Gov. Bobby Jindal joined company representatives like Libbey Inc. Chairman and CEO John Meier and Shreveport Plant Manager Frank Russell on Friday to make the announcement of upgrades to the site such as renovation of a major glassmaking furnace and the purchase of related equipment at the 525,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.
"This is yet another great day for Louisiana and a great day for northwest Louisiana," Jindal said. "Libbey has had a great history in Shreveport but today's announcement isn't about Libbey's long history, but rather it's about its future and this investment ensures a busy and productive future right here in northwest Louisiana."
Libbey leads the Western Hemisphere in glass tableware production and is the second largest glassware producer in the world. Jindal said the move will maintain the plant's 814 jobs, which have an average annual salary of $34,000, plus benefits, and support approximately 1,520 indirect jobs.
For nearly two years, Louisiana Economic Development has been working with Libbey to find opportunities to expand and retain its Shreveport facility. LED offered the company an incentive package that includes the state's Retention and Modernization tax credit program, which provides qualifying companies a five percent refundable tax credit on capital upgrades to existing facilities. Libbey's Shreveport site earned the capital investment in competition with five other U.S. and international sites.
"Too many states in various parts of the country don't reach back to the good companies that have helped build a region. They're always looking for the new girl who came to the dance," Meier said. "This state has done well by Libbey for many, many years since we've been here in 1974. We're pleased that we were able to collaborate once again with Louisiana to help continue to build the foundation for the future."
Russell said he believes the investment will allow the plant to stay competitive.
"It will allow us to continue doing what we do best," he added.
For workers, this solidifies the company's commitment not only to the region but to its employees.
"This is a $9 million in our future," Chris Stevens, a powerhouse attendant, said. "It lets us know they're investing in our future as much as theirs to keep us around and doing the job we do. It's a good thing for not only Libbey but for the workers and their families."
Meier said he sees this as the groundwork for a great future in Shreveport.
"We've had families that have been here since day one in 1974 and God willing their grandchildren will be here and their grandchildren's grandchildren."