Box plant doubles size, adds jobs

By Reggie Ellis

A year and nine days after announcing to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors that it would double in size and create new jobs, Weyerhaeuser Company opened the doors to its largest manufacturing facility last Friday in Exeter.

Local and state officials helped cut the ceremonial ribbon at the company's Tri-Wall box plant on Anderson Road. Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE:WY), one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, expanded the facility to 300,000 square feet, making it the company's largest bulk bin facility manufacturing approximately 40,000 tons of heavy-duty corrugated boxes that are three fluted layers thick. The boxes are used for packaging meat and poultry, dairy products, processed and frozen foods, and fresh produce including melons and citrus.

&#8220The $16 million, 100,000 square foot addition improves our capabilities to meet a growing market demand for high-strength, high-performance bulk bin products,” said Rick Goddard, director of bulk sales. &#8220As the recognized leader in triplewall packaging, our Exeter location is strategically located for fast turnaround and close personal service.”

With a current workforce of about 100 people, the addition makes way for adding up to 30-40 more employees, said Doug McCarty, the plant's site manager. Since making the expansion announcement in March 2006, 39 new employees have been hired at family wage earning jobs.

&#8220It's important to get good paying jobs in our city,” said Mayor Ted Macaulay. &#8220It benefits the local economy as those people spend money downtown getting their haircuts, eating at local restaurants for lunch and dinner and just rediscovering what Exeter has to offer.”

The addition holds a 500-foot-long corrugator that combines the three layers of containerboard. Other improvements include an upgraded four-color press, auxiliary equipment, scrap system and wastewater treatment system.

&#8220Being environmentally responsible, we have invested in a water treatment system so that process water can be treated and reused thereby reducing our water usage,” McCarty said. &#8220Also, waste paper is recaptured and recycled to make new paper.”

Allen Ishida, chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, said when Weyerhaeuser officials approached the county and made known the need to greatly expand its Exeter facility, the county welcomed the opportunity to show they could accommodate the desires of corporate America to be &#8220business friendly” and yet adhere to local planning and environmental requirements.

&#8220Weyerhaeuser needed to increase its manufacturing capacity, and we wanted to step up and show the company that Tulare County is willing to fast-track major commercial construction,” Ishida said. &#8220We're especially proud to encourage the expansion of such a forward-thinking ‘green' company.

&#8220Weyerhaeuser is important to us not only because they have created dozens of family-wage jobs, but because these jobs were created through the construction of an environmentally friendly plant that has embraced state-of-the-art water recycling technology,” Ishida said. &#8220Their bulk bin container construction produces no waste. All of the excess material is recycled and reused.”

Weyerhaeuser employs nearly 3,000 people in California, operating from 25 facilities.

More information about Weyerhaeuser's Tri-Wall is on the Web at www.triwall.com

Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2006, sales were $21.9 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com.

Start typing and press Enter to search