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JobsOhio invests in prep work for proposed Belmont County ‘cracker’ plant

The Columbus Dispatch

An Asian petrochemical company likely won’t decide for many months on whether to proceed with plan for a major ethane “cracker” project in eastern Ohio, but Ohio economic-development officials have taken steps to keep plans for that plant on track.

JobsOhio disclosed Tuesday that it has spent $14 million to reimburse some of the costs of cleaning up and preparing the Belmont County site for the potential project.

A clear site was requested by PTT Global Chemical of Thailand, a business that is exploring the feasibility of building a plant there.

“This was really critical for the timeline,” said David Mustine, senior adviser for JobsOhio.

The location, near the village of Shadyside, was home to FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger power plant, which has been closed since 2011. FirstEnergy supervised the demolition of the plant and the cleanup of the site this year, working on an expedited schedule.

FirstEnergy paid for the work, and now JobsOhio is reimbursing…

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FWD:Energy receives research subsidy from the Department of Energy

Renewable Energy from Waste

FWD:Energy Inc., Zanesville, Ohio, has been awarded a research subsidy of $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for use at federal laboratories to advance its technology to turn scrap tires into a key ingredient for lithium-ion batteries called Green Battery Carbon.

The awarded funds are provided through the DOE’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV), a recently introduced initiative of the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that helps small U.S. companies bring their innovations to market by pairing them with participating DOE national labs.

“We have a special opportunity to work with the finest researchers in the world to advance our process and outputs for use in batteries and energy storage applications,” FWD:Energy CEO Richard Sloan said. “We get access to expertise and equipment that a small company like FWD:Energy would otherwise never be able to afford.”

FWD:Energy has already developed a clean, sustainable patent-pending system to turn large…

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Rocky Brands gets military contract

The Athens Messenger

Nelsonville-based Rocky Brands announced Thursday that it has been awarded a contract to produce hot-weather combat boots for the U.S. military.

The one-year contract, which includes four additional one-year options, limits the annual amount for boots to $20 million, according to the company, which said an annual amount of about $16 million is anticipated.

Rocky expects to begin fulfilling the order in the first half of 2017.

Interim CEO Mike Brooks said increasing military sales is a “key component” to the company’s diversified growth strategy.

“We recently invested in expanding our Puerto Rico manufacturing facility in order to better capitalize on the growing demand for military footwear,” Brooks said in the announcement.

The company said it is currently in the process of fulfilling the order announced in February to produce “temperate-weather” combat boots, and an existing contract to produce hot-weather boots that was announced in February 2013.


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Students learn about manufacturing careers

The Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — In 1970, more than 50 percent of a product’s retail price went toward paying the wages of those who manufactured it. Today, only 10 percent of that same item’s cost supports the labor used to produce it, economic development officials said Thursday.

That means far fewer workers are able to manufacture more products, a trend that seems destined to persist as new technologies and machinery continue replacing manual labor. Those who can secure a career in manufacturing today are likely to earn substantially more than their grandparents did, however.

“Just remember: Your future could be very bright in manufacturing,” Melinda Thompson, a 1982 St. Clairsville High School graduate who retired after a successful career at Procter & Gamble, said Thursday during a career information forum for about 400 local high school students at Belmont College.

“There are plenty of manufacturing jobs right here in your backyard,” she added.

The purpose…

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