Founded in 2011, Resource Fiber has engaged in extensive research and development focused on bamboo products, with six U.S. patents and five pending U.S. patent applications. It developed bamboo railroad ties and a glulam system to replace steel roofs and floors in commercial buildings.
Resource Fiber CEO David Knight said the company operates the nation’s largest commercial-scale bamboo nursery in Greene County and has researched nearby locations for its first manufacturing plant. Last year, the company analyzed seven buildings in four communities in Alabama.
“We are grateful to have found the right facility and are honored to be part of the Sulligent community. We would also like to thank the Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance for the support and assistance they provided in our site selection process, ”said Knight.
“Reaching this milestone is the cornerstone of the bamboo industry in the United States. We look forward to developing the US bamboo products industry starting with our Sulligent manufacturing facility, ”he added.
‘BAMBOO FIBER BASKET’
Resource Fiber moved an experimental pilot facility to Oneida, Tennessee, to the Sulligent site in November 2020. The company plans to begin hiring and start manufacturing at the Alabama facility in the second quarter of 2021.
Marsha Folsom, co-founder and director of development for Resource Fiber, said the company’s new production facility will have substantial ripple effects throughout Northwestern Alabama.
“Other industries using bamboo fiber will be attracted to locate here to be close to the ‘bamboo fiber basket’ and to advance bamboo manufacturing technologies,” Folsom said.
“The resource fiber will serve as a catalyst to attract bamboo-related jobs and industries to the region. “
To make the project possible, Resource Fiber received support from the State of Alabama, which offers incentives under the Alabama Jobs Act, and the Town of Sulligent, which purchased a building it leases. to the company.
The Houston-based Harry E. Bovay Jr. Foundation also provided a grant to facilitate the project. In addition, the company also received a USDA Rural Business Development Grant administered by the Town of Sulligent to apply for the purchase of manufacturing equipment.
“The Town of Sulligent is proud to partner with Resource Fiber to advance its revolutionary bamboo products, and we look forward to helping the company succeed and make our town the starting point of a new industry. Mayor Scott Boman said.
David Thornell, President and CEO of the Northwestern Alabama Economic Development Alliance, welcomed the cooperation on a project of major importance for Sulligent, a town of about 2,000 inhabitants.
“The result of this team effort will create more than 100 new jobs in rural Alabama and create an epicenter for bamboo product research and development, manufacture and sale in the United States and even around the world. “said Thornell.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the Resource Fiber Project advances the state’s goal of creating meaningful employment opportunities in rural areas of the state.
“The Alabama Economic Development Team has made job creation in rural areas of the state a strategic priority, and the recruitment of Resource Fiber at Sulligent is a perfect illustration of that effort,” said Secretary Canfield.
“Not only will the company bring new jobs to Lamar County, but it will also bring a high level of innovative thinking.”