DreBo expanding in Coal Center; TechMet seeking loan for Donora operation

Barbara Miller
Observer Reporter

Two projects that bring with them the promise of jobs in the Mon Valley are to be considered by the Washington County commissioners today.

William McGowen, executive director of the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, told Commission Vice Chairman Diana Irey Vaughan and Commissioner Harlan Shober that Caltech 7 Partners LP, part of Crossgates Inc., intends to purchase 3.862 acres in California Technology Park to double the size of DreBo America, a manufacturer of carbide-tipped drill bits used for the processing of stone and concrete.

The authority is asking the commissioners to approve a sale price of $50,000 per acre.

DreBo officials hope the expansion of its packaging and distribution operation, which is estimated to cost $2.1 million, can be completed by the end of the year. When it is finished, DreBo America plans to hire seven people, with more than 20 to be hired during the next five years, bringing the total projected workforce to more than 50.

Robert Griffin, director of economic development for the redevelopment authority, said DreBo America is considering a third phase for an adjacent parcel that would again double the size of the building.

Although the tract is known as California Technology Park, it actually lies within neighboring Coal Center Borough.

DreBo Werkzeugfabrik GmBH headquarters are in Altshausen, Germany.

Although there is no liability to the county, the commissioners also are being asked to place a stamp of approval on a $3.2 million tax-free loan application from Tech Met Inc. through the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Tech Met provides chemical milling services on fabricated components. According to its website, its work is focused on high-temperature, titanium and ferrous alloys, and primarily serves the aerospace engine fabricating market in the eastern United States.

The company applied for tax-free revenue notes to purchase an existing 88,275-square-foot manufacturing building in Donora Industrial Park.

The notes, if approved, would provide as much as $1.7 million for the purchase and rehabilitation of the building, and as much as $1.5 million for the purchase of production equipment to be used at the site.

Tech Met plans to retain its operations in Glassport and bring 41 jobs over three to five years to Donora if the loan is approved.

The Washington County Industrial Development Authority is the conduit for the applicant to get a tax-exempt loan from a bank, but no taxpayer money is used in the process.

Commission Chairman Larry Maggi, who also is chairman of the California University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, was absent from Wednesday’s agenda-setting session because of a meeting of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.