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Local firm preparing for growth

November 05, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSPORT - Building a new compound blending center onto its Governor Lane Boulevard plant will help CertainTeed meet increased demand while ensuring steady employment for its roughly 425 workers, company officials said at a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday.

The multimillion-dollar project is part of a large-scale expansion the national company's Vinyl Building Products Group is undertaking in response to growing demand for its products, said plant manager Michael Hutfless.

Expanded production is vital to the future of the company and its role as a major employer in the area, Hutfless said.

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"This is an important first step into the year 2000 and beyond," he said.

The addition will be the first in a series of projects at the Williamsport plant, which produces vinyl siding and windows, Hutfless said.

The plant operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It has grown steadily, both in space and employees, since it was built in 1971, he said.

The 9,300-square-foot addition will house equipment used for blending the polyvinyl resin-based mixture that's melted and formed into siding and windows at the plant, Hutfless said.

It also will include warehouse space and a truck bay.

The project is expected to be completed by summer 1998, Hutfless said.

The new blending equipment reflects the latest technology and will result in a higher quality product and nearly doubled capacity, said blending supervisor Wayne Kesselring.

Future plans for the plant include an increase in the number of extrusion lines - where the plastic powder is melted and formed - that will boost the plant's overall production capacity, Hutfless said.

The company's workforce will expand accordingly, he said.

"As we put in new lines, we'll add employees," Hutfless said.

Retention and growth of local companies is the backbone of economic development, said Beverly A. Baccala, Hagerstown-Washington County economic development coordinator.

"We're really pleased to see this taking place, especially with a nationally known company," Baccala said.

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