PDT Staff Writer
The Pike County community is responding with positive declarations after the announcement Wednesday that Jackson business and community leader Alan Stockmeister is bringing new industry and new jobs to Pike County.
The addition of Echo Environmental at the Zahn’s Corner Industrial Park, which will recycle electronics and metals, has been well received.
“Put it in perspective,” Pike County Commissioner Blaine Beekman said. “In 2010 Masco (Corporation) was completely closed down, now here we are two years later, and, with the help of a lot of people - some vision from the people who own these plants - Hadsell Chemical, and Geo Tech, and certainly Alan Stockmeister, now we’re well on our way to filling up three million square foot of empty space.”
One of the people Beekman credited with playing a major role in the process of making the project a reality is Waverly Mayor Greg Kempton.
“Greg has been doing a great job,” Beekman said. “What makes him so special is that he is such a specialist on IT that it’s just amazing. He’s the guy, that when we were talking to people about the Masco facility in Waverly, he’s the guy who knows how all of the IT and all of the electrical stuff works.”
Kempton, who is a former employee at the plant, was the one person who knew how to operate the equipment there. When the location was being considered for the location of the new plant, Kempton and operated plant equipment for company officials. Kempton said the creation of jobs for residents of Pike County is one of the important aspects of the operation.
“When I spoke to them (Stockmeister officials), they said, typically, it’s more people intensive rather than automation,” Kempton said. “So it should mean more jobs that way.”
Stockmeister official Mike Hyman said during the first year, 12 full-time positions will be created not including local security, and 10 to 20 local service providers such as electricians and mechanical fabricators. By 2015, the company will add 100 full-time jobs which Hyman says will cover the complete spectrum of positions within the industry, and in 10 years, possibly 500 jobs.
“Basically, for Waverly, and the surrounding areas, this is just huge for us,” Kempton said. “We’re trying to get both of those old Masco plants filled. And everything looks pretty positive right now for getting jobs into both of them. We were very happy to see that property sell. We were really worried early on because it was such a large facility. We weren’t sure if there was going to be a demand in the immediate area, and it’s nice to have someone that’s from a surrounding county coming into it.”
Kempton said Stockmeister has created industries and jobs in Jackson County, and now he will bring his expertise to do the same in Pike County.
“When the building here and everything shut down, we have been several years with something on our mind about who we could get to do this,” Pike County Commissioner Harry Ryder said. “And the Lord has blessed us with Alan Stockmeister and his business coming in here. Pike County is so tickled to be a part of that. So anything we can do to help start these businesses, we’re behind it.”
State Senator Bob Peterson was all smiles as the announcement was made.
“This is exciting that we’re going to grow jobs here,” Peterson said. “This company specifically, is creating well-paying jobs. It is part of the growth that we all hope is going to happen in a bigger way here in Pike County.”
Beekman said there is no secret as to how everyone was able to come together to make the project a success.
“It’s teamwork. Commissioners, your development director, the people in the city, and certainly we have gotten a lot of help out of our State Representative Cliff Rosenberger, and State Senator Bob Peterson,” Beekman said. “I think what it comes down to is that there’s a willingness to give the praise to the people who deserve it. It’s not somebody trying hog the praise or anything or trying to make themselves look good, it’s just a matter of trying to help the community. I think it’s just that spirit. If somebody comes in, we’re going to listen to them, and we’re going to try to help them if they want to come and they are going to be good for the community.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.