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On Right Track In Development

Welcome to West Virginia, Gruppo Fanti. We’re pleased to have you here and we look forward to many years of a mutally beneficial relationship.

Significant economic development achievements are rare enough in our region to merit special attention — and to be viewed as learning opportunities. Gruppo Fanti is providing several.

As we reported, the Italian company plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Weirton’s Half Moon Industrial Park. Eventually, it may employ as many as 50 people.

Gruppo Fanti is an enormous firm, producing about 100 million metal cans, as well as other items, annually. It has operations in Europe and Africa. Weirton is its first venture in this country.

Among the multiple lessons the company’s decision teaches is that manufacturing is not dead in America. In particular, it has a future in our region.

Another obvious lesson is that local economic development efforts can pay off. In this case, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle deserves credit.

So do state economic development officials. Gruppo Fanti Chief Financial Officer Nicola DeSantis paid tribute this week to the West Virginia Development Office. What he said is illuminating: “This was probably the main element for choosing your state as the place to be.”

State Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch provided some details, saying West Virginia was chosen for our pro-business climate and “incredible workforce.”

Indeed, the two factors are important. But we suspect every state attempts to use the two qualities as selling points to attract new businesses.

Clearly, the state development office, with help from the BDC, did a better job of convincing Gruppo Fanci officials West Virginia really has a favorable business climate and really does offer an excellent workforce.

Recognizing that is important. It demonstrates that the state’s development efforts are on the right track.

Gruppo Fanci’s decision should make it even easier to convince development prospects that West Virginia is the place to be. It is true: Nothing succeeds like success.

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