Work on Enviva making progress

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FRANKLIN—The Enviva Pellets Southampton County plant is coming along. The mill construction is under way and the water tower is almost completed, said Amanda Jarratt, president and chief executive officer of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc.

Brian Kellner has moved to the area as local plant manager and looks forward to getting settled. The hiring process has begun, and the jobs are posted on the Virginia Employment Commission website, he said.

“We are looking for people with wood experience,” stressed Kellner. He said equipment operator positions such as for chippers and cranes would be needed, as well as scale house people and receiving clerks. He maintained that all the job tracking is being done through the VEC and the plant start up date is Sept. 15. Kellner added he is trying to get the word out now for people to apply.

“We are starting interviews this week,” he explained. “We are definitely in the full-scale mode.”

Kellner said those hired now would train at the Ahoskie or Garysburg Enviva locations and be ready to go when the Southampton plant is operational.

Jarratt’s excited about the prospects.

“There is a wide variety of skill sets needed,” she said. “We hope to capture back some of those employees who were displaced from International Paper.”

“They will need mechanics and quality control people. We know we have the people who have those skills,” she added.

Jarratt said roadway improvements to the plant, located at the Turner Tract Industrial Park on Rose Valley Road, would take place this summer.

“Hopefully, they (Enviva) will exceed 72 positions,” she concluded.