TOMAHAWK - Wood means jobs in Northern Wisconsin.
For Louisiana Pacific in Tomahawk, wood means lots of business.
“Even at full capacity we can’t keep up with demand,” says Jon Smith the Mill Manager for Tomahawk LP.
That’s why the group plans to expand.
It will cost more than $21 million, but it will increase their production by 50%.
“It will increase our employment capacity by 17 new jobs, pushes us to 150 total employees,” says Smith.
Tomahawk LP usually makes siding for houses, but the plant isn’t producing anything right now.
“The outage is around 28 days. We’re taking things out of the mill, and then we’re going to replace them with new equipment. That will allow us to make more production,” says Smith.
The plant hired contractors to help them with the expansion.
“In this case we’ve got six different contractors that we used and three of them are based within Northern Wisconsin," says Smith.
The contractors will work around the clock to get the plant up and running by March 31.
“The building industry has been in a slight recession. But what we’re seeing now is because of that recession there wasn’t a lot of building done. Now there’s this growth spurt. LP is trying to meet the demand of that growth spurt," says Smith.
LP had to fire workers and cut hours in 2009 because of the economy, but they were happy to be back to normal capacity in 2012.
And things continue to improve.
“This spring we’re matching sales totals that were seen in the winter, spring of 2006-2007," says Smith.