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Local company keeps focus on community
BIZ waltrich focus
John Herrington, an extrusion machine operator for Waltrich, has been with the company since 1976. - photo by Photo provided.
Waltrich Plastic Corp. is a family owned and operated company that has found a winning formula to foster families in the workplace, and giving back to the community.
Waltrich, named for its founders, Walter Polnau and Richard Pokrandt, opened its first manufacturing facility in New Jersey in 1961. When the company first started, it processed thermoplastic polypropylene.  Initially, the plant extruded monofilament yarns. After being joined by Gerhard Pokrandt, who eventually became the sole owner, the company also began to weave narrow fabrics,  including webbing for lawn chairs, which was once Waltrich’s main product.  
In the mid 1970s, the company established a second plant in Walthourville. Since the Georgia plant was larger than the New Jersey facility, Waltrich consolidated equipment and manufacturing operations into the Georgia location.
In 1986, Gary Pokrandt bought out his father’s share.  Four years later, Gary’s brother, Mark, joined him as co-owner of Waltrich.
Since taking over the company, Gary and Mark Pokrandt have seen manufacturing change in the United States, and Waltrich has had to adapt.  
“For years, a large portion of our business was lawn chair webbing,” Gary Pokrandt said. “After the majority of the lawn chair webbing business went overseas, we realized we had to adjust and diversify.”
Operating out of a 120,000-square-foot facility in the Walthourville Industrial Park that was purchased from the Liberty County Industrial Authority in 1988, Waltrich currently manufactures monofilament yarns from various resins. The majority of these yarns are sold to other manufacturers for weaving, knitting and braiding. They process the yarns to make trampolines, shade cloth, wind screens, filters, silt fencing, ropes and other products. Waltrich also continues to weave some of its yarns into narrow fabrics for chair webbing, barricade tapes and binding tapes.
Normally operating five days a week with one shift for weaving and three shifts for extruding, Waltrich currently employs approximately 40 people. Waltrich offers employees a benefits package that includes profit sharing, health and life insurance, and holiday and vacation leave.
“Approximately 80 percent of our employees have worked for the company for over five years, and several of them have worked for Waltrich over 30 years,” Pokrandt said. “We try to maintain a family atmosphere here, which I believe makes our employees want to stay.”
The Pokrandts also work to keep the company entrenched in the community.  Since 2001, Waltrich has donated approximately one-half million yards of yellow and red, white and blue plastic webbing to the local community to make bows to honor the soldiers.
“Waltrich is proud to be a part of the Liberty County/Fort Stewart community,” Pokrandt said. “It is rewarding for me to know that Waltrich is providing jobs and making our employees feel like they are a part of the company in addition to supporting our local community and soldiers.”
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