INDUSTRY

Award-Winning Workforce is at the Center of Camden’s Industry

South Arkansas’ economy has a lot of opportunities for a host of diverse industries. Team Camden and other South Arkansas economic development agencies have developed strategies focusing their efforts targeting Industries that can benefit most from the region’s resources and workforce.

There is a reason that Fortune 500 companies have come to the Camden area. It’s our workforce – trained, highly skilled, loyal, and committed.

Working in a defense community like Camden, Arkansas puts things into a different perspective. Our workforce understands the real-time meaning of having mission-critical responsibilities. They have to do it right – precisely right, because our warfighters and their families are counting on it. That’s why defense contractors come to Camden – they know that our workforce gets it.

OUR TARGET INDUSTRIES

Our targeted industries reflect our resources, strengths and opportunities. The center piece of our industry portfolio is our workforce.

We’re big on a strong national defense because it’s in our blood. The defense industry is the life line of our economy. For us, it is jobs and pride and an awareness that what our defense workers do to deliver the very best in workmanship makes the difference between life and death.

Most of our defense contractors are located in the Highland Industrial Park – a privately-owned 17,000-acre industrial park located close to Camden in Calhoun County. Among the products produced at the Highland Industrial Park are the PAC-3, THADD, HIMARS, MLRS and Guided MLRS, Standard Missile-3, Evolved Sea-Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Hydra-70 rockets, Modular Artillery Charges (MACs), pressed warheads, infra-red flares and other countermeasures, practice round munitions, including “green” training grenades, Hellfire/Javelin Tactical Missiles, and tactical rocket motors and warheads for use in Javelin, PAC-3, Tomahawk, Standard Missile, Army TACMS, and GMLRS.

Several smaller businesses have sprung up to support the activities of the Highland Industrial Park, including:

  • AMC, Inc. – Specializing in Precision Machined Products for the Defense Industry
  • B&M Painting – Specializing in Military and Aerospace Coatings and Painting
  • Camden Machine Tool and Die – Specializing in tooling, molds & rings for military and commercial aircrafts
  • Highland Machine Works – Specializing in production line system integration and custom machinery

The Camden area would be a good location for gun manufacturing. Arkansas, known as “The Natural State”, has a proud tradition of hunting and supporting gun rights. Recently, Guns and Ammo magazine gave Arkansas a perfect “10” for their pro-gun laws and ease of gun ownership. Second Amendment rights are also heavily supported by our publicly elected officials.

ASA HUTCHINSON, GOVERNER–R
“There is a Second Amendment. Citizens do have the right to bear arms. And, you cannot legislate it away….Arkansas is a place where men and women understand the Second Amendment”
John Boozman, US Senator–R
“The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right – the right to bear arms. We need to address the root issues that cause these senseless acts of mass violence. New gun laws are not the answer.”
Tom Cotton, US Senator–R
“I will always defend our Second Amendment rights in Congress. As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, my soldiers and I kept our rifles and guns within arms’ reach because of a fundamental truth: at critical moments, your life depends on being armed and ready to defend yourself. And I know our founders gave all law-abiding citizens the same rights here at home. As a hunter, gun owner, and NRA member, I understand how central the outdoorsman way of life is to Arkansas’s culture and tradition.”

As the manufacturing center of South Arkansas, Camden is home to a highly skilled workforce with a long history of aerospace and defense manufacturing specializing in munitions, rockets, guided missiles, launchers, and other battle vehicles. It’s been shown that these precision, high technology skills are easily transferable to high skill jobs in any industry. In a recent CNBC survey, Arkansas was ranked 11th in the nation based on the education of the workforce and number of available workers.

We recognize that most manufacturers are interdependent and have networks of business–to-business relationships which together function as their supply chain. Expanding or relocating from another state to Arkansas would likely alter a Company’s supply chain with the need to either supplement or substitute additional, geographically-closer businesses within the Company’s supply chain. We took a look at related companies within a reasonable truck drive from Camden.

Potential Gun Component Manufacturers Within 180 Miles

AR

LA

MS

OK

TN

TX

TOTAL

Gun & Ammunition Manufacturing

9

2

1

3

0

2

17

Fabricated Metal – Iron & Steel Forging

7

0

5

1

1

3

17

Fabricated Metal – Metal Stamping

13

5

7

14

2

10

51

Fabricated Metal – Plating & Polishing

13

3

3

16

5

8

48

Hardware & Fastener Manufacturing

1

0

0

4

0

2

7

Machine Shops

133

53

52

112

21

97

468

Metal Coating, Engraving & Heat Treating

14

7

12

13

4

12

62

Lumber & Plywood Product Manufacturing

4

2

1

0

1

1

9

TOTAL

194

72

81

163

34

135

679

*This table was constructed by searching for companies with NAICS codes for the eight primary industries listed in the table. These are self-reported NAICS codes and we realize that these search results would need to be further researched and verified. The search found 679 companies within the search parameters. One-half of the 17 gun & ammunition manufacturing companies identified were in Arkansas. Machine shops were strongly represented in the findings with 133 of the 468 machine shops found in Arkansas. We found 33 Arkansas companies in the 116 identified fabricated metal product manufacturers, including iron & steel forging, metal stamping, and plating & polishing. We believe that there is a reasonable potential to build a strong supply chain base within an easy truck drive from Camden.

Energy, it’s part of our future. We are rich in barely tapped energy resources – timber and lignite coal. We are working hard to make energy a driver of our economy.

Lignite Facts

  • 9 billion tons of lignite in South Arkansas less than 150 ft beneath the surface. See map below of lignite deposits in Ouachita and Calhoun Counties.
  • Potential for conversion to synfuels.
  • With CO2 sequestration, South Arkansas oil fields can be rejuvenated & the bromine industry extended by over a hundred years.

Pre-Civil War Lignite Activity

Lignite was mined in south Arkansas by underground methods and used before the Civil War. It was first used for steam-boiler fuel and later as fuel for small locomotives near the mines in Ouachita County. In 1907, two small oil-distilling plants were operating in Ouachita County. The plants produced oils from lignite mined by open pit methods in the Camden field in Ouachita County. In 1913, lignite from the Camden area was yielding up to 38 gallons of oil per ton, although the average oil recovery was about 25 gallons per ton.

Map of Lignite Deposits in Calhoun and Ouachita Counties

The Camden area has a rich history in the timber industry. It supports local timber and pulpwood companies and in the past supported an International Paper mill for 70 years.

The region surrounding Camden is heavily forested with more than 80% of the total land area being forest cover. The area hosts over 3.6 million acres of pine timberland and 263 million tons of pine stock. Unlike other areas, a majority of the timber supply sits on privately owned and managed lands as opposed to public lands which regulate harvest levels based on policy instead of economic interest.

With the closure of the International Paper Mill in 2001, the region is currently experiencing a surplus of timber stock. This surplus would allow for an additional 4.6 million tons per year without any increased costs in the timber supply. Additionally, a sustainable supply of 10 million tons of timber annually is achievable through increased forest productivity and management.

Camden is a prime location for timber processing – whether it be a paper mill, renewable energy wood pellet manufacturing facility, or a manufacturer converting timber into liquid and/or gas byproducts.

Renewable Energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today, and South Arkansas is at the forefront of leading renewable energy development and projects in the region. As of the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. has 18.3 gigawatts (GW) of installed photovoltaic capacity with an additional 1.7 GW of concentrated solar power. In the twelve months through November 2015, utility scale solar power generated 25.8 terawatt-hours (TWh), 0.63% of total U.S. electricity. During the same time period total solar generation, including estimated distributed solar photovoltaic generation, was 37.9 TWh, 0.92% of total U.S. electricity. At the same time, in 2015 (Jan-Oct), 32% of all new electricity generation capacity in the USA came from solar. And though these percentages may seem small, it only means there is a tremendous opportunity for growth in the industry.

South Arkansas has a lot of potential for energy generation from solar.  According to a recent report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Arkansas has the potential of generating 1.6 mWh annually per square meter of land.

Smaller projects are also being developed. In 2015, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden built a 100-kilowatt solar array. The end goal being of supplying their corporate headquarters with clean, renewable energy while increasing their bottom line through savings on energy costs.

South Arkansas is quickly becoming a leader in the region for Renewable Energy development. We are committed to working with partners and utilities to help bring more renewable energy projects to the region.

Industry Partners

HIGHLAND INDUSTRIAL PARK

Highland Industrial Park is the largest industrial park in a 5-state area with 17,000-acres plus and over 5 million SF of manufacturing and
warehousing buildings. It is the region’s largest employment center with approximately 2,500 employees and is the home of a growing defense community with major companies such as

Among the products produced at the Highland Industrial Park are the PAC-3, THADD, HIMARS, MLRS and Guided MLRS, Standard Missile-3, Evolved Sea-Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Hydra-70 rockets, Modular Artillery Charges (MACs), pressed warheads, infra-red flares and other countermeasures, practice round munitions, including “green” training grenades, Hellfire/Javelin Tactical Missiles, and tactical rocket motors and warheads for use in Javelin, PAC-3, Tomahawk, Standard Missile, Army TACMS, and GMLRS.

Weapons Testing and Engineering Center

Highland Industrial Park is also home to the National Ordnance and Ballistic Test Center operated by National Technical Systems (NTS). NTS Camden is a commercial testing complex and is one of the most complete independent weapons and ordnance testing facilities in the country. It can do arena and range testing, including shoulder fired weapons testing, and has fully instrumented small, medium and large caliber ranges up to 3000 Meters and can test calibers up to 155mm. It can do a range of firearm safety device testing and performs Comprehensive Firearm Analysis to include:

  • Trigger Job in Progress
  • Cylinder Transport Variation
  • Trigger Energy Distribution
  • Altered Hammer Spring
  • Coil Spring Comparison
  • Forward and Reverse Test

In addition, NTS can do bullet impact testing using small and medium caliber ammunition. One of NTS’s core strengths is to offer full product design engineering, systems engineering, managed engineering services to its clients, design & build services for automated test equipment systems, and/or the design and implementation of automated industrial control systems.

The Camden Area Industrial Development Corporation

The Camden Area Industrial Development Corporation (CAIDC) is a private, membership-based non-profit industrial development corporation. Its purpose is to encourage, foster and assist in the development or expansion of industrial businesses or concerns now existing or to be located in Ouachita County, Arkansas, or in close proximity thereto. CAIDC is not funded by taxpayer dollars; its budget is sustained by lease income, and membership dues. CAIDC welcomes new members. Membership requires that you are a stockholder. Membership in CAIDC gives you a voice at the annual or called membership meetings and also makes you eligible to be elected to serve on the Board of Directors.

OFFICERS:

  • Alan Dean, President
  • Jim Coleman, Vice-President
  • Phil Foster, Treasurer
  • Dr. Corbet Lamkin, Secretary

CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

  • Peggy Abbott
  • Mike Cash
  • Jim Coleman
  • Alan Dean
  • Blake Fain
  • Phil Foster
  • Dr. Corbet Lamkin
  • L.E. Lindsey
  • Judge Robert McAdoo
  • C.C. McAllister
  • Art McCants
  • Joe McFadden
  • Mayor Marie Trisollini
  • Robyn Yarbro
  • Jim Golden

Executive Director:  James Lee Silliman

The Camden Area Industrial Development Corporation was incorporated as the Camden Industrial Development Corporation in 1955 under the auspices of the Camden Chamber of Commerce. The original mission being “to promote the agricultural and industrial development of the City of Camden and Ouachita County“. It operates as a separate 501(C) (6) organization.  The name was changed in 1994 to the Camden Area Industrial Development Corporation.

Stock in the corporation was sold in order to raise funds to purchase land for development. This tract of land now houses the Molex building and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission’s Camden regional office. The first speculative building built in this area was built by CIDC (CAIDC) for Holiday Manufacturing Corporation at the airport in the early 1960’s.

In late 2001, International Paper Company deeded to CAIDC much of the old paper mill facilities valued at $4,500,000.00. These properties included: the main office building, Bagpak warehouses, recycling building, hazardous materials building, 58 acres north of the mill, 21 acres on the river near River Woods along with water pumps & pipelines and the railroad track inside the mill complex. In October 2005, CAIDC acquired approximately 5 acres of land located where the old Tastee Freeze and Ames Oil company was located. This is just north of the 58 acres already owned by CAIDC.  In July 2007, James Lee Silliman was retained by the board of directors as CAIDC’s first Executive Director, with offices located in the Camden Visitors Center (Old Mo-Pac Depot). We completed the purchase in December 2007 of the remaining mill property from International Paper. This included 53 acres of mill site, Bagpak engineering office, first aid building, shop building and the scale house/guard house. CAIDC worked with a demolition contractor to remove the former International Paper office building and much of the former warehouse buildings. Remaining are three warehouse buildings of 35,000 SF, 32,000 SF, and 21,600 SF.

What Does the Future Hold?
CAIDC is committed to helping to create jobs in the Camden area. The prospects for tenants in the existing buildings and sites is good. We are in ongoing discussions with several prospects that could generate a significant number of jobs. Current tenants include: Chambliss Bridge Company, Camden & Southern Railroad, Two Bayou wood yard and Gross & Janes Company.

The former IP property could experience a “rebirth”. CAIDC believes that it is well positioned to attract clean, renewable energy companies to make investments in Camden as well as further development of rail Trans loading and warehousing facilities.  CAIDC is optimistic about our area’s future, and we look forward to many more progressive years of service to Camden & Ouachita County.

The Camden Defense Industry Consortium

The Camden Defense Industry Consortium (CDIC) project was funded in 2015 by the Delta Regional Authority and is an extension of an initiative organized in January 2014 by the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED). With funding committed by the OPED Board of Directors, an experienced business development director for several defense contractors was retained as a consultant to develop Department of Defense (DoD) industry support and program plans. OPED has since hired Dale Turner as its Vice President of the CDIC.

The project is supported by Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Southern Arkansas University, the South Arkansas Telephone Company, and national-level defense manufacturers located in the Highland Industrial Park which now employs 2,500+ aerospace defense employees working for such companies as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Esterline Defense, National Technical Systems, Day & Zimmermann, AMC, Highland Machine Works, and Spectra Technologies.

The project provides the following core services:

  1. Partnering with Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS): Support the development and delivery of services to the Aerospace and Defense Contractor Industry; including operational excellence and business development services to existing defense contractors. Attract companies into hub zones to better position them to compete for defense business and establish relationships with Arkansas defense contractors. Build an alliance of defense industry partners, including the CDIC. Promote, participate in, and support AMS facilitated workshops, training, summits and events demonstrating the latest manufacturing methodologies.
  2. Support for Defense Industry Small Business Contract Goals: Assist our defense manufacturers in meeting their supply chain and small business contract procurement requirements. The project will work with our defense contractors to identify suppliers and match them up with contract opportunities. All federal agencies are required to ensure that small businesses get an equitable, percentage share of their contracts.
  3. Assistance in Securing Small Business Certifications: Provide individualized training and solutions counseling to small business clients seeking to acquire defense business contracts or subcontracts. Our objective is to better prepare project clients to compete for defense business. The project provides coaching services to help secure small business certifications. It assists clients in preparing capabilities briefs, researching business opportunities, marketing to DoD needs, understanding DoD contract systems, making business development presentations, and qualifying under individual company supplier diversification program requirements.

The project will also incubate and accelerate the growth of two separate small businesses in its federally-designated HubZone – the first business would specialize in the delivery of training services and the second business would specialize in broadband, value-added network services, including support for a Defense Suppliers Network. OPED will recruit experienced personnel residing in the community and support them, through its partnership with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Southern Arkansas University, in developing and implementing business and marketing plans for each business. These businesses would market and deliver the following business services:

  1. Local Training Services: OPED will make its existing meeting facilities and equipment available for training and use grant funding to renovate and equip a training lab and invest in learning facilitation training and “train the trainer” programs to equip local trainers retained by the business to deliver industry-determined course offerings locally without requiring industry employees to travel to distant locations to receive training. The majority of training will be individual or small group training and will be offered through third party training providers or local trainers both as provided by the local training services business. The three planned training tracks are:
    •  Employee Training Track: Advanced training for employees of defense contractors; training in this track would be delivered through third parties and would be selected by employers. This training track would cover specialized topics such as dimensional metrology, gage calibration, project management, and advanced procurement.
    • Manufacturer Training Track: Training for area manufacturing companies in process improvement and technology application topics. Process improvement topics include lean enterprises, quality management, strategic business strategies and solutions, and environmental, health & safety systems; training in this track would be delivered through Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, a project partner. In addition, through partnership relationships, CDIC will also work with vendors to promote and offer a training site for specialized training in technology applications. For example, Airgas University provides training in these subjects: Regulator Change-Out, Safe Storage and Handling of Compressed Gases, Hazards of Industrial Gases, Cryogenic Liquid Cylinders, and Replacing Acetylene with Propylene fuel gas; the project’s training facilities will be offered to vendors such as Airgas to provide such training.
    • Small Business Training Track: Training for small businesses seeking defense business; training in this track will focus on the ins and outs of government contracting, including SBA certification programs, HubZone certification, steps used by the government to purchase what it needs, how to sell goods and services to the government, how to prepare government contract proposals, price and other proposal evaluation criteria, responsibilities under government contracts, and cybersecurity. Training in this track will be delivered by the CDIC Vice President and the incubating local training services business; training on starting, financing, marketing and managing small businesses will be delivered through the Southern Arkansas University Small Business and Technology Development Center – Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS), a project partner.

Classroom training will take place both in the Conference Room and the Meeting Room and the new 1,300 SF Training lab in the Ouachita Valley Small Business and Technology Center. Construction included wall finish, industrial ceilings, soffits, cement stain, finish electrical, lighting, work station counters and dividers, office carrels, HVAC and security system. Tool sets in the Training lab include distance learning stations and computers connected to high speed broadband and equipped with advanced design software.

  1. Defense Supplier Network (DSN) HubZone Business: OPED will make its facilities and equipment available to a business that it would incubate to manage a Defense Supplier Network (DSN) and provide value-added business internet services. The DSN will be a private, business to business broadband Ethernet Defense Supplier Network (DSN) for defense contractors and their suppliers. The DSN will offer more affordable, higher speed broadband connections of up to 100Gbps in network speeds and will have multiple paths to the Internet via major network access points in Dallas and Chicago and will have tier 3 regeneration (site infrastructure offers multiple independent distribution paths with dual-powered equipment maintainable at an expected availability of 99.982%). The DSN will also be used to deliver training and webinars, as well as to provide access to tools and collaboration opportunities to make entrepreneurs and businesses within the DSN more competitive within the global community. This investment in broadband Ethernet, and communications value-added infrastructure will be a significant tool in attracting new defense businesses into Camden’s federally designated HubZone. OPED has used a capital investment incentive of $100,000, and an additional private investment of $10,000,000 has been made by the South Arkansas Telephone Company, to extend a 1000Gbps capacity buried fiber optic network into the City of Camden.

The project is located in the Ouachita Valley Small Business and Technology Center at 625 Adams Avenue in Camden, Arkansas, a location within the Camden HubZone offering preferential consideration for federal contract awards to HubZone certified companies.