Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — Six months after beginning construction in New Boston, Infra-Metals Vice President Michael Dean said Tuesday the progress is going smoothly and the $13 million steel service center is expected to be open in four weeks.
The project took six years of planning and site remediation before Infra-Metals signed the land purchase agreement with the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) in December. In January they awarded the general contract to J&H Erectors of Portsmouth to build a 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.
To help Infra-Metals become a reality after a long planning process, the company was 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 $50,000 from and Fluor-B&W, and $150,000 from the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative through the Department of Energy.
“The construction process has been really well managed. I can tell you that J&H have done a really superb job for us. They really have. Compared to some of things that I’ve done in my career, this one’s been not only the largest, but it’s also been the smoothest in terms of construction,” Dean said.
After beginning construction in April, the company hired about 34 employees and trained them at their Connecticut facility. Dean said that will be enough for the New Boston facility to get started, but he anticipates hiring more in the near future.
“That certainly isn’t enough people to run this plant, but we can only absorb so many at a time, and we can only train so many at a time because we don’t have a plant here. We’re spending a lot of money getting those guys ready to go so Day 1 we’ll be capable of doing things,” Dean said.
With nearly 1,000 applications to sift through, and about 300 interviews, Dean said the company is very pleased to find no shortage of eager and qualified workers in our area.
“We found from our first hires, we could have probably doubled or triple that with the quality of people we had coming in. We’re real confident about growing the business in relationship to us being able to find talented, available people in this region. We were really encouraged by that. I mean, really encouraged,” Dean said.
One of the biggest draws to our area, Dean said in the past, was its access to river, rail, and highway transportation. Asked how he thought the planned Portsmouth Bypass project might affect his operations, Dean said, “It probably will assist us. It might help us open up some better truck linings to some better areas we want to service.”
He said the bypass might be more convenient for them to send trucks around town, rather than through it, to more easily reach their destinations.
The New Boston Infra-Metals is located on 1 Sturgill’s Way, in the Bob Walton Sr. Industrial Park — named for SOPA Board Members Mick Sturgill (retired) and the late Bob Walton Sr. For more information about the company, visit them online at www.infra-metals.com.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.