Jacksonville-based Arizona Chemical, a leading bio-refiner of pine chemicals, will increase its already significant Savannah footprint with a 27,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Science & Technology Center on its campus adjacent to the Hudson Hill neighborhood.
Paul Williams, director of science and technology for Arizona Chemical in Savannah, made the announcement at Tuesday’s meeting of the Savannah Economic Development Authority board.
“Savannah is home to the company’s oldest science and technology center, in operation for more than 50 years,” Williams told the SEDA board and advisory council.
“By the end of the year, we hope to be home to the newest.”
Groundbreaking will be held in March, with expected completion in December.
The Savannah science and technology center currently employs 51 chemists, Williams said, and eventually expects to hire between 10 and 20 more. The median salary for chemists at the center is $80,000, said company spokeswoman Alison Abernathy.
The company has a total of 202 employees in Savannah.
The new facility is designed to appeal to customers as well as attract and retain talent, he said.
“Right now, when we bring customers in for presentations, we bring them to Jacksonville,” he said. “When this new facility is completed, we’ll be able to bring them here.”
The center is also expected to help the company in recruiting new scientists.
“Up-to-date technology attracts top-notch talent,” Williams said, adding that Arizona Chemical has been successful in its drawing from the region, through cooperative programs with Georgia Southern University, Georgia Tech and other schools.
Mayor Edna Jackson, a member of SEDA’s advisory council, urged company executives to also look at Savannah State University, which has an advanced chemistry program. “We are delighted to see Arizona Chemical continuing to grow here,” she said. “They are real community partners.”
Williams thanked SEDA for its help with the expansion, as well as neighbors in Hudson Hill for their input in designing the center with minimal impact on the community.
As the company grows in Savannah, it demonstrates Arizona Chemical’s commitment to Savannah, he said.
“An expansion of our manufacturing facilities here will be going active in a month or two, making us the largest of our nine manufacturing sites as well as the largest of our three science and technology centers.”
That manufacturing expansion, announced in 2011, will include the addition of a new reactor and finishing line at the Savannah plant, producing rosin esters to supply the global adhesives market.
ABOUT ARIZONA CHEMICAL
Owned by American Securities LLC, a U.S.-based private equity firm, Arizona Chemical is the world’s leading bio-refiner of pine chemicals for the adhesives, inks and coatings, lubricants, fuel additives, mining and oleochemicals markets. With more than 1,100 employees and nine state-of-the-art refineries in six countries on both sides of the Atlantic, Arizona Chemical provides sustainable raw materials to hundreds of companies and, in-turn, to millions of consumers all around the world.
ABOUT ARIZONA CHEMICAL SAVANNAH
Arizona Chemical’s Savannah Plant is the world’s largest crude tall oil bio-refinery. Derived from the kraft pulp and paper-making process, crude tall oil is fractionated into a variety of raw materials that are commonly used in the adhesive industry. The company’s Savannah Science & hnology Center serves as the North American base for product development and technical service for the adhesive industry and the other markets supplied by Arizona Chemical.
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