Logan manufacturer secures federal HUBZone certification

December 14, 2018

MRS Manufacturing of Holden has become the first small business in Logan County to earn its federal HUBZone certification. The designation qualifies the company for federal set-aside contracts and ensures a price preference when it competes for open government contracts.

MRS manufactures metal components for a variety of businesses and provides industrial-manufacturing and fabrication services for automotive utility vehicles as well as the energy and chemical sectors. Owner Diana Barnette founded the company in 2017 as a subsidiary of Mining Repair Specialists to diversify her coal-reliant business through expansion to new markets. Today, MRS and Mining Repair Specialists employ 33 people.

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) and the West Virginia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) worked closely with MRS to help it achieve HUBZone status. “Receiving our HUBZone certification will allow MRS Manufacturing to compete on a national level,” Barnette said. “It also will open doors for us to provide a bright future for our employees and our community. The assistance we received from RCBI was invaluable. We owe them a great deal of gratitude.”

RCBI also is working to help MRS achieve ISO9001 certification, a quality management designation required to supply most major manufacturers and the military. While still producing parts for mining and other industries, MRS officials are focusing more on military, government and construction contracts as a way of diversifying and expanding operations, Barnett said.

“MRS, under the leadership of Diana Barnette, recognizes the importance of diversification,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. “She is a remarkable leader, and we are proud to assist this pioneering entrepreneurial firm as it evolves and grows – spurring innovation and creating jobs across southern West Virginia.”

HUBZone is an SBA program for small companies that operate and employ individuals in Historically Underutilized Business Zones. These designated zones are located across the country, including in many West Virginia counties.

RCBI’s Accelerate Forward – West Virginia’s EDA University Center has joined with the SBA to promote the HUBZone program statewide through marketing campaigns, social media, workshops and one-on-one outreach efforts to educate small business owners about the program’s benefits and how to apply.

The number of West Virginia small businesses achieving federal HUBZone certification has increased significantly over the past several months, according to George Murray, deputy director of the West Virginia District Office of SBA. He credits RCBI’s assistance with the turnaround. Historically, West Virginia has one of the lowest rates of HUBZone participation.