Signs of growth continue locally

The Ohio Valley received yet more good economic news recently when it was announced that Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Total Energy Services Inc., would be locating its U.S. headquarters in Weirton, with plans to eventually create close to 130 new jobs.

Bidell manufactures gas compressors, and will be a perfect fit for our area as operations within the natural gas industry continue to grow.

Company President Sean Ulmer explained they saw “a real opportunity to have a local manufacturing site in the heart” of the Marcellus and Utica shale region, making it easier for them to serve their existing and potential future customers.

There will be some office staff, but much of the positions will require welding skills, as well as pipe fitting, mechanical and electrical skills, making it a perfect fit for our industrial-based region where those skills are still in ready supply.

It also must be pointed out the operation will be locating on a portion of property recently acquired by the Frontier Group from ArcelorMittal Steel, making it the first success to redevelop the land.

We applaud those involved, including Frontier and ArcelorMittal, the City of Weirton, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the West Virginia Department of Commerce and state Economic Development Agency, and many others, for working together to bring this company to the Weirton area.

And, from what some officials have said, there are other potential business projects in the pipeline to bring even more success.

We most likely will never see another Weirton Steel, where a single company employs several thousand residents. But, with Bidell and others giving serious consideration to our area, and opening operations here, it still provides some hope.

If we are able to get several smaller operations, each employing a couple hundred residents, that could be just what we need to help rebound into a better future.