CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office has yet to release the total cost of the governor's 13-day European investment mission last month.
Regardless of what that total might end up being, Tomblin already says the trip was already well worth the cost.
The governor made a point to include that very early in his speech Tuesday announcing the $20 million investment at the Allevard Sogefi USA plant, which will lead to the creation of more than 250 jobs at the Prichard plant over the next five years.
"It was a long trip, and we were all tired when we returned," Tomblin said. "But let me tell you it was worth the trip.
"The 250 jobs we're talking about are more important that numbers on a piece of paper," he said.
"It's 250 people who will be able to put food on the table...who will take pride at working at a world class companies like Sogefi," he said. "And it's 250 West Virginians who will get good-paying jobs right here at home."
Officials with the state Development Office had been working with Sogefi Group officials to convince them to invest in and expand their operations at the Wayne County plant.
It wasn't until Tomblin had a face-to-face meeting with Sogefi CEO Guglielmo Fiocchi in France last month that officials sealed the deal.
"I just think the fact that going there and showing them that we want to do business with them is very important," Tomblin said from the state's new European development office in Zurich, Switzerland during a video conference call with reporters on Oct. 21.
"The face-to-face meetings are very helpful when you can talk to people that can invest in anywhere in the world, so that they can feel comfortable with us," he said, adding he hoped to be able make some job announcements in "the next few days."