The economic thirst-quenching announcement of PepsiCo’s $180 million Gatorade facility at the Mid-America Industrial Park near Pryor is frosting on the legacy of Sanders Mitchell’s 18 years of creating top quality jobs and powerfully enriching Oklahoma’s economy.
Thursday’s announcement profoundly impacts Pryor, Claremore and all of northeastern Oklahoma. It is a boom energizing the state’s economy and immortalizing Mitchell’s talent, intellect and hard work.
A solid foundation of land, water and power at the park combined with Oklahoma’s stellar work force are Mitchell’s main tools. Over the past 18 years, he used the resources to lure businesses that increase employment from 2,800 to 4,000 at the Park.
Under a 1.5 million square-foot roof on a 150-acre site, PepsiCo will start with 280 employees but forecasts rapid job growth as the 73rd tenant at MAIP. Production is expected to begin in September, 2007.
The PepsiCo work force will qualify under Oklahoma’s innovative Quality Jobs Program designed by visionary Greg Mains under Governor David Walters with top help from Sens. Ted Fisher, D-Sapulpa, and Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore—both who are leaving office because of term limits.
Kevin Easley, now chief of the Grand River Dam Authority, is a former senator who helped craft a program for cheap energy sources that also augment economic expansion and create new jobs in northeastern Oklahoma.
The 9,000-acre MidAmerica Industrial Park is located on the bank of Grand River and divided into two distinct corridors with “heavy industry” nearer the electrical power generated at coal-fired plants and “lighter industry” on the west end of the complex.
Blessed with good highways, rails and even barges nearby, the PepsiCo plant will easily distribute products to a six-to-eight state area. Scores of trucks will haul product from the plant.
Manufactured at the site will be Gatorade Thirst Quencher, the world’s best selling sports drink, and Propel Fitness Water, the market’s leading enhanced water. PepsiCo estimates that during the next decade, the MAIP plant will have a five to seven billion dollar impact on Oklahoma.
Plans for future expansion are already on the table and call for another 690 square-foot building to house a bottle manufacturing plant that will hire more than 100.
Created by the Legislature as a public trust in 1960, the park was a World War II Dupont facility manufacturing military explosives. Redden spearheaded the clean-up and new design for industrial plants. Mitchell was his right hand then his successor who now had delivered the largest tenant in the history of the park.
Always in a positive mode, Mitchell preaches the fair tax structure of Oklahoma, the efficiency of state and local governmental systems, and gifts such as Oklahoma’s innovative vocational and technical training systems. These are added to the glistening natural resources and the traditional hard work ethic of Oklahoma folks.