Steel Fab Adds Jobs in Washington County


(Pressure Vessel Manufacturer to Add 11 Jobs and Invest $900,000)


The Washington County Board of Supervisors and Industrial Development Authority announced on Monday, August 22, 2011, that Steel Fab, a division of Samuel Steel Pressure Vessel Group, would be expanding its facility outside of Abingdon, Virginia. Steel Fab is one of the largest manufacturers of ASME industrial pressure vessels for the air compressor industry in North America and currently employs approximately 240 people at their Abingdon operation. Steel Fab has been operating in Washington County since 1988. They are a member of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2011, Steel Fab built in excess of 50,000 pressure vessels for international customers that were shipped all over North America and overseas. Their carbon steel and stainless steel pressure vessels produced here range in size from 4” diameter to 144” diameter with storage capacities up to 30,0000 gallons, which are used in a variety of applications including air compression, gas and oil processing, water storage, chemical transport and industrial gas.

Funding from Washington County will assist Steel Fab in improving their painting capabilities and installing state of the art x-ray technology for high accuracy testing of welded seams on their pressure vessels. Steel Fab is expected to invest over $900,000 in new equipment, while creating 11 new jobs in multiple shifts associated with this expansion. The company invited all 240 employees to attend the ceremony today to recognize them for their great work and valuable contribution to the company growth and success.

“Steel Fab is pleased to vertically integrate several processes bringing jobs that were previously outsourced to companies in Tennessee here to our facilities in Abingdon, Virginia.” Says Barry Berquist, President, Samuel Steel Pressure Vessel Group, “We had other corporate locations to consider, but the quality workforce and pro-business environment made this the right location for this investment.”

“We are excited to involve all employees in our announcement today,” says Bill Kahl, General Manager for Steel Fab’s Abingdon operation. “Our employees are the reason for our success. Orders are up for Steel Fab and we think the demand for our product will remain robust in 2011. We are grateful for Washington County’s support for our continued growth here.”

“Washington County has been able to assist in two major expansions of Steel Fab in the last 10 years; I am so pleased to partner with them in this current project.” Says Dulcie Mumpower, Chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, “Our local industries are the back bone of our economy and creating jobs for our citizens is one of our top priorities.”


Washington County Quality of Life Video


Taiwan Embassy Sends Aid

Taiwan Embassy Sends Aid for Tornado Recovery

With Virginia and Washington County still waiting to hear whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency will send money to help with tornado recovery, a foreign government has sent help.

In a ceremony planned for this morning, the small island nation of Taiwan is contributing $20,000 to the United Way to help with the rebuilding effort, said Delegate Joe Johnson, D-Abingdon.

He said he got a call from the Taiwanese embassy just a few days after the April 28 tornadoes devastated areas of Washington and Smyth counties, offering to help. The call first came to the office of Delegate Jim Shuler, D-Blacksburg, who traveled to Taiwan on a trade mission last year.

“It’s just real heartwarming that Taiwan, the little country of Taiwan, would be willing to put up funds for disaster relief,” Johnson said, adding that a little goodwill from Americans can go a long way.

At FEMA’s offices for Region 3, which covers Virginia along with four other states and the District of Columbia, External Affairs Specialist Nick Morici said the agency is doing its due diligence to do what’s good for Virginia.

“The two are not related,” Morici said of the Taiwan announcement and FEMA’s decision on whether to provide disaster relief in response to Virginia’s appeal of the agency’s initial denial.

“We are still under review,” he said, “and when the review process is complete, we will get back first to the governor of Virginia.”  Dulcie Mumpower, chairwoman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, said Tuesday she is hopeful FEMA will change its mind.

“I hope FEMA will come forward and do what is right by people here in Washington County and approve our appeal so that our people can receive added assistance,” she said.

Source: Deborah Mccown - Bristol Hearald Courier

Job Fair 2011

About the JOB FAIR 2011

A Regional JOB FAIR will be held at the Southwest Higher Education Center at Exit 14 off I-81 in Abingdon, Virginia on Thursday, June 30, 2011 from 12 noon to 7 p.m. This event is being organized to assist those who have lost their jobs and their small businesses due to the recent tornados throughout the region.  In addition, there are many in the work force who are looking to find a better job or need additional training.   The economy is picking up and many of our regional employers are hiring.  This will be a great opportunity to match skills labor with current job openings.

Exhibitors will include:

  • Regional employers from Bristol, Washington County, Russell County, and Smyth County, Virginia in a variety of sectors including: manufacturing, retail, commercial, construction, utilities, and medical.
  • Virginia Highlands Small Business Development Center will provide counseling, financial and development service for those who lost their business or who are interested in starting a new business.
  • Virginia Highlands Community College will be taking registrations for testing for Career Readiness Certificates and promoting training programs.
  • The Virginia Employment Commission will be on hand to assist attendees with registration and completing a standard application that will be distributed to all exhibitors.
  • There will be a live radio remote by WXBQ 96.9 during the event and many door prizes.
  • This is expected to be the largest employment recruitment event of 2011! Register today by contacting Alicia Roland at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling (276) 525-1305.


Please Visit for more information.

SWVA Technology Council Award




Southwestern Virginia Technology Council

2011 High Technology in Government Award




The Southwestern Virginia Technology Council (SWVTC) announced Mountain Empire Regional GIS (MERG) as the winner of the coveted 2011 High Technology in Government Award. The MERG project streamlines the process for data sharing among localities and the state through development of a regional GIS data replication system in near real-time. It significantly improves public safety in a large region of the state, and is the largest regional geographic data repository project in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


The project began when the Virginia counties of Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth and Washington and the City of Bristol identified a need to improve emergency response to 9-1-1 calls. The area is significantly mountainous and largely rural. Within the 2,505 square miles covered by the MERG project, there are numerous areas of sparse population and difficult access. 5,440 miles of roads, 97,066 addressed structures and 182,975 citizens depend upon the six government entities in a variety of public safety events, which rarely adhere to county lines. Public safety answering points (PSAPs) can be affected by the terrain, particularly when calls originate from cellular telephones. Frequently, the area has need for coordinated response across government boundaries. For example, Scott County transferred 949 emergency 9-1-1 calls to other jurisdictions in 2010. Mapping, and particularly current and correct mapping, can be critical to effective response.


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