By EARL RAY TOMBLIN

CHARLESTON -- Many good things are happening in the Mountain State and we can attribute a number of them to our stable government, talented workforce and positive business climate.

Economic activity across our state is both encouraging and optimistic, showing the nation and the world that West Virginia is moving forward.

Our state continues to work hard to cultivate and strengthen its partnerships. One such example is Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia, celebrating 15 years of doing business at its Buffalo plant in Putnam County. Toyota's presence has made a world of difference for many, including its team members, the surrounding community and its residents.

During the past 15 years, Toyota has remained committed and involved in the local community through support of notable programs such as Teacher of the Year. The philosophy of innovative and forward thinking, coupled with fresh ideas and teamwork, has led to Toyota's success both on the assembly line and throughout Putnam County. Partnerships such as this demonstrate what can be accomplished when we work together toward a common goal.

As new companies, both national and foreign, continue to express great interest in locating to West Virginia, I am confident they will discover that our state offers mutually beneficial investment opportunities, ultimately addressing the needs of today's global economy. To continue to expand our business footprint, we must be diligent in staying prepared and alert to opportunities for future growth.

International investment is an important part of West Virginia's expanding economy. Recently, we welcomed Kureha and Precision Converting Solutions, both international companies, to the Mountain State. It is exciting to see that our efforts to keep our state stable in these challenging financial times, paired with the West Virginia Development Office's active promotion of our skilled workforce, strategic market location and positive business climate, have resulted in companies taking notice of what West Virginia has to offer. We can all take great pride in the hard work that goes into making our beautiful state a shining example of success. Yet I will not rest on these accomplishments.

With an eye to the future, we must continue to develop and sustain our partnerships, while maintaining our focus on future prospects, fiscal responsibility and educating our future workforce. We have the opportunity to develop a culture that supports innovation and limitless thinking, fostering a sense of creativity that will allow us to build a better future for our children and grandchildren.

I'd like to extend my congratulations to Toyota and its team members for the past 15 years of progress and encourage them to keep aiming high. Through such partnerships West Virginia will continue to move forward. I hope that you will join me as we prepare our great state for success today and long into the future.

Tomblin is West Virginia's governor.

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