POCAHONTAS (KAIT) The ATP shoe plant in Pocahontas is going and growing. It's workforce has passed it's expected total and is till growing.
The plant is actually two companies under one roof. Using an Italian made injector molding machine the ACP part churns out rubber boots for Wal-Mart and other customers. Making nearly 400 thousand pairs per year of the hurricane boot, ACP has increased production by nearly 400 percent in less than a year.
Another part of the ACP group which is based out of Newport is stitching. The company stitches together nearly a million pairs of kids snow boots for Wal-Mart and 200 thousand for Children's Place.
One of the attractions for bringing the plant to Pocahontas was the available workforce from other factories closing down.
David Akins worked as a technician at Waterloo. He filled out an application on his lunch break from school
"...filled out an application on my lunch break and went from there. They called and asked me if I'd be interested in it. I came over and talked to the guys and started the next day."
Akins is typical of the kind of employee they would like to have either at ACP or the other side of the building ATP which makes insoles.
This part of the business came from Rhode Island. Ed Lossing who is the VP for operations told me that they make insoles for Wolverine, RedWing and the Department of Defense.
In full gear they can make about 11 thousand pairs of insoles per day.
Mable Barnett, a shift supervisor says she has a good crew but would like some more skilled help.
"We need some skilled laborers out there. If we could pull them in from the other factories that have shut down it would be excellent."
Lossing says the speed at which the plant has gotten into gear far surpassed expectations. "We were on a goal to reach 150 employees by the first of January. We're actually at 198 today. And we've got more operations in here now than we planned on having in March when we started.