Recognized as one of the largest pulp operations in North America, the Alabama River Pulp Mill (ARC) has been an important part of the region’s economic strength since 1978 and is also considered the largest manufacturer in Monroe County and one of the largest employers in the region. The mill is part of the Georgia-Pacific pulp group and employs approximately 425 people, in addition to generating $ 90 million in direct annual wages and benefits for the region.
“Our people are our best asset and much of our success over the past 43 years is due to their hard work and commitment to the mill and the region,” said Brian Spear, ARC vice president and general manager. “In its 43 years of operation, this mill has seen tremendous change in technology, process improvement upgrades and safety enhancements.” “It takes a dedicated and skillful team to continue to be successful in a globally competitive industry.”
According to GP, over the years, ARC expanded into a single cellulose line, ranging from short fiber to long fiber, in 1978 to two dedicated cellulose lines when a second cellulose line was added in 1991.
In 2011-2012, a multi-million dollar fluff pulp conversion enabled the mill to expand its market interests and help meet growing consumer demands and, since 2010, the mill has invested more than $ 483 million in capital projects, technology upgrades and safety improvements, in addition to the completion of a state-of-the-art wooden patio in 2017.
“We are more than just a pulp producer,” Spear said. “We are considered a local employer of choice in the area, and the mill has a long history of supporting local commerce and non-profit organizations as well as projects that enrich the region. Since Georgia-Pacific’s acquisition of the mill in 2010, this facility has invested more than $1.2 million in charitable donations in Monroe and surrounding counties to enhance communities and help provide residents with a better quality of life.
Focus areas of support include education programs and scholarships, environmental sustainability, the visual and performing arts, community health and enrichment projects, United Way and other social service and nonprofit agencies.
Market and fluff pulp manufactured at ARC is sent to global markets for use in an array of paper products, as well as absorbent applications, such as baby diapers, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products, according to the company.
According to Spear, the investments into the mill and organizations in the region reinforce Georgia-Pacific’s long-term vision and local presence. “We plan to be here for many years to come,” he said. “We are thankful for the support we’ve had from our employees, residents, business leaders and other stakeholders in the area. We consider it a privilege to operate here and understand the significance of giving back to support the success of our communities. It’s simply the right thing to do,” Spear said.