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From Site Selection magazine, July 2017

Panhandle Plays: Where FDI Is Landing in the Mountain State

Lake in the rural Potomac Highlands of West Virginia
Photo: Getty Images


What do an Italian producer of building materials and a Canadian maker of natural gas compression equipment have in common? Their US subsidiaries both chose locations in West Virginia’s panhandles in which to establish their American beachheads. 

TeMa North America, a subsidiary of Italy-based TeMa Group, plans to build a manufacturing facility in in Kearneysville, near Martinsburg in the Eastern Panhandle. The new, 42,000-sq.-ft. (3,900-sq.-m.) facility will produce insulation and drainage systems for residential, commercial and industrial use and is expected to create 30 jobs. TeMa has sales offices in the United States, but the West Virginia plant will be the company’s first manufacturing operation in the country.

“We are proud to announce the opening of our manufacturing facility in West Virginia. The development of our products has taken years of diligent work, dedication and sacrifices that have finally been repaid by a strong presence in the market with top-level partners in the United States,” said Luciano Mazzer, president of TeMa Group. “With the opening of a new production plant in West Virginia, we want to develop new, ecologically friendly products and become leaders in the US market.” 

Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Calgary, Alberta-based Total Energy Services Inc., will repurpose a 100,000-sq.-ft. (9,290-sq.-m.) decommissioned machine shop to fabricate, sell, lease and service natural gas compression equipment to customers operating throughout North America and internationally. The operation will employ around 60 people in highly skilled manufacturing jobs this year and up to 131 by 2019.

Bidell President Sean Ulmer said the right spot had to have an existing building and land so the company could get to work fast, and a pool of talented people ready and willing to work. He found it in Weirton, West Virginia, in the Mountain State’s Northern Panhandle. Ulmer credits the success of the site search to the partnership approach of local, regional and state institutions. The West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Economic Development Authority worked with the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle (BDC) to purchase the property to make a new home for Bidell Gas Compression. Employee training services will receive support through the Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program. “The support we received from the Commerce Department, the Hancock County Commissioner’s office and Weirton officials was instrumental in making our final decision,” he notes.

Mark Arend
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend has been editor in chief of Site Selection magazine since 2001. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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