Governor tours area business expansions

84 Lumber CEO Maggie Hardy Magerko, left, celebrates with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, during the grand opening of her company's manufacturing operation Wednesday in Stephenson. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENSON – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe lauded business booms in the fields of wood, metal and plastic in northern Frederick County on Wednesday.

McAuliffe along with other local, state and national politicians cut ribbons (and boards) to mark the grand opening of 84 Lumber’s new facility and the expansion of Kingspan Insulation’s manufacturing plant north of Winchester. McAuliffe also made a visit to Winchester Metals, which recently announced it would invest $870,000 to expand its manufacturing operations and create 17 new jobs.

McAuliffe announced in March that 84 Lumber planned to invest $3.9 million to set up a manufacturing operation in Frederick County, thus creating 100 new jobs. Dozens of those workers greeted Maggie Hardy Magerko, owner and president of 84 Lumber Company since 1992, as she arrived at the facility for the event.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean,  joined McAuliffe along with state Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, members of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors and other local officials for the first of the governor’s stops.

At the 84 Lumber event, McAuliffe pointed out that the county can expect to see more than 350 new jobs created in the next 18 months. The governor lauded the state’s “business-friendly” atmosphere and low taxes.

84 Lumber CEO Maggie Hardy Magerko, left, speaks with Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Rich Cooley/Daily

“But we have the workforce and I’m looking at the greatest workforce ever put together in the history of mankind here in front of me and I congratulate all of you for your great work,” McAuliffe said.

The governor touted the state’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate and unemployment claims that dipped to a 44-year low.

McAuliffe called 84 Lumber “the greatest company in the United States of America” and suggested that the firm move its corporate headquarters from Pennsylvania to Virginia. The governor went on to say that Virginia beat Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland for the company project.

“I love the home building business,” McAuliffe said. “There’s nothing like going out and buying a big plot of land and going back two years later and seeing tricycles going down the street and actually building communities, and that’s what you all do.”

Comstock, whose congressional district spreads from Northern Virginia to Frederick County,  told the crowd she was thrilled to see the business helping the local economy and will commend the company and recognize the grand opening in the congressional record.

84 Lumber CEO Maggie Hardy Magerko greets the line of employees outside 84 Lumber Company's manufacturing operation in Stephenson on Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Magerko gave a pep talk to the employees, noting that she had to make sacrifices with the business years ago. Now Magerko wants to see the business and the employees thrive, she said.

McAuliffe then made a brief visit to Winchester Metals before joining the delegation for the ribbon cutting at Kingspan, where company representatives spoke about the firm’s recent purchase of Pactiv and its investment.