Avoyelles Parish, Ill. — Great Southern Wood Preserving, the lumber processing company best known for its YellaWood brand pressure-treated pine, is investing $22.5 million to expand the selection of wood treatments for residential, industrial, and marine use produced at its Avoyelles Parish facility. In addition to its residential and marine use products, the expansion will allow the company to target new commercial and industrial markets in Louisiana.
The company will retain 75 jobs and create 58 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $42,200 plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 144 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 200 new jobs in Central Louisiana. At peak development, the company estimates the project will result in 300 construction jobs.
“Great Southern Wood Preserving joins a growing list of lumber companies that have announced new or expanding operations that created more than 600 direct new jobs in Louisiana the past two years,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The timber industry is thriving in our state, and investments by existing Louisiana producers like Great Southern reinforce our agribusiness sector and contribute to the revitalization of our rural communities.”
The Great Southern facility in Mansura, located on 35 acres, will be expanded to include a 187,500 square-foot warehouse to protect treated lumber, 112,500 square-foot manufacturing facility, office building and truck maintenance shop.
“This expansion in Mansura is the culmination of the long-range plan we had in mind when we began operations there in late 2011,” Jimmy Rane, Great Southern’s founder, president and CEO, said. “We’ve experienced continued growth through those years, and have reached the stage where investing in expanded product offerings will allow us to serve the broader Louisiana market with new products and additional manufacturing capabilities for residential, construction and industrial markets. We have a very strong leadership team and workforce in Mansura, and we’re poised to continue growing in Louisiana, which is a key growth area for us. We couldn’t be more excited about our expansion in Mansura, and we’re looking forward to getting underway.”
Construction on the expansion began in March and is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. Hiring for the new positions and early phases of operations at the expanded site will begin in early 2023.
“The Town of Mansura and the Avoyelles Police Jury partnered to enhance drainage for Great Southern and the surrounding area, helping to make their expansion plans a reality,” Mansura Mayor Kenneth Pickett said. “I’m proud to see that our collaboration is helping to generate new jobs and increased economic activity in our area.”
To secure Great Southern’s expansion in Mansura, the State of Louisiana provided the company with a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart, the No. 1 statewide workforce development program in the U.S. Great Southern is expected to participate in the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The company also will receive a $750,000 award from the state’s Retention and Modernization Tax Credit program, and $750,000 from the CLECO economic development fund established in 2017 as part of the public utility’s transition to private ownership. The fund, which is administered by LED, was created to support job-creating projects across CLECO’s largely rural 24-parish service area.
“Great Southern Wood is an important component of the wood products industry, which is a driver of the Central Louisiana economy,” said Larkin Simpson, executive vice president of Louisiana Central. “We applaud their leadership and commitment to the region with the addition of new jobs and capital investment in Avoyelles Parish. Investments like this one continue to strengthen our regional economy and showcase the ability and capacity of our people. Louisiana Central is proud to work alongside our valued partners to grow jobs, grow opportunity, and grow our region.”