Procter & Gamble added products, jobs to Augusta plant

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle speaks to a crowd of people during Proctor and Gamble's announcement of their new products at the plant. The new product launch brought 150 new full-time positions.

Richmond County’s sixth largest manufacturing employer got a Bounce in its product line and celebrated a Gain in employees this morning.

Procter & Gamble unveiled recent expansions at its south Augusta powder detergent facility. About 150 people have been added to its staff to make a Bounce Dryer Bar and Gain laundry detergent in a bag.

Augusta is the only facility in the world making either product, said plant manager Marian Futrell.

Both products are now available on store shelves.

The dryer bar replaces the need to use dryer sheets for every load. The product sticks to the inside of a consumer’s clothes dryer and works as a dryer sheet for two months. There is also a four-month dryer bar being produced.

The bags of Gain, and a sister product called Ariel, is meant to target the Hispanic community. Ariel is a known brand name in Central and South America.

“The product is currently on the shelf on the West Coast, East Coast and Gulf region in the United States,” Ms. Futrell said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said P&G has been a stable force within the state.

“We want to see more expansions and more job creations,” he said during the ceremony. “What you have accomplished is very promising. You can see it in the employees’ eyes when you walk in.”

Juan Bailey, the plant’s HR manager, said the company added $5 million in annual payroll through the added products.

The plant now has 240 P&G employees and 360 contractor workers, said Ms. Futrell. The new lines resulted in 15 new company employees and 135 contractor positions, filled by their light industry labor supplier, MarketPlace.

“We’ve hired what we needed to hire. Our goal is to continue to expand, but we can’t predict the future,” Ms. Futrell said.

Ms. Futrell said the dryer bar production began in May, but the Gain in a bag got started in September.

The facility spent $1 million installing the new production lines.

“These products have come to life here in Augusta because the people at our site are making a difference every day by working safely, providing excellent customer service, quality for the customers, and being a capable, agile manufacturing organization,” Ms. Futrell said.

Walter Sprouse, director of the Development Authority of Richmond County, said it took two years to convince the corporate headquarters to make the products in Augusta. He said his organization assisted the local P&G leadership’s effort to win the additional production.

“What a week for Augusta. On Monday, Forbes magazine recognized us as the number five city in the nation in regards to bang for your buck,” said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver. “On Tuesday, your local government for the third straight year was able to approve a budget with no millage rate increase, which I know is music to the ears of the business community. And then today, 150 new jobs.”

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