East Coast Steel

East Coast Steel Fabrication Inc., which currently employs six workers at its Hertford plant, plans to add 28 to its workforce there as part of a nearly $500,000 expansion project.

HERTFORD — A Chesapeake, Virginia-based company plans to add 28 jobs as part of a $500,000 project to expand its existing plant in Perquimans County.

East Coast Steel Fabrication Inc. is investing $482,000 in its production facility in Hertford, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

“This expansion shows North Carolina is a place where businesses want to build their future,” Cooper said. “Companies like East Coast Steel Fabrication continue to choose our state for expansion because we have the workforce and stability, even in a pandemic, to help keep their business growing.”

Founded in 2006, East Coast Steel performs steel fabrication for buildings, boats, barges and marine structures. Its current facility in Hertford opened in 2019 and employs six workers.

As part of its expansion, East Coast Steel plans to hire welders, managers, clerical personnel, among other positions. The average pay of those jobs will be about $45,000.

Companywide, East Coast Steel averages $6 million in revenue annually and has a customer base that includes construction firms, dredging companies, state transportation departments and the U.S. military.

“East Coast Steel Fabrication Inc. is excited to bring our operations to Hertford,” said Cynthia Overman, the company’s vice president. “As North Carolina residents, we realize the need for businesses in northeastern North Carolina and the jobs that they bring. We are extremely thankful to the state of North Carolina and ... Perquimans for their financial support in expanding our facilities. We hope this will bring many opportunities for surrounding counties and their residents and look forward to the years ahead.”

Overman was referring in part to the state’s Commerce Department, which assisted in East Coast Steel’s decision to expand in North Carolina.

“Northeastern North Carolina is the ideal home for companies like East Coast Steel Fabrication, whose expansion means that the region will continue building on its marine trades and services sector,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland, a Perquimans County native. “Competitive costs, modern infrastructure, convenient market access and excellent workforce assets make every corner of our state appealing for growing businesses.”

Helping facilitate East Coast Steel’s expansion was a $60,000 performance-based grant issued by the One North Carolina Fund. The fund provides financial help to local governments to help attract economic investment and create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. The grants also require a matching grant from the local government.