Longview, Texas
20 May 2024
Eastman Taps Longview, Texas
Business

Eastman Taps Longview, Texas

Apr 19, 2024

Adding $1.2 billion in capital investment

By Joycelyne Fadojutimi

MAIN PHOTO: Stakeholders at the EASTMAN billion-dollar announcement – Andrew Coggins, VP and Texas Operations Site Leader; Brad Lich, Eastman Chemical Corporate Exec. VP and CEO; Bill Stoudt, Gregg County Judge; Jay Dean, State Rep; Chad Sims, Harrison County Judge; Andy Mack, Mayor of Longview; Wayne Mansfield, CEO/President of LEDCO; and John Martin, Hallsville ISD Superintendent. Photo by City of Longview.

Eastman recently picked Longview, Texas for its second United States molecular recycling facility. This operation will be a major boon to regional and local economy by creating jobs and various positive resources. Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed that Eastman will add a new manufacturing facility to its existing, Longview operation.

Eastman produces specialty ingredients required for such everyday specialty items as eyewear, cosmetics, packaging, medical equipment, textiles, films, coatings, et cetera. This expansion will create 200 new jobs while adding $1.2 billion in local capital investment. The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing Eastman with a $2,040,000 grant to fund the project.

“Texas is where businesses flourish and people prosper,” says Abbott. “With our highly skilled workforce, unmatched business climate and reasonable regulations it is no surprise that businesses from around the globe continue to choose to grow in Texas. This additional facility by Eastman in Longview will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to hardworking Texans and millions in capital investment to East Texas. I thank the members of the Texas Legislature and local leaders for their tireless work to attract world-class business investments to our great state. Together we will continue to create a bigger, better Texas for generations to come.”

Eastman Board Chair/Chief Executive Officer Mark Costa went yet further in crediting both his corporation and East Texas for this mutually lucrative cooperation.

“We have decades of history in successfully operating in Longview, and this will be a great investment for the local community. We deeply appreciate the support of Governor Abbott and the State of Texas for continued collaboration as we announce this large investment at our Longview facility. We are excited to work with the state and continue our legacy in Texas for generations to come by building this world-scale plant that will remove significant plastic waste from the region and create true circularity while setting a new benchmark for decarbonization.”

Eastman executives report that Longview was chosen because of its already-well-established synergies with existing infrastructure and operations, dependable energy supply and footprint and its geographic nearness to western and central American feedstock pools. Furthermore, its spacious countryside ensures sufficient room for onsite renewable energy. The expansion will provide for the preparation of mixed plastic waste for processing, for Eastman’s next-generation molecular recycling capacity for depolarizing waste, and a polymer set-up to produce virgin-quality material for packaging and textiles. Although plastic waste is difficult to recycle, the new, Longview plant will be set up to rework approximately 110,000 metric tonnes.

Eastman has long contributed worldwide to consumers through its innovative productions and the creation of jobs. Its Longview presence was established in 1952. It has since thoroughly integrated itself into the regional infrastructure via its association and cooperative efforts with school districts and higher education, benefiting the area by workforce development. Longview’s factory has long worked toward a diversified workforce, especially by its concentration on assigning competent women to significant roles, assuring employee initiative by rewarding outstanding employees with promotions and pay raises. The workers at the new operation will join an outstanding workforce of 1500 employees. Texas Senator Bryan Hughes points to the overall improvements promised by this new development.

“Congratulations to the Eastman facility in Longview,” he says. “This grant will support the creation of several hundred jobs and represents a significant capital investment. I thank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Costa and the Eastman Board for selecting Longview out of sites from around the country. I thank Governor Abbott for his strong leadership in supporting Texas business.”

State Representative Jay Dean could not agree more and is grateful for being permitted to take part in this vital expansion.

“It’s been my sincere honor to work with the Eastman team to bring this world-class molecular recycling investment to Longview,” he says. “This is an economic development win for our East Texas communities. My sincere thanks to our governor, Greg Abbott, for his leadership on this project and again helping to bring a great opportunity to the state of Texas.”

Harrison County Judge Chad Sims discussed how Eastman has been a boon to his county, and that now yet more of the Pineywoods can anticipate a future blessed by this sterling corporation.

“East Texas has a reason to celebrate today,” he says. “Eastman has been a foundational business in Harrison County since the 1950s. Over the years Eastman has not only been a great community partner, supporter of other businesses, schools, and our youth, but also provided a livelihood for many families. Today’s announcement of an additional facility at their current site in Longview gives communities in Gregg and Harrison counties countless hope for many more generations of Eastman employees. Join me and the Harrison County commissioners as we welcome this Eastman expansion to our community. We look forward to the continued success of Eastman well into the future.”

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt can hardly wait for the new operation to start making a difference.

“It is with the greatest appreciation to the decision makers of Eastman for their choice of Longview, Texas to expand their company,” he says. “This is a game-changer for East Texas.”

Longview Mayor Andy Mack said this project took two years of working hard and brilliantly with the Longview Economic Development Corporation (LEDCO,) to ensure the expansion came to be. He describes how he, “had a lot of sleepless nights because they may choose not to do it with Longview.” He need not have worried and is delighted at how high school students will be able to look forward to high-dollar careers with excellent benefits, advancement and a constantly growing pool of job opportunities through industry cooperation.

“I am happy about our workforce readiness. We have an exceptional workforce. Longview is in tune with technological changes and what our area needs to attract more industries,” he says. “This is a collaborative effort. We all worked together–Marshall, Hallsville, Gregg County, City of Longview, State of Texas and of course Wayne Mansfield, CEO and president of LEDCO and his team were all at the fore front leading the charge and bringing stakeholders to the table on this project.”

Mack went yet further in crediting the teamwork among various entities in bringing about the Eastman expansion.

“I applaud the hard work of the city of Longview, the LEDCO, Gregg County, Harrison County, the Hallsville Independent School District board and Governor Gregg Abbott for creatively working together to partner with Eastman to better our community and region for decades to come,” he said. “Without Governor Abbot’s advocacy and continued support for Longview I am certain this project would never have come to fruition.”

He also likened how this new project is even bigger than Tesla’s Austin deal, “Gigas Texas,” and how, “the infusion of $1.2 billion is news of the year. We are not Houston, Dallas, or Austin. This is big.”

Rolin McPhee, P.E. Longview city manager, spoke of the back-and-forth meetings for 2 years, the hard work stringent efforts that went into getting this project the group felt they have done the possible best. However, never knows how best the efforts are and since the ultimate decision has to come from Kingsport, Tennessee, they had to patiently wait while hoping for a favorable outcome. And it finally came at the tail end of March-Eastman chose Longview, Texas.!

Again, he attributes regional collaboration and partnership for the success of Eastman deal. “What is good for Longview is good for Marshall, Hallsville, Kilgore, and all of East Texas. We are not Austin or Round Rock, but they chose us which speaks to the power of regional partnership. I am honored to have played a small role in this project.”

LEDCO President/CEO Wayne Mansfield ultimately went to great lengths to describe the impact of this facility that marks one single largest capital investment in LEDCO’s history. 

“Eastman is a longstanding institution in Longview, Texas, and we are more than honored that they have chosen the Longview site for their newest expansion project,” he says. “Nothing gives us more pride than when a legacy industry recognizes the assets of our workforce, our infrastructure and our overall business climate by choosing to make new investments in our community. The confidence Eastman has in our region is revered, and our partnership will continue to grow to new heights as they integrate the circular economy into the heart of Longview. I can speak on behalf of the Longview Economic Development Board and LEDCO team that we are proud of the partnership that we share with Eastman and our community partners.”

About Eastman

Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company’s innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2023 revenue of approximately $9.2 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.

About LEDCO

The Longview Economic Development Corporation was created by the voters of Longview in 1991 under the Development Act of 1979 (Texas Revised Civil Statutes Article 5190.6) section 4A for the purpose of creating and retaining primary jobs. The Corporation’s independent board of directors, five voting members, five non-voting members, is appointed by the mayor and city council. The Corporation owns two business parks in Longview with 1,200 acres of land.

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