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Thomson Plastics announces expansion

Thomson Plastics, Inc. held a press conference last Friday to announce good news. The company is consolidating its Sandersville plant operation into the Thomson plant, located on the Warrenton Highway near Thomson, bringing approximately 100 new jobs this summer, according to officials.

"It's kind of Thomson-McDuffie's gain, and unfortunately Sandersville's loss," CEO Jerry Harrison said, adding that the move is necessary to reduce operating costs to be in line with the slowdown in the economy.

The Thomson facility, which currently employs 260, will expand 50,000 square feet to accommodate the move of the production and assembly operations from the Sandersville facility. Toole Engineering of Augusta is the architect and manager of the project, which is expected to be completed by June 30, 2009.

The actual move of the equipment, and implementation of the new jobs should take place in July, according to Mr. Harrison. Depending on the economy, the jobs could grow to approximately 150 by 2010. Some of the 150 current employees in Sandersville will be provided the opportunity to work at the Thomson plant, and also will be assisted with finding other jobs by the Sandersville Chamber of Commerce, according to the press release.

"We're spending a lot of money at a tough time," Mr. Harrison said of the expansion. "Plus we had to consider the people at the (Sandersville) location. It was a very difficult decision to make. ... But, we are looking forward to a long, long relationship here in McDuffie County."

Thomson Plastics is a custom plastic injection molder, primarily making parts for Club Car in Augusta, Mr. Harrison said. The company began in 1961 in Mississippi, but was requested by Club Car to move closer to the Augusta area in the early 1990s.

Looking to fulfill that request, Mr. Harrison said he visited Columbia, Richmond, Burke and Aiken counties before stopping in McDuffie County. In McDuffie County, he met banking executive Riley Stamey, realtor Andy Knox and County Commission Chairwoman Joyce Blevins.

"There was a good feeling with those three, and I immediately knew I was coming back," Mr. Harrison said. "They are the ones who brought me here."

Mr. Harrison stressed that the Sandersville community has been very supportive of their operation, but the move to Thomson is necessary. He also said the McDuffie County Development Authority and County Commission has been very supportive throughout the company's history in the county, which has included five expansions since they moved here. Members of the Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce and County Commission also attended the press conference.

"Jerry and I go back a long way," Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry said during the conference. "And his company has been good for our community. We always dream of having a really big company coming in, but what makes us tick in McDuffie County is our existing industry."

Larry Collins, Human Resources Manager of Thomson Plastics, said those wishing to apply for jobs at the Thomson facility should apply in person at the local Georgia Department of Labor, 232 Main Street, Thomson.

Web posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009

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