Jeld-Wen opens in Oct.

JELD-WEN, Inc, the international manufacturer of windows and doors, will open its Fiber of Louisiana plant at Dodson by October, according to Jim Haberkost, production manager, in a presentation to the Rotary Club of Winnfield on July 25.

Haberkost said the plant, which is undergoing final installation of equipment and fixtures, will be largest of its kind in the world, using wood chips from the local region to make window and door veneer for the home and commercial construction industry.

Jeld-Wen was started in 1960 with a single window manufacturing plant in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Today, the company employs 20,000 people worldwide in manufacture and sales of windows and doors.

The company conducted a job fair last month at the newly opened Louisiana Technical College Huey P. Long Campus in Winnfield, with about 500 applications filed. When running, the plant will employ 75 people in a variety of skills, with pay levels between $120 and $17 per hour. In the beginning the plant will run three shifts Monday through Friday, and when in full production will go to four shifts, 24 hours daily seven days a week. Production will serve all of North American sales, Haberkost said.

Production will utilize 20 loads daily of hardwood, oak, and soft hardwood chips for product manufacture, and six loads for fuel to fire steam boilers used in the proprietary process of manufacture. Chips are reduced to fiber, then mixed with resins and other materials to make the pressed-on door and window "skins" which are the signature products of Jeld-Wen.

In discussion with Rotary members, one member, Rick Hanna of Hanna Manufacturing in Winnfield, said Jeld-Wen will provide a welcome market for hardwood chips which his mill produces, especially so since Rock-Tenn (the former Smurfit) paper mill in Hodge, has announced it has closed down its hardwood chip machine and will use pine exclusively in its papermaking, since following on to an overhaul just being completed at the mill. Other mills in the area are going to pine exclusively, shutting out hardwood primarily for paper making.

In an aside, Haberkost, speaking to the Winnfield audience, referred to the "Winnfield plant." A couple of members have background and residence in Dodson, the small village 12 miles north of Winnfield in Winn Parish. He was asked why the mill location was not referred to as being at Dodson--since the U.S. Postal address is 465 Tannehill Road, Dodson, LA 71422. The Dodson members were assured their claim to the location would be acknowledged when speaking in Dodson. In fact, three major multi-nationally owned manufacturing companies operate with Dodson addresses--Weyerhaeuser sawmill, Arclin adhesives, and Jeld-Wen. All are in the unincorporated rural area in the Dodson mail zone.

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