Gov. Joe Manchin
CHARLESTON - Gov. Joe Manchin on April 3 released the latest in a series of regular "Open for Business" reports, documenting the state's economic progress.
The April 2006 report reflects positive progress in the state's economic development efforts during the past month, with projects and related announcements that will assist with the creation of as many as 600 new jobs and the preservation of a significant number of existing jobs.
* Catalfer SRL, an Italian-based company, announced the location of its new North American subsidiary, New Finishing Line LLC. Catalfer SRL manufacturers a diverse line of chemicals, tools and abrasives for the automotive, wood and marine industries. New Finishing Line LLC will locate in the Charleston Area Alliance incubator and begin warehousing and distribution of Catalfer's products throughout the North American market. The company plans to begin looking for a permanent site in West Virginia soon to manufacture and prepare final assembly operations – its first North American manufacturing site – creating as many as 40 new jobs by 2008.
* Quik Corp., the state's first Australian-based investor, donated a new retractable spray unit to the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH). DOH officials will use the equipment, valued at $10,500, in routine maintenance to control weed growth along the state roadways. Quik Corp., which manufactures remote control retractable hose reel systems for invasive and aquatic weed control, mosquito control, horticultural chemical spraying in glasshouses and fire fighting, announced the relocation of its headquarters from California to the Kanawha Valley in September.
* West Virginia Development Office representatives participated in INTERPHEX in New York, an annual conference and trade show for pharmaceutical industry professionals. Prominent companies from the U.S., Asia and Europe participated. NTERPHEX is comprised of four major segments: facilities, outsourcing and contract services, information technology and manufacturing/processing.
* Representatives from the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia European Office met companies in the chemical, automotive, plastics, aerospace and the gas-coal conversion industries during a trade mission to Manchester, England, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The trip generated prospects for Gov. Manchin's Europe trade mission, scheduled for late April.
* American Public University celebrated its grand opening, moving into the former magistrate court building in Charles Town early in February after a $1.3 million renovation. APU is an Internet-based university that moved its headquarters to Charles Town in 2003.
* CDI Corp. announced the expansion of its CDI-IT Solutions group to the Dondale Furniture building in Cross Lanes. The move includes the planned addition of 50-plus technology jobs during the first year of operation and an expected investment of nearly $500,000 in new equipment. Headquartered in Philadelphia, CDI Corp. (NYSE:CDI) is a leading provider of engineering and information technology outsourcing solutions and professional staffing.
* West Virginia's unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in February is the lowest February unemployment rate on record and the second month in a row to post a new low, according to WORKFORCE West Virginia. Since February 2005, total nonfarm payroll employment has risen 10,100, with gains of 7,800 in the service-providing sector and 2,300 in the goods-producing sector.
* Datacaster, a startup company that will offer electronic imaging and document management services, intends to purchase the assets of Docutex, a small company in Kearneysville, and relocate to Martinsburg. This acquisition would result in the retention of nine existing jobs.
* The Jefferson County Development Authority will develop Phase II of the Burr Industrial/Business Park in Charles Town. In 1979, the JCDA acquired about 155 acres to begin development of the Bardane Industrial Park. After all of the lots were sold in the mid-1980s, the JCDA purchased 300 additional, adjacent acres to create the Burr Industrial/Business Park. Phase I of the Burr Park houses 58 companies and employs approximately 2,200 people. Phase II will consist of infrastructure improvements to 133 developable acres of the remaining 160 acres including interior road construction, the installation of water distribution and sewage collection lines and the extension of other utilities. Current employment is 240; after three years it will be 750.
* Gov. Manchin, Northern Panhandle lawmakers and community and business leaders established the Mittal Steel-Weirton Task Force, a working group charged with development of a plan to address continuing issues at Mittal Steel's Weirton operations. The task force will identify ways the state of West Virginia, the Weirton community and Mittal Steel-USA can work together to stimulate general economic development and job growth in the Weirton area.
* In a visit to Charleston, representatives from the Consular Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office met with the West Virginia Development Office, legislators and other government officials. Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) is the Republic of China's principal representative office in the United States. As such, TECRO in the United States maintains and develops bilateral relations between Taiwan and the United States. The Consular Division serves ROC nationals and Chinese-American communities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. The division also promotes relations with local governments in the aforementioned states and the District of Columbia.
* In February, representatives from the economic division of Consulate General of Japan's office in New York met with the Charleston Area Alliance, Putnam County Development Authority and the West Virginia Development Office and toured several Japanese companies in West Virginia. Since 1872, the Consulate General of Japan in New York has promoted mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the United States. The Consulate General of Japan in New York exclusively serves the following areas: Connecticut (Fairfield County only), Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The economic division primarily researches economic issues involving the areas within the consulate's jurisdiction and coordinates and supports efforts to strengthen economic cooperation between Japan and the U.S. in the public and private sectors.