Economy: Good things happening in Wood County

Forget about the “big deal” announcements that lead to nowhere, Wood County’s economy is not built on mega-projects funded by investors who take their profits right back out of the Mid-Ohio Valley as fast as they can. As West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch learned last week, much of our economy is built by employers like Wincore Windows and Gaskets, Packing & Seals; Kreinik Manufacturing; Mister Bee Potato Chips an Danser Inc.

There are others, of course. In fact, Hino Motors has been an outstanding example of a company that saw the value of working in Wood County, and came in determined to do it the right way.

But Gaunch is right to include the nurturing of established, local employers on his to-do list, even as he continues to court new opportunities.

“There aren’t many 400-employee companies around,” he said of Wincore. And Wincore would like to grow, here in Wood County, should space become available. Meanwhile employers such as Mister Bee are looking for community partnerships that might help them expand and thrive, too.

There is a lot happening here at home, as these local entrepreneurs quietly charge ahead, working their hardest to be engines for success without the help of some mega-employer swooping in to save us all. (Not that we wouldn’t welcome such an addition, were it ever to become a reality.)

One comment by Wincore Chief Operating Officer Brian Standley should pique the interest of those bemoaning the high unemployment rate in our region.

“We are looking for people,” he said.

Many other local employers have openings that have not been easy to fill. There are jobs here, folks — some employers are even willing to train. But applicants have to behave professionally, be drug-free and be willing to work. Don’t blame the employers if you can’t meet that criteria.

Gaunch’s visit shone a spotlight on the good things happening in Wood County’s economy, particularly as it shows us how much there is upon which we can build.