Cabell, Wayne counties join local Polymer Alliance Zone

From left: Keith Burdette, president of the Polymer Alliance Zone; David Lieving of the Huntington Area Development Council; and Mike Butcher, Polymer Alliance chairman of the board. The three celebrated the addition of Cabell and Wayne counties in the alliance. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — The Polymer Alliance Zone of West Virginia is adding two more counties, officials announced on Thursday.

The Polymer Alliance has expanded into Cabell and Wayne counties and will join Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Tyler and Wood counties.

“The addition of Cabell and Wayne counties to the Polymer Alliance Zone makes strategic sense,” Keith Burdette, president of the Polymer Alliance Zone, said. “It will broaden our ability to reach out for new investment and new jobs for our state and strengthen the resources we have to offer. If we are to be successful we must think smarter and work together for common goals.”

The Polymer Alliance, based in Wood County, was created by executive order of then-Gov. Gaston Caperton in 1996. Among the highest concentrations of high-technology, specialty and engineering polymers production are located in the region.

The focus is on expanding the industrial base by adding value to polymer businesses and related service industries, Burdette said. Cabell and Wayne counties are in the equation, according to Burdette.

“The Huntington Area Development Council is pleased to develop a strategic partnership with the Polymer Alliance Zone to advance economic development in the communities we serve in Cabell and Wayne counties,” said David Lieving of the Huntington Area Development Council.

The primary goal of the Polymer Alliance and the Development Council is the polymer and related industries and the creation of quality, high paying jobs, he said.

“Shared success between the (Development Council) and the Polymer Alliance Zone allows the entire Ohio Valley Region to achieve its economic development vision of attracting high-wage and high-skill jobs to the area. This partnership is the kind of collaboration we need to connect our Ohio Valley communities around our shared goal of growing our existing manufacturing base and attracting new jobs and investment,” Lieving said. “(The Development Council) welcomes our association with the Polymer Alliance Zone and we are looking forward to building even more innovative partnerships in the future.”

The Ohio Valley is the most cost-effective region in the world to produce and manufacture plastics and polymers based upon the development of the Marcellus and Utica shale gas reserves, Burdette said.

“An abundance of natural gas, including natural gas liquids, low natural gas costs, and proximity to 70 percent of the polyethylene industry within a day’s drive, are a game changer for the Ohio Valley,” Burdette said.

The region, known as Shale Crescent USA, is primed to become the second major petrochemical hub in the continental U.S.A., Burdette said.

“These are exciting times and we are pleased to welcome Cabell and Wayne counties as members of the Polymer Alliance Zone of West Virginia,” he said.