Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Tuesday, April 11

Soprema Chooses Coast for Plant

The Harrison County Development Commission (HCDC) recently welcomed Soprema Inc. to the Bernard Bayou Industrial Park on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Soprema is a producer of roofing and waterproofing materials. The company, which was founded in Strasbourg, France, maintains plants in seven locations in Europe and North America. Gulfport will be the second location in the United States with the other in Wadsworth, Ohio.
Gilbert Lorenzo, vice president of Soprema, said, "We are anxious to get started with our construction and the hiring of a local person as plant manager." In addition to hiring all employees locally, the company will also use local contractors to build the plant and office.

The Gulfport plant will produce roofing and waterproofing materials for the Southeast. Although Europe remains its principle market, North America is a major area of expansion for the company.

The HCDC began meeting with Soprema in early 2005, as it was deciding on its second U.S. location. Despite Hurricane Katrina, Soprema recognized the potential in Harrison County and decided to locate in Gulfport.

Soprema proposes to create 50 new jobs with a payroll of $1.8 million per year. The immediate site and plant investment will involve a minimum of $14 million. Bill Hessell, director of property management for the HCDC, said, "This is the type of industry that the county wants to attract due to the creation of new jobs and the added diversity to our industrial base."


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