By Will Phillips, Minden Press-Herald
“This morning, I’m proud to announce that Fibrebond will continue operating and investing in Minden, Louisiana,” said Graham Walker. This statement made by the CEO of Fibrebond Corporation, Graham Walker, is sure to bring relief to many individuals as well as the community of Minden at large.
When asked about his thoughts regarding the news, Minden Mayor Terry Gardner said, “We’re excited that Fiberbond chose to stay and continue to invest in Minden, and not only Minden but North Louisiana . This is a business that has several generations and whose roots run deep in Minden, so we’re excited that they can stay and that they’re employee family is staying, because they’re a pillar in our community.”
The future of Fibrebond and its place in Minden has been unclear for a couple of weeks, due to concerns about Louisiana’s infrastructure that made Fibrebond consider potentially moving locations. “Fibrebond has been fighting to stay in Louisiana, not fighting to leave. I committed that if Louisiana would support our work with public infrastructure, we would pass on the significant economic incentives offered by others,” said Walker.
Due to the combined efforts of Walker, State Senator Ryan Gatti, Wayne McMahen, Governor John Bel Edwards, DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, LED Secretary Don Pierson, and Fibrebond Employees as well as their families, all of whom were mentioned in Walker’s statement, the state and Fibrebond came to an agreement that secured Fibrebond’s future in Minden.
Edwards released a statement regarding Fibrebond Thursday as well. “I am happy to announce we have reached a positive solution that will keep Fibrebond operating in Webster Parish,” Edwards said. “The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and Louisiana Economic Development are teaming up to deliver improvements in both logistics and workforce training. This is a great solution that not only retains a major employer in Minden, but also will improve operations for other key employers in Webster Parish and the northwest region as well. On behalf of myself and the people of Northwest Louisiana, I appreciate Fibrebond renewing its commitment to Louisiana,” Edwards statements read.
“Infrastructure improvements will include upgrades to roads and bridges in the region to accommodate vehicles transporting Fibrebond’s oversized and extremely heavy manufactured products.”
Next Thursday, Oct. 3, an announcement with more details will be held at Fibrebond.
While the statement was straightforward in announcing Fibrebond’s future, Waker also took time to express why he decided to fight to stay in Minden.
“First let me say thank you. I’ve heard from over 100 employees regarding our potential move. Conversations in the plant, emails, texts from concerned spouses… it’s humbling to realize how invested people are in Fibrebond’s future. It happened 21 years ago when our plant burned to the ground. It happened in 2015 when our business changed nearly overnight. And it happened again as Fibrebond has gone through this public process to protect our future. You all have not wavered, and the strength of our team has shown itself in the face of adversity,” said Walker.