About the Project
Representative of a $5.5 million investment, Italy-based Pietro Fiorentini’s first permanent manufacturing operation in Weirton, West Virginia is their first facility in the United States. It is expected to have up to 45 jobs upon the completion of its first phase, with up to 77 additional jobs in future phases.
According to David Watkins, president of Pietro Fiorentini USA, it was a five-year process to bring the new factory to Weirton, with initial meetings taking place in 2012. He noted natural gas prices, along with the business environment, support from government officials and the location all played into the company’s decision to locate in Weirton. Another factor was the local labor force, with its industrial background. Pietro Fiorentini manufactures pressure regulators and valves, as well as pressure reducing and metering systems for the natural gas industry.
WEIRTON — Italian oil and gas supply company Pietro Fiorentini recently expanded its operations footprint in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle with the opening of a new facility, which also represents its first manufacturing operation within the United States.
Pietro Fiorentini itself is one of the big players in the production of oil and natural gas products and services, including pressure regulators, metering systems and other components for the natural gas industry specifically designed for American markets. The new factory will produce the parts and machinery needed for the drilling operations in the tristate region.
“We’re very pleased to announce the opening of our new location in Weirton, West Virginia,” said Mario Nardi, CEO of the Pietro Fiorentini Group. “This is not only an opportunity to bring more jobs to the area, but is also a milestone, allowing us to expand our manufacturing capabilities locally in the United States. We want to thank the State of West Virginia and their officials as well as the local community for all the support to make this project happen.”
The company has a sales office and a distributorship in Georgia and had been renting space in Wheeling since 2013. However, it recently held a ribbon cutting on its new manufacturing site, which was attended by Gov. Jim Justice and other dignitaries who went on a tour of the facility that represents a $9 million investment.
“Pietro Fiorentini arrived in West Virginia in 2013, ready to work,” Justice said. “With advantages such as West Virginia’s pro-growth business environment and quality workforce, the company has stayed with us and is growing with us.”
Brooke County Commissioner A.J. Thomas said Pietro Fiorentini’s decision to locate its first American manufacturing site in Weirton represents a huge win that goes beyond the opening of the facility in of itself.
“It shows we’re on the map in terms of economic development, not just regionally or as a state but across the world,” he said, adding that Pietro Fiorentini is just one of several businesses coming to the Ohio Valley to set up shop. “They’re all seeing the advantages in coming here.”
Debbie Puskarich, president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce, said these advantages are that Brooke County is in the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale boom and the region’s history in steelmaking and other heavy industries.
“What better place to do it? This worked out perfectly for us,” she said. “In our area here between all the industries we have, we truly have the best manufacturers that any employer would want right here in the Ohio Valley, so it’s a win-win for both. They’re getting great employees, and we’re getting jobs that we really need in this area.”
Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, said the new factory employs 29 people currently but there are plans to hire another 77 in phases.
He noted that the advent of Pietro Fiorentini to the Northern Panhandle— along with other international businesses such as Canada-based Bidell Gas Compression and some American businesses such as Illinois-based Jupiter Aluminum — is the result of ambitious projects to cleanup the region’s brownfields, the unsightly leftovers from previous heavy industries that are often seen as environmentally contaminated.
Cleaning up such sites is a tall order, taking several phases and years of work. Given the magnitude of each project, Ford said only the combined efforts of the BDC, local county commissions and chambers of commerce, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Economic Development Agency has consistently secured the grant funding needed to make the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ dreams come true.
For example, Pietro Fiorentini’s new factory sits atop 26 acres of land that was once scarred my mining activity. EPA representatives were also at the ribbon cutting and announced $600,000 of additional Brownfields grant funding to the BDC and its coalition partners, one of 151 grants awarded nationwide this year totaling $64.6 million in brownfields funding from the agency.
“It’s exciting to see Pietro Fiorentini’s new manufacturing facility reusing a site where EPA brownfields funding helped support initial assessment and cleanup,” said Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, adding that such projects are the exemplars of what can happen.
Looking forward, Puskarich said she spoke with U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., at the ribbon cutting regarding issues the community faces, and one of those is housing. She noted that with so many workers being hired and more coming in that the area is starting to face a housing crunch that will need to be addressed. Still, she said this is a much better problem to have than too many houses from people leaving.
“If your house is on the market here, it’s generally gone in 10 days,” she said, adding that car lots, furniture sellers and others are starting to see an upswing in business as an effect of renewed manufacturing. “We are right in the middle of a snowball effect.”
WEIRTON — With the flags of the United States, Italy, the State of West Virginia and the City of Weirton behind them, local and state government and development officials, representatives of Pietro Fiorentini and several guests ceremonially broke ground Friday for the company’s new facility in Weirton.
Representative of a $5.5 million investment, with plans to open by the spring of 2018, this will be Italy-based Pietro Fiorentini’s first permanent manufacturing operation in the United States. It is expected to have up to 45 jobs upon the completion of its first phase, with up to 77 additional jobs in future phases. Currently, 19 are employed locally by the company.
According to David Watkins, president of Pietro Fiorentini USA, it has been a five-year process to bring the new factory to Weirton, with initial meetings taking place in 2012. He noted natural gas prices, along with the business environment, support from government officials and the location all played into the company’s decision to locate in Weirton.
Another factor, he said, was the local labor force, with its industrial background.
“My family is from West Virginia. I grew up understanding the importance of hard work,” Watkins said.
Kris Hopkins, right, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, presents a gift of West Virginia-made glass art to Dave Watkins, left, president of Pietro Fiorentini USA, and Sergio Trevisan, vice president, during Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony in the Three Springs Business Park. — Craig Howell
Pietro Fiorentini Vice President Sergio Trevisan agreed, saying the support from the city of Weirton and the state of West Virginia, as well as state-provided incentives, the labor force and available training opportunities were a key in the company’s decision to locate to the Ohio Valley.
“We come from a similar area,” he said. “We have the same DNA.”
Educational opportunities for the employees also will be a factor, Trevisan said, noting the company’s plans to work with local colleges to provide continual training.
“We believe it’s the key to guaranteeing a better future for our company and our employees,” Trevisan said.
Pietro Fiorentini manufactures pressure regulators and valves, as well as pressure reducing and metering systems for the natural gas industry.
Dave Watkins, president of Pietro Fiorentini USA, addresses the crowd gathered in the Three Springs Business Park Friday prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking for the company’s new Weirton facility. The factory will be the company’s first permanent operation in the United States. — Craig Howell
Trevisan noted the company will operate three production lines, with plans for a new line to be added for a product specific to the U.S. market.
Many on hand Friday reflected on the teamwork needed to make the project possible, with the City of Weirton, West Virginia Development Office, West Virginia Department of Commerce, Brooke County Commission, Business Development Corp., Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and the offices of U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., among those involved. Funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Economic Development Administration also was involved.
Patrick Ford, executive director of the BDC, was among local dignitaries welcoming the company to Weirton on Friday.
“We are here today, not celebrating a new prospect in Weirton,” Ford said. “We’re celebrating a new friend.”
Ford also applauded the efforts of the City of Weirton to better streamline its own development operations in recent years, which he said has assisted in the creation of 500 jobs and investments of $25 million.
Local and state government officials, along with representatives of Pietro Fiorentini, area development officials and other guests take part in a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday for the company’s new Weirton operations. The $5.5 million facility will be located in the Three Springs Business Park. The shovels used in the ceremony were produced by Bully Tools, of Wintersville. — Craig Howell
This is the second major announcement this year by an international manufacturer with plans to locate in Weirton.
Mayor Harold Miller said it is important to remember the past, while looking toward the future, and Pietro Fiorentini will help to provide jobs of the future while improving the quality of life in the community.
“The city of Weirton is beginning to lead the Ohio Valley in the number of jobs created,” Miller said, saying it is important to never doubt a community’s ability to compete.
Kris Hopkins, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, also noted the competitive nature of bringing Pietro Fiorentini to Weirton.
Company officials have said they also considered locations in Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada for the operation.
“It’s a real testament to the strategic advantages of West Virginia,” Hopkins said.
Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis also was on hand, calling it “a great day for Brooke County and the City of Weirton.”
Pietro Fiorentini has been operating out of a rental space in Wheeling since 2013. The company also has a sales office and a distributorship in the United States. The Weirton facility will be constructed on 26.4 acres of land located in the Three Springs Business Park.