Nearly one year ago, officials with First Quality Tissue, a New York-based tissue and towel manufacturer, announced that they planned to bring 1,000 jobs to the Starr/Iva area over the next 10-15 years.
First Quality officials said the Masters Boulevard plants will represent a $1 billion investment in the Anderson County area.
Anderson County Council received an update on the plant’s progress Tuesday night from Anderson County Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson and environmental consultants Jim Vaiana and Dean Chadderdon.
“As you know, there have been announcements in South Carolina that have not materialized,” Nelson said. “Fortunately, Anderson County has been blessed. We’ve had many projects that were real, that delivered as they promised. They delivered jobs, they delivered capitol investment as promised … most of the time, more than they promised.
First Quality is another example of a company delivering more than they promised, Nelson said.
Vaiana said the company focuses on integrity and quality
“Quality is really important to us,” he said. “We like to go into a community and become part of it and improve the community.”
When the company came into Clinton County, Pennsylvania, the unemployment rate there was 9.7 percent, Vaiana said After the company located there, unemployment in Clinton County dropped to 5.7 percent
“We believe we were clearly a part of that success,” Vaiana said, adding the company has added 2,600 jobs to Pennsylvania.
Vainan said in addition to direct jobs with the company, First Quality also brings a lot of indirect employment to an area when they choose to build a plant there.
“We utilize the services of local businesses as much as possible,” Chadderdon said. “That indirectly creates additional jobs and additional revenue throughout Anderson County.”
Chadderdon said he’s noticed more retail near the plant site.
“We’re happy to have good neighbors and build a strong community,” Chadderdon said.
The company pledges to be a good neighbor and wants to ensure that its processes do not create odor or noises that bother neighbors.
The site could be pulling 2 .4 million gallons per day of water from Lake Hartwell by 2012, Chadderdon said.
Water that goes into the plant will be reused up to 50 times before being cleaned and clarified and returned to the Savannah River Basin, he said.
“We’re going to recycle nearly everything that we can and generate very little waste,” Chadderdon said. “Safety and environmental protection are core values at First Quality.”
Progress on the plant is “well on its way,” Chadderdon said.
As of this week, the plant is employing 448 construction workers, and should employ 550 construction workers during peak construction, he said.
Though the company has yet to produce any product, First Quality has already created 126 permanent area jobs and hopes to employ 350 people by the end of the year.
Production should begin mid-year, Chadderdon said.
He praised the Anderson County workforce, calling it “exciting and invigorating.”
“The people you have available here in Anderson County to help us and work with us are just amazing people,” he said. “We’re very proud and happy to have them working with us.”
The company envisions that the Anderson plant will create up to 1,000 jobs in the next ten years, Chadderdon said.
The company believes in investing, from using the latest in paper-making technologies through investing its workforce through training opportunities.
“Our goal is to keep growing,” he said. “We believe this provides long-term and dependable employment for Anderson County. We’re proud to be a part of your community and to partner with you for the long haul.”