Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 30, 2013

50 jobs coming to Bland County

By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — 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, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday.

McDonnell said W&B Fabricators, Inc., will relocate from Mercer County and establish an operation in Bland County. Virginia successfully competed against Tennessee and West Virginia for the project.

 “With W&B Fabricators’ first Virginia operation, Bland County gains a new employer and 50 valuable jobs for its citizens,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “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. 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.

“We are just delighted that they are able to make it here, and we hope they will be very prosperous,” Workman said.

Workman said 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.

 “This project is great news for Bland County and the surrounding region as it recovers from a down economy,” Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng added. “W&B Fabricators was able to find a locality that fit its needs, as well as an available facility that can be easily modified to allow the company to start production quickly. We thank W&B for investing in Virginia and creating 50 new jobs.”

McDonnell said W&B Fabricators, Inc. is owned and operated by Mr. Aaron R. “Russ” Boothe. The company, 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. The company provides services to major coal operators throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, according to the governor’s office.

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

“Bland County is an ideal location for us to relocate and expand our business,” Booth said. “This is a pro-business community with a workforce that's a perfect match for our needs. We appreciate the assistance from the county of Bland, Virginia's aCorridor, and the Commonwealth in making this project a reality.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Bland County and Virginia’s aCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. McDonnell approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Bland County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also awarded $100,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. 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.

 “The county of Bland is excited about the opportunities the opening of W&B Fabricators, Inc. brings to the area,” Karen Hodock, a member of the Bland County Board of Supervisors, added. “They bring the kind of opportunities that we want in our community. It is an industry that will employ a substantial amount of people with strong wages and benefits.”

 “The economic development authority is extremely proud that W&B Fabricators has decided to join our existing world-class businesses and industries located along the I-77 corridor in beautiful Bland County,” David Dillow, chairman of the Bland County EDA, said. “The EDA welcomes companies that produce great products such as W&B Fabricators to join the successful manufacturing community right here in the county of Bland.”

“The Tobacco Commission is excited to play a role in this expansion,” Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, added. “Fifty new jobs will mean a lot to Bland County and the region.”

 — Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com