Recognizing the Economic Importance of Manufacturing in Lowndes County
Tuesday, October 12th, 2021
In recognition of the importance of the manufacturing industry, Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson signed a proclamation recognizing October 11-15, 2021, as “Manufacturing Week” in Valdosta and Lowndes County.
The proclamation was signed in conjunction with National Manufacturing Day—which occurs annually on the first Friday in October—and encourages residents to discover the value manufacturing brings to the Valdosta and Lowndes County economy.
Across the U.S., manufacturing employs more than 12 million people and represents a broad-based industry sector that includes agribusiness, food processing, chemical, textile, machine, and equipment. The simple definition of manufacturing consists of converting raw material into a finished product either through a manual or mechanical operation.
From the packaged food we eat and clothing we wear to electronics and appliances in our homes and the cars we drive—American manufacturing represents more than $2.3 billion in total output. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $2.74 is added to the economy.
Studies show that the U.S. will need 4 million advanced manufacturing jobs within the next 10 years. However, achieving this massive number requires reshaping how most Americans view modern manufacturing as a career choice.
“Manufacturing Week gives us a chance to celebrate and highlight the importance of the industry to our community,” said Brad Folsom, chairman of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA). “It also allows us to encourage high school students to become part of the next generation of manufacturers.
In Valdosta and Lowndes County, the manufacturing industry employs approximately 4,000 people.
“Valdosta’s strategic location, along with a strong logistical infrastructure and supply chain, provides our manufacturing industries with the ability to move products quickly and efficiently,” said Andrea Schruijer, executive director of the VLCDA. “This is a big plus, and helps our existing manufactures grow and allows us to recruit new industry to the community.”
In 2020, despite the COVID pandemic, Valdosta, Lowndes County scored 13 industry projects—both new and existing expansion—representing $31 million in capital investments and 215 new jobs.
Schruijer said industry growth continues on an upwards trend. In the first half of 2021, the VLCDA completed six industry projects, representing $92 million in capital investments and approximately 200 jobs.
Companies like Archer Daniels Midland, CJB Industries, Saft America, South Georgia Pecan, and Steeda Manufacturing, along with newcomers Arglass Yamamura, Supreme Boats, and Bimbo QSR, play an integral part of Lowndes County’s viable manufacturing landscape.
Arglass, specializing in the production of glass containers used primarily in the spirits, wine, and food and beverage industry, completed its $123 million facility at the end of 2020 and continues to hire skilled workers. In addition, TSCC Valdosta Packaging and SRI Ohio, a decorative glass company, co-located to the Arglass site, generating a combined 40 new jobs.
This year, Supreme Boats, part of Correct Craft, announced the creation of 90 jobs and an investment of $1.7 million to open a manufacturing facility to produce wakeboarding and wake surfing boats.
Bimbo QSR, a subsidiary of the Mexican multinational company Grupo Bimbo, announced a $25 million investment to upgrade an existing 100,000-square-foot speculative building in Westside Business Park, creating approximately 75 new jobs.