BDC participates in industrial development summit

HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. — Norfolk Southern’s Industrial Development Department hosted its annual economic development forum Dec. 11-14 at their conference facility in Dorchester, SC.Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, was one of two development executives from West Virginia who were invited guests to the annual summit. Ford also serves on the West Virginia Public Port Authority Board of Directors. The event is recognized by the International Economic Development Council as a professional development event for economic development professionals. Norfolk Southern exclusively serves the Northern Panhandle, spanning 25 miles of track in Brooke and Hancock counties, and 806 miles statewide.The summit focused on intermodal development, railroad service, and regional economic development synergies. Additionally, sessions were conducted at the summit, focusing on the real estate market and the future, modalgistics, and short line railroads. “Economic development happens at the state and regional level, supported by relationships being strengthened at the local level,” Ford said. “This summit was designed to bring economic development professionals, consultants, and industry representatives from Norfolk Southern’s service area together to discuss current topics important to job creation and rail service.”Norfolk Southern provides 900 jobs to more than 430 people in West Virginia. This accounted for more than $67 million in wages. Norfolk Southern also contributed $85 million in track and facilities investments, and $24 million in purchases and payments.BDC Board Chairman William D’Alesio added that Norfolk Southern has been a great partner to manufacturers in the northern panhandle. Its expansive network in the region serves 15 industries and spans more than 25 miles of track, three rail yards, and two ports.Norfolk Southern’s involvement in two recent land purchases in Brooke and Hancock counties is also essential to maximize development opportunities at the former Follansbee Steel property in Brooke County and the former Newell Porcelain property in Hancock County. Their service is critically important to our region’s economy.Ford added that Norfolk Southern has worked with the BDC to foster economic development in Brooke and Hancock counties through site identification and development, marketing efforts, and project management when prospects visit our region. The BDC is working with Norfolk Southern to add or improve service in the region that could create opportunities for approximately $2 billion of private investment in Brooke and Hancock counties.Norfolk Southern’s service to the northern panhandle is vital to companies throughout the region. These service connections link businesses and industries to markets around the world and supporting economic and industrial development. It is critical that the movement of goods to and from these industry clusters and transportation hubs are not compromised.