Georgia-Pacific's investment will have a ripple economic effect in the southern Arkansas region, generating an $169 million 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."
The list of capital improvements being undertaken is long but highlighted by the installation 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 in 2020.
"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 facility manager will tell you, the quality of the workforce is the critical factor for success. All the latest technology isn't as important as having the caliber of competent, responsible, conscientious employees we have."
Including this latest investment in the Gurdon operations, Georgia-Pacific has invested more than $645 million in the past five years in its operations across Arkansas.
To further its commitment to the community, Georgia-Pacific 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 high school, as well as the middle and elementary schools and for community events.
According to Carrie Wilkins, Regional Human Resources for Georgia-Pacific's Plywood and Lumber divisions, the local schools have been instrumental in developing a strong workforce.
"The Gurdon schools have been such a cooperative, helpful and successful partner in ensuring we have the talented people we need," Wilkins said. "We want and need them to continue to be successful which is why it is important to contribute meaningfully to the local schools and community."