SNF Floquip has announced it will double its Midway Industrial Park plant, investing about $7 million in the expansion.
Floquip is a subsidiary of Liberty County’s largest employer, SNF Holding, which also operates what is known as Chemtall in Riceboro. The company’s announcement says the expansion will increase employment by about 35 percent. Floquip now employs about 130 people, but only 50 are directly with Floquip. The rest are considered contractors.
Company officials say the expansion is being promoted by advancements in the North American energy.
“We can’t hire fast enough, and we can’t build fast enough,” manager of manufacturing John Rankin said.
SNF’s Riceboro plant makes polymers used to clear solids out of water. Floquip makes equipment to apply those polymers.
The new, 160,000-square-foot facility will be sixteen times larger than the 10,000-square-foot building in Riceboro, where the company launched with about 15 employees in the early 1990s. In November 2011, the facility moved to its current 80,000 square-foot shop in Midway.
“You’d have never imagined five years ago that going from 10,000 to 80,000 wouldn’t meet our needs,” Rankin said.
SNF Holding is headquartered in France. It is a privately-owned, $2.6 billion company. Rankin said the company is making $1 billion in global business investments. Overall, SNF’s business has grown about 15 percent each year, and Rankin anticipates about a 35 percent employment growth in Floquip’s future.
During a recent Liberty County Development Authority meeting, SNF mining business director Kirk Thomas, “The driving force for getting our polymers out into the field is via the equipment in lots of cases. Having the equipment enables us to be a full service provider, not only of the chemical, but also of the means in which to use the chemical.”
The equipment is used in an array of markets, including municipal wastewater treatment, agriculture and turf management, mining and Canadian oil sands.
Enhanced-oil recovery in Canada’s Alberta Province is one of the company’s largest markets, and Thomas says the North American oil sands industry is rapidly growing.
“In a lot of these applications, we’re not involved in extracting the end-use product,” Rankin said. “We’re there to help clean up the waste, so it’s good for the environment.”
Rankin said the increased production benefits vendors, such as Georgia Iron Works in Macon. Contractors that provide the 80 workers at the plant include Coastal Industrial Company LLC, Universal Electrical Company and Daybreak Industrial. They provide welding, pipe fitting and fabrication at the shop.
Rankin attributes the business’s prosperity not only to global growth, but also to Liberty County’s workforce, collaborative business atmosphere, and training opportunities provided through Savannah Technical College.
“I’m a vet myself, and I like the close proximity to Fort Stewart and to the departing military. It’s a good resource for us to have,” Rankin said.
“There are lots of positive to being in Liberty County,” Thomas said. “We’ve benefitted from our involvement with the Liberty County Development Authority, especially giving us recognition for the International Business of the Year award; the ties to World Trade Center and its international trade and export resources...”