50 new jobs on horizon

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In conjunction with Alexandria Technology Achievement Week, Alexandria-based H2Gen Innovations Inc., recently announced an expansion plan, adding 50 new jobs over the coming months to its production facilities, located at 4740 Eisenhower Ave. H2Gen Innovations Inc. was also nominated for the Alexandria Technology Achievement Award with other finalists Covanta Alexandria/Arlington, Inc., e-fence, Inc., and NetBlender, Inc. 

H2Gen is a designer and manufacturer of hydrogen generators and gas purification plants used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications, ranging from steel and semiconductor manufacturing to hydrogen fuel cell cars.

There is a strong connection to environmental concerns with our company, said Chief Executive Officer Barney Rush. Currently, a hydrogen fuel cell refueling station near Orlando, FL, uses H2Gen equipment.

H2Gen currently has nearly 60 employees, but as it expands in the coming months, the company will double in size. Recently they expanded into a warehouse space next door on Eisenhower Avenue that was formerly occupied by CarQuest. Rush left open the possibility of opening another office in Alexandria in the future.

We look forward to growing here, Rush added.

Market expanding
The expansion is a reaction to an expanding market in fuel cell technology, and the availability of skilled workers in this area. Frank Lomax is the chief technology officer at H2Gen and a 1991 graduate of T.C. Williams High School. At T.C., Lomax focused a lot on the sciences, he said. He went on to graduate from Princeton and graduate school at Virginia Tech.

Currently, H2Gen has an apprentice welder and an apprentice electrician from the Edison Academy at Edison High School in the Franconia area.

Lomax has approached T.C. Williams about internships and a possible scholarship, but is still in the planning stage with the school. Its good to be in the community. I try and stay involved with the high schools, Lomax said.

The diversity of the workforce in Alexandria is one of the great things we have to offer, said Stephanie Landrum, the Acting Executive Director at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will support the project with training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Our mission is to work with existing businesses and help them grow, Landrum said. Rush noted that the skilled workforce is absolutely essential, to their location in Alexandria.

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