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More than 75 Years in Northwest Florida & Still Growing

by FloridaWest News




International Paper’s Pensacola Mill has a long history of service to the area’s economy – making renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products for more than 75 years and being one of the best citizens in the area by giving back to the community.

So when they decided in 2013 to strengthen the mill’s competitive position, FloridaWest was ready to help.

“IP is a valuable member of our manufacturing community and business expansions are always welcomed here,” Scott Luth, FloridaWest CEO said. “We helped IP with understanding available incentives and with workforce expansion.”

The company invested more than $90 million to increase energy efficiencies at the mill, a move that helped them retain their 424 employees and add 12 new employees.

FloridaWest assisted in bringing together key partners to deliver programs that helped with the expansion. For example, FloridaWest worked closely with Escambia County and the Florida Department of Transportation to secure transportation infrastructure improvements that would enhance the movement of raw products, improve signalization and traffic flow around the mill.

And the expansion has had a ripple impact on the overall economy.  Market data shows that for every job added at International Paper, 1.3 additional jobs have been created in the community.

International Paper has always been impressed with the available workforce in the Pensacola area.

“At Pensacola, people are our most valuable resource,” Mill Manager Brett De Jong said. “Our mill team has consistently demonstrated that we have the customer focus, dedication and skill it takes to thrive in the packaging, pulp and paper products industry. Because of our team members, our impact extends beyond jobs and economic contributions.”

The Pensacola mill has also invested more than $20 million to upgrade the mill’s environmental prevention and controls facilities for air, water and solid waste. De Jong also points out the company has spent an additional $68 million on the mill’s Water Quality Improvement Project – a comprehensive wastewater improvement project that eliminated the direct surface water discharge into a nearby creek and restored and enhanced nearly 3,000 acres of wetlands. The project was developed with the cooperation of state and federal regulatory agencies, along with local businesses and community groups.

“IP is a solid citizen of this community and we work every day to create a business environment where manufacturing can be successful and the community can be successful,” Luth said. “We place high value on manufacturing jobs and IP’s operations are a great example of companies making investments for the future of our citizens.”

IP also gives back to the community – making more than $175,000 in charitable contributions in 2016 alone. Employees also support the United Way and other community organizations.

“An essential part of our sustainable business strategy is to make products in a safe and healthy workplace and to continually improve our environmental performance,” De Jong said. “We’re committed to Pensacola because it’s a great place to be successful for us and our team members.”

Project Facts:

  • Location: Cantonment, Fla., just north of Pensacola.
  • Company Headquarters: Memphis, Tenn.
  • Products: Containerboard and fluff pulp for corrugated boxes, diapers and other similar products.
  • Employees/contractors: More than 500
  • Average salary: $87,000
  • Energy: Biofuels provide 80 percent of the mill’s energy.