Metal craftsman takes advantage of RCBI’s technology, expertise

You may not know James Mullins, but if you live in Huntington’s Tri-State region, you’ve probably seen his work.

Mullins makes his living bending, cutting, turning, milling and welding metal as a master craftsman. His creations range from intricate signs and elaborate gates, to decorative sconces and railings, to industrial conveyors and hoppers…and just about everything in between.

To many, he’s simply known as “The Metal Man.”

Mullins owns and operates Mullins Fab & Welding, a small but mighty shop in Russell, Kentucky. After a stint living and working in the Columbus area, the Ironton native decided five years ago to return home and start his own business.

Mullins frequently turns to RCBI to help grow that business.  He relies on the manufacturing expertise and high-end technology at RCBI to bring his creations to life.

“RCBI has really helped me a lot,” Mullins said. “RCBI’s technical and design expertise along with the available computer-aided equipment has allowed me to turn my creations into 3D drawings and manufactured products.”     

Like many area manufacturers, Mullins can’t afford to purchase the high-tech equipment available at RCBI.  So they have come to rely upon the expert design assistance and computer-aided technology available throughout West Virginia and the region at RCBI’s statewide advanced manufacturing technology centers.    

“The real success of RCBI is being able to offer startups, existing businesses and new companies looking to move to West Virginia state-of-the-art manufacturing technology centers they can consider extensions to their plants,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO.  “RCBI has helped thousands of companies expand, enter new markets, receive customized training, and invest in computer-controlled equipment so they can manufacture their products locally.”Mullins often relies on word of mouth to attract customers. “Someone will see one of my signs or other metal creations, ask the owner about it, then contact me to create a customized design for them,” he said.

For example, when Father David Huffman, pastor of the Ironton Catholic Community, was putting the finishing touches on the state-of-the-art Parish Life Center, he turned to Mullins to fashion gates, railing and religious symbols for the centerpiece gymnasium, which opened late last year. “I said ‘make me something really nice’ – and he did,” Huffman said.

Mullins custom work also can be found just down the road in the form of a mascot sign along Highway 26 welcoming visitors to Rock Hill High School. In addition, he created the colorful red gate for the Flatwoods (Ky.) Dog Park and the shiny exposed duct work at Bahnhof, a popular eatery in downtown Huntington.

To contact Mullins, call 606.232.6249 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more about RCBI, visit www.rcbi.org.