Georgia-Pacific is excited to announce two major investments that will contribute significantly to its facility community in Gurdon, Arkansas, and the region.
Georgia-Pacific is investing $70 million for upgrades to its plywood and lumber operations in the community. The company is also making its largest contribution ever to Gurdon and Clark County schools, committing $100,000 over five years to help install a multi-use playing field that will be used by the three schools and the city for community events. The pair of investments are a great example of GP's belief that strong communities are good for business and strong businesses reinvest into the community.
What Impact Will $70 Million Make?
In addition to extending the ability to meet the growing needs of customers for lumber and plywood, this investment will increase the mill's efficiency and capacity, sustaining the more than 700 jobs at the two facilities.
“We are making state of the art improvements that will transform our Gurdon facilities, greatly improving the utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies, making jobs more meaningful, and turning us into an even stronger competitor," said Mike White, Western Regional Operations Manager.
“This investment is validation of the work, commitment, and loyalty of our employees and the support Gurdon and Clark County have demonstrated for years,” said White, who started as an electrician at the plant when it was built in 1979. “And as any facilities manager will tell you, the quality of the workforce is the critical factor for success. All the latest technology isn't nearly as important as having the caliber of competent, responsible, conscientious employees we have.”
GP's investment will have a ripple economic effect in the southern Arkansas region, generating $169 million in overall impact, according to Dr. Gauri Guha, Associate Professor of Economics at Arkansas State University.
“Any large investment in an economic sector is amplified by regional economic multipliers due to direct, indirect and induced effects of the expenditures,” Dr. Guha said. “This means a direct investment of $70 million ends up generating an economic value of $169 million within the year.”
Some of the improvements include the install of an advanced merchandiser that determines best end-product use, new panel assembly stations with state-of-the-art scanning systems, an upgraded power plant and software and security enhancements. Work on the projects began earlier this summer and will be completed by 2020.
The Work Doesn't Stop at the Mills
Georgia-Pacific's contribution for a $100,000 multi-use playing field provides a setting for students to participate in extra-curricular activities, helping them to expand their social skills– a benefit for finding career opportunities after graduation. This contribution along with the investment into the mill provides a foundation for a solid community that will be ready for the generations to come.
“The Gurdon schools have been such a cooperative, helpful and successful partner in ensuring we have the talented people we need,” said Carrie Wilkins, Regional Human Resources for GP's Plywood and Lumber divisions. “We want and need them to continue to be successful, so our aim is to contribute meaningfully to our schools every year.”