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Project BEST Helping to Build Ohio Valley

By JOSELYN KING

Staff Writer

WHEELING — An Ohio Valley trades group believes in “building efficiency by striving together.”

Project BEST, established in 1971, seeks to facilitate cooperation between construction labor and management by helping both sides to work together to promote and advance the local construction industry.

And Tom Cerra, co-director of Project BEST, foresees a great deal of development and construction happening locally if a cracker plant is announced for Belmont County.

Project BEST is a consortium of more than 400 contractors, the Ohio Valley Employers Council and over 6,000 building trades craftsmen and apprentices of the Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council.

Members subscribe to the following credo — “Skill plus performance equals value.” And Cerra said Project BEST achieves value for construction customers by assuring them they will receive highly-trained craftsmen for their projects.

“I guess it’s not a secret a lot of our customers are long gone now,” he said. “Hopefully what they are developing in Belmont County results in some development. We’re hoping it will be a true project because it will really do a lot of this valley.

“Project BEST is about creating jobs — not just construction jobs, but industrial jobs.”

Cerra is confident a cracker plant soon will be announced for Belmont County, and that a number of related businesses will spring up in the area to service the needs of the facility and those of its workers.

“They’ve spent a lot of money on engineering,” Cerra said of PTT Global Chemical. “I don’t think they would be spending the money on engineering and property if it were not coming to reality. It’s just a matter of time.

“And we will work hard to see our craftsmen and contractors participate in the process.”

Downtown Wheeling is also seeing more construction at present than it has in decades, Cerra acknowledged. Anchoring this excitement is the move of The Health Plan offices from St. Clairsville to Main Street in Wheeling.

“The Health Plan downtown is a nice project,” he said. “It has brought a lot of interest downtown, and a lot of people downtown. It’s what we hope for.”

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