Top Polymer Enterprise to Create 70 Jobs in Social Circle

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Top Polymer Enterprise, a Chinese manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), will create 70 jobs and invest $15 million in a facility in Social Circle. New jobs will include positions in manufacturing and production.

“Georgia’s manufacturing sector continues to drive statewide investment by attracting industry leaders from around the world,” said Deal. “As the No. 1 state for business, Georgia has the highly skilled workforce, logistics infrastructure and low cost of doing business necessary to provide a strong foundation for Top Polymer’s continued growth. These resources will strengthen the company’s competitive edge in the global market as Top Polymer expands both in the U.S. and abroad. We look forward to this partnership with Top Polymer as the company invests in Social Circle and creates employment opportunities for our citizens.”

The manufacturing plant in Social Circle in Walton County will be Top Polymer’s first facility in the U.S. The first phase of the facility will be approximately 60,000 square feet with three compounding lines.

“This is an exceptional time for Top Polymer Enterprise and we are extremely excited to be part of the Social Circle community,” said Marcus Tsong, president of Top Polymer Holding Company. “We see our Social Circle facility as being the first key step to becoming an internationally recognized manufacturer and supplier of premier TPE system.”

Top Polymer exports to more than 30 countries and regions. The company currently has two production bases in China, located in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province and Liyang City, Jiangsu Province.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Project Manager Nikki Yu represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with GDEcD Director of China Initiatives Stella Xu, GDEcD Managing Director of Chinese Investment John Ling, Georgia Power, the Georgia Department of Labor and the Development Authority of Walton County.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Top Polymer for choosing our community to construct their first U.S. assembly plant,” stated Kevin Little, Chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners.  “Economic development is one of our top priorities in Walton County and we are grateful for the work the Development Authority of Walton County has done for our citizens,” stated Little.

Social Circle Mayor Hal Dally expressed his elation for Top Polymer choosing Social Circle.  “We welcome Top Polymer to Social Circle and look forward to working with them to create new thriving industrial campus that will benefit our entire region.  We are thankful to Top Polymer for the investment and jobs they will create in our community,” said Dally.

“Walton County and the City of Social Circle are delighted to welcome Top Polymer to our community and are looking forward to a strong partnership with them,” said Shane Short, executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County. “This partnership could not happen without the great support from the team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.”

“We are excited that Top Polymer chose Georgia for its first U.S. facility,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This announcement is a testament to our partnership approach to economic development, and I want to congratulate everyone involved.”

About Top Polymer

Top Polymer Enterprise Limited (Top Polymer Enterprise) is dedicated to developing and manufacturing thermoplastic elastomer, which are copolymers or a physical mix of polymers that consists of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. Top Polymer is committed to meeting customers’ requirements by supplying the best TPE solutions to customers, offering infinite imagination for design objectives. Hiring and employment searches are being conducted by Human Resource Dimensions (www.hrdracc.com) and Global Recruiters of Wilmington (www.grnwilmington.com).

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Shane Short at 770-267-6594 or email at shane@choosewalton.com.

IsoNova Update

IsoNova RTO InstallationThe RTO installation was completed on schedule and is currently in operation. Hopefully, you have noticed a significant improvement in the odor generated by the IsoNova plant. The RTO works by burning off the particulate matter generated by their processes. The heat of the furnace affects how much matter is burned and the amount of smell generated and adjustments may need to be made under various weather conditions, like temperature and humidity. IsoNova will be monitoring conditions and making adjustments as needed.

If you notice a smell, please contact the City Manager, Adele Schirmer, aschirmer@socialcirclega.com, 770-464-6901.

ISONOVA RTO Construction Update

ISONOVA is making excellent headway on their RTO installation.  The duct work and the concrete pad are complete, and the gas service and electrical conduit work are in place.  The RTO machinery was delayed a couple of weeks due to components affected by Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Houston.  The machinery should arrive within the next few weeks.  The project is still on schedule to be up and running before January 1.

At the City’s request, ISONOVA will be shutting down operations at 8 am on Saturday, until 2:30 pm for the Friendship Festival. We appreciate their efforts to ensure that the festival will be pleasant for all our visitors.

Shire, Social Circle Fire Partner on Valuable Training for Mutual Benefit

Shire and the Social Circle Fire Department have formed a partnership that’s providing safety support for Shire’s operations while providing the fire department with tens of thousands of dollars of specialized training and equipment that will have broader impact across the community.

The two organizations are participating in joint hazmat (hazardous materials) and confined space entry training programs that are providing needed skillsets to Shire employees and Social Circle firefighters. The confined space entry, referred to more generally as technical rescue, training in particular is a rare skillset that’s generally only found in major metro fire departments.

“We found an opportunity to improve the rescue portion of our confined space entry program. In Los Angeles, there’s a fire station three blocks away from our facility with technical rescue capabilities. We didn’t have that here,” said Jeffry Carter, who specializes in emergency response with Shire’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) department at the Georgia facility.

Shire has dozens of large vessels that are used in its manufacturing process, and while employees don’t commonly enter these vessels, they are required to do so periodically. Safety protocols stipulate rescue personnel should be on hand whenever a confined space entry is made by an employee.

A former firefighter and paramedic, Carter said he’s only seen this type of joint partnership at one other company in his career.

“Our EHS leadership told us to think outside of the box and find an effective and cost efficient solution,” Carter said. “It’s really cool that we’re not only able to implement an improvement for our site but also for the community.”

Before this training, the nearest department with technical rescue capabilities was in DeKalb County.

“When we’re done with the training, everyone in the department will have confined space training. To be honest, that’s almost unheard of, especially with a department our size,” Social Circle Fire Chief Ken Zaydel said. “We have public works employees in the city that make confined space entries, and we have other industries that do the same things and will benefit from this training.”

The training is being led by Eddie Sisco, who offers the specialized training through his Alabama-based company, Emergency Response Services. He has a specially designed rig and equipment that allows him to simulate various confined space entry scenarios.

While industries are a common client, Sisco said he’s seen numerous situations in communities where firefighters and others have had to use technical training to rescue people, whether it’s a contractor falling into a water tank during sandblasting or tourists and residents getting trapped while exploring caves. He agreed that it’s pretty rare to see these type of public-private partnerships, but he’s encouraged by it.

“It’s good to work with a group that wants to participate and that is looking forward to doing it. They’ve lined up to participate,” Sisco said. “They are ready to protect the facility and the community, and both sides will benefit greatly from it.”

The training consists of lots of rope work, including tying different kinds of knots and using pulley systems to create a mechanical advantage to safely lower and lift people out of small entry areas and move them horizontally through spaces, as well as proper harnessing and learning how to safely move an incapacitated person. Air monitoring is also a critical skill as rescue personnel need to understand the environment they’re entering as it could contain dangerous levels of chemicals.

Zaydel said his team already had some rope training, but this more advanced training takes the department’s capabilities to a whole new level. Some local,practical examples of confined space entry are when Georgia Power employees enter confined space vaults in the city and when public works employees work in manholes, stormwater drains and pits at the water plant.

“Everything builds off of rope rescue, all technical rescue, confined space, structural collapse, trench rescue, it all builds off the rope side. Knowing how to set up systems and knots and build off of that is a core skill set,” Zaydel said. “This training and trailer we have now gives us huge capabilities to be able to assist Shire, our other industries and the 4,500 residents we serve.”

Firefighters will also be able to earn some additional money by using their expertise for side jobs. For example, Shire will hire firefighters to be on standby for confined space rescue whenever the plant has a shutdown – a scheduled period where manufacturing stops and regular maintenance is performed throughout the plant.

For Shire, the training is another piece of the puzzle for the company’s Emergency Response Team, a cross-functional team of employees who are receiving in-depth training on confined space rescue, hazmat, CPR/First Aid and other skills and are ready to respond to any event that could happen at the facility.

“When we train people to become subject matter experts in these areas, we create an environment and culture of safety. We know the potential dangers, we know how to prevent incidents and injuries, and hopefully we never have to use any of this training,” Jason Pertoso, Shire’s EHS Director at the Georgia facility, said. “But if we do, we know that our public safety partners will be ready.”

IsoNova Technologies LLC Breaks Ground on Odor Control Equipment

IsoNova Technologies LLC and the City of Social Circle are pleased to announce approval of construction and installation of a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer at the company’s Social Circle facility, a multimillion dollar project that will clean its plant emissions of particulate matter.

The City applauds ISONOVA’s commitment to the City to implement this project and we look forward to its completion and the resolution of this longstanding community concern.  The ground breaking ceremony was held May 24, 2017 at 5:30 PM at Isonova Technologies LLC, 1022 E Hightower Trail.

City of Social Circle Press Release

IsoNova Press Release

Help Create a Downtown Square in Social Circle!

Downtown Square Concept ImagesWe have heard from the community how much they value the downtown and would love a downtown square for gatherings, farmers markets, and  more  festivals and events in our city center.  The Social Circle Downtown Development Authority has made this project their top priority to support the community  vision.  A concept plan has been developed, and a $100,000 USDA Rural Development grant identified to begin the creation of this downtown square.

Here is how you can help bring this vision to reality….

The USDA selection criteria will include an evaluation of broad community support for the project.  Support can be in the form of letters of support, donations and work in kind.

The DDA is currently seeking letters of support from the community, civic groups and businesses. If you can write a letter of support to the Social Circle DDA it would be greatly appreciated and will help support our efforts to secure the funding grant.

Letter of Support Guidelines

The deadline for the grant request is March 17th. Letters will be accepted through March 16th.

Please address the letters to the Social Circle Downtown Development Authority and drop off,  mail or email to City Hall.

Thank you for supporting this opportunity for our downtown. If you have questions please contact Adele Schirmer, Social Circle City Manager at 770-464-2380.