Gov. Bobby Jindal and Boise's Vice President of Manufacturing Mark Haser announced a $111 million investment at the company's DeRidder mill, which involves the reconfiguration of a former newsprint machine to produce linerboard and corrugated material.
The expansion will create 54 new jobs and 222 indirect jobs, along with an estimated 600 construction jobs. Roughly 440 existing employees will also be retained because of the investment. The 54 direct jobs are expected to bring average salaries of over $66,500 per year, plus benefits.
"Boise looked at investing in other states, but the company chose to invest in Louisiana because of our outstanding business climate, world-class infrastructure and incomparable workforce," Jindal said. "Boise's decision to invest here is proof that Louisiana has entered a new era of economic competitiveness, and time and time again, companies are choosing to invest in Louisiana because of the progress we've made."
Haser said that they expected to complete the construction by mid-2014, and that many people contributed to the planning of this project.
"Everyone's worked hard to get this project to go," he said. "The community has been a lot of support to us as well."
Linerboard is used in packaging and shipping, and Haser, a former manager at the DeRidder plant, said that this was one of their steps in expanding the packaging division of Boise.
DeRidder Mayor Ron Roberts said that this announcement was another example of Beauregard Parish's landscape, which is appealing to timber companies throughout the country.
"We're not like our neighbors to the south, in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes, where they get their resources from the ground," he said. "We grow ours (products) from up above, where we can smell them and touch them."
Boise, Inc. is headquartered in Idaho and operates packaging and paper facilities in 17 states, as well as in Canada, Mexico, France, the Netherlands and Spain.
Jindal said that this was another step in trying to get the state's youth to stay in Louisiana after graduating from high school and college, instead of moving to other states for jobs, but there's still plenty of work to do.
"You'll know we've made it when the governor of Texas complains that their kids are coming to Louisiana for jobs," he said.
Jindal also commented on the possible Fort Polk reductions, saying that the state has been in consistent contact with federal delegators in an attempt to not only keep the current population at Fort Polk, but potentially grow Fort Polk by up to 1,000 soldiers.
"They've (Congress) not made any final decisions on their watch…what we've been trying to show them is that the state's been investing tens of millions of dollars in roads, schools, infrastructure, and because of the joint investment made in housing, the federal investments on the base, they can actually growth here without the government spending a lot of money," he said. "We've made the case, we're going to continue to make the case, with our delegation directly at the Pentagon."