Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, March 30, 2007

West Virginia Leads in Coal Technology

Check out this article from the West Virginia State Journal, detailing just one technology for the coal and energy industry that has its roots and intellectual property in West Virginia. This particular article details coal bed methane removal processes.

The article is at the State Journal here.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

New contract is state’s first design-build project

Contact: Lara Ramsburg, (304) 558-2000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin and West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox today announced that the Division of Highways has awarded its first design-build contract to continue progress on the new U.S. Route 35. The $73.8 million contract was awarded to Kokosing Construction Co. Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, to construct a 6.28-mile stretch of Route 35 between state Route 34 and Hurricane Creek Rd. (County Route 19).

The contract is financed from part of the sale of $200 million of Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles, or GARVEE, bonds. GARVEE bonds are issued and sold based on future projections of federal-aid transportation funding. They allow states to begin work on projects for which they have not received funding but anticipate receiving in the future funding cycles.

“Through the innovative financing approach of GARVEEs, we have accelerated our progress along U.S. 35 using federal dollars now rather than later,” Manchin said. “The efficiencies gained by using the design-build method are what our Responsible Government Initiative is all about and I commend Secretary Mattox for his leadership.” U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd said this is another step toward safer, faster transportation in the Mountain State. “Because it is such a vital through route from Charleston to Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, Route 35 has particular significance in terms of commerce.

Improvement projects like this are absolutely vital to building an infrastructure that can ensure sustainable, long-term economic growth in West Virginia.”Design-build is a project delivery method that combines two, usually separate services into a single contract. With design-build procurements, the Division of Highways executes a single, fixed-fee contract for both engineering services and construction.

“This design-build delivery method has been more prevalent in private sector work but is gaining more acceptance among public sector transportation agencies,” Mattox said. “This is the first design-build project the Division of Highways has awarded, and combining what would normally be two contracts into one will help us continue progress on a route this administration has made a priority.” Work will begin in May and should be completed by April 2009.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Institute plant to make biodiesel

Article from the Charleston Gazette

March 22, 2007

Institute plant to make biodiesel

By Tom Searls
Staff writer

In the Midwest, it’s not unusual to see an additional pump at the gas station that provides biodiesel fuel. The product is moving farther east, and will now be produced in West Virginia, officials announced Wednesday.

“I think we’ll see more and more [biodiesel] on the East Coast,” said David Drew, president and CEO of Emerald Biofuels.

Drew, along with Gov. Joe Manchin and Tom Dover, a spokesman for the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, announced Emerald and Bayer will work together to produce biodiesel.
Emerald makes biodiesel from soybean and other seed crop oils. While Drew said it could be substituted for diesel, it is more common for it to be blended with diesel.

The firm is investing $15 million in the project, which will be located at Bayer’s production facility at Institute. The plant already has most of the infrastructure Emerald will need, Dover said.

The two firms have signed an agreement to produce 30 million gallons of biodiesel fuel a year, with construction on the Institute facility expected to be completed by year’s end.
“The Bayer CropScience Manufacturing Industrial Park in Institute is an ideal location for it to pursue our production,” said Drew.

“While this project will be on a fast track, we have the resources available at the park to support their expedited construction and operational needs,” Dover said.
Drew said the firm believes it can handle Emerald’s needs with 10 or 12 Bayer employees already working at the site. “We feel we have sufficient manpower to serve their purposes,” he said.

That saves some high-paying chemical industry jobs in the Kanawha Valley, he said.

Dow Chemical, FMC, Praxair and Adisseo are already working out of the plant.
Manchin praised the project, which he said will “hopefully start that upward slope” in jobs at the facility.

“Having the infrastructure we have made it a natural,” Manchin said, adding that while coal is a natural resource of Appalachia, West Virginia needs all types of energy sources.
To contact staff writer Tom Searls, use e-mail or call 348-5198.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Charleston Area Alliance Young Professionals Gather for St. Patrick's Day.

The Charleston Area Alliance is focused on the retention and attraction of young professionals as a way to build intellectual capital in the Valley. The group is focused in the areas of housing, promotion of community service, involvement and participation at the board level of non-profit groups, maintain and good social/business networking environment for young professionals who are already here and newcomers to the area, acknowledgement of the achievements of young professionals in the Valley, the advancement of outdoor and sporting activities for the community and other related areas.

The below photo's are from a recent gathering on St. Patrick's Day. Please note the next two meetings of the Alliance Young Professionals will feature an April speaker on the topic of Business Etiquette and in May, "The Executive Role in Community Service."

Dates and locations for these meetings will be announced soon.

Photo #1, Matthew Ballard, President/CEO of the Alliance sopts by to welcome the Young Professionals. Ballard (middle) is pictured with YP's co-chair Brad Rowe of General Corporation and Danielle Waltz of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso.

Photo #2 - Young Professionals gather at the event.

Photo #3 - Danielle Waltz of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso and Brooke Pauley of BB&T organized this specific event and did a great job.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Ashley Furniture Opens in Charleston

Some pictures from Ashley Furniture Grand Opening at Southridge. One of the neatest things about this facility was the video games section, where kids can be occupied while mom and dad look for furniture.

Officals attending the event included Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, and President of the Charleston Area Alliance, Matthew Ballard.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Another New Job (Part-Time) open in the Charleston Area.

Job Opening: Donor Relations Coordinator (part-time)

Covenant House seeks a Donor Relations Coordinator to work collaboratively with the Executive Director and members of the development team, including board directors and volunteers, to develop and coordinate a comprehensive community and donor outreach strategy for Covenant House. Duties will include identifying and initiating contact with key prospects, cultivation of those prospects, solicitation when appropriate, and, finally, ongoing stewardship.

Requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, knowledge of basic fundraising principles, belief in the mission of Covenant House, and the ability to persuasively articulate our cause to others. Preferred candidates will have 3+ years of fundraising experience (paid or unpaid), and/or significant knowledge of, and access to, the local giving community.

This position is part-time with flexible hours, and requires an organized and self-motivated individual who is comfortable working both alone and as part of a team. Salary negotiable.

To apply, please send resume to: Covenant House; Attn: Executive Director; 600 Shrewsbury St.; Charleston, WV 25301.

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New Jobs in the Charleston West Virginia Region.

Marketing Director
The law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP, is seeking an experienced Marketing Director to coordinate client relations and marketing activities for the firm. The position requires a person who is self-motivated; can coordinate and manage multiple projects and tasks; is a good communicator and critical thinker; is able to work well with and relate well to others; has very strong writing skills, time-management skills and organizational ability; and pays attention to detail. Some travel is expected. A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years professional experience is preferred.
Bowles Rice is a successful and growing regional law firm, based in Charleston, which offers a professional, supportive work environment and an attractive benefits package.
Interested persons should submit a resume, cover letter and salary history to the attention of Human Resources Director at P.O. Box 1386, Charleston, WV 25325-1386 or by fax to (304) 343-3058. Qualified candidates will be contacted.

Creative Assistant

The law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP, is seeking a full time creative assistant to work with marketing team to execute written, electronic and published materials to advance its marketing and communication plan. The successful candidate will be a self-starter, and have an ability to manage a variety of tasks and assignments and work in a professional team environment.

Responsibilities and Duties:

Lead marketing graphic design activities
Competency in Adobe products, graphic design software, Microsoft Word, HTML, Quark, Frontpage or other web design packages
Possess a strong aesthetic sense with in-depth knowledge of color, layout, typography, corporate identity, and branding
Set high standards for quality without sacrificing deadlines
Execute projects with minimal supervision

Manage and work with outside consultants, as needed

Bowles Rice is a successful and growing regional law firm, based in Charleston, which offers a professional, supportive work environment and an attractive benefits package.

Interested persons should submit a resume, cover letter and salary history to the attention of Human Resources Director at P.O. Box 1386, Charleston, WV 25325-1386 or by fax to (304) 343-3058. Qualified candidates will be contacted.

WV's own Danny?


Keeling is only one of three “Danny” candidates left on NBC reality series GreaseContact: Sara Payne Scarbro, 558-3830

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin today encouraged all West Virginians to call in and vote for Derek Keeling this Sunday – giving him the edge he needs to win the NBC reality series, “Grease, You’re the One that I Want.”“The audience is the determining factor when it comes to who gets to play Danny Zuko on Broadway,” Gov. Joe Manchin said. “Derek Keeling is giving 110 percent to win this competition, but he cannot win on performance alone. It is not enough to watch and silently support this fellow West Virginian. That is why I am encouraging all West Virginians to pick up the phone or go online to vote for Derek this Sunday.”

“Grease, You’re the One that I Want,” airs 8 p.m. this Sunday. During each performance a toll-free number will appear at the bottom of the television screen. Viewers can call in or go online at to vote. If using the telephone, members of the audience may call in and vote up to 200 times. The polls are open from 9 to 11 p.m. this Sunday.

“We are one big family in West Virginia and we pull together to make things happen,” the governor added. “Derek is doing his part, performing to the best of his ability, but now it is up to the viewers to make the final choice. So West Virginians let’s choose Derek!” Keeling, 26, is a graduate from Winfield High School, where he was a member of the General Admission Show Choir.

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AEP Announcement

Charleston Daily Mail

AEP to install carbon capture system at plant
George Hohmann

Daily Mail business editor Thursday March 15, 2007

American Electric Power today announced it will invest $50 million to $70 million to install a carbon capture system at its Mountaineer Plant at New Haven in Mason County.
It will be the first use of carbon capture technology on a commercial scale.

The company's announcement came one day after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a study saying the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants is crucial if coal is to continue playing a dominant role in the electric power generation.
Michael Morris, American Electric Power's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement, "AEP has been the company advancing technology for the electric utility industry for more than 100 years. This long heritage, the backbone of our company's success, makes us very comfortable taking action on carbon emissions and accelerating advancement of the technology.

"Technology development needs are often cited as an excuse for inaction," Morris said. "We see these needs as an opportunity for action.
"With Congress expected to take action on greenhouse gas issues in climate legislation, it's time to advance this technology for commercial use," he said.
AEP said it has signed an agreement with Alstom for post-combustion carbon capture technology using Alstom's Chilled Ammonia Process. The technology will be installed on the 1,300-megawatt Mountaineer Plant as a 30-megawatt product validation in mid-2008, where up to 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide will be captured per year.
The captured carbon dioxide will be designated for geological storage in deep saline aquifiers at the site, AEP said. Battelle Memorial Institute will serve as the consultant for AEP on geological storage.

Following the completion of product validation at Mountaineer, AEP will install Alstom's system on one of the 450-megawatt coal-fired units at its Northeastern Station in Oologah, Okla., the company said. Plans are for the commercial-scale system to be operational at Northeastern Station in late 2011.

The company said it expects to seek funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to help offset some of the costs of advancing the carbon capture technology.
Contact writer George Hohmann at 348-4836.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Charleston Regional Chamber Celebrates Victory in its Legislative Agenda
The agenda of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce found success as the Legislative session drew to a close Saturday night. Two primary goals of the Chamber was for the legislature to continue the work of the Tax Modernization project Governor Manchin began last year and to educate the legislature on the value of implementing anti-passive investment companies legislation.

Jim Sturgeon, Chairman of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce says the anti-PIC legislation (also called “combined reporting”) was the key factor in the success of continued tax cuts in the business franchise tax. “To our knowledge, the only two advocacy groups in the state who were advocating for anti-PIC legislation was the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Society of CPA's. Everyone wanted reduced business taxes, but these two groups exhibited true leadership by finding a way to pay for the reduction in the business franchise tax, through anti-PIC legislation. That is what I call building success by inventing solutions. We owe a debt of gratitude to Senator McCabe and Senator Helmick as well as the entire Senate Finance committee who took the time to research and pass this legislation.”
Many corporate taxpayers across the country are using sophisticated tax shelters such as Passive Investment Companies (“PICs”) to artificially reduce or eliminate their share of state taxes. Other states have passed statutes to modernize their tax laws to eliminate such artificial planning techniques. One independent study group rated West Virginia as having the largest proportional loss of revenue among all the states due to such tax shelters. “The anti-PIC legislation did two important things.” said Matthew Ballard, President of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce. “First, it stops tax shelters set up by companies who don't want to pay their fair share of state taxes that support services and infrastructure in our state. Second, revenue the state will collect from this change gave the legislature the room in the budget to maneuver and successfully pass a tax cut to the Business Franchise Tax. This was a win-win for business and our great state.”

The Charleston Regional Chamber will spend the next 48 hours evaluating all the legislation passed during the session and in particular on the last night of session and report to its membership. “There are still some bills that came out of conference committee that cannot yet be evaluated, but by Tuesday morning, we ought to have all the final language and we can report to our membership,” said Ballard.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Great Job Opportunity in State Government.

WV Commission for National and Community Service
Job Opportunity Announcement

Executive Director

Reports To: Commission chair of Governor-appointed Commission
FLSA Status: exempt
Salary: Dependent on experience; full benefit package
This position is a pay grade 20.
Closing Date: The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications April 6.
Position Start Date: October 1

Send Resume and cover letter to:

Search Committee
WV Commission for National and Community Service
601 Delaware Ave.
Charleston, WV 25302


The Director has overall responsibility for the implementation of Commission policies and strategies, program development and management, and coordination between the Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, and specific state and local programs, in order to accomplish the Commission's mission to build West Virginia communities through service and volunteerism. Ensures the Director and the Commission staff act in an ethical manner and accomplishes tasks and goals within specific time frames and time guidelines.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned:

Coordinates statewide needs analysis through public meetings and focus groups;

Develops unified state service plans, strategic plans and policy documents following statewide needs assessment;

Interprets and implements the National and Community Service Act of 1993 and regulations concerning those programs for the Commission and subgrantees and any other national service legislation for which the Commission is the administrative entity; and complies with applicable State laws, and the Commission’s By-laws.

Coordinates with the State Dept. of Education, higher education institutions, Corp for National and Community Service (CNCS) State Office, and other national service programs operating in the state in order to develop an integrated community service effect in West Virginia;

Oversees the drafting of annual funding proposals to be submitted by the Commission to CNCS;

Provides staff and executive support and assistance to the Commission.

Supervises and coordinates the activities of other staff to effectively carry out overall program and fiscal management of state projects;

Oversees the development of a plan to recruit participants and grantees;

Arranges for technical support and training of sub-grantee staff and program participants;

Promotes the concept of national service, the Commission and its programs, and develops funding sources to support these activities;

Works to develop federal, state, and local policies which support service programs; and

Coordinates outside evaluation of statewide service programs.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Manages a central staff through a senior management team, which is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of the Commission’s programs. The Executive Director carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the Commission's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.

Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Able to read and interpret written information.

Visionary Leadership - Displays passion and optimism; Inspires respect and trust; mobilizes others to fulfill the vision; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates.

Change Management - Develops workable implementation plans; Communicates changes effectively; Builds commitment and overcomes resistance; Prepares and supports those affected by change; Monitors transition and evaluates results.

Delegation - Delegates work assignments; Matches the responsibility to the person; Gives authority to work independently; Sets expectations and monitors delegated activities; Provides recognition for results.

Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Accepts feedback from others; Gives appropriate recognition to others.

Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; Takes responsibility for subordinates' activities; Makes self available to staff; Provides regular performance feedback; Develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; Solicits and applies customer feedback (internal and external); Fosters quality focus in others; Improves processes, products and services.; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.

Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.

Strategic Thinking - Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; Understands Commission's strengths & weaknesses; Identifies external threats and opportunities.

Time Management – Operates individually and organizationally to meet priorities and goals of the Commission. Utilizes time in an effective and productive manner.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience

Master's degree (M. A.) or equivalent; or four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Language Skills

Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals, financial reports, federal regulations, and legal documents. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from customers, regulatory agencies, or members of the business community. Ability to write speeches and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format. Ability to effectively present information to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.

Mathematical Skills

Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts to financial, budget and accounting applications.

Reasoning Ability

Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete and abstract variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.

Computer Skills

Ability to navigate effectively on Internet, Web, Intranet, e-mail and other electronic tools. Comfortable with common office computer packages including, spreadsheet, word-processing, and PowerPoint.

Other Skills and Abilities
Managerial experience with volunteer and community service programs, education, or youth development highly desirable. Demonstrated fund raising abilities.

Other Qualifications

Ability to travel within and outside the state; Knowledge of state and federal program guidelines, policies, and procedures desirable.

Physical Demands The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to sit and use the telephone and computer.

Work Environment The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Are you preparing to Attend the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration?
Are you going to meet Stephen Dubner? Seeking an autograph maybe? Have you read the book? Have you not read the book but wonder what the hype is all about?
Check out the Freakonomics Blog.

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Charleston Area Alliance Announces CEO ROUNDTABLE LUNCHEON

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
12:00 noon
Charleston Area Alliance, 1116 Smith Street

The Value of Blogging in Business

What is a blog?

I’ve heard about these things, aren’t they just people writing about their day or opinions on current events? How could this ever help my business?

How a blog can help your business make money and draw traffic to your website?

How can you track traffic to your blog and measure its success?

What are technorati, blogshares, and bloglines?

If your business is not blogging, you are missing an important component within business. To learn how blogs can make your business more successful, please join the Charleston Area Alliance and our panel of presenters:

Bob Coffield, Attorney - Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso

Matthew Ballard, President & CEO - Charleston Area Alliance

Skip Lineburg, CEO - Maple Creative

This is a roundtable you won’t want to miss. The CEO Roundtable Luncheon is limited to 30 participants; you must pre-register for this event and can do so by contacting Leanne Stowers at or 304-340-4253. The event is $5.00 for Charleston Alliance members and their employees; there will be a $20.00 charge for non-members.

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Freakonomics Coming to Charleston West Virginia at the Clay Center!

Just in case you haven't heard, the Charleston Area Alliance is bringing Stephen Dubner, the co-author of Freakonomics to Charleston West Virginia on April 17, 2007 at the Clay Center for its Annual Celebration. This is the first time Dubner will visit and speak in West Virginia.

Find out more here!

This is going to be one of the best speakers who will speak in our great state this year. Freakonomics has been on the best sellers list for the last 55 weeks!

You don't want to miss the best business social event of the year. Get tickets now!

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

NGK Expands.

In what we beleieve will be one of the biggest economic stories for West Virginia in 2007.

Details from Joe Morris from the Charleston Gazette news article below:

March 03, 2007

Spark plug plant on way

NGK USA adding to Sissonville facility

By Joe MorrisStaff writer

NGK Spark Plugs USA Inc. is building another plant in Sissonville.
The manufacturer already runs an oxygen sensor plant and distribution center in Sissonville, employing about 220 people. The new plant, to be built alongside the existing facility, will assemble spark plugs and is likely to open around the middle of next year, according to a company news release issued Friday.

However, the company is still ironing out the final details and isn’t saying yet how many people it expects to hire, said Yoshitaka Narita, NGK’s chief financial officer and secretary-treasurer. The company will be ready to say more around the end of April, Narita said.

NGK decided to build because demand for its spark plugs is outstripping its Irvine, Calif., plant’s supply capacity and there’s no room there for expanding, according to the release.
The company researched locations for the new plant for about a year before deciding on Sissonville, Narita said. He wouldn’t disclose the other candidates.

“Based on the 12-year positive history of a dedicated work force and the cooperative efforts of governmental and private agencies, the commitment to West Virginia was an obvious choice,” the release said.

NGK said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Gov. Joe Manchin, along with the West Virginia Development Office and the Charleston Area Alliance, are working with the company on the plans.

“West Virginians have a friend in NGK, which has quadrupled the size of its work force over the past decade,” Rockefeller says in the NGK statement. “I knew that our workers, who are second to none, would make the company a success in West Virginia.”

The Sissonville plant opened in 1995 with 53 employees.

Manchin called NGK “a great partner with West Virginia.” The news of the expansion “is further evidence of the results we can achieve with our quality workforce and the cooperation of business and government.”

Each year, the Sissonville plant, measuring 112,000 square feet, makes around 10 million sensors, which gauge the oxygen content in exhaust gas. The 70,000-square-foot distribution center ships 19 million sensors and 28 million spark plugs annually.

The plant has won quality awards from each of its customers, including the Honda Triple Award for quality, productivity and delivery. Only two Honda suppliers, out of 600, got the award.
NGK’s corporate headquarters are in Nagoya, Japan. Its U.S. unit is based in Wixom, Mich.
To contact staff writer Joe Morris, use e-mail or call 348-5179.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Whoops Sorry, an Amendment to the Members of the Non-Profit Committee

In addition to the others already listed on the blog, other Non-Profit Committee Members include:

Charles Bayless
Todd Dorcas
John Guido
Barbara Kinsey
Nora Myers