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Governor tours local factory to celebrate growth, expansion


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Gov. Tom Corbett was in Johnstown Thursday to celebrate the success and expansion of a local company. Environmental Tank and Container, a division of JWF Industries, has only be around for a couple of years but already it's receiving economic grants and adding new positions.

The governor's visit was twofold: to meet with workers and get an up-close look at what they do at the facility every day and to congratulate a growing company on its plans for the future.

It's a large building that you might not notice when driving on Route 403 out of the city, but it's been there since the 1940s, built during the second world war to create munitions. It's still often referred to as the "Shell." Two and a half years ago it was empty, destined to become another industrial casualty, until it was purchased by JWF Industries and turned into the home of Environmental Tank and Container.

"We are an original equipment manufacturer of frack tanks, mud tanks, gas busters, flow back tanks and above ground impoundments for the oil and gas industry," said Bill Polacek, CEO of JWF and ETC.

The company has also delved in to Marcellus shale and has already received $1 million Economic Growth Initiative grant from the state. The company plans to use that grant to install a new state-of-the-art paint booth so it can finish the final stage of tank production itself.

"It's going to enable us to be competitive in the market place," said Polacek. "When you ship something large and you're right in the middle of Marcellus shale, you have the competitive advantage."

It's an industry Corbett said is keeping Pennsylvania competitive, not only bringing in money and resources, but providing quality jobs and incomes for families. Corbett toured the facility and met with workers Thursday before helping the company make a big announcement for the region.

"Right now, we have a total of about 100 people working here and we expect to hire about 100 more over the next two to three years," said Polacek. "That's before we even touch the other shells."

"It demonstrates how the private sector is growing here in Pennsylvania," said Corbett. "There's been over 140,000 private sector jobs added since I came into office, a lot of it has to do with the natural gas industry and the energy industry in Pennsylvania so today's a very good day."

JWF is already a successful company in Johnstown that's encouraging other companies to take advantage of a growing industry.

"If you just look look a little bit, you can figure out a way to take your business, maybe tweak it a little bit, and grow it into Marcellus shell," said Polacek. "That's the opportunity the governor is giving us today and this region."

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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