to be chosen one’
Top officials with Roxul and parent company Rockwool, along with local and state leaders, broke ground in Marshall County last week for Roxul’s first stone wool manufacturing facility in the United States.
Rockwool, a Denmark-based company, is the world’s largest producer of stone wool insulation.
The site on Cayce Road will have a 600,000-square-foot production facility. Roxul will also warehouse and distribute its product from the location at Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park, according to Leslie McLaren, director of communications with Roxul.
Eelco van Heel, CEO of Rockwool, said Mississippi was chosen from a large number of potential sites in the Southeast because the state made the company feel welcome.
At groundbreaking, he called for a celebration, saying, “I’m good at parties.”
The CEO touted his company’s Danish technology and its product, stone wool. Roxul, the North American division, has two manufacturing facilities in Canada.
Stone wool once was dominant in the insulation industry in the United States in the 1960s, he said, and Roxul is intent on bringing it back.
“We believe this facility (in Marshall County) will enable us to meet the growing demand for our stone wool insulation product,” van Heel said.
Some of the characteristics of stone wool that make it a leading insulation include thermal qualities, service as an acoustical barrier, fire resistance and water repellent properties.
Van Heel reviewed the five leading values of management at Roxul and Rockwool – honesty, responsibility, efficiency, entrepreneurial spirit and passion.
“We are a very decent company,” he said. “We do what we promise. We know our role and we are responsible. We are entrepreneurs. We are efficient. And we are passionate, which fits well with Southern culture.”
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant assured van Heel and Roxul that Mississippi keeps its promises and has a good and honest workforce.
“We are a people of our word,” Bryant said, “and we know Roxul is also. The five points that Eelco put out there are similar to the state of Mississippi’s. When we shake your hand and say we have a deal, we have a deal. It is the handshake and the honesty, whether it is (a deal with) Roxul or Japan. Honesty is important.”
Bryant said Roxul’s insulation will go into state buildings.
The governor remarked as others had noted that the three flags flying together over the entrance to the Roxul site – the Canadian, Danish and U.S. flags – represent the partnership.
“You chose Mississippi,” Bryant said. “You see, we also chose Roxul.
“We like being first. Mississippians show up to work, work hard and give you an honest day’s work.”
Speaking on behalf of Marshall County, Ronnie Joe Bennett, president of the board of supervisors, said, “This is a great day for Marshall County. We all ought to be proud we are the chosen one.”
He acknowledged the teamwork, on the state and local levels and with Roxul officials, that brought the new industry to northeastern portion of the county. And he praised Roxul for its choice.
“This is Roxul’s day, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, keeping his remarks brief.
Mike McLaughlin, vice president of business development with Roxul, said the insulation manufacturer had peak sales about five years ago before the economy collapsed.
“We are seeing that come back and, as it builds, it will have billions of dollars in impact,” he said.
Roxul enjoyed a $7 billion to $8 billon economy in North America annually before the housing market crash, he said.
Trent Ogilvie, president of Roxul (Canada), explained that rock wool is made from melted rock (basalt), and recycled industrial slag that is heated into a molten lava-like material, then spun into fiber. The product contains 3 percent mineral matter and 97 percent air. He said the plant will send nothing to the landfill.
Ogilvie said that construction is ahead of schedule and that the Marshall County plant should be ready for operation in May 2014. It will employ approximately 150.
In championing Rockwool and Roxul, Danish Ambassador to the United States Peter Taksoe-Jensen praised the strong relationship between Denmark and the United States.
“I am convinced that this is just the beginning and that Roxul’s choice will only increase (business between the Danes and North Americans),” he said.
Denmark is noted for promoting green energy and for protecting the environment, he said.
By 2050, Denmark will be operating entirely with renewable sources of energy and will no longer depend on coal, gas and oil, the ambassador said.
The Danes are promoting clean technology, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. The long-term economic development and society itself depends upon converting to renewable sources of energy, he said.
Rockwool insulation is being used in Denmark to retrofit older buildings and the Empire State Building in the United States as it is being restored, the ambassador said.
Rockwool has 27 factories over the world. This first factory in the United States is an important and well thought out decision, said van Heel.
“This first factory in the U.S. is a very big decision for us,” he said. “It is not like operating something in Europe and Canada.”
Logistics and transportation were important factors in the decision to come to Marshall County, van Heel said. The ultimate decision was a connection with the people in the South.
“We chose Mississippi because we felt welcome here,” he emphasized again. “It is a good business environment.”
He said it was the state’s commitment of support that ultimately sealed the deal and that Roxul will be here for the next 50 to 100 years.
“Not only do you want our money, but you want to work with us,” he said. “We are good neighbors and we will take good care of you. It is my desire that this cooperation will blossom into something even more beautiful than it is today.”
Van Heel’s wife Natalja, accompanied him on the trip.
“I love the United States’ positive spirit,” she said. “I really love it.”
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
The South Reporter
P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page