Ormet to reopen doors in Ascension Parish

Charlotte Guedry
Ormet announced Monday that the plant in Burnside would reopen after sitting idle for the last five years.

As a siren from a nearby plant signalled the noon hour on?Monday, an announcement was made that brings with it a number of positive changes for Ascension?Parish.

After shutting their doors five years ago, Ormet has announced that they will be opening them again this year.

The aluminum refinery expects production to begin as early as the first part of the fourth quarter.

Local, parish and state officials joined together for the press conference.

Details were released to much applause from all in attendance.

With the reopening brings the return of jobs to the area. Around 50 salaried positions will be available, along with an estimated 200 hourly jobs.

These jobs are expected to fetch annual average salaries of $57,000.

These on-site jobs are not all that the announcement means for the workforce of Ascension?Parish, though, as an estimated 1,300 support jobs are also expected to be created.

Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development Stephen Moret explained exactly what that means for the parish, as he told the crowd what to expect.

“By reopening Ormet here in?Ascension?Parish, the company is now in the top 150 out of the 100,000 employers in our state,” he said. “This will bring an additional $20 million in new state tax revenue, and $10 million in local tax revenue.”

Ormet President and CEO Michael F. Tanchuk stated that the Ormet company has brought in $50 million to get the plant back into operation.

 “Ascension has such a dedicated sense of community and strong family roots. We are pleased to be a part of this parish once again,” he said.

State Representative Mert Smiley, Ascension?Parish President Tommy Martinez, and Gonzales Councilman Johnny Cagnolatti have fond memories of the plant, and what it has meant to the community.

Smiley worked there for three years when he was younger, Martinez’s family once lived on the land now owned by the plant and watched the building become a reality, and Cagnolatti’s father, Lloyd, retired from the plant as the chief processing engineer in 1983. He had worked at the site since 1958.

“I remember how much Ormet was a part of the community then, and am sure it will be now,” said Cagnolatti. “There were family spring picnics in the park. It was a great time.”

Ormet also announced plans for two separate job fairs  for those interested in applying for positions.

Both will be held at the Lamar-Dixon?Expo Center, with the first, for craft and powerhouse employees, on both May 23 and 24.

The second is for operators, and will take place on June 1 and 4.

For all who worked to bring Ormet back to life, the sun shined down on a plant that is a part of Ascension’s prominent past.

A parish now waits to see Ormet as a part of its promising future.