One year ago, the City of Louisville and all of Winston County were struck by a devastating tornado that claimed ten precious lives. It also caused enormous damage to homes, businesses, the local hospital, and other key pillars of the community. The storm also completely destroyed the plywood mill that had been purchased by New Wood Resources LLC, an Atlas Holdings company, literally just thirty days earlier. Our collective resolve was tested to be sure; many communities would have buckled, and many businesses surely would have left. You did not buckle, and we did not leave.
Today, I am very pleased to welcome you to the new Winston Plywood & Veneer website. I hope the message this site conveys is unambiguous. We remain Winston Strong, and we’re rebuilding stronger and better than before.
In over four decades of working in the plywood industry, I am not sure I have ever been as excited about a project than I am about Winston Plywood & Veneer. We are building the finest plywood mill in North America, right here in Louisville, Mississippi. We are going to create hundreds of new jobs and deliver tens of millions in new economic activity to Winston County and the surrounding region. This website is one way in which we hope to connect you to our rebuild and, ultimately, to the wonderful company we’re creating. It is here that you will find photos of the ongoing construction work, follow recent news, read about the superior products we’ll make and the dedicated members of our team. It is also, in the weeks ahead, where you can learn about employment opportunities and other ways to partner with us.
Speaking of partnership, I wish to thank those whose work and dedication have made this project a reality.
We simply would not be here –in just one year’s time—without the steady hand and extraordinary leadership skills of Mayor Will Hill. Governor Phil Bryant and his administration, including those at the Mississippi Development Authority, have answered the call of this community at every turn, showing us how government ought to work. Gerald Mills has been there each and every day since last April 28th, ensuring we had the County’s unwavering support to get this construction started on schedule. Our unique and steadfast colleagues at Atlas have done what they said they would do, never letting us forget that this investment is really an investment in families, hundreds of them, whose quality of life will be greatly enhanced by the presence of this facility. Our local officials here in Winston, and those serving as our voice in Jackson, have embraced our work and made our cause their own.
We are off to a great start. In late January, we held an inspiring groundbreaking ceremony attended by hundreds of friends from across the State of Mississippi. We’ve also begun the rebuild, in earnest, with much activity planned for the coming days.
I appreciate you making me and all of us at Winston Plywood & Veneer feel such a part of this community. While the tragic events of last April profoundly impacted all of us, it did not define this community. You were then, and you are today, Winston Strong. Today, we signal yet again that the future is indeed bright, and our best is yet to come.