Political Pork Tri-Cities Virginia-Tennessee

Steel Company Relocates for Government Handouts

by Lewis Loflin

Typical of the government stupidity in this region is the recent decision of a company named Steel Fab to shift operations to a neighboring community and collect a fortune in government handouts.

We should have been wary when the company was all the sudden advertising all kinds of new positions last year but never hired anyone. This is often a precursor to a change in ownership or relocation and a new incentive package for the company.

Steel Fab has two locations in Washington County. Now it's being reported on August 20, 2013 they will move across the county line to Russell County to get a I believe free building plus an additional $260,000 in cash.

They will locate to the empty Leer building in Lebanon, Virginia the product of an earlier corporate welfare fiasco that got the money and went away.

They claim Steel Fab will invest $1.5 million and "retain" 260 employees nobody is allowed to even confirm they actually have and promise to hire 50 new employees over three years.

There's no way to confirm this will ever happen because the public is barred from obtaining the information. They claim they will produce pressure tanks and is a division of the Samuel Pressure Vessel Group of Wisconsin.

In the past according to their own statements from economic developers involved in this case they don't follow employment numbers or pay scales after the award of public moneys and this is simply another announcement. Even now they proclaimed the "creation" of another 310 new jobs, which is nonsense.

Russell County Industrial Development Authority is a joke. Go to their website ( and note the following information:

Current employers such as Lear Corporation, Cingular Wireless, and Alcoa Wheel Products have found success here. Russell County is also the new home for information technology giants CGI-AMS and Northrop Grumman.

Together, these two companies will employ more than 700 IT professionals in the Russell Regional Business and Technology Park, the county's newest technology park. Click here to read more about these companies' investments in Russell County and the southwestern Virginia region.

According to the Bristol Herald Courier Dec. 27, 2012 Alcoa Wheel fired its last 76 employees in "January and move(ed) all of the production to the company's Cleveland, Ohio facility."

They have not been any form of major employer for years. Leer Corporation had closed back in 2010 and had been in decline for years before that. How can they still be listed as a "major employer" in 2013? Can we really trust these people to be truthful?

First of all we were promised 700 new high-paying IT jobs and there's no evidence of this eight years later. Northrop Grumman consists of a data backup center and call center paying $9 an hour. Eight years later there's no proof of any broad economic benefit to the general community with this $2 billion state outsourcing contract.