Koppers Utility and Industrial Products Inc., the second largest producer of utility poles in the United States, announced it will invest $17 million to build its first Louisiana production facility on a 105-acre site in Vernon Parish. The company expects to create nine new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $50,000 at the Leesville location.
Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 29 new indirect jobs, for a total of 38 new jobs in the Central Region. In addition, Koppers anticipates creating 25 construction jobs at peak construction. The project will support the state’s agribusiness sector by sourcing timber used in the manufacturing process from Louisiana mills.
“With abundant natural resources and a ready workforce, Louisiana’s rural communities continue to demonstrate the advantages they have to offer new and expanding businesses,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “I thank Koppers for choosing Louisiana to expand its U.S. operations, and welcome the economic activity this project will stimulate and the new jobs it will create for the hard-working people in Leesville and Vernon Parish.”
The new facility will house peeling and drying equipment used in Koppers’ unique utility pole manufacturing process. The company expects to increase plant automation and production capacity while creating jobs and expanding its global logistics network.
“We are excited to invest in this new Leesville site as we continue to expand our pole and piling business into underserved markets,” Koppers President and CEO Leroy Ball said. ”Leesville is uniquely situated to enable us to do just that. While this site will initially feed the Texas market, we hope to eventually add additional capacity to also feed the Midwest utility markets. We look forward to being a part of the welcoming Leesville community.”
The central Louisiana manufacturing plant, which will be located between Leesville and Rosepine in Vernon Parish, will be Koppers’ 29th facility in the U.S. It estimates construction to be completed and operations to begin in early 2024.
“The City of Leesville is extremely supportive of Koppers and their new facility to be located in Vernon Parish,” Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said. “We extend our cooperation in whatever manner possible to ensure its success and growth.”
“Rosepine is grateful and honored to have industry expanding to our part of the parish and we know it will benefit our entire parish,” Rosepine Mayor Donna Duvall said. “The jobs created and the investments being made by Koppers are positive signs of growth that are most welcome in our community.”
The company is expected to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
“The Vernon Parish Police Jury is excited and supportive of the Koppers project in Vernon Parish,” Vernon Parish Police Jury President Jim Tuck said. “We stand ready to support their investment and growth of their operations in our parish and we sincerely appreciate their selection of Vernon Parish for their new plant.”
“We are very happy to join our partners in Vernon Parish in welcoming Koppers to our region,” Louisiana Central president and CEO Jim Clinton said. “Building on our amazing forestry resources, this plant will make a meaningful positive impact both in its construction and ongoing operations. Congratulations to all.”
About Koppers Utility and Industrial Products Inc.
Koppers Utility and Industrial Products Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koppers Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KOP). Koppers, with corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an integrated global provider of treated wood products, wood treatment chemicals and carbon compounds. These products and services are used in a variety of niche applications in a diverse range of end markets, including the railroad, specialty chemical, utility, residential lumber, agriculture, aluminum, steel, rubber and construction industries. Customers are served through a comprehensive global manufacturing and distribution network, with facilities located in North America, South America, Australasia and Europe. Learn more at koppersuip.com.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, a longtime national leader in customized workforce development. LED also supports a wide range of higher ed partnerships that Business Facilities magazine recently credited for Louisiana’s ranking as the No. 1 Tech Talent Pipeline in the U.S. In 2022, LED attracted 53 new economic development projects representing 18,137 new direct, indirect and retained jobs and $20.7 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.
Mark Lorando, LED Communications Director
Ron Thibodeaux, LED Press Secretary
Kevin Washington, Koppers Vice President of External Relations