McCaskill addresses Rotary on current IDA projects

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bainbridge-Decatur County Industrial Development Authority Director Rick McCaskill gave an economic update to the Rotary Club at Tuesday’s meeting.

McCaskill highlighted good things the IDA is doing and also gave an update on Shaw Industries, Inc.’s recent layoff announcement.

Bainbridge Manufacturing is coming along, McCaskill said, and the impending Shaw layoffs could help it.

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“We think we’ve got a real opportunity to: one, give Mr. [Abraham] Leevy some real good employees with some real good work skills, and two, help those folks soften the blow of losing their jobs. We think the timing on this is pretty good from where we stand,” McCaskill said.

McCaskill said that it was helpful that the Shaw layoffs won’t begin until later in the year, giving the IDA and Shaw to help those employees out with job fairs.

“If this would have happened three years ago, it would have been a kiss of death, because no one was adding any jobs,” McCaskill said. “We’re fortunate right now, because we’re coming out of this downturn and a lot of people are adding one or two or three, four, five jobs. I don’t want to see us as a community to get down about it.”

McCaskill said that one of the things that has delayed Bainbridge Manufacturing had to do with the peanuts that were being stored in the old Traco building. When workers tried to move the peanuts, which had attracted a large mouse population, some of the peanuts got crushed and produced problematic oil on the floors.

“They had to do a lot of research to figure out how to overcome the problems that the peanuts and mice caused,” McCaskill said.

Answering a question about Bainbridge Manufacturing’s timeline, McCaskill said, “I think he’s going to start taking resumes next week.”

He said that he expects Bainbridge Manufacturing to have about 35 employees to start with in October, but that the Shaw layoffs may grow that.

McCaskill also urged the group to visit one of the solar panel projects that are under construction.

“It’s really worth taking the trip out there to see it. It’s unbelievable what they’ve done and how quickly they’ve done it,” McCaskill said.

MHG is adding and bringing “a lot” of companies into Bainbridge that want to use their product, McCaskill said, including a company that could bring about 100 jobs to Decatur County.

McCaskill also addressed questions about the Decatur County Airport, saying that the recent land acquisition contract will not affect anything and that the private land owners have said they will not sell their land.