W&W AFCO Steel has announced it will be expanding with a new steel fabrication facility, which will create 115 full-time jobs over the next five years.
The deal represents an additional $18.7 million investment in the company’s operations in Arkansas.
The company currently employs over 400 Arkansas residents.
The facility will be housed in the former LM Wind Power building in Little Rock’s Port.
Grady Harvell, president and chief operating officer of W&W AFCO, said the company has five other plants in Arkansas, three of which are in Little Rock.
Harvell said: “Our bridge operations are headquartered in Little Rock and we are happy to seize the opportunity to make a productive plant out of this vacant building. The new facility will enhance our ability to continue providing competitive steel bridges to the state of Arkansas and the region as well as increase our production capacity for steel building products.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said many of Little Rock’s commercial buildings are built with AFCO steel.
Hutchinson said: “This new investment means new jobs for families; it means a continued vibrancy in the steel industry in Arkansas and the Little Rock port being a home of manufacturing and industry.”
Harvell said Pennsylvania used to be the center for steel production in the US, but Arkansas has taken that spot.
Hutchinson believes Arkansas’ steel industry has a bright future, but he is concerned about new federal regulations that could stifle growth.
The Biden administration announced Tuesday, April 19, the re-establishment of environmental regulations the Trump administration earlier rescinded.
It will require an environmental review of major infrastructure projects to determine direct, indirect and cumulative impacts. It will also give federal agencies power to determine the “purpose and need” of a project.
Hutchinson continued: “It’s increasing regulations and we want to make sure that we enhance investments, we enhance growth, and we don’t want to slow down major projects because of a regulatory burden, we will do everything we can to eliminate that.”