Hot Springs manufacturer to add 50 jobs, invest $3.5 million in expansion project

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 1,012 views 

Hot Springs manufacturer Timber Automation announced Wednesday (Jan. 10) it is investing more than $3.5 million to add 50 new employees and expand its 145,000-square-foot facility in Garland County.

“We’re fortunate to be in a position where one of our biggest challenges is keeping up with customer demand,” Timber Automation President John Steck said in a statement. “By creating more than 50 new jobs, we will ensure that (our company) can continue to design, manufacture, sell and support industry-leading equipment for our customers.

According to company officials, Timber Automation provides custom engineered equipment and control systems for woodyards and sawmills help to increase yield and manufacturing uptime, while reducing production costs.

The company now has 300 employees, was founded locally and has been operating in the region more than 25 years, first as Hi-Tech Engineering in the early 90s and more recently as Baxley-LogPro from the mid-2000s. Company officials said Timber Automation rebranded last year, bringing together Baxley, LogPro and newly-formed Timber Automation Construction subsidiary that provides turnkey construction and equipment installation.

“Our community is excited to learn of Timber Automation’s growth outlook which will bring significant investment and jobs to the greater Hot Springs community,” said Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe. “This new capital investment reaffirms the company’s bright outlook.”

Timber Automation officials would not divulge pay levels for current staff or the new employees the Hot Springs manufacturer plans to hire, but offered that today’s announcement and prior capital investments will help boost wages at the Garland County employer.

The Hot Springs company has also applied for state incentives through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Create Rebate and Tax Back programs. AEDC spokeswoman Brandi Hinkle said an agreement has already been reached for Create Rebate incentives, which provide qualified businesses a financial incentive equal to 3.9% to 5% of the annual payroll of new full-time permanent employees.

Under the Tax Back program, qualified businesses investing at least $100,000 with a job creation agreement through the Advantage Arkansas or Create Rebate programs within 24 months of signing can apply for a refund of sales and use tax. Tax Back applicants must also obtain an endorsement resolution from a local governing authority authorizing the refund of its local taxes.

Speaking generally, Hinkle said Timber Automation or other applicants for state incentives must meet the qualification criteria under the requisite program in which they are participating and must be approved by AEDC.