Nurturing industries

Some times communities get so enamored with recruiting new industries that they forget how important it is to nurture existing ones and help them grow.

Fortunately, local and state development officials have followed the right course in assisting Worthington Cylinders with an expansion of its New Albany plant.

Worthington Industries, an Ohio-based company, acquired Piper Metal of New Albany in June 2009 to expand its pressure-cylinder business into the medical market. The New Albany plant has about 165 employees.

Last month Worthington announced it has purchased the assets of Hy-Mark Cylinders, based in Hampton, Va., a company that makes aluminum cylinders for medical oxygen, scuba, beverage service, industrial, specialty and professional racing applications.

The company is relocating the equipment from Hy-Mark to its New Albany plant and will add about 80 jobs over the next five years, including 30 this year. The company expansion represents an $11 million investment. The official announcement will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, at the plant.

To get these jobs and equipment in New Albany, the Mississippi Development Authority worked with the company and local officials to help with the expansion using Momentum Mississippi incentives. The state also agreed to provide workforce training assistance.

Worthington Cylinders is a good corporate citizen in our community and helping the company expand here was the right move. Good things happen when the state, Union County and the City of New Albany work together.