A Special Advertising Section Reprinted From the December 14, 2009 Issue of
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Positive changes stack up to sizable
business advantages in the Mountain State.
Growth-minded companies are taking notice,
with investments of more than $9 billion
in West Virginia since 2005.
By Susan H. Burnell
Essroc Cement Corporation is a leading North American cement
manufacturer owned by Italcementi Group, based in Bergamo,
Italy, the fifth-largest cement manufacturer in the world. A recent
plant expansion has increased Essroc’s capacity to produce about
1.8 million tons of cement each year in Martinsburg.
Open for Business
West Virginia is clearing the
way for business growth
with tax cuts, workers’
investment in university research and
other strategic economic development
initiatives. West Virginia racked up
more pro-growth tax reforms than
any other state in 2008, according to
the Cato Institute in its Fiscal Policy
Report Card on America’s Governors.
The changes helped the state’s economy
grow at a rate of 2.5% last year—more
than 3.5 times greater than the nation’s
meager 0.7% growth rate for 2008.
“During the last several years,
West Virginia has worked hard to
secure its stable financial footing
and has made dramatic progress,”
says Governor Joe Manchin III. “Our
state is one of only a few that has been
able to pay its own bills throughout
this economic storm without having
to drastically cut government services
or raise taxes. We have paid down
our state’s debt and placed ourselves
on a solid financial footing. As world
markets bounce back, our state is well
positioned as the ideal location for new
and expanding companies that want to
create good jobs in West Virginia.”
Open for Business
Top 10 Reasons for a West Virginia Location
Strategic Advantages Attract
Location, innovation and a “let’s
do business” attitude are among
West Virginia’s strongest assets. The
state’s central location puts it within
reach of half of the U.S. population
overnight, and 18 major metropolitan
areas are within 500 miles.
Business costs are an impressive
13% below the national average,
and skilled workers are among the
nation’s most productive and loyal.
Funding for education and research is
a priority, with $11 million invested in
education since 2005, and a new $50
million “Bucks for Brains” research
endowment launched in 2008.
Businesses of all sizes are finding
success in West Virginia.
Among the global corporations
with a presence in the state are
DuPont, Toyota, Bayer, Pratt &
Whitney, Lockheed Martin, SABIC,
Alcon Research and Amazon.com.
Growth in West Virginia’s energy,
biometrics and green industries
is ramping up to meet rising
demand, while its chemical, hightech
and business services sectors
are attracting new investment.
1 Growing: In 2008, West Virginia’s economy grew 3.5 times faster than that of
the rest of the nation.
2 Recommended By: Forbes.com’s “Best Places” lists and Kiplinger’s Personal
Finance and Where to Retire magazines.
3 Location: West Virginia is within overnight trucking distance of more than
half the U.S. population and a third of the Canadian population.
4 Profitable: Business costs are 13% below the U.S. average.
5 Productive: The state’s skilled workers are among the nation’s most productive
and turnover rates are some of the lowest in the country.
6 Global: Investments from 23 countries employ more than 20,000 West Virginians.
The state’s exports grew 41% last year—faster than the rest of the country.
7 Popular: 11 million overnight leisure travelers visited the Mountain State last
year, contributing $3 billion to the state’s economy.
8 Affordable: The cost of living in West Virginia is 5.4% below the U.S. average.
9 Safe: The state has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
10 Stable: Low property taxes help West Virginia lead the nation in home ownership.
The same money buys a much larger home than in other metro areas.
Reforms Target Taxes,
Open for business as never before,
West Virginia has made great strides
in reducing costs for companies statewide.
Since West Virginia privatized
its workers’ compensation market
in 2006, the average loss cost has
decreased by more than 40%. That
shift has saved employers roughly
$150 million to date.
“Workers’ compensation costs are
no longer seen as a deterrent to business
in West Virginia,” says Gregory
A. Burton, president and chief executive
officer, BrickStreet Insurance.
Mutual company BrickStreet became
the state’s first private workers’ compensation
carrier in 2006.
West Virginia’s tax burden is light
and getting lighter. The state has
removed approximately $70 million
of business taxes in the 2009 fiscal
year and more than $100 million in
the past four years. A series of phased
reductions will lower the corporate
net income tax rate to 6.5% by
2014. By 2015, the business franchise
tax rate will be phased out entirely.
High-tech businesses already receive
additional advantages in the form of
eliminated sales tax and significantly
reduced property taxes on equipment
and tangible personal property.
Energy Industries Expanding
West Virginia is ideally situated to
capitalize on the nation’s demand for
cleaner energy resources. The state
is one of the nation’s leading energy
producers and the second-largest coal
producer in the U.S.
Major carbon sequestration projects
now under way aim to commercialize
a process that captures
and permanently stores carbon dioxide
underground. The Mountaineer
Power Plant project in New Haven
alone represents an investment of
more than $70 million by Appalachian
Power, a subsidiary of American
Electric Power (AEP).
“Commercialization of carbon
capture and storage technology is an
essential component in a successful
Open for Business
research. The “Bucks for Brains” endowment
will be used at West Virginia
University (WVU) and Marshall University.
Over the next five years, the
schools will be working to match
state funds with private and corporate
WVU plans to use its funding for
research in energy and environmental
sciences, nanotechnology and materials
science, biological and biomedical
sciences, and biometrics for security
sensing and related technologies. The
program at Marshall has already
attracted a pioneer in gene repair
to the new Marshall Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research. Discoveries
that result from research at both
American Electric Power’s Mountaineer
Carbon Sequestration Plant in New Haven
climate strategy for this nation, which
relies on coal-fired generation for
about half of its electricity supply,”
says Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman,
president and chief executive
officer. “Coal is a low-cost, abundant
domestic fuel source, but its use is a
significant source of carbon dioxide
emissions. We are leading the industry
in efforts to develop the technology
necessary to allow continued use
of coal to generate electricity with
less environmental impact.”
“Coal will continue to be a key
part of our nation’s energy portfolio,”
says Governor Manchin.
“Combined with our aggressive
alternative and renewable energy
development, West Virginia is ready
to harness the possibilities and
environmental benefits that cleancoal
technology, carbon sequestration
and coal liquefaction bring.”
In addition to its coal reserves and
abundant hydroelectric and energy
infrastructure, West Virginia has vast
forest resources offering potential
for clean fuel and power generation
purposes. The state also now has the
largest wind farm in the eastern U.S.
Bucks for Brains
Energy and environmental sciences
are among the fields of study that will
get a portion of the $50 million West
Virginia Research Trust created and
passed by the West Virginia legislature
in 2008 to stimulate knowledge-based
A Testament to a Revitalized
BrickStreet Insurance is helping companies realize their
vision of a business-friendly environment in the mountains
of West Virginia. Businesses here enjoy some of the lowest
workers’ compensation rates in the country. Investigations of
fraud have led to savings of $3.2 million to policyholders.
BrickStreet is well equipped to help you reach your business
goals…now and in the future.
CLAIMS PROCESSING REDUCED
FROM 32 DAYS TO JUST 5 DAYS
RATES ARE AMONG
THE LOWEST IN THE COUNTRY
$3.2 MILLION DIRECT
SAVINGS TO POLICYHOLDERS
To find out more log on to brickstreet.com or call
Open for Business
New Tax Legislation
Generates New Business
A significant reduction in the property tax on
business aircraft is increasing the number of
aircraft based in West Virginia. Scott Miller,
owner of Executive Air at Yeager Airport in
Charleston, says he has seen a 30% increase
in business since the West Virginia Aircraft
Valuation Tax Credit went into effect in July.
Now the state is opening new doors for technology
growth by eliminating sales tax and
reducing property taxes for high-technology
companies and Internet businesses.
Experience The Greenbrier,
reimagined. This magnifi cent,
historic resort has been
revitalized under the ownership
of West Virginia businessman Jim
Justice. The resort’s newest amenities
are Prime 44 West, a steakhouse
honoring NBA legend and West Virginia
native Jerry West, and the intimate,
sophisticated Tavern Casino.
Construction of The Casino at The
Greenbrier, an elegant, underground
casino, is under way with an April 2010
opening planned. In July 2010, the
world’s greatest golfers will compete
in The Greenbrier Classic, a PGA TOUR
FedExCup event. The Greenbrier offers
721 guest rooms, including deluxe
suites, guest and estate houses, and
over 50 recreational amenities.
institutions are expected to evolve
into marketable products, business
spin-offs and jobs.
Positive Identification: New
Opportunities in Biometrics
“The north-central region of West
Virginia is the Silicon Valley of
America’s biometrics activity,” says
Wes Bush, president and chief operating
officer, Northrop Grumman
Corporation. With a high concentration
of biometric and identitymanagement
firms and research
facilities, the region is unmatched
anywhere in the world.
The I-79 corridor is home to the
FBI Biometric Center of Excellence
and the FBI Criminal Justice Information
Services (CJIS) Division
in Clarksburg, Lockheed Martin’s
Biometric Experimentation and
Advanced Concepts (BEACON)
Center in White Hall, and the
Department of Defense’s Biometrics
Fusion Center in Bridgeport.
Morgantown has the National Biometric
Security Project (NBSP) in
addition to WVU’s Center
for Identification Technology
Marshall University, which
has offered its Forensic Science
since 1994, is the first university
to partner with a
state crime laboratory on
the Combined DNA Index
System (CODIS) database.
Its work with law enforcement
agencies has resulted in significantly
faster turnaround for crucial
Green Businesses Are Thriving
Innovation is driving West Virginia’s
green businesses. In Marshall
County, the CertainTeed Gypsum
plant recycles synthetic gypsum
from AEP for use in high-quality
wallboard, bringing its total recycled
content to 99%. CertainTeed’s
wallboard contributes to LEED ®
credits in green building projects. The
company’s $150 million investment
represents the state’s largest deal
since 1996, when Toyota established
a $1 billion automobile engine and
transmission manufacturing plant in
In the town of Alloy, silicon producer
West Virginia Alloys, a unit of
Globe Specialty Metals Inc., plans
to partner with Recycled Energy
Development (RED) to divert the
heat exhaust from its electric arc
furnaces to a steam-driven power
generator. The innovative project is
CertainTeed Gypsum plant, Marshall County
With exciting news being made every day, we are writing a new chapter in a 231-year-old
story. The PGA TOUR’s newest event, The Greenbrier Classic, will be held July 26 – August 1, 2010.
The opening of the elegant Tavern Casino adds to the 50 activities offered at our AAA Five Diamond
resort. And a new steakhouse, Prime 44 West, honoring NBA legend and native
West Virginian Jerry West, is now serving guests. To experience the newly re-imagined
Greenbrier resort for yourself, call or visit us online today.
8 ) * 5 & 4 6 - 1 ) 6 3 4 1 3 * / ( 4 t 8 & 4 5 7 * 3 ( * / * "
greenbrier.com / 866-534-4459
Open for Business
Doctoral student Stephanie Sears, a member
of WVU’s plasma physics group, is among the
outstanding students and faculty who have
helped transform the physics department into
a nationally respected hub of research.
A Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier built
at FMW Composites Systems Inc. in Bridgeport
was a critical piece in NASA’s final mission to
repair the Hubble Space Telescope this year.
expected to go online in 2010 and
will offset approximately one-third
of the plant’s electric consumption.
Finally, in September, a team of
West Virginia University researchers
received a $550,000 award from
the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency for an innovative effort to
grow switchgrass and other biofuels
on reclaimed mine tracts.
Low Costs Draw High-Tech
Business Services Operations
State leaders have demonstrated a
solid commitment to the technology
sector, eliminating certain sales taxes
and significantly reducing property
taxes for data-based businesses
located in West Virginia.
The new High-Technology Business
Property Valuation Act provides
special property tax valuation for
equipment and tangible personal
property. The legislation also eliminates
sales tax for all purchases
of prewritten computer software,
computers, computer hardware,
servers, building materials and tangible
personal property for direct
use in a high-tech business or an
Internet advertising business.
West Virginia is just the ticket
for companies with extensive business
services operations, including
Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, CASCI,
Wells Fargo, AT&T, Williams Lea,
Mountain State Blue Cross
Blue Shield, and DirecTV.
With business and customer
service centers in the state,
these and other firms with
major business services needs
have successfully streamlined
processes, reduced costs and
improved the quality of their
services. A prime example
is global law firm Orrick,
Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP,
which invested $10 million
to consolidate its finance,
accounting and technology
operations into one center
Photo courtesy of WVU
A Perfect Chemistry
“West Virginia is world-class in the
chemical industry,” says Keith Pauley,
president and chief executive
officer for Mid-Atlantic Technology,
Research & Innovation Center
(MATRIC). “We can compete
with anyone in the world with our
science and technology. Of the top
500 most-produced chemicals in the
world, 286 were developed in the
Kanawha Valley. During 60 years of
operations in the valley, Union Carbide
generated 30,000 patents—an
innovation rate of 10 patents per
week. Some of the best science and
technical development in the last
100 years has happened right here in
A nonprofit research and development
organization, MATRIC is
headquartered at the Dow Technology
Park in South Charleston.
MATRIC has expanded its global
partnerships, developing projects
with companies in the Middle East,
Asia, Australia and Europe, by
tapping the region’s brain trust of
researchers and experienced chemical
Industry leaders DuPont, Bayer,
PPG, Flint Group Pigments, Cytec,
Supresta and Dow are among the
prominent companies with a presence
in the state. More are expected as the
state partners with the Chemical Alliance
Zone to develop and market
existing plants as industrial parks.
the West Virginia Development Office helps
you access the latest accurate information on
the state’s demographics, available locations
and financing or incentives. Backed by the
West Virginia Department of Commerce, business
service representatives provide personal
attention to your business needs and smooth
the way for your venture.
Learn more by visiting www.wvcommerce.org
or calling 1-800-982-3386.
Tucker County, West Virginia
Many streams of our nation’s
energy share one source:
“Energy independence is crucial to America’s future
and West Virginia is at the forefront of new energy
development. Companies from around the globe
are investing in our state to meet the growing
demand for clean energy. Contact me to find out
what a West Virginia partnership can mean to your
– Joe Manchin, Governor of West Virginia
304.957.2100 | www.wvcommerce.org/currents
“Joe Manchin …
has enacted probably the most pro-growth tax reforms of any governor.”
– Cato Institute, Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2008
The state’s rich natural
resources deliver an abundant
supply of both conventional
and renewable energy.
Combined with low utility
rates and business costs, we’re
opening the door to new
Open for Business
A recent example of the success
of this co-location strategy was the
announcement by Kureha Corp. to
invest more than $100 million to build
a plant at the DuPont site in Kanawha
County. Using breakthrough technology,
the plant will produce Kuredux
polyglycolic acid (PGA) in higher,
more cost-effective quantities than
was previously possible. This biodegradable
chemical polymer is compatible
with PET recycling processes.
“With the development of this
breakthrough technology and the
strong intellectual property surrounding
our work, Kuredux PGA
will become a centerpiece in the company’s
strategy of focusing on valueadded,
highly differentiated products,
setting us on a path of strong growth
and profitability,” says Dr. Takao
Iwasaki, president and chief executive
officer of Kureha Corp.
The Chemical Alliance Zone follows
the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers
and offers ready infrastructure, transportation
networks and suppliers to
support the chemical industry. The
strategically located zone is within
24-hour trucking distance of 43% of
the U.S. industrial market and 50% of
the consumer market.
Welcome Home to West Virginia
Tourism attracts 11 million visitors
to West Virginia each year, generating
more than $3 billion in economic
activity for the state. Some of those
visitors, drawn by the state’s natural
beauty, job opportunities, lifestyle
and low cost of living, decide to stay.
Another population is drawn to
West Virginia, too: natives of the
state who left and are now returning.
South Charleston native Chris Kroger
is one. After working in North Carolina
for many years, he accepted a job
with Pratt & Whitney Engine Services
in Bridgeport and moved his family to
Morgantown, home of WVU. While
he noticed many changes during the
time he lived outside the state, Kroger
says the best things about West Virginia—its
people and the things they
stand for—remain the same.
West Virginia University