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Natural gas company bringing about 1,000 jobs to Harrison, Ritchie counties

By Darlene J. Swiger

The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG — Ronald Lane Inc., Clarksburg, has signed a contract with a major natural gas company to lease land in both Harrison and Ritchie counties that will result in 800-1,200 jobs coming to the region. They are scheduled to move in June 1.

Ronald Lane Inc. is a pipeline construction and commercial development company headquartered in Clarksburg.

Chris Lane, a co-owner, said the natural gas company will occupy all the remaining lots in the Sun Valley Industrial Park, which contains about 22 acres on U.S. 50 just outside Clarksburg.

In addition, the company will be moving a contractor yard to a 23-acre site in the Ritchie Center Park, located along U.S. 50 in Ellenboro, he said.

“These sites are estimated to house 400-600 jobs each, including engineers, operators, laborers and management. We accelerated the final phase expansion in Ritchie County to fit the company timeline,” Lane said. “The Ritchie location was competing against a site in Ohio. I am proud to be able to bring these jobs to our area. It will be a big economic benefit for Ritchie County, as well as locally.”

Lane’s father, Ronald Lane, established the company in 1979 and in the early to mid-1990s began purchasing properties for development.

“It is an opportunity for more stable work for our industry. This structure provides that. It is important to us. We are family based and know all our employees and many of their families,” Lane said. “It gives us a sense of personal responsibility and pride to succeed for us and them and their families. We have a reputation of high quality in the pipeline industry.”

Ronald Lane Inc. has eight permanent and three temporary commercial developments throughout the state, with the heaviest investment (nine of 11) along the U.S. 50 Corridor from Ellenboro to W.Va. 92 near Grafton. The other two are in Charleston and Arnoldsburg.

“We are in the process of acquiring another commercial location in Washington County, Pennsylvania,” he said.

The company currently has 80 full-time permanent and 110 part-time seasonal employees. By cross-training the employees to work in commercial development, it creates a more stable work environment.

“We want to maximize use of our employees to keep them working year-round,” Lane said.

Dale Roberts serves as general supervisor for Ronald Lane Inc. commercial development. He oversees everything from the engineering to the final phase, including cost containment.

“This is one of the biggest contracts for the company’s commercial development operations,” Roberts said. “The majority of our leases are with companies involved in oil and gas.”

Roberts said Chris Lane’s years of experience with the gas industry has made the commercial development side of the business very lucrative.

“He knows it from the ground up. That means a lot of contacts and a lot of knowledge about the industry itself. Commercial development is going to be a strong part of the company and strong for this area. I am glad to be a part of it,” Roberts said.

Gary Hoover, outside sales manager for Mid-States, one of the first permanent tenants at the Sun Valley Industrial Park, said they came to the park due to the location.

“We are an oil field supply company and deal with both large and small companies. We couldn’t ask for a better location along U.S. 50,” Hoover said. “We lease from Ronald Lane and they do a lot of business with us as a pipeline company. We were looking at a site in Jane Lew before we found this one.”

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