Friday, January 07, 2011

Canatal Steel plant brings 40 jobs to Botetourt County

Canatal Steel, a Canadian company, said it expects to hire up to 100 workers by 2012.

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Canatal Steel USA Inc. announced Thursday that it has opened its first U.S. operation in Botetourt County, where the company said it will invest more than $1 million in equipment and a leased facility and create up to 40 full-time jobs by April and as many as 100 by 2012.

Production began in September, but Charles Trent, the company's controller, said he decided to delay the announcement until the first of the year to gauge whether production expectations were reasonable.

"[Production] has exceeded our expectations," said Trent, a Lynchburg native.

Canatal Steel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canatal Industries, headquartered in Thetford Mines, Quebec.

The company is leasing the building formerly occupied by O'Neal Metals in an industrial park off U.S. 11. Trent confirmed that Canatal has hired seven former O'Neal employees, including welders, grinders and a heavy equipment operator.

As hiring continues, positions will range from welders and fitters to, eventually, office staff, estimators and engineers, he said.

Canatal Steel takes raw steel and then cuts, shapes and fabricates it into steel beams for contract jobs. The company said it has experienced an uptick in orders and that about 95 percent of Canatal Industries' business is in the United States.

Trent said the Botetourt County site provides great access to transportation to serve East Coast markets and that the building was a good fit.

"It had all the infrastructure we need," Trent said.

He praised the economic development recruitment efforts of officials from Botetourt County and the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

"Botetourt County has been very progressive with their solicitation of business," he said.

County Administrator Jerry Burgess said he is thrilled Canatal chose Botetourt. He said no local incentives were needed to close the deal. The county's primary focus has been helping Canatal learn the ropes of operating a business in the U.S., he said.

"It's one of those cases where we had a perfect geographical location and the building they needed," he said.

Burgess said Deputy County Administrator David Moorman made early contact with the company. Beth Doughty of the Roanoke Regional Partnership said the organization's first contact with Canatal Industries occurred in February.

Canatal Steel will receive job training help from the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

Trent said people interested in potential employment should contact one of the staffing agencies in the Roanoke Valley handling the hiring: Adecco Staffing or Chase Professionals.

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