Rock-Tenn Company celebrates longevity

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 13, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; In honor of 50 years of operation by the Demopolis mill site now owned by Rock Tenn, the company recently held an anniversary celebration at the Demopolis SportPlex.

They also held anniversary parties at the 25-year mark and 40-year mark, Smith said.

In addition to food and snow cones, the day included rock climbing, face painting, booth games like ball bingo and golf at the nearby Ravine Golf Course. Smith said there were approximately 500 to 600 people who came out for the day. Nearly 100 of those in attendance were retirees, he said.

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Long-standing employees are not an uncommon at the mill, Smith said, who has been with the company since 1971.

Smith said that can be attributed to the longevity and stability of the company.

Since Rock Tenn took over the company in 2005, Smith said, there has only been a 10 percent change over rate in the employees. Most of that, he said, is due to retirements. When the changeover took place, all of the employees remained on with the new company.

In August of 1957, the Gulf States Paper Company began its operations at the Demopolis mill location, and was among the largest privately held companies in the industry under the ownership of the Westervelt and Warner families since it was founded in 1884.

In 2005, Rock Tenn purchased the mill site, along with the Rooster Bridge chip mill.

The company employs approximately 500 workers between the two sites and produces solid bleached sulfate paperboard used in food, foodservice, health and beauty packaging.