By Linda Harris
POSTED: December 6, 2010
WEIRTON — The city of Weirton is just a zoning change away from landing a new industrial enterprise, Rig Packaging.
Rig, currently headquartered in Carnegie, Pa., is consolidating its operations — closing plants in Carnegie and Canada with plans to reopen in a 100,000-square-foot-plus warehouse in Weirton vacated just a few months ago when Wal-Mart moved into its new building.
Pat Ford, president of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, said it would mean 25 to as many as 40 new jobs.
“They're a packaging company; they produce coverings for steel coils,” he said. “Their largest customer is ArcelorMittal, so it's a natural fit to have them relocate to an area proximate to (the mill).”
Rig also has operations in Wellsburg. Ford said no jobs will be lost there because of the move, and, in fact, additional job opportunities are in the works. Former Rig Packaging owner Dan Repischak has a new packaging project that will complement Rig's operations in Weirton, Ford said.
Repischak could not be reached for comment.
“All the jobs will be retained in Wellsburg, and he will be creating a new business there related to the packaging company,” Ford said. “It will create another opportunity to grow their operation more, and the end result could be not just 25 new jobs created; it could be as many as 40, with starting pay around $10 to $12 an hour.”
Ford said geographic factors — Weirton's highway, air and river access — as well as the availability of skilled workers factored into Rig's decision. The old Wal-Mart building coming on the market was a major plus. It won't require much interior work to make it work for the packaging operation. He said the plant could be up and running by spring.
“They still need to hire 25 people minimum to replace the people from Carnegie and Canadian operation,” Ford said. “No one from those two areas will be relocated.”
Ford said they've been working with various prospects for the past 18 months, “and this is the first of those prospects that we've been able to go public with because negotiations have progressed far enough that we need to start engaging local permitting agencies to get the necessary approvals.”
He said the packaging plant, coupled with the recent acquisition of an 80-acre parcel by a group of local investors, bodes well for the future.
“I think we're going to start seeing a lot of shovels moving,” he said. “That, in itself, is a positive sign for economic development in the area, it puts us on a trajectory, where people see positive investments happening. Investors need to see ground being broken, and once they do, I think we'll see a lot of economic activity….”