WG Envisions ‘Plant of Tomorrow’

In 2009, we began Whitacre Greer University. This is an annual one-day mandatory training day for all employees. Each year, we begin by talking about how the company is doing overall and giving an update on our long-term and short-term goals. This program has been successful and has helped in our culture change.

During 2010, we began to plan how to build the ‘Plant of Tomorrow’ to ensure our long-term viability. The cost to build a new paver facility was estimated around $20 million, well beyond our financial means. At this point, we split the cost into five different projects, each to cost around $5 million. It was our intention to have each project pay for itself, then move to the next one. The project are a new grinding room, kiln renovation of the Swindell kiln, kiln renovation for the Miller kiln, automation of the setting process and automation of the unloading process.

2011 found us planning for a new grinding room. We were negotiating with our bank to borrow the $3 million required for this project when we were approached by Chesapeake to lease the deep rights for our property. The application of fracking well technology was allowing oil and gas companies to explore deeper than our previous Clinton wells. Thanks to Dad’s foresight, we had never leased the deep rights with the Clinton well rights. He always felt that someday the technology would exist to drill deeper. At the end of 2011, we signed deep right leases with Chesapeake. Our property would allow up to five wells.

grinding-room-layout grinding-facility