This post is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, however, all opinions are my own.
Growing up in East Texas meant humid weather, hot summers, and the piney woods. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going back to the piney woods area for a tour of the Georgia-Pacific Plywood Mill in Corrigan, Texas. I love learning about companies who are truly making a difference and Georgia-Pacific is really doing great things in the area. Not only did I have a fun time learning about the process of making plywood, but I met so many amazing people and heard stories that really encouraged me. Georgia-Pacific is not only making high quality products, but also making an impact on families, has amazing community involvement, premium facilities, and is environmentally responsible.
High Quality Products
First, let me share a little about Georgia-Pacific. They are an Atlanta based company that is among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, non-woven fabrics, building products and related chemicals. They have been a leading supplier of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers for a long time. I got to see first hand the amount of work and care that goes into creating their plywood product. They are a company that is really paying attention to detail and getting it right.
The Georgia-Pacific Texas economic impact alone is a $228 Million capital investment in acquisitions since 2013 over 12 facilities. They hire principled people who challenge the status quo and take an active role in the success of the company. They create workplaces where employees are proud of what they do and build careers they are proud of. Not only that, they partner with Angelina College, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University to offer an apprenticeship program that has produced 50 plus apprentices who are now working at GP facilities. Many have developed into high-level electrical, mechanical and PLC specialists. I heard so many employee testimonies of starting from the ground up in the company. Almost everyone I spoke with had been working with the company for a very long time. That type of family impact is so valuable.
Along with the company’s investment in its people, they also heavily invest in the communities in which they operate. They focus on four areas of investment: Education, Entrepreneurship, Enrichment and Environment. Last year close to $300,000 was invested in their East Texas communities through the Georgia-Pacific Foundation. One way they do this is through sponsoring the Power Hour at the local Boys and Girls Club. This is a tutoring program helps students excel in the classroom by pairing them with mentors to assist in after-school studies. They also team up with the local sheriff’s department for a Thanksgiving food drive each year. Along with this, they have funded various operations of the local fire departments including even purchasing a new fire truck. They also support area schools’ building and trades programs by donating plywood and lumber for class projects each year. These are just a few examples of the ways they support the communities in East Texas.
The company operates approximately 200 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly, and creates nearly 92,000 jobs indirectly. Through automation and innovation, the facility has improved its plywood line with robotic systems that identify and rout out knots and cracks, then patch the holes with hot glue-a synthetic patch material. While on our tour, I got to see all of this first hand and watch the expertise and precision in which the facility operates. They are constantly improving techniques and training their team to have the best and safest facilities.
Environmental responsibility is a big priority for Georgia-Pacific. They operate their East Texas facilities well above requirements and go above and beyond to ensure everything is handled with care. They even recycle/re-use all parts of logs that don’t get used in the making of plywood. Along with this, the company’s Georgia-Pacific Recycling subsidiary is among the world’s largest recyclers of paper, metal and plastics.
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about what Georgia-Pacific is doing in East Texas. The way they are operating their facilities and caring for the communities is so valuable. I just have so much respect for companies that actually show they care and invest in people. Touring the mill really opened my eyes to everything that goes into a successful business. Everything from the processes, to the safety, to the employee care was on point. Georgia-Pacific is really making a difference in East Texas. To learn more about GP’s work and programs, visit: www.gp.com