GP work permitted: 600 to be employed at peak construction
The permits are now in place and work will soon begin on Georgia-Pacific’s more than $375 million in energy improvements at its Brewton mill.
Work is slated to “begin in the next few months” on the approximately 24-month project. When the announcement came this week, government officials – including Governor Robert Bentley – praised the company for its investment.
Jim Hannan, GP CEO and president, cited the company’s “track record” of investing back into its business to help continuously improve its operations.
“And to meet the long-term needs of our customers, our company, our communities and our employees,” Hannan said. “This investment in our Brewton facility reflects our confidence in the Brewton team to continue to improve the competitiveness of this facility.”
Bentley said he was proud of the company’s Brewton investment.
“This shows the company’s commitment to their employees and the state of Alabama,” Bentley said. “This major investment will provide long-term and immediate benefits for Escambia County. During the construction phase hundreds of workers are projected to be on site daily which will have a positive impact on the local economy.”
The energy improvement project modernizes and streamlines the current mix of equipment in the mill’s recovery boiler system, which will contribute to more efficient processes and operations.
“We will become self-sufficient in terms of the energy needed for our processes,” said Jeff Joyce, vice president and general manager, Brewton mill. “This will improve our competitive advantage and enhance the long-term viability of the mill.
“While we are now gearing up for construction, our teams have been planning and preparing for this project since 2013, including ordering equipment and pre-constructing some components,” he said. “We are very appreciative of the work of those teams and the support we have received from our community and local leaders in securing this project for our mill. We are proud to be here.”
Corporate officials cited other benefits of the energy improvement project such as improved reliability and energy efficiency at the mill, an approximate workforce of 600 at the peak of construction and positive short-term economic benefits to the surrounding community, particularly in the form of retail sales and lodging revenues from contractors.
Mayor Yank Lovelace Sr., said, “We are thrilled to have Georgia-Pacific in our city, and this investment in Brewton affirms the company’s commitment to our community. We have worked hard to support local industry and welcome economic growth that is the result.”
It’s a thought echoed by Escambia County Commission Chairman David Stokes.
“This will make the Brewton mill competitive for generations to come, giving our people the opportunity to make a good living and raise their families here in Brewton,” Stokes said.
Teams at the Brewton mill produce white-top linerboard and solid bleached carton-board. The mill is the largest employer in Brewton, with approximately 450 employees.
In Alabama, Georgia-Pacific employs approximately 2,500 people directly, and those jobs create an additional 12,300 jobs indirectly. Total compensation and benefits for Georgia-Pacific Alabama employees is approximately $242 million directly, resulting in a broader economic impact of $695 million in combined wages and benefits.