A column by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
August has been an exciting month for business in West Virginia. This week, I had the opportunity to speak with more than 600 representatives from businesses-large and small-operating in our state. Some of them are entrepreneurs blazing their own path with the help of a few skilled colleagues dedicated to growing a new, small business. Others are leading well-established, multi-million dollar companies with hundreds of employees. They both share a common goal: to succeed in West Virginia.
During my time at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce's 77th Annual Meeting and Business Summit I shared our state's great story of success, opportunity and investment. I also had announced one such example. Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia (TMMWV) is investing $90 million in its Buffalo, W.Va. plant and creating about 80 new jobs. This is the eighth expansion since the plant was established in 1996 and is once again a result of our state's outstanding, world-class workforce.
TMMWV's investment is a testament to the business climate we've worked so hard to create. It's one where private sector companies are encouraged to innovate, expand and create new jobs. Toyota is not the only company to recognize our efforts and the many benefits of doing business in West Virginia. Our low taxes, exceptional quality of life, low crime rate, financially responsible government and our state's willingness to help companies succeed has not only turned heads, it's resulted in billions of investments and hundreds of new jobs from international companies like Gestamp.
This month I also visited the stamping company's South Charleston location. Since opening nearly a year ago, Gestamp has invested $31 million - and is on track to nearly double that investment by year's end. I met some of the more than 250 employees who are, once again, providing world-class quality craftsmanship. As the company grows and fulfills its promise to employ approximately 400 West Virginians, I believe Gestamp's story will strengthen our state's story of success - further reinforcing that West Virginia is a great place to do business.
I also had the opportunity to share our state's story with a national audience, many of whom represent companies seeking to bring manufacturing jobs back to America from off-shore locations. I proudly provided attendees at The U.S. Manufacturing Summit, hosted by Walmart and the National Retail Federation, a glimpse of how the Mountain State could make their efforts a reality. We have a strong, proud history of manufacturing. And we're lucky to also have natural resources poised to reinvigorate this industry sector. With Marcellus and Utica shale development, the opportunities for future manufacturing growth related to natural gas are astounding. Residents in the northern part of the state have already witnessed the growth and more is to come.
We have a lot to be proud of in our state. I want you, members of our outstanding work force, to know I truly appreciate your hard work. As your governor, I'm proud to share your stories of success.
Amy Shuler Goodwin