GURDON, Ark.— Georgia-Pacific said it will invest up to $70 million to upgrade its plywood and lumber operations in Gurdon, Arkansas. The company said the upgrades in technology and systems will help sustain the more than 700 jobs at the two facilities.

"We are making state-of-the-art improvements that will transform our Gurdon facilities, greatly improving the utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies, making jobs more meaningful, and turning us into an even stronger competitor," said Mike White, Western Regional operations manager.

Capital improvements at the mills include: installation of an advanced merchandiser that determines best end-product use; new panel assembly stations with state-of-the-art scanning systems; an upgraded power plant; and software and security enhancements. Work on the projects began earlier this summer and will be completed in 2020.

Forklift operators at Georgia-Pacific’s Gurdon, Arkansas, plywood operation lift strap-wrapped 90-sheet bundles of finished plywood sheathing for transport to building and lumber stores across the country.

Including the $70 million investment in Gurdon, Georgia-Pacific said it has invested more than $645 million in the past five years in its operations across Arkansas. However, the company also announced in June the planned closure of mills in Crossett and Hope Arkansas, impacting an estimated 655 workers combined.

Community investment

In addition to investments in operations, Georgia-Pacific said it is also committing $100,000 over five years to help install a multi-use playing field that will be used by the high school, as well as the middle and elementary schools and for community events.

According to Carrie Wilkins, Regional Human Resources for Georgia-Pacific's Plywood and Lumber divisions, the local schools have been instrumental in developing a strong workforce.

"The Gurdon schools have been such a cooperative, helpful and successful partner in ensuring we have the talented people we need," Wilkins said.   "We want and need them to continue to be successful which is why it is important to contribute meaningfully to the local schools and community."

Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries manufacture and market building products and related chemicals, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, and consumer products, including bath tissue, paper towels, napkins, and tableware. The company operates more than 180 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly and creates approximately 89,000 jobs indirectly.

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