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.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Research center expands services

Group hopes creation of engineering arm will help keep that aspect of its projects in state

George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor

The Mid-Atlantic Technology Research and Innovation Center, also known as MATRIC, said today it has formed MATE - an acronym for Mid-Atlantic Technical Engineering.

Keith Pauley, president and chief executive officer of MATRIC, said in a prepared statement that MATE complements MATRIC's research and development by providing the professional engineering services required for the detailed design and construction oversight needed for new process facilities.

"To date, MATRIC often has to pass our research to out-of-state entities to complete the designs and to work with contractors," he said. "We plan to hire over 50 engineers and support staff in 2008 with the goal of becoming a major regional engineering firm within the next five years."

MATE is a for-profit corporation. Asked how much capital it is starting with, spokeswoman Mary-Margaret Chandler replied, "MATRIC is bootstrapping it with work from existing clients." She said Pauley will initially head the new firm.

MATE is located in MATRIC's offices in Building 740 at the South Charleston Technology Park.
In a prepared statement, MATRIC said, "MATE plans to secure significant professional engineering contracts in order to employ workers who have recently been notified of downsizing by The Dow Chemical Co. and other local firms as well as offering interesting opportunities for engineers of all disciplines who may wish to return to West Virginia from other states."

Job openings are posted on MATRIC's Web site. Go to and click on "Careers."

MATRIC said, "With focused expertise in natural gas, coal, nuclear, biofuels, chemical and aerospace development, design, construction and start-up, MATE can already offer an experienced staff to support some of the most important industries in West Virginia and the surrounding region."

MATRIC is a nonprofit organization established more than three years ago to harness the brainpower that Union Carbide Corp. had brought to the Kanawha Valley over the decades. MATRIC is patterned after the Research Triangle Institute at Research Triangle Park, N.C. That organization has attracted more than 100 high-tech companies that employ thousands of people in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.

Since its establishment, MATRIC has won $13.8 million in contracts, engaged in projects ranging from biomass-derived fuels to devices NASA may use on its lunar rover, spun off several companies and absorbed the National Institute for Chemical Studies.

MATRIC has more than 70 employees.

After The Dow Chemical Co. announced in December that it will cease most of its research operations in West Virginia over the next two years, MATRIC's leaders launched an all-out effort to pick up many of the 150 researchers who will be leaving Dow.

One focus of that effort has been to acquire additional financing. So far MATRIC has lined up $3 million in new money. Gov. Joe Manchin announced last month that he put $2 million in the state budget for MATRIC. "We're committed to building off the intellect we have," he said. "You don't get many of these opportunities to keep the best and brightest."

In addition, the Kanawha County Commission and the city of South Charleston each agreed last month to contribute $500,000 to MATRIC. Also, Pauley has said MATRIC is working with the Charleston Area Alliance "on various scenarios that would extend or change the terms of the agreement" under which MATRIC has a $500,000 line of credit from the Alliance.

Contact writer George Hohmann at or 348-4836.


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