By Bob Weaver

What could be the first positive job creation news in Calhoun for several years could be happening, although the company will not confirm the project.

Grantsville production company RPR Industries, Inc. has reportedly been given a contract to manufacture part of a safety device to assist miners in deep coal mines during hazardous situations and roof collapses.

RPR is listed by Workforce WV as the eighth largest employer in Calhoun County, the main company is located on State Rt. 5 just west of Grantsville.

RPR, Sav-a-Tool and other production companies were originally founded by the late Pete Zannoni.

A Marietta, Georgia company said RPR is one of two outfits contracted to make parts of the mine safety devices.

The device is to assist miners who are trapped for up to 96 hours.

Owner of RPR, John Zannoni, would not confirm the company's contract, although local sources have said the production of the tents recently expanded into the old B. F. Goodrich facility on Russett Road.

The company did not respond to a request regarding how many jobs the project might create.

Paula Gunnels, a marketing director for Strata Products in Georgia told the Herald it is a "pretty huge project" for their company.

The device is described on Strata's web site as a Fresh Air Bay, a portable, inflatable, completely power-less refuge chamber.

The bays are inflated and filled with fresh air as they are deployed. Medical grade oxygen cylinders and a CO2 scrubber maintain the fresh breathable air inside the chamber.

The Goodrich building has been empty for several years, with a number of efforts being made to use the facility for job creation.

Calhoun Commission president Rick Sampson, saying the Goodrich facility is not owned by the county, stated "I hope it works out to bring some jobs to the area."

The Goodrich property once went on the auction block for non-payment of taxes, but it was redeemed by the non-profit Calhoun Recreational and Development Corporation, who have apparently made a deal with RPR to use the facility.


1. Calhoun County Board of Education
2. Minnie Hamilton Healthcare Center, Inc.
3. Key Energy Services, LLC
4. Houchin Construction, LLC
5. Calhoun County Committee on Aging, Inc.
6. Calhoun County Bank, Inc.
7. Dominion Transmission Corporation
8. R.P.R. Industries, Inc.
9. Facemire Foods, Inc.
10. Calhoun County Commission