Morgan names second industrial tenant

October 16, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A Michigan company will build a new facility in Morgan County, bringing 35 jobs and a second tenant to the Morgan County Industrial Park South.

After sitting vacant for about 10 years, the county announced two businesses moving into the industrial park this week. A Japanese company, Ten Inc., announced earlier this week it will build a facility that will employ about 25 workers.

"All these years of waiting and now we can't even spread it out," said Morgan County Commission President Phil Maggio with a laugh.


Ed Vasicek, vice president for industrial relations with Lippert Components in Alma, Mich., said he had looked at sites throughout the Tri-State area before choosing Morgan County.

"The way we were received by the people in Morgan County made the difference," Vasicek said. "They were aggressive in their approach and the county commissioners were very helpful."

Lippert Components has 18 plants in 14 states, he said.

The company manufactures chassis for manufactured homes and recreation vehicles, Vasicek said.

Construction on the facility could start on Monday, he said.

He said he had concerns initially about whether there would be enough workers or enough infrastructure available for the facility, but county and state officials told him there would be no problems.

Maggio said the county has been aggressively pursuing companies and it had been frustrating because while officials had been working hard, the industrial park had sat empty, so the efforts had not been visible.

Maggio said 53 percent of the county's work force leaves Morgan County to work elsewhere.

When the industrial park was first opened, the county tried to lure in a large business employing between 500 and 700 workers, Maggio said.

But the reality is the county has to target businesses with about 50 employees because the larger businesses look at the county's population base to determine if the county will have enough workers. The county has about 14,000 residents.

Each job created in Morgan County leads to spinoff jobs at surrounding businesses in the county, he said.

He does not believe it will take long to add more jobs to the county's industrial park.

A Hedgesville, W.Va., business has an option to buy two of the park's lots and two other companies are currently looking at the park, though they have not made decisions yet, he said.

Having businesses in the industrial park and making money will also make it easier to sell the industrial park to prospective tenants, he said.

Most of the $76,000 the county has made from the se of lots to Lippert Components and Ten Inc. will go into a capital improvements fund set aside for future infrastructure upgrades needed at the industrial park, he said.

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