RCBI announces awards to stimulate economic diversification

Feb. 6, 2018

Seven Southern West Virginia companies and entrepreneurs have been awarded early-stage funding assistance from the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) to develop new products and expand operations. Five of the seven are coal-mining support businesses seeking to diversify.

RCBI offers entrepreneurs and small businesses up to $10,000 each in services to bring new products to market or help grow businesses or startup operations. Through a competitive application process, awardees receive funding for design engineering, prototype development, quality management and advanced technology skill-set training at RCBI.

The awardees are:

  • Advanced Urethane Engineering of Beckley (Raleigh County), which manufactures items for the mining and aggregate industries. RCBI will assist the company in expanding and producing new molds used in the manufacturing process.
  • White Armature Works of Mallory (Logan County), which manufactures explosion-proof electric motors and a variety of industrial parts for mining applications. RCBI will assist the company in attaining ISO 9001: 2015 certification, an international quality standard that will enable it to pursue government and industrial contracts across a variety of new sectors.
  • Roman Hodges of Huntington (Cabell County), who invented a device to restrict the abuse of certain drugs in medical facilities. RCBI will assist in developing a functional prototype of the innovation.
  • Bucane Inc. of Chapmanville (Logan County), which repairs mining equipment. RCBI will assist the company in attaining ISO 9001: 2015 certification to expand its customer base.
  • American Electric LLC. of Wilkinson (Logan County), which manufactures and repairs mining equipment. RCBI will assist the company in attaining ISO 9001: 2015 certification to reach new markets.
  • MRS Manufacturing of Holden (Logan County), which is a fabricator of metal products and a woman-owned small business. RCBI will assist MRS with ISO 9001: 2015 certification to enable it to expand into new markets.
  • Hemeworks Technologies of Charleston (Kanawha County), a startup that is developing a blood sugar monitoring device. RCBI will assist with design and 3D printing of a case for the meter.

“We recognize the need for West Virginia to diversify its economy,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. “We’re very excited to assist manufacturers as they re-tool, earn international certifications necessary to secure new contracts, develop new products and pivot to new markets so they can expand and thrive.”

RCBI’s early stage funding initiatives are made possible with the support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Since 2012, early-stage funding initiatives at RCBI have generated more than $70 million in sales for state manufacturers and created more than 365 jobs, according to an economic impact analysis and RCBI data.

To learn how these programs can assist you or your business, call 800.469.7224 or contact Derek Scarbro at 304.781.1684 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jane Bostic at 304.781.1681 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.