Rock Springs Business Park in Hancock County Welcomes First Tenant, Heavy Iron Oilfield Services | News, Sports, Jobs

photo by: Craig Howell

John Van Slyke, right, managing partner of Heavy Iron Oilfield Services, offers thanks to those gathered Tuesday to celebrate the company’s recent opening in Chester. The business is the first tenant at the new Rock Springs Business Park, established on the site of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery plant.

Business, government and economic development officials gathered in the state’s northernmost city Tuesday morning to welcome a new company to the area and celebrate the work of almost 13 years.

A grand opening was held for Heavy Iron Oilfield Services LP, which recently moved into the Rock Springs Business Park in Chester; once the site of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor Pottery.

“Today marks a significant milestone,” declared Jacob Keeney, co-executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.

The BDC announced Heavy Iron Oilfield Services would become the first tenant of the business park almost one year ago, noting the company would be relocating from Canonsburg, Pa. with a plan for approximately 100 jobs made up of existing and new employees.

John Van Slyke, managing partner for Heavy Iron, explained the company has been in operation since 2011, adding they are excited to be a part of the Chester community and promising to be a good neighbor.

“We’ve always been locally owned and operated,” Van Slyke said. “We always hire locally.”

Heavy Iron Oilfield Services provides well testing and frac flowback services to the oil and gas industry in the eastern United States.

Van Slyke noted the Chester location serves as a hub for their operation, allowing for the storage and servicing of equipment when not in use in the field.

Tuesday’s event observed the culmination, not just of Heavy Iron bringing its operations to West Virginia, but a journey which began in 2011 when the BDC, answering the call of area residents, purchased the property with the intent of demolishing the former pottery and preparing it for future use.

Chester Mayor Ed Wedgewood explained he remembers being in grade school when the TS&T Pottery closed its doors, sitting vacant and decaying for 30 years.

“It was years of frustration and a lot of waiting,” he said, thanking the residents of the city who pushed for something to happen with the property, and the BDC for the work put into the site.

Marvin Six, BDC director emeritus, relayed some history of the site.

“You saw this old, dilapidated property,” he said, noting, at the time, some on the BDC’s board questioned the move to make the purchase.

The BDC made the purchase through the support of the Hancock County Commission, the Benedum Foundation and the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, followed by funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to spend two years on the demolition of the buildings and remediation of the land.

“We were marketing this property as is,” Six said, noting there was no interest in an empty lot.

So, with financial backing from the Economic Development Authority, the new structure was constructed from 2016 to 2017.

“We now have a generation who has seen this coming up from the ground,” Six said, noting the idea of new construction has been rare in the region.

Kris Warner, executive director of the WVEDA, thanked the BDC and all involved for their work, calling the agency the most active economic development organization in the state.

Hancock County Commissioner Eron Chek also offered congratulations, on behalf of the county, noting the county’s slogan of “We’re on top of West Virginia.”

“Today, our slogan is a little extra true,” she said.

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