The Ada Jobs Foundation is excited to announce that PEI Worldwide is expanding their operations into the Ada area. PEI Worldwide plans to manufacture Thura-Block and the components necessary to produce Thura-Block at their Ada Facility.
Thura-Block is a composite insulating building block, that is used in home and building construction. Thura-Block is a LEED qualifying “green” product that is lightweight and highly insulating. It is also highly resistant to high winds, hurricanes, and flooding.
“As a national leader in wind energy and natural gas production a company like PEI Worldwide shows that Oklahoma is an progressive energy state,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Dave Lopez. “Because both energy and energy efficiency are center pointes to our state’s economy, PEI Worldwide will be right at home in Oklahoma.”
PEI will house their operations in the former Remington building in the Ada Industrial Park. Remington closed their operations at the facility in 2005, and the building has remained vacant since then. Through partnerships with the Ada Jobs Foundation the City of Ada was able to purchase the Remington property with Proposition 2 Funds. Michael Southard, President and CEO of the Ada Jobs Foundation, indicated that having an existing building available was vital in securing this project. He stated,
“PEI was seeking an existing building to rent or purchase. If Prop Two Funds had not been used to buy the building earlier in the year, we would not have been able to announce this project that will create a significant number of jobs for our community.”
PEI will invest over $6 million in manufacturing equipment into the Ada facility and should begin operations during the first quarter of 2012. PEI plans to employ up to 75 employees in its first year, growing up to 275 employees in year three. PEI plans to partner with East Central University’s Veterans Workforce Investment Program to hire program graduates. PEI Worldwide President Gifford Ludwigsen is a supporter of hiring veterans and plans to employ as many as possible at the Ada facility. He stated, “Our servicemen and women sacrificed to protect our country, and it’s only right that when they return from deployment we greet them not only with respect and gratitude, but provide them with training and jobs, so that they can continue to serve our nation in other ways.”
State and local Prop 2 incentives were vital in securing this project, which could inject over $60 million in new payroll into the area over the next 5 years. Ada successfully competed against other communities in the state and region for this project. Employees are expected to earn an average hourly wage in excess of $15 an hour and have access to employer health insurance benefits as well. Mayor Dick Scalf stated, “He is pleased to announce that PEI will bring hundreds of “green jobs” to our community. Ada prides itself on being good environmental stewards and PEI is another example of that. Being green doesn’t always equate to higher costs.”
The City of Ada and PEI Worldwide entered into a Performance Agreement that will provide Prop 2 Incentives if certain employment goals are met each quarter. All the incentives are based on employment numbers and will only be paid after employment numbers for that quarter have been confirmed.
“Wow! What a wonderful project to bring to the Ada area. This is a true win-win-win situation by creating good paying jobs, veteran reintroduction, and producing green building materials. I certainly am looking forward to seeing PEI grow their workforce and product lines,” stated Senator Susan Paddack.
Thura-Block is made of proprietary recycled polystyrene and cement, which PEI plans to source locally. Thura-Block can reduce consumer energy costs by up to 50% when compared with traditional construction methods and construction costs with this product are competitive with traditional wood frame construction costs per square foot. Thura-Block structures can be erected quickly and in all weather conditions unlike concrete and other construction materials.
Representative Todd Thomsen said, “PEI has an opportunity to really put Ada on the map in the construction industry. We always seem to be facing one weather hazard or another and PEI products appear to address some of those concerns. Energy efficient and weather tolerant are words that don’t always go together.”
PEI Worldwide is excited to begin their operations in Ada as the demand for their product is increasing. As the company grows their operations, there are plans to expand the Ada facility to include additional products the company has developed as well. Community partnerships, leadership, and foresight can be credited for bringing this company and numerous jobs to the Ada area.