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DaniMer breaks ground on second phase

With the hum of concrete smoothers swirling around in the background, DaniMer Scientific LLC officially “broke ground” to its 18,750-squre-foot manufacturing facility Thursday afternoon.

A group of approximately 50 shareholders, county, city and other interested persons watched as Development Authority Executive Director Rick McCaskill, Authority’s Chairman Jon McRae, DaniMer founder and CEO Daniel Carraway and Decatur County Board of Commissioners Chairman Palmer Rich leaned on some gold-painted shovels during the company’s “ground-breaking ceremony” while workers smoothed out recently poured concrete.

The major theme for Thursday’s ceremony was excitement over the fact a local company is expanding its production and may soon add jobs to its present payroll of appropriately 25.

In fact on Thursday, the Georgia Department of Labor announced a tenth of percentage drop in Decatur County’s unemployment rate, going from 10.4 percent in November 2008 to 10.3 percent in December 2008.

“You’re giving us something to be excited about,” McCaskill said during the presentation, saying the company plans to invest $5 million in construction and equipment in this second phase of expansion. “That’s a lot and we’re tickled to death.”

Blake Lindsey, president of DaniMer, said he hopes to hold an open house for the public at the new facility in April or May.

“This is an exciting time for DaniMer,” Lindsey said. “We are very proud of our progress.”

According to Tuten, the second phase is one of six phases that the company hopes to development over the years; expanding its operations over four buildings equaling approximately 100,000 square feet and fill up the recently acquired 10.27 acres at the Decatur County Industrial Park.

The contractor for the new building is PDC Construction of Bainbridge.

DaniMer’s land is behind the Coca-Cola building on U.S. 27 North.

Carraway started the company in 2004 on his laptop, Lindsey said.

Now, the company is recognized as the global leader in biopolymer technology.

“Large global brand owners are turning to DaniMer with confidence as to their ability to advance biopolymer technology in a cost-effective manner with highly valued results,” the news release said.

The new building will house equipment that is designed to produce DaniMer’s proprietary line of biopolymers that are made from renewable, non-petroleum starting materials, Scott Tuten, DaniMer senior vice-president, said in a news release.

DaniMer produces high-value, engineered polymers that are renewable-based and biodegradable for use in a wide range of applications, including single-use food service articles such as beverage cups, food packaging materials such as films, coatings and laminates, as well as products used in agriculture and horticulture end-use applications, the news release said.