Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Four years later, Grays Harbor IPZ businesses remain optimistic

The mood at two Grays Harbor County employers was decidedly optimistic last week. Despite the lingering effects of the national recession, these businesses are doing well and either have plans to expand or hope to be able to expand in the future, which is good news not only for Harborites, but all Washingtonians.

Rep. Steve Tharinger toured Paneltech and Imperium Renewables as he swung through Grays Harbor on August 10 and 11. At both locations, he met with managers who seemed upbeat about the future.

Imperium, which currently has 42 full-time employees, is hoping to be able to approximately double its workforce at the Hoquiam plant if it is able to secure a long-term contract with the U.S. military to produce aviation biofuel. The Hoquiam plant is already the nation's largest BQ-9000®-certified biofuel refinery.

Paneltech, another Grays Harbor-headquartered company, is also a recognized leader in the manufacturing of eco-friendly wood products. In fact, Paneltech uses 100 percent post-consumer paper waste combined with resin from manufacturing waste to create sustainable products that are used by homeowners, businesses, and even the U.S. military.

Both Paneltech and Imperium are part of the Grays Harbor Sustainable Industries Innovation Partnership Zone. Innovation Partnership Zones (IPZs) were created by the Legislature in 2007 as a way to bring together public, private, and nonprofit entities to further research and job creation in fields that show exciting promise for economic development. The Grays Harbor site was one of the 12 original IPZs named by Governor Gregoire.

Photo: Rep. Tharinger examines a piece of Paperstone, a product made by Paneltech at its Hoquiam manufacturing facility. To his right is Roy Nott, Paneltech's president.