Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced Monday that Key Gas Components Inc. will expand its manufacturing operations in McDowell County and create 37 new jobs.

The company, which already operates in Marion, plans to invest more than $2.2 million over the next three years, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Western North Carolina’s talented workforce continues to serve as a strong recruiting tool for existing and prospective companies,” said McCrory. “Key Gas Components’ expansion in McDowell County is a strong sign of continued economic progress in the West. This is another great example of a company partnering with our strong community college system to benefit the region.”

Key Gas Components is a closely held, family-owned and operated manufacturing and engineering services company operating a 35,000-square-foot facility in Marion. They produce gas valves, fittings and orifices for the gas appliance industry.

“Bringing manufacturing jobs to Western North Carolina is an ongoing priority,” said Decker. “Companies like Key Gas Components, Inc. know that McDowell County offers them the skilled workforce and strong business climate they need to succeed.”

The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $110,000. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

McDowell County officials have worked on this project for more than a year. A public hearing was held recently by the McDowell County Commissioners about the local match for the One North Carolina grant, which was at a rate of $3,000 per job.

"We appreciate the expansion by Key Gas and a building in downtown Marion will remain occupied," said County Manager Chuck Abernathy, who is also the county's economic development director.

"We're pleased to have a local industry expand," said Commission Chairman Randy Hollifield.

In a changing marketplace, gas equipment manufacturers need to respond to customer needs and market information faster than ever before. “Shrinking product life cycles, just-in-time deliveries, stringent quality requirements and tougher global competition make it necessary to develop partnerships with key vendors to maintain a competitive edge,” reads the news release. “Key Gas Components has been building successful relationships with gas equipment manufacturers and distributors for over two decades.”

“We are very excited to be expanding our business into McDowell County,” said Jim Kuhn, president of Key Gas Components. “Our experience here over the last 10 years has been very positive. The strong manufacturing skills and solid work ethic of the folks that live in this area, coupled with the creation of the Universal Industrial Skill Training Center at McDowell Technical Community College, gives us a high confidence that we will be able to hire the right people to add to our team and that this project will be a success. I would like to thank Governor McCrory, McDowell Economic Development Association and N.C. Department of Commerce for their leadership and assistance with the project.”

Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $30,606 plus benefits. The McDowell County average annual wage is $30,349.

“Governor McCrory and I are working together to ensure that we’re addressing the needs of our state’s existing manufacturers,” said state Sen. Ralph Hise. “Companies know our state has the highly-skilled workforce needed to compete in a global economy.”

Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, McDowell County, the McDowell Economic Development Association, and McDowell Technical Community College.

For more information about Key Gas Components, including job opportunities, visit