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Tri-America builds jobs in Ironton

In addition to steel structures, one new Ironton business plans to create more than 20 jobs.

Tri-America Contractors, Inc. is a family-owned business that opened in Wheelersburg in 1997. They serve the Tri-State as a general and mechanical contractor doing maintenance and repair work in chemical plants, refineries and power plants.

The company has now opened a branch on the site formerly occupied by Ironton Steel. They will be using one building to fabricate items from steel, such as plating, platforms and handrails. Another building on the site will be used for storage.

Originally, the work was being done out of a Franklin Furnace location that the company simply grew out of, said Nelson Smith, general manager of Tri-America Contractors.

"Right now, this is servicing us pretty well," Smith said. "It's a pretty good size building. It is 300 feet long and 80 feet wide, it's a nice sized building."

Tri-America also operates a fabrication shop in Wheelersburg that fabricates pipe.

Scott Mootz is the manager of the Ironton fabrication shop. He has been with the company for about three months.

Mootz said that the facility still has a little room for improvement, but he's proud that they're breathing life into it again.

"We're taking a 100-year-old facility that was sitting here surrounded by weeds and snakes, and we're doing work in it," Mootz said. "We've restrung all the cranes, we've gone through a lot of the electrical stuff, we've got a long way to go Š but it's a 100-year-old facility."

Smith said that in addition to the building, he's also been pleased with the reception his company has received in the region.

"We've been treated great. The owner of the property (Jeff Hood) has been more than helpful," Smith said. "And (Lawrence Economic Development Corporation executive director) Bill Dingus has just bent over backwards and been very willing to help us in any way that he can."

Currently, around 10 locals are employed at the Ironton facility, and Smith said he hopes to hire around a dozen more as time goes on.