Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Infra-Metals Vice President Michael Dean and General Manager Oak Williams met with New Boston Village Council Tuesday evening, to present an informational video about Infra-Metals and provide an update about the construction of their $13 million steel service center in the village.
After more than five years of planning and site remediation, Infra-Metals signed the land purchase agreement with the Southern Ohio Port Authority in December. Last month they awarded the general contract to J&H Erectors, of Portsmouth, to build their new 275,000-square-foot facility on the former diesel shop property located behind Tractor Supply in New Boston. The facility will also include a barge dock on the Ohio River to transport steel material to the plant.
During the meeting with New Boston Council on Tuesday, Dean introduced the New Boston Infra-Metals General Manager Oak Williams. Williams currently lives in Branford, Conn., with his wife and their newborn child. He earned his college degree in engineering and has worked in the sales department at Infra-Metals for 15 years. This is his first opportunity to work as general manager.
“I’m the kind of personality where I didn’t want to be a salesman forever, and they knew they that. They also allowed me to learn all the aspects of the business,” Williams said. “This opportunity came available in 2006 or 2007 when they started talking about it. That was years ago, but they knew I would be interested. It kind of faded away for a while, and I actually lost a little bit of interest and didn’t really know what was going on. Then it rekindled and they presented the opportunity once again.”
Dean said Williams brings a good commercial knowledge of Infra-Metals.
“There’s a lot of new opportunity and Oak is the perfect guy for that because he’s really good at digging in at new processes and new projects and that’s what this plant is going to need. I think he’s a perfect fit,” Dean said.
Williams expects to move to the area in the next few months, and he said he looks forward to being a member of the New Boston community.
“I love it. It’s the same type of place as where I grew up. The town I grew up in, there was 378 people. So this is actually a little larger than where I grew up. But the same type of people; hard working, blue collar people. I like Connecticut too, but I really am looking forward to being part of this community,” he said.
New Boston Village Council thanked Dean and Williams for coming to their meeting, and were excited to see Infra-Metals finally starting construction.
“It’s a great opportunity for the village, and of course for the city of Portsmouth. Their presentation (to council) just made it that much more exciting to see the opportunity for new business. And from this venture, we can see more new businesses coming to our community and expansion moving on from this. It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m thrilled to death we’re part of it,” said New Boston Councilman Dan Fetty.
The New Boston steel plant has been about five years in the making and nearly didn’t happen at all. The deal was almost lost entirely after a bad first impression initially knocked New Boston out of the running for Infra-Metals locations, until the company was convinced to give the village another look.
To further entice the company, they were granted property tax abatements by the state of Ohio and the village of New Boston. The company also received site assistance, such as $100,000 from American Electric Power and $150,000 from the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative through the Department of Energy.
Dean previously said they expected to begin hiring in 90 to 120 days, and new employees will be sent for training at one of the other Infra-Metals facilities along the eastern United States. He expects construction in New Boston will last about nine months, and hopes the company will begin production in September or October of this year.
More information about Infra-Metals can be found online, at www.infra-metals.com.
New Boston Village Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 6:30 p.m. in the council room of the Vern Riffe Community Center on Rhodes Avenue. The next meeting is Feb. 19.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.