MECO Expands in St. Tammany Parish

14 June 2012

The Times-Picayune reports that MECO, a water purification systems company in Covington, will be expanding to a new production facility that will add 127 jobs in St. Tammany Parish. Woodward Design+Build is the general contractor on the project, which is expected to be complete in February 2014.

Covington Water Purification Company Will Expand With New Plant

The Times-Picayune

13 June 2012

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday that MECO, a water purification systems company in Covington, will invest $11 million in the construction of a new production facility near Abita Springs that will add 127 jobs in St. Tammany Parish. MECO will retain all 81 current Covington-based employees and add 127 direct jobs to its staff, 20 of which could likely transfer from its other headquarters in Sugarland, Texas, according to a company news release.

“The majority of jobs in this state and nation will come from companies that are already here,” Jindal said during a news conference at the St. Tammany Parish Council chambers near Mandeville, justifying the focus on expansion rather than importing new companies.

During Hurricane Katrina, MECO suffered staggering losses, including the complete destruction of its Industrial Canal factory in New Orleans, where the company was based. More than 80 percent of the company’s employees lost their homes, according to company reports.

“We took the opportunity to restart our business on a blank sheet of paper,” said MECO president George Gsell.

Since then, the company has grown extensively and mostly focuses on its water treatment products, which range from portable devices used in U.S. military combat to large-scale industrial machines weighing up to 40 tons, said Gsell.

“Our products can de-salt any water, anywhere,” he said.

Construction will begin shortly on the new building located in Alamosa Business Park north of Interstate 12 on Louisiana 59 and is expected to wrap up in December 2013, said one company representative.

The new jobs will pay an average starting salary of $47,000, plus benefits, according to figures provided by the governor.

He lauded the company’s decision to stay in Louisiana, rather than expand its facilities in Texas or internationally.

“This is a company with great Louisiana roots,” said Jindal. “It’s a great Louisiana family success story.”

Gsell said the area’s skilled work force was a key factor in the company’s decision to stay in Louisiana.

“We can put our Louisiana work force with anybody toe to toe, and we can beat them,” he said.

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