OPEN FOR BUSINESS - West Virginia Department of Commerce

OPEN FOR BUSINESS - West Virginia Department of Commerce

A Special Advertising Section Reprinted From the December 14, 2009 Issue of


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

West Virginia is clearing the

way for business growth

with tax cuts, workers’

compensation reform,

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

Leading Companies

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

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:’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,

Workers’ Comp

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

West Virginia

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

Business Environment.

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.







To find out more log on to or call



Open for Business

West Virginia

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

Research (CITeR).

Marshall University, which

has offered its Forensic Science

Graduate Program

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

DNA results.

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

Putnam County.

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 ( * / * " / 866-534-4459


Open for Business

West Virginia

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,, 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

in Wheeling.

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

our community.”

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 experts.

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.

Start Here

From entrepreneurs

to global


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

or calling 1-800-982-3386.

Wind Farm

Tucker County, West Virginia

Many streams of our nation’s

energy share one source:

West Virginia.

“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

bottom line.”

– Joe Manchin, Governor of West Virginia

304.957.2100 |

Grade: A

“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

energy solutions.


Open for Business

West Virginia

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.


Brickstreet Insurance

The Greenbrier

West Virginia

Development Office

West Virginia University

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