Hopeful for state incentives, Lufkin Industries plans to expand locally

Jim Wehmeier, Angelina Co. Eco. Development Director
Jim Wehmeier, Angelina Co. Eco. Development Director
Paul Perez, V.P. and General Counsel for Lufkin Industries
Paul Perez, V.P. and General Counsel for Lufkin Industries

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – In a display of community support for homegrown Lufkin Industries, county commissioners nominated the company's  latest project for a state economic incentive program.

"We've been here for a hundred years, and we're working on the second one hundred now," said Paul Perez, Vice Pres. & General Counsel for Lufkin Industries.

Perez is confident they'll be awarded the incentives.

It would provide a sales tax reimbursement for revitalizing their Buck Creek facility on highway 69, the site of the defunct Lufkin Trailers plant.

"We're utilizing a lot of it for oil field manufacturing and a lot of it is in warehouse use at this point," said Perez.

Angelina County Economic Development Director Jim Wehmeier explains how the program works.

"They're awarded up to twenty-five hundred dollars per job - saved or created... If they're up to five million in capital investment then they can get up to 250 jobs credited," said Wehmeier.

Capital investments include upgrades and improvements to equipment, and the facility itself.

"We've already purchased new equipment and these are large machines that we placed in these buildings to better improve our product," said Perez.

As the future of the Buck Creek facility, Perez says its an excellent opportunity to grow one or more of their divisions of Lufkin Industries.

A new wind energy division is in the works.  If it takes off... it could move into the Buck Creek plant.

"We have a lot of flexibility out at Buck Creek and we're just going to see the way the market goes and we'll direct our investments in those directions," said Perez.

The county plans to continue to support their growth.

"If we can help them continue to improve their processes and hire people, we'll do it," said Wehmeier.

The facility is expected to pull workers from the Huntington, Zavalla and Lufkin areas.

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