A company that plans to divert waste from a Huntington County landfill and turn it into diesel fuel, synthetic motor oil and recycled building materials will invest more than $350 million and hire about 180 people, officials with Nature's Fuel announced Thursday.
The company, based in Fort Wayne, is in the middle of a flurry of announcements of such trash-to-fuel operations, one each in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Bill Sinish said Thursday. The Huntington County operation will include a sorting and processing building of about 360,000 square feet at the landfill, plus transfer stations in several cities in this region, Sinish said, although he did not specify where the transfer stations would be located.
Besides the sales of material refined and recovered from the trash stream, another important source of revenue at the company's Huntington operation would be tipping fees for trash disposed there – fees which the company and the city of Huntington, which owns the landfill, will divide. Because the facility will handle so much more waste, Sinish said he expects local government will make $1-$2 million more than it now does from tipping fees.
The project in Huntington is part of a massive plan for investment by the small company. Sinish said that investment in the four plants in four states will total more than $1 billion.
Where's the money coming from? The key financier was on hand at the Huntington press conference Thursday, but George Krinos didn't disclose much about the source of the money or the terms of financing.
Krinos owns The Krinos Group, an investment group in Youngstown, Ohio, that lists only nine employees on its website. Krinos said the financing mechanism upon which this massive investment in Huntington depends is “proprietary.” He said he is “unable to discuss details,” because disclosing too much could run afoul of Securities and Exchange Commission restrictions. He said he is preparing to take his company public and is shooting for a listing on the NASDAQ exchange by the end of the year.
“We have to be very cautious,” he said.
Krinos said he's only been pursuing the finance model behind Nature's Fuel for about 1 1/1 to 2 years, including the time it took to develop it. He insists on a high standard of economic patriotism in the investments.
“We will only finance an American company that will open up in America and employ American citizens,” he said.
That does, however, leave him plenty of opportunities for investing. He told the crowd in Huntington that he's lined up about $2.5 billion investments that will create “up toward 40,000 new jobs, directly and indirectly.”
As for the Nature's Fuel executives, “exuberant” fit their demeanor better than cautious. As they described the company's plan, the jobs planned at the landfill sound remarkably good in today's economy.
Sinish said the lowest-paid jobs would pay $16 an hour “on up to way above that,” he said.
However, Glenn Johnson, Nature's Fuel chief operating officer and president, said that all positions would be salaried. As such, those workers would be eligible for bonuses every six months based on the performance of the Huntington operation.
The first hiring will take place in about four months and will continue for about seven months. The Nature's Fuel executives said they expect the plant to be running in about a year.
Johnson also said they planned to hire interns, with a preference for interns from Huntington. They would call these positions “George Krinos internships” in honor of the financier.