Eddie Mowen Jr. R-H Editor
November 19, 2013
Pratt Industries broke ground last week on a new $44 million box factory in Lewisburg, a facility owner-chairman Anthony Pratt says will be an environmental showpiece for the corrugated industry.
The new facility will create 140 new jobs, according to officials.
“We believe this facility will be the future of our industry,” said Pratt, noting it would not only convert 100 percent recycled paper but also use advanced water reclamation technology.
“It will be one of the most environmentally-friendly corrugated plants in the USA. Paper converted here will save as many as 10,000 trees a day and it will discharge up to 50 percent less water into the local sewer system.”
Pratt was joined at the event in Lewisburg by Ohio Governor John Kasich. The ceremony comes just weeks after the company announced a 4th, 100 percent recycled paper mill would be built in the neighboring state of Indiana.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the workers because if the workers were not doing their job they (Pratt) wouldn’t stay here and they wouldn’t expand,” Gov. Kasich said. “This is a place where people are going to give you a great day’s work for a good day’s pay. There’s just no question about it. The workers deserve a lot of credit.”
The groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Lewisburg Mayor Pat Putnam said Lewisburg Container, which Pratt Industries purchased in 2005, has been a mainstay in the village since 1955, employing generations of families and giving to the local school and youth organizations.
“We are so appreciative that a world-reknowned business such as Pratt Industries would decide to locate a new facility in Lewisburg. The fact that they are investing in our community and our people should make us proud,” Putnam said. “Job growth in Preble County is crucial for vibrant and positive way of life for all residents. We look forward to a bright future and hopefully even more new and exciting opportunities.”
The 350,000 sq. ft. plant, which will be built adjacent to the company’s existing box-making facility in Lewisburg, is expected to come on line in June, 2014.
The new factory will be Pratt’s 4th facility in Ohio, and together they represent an investment of more than $100 million. The company already employs more than 400 people in Ohio, and that total will climb to almost 550 when the new plant reaches capacity.
“And we’ve done this by largely green-fielding paper mills and box plants like this one … so we are creating new jobs, not just shuffling them from one plant to the next,” said Pratt.
Pratt Industries has grown from the 46th largest box producer in the U.S. to the 5th largest with more than 70 facilities across the country and remains the only major corrugated producer in America to use only 100 percent recycled paper.
“This is a great day to celebrate for Preble County, for all the people who had a hand in this, and most importantly for those families out there that are going to experience a better life as a result,” Gov. Kasich said.