Rep. Jean Schmidt made a brief stop in Scioto County on Wednesday, to tour the SFI of Ohio facility on Grace Street in New Boston, before meeting with local officials to discuss rising energy costs.
"SFI is a very good employer for the area," said Bruce Pfaff, a spokesperson for Schmidt's office. "As you know, that part of the area (Scioto-Pike) has been suffering for a little bit ... The congresswoman understands this is a large district. It's not just about Cincinnati, it's about the entire district, and that includes the eastern parts of the district which for a long time have been forgotten."
Formerly M&J Welding, SFI took control Dec. 22, to acquire "substantially all of the operating assets" of M&J's New Boston facility. Raymond Balzer, of SFI of Ohio, said in January, there were about 83 people working at M&J in New Boston. He said no layoffs were expected in this agreement, and also said the company actually planned to expand. In June, a company spokesperson said SFI had nearly 125 employees, selling goods at almost $1.5 million each day.
The New Boston facility occupies 125,000 square feet, and is about a half-mile long. The company specializes in components for Heavy Crane and Construction Equipment Industries. SFI also is one of preeminent manufactures for the U.S. Department of Defense of Amour Plate Components for Mine Resistant Armor Plated vehicles, which are developed to survive urban combat and roadside explosions. The company produces steel components for 500 MRAP vehicles each month. The New Boston facility also is the site of its specialized painting program, designed to resist biological weapons.
"The congresswoman's a very big supporter of the military, so when she was invited, she jumped at the opportunity to go meet the people who build equipment and pieces for the military," Pfaff said.
Aside from their defense contracts, the company also services private sector customers; including John Deere, FedEx, UPS, Grove, Caterpillar, Black & Decker, General Motors, Kubota and others.
"We're certainly anxious for her to see what our operation looks like. Hopefully she can go away with a better understanding of the capabilities we have in this area for supporting the military and other industries," said Dennis Ruch of SFI.
After Schmidt's tour of SFI in New Boston, she sat down with Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini, Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb and New Boston Mayor Jim Warren at the Scioto County Sheriff's Office to discuss rising energy costs.