Emilia plant manager Dale Durham, right, and human resources manager Amanda Harris hold examples of the hand sanitizer product the company will be making. Emilia is expanding and is need of 50 to 60 new employees now.
Emilia plant manager Dale Durham, right, and human resources manager Amanda Harris hold examples of the hand sanitizer product the company will be making. Emilia is expanding and is need of 50 to 60 new employees now.
By Steve Swogetinsky

The Kemper Messenger



 Emilia Resources has received a long-term contract to make a hand sanitizer product for Suave that will more than double its current product output, its work force and its production facilities.

Plant manager Dale Durham said that Suave originally requested 11 million bottles of the hand sanitizer a month.

“That’s more than we do in a year,” Durham said.

He added that number has been pushed down for the time being until the company can bring in new equipment and add to its workforce. In recent weeks, Emilia is investing to purchase new equipment and storage tanks.

Durham said Emilia needs to hire 50 to 60 employees right now. They have hired around 25 people and expected to add on 20 more later this month. The new employees are being hired as temporary employees through the Crane Agency in Meridian. Their initial job will be packing.

After successfully completing a 90-day probationary period, they will be added as full-time employees with benefits.

The company has 125 full-time employees. It makes numerous skin care products. Its biggest customer for those products is Wal-Mart.

Emilia also has experience in the hand sanitizer making business.

“We have our own product called Safe Harbor that’s on the market,” Durham said. “We are selling it to CVS but not nearly in the amount that this new contract calls for.”



Durham said there won’t be a lot of difference in the ingredients from the New Harbor product and the Suave product.

Emilia has recently installed a high speed bottle filler that will do 200 bottles a minute. It is also getting its new product qualified by Suave.

“We have mixed up our first validation batch (last Thursday),” Durham said. “We are sending it to a lab in California to have it qualified. We have to have three validation batches in a row to pass. Then we will start producing.”

All of this expansion is good news and it means rapid growth. Durham said one major item on the checklist will be a new building. Durham envisioned it will he 250,000 square feet and will be a state-of-the art manufacturing facility.

There is no room for a building of this size at the current site at the industrial park. It is thought the new building will be constructed at the Kemper Crossing Industrial Park at Highways 16 and 397 that the county has been developing. Land has been cleared and the town of DeKalb is in the process of connecting it with water and sewer.

Emilia will be working with the Kemper County board of supervisors, the Kemper County Economic Development Authority and the state of Mississippi to make this happen. With help of the state and other sources, Kemper County would build the new building and rent it to Emilia. That’s how it would be paid for.

Durham said he knows government paperwork take time, but hopes to have everything up and running within 18 months

“This is a great opportunity,” said EDA executive director Craig Hitt. “We want to provide everything they need. Hopefully we will be able to propose something to them real soon.”

Pat Granger, president of the board of supervisors, said the county is behind Emilia 100 percent.

“This can really be a blessing to Kemper County,” Granger said. “They need people to fill these jobs and that is going to bring our unemployment rate down.

“We have a good relationship with Emilia. They have a good management team. We look forward to working with them.”