CATOOSA, Okla. - High demand for utility poles due to the nation's ever growing and aging power grid has brought one manufacturer – and maybe 100 new jobs – to Catoosa.
Omaha, Neb.-based Valmont Industries early last month began the construction of a 123,500-square-foot manufacturing facility at the Riverview Industrial Park, near Tulsa Port of Catoosa.
This will be one three plants owned by the company, the others already established in Tulsa and in Claremore. The plant in Tulsa already employs more than 400 individuals.
Roger Snavely, the manager of the plant located in north Tulsa, told 2NEWS the new facility will produce the same line of product as in the Tulsa plant, but is only an expansion to meet the needs of an expanding power grid and older grids that need to be replaced.
"Wind energy did have an impact in the amount of transmission lines in the county," he added, saying the laying of power lines from wind power centers to larger energy markets has increased the need for utility poles.
He said within a year when the facility becomes operational, it will have 70 employees and may take on as many as 30 more the following year.
"We are anticipating starting operations in September or October of 2013," he said, saying those operations include steel fabrication activities such as cutting, forming and welding to make the metal poles.
Snavely told 2NEWS he expects that on average the Port of Catoosa will yearly handle 17,000 tons of coiled steel shipped in on barges bound for the new facility.
"We do a lot," he said. "We handle a lot of steel."