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Michael Evans

They list ingredients, nutritional value and entice people to buy some of their favorite beverages. But those thin plastic labels also put thousands of people to work all over the world, including several dozen here in West Virginia.

Klöckner Pentaplast

Klöckner Pentaplast, founded in Germany in 1965, is the world’s leading producer of films for pharmaceutical, medical devices, food, electronics, and general-purpose packaging applications. It has 17 facilities in 11 countries, including 6 in the United States. Klöckner Pentaplast opened its production plant in Beaver, West Virginia, in the spring of 2000.

“One of our main products is film for shrink-sleeve labels. These are film labels that have high-impact graphics and conform to the shape of a bottle,” said site manager Michael Evans. “The film is sold to our customers who design and print the graphics, then shrink the label to the bottle.”

The location in Beaver made it an easy choice when company officials were scouting spots for a new production facility.

“The big advantage for us is that we’re conveniently located near two major interstate highways. Interstate 77 is north-south and Interstate 64 is east-west,” Evans said. “Those highways not only provide access to customers on the East Coast, but also customers in the Midwest. It’s a great stepping off point.”

Seventy people who work at the plant in Beaver help generate more than a billion dollars in worldwide sales. Evans credits those numbers to a workforce that’s dedicated to the company’s success.

“Every person understands our goals and expectations and how we need to run our business,” he said. “Our employees come up with new and innovative ways to tackle challenges they encounter in manufacturing.” Innovation at the state level has also contributed to Klöckner Pentaplast’s prosperity.

“The changes that we’ve seen over 11 years in West Virginia, such as the privatization of worker’s compensation and the WorkForce West Virginia training programs, have really increased our stability. That creates a basis for long-term viability,” Evans said. “We have a very skilled workforce. We don’t expect somebody to come off the street and understand how to manufacture our films. It takes a period of time to get used to the equipment and facility. The stable economic environment in the state allows us to bring in a developed and mature workforce. That is critical when you look 20 years down the road.”

Evans is looking forward to his own future in the Mountain State. He’s lived all over the East, and now he’s proud to call West Virginia home.

“I have never, anywhere I’ve lived, found better, more down-to-earth people than those in West Virginia,” he said. “There’s a low cost of living and it’s close to anything you could ever want to do. My wife and I are so glad our daughter is growing up in an area where there’s a slower pace of life. We love it here.”

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