Steel Firm Picks Osceola For $20 Million Plant, 45 New Jobs

Oct 28, 2014

The Material Works Ltd. announced Tuesday it will build an advanced flat rolled toll processing center adjacent to the new Big River Steel mill in Osceola, Arkansas.

Construction will begin in second quarter 2015 with the facility expected to be fully operational to coincide with Big River Steel’s opening in 2016. TMW will invest approximately $20 million in the new facility where 45 new jobs will be created.

Great River Economic Development official Clif Chitwood said Tuesday that Osceola and Mississippi County have been busy in recent years due to persistence.

“My grandfather once told me that you work hard and do things right, good things will happen. He did not tell me that it would happen all at the same time,” Chitwood said at the announcement of the new steel-related company locating in the county.

TMW president Kevin Voges said his company, which will hire 45 people at the Osceola site, is involved in both steel processing and steel technology.

Most of the steel processed will be made along cut to length and slitting lines, company officials said.

Voges said the decision to locate in Osceola was key for two reasons.

“It is a great opportunity to process with the steel mill, with many comparative advantages,” Voges told Talk Business & Politics. “Osceola is also the gateway to the South, Southwest and the Western United States.”

The 45 jobs that will be created will be in the warehousing and machinery fields, while employees will work on steel processing, Voges said. He added that the location of Big River Steel near Osceola helped to bring his company to the region.

“The area is perfect for a steel mill,” Voges said.

LEADING THE WAY

Several people spoke at the press conference to announce the new company on Tuesday.

Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore said his town has seen somewhat of a renaissance in the past two years, due to companies being interested in the town.

The announcements of companies like Big River Steel and TMW locating in the county has brought interest in other industries as well, Kennemore said.

“They (TMW) are a well-established, profitable company and I look forward to them being here. I am in real estate and I can tell you this has been the most profitable two months in the real estate market (in Osceola) in 20 years,” Kennemore said, noting several housing opportunities have opened up.

The new jobs in the steel industry may also help sales and property tax revenue go up, Kennemore said.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission director Grant Tennille said the work done to bring industry to the county has been a testament to local officials.

“It all comes down to the people in this room,” Tennille said.

The residents in the town have worked together to bring the companies to Osceola, with the benefits coming for many years to come, Kennemore said.

“Maybe this will benefit Ken (Kennemore, his son). I know this will benefit my grandson. This could go on 30 to 40 years. I am proud of Osceola. This is my hometown,” Kennemore told the audience.

County residents also passed a half-cent sales tax for economic development in 2003.

Chitwood said the $31 million in incentives given to companies have helped to create 3,000 jobs.

“For every $2.6 million (in incentives) every year, it has created an additional $106 million in payroll a year,” Chitwood said. “As a matter of fact, with the completion of the projects we have, we are expected to have $1.1 billion in payroll every year.”

The announcement Tuesday and others like it have a definite impact, Kennemore said.

“It is not just Osceola, but a Northeast Arkansas event,” Kennemore said.