The company may officially be called Georgia-Pacific, but a fair share of its manufacturing output is actually Florida specific. With two large plants in North Florida, GP has an outsize impact on the two communities where it conducts business, Palatka and Perry.
In Palatka, for example, GP operates an integrated pulp and paper manufacturing plant that dates back to 1947 and employs 900 workers. The mill produces four of the country’s most recognized consumer product brands: Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, Angel Soft, Brawny® and Sparkle. It also makes kraft paper, which is used for things like dog food bags, sugar sacks and butcher paper. In Perry, GP operates Foley Cellulose, a 62-year-old, massive mill with 500 employees. The plant purchases either whole pine trees or quarter-sized pine tree chips, then puts them through an elaborate and technical process that extracts a material called cellulose.
Foley Cellulose creates specialty material that goes into rayon and acetate, which is used in clothing; food casings; tire cord for automotive tires; shampoo; toothpaste; a thickening agent for ice cream; laboratory and industrial filters; and you’ll find it in baby diapers, baby wipes and towelettes. Having GP in these communities, as well as its wood products facility in Hosford, creates a ripple effect of direct and indirect jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in related spending across the region. That creates an economic impact of nearly $2 billion across north Florida.
The GP Foundation has a charitable contributions budget at each facility, so that funding decisions are guided by four “E”s, which are the focus areas of: Education, Entrepreneurship, Enrichment and Environment. What people might not realize about Georgia-Pacific’s Florida business presence is its impact on payroll taxes, community support and general philanthropy in the Sunshine State communities it serves, from river restoration to supporting local schools. For example, high school engineering students in Palatka—working with GP’s senior maintenance and reliability manager—engineer, design and construct a transportation project. One of the company’s goals is to give local students the opportunity to understand the career possibilities available.
And in Perry, GP will invest $38 million in 47 sustainability projects at the Foley Cellulose mill. That doesn’t even include approximately $100 million for its Fenholloway River Water Quality Project. Within the next five to seven years, Georgia-Pacific will complete improvements that will restore the natural flow of the Fenholloway, as it was prior to 1954. Further downstream, the Fenholloway river system will meet Class III standards for fishing and swimming. And with more than $400 million in capital investments in the state in under a decade, Georgia-Pacific is Florida strong.