PEMCO Expands Workforce:

Bluefield, Va., company to bring 75 new jobs to the area
following $1.4 million loan

By CHARLES BOOTHE Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Nov 16, 2018


Bluefield, VA – An expansion at a Bluefield, Va. company will bring about 75 new jobs to the area as technology is enhanced and production increased.

Tazewell County IDA representative Curtis Gillespie, Tazewell County Economic Development Director Pam Warden, VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher, David Graf, president of AMR PEMCO, and Chair of Tazewell County Board of Supervisors Maggie Asbury surround a display check of $1.4 million to AMR PEMCO from VCEDA for equipment and expansion.

With a $1.4 million loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), AMR PEMCO will invest in new equipment and expand the size of its manufacturing business off Fincastle Turnpike.

Jonathan Belcher, executive director/general counsel of VCEDA, said during the check presentation Thursday afternoon that it’s the fourth time a loan has been made to the company during a long “partnership.”

“We are very glad to provide this loan to PEMCO,” he said. “It’s a great employer with a lot of good jobs. It’s very positive economic news for the area.”

“We have been very strong partners over the years,” said David Graf, president of AMR (American Mine Research). “We continue to grow upon it. We have been in dire need of this equipment.”

Graf said about 75 new employees, in addition to the 80 already at PEMCO, will be needed as the expansion occurs over the new few years.

One of the items to be purchased with the money is a new 10 by 20-ft fiber laser cutting machine, he said, which cuts all types of metals 10 times faster than the one now in use. Other capabilities in fabrication will also be upgraded.

“All of which will make us more attractive to our customers,” he said, adding that the company, which has customers globally, continues to be involved in providing products for the coal mining industry as well as hard rock mining, natural gas, transit and utilities.

The PEMCO Corp. was acquired by AMR two years ago and has been a leader in designing, engineering, and manufacturing electrical and power distribution equipment in its 120,000-sq.-ft. structure.

Product categories include power centers, substations, dry-type transformers, industrial modular buildings, custom power panels, and ground check/ground fault protection devices.

Two other companies, East River Metals, Inc. (ERM), and Custom Manufacturing Services, Inc. (CMS), are sister companies to AMR and headquartered in Rocky Gap. They have two other facilities in Princeton, W.Va., on Rogers and Brick streets.

President of AMR PEMCO, David Graf, shows Tazewell county officials around the Bluefield Va., PEMCO building on Thursday 11/15/18.

The Graf family, natives of Bluefield, Va., owns all of the companies, along with some employee ownership.

“We are just thrilled beyond words,” said Maggie Asbury, Tazewell County board of supervisors chair and Gov. Ralph Northam’s appointee to the VCEDA board. “PEMCO and Tazewell County have always been honorable partners … one of the greatest things is to give people the opportunity to work.”

The money helps give employees the “best tools to do the best job.”

“Thanks for your vision and staying here and supporting Tazewell County,” she told Graf.

Pam Warden, Tazewell County’s director of economic development agreed.

“We have not had an expansion like this for some time,” she said.

Curtis Gillespie, with the county’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA), said he retired from PEMCO and praised the company for its work.

“I’m glad to see the expansion and that things are going good,” he said. “I am excited for you.”

“These are very good jobs … very good paying jobs,” said Belcher. “That’s the kind of employer we want to support.”

Helping an existing company expand is like attracting a new company, he added, calling PEMCO one of the “bedrocks” of the local economy.

Graf said the new equipment and building expansion will make the company more competitive and increase the product line and the speed of production as it continues to diversify.

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