The ‘cutting edge’: Winston Plywood and Veneer

Winston Plywood and Veneer on the cutting edge of plywood and Winston County’s future

By Joseph McCain

The Winston County Journal


Storms have passed and the light is shining upon Winston County.

“This industry will have a lighthouse effect on Winston County,” said Winston Plywood’s VP Human Resources/ Community Relations David Morel. “It will be the beacon for drawing in future industries and businesses for future economic growth in Winston County.”

The mill’s production target for 2017 is 300 million cubic feet with 60 truck loads brought in per day of pine logs – pine logs are used to make veneer (also called peeler logs or plywood logs). Pine logs are used mostly to make veneer for Southern pine structural plywood.

Most of the timber will be sourced within a 60 mile radius.

“We will spur further economic growth in the county,” said Morel. “We are helping the loggers, truck drivers and landowners in the area.”

About 1,200 indirect jobs will be connected to the mill according to the Mississippi Development early numbers in 2016 with a $170 million regional impact from construction to present.

The estimated economic impact on the 33 county area affected by the mill is projected at $66 million per year. These impacts will benefit landowners and loggers in these areas over time.

The mill was constructed with this idea for efficiency and modernization in mind.

“Without exception, this is the largest and best mills in North America today,” according to Morel.

The mill is 287,000 square feet and 765 feet long with the build 63 feet high.  It is the newest state of the art plywood mill built in  North America since 1996.

With over 300 employees already working in the mill, the impact on the community is seen daily in all parts of Winston County. The mill received over 1,000 applications inquiring about jobs at the mill.

“We are pleased with the labor pool in the area,” said Morel. “We express our deep gratitude for the support and interest of the community members in the company and mill.”

With those employees in mind the mill workers, staff and all the employees are committed to safety according to Morel.

“Safety is the foundation of our culture,” said Morel.

The company offices are adorned with this idea to insure all aim for this each day: “We share a moral obligation to create a safe work environment. Our greatest desire is for everyone to go home in the same condition they came to work.”

With the mill leaders working toward full capacity, the company leaders are gratefully to be at this stage and are looking forward to continuing on the successful path according to Morel.

The mill is and will be producing plywood for both the domestic and international markets. The company is striving to grow into both markets for plywood. Winston Plywood and Veneer products are in many lumber companies and box stores such as Home Depot.

75 percent of Winston Plywood and Veneer products are concentrated in industrial applications and 25 percent consumed in residential construction.

“There is a desire and appetite for our products,” said Morel.

The mill team is also involved in the community for example the mill team has forged partnerships with Louisville Municipal School District and East Central Community College.

The mill team partnered with Louisville Municipal School District to offer Project Lead The Way to local students.

Project Lead The Way provides a comprehensive approach to STEM Education. Through activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum, PLTW gives students in kindergarten through high school a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. For educators, our engaging, rigorous teacher professional development model provides tools to empower students and transform the classroom into a collaboration space where content comes to life.

The program has had over 50 students participate since its inception in 2016-17 school year.

The mill team and City of Louisville have set a mill dedication for April 5 at 10 a.m.

“We wish we could invite the entire community and all connected to the project and personally thank them yet safety regulations on an operational day prohibits from having the general public in the mill at this time.

They hope to host a public/community day on a nonproduction such as a Saturday of Sunday in the near future.

Dedication ceremony will be mill team oriented with opening and closing many other presented by company team members at the mill.