Covestro Celebrates in New Martinsville
Covestro Plant in Proctor Celebrates One Year in West Virginia
Company Forecasts a Long Future
PROCTOR — The name on the sign outside may be different, but the innovation taking place inside the walls of the Covestro plant north of New Martinsville — formerly Bayer — has remained a constant.
It’s been just over a year since Bayer’s materials science division began operating under the Covestro banner on Sept. 1, 2015, and company officials say it’s been a successful year.
Jeff Bolton, vice president and general plant manager, said he is optimistic about the company’s future in the region.
“Wetzel County and the surrounding region is important to us,” Bolton said. “We’ve been here for a long time and we hope to continue to be there for a long time to come.”
Headquartered in Germany, Covestro is a multi-national corporation with 30 production sites worldwide that employs approximately 15,700 full-time employees, according to the company’s website.
Bolton said the New Martinsville plant employs 230 workers and 30-50 additional contractors.
The company is an independent subsidiary of Bayer AG, and although Bolton said there have been changes, change can be good because it has made the company very adaptable to the marketplace. One of the Ohio Valley’s largest employers, the same management and workforce is still in place at the plant, he said.
“We’ve had a very successful year financially,” Bolton said.
Bolton said being a smaller company allows Covestro to react more quickly to the market.
“As long as we continue as an innovative company, we will have a good place in the market,” he said.
Bolton said the company has embraced the community by supporting athletic and educational endeavors.
“We’re very much committed to New Martinsville and the surrounding communities. That’s really demonstrated through our community outreach,” he said.
The company paid the entry fee for dozens of its employees to participate in the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic in Wheeling in May, as well as the Webark 5K race in Glen Dale. Bolton said it is important to support health and wellness for the company’s employees.
In response to flooding that devastated numerous West Virginia counties in June, Covestro donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross, according to the company’s website. The donation was used to support the nonprofit organization’s efforts to provide shelter, meals, cleaning supplies and other items and vital services to areas in need.
Covestro also operates a manufacturing facility in South Charleston, and some of its employees were directly affected by the flooding.
Covestro develops and produces the components for rigid and flexible foams as well as for solid materials, according to the company’s website. Applications range from mattresses and car seats to insulating materials for refrigeration appliances and buildings.
The company produces polymers and innovative solutions for sectors such as transportation, construction, electronics, furniture, sports equipment and textiles.
That kind of scientific expertise can be applied to local classrooms in the form of partnering with several local schools. Bolton said not only has the company offered financial support where needed, but helped judge local science fairs.
He said Covestro actively supports students learning an interdisciplinary approach to science, technology, engineering and math.
Bolton spoke of “i‹” (ignite, imagine, innovate), the company’s new corporate social responsibility initiative across the United States. He said it is important to invest in the youth and the future.
“We’re hoping to ignite young minds to become innovators of the future,” he said.
The plant has been a longtime member of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m very glad that they’ve been here for a year,” said Dave Knuth, executive director of the chamber. “We really appreciate that the plant continues on. Even though there was a name change, we still want to see that chemical plant being in Marshall County for many years to come.”
Sharon Thomas, executive director of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce, added, “Covestro has been a good partner with the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce and the community by continuing to provide employment for local folks. Covestro is an active chamber member and continues to support local events through sponsorship and volunteer efforts.”