PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 company expands, increasing the number of employees at the same time.
A celebration took place at Allen Engineering Corporation in Paragould Thursday morning.
President of AEC, Jay Allen, said they added an additional building.
"We're celebrating the opening of our new distribution center," Allen said. "This is a 34,000 square foot facility that's new to the company. It's right next to our factory in Paragould on 5th Street. We're able to combine all of our finished goods and all of our shipping operations and all of our logistics operations in one facility."
AEC has been a part of the Paragould community for over fifty years.
"This next January we'll be 54 years old," Allen said. "So, we're an Arkansas based company. We're actually founded in Piggott by my parents, J. Dewayne and Mary Ann. Started out as a ready-mix concrete producer. Then, we've grown and evolved into a concrete and equipment manufacturer. We make all of our products right here in Paragould. We're Arkansas based and we've been in Greene County since 1968."
Allen said this expansion has been needed for a while now.
"It's been needed for quite some time," Allen said. "We were actually operating in three warehouses up until we consolidated with this opening. So, we're able to get our finished goods in one location which cuts down on transportation, logistics, and handling. We've needed it for a good five years. We got the board to agree this last year to spend it. It's a total estimate of $2 million. $1.7 million for the distribution facility and another $300,000 for a training facility we've opened as well in our factory. So, it was a total $2 million investment."
Founder and CEO of Allen Engineering Corporation, J. Dewayne Allen, said he's proud of all that's been accomplished.
"It's been a good ride," Dewayne Allen said. "We're all happy and this is a major expansion for us. We're going to add a lot more people to the factory. Business is looking up and we're all happy."
Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill said there isn't a time he doesn't remember Allen Engineering Corporation.
"I can remember from when I was a kid," Gaskill said. "That they've always been here. And one of the things I've learned over the many years, especially since I've been the mayor, they have been a huge supporter of the city of Paragould."
Gaskill said he was happy to see AEC continue to grow and that growth helped the entire community.
"What they do," Gaskill said. "The equipment they build goes worldwide and they do it right here in Paragould, Arkansas. And that's one of the most important things for us. Because they have always been supportive and this industry has always grown and it makes a difference in our community because what they build here has something that is extremely special and makes a difference on concrete everywhere. And so, it's very exciting for me to see them continue to expand. Because it tells you that what they are doing, continuing to grow in this business and make a difference. Now, it's not just the equipment they build. It's also the employees that they have and the support of the community. And the community supporting them. It's very, very important. And so, we're proud of them and I'm glad to be here today."
There are around 165 employees currently working at AEC.
Despite their size, Dewayne Allen said they're like family.
"We just think of ourselves as one big family," Dewayne Allen said. "We've got over 160 employees and we have a big responsibility every day. And we've got people we've got to help take care of."
Gaskill said AEC has always had a positive impact on the Paragould community.
"When they grow," Gaskill said. "That tells us there are more opportunities for people and as they grow it even helps the city that they're in to continue to grow itself. And it even helps make us a little more famous when you have something that it created in your community that makes a difference wherever it may go. That makes a big difference and they do that here at Allen Engineering and they always have and it's made a big difference in our community. We're very proud of them. Very happy about it and excited about the growth they're having."
Allen said they believe they will have an additional 33 employees by April of 2018.
For more information about Allen Engineering Corporation, click onto their website.
Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.