(PRWEB) July 16, 2012
When Closure Systems International first moved into Kilgore Economic Development Corp.’s Energy Center Industrial Park in the eighties, they came looking for good hires. Finding a solid workforce here, CSI recently approached KEDC for incentive help in keeping that workforce intact.
KEDC pledged that incentive help in June to help CSI (formerly known as Southern Plastics, Inc.) by allowing up to $265,000 in incentive reimbursements incrementally during the next two years. In exchange, CSI plans to expand its product line by adding nearly $6.7 million in personal property and retaining its 207 employees.
While CSI will be closing some profiles to make way for two new ones, the move represents more of a shift in the industry than anything else, said Jim Woodruff, plant manager of CSI Kilgore.
“It’s enabling us to maintain our workforce as it is,” Woodruff said. “Everything changes and, by bringing in new things, this helps us to not lose any people.”
Kilgore’s plant is one of 30 CSI operations around the world, representing 26 countries. They make lids and closures for Reynolds Packaging, which is owned by the Rank Group. Kilgore has one of the larger injection molding companies, producing closures for foods and non-carbonated beverages including water, juice, milk, liquor, peanut butter, mayonnaise, instant coffee and salad dressing, Woodruff said. The local plant ships out billions of pieces each year. According to KEDC, 16 jobs could have been in jeopardy from the company’s changes.
CSI boasts many long-time employees, including Woodruff who has been with them for 38 years, holding positions at the original Shreveport location in the ‘70s, the Kilgore location in the ‘80s, back to Shreveport in the ‘90s and most recently, back to Kilgore.
“Kilgore and KEDC have always been very helpful in everything we’ve tried to do,” Woodruff said. “It was attractive for us to move here back in 1985 because of the opportunities they afforded. We knew there was a good workforce here who had good work ethics.” Access to regional suppliers as well as large-city customers also helped with the decision to stay located in the south, he added.
Woodruff credits KEDC for encouraging a “business atmosphere” in Kilgore. “I’d tell any business that asked me that this is a good place to relocate,” he said. CSI-Kilgore enjoyed spotlighting its hometown recently by hosting the plant managers of North America.
“KEDC was extremely helpful with getting us a meeting room in their Synergy Center, and basically helping us with anything we needed,” Woodruff said. Around 30 visitors from Mexico, Costa Rica and across the United States (including executives from the Indianapolis headquarters) enjoyed eating, shopping and lodging in Kilgore for a week.
“We always get good compliments from people who visit here,” Woodruff said. “The accommodations are always nice. Working to get the new hotels for business people has been extremely helpful, I think. I was really excited to see those. For our customers to come in and have a great place to stay that’s so close to the plant — that was a big thing for me.”
Woodruff knows some incentives to keeping business in Kilgore are merely attained by providing a ripple effect.
“Working with folks like the ones at KEDC, and having that kind of support from a town, is very important to us,” he said. “And by retaining our employees, we’re continuing to support all the other businesses around Kilgore.”
About KEDC: Kilgore Economic Development is the marketing organization for the city of Kilgore. KEDC is directed by a board of five and managed by a staff of four. They have been recognized internationally for excellence in economic development.