By JOE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- Anytime a West Virginia business celebrates a groundbreaking or grand opening, it brings special meaning, because it is a sign of good opportunities to come.

Recently, I had the privilege to join several business representatives from Hino Motors Manufacturing USA Inc. and state and local officials, including U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, members of the Wood County Commission and local mayors, to announce the delivery of 40 heavy-duty highway maintenance trucks to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. It was announced in August that Hino and its local dealer Matheny Motors, successfully won the competitive bid to produce these trucks.

I was also fortunate to announce that the West Virginia Department of Transportation has placed an order for an additional 79 more of these quality vehicles. Strong partnerships are vital in today's market, and Hino has been a great partner with West Virginia and other businesses within our state's growing auto industry. Wood County has become a budding place to do business because of the work that Hino is doing.

For instance, parts and customization companies like Fontaine Modification Company, Rhodes Trailers, and Mountaineer Water Jet have worked in collaboration with Hino to help supply parts, labor or services that customize the Hino vehicle from the ground up.

One of the best aspects of Hino's product is that we are receiving a vehicle that is crafted by West Virginians for West Virginians. Hino's efforts add to the automotive manufacturing base that West Virginia continues to grow.

Another example of West Virginia's excellent automotive manufacturers is Toyota. This company has continued its excellence in production at its plant in Buffalo. I was pleased to hear they have expanded their product development, which will soon begin production on six-cylinder engines for its compact sport utility vehicle, the Rav 4.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia has consistently been one of the most productive engine manufacturing facilities in North America and Toyota's continued investment in the Putnam County facility is proof positive that we have a world class workforce here.

Also, Diamond Electric Manufacturing Corporation recently announced a contract to produce ignition coils for Ford Motor Co. Diamond Electric continues to build on its reputation as a key contributor to West Virginia's automotive success.

Hino, Toyota, and Diamond Electric each continue to take advantage of what this state has to offer: good location, dependable and dedicated employees, and solid partners willing to work with them to succeed.

When you combine great companies with our state's outstanding workforce, then we get endless possibilities for future development.

This is a great formula for business success here, and we're continuing our work to make it even better. We look forward to many more years of success.

Manchin is West Virginia's governor.

More News