BUSINESS REPORT: West Virginia — Italian Gas Systems Supplier Plants Flag In Weirton

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

By Shana Daley
From the May/June 2013 issue

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently announced that Pietro Fiorentini USA plans to build a manufacturing facility in the Three Springs Business Park in Weirton, WV. The $9 million plant is expected to create up to 41 jobs during the initial phase and up to 150 when fully operational.

“I’m pleased Pietro Fiorentini has chosen to locate its new manufacturing plant in West Virginia,” said. Gov. Tomblin. “I’d like to thank the West Virginia Development Office, the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle and the Independent Oil and Gas Association for working collaboratively with Pietro Fiorentini USA to bring these jobs to Brooke County.”

Parent company Pietro Fiorentini S.p.a., based in Italy, is a world leader in the production of pressure regulators, valves, and pressure reducing and metering systems for the natural gas industry. Although the company has a sales office and a distributorship in the U.S., the WV plant will be its first manufacturing operation in the country. The new facility will produce components for the treatment of shale oil and gas.

“Pietro Fiorentini group decided to invest in West Virginia after completing a feasibility study that covered several states of the nation. Our study confirmed that the Marcellus area has a large potential yet to be developed,” said Sergio Trevisan, General Manager for Pietro Fiorentini S.p.a. “And this was the main decision factor. Specifically in the Marcellus area, West Virginia offers, in our opinion, an interesting business atmosphere combined with an excellent support from the state. We are willing to be at the center of the area and West Virginia fully responded to this prerequisite. Pietro Fiorentini is setting up here a manufacturing and logistic base for gas conditioning equipment, oil and gas treatment and reducing and metering plants already distributed in more than 80 countries of the world.”

Pietro Fiorentini USA plans to lease space at the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant in Brooke County currently owned by Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle and Hackman Capital based in Los Angeles to get operations under way within six months. Construction on the new manufacturing facility is expected to start this summer.

“Having Pietro Fiorentini build its new plant in Weirton will be the single biggest manufacturing project in the panhandle for nearly a generation,” said Patrick B. Ford, Executive Director, Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle. “The investment by this company—coupled with the recent announcements in the panhandle of the investment of Sheehan Pipeline and the expansion of Ergon—clearly places Brooke and Hancock counties on the radar of the oil and gas industry.”

HADCO Boosts R&D at Marshall University

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is expanding its research and development operations by acquiring laboratory and office space in the university’s Forensic Science Center Annex from the Huntington Area Development Council.

The recent announcement by Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the School of Medicine, reflects an agreement among the Huntington Area Development Council, the Marshall University Research Corporation and the medical school that will give the school the space it needs to grow its biomedical research program.

“I am thrilled we will soon expand our biomedical research operations into space at the Forensic Science Center Annex,” Shapiro said. “Through our partnership with HADCO and the Marshall University Research Corporation, the School of Medicine will now be able to move forward with research projects guided by our new vice dean for research, Dr. Nader Abraham.  Moreover, I’m certain expansion of our research capabilities will eventually lead to better health care for our patients.”

The School of Medicine’s new space is in an area of the annex designated for research and biotechnology startup companies when the facility was built. HADCO, using $1 million in federal funding, partnered with Marshall University to build the annex with a goal of creating an environment for “new economy” jobs. Through the agreement announced today, the School of Medicine will sublease from HADCO 2,100 square feet for its new laboratories and offices.

Researchers in the new labs will be investigating the causes of kidney disease and hypertension as well as conducting clinical trials on medications to improve heart function and decrease body weight.

“This is exactly what HADCO envisioned several years ago,” said Stephen J. Golder, chairman of HADCO’s executive committee.  “HADCO will continue to encourage research throughout Marshall University and the School of Medicine that can result in the creation of ‘new economy’ jobs in our region.”

Marshall VP Dr. John M. Maher added, “We’re excited by this rapid response to demand for new research space at Marshall to accommodate grant-funded researchers.”

The new research space at Marshall is expected to be ready for occupancy this fall. It is located at the corner of 14th Street and Charleston Avenue in Huntington.