Composite could become Selma’s next Bush Hog

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Tired of the split down the middle of your kitchen counter? You know, the one that grows mold?

An Atlanta-based company has the answer &045;&045; seamless countertops (along with an array of related products). And here’s the best part: Composite Technologies Inc. will begin production of this product in September right here in Dallas County.

Composite Tech isn’t an upstart industry with dreamy ideas. Its parent company &045;&045; DuraStone &045;&045; is headquartered in Atlanta and has produced such a strong product that it can’t meet the demand stores across the southeast have for it. Hence a new plant in Dallas County, located in a 43,000-square-foot building at Craig Field Industrial Park.

Monday afternoon, representatives from Composite Tech were officially introduced to economic leaders in Dallas County.

“Basically, we have outgrown our capacity,” said Thomas Ekhlas, president of Composite Tech. “We were looking to go into a community where we could expand because we can’t produce enough where we are now.”

Economic leaders in Dallas County have worked since January to bring Composite Tech to the area. In the end, the owners chose Selma over sites in Anniston, Ragland, Ozark, Jasper, Enterprise and even Mexico, according to CFO Bob Purvis.

“We chose this area because we were immediately welcomed,” Ekhlas said. “We saw the potential for labor and the building space was here.”

Composite plans to hire 25 people initially. Company officials hope to increase their employment in Selma up to 100 in 12 months.

“I think that’s a little conservative,” said Probate Judge Johnny Jones. “You’ve got an excellent product and I’m excited about the potential you guys have.”

According to Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority, those interested in work at Composite Tech can apply at the state unemployment office located on Broad Street. Salaries for the 25 positions at the new company will begin at $8 per hour.

The long recruitment of Composite came after hard work between the city, county and state. Mayor James Perkins Jr. enjoyed watching the entire process.

“Through that partnership, we’ve seen that it will work,” the mayor said of government agencies working together. “I will tell you that it really has shown progress.”

Jamie Wallace, who recently announced his retirement as president of the Chamber of Commerce, thinks Composite Tech has the opportunity to grow far beyond the estimated 100 jobs in the next year.

“We could be looking at another Bush Hog,” Wallace said. “They have a unique product that’s going to be very attractive. And once they have the facilities to produce it, there’s no telling what can happen.”

Composite Tech will produce a seamless countertop made of resin, plastic chips and stone particles, among other things. The product is sprayed onto a surface and its colors are limitless. Composite’s surface can match virtually any color.

Along with countertops, the surface can be used for fiberglass seating and tables, architectural molding, fireplace surrounds, columns, planters, fountains, bathtubs, vanities, shower surrounds, wall panels, modular bathroom fixtures and is ideal for boats, aircraft and motor homes.