Fort Worth, Texas-based pipe manufacturer WL Plastics began construction this week of its new plant in Rapid City.
The firm makes high-density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) primarily for the end-use markets of mining and industrial, oil and gas, irrigation, potable water and sewer systems.
HDPE pipelines are strong, flexible and able to withstand ground movement and corrosive soils that compromise PVC and iron pipe.
"It is great news that WL Plastics is expanding in South Dakota," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. "The company's decision to invest in our state is the latest affirmation of South Dakota's favorable business climate and its growing manufacturing sector."
The Rapid City Opportunity Capture Fund Committee approved an incentive package in April for WL Plastics, including an infrastructure development loan and a job-creation grant. In addition, the State of South Dakota facilitated the issuance of an industrial development bond to be used for plant construction and equipment.
WL Plastics also has plants in Texas, Kentucky, Utah and Alberta, Canada, said Mike Dahl, WL Plastics Director. He said the Rapid City plant will help supply North Dakota's oil industry.
"Growth in the North Dakota energy market is a factor in the company's effort to expand here," Dahl said.
Dahl said Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker, Ben Snow of the city's Economic Development Partnership, and several other city leaders have been very helpful in the plant site selection process.
"We're excited about having them as a partner in the community," Kooiker said. "These are the types of positions our community needs more of."
Kooiker hopes WL Plastics will serve as a growth anchor for Rapid City's industrial sector, especially when it comes to opportunities to serve the growing Bakken oil field in North Dakota.
About 40 people will be employed in highly skilled and semi-skilled positions at the WL Plastics plant, located north of Interstate 90 between exits 60 and 61. The skilled jobs are highly sought by economic development officials who are focused on raising the city's average wage by recruiting jobs in six sectors that include manufacturing and energy.
The Rapid City plant will be WL Plastic's seventh manufacturing operation in North America.
Courtesy: Grace Kessler, Governor's Office of Economic Development