Homegrown Talent in a Global Market
Posted on 3.25.2021 by Billy Thompson, Propex Plant Manager
In a southern tri-state community near the Chattahoochee National Forest, Propex’s manufacturing and distribution facility sit in the small town of Ringgold, Georgia. From this quiet community, Propex engineers, tests and manufactures the geosynthetic and erosion control solutions that it's known for globally. Running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our manufacturing operation boasts the industry’s largest geosynthetic capacity under one roof. Most importantly, Ringgold is home to more than 200 teammates who are committed to making quality products.
In the early nineties, Propex built this state-of-the-art facility to manufacture nonwoven geotextiles. Since then new technologies have been added to the plant, including manufacturing of our erosion control systems. Propex has been the leader in innovations for the erosion control industry for more than a decade, and our solutions have earned a reputation for high-quality and long-term performance. We recently invested in new weaving technology to keep up with the demand for this market.
Propex places great emphasis on growing talent internally, which has contributed to impressive overall employee tenure.
Notably, 27% of our teammates have been with the organization for more than 20 years and 24% have been with Propex for 10 years or more. We even have employees with 40 years of tenure!
In addition to focusing on employee retention, Propex also recognizes the importance of cultivating new talent. We partner with nearby technical colleges to implemented developmental programs, allowing us to hire new graduates with advanced manufacturing skills. Propex leans heavily on local resources such as the Chamber of Commerce and Community Colleges to strengthen the skills that up-and-coming leaders need to sustain its future workforce.
Understanding the future needs of our organization is an important aspect of securing the future for our teammates. Propex recognizes that internal talent flourishes when provided with the proper training, thus leadership development programs are an integral part of the succession plan in Ringgold. Teammates commonly reminisce about their “entry to advanced” journeys. Career paths for Advanced Process Experts, Industrial Systems Craftsman, Quality Specialists, and even Senior Leadership continue to be fostered within the organization.
Another key element of our Ringgold plant is our onsite testing facility and lab. Each day, our quality assurance team performs around 35 tests per material. This allows traceability for each product that is shipped from our facility and ensures that we are delivering top-quality products to our customers. Our lab is certified by the Geosynthetic Accreditation Institute/Laboratory Accreditation Program and American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.
In addition to certifications achieved by the lab, the manufacturing facility has earned and maintained several important certifications including ISO 9001, an international standard for a quality management program, and ISO 14001, an international certification that recognizes Propex is actively measuring its environmental impact and continuously looking for ways to minimize its carbon footprint. An example is working with local vendors to shred and re-pelletizing our fabric waste so it can be recycled into new product instead of sending it to a landfill.
Like all facets of the organization, our manufacturing operation is driven by innovation. We actively pursue and embrace advanced technologies that provide value to the global market. However, we embrace our hometown roots with a commitment to give back to the community that has helped Propex flourish. We eagerly contribute resources, both financial and personal involvement, to support local schools, charitable events, and the underserved community. Propex believes that great people make a great future, and the return on this investment is evident in our global success.
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