New warehouse and distribution facility opens in Struthers
By Jamison Cocklin
For the fourth time in three months, the Mahoning Valley welcomed a company that will serve eastern Ohio’s growing oil and gas industry with the local workforce.
On Thursday, Oklahoma-based Industrial Piping Specialists, which warehouses and distributes carbon and stainless-steel pipe, flanges, valves and fittings for the oil and gas industry, officially opened its newly renovated 55,000-square-foot facility in Struthers’ CASTLO Industrial Park.
IPS made a $10 million investment to stock and refurbish the building, which was constructed in the 1920s and formerly served as a part of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.’s Struthers Works.
The facility employs 14 people, 10 of whom are from Struthers, said Ty Westfield, the company’s president and chief executive officer. He added, however, that 60 employees eventually could staff the operation if demand warrants it.
IPS joins Exterran, Vallourec Star and Valerus, which have opened expansions or new facilities in Youngstown in the past three months.
Unlike Exterran and Valerus, which fabricate processing and treatment equipment for the industry, and Vallourec Star, which manufactures steel pipe for oil and gas drilling, IPS will serve manufacturing companies and not oil and gas producers.
It will distribute Vallourec Star’s pipe and provide companies such as Exterran and Dearing Compressor in Boardman with the flanges, valves and other parts they need to construct equipment for producers and pipeline companies, said Bob Sims, senior vice president of IPS.
“The oil and gas industry as a whole is up and down,” Westfield said. “But we feel we’re in a good market with many companies moving their manufacturing capabilities to this area as the economy grows.”
Both Sims and Westfield said the company searched for a location in Pennsylvania for nearly two years, but chose Struthers because of the Valley’s workforce and the help the company received from local officials.
Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker said the company’s presence there is a “real shot in the arm” for the city. He said the company’s success and that of its workforce will now be tied to Struthers. Stocker said the city has a 2 percent income tax on all employees working at IPS. The income tax Struthers collects throughout the city accounts for 70 percent of its general fund, Stocker added.
Struthers also will collect a net-profit tax.
IPS began taking orders for its Struthers facility in 2010 and began operations in mid-2011. Company officials said that it’s only been in the past six to nine months, though, that operations have been at full-tilt with all the work that has went into preparing the facility itself.
IPS also has warehouses in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.