-- Washington Governor Chris Gregoire opened the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for a new Cameron Family Glass Packaging plant in the Port of Kalama. It's the first new glass plant built in the United States in 30 years that will manufacture glass exclusively for the wine industry, according to Cameron. The facility--funded by a $109 million financing the company completed last month--is expected to create at least 90 jobs when it is completed in the latter part of 2008.
"This plant means family-wage jobs, environmentally friendly manufacturing and support for our great wine industry--all in one project," Governor Gregoire said.
Donald R. Cameron, chairman of the board, said, "We wouldn't be here today without the support and partnership of many people and organizations, including Governor Gregoire, the Port of Kalama, the Cowlitz Public Utility District, J.H. Kelly, Lower Columbia College, the Cowlitz Economic Development Council and many others too numerous to name here."
The 175,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will be built by local contractor J.H. Kelly, LLC. Once completed, the plant will be the largest eco-friendly wine bottle manufacturing facility in the world. Its hydro-powered electric furnace will be the largest anywhere for wine bottle production, and will operate by utilizing the waterways of the Columbia River.
Representing the company in the $109 million financing was the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC.
Donald Cameron said producing the glass bottles in an environmentally friendly way was a priority of the company from the very beginning. "Our furnace, which is the largest electric glass furnace in the world, allows us to minimize the impact on the environment because there are no harmful emissions. By comparison, similar facilities operate furnaces that are powered by fossil fuel, which produce harmful greenhouse emissions and are subject to the ever-rising price of natural gas," he said.
The company will also make recycling a top priority for the facility. The wine bottles will be made at least in part from recycled glass from Washington and Oregon. Cameron will launch recycling programs in surrounding communities where glass is currently being dumped into landfills, and the company will even recycle all water used during the glass-making process.
Cameron Family Glass Packaging is led by the Donald R. Cameron and Richard R. Cameron families. William Spear--formerly a vice president of Coca-Cola USA who has background in finance and marketing--is assisting the Cameron family in managing the development of the project.
Prior to Cameron Family Glass Packaging, the family was involved with Cameron Bottling Co., which was formed in Washington, Pa., in 1889. It has been run by four generations of family members ever since. In 1998, the company was ranked the ninth largest Coca-Cola U.S. bottler. After more than 100 years of operation, Cameron Coca-Cola sold the operation to Coca-Cola Enterprises in 1999.
For more information on Cameron Family Glass Packaging, visit cameronfamilyglass.com