Albemarle expansion good news

Albemarle Corporation’s plans for a $30 million expansion project, with groundbreaking scheduled for March, is welcome news.

The company, headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., with a plant in Tyrone, is a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered speciality chemicals for a range of markets, including automotive, consumer electronics, crop protection, food safety, pharmaceuticals, plastics and petroleum refining.

With financial help from the state, in the form of a $100,000 Pennsylvania First Grant and $50,000 for job training, Albemarle is moving forward with plans for construction of three new buildings that will provide 7,000 square feet of office/lab space, 3,500 square feet for maintenance and a 7,000 square foot processing plant.

The project includes an upgrade of the plant’s electrical service.

“This will be the single largest expansion project ever at the plant,” Manager Randy Andrews said.

The project will allow the company, which currently employs 170, to initially add 20 jobs and possibly more later.

Albemarle – and its predecessors, Quality Chemical QCI and ChemFirst Fine Chemicals – have been a part of the Tyrone Industrial park since 1975. From that location, the company’s employees turn out between 20 and 25 products that are shipped worldwide.

The Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation also contributed planning and logistics to the project.

“Why this site has been so successful is because of the people here who operate this site,” former plant manager and Albermarle Corp. Vice President of Fine Chemistry Scott Martin said.

They and all others involved in Albemarle’s expansion plans are to be congratulated.