By Sam Conner –
Well over 100 people were in attendance at a meeting with Pioneer Associates Corporation personnel held at the Winslow Chamber of Commerce last Thursday. Pioneer Associates recently received a contract from the U.S. Forest Service to build a plant near Winslow that will use forest products to manufacture a variety of wood products.
The meeting began with Winslow City Manager Jim Ferguson introducing Pioneer Associates personnel and leading officials from the area, including Pioneer President Herman Hauck and Marketing Administrator Mike Cooley, State Senator Sylvia Allen, Navajo County Treasurer Manny Hernandez, County Supervisors Jesse Thompson and J.R. DeSpain, and many Winslow City Council members and city officials. Also present were an unidentified Snowflake town councilman and Flagstaff Councilman Mark Woodson, who is also the Winslow city engineer.
After the meeting, Cooley agreed that there are many winners in the coming of the plant besides just the city of Winslow and the area. Among the biggest winners are the taxpayers who have been paying for the thinning of forests to help lessen fire danger, who will now be getting paid for materials obtained by thinning of the forest.
It is estimated that construction of the plant on nearly 400 acres near the Winslow airport will create a number of jobs and improve the local economy. Once the plant is operational, it is estimated that some 520 jobs will be created for its operation, with over 900 jobs indirectly brought into existence by its operation.
The company will glean material from the forest, making it less vulnerable to forest fires.
Hauck said that the company has approximately $225 million through Wall Street Strategic Capital, Inc. available for construction and annual operation of the mill. He estimates that by the third year of operation, it will be bringing in more than $100 million in pre-tax profits.
The plant will house a number of related facilities to produce the variety of products the organization intends to market. There will be an ultra-modern sawmill, kiln dryers, finger-pointing and edge-gluing equipment, and a humidity controlled warehouse for storage and shipping. There will be log yards, log bucking equipment, access roads and air-drying yards, as well as parking spaces outside.
Among the many products made will be laminated wood panels, doors and door frames, window frames, furniture, cabinetry, specialty components and energy producing products such as diesel fuel.
The technology Pioneer Associates will use is not new. It has been in operation in Europe for more than two decades.