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WV Gov. Tomblin joins other governors to discuss jobs, economy

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin touted work force development and small-business development during the National Governors Association meeting this week. He joined other political and business leaders to discuss the creation of jobs and growing state economies.

Tomblin, Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, the National Governors Association (NGA) Economic Development and Commerce Committee and business leaders from across the country to discuss ways states can help small- and medium-sized businesses expand, create jobs and grow state economies, as part of ongoing economic development strategies.

"Small- and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our states' economies," Tomblin, who is also vice chair of the committee, said. "They provide important jobs, goods and services, and in West Virginia we are doing everything we can to ensure their continued growth and success. Today's work session provided a great opportunity to share West Virginia's successes with governors and business leaders from across the country."

Tomblin noted that efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in the Mountain State, diversify the state's economy and expand educational opportunities for workers, among other initiatives, have resulted in more than $22.5 billion in new investment since 2005.

Joining Tomblin and the committee work session was Lisa Allen, president and CEO of Wheeling-based Ziegenfelder, Inc., which makes Budget $aver twin pops. Since Allen was named CEO, the company has invested more than $20 million into its operations, added more than 150 employees and expanded its manufacturing operations.

"The West Virginia Economic Development Authority and the Governor's Office have been great partners and very supportive in recent years as we have expanded our business in a challenging economy," Allen said. "The WVEDA capital lease program, as well as manufacturing tax credit and other tax savings opportunities, have enabled us to remain in Wheeling, increase our incredible workforce and build additional capacity to meet our customer needs. West Virginia is our home!"

The committee work session provided governors with the chance to engage with leaders in manufacturing, research, and capital access in a conversation on innovative ways to connect small and medium businesses with those who utilize their manufactured goods and services. The session also focused on sharing successful manufacturing strategies individual states have used to boost innovation and commercialization of local small businesses across the country.