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The former NGK Spark Plugs has operated a facility in Sissonville for the past twenty years. The spark plug and oxygen sensor assembly plant started with 90 full time jobs. They are now up to 500 full time and 70 temporary positions.
Now known as Niterra North America, the Japanese-American company broke ground Tuesday on a 75,000 foot international distribution center on the Sissonville campus. Niterra North America President and CEO Mike Schwab says the new center will call for another 50 to 100 positions.
“This is the creation of an aftermarket distribution center,” Schawb said. “This will go to the retailers serving 140 million people around the eastern half of the USA, and all across Canada. The same products that you pick up at your favorite auto parts store are coming out of this distribution center.”
The new name – Niterra North America, Inc. – became effective on April 1st. It’s a combination of the latin “Nieto” for shine and “Terra’ for planet Earth. Schwab said the company’s re-branded goals are to use technology to resolve social issues while contributing to a sustainable society.
“We’ve been more than just spark plugs for many years now,” Schwab said. “We’ve been in high tech sensors, and are now in other fields. One of our fastest growing areas right now is medical. Our intention is to use our technology that we’ve learned over the years, to help make the world a better place to live and to work.”
Schwab says Niterra continues to diversify, and the company’s West Virginia footprint is primed to grow.
“This campus is very productive for us,” he said. “It’s one of the top locations we have all around the world. I fully expect this to continue to grow and to develop in the years to come.”
In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, Niterra partnered with One Tree Planted and planted a commemorative tree on the expanded campus, after announcing their donation of 1,000 trees to the Appalachian community.
NGK Spark Plugs will continue manufacturing spark plugs under that brand, while ceramic-related products will be produced under the NTK Technical Ceramics brand. Niterra North America, Inc. maintains its headquarters in Wixom, MI and operates manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
At the groundbreaking, Gov. Jim Justice said West Virginia will continue its aggressive efforts to develop global economic development partnerships.
“This expansion of a Japanese firm in West Virginia is unbelievable,” Justice said. “Can you imagine 500 employees and growing? It is the real deal.”