American Railcar Industries Expands Business - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

American Railcar Industries Expands Business

April 4, 2005--Posted at 4:30 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD-- American Railcar Industries broke ground today on an $10 million expansion at their Paragould plant.

Director of New Car Manufacturing Jack Pipkin says, " You can see them anywhere in the country. Especially coming out of the Paragould plant, we're up to about 21 cars a day."

For ARI, expansion is business, but for the small city of Paragould...

"It's continued investment in our community which tells us one, this is a good place for them to be located. Two, we've got a good workforce. Three, it continues to provide jobs for our people and even for the surrounding areas. This is one of those things where it lifts all of Northeast Arkansas because jobs are created here," Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill says.

The plant opened in the mid 90's as a covered hopper car manufacturer with only two production tracks, but now it's nearly complete with one paint and lining facility and a metal forming mill.

But a ten million dollar addition will bring in another paint shop and create 100 new jobs, and the industry says, it's all about...

"The work ethic of the people, not only the people that work in the shop with us, but also the people in the community. It is a tight knit, small community," Pipkin says.

In ten years, ARI has greatly increased Greene county employment, and for the industry which, Pipkin says, arose from a bean field, it has grown much more than expected.

I think it speaks volumes for them, but I also think it speaks volumes for the city of Paragould and what kind of people they're looking for to work," Gaskill says.

For Larry Pipkin, who is originally from the area, it's about family--a small town that instills strong work ethic making him optimistic for the future.

"We're not here for the short haul. We want to be here for 50 years plus, and for people that are working there now, it could be their children or their children's children. My goal is not to be the biggest, it's to be the best in building railcars," Pipkin says.

The addition will bring 100 new jobs to the area. The project is expected to be complete by April of next year, and positions will be filled two weeks prior.

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