The economy in Dublin and Laurens County is looking up, especially in the past year.
The county employment rate in November 2011 was about 12 percent, and fell to 10.5 percent this past November. That number is expected to drop further as at least two new, large facilities expect to employ more than 400 people.
In March, Dinex, a Danish manufacturer of automotive exhaust and emission systems, announced plans to invest $15 million in the former Eldorado Stone plant building in the Dublin Industrial District park and eventually create 250 new jobs.
Before the company moved in the 60,000-square-foot building, the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority spent about $600,000 renovating the entire facility, said authority President and CEO Cal Wray.
There is nothing in that building that wasnt touched, he said. We ground down the entire manufacturing floor and resurfaced it. We painted everything. ... That was one of the advantages (to Dinex) is that we were able to turn it around so quickly.
The company took possession of the building Aug. 1, and was shipping finished product to customers within a month, Wray said.
By the end of the year, they probably had 15 people on board, and they plan to hire an additional 50 to 100 this year with a potential expansion of the building in 2014, he said.
Another vehicle supplier, Germany-based Erdrich Umformtechnic GmbH & Co., announced last January it would invest $39 million in a metal stamping facility in the I-16 Industrial Park at Interstate 16 and Ga. 257. The new facility would create 178 jobs.
They are in full construction mode of the 130,000-square-foot facility, Wray said.
Structural steel is going up. The office is under construction.
The project already is adding to the economy as more than 75 construction people work at the site.
Thats been a very good impact on our community, Wray said.
So far, Erdrich Umformtechnic has hired just two people, he said. However, the company is expected to employ up to 10 within the next 60 days.
The building will be finished roughly in May of this year, Wray said. Equipment will start being installed in July, with full production in January 2014.
Since the announcement of these two facilities came within 30 days of each other, it was a morale booster.
Its exciting for our community, he said. Weve seen a lowering of our unemployment rate, an uptick in activity.
Two other smaller announcements were made in the Dublin area last year.
SP Fiber Technologies relocated its corporate headquarters from Atlanta to Dublin after it acquired the assets and certain liabilities of SP Newsprint in a court-approved sale. The company, which recycles paper and other materials, will operate its Oregon and Dublin mills.
This move created 35 to 40 jobs, Wray said.
Last month, Green Power Solutions, a new biomass power plant expected to bring 35 to 40 jobs to Laurens County, announced its creation. The $95 million power plant, which is a joint venture with SP Fiber Technologies, will be built in southeastern Laurens County, Wray said. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
So, it was a good year, he said. There was over $200 million of investments (announced) last year. There were 15 to 20 companies that located or expanded. Those together added about 500 jobs in the community. Of course, two (projects) make up the majority of that. But when you add up all the smaller jobs created, its just like a brand new industry.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.