Commerce Secretary Gaunch business listening tour visits Wayne and Cabell counties

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch visited businesses in Wayne and Cabell counties on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 28 and 29. The companies represent industries from automotive component manufacturing to handblown art glass. The visits were part of an ongoing series of statewide listening tours.
“West Virginia is home to an increasingly diverse range of industries,” said Gaunch. “Under Governor Jim Justice’s leadership, we are actively recruiting new companies, building training-to-career bridges between industry and our educational institutions, and supporting our existing businesses. We want to enable them all to prosper, grow and create new jobs in our state.”

During the Oct. 28-29 tour, the Commerce team met with several area businesses.

  • Sogefi Group. The parent company, based in Italy, is a leading global supplier of original parts for the automotive industry. The Sogefi plant in Prichard, West Virginia, makes filtration systems for car brands including Subaru, Toyota, Chrysler and Dodge.
  • House-Hasson Hardware. The country’s largest hardware distributor, House-Hasson services 17 states.
  • Zimm’s Bagging. With two locations in Prichard, the company manufactures packaging and bags for companies such as Amazon, Godiva and Zappos.
  • Rubberlite. The company produces custom-engineered polyurethane foams in rubber/plastics, engineered foams and technical composites.
  • Chapman Industries, parent company to Chapman Printing Company and Capitol Business Interiors. The company prints advertisements, magazines, coupons, and other materials.
  • MacKenzie Dow Furniture. Based in Huntington, the company produces 17th and 18th-century European-inspired solid wood furnishings. The furniture is crafted from Appalachian Wild Black Cherry.
  • Core10. The innovative software development company works primarily in the financial technology sector.
  • Blenko Glass. The family-owned company crafts hand-blown functional art glass and gives tours of its factory in Milton.

The tour members met with workforce development organizations Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) and NewForce.

RCBI can customize training for manufacturers and offer certifications for a variety of labor and technical skills. The Huntington facility also has a “Maker Space” that allows inventors the opportunity to use its equipment for prototypes.

NewForce is a tuition-free, in-person intensive technical training program created by employers, community colleges and nonprofits to equip West Virginians with the right tech skills for companies ready to hire in the state. The six-month program trains people of all ages who are interested in joining the tech industry.

In addition to visiting businesses, the Commerce team attended a reception hosted by the Huntington Area Development Council and the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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

FOR RELEASE: Oct. 31, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Andy Malinoski, 304-553-9305,