even during tough national economic times, and we will continue to seek both traditional and non-traditional manufacturers to create new opportunities for our state and its people. We will move forward by working hard, staying optimistic and being innovative.

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