Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (middle, navy blue shirt) visits with employees of the Kingsford Manufacturing Company’s plant in Belle on Wednesday, July 9. Kander tours Missouri companies to underscore the importance of manufacturing to the state’s economy. Contributed photo.
Calling its employees “the backbone of our economy”, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander visited Kingsford Manufacturing’s plant in Belle on Wednesday.
Kingsford is the largest manufacturer of charcoal briquettes in the U.S. It is a subsidiary of Associated Industries of Missouri member Clorox Company of Oakland, California.
Kander toured the 300, 000 square foot facility and then met with plant manager Steve Miller, Craig Wolfson, manager of government affairs for Clorox, other plant officials and employees to discuss the importance of manufacturing to Missouri’s economy.
Kingsford operates 24-hours a day, 7 days a week in the Maries County town of Belle. It is one of the county’s largest employers with 115 employees.
The briquette plant recycles hundreds of thousands of tons of wood waste per year and features a state-of- the-art system that dries and chars sawdust from the local wood products industry. The system also features continuously-monitored pollution control equipment to ensure that its operation complies with strict environmental standards. The plant converts the char and other key materials into briquettes and packages the briquettes for shipment to their customers.
The Belle plant is the largest of seven Kingsford operations in the country.
“The Kingsford Manufacturing Company works around the clock, seven days a week, and employs over 100 hard-working Missourians,” Kander said. “Kingsford employees, on average, work here for 17 years. That kind of dedication is the foundation of our communities and the backbone of our economy.”
Following the secretary of state’s visit, Wolfson and Miller came to Jefferson City to meet with AIM president Ray McCarty. AIM was instrumental in supporting Senate Bill 729 which included legislation to reinstate the wood energy producers’ tax credit. The bill, which was signed by the governor on July 7, reauthorizes the credit through 2020.