LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Lufkin industry’s old Buck Creek facility on highway 69 south of Lufkin was busy on Monday for the first time in a few years, but with two new companies calling it home.
Angelina Forest Products and Sterling Solutions.
Sterling had their grand opening and were thrilled to have Governor Greg Abbott speak.
“This is a very strategic geographic location with abundant natural resources, including the vast piney forest throughout East Texas and as a result Lufkin makes this an ideal location for this particular facility,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “While this is a big day for Sterling, it’s a big day for the entire Lufkin community. This investment means more jobs, it means more opportunity, it means more economic growth for this entire region.”
In 2016 more than 300 people were laid of after G.E. bought out Lufkin Industries since then industry has returned to Lufkin by way of expansion and new companies.
Companies such as P.I.D, Georgia Pacific and Lockheed Martin all made expansions in the past three years, while new companies such as LufTex Gears, Angelina Forest Products and Sterling Solutions have started or opened a branch in Lufkin.
“What we’re celebrating here today here with the grand opening of this Sterling facility here in Angelina County is exactly the type of job that we’re looking for in this region of the state,” said State Representative Trent Ashby. “These are great manufacturing jobs that pay a living wage, they offer rich benefits for their employees.
This growth was not only felt by East Texans, the governor’s office also took notice.
“This project is a step toward our plan at the state level to create more jobs in East Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “I grew up in this region and I know its hunger for manufacturing-based jobs, that’s why Texas is providing economic development grants in this region to help spark even more manufacturing investments and the good-paying jobs that follow those investments.”
Sterling came in from Illinois hungry and looking for opportunity.
Their plant manufactures cross laminated timber products, something new to the region.
“To be able to come into a region like East Texas, the pineywoods of East Texas, and bring a brand new product that no one’s ever heard of and manufacture in a way that nobody has ever done before and do it with the same material that’s here, that’s natural to this region, and bring those jobs back that’s very gratifying, that’s very exciting, we’re thrilled to do it,” said Carter Sterling, CEO Sterling Site Access Solutions.
Excited for future growth, Sterling took the opportunity to announce what tomorrow holds in store.
“In the past people have asked me if we were going to product structural CLT (cross laminated timber) and I said absolutely not, I answer that question very differently these days,” said Sterling. “My team of research scientists are very excitedly looking at structural CLT panels, and what’s next we might be participating in the construction of new homes and new houses and new buildings here in East Texas with these very same CLT panels.”
All this industrial growth coming from the very place it was previously abandoned.
“Sometimes from the ashes comes positive and today was certainly no exception to that,” said State Representative Ashby. “I think the sky is the limit for Sterling in terms of what they can mean for our local and regional economy.”
As for the employees, they’re just ready to get to work.