Great River Industries says workforce drew corporate relocation
NATCHEZ — Ample workforce and the ability to partner with local workforce development bodies were significant reasons Great River Industries decided to locate its corporate office in the Natchez-Adams County Port and add 25 new jobs, including white-collar workforce, company officials said.
Great River Industries — formerly known as Enersteel — announced the plan Friday.
GRI acquired Enersteel this month and has quietly been putting up signage noting the change at the Moran Road steel fabrication facility, but had not previously announced the acquisition.
Like its predecessor company in the port, GRI specializes in fabricated steel plate products, including storage tanks and pressure vessels for the industrial process markets. The Natchez facility will likewise continue its long-time production of ductwork and air-quality control components for the power and energy industry.
The company will retain the 150 employees currently working at the facility.
But — while many operations on the ground will remain the same — with the acquisition comes more than just a name change.
GRI will locate its corporate headquarters from Memphis to Natchez and will add 12,000 square feet to the 100,000-square foot former Enersteel facility. The project will represent a $4 million corporate investment.
GRI Vice President of Business Development Aaron Shermer said the announcement can be seen as a continued swell in a business wave for the facility.
“We want the people of Natchez to know this wave is not flattening out,” he said.
GRI will continue to maintain an office presence in Memphis, but with the relocation of its headquarters to Natchez the company will bring jobs for engineers, draftsmen, project managers, accounting officers, human resource personnel and others, Shermer said.
Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the location of GRI’s corporate offices to Natchez could be seen as “a big step” for the area.
“The future opportunities for us are abundant with the company and management being located here,” he said.
Gov. Phil Bryant said he appreciated the company’s decision to expand operations and locate its headquarters in Mississippi.
“Job creation and retention are vital to a healthy economy, and I thank the company for creating new energy-related job opportunities for the residents of southwest Mississippi,” Bryant said. “I wish the company many years of success in Adams County.”
Shermer said the company would begin work on the expansion within six months.
The key to GRI’s success has been and will be in diversification of its offerings and the strength of the local workforce, Shermer said.
“Every time we have expanded our research has been correct in that the manpower is here,” he said. “We cannot expand without knowing that our workforce is here and ready to keep up with the demands of the market”.
“We have found that the deeper we dig for skilled labor around here, the more we find. A big part of the expansion is we know the manpower is in the area and is also being trained for the future by our local colleges.” The location of the company to Natchez was done in partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority, which provided support for infrastructure improvements and low-interest existing industry loans.
“We appreciate the team at GRI for choosing to expand and locate its corporate headquarters in Natchez,” MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen said. “This project is a testament to the fact that we have a strong, supportive business climate in place to meet companies’ needs. MDA is glad to assist this great company as it pursues growth opportunities, and we thank the Adams County Board of Supervisors and our partners at Natchez Inc. for working with us to make this expansion possible.”
The Adams County Board of Supervisors likewise provided tax abatements for a 10-year period as an incentive for the location, an arrangement Russ said is typical for industrial recruiting.
Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he was excited to hear the news of GRI’s location in Adams County.
“That (announcement) is a very strong indicator great things are happening here in Adams County,” Grennell said. “Whatever we need to do, we will everything we can do to help enhance them and (their work).”
Prior to its purchase by Enersteel in 2011, the GRI facility was known as Dnyasteel.
For more information about GRI, visit greatriver360.com.
Applications to work for GRI can be made in person at the company’s 21 Moran Road location or at the WIN Job Center at 107 Col. John Pitchford Parkway.