Expansion at NGK in Sissonville

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- At a time when many in our community are struggling to find work, new jobs are badly needed.

NGK Spark Plugs in Sissonville recently announced an expansion, expected to bring a few dozen jobs to the Kanawha Valley.

This week, much of the work is underway in the transition process to secure those jobs.

"The last couple years were very tough, as it was for everybody in our industry. So, we've been able to manage fairly well," says Bob Pepper, vice president of manufacturing for NGK.

At its Sissonville plant, NGK makes spark plugs and oxygen sensors for cars.

With recent challenges in the auto industry, NGK managers say they've faced some setbacks and uncertainty.

So, growth is very good news.

"The workforce is very adaptable to change as we need to do. We've had to be adaptable and flexible these last couple of years," says Kim Carmean, general manger for NGK.

NGK is consolidating its spark plug operations, taking what's being done in California and shifting that work to Sissonville. The shift will involve not just jobs moving from California, but machinery as well.

Pepper says the move will bring anywhere from 30 to 40 jobs to Sissonville.

In addition, employees who are already at Sissonville will be very busy in the coming months, partly due to overseas demand in places like Brazil.

"And then now it's the other side of the fence. We are battling to keep up with the volumes, and that's a good problem to have right now. It's not a problem as much as it is a challenge," Carmean says.

"There's still some uncertainty, but we're certainly optimistic that we'll continue to grow here, and be a major presence in the industry," Pepper says.

NGK managers say part of the reason for this move is that there simply isn't enough room at the California site to expand.

They say they're still working out how many employees will transfer from California and how many open positions there will be.

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