Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

September 7, 2013

Plant relocation

Good news for Bland County

— — A company that provides services to major coal operators throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania is crossing the state line border, but will remain in the region. W&B Fabricators, Inc., a manufacturer of mining machinery and equipment currently located in Mercer County, will invest $3.1 million and create 50 new jobs for Bland County, according to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

That’s great news for Bland County, and ensures that the company and its jobs remain in our region.

Virginia successfully competed against Tennessee and West Virginia for the project.

“Southwest Virginia is a great fit for the company, providing a strong, available workforce, low cost of business and close proximity to an abundant natural resource that will help increase W&B’s customer pool for mining equipment and machinery,” McDonnell said last week. “We are proud to welcome Virginia’s newest corporate partner and are confident in the company’s future success in the Commonwealth.”

The company is relocating its operations from Mercer County to Bland County, Bland County Administrator Eric Workman said.

W&B Fabricators, Inc., which has operated in Mercer County for more than 24 years, is a fabrication/machine shop operation providing fabrication and welding services to other industries, including other commercial manufacturing companies, mining and mining-related industries.

 McDonnell said the current primary specialty of W&B Fabricators is rebuilding cutter head drums and conveyor booms for continuous miners.

Workman says the company should be up and running in a matter of weeks. He said W&B Fabricators Inc. will move into the old American Mine Service building in Rocky Gap, Va.

Virginia officials aggressively fought for the company. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Bland County and Virginia’s aCorridor to secure the project for the Commonwealth. McDonnell approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Bland County with the project and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also awarded $100,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. And through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities, McDonnell said.

While it is unfortunate that Mercer County is losing this established company, the fact that the business — and the good-paying jobs it provides — is staying in the area is great news.

We join McDonnell in congratulating Bland County for securing W&B Fabricators, Inc. And we congratulate those Virginia-side leaders who aggressively fought for this development. At the end of the day, the company and the jobs it provides are still staying in our region. And that’s good news for everyone.

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