by Luke Jones
Posted 7/16/2012 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
A 50-year-old architectural company in Magnolia is working to get back on its feet.
Arkansas Laminating LLC, formerly Unit Structures LLC, has operated in Magnolia since the late 1950s, originally under the umbrella of Koppers Co. of Pittsburgh.
Current Executive Vice President Gary Burley said the company changed hands early in 2011. By the end of the year, the plant was closed.
"So an investment group was put together, including myself, to buy the assets of the company," he said. "Basically, we just started it anew."
The new management changed the company's name to Arkansas Laminating, or "ArkLam" for short. Burley said operations had resumed and 55 employees were working at the facility. He hopes to eventually employ 100 and is hiring civil engineers and draftsmen as well as industrial positions in areas like lumber grading, maintenance and carpentry.
While hiring, Burley said, the company is working on securing about $700,000 in capital improvement funds for outdated or neglected machinery at the plant. Most recently, the Magnolia Economic Development Committee delivered a $35,000 grant for a commercial air compressor. Burley said more grants had been approved, but the state organizations involved had not yet made the information public.
"We've got a great deal of support from the state," he said. "We're very thankful for that."
ArkLam glues dimensional lumber together to form large, structural members for building projects. Some examples of its projects are the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and the buildings that make up the River Market in Little Rock.