Group of students pose in front of Ohio Valley Gas Corporation building

Originally published by The News-Gazette

Falcon Industries, a student-run manufacturing business, recently completed a new sign for the headquarters of the Ohio Valley Gas Corporation on Highway 32 next to the Randolph County YMCA. On Thursday afternoon, Ohio Valley Gas CEO Scott Williams presented a check to Elijah Zigler, Manager of Falcon Industries, to show their appreciation.

“This check is a token of appreciation for the hard work these students have put into this sign,” stated Williams. “We look forward to finding other opportunities to partner with the students of Falcon Industries in the future,” he continued. “This is a great way to empower the students of Falcon Industries,” added Strategic Communications and Marketing Director of the Ohio Valley Gas Corporation, Lauren Retter. “This gives them a chance to see something they’ve worked on displayed where everyone can see it, and encourages a sense of pride in their work,” she continued.

A generous donation by Winchester Community High School graduate Larry E. Fast to improve the facilities in the Industrial Arts wing of the school led not only to improvements, but also an impressive welding program, and the creation of Falcon Industries. Falcon Industries is a student-run business based at WCHS. They offer a variety of services including welding, basic woodworking, CNC machining (plasma cutting, mill, and lathe), bridgeporting, 3D printing, surface grinding, and manual lathe.

Falcon Industries has done projects for local companies such as Silvertowne, and TOA. These companies have been greatly satisfied with the work done by the students. Even hiring some of them over the years. Most of the teachers are certified welding instructors. This means that a student can get certified as a welder and go straight from the High School to a good paying job in the workforce. Several students who have gone through the program now have good jobs as welders for many area businesses.

The student-run business also helps out the community as much as possible. They have provided both signs and labor for “Sweet Dreams.” “Sweet Dreams” builds beds for less-fortunate children in the area. Students from the business have even helped local businesses move heavy furniture.

“This program really gives our kids a head start in entering the workforce,” said instructor Brian Clawson. “Students must apply and interview for a position in Falcon Industries. Just as they would for any other job,” he continued. “The students are doing all of this, themselves. We’re pretty much here to guide them if they get a little off track,” he explained. “These kids walk out of here with a resume and a digital portfolio of their work. This makes them stand out to employers, giving them an edge over many of the other job applicants for these positions,” he added.

Ohio Valley Gas Corporation does much to help the communities it serves as well. “Support of economic development in communities that we serve is an ongoing objective of Ohio Valley Gas,” said CEO Scott Williams. “We’ve recently partnered with Vision Corner in Union City, another effort which showcases career-based educational opportunities in Randolph County, and we are proud to help support Falcon Industries, another excellent student-run business that produces students who are prepared to enter well-paying jobs in the work force straight out of high school,” he added.