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Grounds to celebrate



Published: Tue, June 29, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.
  V & M Groundbreaking

The ground breaking on V&M Star’s $650 million expansion marks the culmination of a project that has been more than 18 months in the making. The commencement of the expansion represents a “very historic, very special day” for the Valley, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles. “Things are starting to turn around here,” said Ryan, D-17th.

The ground breaking on V&M Star’s $650 million expansion marks the culmination of a project that has been more than 18 months in the making. The commencement of the expansion represents a “very historic, very special day” for the Valley, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles. “Things are starting to turn around here,” said Ryan, D-17th.

V&M Star’s $650M expansion gets rolling

By GRACE WYLER

gwyler@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The groundbreaking on V&M Star’s $650 million expansion marks the culmination of a project that has been more than 18 months in the making.

The commencement of the expansion represents a “very historic, very special day” for the Valley, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

“Things are starting to turn around here,” said Ryan. “It is not just us [event dignitaries] that are recognizing it, it is people across the state and across the country.”

Ryan and other elected officials — including Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and the mayors of Youngstown and Girard — joined officials from V&M Star and its parent company, Vallourec, on Monday to celebrate the official start of construction on V&M’s new hot-rolling, seamless pipe mill here.

The mill will create 400 construction jobs and 350 permanent, full-time positions.

Strickland extolled the return of steelmaking to the Mahoning Valley and thanked V&M for its investment in the community.

“We are a steel state, and this is steel country,” Strickland said. “Steel is not just part of our history; it is our hope.”

The state has committed about $25 million to the expansion, which involves the annexation of 191 acres of Girard property into Youngstown and a $13.56 million railroad-relocation project.

Philippe Crouzet, chairman of the Vallourec Management Board, praised the private- and public-sector cooperation that made V&M’s expansion possible.

“Every aspect of our endeavor is coming together remarkably well,” Crouzet said. “There was an unprecedented collaboration between elected leaders, government professionals and the business community.”

The expansion will allow V&M Star to respond to the growing demands of its natural-gas customers in the Marcellus Shale, Crouzet said. The shale, a natural-gas formation the size of Greece located under Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio, could contain as much as 489 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

“We are building the future in a market that has great opportunities,” Crouzet said. “V&M is well-positioned to serve as a bridge between this demand and supply.”

V&M’s confidence in the Mahoning Valley and its work force could herald a turning point for the region, said Girard Mayor James Melfi.

“Our economy has had its ups and downs,” Melfi said. “Maybe in our Valley’s history, yesterday was the bottom and today is the day we start our climb back up to the top.”

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams lauded the collaboration that went into ensuring V&M Star’s expansion in the area.

“This is an example of public- and private-sector individuals putting aside past differences and working together,” Williams said. “I hope that this isn’t the last time we find ourselves together.”

The new mill will make tubular goods of a smaller diameter than those produced at V&M’s current mill here, said Ken Johnson, manager of the new mill. The fine-quality mill will allow V&M to better respond to the demands of Marcellus Shale customers.

Construction on the pipe mill will begin immediately and is set to be completed by the end of 2011, said Skip Herald, managing director of Vallourec North America.

Herald thanked representatives from Sumitomo Metal Industries present at the groundbreaking. The Japanese company is a minority partner in Vallourec’s North American endeavors and is providing capital investment for V&M Star’s projects, Herald said.

V&M Star will begin hiring for the mill’s 350 full-time positions over the next several months, Herald said.

The company will launch a website sometime in the next few weeks with details about the hiring process and the positions available.


Comments

1CrestwoodRocks(107 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

This sure will create jobs around the Mahoning & Trumbull County lines. Hopefully VM can build a branch in Kent or Tallmadge and creating additional jobs around the Portage & Summit County lines

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Tim Ryan has done nothing to bring jobs to the valley or other parts of his district. I think about the jobs at GE Lighting and Denman Tire that were lost, and he did nothing to save them except vote for the Liberal energy bill that cost those GE jobs and got no stimulus money to keep Denman open. He did nothing to help the Delphi salaried workers keep their pensions. He is as worthless as a teat on a boar hog. He needs to go bye bye in November.

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3Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully more good opportunities for Youngstown in the near future.

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4atek101(77 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

This event is a great land-breaking achievement for our Valley for a vareity of reasons.

First, it demonstrates that we have elected officials to office who are willing to collaborate for the benefit of the entire Mahoning Valley. Of course politics were involved. That's the case with any money-bringer in any community. Politicians certainly don't deserve the all the credit for making this happen; a lot of people and factors were involved in this discussion.

However, political leaders committed to work together to make this project succeed. They used a collaborative strategy to acquire funding as well as package and clean the land so that this project could take place with a low overhead for V&M. A collaborative political climate creates a good atmosphere for businesses, which might encourage subsequent development from other out-of-town industries that will help us compete on the global market.

The project also brings a lot of jobs; good jobs that will likely require high-quality housing and better services within the vicinity of the V&M Star facility. This means that the neighborhoods surrounding the plant, such as Brier Hill (North Side), Steelton (West Side), and Girard's southern edge, might see reinvestment and improvement, which will help strengthen our entire community. Some of the existing mill bars, corner stores, and other small businesses near the plant may see increased traffic as well.

Time will certainly tell, but I think it's up to our elected officials, community development corporations, and business associations to play a continued and invested role in this discussion. We need to work together with V&M to create a better living and working environment around the plant to protect and secure this investment. Our active participation in this project can't stop with the ground-breaking ceremony.

The expansion of V&M Star also diversifies our community's economic assets, which is essential for its longevity.

The mistake we made with steel the frist time around was that we relied upon steel as the sole major industry fueling our local economy. When steel feel, our entire community suffered a major blow. So it's kind-of interesting that steel is actually going to help us improve our diversification here in 2010. Steel will now play a role along with our growing education, health care, high tech, and auto manufacturing industries to help ensure that we have a variety of different business sectors keeping our economy afloat. It's important that we continue to expand our horizons in multiple directions.

This isn't a success for just Youngstown and Girard, it's an accomplishment that will positively impact the entire Mahoning Valley, both now and into the future. It's a model collaborative re-investment and regional governance that we must continue to use to help our community effectively tackle the painstaking process of economic recovery and to build our competitive edge in the global marketplace.

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5WarrenRicheyKid(167 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

"This event is a great land-breaking achievement for our Valley for a varity of reasons." I couldn't agree more.

All involved in the effort deserve the thanks of the Valley.

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