America’s Workforce Development Capital returns to its Freight Rail Roots


By Michael Gaynor - Special to The Sunbury News



Marion, OH — Marion is a small community of 37,000 located just north of central Ohio. Home to the 29th U.S. President, Warren G. Harding, Marion was an industrial powerhouse in the early 20th century. Eighty percent of the nation’s steam shovels and heavy-duty earth moving equipment were manufactured in the community at one time. However, by the 1970s, many of Marion’s once great manufacturers were no longer in business.

Fortunately, the infrastructure that was critical in Marion’s development over a hundred years ago remained intact. Over time, the community’s freight rail tracks were redeveloped to connect with today’s modern, high-tech international logistics system. It wasn’t long before new manufacturers and other companies that rely on rail started to plant roots. Today, Marion is home to facilities operated by Wyandot Snacks, Mennel Mills, Consolidated Brands, Nucor, POET Biorefinery, and the largest Whirlpool clothes dryer assembly line in the world.

As the national economy starts to build steam, Marion is once again on the leading edge. Over the last year, hundreds of local jobs have been created by employers utilizing local rail connections. New development leaders in the community include:

Nucor Steel invested $85 million to modernize its Marion plant that produces rebar and sign posts, a move that the company says will help retain 265 jobs and add up to 15 new jobs.

POET Biorefinery, a leader in the sustainable energy industry, is investing $115 million in its Marion plant and adding 18 jobs. The expansion will add about $950,000 to the current payroll and double ethanol production to 140 million gallons.

Whirlpool Corporation added a new line of “ventless” dryers that will support 300 new jobs.

Marion Intermodal acquired an additional 120 acres for expansion. Schneider Logistics recently named the center one of its top ten facilities.

Sakamura USA Company, which provides high quality machines to the forging industry, doubled its existing facility.

With such rapid and diverse development, it’s no wonder local Marion business leaders refer to the city as “America’s Workforce Development Capital.”

“Our labor force is a point of pride here in Marion, but that’s only one part of the economic development equation. Two main railroad lines provide reliable, efficient and affordable connections to markets in North and Central America. Without these rail lines, we would not experience the current rising economic tide that is lifting our community,” said Mayor Scott Schertzer.

“Without these rail lines, we would not experience the current rising economic tide that is lifting our community.”

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By Michael Gaynor

Special to The Sunbury News

Michael Gaynor manages the field staff and operations for GoRail.

Michael Gaynor manages the field staff and operations for GoRail.