Friday, March 1, 2024

Final beam raised on Form Factory One

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CELEBRATING MILESTONE — Form Energy President and COO Ted Wiley, left, and Vice President of Form Factory Soufiane Halily welcomed those gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the raising of the final beam at Form Factory One in Weirton. — Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Form Energy celebrated the end of one chapter and the beginning of another Thursday as the iron-air battery manufacturer moves closer to beginning operations in Weirton later this year.

Company officials, members of the construction team and other guests gathered at the site of Form Factory One for a “topping out” ceremony in observance of the final steel beam being put in place, a milestone in the development of a facility set to bring 750 new jobs to the region.

“It has been such a journey to get here,” noted Ted Wiley, president and chief operating officer of Form Energy. “We looked all over the country for a place to build Form’s first factory. I couldn’t be more happy and feel more fortunate that we decided to pick Weirton as the place for Form’s new home.”

According to Soufiane Halily, vice president of Form Factory, a topping out ceremony often is held as part of major construction projects, helping to symbolize its completion. An evergreen tree is placed on the final beam, Halily said, to note the safe completion, as well as an ongoing connection to nature and a wish of good luck for all those working at the facility.

“For us it means, also, the importance of bringing manufactauring back to America, and to Weirton, to this community that’s supported us so deeply,” Halily said.

TOPPING OUT — Form Energy officials held a “topping out” ceremony Thursday morning, celebrating the raising of the final beam at Form Factory One in Weirton. The beam was topped by an evergreen, reflecting an old construction tradition, with the U.S., West Virginia and Form Energy flags hanging below. The beam also was signed by many of the tradesmen and Form Energy employees involved in the project. — Craig Howell

Form Energy held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Form Factory One on May 26, with the first steel raised on the site July 21.

“Seven months ago it was a big patch of land with the remnants of an old steel plant,” Halily noted of the property.

In the time since, more than 700 piles of earth have been brought in to help level off the site, with more than 3,000 tons of steel erected and more than 300,000 square feet of concrete poured, along with a roof and exterior walls installed.

“We are all going to bring this factory to life very soon,” he said, adding there were many who doubted the company would be able to follow such an advanced timeline.

Halily credited the commitment and energy of the crews involved in the development and construction of the factory, thanking the various companies and partners who have been, and continue to be, a part of the project.

The beam raised Thursday morning included the signatures of many of those tradesmen and partners.

While the beam raising was an important milestone, Wiley noted work is going to continue pushing forward.

“We’re going to be landing assembly equipment in a few weeks’ time,” Wiley said. “That’s when this really transitions from construction to manufacturing.”

Equipment will be moving on site throughout the spring and early summer, Wiley said, with plans to begin operations in the middle or late part of the year.

The topping out wasn’t the only event organized by the company Thursday.

A second hiring event was held at the Millsop Community Center, with officials noting most of the interview spots already had been filled during its previous Jan. 4 hiring.

“We’re seeing incredible high quality in the pool of people coming in,” Wiley said. “Weirton is heart and hard work and people who know how to make stuff.”

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