Commerce Secretary Gaunch brings business listening tour to Kanawha County

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch visited companies and attended a business roundtable in Kanawha County, Tuesday, Sept. 3. The visits are the latest in the series of listening tours that the secretary launched in June 2019.

“With the support of Gov. Jim Justice, we started the listening tours to focus on West Virginia businesses,” Gaunch said. “We are out here to listen to the people who run these companies every day. We want to hear about their successes and challenges and what we can do to help them prosper and grow.”

The secretary led the Commerce team to:

  • Shafer Equipment, a heavy equipment company in Clendenin. Established in 2011, the family-owned business provides services in the pipeline, construction and environmental fields. Shafer specializes in equipment sales, rentals, parts and service.
  • NGK Spark Plugs USA Inc. in Sissonville. Based in Nagoya, Japan, the company produces oxygen sensors and spark plugs for the OEM and aftermarket automotive industry. NGK built the oxygen sensor manufacturing facility in Sissonville in 1995. Later, the company expanded with a new plant to make spark plugs. NGK produces oxygen sensors and spark plugs for internal combustion engines, along with ceramics and applicable products. The company is the largest supplier and manufacturer of spark plugs and oxygen sensors for import and domestic vehicles.
  • Peerless Block and Brick in St. Albans. The company started in 1905 as a one-person operation, making 200 – 300 blocks concrete blocks a day. The business has expanded into four retail locations and a production capacity up to 50,000 blocks a day. The Peerless product line includes clay brick, landscape products, manufactured stone, erosion control material and a full line of accessories and masonry products.

Following the tours, Gaunch and the Commerce team attended the Business Roundtable discussion with Kanawha County businesses. The roundtable event was hosted by the Charleston Area Alliance.

The business tour continues through the end of this week, with additional stops at manufacturing and aerospace businesses in Marion and Harrison counties.

Related social media hashtags: #WVDO, #SmallBusiness, #WVCommerce, #WVManufacturing

FOR RELEASE: Sept. 6, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Andy Malinoski, 304-553-9305,